About Habitusliving


Habitus is a movement for living in design. We’re an intelligent community of original thinkers in constant search of native uniqueness in our region.


From our base in Australia, we strive to capture the best edit, curating the stories behind the stories for authentic and expressive living.


Habitusliving.com explores the best residential architecture and design in Australia and Asia Pacific.


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Design Products
Habitus Loves

Habitus Loves… Coco Flip

Coco Pendant


Created by: Kate Stokes

Why we love it: Coco Pendant is handcrafted in Melbourne from turned Victorian ash timber and powdercoated spun aluminium. The smooth timber surface gives way to the aluminium shade, creating a delicate contrast between these two very different materials. Coco Pendant won three awards at Fringe Furniture in 2010 and the lighting category of the Home Beautiful Product of the Year Awards 2010.

Where you can get it: Coco Flip


Coco Mini


Created by: Kate Stokes

Why we love it: The Coco Pendant is also available in a smaller size, measuring 400mm in diameter. This product is locally produced in Melbourne, Australia and each light is hand-crafted and unique. The Coco Pendant mini is suitable for both residential and commercial use.

Where you can get it: Coco Flip




Created by: Kate Stokes

Why we love it: Filament was created as a lighting installation for Melbourne band Winterpark's 'Sunday Morning' album launch & exhibition held at Dear Patti Smith in July 2011. This was a response to track 5 'Hiccups' on the album which for conjured up imagery of an old fisherman at sea. The brick-layers nylon was hand woven around the wire frames to form a skin which resembles fishing nets and cages.

Where you can get it: Coco Flip - prototype only






Created by: Kate Stokes

Why we love it: Loop is a modular table and shelving system that celebrates isolated lanscapes and spaces in-between. Sitting somewhere between furniture and sculpture, the pieces are designed to interlock in a number of formations, engaging the user and adapting to the environment.

Where you can get it: Coco Flip - prototype only


Mr Cooper - Copper


Created by: Kate Stokes

Why we love it: Inspired by the old tin can telephone or 'lovers' telephone' this spun brass pendant light pays tribute to a time gone by. The shades are designed to be hung in a cluster, cascading from a single ceiling plate and hooking to various points using copper crimps. The swage lines reference the ridges of a tin can as well as adding rigidity and detail to the form.

Where you can get it: Coco Flip


Mr Cooper - Brass


Created by: Kate Stokes

Why we love it: The brass incarnation of Mr Cooper couples the original's distinctive, retro shape with the matte lustre of brass, giving it a slightly warmer aesthetic. 

Where you can get it: Coco Flip




Created by: Kate Stokes

Why we love it: Rocker aims to explore the current context of rocking chairs in Australian culture, and their place in furniture history. Intrigued by the connotations of rocking chairs with the elderly, pregnancy and regional America, Kate Stokes set out to create a rocking chair which would disband these associations and sit comfortably in contemporary Australian homes.

Where you can get it: Coco Flip  - prototype only



Images courtesy of Coco Flip



Around The World

Funky Town

You may be transfixed by the arresting art-deco or palazzo facades or busily checking out the innumerable exhibitions, however, when a gargantuan bulk carrier glides by, merely metres away, there’s only one response: press pause and stare.

If you’ve ever despaired that so many working harbours have been subverted by the scramble for glitz, then Newcastle - one of Australia’s busiest ports - will conjure an almost childlike excitement.

With the engaging vibe of a country town and boasting Australia’s only beach-fringed CBD, Newcastle, having moved on from post-industrial stereotypes, is now abuzz with live music, eat-streets, artisan markets, artist talks, street parties, art-house moonlight cinemas and accessible arts and music events.


Situated near the tip of a peninsula anchored with maritime history, the homely Terraces for Tourists provide a uniquely atmospheric sea-scented base. The iron-lace balcony is the perfect perch to feel the ship horns and church bells ricochet along Newcastle East’s 19th century lanes.


A quintessential way to get into the Newcastle groove is to take a dip at the nearby art-deco Ocean Baths, followed by a drawn-out and delectable breakfast at surf-facing Estobar.   

From here, fans of narrative-infused streetscapes are spoilt for choice in this delightfully walkable city.

A stride up The Hill reveals whimsical mansions and panoramic vistas. At the Victorian terrace lined streets of Cooks Hill, it’s hard not to coo out loud.

