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
Furniture

Discipline from Stylecraft

Comprising a collection of more than 30 ranges of furniture, accessories and objects, the Discipline brand identity is marked by the exclusive use of natural materials and a style exalting today’s design values of simplicity, functionality, beauty, durability and sustainability. stylecraft_1b Discipline combine an inquisitive streak with their design expertise, often accompanying their collections with musings on their significance. The short article 'Eulogy of a Stool' is especially relevant in this case, as Stylecraft stock a wide range of Discipline's seating range. "The history of stools is rather like the chicken and the egg conundrum, as in which came first. The stool or the chair? The chair or the stool? Is the stool technically a chair? Is the chair a stool? stylecraft_3 The only thing we know for sure is that the stool was one of the earliest forms of seatings and, during medieval times, it was often associated to a social status since chairs were reserved only for the most important personages. During the centuries it went from the standard seating arrangement for the majority of people to become one of designers' favourite subjects: just think about Alvar Aalto’s Stool 60 or Sori Yanagi’s Butterfly Stool. stylecraft_4 Even if it may look less comfortable than a chair, a stool is a multi-purpose seating tool that can easily adapt to any situation, from a step ladder or a foot rest to a small coffee table. An object that embraces everyday life and that represent the manifesto of simple and clear design. It expresses the harmony of real values and perfectly fits Discipline’s philosophy, that’s why we asked several international designers to develop their vision of the stool with an eye to our principles. stylecraft_5 Results are different and span from the neat and strong silhouette of Max Lamb’s multi-purpose LAST to warm and rigorous lines of Ichiro Iwasaki’s TAG stools, softened by the profiles, by the roundness of the depths and the liveliness of the seats. The pure and essential design, with its light ash wood structure, comfortable seat thanks to natural cork, interlocking assembly, make design rising star Lars Beller Fjetland’s DRIFTED the perfect summary of the Discipline style together with upcoming James Irvine’s CENTANNI interpretation. Stylecraft stylecraft.com.au Photography: Carl Kleiner carlkleiner.comabc
Design Products
Design Accessories

Vitra Wooden Dolls from Space

A contemporary of Charles and Ray Eames and part of the creative post-war American design scene, Alexander Girard was an architect and textile designer whose handmade Wooden Dolls were inspired by a love of folk art. Alexander Girard was born in New York City and raised in Florence, Italy, where he studied architecture before returning to the US and joining the Herman Miller group in 1952 as their Director of Design in the textiles division. space_2 It was at Herman Miller that Alexander introduced his love of colour to the collection at a time when colour was safe and muted. With an adventurous sense of colour and a love of traditional folk art, toys and miniatures, Alexander designed everything from architecture to furniture and in the early 1960s began making wooden dolls inspired by his growing collection of art from Mexico, South America, Asia and Eastern Europe. By 1962 Girard’s collection of folk art had grown to over 100,000 pieces, and today the collection held at the Museum of International Folk Art in Sante Fe, New Mexico, represents the most comprehensive example of cross-cultural folk art in the world. space_3   Half decorative element, half toy, the Wooden Dolls were originally intended only for personal use. Based on originals found in the Girard Estate held by the Vitra Design Museum, the partly joyful, partly grim-looking company of dolls is now coming out as a charming enhancement to any interior. space_4 The Alexander Girard collection of Wooden Dolls is produced by the Vitra Design Museum and is available from Space Furniture. spacefurniture.com.auabc
Design Products
Furniture

Collectika

Stemming from a passion for 20th Century design, the Collectika catalogue demonstrates an appreciation for items that were crafted when artisans knew the secrets of making beautiful things. collectika_6 Spanning furniture, collectables, lighting, vintage fabrics, wallpaper, lampshades and all manner of interior bits and bobs, Collectika's stock is carefully restored, re-upholstered and re-birthed to an excellent standard that is surprisingly affordable. collectika_5
Collectika’s range is sourced by many means, from far and wide, revealing a keen eye always on the lookout for fun, quirky and aesthetically pleasing objects. This voracious and insatiable appetite for design makes the Collectika showroom a passing parade, where you never know what delights may be on display tomorrow. collectika_4 Collectika also appraises, buys or removes suitable unwanted goods on request. Collectika collectika.com.au
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People
Design Hunters
Conversations

