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.

 

Learn more

Design Products
Finishes

Launch of Caesarstone Classico Sleek Concrete

  caesarstone sleek concrete habitusliving caesarstone sleek concrete habitusliving   Sleek Concrete™ has the best of both worlds. It encapsulates the look and feel of fine concrete with a warm grey base and is the perfect solution for those looking to create that modern industrial warehouse look, but with the durability and ease of maintenance that Caesarstone quartz surfaces are renowned for.   caesarstone sleek concrete habitusliving caesarstone sleek concrete habitusliving   Further enhancing the overall appearance and feel of Sleek Concrete™ is the new “Concrete” matt, textured finish which brings the industrial aged feel to the surface. This unique finish never requires sealing and will acquire a natural patina over time which adds to the character of the surface, yet remains easy to clean and maintain. With numerous different concrete and cement inspired looks, Caesarstone chose the final design as one that offered high relevance to many applications both residential and commercial where the look and feel of concrete was a principle requirement. “We see Sleek Concrete being used in kitchen benchtops, splashbacks, bathroom wall panels and vanities and also in commercial applications such as café tables and benches, bars, feature wall panels where never having to seal the surface will be a major advantage,” said Andrew Dixon, General Manager Marketing. “Sleek Concrete has the ability to compliment many different design styles right through to the ultra-minimal contemporary genre,” he continued. Sleek Concrete backed up by the proven and trusted quality, 10 Year Limited Warranty and after sales service of Caesarstone Australia. To locate your nearest kitchen showroom simply click “Find a Display” on the Caesarstone® website or alternatively view a large panel of Sleek Concrete in your nearest Caesarstone showroom. Caesarstone caesarstone.com.au   abc
Habitus Loves
Design Products
Design Accessories

Habitus loves… Digital Design

 
Hodge Podge USB and Table Light
Hodge Podge USB and Table Light
Created by: Arik Levy Why we love it: Well for a start it was designed by the multi-award winning Arik Levy, a former surf-shop owner who founded his own studio in Paris in 1997. Plus there's something about its cheeky multi-functionality that makes us smile. As well as being a very funky lamp, it comes with a USB connector to charge your mobile and a digital clock attached. Clever. Where you can get it: KE-ZU
Sonos Music System
Created by: Mieko Kusano Why we love it: Sonos completely revolutionised home entertainment, enabling us to stream all the music in the world into every room of our house… wirelessly. We love the smooth streamlined aesthetic of the individual components and the way they don't yell 1980's bachelor pad. We love the way the 9-speaker Playbar has the power to turn your ordinary TV into a 5.1 home theatre. We love that you can add a wireless sub-woofer for some real oomph. Heck, we love everything about this incredibly clever system. Where you can get it: Sonos
LZF digital dimming system
LZF digital dimming system
Created by: Sandro Tothill and Marivi Calvo Why we love it: In the past, having the ability to dim fluorescent lights was a convoluted and expensive process, involving the installation of in-wall cabling. LZF's 'Dimming for the People' is a hell of a lot easier, enabling you to simply switch on and off, or dim up and down with a smart remote controller. Available for all of LZF's T5 models, both suspension and floor. Where you can get it: KE-ZU
BeoVision 11
BeoVision 11
Created by: David Lewis Designers Why we love it: Why we love it: Because it's arguably the most beautiful TV set ever created. Plus it is loaded with technology. Suffice to say, the set delivers razor sharp images (the set continuously adjusts brightness and contrast for optimal viewing comfort) and impressive volume and bass from each of its six amplified speakers. We really appreciate the motorised stand that automatically remembers your angle-of-viewing preferences. There are six front fabric colours to choose from, a front frame in silver or black, and rear cabinet in black or white. Where you can get it: Bang & Olufsen stores
Digital Calculator
Digital Calculator
Created by: Dietrich Lubs and Dieter Rams. Why we love it: Because just when you thought the calculator was about as relevant as cassette tapes and dial telephones, Braun reissues this stunningly simple piece of design that Kraftwerk would be happy to sing about. Originally released in 1987 as the ET66 (now the BNE001BK) this is one of Braun's most iconic designs. It comes with an 8 digit operating capacity and auto power off. Where you can get it: BYMR
Digital alarm clock radio
Created by: Markus Orthey of Braun Design Why we love it: Because it's not only a functional radio and alarm clock, it looks uber-modern on the Anna Castelli storage unit we use as a bedside table. And we aren't the only ones who love it…the device picked up a Red Dot Award for product design in 2012 plus an IF Gold Award for product design last year. Measuring 180mm x 90 mm x 56mm, it is available in black, white and grey with an LCD display. Where you can get it: BYMR
abc
Architecture
Homes

