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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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Interiors

Manly Pavilion By Squillace Architects

Boasting glorious views across one of Sydney’s most enviable vantage points, there was not a chance that the now Manly Pavilion wouldn’t find new life as one of the city’s prime destinations for soaking in the sun. The heritage-listed structure, perched in Manly cove – mere minutes walk from Manly Wharf – was originally built in 1933 by the Port Jackson and Manly Steamship Company. The building was initially intended as a dressing room for bathers on Manly’s harbour beach. But with views that flatter even the textbook definition of panoramic, the pavilion was reconsidered as a sun-drenched dining venue to laze and gaze over the harbour. Squillace Architects were trusted with the task of rendering back the sturdy bones of the building to suit the contemporary coastal vibe that washes over the greater Manly area. From the outside, Manly Pavilion holds an impressive and commanding stature against the surrounding rock faces. Through extensive restoration work, Squillace Architects were able to maintain and amplify the column-clad glamour of the original façade. Yet inside, natural tones, materials and plant life come together to construct an ambience that is casual, inviting and fuss-free. Manly Pavilion Squillace Architects dining room Undisturbed sunlight extends throughout the entirety of the Manly Pavilion, offering a sense of space and airiness that is balanced with the canvas of rich and decadent timbers. In the main dining room interlapping chevron timber floorboards ground the space in a warm tapestry of natural tones. This earthiness is accented by the ethereal halo lighting pieces, offering a slight sense of whimsy to lift the natural ‘woodish’ tones. The venue is segmented into various spaces to welcome you in through day to night. The dining area extends outwards with perforated and open-wire furniture to visually fuse the setting into the views towards Sydney city. And while the view continues throughout every room, the bar, by contract, offers a more intimate setting. With a moodier palette to delineate the fall of cascading vines from the ceiling, the bar entwines gracefully with the natural setting whilst retaining a sense of enclosure and privacy. Manly Pavilion has the gift of its incredible natural site. Yet the refined renovation from Squillace Architects shows that good design can help a structure realise its own character, rather than be drowned out by the surrounding environment – no matter how beautiful it is. The structure stands in reverence to the early days of Manly’s beach scene. The exterior façade is rightly grand to emulate the majesty of the location, yet within, the relaxed and inviting design offers a space that is utterly at peace within Manly’s contemporary coastal culture. Manly Pavilion manlypavilion.com.au Manly Pavilion Squillace Architects entrance Manly Pavilion Squillace Architects halo light Manly Pavilion Squillace Architects balcony Manly Pavilion Squillace Architects viewabc
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Meet Young Wei-Yang Chiu of Foster + Partners

Young Wei-Yang Chiu, a UK Partner at Foster + Partners, never seems to mind being on the move from continent to continent. His total accrued mileage for the past five years is recognised in the office as being equivalent to travelling to their Lunar Habitation project on the moon and back a few times. Though it is still a fragment of the distance to their Mars Habitation project, and second only to Lord Norman Foster’s tally. “Our clients are everywhere in the world. I want to make sure I deliver the most personal and best design to our clients, and you just have to be there to understand how they live, work and relax,” says Chiu. “Clients in Asia recognise us through our design of airports, museums, resorts, infrastructure works, headquarters and universities. It is through personal meetings that they can understand what we do. That’s why personal relationships are still highly valued in Asia, and that’s what I believe a good architect should do.” For his first public lecture in Thailand, Chiu took up an invitation from Work for Space – an organisation that facilitates knowledge-sharing for creative professionals. He shared his expertise at the Bangkok Art and Cultural Centre on 13 July 2017, and at a second event in Phuket with the Phuket Real Estate Association on 14 July. “Architecture is much more far reaching than just the business aspect. It forms many layers of aspects in culture and society. Certainly [knowledge-sharing] events are good for us, but most importantly they allow for a self-critical examination of the work I have done, and [they’re an opportunity] to see if I can inspire others. I hope to inspire the younger generation like how [Norman] Foster and other great designers inspired me when I was young.” The showcases of the Bangkok evening were a journey through the complex research process for the National Museum of Marine Science project in Taiwan, and a preview of the future via the DJI Sky City project in Shenzhen. The audience enjoyed cinematic presentations. “For the National Museum of Marine Science, we even looked back to the first exhibition space we had done at Sainsbury Centre (for Visual Arts), to see how people experience the exhibition space physically and psychologically – to see what interests people. We want to challenge the perception of what an aquarium is, so, instead of the traditional solid container, our design is filled with natural light that benefits the animals and visitors.” “DJI Sky City is a very exciting young and ambitious client that represents the future of Asia,” he says. “The outcome is amazing, and if you look closely you can see the influence from our early work for HSBC Bank in Hong Kong.” The lecture left the audience with a pictorial evolution of how the design DNA of Foster + Partners evolves in different regions through a rigorous philosophy of timeless design solutions. It was a testimonial of how a genuine design process can withstand the test of time. Images courtesy of Foster + Partners Foster + Partners National Museum of Marine Science and Technology, Taiwan (under construction) Foster + Partners DJI Sky City, China Foster + Partners Young Wei-Yang Chiu and colleagues in the Foster + Partners studioabc
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The House Of Dior Returns To Australia

