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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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Architecture
NOT HOMES

The Aesop Experience

Design is a key aspect of Aesop’s philosophy and branding. The Australian skincare and amenities brand has managed to communicate this quite clearly not only through its minimally packaged products, but also through the design of its stores throughout the world, where customers are treated to delightful visual and tactile experiences that entice them to keep returning. In Singapore, three new stores opened last year. Each has managed to draw influences from the tropical locale but in nuanced ways that eschew kitsch. The newest of this is at Raffles City, designed by Norwegian firm Snøhetta. The firm was inspired by the shopping mall’s location in the heart of the cultural district as well as Singapore’s history as a thriving port. The result is a dreamy palette of brassy, sandy tones reminiscent of “the romance of trade, exploration and tall ships, and the weathered durability of nautical materials,” as described in Aesop’s press statement. Anchoring the store is a sculptural brass counter, with lamps and faucets coloured in a similar shade for a uniformity that almost renders this an art piece. Functionally, its undulating form allows staff and customers access to the products from the surrounding insert bays. Brass is also applied as wall shelving, while natural fibre carpet, with a subtle wavy pattern reminiscent of sailing rope or hessian storage sacks, wraps the space from floor to ceiling, reinforcing the maritime theme. ASP0176 Just across the road at the newly opened Capitol Piazza shopping mall is a more flowerly – literally – store designed by Australian design practice Russell & George. Strongly defining the floor is a carpet of patterned Peranakan-inspired tiles with floral prints, which are commonly found in the interiors of old shophouses in Singapore. This element from the Peranakan culture is what drives the store’s design to complement the historic building’s Art Deco shell. The black-and-white tiles are accented by planting on the shelves, and with two accesses on each side of the store, the space feels like a courtyard thoroughfare. Oak, used for shelving and countertops add to the tropical feel while the curved edges of the standalone counters echo the shape of the store and its similarly curvaceous walls that gently guide the customer in. ASP0201-R2 Also by Russell & George is the third store, housed within the large suburban Westgate retail centre. Oak timber is also a key material but applied in a different manner. Here, it references the area’s sawmilling past, and begins as a matrix of quadrilateral frames behind the store’s glass facade before continuing into the rest of the interior as a variety of shelving and display types – low, high counter block, window display niche, poster frame, ceiling light element. A leitmotif of lines reaching up from the shelving to the white walls and ceiling planes draws from traditional Japanese screening tectonics of exposed timber and white infill. It’s quite artistic and also very calming – a most suitable ambience for the brand’s botanical and laboratory generated products. This palette is also an abstracted rendering of the area’s transition from forested mangrove swamp to industrial precinct, which will, over time, be taken over by an evergreen climber. With their carefully considered designs, these stores are an oasis to the sterility and uninspiring repetitiveness of their commercial bones, as well as veritable additions to Aesop’s multi-faceted, multi-textural online design bible – the Taxonomy of Design. Aesop aesop.com Aesop-Westgate-Interior Aesop-Westgate-Front AESOP-SG-CAPITOL-PIAZZA-04 AESOP-SG-CAPITOL-PIAZZA-02 AESOP-SG-CAPITOL-PIAZZA-01abc
Happenings
What's On

