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

Happenings

Launching The Composites Collection At the Botanic Gardens

Sydney's Botanic Gardens Restaurant played host to the exclusive VIP launch event, which saw Greg Natale's Composites Collection set out against the gorgeous vistas of the gardens. The collection is a new range of hand knotted rugs from Greg Natale and the team at Designer Rugs. Complementing Greg’s recent Composites Collection of Bisazza glass tiles, the collection of hand-made rugs sees Tibetan Wool and lustrous bamboo together with an exciting and playful aesthetic.

For those not lucky enough to attend the launch in person, take a look below, and be sure to check out our chat with Greg on the new designs, and his ongoing partnership with Designer Rugs.

[gallery ids="60098,60099,60100,60101,60102,60103,60153,60104,60105,60106,60107,60108,60109,60110,60111,60112,60113,60114,60115,60116,60117,60118,60119,60120,60121,60122,60123"]abc
ADVERTORIALS
Design Accessories
Design Products

Chatting with Greg Natale, Designer of the Composites Collection from Designer Rugs

Above: Vapour The Composites Collection is a new range of hand knotted rugs from Greg Natale and the team at Designer Rugs. Complementing Greg’s recent Composites Collection of Bisazza glass tiles, the collection of hand-made rugs sees Tibetan Wool and lustrous bamboo together with an exciting and playful aesthetic. Greg’s history with Designer Rugs goes back to one of our own events, where he “won a lucky door prize that included the opportunity to design a custom rug,” Greg says on his partnership with the brand. “This was really the start of our long standing partnership. I presented a few ideas to Yosi, the company’s MD and he saw the potential for a collection there. It would later come to market as The New Regency Collection of hand-tufted rugs.” Now, several years and collaborations later comes the Composites collection. Comprising eight daring new designs, the collection expands on Natale’s offering of patterned floor coverings with a new take on his established aesthetic. “The rugs may not scream “Greg Natale” in the traditional sense, but I can tell you now I have already used each of these in an interiors project, so that certainly says something! I look forward to sharing these projects in my new book, released through Rizzoli in 2018. “The truth is, that as much as my collections do play with geometrics and contrast, I have always been an avid user of organic motifs. I’ve always used organic patterns to contrast and work back with geometrics – it’s a big part of my interior design work – creating that visual tension. In these rug designs, as with my mosaic tile range for Bisazza and my bedding and homewares lines, I have started to release my own organic patterns that I can use against all the geometrics that I’ve been loving using. The idea of evolving the look is very consciously happening but it’s still very much in keeping with my aesthetic.” Designer_Rugs_Greg_Natale_Onyx_01 Onyx The range is a real achievement in movement and colour in rug design, and is available now through Designer Rugs in Australia and New Zealand, marking a great ongoing collaboration of design between Greg and the brand. “Designer Rugs is a family business, and I warm to that,” he says on the ongoing relationship “I like that Eli and Yosi Tal, who founded the company, are still active in its daily running. My partnership with their business is now an extension of that. It’s like I’m part of the family when we’re together.” Designer Rugs designerrugs.com.au Designer_Rugs_Greg_Natale_Fragment_03 Fragment Designer_Rugs_Greg_Natale_Hide_04 Hide Designer_Rugs_Greg_Natale_Dapple_02 Dapple Designer_Rugs_Greg_Natale_Ink_01 Ink Designer_Rugs_Greg_Natale_Malachite_01 Malachite Designer_Rugs_Greg_Natale_Moire_01 Moire  abc
Architecture
Homes