An Urban Home Between Architecture and Sculpture

  Re-charged inner city locations are all the rage around Australia’s inner suburbs. Pastiche abounds in the world of re-development. Originality and authenticity are in comparatively short supply, but vital to the oxygenation of old streets made new again. Bellemo and Cat’s fibreglass walled home/studio in Northcote, Melbourne expresses an irresistible street art and presence in its neighbourhood of red-brick Victorian-era warehouses. Cat: When the house was unveiled and I saw the cladding, I remember thinking it was so beautiful it could as easily be a jeweller’s shopfront in Zürich as a home/office in a Melbourne laneway.   Bellemo & Cat Habitus Living   Do you regard the house as sculpture or architecture? Cat: We see it as a billboard for our practice and as a two- dimensional painting that’s wrapped as an image or a painting we’ve made for ourselves. Because the image goes around corners and becomes three-dimensional, from that point of view it becomes sculptural. There’s an interesting narrative to the design. While almost every house has a front and back door, this has an office door and side residential door. That’s a hint of the radical design. Cat: It’s not a Venetian palace, of course, but it has similarities from the outside. There is some elaborate detailing, not formal but decorative, with cornices and curlicues. You enter on the ground floor and it’s virtually empty. The ground floor is always on the first level. Here the services, garage and office are at ground level, but upstairs there is garden and main living space to capture views and sunlight. Australian houses usually put living areas downstairs. How important is it for you to pursue the prototype rather than the stereotype? Michael: Very. I think we would be scared of producing a stereotype of our work. The design should express the clarity of an idea that still looks like an idea. I couldn’t imagine Cat and I repeating the same old thing. Every project we do is an experiment in some way. Life’s too short to do otherwise.   Bellemo & Cat Habitus Living   This is almost the ultimate Green House. Is it as fully green as it appears? Michael: Compared to the mud brick house covered in solar panels it isn’t as green. It uses passive solar principles, has water collection tanks. But this house sends a message from a symbolic viewpoint – that within an artificial jungle, you can create a viable alternative. Its other sustainability attraction is the home/office housed in a very economical container with a small footprint. So what are the principal green strategies? Cat: The basics – such as orientation – help overcome the need for the usual artificial heating and cooling. Double-glazing, for example, means we don’t run the heater all day. In winter it might be on for a few hours in the morning and evening and that’s it. We never need lights on during the day. There’s also something about the façade print that has the emotional and psychological benefit of occupying a green leafy environment.   Bellemo & Cat Habitus Living   One of the consequences of building light and stepping back from thermal mass is that you expose yourself to greater internal temperature fluctuations. Michael: If the upper level had a concrete floor, that would further stabilise temperature. But having said that, we achieve pretty good results with insulation. We’ve over-insulated the ceiling, floor and walls and that’s one reason why it works so well. The other is that it’s north facing with a decent overhang/awning that shades the living spaces in summer. There are also louvres for cross- ventilation and a ground floor concrete slab that invites a good flow of cool air throughout summer. Did you have a real sense of risk-taking? Cat: When we showed our plans to build a family home and office we received all kinds of gasps. My mother’s response was ‘Yes, well you’re very clever’, meaning that you will need to be because this is not an obvious home or office site. Well, what you have done is to create this quite large play-house. There is this real sense of adventure that carries right through from the design idea to the spatial experience. Cat: The local kids definitely see it as this huge playhouse. They also see it as a cool house to hang out in. We had a group of twenty in here on the weekend and they were definitely very excited about exploring the place. Maybe there is something about seeing the colour and print that they think this is somewhere where they can break all of the rules and do all of the things they can’t do at home! While that’s not true, they do seem to see the house as a big adventure.   Bellemo & Cat Habitus Living   How did council respond? Michael: We had no problem, especially because this part of Northcote is designated as an Arts precinct. It’s really just a modern warehouse exactly like all of the others built to the boundaries and it’s straight up and down. One of your early projects was the well-publicised Pod House on the coast. What did that teach you – especially in terms of skin? Michael: We’re just as interested with how a house should appear from the outside as from the inside. That comes back to whether it’s sculpture or architecture. The context of the object is vitally important. What does it look like when you come around the corner? That matters to us because we both work as public artists. It seems that Japanese architecture is a big influence with regard to skin which is almost paper thin. The fibreglass skin is translucent and luminous of an evening and lustrous by day. Michael: Shigeru Ban is a great Japanese architect, but I wouldn’t say it was uppermost in our minds with regard to influence. We make a point of reading very little media that might influence how we might approach a project. Of course we look at them, but we don’t search them out. Humanism is important.   Bellemo & Cat Habitus Living   It’s a great example of being considerate to the street. It might say ‘Look at me’, but it’s not ‘Me, me, me’. Even residential design can be generous and provide social enrichment. Cat: It’s an interesting point because our neighbours love it. Most of them say: “You must have done it for us.” We’re definitely interested in the idea that it will be viewed and experienced by neighbours. We were quite conscious that we were going to build directly in front of the neighbouring property to the south. What that meant potentially was an overshadowing. By using web-glass we draw a lot of light right through the building and that then cascades out the other side into the laneway and onto their property. Were you the dream clients? Cat: We allowed ourselves to spend the money on the outside of the building. In practical terms it was quite unnecessary because we were almost broke. But we put the money into it. We would find it hard to convince a client who was struggling with budget to go to those lengths to support our ambition or vision. Our view was we won’t have a bathroom, but we’ll have the art. So you do what’s important to you.   Bellemo & Cat Habitus Living Bellemo & Cat Habitus Living   Are you obsessive? Cat: Yes, because it means that you’re driven doesn’t it and you’re driven by what’s really important to you. This is a ‘look at me’ house from that point of view. But we’ve done it because it’s important to us. We’re nice and kind to our neighbours, but we’ve really done it to enliven our own lives and it’s really made this house very beautiful. This house was built as much as an adventure house for our kids as our love of building. Eventually, when the kids grow, we will move on. But it could just as easily be a design studio here with a boardroom where the master bedroom is. Were we to stay here, it’s been designed to allow an extra level. So, there is that flexibility. Was there the moment of elation when you opened the champagne? Michael: The most exciting time was seeing the pixel print of the fibreglass sheets and we could read the surface and visualise the completed skin. That’s the thing isn’t it? When you build a house, the foundation work is really just like pulling on your underpants. It feels okay, but you really want the wow factor and that happens when you put on that final layer that, with some luck, people will take notice. Cat: You got it!   Bellemo & Cat Habitus Living   Do you prefer to design on a sheet of paper or computer screen? Michael: We almost never do the initial concepts on computer. We almost always do drawings and make models. Is it simply more intuitive? Cat: On a recent project we did sketch up on a computer and it all came together quite quickly and easily. We stepped back from it and looked at each other and asked: What has that got to do with anything? We took it to our clients, told them we didn’t like it and asked them if we could start again from scratch. It hadn’t felt like ours and quite frankly any one of ten practices in Melbourne could have come up with that design. Who’s the moderating influence between you? Michael: Everything that comes out of this place is collaborative, whether it’s a model or a drawing. Cat: We both have a bit of that. We’re probably likely to say: Honey you haven’t gone far enough.   Bellemo & Cat Habitus Living  
Photography by Peter Hyatt   DROPBOX
Architect: Bellemo & Cat Location: Parameters of project: 155m2. Deck 27m2 Structural Engineer: Felicetti Pty Ltd. Construction Material: Corrugated fibreglass with print of firms design Collaborator/Associate Designer: Michael Bellemo, Cat McLeod, Ashley Every Bellemo & Cat bellemocat.comabc
Design Products
Finishes

