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5 Times Vaastu Shastra Defined Design For Wellbeing

While buzzwords such as sustainability, biophilia and passive design dominate the western architecture and design discourse, they are conversely less present in the Indian architecture and design conversation. Not because Indian architecture is ignorant of the relationship between built environment, natural environment, and human wellbeing, but perhaps because it is so deeply embedded in practice, that simply it goes without saying. Vaastu Shastra is an ancient Indian system of architecture said to trace as far back as the Vedic period. Based on the humanistic desire to be connected to one’s surroundings (otherwise known as biophilia) and drawing from the mindful principles of Hindu and Buddhist beliefs, the teachings of Vaastu Shastra are concerned with the physical, psychological and spiritual order of things. Much like Feng Shui in traditional Chinese architecture and Japanese notions of Zen, Vaastu Shastra seeks to inform built environments that coexist harmoniously with nature, provide inhabitants with energetically auspicious spaces. For the most part, these eastern methodologies have generally been shunned as mythologies by western culture. Though through the lens of design for wellbeing, could it be that they bring a level of mindfulness and respect for natural surrounds that goes unprecedented in western architectural standards? Here are five examples of Indian residential architecture that are modern in expression, yet deeply rooted in an age-old integrative worldview, and impeccable examples of residential design for wellbeing.  

Courtyard Villa, MORIQ

This four-bedroom family residence rests on north-facing plot in the municipality of Hyderabad. As to be expected in India’s fourth most populous city, neighbouring homes are in close proximity to the east as well as the west, making privacy a considerable design priority. Architecture firm MORIQ mitigated Vaastu requirements for a north-eastern positioned living room conflicting with the desire for privacy by configuring a screened courtyard into the property’s fore. This partially covered courtyard functions as an extension of the living area acts as a threshold between the built and natural environments. Operable timber louver screens offer opportunities to create privacy or openness, as desired. Passive design principles are also inherent throughout Courtyard Villa’s design. With three sides open this scheme is full of natural light and ventilation. The western opening is recessed deep to keep direct sunlight away only taking the reflected light off the floor which is very welcoming during summers avoiding the harsh direct sun. [gallery type="rectangular" size="medium" ids="97615,97617,97616"] Photography courtesy of MORIQ  

Skybox House, Garg Architects

According to Vaastu Shastra, a house’s front door is fundamental to stimulating a positive flow of energy – after all, it is the channel through with most energy enters the dwelling, and this first impression sets the tone for the flow of the rest of the house. As such, the entrance to Skybox House is both grand and thoughtful by design. 7-feet-wide and 10-feet-high, the main entrance door is clad with veneers of vintage teak from Burma, not just appreciated the elegance of the fore frame, but also adhered to the clients’ anthropometric requisites. The exquisite hand- grip was made from scrap wood which camouflaged with the door. Floor to ceiling height glass windows facing outside, provided in the first-floor bedroom, are horizontally lineated by ledges to obstruct the direct visibility into the interiors. On the inside, it offers a view of the entranceway and facilitates plentiful natural sunlight and fresh air flowing freely throughout the abode. [gallery type="rectangular" size="medium" ids="97621,97620,97618"] Photography by Purnesh Dev Nikhanj.  

Chavvi House, Abraham John Architects

Chavvi House Abraham John Architects exterior courtyard In accordance with Vaastu shastra, the entrance and prayer room are at the northeast – a highly charged place – where floating steps mark the entry gate and the temple projects over a courtyard. The living area is in a double-height space where it looks out to a body of water, with the dining room having a more intimate feel, with large sliding doors to close it off from the kitchen. “The dining, kitchen, living and garden form a public area that looks very different at night, with mood lighting and a waterbody, landscape and a beautiful, authentic and traditional wooden sculpture,” says Alan. All furniture is bespoke and made by the architects and client who is a professional furniture maker and exporter. Modern jaali screens, courtyards, and landscaping create privacy from the neighbours while still allowing views and connection to outdoor spaces, such as gardens, decks, water features and balconies to enhance the spatial feel. [gallery type="rectangular" size="medium" ids="88273,88279,88276"] Photography by Alan Abraham.  

Traditional Affinity, Thought Parallels

Thought Parallels designed the layout of Traditional Affinity in accordance with the elements. The entrance takes place in the residence’s north eastern Air Zone, the kitchen is located directly opposite the entrance, in the south eastern Fire Zone, while the bedrooms are primely situated in the south western Earth Zone. The spatial flow of the house takes into consideration the family’s desire to segregate public spaces from private. A straight flight of stairs – formed by a folded plate of teal-coloured steel – leads to the two bedrooms and covered terrace that reside on the upper level. Dedicated to shared spaces, the ground floor is comprised of a living room, dining room, pooja room (meditation room), entertainment room, two kitchens, and a guest room. The open plan nature of these shared spaces – which are demarcated from one another by sliding bi-fold doors, or in some cases, no barriers at all – evokes a sense of infinity as one moves through. The centrally located open-plan kitchen, dining and living space boasts ventilation from all four sides of the room, enabling it to act as the lung of the unit, breathing air to the different zones of the house. [gallery type="rectangular" size="medium" ids="96908,96918,96910"] Photography courtesy of Thought Parallels.  