Italian Design, Down-under

Just 3km from Melbourne’s CBD, the enviable suburb of Albert Park couldn’t be more central to the buzz of city life, yet it remains a peaceful area characterised by wide streets, heritage buildings, open-air cafes and parks. And now home to one of the most stylish kitchens on the block. Before the kitchen went in to the clients’ Victorian home, the allocated space required a complete overhaul. The ceiling was lowered, a fireplace removed and a new tiled floor was laid. Rogerseller’s in-house design team designed the entire kitchen, tailored to the clients’ needs. Two structural pillars had to be cleverly concealed with false panels to create a continuous flowing wall of cabinetry eight metres long; this meant the builder had to chase back the brick work to allow the plinth to run straight through. Rogerseller Kitchen The kitchen itself is from the Artematica range by Italian manufacturer Valcucine and, although it is a completely contemporary solution with sleek, clean lines and handleless doors, it still sits beautifully amidst the property’s classic architecture. This is thanks to a winning combination of timeless materials with a sophisticated colour palette for a design that won’t date. Rich, warm walnut adds an element of luxury to the scheme and complements the rustic-looking dining furniture, which is more traditional in style and tips a nod to the building’s heritage. It also creates a striking contrast alongside the matte grey glass. Rogerseller Kitchen Large-format tiles flow underfoot for a clean, minimalist look, which is further augmented by sleek, curvaceous tapware, slimline door panels and built-in appliances. Even the extractor sits flush with the ceiling. Valcucine kitchens don’t just look good; they are built with sustainability in mind, and created to last well into the future. Rigorous research and development have made them both one of the most user-friendly and future-friendly brands on the market. Artematica is the first kitchen door in the world to have a 100% aluminium structural frame. This makes the door extremely resistant to humidity, water, heat and impacts. It’s also 100% recyclable, uses 65% less materials than a standard door and thanks to its unique joining system, uses no toxic glues which means that you can take your kitchen with you when you move. Similarly, Valcucine drawers employ technology developed in the automotive industry to withstand a lifetime of frequent use. The sturdy, concealed carbon-finish runners glide silently and close softly - even when filled with a heavy load – to ensure no unnecessary disturbance to the Zen that this kitchen creates. RTP-1268-035 We love the additional prep area too, which is tucked in the corner, so someone can wash up or help with the cooking without getting in the way of the main work zone. Double glass doors overlooking the landscaped garden add a final flourish. Perfectly placed, the doors allow natural light to spill through for the ultimate relaxing view whilst cooking. The result is a warm, welcoming room with a stylish kitchen that works hard beneath its calm exterior so the homeowners don’t have to. Rogerseller rogerseller.com.auabc
Architecture
Homes

More Timeless Than Modern

You can be forgiven for believing the old trope that in exchange for moving into the city, you must surrender a life that harks back to the past generations who enjoyed a strong connection living with and yielding from the land. Even in the tightly compressed urban cities within Vietnam, green spaces are entirely possible. Although to find them you will have to look upwards rather than outwards. The Binh House by Vo Trong Nghia Architects in Ho Chi Minh City is a gorgeous intersection between modern and traditional connotations of Vietnam. Undeniably contemporary in visual presence, the odd stacked vertical levels could not be farther from the more historical stilt houses. Yet it is these lopsided cut outs that create pockets of garden, offering spaces to grow fruits and vegetables, and retain a sense of connection to the natural world. Vo Trong Nghia Binh House Dining Room The colour and vigour of the peeking foliage interwoven through the façade softens the intensity and industrial look of the exterior concrete. The ingenuity of the open-cut windows is in their ability to transform the natural world – the plantings and the sky beyond – into artistic ornament while maintaining a minimal aesthetic. Moreover, these windows act to segment the building and establish a far more human-scale and friendly structure. The house holds a family of three generations. The design considers both the similarities and differences of the resident’s lives. Creating flexibility for the use and connection between spaces was paramount to the design. The living, dining, bedrooms and studies are able to be continuously opened up, shifting the flow-through and sightlines within the house. This can shift the relationship of rooms onto one another, offering the simultaneous possibility of closing one’s space off or opening up to the rest of the house; creating a living environment that responds to your emotional state. Vo Trong Nghia Binh House Living Room Environmental concern within the design of any house is increasingly significant, but particularly within the sticky tropical climate of Vietnam. It was important for the family that the house would be easy and cheap to maintain, and that the design would integrate natural cooling systems to avoid hefty air conditioning costs. The protruding levels of the house and cut outs appease this concern. The gaps in the façade and house centre allow ample light and ventilation into every room. While the peculiar dimensions of the house ensure that as the urban location continues to develop, the house will retain open-aired spaces and ventilation. Despite the unquestionably contemporary look of the Binh House, it is the integration of inherently human elements – the strategic interaction with nature and flexible spaces – that creates a house that is timeless rather than merely modern. Here is a house in which one can escape the city to reconnect with the natural world, family and a more quiet way of life native to generations passed. Vo Trong Nghia Architects votrongnghia.com Words by Ella McDougall Photography by Hiroyuki Oki and Quang Dam Vo Trong Nghia Binh House Library Vo Trong Nghia Binh House Bedroom Vo Trong Nghia Binh House Bedroom Vo Trong Nghia Binh House Treebox Vo Trong Nghia Binh House Treebox Vo Trong Nghia Binh House Streetscape Vo Trong Nghia Binh House Street Frontabc
Architecture
Places

