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Habitus is a movement for living in design. We’re an intelligent community of original thinkers in constant search of native uniqueness in our region.


From our base in Australia, we strive to capture the best edit, curating the stories behind the stories for authentic and expressive living.


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


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Design Hunters
Design Stories
What's On

Recruit Indesign Falls In With The Movers And The Shakers

In any industry, the end of year is a notoriously tough time to recruit; the festive spirit is in full-flight and everything else is being nudged into the list of things to tackle in the new year. Despite making its debut amidst such circumstances, Recruit Indesign will be closing the year out in celebration of a very warm industry reception, and the promise of an exciting year ahead. In the short month since its launch, Recruit Indesign has begun accruing a choir of clients singing its praises – one of which being Australian owned and operated furniture and joinery designer / manufacturer, Maxton Fox. “Maxton Fox is going through an exciting transformation and the role we were looking for was pretty much a golden ‘unicorn’,” says Belinda Hall, Maxton Fox’s marketing director, “Sue immediately understood the kind of person and energy we needed, and I’m very pleased with the options she proposed. We ultimately found the next great addition to our growing Maxton Fox team.” As for what’s in the works at the moment, Sue, Recruit Indesign’s chief talent officer, can’t give too much away, but she does disclose that the industry is alive with movements – if only one knows where to look. “The design industry is busy if you are partnering with the right clients, being brave about decisions and talking to the industry at all times,” says Sue, “We are working across a variety of roles in interior design, architecture and across a number of verticals, including product design and the increasingly sought-after discipline of CX/UX.” Though for Sue and much of the Recruit Indesign team, Sydney is called home, admittedly Sydney is not the most opportunistic place in the Indo Pacific region at the moment – which is where having that all-important region-wide presence comes in. “We have seen the markets change over the last year and certainly since our inception other markets have been busier than Sydney,” says Sue, “Singapore is becoming busier and I genuinely think that next year will bring about  better upturn in the Sydney market, albeit the chat thus far has been indifferent to that.” “Our focus [in 2020] will be to move with the market, to be fluid with our clients, and to deliver solutions in the places that need it the most.” Recruit Indesign recruitindesign.com.auabc
Around The World
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All Or Nothing At The Keraton At The Plaza, Jakarta

When the clients of Brewin Design Office purchased their apartment within The Keraton at the Plaza building in Jakarta, Indonesia, all they got were the keys to the door and the right to do with the space that which they wished. Units within this building were sold completely bare – “essentially just a large concrete box with windows”. Furniture and appliances are specified post sale by the new residents, as one would expect. As are the textiles and finishes, also not out of the ordinary. But in the case of The Keraton at the Plaza, even the programmatic layout is at the directive of the residents: the unit is literally and figuratively simply a shell and even the wet areas such as the kitchen and bathrooms need to be planned out by the residents. For Brewin Design Office, who took responsibility for the full scope of the project from spatial planning to furniture, finishings and hardware, this formed the ideal blank canvas rivalling that of a new build. The clients were a young family of three with a penchant for art and desire to grow their collection – and family. As such, the brief was for a home that needed to be flexible in its ability to contract and expand. Programmatically and quite objectively, this meant three bedrooms and a family room in addition to the living/dining spaces. It also meant strategic wall coverage for existing – and future – art to be displayed. The final layout (and there were more than a few considered beforehand) sees the entry vestibule transport residents or visitors through an artwork gallery that doubles as a bridge between public and private zones. With a liberal footprint of 2.2 metres by 15 metres and a generous 3.5 metre ceiling (that’s almost 12 feet), the inefficiencies of a typical hallway are done away with and this gallery-like space is in fact highly functional. As one exits the artwork corridor they are deposited into the family room that together with the three bedrooms takes up two of the four equal bays that neatly divide the structural layout of the apartment. Moving through the residence, the living room feels bright and airy in comparison to the more subdued family room, due in large part to the lighter furnishings and open-plan connection to the kitchen and dining zone. Brewin Design Office has accentuated the openings and doorways as one transitions through spaces public to private or public to public. Many of these openings work to frame an artwork, piece of furniture, or mise-en-scene in the connecting room. This is achieved firstly through the significant depth of a 40-centimetre opening, and secondly in the use of dark American walnut timber in thick veneered planks and a timber header. Moving from the living room through to the kitchen or dining area is where this is most noticeable: care of a 1.2-metre-wide opening. American walnut timber is carried through from accents on the doorways to the kitchen cabinetry, bathroom cabinetry, and the flooring in the bedrooms and family room. For the floor in the public spaces, (kitchen, living, dining) granite stone was chosen. The furniture, much of the loose and all of the inbuilt, was custom designed by BDO using rare marbles and timbers such as figured maple and figured sycamore as well as the previously mentioned American walnut. It was then fabricated by a cabinetmaker in Australia. A standout example is the 3-metre long window sofa in the dining room. As a resident, guest or even onlooker as you move through the apartment there are consistencies in design that span the interior architecture to interior design to decoration and final touches. Being responsible for the design of the residence in its entirety, and with clients who trusted them implicitly, Brewin Design Office was able to take full ownership of the project and result are palpable. Brewin Design Office brewindesignoffice.com Dissection Information American Walnut Timber White Oak Crown Cut Veneer Venetian Stucco Quarzite Atlantic Stone Statuario Chorchia Stone Travertine Dinamarquesa Armchairs Bathroom fittings and fixtures by Lefroy Brooks We think you might also like Taipei House by Valerie Rostaingabc
Habitus Loves
Design Products

