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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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Happenings
What's On

Talking about Iconic Houses

Engaging in community events has the potential to inspire and teach us about the past, present and future. philip_goad_5 Sydney Living Museums has put together a program of talks that do all of these, focused on Iconic Houses – how to live in, design, make and protect them. This last topic brings together Professor Philip Goad, who lives in a 1929 Eric Nicholls home (full story in Habitus 20); Ian Innes, Assistant Director of Heritage & Portfolios at Sydney Living Museums; and Annalisa Capurro, designer, design educator, speaker and writer. philip_goad_3 The talk will explore the “Difficulty of houses from 1950s and 60s in terms of their inherent fragility,” Philip describes. “Now many houses are not in terrific state,” he continues. “It requires enlightened patronage to keep and furnish, but not over-sanitise." philip_goad_hero Annalisa is one such enlightened patron. The owner of the Sulman Award-winning Jack House, she feels a “Huge responsibility, less as an owner, more as a protector of an extraordinary house for future generations”. philip_goad_4 “Australians have the biggest houses in the world,” she continues. “It’s important to educate the community that bigger is not always better.” That’s not the only reason to engage in these kinds of discussion. “In architecture we see the aspirations and ambitions of a society and culture expressed through built form,” says Ian. “Looking at and trying to understand buildings from the past, whether 500 years old or 25 years old helps us to appreciate peoples’ interests, motivations and ways of life, enriching our appreciation of our own lives and place in history.” The talk includes viewing of the Iconic Australian Houses exhibition, refreshments and book signing. “It’s far more engaging to see different points of view, spontaneous response among experts,” says Philip. And if you’re lucky, perhaps even some healthy disagreement and debate. Follow us on social media to win a double pass to the talks! General $35 Concession/Member $30 Iconic Houses Talks Series        abc
Happenings
What's On

Herman Miller Collection Lounge at SFF by Living Edge

Enter our SFF giveaway to win a double pass to the Eames On Eames film screening and launch of the Herman Miller Collection Lounge on the 6th June and a DVD of Eames' films. Just tell us what your favourite piece in the collection is and why in 25 words or less! Email editor@habitusliving.com by 5pm on Thursday 5th June.  From 4 to 15 June, the VIP Lounge at Lower Town Hall will exhibit the largest and most comprehensive display of pieces from The Herman Miller Collection in Australia. nelson_marshmellow Nelson™ Marshmallow Sofa, designed by George Nelson, 1956   The association with Australia’s leading film event is a perfect fit for The Herman Miller Collection due to the pioneering American furniture maker’s long association with filmmaking. An enduring favourite among film directors and production teams, you will find Herman Miller pieces scattered throughout popular film and TV series from ‘Mad Men’ to ‘The Hunger Games’ franchise. wireframe_lounger Wireframe™ Sofa Group, designed by Sam Hecht and Kim Colin, 2012   But Herman Miller’s association with film really has its roots in the company’s long relationship with Charles and Ray Eames. During their prolific career, Charles and Ray produced over 125 films including groundbreaking works such as ‘Powers of Ten’ and ‘Glimpses of the U.S.A.’ walnut_stools Eames® Walnut Stool, designed by Charles and Ray Eames, 1960   The first Eames Lounge and Ottoman – one of the most celebrated pieces among The Herman Miller Collection – was actually made by the duo as a gift for Billy Wilder, the director of film classics ‘Sunset Boulevard’ (1950) and ‘Some Like It Hot’(1959) with Marilyn Monroe. lounger_ottomanEames® Lounge Chair and Ottoman, designed by Charles and Ray Eames, 1956   In more recent times, the Eames family’s devotion to film has been continued by Eames Demetrios – Charles and Rays’ grandson and the director of the Eames Office. Eames Demetrios is a noted filmmaker in his own right, having produced over 70 films, from short documentaries through to fiction features and animations. Eames Demetrios will visit Sydney for the opening of the Sydney Film Festival and The Herman Miller Collection Lounge by Living Edge. tuxedo Tuxedo Component Lounge™, designed by BassamFellows for Geiger, 2011 Recently revived, The Herman Miller Collection represents a comprehensive portfolio of freestanding furniture that enables stylish, comfortable and accessible environments in myriad settings—from the boardroom, to the bistro, to the backyard. Drawing on the moniker and underlying principals first defined in the company’s 1948 catalogue by George Nelson, each piece combines beautifully to suit its context, building, “the continuing creation of a permanent collection designed to meet fully the requirements for modern living.” nelson_miniature Nelson™ Miniature Chest, designed by George Nelson, 1946 The Herman Miller Collection Lounge will be presented by Living Edge, national retailer for Herman Miller and leading Australian supplier of premium international furniture ranges to home and office design enthusiasts and the architect and design community. scissor Scissor™ Chair, designed by Ward Bennett for Geiger, 1968 Visitors to The Herman Miller Collection Lounge can experience and order famous designs like the Eames Lounge and Ottoman alongside some of the newest additions to the range, including the Eames Shell Chair in newly formulated sustainable fibreglass, and the Wireframe Sofa by Sam Hecht and Kim Collin. compact_sofa Eames® Compact Sofa, designed by Charles and Ray Eames, 1954 Other key pieces available to see and order via Living Edge include the Eames Compact Sofa, Tuxedo Component Lounge, Noguchi Rudder Table, Eames Rectangular Coffee Table, Nelson X-Leg Table, Scissor Chair, Eames Moulded Plywood Chairs and Coffee Table. rectangular Eames® Rectangular Coffee Table, designed by Charles and Ray Eames, 1946 The Herman Miller Collection Lounge presented by Living Edge is at the Sydney Film Festival Hub at Lower Town Hall, 483 George Street, Druitt St Entrance (Opp Queen Victoria Building), 4 to 15 June 2014. Sydney Film Festival sff.org.au Living Edge livingedge.com.au Herman Miller hermanmiller.com.auabc
Architecture
Homes