No-Fuss Fabulous Dining in Hong Kong

Allen Lin is a champion of design. Owner of popular Hong Kong dining group The Night Market, he isn’t letting his day job stand in the way of his passion. Each restaurant has become a means for Allen to enlist the help of world-renowned designers to experiment in merging a more high-end aesthetic with his popular no-fuss dishes. This collaborative thinking, inviting art and design in an accessible form and frequented public space, flows throughout the entire restaurant concept. From the larger elements such as the interior design and furniture to the smaller elements of artistic features and tableware, each one of The Night Market’s three restaurants exhibits an international cast of celebrated products and stylings. The Night Market Hong Kong Adam Goodrum seating For Allen’s latest restaurant in Cityplaza Mall, he enlisted the help of two of Australia’s local favourites; interior designer and creative director of Melbourne’s DENFAIR Alexi Robinson and esteemed designer Adam Goodrum. Alexi had previously worked with the restaurant group on their past sites and was brought back with Adam to further develop the unique styling of the eatery. The Cityplaza restaurant pulls on the eye-catching turquoise accents that continue through each site. The colour is bold and rich, adding joy to the space. To soften the intensity of the colour while maintaining fluidity, it is used across a mix of textured surfaces; including on a vertical design that extends the perceived height of the room, as well as on an iron metalwork feature. In keeping with the broader concept behind The Night Market, the inclusion of this 3D iron element alludes cast iron garden furniture, often associated with a high-class culture. The play on this referential material in a fun and youthful turquoise strengthens the marriage of the upmarket and accessible that underpins the restaurant’s branding. The Night Market Hong Kong Adam Goodrum lighting “It's been an enjoyable new approach for both of us, two very independent designers with different backgrounds and insights into engaging on a human level,” says Adam Goodrum. “The project in Hong Kong was a great opportunity to tap into local manufacture to help build a contemporary narrative around traditional Taiwanese street food.” Mollifying this exuberant turquoise is the clever use of a softer carrot-toned upholstery. While still warm and bright, this colouration acts to step down the strength of the accent colour and transition more subtly to the nude timbers. The use of this natural wood adds a gorgeous texture, proudly exhibiting its knots and veins. Alexi and Adam have seamlessly blended the comforting qualities of natural materials with a vibrant palette that builds excitement back to the ensuing food. Alexi/Adam was formed in 2016 by interior designer Alexi Robinson and industrial designer Adam Goodrum as a platform for collaboration, offering a unique and unified approach to interior design that rethinks the creative process around object and space. The Night Market thenightmarket.com.hk Words by Ella McDougall Photography by Jonathan Leijonhufvud The Night Market Hong Kong Adam Goodrum seating The Night Market Hong Kong Adam Goodrum booths The Night Market Hong Kong Adam Goodrum 3D Walls The Night Market Hong Kong Adam Goodrum colourabc
Design Hunters
Conversations