Habitus Loves… Christmas Gift Ideas

Rockstar Bar by Buster + Punch from Living Edge

Everyone knows a good Rockstar steals the show and this Buster + Punch Rockstar Bar is no different. Handmade in the UK from solid American Walnut, the Rockstar Bar is perfect to gather around with your guests to celebrate this festive season. Living Edge  

Of Muse and Myth Gift Kits from Aēsop

Aesop’s Gift Kits for 2019, collectively titled ‘Of Muse and Myth’, celebrate the ancient Muses of Greek mythology, the goddesses of the arts, honoured since antiquity as inspirations in culture, literature and the arts. The Gift Kits offer a curated range of skin care, body, and home products sought-after for giving during the festive season. The collection comprises five kits in total, including two skin care kits, a trio for the home and basin, a body care twosome, and an exceptional quartet for hands and body. Aēsop  

New Volumes Mortar and Pestle by Artedomus from Cult

Used in kitchens for thousands of years, there remains a no more satisfyingly primal way to mix dry ingredients than a mortar and pestle. King’s take on the kitchen staple is distinctly sculptural, while the natural heaviness of Elba makes for an extra solid base and pleasingly weighty pestle. Together, they make an extra-effective pairing. Cult  

Obelisk from Domo

With a shape evocative of a Christmas tree, the DOMO Homewares Obelisk in Green Marble brings the celebratory spirit to the entertaining space. As a gift the DOMO Homewares Obelisk is perfect for perfect for the person who has everything. Domo  

Radiofonografo by Brionvega from Living Edge

Created in 1965 by designers Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni, the Radiofonografo is a superb work of modern industrial design, thanks to both its incomparable style and sound. Exuding retro charm, along with incredible sonic definition and the ability to orient and move the sound modules to best suit the surrounding environment, the Radiofonografo is sure to get kids, family and friends in a dancing mood. Living Edge  

Integrated DishDrawer from Fisher & Paykel

The holiday season calls for lots of eating, which means lots of dirty dishes. The Fisher & Paykel Integrated DishDrawer™ Dishwasher is an entertainer's dream. With the ability to use both drawers independently and select different wash programs, the DishDrawer™ Dishwasher can wash everything from fine glass and crystal to heavily soiled pots and pans. Wash modifiers allow specialised cycle settings. Fisher & Paykel  

Porthole Infuser from top3 by design

A must for every foodie. The Porthole is a simple, beautiful infusion vessel designed by Martin Kastner of Crucial Detail design studio. It can be used to create striking cocktails, oils, teas, dressings, lemonade, coffee, or any other type of cold infusion. Top3 by Design  

Omini The Fisherman Napkins Tray by Ghidini 1961 from Artemest

Strikingly elegant in its simplicity, this brass napkin holder boasts a concave silhouette with a shiny finish. A small figurine of a man fishing is seated at the edge of the tray, his curved fishing rod connected to a napkin weight in the shape of a fish about to emerge from the water. A modern take on an ordinary kitchen item, this playful and sophisticated napkin tray will infuse charm and creative design in any modern kitchen. Artemest  abc
Design Stories
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Why Is Mid Century Modernism So Perennially Popular?


The following is an extract from the introduction to Atlas of Mid-Century Modern Houses by Domenic Bradbury published by Phaidon.