The Constructivist Sculptures of Yioryios

From acquisitions by the Australian Embassy in Paris, to having his work featured in Artist Profile Magazine, and a plethora of exhibitions between Sydney and Canberra, Sydney-based artist Yioryios is constantly inspired by his surroundings. Using a variety of mediums in his work, Yioryios aims to create visual responses to architecture and the built environment in a more abstract form, whether through his painting, sculpture, or jewelry collections. For his ‘Distorting the Inherent’ exhibition, his principal inspiration was Sydney’s Opera House, and the series of sculptures on display reinterpret the elegantly curved edges and dramatic angles of Jørn Utzon’s work. The collection will be on display at Artereal Gallery on the 4th of May. Yioryios Exhibition | Habitus Living To create the sculptures, Yioryios begins by making concept ‘sculptures’ crafted entirely from torn and cut-up photographs of the ‘architectural muse’, before playing with the form and shape until hints of the final sculpture begin to emerge. Once the general idea has been teased out, he heats aluminium composite until the metal is malleable and manipulates the sheets into an approximation of the concept sculpture. In finishing the work, he juxtaposes matte and glossy acrylic paints over the aluminium base, drawing attention to the sharp peaks and gentle slopes of the aluminium sculpture. Habitus Living’s Christina Rae had the opportunity to ask Yioryios a few questions about his inspirations and designs ahead of the exhibition. Yioryios Exhibition | Habitus Living Christina Rae: What is the biggest influence in your work? Yioryios: Abstracting my surroundings – being able to experience and see what's around me in an abstract perspective. Rae: How would you describe the ideas behind 'Distorting the Inherent'? Yioryios: The ‘Inherent’ is captured from sourcing architectural patterns - by either taking the patterns and shapes of a column, or the particular angle of a building, and then removing and transforming these outlines and translating it into aluminium. I then distort these characteristics through the pliable nature of aluminium. Yioryios Exhibition | Habitus Living Rae: What has been the most formative experience that influences your work? Yioryios: Being inside the building themselves. In particular the Sydney Opera House with its concrete arch pillars that leads your eye around the skeleton. Rae: What mediums do you most enjoy working in? Yioryios: I use different mediums for different purposes. When using 'Oil paint', I use it for the rich, sticky, and textural quality. I use acrylics to gain a clean and sharp effect. I like painting on aluminium because I am able to distort and manipulate its shape. Yioryios Exhibition | Habitus Living Rae: Can you tell me a bit about your jewellery collections? Yioryios: I’ve had a strong upbringing in the fashion industry due to my mother’s occupation, so it was always a natural approach for me to intertwine the two mediums of fashion and art. I like the way these pieces form around the body, and watching the movement it creates on the female form. In the ‘Distorting the Inherent’ Exhibition, Yioryios aims to showcase architectural icons in a reinterpreted way, with the intention of encouraging the viewer to re-approach the familiar landmarks with a new appreciation, perspective, and sense of possibility. Yioryios’ Distorting the Inherent Exhibition 4th – 28th May, 2016 Artereal Gallery 747 Darling Street Rozelle, NSW, 2039 Yioryios yioryios.com Artereal Gallery artereal.com.au Photography by Yioryios and Bonnie Hansen. Yioryios Exhibition | Habitus Living Yioryios Exhibition | Habitus Living Yioryios Exhibition | Habitus Living Yioryios Exhibition | Habitus Livingabc
Architecture
Homes

WALL Design Studio’s Library House

The owners of this typically small 880 square foot Hong Kong apartment were book lovers, and their brief to award-winning homegrown design studio WALL was for a ‘book-friendly space’ that would also encourage greater family interactions. WALL have capitalised on the corridor space – an often-overlooked area in tiny Hong Kong homes – and have built a series of concealed storage as well as open shelving to house their clients’ sizeable book collection. Wall Design Studio's Library House | Habitus Living The corridor is wrapped entirely in white oak finish, with all rooms leading out into this space where the family can gather to read and spend time with one another. Wall Design Studio's Library House | Habitus Living A large floor to ceiling blackboard allows family members to scribble messages or express their creativity through drawings and sketches. It also serves to subtly demarcate the study from the common corridor. The white oak paneling continues right through into the master bedroom, where is takes the form of a feature wall. WALL wall.com.hk Wall Design Studio's Library House | Habitus Living Wall Design Studio's Library House | Habitus Living Wall Design Studio's Library House | Habitus Living Wall Design Studio's Library House | Habitus Livingabc
Design Hunters
People

