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Habitusliving.com explores the best residential architecture and design in Australia and Asia Pacific.

 

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Architecture
Around The World

Finding Luxury In Minimalism

Perched inconspicuously at the top of Seenspace Hua Hin beachfront mall, the tucked-away Hotel Bocage’s understated façade upholds the infallibility of the age-old caution to not judge a book by its cover. Behind the brutalist, unpolished concrete exterior, the elegantly minimalist hotel interiors unveil a restrained palette of fine materials and bespoke Italian furniture pieces, set against the delicate natural finishes, collectively selected to bring out the definitively lux elements inside the hotel. Designed and operated by a Thai architect Duangrit Bunnag in collaboration with Louis T Collection, a hospitality management company, the hotel exudes boutique allure by offering only six rooms – each distinctly designed by Bunnag – that refrain from opulence, often associated with high-end exclusivity, focusing, instead, on impeccable comfort and effortless utility to bring out the sense of bespoke chic. Hotel Bocage Duangrit Bunnag lounge “The idea of a themed resort, such as a Thai or a tropical theme, is quite tiresome for me,” says Duangrit Bunnag. “What people get from Hotel Bocage is an authentic experience of good design that is not too much or not to little. It is balanced between the two extremes.” While the architect faced a challenge of the building not being initially designed to house a hotel, Bunnag worked within the constraints of the interior provisions and modified some of the architectural and engineering attributes to make sure that the functionality of the given spaces could be suitable for hotel rooms. Bunnag saw the location as an opportunity to deliver an authentic experience by placing Hotel Bocage in the midst of a local community. Says Bunnag, “When you are in an actual and not a self-created community, you have a different experience of submersing yourself into the crowd of people. For a hotel, that’s quite unorthodox.” Hotel Bocage Duangrit Bunnag bedroom For an added atmosphere of exclusivity, by focusing on delivering quality and comfort within the hotel’s interiors, Bunnag chose to collaborate with premier Italian brands, known for their attention to details, to deliver lush, understated interiors within the hotel’s environs. A bespoke selection of beds by Porro, contemporary sofas by Living Divani and freestanding tubs and sanitary ware by Antonio Lupi were Bunnag’s choices to stay in line with the simple approach that he wanted to achieve with the overall design of the hotel. As a result of the architect’s vision, the overt brutalist exterior of the top-floor Hotel Bocage and the underlying Seenspace mall provide a stylistic antidote to the polished air of refinery within the hotel’s six rooms. The hotel delivers an impeccable balance between brutalist minimalism and refined luxury – two aspects that are not often seen implemented successfully together in architectural projects. Hotel Bocage Duangrit Bunnag bathroom Hotel Bocage Duangrit Bunnag suite Hotel Bocage Duangrit Bunnag freestanding bathtub Hotel Bocage Duangrit Bunnag ensuiteabc
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Now You See It, Now You Don’t

Portsea Guesthouse is located in the grounds of a family beach house, which enjoys a secluded coastal setting on the Mornington Peninsula. Designed by Mitsuori Architects, the guesthouse provides bedrooms and living space for visitors, and offers a backdrop that deceptively plays with scale, perception and visibility. The clients’ brief called for a family guesthouse to accommodate their children and grandchildren, but they didn’t want it to look like house, nor did they want to see it from the main residence. “The clients wanted the new building to sit sympathetically within the native landscape, but to be architecturally distinct from the main house,” says Melissa Lim, Director of Mitsuori Architects. Their design concept was a simple rectangular building in which its walls become a landscape element, at one with its environment and increasingly imperceptible with time. Appearing almost like a wall or fence than a living and sleeping space, the guesthouse is clad in sustainably sourced Accoya timber with a custom stain colour that gives it a weathered-timber look. The façade is divided into narrow vertical sections, some with louvred shutters for natural light, views and ventilation, and others with climbing vines for a textural green effect. The vines visually merge the building with the tennis court and vegetation, and the opened shutters offer a sight line straight through the guesthouse. Mitsuori Architects Portsea Sleepout photography by Michael Kay open plan The true scale of the building is also illusive, located on a 100-square-metre site and partially submerged. At 17 by 6 metres, the building appears as a single storey, but its interior spaces – three bedrooms, two bathrooms, living area and storage area – spread across five split levels. A glass-ceilinged staircase serves as a vertical corridor between the basement bedroom and rooftop deck. Inside, the guesthouse is surprisingly light and open given its closed appearance from the outside. Glazing on the zinc-clad ends of the building allows natural light to filter inside, as do the windows when the shutters are open. Oak engineered boards line the floors and sections of walling, further forging the connection between the interior and exterior environment. Portsea Guesthouse is a sympathetic addition that is, at once, a wall, landscape element and building, cleverly playing with perception and illusion. “This project allowed us to explore how a new residential building may be added to existing sites without compromising the character of the existing building, quality of space, environment and relationship to existing building,” Melissa explains. Mitsuori Architects mitsuori.com Photography by Michael Kay Mitsuori Architects Portsea Sleepout photography by Michael Kay living room Mitsuori Architects Portsea Sleepout photography by Michael Kay dining room Mitsuori Architects Portsea Sleepout photography by Michael Kay staircase Mitsuori Architects Portsea Sleepout photography by Michael Kay lourves Mitsuori Architects Portsea Sleepout photography by Michael Kay entrance Mitsuori Architects Portsea Sleepout photography by Michael Kay backyard Mitsuori Architects Portsea Sleepout photography by Michael Kay exterior Mitsuori Architects Portsea Sleepout photography by Michael Kay tennis courtabc
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From Abstraction to Art to Design with Derryn Tal