Centre Court Villa, Pomegranate Design

The Centre Court Villa Pomegranate Design pool and greenery Situated amidst a dense urban area of concrete masses and boxed structures, The Centre Court Villa is catered to accommodate for the multiple lifestyles of a large family with a mix of traditional and modern values. With design strategies seeking to curate a built environment that connects with its surrounding, Pomegranate Design uses voids to break up the mass, earthy tones to give the residence a neutral balance and transparency between each space to allow for connectivity throughout. As one space unfolds to another, the public areas of The Centre Court Villa are grand with bold blue furniture accents and pearl tables. Contrarily the more private rooms boast a mono-textured approach with leather furniture pieces, rooms that have been painted in white and accents of crimson seen in the bedhead and sofa chair. Decorating the halls, the owner’s human-form sculptures underscore an artistic vibe and subtly hint to the double height ceiling. At night, the residence is lit up with an abundance of Victorian Chandelier and striking pendants, endorsed by the sheer volume of each room that it occupies. [gallery size="medium" type="rectangular" ids="84500,84501,84507"] Photography courtesy of Pomegranate Design. We think you might also like subtle cues taken from Eastern garden designabc
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Cassina Makes Its Debut Into The Great Outdoors

The conventional boundaries between indoors and out are disintegrating around us. In a first since the iconic furniture design brand’s beginnings in 1927, Cassina has unveiled a collection of designer outdoor furniture at imm cologne 2020. The inimitable and expansive collection offers complete furnishings for alfresco living and dining settings with designs from some of the most celebrated contemporaries in the industry: Rodolfo Dordoni, Philippe Starck, and Patricia Urquiola. Accompanying this fresh take on outdoor living are the fit-for-outdoor-purpose relaunches of modernist masterpieces from the likes of Charlotte Perriand and Le Corbusier. Dine Out alfresco dining furniture designed by Rodolfo Dordoni for Cassina From Rodolfo Dordoni comes Sail Out, a modular sofa with such character, sophistication and quality that it would be equally as at home indoors as it is out. Sail Out is accompanied by a round, flamboyantly upholstered pouf, and a single low table, available in concrete, yellow and white terrazzo, or green and white terrazzo. “Today, outdoor furniture doesn’t only need to perform. It also requires aesthetics,” Rodolfo acknowledges the diminishing gap between interior design and outdoor styling. Taking inspiration from the spirit of the holiday resorts of the fifties, Rodolfo’s contributions bring sophistication and charisma to Cassina’s debut outdoor furniture collection. Bringing further joie de vivre to the range is Trampoline by Patricia Urquiola. Inspired by the little trampolines she frequently noticed outside the houses of locals during a trip to Greenland, Trampoline is designed to be “a friendly haven to enjoy the outdoors in great comfort,” says Patricia. The love bed is available as a simple island or with a spectacular canopy to shelter from the sun. Sail Out sofa, low coffee table, and pouf designed by Rodolfo Dordoni for Cassina With Fenc-e Nature, Philippe Starck offers a slightly more subdued yet equally as luxurious perspective on outdoor furniture design. Described by Philippe as a “lifestyle collection of laid-back elegance”, Fenc-e Nature is characterised by organic forms and tactile elements intended to evoke a sense of osmosis with nature. "It doesn’t seem to come out of a factory, and brings humanity, charm, poetry, creativity and nature to your home,” says Philippe. Fenc-e Nature is comprised of an armchair, a two and a three-seater sofa, and a coffee table available in two different heights. From the archives of iconic modernist designs, the Cassina outdoor collection also includes pieces from Charlotte Perriand and Le Corbusier, redeveloped and reissued to suit life outdoors. The outdoor iteration of the Doron Hotel armchair, originally designed by Charlotte in 1947, has been forged in collaboration with the iconic designer’s daughter, Pernette Parriand Barsac. Meanwhile, pieces from the LC Collection have been relaunched with a new range of fabrics and finishes to elevate any alfresco living or dining space. Pieces from the Cassina outdoor collection are available in Australia exclusively through Space Furniture. Space Furniture spacefurniture.com.au Cassina cassina.com Trampoline 'love bed' designed by Patricia Urquiola for Cassina Fenc-e Nature outdoor furniture designed by Philippe Starck for Cassina Doron Hotel armchair designed by Charlotte Perriand (1947) redeveloped for outdoor use LC Collection dining table and chairs designed by Le Corbusier redeveloped for outdoor use LC Collection furniture designed by Le Corbusier redeveloped for outdoor use We think you might also like this outdoor furniture collaboration from Tait and Mokumabc
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A Family Affair: A Collection Close To Home