Reminders of a golden age when Newcastle was considered the ‘Pittsburg of the Pacific’ reverberate along Hunter Street. The husks of former financial powerhouses, largely unaltered since the jazz age, still ooze attitude. It’s easy to imagine rows of elegantly-attired patrons pouring into the erstwhile ‘picture palaces’. 

1930’s suave is alive and swinging in the recently restored bar and dining room of the Great Northern Hotel.

You’d expect a certain swagger from Australia’s second oldest city and there’s plenty of it in the Civic precinct, which radiates around the stately City Hall and the ‘Spanish Baroque’ Civic Theatre, a flapper-era flourish that remains a magnificent space to catch a show. Just a block away at the Honeysuckle district, early colony wharves now regale with eateries, bars, markets and a fetching waterside walkway. 


If you channel the locals and tap into the vast network of cycle-ways, it should take only about 20 minutes to reach time-frozen neighbourhoods such as Wickham, Islington (renowned for its retro outlets) and Carrington (a quirky fusion of loading docks, cute workers' cottages, sourdough bakeries and fine art galleries). 

For an iconic sunset, refuel at an outside table at Bluewater Pizza- where it feels like you can reach out and touch the parade of hefty ships and bossy little tugs- then promenade to Nobby’s Lighthouse.




What's On

Ben Quilty After Afghanistan

Ben Quilty is one of Australia’s most talented and respected artists of his generation. He has been recognised with numerous solo exhibitions, awards, scholarships, and residencies in Australia and overseas. In November 2012 he was appointed a trustee to the Art Gallery of New South Wales Trust.

                                                         Troy Park, after Afghanistan 

As part of the Australian War Memorial’s distinguished program of commissioning war artists, Ben was attached to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) from 11 October until 3 November 2011. During this time he observed the Australians’ activities in Kabul, Kandahar and Tarin Kot. His task was to record and interpret the experiences of Australian service personnel who are deployed as part of Operation Slipper.


The exhibition curated by Laura Webster, Curator of Art, AWM, includes sketches Ben made during his tour and 21 studio paintings made after his return. The sketches depict Australian and Afghani men and women he encountered and convey quick impressions of his environment. The paintings, largely portraits of service men and women convey a strong emotional and psychological power, capturing the impact the war has on those at the frontline. The exhibition in many ways tells the story of the “aftermath” of war from the artist’s perspective and from the close relationship he formed with his subjects.

            SOTG, after Afghanistan 

Curator Laura Webster says “The works reflect the immensity and overwhelming nature of Afghanistan, and the war being fought there.”

Quilty says he was profoundly affected by his tour of Afghanistan: “I had such extreme feelings about the smell, sound, emotions of being in Afghanistan, I want to convey this.”

This exhibition is a timely reminder of the vexed subject of the realities of war, and reminds us of the vital role artists have in depicting the human condition on a personal and global scale.

                                  Tarin Kot, Hilux 

Katie Dyer, Curator of the National Art School says ”Artists in conflict zones observe and record the trauma, courage, emotions and actions that surround war and its aftermath in our societies. The politics of war, the personal cost, the successes and devastation are issues for constant consideration and debate.”

Ben Quilty: After Afghanistan will be on display at the National Art School Gallery from 21 February – 13 April 2013


Top image: Captain Kate Porter, after Afghanistan 


Design Products

Flexform at Fanuli Furniture

The fruit of a collaboration between the Cremorne showroom and Flexform, the new store-within-a-store was created by a team specially flown out from Italy. Thus everything down to the light fittings was specified to align with the brand's aesthetic, resulting in a dynamic but coherent space that perfectly complements the timeless look and feel of the furniture. 

"The newly conceived partnership between Flexform and Fanuli was the catalyst for a fresh transformation of the Fanuli's generous sized showroom in Cremorne" comments Bradhly Le, and indeed the two-storey space underwent a decisive fit out. "The materials selection needed to compliment Flexform's concept" he adds, "which meant the [replacement] of traditional materials from 15 years ago such as metal balustrades and laminated joinery with more contemporary finishes and a fresher colour palate".

Particularly striking are the large floating light sculptures in the double-height ceiling on the ground floor; geometrical yet asymmetrical they offset Flexform's clean, elegant lines, and, as Le concludes are "unequivocally the most memorable design element[s] within the space."

The Flexform brand is a perfect fit with Fanuli, pairing beautifully with a range of world-class soft furnishings, imaginative tables, bookcases and storage solutions for the home and contract interiors.

Flexform is available exclusively from Fanuli Furniture showroom in Cremorne. 