A Rug Collection that Reflects Community

  It’s a charmed life and the snapshots and memories of our daily life inspires the way we design. Welcome to our neighbourhood.” Leaders in super-graphics and graphic design for interiors, “Bleux” is the collective talents of Skye Molyneux and Eva Krane, two Sydney-based creatives who excel in transposing incredible patterns and imagery from paper and screen to create immersive, spatial experiences. In 'Neighbourhood' the pair have imbued their rug range with this same graphic sensibility and have done so with relatable charm. The collection celebrates the exacting standards synonymous with Designer Rugs’ 28 years supplying exceptional products, whilst the quality of the New Zealand wool is complemented by Bamboo highlights in some of the designs.   Designer Rug Habitus Living FARAWAY Organic forms always find a place in our work. Just like the life growing up through the cracks. The small pockets of green in Surry Hills provide a respite from the brick and bitumen. We play in the parks, till the community gardens and create green oases at home.
  Designer Rug Habitus Living MINERAL Sediments from the past and the organic beauty of magnified minerals in rocks. Look closely and you see old replaced by new and sometimes revealing a patina of what’s gone before. The terraces, skinny little lanes, sandstone walls, mature trees and old residents that say “I remember when … ”
  Designer Rug Habitus Living MINOTU The Minotaur was a mythical beast, half man, half bull that lived in the maze below the palace of Knossos. He was a noisy neighbour. This design reflects the alleys, intersections, movement and energy of the inner city.
  Designer Rug Habitus Living PICK UP STICKS The game that requires its players to collect sticks without disturbing others around it. Living in a densely populated area we learn how to live, work and play together. We are often connected by the shared spaces.
  Designer Rug Habitus Living VENACARVA A design inspired by the veins in rocks. They say you can’t get blood from a stone but often the veins are where you find gold. Our neighbourhood has always had music in its veins .. so too does our studio and living environments.
  Designer Rug Habitus Living BERLIN Based on the outdoor tiles that you see at the old Berlin Tegel Airport, this design tells a story of inter cultural integrity and wanderlust. The shapes have morphed into new forms that are a memory of a childhood puzzle from Europe. We live and work in a kaleidoscope of people who share their culture with us.
  Designer Rugs designerrugs.com.au Bleux bleux.com.auabc
Design Products
Design Hunters
Design Accessories
Conversations