High Altitude

In winter, Central Otago – towards the south of New Zealand’s South Island – offers a brittle climate of high-altitude air, clear nights and icy winds. The sky and mountains feel vast, and with a sparse population one can feel quite alone on earth. This is where artist Kristin O’Sullivan Peren and her family have lived for 13 years. It is a place Kristin got to know on ski holidays during her childhood, while staying on her grandfather’s land in an old miner’s cottage. The 300-acre sheep station where she now lives lies on the southern flank of Gibbston Valley, between the Remarkables and the Crown Range. It is high enough to get snow each winter, and she watches as the landscape is transformed into a world of white. The landscape has always featured strongly in the artist’s life. She grew up in the North Island geothermal hot spot of Rotorua surrounded by crater lakes and geysers, and by large areas of Maori tribal land, associated with the traditional values of stewardship and guardianship. She saw how the Ngati Whakaue tribe moved away from intensive farming, and she listened to the work of her father as a lawyer for the local Maori Land Board. Landscape politics were layered with tramping and rock collecting with her parents – land matters in all their dimensions surrounding her from the beginning. high_altitude_2   These early impressions have been the subject of her work since her introduction to printmaking and photography at Wellington Polytechnic in 1983. Her time at the city gallery print studio saw her work alongside Russian paper architects Brodsky and Utkin and New Zealand artist John Drawbridge, before attending a three-month spell as artist in residence at the Black Church Print Studio in Dublin during 1996. “My time in Ireland was really important because I was able to work full-time in a print studio surrounded by an incredibly supportive group of people,” she recalls. “We had exhibitions at the Rubicon Gallery. I showed my work on fire and the practice of burning peat topsoil. I had Irish ancestry, but suddenly felt I had a heritage that was very different to my New Zealand one. With a heritage comes a responsibility, I think, so a lot of work that came out of that was also about land issues.” The environment at Gibbston moved her from working in two dimensions to doing so in three. As she explored the farm, where there were all manner of human and natural artefacts to be collected, she became more interested in the printing process than the print. She kept the plates and realised she wanted to explore what was “behind them”, and so began casting shapes in resin from her printed images. “These became more important and I began using my printing press as a drawing tool, so the print became the working drawing for the sculpture. It was a huge change.” high_altitude_3   Three dimensions also gave her more scope to represent issues she is passionate about. In a country with a tragic history of introduced pests and weeds, Kristin was finding evidence of it across their land. She made a series of stone works entitled Poplars between 2003 and 2005 from stacked local schist to represent the tree boundary markers planted by early European settlers. Kristin sets her ‘trees’ free in an open field where they become markers for the native species the poplars displaced. Animal carcasses were another sorry sight on the farm, and in her False Trophies series (2006-07), she assembled deer antlers, merino sheep and goat horns into wry representations of hunting prizes, mocking intensive farming and the irresponsible introductions of ‘game’ meat. As art critic Cassandra Fusco writes, “…these are false trophies, items of protest, engaged visual unmasking and criticism.” high_altitude_4_6   “I question things, like, ‘what do you mean you’re dumping rubbish? What do you mean a place like Queenstown exports its rubbish?’” Kristin explains. “All those questions are asked from this little house. I raise my hand and say, ‘well, possibly we shouldn’t be doing this’, and I hope I do it in a format that can make a difference. My work is about being here and looking out. I watch the land with its severe weather, its snow and 160-knot winds. It gets dark here early in winter, with the most amazing night skies, so a lot of my work is influenced by the light and movement. ” The artist is concept-driven and has a range of expression, particularly in her light studies, where she works experimentally and abstractly – an antidote to the realism of her skull and trophy work. In Papakura (2005-08), a large public commission for the Queenstown Events Centre, she created three enormous resin pieces backlit by 22,000 LED lights. And in a photographic series entitled Light Lands (2010) she took stills of a rolled up wire fence rolling down the hill at night threaded with LED point lights. The results are quite diverse, often playful and very alluring. high_altitude_5   Her planned exhibition with artist Youngae Kim at the Ng Gallery in Christchurch earlier this year included five small resin and LED sculptures and a series of related large prints. However, the Christchurch earthquake hit the week before the opening and all but one sculpture survives. “The work was called Moment: Moments of illusions because it w as all about light and darkness. A bit scary because it was a bit like that on the day.” Her car was thrown into the air, but she and the prints were unharmed. Originally, it was grapes that brought Kristin and her husband Adam down to Gibbston Valley. They started Peregrine Wines in 1998 on Kristin’s grandfather’s land, when their daughters Niamh and Sorcha were seven and three years old. After Peregrine, they established Two Sisters, a boutique winery that hand-harvests Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Riesling. As well as tending grapes, they manage the farm – just 25 minutes from the vineyard – on which they run Wiltshire sheep and cattle. high_altitude_7   Architect and friend Chris Kelly of Architecture Workshop designed the winery at Peregrine and, in 2000, the farmhouse. For Kristin, the sanctuary of the home is also the sanctuary of the studio, “a peaceful place and an incredibly creative place.” The H-plan house is reminiscent of traditional Central Otago sheds. Incredibly practical and functional, its clean lines, corrugated iron cladding and steep roof suit the alpine climate and landscape – a farmhouse with no pretensions. It sits on the site of the original: two joined gold-miners’ cottages that had sadly rotted away. The previous family had farmed the land for generations, and several other cottages from their time remain as implement and wool sheds – places where Kristin makes her castings. She loves their old charm so much that she refuses to do them up. Inside the farmhouse, a warm and eclectic art and furniture collection reflects the couple’s interests. Among Kristin’s own art is work by her daughters, by New Zealand artists such as Gordon Walters, Michael Parekowhai, Phil Price and Stephen Bambury, and work by contemporary Japanese print makers and potters. Their furniture is mostly mid-century, with a large dining table Kristin herself designed on which she makes much of her work. high_altitude_8   “We have family heritage pieces like old silver teapots and black and white photographs. That’s really important. It’s part of the development of your life as a family – things that evolve and you pick up along the way.” high_altitude_9_10 Kristin Peren kristinperen.wordpress.com Photography: Simon Devitt simondevitt.comabc
Architecture
Homes