Polishing The Next Generation Of Architectural Gems

Architect Glenn Murcutt’s designs have reverberated a distinctly Australian architectural vernacular throughout universities, coffee books and studios the world over. Arguably – but convincingly – the country’s most internationally acclaimed architectural export; Glenn continues to forge the way for local architects while simultaneously helping to define the elusive Australian design aesthetic. For the past 40-odd years Glenn has built a repertoire of over 500 structures, all centred from a deep appreciation of the built space’s connection to the natural environment. Outside of the textbooks and lecture theatres, Glenn’s influence on architecture is realised in the eponymous Glenn Murcutt International Masterclass. Since its inception in 2001, the two-week design studio program invites in practicing architects and senior students from more than 75 countries for an intensive exploration into Glenn’s own practice and contemporary architecture. Besides, Glenn himself, who supposes a teacher/ overseer role across the work of all participants, the masterclass boasts a lineup of the country’s brightest architectural minds; Peter Stutchbury, Richard Leplastrier, Brit Andresen and Lindsay Johnston. Dissected into two weeks, the masterclass begins at the Arthur and Yvonne Boyd Education Centre, on the Shoalhaven River south of Sydney. Here Glenn delves into his own backlog of exceptional works, talking through his own creative process and hosting private tours of his most distinguished projects. It is in the second week where the students are able to put practice to paper. Hosted this year at Eco Outdoor’s expansive showroom in the artistic Sydney suburb of Waterloo, Glenn guides the architects as they undertake projects; drawing, sourcing materials and generating models. These projects are critiqued and workshopped by Glenn and his supportive team of Australia’s own ‘starchitects’. The collaboration between luxury surface and furniture brand Eco Outdoor with the Architecture Foundation Australia in hosting the Glenn Murcutt International Masterclass comes as no surprise for a company edged to the point of pioneering design. Previously, Eco Outdoor has worked with university students, coordinating tours of their own showrooms and training sessions on the art of specifying stone and the possibilities of this material in contemporary architecture. It comes as no surprise that Australian design is so deeply rooted in a profound connection to place, environment and history. In etching out the contemporary designs geared towards the future, local architects have to first appreciate what already exists. This means a collaborative effort between suppliers and thinkers; all united by their understanding of the country’s natural materials and inherent beauty. And alike the layers of earth building onto one another to create the patina of a stone, local architecture will continue to build upwards into something altogether more refined. Words by Ella McDougall Glenn Murcutt Eco Outdoor Masterclass Tutors Glenn Murcutt Eco Outdoor Masterclass Tutors Glenn Murcutt Eco Outdoor Masterclass Tutors Glenn Murcutt Eco Outdoor Masterclass Tutorsabc
Design Products
Furniture

A Modern Gaze Upon An Age-Old Concept

Interestingly, it is the reference to a more rustic charm that gives an undeniably contemporary look to the Cabin collection from Sydney studio DesignByThem. Brand founders and designers of Cabin, Sarah Gibson and Nicholas Karlovasitis, were inspired by the interweaving pattern of a log cabin, and explored this simple yet distinctive design throughout the collection of armchairs, lounges, ottomans and booth-style structures. The tacit connection to this universally recognised structure gives each piece in the collection a sense of enduring beauty despite the modern geometric-focused form. The identical, clean shape of each log segment offers a fresh take onto historic forms. The voluptuous log segments invite one in, promising a cosy embrace, while the simplicity of each linear piece creates an elegant presence – equally at home in the waiting room of a funky hotel as it is in a no frills gallery-inspired living space. DesignByThem cabin range The Cabin Booth is a hero style within the collection. Available in a range of heights and lengths, it offers a rare opportunity for design autonomy in a context of generally fixed living spaces. When we are moving from apartment to house to apartment, we don’t often – if ever – have the ability to design the layout of the spaces where we live. The Cabin Booth is an innovative way to dissect spaces, creating visual partitions within the one room. And while we all appreciate the flexibility and sense of freedom in open-plan living, this piece feeds our inherent desire to seemingly hideaway in a more intimate nook. Flexibility is the mantra echoed throughout the Cabin collection. Armchairs and lounges come equipped with adjustable log segments that can be moved forwards, backwards or removed entirely – creating a floating backrest – to suit individual tastes and comfort. Words by Ella McDougall Photography Pete Daly DesignByThem cabin range 2-seater DesignByThem cabin range 2-seater DesignByThem cabin range armchair DesignByThem cabin range tan leather armchair DesignByThem cabin range boothabc
Architecture
Homes

