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Designer Spotlight: Stormtech

Based in Nowra, on the South Coast of New South Wales, the history of Stormtech is a history of firsts. Founded in 1989 by John Creighton, Stormtech started out in the architecture and design industry producing simple slot drains. After a discovery by Creighton, Stormtech was the first to introduce linear drainage for shower areas to the industry – a breakthrough that heralded a bright and lasting future for the company. Some two and a half decades later in 2013, Stormtech was acknowledged in the USA at the Manufacturers Representative meeting as the founders of the first new plumbing category since the single lever mixer tap in the seventies. The following year saw the accolades continue, with Stormtech a Good Design Selection award, and saw the brand the first drainage manufacturer to apply for green credentials. Stormtech successfully passed and received the GreenTag™ certification across its entire Slimline series. No small feats! Especially for a company that originally started out in the shed of its founder John Creighton – a trained actuary blessed with a creative, inventive mind. In the last 25 years, the business has gone from strength to strength. Its success can be attributed to John Creighton’s determination in finding innovative solutions for builders, architects and designers, and also its solid foundations. From the beginning, Stormtech has been a family affair. John’s son Troy was involved from the very start, helping his father develop and shape his ideas and guide marketing. After years of playing an informal role, Troy officially joined the sales and marketing team in 2002, before finally taking over the management of the company in 2005. Stormtech_Heritage__2017_Opt-2 Today, Stormtech employs some two-dozen staff at its headquarters in South Nowra. While Troy and his wife Nicole are the only Creightons working in Stormtech today, it still retains a family-orientated company culture. According to Troy: “It is all about working together and doing whatever it takes to get the job done, which stems from Stormtech’s origins.” Despite international success, it is clear Stormtech is not one to forget its roots. Based out of Shoalhaven, Troy and his team are deeply aware of their place within the community and how integral the community has been in the company’s success. In 2015 Stormtech scooped two awards – Business of the Year and Excellence in Innovation – at the Shoalhaven Business Awards. The following year Stormtech sponsored the Excellence in Production Award at the Shoalhaven Business Awards. “In terms of population, Shoalhaven is a small area,” explains Troy. “Everyone working here is from this area so we wanted to acknowledge the support of the local community by promoting where we come from. Ultimately we wanted to show thanks for the support of the wider community.” Following in the footsteps of his trailblazing father, Troy is planning a future, where Stormtech will contribute to their region becoming a centre of excellence for the building supply industry. Stormtech_Heritage__2017_Opt Stormtech_Heritage__2017_Opt-27 Stormtech_Heritage__2017_Opt-28abc
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The Arcimboldo Defect

When it was first published in 1987, the Pontus Hulten edition of The Arcimboldo Effect celebrated the vegetal portraiture of Giuseppe Arcimboldo, an obscure Renaissance painter as “at once fantastic invention, complex political allegory, and profound metaphysical statement.” Most of us just saw kooky fruit and veg faces. What’s interesting in those portraits – besides the hilarious renderings of the Hapsburg courts of Vienna and Prague as future compost, which they were – is the imperfection of the produce itself. Amorphous cobs, gaudy gourds, truly gnarly tubers. In the pursuit of apparent perfection we’ve colluded in the over-design of our perishables at the peril of losing all taste. Agribusiness has hijacked nutrition in favour of perceived beauty and we’ve played along to our own detriment. In controlled tests, consumers consistently pick the prettier produce on offer. But as more and more people begin investing time, energy and money into private and community gardens, as a culture we’re going to have to become acclimatised to edible fuglies. In 2014, French supermarket chain, Intermarché launched its ‘Fruits et Légumes Moches’ (Ignoble produce) campaign to critical acclaim but consumer frustration, it seemed these unsightlies were not actually to be seen in many stores. In Australia, Woolworths followed suit with its ‘Odd Bunch’ campaign, and Harris Farm Markets with its ‘Imperfect Picks’. Thing is, most of the stuff on offer pays lip service to eccentricity while still being carefully graded within the bounds of established aesthetics. The message is strong, it’s where the market wants to go – but we’re not yet ready to abandon American beauty. Giuseppe Arcimboldo Habitus Living Fugly Fruit Stephen Todd Tony Amos Melbourne property developer Neometro has begun working with the 3000acres urban cultivation group to embed residential and community gardening into its multi-residential offerings. The success of the pilot initiative at the 9 Smith Street, Fitzroy, development in 2014 emboldened Neometro to incorporate community gardens into its prestige Jewell development in Brunswick, Fitzroy, from the ground up. Ellie Blackwood of 3000acres explains, “Our speciality is in accessing and activating vacant land belonging to the two main public utilities – VicTrack and Melbourne Water. We’ve set up an open-source mapping platform that enables users to locate available land for activation, and we’ve developed toolkits to streamline the application and management processes. Our mission is not to target the food-insecure since there are already agencies doing that job. Our role is to normalise food access and the activation of under- or non-used public land.” VicTrack and Melbourne Water both, according to Ellie, “see that what they have is an asset for the community,” but both are by nature risk-averse cultures. A large part of 3000acres’ job then is to minimize this perception of risk, and also to temper the sense of immediate, permanent change. 3000acres’ planting system involves modular, transportable tubs that can be easily shifted as need arises. “Since people are increasingly involved in growing their own produce they’re going to have to get used to imperfection in outcome, although we strive to give them a perfect experience of community and sustainability,” says Ellie. 3000acres was granted $170,000 seed funding from VicHealth. The Victorian Health Promotion Foundation which sees the cost benefit of ensuring healthy lives now compared to trying to remedy unhealthy ones too late. Alexandra IIjadica launched Sydney’s Youth Food Movement five years ago to address similar concerns. Put simply, “we realized that Millennials simply don’t understand where food comes from, the effort involved in getting food to our tables every day. How do you value something you can’t see? For most Millennials, food comes in packets, is readily available and relatively cheap. You don’t even really have to engage with produce apart from putting it in a microwave. No energy or thought is put into it.” So much of YFM’s focus is on education, with events like Meet The Maker where they bring farmers to town to talk about what they do all day, and answer questions – “some really basic, some sophisticated but in any case questions that need to be asked, and answered.” says Alexandra. The Youth Food Movement became actively engaged with the food chain last March, with the launch of its Waste Not range of sandwich spreads that double as flavour enhancers for soups and stews. Think Vegemite for the 21st century. All we need now is a new Arcimboldo. The truly pesticide-free, sustainably produced, mindfully packaged and marketed produce in these images was sourced through the very excellent Flame Tree Coop in Thiroull, NSW. Words by Stephen Todd Photography by Tony Amos This story was originally published in Habitus #36, the Nourish issue.abc
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Design Hunters