Lifting the Veil

Rob Kennon Architects faced a series of complex challenges in the realisation of this project, which required an existing home to be joined to an adjacent, dilapidated weather-board house, the restoration of the street-front facades, and the renovation and modernisation of the combined interiors. middle_park_house_1 Most immediately, the foot-wide gap separating the structures presented the obstacle of how to create a single, continuous home whilst still adhering to strict council heritage controls. This was resolved by creating a series of passages through the dividing walls while leaving two separate street entrances, and resulted in the unexpected opportunity to utilise what previously had been dead space to highlight detailed joinery and reveals. middle_park_house_8 Then, conscious of not wanting the extension to result in unnecessary duplication, spaces were rationalised and divided across the two original properties. The resulting layout organizes children’s bedrooms, dining, living, kitchen and laundry areas on the interconnected ground floor, whereas the Master bedroom, ensuite and study and guest bedroom and bathroom are each granted the seclusion of the second floor. middle_park_house_7 The renovation of the interiors was informed by the desire to maximise light on the ground floor and views of Melbourne City in the upper level. Thus abundant skylights and rear-facing glass surfaces open and illuminate the home. middle_park_house_9 Materially, the focus on timber – Blackbutt for interior floorboards, spotted gum for decking, and American oak for joinery – creates a warm, contemporary atmosphere. Off-white paint further brightens the home, whereas the clean geometry and dark veneer on storage cabinets add texture and detail. middle_park_house_3 Reminiscent of the Beatles’ imagined home from their 1965 film help!, the home sustains the surrounding streetscape, but opens up from this beguiling façade onto a large, modern interior. middle_park_house_5 Rob Kennon Architects robkennon.com Photography: Derek Swalwell derekswalwell.comabc
Happenings
What's On