To celebrate 70 fabulous years of Dior, Melbourne’s NGV International has crafted an immersive exhibition every bit as glamorous and refined as the label it honours. Under the direction of senior NGV exhibition designer Peter King, an impressive two-storey gallery structure was created on site, connected by an elaborate staircase, with video installations and imaginative passages emulating the excitement of the catwalk. The exhibition also reveals a largely unknown relationship between the designer and Australia. In 1948, only two years after launching his own independent fashion house, 50 garments from Christian Dior’s spring collection travelled to Australia, in what would be the designer’s very first showing outside of Paris. Sponsored by retail giant David Jones, this serendipitous venture gave local fashionistas access to highly coveted French couture in an unprecedented way. For this occasion, gorgeously svelte European girls, handpicked by Dior himself, were imported to model his signature silhouette, ambitiously titled ‘New Look’. One model from the original Australian trip, Svetlana Lloyd, was in attendance at the NGV media launch ­– posing astride one of the show-stopping dresses she wore decades earlier, and charming the crowd with her eloquence and ageless sophistication. Also on hand were Dior’s skilled in-house tailors, demonstrating their careful pattern making as part of the installation, and Stephen Jones, milliner extraordinaire at the House of Dior for the past 20 years. The exclusive new NGV exhibition presents a collection of rare works by Dior’s globally influential designers. This includes early pieces by Yves Saint Laurent, who took the reins at Dior following the designer’s sudden passing and was henceforth thrust into sartorial stardom; precision-cut pieces by avant-garde fashion behemoth Raf Simons, and thought-provoking apparel by Dior’s current creative director, Maria Grazia Chiuri – the first woman in charge at the legendary atelier. The House of Dior is showing at NGV International until 7 November 2017. House of Dior NGV House of Dior NGV House of Dior NGV [caption id="attachment_60228" align="alignnone" width="1170"]House of Dior NGV Svetlana Lloyd[/caption]   House of Dior NGV House of Dior NGV House of Dior NGV Images courtesy of the NGVabc
Architecture
Homes

Light and Bright Living in Melbourne

“Every project taps into the psyche of the owners to respond personally to that which is central to their lives,” says Sarah Bryant of Bryant Alsop Architects. Certainly Oak House in Melbourne is one example of Bryant Alsop’s approach to design providing generous space and maximising natural light for a family who enjoy healthy and active living. Oak House is the home of a family of four with the possibility of exchange students or others living with them. The family wanted a house with a strong connection to the outdoors, plenty of natural light and to prioritise sustainable design. Posed with an existing Victorian villa and a south-facing site, Bryant Alsop’s design accommodates five bedrooms and three bathrooms, complying with overlooking and overshadowing regulations. Oak House Bryant Alsop Architects alfresco “We believe in respecting the history of a site, and in the case of renovation and additions, that the new build should be contemporary in nature and sit sympathetically alongside the original house,” Sarah explains. Bryant Alsop retained the original Victorian house – a sustainable choice that also keeps the streetscape intact. Doing away with a 1980s rear addition, they designed a new two-storey volume with a one-storey link in between. The house has three interior zones that open to three distinct outdoor spaces – a front garden, rear garden and central courtyard – providing for changing family dynamics and sustainable design. The first floor is for the kids; the original house is for the parents; and the new ground floor is for open family living. A floating staircase connects all three zones, and a service area with laundry, pantry and cloakroom runs along the eastern side of the house. As the house wraps around the central courtyard with a pool and covered alfresco living area, northern light filters deep into the south-facing family living areas. Oak House Bryant Alsop Architects lounge room A simple, clean and light material and colour palette reflects and enhances the natural light. Oak is used throughout the house, feature tiles and natural stone add pattern and interest, and Equitone cladding on the exterior of the rear addition contributes to its understated contemporary look. High-performance double-glazed windows and doors with above-standard levels of insulation ensure greater energy efficiency, and the house runs on a solar power system with battery storage. “The house is a success due to the excellent attitude of the clients,” says Sarah. “It is open and bright even on the dullest winter day, and it has a clean, contemporary feel that brings an Australian approach to Victorian history. Perfect for modern family living.” Photography by Jack Lovel Oak House Bryant Alsop Architects kitchen Oak House Bryant Alsop Architects kitchen Oak House Bryant Alsop Architects bathroom Oak House Bryant Alsop Architects staircase Oak House Bryant Alsop Architects structure Oak House Bryant Alsop Architects poolabc
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The Valkyrie. In Conversation With… Louise Herron