The Dark Heart of Lighting Designer Christopher Boots

A childhood spent on the move in Melbourne’s outer east with constant access to nature paved the way for lighting designer Christopher Boots to feel at home in all sorts of places – sometimes simultaneously. He now divides his time between the light, airy, social Fitzroy showroom and workshop he shares with his team of up to 15 people, and the dark, calm, solitary enclosed studio apartment upstairs that he currently calls home. The contrasting spaces provide a crucial counterpoint in mood and atmosphere, which Boots says he needs more and more the busier he becomes with travel and work. Christopher Boots | Habitus Living Boots’ abode is a single room in a light filled corner: a stylish man-cave with darkly glamourous charcoal walls and floors, vintage furniture including some eccentric hand-me-downs from his Greek aunt, plenty more of his beloved plants and some intriguing collections, in which he can literally lock himself away for a dose of solitary calm and quiet. “This room used to be all white, but due to the fact that there’s so much sunlight coming in I thought I’d paint it a dark, cool, calming kind of colour. And it’s anti everything that was the other space, which was white and crisp and light. I just needed that opposition of something really dark, almost cave-like, to just really calm the senses.” Read the full story in Habitus #31, on sale now. Christopher Boots | Habitus Living Christopher Boots | Habitus Living Christopher Boots | Habitus Living    abc
Architecture
Homes

Letting the Sun in the Skylight House

Located on Sydney’s north shore, the Skylight House began as a rework of a badly planned existing dwelling, and has seen Andrew Burges Architects craft a functional house for a family of 6, with warm natural lighting and an organic connection to the garden. The conceptual framework of the Skylight House was developed around the concept of natural light, and improving the character of it within the house. This saw a total of five skylights placed throughout the home, all of which have been incorporated to shape a distinct cross section in the ceiling, which allows for a flow of natural light and a connection to the sky above. The internal planning of the space has been modified to create a more compact floor plan throughout the space, and a carefully inserted central core, containing the bathroom and laundry, has reconfigured the existing internal plan, reducing the previously excessive corridors. Externally, the roof and brick edges of the sidewalls define the vertical and horizontal lines of the façade, and are cut to a uniform dimension of 50mm, giving a playful lightness to the bounding frame. Sliding screens allow for variability within the confines of the façade and the roof form, while housing a complex interior, creates a simple and contemporary outline. Andrew Burges Architects aba-architects.com.au Skylight-House-In-Sydney-Australia-11 Skylight-House-In-Sydney-Australia-9 Skylight-House-In-Sydney-Australia-8 Skylight-House-In-Sydney-Australia-6 Skylight-House-In-Sydney-Australia-5 Skylight-House-In-Sydney-Australia-4 Skylight-House-In-Sydney-Australia-3 Skylight-House-In-Sydney-Australia-2 Skylight-House-In-Sydney-Australia-1  abc
Happenings
What's On

Announcing the LiveLife Seminar Series

The LiveLife talks, hosted by members of the Habitus editorial team for Meldbourn Indesign 2016, featuring prominent members of the design community will see architects, designers, developers, builders, and more discussing the ins and outs of what makes design lovers tick and how design can enrich our lives. The events this year… Heritage and Australian Identity – We look at the brick veneer and the suburbs: should we be embarrassed or proud over our architectural past and is cultural elitism a problem in Australian design? Disrupting Design Living – In an examination of the new commune trend, we ask what defines a commune in terms of design and how can we best design for senses of community? Lighting the Home – How do we show off where and how we live? In a panel discussion over modern lighting design and its impacts, we look at all aspects of home lighting and whether it should be seen or should it just illuminate space? We’re very exciting to welcome you to these LiveLife talks held across Melbourne this 12th of August. Melbourne In Design indesigntheevent.com/melbourneabc
Design Hunters
Conversations