Fonda

Primarily the brief was to provide a design that was an expression of the ethos of the restaurant", says Justin Northrop, Director of Techne Architects. "The Flinders Lane location is the 3rd restaurant in the Fonda family and the second Techne designed tenancy so the style of food, service and branding is quite established, and we needed to reflect that while still giving this tenancy a unique identity," he continues. fonda_7 In the last few years the site had been tenanted by two restaurants that did not find a market. Whilst this inevitably poses a challenge to the new occupant, the Fonda brand was already established and the tenancy shell had some fantastic qualities. fonda_6 In particular, the shell has fantastic natural light, high ceilings and the texturally beautiful pressed red brick walls. The previous fit out left a good solid oak floor, bathrooms and services appropriate for the new eatery to use. fonda_5 A drawback of the site's physical characteristics is that the tenancy is elevated from street level, which immediately disconnects the space from eye level when walking past. Thus a challenge for the designers was reconnecting the interior of the space to the street, and this was resolved through the ample openings onto the street and bright, colourful lighting and signage. fonda_2 The palette of the interiors is fairly limited, with Vic Ash joinery and screens, powder-coated mild steel screens and furniture and ceramic and terracotta tiles. The texture of the existing shell and the colour palette give the scheme added depth. fonda_3 "The scheme loosely reflects elements of Mexican vernacular and street-scapes – block colour adobe, the coloured awnings of a market day, steel security screens, terracotta, and haphazard power lines" explains Northrop. fonda_8 Tim McDonald, the owner of Fonda, comments, "We love the natural light - it is rare to see a building (especially in the Melbourne CBD) with natural shining through from all 4 directions. It gives the space a bright, fresh and healthy feel which is very fitting on with our branding. fonda_4 "We also love the contrast between the fun bright colours (on the back wall) with some of the more 'serious' finishes, such as the oak floor boards and limestone Inkster Maken lights that you typically find in restaurants along Flinders Lane. The design concept is a lot like a mullet haircut - business at the front, party at the back!" Photography: Tom Blachford tomblachford.com.au Techne Architecture + Interior Design techne.com.au Fonda fondamexican.com.auabc
Finishes
Accessories