Sub-Station Cafe

“I wanted to work with an interesting space,” explains Ram Stern as we meet to discuss his design for Sub-Station, the cafe that he and wife Orit recently opened in Alexandria. “We discovered that Sub-station No 152 was unoccupied and given it’s structure, detailing and character, it provided the perfect backdrop for the food and coffee on offer,” he adds.

Having had a few previous lives, most of which did little to improve the space, the shell was completely gutted, save for the original sub-station details including external steel signage, a roller-shutter door and thick brick-face facades all round.

“We didn’t want to alter the look and feel of the place too much,” says Stern, “but add to it in some way.”   The pair also desired a “clean look”, an antidote to the oft-referenced “warehouse look”.

They achieved the aesthetic by painting the walls white, incorporating a strong, geometric-tiled bar facade and a number of recycled timber fittings, including a one piece countertop that straddles the inside of the cafe and a small and unexpected courtyard adjacent.  A recessed, fully openable server-style window connects the two spaces, bringing their compact, vertical garden and the smattering of outdoor table settings into the space. 

As expected there are also references to the original incarnation, including light fittings fashioned from reclaimed bed springs, a sliding library ladder - which accesses the loft storage room - a number of vintage posters and the generously high ceilings. 

And in keeping with the Sterns penchant for quirkiness, a geometric-tiled bar and a pumpkin permanently located on a stool just outside the entrance, add the finishing touches.


Design Hunters

Design Hunter™ Q+A with Sarah Gibson

Your name: Sarah Gibson What you do: Design and direct for DesignByThem Your latest project: 'A product a month for the next 12 months'. It's a project we've given ourselves that entails many projects. Who are three people that inspire/excite you: Oh gees that's a hard one, my boyfriend of course, but professionally:      1)  Nicholas Karlovasitis      2)  Dion Lee       3) Terri Winter, owner of top3 What is your favourite… Car/bike/plane/boat model: The Volvo hatch with the low back window Chair model: Eero Saarinen's Womb chair Residential space: Anything with a large inset balcony or doors/walls that can disappear and create a large outdoor room. Commercial space: Enopizzeria in Neutral Bay, nothing fancy, just really nice materials and lighting Decorative product: Algues by the Bourellec Brothers Functional product: Eva Solo grater cup - simply genius Handmade good: Buffalo mozzarella Mass-produced good Maltesers MealOsso bucco with a good gremolata Restaurant: A Tavola in Darlinghurst, Sydney. DrinkNever can say no to a g&t. BarShady Pines in Darlinghurst. Item in your studio: Planning board - gives me so much clarity and get's me exited of new things to come. Piece of technology: iPhone 4 Historical figure: Steve Jobs Fictional character: Sebastian out of the The Never Ending Story Vice: Stubbornness Virtue: Honesty What does the term ‘Design Hunter’ mean to you? Seeking out things that you absolutely have to have, that represent you.abc
What's On

The Edge 2013 Winners

The Edge 2013 featured over 38 finalists, with a the judging panel of: Jan Henderson, Associate Publisher Archmedia; Lisa Green, Editor Australian House and Garden; Marc Schamburg, Director Alvisse and Schamvburg / Zenith Interiors; Ross Didier, Didier and Scott Lewis- Curator

Commercial Award Winner: Ash Allen, with Dollop Light

Ash Allen is based in Victoria. He has a Bachelor of Engineering / B. Arts (1996) and an MBA from La Trobe University (2003). Described by the judging panel as a “mature talent”, Ash exhibited at the London Design Festival in 2012 and has been invited to be part of the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York in May this year.

‘Dollop’ is an organic pendant light made from earthenware slip casting, aesthetically inspired by a dollop of cream dripping off a ladle. The Low wattage LED light source in this piece is cleverly obscured from direct sight, by light bouncing off the highly reflective, glazed internal surfaces. It embodies Ash’s design philosophy of intuitive elegance and simplicity.

Green Award Winner: Toby Nowland, with Fold and Peg Stool

Toby Nowland has a Bachelor of Design (Product Innovation) from the University of South Australia, and is currently completing a Masters in Design.

Toby’s ‘Fold and Peg Stool’ was described by judges as a “smart use of sustainable material”.  It is made from EchoPanel, a material produced from recycled and recyclable PET. It’s constructed with a flat panel and timber pegs made from Tasmanian Oak. No adhesives needed! The fold around ‘tabs’ become pockets, where magazines and newspapers can easily slide into, increasing the stool’s usefulness.