‘The Sustainable Asian House’ Book Launch at Sydney Indesign

Pictured above: the Brawiaya house in Jakarta, featured in Paul McGillick's new book, brings together old and new and celebrates traditional Javanese crafts.  PBL_IMAGE Established in the U.S. following World War Two, Tuttle's mission is to bring East and West together. So, it is appropriate that Tuttle comes together with Habitus – a magazine committed to celebrating the architecture, art and design of the Asia Pacific – to launch a significant new book on the very best houses from five South-East Asian countries. Please join us and be part of our ongoing cross-cultural conversation with our neighbours in the Asia Pacific region. Copies of the book will be available to purchase at a special 10% discount. WHERE Habitus Pavilion, Galleria, 2 Locomotive St, Eveleigh WHEN Saturday 17 August at 1pm RSVP register for Sydney Indesign here and rsvp by the 9 August to events@indesign.com.auabc
Architecture
Homes

A Husband’s Gift

Above: Clad in exposed concrete, the house perches on top of a cliff in Mirissa at the southern tip of Sri Lanka. The House in Sri Lanka is set against a paradise on earth. White sandy beaches, dotted with palm trees and huts draped in coconut leaves, weave in and out of cliffs in Mirissa, located at the southern tip of Sri Lanka. Crocodiles, water snakes, black monkeys, wild elephants and even leopards roam freely in the jungle. Local fishermen hold on to wooden sticks buried beneath the sand at the edge of the sea as the fish swim towards them. The house perches on top of a cliff, as if it were a leopard whose claws edge towards the Indian Ocean. It was a gift from a husband to his wife. The couple has been married for 40 years and Sri Lanka has been their home for the past 30. A slab of stone, placed outside the gate and reached through a thicket of green at the end of a meandering private road, is succinctly inscribed: “To Saskia.” a_husbands_gift_2   Saskia Pintelon and Pierre Pringiers. Pierre Pringiers is an industrialist who successfully built up a regional tyremanufacturing firm into a global business that now supplies over 40% of industrial tyres worldwide. He wanted his wife, Saskia Pintelon, a respected artist, to have her own studio: “One day, I asked her if she were to choose her favourite architect in the world, who would it be? She said Tadao Ando.” The iconic images of Ando’s Church of Light, built in 1989, had made a deep impression on Saskia. Here, Ando simply madetwo cuts – in the form of a cross – on one wall of a concrete box. Using a material as hard as concrete and transforming it by a masterful integration with the intangible, as ephemeral as light, has made Ando an architectural household name in Japan and around the world. a_husbands_gift_3   The open loggia is perfectly suited to the local climate. With this house, Ando has taken a slightly different approach to his previous work, which tended to be introspective, with only small gaps for light to seep in. For Chichu Museum on Japan’s Naoshima Island, for example, the architect went so far as to bury the whole structure underground. Here, however, he throws the house open to the magnificent landscape, focusing on nothing but the sky and the sea of this tropical island, which is also the source of inspiration for Saskia’s artwork. Ando says he “aimed to create an airy architecture like many of the native houses”. Consequently, there are many ways in and out of this house. Two wings, running parallel to each other, pin the house down. The reception, kitchen, master bedroom and ‘meditation room’ are accommodated in one wing, while four guest bedrooms, each one complete with a sea view and an ensuite, are generously spread over in another. a_husbands_gift_4   An infinity pool juts out at an angle at one corner of the loggia. A rectilinear box, containing the living room almost 20 metres long, slices dynamically through these wings at an angle. The reception gives way to the dining room, which looks down onto a space that continues on endlessly. The ramp along one wall is nearly as long as the room itself. Light pours in through a tunnellike opening at the end; the window on the façade can be made to dematerialise into the ocean below. A grand staircase covers the interstitial space between the two wings. It gently unfolds onto a large, airy loggia above, whose generous dimensions are accentuated by an infinity pool jutting out