The mid-century period was, without doubt, a golden age of architecture and design. It was a time of optimism and imagination, full of ideas and ingenuity, which still resonates with us today. A whole series of powerful influences and currents converged, catalyzed by a post-war consumer boom, encouraging architects and designers worldwide to experiment and innovate as never before. House and home were radically reinvented and remade during the Fifties and Sixties, as modern lifestyles evolved to embrace more informal, playful and open-plan living patterns. It is no exaggeration to say that the way we live today is grounded in the ideas formulated and refined during the mid-century era. Many of the key themes that we associate with ‘contemporary living’ were explored and perfected during the post-war period – including inside-outside connectivity; multipurpose living spaces; the rise of the kitchen as a family hub; outdoor rooms; and the adoption of fluid, interconnected rooms rather than ‘landlocked’ dedicated circulation routes. [gallery type="rectangular" size="medium" ids="97137,97138"] Schuchard House, Stan Symonds, Seaforth, Sydney, New South Wales (AU), 1963. Picture credit: Brett Boardman (page 400, top) A whole series of architectural and structural innovations associated with the Fifties and Sixties have had lasting importance for residential architecture. Steel- and concrete-framed structures obviated the need for load-bearing brick and masonry walls, allowing for more fluid layouts within the home, and the use of ‘curtain walls’ offered a greater sense of transparency than ever before. Within these more open and flexible floor plans, architects made increasing use of ‘service cores’ holding bathrooms and utilities. Increasingly, the borders between inside and outside space were eroded, creating a more vibrant sense of connection with the surroundings and encouraging the growth of porches, verandas and terraces. With advances in structural engineering, houses were increasingly raised up on piloti to maximize the light and the views or – alternatively – traditional living patterns were inverted, with bedrooms on the ground floor and a living space above. Tectonic innovations allowed architects to create dramatic cantilevers that pushed out into the landscape, while others explored increasingly complex, sculptural and dynamic forms. Some sought to break the house down into a series of modest, interrelated pavilions rather than building one dominant mansion residence – while the courtyard dwelling offered another way of integrating inside and outside space. Thredbo Ski Lodge, Harry Seidler, Thredbo, New South Wales (AU), 1962. Picture credit: Max Dupain / Estate of Douglas Snelling, courtesy of Davina Jackson (page 395) Yet such exemplary mid-century houses were not only about structural and spatial innovation. One of the reasons they still resonate so deeply is that the great residences of the Fifties and Sixties are also infused with the aesthetics of the age and enriched by warm, playful and characterful interiors. They are populated with the furniture and lighting of the time – in its own way, highly inventive and original. Many of the period’s great architects – Gio Ponti, Alvar Aalto, Charles Eames, Eero Saarinen, Antonio Bonet Castellana, Carlo Mollino, etc. – were also gifted furniture designers. There is a particularly close relationship between architecture, interiors, furniture and lighting that pervades the period. Many familiar and friendly pieces of iconic mid-century furniture evolved from specific architectural commissions, which carried through into a full design concept embracing almost every detail. It’s so rare to fix on a time when architectural ingenuity and engaging aesthetics combine so completely and expressively. Factor in the richness of the era’s textiles, its glassware and ceramics – as well as the revolutionary quality of mid-century industrial and product design – and one has a synergy that it is unique in the history of design. This was truly a golden age. Atlas of Mid-Century Modern Houses, published by Phaidon, is out now. Phaidon au.phaidon.com Casa Sotto Una Foglia, Gio Ponti and Nanda Vigo, Malo, Vicenza, Veneto (IT), 1969 (page 342)   Space House, Peter Foggo and David Thomas, East Grinstead, West Sussex, England (UK), 1964. Picture credit: Bryant, Richard / Arcaid Images / Alamy Stock Photo (page 275)   Kaufmann House, Richard Neutra, Palm Springs, California (US), 1947. Picture credit: Julius Shulman / © J. Paul Getty Trust. Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles (2004.R.10) (pages 96-97)   Casa Ugalde, José Antonio Coderch, Caldes D’estrac, Barcelona, Catalonia (ES), 1952. Picture credit: Lluís Casals (pages 304-5) We think you might also like Auchenflower House by Kelder Architectsabc
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What's On

What’s In Store For The Life Outdoors Issue?