Student Award Winner: Ben Brayshaw, with Clam Chair

Ben Brayshaw is a student in the  Associate Degree in Furniture Design at RMIT.

Inspired by the shell, Ben’s ‘Clam Chair’ opens and closes, with the inside padded with 19 small cushions. The Chair can be folded allowing people to carry the chair with them and is ideal for the park or beach. It is made from American walnut veneered hoop pine, plywood, flexible PVC and woollen felt upholstery.      

The chair also recently won the Australian Furniture of the Year Student Design Award for Victoria and Tasmania

Concept Award Winner: Stephanie Ng Hui Sien, with Halo Light

Stephanie is an industrial designer with a Bachelor of Design (Industrial Design) from Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne. She also has a diploma in product design from Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, Kuala Lumpur.

Made from Polyurethane Resin, Halo light functions as a modular lighting system that can be configured in a variety of shapes and sizes. Described by the judges as “versatile and innovative”.




Design Products
Habitus Loves

Habitus Loves… Tapware



Created by: Gessi

Why we love it: Fluid, graceful, minimal -Goccia lives up to its namesake beautifully ('a drop' in Italian), and is a superb fusion of form and function.

Where you can get it: Abey




Created by: Webert

Why we love it: A collection that epitomises the harmony, essentiality and elegance of sleek, streamlined design in every feature, Wolo exudes an aerodynamic feel and absolute lightness.

Where you can get it: dRj



Vivid Slim


Created by: Phoenix Tapware

Why we love it: A simple, uncluttered tap, the VIvid Slim is elegant but strong, promising consistent performance.

Where you can get it: Phoenix Tapware






Created by: Naoto Fukusawa for Fantini

Why we love it: An iconic new design, the Fukasawa Single Control Mixer is highly elegant, contemporary and perfectly suited to the luxury bathroom.

Where you can get it: Rogerseller


El Capitan


Created by: Nicolazzi

Why we love it: Whilst not a modern design, a curving spout and dark metallic lustre give 'El Capitan' a unique and quirky appeal.

Where you can get it: Canterbury Sink & Tap


Mixer Tap


Created by: Marc Newson for Caroma

Why we love it: Technically cutting edge and demonstrating the hallmark Newson finesse, the sink-mounted mixer tap is a precursor of the future of its class. 

Where you can get it: Caroma Marc Newson




Created by: Perrin & Rowe

Why we love it: Elegantly balanced by the symmetrical arrangement and contrasting vertical lines of the faucet and the taps, Contemporary is understated and chic. 

Where you can get it: The English Tapware Company




Designed by: Billi

Why we love it: With a large chilling capacity and unlimited water delivery, the B-3000 is ideal for typical family use. Offering whisper quiet operation, exceptional space efficiency and elegant functional style for user convenience. Green building design principles are incorporated into the B-3000 providing you with the ultimate in environmentally sensitive drinking water appliances.

Where you can get it: Billi


What's On

‘Journey’ by Stefano Canturi

Journey by Stefano Canturi is a unique exhibition and is for public viewing from February 2013 in galleries in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and New York. A rare insight into the world and mind of Stefano Canturi through his artistic journey of ten jewellery concepts curated from his body of work spanning over 25 years. “This exhibition is a journey and not a traditional art exhibition. Works are frozen moments in time from the point of inspiration, to birth of creation, to the finished piece”, he explains. Until now, all his works have been kept private. Art works include never before seen drawings and paintings of his masterpiece 'Satine' created for Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge, the necklace that featured in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most valuable piece of jewellery ever created for film. Also captured is the creation process behind Canturi’s revered Cubism collection, which was inspired by the innovative mood of the Cubist art movement that saw artists break with convention. Here Canturi explores abstract and non-traditional styles with his arrangement of geometric lines in curved patterns. The sketches, paintings and sculpture are tactile, fluid and poetic, and reflect the mood and presence of a creation process that was pursued from an early age when he was first inspired by the works of the Renaissance masters. Training under an Italian Master at the age of 17, Canturi went on to free his mind, and create jewellery unlike anything referenced by jewellery historians before. “I never stopped drawing. As a child I constantly had a piece of chalk in my hand, hidden in class, carving miniature sculpture” Canturi says.   Journey will be on display in Sydney at MiCK Gallery from February 7-12, and in Melbourne at fortyfivedownstairs Gallery from February 19-March 2, 2013.   MiCK Gallery fortyfivedownstairs Gallery canturi.comabc

Vintage Innovation

The steady rise in the popularity of wine in Asia has prompted much local and foreign investment in the sector, spanning everything from faux-Tuscan enotecas to home grown competitors. However the issue of how to communicate the rich and varied culture of wine to this new clientele has remained largely unresolved, limiting the libation’s appreciation considerably.