EDL Laminates

EDL transcends the ordinary to bring you inspirational designs and sophisticated spaces. Going beyond the surface, they celebrate the multi-faceted, three-dimensional nature of their High Pressure Laminates and show just how they can spark off the greatest potential in everyone and in every space. EDL understands that to create beautiful spaces, you need beautiful materials – raw materials that translate your ideas into grand results, and that elevate every space into a living, breathing work of art. Everything they do is guided by a simple philosophy: To inspire experiences one space at a time. 1 Re-imagine your natural environment with the Alevè collection, inspired by the ancient Alevè forest in Piedmont, Italy. Available in 10 feet, achieve a streamlined, seamless effect with reduced join lines. Bring the forest closer to you. (Product of Italy / Size: 3050mm x 1300mm x 0.8mm) table 3 Light and dark at play Casting shadows, crafting shapes, Expressing new life 2 EDL www.edleuro.comabc
Happenings
What's On

Mid-Century Modern: An exhibition of Australian Furniture Design

Above: Andrews Pair of Rondo chairs (1956) The innovation pervading the Australian design scene between the late 1940s and 1970s was no accident. The period marked a rebirth of creativity compared to the years preceding World War Two and the Great Depression, and quickly became defined by new, modern standards. “By the end of the 1940’s no ‘contemporary’ house was regarded as complete…without a pair of Featherston chairs before its bagged bricked fireplace,” explains designer Neil Clerehan. 1 Right: Featherston Aluminium shell chair (1954) Left: Featherston Stem dining chair (1969) In line with changing social morals and a new emphasis on pop culture, mid-century furniture design turned its back on the overstuffed and ornate examples of previous decades and, in doing so, revolutionised the contemporary Australian interior. 2Featherton Dining setting at Hotel Federal exhibition (1953) From Grant Featherston’s plywood Contour range and Clement Meadmore’s welded steel corded chairs, distinctive of the 1950s, to Gordon Andrews’ elegant 1960s designs for home and office, Mid-Century Modern is a progressive reflection of the epoch’s cosmopolitan mode of living. 5Featherston Contour chaise longue (1953) As well as showcasing more than one hundred iconic pieces by these significant figures along with other key designers such as Douglas Snelling, Fred Lowen and Schulim Krimper, the exhibition includes present recreated interior vignettes including a full-scale living room based on the 1955 Age Dream Home. 6Age Dream Home, Union Road, Balwyn (1955) Alongside these seminal modern furniture pieces, Mid-Century Modern will encompass designs by visual artists such as Robert Klippel and Janet Dawson who occasionally adapted their creative skills to the production of furniture, and examples of Fred Ward’s post-war do-it-yourself Patterncraft furniture. “[The exhibition explores how] designers moved away from traditional, conservative pre-war styles and forged a new language of design that was innovative in its use of materials, functional and often imbued with a good dose of style,” explains Tony Ellwood, Victoria’s National Director. 4Meadmore Dining suite (1952) Contextual material including working drawings, textiles of the period and photographs of contemporary architecture will also be included, building a rich picture of this relatively little known aspect of Australia’s design history. Mid-Century Modern: Australian Furniture Design Exhibition Date start: 2014-05-30 Date End: 2014-09-19 Location: The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australiaabc
Design Hunters
People

Design Hunter Q+A with Copper Industrial Design

Your name: Viktor Legin and Edward Linacre of COPPER ID What you do: Industrial/Product design, lighting/furniture/object design, installation design.

Your latest project: Additionally to our commercial and residential lighting projects we are working with Sussex Taps on a range of bathroom fixtures, and continuing our consultancy work including Medical Devices for MDI reaching market this year. We will also be releasing a new product of our own later in the year; the first we have truly designed together. Our new communal art/design/media hub we are building - Mycelium Studios – is taking shape and is an incubator for ideas.