With a portfolio of work that spans across painting, mixed media, photography and more, it’s natural that Derryn Tal would turn her hand to design. In a collaboration with Designer Rugs, Derryn’s rug work works alongside her art in an examining of the relationship between cause and effect… Habitus Living: Can you tell us a little about your practice and motivations? Derryn Tal: My practice embodies, and is motivated by, the concept of change and is a reflection of cause and effect. My technique is based on alchemy and art, and my interest lies in the discovery and the orchestration of reactions between unconventional mediums. How were you able to translate abstract art into an all-inclusive commodity? I felt that my Gardens of the Gods body of work specifically lent itself to being translated into other mediums. It started when one of my artworks was printed onto fabric and I designed a dress for my son’s wedding; the result was magnificent. The possibilities then extended from fabric to rugs. The main challenges of converting the artworks to a non-digital medium were translating the large number of colours in the artworks to wool colours, and achieving the same fine detail and depth through weaving. What are you hoping to say with your rugs? Gardens of the Gods specifically emphasises our changing environment, focusing on fauna and flora. As our contemporary world continuously interrupts and deters nature’s progress, Mother Nature is able to exude a powerful force as it thrives and adapts, despite being oppressed. However, despite my motivation behind the artworks, I prefer the viewer to interpret them as they please, they will always see new things and not tire of the work. As an artist who may be more used to working independently, how have you found working on a project in collaboration with Designer Rugs? Working in collaboration was quite a relief. Being an artist can be very solitary, and all responsibility usually would fall on me. I was very happy to pass on the technical difficulties and design process to the professionals at Designer Rugs. The design team at Designer Rugs interpreted my artworks into incredibly detailed and complex hand knotted rugs – the results exceeded my expectations, creating luxurious and beautiful rugs, with a depth of intricacy that is truly unique. The shimmering silk highlights and varied pile heights have transformed my artworks into kaleidoscopic rugs that are truly mesmerizing. How important was the material choices and what was your experience working on such a vastly different medium? I have worked with rugs before in the past – I was actually one of the first designers at Designer Rugs when they were established almost 30 years ago, but the process of design has changed a great deal since then. I used to climb onto the scaffolding and hand-draw the designs onto the backing fabric for their hand tufted rugs, but now the designers use software to create a high level of complexity that I find truly awe inspiring. I never had the experience of working with the highly detailed hand knots that make up my collection, so the process was very eye opening and inspiring. Where do you see your designs sitting? I feel my rugs merge traditional and contemporary design. They would work just as well in a busy, eclectic home, filled with antiques and artifacts, as they would in a minimalist space where the rug becomes the feature, bringing a touch of warmth and defining a space. Anywhere they will be loved is the perfect space for them. [caption id="attachment_64104" align="aligncenter" width="934"] Amazon Spirit[/caption] [caption id="attachment_64105" align="aligncenter" width="970"] Illuminated Garden[/caption] [caption id="attachment_64107" align="aligncenter" width="922"] Opal Oasis[/caption]abc
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Passé Composée

Futurolists are doing a roaring trade these days, so anxious are we to know what tomorrow will bring. Oracular trend predictors habitually riff off our fears of technology, climate change, immigration and economic precarity in order to provide panacæ for an as yet unknown era. Future perfect, the Milan Furniture Fair is by its very raison d’être a time machine churning out new product at a rapid rate of knots. But one of the most compelling shows at the Salone this year was not a stand delivering glittering consumer durables, it was an exhibition proposing new ways of inhabiting our homes.