The December issue of Habitus tends to mirror the changing of the seasons, in that after a long winter the team, the industry, and the greater population are ready to focus of the summer to come. We celebrate our December issues as ones that focus on indoor-outdoor spaces, living amongst nature (and how that can happen in a rural context), entertaining family and friends, and architecture and design that protects us from the elements when we so choose. This time around, for the 2019 Life Outdoors issue, we gave ourselves a specific intention. We chose to explore the various ways design consumers express themselves through a connection to the surrounding topography – be that urban or rural; coastal or inland; close or far from the equator. Of course this is manifest in the homes they’ve engaged architects to design, build, or renovate – but we were also intrigued to see how this desire plays out in the public sphere. How is an aspiration to be connected to nature reflected in the design of the cafés, restaurants, retail spaces and even hotels that we, as Design Hunters, frequent? [caption id="attachment_96936" align="alignnone" width="1170"]Habitus #46 Life Outdoors Issue Sahi W&D, a homestay in Vietnam by SILAA[/caption] The namesake article in the feature sections looks at built examples across the Indo Pacific Region wherein architects have designed community occupied spaces exactly to foster a connection to the surrounding environment. The Cornerstone Stores on the Gold Coast by Richards & Spence are a collection of retail spaces that each face inwards to a central courtyard, while in Vietnam SILAA has designed a homestay to facilitate guests feeling immersed in nature despite being a mere four kilometres from the centre of Huế. We visit a small, organic farm stay in Indonesia by GOY Architects located on the highlands of Gunung Gede, Sukabumi. The 6-hectare family owned and run farm stay endeavours to facilitate a deep connection between occupants and the food they eat. Rather than experience simply as an end product patrons sleep in humbles quarters with farmland penetrating the common areas; they farm the land, harvest it, and then prepare the meals as a group taking part in the entire cycle. [caption id="attachment_96940" align="alignnone" width="1170"] Rammed Earth Retreat by Thais Pupio Architect. Photography by Michael Nicholson[/caption] [caption id="attachment_96935" align="alignnone" width="1170"] Powell Street House by Robert Simeoni Architects. Photography by Derek Swalwell[/caption] In On Location, there is a home in the Byron Bay Hinterland that is made predominantly from rammed earth materials by Thais Pupio Architects. In appearance it contrasts strongly with an inner-city alterations & additions project by Robert Simeoni Architects with which the writer and resident draws parallels to Maison de Verre by Pierre Chareau and Tempietto by Donato Bramante. Yet, the two residences share an understanding of the context within which they sit and unique design cues that connect each to life beyond the four walls of the house. New Zealand’s Patchwork Architecture has designed a home for its builder clients on the steepest of sites in Wellington fully exposed to the elements. A compact site feel secure and spacious, connected to the views available yet protected from the strong winds. [caption id="attachment_96934" align="alignnone" width="1170"] 10x10 House by Patchwork Architecture. Photography by Simon Wilson[/caption] Closer to home design anthropologist Trent Jansen invited us into his new studio behind his home in Thirroul. Bordering the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Dharawal National Reserve on the other, the studio needed to be sensitive to the risk of bushfires as much as coastal erosion. Not to mention the main points of the brief to provide Trent with a dirty and clean space to work – the former to prototype, the latter to research. Here is just a selection of the articles within, chosen perhaps with a biased eye. Grab a copy and make your own judgements. Don’t forget to let us know what you think. Or, subscribe to the print edition here. Tag us at @habitusliving on Instagram and Facebook. Re-pin Habitus Living on Pinterest and for weekly updates on all this architecture and design across the Indo Pacific Region make sure you’re subscribed to our Habitus Living newsletter.   Until next time, Holly Cunneen Editor [caption id="attachment_96938" align="alignnone" width="1170"] Sukasantai Homestay by GOY Architects[/caption] [caption id="attachment_96942" align="alignnone" width="1170"] Trent Jansen in his studio in Thirroul[/caption]abc
Design Products

Timeless With A Passionate And Innovative Spirit: Neatt. By studio.mckeon

studio.mckeon prides itself on creating products that make a positive difference to everyday life. The eponymous brand was built on a wealth of knowledge, experience and an innovative spirit founded by industrial designer, Seaton McKeon. With a focus on user-centric and a purpose-driven company ethos, the designs developed at studio.mckeon provide intelligent solutions to a range of problems – from furniture and workplace design; to medical technology; transport; and everything in between – McKeon is passionate about creating timeless and valuable experiences through good design. In 2015, McKeon was the inaugural winner of the Australian Furniture Design Award. The biennial award gave McKeon an opportunity to work with JamFactory at their furniture studio, as well as ultimate distribution through Stylecraft showrooms across Australia and Singapore. In an exclusive partnership with Stylecraft, McKeon launched Paperclip in 2017 – the outdoor furniture range that embodies timeless and functional design. The latest addition to the studio.mckeon name is the Neatt. brand. Established earlier this year, a collaborative relationship between designers, Seaton McKeon and James Laffan who have worked together over a number of years developing a large range of products. Where aesthetics and functionality meet – Neatt. draws upon a collective experience in developing simple, functional furniture products that celebrate Australian materiality and exquisite craftsmanship. Distributed through Stylecraft, flagship collections under the new Neatt. brand are the Dolio table and the Ambi Lighting collections will launch early 2020. The Dolio Table Collection showcases Canberra metal craft with a flexible table system solution available in a coffee table through to bar height models with strong bespoke support. A colour-matched metal top coffee table complements the range of richly featured and durable Australian Spotted Gum hardwood tabletops, adding a sophisticated touch to the raw materiality. The Ambi Lighting Collection is made in Australia from spun aluminium and features a range of sizes and combinations, allowing for customisation to suit your project. The range includes pendant, wall mount and wall mount options, making the Ambi collection suitable for a wide range of applications. The clean lines of the Ambi collection are enhanced by a range of 9 standard colours, with others available on request. Entering the Stylecraft stable also early new year for studio.mckeon is the Paperclip coffee table products, which will join the Paperclip Seating products manufactured in Melbourne. The Paperclip Coffee Table range is artfully designed with a custom perforated metal design, with solid Merbau timber or compact laminate options. Intricately crafted to nest as a pair or sit separately, the Paperclip Coffee Tables come in heights of 400mm and 450mm and are available in a range of Dulux powder coat colours. studio.mckeon studiomckeon.com  abc