The Kiwi Bach That Keeps Evolving

The New Zealand bach (a.k.a. holiday home) is not just a twentieth-century architecture typology; rather it has long been an expression of the nation’s cultural values. Holding a powerful place in New Zealanders’ collective imagination, the traditional bach – a simple shed-like cottage – is associated with rugged isolation, nature and a DIY attitude. As the bach has evolved into a more sophisticated holiday home its cultural spirit still remains. This holiday house, designed by Glamuzina Architects, is in Matakana, north of Auckland, where it is set in a flat paddock with a bucolic backdrop. It’s the holiday home of a family with two children who escape to the house as often as possible to spending time with family and friends. “The brief was for an informal, relaxed home centred around the experience of cooking and dining,” Dominic Glamuzina explains. “They wanted the home to have a connected relationship with the site that offered a succession of diverse views across the landscape.” Glamuzina Architects Matakana dining With a deep L-shaped plan, the three-bedroom house provides for large and intimate gatherings and is organised around food preparation and eating. The kitchen, living and dining areas open to the sunken courtyard, adjacent pool and landscape; the children’s bunk/play room provides the kids with their own space; and the snug/library recedes into the ground offering a pocket of refuge. Views of the surrounding landscape are framed and the roof profile echoes the hills with a pointed skylight above the bedrooms and gradual incline to the clerestory windows above the living area. High-end materials give a more urban feel to the rural context of the house. Outside, exterior timber battens add texture, rhythm and expression as light plays across them during the day, and the brick walls and podium define porches, seating and gardens as spaces to inhabit within the façade. Inside, oak flooring and paneling contrasts with the sculptural plaster walls, with thin black steels articulating the transitions between these materials. Glamuzina Architects Matakana kitchen dining This holiday house may be larger and more sophisticated than the traditional bach but architectural references remain. “Parts of the house refer to the intimacy and programmatic overlap seen in the New Zealand bach,” says Dominic. “The kids bunkroom provides a collective single space, and the snug/library is a softly lit internalised space in which the adults can retreat.” If vernacular buildings are the architecture of a people and place, then this house is a contemporary expression of the New Zealand bach as the residents use it to relax amongst the rural landscape and engage in back-to-nature DIY projects such as planting their orchard. Glamuzina Architects g-a.co.nz Words by Rebecca Gross Photography by Sam Hartnett Glamuzina Architects Matakana kitchen Glamuzina Architects Matakana dining Glamuzina Architects Matakana living room Glamuzina Architects Matakana snug library Glamuzina Architects Matakana sunken courtyard Glamuzina Architects Matakana backyard Glamuzina Architects Matakana exteriorabc
Happenings
Parties

Time For Luxury With The Hour Glass Sydney

“The departure point for all our retail projects begins with one basic truth: true luxury can only exist in authenticity,” says The Hour Glass’s managing director, Michael Tay. “And this quest for authenticity governs the luxury universe and the objects, environments and experiences created within it.” How this translates into the brand’s approach to retail design is unlike any retail strategy currently operating across the globe. The key differentiation? Anti-replication. Of their 40 international showrooms, not one is the same as the other. Instead, each project is carefully considered and its unique spirit is purposely brought to the forefront. Nestled within the CBD’s luxury precinct alongside Chanel, Gucci, Tiffany & Co and Bvlgari, the new Hassell-designed Hour Glass Sydney has been purpose-built for their unique clients – the world travellers. Here, Tay explains that: “We are highly sensitive that we are building retail experiences for the global shopper. To that end, we feel that there must always exist moments in the store where they lose themselves in the theatre of our horological retail stage, enjoying a free-flow of coffee, whisky and conversation around the passion of horology. It is more a hub for enthusiasts to gather than a store designed to ensure a commercially focused outcome.” Take a look at the glamorous grand opening… The Hour Glass thehourglass.com [gallery ids="59982,59991,59968,59990,59989,59988,59987,59986,59985,59984,59983,59981,59980,59979,59978,59977,59976,59975,59974,59973,59972,59971,59970,59969"]abc
Architecture
Homes