Neil Perry: The Fire Brand

Sixty-six Hunter at Bligh is the site of a most notable Art Deco building. When the scaffolding came down in 1936, Emile Sodersteen’s 12 storey City Mutual tower was crowned Sydney’s tallest skyscraper. The stoic granite façade, its black marble lobby, Rayner Hoff’s copper bas-relief above the entry riffing off Benzoni’s ‘Flight from Pompei’, everything marked it as a building apart. Today it’s notorious as the headquarters and flagship of the Rockpool Dining Group. As I clamber up the dozen or so marble stairs the tinkle of cutlery and stemware rolls out on breakers of glamour. Bevelled scagliola columns, green veined as fine Roquefort, rise to the triple-height ceiling as light filters in through tall, lead trimmed windows. But my destination’s not in there with the fine diners, not this time. This time I’ve been summonsed ten flights up to appear before the admiral of the Rockpool fleet, Neil Perry. In truth, I’ve known Neil for nigh on 30 years. As a young man trying to save up enough money to move to Paris, I got a job as a waiter at the first Rockpool, on George Street in The Rocks. It was 1989. Lunch was still a tax deduction and the crash of ’87 old news. The stock exchange was ravenous and all those Golden Boys, the young wolves needed somewhere to lunch. At Rockpool the Cristal flowed freely, as did the Château d’Yquem. The mudcrabs were so enormous patrons had to wear bibs to protect their Armani suits, men and women alike. But what was most extraordinary about that first Rockpool was the unabashed extravagance of the interior. A high temple to post-modernism devised by D4 Design’s Stephen Roberts, Bill MacMahon and Michael Scott-Mitchell, the bespoke up-lights were like silver satellite dishes transmitting diners’ magnificence. The gradated incline of the central ramp was a catwalk upon which the great and good could strut. Michael Hutchence slinked up it with Elle Macpherson, then with Kylie Minogue, then with Helena Christensen. Barry Humphries ambled up there, as did Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kevin Costner and Bill Clinton. Gough Whitlam ascended its heights, to be followed in quick succession by Malcolm Fraser, Bob Hawke, Paul Keating and John Howard. Everyone, but everyone wanted to be seen at Rockpool. Habitus Neil Perry Anthony Geernaert Habitus Neil Perry Anthony Geernaert “It was genuinely exciting to walk in there,” remembers food critic and author Jill Dupleix. “It was so theatrical, so glamorous, there was such a grown-up feeling about it. It was unlike anything that we’d ever seen in Melbourne or Sydney before. There was this immediate buzz. You actually did have to think seriously about what you were going to wear.” A few months before our meeting at 66 Hunter, in November 2016 Neil Perry confirmed the merger of his Rockpool Group with Urban Purveyor Group, a publicly traded entity backed by Quadrant Private Equity. American billionaire Greg Doyle relinquished his shares in Rockpool in the same deal, as Neil and his long-term business partner (and cousin) Trish Richards stepped up to executive positions on the board of directors of the newly christened Rockpool Dining Group. Add in the fact that Neil is also celebrating his 20th anniversary as creative director of food & beverage of Qantas, responsible for what goes into the stomachs of millions of passengers a year, and it’s safe to say that Neil Perry is the chef most Australians are likely to encounter at least once in their lives. It could be inflight, bound for one of Qantas’ 200 destinations around the world, eating beef from Neil’s own Cape Grim cows at one of the many Burger Projects across the country, or at any number of Saké or Saké Jr outlets – just some of the UPG operations Neil has taken under his expansive wing. Or it may simply be in the food hall of David Jones where he is busy overhauling the food & beverage offering of the world’s oldest department store. ST: Neil, so what exactly is your title these days? NP: Executive Chair of the board, Head of Culinary, Brands, Marketing and Training for Rockpool Dining Group. There’s the CEO, CFO and myself, on a line. ST: Gone, the long services slogging it out over a hot grill? NP: Mate, the way I look at myself, I have different parts of my career, but at heart I’m a restaurateur. I’ve had a large part of my career weighted in cooking and food, and I suppose that’s what I think is my great ability. I create menus that people enjoy eating. Some people are really awesome chefs but they don’t really create food that people want to eat. Habitus Neil Perry Anthony Geernaert Habitus Neil Perry Anthony Geernaert The light up here on the tenth floor of City Mutual tower issues from fluorescents embedded in a false ceiling composed of acoustic tiles. The desks and partitions are made of timber composite, the air is still, the only noise the rapid-fire clatter of keyboards. Neil’s carrying first class baggage under his eyes, but strangely doesn’t look tired. If anything, he looks fired up. At almost 60 years old and 90 days into a new business deal that sees him at the helm of an empire, he’s not so much finding his feet as he is kicking ass. His development plan involves 21 Burger Projects by the end of this year, between 50 to 70 in the country before long. A new seafood iteration of Bar & Grilled, called Wild to debut in Perth early 2018 ahead of national expansion. Rollouts of more Rockpool Bar & Grills across Australia. In effect, by integrating the various UPG outlets, Rockpool Dining Group will be leveraging 15 brands over 50 restaurants and “we could be at 80 restaurants in 2018,” Neil estimates. “For the next 10 years of my life I’m really excited about building this restaurant group to be not only one of the great ones in Australia, which it clearly is, but one of the great ones in the world. “For years, I’ve focused on building upon what you’d call my brand. But brands are essentially a recognition point. I can’t build a brand, but you can tell me I’ve got one. You can tell me, Oh, I have the most incredible memory of eating at Rockpool Bar & Grill. So if someone says Rockpool, I think quality, I think great service, I think brilliant wine. I tell the kitchen and floor staff now, it’s really important for them to understand clearly what they do because it’s the emotional side that people want to buy into.” ST: You tell the staff the message they need to convey? NP: Yes, at each level there’s a different message. ST: You didn’t tell us anything at Rockpool. NP: Yes I did, but you were always on drugs and drinking my Champagne. Habitus Neil Perry Anthony Geernaert Habitus Neil Perry Anthony Geernaert Times have changed since the heady 1980s, and along the way Neil Perry has had some fails. Restaurants have gone bust, partnerships fallen apart. But Neil, unlike many other restauranteurs around the world has not only survived, but thrived. Partly that’s due to his inherent understanding of the way a restaurant works. He began his career front of house in the early 1980s before setting his eyes backstage. Young, cute in a Yakuza kind of way and already sporting the trademark ponytail he wears to this day, he did a kitchen tour of the great Aussie eateries. “I spent almost a year working with Stephanie Alexander, Damian Pignolet, Gay Bilson, Tony Bilson. I started cooking around February and I launched out on my own at Barrenjoey House in November.” That was 1982 and Barrenjoey House, an hour’s drive north of Sydney is where Neil first started to make waves. By the time he opened the Bluewater Grill at Ben Buckler, North Bondi, in 1986 he was definitely one to watch. As Jill Dupleix remembers it, “Terry (Durack, her food critic husband) and I had come up from Melbourne, and we’d normally go to Berowra Waters Inn but we’d heard about this new place in Bondi and decided to go there for Sunday lunch. We got a table on the little balcony and ordered mango daiquiries, looked at each other and said, ‘So this is Sydney!’ Finally, someone was claiming our country, our land, our beach, our seafood, our backyard barbeque no bullshit style as a restaurant. Everyone was young and grinning and sipping mango daiquiries!” Then came Perry’s at the corner of Oxford and Queen Streets, Woolhara, something of a cursed, mock-gothic Victorian folly (Philip Searle would later break his teeth on the same venue under the banner of Oasis Seros). “The lesson I learnt at Perry’s is never name a restaurant after yourself, at least not so early in the game. That’s really important for me, although great chefs like Gordon Ramsey and Guillaume Brahimi have done it. But with Rockpool as my company name, I still own the name Neil Perry and I can always do other things. If someone had’ve said to me back then, ‘You’re going to sell this business and create another,’ I would’ve said, ‘No way. Josephine [Neil’s daughter with his second wife, Adele Seagar-Perry] is going to have this business when I die.’ But then I realized I could actually build a bigger, better brand, a restaurant group with capital and shareholders.” Today, Rockpool Dining Group is that bigger, better brand with capital and shareholders. Beyond his inherent understanding of restaurant as process Neil Perry has an evolved sense of restaurant as place. He has always excelled at creating memorable experiences – and he’s clever enough to know that means more than just what’s on a diner’s plate. It’s about the atmosphere in which the food is consumed, from the overture of entering the space to the entr’acte between courses to the coda of the final goodbye. His work with interior designers is testimony to that greater vision. D4’s radical configuring of that first Rockpool was otherworldly, off the charts. Stellar. Driven by the first Mrs Perry, Nicole Shrimpton, it’s the first time most of us had experienced Missoni jacquards padded as acoustic wall finishes, or a monolithic, bright yellow interior wall à la Louis Barragán. Or a loft-like oyster bar rag-rolled in murky blue-greens and shimmering silvers to recall the inside of a shell – in which the diner, to extend the metaphor, must be the pearl. Stephen Roberts’ iconic D4 Rockpool dining chair remains highly collectible to this day. Habitus Neil Perry Anthony Geernaert For the past decade, Neil has entrusted the elaboration of his dining rooms to one man, Grant Cheyne. Prior to establishing his own practice in 2009, Grant had worked with Philippe Starck then Andrée Putman in Paris and Takashi Sugimoto’s Super Potato in Tokyo. A period at Bates Smart, Sydney, lead him to Rockpool George Street during the firm’s recalibration of that interior in an attempt to capture a new dining public. The fantastical theatrics of yore were fine tuned to cleaner, leaner times, but nonetheless Rockpool closed its doors definitively in 2013. By then Grant and Neil had become partners in design. “I’ve no title within the Rockpool Group,” says Grant. “I’m my own entity, I just happen to do most work these days for Neil.” Grant’s most remarked work to date is perhaps 11 Bridge, the restaurant only blocks away from the original Rockpool tasked with communicating a new message about quality dining in casual times. The decision to create an all-black “more New York loft than a New York loft” interior (Grant’s words) had immediate impact and garnered the space and the architect a slew of awards. Neil’s recent decision to shut 11 Bridge and reopen it as the best Chinese restaurant in the land has meant that Grant has needed to reimagine the space yet again. “What was all black is now going to be all white,” he shrugs. “Easy.” Grant doesn’t just do the zwoosh, upmarket stuff. He’s hands-on with all iterations of the Burger Project, for instance, with its readily reproducible industrial aesthetic. (“Someone said of Burger Project that it reminded them of a Japanese carpark,” he relays with a laugh. “And I said, Perfect!”) as well as devising the suite of Saké offers from the ground up, at the same time as elaborating the inaugural Wild in Perth’s Burswood district which will be the template for a national rollout. “Neil’s had some tough times business wise in the past, and learnt a lot from that,” says Grant. “He has a lot of energy, a lot of ideas, and a great determination to show that he can do it. He’s loving the challenge of bringing these diverse dining experiences up to a better standard, putting them back on the right track.” ST: What’s the process of working with Neil Perry like? “He’s very good at doing a very succinct brief. He can explain to me in three sentences exactly what he wants. I respond to that and if it’s on track he’ll say, ‘I get it. Done’. For the new Wild restaurant, for instance, Neil said to me, ‘It’s about the best available, sustainably caught, regional seafood.’ So I interpret that it’s all about the essence. What wagyu beef was to Rockpool Bar & Grill, this extraordinary line-caught seafood will be to Wild. There’s something delightfully primitive about catching and preparing seafood. And I came back to him a few days later with the response: ‘It’s a bit like a really great restaurant in Santorini, isn’t it? ‘And he says, ‘Yeah, nailed it!’ So within a very short space of time we’re both on the same wave-length. What I brought to the table besides the Santorini idea, the warm and fuzzy on vacation vibe, was the idea of something really simple. Primal. For instance, the skeleton of the fish inspired me to do lighting and other textures based on filaments.” Habitus Neil Perry Anthony Geernaert Neil’s other collaborations with designers have been less terrestrial. Celebrating his two decade partnership with Qantas, this year is also the 17th he has worked alongside Marc Newson, whose critically acclaimed Skybed business class seat of 2000 segued into him designing the complete cabin fit out of the flying kangaroo’s fleet of Airbus A380s. “Neil has been pivotal to my experience with Qantas,” says Marc by phone from Tokyo. “Having a like-minded and experienced contemporary to work with has proved invaluable to so many aspects of my creative work for Qantas, from the very specific elements like crockery and cutlery to the greater inflight experience that we’ve worked so hard on.” Neil refers to Marc as “a colleague and friend”. “The great thing about Qantas is that it’s an incredibly loyal company,” says Neil. “I’ve been with them for 20 years, Marc’s been with them since 2000, David Caon worked with Marc on the A380 and now Marc’s passed the baton on to David to run solo. There’s longevity and between us we’re in it for the long haul to create memorable and lasting experiences for Qantas customers.” It’s that focus on continuity, longevity, consistency, that is making Qantas a global premium brand, as intrinsically authentic in the skies as it is upon the ground. CAON studio is located in Surry Hills, Sydney. It’s a tight family consisting of David Caon, his wife Jermamie Holtz who is studio director and client liaison and project manager on the Qantas account, and a handful of design assistants (including a staffie called Bagel). The degree of focus, the level of attention, the dedication to excellence is the essence they distill in service of the national carrier. To hear them talk about the mechanism of the new Premium Economy seat they designed in collaboration with Thompson Aerospace or about porcelain densities, or about the texture and complexity of a blanket is to witness wholistic design in action. “What I most enjoy about our workshops,” says David, referring to his collaboration with Neil, “is the constant discussion about how we can progress the experience for the passenger. Even after doing it for 20 years, he’s very open minded and willing to experiment.” Being open-minded and willing to experiment are the two tics that have lead to Neil Perry’s great success. He’s more than a restauranteur, better than a mere chef, greater than the sum of his own parts. When the dust finally settles on the Rockpool empire, we’ll be left with a massive bastion of incredibly well-designed, intrinsically thought-provoking establishments that encapsulate all the signs of their times. Words by Stephen Todd Photography by Anthony Geernaert This story was originally published in Habitus #36, the Nourish issue. Habitus Neil Perry Anthony Geernaertabc
Design Hunters