This Will Be The Place was the title of the exhibition orchestrated by Patricia Urquiola in her capacity as art director of Cassina, based on a sibling publication edited by Felix Burrichter, editor and creative director of PIN-UP magazine. What was interesting about this double-edged manifesto was that at no point in formulating a future did Urquiola or Burrichter obliterate the past. Their future entails no tabula rasa, more a recalibration.

“The past is not made out of marble, to use an architectural metaphor,” Urquiola tells me. “The past is a mix of possibility and memory. Design should respond to the present, and there can be no future without a knowledge of the past. The intersection between heritage and innovation is very important to me.”

“The past used to be the future,” Felix Burrichter adds, by phone from his office in New York. “And most of the things that we think are going to happen to us in the future already in part exist. We already live according to a future vision. For instance, ‘collective living’ might sound more radical than Airbnb but ultimately that’s what it is. It’s a matter of nomenclature.”

In Part I of the publication which serves as a de facto catalogue to Urquiola’s show, Burrichter interviews architectural historian Beatriz Colomina who believes the 21st Century to be that of the bed. Berlin-based architect Arno Brandlhuber predicts the house of the future will be a fluid structure composed of few divisions. Chinese architect Zhao Yang foresees a return to nature and tradition – perhaps not too surprising given he was born in the most violently industrialized economy of the past 30 years. Konstantin Grcic suggests that to think about the future effectively, one needs to know the past and be rooted in the present.

“The problem is that when we think of the future,” says the Munich-based industrial designer, “we picture a certain cliché of it and that is often connected to technology, electronics, the digital and so on. In contrast to that, I work in an industry that’s much more analog – namely, furniture. Mine is a slow world, a world in which one scrutinises and revises the things that have existed for hundreds of years.” Grcic’s affection for the analog has its roots in his classical training as a cabinetmaker at the John Makepeace School in Dorset, England. Yet, as we witnessed in his Panorama show at the Vitra Museum in 2015, he is not immune to a fascination with the future. In that show he staged a series of dioramas around the ideas of Life Space, Work Space, and Public Space. “It was an opportunity for me to take stock,” admits Grcic. “But also to look ahead.” Domus described Panorama as “a retrospective that looks to the future, but with an individual suggestion that narrates the present.”

In a similar fashion, This Will Be The Place takes stock of Cassina’s past, projecting it towards the future with a solid grounding in the now. “As the art director of Cassina,” says Urquiola, “I wanted to respect the company’s past and strong stylistic background, yet also take into account their willingness to embrace the future of design, and incorporate my aesthetic into this progression. I like to think of the brand’s history as an active, systematic part of my mind when representing the company’s identity in a contemporary way.”

Urquiola points to Mario Bellini’s 932 armchair of 1965 that has been updated with new four-cushion configurations and rechristened the MB1 Quartet “in honour of his important collaboration with the company.” She has also revisited Patrick Jouin’s 2003 Lebeau table in wood with a light base made of alternating full and hollow spaces with curved solid wood slats. “This table is the perfect expression of the company’s high level production skills,” she says. Charlotte Perriand’s slinky 520 Accordo table is now proposed in bright lacquers untenable at the time it was designed in 1985.

This Will Be The Place riffs off the landmark exhibition Italy: The New Italian Domestic Landscape at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1972. It is also an extension of Burrichter’s 2015 show at the Swiss Institute NYC titled Le Pavillon de l’Esprit Nouveau, itself an echo of Le Corbusier’s radical installation of the same name at the Paris Exposition des Arts Décoratifs of 1925. Looking back in order to look forward.

As Finnish architect and theorist, Martti Kalliala puts it in the collection of potential scenarios in Part II of the book, with titles like When Pinterest Becomes Form, Disruption Begins At Home, and Ageless (But Not Young)... “Time – and with it culture – is a spiral: everything that once was will return, but in different form. We will live tomorrow as we lived in the past – only differently.”

This Will Be The Place, edited by Felix Burrichter is published by Rizzoli. Available from September at better bookshops.

This story was originally published in Habitus #37, the Nostalgia issue – out now!

Image courtesy of Cassina, This Will Be The Place, Playground. Photography by Leonardo Scotti. Artwork by Fausto Fantinuoli

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Around The World
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The Binh Thanh House in Vietnam