Stephen Todd: I was speaking with Jørn Utzon’s daughter, Lin, recently, and she made me realise how incredibly traumatic the Utzon family’s rapid departure from Australia in 1966 actually was. Louise Herron: Absolutely. Have you seen the movie Autopsy on a Dream, made by the BBC and the ABC about those turbulent times? It explores the public and private pain of the conflict for many people - politicians, architects, engineers, students, the public generally and of course the Utzons themselves. Some of these wounds are still deep. Where does Utzon’s work stop and Hall, Todd and Littlemore’s begin? After winning the design competition in 1957, Utzon worked on the Opera House until 1966. It is fascinating looking at photographs taken at the time Utzon left – with the podium in place, the shells nearly finished and the first tile lids on the shells. On the inside, the stage machinery in the Major Hall (now Concert Hall) was partially in place. Under Peter Hall’s direction from 1966, the Opera House was finished – his focus was mainly on the interior fittings, finishes, furnishings, colours, lighting and signage. Utzon never returned to Australia, so he didn’t see his finished masterpiece. But thankfully he was re-engaged as a design consultant in 1999. He worked with his son, Jan Utzon – now one of the Opera House’s Eminent Architects – and Richard Johnson AO on several spaces – what is now the Utzon Room and the Western Foyers, opened by the Queen in 2006. What is there about the Opera House today that Utzon would not recognize? Jan Utzon, the son, says his father was amazed by how popular the building had become as a magnet for tourists. As part of Jørn Utzon’s re-engagement, he developed the Utzon Design Principles, which give excellent guidance about how we need to look after the building as it evolves. We are its temporary custodians and must be absolutely respectful of the past while looking to the future to do the very best job we can. In his Design Principles, Utzon said: “As time passes and needs change, it is natural to modify the building to suit the needs and technique of the day.” So he foresaw the need for the sorts of changes we are putting in place today. Do you still find that old school resilience to opening the house up to a broader public? I think the early conception was of the Opera House primarily as a place for the traditional or high arts. That has certainly changed. It is of course a place to experience the greatest opera and symphonic music and dance and theatre, but it’s also a place to see the greatest bands of today and discuss ideas and experience our culture in its broadest sense. It is itself a huge sculpture, a masterpiece of human creative genius, brought to life by the masterpieces of human creative genius on its stages. It is the symbol of modern Australia and our premier tourist destination. In other words, it’s for everyone and we work hard to make sure it caters to a broad audience. In a sense, the building is almost performative in and of itself. Exactly, and we are doing all we can to allow people to lose themselves in the experience of the building. We have cleared the Forecourt of vehicles to create a large open space where people are free to admire the building from all angles. And then we play with it. For example, every evening animated First Nations artworks are projected on to the western Bennelong sail with an accompanying soundtrack. This project is called Badu Gili, which means water and light in the Gadigal language. It is art superimposed on art and people love it. Why are you redoing your strategy? We laid out our strategy when I joined five years ago. We didn’t have a specific timeframe in mind, but now we’re thinking the next one should also run for five years. We want to write 2018-23 on the cover to create an expectation and framework for what we aim to achieve in the period to our 50th anniversary in 2023. What was the mission statement of your first five-year strategy? To treasure and renew the Opera House for future generations of artists, audiences and visitors; and to inspire, and strengthen the community, through everything we do. Over the top of that is our vision, which is to be as bold and inspiring as the Opera House itself. We have four values: excellence – make it the best; creativity – be bold and innovative; collaboration – one team; accountability – focus and own it. It sounds kind of corporate. It’s about creative excellence. We want to make the Opera House the best at whatever it does, whether it’s how we maintain and renew the building, the performances or digital art we offer or how we inspire people to become engaged with indigenous arts and culture. Whatever it is, we try to make it the best. Over the past five years, what have you not been able to do that you would have liked to have done? Honestly, I can’t think of anything. The Opera House is a lightning rod for passion. When you talk to people, they are so enthusiastic about their visit or they say what a fantastic dining experience they had at Bennelong. People love coming here, and what we need to do is amplify that experience even more. Things have moved faster and it’s been more of a community effort than I would have expected, including with our most important partner, the NSW Government, which has committed more than $200 million to the Opera House’s Renewal works. And we’ve also had tremendous support from our corporate partners and philanthropists, as well as a number of grants, including from the Australia Council for the Arts. All of this has enabled us to be bold and ambitious in our efforts to inspire as many people in as many ways as possible. Is this really the dream job it appears to be? Yes. It’s an extraordinary privilege to be the temporary custodian of this inspiring place, and it is all-consuming. Louise Herron was In Conversation With… Stephen Todd Portrait by Jamie Williamsabc
Interiors
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A Soft Spot For China’s Idyllic Mountains