5 Minutes With ACME&Co

Out of all the categories at our inaugural Inde.Awards, The Prodigy is one we felt particularly passionate about because it honours the work of an emerging creative. And in an increasingly crowded market, where there are so many talented practitioners, it’s getting harder to make a name for yourself, especially amongst the older, longer-standing firms who are perpetually busy. However, it wasn’t only emerging talent we were seeking to celebrate – but a company that, with its extraordinary vision, is already pushing the boundaries of design and sparking trends. We had an impressive shortlist of nominees but in the end, the people voted for Acme & Co and we couldn’t think of a more deserving winner. The company was only set up in 2013 - by architect Vince Alafaci and his interior designer partner Caroline Choker, yet it already has an impressive portfolio of completed projects across a diverse range of sectors. And every single one is breathtakingly beautiful and bursting with character. We spoke to the pair to find out more about their company and its success so far…   What inspired you to set up a company together after running your own respective practices for some time? We started dating in 2011, but it wasn’t until we collaborated on a project opportunity two years later that ACME&Co was born. Both sharing a passion for design, we realised the potential of merging our respective disciplines, architecture and interiors. We work, live and play together, which works perfectly. What is it like working together? In the short life of ACME, what we have achieved in 4.5 years is incredible. Initially it was difficult, although we were both from design our two disciplines are very diverse; Vince’s approach was minimalist and pure with Caroline’s eclectic and layered. Collaborating on projects nurtured each other’s forte where today we have morphed into one unit creating holistic design solutions. It’s been a beautiful process of evolution. And we also need to acknowledge team ACME who has supported our vision. What is one of the most challenging projects you have worked on together? Archie Rose Distillery in Rosebery is probably the most challenging project to date. This project was the first distillery in Sydney since 1853. There was no precedent or planning codes that we could use as a benchmark. Also coordination of the distillation apparatus was technical. What was your favourite project to work on and why? Difficult question, we find it impossible to label any particular project a favourite. Each of our projects have been a fundamental part of the ACME journey. However, the most celebrated projects are The Grounds of Alexandria, The Grounds of the City, Archie Rose Distilling Co, Merivale’s Freds + Charlie Parkers. Since setting up your business you seem to have won some very lucrative jobs, what is it do you think that sets you apart from other similar practices? Our studio combines the realm of architecture and interiors, allowing us to explore ideas in multi-dimension. The results are spaces focusing on fundamentals of environment, spatial psychology and sensory patron experiences. What would you say are the main challenges facing the A+D industry today? Our profession essentially is about creating / managing projects including the interaction of relationships. The main challenge which the A+D industry / projects face is time – cost – quality. Each element is codependent and if one suffers then the project is compromised. Any tips for young aspiring architects or designers wanting to set up their own firm? The list is endless, but here are a few tips from our experience: Passion: is everything Perseverance: never give up! Risk: jump in the deep end, challenge and explore out of your comfort zone Experience: gain valuable practical and site experience with firms you aspire to be Knowledge: flex your skills and continue to learn everyday Finance: understand your value and charge accordingly Collaboration: team up with specialised people who can improve the result Conversation: share ideas with your colleagues, they have probably faced the same issues Transparency: fundamental with all parties involved at all levels of projects Educate: take your clients on the design journey, it boosts respect and adds value in projects Opportunity: make any obstacles opportunities Flexibility: adapt to any situation / program Evolve: in order to survive you need to remain relevant, continue to grow and seek innovative ways to solve problems Where do you draw inspiration from for your projects? Travel and life experiences. Each of our projects has a fragment of us at various phases of our lives. Inspiration is also collaborating with craftspeople and looking to them to facilitate our designs. We get lost in the nostalgia of how objects are sculpted by hand with skill and precision. How would you characterise the A+D industry in the wider Asia Pacific region? We are in an exciting phase. As creatives we constantly seek inspiration from abroad and the Asia Pacific region is pushing boundaries. In fact, from our recent travels, the globe is turning their attention toward us for design direction! How important do you think it is for global brands to get behind emerging talent? Unfortunately, emerging talent isn’t supported very much, which results in them seeking opportunities abroad. We need to nurture and invest in rising creatives through programs and sponsorships; Global brands could definitely facilitate by injecting capital behind this cause.   Indeed, there is a lot to be gained from global brands nurturing emerging talent and Cosentino, who sponsored The Prodigy award, offers a great exemplar. The world’s leading producer of technologically- advanced surfaces has several initiatives for fostering young talent, with its Future Leaders programme and Eduarda Justo Foundation, which have been running successfully for years. The Eduarda Justo Foundation comprises two types of scholarships with a special focus on those with more limited economic resources: The first offers international post-graduate scholarships to enable young people to pursue their studies at leading universities such as Harvard, Stanford or Columbia. The second, together with the United World College Foundation, offers two scholarships each year to study the International Baccalaureate at one of the 13 schools the institution has around the world. The Future Leaders programme, meanwhile, is for professionals who have already studied and worked in a relevant field for five years; helping develop talented individuals into either industrial or sales leaders. Candidates are mentored by one of the company’s directors and, after training is complete, will join Cosentino as Industrial Manager or General Manager in one of its centres or factories when a vacancy arises. Both schemes provide a great example of supporting rising talent to help people realise their full potential. There are a lot of emerging creative in our industry but, without the right support or opportunity, it’s often hard to break through or make a name for themselves. ACME&Co are living proof though that with enough passion, experience and perseverance, it is possible to set yourself apart from the rest and even win some of the most coveted contracts in the country! ACME&Co acme-co.com.au Cosentino cosentino.com  abc
Design Hunters