In the last decade, emerging talents are rapidly moving into a space of forward-thinking artistry and awe-inspiring craftsmanship that reimagine the design narrative within our local landscape. At a time where design trends are amidst an unpredictable and ever-changing nature, industry revolutionaries that champion local, sustainable and timeless design are celebrated at an all-time high. Australian-born manufacturing company, Evostyle delves deep into the design process – ensuring that it honours the true meaning of what it means to be local and Australian-made. With generations of craftsmanship running through the company’s DNA, the team believes in keeping skills, knowledge and expertise close to home with beautifully designed, natural and raw timber products. Evostyle offers an exceptional design eye and personalised services to the design community, making them one of the leading manufacturing companies in Australia to turn creativity into a striking reality. As an advocate for long-lasting collaborative relationships, international powerhouse, Caroma recognises the process and hard work of honest and genuine creativity. This year, the renowned brand took a step into a bold new chapter in collaboration with local Australian manufacturing company, Evostyle to bring forward the new Elvire Collection into the design world. Caroma invests in the local landscape, where the community and its people are at the heart of the brand. By constantly seeking ways to redefine the way we see, use and experience the bathroom, Caroma disrupts the game and showcases a fresh new perspective on wet spaces with Evostyle’s inspiring soul. Designer Luke Di Michiel created the Elvire Collection to revitalise the charm and personality of the bathroom by exploring concepts of sustainability, timeless materiality and the changing face of the celebrated brand. Previously, we explored the creative process and the beauty of Australian nature with Port Stephens Joinery. In part two, we speak to head designer, Luke Ommundson of Evostyle on his design philosophy; strong client relationships with Caroma and its community at the forefront; and the importance of a distinct sustainable identity. Habitusliving: Evostyle has been around for three decades and it’s exciting to see it become a part of this new adventure with Caroma. Can you tell us a bit more on the company’s background and history? Luke Ommundson: My passion for woodwork started 30 years ago, when I would help my father in his one-man woodturning business. Grown from humble beginnings, we were producing thousands of wooden components for all the major retailers in a backyard garage. I cherished our father and son partnership throughout the years as it turned into a business that gained a solid reputation within the industry. After the sudden death of my father, I was left with a struggling business with a handful of clients that were looking elsewhere for manufacturing. Together with my wife, a skilled architect, we reinvented ourselves and Evostyle was born. We started manufacturing complete furniture solutions rather than just components. Do you find yourself mostly taking a director role or are you involved in all aspects of the process? Although I find myself guiding the creative direction throughout all facets of the business, my main role at Evostyle is applying my knowledge of solid timber and traditional skills to everything that we do here. Paired with new technology and manufacturing techniques, we’re able to deliver products that are uniquely Evostyle. How do you embody Evostyle’s design philosophy across all your products? Over three generations and 30 years experience, we’ve learnt a lot along the way. We pride ourselves on premium quality manufacturing, providing exceptional service, our investment in people and the community with processes that practice our responsibility towards the environment. When we look at design, our initial process is to analyse how it can effectively be manufactured and beautifully presented. We apply this to every product we design, but we also treat every design that we’re presented with to quote and manufacture with the same attitude – staying true to how we create everyday. So every step is treated with the same amount of care and respect in order to create a cohesive and meaningful with product. We always try and respect the design intent, however there’s not much point coming up with amazing and complicated ways to products that are so complicated they are priced out of the market. We understand that making things viable will be in the best interest of not only ourselves but also our client, which is the important thing really – keeping our clients happy and providing them with the best service that we can. What’s the biggest thing you’ve taken from your 30 years experience in the industry? After working for three decades, I’ve worked with many timbers from all over the world. Everyday, I am constantly reminded by this exquisite, natural and raw material I work with that it is the boss – not me. Materiality drives the story of a product and influences how we explore its narrative. The material palette for the new Elvire Collection played a big role in defining a new age for Caroma. How did this collaboration with designer Luke Di Michiel come into fruition for Evostyle? Luke approached with his initial concept for the range with enthusiasm and a high sense of professionalism wherein he was very open to hear any feedback or concerns we could foresee from a manufacturing point of view. Too often, we see products trying to be rushed out onto the market before the bugs are ironed out. Everything – even down to how we would package the pieces – was thoroughly planned out and discussed openly. Both Luke and Caroma were excellent to work with on this project. I’ve heard that the whole project took about two years to complete with its scale, concept and the fact that it’s new territory for Caroma. With this in mind, what was your initial response to the Elvire Collection? To be completely honest, my first thought was that there was no way this could be produced locally in Australia, as the costs would be too high. However, Caroma were completely realistic and upfront about the budget and that worked well for everyone involved. The whole process was transparent from start to finish, so everyone was on the same page about everything and we knew what was happening every step of the way. We were excited that timber could be reinvented for this product type and we were up to the challenge of finding and providing a solution that was suitable for this application. With the introduction of Tasmanian timber under the Caroma name, what do you think the collection represents about Australian design? I think Elvire demonstrates how the application of simple, smart and functional design to the right material, such as these Australian Hardwoods, will always work. It’s really a testament to how spoilt with choice we are from the beautiful natural materials within the Australian landscape, right outside your doorstep. We have some unmatched resources in this country as well as a body of excellent designers, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Australian design and manufacturing skills are highly sought after all over the world. I firmly believe many Australians have a very good eye for quality and detail and recognise it in the products they support. Talk us through the creative process. How did Elvire come to be? Before we went too far into the process, we walked Luke through timber availability and choices. This was the starting point in figuring out how the natural state of timber can really drive how a product develops. It was always important from the outset to use sustainable Australian timbers that were suitable for Elvire. Were these easy to attain?   The availability of many timbers these days are limited in thickness due to the time and energy required to properly dry or season them. This comes into play when deciding on grain direction and how to hold such small pieces when manufacturing them – but we were all adamant on finding the perfect one that spoke to the collection. Were they any challenging moments during the process that you went through? As the collection has other parts that integrate with timber components – such as the tap mechanisms – we knew there would be challenges for us. The first prototypes we made were done without test parts to check fit and as we had almost predicted, the metal parts arrived and there were some discrepancies with the fit. Fortunately Luke and the team at Caroma pretty much expect this as part of the development process and we both were able to make adjustments to get it right. Getting the coating right for this project was also a challenge. Is the bathroom space particularly hard to design for using timber? Bathroom environments are just about the most extreme environment to put timber in so we needed to be able to both protect the timber and allow it to move naturally all while delivering the look that Luke had envisaged. A truly unique collection to the Caroma name – using timber was a big part in establishing Elvire’s sustainable identity. What does the term ‘sustainability’ mean to you? Sustainability to me means actively refusing to work with rainforest and old growth timbers. Instead, we make it a point to help educate designers and consumers of the many amazing alternatives available and the equally amazing story that goes with some of the timber we use. What type of strategies for sustainability do you practice within the work culture? The team at Evostyle feel strongly about the sustainability of what we do. We constantly involve and educate the team about the products we work with. On several projects we have involved the entire factory in monitoring and recording a Life Cycle Analysis for the project where we have measured every piece of material and waste by weight and every amount of power and fuel consumed to make and transport the products. The goal was to determine if the products were actually carbon neutral or better. Happily, all the projects we studied were carbon positive. I don’t think many consumers would be aware of the lengths we go to making sure what we use comes from legitimate long term sources.
Photography courtesy of Evostyle and Caroma.
Caroma caroma.com.au We think you might also like to see part 1 of this series with Port Stephens Joinery. abc
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ARC - Feature

For the Love of Concrete

It was not too long ago that, if left uncoated, a concrete house in Singapore would draw double takes and whispers of whether it was actually complete. The terracotta-tiled Spanish villa aesthetic or traditional timber constructs guided by Balinese precedents were more openly embraced, as were Modernist boxes or endearing 1970s-built types featuring fluted glass windows and decorative grilles. But concrete has in the last decade become celebrated worldwide and architects are using the material more inventively. Travel and the internet have opened up Singaporeans to the benefits and charm of concrete left unadorned, with the hand of the maker as much – or even more – a worthy story as that of glass or stone. Back home, the more progressive architects follow suite. This semi-detached house by K2LD Architects is an example. Unlike some projects where the material is shoddily treated with nary a thought to its intrinsic properties, here, it is respectfully detailed and its creative potential put on showcase.  