The Blossom Dreams hotel is positioned against the absolutely serene mountains of Xiatang, in Yangshuo, China. Deciding on the location for the hotel’s first incarnation was easy, yet the design had to be scrupulously considered, to augment and not compete with the exterior setting. Chinese firm, Co-Direction Interior Design, took reigns over the architecture, landscape and interior design to ensure a holistic artistic vision guided all aspects of the project. Co-Direction Interior Design selected a humble and muted colour palette to frame and focus the chilled and misty blues of the surrounding mountains. Earthy browns and cream flow across both the exterior and interior, allowing for the majesty of the environment to dominate the view. The textured stone façade references the rough-cut indentation of the surrounding earth. While timber accents in the roof grille, windows and doors harness the natural quality of the wooden grain to extend a sense of nature, merging the hotel visually back into the exterior world. Blossom Dreams Hotel Co Direction Interior Design bedroom The hotel’s gardens borrow from the canon of the classic Chinese garden, carving out a private courtyard within a three-meter high bamboo forest. Water is used in the landscaping to reflect the silhouettes of the flowers, trees and – of course – the mountains. The liquid materiality of the water creates a rippling texture that interacts with the scenery, and further helps to evoke the calm of the location within the parameters of the hotel. White space, or negative space, is the essence of traditional Chinese art, figuratively stirring together emptiness and reality. This artistic appreciation of space also informs the interior of the Blossom Dreams Hotel. White melded marble creates a visually expansive interior space that is simultaneously restful and intricate. This rich, yet sparse, palette of timber and cream allows for the seamless integration of contemporary and historic elements. Heavy antique chests and museum-quality vases puncture communal living and dining spaces while intricately hand-carved partitions create inviting nooks to hide. The Blossom Dreams Hotel is designed to be the very embodiment of escape. The location is idyllic and immense. The warm glow of the interior reveals a gentle and protective space to appreciate being amongst – and in harmony with – the outside world. Photography by Jing Xufeng Blossom Dreams Hotel Co Direction Interior Design ensuite Blossom Dreams Hotel Co Direction Interior Design bathroom Blossom Dreams Hotel Co Direction Interior Design room Blossom Dreams Hotel Co Direction Interior Design suite Blossom Dreams Hotel Co Direction Interior Design reception Blossom Dreams Hotel Co Direction Interior Design lobby Blossom Dreams Hotel Co Direction Interior Design outdoors Blossom Dreams Hotel Co Direction Interior Design outside Blossom Dreams Hotel Co Direction Interior Design exteriorabc
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Nood Co: Colourful Concrete Products That Don’t Weigh A Tonne

The Nood Co journey started with a bathroom sink. Founders Matt and Kim Di Costa unintentionally entered the concrete furniture market, along with their manufacturer and co-founder Chris Walker, after designing bespoke concrete sinks for their Parisian influenced home. “We soon realised that no one was making high quality concrete furniture that addressed its many issues; correct seal, strength, transportability, design and so on,” explains Matt Di Costa. “We made it thinner, stronger and feminised the life out of it with colour and curve.” The team already had a solid understanding of the material, having worked with it for years with their business Sky High Renders (polished plaster), and so began testing and manufacturing imaginative pieces that are rad and fun. “We aren't here to be like everyone else. Our cafe table range is the first of its kind and our dining tables are liftable with two people. Gone are the days of the chunky concrete table that requires a crane for lifting,” says Matt. The refined products are the perfect blend of Scandinavian and Australian design. Nood Co have removed the demanding and masculine aesthetic of concrete, replacing it with refined feminine pieces with injections of colour that can be placed in all settings, both residential and commercial. “The Blush Pink Bowl sink is a breakthrough for me. I was fortunate to grow up in some pretty eccentric homes and have a love for colour, but I also understand the limitations of the market and with that, I feel the blush pink bowl sink is the right amount of risk and timeless colour placement,” says Matt. Nood Co Concrete dining table and stools The Mila Dining table is also a favourite for Matt, having originally designed the piece for his own home. The Nood Co range not only includes furniture and sinks, but also mirrors, stools, bowls, vessels, soap holders and candle holders in shades of mint, blue, blush, peach and ivory. By manufacturing in Australia, Nood Co can easily maintain higher quality control and smaller lead times of five to six weeks for their products, which are set to expand. Concrete tiles will be launching later in the year, along with several fun colours and products for commercial and residential use. The products are delivered worldwide and the team are hoping to stock overseas in the future. Nood Co noodco.com.au Nood Co Concrete end table Nood Co Concrete mirror Nood Co Concrete stools Nood Co Concrete stools Nood Co Concrete coloured bowls Nood Co Concrete bathroom vanity Nood Co Concrete bathroom basin Nood Co Founders Matt Di Costa Kim Di Costa Chris Walker Nood Co Founders Matt Di Costa Kim Di Costa Chris Walkerabc
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Architect Chloe Naughton Designs A House in Rural North Queensland