An Architectural Eye and An Artistic Mind

  Architecture, for Michael, is rational, and art free but the two disciplines are not so distinct in practice, one playing into the other in various ways. "There is an openness and degree of exploration and playfulness required to understand the potential of a place. For me this feels like art," says Michael.   -You are a painter and architect, how do you juggle the two? Is one more dominant in terms of your time? I’ve always mixed my time between art and architecture. Even for a job at university I use to stay at my parents beach house over summer and surf and do paintings while my mates worked 9-5 office jobs in town. I think right now I would say I devote most of my time to architecture. I work four days a week as a designer at StudioPacific architecture in Wellington, and 1 ‘flexi day’ a week as an artist. My ‘flexi day’ is when I just do art. It’s the highlight of the week, an amazing day, and I get in a good creative headspace.   Michael Lowe Habitus Living   -In what ways do you have to adapt your frame of mind frame when switching between the two and applying yourself to each discipline? Can you tell us about the overlap, and/or differences? For me, I find architecture very rational. At its core principle it’s a spatial science dedicated to designing and understanding physical spaces for people to live, work and play in. Good and bad architecture affects how people live and behave, and as a result architecture is a design discipline full of many rules (to make sure we don’t mess with peoples’ lives). Art on the other hand is free. I see art operating in a realm of possibility. It’s exciting. Your mind has the freedom to explore whatever ideas it wants and without boundaries, but conversely, in art you can set boundaries as you are ‘in control of your controlling-ness’ so to speak. I guess the overlap of the art mindset into architecture is when there are problems that have no clear solution. For example, at work I enjoy doing urban design and master planning of townships, we are often asked questions like 'What would you change if you could do anything to make this place better?' There is an openness and degree of exploration and playfulness required to understand the potential of a place. For me this feels like art.   Michael Lowe Habitus Living Michael Lowe Habitus Living   -Are there clear influences in your painting from architecture, or vice versa? Can you tell us about a specific example in a project or painting? My true enthusiasm for art is inspired by the ‘out doors’. There is a patterned randomness in the natural environment that appeals to me. It’s like watching clouds or waves – they are periodical but each one is unique. I find painting such an effortless way for me to connect with those inspirations. The colours firstly, then light, and abstraction can flow freely from my thoughts onto a blank surface. Painting is an honest childish practice, and I like that. I think studying architecture has given me a particular interest with objects in space, in particular how they are positioned within the landscape. Architecture has helped me believe that relationships between objects and spaces can influence our behaviour. This has influenced my art as I feel my level of thinking towards how I understand or interpreting figures in their context has grown. This is probably reflected in the compositions of my artworks – but I guess that’s open to interpretation. Michael Lowe Habitus Living -Where are you based, and how does the local landscape and environment feed into your work? At the moment I live in Wellington. I’ve lived there for 8 years, but for the first 18 years of my life I grew up in Auckland. This was where art began for me. Interestingly enough, the scenes or ‘geographic resemblance’ of my artworks have followed my move down to Wellington. When I look back on my works there are themes that relate to where I’ve been living, and most importantly to where I’ve had a strong connection with a place. I’ve been to many places where despite knowing the landscape would make an amazing picture if I painted it, the feeling to create an artwork afterwards depends on whether I feel a sense of place or belonging to that area. For some reason I still haven’t painted a Wellington scene yet but I’m getting close.   Michael Lowe Habitus Living Michael Lowe Habitus Living Michael Lowe Habitus Living   -Is there one practice you prefer over the other? Not at the moment. My enthusiasm to each practice shifts depending on which project is most exciting at the time. Often spending too many days in a row working on either practice is enough to sway me. It’s a fantastic position to be in. -Do you know many architects who paint or draw? Do you see this relationship between architecture and art often as an architect? One of the directors at my firm is a closet painter and surfer. I get on well with him. When he’s designing you can see in the way he draws on paper that he’s thinking about more than just architecture and buildings. It’s like I mentioned earlier, architecture can be very logical so it’s refreshing when this mentality to designing is softened by the freedom of an artist’s mindset.   Michael Lowe Habitus Living   -Who inspires you? In both practices. I am aware of how architecture can be subjective in terms of what forms and styles appeal to different people. So in terms of what inspires me in architecture I would say that it’s the architectural writers rather than sculptors. Donald Appleyard and Jane Jacobs both had a lot to say about the way we design cities, its affects on ‘community’, and what makes places feel belonged to or have a sense of place. It’s that kind of philosophical thinking that gets me excited about architecture. My grandfather was an artist also. He moved here from China when he was young and brought with him a skill for Chinese watercolours. He used to sit in on art classes at Auckland University where he learnt about abstraction and modern art. When I was a kid I enjoyed rummaging through his old dusty garage and studio and finding brilliant colourful artworks on old Chinese scroll paper. And lots of goldfish paintings. Seriously there were a lot of them but each one slightly different. Growing up my family were privileged enough to have a beach house on the east coast, this is where I fell in love with surfing. This in turn led to road trips and adventures and a new relationship with New Zealand’s landscape. Every time I get out of the city there is a part of me that lights up. The more I experience the landscape and explore this through art, the more I feel connected with it. That’s probably called the ‘inspiration’.   Michael Lowe Habitus Living Michael Lowe Habitus Living
Photography by Michael Lowe Images courtesy of Michael Lowe Michael Lowe michaellowe.co.nz   Tess Ritchieabc
Architecture
Homes