Vo Trong Nghia Architects, Sanuki and NISHIZAWAARCHITECTS all come together to craft the Binh Thanh House, an incredible feat of architecture that references an eternal Vietnamese aesthetic in a strikingly contemporary and geometric-inspired home. The Binh Thanh Home is an attached duplex, designed for two families. A middle-aged couple live on the lower two storeys and their son, his wife and young child live on the upper two storeys. Due to the familial connection of the residents, the architects wanted to keep the two sections separated but offer additional, shared living spaces in between that could be enjoyed by all residents. This addition comprises of three shared blocks holding guest bedrooms, kitchen, gym, worship room and a laundry. As well as two blocks that will be transformed into the living space for each family. These living rooms enjoy extended, moveable glass doors, where the families can vary the degree of connection between the interior and the lush of tropical gardens beyond. The design sought to honour traditional Vietnamese design, where the natural world is continued as an integral feature both inside and outside of the house. Pattern block has a long history in Vietnamese architecture and was the perfect solution to offering direct ventilation and sunlight throughout the house, while protecting the interior from the heat and heavy rain. Binh Thanh House NISHIZAWAARCHITECTS bedroom The pattern block has become somewhat synonymous with local Vietnamese architecture, perfectly suited to the harsh tropical climate. And more than mere functionality, the pattern block gives an arresting impression to the house. The graphic geometric appearance integrates into the surrounding forest greenery, and made from pre-cast concrete allows the overall structure to assume an aged appearance despite the modern form. The Binh Thanh House is immediately impressive, standing out as a beauteous, artistically-minded form from its neighbours. Yet, the house does not rebel against its context, instead it adapts pervading architectural forms and knowledge to relate the space to historical structures. The inherent concern for site and context, that informs local design, continues within the house, offering an insight into the future trajectory of Vietnamese architecture. Vo Trong Nghia Architects, Sanuki and NISHIZAWAARCHITECTS all come together to craft the Binh Thanh House, an incredible feat of architecture that references an eternal Vietnamese aesthetic in a strikingly contemporary and geometric-inspired home. Binh Thanh House NISHIZAWAARCHITECTS staircase The Binh Thanh Home is an attached duplex, designed for two families. A middle-aged couple live on the lower two storeys and their son, his wife and young child live on the upper two storeys. Due to the familial connection of the residents, the architects wanted to keep the two sections separated but offer additional, shared living spaces in between that could be enjoyed by all residents. This addition comprises of three shared blocks holding guest bedrooms, kitchen, gym, worship room and a laundry. As well as two blocks that will be transformed into the living space for each family. These living rooms enjoy extended, moveable glass doors, where the families can vary the degree of connection between the interior and the lush of tropical gardens beyond. The design sought to honour traditional Vietnamese design, where the natural world is continued as an integral feature both inside and outside of the house. Pattern block has a long history in Vietnamese architecture and was the perfect solution to offering direct ventilation and sunlight throughout the house, while protecting the interior from the heat and heavy rain. The pattern block has become somewhat synonymous with local Vietnamese architecture, perfectly suited to the harsh tropical climate. And more than mere functionality, the pattern block gives an arresting impression to the house. The graphic geometric appearance integrates into the surrounding forest greenery, and made from pre-cast concrete allows the overall structure to assume an aged appearance despite the modern form. The Binh Thanh House is immediately impressive, standing out as a beauteous, artistically-minded form from its neighbours. Yet, the house does not rebel against its context, instead it adapts pervading architectural forms and knowledge to relate the space to historical structures. The inherent concern for site and context, that informs local design, continues within the house, offering an insight into the future trajectory of Vietnamese architecture. Binh Thanh House NISHIZAWAARCHITECTS roof Binh Thanh House NISHIZAWAARCHITECTS bedroom Binh Thanh House NISHIZAWAARCHITECTS kitchen Binh Thanh House NISHIZAWAARCHITECTS lounge room Binh Thanh House NISHIZAWAARCHITECTS staircase Binh Thanh House NISHIZAWAARCHITECTS brickwork Binh Thanh House NISHIZAWAARCHITECTS exteriorabc
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Italian Style in the Stile Tapware Range

Since 1956 Abey Australia has consistently set the bar higher and higher in the plumbing and building industry, and having spent the last twenty years defining such a huge spectrum of the Australian bathroom design market, it’s remarkable seeing the brand continue to flourish and innovate as it grows, which brings us to the Stile range. With a continually growing portfolio of over 2500 products, Abey’s range is the staggering result of a 60-year commitment to product development, a focus on innovative approaches to materiality and finishes, coupled with a quest for improved quality. The Italian-made Stile range captures its namesake meaning of style. The Gareth Ashton range reflects the innovation and global design passion of Abey, bringing together unique design elements to create pieces that have a lasting impression. Possessing a styled minimalism, sleek lines and a balance of organic and angular shapes, the range is the perfect compliment to a modern space. The Stile range is available in five modern metallic Finishes to suit every bathroom design and colour scheme. In addition to being modern, stylish and of impeccable quality, Stile tapware manages to be a highly affordable choice in bathroom design. The range’s unique-shaped spout and handles ensure it will leave a lasting impression in any bathroom. Abey abey.com.au  abc