Who are three people that inspire/excite you: Vik – Nikola Tesla Ed – Buckminster Fuller What is your favourite… Car/bike/plane/boat model: We both have strong feelings for our first cars: Vik - Toyota Corolla 1978 KE35 Ed – second hand Toyota Tercel in Canada driven with snowboards strapped to the roof. Chair model: Vik - Eames Aluminium group executive chair Ed - KONSTANTIN GRCIC CHAIR 1 Residential space: The recent Swinburne Avenue house by Doherty Design Studio and Rossetti architects. And our parent’s houses to escape the vortex of work. Commercial space: MONA in Tasmania, and our own Mycelium Studios. Decorative product: Vik – My bonsai tree Ed – Ross lovegrove Helix staircase Functional product: Vik – My Glasses Ed – My Bike Handmade good: Vik – my handmade leather wallet Ed - Stoneware lights - Adam Cornish Mass-produced good: Vik – Pioneer DJ Headphones Ed - Leatherman Meal: Vik – Slow cooked ribs and potatoes Ed – Mum's Roast Restaurant:  Vik – Meat and Wine Co Ed – Meatballs and Wine Drink: Ed and Vik – Andrew Tarlington’s Beer Bar: Vik – Killing Time Ed – The Yarra  Item in your studio: Vik – TLS desk Lamp Ed – Terrarium Piece of technology: Vik – my Pioneer CDJ’s decks and mixer Ed – Lasers, man Fictional character: Vik – Batman Ed - Superwoman Vice: Yes, in the workshop. Virtue: Vik - Do it once, do it right. Ed - Make the most of every moment. What does the term design hunter mean to you? A spy with great taste in design. Copper won the Temple & Webster Emerging Designer Award for 2014. templeandwebster.com.au/edaabc
Architecture
Homes