A Kiwi Bach in Victoria by MRTN Architects

  For those not familiar with the Kiwi term, a bach is a family summer house. The concept in its original form is simple and Venus Bay Bach is just that. Nestled in the rugged terrain at South Gippsland, Victoria, it is an escape from the city for (unsurprisingly) a young New Zealand-born, Melbourne-based family.   Venus-Bay-Bach-MRTN-Architects-Habitusliving-02   "This house was never intended to be home away from home; it was to be a holiday house, basic in form and basic in function," says Antony Martin - director of MRTN Architects. The design is simple, almost entirely off the grid, the only mains connection is to electricity and all water is collected from the roof – there is even a sand filter based septic system. The floor plan is simple, where one zone flows easily to the next and to the outside and divides between spaces come through change in level. The various semi-connected areas create both spaces for people to come together but also find their own peace and quiet. "...Packs of children put on plays from the deck, there are snacks and drinks at the outside table while others retreat inside for a quiet read. And this can all happen at the same time and that is what a bach is all about."   Venus-Bay-Bach-MRTN-Architects-Habitusliving-08 Venus-Bay-Bach-MRTN-Architects-Habitusliving-05   In South Gippsland on a steep, rugged site in a wildfire overlay area, Venus Bay Bach – while posing many challenges – is very much about place. Exposed to the elements but hidden from the road – seen as a "low-lying simple volume hunkering down against the wind" - on arriving at the house, you are certainly amongst nature and have successfully separated from city madness. Responding to the landscape and site, and attempting to also create a simple but comfortable space, MRTN Architects have orientated the house to the northeast, "opening it up to morning sun but turning a back to the wind while stepping the house down the site to maintain a visual connection to the site from front to back". On entering, the house opens up, leading out to a covered deck that acts as an outside room – "sunny in winter, shaded in summer" and complete with beautiful tree top views.   Venus-Bay-Bach-MRTN-Architects-Habitusliving-03 Venus-Bay-Bach-MRTN-Architects-Habitusliving-04   Conscious of maintaining a low-impact house, the northeast orientation also doubles as a way to optimise solar exposure and allow for cross ventilation through the day capturing southwesterly winds. The house is clad entirely in sustainably harvested and milled radially sawn Silvertop Ash, which provides the necessary wildfire protection, stained with a dusty green to mimic the scrubby tea tree and wattles that surround it. Inside, is salvaged Tallowwood flooring.   Venus-Bay-Bach-MRTN-Architects-Habitusliving-06 Venus-Bay-Bach-MRTN-Architects-Habitusliving-07 Venus-Bay-Bach-MRTN-Architects-Habitusliving-09   Between a difficult site and a small budget, the first house of the practise, as it was, posed a challenge for MRTN Architects. And it worked; the design compliments its surroundings – and meets the regulations of the area, fits three kids and visiting family friends, feels larger than it is and creates the outdoor living experience that an escape from the city should. "The success of the project has been in meeting the brief and budget requirements while providing living areas that feel generous… This has been the most enjoyable and successful aspect of the project – creating a small house which feels large and that envelopes all the activities of a family on holiday," says Martin. It is a true example of just how influential design can be on a way of living. Martin tells us, "Our design satisfied [the] brief requirements but what my clients have loved is the spaces created and the unanticipated use of how people inhabit them."   Venus-Bay-Bach-MRTN-Architects-Habitusliving Venus-Bay-Bach-MRTN-Architects-Habitusliving Venus-Bay-Bach-MRTN-Architects-Habitusliving
Photography by Nic Granleese   DROPBOX
Architect: MRTN Architects Location: Venus Bay, South Gippsland, Victoria Parameters of project: 110sqm (130sqm including covered decks), 4 beds, 1 ½ baths Date of completion: February 2013 Final Cost: $340K Documentation: Steve Jones Structural engineer: Paul Deery Building surveyor: Tim Blankenstein MRTN ARCHITECTS mrtn.com.au  abc
Design Products
Furniture