Bijl Architecture Brings Kitchen And Garden Closer Than Ever

A well-appointed kitchen and seamless connections between indoors and out are resoundingly highly valued by anyone who likes having a roof over their head. They are the spaces in which we come together – with family and friends – to cook, laugh, and connect. In collaboration with HouseLab, Sydney-based Bijl Architecture has envisioned an urban residence that intertwines kitchen and garden more than ever. Depicted through hyper-realistic renderings and animation, the ConceptSpace – aptly titled Come Together – explores the thresholds between paddock and plate, nature and the built environment. Folding windows, walls, doors ensure fresh produce is no further than an arm’s reach away. There when you want them, not there when you don’t, these malleable boundaries between outdoors and in enable inhabitants to open and close their space to nature as and when it suits. Through the flexible window and door configurations, the living/dining space spills out onto the deck – an idyllic setting for hosting barbecues or summer soirees. The kitchen bench looks out to a verdant urban garden boasting home-grown fruits and vegetables, while herb-drying racks hang overhead, opening up a world of farm to table possibilities, even for city-dwellers. On the concept, HouseLab co-founder Marcus Piper says, “Over the past decade we’ve seen a real return to earth in urban areas with residents using private and public space to grow and share food. Bijl’s concept brings this together, reflecting the cultural melting-pot that is Australia and the way we socialise at home.” "Engaging with leading creative minds who know the realities of construction means our ConceptSpaces are more than just ideas – they are completely feasible,” says Chris Rennie, co-founder of HouseLab. “It’s why we’ve focussed on four distinct times of day, considering a residential space’s life and the way it can adapt to the needs of its residents.” Bijl Architecture bijlarchitecture.com.au HouseLab houselab.com.au Dissection Information Zip Water HydroTap Miele Kitchen Stack Escea Fireplace Kitchens Butter Bar Stool Morning Noon Afternoon Evening We think you might also like this award-winning kitchen by Mim Designabc
Design Hunters
DH - Feature

These Design Hunters Are Making Leaps And Bounds Ahead Of The Rest

Artist, architect, or industrial designer; when it comes to identifying a genuine Design Hunter, all disciplines are equal. In their own ways, each of these design contemporaries from across the Indo-Pacific region is decidedly in their prime.

Jade Sarita Arnott

Jade Sarita Arnott Arnsdorf

When the Rana Plaza factory complex collapsed in 2013, killing over 1000 Bangladeshi garment workers, Jade Sarita Arnott felt devastated. It had not been her relatives who’d perished in the disaster, but the event confirmed that she’d made the right choice in disbanding her fashion label, Arnsdorf, the year before.

A trained artist and fashion designer, Jade had stepped away from her business, disillusioned by the endless cycle of seasonal garment releases and the punishing pressure to constantly reinvent and re-launch. She couldn’t see how the fashion industry’s traditional working model could sustain itself. There was some measure of relief there, too, in not being involved in an industry that could so easily ignore human rights.

The question that hung in the balance was this: could she be part of the change?

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Photography by Benjamin Hosking. Read the full story here.


Vanessa Katsanevakis

Vanessa Katsanevakis Sussex Taps portrat

Director Vanessa Katsanevakis heads Sussex Taps, the Melbourne-based manufacturer her father established in the 1990s. Habitus talks to her about his legacy and her thoughts on the next big trends in tapware.

“We’re a second-generation, family-run business and we operate as a family as well, with a team of 70 people working across three sites in Melbourne. My dad, Nicolaas Johannes van Putten, was a jeweller and watchmaker by trade and he immigrated to Australia from The Netherlands in 1960 and set up a jewellery business. Although it was really successful, he decided to diversify into tapware in the 1990s. From the very beginning, he reinforced the value of craftsmanship and it remains his legacy. Sussex Taps is built around well-crafted products and this is something we’re passionate about.”

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Read the full story here.


Andrew Benn

Andrew Benn Benn+Penna | Habitus Living

Architect Andrew Benn isn’t bound by the four walls that form a house. He takes time to reflect on the needs, wants and lifestyle of his clients to fashion sensitive architectural solutions. And although he has numerous built examples of his particular approach, it’s the house he lives in that is perhaps the best illustration.

Located in Balmain, Sydney, not too far from the edge of Sydney Harbour, Andrew lives with his wife Alice and their two young children in a house they own with his wider family. His mother is his neighbour. She downsized from their larger family home when Andrew was studying architecture, and it was understood that, when appropriate, he would work on the house. When Andrew and his family bought the neighbouring property in 2012 the time was right to begin the project.

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Photography by David Wheeler. Read the full story here.