Indoor Vertical Garden

Above: Living room walls lined with triple volume planting. When Richard Wong and Clara Yue engaged Chang Yong Ter to design their new house just behind Orchard Road, Singapore’s premier shopping belt, they had specifically searched for a young architect and sourced him through design magazines and the internet. They had a functional brief for the architect, but they wanted the house to be ‘green’. Theirs is an intermediate terrace house, hemmed in by party walls on two sides of a 6-metre wide plot, and ending with a two-storey-high retaining wall at the back. The site is almost directly eastfacing, with high-rise apartments at the back overlooking it. So, it was not the most accommodating of sites as far as eco-friendly living was concerned. Yet the Wongs had hoped that 40% of the house – from the living room to the bedroom – could be made up of landscape elements such as pebbles, plants and even a waterfall. They believed the architect had to be an open, but practical-minded, virtuoso in micro-design with the refined sensibility of a Japanese landscape designer eschewing grandiosity or bombastic display. 4Open nature of the 3-storey facade. As it turns out, the stunning success of the house they conceived with the architect after two years and a modest construction expenditure of $800,000 surpassed their highest expectations. The most astonishing thing about the house is how comprehensively it subverts the premise of a terrace house and yet is aptly responsive to its site and climate. “This house is conceived as a three-dimensional landscape installation where pockets of spaces float within,” Chang explains. There is quite a list of the unconventional, innovative features the house embodies: The ‘wet’ kitchen (customarily where deep-fried cooking is done in Singapore) is located on the timber-lined front porch, and the living room is pushed all the way to the back retaining wall. This gives the front of the house an open-bistro feel with a bar counter loosely separating the outside from the inside. The gate is set 2.5 metres back from the front boundary ensuring that the cars are parked outside the gate, sans roof or enclosure. There is extensive vertical planting on the party walls that scales the entire three-storey height. Taking advantage of the building’s eastwest orientation, the zones next to the party walls have been left as voids for up to a metre from the walls. They coincide with the sun’s path and as Richard has observed, “Natural light constantly streams into the house. We can tell the time of the day depending on how the sunlight comes through the spaces. On the other hand, it remains cool because of the green walls and pond, and the spaces are amply cross-ventilated.” 2Timber flooring unifies the outdoors with the indoors. Seven tree stems in the car porch periscope above circular roof openings to foliate over the second storey. There is a shallow pond on the car porch roof, and the elevated foliage shields tiny fish, lotus and ferns from the morning sun. The result is a veritable eco-system of life at the threshold of the second storey bedroom. The entire face of the retaining wall at the back of the house is plastered with pebbles to turn a massive handicap into a natural backdrop and an open-to-sky, tiered receptacle of sunshine and rain, with water cascading down into their living room during spells of torrential rain. Water ponds delineate the living room floor and guppies explore their extent. The water here is also recycled for irrigating the plants on the vertical walls. A triple-volume air-well or ‘atrium’ punctures the middle of the house to allow sunlight to sustain trees grown in the middle of the first storey, facilitating cross-ventilation and screening the living room from the dining area. The atrium is sheltered with an extendable canvas roof when it rains. “The whole house has a feeling of spaciousness and lightness. The high ceiling, atrium, planters, large rooms and relationship of rooms to each other conspires to give an airy feeling, though physically none of the spaces are very far from each other due to the actual land size. Each living space has views to open spaces giving a feeling of airiness, but they are separated with the use of the atrium, planters and difference in heights leading to a feeling of privacy,” says Richard. 3 Left: Sunlit and airy bathroom. Right: Triple Volume Planting A continuous timber deck floor for the entire ground floor, which is uncommon amongst termite-adverse homeowners in Singapore. But given the right treatment, its sweeping warmth and feel infuse the living areas with a natural sense of the outdoors. 0.9 metre-wide bathrooms inserted in the voluminous party wall zones that enjoy ample ventilation and natural light. From the bedrooms, all the ensuite toilet doors are disguised as part of the wardrobe. In the master bedroom, the bathroom is cleverly incorporated as an extension of the bedroom, with the shower and toilet cubicles anchoring opposite corners and the wash basin a sliver of a trough that frames the back retaining wall. “The bathrooms are wonderfully naturally ventilated. They never feel humid,” Richard says. “We feel the breeze most of the time and they are all surrounded with greenery. In one of the bathrooms on the third floor, we get full sunlight and it feels like showering in sunlight.” Walls are painted white. Over the atrium, the white walls double up as projection screen for movie viewing. Photography: Albert Lim Architect: Chang Architects changarch.com Structural Engineer DPC Consulting Engineers Interior Furnishing East Interior Landscape Contractors ZinCo Singapore & Greenscape Irrigation Systems Christensen Irrigation Singapore Furniture Furnishings selected by East Interior. Finishes Floor Chengal strips and Teak strips. Walls plasterboard with paint finish. Shower walls homogenous tiles. Ceiling plasterboard and paint finish. Joinery custom made in LamiTAK finish, lamitak.com. Lighting Lights from Lightz D Shop, lightzds@singnet.com.sg. Fixtures/Equipment Oven and sink Teka, teka.com. Waste bin Franke, franke.com. WC Villeroy & Boch, villeroy-boch. com. Shower mixers and taps Hansgrohe, hansgrohe.com. Door hardware Olivari from Homewerks, sales@homewerkz. com.sg. Joinery mechanisms Blum, blum.com.au.abc
Happenings
Parties

Eurocucina/bagno Review by Habitus & Cosentino

Habitus Deputy Editor, Nicky Lobo, led the discussion among the panellists – Alice Blackwood (Indesign Group), Darren Genner (Minosa Design) and Kim Duffin (Sublime Architectural Interiors) – exploring themes and trends across kitchen and bathroom finishes, cabinetry, form and appliances. Dekton dekton.com.au Cosentino silestoneoceania.com [gallery ids="30945,30946,30947,30948,30949,30950,30951,30952,30953,30954,30955,30956,30957,30958,30959,30960,30961,30962,30963,30964,30965,30966,30967,30968,30969,30970,30971,30973,30974,30975,30976,30977,30978,30979,30980,30981,30982,30983,30984,30985,30986,30987,30988,30989,30990,30991,30992,30993,30994,30995,30996,30997,30998,30999,31000,31001,31002,31003,31004,31005,31006,31007,31008,31009,31010,31011"]abc
Architecture
Homes