Conversations with Totem Road

Using ecologically sustainable oak in all of their work, Totem Road's principle philosophy centers on the idea of minimising the environmental impact of contemporary throw-away furniture. To combat this, Totem Road is determined to craft pieces that last a life time with a timeless aesthetic to suit a variety of design aesthetics. We had the opportunity to have a quick interview with Totem Road's Don Garvan to learn more about the company's ethos. Luna-Bed-2 Can you share with us what has led you to this point? When did you first begin Totem Road? Originally I wanted to create a range of timeless pieces that gave the consumer an option to have stylish simple designs that also embraced authentic sustainability. Totem Road was born out of my passion for great design, but also out of my love of authenticity. I have a genuine desire to create products that not only look amazing but also make a difference, socially, environmentally and ecologically. I first began working on Totem Road in early 2014. It took about 12 months to get the supply chain management to the highest possible standard I had been working in property marketing and noticed a real gap in the market for classic furniture that was also responsible to the earth. The Totem Road store finally went live to the public in August 2015, but in essence the story dates back to a lot earlier. I have worked with the furniture manufacturer since the mid 1990’s, it is family run factory in Vietnam. I have known them for a long time but this is the first brand I have done that is 100% sustainable in every aspect. Consideration for building a more sustainable future is now woven into every fibre of Totem Road. Luxa-Mirror-&-Bench How would you describe your creative vision for your collection? Totem Road is a furniture brand, but itʼs also a vehicle with a bigger purpose. Itʼs really about creating meaningful collaborations and connections that will hopefully ultimately raise peopleʼs awareness of their impact on the planet. All the products are designed in Australia and are very minimal, nothing is over-designed. Each product in the range has very classic lines whether it is a loft style bed or a large plank table with a raw finish. Our products are not designed to shout in an interior. They are quiet and peaceful. They lay the foundations for a sacred space and allow the individual to build their personal style around them. Luxa-Rectable-Dining-Table Can you explain the process of creating your collection, from your initial vision to reality? Working with our Creative Director Elaine Bellew who comes from a fashion background in magazine and as a stylist, we created simple designs here in Australia that we knew would work all over the world from Mumbai and Dalston to Manhattan and Bondi Beach. The designs take influence from classic mid-century design, traditional Japanese futons for the beds and the simple, functional ease of Scandinavian pieces. Everything honours the materials and aims never to date. Muse-Bed What do you think is the common factor across your creative output? Totem Road wants to change the world a little bit, by making beautiful objects that engage people with how things are made, what theyʼre made of and where those materials come from. Totem Road does this through it products, packaging, through the charity partners it gives back to from sale and through service delivery with green packaging made from recycled materials. Totem Road us 100% conscious of people’s time and people’s needs and of treading lightly on the planet. What is common across the brand is that we really fly in the face of consumer throwaway culture and want to play a role in educating consumers about their choice. Designed with love in Australia and manufactured in Vietnam - that’s it really. We try and keep it simple. Totem Road totemroad.com Luxa-Rectangle-Dining-Table--Grey Totem Road | Habitus Livingabc
Architecture
Homes

Bush House by Archterra

Diagrammatically, the simple rectangular bush house plan is separated east-west into sleeping and living zones, delineated by a change in floor level and a thick rammed earth wall that continues through the house into the outdoors. The rammed earth wall also defines the entry approach from the detached vehicle parking area. All rooms face north to take advantage of the warming winter sun, except the main bedroom which turns to face the southwest views and spectacular sunsets filtered through the vertical trunks of the surrounding tree canopy. The single bathroom enjoys the same orientation as the main bedroom and opens up to the bushland via a glass door, offering the experience of showering outside. Two decked areas provide alternative ways to experience the outdoors – one open overhead for winter sun and star gazing to the north, and a covered deck to the east for rain and sun protection. Bush-House-by-Archterra13 The roof plane rises up to the north to provide a view of the sky and treetops through cedar framed clerestory windows that provide a warm and tactile contrast to the clear anodised sliding door frames. Taking cues from the Californian cases study houses of the 40s, 50s and 60s, a 3.6m structural grid locates prefabricated steel frames that enabled the main support structure to be erected in a day, and for infill timber framing to be subsequently carried out by the owner-builder within these frames under the sun and rain protection of a single plane roof. The galvanised steel framing is expressed both internally and externally, creating a repetitive rhythm along the north and south elevations. The mottled patina of the galvanising continues to change as it ages. Environmental sustainability is intrinsic to the design: passive measures such as northern orientation, efficient cross flow ventilation paths for summer cooling and calculated eaves overhangs for warming winter sun penetration team with active measures such as power self sufficiency from a 3kW ground mounted solar array, a roof mounted solar hot water heater, and a worm farm blackwater treatment system that irrigates the garden with nutrient rich water. Bush-House-by-Archterra3 All decking is recycled jarrah, milled from large dismantled warehouse roof beams. Ceiling linings are Australian Hoop pine from plantation forests and are finished simply with linseed oil. The plywood ceiling continues outside to the decks and eaves to accentuate the indoor-outdoor feeling. The house employs a concrete floor slab for thermal mass, which has been simply machine trowelled smooth. Zincalume steel, rammed earth and glass were selected for external purposes to be largely self-finishing to minimise maintenance. Other cost saving measures that also provide a distinct design edge include a compressed concrete sheet island benchtop, old jarrah fenceposts used for internal steps, and formply joinery (also made on the workmate bench saw by the owner). Archterra Architects archterra.com.au Photography: Douglas Mark Black Bush-House-by-Archterra13 Bush-House-by-Archterra11 Bush-House-by-Archterra10 Bush-House-by-Archterra8 Bush-House-by-Archterra7 Bush-House-by-Archterra5 Bush-House-by-Archterra4 Bush-House-by-Archterra1abc
Architecture
NOT HOMES