The concrete is a sound barrier from the nearby main road.

  A family of four and their helper live here. They are accorded privacy from close neighbours through a concrete front folding down to shelter the car porch and peaking to continue as the roof in display of the material’s malleability. Aside from the desired rustic aesthetic, the concrete is also a sound barrier from the nearby main road and is easy to maintain. Cut outs introducing light to the interior harmonise with the concrete formwork pattern, with screens filtering the morning sun. The front elevation peels out slightly from the double-volume living room behind the entrance for additional light but it also grants the concrete face a sense of lightness not normally associated with the material. This play of closed and opened surfaces is a dominant theme. Along the house’s plan, it translates as a rhythmic play of windows curating views, shade and sunlight, capped by projecting eaves that protect the plaster-and-paint walls.  

Concrete and timber engage in conversation both outside and in.

  Another theme is the juxtaposition of warm and robust materials. Concrete and timber engage in conversation both outside and in. Indoors, selected concrete walls are given a graphical touch with alternating smooth and rough finishes created by on-site sand blasting. Along the staircase, it attracts touch; by a tall window, ever-changing sunlight highlights the contrasting textures. Past the living room, a cube wrapped in timber laminate conceals services. It unfurls to define kitchen and breakfast bar counter where the family shares meals and precious time together on a normal day, and which effortlessly entertains a regular visiting crowd of 10 to 16 people. This space segues into a formal, glass-encased dining room with a good view of the swimming pool abutting the house’s length. The front of the house is stoic and reticent but here, it opens up fully to present an unbridled encounter with nature. K2LD Architects k2ld.com Photography by Derek Swalwell Dissection Information Timber doors from Kawajun Faucets from Gessi and Hansgrohe Bathroom water closets from Bravat Kitchen Sink from Corian Sockets and switches from Schneider We think you might also like Kasai Road by ipli Architectsabc
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What Will You Learn At Deerubbin Conference? What Will You Contribute?

The Deerubbin bi-annual architecture conference is named after the aboriginal name for the Hawkesbury River by which is it surrounded. It is a 3-day event that takes place on Milsons Island approximately 60 kilometres north of Sydney. Event lectures and accommodation for participants and speakers will be held in the Milson Island Sport and Recreation Centre designed by Allen Jack+Cottier in 2010. The 2020 conference in a category unto its own will take place from Friday 13-15 March. For those who are unsure, the purpose is to bring global and local architecture and urban design leaders together to discuss the ability of architecture to respond to the diverse challenges of society, culture, environment, place, landscape and poverty. The structure of the conference is likewise unique, in that it is designed to be an all-inclusive weekend during the course of which participants and speakers confer together, socialise together, eat and stay together. With a relatively intimate capacity around the 150 persons mark, the chances are high that attendees will get the opportunity to meet and speak to any other attendees and speakers they may be hoping too. Moreover, the learning that will take place will be informed not only by the speakers but also through colleagues and fellow attendees, through collaborative and interactive audience and group work. The first iteration of Deerubbin Conference was held in 2014, now at its fourth, six years later, the topics of conversation have evolved and the conference itself matured. This year, attendees will hear from a diverse cross-section of speakers. Their names and bios below.
Deerubbin Conference 2020 Speakers at 2018 Deerubbin Conference, from L to R: Owen Kelly and Bobbie Bayley, Adam Haddow (SJB), Kerry Clare, Jon Jacka, Katelin Butler, Lindsay Johnston, Hans Skotte (Norway), Roderick Simpson, Olivia Hyde, Peter Clegg (FCB UK), James Legge (Six Degrees)
  2020 speakers: Francis Kéré based out of Burkina Faso and Berlin Awarded the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture (2004) for his first-ever building - a school he designed, raised the funds for and realised in collaboration with the residents of his native Gando, Burkina Faso. Kéré has gone on to become one of the most distinguished contemporary architects thanks to his pioneering of communal approach to design and his commitment to sustainable materials and modes of construction. Underpinning his architectural practice, are his past and current teaching engagements at TU München, the Harvard Graduate School of Design, the Accademia di Architettura di Mendrisio and Yale University.   Maruša Zorec of Arrea Arhitektura from Slovenia Commenced practice in 1992, and in 2005 founded Arrea Architecture in 2005, considered to be one of the most prominent architectural practices in Slovenia, most regarded for subtle takes on the built heritage, ‘with a deft touch in transforming such places into functional and contemporary buildings’. She is an assistant professor at the University of Ljubljana and curated the Slovenian exhibit ‘Unveil the Hidden’ at the 2018 Venice Bienniale.   Uncle Max Dulumunmun Harrison, a Yuin Elder who hosted a traditional ‘smoking’ welcome ceremony at the 2016 conference. Uncle Max has been a cherished tutor and critic at the Glenn Murcutt International Architecture Master Class, since 2005. He is an initiated Yuin man, he grew up on the south coast as part of a close community where boys and young men were still selected for initiation into ancient ways. Seeing the widespread marginalisation of his people and lack of acceptance of traditional teachings, he began his life’s work – providing a way for others to understand Aboriginal culture.   Hugh Tennent of Tennent Brown from New Zealand Multi-award winning Wellington architecture studio with empathy for the way people live, work and play. The practice pays particular respect to core Māori cultural principles such as manaakitanga and kaitiakitanga – linked ideas that talk about the importance and duty of taking responsibility for personal health and well-being whilst also ensuring the protection of the health and wellbeing of the wider whānau, environment and community.   Sarah Ann Sutter and Carolin Lahode of Stadtlücken from Germany Their non-profit organisation undertakes projects, research work and practice on urban interventions in challenging areas of the city and raising awareness around liveability in the city and the potential of left over public spaces. They always engage the city in their conversations and solutions and use the projects as real life experiments to inform their research work at the University of Applied Sciences, Stuttgart. One of their key projects is Österreichischer Platz, formerly a parking lot under an overpass bridge in Stuttgart, they convinced the city to give up the parking spaces and use it for urban experiments and engagement.   Nicholas Burns of Studio Nicholas Burns from Bali, Indonesia Australian born, now practising internationally in Asia, Europe, Africa and Australia. He took advice of University of Sydney Professor Michael Tawa and decided to teach himself. ‘I’ve worked for winemakers, built rammed-earth structures and set up a design-and-build landscape company. I’ve also exhibited paintings and studied traditional Japanese carpentry’. He attended the Glenn Murcutt Master Class in 2009.   Heleana Genaus of Healthabitat from Australia Commenced working with Dr. Paul Pholeros and Healthabitat as a student, graduating with M.Arch in 2007. Heleana “came to Healthabitat wanting to be part of an organisation that is results-focussed and operates, at all levels, with unflinching respect for people”. Because she was still young and angry, she was allowed to funnel her energies into a communications role.   Bobbie Bayley and Owen Kelly of The Grand Section from Australia BB + OK, as they are known – or ‘dusty and thirsty’ – are best known for having cycled on push bikes 7650kms east to west across the middle of the continent, they will now reveal the splendid work they did thinking, mapping, meeting communities, having conversations about and studying the rural architecture of Australia. Recipients of the 2019 National Student Prize for the Advancement of Architecture.   Deerubbin Conference 2020 ozetecture.org Get your tickets here Photography courtesy Architecture Foundation Australia (Lindsay Johnston)
Deerubbin Conference 2020 Uncle Max Dulumunmun HarrisonAboriginal Elder Uncle Max Dulumunum Harrison. Portrait by Peter McConchie
Deerubbin Conference 2020 Francis KereFrancis Kéré. Portrait by Astrid Eckert
Deerubbin Conference 2020abc
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Adele McNab Brings Altruism To Architecture