AJAR introduces the Arlex Home collection

  With an emphasis on maintaining high quality and the application of advanced manufacturing processes, the Arlex Home range is divided into a wide range of system based storage, occasional and bedroom furniture. Products of note include the Passing console, Freestyle system, Kairos Bed, Stijl sideboard (above) and the Alfin Table.
  passing Arlex Home Habitus Living Passing Console Designed by CrousCalogero First impressions count, so the first thing you see when you enter a house must rise to the occasion. Passing is a console table for the hallway, reception area and passage areas in wood or lacquer with iron epoxy coated legs. Passing is, by no means, a lifeless piece of furniture. It constitutes playful piece of a geometric and minimalist style for modern ambiences.
  freestyleambience Arlex Home Habitus Living   Freestyle System Designed by Josep Turell Freestyle is a multi-purpose system designed to enable the creation of any conceivable storage solution. Symmetrical, irregular colourful or muted, freestyle allows the creation of truly unique and highly customised furniture that can adapt to perfectly suit any interior.
  kairosbed Arlex Home Habitus Living   Kairos Bed Designed by Odosdesign Kairos is a system of headboards and containers, which combine to allow the creation of a truly unique bedroom setting. With storage containers designed to house everything from books to jewelry plus with a variety of accessories available, your bed can truly be as unique as you are. Kairos is available in a range of dimensions and finishes (lacquered, upholstered or veneer) and can be configured to king, queen and single bed.
  stjlnottallsideboard Arlex Home Habitus Living   Stijl Sideboard Designed by Guimeraicinca Drawing its inspiration from the design movement of the same name the Stijl sideboard exhibits bold primary colour accents and a highly refined geometry based on the golden ratio. Available in a wide range of finishes and configurations Stilj offers a versatile and elegant storage solution.
  alfin Arlex Home Habitus Living   Alfin Table Designed by Josep Turell The Alfín table is available in both an extendible and fixed version. Alfin is available in a wide range of surface finishes including the ability to mix textures and finishes of wood and lacquers across its structure to stunning effect.
  AJAR www.ajar.com.auabc
People
Design Products
Design Hunters
Design Accessories
Conversations

Fashioning Fabric – Grace Tan

  With her refreshing approach to fashion design, Grace Tan tests the limits of the fashion industry in Singapore as she stitches up her version of ‘anti-fashion’. By using abstract notions such as the mathematics of the patterning and stitching, methodology and cross- disciplinary influences as the starting points for her work, Grace rejects traditional forms of tailoring and creates fashion that is visually and conceptually unique. This young, intellectual designer moved to Singapore when she was 13 years old. With her mixed heritage of Taiwanese and Malaysian, Grace laughingly describes herself as ‘rojak’ –- a Malay term that refers to a haphazard mix of vegetables in a peanut-based sauce. Far from being haphazard, Grace's work displays a creativity achieved through a highly disciplined and focused concentration of the methodology in her work.   Grace Tan Habitusliving Grace Tan Habitusliving Grace received her Diploma in Apparel Design and Merchandising from Temasek Polytechnic in Singapore where she became fascinated by books on architecture and how to express herself using other disciplines. After graduation, Grace worked for esteemed local design firm, Song & Kelly from 1999, where she designed and developed the womenswear line. Her struggles with the role of concept in her work led her to start up her own company, kwodrent, in 2003. At that time, she was focussed on the idea of how to construct clothing out of rectangular pieces of fabric – how to take two-dimensional angular pieces of fabric and make them into three-dimensional design which follows the soft curves of the human body. “I wanted to challenge the structure of clothing,” she explains, “…how to construct clothing out of geometric shapes, how the clothing reacts on different bodies.” One of her early inspirations was the work of Japanese architect, Tadao Ando. The abstraction of his philosophy into geometric forms that are in themselves devoid of emotive meaning inspired Grace to test out a similar thinking in her work. One trademark piece of her early collection was a shirt made from two simple pieces of rectangular fabric with angular cuts for the armholes and two stitches up the sides. A further development of Grace’s interest in rectangles is a series of giant neckpieces. She explains that the idea of the twisting of the fabric in these neckpieces originated when she would be making temporary stitches and then pull out the stitches quickly and the fabric would start to fold. The neckpieces are constructed using highly structured methods and patterns with intricate folding and twisting of rectangular pieces of fabric. She examined the effects of using different fabrics to see how they behave as they twist. She rigorously experimented with variations in the arrangement of the folds to see what sculptural forms could be created. She added coloured fabric as well as altering the scale of the neckpieces to see how all of these variations behave as they interact with the human body.   Grace Tan Habitusliving   This intensity and rigour in this series of Grace’s work reflects her belief that to master something is to study the methods and techniques of the craft, but after mastering them, to discard them. “I think this was a revelation that I had, how not to be constrained by a set of rules,” she reflects. Grace explains that she is greatly inspired by nature. She looks at the variations in her work in the same way as she observes how natural light can alter a landscape, how the growth of plants can change your perception of them, and how the budding, blooming and decaying of flowers can inspire the way she manipulates the organic forms of her design pieces. A third inspiration for Grace’s work is the philosophy and aesthetic of the art of the Bonsai. Bonsai philosophy is based on diligence and reverence by following and mastering a technique, often through learning the technique of a master and adopting it to your own trade. Her rigorous exploration of the folding of her fabric to create organic forms is influenced by this art form. The notion in the art of Bonsai of constructing something that is organic out of a technique that is calculated and precise also bears similarities to Grace’s design and approach to her neckpieces. Another, similarly lovingly constructed art form that replicates nature and has served as a form of inspiration to Grace is the beautifully crafted Japanese confection. One particular book, Wagashi, has influenced her thinking as well as her presentation with its luscious images of Japanese confections that replicate or make reference to nature. The influence of these colorful and delicate confections that reflect the colours of changing nature, encapsulated into an intricate overlapping form, can be seen in a few of Grace’s more sweetly coloured pink and peach works in French silk chiffon. Grace’s works, called ‘Rakugan’, were completed in 2007 and through their visual lightness and freshness bear a sensory and visual connection with the Japanese confections.   Grace Tan Habitusliving Grace Tan Habitusliving   An interesting dichotomy in Grace’s design is a highly tactile hands-on emphasis versus an abstract mathematical strategy. She finds that “when you rely on machines and tools, you tend to lose your physical connection with the fabric.” Grace prefers to hand-make all her pieces. In fact, she admits that she now rarely works graphically. She experiments with the fabric physically and lets the fabric tell her what it wants to be, how it wants to behave. Grace explains that many of her inspirations are cross-disciplinary influences which are visual as well as theoretical, such as Sori Yanagi’s philosophy of “Design by Hands”. This hands-on approach seems to contrast with her obsession with mathematics. This started last year with an exhibition called Dual City Sessions in which she displayed a graphic representation of the stitch points in the folding fabric of her neckpieces. Each stitch was given a value and represented in a graphic where the coordinates of the stitch points created patterns. Her intention in graphically representing her work as a set of coordinates was to display the work at its structural core in order to see the forms in a different way.   Grace Tan Habitusliving In a further development of this mathematical strategy, Grace did a collaborative work with a Singapore-based theatre company, Theatre Works, in a production named ‘V.I.S.T.A. Lab.’. Grace designed the dress for the dance performance and the coordinates for the stitches in the dress were given a tonal value by the musical composer. The result was a musical composition based on the mathematics of the dress construction. The dancers then performed to this music as the audience, in a sense, “listened” to the dress. Since then, Grace has engaged in further cross-disciplinary collaborations that have allowed her works to cross the line between fashion and art. In a recent exhibition, ‘Envelop’, she collaborated with Farmwork, a Singapore-based design studio. The result was an organic art piece constructed from 2,492 parts of folded A4-sized sheets of paper suspended from the ceiling above a display of Grace’s fabric creations. From her emphasis on the mathematics of a stitch, to her love of architecture and her natural hands-on approach to the fabric, Grace Tan’s multi-disciplinary approach to her designs put into question the definition of the boundaries between artistic disciplines. Out of these explorations, she creates highly novel and thought-provoking work.   Grace Tan Habitusliving   Photography by Darren Soh and Derek Swalwell kwodrent kwodrent.com  abc
Fixed & Fitted
Design Products
Design Accessories