Fred International: Scandinavian Living in the Heart of Sydney

The new showroom is opened following an extensive redesign that has reimagined the space as two hundred square metres of Scandinavian living in the heart of the city. Known as one of the country’s top distributors of Scandinavian design, Fred International turned to interior stylist Simone Haag and interior designer Angela Harry to transform the space into something modern and reflective of the culture of Scandinavian design. “The space consists of a series of large-scale dioramas, each telling their own story,” says Haag. “Segmenting the space in this way allows us to communicate numerous design stories while retaining a sense of clarity and calm. It’s also a beautiful way to demonstrate how different brands and differing materials can work together.” Fred International founder Michael Liira says that Fred International is his love of Scandinavian design personified, “We genuinely live and breathe Scandinavian design and culture. While nothing can compare to walking the streets of Stockholm, we think our new showroom is the next best thing for Australia’s design community.” 160222---FRED---SHOWROOM-6254 A growing collection of objet d’art gives the furniture and lighting a sense of purpose and ties the overall space’s design to the original intent of a living space, which is furthered with domestic visual cues, such as a traditional Swedish fireplace, and cosy living room. “Naturally, our priority was to showcase Fred International’s beautiful curation of furniture, and in doing so our choice of materiality was critical. Each piece has it own unique finish, so it was important that our choices enhanced the furniture, rather than overshadowing it,” says Harry. The Fred International headquarters is also based in the same space, with workstations now partially visible behind a detailed timber and glaze paneled wall. “By opening up the back-of-house, the Fred International team adds an important human presence to this very domestic setting,” notes Haag. Fred International fredinternational.com.au 160222---FRED---SHOWROOM-6214 160222---FRED---SHOWROOM-6189 160222---FRED---SHOWROOM-6127 160222---FRED---SHOWROOM-6098-Edit 160222---FRED---SHOWROOM-6044 160222---FRED---SHOWROOM-6012 160222---FRED---SHOWROOM-5947 160222---FRED---SHOWROOM-5937  abc
Design Products
Furniture

Ross Didier’s Intoxicating LIQUEUR Collection

With the sophisticated design sensibility that is expected in Ross Didier's work, the LIQUEUR collection is a series of tables that exudes sculpted grace and versatility. The conical base is composed of solid American oak and is complemented with elliptical shaped tops in a wide selection of sizes. The table top itself is available in an array of finishes, and the option to integrate power and data connections into the surface.

Ross Didier didier.com.au

Ross Didier - Liqueur Table | Habitus Living

Ross Didier - Liqueur Table | Habitus Living

Ross Didier - Liqueur Table | Habitus Living

abc
Design Products
Furniture

The Border Table: How minimal can you be?

Designed for Tokyo Designers Week in 2015, the Border Table is initially difficult to grasp as furniture. With furniture known for being designed as for mass production and mass use, a design like the Border Table stands alone. With this in mind, Nendo’s Border Table plays with the ideas between space and furniture. Walking a line between furniture and art exhibit, the table verifies how we are supposed to view design and usefulness. The mysterious tables are built using 5mm square metal rods, adorned with a small tabletops measuring a radius of 100mm. The design utilizes the elements of space and artistic expression as a part of structure, through what Nendo is calling a “parasitizing” of the table onto the corners or edges of the walls. This makes the table seem like an abstract sketch in the real world space of a room. Nendo nendo.jp Untitled-1 Untitled-2abc
Architecture

Gallery & Co.

