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Context for Living

Above: Designer John Spatchurst, at work in his meticulously created home environment. Heading down the windswept street to John Spatchurst’s inner-Sydney Victorian terrace, there is nothing about the dusty façade or the dry leaves blown into corners that singles it out for special attention. But step inside, and the meticulously crafted interior makes for a compelling contrast. A sombre-toned hallway opens on to a compact double dining and sitting room, a space cleverly contrived to create simplicity out of complexity. A feeling of order, harmony and calm pervades, yet everywhere the eye turns, it finds rich and varied detail: the lustre of antique Mahogany and the striking stance of tribal sculpture. There are architectural prints, Indian bronzes and John’s own sculptures, along with lamps, decorative artworks and shelves full of books, with mirrors strategically placed to amplify the whole. Other rooms in the house are equally stocked with treasures and just as serenely ordered. John’s diverse but highly selective interests, which are reflected in his collections, include Greek Revival and context_for_living_2 A sense of serenity prevails in the entry hall and front rooms of this compact inner-Sydney terrace houses.  Anglo-Indian furniture and artefacts, along with Japanese and Danish furniture and Asian calligraphy. The quality and variety of the individual pieces, and the care with which he displays them, is a subtle triumph. The interior is an artful expression of its owner in every way. As a young teenager growing up on the fringe of London in the early 1950s, John used to ride his bicycle around the countryside to look at the grand houses and churches. In the wake of World War II, apparently, one English country house was demolished every two and a half days, its interior stripped, its staircases burnt and its contents sold off. John’s exposure to this desecration, and to the wealth of material history it laid open to him, fired his passion and he spent his pocket money collecting artefacts in antique markets and junk shops. He also lived near to and often visited Dulwich Picture Gallery, one of the most beautiful buildings designed by acclaimed English architect Sir John Soane, whose work remains one of his strongest influences. context_for_living_3 Diverse objects collected over a lifetime are carefully juxtaposed and displayed to handsome effect. With thoughts of becoming a painter, John finished art school in the late 1950s but subsequently worked in advertising, film and television in London, and in graphic and set design in Australia, before establishing his own graphic design firm in Sydney in the 1970s. Creating his home environment has brought together the sum of his long experience as a typographer and exhibition designer with his love of architecture, art and furniture. (John is vice-chairman of the NSW Furniture History Society.) “It’s all interconnected,” he says, “and that’s what’s so good about being a designer because your private life and professional life is so intermeshed.” context_for_living_4 Artefacts with historic, cultural or religious significance are placed together with a designer’s eye. The skill that is required to bring such diverse objects together into a harmonious whole might well be intuitive, but John offers a more concrete explanation. “As a graphic designer and typographer, line is very important to me, and if you look at the things I collect, they all have lovely lines. I love Indian miniatures, for example, because they’re all about line.” He cites the strong linear quality or graphic element in Greek Revival architecture (Alexander ‘Greek’ Thompson is another favourite), Anglo-Indian and Danish furniture, and calligraphy as further cases-in-point. Then there’s the way he physically puts the pieces together. “As an exhibition designer, I like to display things in a context that shows them off,” he says. context_for_living_5 Sited along a corridor on the lower floor, John’s work desk takes full advantage of limited space. John recalls a revelatory visit in the 1960s to Kettle’s Yard, the Cambridge home of modern art curator and collector, Jim Ede, which is now a substantial museum and gallery. Accepted notions of interior design at the time required a polite consistency of style, whereas at Kettle’s Yard, John found a living space that vibrantly expressed individual taste. Here, an eclectic combination of modern paintings and sculpture, furniture, glass and ceramics of various eras and styles was combined with objects both old and new, found and made. “He mixed everything up,” says John. “Kettle’s Yard demonstrated more than any other post-war interior that it’s not what you have but what you do with it that makes a satisfying environment.” context_for_living_6 The sheen and burnish of wood and metal highlight a sensitivity to surface quality. Exploring the way carefully selected but assorted items in his own home can create excitement through their juxtaposition, John delights in the way particular images or tableaux are created, ‘still lifes’ of sorts, in which conversations are generated between the furniture and objects in them. He believes this re-contextualisation enriches and enlivens a space because it offers new ways to look at things and new opportunities for consideration. Found objects exhibited at Kettle’s Yard also made a lasting impression, and for some years John has been using them to make his own sculptural forms. “I love found objects. You put them together in a way in which they talk to each other or play off against each other to create a whole new meaning.” context_for_living_7 A 19th Century Ceylonese tent bed rules the bedroom, with a Sri Lankan mask of Naga Rassa, the snake demon, behind. Perhaps the critical distinctive element to the quality of his home’s interior is the fact that each highly considered object is chosen with a deep knowledge and affection for both its visual style and its cultural significance. There is no convenient fill – the integrity of the decision behind every inclusion is absolute. “A house like this, with time, takes on a patina that cannot be achieved by mere decoration,” he says. context_for_living_8-9 Left: Functional items as collectibles are displayed on a 1930s French chrome-plated hall stand. Right: One of John’s own artworks complements a collection of Indian chapati rolling pins. “What I like about having the things around me that I do, is that they actually excite me. You choose them because you really like them, and if they don’t last, if they no longer give you that thrill, you get rid of them. “Some things go on and on, because there’s always something new to see: like the sideboard – I would never part with that – or the hall chairs, or these pictures...” At the same time John often scans the auctions for new thrills, and the interior continues to evolve, as both a remembrance and a living expression of his fascinations, pastimes and personality, the intense visual and cultural preoccupations that inform his life. Photography: Anthony Browellabc
Fixed & Fitted
Design Products
Accessories