Yip Yuen Hong

Yip Yuen Hong Singapore Design Hunter

When it comes to architecture and design, Yip Yuen Hong is the master of distilling complex requirements down to the essentials. The multiple President’s Design Award (Singapore) winner and founding partner of ipli Architects is an advocate and a practitioner of a solutions-driven design approach in which simplicity of form, program, material and space results in soulful and inspiring architecture.

Despite the focus of his practice largely on residential buildings with various-sized footprints, Yuen Hong finds the most comfort in smaller spaces that pose opportunities for exploration and innovation. With his approach to kitchen and bathroom design – for his clients as well as for himself – the architect warns against over-designing and oversizing that can come with an excessive amount of space. The temptation that comes with the luxury of space, in his words, can seduce clients into unnecessary wastefulness of resources, maximising the available footprint instead of focusing on the overall functionality of a space.

Photography by Khoo Guo Jie. Read the full story here.


Nicholas Gurney

Nicholas Gurney on design thinking

Nicholas Gurney transforms small compact spaces – always under 100 square metres – and uses his background in industrial design to maximise room. “Compact houses seemed like the sort of thing I could apply design thinking to and make creative solutions to small space problems,” he says.

“I’ve been working in these spaces since 2012. It was a slow burn in the beginning, but thanks to the real estate market in Sydney and Melbourne smaller spaces became a genuine option for a lot of people. It makes sense to spend money on them to improve them, and make them more functional.”

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Photography by Katherine Lu and Michael Wee. Read the full story here.

Around The World
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A Tea Art Installation In Vietnam Invites You To Stop And Take Pause

Opened in 2018 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Dear TeaHouse is a modern take on a traditional teahouse that takes the best of both worlds – and the first of its kind in the country. Located in a densely populated city its purpose is to provide patrons with high-quality teas sourced from east Asia in an environment that offers peace, pause and a place to repose. The design and purpose is intended to cater to generations young and old. In September 2019, the modern concept teahouse launched an immersive tea art experience called Mekong. Inspired by the culturally rich and inspiring landscapes of the Mekong Delta region nearby, Mekong Delta is a maze of rivers, swamps and islands – and the homeland of the Dear TeaHouse co founders. The area is known for floating markets, Khmer pagodas, and rice paddies. Adjacent to Ho Chi Minh City, tours of Mekong Delta region will often start from Vietnam’s largest city. A coming together of Ecolotus and Dear TeaHouse, a major part of the experience is possible through Ecolotus’s variety of products, including dried lotus flowers and leaves. Mekong is open to residents of the city and tourists alike, and is an interactive and educational experience to arouse patrons’ senses and enrich them with a deeper understanding of the Mekong Delta region. “By taking inspiration from the image of a sunset down in the Mekong river, we seek to construct an immersive tea-art experience where people can experience the feeling of being Alice in Wonderland by drinking tea amid a virtual lotus pond the moment they step through the door,” says Danh Le, co-founder of Dear TeaHouse. The two experiences especially devised in the theme for visitors are:


The unique installation art produced exclusively for Dear TeaHouse taking inspiration from the image of “lotus pond”, designed and handcrafted from a total of more than 250 lotus-related products from 8 categories from Ecolotus by local artisans under the direct supervision of artisan Thien Nguyen of Saigon-based Dem Trang Studio.


With special Lotus Flower Tea from Ecolotus, handmade in Dong Thap, Vietnam for Dear TeaHouse. Accompanying this are four signature teas selected for their artisanal, fragrant, and health-nourishment quality that are extremely beneficial for tea lovers. The intention is that in pausing for the ritual they will see the benefits of pausing – by extension – in daily life, especially given the normalised chaos of modern, urban life. Mekong is the second in a series of installations and interactive experiences planned for Dear TeaHouse. The first, Hanami, took inspiration from the unique ritual of flowering viewing in Japan and was likewise a co-production between Dear TeaHouse and Ariyasa (concept). Dear TeaHouse dearteahouse.com Ecolotus www.ecolotus.vn Photography by Marc Tran Dissection Information Concept: Phu Nguyen Ariyasa Art installation: Thien Nguyen Flower Arrangement: Phat Tran Tray Design: Tap Decor Graphic Design: Danh Le, D4nh Architecture & Furniture: Yen Nguyen, Seven Studio We think you might also like La Chansonnière by GB Spaceabc
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Contemporary Art Deco Meets Beach Luxe