Foreign Policy Design Group is one of Singapore’s most progressive design and branding agencies. Their latest project is Gallery & Co., a museum shop-cafeteria concept in the newly opened National Gallery Singapore. The project is conceived by newly formed partnership & Co., comprising restaurateur, hotelier and owner of Unlisted Collection Loh Lik Peng, Alwyn Chong of Luxasia and Foreign Policy Design Group’s founders Yah-Leng Yu and Arthur Chin. “Through projects that respect craft, creativity and the creative process, & Co. espouses an artful way of living by bettering lives through design,” says Yu. Gallery & Co | Habitus Living Gallery & Co. is the first manifestation of this venture, with the space and branding coming from Foreign Policy Design Group. It is housed in an 8,000-square-foot longitudinal space located within the National Gallery Singapore’s City Hall section on ground level. “Spatially, the design is divided roughly into three zones based on functionality: the main entrance retail which we call the Right Wing, the cafeteria section, and the retail zone in the Left Wing. Each [space] has its own language, but the overall intent is unified by a design that is lively, fresh and tropical,” says Yu. Gallery & Co | Habitus Living The spatial design is informed by Gallery & Co.’s branding concept of geometric shapes and primary colours, guided by the idea of the space as “an Entrepot of Visual Dialogues”. The rudimentary nature of these elements have also been drawn from the palette young children are first introduced to, according to Yu. Gallery & Co | Habitus Living And so entering from the Coleman Street entrance, visitors are greeted by the Right Wing’s “’blown up’ origami islands” – geometrically shaped display elements representing “the basic blocks of creativity and discovery,” describes Yu. The graphics on these origami-inspired pieces, as well as their placement, can be changed to suit exhibition themes and retail needs. Continuing the building-block language are four slanted black shelves that can slide back and forth, “adding dynamism to the space by steering the flow of traffic through the shop,” says Yu. Gallery & Co | Habitus Living A large display pegboard leads into the cafeteria, which offers an all-day dining menu of Southeast Asian flavours. Here, deconstructed wrought iron framed window elements, custom-made terrazzo tabletops and metal tube chairs present a modern spin on the traditional European cafe. Gallery & Co | Habitus Living In the Left Wing are three distinct retail zones: the first is for fashion wares, backed by a dichroic wall feature, and incorporating a counter run by Plain Vanilla café; the second is a monochromatic books and stationery zone called the “Black Woods”, which pays homage to the forests that are sacrificed for these tools of knowledge. The third zone for kids features a domed entry, an inviting play area, floating cloud-shaped display shelves and metal tube clothing racks that thoughtfully turn down so a child can reach them. Gallery & Co | Habitus Living Gallery & Co | Habitus Living Fresh, lively pastel shades inspired by colours found in kopitiams, the geometric floor tiles and blue-grey coloured columns unify all three spaces; in the cafeteria, the geometric floor tiles are a zesty mint green while in the retail zones, they are light grey but tiled differently to demarcate the different zones. Gallery & Co | Habitus Living Gallery & Co | Habitus Living Gallery & Co.’s fresh scheme is a youthful touch within the historic building’s more sombre and stoic shell. “This is so that visitors can enjoy the historic majesty of National Gallery Singapore’s architecture along with the light-heartedness and sunniness of our progressive contemporary island lifestyle – a facet of Singapore that I think is important to showcase to those from abroad who are coming by and visiting the Gallery,” Yu shares. Gallery & Co | Habitus Living This unique ambience, together with the thoughtful curation of products – from the most progressive fashion brands such as Maison Kitsune, to lifestyle products from Souvenirs from Singapore, and collaborations that include museum artwork-scented candles by Mud Rock – will no doubt impress tourists but also keep locals coming back. Foreign Policy Design Group foreignpolicydesign.com Photography by Jovian Lim  abc