Zip HydroTap All-In-One-Sparkling

The Zip HydroTap All-In-One-Sparkling is the ultimate in convenience, style and efficiency, revolutionising kitchen design with a single tap for instant boiling, chilled and sparkling filtered water (as well as hot and cold water). This new model offers some exciting options for professional designers and specifiers, as well as home owners and renovators. The existing Zip HydroTap range is already a major success around the globe and now the new Zip HydroTap All-In-One Sparkling adds the benefit of having sparkling water available whenever you want. zip_2 Safety has been a prime driver in the design – a Safety Lock for children, robust high quality construction to withstand the rigours of the home or workplace and automatic flow stop after a set period are examples. The superior Zip 0.2 micron filtration (up to 25 times more effective than most domestic water filters) filters dirt and other impurities from water, even removing the taste and odour of chlorine, sediment, rust, fibres such as asbestos and even cryptosporidium and giardia that can cause health issues. The Zip HydroTap All-In-One-Sparkling is also packed with advanced energy-saving technology that can save power, money and the environment. Zip zipindustries.com  abc
Fixed & Fitted
Design Products
Accessories

Fantini Levante from Rogerseller

The new mixer design is characterised by the unique relationship between the lever and the body of the tap. The level forms an upward angle or ‘lift’ away from the spout. The design is harmonised by the sharing of shapes, softness and corner roundings between the lever and the spout that directs the flow of water. Small white enamel details highlight its attention to detail and uniqueness. rogerseller_2 Finished in polished chrome, the ‘Levante’ range includes a basin mixer, high basin mixer, wall mixer & outlet, wall mixer w/holder and wall mixer with divertor. rogerseller_4 Rogerseller is proud to be the exclusive distributors of the highly stylish Levante range, available in September 2013. rogerseller_1 Rogerseller rogerseller.com.au/blog/sneak-peek-fantini-levante/abc
Fixed & Fitted
Design Products
Accessories

Fantini Mint from Rogerseller

Silvana Angeletti and Daniele Ruzza operate their own firm focusing on industrial design and cooperate with a number of Italian companies in kitchen and bathroom furniture and fittings.

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Mint is an evolution of the Plano mixer, a form of basic shapes and sleek lines, now with a finer minimalistic aesthetic. The lever in particular is more elegant with a thin flat surface over a solid body. The result is a product that is pleasant and balanced, reassuring and very versatile for all the environments of a contemporary bathroom.

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Finished in polished chrome, the ‘Mint’ range includes a basin mixer, high basin mixer, extended basin mixer, wall mixer & outlet, wall mixer, wall mixer with divertor, wall mixer with divertor and handshower and bidet mixer.

Rogerseller is proud to be the exclusive distributors of the new premium Mint range, available in September 2013.