The day I met with architect Adele McNab the overpowering smog of devastating bushfires had swallowed Sydney whole. It was as though all of the behemoth challenges faced by society and our planet today had manifested into an ominous, all-encompassing atmosphere. For Adele, architecture has never really been about creation or beauty – although these can be considered perks of the job – no, her primary motive has been much more altruistic. Since before she even knew what architecture was, Adele has been acutely aware of its ability to improve lives. This esoteric insight, derived from the revolving door of home renovations that comprised her childhood, is what guided Adele to pursue architecture as a profession.
Bay Blue Apartment by Adele McNab. Photography by Michael Nicholson
After graduating from Auckland’s Unitec in 2011 the native Kiwi found homegrown graduate architect opportunities to be scarce and left for the greener pastures of Sydney. There, she was plunged straight into the deep end as project architect at Stafford Architecture. During her time at Stafford Architecture, Adele worked on an excess of 30 high-end residential projects including Peninsular House, Dizzy House, and Sail House to name just a few of the completed works. In 2018, a bitter-sweet turn of events saw the passing of her father prompt Adele to embark on her eponymous practice – and she hasn’t looked back since. Since going solo, Adele’s portfolio has certainly diversified. The high-brow houses of her days at Stafford are now accompanied by an industrial warehouse transformation, an art-deco apartment block restoration, and the interior re-design of an apartment in Bondi. That’s not to mention the yoga studio in Sydney, the bach in Raglan, New Zealand, and the two alts & ads projects currently on her drawing board. Though in programme and typology not one of these projects is quite like the others, each is grounded in Adele’s altruistic ideals of liveability, longevity, and authenticity. “In my own life, I really value honesty and transparency – so I try to embed these things into my work,” she explains humbly. Whether it be through exposing the beams and pipes of an industrial warehouse or restoring an iconic art-deco apartment block to its former glory, Adele has a knack for bringing out the best in spaces. When it comes to her selection criteria for taking on a project, Adele’s sole specification is that “the clients have their heart in the project.” Her belief is that, with an emotionally invested client and a collaborative project team on board, architecture can achieve anything – from increasing the efficiency of everyday lives to improving the health and wellbeing of residents and users; from making living in our cities more affordable to making our built environment more sustainable. Adele McNab adelemcnab.com
Marrickville Warehouse by Adele McNab. Photography by Benjamin Hosking
North Bondi Apartment Block restoration by Adele McNab, photography by Tony St Leger
    We think you might also like to meet Patchwork Architectureabc
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New England Revival By Luchetti Krelle