View Finder

Oberon Street in the oceanside suburb of Coogee, Sydney, is a smorgasbord of architectural banality. You can feast on everything from grim 1920s bungalows to chunky 70s apartment blocks to inexplicable 80s extravaganzas – and about every tasty case study in façadomy in between. However, architect Tom Ferguson’s recently completed dual residence emanates a composure its neighbours simply can’t muster. That’s largely a result of the architect’s competence, but also an effect of his second area of expertise: architectural photography. Tom Ferguson was confirmed a Bachelor of Architecture at the University of New South Wales in 2000. His first job out of the academy was with Cracknell & Lonergan architects. He established his own Tom Ferguson Architectural Design (TFAD) practice in 2006. “I’d always had an interest in photography and had owned a camera from a young age,” he remembers, sitting in his compact studio just off Bourke Street, Surry Hills. “The architectural stuff started when I was at Cracknell & Lonergan, where I began taking photos of their work. Once I started out on my own, it seemed only natural that I should take photos of my own work.” Tom Ferguson TFAD Oberon House dining Tom Ferguson TFAD Oberon House kitchen The history of architectural photography is the history of photography itself. The first ever photograph, taken by Nicéphore Niépce in 1826 (perhaps 1827, forensics vary) shows parts of buildings on his estate known as Le Gras, in the rural commune of Saint-Loup-de-Varennes in central France. Later, Eugène Atget famously documented the de/reconstruction of Paris by Baron Haussmann at the end of the 19th Century. Julius Shulman incarnated West Coast mid-century modernism in his now highly collectible architectural images. And since the late-1990s, German photographer, Andreas Gursky, has developed a digitally manipulated visual discourse around the foibles of late capitalist urbanism. Most unusual, though, is the architect who takes his own images; effectively bringing his mechanical optics to bear upon a creation of his mind’s eye. Oberon House is neither posh nor plush. Its intrigue derives from the confluence of an adroit eye and a deft hand. No detail is in excess, not gesture over the top. The oblique roof, for instance, is a result of regulatory management of neighbours’ sight lines. But Tom flips the rigours of council process, turning the roof into a motif that defines the structure and links it to an Atomic Era of slightly risqué beachside holiday homes; secondary spaces where the middle classes felt comfortable flirting with European modernism. If you squint, a nod to Harry Seidler’s house for his mother, Rose, doesn’t seem too fanciful. Tom Ferguson TFAD Oberon House living room Tom Ferguson TFAD Oberon House living room “I wanted it to really feel like a tube,” says Ferguson of the gently pitched Colorbond roof. “The site has a small footprint, so it felt important to make the building seem tall. It was important that it reads like a house, not apartments.” Inside, rooms follow the external roof structure, the upper apartment benefiting from an elegant obliquity. Timber panelling and Pop toned ceramic tiles emphasize the playful parallelogram geometry of the upstairs. Meanwhile, at ground level, accordion and sliding glass doors at either end allow sight-through from bland suburban streetscape to sweeping ocean views. From the road it appears as two elongated, stacked volumes, simple enough. But through the central void it seems to twist to the vertical, an effect emphasized by the stair running through the centre axis. Ironically, “it was quite hard to photograph,” Tom laughs. TFAD tfad.com.au Words by Stephen Todd Photography by Tom Ferguson Tom Ferguson TFAD Oberon House balcony Tom Ferguson TFAD Oberon House bedroom Tom Ferguson TFAD Oberon House bedroom Tom Ferguson TFAD Oberon House balcony Tom Ferguson TFAD Oberon House deck Tom Ferguson TFAD Oberon House entranceabc
Design Products
Furniture