Seaside Plywood Shack

"Ordinary architecture for an extraordinary situation, There is no architectural agenda beyond serving the brief." - comments Architect Aidan Halloran, Director of ITN Architects. Perhaps overly modest, his observation underscores the importance of knowing just how much (or how little) elaboration a project needs. great_ocean_road_7 In this case, an exceptional site with extreme weather exposure, dramatic views and very close proximity to the busy ocean road presented varied pressures for the Architects to satisfy. Thus a simple T-shaped plan gives all bedrooms and living spaces access to the maritime prospect, creates private and protected outdoor spaces and provides protection from the worst of the summer sun. great_ocean_road_6 Furthermore, the typology also allows for a very small actual footprint on the sensitive coastal site, and the simple greying timber form, although visible from one direction, slowly disappears into the surrounding tea-trees. great_ocean_road_1 The interior is all hoop pine ply, featuring a spine shelving wall that runs the length of the house. While most furniture is new, its Danish style complements the classic beach house feel. Simple, basic materials and finishes are used throughout, tough enough for sandy feet and surfboards - it is a house purposely designed to be humble in its exposed coastal environment. great_ocean_road_5 With a writer and a keen surfer for owners, the exposure of the site puts the occupants in the centre of the dramatic weather changes of the coast- a stimulating refuge, while still being a casual basic beach house. great_ocean_road_8 Halloran concludes, "the simple basic forms are a nod more to the former, when beach houses were unpretentious occasional homes, rather than aping 'the lifestyles of the rich and famous'. The house is truly a built expression of the client's brief. There are no extraneous indulgences." great_ocean_road_10 Site great_ocean_road_9 Plan Photography: Aidan Halloran ITN Architects itnarchitects.comabc
People
Design Hunters
Conversations

Creative Omnivore

Sophia Watson [SW]: What has been the evolution of Vivid Ideas over the past six years, and your role of developing it? Jess Scully [JS]: The first three years were certainly more small scale – more of a local focus on regional creative disciplines and so on. But our audience began to grow as did the appeal and reach. The festival itself developed into a creative Australian event with an international flavour and reach, and being that Vivid Ideas is a 3rd of the festival we began drawing on global creatives to expand and enrich the offering. I’m a bit of a creative omnivore – I consume any and all things creative no matter what the area, I find it all so fascinating but I’m in no means an expert. That’s why I start the process by speaking with people in niche creative disciplines – generally research specialists – and I ask who and what they are excited by; who’s pushing the envelope, what are the new ideas and concepts being explored. I also consume A LOT of media. It’s really a combination of keeping my ear to the ground with industry investigation and networking with people in the know. When curating the mix of local, regional, and international guests for Vivid Ideas I always like to keep an eye on people pioneering new product categories, those who are creating their own market, for example Gadi Amit [USA] who is one of our international speakers this year, is the designer, entrepreneur and founder of NewDealDesign, and is a pioneer in the “wearable technology” space. As well as championing change through design he is wary of where design decisions can lead us. It’s this calibre of creative figures who completely boggle my mind, and leave me asking a dozen questions.  jess_scully_1 SW: Has the development of Vivid Ideas been more organic or have you worked to form it into a specific identity? JS: It’s been a combination really. There has been such a huge boost to the program, and it’s obvious that something exciting is going on in Sydney. The Vivid Ideas element has become this amazing beacon in alignment with Vivid Sydney as a whole, and I think has played a large part in accelerating our growth alongside the huge shift in the culture of business.  Particularly in the last few years, we’ve noticed much more of an appetite in the corporate sector, manufacturing and services and more traditional industries understanding the power of innovation and creativity as a strategic tool for business. More and more conservative sectors are looking to recruit creative thinkers as well as inspire “design thinking” in their workforce. These shifts have meant that the role and prestige of the creative sector has really exploded and given a lot of gravity to the Vivid Ideas program as a veritable creative barometer on a local, regional and global scale. jess_scully_2 SW: What excites you about this year’s curation? JS: Well it’s like choosing between children! But I have to say I am super excited about Australian interiors on Saturday, exploring furniture designers, textiles, furnishings etc.  There will be a panel on Saturday looking at the Australian design language – our distinctive aesthetic in local work and how we translate this language on the global stage. It really delves into answering questions such as “How does the Australian lifestyle influence our interiors and how do we shape our spaces to express our identity?” “What are the qualities that are unique to design from this time and place? and “What does it take to produce and market a signature Australian design both in Australia and globally On this note, I’m also really looking forward to the Show & Tell – a peek into the creative minds of Australia’s most distinctive makers. Eight design and style leaders will guide us through their new collections, inspiration and the secrets behind their processes with a colourful series of lightning presentations on their stunning creations. I could honestly go on all day, I really believe that this year we have managed to gather some of the world’s most exciting creative minds – and I am so eager to see the results – I hope many will join my enthusiasm! Vivid Ideas vividsydney.com/Ideas‎abc
Happenings
What's On