Halfway between Sydney and Brisbane, at the junction of the New England Highway and Waterfall Way, is the regional city of Armidale. Located in the Northern Tablelands of New South Wales, it is well known across Australia for its close proximity to forests, mountain gorges, national parks, and waterfalls – Wollomombi Falls is just 38 kilometres due east. Not to mention its impressive Anglican and Catholic cathedrals. But now there is another reason to visit – and stay a while. Sydney-based design practice, Luchetti Krelle has recently completed the extensive restoration and rejuvenation of a heritage pub built in 1854 in the traditional Victorian style. In the 1930s The Tattersalls Hotel underwent an Art Deco transformation, but wasn’t touched again until Stuart Krelle and his team were invited to re-think the iconic building. Known for its meticulous attention to detail, respect for the brief, and desire to fully understand site and context, Luchetti Krelle has gained special recognition for their work in the hospitality sphere. M&G Cafe and Bar was shortlisted in The Social Space category in the 2018 INDE.Awards, while six projects were shortlisted in the global Restaurant & Bar Design Awards in 2019. Of the six, Saké Manly was a winner. It comes as no surprise then that the client sought out the award-winning firm. Nor was is a surprise that the design team paid particular attention to the conservation of the external façade and restoration of historic internal features such as original curves and solid timber details, a glass skylight and pressed metal ceilings that characterised The Tattersalls Hotel. Three floors were carefully gutted to make room for an additional 25 guest rooms on the upper levels and common lounge areas. Open to all is a public bar, casual dining area, a main dining room, rear courtyard, multi-purpose room and gaming parlour. In both the public and private spaces there are myriad references to the iconic arches of the art deco period through doorways and entry passages, door handles and hardware, bedheads, mirrors in the bathrooms, decorative finishes and even the rounded furniture forms – both inbuilt and freestanding. In the main dining area there are custom leather banquettes with fluted timber detailing. The interior colour and material palette is a nod to Armadale’s gold rush heyday featuring garnet, sapphire and diamond blues, burnt orange, silk, velvet, copper, glass and dark timber. Oak parquetry lines the function room floors, fluted glass leads the way to the VIP lounge, and a backlit brass and glass chevron pattern animates the marble and travertine public bar. The tonal palette in the bedrooms is far more subdued, embracing gentler hues of dusty sage green, antique rose, and apricot. The geometric pattern play of the carpet – muted in the bedrooms, daring in dining room and bar – are the result of collaboration with Brintons Carpets. The Tattersalls Hotel observes a successful balance drawing on the building’s history without dwelling there. There’s a sense of the opulence and indulgence that marred the 1930s but it exists without offending the current sentiment of anti-waste, anti-excess. Luchetti Krelle luchettikrelle.com Photography by Tom Ferguson We think you might also like Duck & Rice by Hogg & Lamb  abc
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What Defines Australian Bathroom Design?

As far as design influences go, Europe has an undeniable hold over Australian trends. This is as true of our bathrooms as it is of fashion and interiors, yet when it comes to Australian bathroom design, there is something uniquely antipodean about its expression. The bathroom’s evolution from outhouse to inner sanctuary, for instance, has not been exclusively Australian by any means. In recent years, bathroom spaces across the globe have been elevated to serve the higher purpose of a place in which people seek not just cleanliness but retreat and rejuvenation. This has introduced an element of luxury to bathroom design unlike ever before. Similarly, Australia has followed Europe’s suit in terms of designing for spatial efficiency. This, of course, has eventuated in accordance with the increasing density of living, and the consequential shrinking of living spaces – a phenomenon that began in Europe long before making its way to Australian shores. With floor space coming at a premium, best practices for bathroom design have changed universally, with the goal of freeing up as much floor area as possible (even if somewhat redundant). The demand for even just the illusion of more space has been a driving force behind the increasing popularity of bathroom elements such as free-standing baths and floating vanities. What is perhaps the most distinctive element of Australian bathroom design is the country’s unique relationship to its natural environment, and the extent to which a sense of proximity to nature informs the perception of luxury in residential spaces. This is expressed by Australian architects and designers in a plethora of ways, but perhaps most universally by means of organic shapes and forms, materiality, and biophilic design principles.

Organic Shapes

Like colours, shapes are perceived predominantly on a subconscious level. Though only on the brink of our awareness, the geometries of a space can have a profound effect on its overall atmosphere. When it comes to Australian bathroom design, a preference for organic shapes and forms tends to take precedence over the angular geometries favoured in European bathroom design. The juxtaposition of the two basin designs depicted above is a prime example of the different flavours of geometry preferred in European versus Australian bathroom design. On the left is a basin and mirror setting from Australian bathroomware brand Caroma’s Elvire collection, characterised by the soft, continuous curve of a circle. In contrast, on the right is a basin and mirror from illustrious European bathroomware brand, West One Bathrooms’ Nouveau collection. Inspired by the art deco design aesthetics of the early twentieth century, the Nouveau Basin features curved lines abruptly bisected by hard edges.

Materiality

Materiality is another distinguishing feature of Australian bathroom design – namely, the antipodean preference for the au naturel. Exemplary of this is the stark contrast between the two bathrooms above: one straight out of Splinter Society’s Elwood House in Melbourne, the other straight out of the catalogue of West One Bathrooms. The bathroom of Elwood House by Melbourne-based architectural firm, Splinter Society, features an egg-shaped bath sat upon a dais of natural, raw-edged stone, surrounded by striking timber-panelled walls. Meanwhile, in the bathroom showcasing West One Bathrooms’ Kelly Wearstler-inspired Ann Sacks Liaison Mosaics, stone is designed out of its natural beauty and into something else entirely, striking in its own right.

