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Homes
Around The World
Architecture
ARC - Feature

Greening, Screening And Ageing Well

It is a cloudless, blindingly hot morning where the sun’s brilliance throws defined shadows on walls and the heat dissolves distant forms into mirages. I’m standing outside Fade to Green with architect Han Loke Kwang, founder and principal of Singapore-based HYLA Architects, observing one of his recently completed houses designed for a couple and their three teenage children. The weather is typically tropical and barely bearable but it presents the perfect opportunity for the house’s properties to shine. The simple, two-and-a-half-storey structure is clad in a trellised skin aged to a chalky grey and the sunlight casts graphic shadows against the off-form concrete shell against which timber strips are layered to bring out depth and detail. On the first storey, the verdant planting is mirrored at the house’s attic with greenery poking, pushing and feathering out of screens and balconies. It’s a pretty spectacle, though not in the conventional sense of pristine whitewashed walls, ornate grilles and terracotta roofs capping neighbouring houses.  

“It contrasts with most of my other houses that are more streamlined and straightforward. In this house, both nature and architecture have a very informal feel; it’s not so manicured.”

  The aesthetic here is more raw and imperfect, matched by the insouciant proliferation of plants. It’s a departure from the œuvre of HYLA Architects. “It contrasts with most of my other houses that are more streamlined and straightforward. In this house, both nature and architecture have a very informal feel; it’s not so manicured,” says Loke Kwang. He was inspired by vernacular houses homeowners built for themselves in south east Asia that use tin roofs and aged timber, with plants growing around them haphazardly. “For this project, our idea was to blur the distinction between architecture and nature, but we didn’t just do this with space. We did this with the building form in a way that nature appears to be almost taking over the building; nature interweaves with the skin,” he elaborates. The assimilation of nature is a persistent theme in Loke Kwang’s designs. But while the concept usually presents as internal courtyards concealed behind reticent façades – fabricated as defence mechanisms from the sun and prying eyes, the screen here bestows upon the house a more open character. Playing diverse roles, it filters views and light while allowing the house to breathe.  

Assimilation of nature is a persistent theme in the work of HYLA Architects.

  The screen design is also deliberately industrial, with bolts and steel members exposed. Timber from Norway using Kebony® technology not only fades to a charming grey over time but is also chemically treated to remove moisture so it doesn’t warp. Subservient to the culture of newness, not many Singaporeans favour the faded look of timeworn timber. But Loke Kwang is a fan. “To me, the faded grey is so beautiful, but people here don’t like things to tarnish. Hopefully, this project can change the perception. If you look at old buildings in Europe, they are very beautiful because they have aged well,” he reflects. At the same time, the thoughtful detailing of the skin informs the interior experience. The timber battens are spaced wider apart over beams and denser over openings. “And at the very top, we let it open up so the plants can grow out of it. So there are many aspects to the screen,” adds Loke Kwang. Indoors, the uncomplicated material palette takes its cue from the architecture with tonalities of grey and brown. The integral fusing of nature and building also grounds the internal experience. On the first storey, a perimeter garden abuts common spaces while on the second storey, a large window frames the vista of the car porch roof garden pillared with a sculptural Frangipani tree. The attic master bedroom suite enjoys a lush garden setting, created with a one-metre planter buffering the front balcony and edging the side elevation. Through habitual motions such as resting, bathing and the washing of hands, the encounter with nature does not stop. Tall plants act as a privacy shield, though blinds can be drawn should the occupants wish for more discretion. Aptly, Loke Kwang thinks of the family as living surrounded by nature. This differs vastly from how the family used to live, hemmed up in an apartment. The wife particularly relishes this change. Her favourite corner is the living room where the indoor–outdoor dialogue is accentuated with full-height sliding glass doors that remain constantly open and a self-installed, old fashion rope-and-plank swing in the garden that beckons one to step into the green. “I like a lot of greenery. In fact, I love forests,” she says. “We’ve had a lot of visiting squirrels, so much so that we are experimenting with plants that are more resilient. We also see many birds.” The screen also works like a charm so the occupants rarely deploy the blinds. “It’s just nice, not too bright, and very well ventilated. And we hardly switch on the air conditioners,” she adds. This is affirmed on the day of our visit, where it is cool and shady despite the hot and humid weather outside. It is all credit to Loke Kwang’s thoughtful implementation of passive and active methods to reduce heat load and cool the house. Aside from the screen, the house has a southeast-northwest orientation to mitigate sun exposure. Where the western sun enters, more screening is applied, while in the east that is privy to the more forgiving morning sun, the façade is more porous. The house is also set back against the parti wall on the second storey for a skylight to bring natural illumination deep into the plan. A roof ventilator and heat-reducing window glass aids in cooling interiors, while solar panels and a rainwater harvesting system decreases maintenance cost for the owners even as they up the house’s eco-friendly qualities. These are seemingly quotidian considerations but vital in creating a house that works and will last – an often overlooked aspect of sustainability. At the end of the day, it is not all fancy gestures for Han Loke Kwang, his clients trust that they will not only get a unique home, but also one that is easy and delightful to live in. HYLA Architects hyla.com.sg Photography by Derek Swalwell Dissection Information Kebony treated timber screen Arkos Swam M downlights from Relex Illumination Kawajun C5 Designer lever door handles from Lock & Co. Lunea undercounter basin by Villeroy & Boch Cristina Rubinetterie shower and bath mixers from Wan Tai We think you might also like NS House by K2LD Architects abc
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7 Elegantly Resolved Passive Solar Design Solutions