Developments across Melbourne are a dime a dozen, but there are some that bring something different. Pine Ave, designed by Cera Stribley Architects with interiors by The Stella Collective, with developers ANGLE and BuxtonGroup has some unique design details to set it apart. Designed with young families in mind, Pine Ave is a fresh and modern interpretation of the classic art deco architecture common in the area. To bring the project to life, developers ANGLE pulled together a key team of collaborators – seeing strength in balancing the right mix of experts. The project is made up of eight townhouses, each three storeys high. The distinctive façade of Pine Ave draws reference to art deco through its curved brickwork and balanced details. Upon closer inspection the façade belies its modern interpretation through the materiality. Offsetting the white brickwork is a charcoal cladding, while the windows include a white perforated screen. “We had to really push for council approval on the material selection,” says Kegan Harry, Director of ANGLE and sister company Earl.St. Wanting to capitalise on the ocean breezes and maximise liveability of each townhome, the layout and planning of the block has meant each one has dual aspects. This is key for cross-ventilation and ample light. Once inside, thoughtful details come to the fore, with The Stella Collective having been appointed as interior designer. The material palette is fresh and fun, perfect for young families. Blonde timbers have been paired with brass details and finishes, while design elements like reflective cabinetry work to amplify the space. Perforated metal, as seen on the exterior, makes its way to the interior, allowing for a sense of lightness while repeating the same modern language from inside to out. Storage has been well considered, with hidden cupboards and draws as well as a series of brass shelves running from the kitchen to the bathroom. Other elements that come together to make this project stand out are the custom wayfinding and services elements. Communal services like a workshop and bike storage is marked with identifiable signage, designed especially for the project by ANGLE. “It’s the kind of details that really kick things up a notch,” says Harry, “It might be small but we really want to make sure it makes our projects feel like a home.” Though a modern interpretation of the art deco period, Pine Ave has been built with quality and care – features that will ensure it has an enduring appeal while ageing gracefully in Elwood. Cera Stribley Architects cs-a.com.au The Stella Collective thestellacollective.co ANGLE angle.com.au BuxtonGroup buxtongroup.com.au Exterior photography by Emily Bartlett, interior photography by Maegan Brown. We think you might also like Shadow House by Nic Owen Architectsabc
Fixed & Fitted
Design Products

Spotlight On: Caroma Elvire Collection Bathroomware

That constant being Caroma’s commitment to bring Australian design aesthetics – and values – into the bathroom. As Australia’s tastes have evolved, so too have Caroma’s designs. Ever fresh, unencumbered by tradition, and forward focussed, the iconic bathroomware designer and manufacturer has long been at the forefront of bathroom design trends. And its latest collection, Elvire, is no exception. Launched in September 2019, the Elvire Collection is testament both to how much bathroom design has shifted in recent years, and Caroma’s genuine interest in, and understanding of, these changing patterns and behaviours. Quite unlike anything Caroma has done before, Elvire comprises a full suite of bathroomware products – designed for and with the architecture and design market, and design savvy consumers. The design of the collection – which took over two years to perfect – is a direct response to the contemporary bathroom’s new-found prominence in residential design. Once perceived as a place purely dedicated to hygiene, the modern bathroom has evolved to cater more holistically to a sense of wellbeing. In the breadth, materiality and design language of the Elvire Collection Caroma’s lead industrial designer, Luke Di Michiel, has designed a range of bathroomware with values of sustainability and wellbeing in mind. Taking cues from growing interest in biophilic design, Elvire seeks to bring elements of nature into bathroom design. Showcasing a beautiful selection of locally grown and sustainably sourced Tasmanian timbers, the collection is a lovingly crafted celebration of Australia’s natural environment. From showers and baths to tapware and accessories, here’s a closer look at the range and beauty of Elvire.

Vanities and basins

[gallery size="medium" ids="96589,96591,96590"] Available in a variety of styles and sizes, Elvire collection vanities and basins are crafted from sustainable timbers, manufactured locally in Australia. Left unstained, to accentuate their natural beauty, the premium timbers are finished with a satin seal. Distinct thin edged basins are made with enamelled steel and crafted with precision for complete symmetry and a flawless fit.


[gallery size="medium" ids="96584,96583,96582"] A design feature of its own, the enamelled steel shroud of the overhead rain shower might just be the star of the show in the Elvire collection. For those who prefer a more understated luxury, a gunmetal rail shower with overhead and singular gunmetal handheld shower are also available.


Considered by many as the ultimate in relaxation, a luxurious freestanding bath will undoubtedly turn your bathroom into your sanctuary. Crafted from solid surface material, The Elvire bath is highly durable, non-porous, and smooth and warm to the touch.


[gallery size="medium" ids="96585,96587,96586"] Striking gunmetal taps come with a variety of handle options including your choice of Tasmanian signature timber; a metal knurled detailed handle; or any Caroma handle of your choosing to create a luxury tapware range like none you’ve seen before. Available in a bench or wall mounted mixer as well as a stunning bath filler to complement your Elvire bath.

Toilet suites

Considered down to the finest details, the Elvire toilet suite range features gunmetal seat hinges, timber Invisi flush buttons and Caroma’s patented Cleanflush® technology.