In rural north Queensland, just outside of the small town Bowen, Chloe Naughton lived with her mother and father on a tropical expanse of acreage. The ‘farm’ was beloved to the family, and when Chloe was 10 she left with her parents for work commitments – with the hopes to one day return. Now, more than 20 years later, Chloe’s parents have done exactly that. Now entering retirement, they’re back at the site of the old family home. This move aligned incredibly well with Chloe’s own studies in architecture winding down. She was keen to gain some experience as a working architect and her parents in need of someone to materialise how they imagined their new home to function. The couple’s previous home was a far cry to the ‘farm’ with little cross ventilation or connection to the outdoors, and heavily reliant on year-round air conditioning. The abundance of citrus and mango trees, grazing cattle, a pig pen and bee apiary of the acreage made for a warm welcome home. Inverdon House Chloe Naughton veranda Paramount to the design of the house is its seamless connection to its surrounding world. Chloe knew her parents and their love for the outdoors – preferring to be out and about at most hours of the day. The axis of the house is cut lengthwise, opening up the built form over the land to best capture a prominent Poinciana tree, which can be enjoyed from all angles throughout the house. Extending beyond the main house are two separate wings, one for clients and the other for guests and the anticipated live-in carer – the couple not wanting to relocate to a nursing home later in life. The structure of the house is decidedly bare, relying on structural materials – largely masonry – to enhance the robust and low maintenance character, while enjoying a minimal and modern appeal. Sliding doors enables for the house to be entirely opened up to become a breezeway – an advantage of the tropical location. Yet adjustable louvres to the north and south of the house, afford protection from the wind and sun on blistering days. Even when doors are closed the inclusion of moveable awnings above each enables for ventilation between spaces, cleverly continuing an experience of the outside elements at all times. Inverdon House Chloe Naughton kitchen North Queensland is notoriously irritable. The threat of cyclones, flooding and earthquakes is ever looming, and was pivotal to the design. Fortunately, Chloe’s own appreciation of the climate helped for her to factor this in to her architectural know-how. The use of masonry and concrete flooring created an incredibly strong structure. However in the design, Chloe had initially anticipated using steel structural support, which proved too costly – particularly when considering the rural location of the site. In keeping with the family charm of this build, Chloe enlisted the help of her grandfather to forge structural elements himself out of aluminium. The resulting house is a structure that is very much at home in its location. Chloe’s understanding of the climate and her parent’s lifestyle ensured that the house was perfectly suited to them – now and into old age. And her understanding of the site from her childhood allowed her to do what almost no architect can; draw on nostalgia and first-hand experience to honour the unique quality of the site. Now Chloe works in Brisbane, and although she doesn’t live in the house, it has truly become the family home. Photography by Benjamin Hosking Inverdon House Chloe Naughton kitchen Inverdon House Chloe Naughton open plan Inverdon House Chloe Naughton dining Inverdon House Chloe Naughton indoor outdoor Inverdon House Chloe Naughton alfresco dining Inverdon House Chloe Naughton study Inverdon House Chloe Naughton art room Inverdon House Chloe Naughton bathtub Inverdon House Chloe Naughton bathroom Inverdon House Chloe Naughton outdoor shower exteriorabc
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A New Apartment by Brewin Design Office in Singapore