Rabari Rug Collection

  Beyond the exceptional beauty that gives the bright colour of the wool curl, the Rabari collection is four rugs (two in beige, one in black and one in green) with an outstanding design, a canvas on which designers Nipa Doshi and Jonathan Levien, who form design team Doshi Levien, have designed a refined combination of rhythms with a unique graphic sensuality. “At the very beginning of the project, we decided to create a series of rugs that evoke the sensual and shiny world of tribal folk embroidery of India. We already had in mind intricately hand crafted embroideries made by the Nomadic community of the Rabaris from Kutch region. Nipa's aunt had an amazing embroidery workshop in Ahmedabad, with 25 highly skilled craftswomen, who were all experts in hand embroidery, working with glistening mirrors, silk and cotton thread and metallic sequins amongst other non-precious materials. The women sat together on rugs on the floor, surrounded by these jewel like elements scattered around them as they worked. Often collaborating in groups, the intricate embroideries took several days to complete. We wanted our collection for Nani Marquina to reference the unfinished embroideries like studies of different techniques in progress, as they gradually emerge over time. The spontaneous compositions of the rugs embody the serendipity and freedom to improvise inherent in each step of a handmade piece; Joyful, irreverent and unique.” Doshi Levien.   Space Habitus Living   Nanimarquina, the brand With constant innovation in different techniques and new materials, Nanimarquina are a family‐owned company pioneer in the field of contemporary rugs. Putting special attention and effort in finding the right raw materials and manufacturing processes from the very beginning; in the early 90s nanimarquina embarked on the adventure of outsourcing our production to India, where we discovered the cultural value and unlimited possibilities of rug craftsmanship in this country. More than 25 years later, we continue our tradition of crafting truly unique and exciting rugs for each customer, each space and each emotion. Space Habitus Living   Nani Marquina, the designer After studying industrial design in Barcelona, in 1987 she created nanimarquina as a brand dedicated to the design, creation and distribution of rugs, based on values such as observation, innovation, enthusiasm and the ability to make craft traditions contemporary. She has won the National Design Award and the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce Award of Design Management in 2005, as well as several nominations for the Príncipe Felipe Award for Company Excellence. She has also received the International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge Award from the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, a personal achievement that led to the 2007 FIDEM Award for Entrepreneurial Woman of the Year. Nani Marquina has been the Chairwoman of ADP (Professional Design Association) and of Red (Meeting of Spanish Design Firms). Since the beginning of 2014, she presides the FAD (Fostering Arts and Design), in Barcelona.   Space Habitus Living   Space spacefurniture.com.auabc
Design Stories
Design Hunters
Conversations