at an angle in one corner. The pool sits atop the living room – hence, it is as long and expansive as the room below it. a_husbands_gift_5   Window in the living room can be made to disappear into the ocean below. The panorama from this open loggia spans almost 360º. In the distance, we see the Jayawardene House by Geoffrey Bawa (1998) – the last project the famed Sri Lankan architect worked on. This section of the house is Ando’s nod to the ‘regional modernism’ of Bawa and others. Solid square columns hold up the horizontal roof and a mixture of timber and stone floors subtly divide the area into smaller, more manageable sections. The hub of the house is Pierre’s study, located underneath this loggia, on the ground floor, in between the two wings. It’s a room made of glass, playfully reached via the living room through a zigzagging ramp. The timberclad ramp, mixed with stairs, wraps around the triangular void created by straight walls intersecting at various angles. Hundreds of miles away from Japan, we can still witness the perfect detailing Ando is known for, with every nook and cranny of the house cleverly accounted for. a_husbands_gift_6   A long ramp initiates a passage into the living room, dotted with contemporary furniture by Maarten van Severen and Jacob Pringiers from Aiki. Back on the upper level, a steel bridge links the two paralleled wings, creating a shortcut. Saskia’s studio is set apart from the main hub. It extends out from it, accessed via the meditation room next to the master bedroom, all positioned at the quieter end of the house. While the proportion of the studio is similar to that of the living room, the large window at the end does not roll down. Instead, it is fitted with a steel frame that forms a cross. This, then, is Saskia’s own ‘Church of Light’. A circuitous route from the upper to lower levels of the studio, complete with a steel bridge in the middle of the room, adds to its heightened religious feel. a_husbands_gift_8   Calligraphy brushes and other art material are neatly stored away under the stairways in the studio. Light, both natural and artificial, is integral to the design of this house. On one hand, Ando slices walls and punches voids to let natural light into the angular folds of solid concrete, and on the other, he tucks in artificial light into its nooks and crannies, keeping the source of artificial light hidden from view. Light is made to reach out to all parts of the house, while air is let run wild; together, they seem to lift up even the heaviest of the steel doors. Furnishing is either in black or white, complementing Ando’s play of light and shadow. Top Mouton, a manufacturing company based in Belgium, has fitted the bathrooms with cool white clusters of custommade units and furnished the rooms with top Belgian designers such as Maarten van Severen. The company seems to have known not to bother with soft furnishing in Ando’s house. a_husbands_gift_9   Saskia Pintelon’s artworks are painted on unstretched canvas and rolled up like Japanese emaki. Jacob Pringiers, one of the couple’s grown children, an industrial designer, has some of his collection scattered around the house. Shigeru Ban, another Japanese architect, designed the centrepiece table in the living room. The black and white furniture also complements the monochromatic theme of Saskia’s paintings, hung on the wall, gently flapping in the wind. She paints directly on to unstretched canvases, which are then stored rolled up like the Japanese emaki, or picture scrolls. “The sky and the sea of Sri Lanka” are painted not in blue, as we might expect, but in dark grey. Snippets from the local news or “the strange events that plague this country” make up the words sewn directly onto the canvases with threads over these moody colours. The darkness in Saskia’s painting comes perhaps from her own acknowledgement that paradise is not what it seems. a_husbands_gift_10   Master bedroom with one of Saskia’s artworks. In 2004, work on the house had to be temporary halted after the area was hit by the tsunami, killing 50,000 people in Sri Lanka alone. Her husband immediately put an effective rehabilitation programme together, for example, drafting the Belgian army to set up the emergency housing for locals who lost homes. In the end, he was able to raise enough funds to build them a collection of 700 permanent houses, as well as new community centres and Buddhist temples. Pierre now