Le Nouvel Ardmore is a residential tower close to Singapore’s central shopping district. True to the French Pritzker Architecture Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel’s modern, expressive style, the architecture features a bold, gridded facade with floor-to-ceiling windows allowing unblocked vistas. Brewin Design Office was commissioned to design the interior of an apartment there as a vacation home for an overseas-based client. Situated on the 28thstorey of the 33-storey tower, the scenery is very much azure sky and soft clouds all around. This provided the inspiration for the recurring theme of nature within. As such, one encounters a living room whose Prussian Grey marble flooring aims to mimic the colour of the sky, providing a seamless inside-outside connection. Matched by furniture such as a dusty grey Christian Liaigre sofa and the warm timbers of a Poliform armchair and custom-designed side tables, the overall mood is calm and genteel – fitting for the cultivation of restful minds. Adding a graphic touch is a custom-designed screen made from bent-laminated Wenge veneer strips and figured maple veneer panels subtly shielding the kitchen from the living room. Brewin Design Office Ardmore Apartment mezzanine Brewin Design Office Ardmore Apartment living room “[The client] was in love with the high storey and unobstructed view, also the dusk colours… the evening sky at [the later part] of year is almost typically light blue grey, which she wanted her apartment to emulate,” shares Bobby Cheng, the firm’s founder and the project’s lead designer. Much consideration went into the selection of materials, he adds. For instance, the decision to finely sandblast then seal, rather than hone, the living room marble, created the specific blue grey desired. The rest of the apartment follows a similarly relaxed feel, with the recurring theme of connecting with the sky. Walls and ceilings, excluding the bathrooms, are finished in a silvery white stucco with a subtle tint of blue. In the dining room, the Cloud pendant by Apparatus Studio, as its name suggests, references the views in a playful way. The bedrooms and family room are wrapped in an assortment of timbers, as well as marble inserts applied to side tables and wardrobe panels that lend the spaces a touch of luxe. This feeling is writ large in the bathrooms, which are entirely clad in stone – darker Ocean Black Travertine in one bathroom and expansive Brazilian Crystal Blue Quartzite marble in the master bedroom bathroom. Brewin Design Office Ardmore Apartment kitchen Brewin Design Office Ardmore Apartment furniture Throughout, Cheng has managed to create a refined sense of calm without falling prey to sterility, and also injected points of interest without excess of flourish. The formula is in an appropriate mix of unique materials, thoughtful detailing and sophisticated execution that stays true to its empyrean narrative. Brewin Design Office brewindesignoffice.com Brewin Design Office Ardmore Apartment room divider Brewin Design Office Ardmore Apartment bedroom Brewin Design Office Ardmore Apartment bedroom view Brewin Design Office Ardmore Apartment walk in robe Brewin Design Office Ardmore Apartment study Brewin Design Office Ardmore Apartment bathroom Brewin Design Office Ardmore Apartment bathroom Brewin Design Office Ardmore Apartment bathtub Brewin Design Office Ardmore Apartment ensuite Brewin Design Office Ardmore Apartment windowabc
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You Won’t Believe What The Queen Of Green Design Has Created!

When it comes to sustainable design initiatives, Sarah King (or Sarah K as she is better known) is somewhat of a superstar. In 2011 she joined forces with Liane Rossier, co-founder of jewellery and homewares brand Dinosaur Designs, to establish Supercyclers - an ever-growing collection of international designers focused on building a sustainable future into the products they create.
“The concept of supercycling is a shift from up-cycling… it’s more about dramatic transformations and not just taking a bent fork and turning it into a bangle,” Sarah explains. “We felt that there was a place for an elevated way of looking at sustainability that wasn’t crafty or backyard, but more surprising.”
Sarah’s latest project, on which she collaborated with fellow Supercycler Andrew Simpson, is certainly surprising – not to mention ingenious, brilliant and very inspiring. The pair have taken the unsightly plastic waste that’s collected from our beaches after being dumped out of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and transformed it into a stunning 100%-recycled material called Marine Debris Bakelite (MDB); so named because its marble-like quality resembles that of early Bakelite in look, weight and density (above). The first product manufactured from this exquisite material was the Marine Debris Bento Box, which launched at Tokyo Design Week in 2015 – the proceeds of which are now being used to fund an entire collection of stunning MDB table-top items imagined by designers from across the globe. The production of this new range will be staggered - starting with the smaller, more manageable pieces and moving onto the larger, more challenging ones, with MDB cups by Kirstie Van Noort and small plates by Formafantasma available to pre-order this July. Subsequent pieces will include a serving bowl by UK designer Jasper Morrison, a pair of chef’s tweezers by Marti Guixe from Spain and a water jug by American-Australian designer Jonathan Zawada, among other items. As Sarah says, this is an Australian project making an international impact - one that results in affordable, iconic design whilst cleaning up our oceans! However, this isn’t her only project focused around sustainable manufacturing; Sarah has also just collaborated with Gibbon Group – a company passionate about protecting our environment – to create a stylish range of custom rugs using Ireland’s famed Tretford range. As with Gibbon Group’s entire portfolio, Sarah K’s custom creations for this inspiring project are made using the highest grade, Cashmere goat hair from natural, sustainable resources. From the mountainscapes of Mongolia, nomadic goatherds harvest the cashmere individually by hand. This sustained attention to preserving traditional craftsmanship has been applauded for generations, allowing the final product to achieve a protracted durability coupled always with a high degree of comfort that proves equally suited to this small scale weekend retreat as well as significantly larger scale professional environments.  Aside from their incredible beauty, these custom creations serve as a vital reminder that design brands and custom design companies can play a pivotal role in sustaining the viability and traditions of indigenous communities and customs the world-over. This was one of the key drawcards to collaborating with the brand, says Sarah. That and the fact that all the goat hair used in their carpets is dyed without bleaching, thereby eliminating the use of harmful toxins. This project between Sarah and Gibbon Group’s in-house design team has resulted in a striking collection of rugs featuring bold graphic lines and contemporary colours. “The end result is undeniably a very graphic look, and initially I was concerned that this very graphic nature would make it difficult to pair the pieces with furnishings and the whole design scheme”, Sarah says. “It’s definitely a very bold accent in the space, but I’ve been surprised at just how versatile it can be when placed alongside a whole range of different design elements”.
“I have been aware of Gibbon Group and Tretford for many years – in fact, I grew up with their ranges! Always highly durable but still equally beautiful, the richness of colours and the depth of detail that Gibbon Group is able to achieve comes as a much-needed resource for the design community. When we began collaborating, the Gibbon Group design team were already working on a different range that these pieces ended up dovetailing with seamlessly. The whole process was one of great synergy”. – Sarah King.
Produced locally in Australia through Gibbon Group’s Brendale custom design studio, there are eight circular designs comprising two half hemispheres of block colour (available in three sizes); one small, round charcoal rug and a soft-grey rectangular rug. Whilst they look great individually, they also work beautifully together to create an eye-catching, vivid décor. “It was really great being able to work alongside the Gibbon Group design team. The pieces are in situ among other designs by local studios like SKEEHAN Studio and Henry Wilson Studio, so the inclusion of Gibbon Group’s custom-designed rugs really heroes a narrative of our local community’s design prowess”, says Sarah. Sarah K is undoubtedly one of the most inspiring designers of our time. Not only is her work highlighting sustainable manufacturing on the global stage, she delivers her creations in a truly innovative and unique fashion. And we think that anyone who chooses to see the plastic waste washing up on our shores as a resource for creating beautiful products deserves high acclaim indeed! abc
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The Fix-It Man