Authentically Aged

  I love my old pair of dry denim jeans. They witnessed my early days as a graduate engineer clambering around building sites, juggling drawings and bantering with sub-contractors. They carried me through obligatory boys nights out in my twenties and hosted slightly more dignified dinner parties in my thirties. They sweated through summer and warmed through winter. They’ve moved furniture into houses and grooved on the dance floor. Is there anything better than a well-worn, battered pair of jeans?   Colonial Trading Company Habitus Living   In recent years you couldn’t go to a dinner party or cocktail function, without someone declaring their fondness for all things shabby chic- that look of aged/worn items with distressed surfaces. In many cases what was being discussed was how to achieve this look or perhaps more accurately how to create this old look from new. The artful application and wiping off of finishes, the strategically placed random scuffmarks; the time and effort invested to achieve the aged look of the object. I am by no means a detractor of an aged aesthetic however I do have a definite preference for how this visual is achieved.   Colonial Trading Company Habitus Living   I like my aged items like my old pair of jeans. They are not a planned execution of strategic frays and worn material. They are a log of the years gone. A catalogue of amusing anecdotes and minor catastrophes that have left their indelible marks on the fabric. They are authentic. Give me paint peeling off boards from years of exposure to the elements or the lustre and creased patina of a long treasured leather messenger bag. Appreciate the arduous journey they have experienced. Japanese culture has a worldview that addresses the beauty of imperfect aged items- wabi-sabi. It embraces the elegance of quirks and the beauty that the passage of time imparts of objects. It pays homage to the authenticity of items. But for me, the simplest explanation of why I prefer authentically aged items comes back to my old faithful pair of jeans… geez they’re great!   Colonial Trading Company Habitus Living Images courtesy of Colonial Trading Company   Colonial Trading Company colonialtrading.com.au  abc
Habitus Loves
Fixed & Fitted
Design Products
Design Accessories

Habitus Loves… EuroCucina: Technology of the Kitchen 2014

PowerClean™ dishwasher
Created by: Whirlpool Why we love it: The built-in version of the Whirlpool 6TH SENSE PowerClean™ Dishwasher with PowerDry option features sturdier racks, a flexi-load system with foldable section and beautiful dark grey detailing. Most important is a self-cleaning filter with Turbidity Sensor that varies the cycle according to turbidity. Where you can get it: Winning Appliances
Futura ventilation unit
Created by: Elica Why we love it: Futura (from GUTMANN) is an extendible trough ventilation unit with invisible exhaust. Minimalist in its aesthetic, Futura combines stainless steel and glass elements with LED-effect lighting. The entire module can disappear into the counter top at the bush of a button. It’s also a red dot design award winner. Where you can get it: Elica
Ovens 200 Series
Created by: Gaggenau Why we love it: These beautiful and elegant ovens are built and flush-fitted into their surroundings. Colour variations include Gaggenau Anthracite, Metallic or Silver. Another innovation is the ovens’ control module with touch display operation combined with two easy-to-use rotary knobs. Where you can get it: Gaggenau
Cantina Wine Fridge
Cantina Wine Fridge
Created by: KitchenAid Why we love it: To celebrate its 95th anniversary, Kitchen Aid has created a new aesthetic for its major kitchen appliances. You may have spied the lovely red medallions on the handles of this wine fridge - it's engraved with the KitchenAid logo and the brand's year of origin, 1919. Where you can get it: KitchenAid
Induction cooktop with built-in wok (Model: KM 6356)
Created by: Miele Why we love it: Isn’t this just beautiful? The wok trough is integrated into the ceramic glass screen and allows for precise power control. And the product even comes with a matching wok pan. Seamless and sleek. Where you can get it: Miele
Smeg Appliances
Smeg Appliances
Created by: Smeg Why we love it: Moving into a completely new category, Smeg presented a particularly lush range of kitchen appliances, encompassing toasters, kettles, stand mixers and blenders. 1950s Retro in style, the Smeg appliances come in a range of eye-popping Smeg colours. Where you can get it: Smeg
FreeInduction cooktop
Created by: Neff Why we love it: With the Neff FreeInduction cooktops you can use the entire glass ceramic surface to heat your pans – not matter the size or shape. Each pot or pan can be placed anywhere and controlled individually. Where you can get it: Sampford IXL
FreshPlus fridge-freezers
FreshPlus fridge-freezers
Created by: Electrolux Why we love it: As the chosen supplier to almost 50% of Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe, Electrolux refrigerators feature exclusive TwinTech® cooling inspired by the technology found in professional restaurant kitchens. This means that your food stays fresh for at least an extra 6 days! Where you can get it: Electrolux
 
abc
Happenings
What's On

Hare + Klein Book Launch

  The beautiful publication from Thames & Hudson and co-authored by David Clark and Meryl Hare, was introduced by Belle Magazine's editor in chief Neale Whitaker. Here are some pictures from the happy 300-pus crowd on the night. [gallery ids="32203,32204,32205,32206,32207,32208,32209,32210,32211,32212,32213"]abc