[gallery size="medium" ids="96578,96580,96579"] Designed by Luke Di Michiel as ‘little pieces of furniture’, Elvire accessories include toilet roll holder with shelf, towel rail with shelf, hand towel rail with shelf and robe hook. Incorporating Elvire’s signature sustainable timbers this range of essential accessories are those little details that make a big difference to the holistic look and feel of your bathroom space. Caroma caroma.com.au We think you might also like to see behind the scenes of Luke Di Michiel's design processabc
Around The World
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5 Houses Designed To Thrive In Sub-Tropical Climes

When it comes to forging meaningful connections between indoors and out, the Indo-Pacific region is home to some of the most inimitable residences in the world. These five projects, each completed over the year 2019, are further testament the local region’s calibre to design for the idyllic, sub-tropical indoor-outdoor way of life.

Four Leaves Villa by Kentaro Ishida Architects Studio (KIAS)

Four Leaves Villa Japan KIAS CC Norihito Yamauchi

The purpose of architecture is not just to create a building, but also to create an atmosphere that will enmesh itself within a context. It is for this reason that each room within Four Leaves Villa is oriented differently to maximise natural light and scenic views. Specifically, the living and dining space face southeast for increased brightness, while the master bedroom and bathroom face west, fitting cosily into a densely wooded area of the forest. Completed with a central courtyard, the Four Leaves Villa is an exemplary use of “architecture as an aggregate of diverse living spaces,” explains the designer, and is an integration that occurs as a result of blending nature with built context.

[gallery type="rectangular" size="medium" ids="85673,85671,85666"] Photography by Norihito Yamauchi. Read the full story here.

Salmon Avenue by FGR Architects

FGR Architects Salmon Avenue CC Peter Bennetts swimming pool

The expansive entertaining area, which flows freely between the kitchen (the home’s “epicentre”), meals, living and alfresco areas, opens directly onto the pool and garden. In contrast to the new residence, the family had previously been living in a small house. “The kids were ecstatic and would literally run laps from the front door and down to the dining table,” recalls Ainsley.

[gallery size="medium" type="rectangular" ids="85618,85617,85616"] Photography by Peter Bennetts. Read the full story here.

Crescent House by Matthew Woodward Architecture

Kutti Beach House Matthew Woodward CC Murray Fredericks dining view

Finding the balance between geometry and geography often compels architects to consider the importance of site and question the degree that the built and natural environment intersects. A vision of contemporary architecture and design that blends but also stands out from the environment, Crescent House by Matthew Woodward Architecture is the perfect contrast and meeting of nature with modern conveniences of a temporary aesthetic. Without compromising on one another, the built environment acknowledges the presence of the natural environment, and both are equally important to the clients’ experience.

A building form that coexists harmoniously with its context, Crescent House is positioned as an organic sculpture in Vaucluse. The family home for five has expansive views of Sydney Harbour and Middle Head, with easy access to Sydney Harbour’s foreshore.

[gallery type="rectangular" size="medium" ids="86055,86065,86050"] Photography by Murray Fredericks. Read the full story here.

Fraser Hill Estate Residence by ONG&ONG

Ong Ong Faber Hill Singapore CC Derek Swalwell pool exterior

Setbacks from the highway meant there is more garden area at the back, whilst mature trees planted beside it provided a ready-made verdant backdrop. The fact that the rear 12-metre building setback line did not apply to basement structures also meant that a pool could be built along the back garden and its bottom could be appreciated from the basement via the use of the acrylic panel.

“Naturally, the back garden then became the focal point of the house,” says Tomas “but we had to be careful with the noise.” On the ground floor, the only effective solution was fixed double-glazing and a limitation to the opening panels. But this limitation simplified the design. The garden became a panoramic framed view, the concise exemplification of the Chinese design practice of jiejing or “borrowed scenery” – water in the foreground, lawn and shrubbery in mid-ground, trees in the background.

[gallery size="medium" type="rectangular" ids="85089,85092,85085"] Photography Derek Swalwell. Read the full story here.

IH House by Andra Martin

IH Residence Andra Matin CC Mario Wibowo pool

On the 5,650-square-metre site, Andra carefully shaped the sloping land to create a 3-level outdoor area. With a simple brief to create a house that is connected to the outdoors, the project team wanted to make sure the landscape could offer spatial experiences as dynamic as the buildings’. The entrance connects the house to the surrounding neighbourhood and the ramp, connecting one level to the next, offers a dramatic entrance to the house’s main quarter, thanks to its long and narrow nature.

At the other end of the ramp, a Trembesi tree welcomes one into a space that reveals the residence’s true size. The main building offers spaces with different degrees of openness: an open space; a space with a roof but without walls; and interior space with definite, but transparent, boundaries. In every part of this house, the residents can always feel connected to nature care of the 200-plus trees that were planted by the owners after construction.

[gallery size="medium" type="rectangular" ids="90651,90646,90644"] Photography by Mario Wibowo. Read the full story here.abc