When Shanghai’s Gallery All asked Melbourne creative director, Lou Weis, if he could write the story for a collection based on the Chinese colonisation of Mars, to be designed by MAD Architects, he said, “I've already researched that!” Weis, founder and creative director of Broached Commissions, the think tank and design office that has produced unique and limited edition pieces by the likes of Adam Goodrum, Lucy McRae and Trent Jansen, is just that kind of guy. A self-proclaimed ‘fix-it man’, he has consulted to various state governments at different moments, including Melbourne’s State of Design Festival. And yet, he says, “I don’t think there is a successful design festival in Australia.” The reason, according to Weis, is essentially the dearth of viable local design houses. And this is due to two factors. Firstly, the lack of venture capitalists willing to front up the funds to float the necessary assets to kick start a credible business: “people who are ready to invest, engage great designers, get a great CEO on-board and get it happening.” Secondly, the lack of understanding of the role of the creative director, the linchpin of every successful design business the world over. “I still don’t think the local industry has any idea of the significance of this role,” says Weis. That is, someone who is not the designer, nor the CEO, but who has a global vision and is able to consolidate the brand in order for it to move forward in a coherent and potent manner. Lou Weis Broached Comissions leather clad work stationsMolonglo Group office desks, designed by Adam Goodrum “Or, they only understand it in one model, which is advertising. There are approximately three thousand Australian business involved in furniture manufacturing today, but so few of these companies have any kind of creative direction. While this unprecedented period of prosperity has meant that there has been some stability for local manufacturers to feed the domestic market, which has been amazing, I wouldn’t really call it a boom.” Broached Commissions, for instance, has met with great critical success, but commercially has been less assured. “I am breathing slowly, aware of the fact that Broached is about the long haul. It’s represents an enormous capital outlay but that’s okay. It was never conceived as a quick turnover affair.” Launched in 2011, the first iteration was Broached Colonial, featuring a line up of high cred designers including Max Lamb, Lucy McRae and Chen Lu  who were invited to interrogate the very specific conditions of material culture at the time of colonisation and interpret them in small batch contemporary designs. Next up came Broached East, an investigation into Australia’s place in the Asia Pacific region. Private commissions have included a sumptuous dining table for Daniel Besen, designed by Charles Wilson, and the fit out of Molonglo Group HQ in New Acton, Canberra – above Hotel Hotel for which Broached also created single edition furnishings. Lou Weis Broached Comissions boardroom Molonglo Group boardroom table and chairs, designed by Adam Goodrum Beyond Broached, Weis is a creative consultant to visionary galleries like Gallery All, for whom he guides several artists – notably Hongjie Yang and Zhenhan Has – in the conceptualisation of their work. He also consults to Lendlease. As for the Mars collection for MAD Architects, it was shown at Design Miami/Basel last June. The Martian aspect Weis had previously explored dates to five years back when he collaborated with Brooklyn composer, Dave Sardy and Melbourne artist, Geoffrey Nees, to create a soundtrack for a sci-fi film, what Weis refers to as “a Chinese Space Odyssey”. That project segued into the story line of MAD Architects’ collection of tables, chairs and lighting which was shown at Design Miami/Basel last June. So impressed was one Lebanese couple they snapped the lot. Yu Wang, founder of Gallery All, told me at the time, "They were so impressed with our stand they took photographs to document it so they will be able to install the work back in Lebanon just the way it was here in Basel.” I’d call that a creative director’s job well done. Broached Commissions broachedcommissions.com Photography by Joshua Aylett Lou Weis Broached Comissions boardroom chairMolonglo Group chair, designed by Adam Goodrum Lou Weis Broached Comissions chairsMolonglo Group boardroom table and chairs, designed by Adam Goodrum Lou Weis Broached Comissions Cobbler LightsMolonglo Group Workstation lights, designed by Adam Goodrum