Biophilic Design

Biophilic design speaks to the intricate relationship between human wellbeing and our environment – specifically how the connections between built and natural environments influence our overall sense of wellness. In seeking to strengthen connections to nature, architects and designers employ a variety of methods including access to natural light, fresh air, visual connections to outdoors, as well as the use of organic colours, materials, and shapes. Being blessed with its sub-tropical climes and verdant, oft coastal, scenery, Australians have an innate affinity to their natural surrounds – arguably more so than those living in less-fortuitous environs. This constant search for opportunities to blur the boundaries between outdoors and in presents itself in the bathroom as much as any facet of Australian residential design. Comparing the two bathrooms above, it doesn’t take much to assume which is an example of Australian bathroom design and which is representative of European bathroom design trends. On the left, an image taken from the Elvire display at Caroma’s Flagship showroom in Sydney pictures a bathroom inspired by nature. Green wall tiles are framed by an organic growth of foliage, while an overhead shower rains down from above, evoking the sense of natural falls. Accents of Tasmanian blackwood enhance the holistic effect of striking a harmonious balance between outdoors and in. In contrast, the bathroom depicted on the right – again an elegant example of design by West One Bathrooms – evokes its own sense of luxury, without a hint of nature in sight. Here, timber accents are replaced with gold; green wall tiles replaced with marble; and the bath is perched up on regal feet, harking back to a traditional kind of glamour. Stepping back from aesthetic trends and being guided by the innate antipodean connection to the outdoors was one of the founding principles behind the design and development of Caroma’s Elvire collection. This insight is indicative of a brand and design team who heralds and intuitive and meaningful understanding of its audience – a quality well worth inciting anticipation for what they’ll do next. Caroma caroma.com.au We think you might also like these bathrooms that benefit from a connection to outdoors.abc
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A Scandinavian-Inspired Bachelor Pad In Singapore

Purchasing a place to call your own is an important milestone of adult life. But for a bachelor, the redesign of a resale flat sequestered in one of Singapore’s oldest estates – Meiling – was just a cursory start to an idea that would materialise in the hands of the right interior designer. The bachelor looked to Archive Design to reimagine the space for personal indulgence. While the brief was to keep the look refreshing and modern, the challenge was working with the age of the flat as walls were simply misaligned. Even the simplest plastering took considerable effort, cost and time. The living room is spacious and light-filled – exactly what the owner had envisioned. Its open-plan affords ample foot traffic when guests pop by. The idea to have minimal built-in and more loose furniture added to the owner’s flow of his lifestyle. When one walks in, the striking floor-standing mirror immediately catches the eye. It creates an optical illusion that it is a door leading to another room – an age-old, yet ever-clever trick to pull in a compact space. Just a step away from the entrance lies the galley kitchen to the right. The palette of mint green doors/drawers with pale wood fit into the schematic style of a Scandinavian kitchen. The three hanging pendant lights add a sparkling touch even when the lights are turned off. The space in the kitchen was optimised to the fullest though top cabinets were omitted from the design in order to avoid a bulky appearance. At the end of the kitchen sits a round dining table, where the owner can peek out of the windows to gaze at the surroundings. What used to be an extended bedroom is now a space for meals to be consumed. The overall look appears like a chef’s table set in an artisan restaurant with modern-looking chairs and customised teak table This light-filled space even accommodates a pegboard mounted onto the wall, where plants and spices are lovingly displayed. Without a doubt, the kitchen/dining area’s pastel hues and decorative details also echo the living room’s style. The bedroom is bent on making the owner have proper shut-eye moments. Its calming hues of soft greys and whites ease the mind once he enters it. Unique to the bedroom is how the wardrobe is separated from the bed area via sliding glass doors. However, the bedroom has no adjoining bathroom as the design team wanted to maximise this wardrobe space. The designers changed the layout entirely to make sure the bathrooms were near to each area (i.e. kitchen, dining, bedroom and living). The style of the customised vanity counter with sink exudes a hotel-esque flair. The zinc-roof gutter design is worked into the doors of the cabinet below the sink. The new, combined bathroom uses real terrazzo slabs and subway tiles to create a retro theme. This cohesive look together with white tiles creates a European touch to this water sanctuary. It’s the perfect spot to cleanse and wash down your worries at the end of a working day! Archive Design archiveindesign.com We think you might also like Hmlet Cantonmentabc
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A Heart-Warming Addition To A Melbourne Family’s House

At the heart of this project is a tree. An apple tree, to be precise, that had been planted in the south-west corner of the property by the house’s residents, a mother and her two children, as a symbolic promise to their late husband and father. Having lost him just 18-months prior, this renovation was the project that they had promised him they would finish. Upon being engaged to help fulfil that promise, architect Mel Bright, of Melbourne-based practice Studio Bright, felt an immediate connection with the client and deep empathy for what she needed in her brief. “I’d like to think that a significant part of designing houses for families is the ability to have empathy and to listen,” says Mel. “Hopefully that is what we’ve done a good job of here.” As is typical of most Melbournian alts and ads projects, the brief for this one came with the fixed condition of the preservation of the site’s existing heritage-listed property. However, unlike many protected heritage buildings, this one was blessed with a northern orientation, and characterised by a central passageway and lovely bay windows. In addition to requesting new living spaces to the rear and the ability to offer retreat to a quiet upstairs bedroom, an imperative of the client’s brief to Studio Bright was to somehow hero the sentimental apple tree in the design. From the central passageway of the existing structure, the extension to House with a Tree Room contorts toward the south-west corner of the site, in which the beloved apple tree resides. Upon taking the pivot at the end of the hall, traditional planning transitions into a series of family-use niche spaces comprised in a fluid arrangement. The transition between old and new is demarcated by a change in floor level and floor material, as one steps down from an alcove-like sitting recess with original features into the new kitchen and dining room. An open courtyard – affectionately known as the Tree Room – abuts the kitchen and dining area, providing abundant space for alfresco dining, entertaining, or quiet reflection, while acting as a bridge between house and garden. In accordance with passive solar design principles, the extension is oriented for maximum solar gain and features deep eaves that offer ample shade in the summer. Windows have been double-glazed and new and existing walls have been insulated to high standards. Meanwhile, material selection was based on the durable and long-lasting, using bricks recycled from demolition and recycled timber materials have been used extensively in joinery and flooring. With sustainability as well as sentimentality embedded throughout, it is evident that Studio Bright’s design for House with a Tree Room is sensitive in more ways than one. Studio Bright studiobright.com.au Photography by Peter Bennetts Dissection Information Splashback tile from Anchor Ceramics Vogue tiles in Laguna from Classic Ceramics Dita Stool from Grazia and Co. Cover Chair by Muuto from Living Edge Line Pendant 04 2.0 from Douglas and Bec N°304 wall lights from La Lampe Gras Potter Light pendant in Charcoal from Anchor Ceramics Yokato sink mixer in Aged Brass from Brodware Logic tapware in Graphite from Rogerseller We think you might also like Rae House by Austin Maynard Architectsabc
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Shibusa Is The Japanese Aesthetic You Need In Your Life

In particular, Shibusa refers to an aesthetic of intrinsically fine quality with economy of form, line, and effort, producing a timeless tranquility. Here are eight products that embrace this elegant Japanese aesthetic.  