Bow-Tying Together Your Favourite Aspects Of Old And New

It is a difficult task to create a piece of furniture that tips into exaggerated and fun forms without brandishing itself to the children’s room. There is a fine line between spirited and juvenile. Not one to let kids enjoy all the fantasy and colour, Something Beginning With (SBW)’s new HALO range is a bounding collection of seating and table pieces that sing to our youthful sensibilities without falling away from the sensible. The range follows an ebullient arch shape that springs through each piece. Classic silhouette stools and chairs are elevated by seeping steel tubing in a vibrant red. And the three-seater sofa, available in pastel mint powder-coated steel, imitates the soft drapery of bunting in its lightweight frame. This overt, exposed structure draws attention to the playful bends used to support each piece, illustrating a graphic design onto the interior background. It is the exactness and simplicity of HALO’s forms that afford the pieces their positions in the living spaces and out of the kid’s rooms. The curation of old American oak – natural or stained – with a cool palette of pastels, reds, stone and textured fabrics, align the collection within the parameters of an effortlessly cool aesthetic. Definitely not childish, yet exuding the carefree temperament of youth, SBW’s HALO range bow ties together your favourite aspects of childhood and adulthood – and poses the question, why can’t we enjoy both? Words by Ella McDougall SBW Halo sofa armchair SBW Halo armchair SBW Halo dining chair SBW Halo stool dining chair SBW Halo dining chairs colouredabc
Interiors

Immersive Design at Beyond Rest

Behind an auto repair shop in an industrial pocket of Collingwood, a converted warehouse conceals a self-contained sanctuary. Its slick mirrored threshold swings open to reveal an oasis of relaxation: subdued lighting, ambient music and an elliptical space undulating with curved walls. A first-time floater, I arrive for my appointment at Beyond Rest with a fairly limited understanding of the practice. Pushing visions of alien contraptions aside, I remove my shoes, and a barefoot attendant welcomes me into my private pod room. The wet area is tiled floor-to-ceiling in a manner suggestive of traditional Japanese bathrooms, with walls curving around the egg-shaped pod, creating a womb-like effect. A sign on the door reads ‘Expect Nothing’. I get in the pod. Introducing Australia to a method of relaxation already popular overseas, brothers Nick and Ben Dunin founded the first Beyond Rest in Perth in 2012, bringing their architect sister Fiona on board to create a design language for the brand as they expanded to Melbourne and Brisbane. Beyond Rest Collingwood reception Beyond Rest Collingwood reception “We decided that we needed to develop something that expressed what you can achieve with floating, through design,” says Fiona Dunin, of FMD Architects. Inspired by the work of architect Michael Rice, an expert in Sacred Geometry, the team looked to evoke the relaxing softness of organic forms at Beyond Rest. “It’s all about taking inspiration from patterns found in every living thing,” says Nick. “The way the centre is designed is ultimately to create a sense of awe and relaxation, to help calmness descend in a natural way.” Each centre is unique, with subtle nuances designed to reflect its surroundings. “We’re always looking at what we can do to represent a sense of locality – whether it’s through light fittings, or cladding, or whether we work out of a warehouse versus a shop front,” says Fiona. What unites them is a meandering spatial plan which enhances a fluid transition from daily life into the ultimate Zen state. Back inside the pod, a blue light switches off, and I am afloat in complete darkness. 500 kilos of salt dissolved in a shallow bath replicates near Dead Sea conditions, so that even the least buoyant punter will have no choice but to float. Heated to body temperature, after some time it is difficult to tell where my body ends and the water begins. How does it feel? Like pure, detached consciousness. And afterwards, a deep stillness which followed me as I floated off home. Words by Sandra Tan Beyond Rest Collingwood warehouse Beyond Rest Collingwood Beyond Rest Collingwood floating tank Beyond Rest Collingwood floating tankabc