Cover image: View through Molonglo Group Headquarters Boardroom

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Tropical Brutalism At The Slow In Canguu, Bali

In a renowned holiday destination where boutique hotels are aplenty, how does one stand out from the rest? Best described as a “contemporary island stay”, The Slow is charming guests with it’s modern lifestyle concept and “Tropical Brutalist” aesthetic and design, all-day dining and emphasis on art, fashion and music located just 300 metres from Canggu Beach. With a contemporary and unassuming sense of luxury, Australian co-owners Cisco and George Gorrow ensured a balance of modern and traditional Indonesian elements at The Slow, both in materials used and the organic interior and atmosphere. It was a destination that both owners had dreamed to create, as George explains, “My wife and I fell in love here and got married here 9 years ago. It was kind of inevitable for us that we would end up here one day.” The Slow Bali GFAB Architects Suite The Slow Bali GFAB Architects sofa The architectural structure and interior design was envisioned by co-owner George Gorrow in partnership with local architect Rieky Sunur from GFAB Architects, a Bali-based architectural practice specialising in luxury villas and holiday resorts. An emphasis was made to incorporate local, raw materials such as stone, wood and metals, resulting in a stark yet ultimately modern and welcoming space. Selected materials reflect the diversity of textures featured, including native and sustainable wood, local stone, wood veneer panels and natural sand mixed tiles juxtaposed with raw and polished concrete. Due to proximity and availability, the majority of furniture and natural textiles were produced by local artisans, complementing custom pieces made by the owners’ friends. It’s clear to see where the design takes inspiration from. George explains, “brutalist architecture, tropical minimalism and even Brazilian architecture were strong inspirations for us. Including references to Japanese furniture designer George Nakashima, Japanese architect Tadao Ando, and artists Brett Wadden, Rostarr and Richard Serra. It has allowed us to encompass all aspects of our previous passions, and careers, giving us the freedom to collide all these aspects harmoniously and to work as one entity.” The Slow Bali GFAB Architects bedroom bathroom The Slow Bali GFAB Architects room With architect Rieky’s local knowledge, the design incorporates elements from traditional Balinese houses (in response to the climate and humidity) with an abundance of plants, wooden features and perforated partitions and vertical screens, yet reflects a modern presence with voided space and inverted gardens. The finer details in the textiles selected for the furnishings were also closely curated with a variety of “natural linen canvas, cheese cloth, vintage fabrics, teak screens, power coated metal and blacked mahogany furnishings. Including cow leather on the sling chairs and used military tent for the upholstery,” says George. What sets The Slow apart from the rest is their ability to transform space with a clear identity, pairing traditional local elements with a classic take in their “tropical brutalist” design. George adds, “Our suites don’t have TV sets or desks. The project is designed with what we think is relevant to our generation, and to this constantly evolving island. Things shouldn't just exist due to tradition, they need to make sense to also have a purpose to remain relevant.” The Slow theslow.id GFAB Architects gfabarchitects.com Photography by Benjamin Hosking The Slow Bali GFAB Architects interior design The Slow Bali GFAB Architects dining room The Slow Bali GFAB Architects bar The Slow Bali GFAB Architects lounge room The Slow Bali GFAB Architects streetscape The Slow Bali GFAB Architects exteriorabc