Pleat Collection by Adam Robinson Design for House of Bamboo

The Pleat Collection range of planters are modern and simple with smart architectural detailing. The collection consists of a square and round planter in two sizes, and a rounded trough also in two sizes. The planters are available in three finishes and are stained in a white-wash, grey-wash and dark charcoal-wash. House of Bamboo  

Shibui L Shelf by Plyroom

Display all your favourite things on this beautiful shelving system. Perfect for books, flowers, plants, records and favourite items. Shibui is formed with the warmth of Tasmanian oak, birch and brass. Custom made brass pins punctuate each shelf offering a sophisticated, unique detail. Plyroom  

Long Courier Ceramics from Robert Plumb

These humble and almost unfinished shapes celebrate slow living and casual attitude. With a focus on craftsmanship, textures and colours, all pieces are harmoniously playing with each other to create beautiful and poetic table scenes. Robert Plumb  

Petra Side Tables by James Howe

The Petra side tables source their name from the ancient city in Jordan, which is carved into sandstone desert cliffs. The graceful curves of the Petra side tables are machined from solid timber. The Petra side tables are available in customised finishes and timbers. James Howe  

Terra 1.5 Pendant from Marz Designs

A matte cylindrical shape is layered with a smaller glazed base to create this asymmetric stack of ceramic forms with two contrasting finishes. Available in a choice of three tones, Slate, Sage and Vanilla Bean, each component is infused with subtle variations inherent in the handmade and made permanent in the firing. Marz Designs  

Spanish Chair by Fredericia from Great Dane

The Spanish Chair is Borge Mogensen’s most recognised design. A Scandinavian interpretation of furniture born from ancient Islamic culture, Mogensen drew inspiration from a trip to Spain in 1958 modernising traditional shapes he saw, while retaining important features like broad armrests. Great Dane  

Kuri Bed by TIDE Design from Workshopped

Strong but light in appearance, the Kuri bed by TIDE Design is an all-timber addition to the TIDE range. Made of Tasmanian Oak and finished with natural oil / hardwax, it is a piece of furniture that truly celebrates its organic beauty. Workshopped  

INAX tiles from Artedomus

INAX has a long, rich history based in Japanese craftsmanship and expertise. INAX produces handmade, extruded, sheeted mosaics and tiles in tune with the imperfect, impermanent and incomplete wabi sabi design aesthetic. Artedomusabc
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New Year, New Releases From Muuto

Muuto has long believed that good design starts with the individual. To this end, the brand has made a habit of – and built a business from – handpicking the brightest contemporary design talent in Scandinavia and giving them the freedom to express their unique perspectives through quotidian objects. Marking the beginning of the Muuto Spring 2020 design collection, the brand has released the fresh fruit of two such collaborations – one with none other than the emerging talent of Earnest Studio; and the other with acclaimed Danish designer Thomas Bentzen. [gallery type="rectangular" size="medium" ids="98069,98070"]   Founded by American-born, Rotterdam-based designer Rachel Griffin in 2012, Earnest Studio is a design practice operating in the spheres of furniture, lighting, and accessories. This is the first collaboration the emerging designer has embarked upon with Muuto, making her perspective one of the freshest additions to the brand’s esteemed portfolio of design talent. Earnest Studio’s debut designs for Muuto Spring 2020 include the Post Lamp Series and the Kink Vase. Available in floor and wall variations, the Post Lamp Series is imbued with forward-thinking functionality, graphic expression, and contemporary, minimalist design aesthetic. “The Post Floor & Wall Lamp came from the idea of exploring the flexibility of a magnetic joint, giving the user the freedom to position and dim the lamp's lighting units according to individual needs,” says Rachel, “Designed with a sculptural expression, simple lines and refined finish, the Post Floor & Wall Lamp represent a new perspective through their graphic character and forward thinking functionality.” [gallery type="rectangular" size="medium" ids="98066,98068"]   Equally sculptural in expression, the Kink Vase is a fresh take on the typology of the classic vase. Created through digital manipulation of simple shapes, the design combines an appreciation for modern technology with traditional ceramic craftsmanship. “The graphic and playful appearance of the Kink Vase—combined with its double opening, which suggests a new way to arrange flowers—infuses its surroundings with joy,” says Rachel on the piece. Expanding on the existing Cover family of furniture designed by Thomas Bentzen for Muuto Spring 2020 sees the release of the Cover Side Chair. A nod towards the archetypal design and Scandinavian traditions, the Cover Side Chair is a stackable, lightweight wooden chair. chair, combining Scandinavian materiality with forward-thinking craftsmanship. With a sturdy oak frame, curved seat and partial armrest, the Cover Side Chair has an inviting expression through its extensive comfort and a strong ethos while taking up only little space in the room, whether in use or when stacked. Accompanying these Muuto Spring 2020 additions is the introduction of new colours to the Visu and Nerd chair collections, as well as an environmentally-friendly, water-based lacquer option for Muuto’s Visu, Nerd, and Fiber chairs. Muuto products are available in Australia through Living Edge. Muuto muuto.com Living Edge livingedge.com.au We think you might also like Artisan Australiaabc