Que La Lumiere Soit!

Last January, the Maison&Objet design fair on the outskirts of Paris clocked up 85,000 unique visitors to its 11,000 square-metres of exhibition space incorporating 2,871 brands from 59 countries. In September, there will be at least one new addition. Sydney lighting designer, Alex Fitzpatrick has been knighted a Rising Talent and given a stand at what is one of the buzziest design furniture, lighting and tableware fairs on the planet. “The M&O organisers had seen pictures of my work and asked me to submit a portfolio,” recounts Alex, apparently still somewhat surprised. “So I sent in my lighting designs and a while later they came back with a Rising Talent award. I’m pretty stoked, to be honest.” Canadian-born, Alex was raised in Australia from the age of three, but returned to study Industrial Design at the University of Alberta, graduating in 2008. Returning to Sydney in 2010 he worked with a few architectural lighting firms while developing his own designs on the side. 2011’s Light Garden garnered him kudos and encouraged him to spend more time moonlighting than at his day job. Today, ADesignStudio is his passion and his profession. Alex Fitzpatrick Rohan Venn If he’s been on the local design radar for a few years (in fact, the Local Design radar too since he has exhibited with Emma Elizabeth as part of that collective) the M&O gig guarantees Fitzpatrick international exposure. The enquiries are already pouring in. “I’ve had emails from around the world, from a retailer in the Marais district, a distributor in China,” he admits. “But right now I am just focused on getting the presentation right.” As well as the modular Light Garden series, he will be showing iterations of his Eon pendants and the elegant Greenway drops, named for Francis Greenway, the convict architect who designed Australia’s earliest lighthouse. “It’s so exciting to be able to showcase my work to a whole new audience. Not only am I thrilled about the commercial potential of Maison&Objet, I am intrigued to learn how people overseas perceive my designs.” Maison&Object will be held at the Parc des Exposition at Paris Nord, Villepinte from September 8th to 12th. ADesignStudio adesignstudio.com.au Words by Stephen Todd. Alex Fitzpatrick Alex Fitzpatrick Rohan Venn Alex Fitzpatrick Rohan Vennabc

Merging Chaos And Order In Toorak, Melbourne

The Towers Road residence in Melbourne’s Toorak is an exemplary showcase of architects and landscape architects working palm in palm to create more than the bare minimum in physical attributes that forge a house. Rather, they’ve created an immersive site greater than the sum of its parts. The form and presence of this home can be described as nothing less than monolithic, an ancient-looking structure emerging out of a lush of wild vegetation. Woods Marsh Architects warp the built form into an impeding concrete sculpture. Pointed angles cut stark shapes into the skyline. In a building as contemporary and unconventional as this, the concrete material choice is essential to sooth the confronting form. The stone-like, natural look of the material, aided by the signs of weathering, allude to the natural world – ultimately comforting the form of the house and giving it an aged appeal. Contrasting the defensive street presence, the back exterior of this house is wrapped in full-length windows and sliding doors of glass. As though revealing the sliced middle of the greater building, the floor plan of the two storeys is opened up, offering prime garden views to the entire house. Toorak Towers Road Residence backyard The garden is truly as impressive as the structure itself, and both together express a poetic display of juxtaposition. Against the heavy, muscular concrete façade, the garden, created from Taylor Cullity Lethlean (T.C.L.) landscape architects, creates a luxurious escape from the built world. T.C.L. experimented in densely layered and patterned planting of sappy, verdant shrubbery. To the back, the garden is a seemingly wild concoction of evergreen, ground coverings and deciduous trees. A sense of discovery within this secret garden-styled outer world is created through the inclusion of arbours, stepping stones and winding pathways. The front garden scape is ornamented in a delicate foliage of Silver Birches to soften the frontage of the house. Without the colourful chaos of the garden, the house risks intimidation; and without the structure, the garden exudes a sense of wildness needing control. But together, they create an equilibrium of fluidity to randomness, an order to anarchy, a theatrical exposition of the relationship between the natural and man-made world. Taylor Cullity Lethlean Landscape Architects tcl.net.au Woods Marsh Architects woodmarsh.com.au Words by Ella McDougall Photography by John Gollings Toorak Towers Road Residence Toorak Towers Road Residence sun room Toorak Towers Road Residence garden Toorak Towers Road Residence garden Toorak Towers Road Residence exterior Toorak Towers Road Residence exteriorabc
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Fixed & Fitted