La Traviata, by Victorian Opera

Attending the theatre or opera is like a mini adventure, a psychological escape that feels quite real when character, prop and set come together in perfect harmony. In the case of La Traviata, which runs in Melbourne until 29 May, reality becomes illusion – and vice versa – thanks to its seemingly simple yet extremely intelligent set design. vic_opera_12 This interplay between space, prop and people creates a delicate tension that instantly transports us (even if only for 2 hours) to the story’s time, place and mood, while also plunging us into the emotional and psychological states of its characters. vic_opera_4 “Think of it this way,” says Melbourne-based set designer Adam Gardnir. “The audience buys 1 ticket. That ticket encompasses the story, performers, set design… everything. When we design a show, we’re creating something that is a much bigger machination than [simple set design].” vic_opera_8 Adam is a set designer for Victorian Opera and a fervent admirer of the Josef Svoboda, the set designer behind this particular production of La Traviata. Svoboda, who passed away some years ago, is perhaps best known for pioneering a new-think approach to set design back in the 1960s. Even today, his concepts are still considered revolutionary. vic_opera_9 “In architecture,” says Adam, “you’re designing spaces where many people will come in and do unknown things. In our world you know exactly who is walking into every space, what they’re going to say, the props they will bring. Our job is to communicate those stories to the audience immediately.” vic_opera_1 “Svoboda,” says Adam, “is like the Renzo Piano of [set design]. He was doing massive scale and non-naturalistic work back in the 1960s when set design was about [literally] painting a picture.” vic_opera_7 Playing with scale and mixing illusion with reality are just 2 examples of Svoboda’s psychological approach to set design. His famed mirrored wall for La Traviata is a perfect example of this. vic_opera_5 Svoboda’s psychological landscape is created through a clever play on ‘photographic’ scenery. A mirrored wall, suspended at an angle over the stage floor-space offers audiences a double-view, straight on and bird-like from above. Instead of using the traditional four walls and ceiling, Svoboda engages the floor, using a series of painted cloths to outline different locations throughout the operatic story. vic_opera_3 “He’s playing with illusion and the classics of painted scenery,” comments Adam. The effect is simple yet powerful, utilising floor-scapes, props and people to create that interplay between reality, illusion and reflection. vic_opera_2 “Set design is so much about expression and story telling,” says Adam. “Svoboda was in the first set of designers [to prove that] you don’t need to recreate a photographic scene, you can lead the show with a psychological landscape. Viewers will work out where you’re setting it.” La Traviata runs at Her Majesty’s Theatre until 29 May. Victorian Opera victorianopera.com.auabc
Design Products
Accessories

H & M Home Concept Range Comes to Australia

  Covering approximately 5,000 square meters, the refurbishment – which opened in April – has embraced and restored the heritage building to create a bespoke retail experience. “It’s exciting to finally have the opportunity to bring H & M to Australian shores, especially to launch in the GPO building which is such an iconic and beautiful Melbourne landmark,” says Hans Andersson, the retailer's Australian Country Manager. 1 The new store features three levels of fashion, accessories, and a more recent addition to the established brand – homewares. 4 Keeping with H & M’s landmark mix between traditional, elegant and contemporary expressions the Home Concept range offers furnishing and objects for every room of the house. 5 Pastel colour-dipped cutlery and boldly printed towels, rugs and cushions contribute to the brand’s fashion-fun image, while more classic editions such as vintage-styles candle holders and neutral woven blankets broaden the appeal of the ambitious range. H & M hm.com/auabc