To this end Altaya, a Hong Kong-based wine retailer, employed Shanghai-based Kokaistudios to design three outlets that could bridge the gap between viticultural tradition and the Asian buyer. The selection itself reflects the nature of the task – the Shanghai based architecture firm is headed by Italians Filiippo Gabbiani and Andrea Destefanis, and applies a European sensibility to the Asian context.

The design of the stores seeks to a create warm environment that welcomes novice wine drinkers and connoisseurs alike, coupled with a unique and personalized retail experience that takes the customer from browsing, tasting and purchasing. The firm’s design philosophy of employing quality materials and workmanship is manifested through rich dark oak, timber panels, stucco and marble with distinctive, hammered or polished finishes used to present various scenes in the stores. The minimalist, uncluttered furnishing and colour scheme allows the real stars – the wines – to shine, and resonate with the modern Asian aesthetic.

The name of the new concept, ‘etc’ (acronym for endear, taste, cultivate) also alludes to the retail philosophy, and in turn this is evident in the display system designed based on the characteristics and the packaging of the products - wine or champagne - for the best presentation possible. The decision to focus each store on just one varietal – Burgundy, Champagne and Bordeaux so far – simplifies the experience for visitors, and touch screens throughout the stores encourage them to explore and discover the culture of wine for themselves. All of which, the hope is, will stimulate curiosity and provide the education necessary to allow wine to be appreciated in all its multifaceted glory.


Photography: New & Old Studios

Client: Altaya Wines

Design: Kokaistudios

Shop: Etc Wine Shops


Seeing the Light

While the thought of whiling the afternoon away in one’s own cozy courtyard enclosure has long fueled the fantasies of dreamy-eyed homeowners this side of the tropics, a house designed specifically as a complement to the actual courtyard itself admittedly remains something of an architectural rarity. A specimen of the latter, a certain rehabilitated abode by Filipino practice Buensalido Architects, is sited in an older neighbourhood in Metro Manila. 

Surpassing surmised notions of novelty, the revamped home has come a long way from its difficult beginnings, owed in large part to the studied optimism of its current inhabitants as well as the thoughtfully uncharacteristic approach undertaken by the architects charged with overhauling the property. The owners, a young professional couple who discerned potential in the original lacklustre structure, readily purchased the house despite its less than ideal state (eighties-era arched collonades and annay finishes were among its initial shortcomings), intent on optimising its previously subverted spatial qualities.

The decision to establish the pre-existing courtyard as the main focal point of the house came about after assessing the site’s limitations. Constraints, both financial and spatial, left little room for superfluous additions, rendering the final design an ode to function rather than style.


“Since it was a renovation project with a very limited budget, the most complicated part was to maintain and salvage what we could with the original structure and integrate it into the new design,” recalls Jason Buensalido, the firm’s founder and principal. “We had to be diligent and innovative in creating details that would stitch together the old and the new, and also come up with experimental finishes that were unique and interesting but not necessarily expensive to implement.”

An ability to see eye to eye with the client where aesthetics were concerned didn’t hurt either. A shared love of idiosyncratic yet modern, streamlined interiors meant that Buensalido’s original proposal remained largely intact throughout the entire renovation – a testament to the kindred nature of his working relationship with the occupants.

The harmonious correspondence between the two parties is aptly reflected in the architecture itself; composed of carefully coordinated spaces that flow neatly into one another, the house arranges itself around the courtyard, a converted indoor space melding seamlessly with both the dining and living areas. Varyingly sized skylights in select areas lay claim to the courtyard’s skyward connection while illuminating the interiors with artful punctuations of light and shadow. A cut-out motif mirrors the windowed openings, repeating its dramatic footprint over low-slung ceilings. Edged with diffused ambient lighting, the squares simultaneously break up the monotony of the space by introducing a sense of understated dynamism to the minimalist premises.

To the east of the house, delicate features such as an interior rock garden and a pedestrian walkway strewn with daylight offer up poetic slivers of the world outside. A simple black-and-white colour scheme, carried forth in the refurbished façade, completes the overall effect. Freed of excess and ostentation, what remains is a relaxed domestic environment brought to life through a robust infusion of warmth, personality and light.