Bio, Where Technology And Nature Meet

Bringing together the technological prowess the Elica brand is known for and the natural tones of organic life, the Bio Island hood serves as a wonderful example of how design should accommodate the natural beauty of the world. The use of silk white colouring, combined with natural wood, makes for an attractive hood suitable for any number of contemporary kitchens. In modern kitchens, the hood becomes an important feature of design – serving a vital function in stovetop cooking, but also being an inescapable part of the visual landscape of the space. By combining the natural tones of the wooden world, and world-class technology, the Bio Island is a home run in both areas. The innovative Tune-White feature of the hood, allows you to regulate the tone of whiteness of the lighting, in order to adapt the hood light with other kitchen lighting, creating the best environment according to your changing taste and needs. This is operated by simple touch controls, and is delivered with other technologically advanced features, like tablet and smartphone integration, allowing the precise control of vapour release. These features, and the naturally efficient design of the Bio good, sees the piece joining the Elica Téchne product line – created to join design with the best of what technology has to offer. Finished with real oak veneer, and available with shelving to further tie it into the kitchen design, the Bio Island, and sister Wall product, are available in Australia through Residentia Group. bio_island_4new bio_island_3new bio_island_5new bio_island_6 bio_island_2new bio_island_main  abc
What's On

Painting Emotion On The Rough Edge Of A Palette Knife

It is naïve to assume that vibrant colour is reserved to express only moments of utopian joy and beauty. Jack Trolove’s paintings are a case in point; washing a brilliant botanical colour scape over canvases drenched in weighty human emotion. His paintings are an exhilarating marvel to behold, but the beauty of the colour does not diminish the intensity of the subject’s gaze, rather it illuminates and awakens it. Within the fat smear of exuberant pigment, Jack masterly – magnificently – expresses a subtlety of emotion, played out through tensions in tone and shade. Upon graduating from Massey University with a distinction in fine arts, Jack was a finalist in the 2016 Wallace Art Awards and winner of the People’s Choice Award, as well as being short-listed for London’s BP Portrait Award. Jack’s work is recognised internationally in public and private collections across New Zealand, Australia and Europe. Jack Trolove paint Jack currently lives in Wellington, where his practice is based. His studio is a source of inspiration itself; a disused air force building on Shelly Bay, now converted into a light-filled and splattered painting space. Remarkably, Jack’s own grandfather used to dine within the officer’s mess, now invigorated with a mess of Jack’s own creation. There is an overtly physical element to Jack’s work and practice. Paint is applied wet and thick, built quickly up and over itself to construct rather than merely illustrate the image. And the result is the projection of character that is rich and nuanced – something quite remarkable, cast from the rough strokes of pure abstracted colour. The physicality of his work is extended onto his audience. From afar, his paintings delineate raw human emotion, whilst close up, they transition into tactile, sculptural works that celebrate the quality of the paint. His works, thus, invite a certain choreography from his viewers as they move closer in and further away. Jack Trolove paint Jack’s recent work, open for exhibition in August within Whitespace Gallery, Auckland, explores the physical body as an embodiment of more than its own flesh. His practice becomes an act of remembering, whereby memory is replicated via material, expressing a sense of almost-ness and in-between-ness in his work. “I’m exploring the body’s skin as a seal for holding stories using thick skins of paint to create human skins that are shed, broken and resealed during a simultaneously figurative and abstracting painting process,” he says. The palette knife bastes a ripe rainbow that shifts from expected fleshy tones to sudden fluorescent bursts. And up close, Jack’s work is a jellybean assortment of unadulterated colour. Yet, edging backwards, you can see the method to the madness, the careful hand guiding the coarse dashes of paint. And suddenly, the vibrancy of the colour transforms into manifestations of emotion – depicting human faces in all of their splendour, as well as their sadness. Jack Trolove’s solo exhibition at Whitespace Gallery in Auckland opens September 26th 2017 Tue-Fri 11-5pm, Sat 11-4pm Whitespace Gallery 12 Crummer Road, Ponsonby, Auckland Jack Trolove jacktrolove.com Words by Ella McDougall Jack Trolove new works Jack Trolove Jack Trolove paint Jack Trolove studioabc
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On Point: The Aspect Furniture Range from Room by Room