dedicates himself to a charity called the Building a Future Foundation (BAFF), which he set up for the local people. “The pressing problem is that there are no jobs for young people in Mirissa,” Pierre says. Combined with his passion for sailing, BAF produces sailing kits, which can, once fitted, transform the motorboats used locally for fishing into sailing boats. Along the way, young people are trained with new skills, ranging from basic carpentry to highly complicated mechanical and electronic engineering. a_husbands_gift_11 A cool white cluster of bathroom units is custom-made by Top Mouton, a Dutch manufacturing company in Belgium. David Robson, in his monograph on Geoffrey Bawa, writes that regional modernism “rejects the banalities of mass consumerism but welcomes the positive achievements of globalisation, while seeking to support and revalidate local cultures”. Pringiers House similarly stands at the juncture between the regional and global forces. Its success comes from a collaboration of people from parts of the world as disparate as Japan, Sri Lanka and Belgium. Steel window frames and metal doors were, for example, designed by Ando but manufactured in Belgium. Although Sri Lanka was the first country Ando set foot in when he travelled around the world at a young age, he has not visited the country in recent years, not even for this house. Instead, the project architect, Hidehiro Yano, visited it many times on Ando’s behalf, making sure that the architect could get enough information about the site. Furthermore, two Japanese specialists, Kiyoshi Aoki and Yukio Tanaka, flew out from Japan to oversee the process of casting concrete, which required even the position of a plughole in the house to be exact. a_husbands_gift_12 The house looks out to nothing but the sea and the sky. A local firm, PWA Architects, was selected by Ando to run the project on site. They produced most of the working drawings and played a vital role as a mediator, relaying messages from Japan to the local team of builders and engineers. Although it was Pierre and Saskia who approached Ando, it was ultimately the Japanese architect who made the decision to work with them. It took him nearly three weeks before he said yes, and only after reviewing their five page-long essay about who they were and what they liked about the architect’s work. In return, Ando had showered them with questions: Did they like straight lines or curves? Did they like wood, concrete or bricks? Ando has always insisted that he is merely designing a box, that it is the client who puts the soul into it. He has therefore always carefully chosen whom he worked with. Ando is very privileged to be able to do so, but it must be a very rare occasion, indeed, to find someone who can see that which is not yet visible. In Pierre and Saskia, the ex-boxer-cumvisionary- architect has finally met his match. The result of the match is a tour-de-force of concrete, as solid, defiant and uncompromising as the humanistic idealism that is behind it. Tadao Ando Architects tadao-ando.com PWA Architects pwa.lk Photography: Edmund Sumnerabc
Happenings
What's On

Home and Giving Fair – Melbourne 2013

The pressure on small, independent retailers to find new products is unrelenting. A major contributor is the fact that customers are more often than not visiting the store repeatedly, sometimes weekly and the first thing they ask is “What’s new?”. This passion for discovery drives the wholesale environment, and with the twice-yearly Home and Giving Fairs held in Sydney and Melbourne, it provides an absolutely ideal environment for retailers to find new things to sell.
agha_1 The Home & Giving Fair is organised by Australian Gift & Homewares Association (AGHA) to provide the gift and homewares industry with the latest products on the market. The next Home and Giving Fair will be held from 3rd – 7th August 2013 in Melbourne. The Fair is trade only and will enable hundreds of suppliers to exhibit and showcase their products across two large venues, the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre (MCEC) and the Melbourne Showgrounds (MSG). agha_2 To ensure visitors are able to see everything on offer, AGHA offers complimentary shuttle buses between the two venues for the entirety of the Fair. agha_3 You can register online to attend the Fair here. For more information, visit www.homeandgiving.com
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