Rogerseller
rogerseller.com.au/blog/launching-soon-fantini-mint

abc
Design Products
Furniture

‘The Wing’ from Space Furniture

The Wing is a wall mirror consisting of two curved elements in silvered glass and three flat mirrors welded together. space_furniture_4 Its interrupted reflected surface simultaneously creates a decorative and functional mirror, refracting it's surroundings, compounding light and expanding volumes whilst elevating the aesthetic tone with its sculptural form. space_furniture_5 The metal back frame of The Wind allows horizontal, vertical and slanted hanging. Available in four dimensions. The Wing is available exclusively from Space Furniture spacefurniture.com.au   About the Designer: Daniel Libeskind is an international figure in architectural practice and urban design. He is well known for introducing a new critical discourse into architecture and for his multidisciplinary approach. His practice extends from building major cultural and commercial institutions - including museums and concert halls - to convention centres, universities, housing, hotels, shopping centres and residential work. He also designs opera sets and maintains an object design studio.abc
Design Products
Furniture

Lifesteel Sofa from Fanuli

The striking Lifesteel sofa was introduced by Flexform in 2006 and has gained extraordinary success thanks to its pure elegance of style and luxurious comfort and function. fanuli_1 Made in Italy, Lifesteel is not only elegant, it is incredibly comfortable – you would be hard pressed finding these two important considerations in such a finely finished design. Its bold form commands attention, assuming centre stage in any interior. The metal frame and soft lines are features that team elegantly with a complementary side table or lounge chair, affording even further versatility and effortless practicality to this bold design. fanuli_3 The Lifesteel has a satin nickel, chrome or burnished metal frame, and removable covers which are available in a large range of fabrics or top quality soft leathers. Seat cushions are down-filled with a resilient inner core and covered with protective fabric lining for a more structural look, while back cushions include piping details, adding contrast and beauty to this stunning piece. Lifesteel along with the entire Flexform collection is available exclusively at Fanuli. Fanuli fanuli.com.auabc
Design Products
Furniture

BoConcept 2014 Collection

Colours and materials from the past are redefined and merged for completely new solutions. Time is not for inventing, but for reinventing. The fusion of contrasts are seen in mixing warm with cold, natural with metal, wood with neon, raw with polished, and north with south. The logical world of geometry and science is mixed with the more organic, artistic and surreal.boconcept_3 Inspiration is still drawn from the past – but now from several decades. BoConcept has taken the best from different time periods and given it a contemporary brush-up for a new avant-garde style that is elegant, yet very authentic. The new Carlton sofa, designed by Anders Nørgaard, represents an era when clean-lined furnishings were all the rage. The elegant, refined design has been revived by Anders Nørgaard. He has added very soft, comfortable cushions to bring a more contemporary, progressive and casual touch to the classic design. The thin seat frame in steel gives the sofa a very light, minimalistic expression boconcept_2 Henrik Pedersen, designer of the iconic Imola chair, has created the Hamilton. The Danish designer finds inspiration in the Japan tradition, referencing the simplicity and purity of expression that both cultures prize. With the Hamilton chair, the two cultures meet in a Danish chair where the design is based on the art of origami, folding two-dimensional paper into three-dimensional shapes. The details leave an impression of folded paper where stitching and cushions help to accentuate the shape and dimensions of the chair. boconcept_5 Plug, hide, play and work. The new Cupertino desk combines modern technology with the clean, simple lines and great function of Scandinavian design. A small working table with great potential, it features an integrated sound system. The Bluetooth enabled speakers are designed to fit the table for a complete, no-fuss look and offer a full Hi-Fi experience. Compartments for easy cable management and storage are hidden underneath beautiful oak tops that provide a warm contrast to the white lacquer or black-stained oak veneer options. boconcept_6 BoConcept boconcept.com.auabc
Design Products
Furniture

Extension Dining Table from Mortice & Tenon

The extension dining table is among the most sought after items of furniture. When designed to meet the aesthetic and functional needs of the client, an extension table becomes the centre piece of a home - both for intimate, family occasions and in larger social gatherings. mortice_and_tenon_1 Mortice & Tenon’s current collection has extension tables that appeal to both classical and contemporary design lovers, with the bespoke furniture division constantly designing new products to suit individual clients’ personal taste and requirements. Applying a comprehensive understanding of materials, techniques and the latest mechanisms for dynamic furniture, the design and manufacturing team enjoy the challenge of finding the perfect balance of form and function. mortice_and_tenon_5 mortice_and_tenon_4 mortice_and_tenon_3   Mortice & Tenon morticeandtenon.comabc