As artists, creatives, designers and design enthusiasts we’re often asked whether we design for ourselves, or design for our clients/the market. For some, the question is tormenting. As a writer and design enthusiast, I’ve certainly posed the question a few times myself. While some may find it one to carefully tip toe around, I’m genuinely compelled by the thought. And I don’t believe there’s a right or wrong answer. Jessica White of interior design studio Room By Room doubles as a furniture designer and her debut range, Aspect, has recently caught our attention at Habitus. Aspect bench styled Room By Room The collection, which is comprised of a handful of delicate designs, is in large part designed for herself – and she’s happy to admit it. But she is also informed by an interest in changing interior patterns as well as consumer behaviours and requirements. “I design for my own aesthetic, but the function is based on what I feel my clients would want and need in their homes,” says Jessica. The two concepts can’t be that dissimilar as many of her designs are scattered through her own home. Not too long ago when she was working in Paris for the interior design company Mis en Demeure, it was part of her role to design bespoke pieces of furniture for her clients. As was customising pieces to clients’ needs from the studio’s existing collection. So jumping into product design for Room By Room didn’t seem like such a jump: “I think product and furniture design is a natural extension for most interior designers and architects.” Aspect stool cushion Room By Room Despite the light and airy nature of the Aspect range, the materials used – namely American Oak and brass – in fact render the pieces surprisingly weighty. “I love these materials because they don’t need any manipulation,” says Jessica. Not to mention the grace with which they age. And while local manufacture might not be the most cost-effective route, it’s certainly the most rewarding for Jessica. It was important to her morally, sustainably and for quality assurance, to work locally. “When I began the prototyping phase I did not see my furniture being mass-produced; having a local craftsman make the pieces was always going to be the first step,” she says. “They put their heart and soul into everything and I feel like I can also put my trust in them to produce the best versions of my designs.” She learnt by doing, and leads by example. Perhaps that’s why her designs feel so genuine. Room by Room roombyroom.co Words by Holly Cunneen Photography by Eve Mackay Aspect bench cushion Room By Room Aspect stool styled Room By Room Aspect stool no cushion Room By Room Aspect shelves close Room By Room Aspect shelves detail Room By Roomabc
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A Joyful Home for Robert Puksand

The 1970s was a bit of a crazy time in more ways than one, particularly when thinking about design. Flagrant use of colour, absorbing patterns and bounding shapes. For a while there, everything went a bit wild. But the 1970s zeitgeist was joyful. How can you not enjoy yourself in a setting that, with or without you, is already having fun? The Field House takes notes from this buoyant era of design and renders it – calms it slightly – to better suit the more sleek sensibilities of the present day. You can expect no lesser daring design in the home of architect Robert Puksand of Gray Puksand interior, architecture and design studio. Robert and partner Joanne were enjoying their newfound empty-nester freedom when they decided to downsize. Having their children now – to some degree – out of the picture, the couple were able to realign what it is that they want and need – and what kind of setting in which they would like to enjoy their day-to-day. Field House Robert Puksand dining room Field House Robert Puksand lounge room The brief Robert had for himself was to create a ‘happy house’; a space that inspires a youthful giddiness and curiosity as it guides you throughout. The igniting vision for the design came from Robert and Joanne’s combined love for the arts. The concept was for the house to break away from conventions, to not only hold pieces of art but also become a living sculpture itself. The role of the physical structure, then, is expanded beyond a mere shelter to become an interactive entity that directly affects the residents; as Robert muses, “music can make you happy, why shouldn’t architecture be asked to do the same?” Although located on a small Melbourne block, it was important for the interior spaces to feel open and generous. To achieve this, Robert adhered to an open plan design, minimising the amount of closed off spaces – creating an altogether more interconnected space. Robert’s mother was an artist and he grew up with a keen interest in painting. Now able to freely move his passions out from the backburner, the house includes a top floor studio space. Field House Robert Puksand kitchen Field House Robert Puksand open plan Not a pair to spend this next chapter of their lives tending to the garden, playing tennis and cleaning the kitchen, Robert and Joanne leant towards convenient and easy to maintain materials. Durable and easy to clean, polished concrete flooring flows throughout the interior spaces, while granite paving is used outdoors for it’s virtually indestructible nature. The kitchen also aims to free the couple from hassle and clutter. Reflecting a modern interpretation of this room as a liquid and flexible space, the kitchen in the Field House is fully integrated for a seamless look. Deep brown veneer cabinetry balances an elegant appeal to offset the magnetic orange island bench, which itself is transformed into a more sculptural element. Blinded by the persistent run-around of raising children, one can too easily lose what it is that they want, or even like. And in the context of home design, living in a space that isn’t suited to you can affect every area of your life. In the case of Robert and Joanne, their children moving out was a catalyst for the pair to re-examine their own space, rather than just their clients. And much alike the 70s era itself, the couple threw caution to the wind; enlisting bold colour and form to create a space that celebrated their new chapter of freedom and fun. Gray Puksand graypuksand.com.au  Words by Ella McDougall Photography by Shannon McGrath Field House Robert Puksand backyard Field House Robert Puksand Joanne Puksand Field House Robert Puksand dining room Field House Robert Puksand study Field House Robert Puksand staircase Field House Robert Puksand bathroom Field House Robert Puksand bedroom Field House Robert Puksand garageField House Robert Puksand exteriorabc
Design Hunters

Sydney’s World Design Capital Bid Is Public And Gaining Pace!

Thanks to combined efforts, urgent requests and loads of stoic patience, Sydney lodged a bid in Montreal overnight to be declared World Design Capitalin 2020. Today and tomorrow, a select group of Sydney’s design community will host Dilki de Silva, Secretary General of the World Design Organisation and Gianfranco Zaccai, chair of the selection panel, in a move to begin the official evaluation stage and further plead our case to be awarded the World Design Capital title. For the occasion, the committee are putting together a 2-day itinerary that both puts the city in context, and places a focus on our bid. A big part of this is showing the solid support we have behind from across Sydney and across sectors. Committee member and architect Tim Horton notes that: “A special thanks to the guys at Frost* Collective who have crafted a bid document that embodies the Sydney we know – grounded in colours of ochre, eucalyptus and coastal-blue; supported by your work that shows Sydney-siders come in many shapes, sizes and backgrounds but all share our blue waters, green space and big sky.” He further emphasises that, “Thanks to your collective efforts we have around 70,000 words that showcase design across all scales and disciplines,” says committee member and architect, Tim Horton. “We also have a detailed summary of Sydney’s emergency management procedures, a thorough explanation of the transport networks and a handy inventory of hotel choices across the metro area. Additionally we’ve begun the process of weaving the narrative that emerged at the January workshop in to the theme, and the program.


The team behind the initiative welcomes everyone into the CBD from 4pm today and tomorrow to show your support, and share your experience using the #SYD #WDC2020 hashtags.

Can’t make it in? You can check out the media on the bid HERE or follow the journey through the official campaign Instagram and Twitter

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7 Essentials for Timber Flooring in the Kitchen

Presented by Tongue n Groove

  Choosing the right timber flooring for your home is often a very time-consuming and stressful task. From solid timber to engineered timber to parquetry… the list is all consuming and we haven’t even gotten to the colour or the finish yet. So here are our 7 must-dos for those who are about to jump on the hard-flooring bandwagon. Have you thought about them all yet? bg_gallery_graupa_11

1: Types of Hard-Flooring

Deciding on which type of hard flooring you want for your space is an incredibly important decision. Not only does it function as the foundation for your home but often houses kids, animals, undergoes daily water and food spills and suffers decades of foot traffic and wear. So which type of flooring is best for you? While laminte, high-polish concrete, tile or travertine all maintain benefits and provide sometime costly and sometimes cost-effective flooring solutions for the kitchen, all vary in application and performance. Concrete will continually crack, laminate will remain water resistant and inexpensive it loses points in the endurance department, and travertine will hang on to those stains and scratches for eternity. But… timber. The classic when it comes to hard flooring, timber’s allure is hard to deny. With the ability to transform a room from light and minimal to warming and luxurious, timber is the favourite of many. Lasting over 100 years and able to be sanded every seven or so years, timber is a perfect long-term option. With a huge range of styles, colours, cuts and finishes there is a timber to fit every kitchen. The downsides? Timber can scratch and dent, has to be applied onto joists or sub floors and often requires rugs or additional runners to absorb sounds if heard underneath. Even the classic has to have a downside. That said, if you’re looking for a hard-floor that’s going to add value to your property, last well beyond your own lifetime and look good – timber flooring is your best bet.

 2: Styles of Wooden Floors

So, you’ve decided you want timber flooring but don’t know where to go from here? Next step is to consider which type of timber is best for you; solid timber, engineered timber, recycled timber, special finishes, parquetry, the options are endless. Collect a group of images of your favourite timbers and show your specialist. You will be able to take a sample book home with you to see how they fit in your space to help you make your final decision.

3: Subfloors

When installing hardwood flooring it is vital to understand the foundation it is going to be laid down upon, as this can determine which flooring you can and cannot use. There are three main types of subfloors: concrete, plywood and particleboard. If your subfloor is concrete you will mostly be limited to engineered timber, however there are ways around this. If desired, plywood can be installed above the concrete to allow for other flooring options however this can be very costly. If you have plywood you are in luck. Being the most common form of subfloor, plywood allows for all forms of timber flooring. If your subfloor is particleboard, you are going to have to lay down a layer of plywood above if you are hoping to install hardwood flooring, as particleboard is more commonly used under carpeted flooring.   bg_gallery_sienna_3

4: Acclimatisation

It is important to consider how your flooring is going to acclimatize to its environment. When it comes to timber flooring it is vital to consider moisture content. Precision Flooring exclaims most timber floors sit around the “average mark of between 10-12.5% moisture content, often with a few percentage points above or below”. To minimize movement of timber flooring from swelling or shrinkage due to different moisture levels it is important to get the right fit for your space. In coastal areas where humidity is higher, boards sit between 9-14% moisture content.

5: Grade Selection

Most timber floors are available in two grades however some are available in three, Select, Standard or Feature. When three grades are available the third relates solely to the timber’s exaggerated natural characteristics such as insect holes or gum vein. Select grade is generally clearer than Standard, however some natural markings may still be noticeable. Standard grade is accentuated by a large number of gum veins, spirals, shakes and marks left by forest insects, ensuring that no two pieces of timber are the same. Put simply, Select Grade gives a more contemporary feel and Standard Grade offers a more natural and rustic look. For those wanting an exaggerated rustic look, Feature Grade is best.

6: Movement

As noted earlier, as timber flooring is a hygroscopic product and moves with the changes in moisture it is vital to consider issues such as movement or cupping. The wider the board, the more likely it is to show cupping or movement. If your space is especially dry or damp, opt for a smaller board in order to best minimize this. So, what exactly IS cupping you may ask? Cupping is a “ripple like effort that is a result of the top of the boards being drier than the bottom. When dampness under the floor is picked up via your boards, the boards expand. This may be a hassle and frustrating, especially if your boards are relatively new but resist the urge to automatically sand a floor flat due to cupping. Instead of band-aiding the solution, solve the core issue of the heightened moisture; this will prevent it from happening again.   TNG_GraupaEterno_bathroom

7: Maintenance

It is vital to take good care of your hard flooring if you want it to last long-term. Here are some things to consider when taking care of your timber floor.
  • Make sure to clean off dirt and grit regularly to avoid it scratching your floor. A regular sweep of your flooring and the use of small rugs and runners is the best way to take care of your floor and make sure it lasts a lifetime.
  • Moving furniture or heavy objects across the floor can lead to surface damage. Always make note to apply protective pads to the legs of furniture so they can be moved without the risk of scuffing the floor. Take extra care when wearing or removing high heels as they can dent any hard surface floor.
  • To remove ground-in dirt and grit, use a damp mop to clean the floor. A positive emulsion cleaner made specifically for timber floors should be used as it will protect the floor’s surface seal.
  • It is vital that the mop used to clean your floor is wrung out to ensure as little solution as possible touches the floor. Over-wetting the floor can change the moisture balance as discussed above and cause the boards to expand. In some cases this can lead to cupping.
  • Wipe up all spills with a dry cloth or paper towel. For sticky substances, moisten cloths slightly. Make sure to clean floor regularly to keep it looking better for longer.

Tongue n Groove has worked with some of Australia’s leading architects and designers to create an inspired palette of colours and finishes, all treated with natural oil to allow for easy maintenance.

But the beauty of their range of products extends beyond surface appeal. Unlike most engineered timbers, which are made of layers of ply under a timber façade, Tongue n Groove products comprise 3 layers of solid European oak. Using state-of-the-art engineering methods, the layers are bonded together to provide exceptional stability and durability.

To bring a new lease on life for your home, make sure you get in touch with your local Tongue n Groove expert in Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne. Click here.