Thankfully, the notion of passive solar design has reached a place in which few people (if any) are yet to be convinced of its benefits. Far and wide, it is becoming accepted common sense and ultimately common practice, seamlessly embedded in design – as a foundation, not a feature. Hallelujah to that! Humanity’s newfound shared sense of environmental responsibility has seen to it that clients are increasingly informed and expecting, if not demanding, passive solar design solutions. Hearing the demand loud and clear, the industry has responded with intelligent, elegantly resolved façades, finishes and fixtures designed to make passive solar design all the more accessible, and all the more breathtaking. Here are seven such solutions loved – and frequently specified – by Australian architects and designers at the forefront of environmentally responsive residential design.  

Urbanscape Green Roof System by Knauf Insulation

The passive solar design of Bundeena Beach House by Grove Architects is enhanced by the rooftop garden, which reduces heat absorption, increases insulation and collects rainwater for irrigation.Bundeena Beach House by Grove Architects, photographed by Michael Nicholson* Designed not only to bring back the natural element in the built environment, Urbanscape Green Roof System concepts also to provide solutions for important issues such as urban heat island effect and stormwater management. Knauf Insulation  

Omni breeze blocks by Tom Fereday for Earp Bros

Omni reinvents the traditional breeze block to offer an entirely new approach to building and interior design. By transforming the breeze block form to provide a faceted modular block, Omni allows for a multitude of new and innovative applications for the breeze block to provide ventilation, privacy, security, shade and weather protection to a space. Earp Bros  

Glass Louvres from Breezway

Bundeena Beach House by Grove Architects, photographed by Michael Nicholson With no fixed panes and blades that open almost horizontally in an aluminium window or timber frame, Breezway Louvre Windows open twice as wide as regular windows to maximise ventilation and allow precise control of airflow into your building. Breezway  

ErgoFocus fireplace from Oblica

This suspended fireplace’s pure, elegant shape is not only perfectly proportioned, but designed to maximise heat efficiency. The graceful flue is built to measure for the space. The blend of function and form makes the Ergofocus one of the most popular of Focus's suspended models. Oblica  

Blackbutt engineered flooring by Parmate

Tess Pritchard House by Max Pritchard Gunner Architects, photographed by Sam Noonan A flooring solution with a lower thermal mass ideal for more tropical climates. Blackbutt is sourced from the coastal ranges and tablelands of northern New South Wales and southern Queensland. The colour ranges from pale browns to straw blondes and slight pink tinges, with gum veins being a common feature. Parmate  

Haiku ceiling fan from Big Ass Fans

Gap Bushland House by Arcke, photographed by Scott Burrows A smart ceiling fan in every sense of the phrase, Haiku’s built-in SenseMe Technology can sense when you are in the room and measure the room’s temperature and humidity, using that data to calculate the optimal fan speed to keep you comfortable. If that weren’t enough, the light-weight parts and superior aerodynamics of the Haiku translate to more efficient airflow and less power consumption. Big Ass Fans  

Concrete Terrazzo Tiles from Covet International

Handcrafted by passionate concrete purists, only premium grade cement, sand and aggregates are used in the making of this one-of-a-kind concrete terrazzo range. Above and beyond its aesthetic qualities, this organic tile is inherently durable, wear-resistant, and provides excellent insulation. Covet International *Bundeena Beach House by Grove Architects pictured as an example onlyabc
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Furniture

Throwback To The Masters Of Mid-Century Design

When it comes to the wonderful world of furniture, things don’t get much more iconic than the architect-designed or the mid-century modern; the products of design maestri. As Italian furniture brand, Tacchini, describes, “In design, the maestri (or masters) communicate through the classics; timeless designs far from any idea of fashions and trends yet so powerful as to produce a style naturally.” Paying homage to such pieces and the design maestri behind them, Tacchini have established a long-standing tradition of revival. Among the latest of the greatest to be reissued by Tacchini is the Costela armchair by Martin Eisler and the Sella lounge by Carlo de Carli.

Costela Chair by Martin Eisler

Son of famous Viennese art historian, Max Eisler, Martin emigrated to Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1938 to escape the oppressive rule of the Nazi regime. Here, he dabbled in many facets of design – from architecture to furniture; interiors to set design. As the artistic director of Forma Interieur, Martin became renowned for his innovative furniture designs, witnessing unprecedented affirmation throughout the fifties and sixties. During this time, the designer forged fortuitous relationships with the likes of Knoll International and Oscar Niemeyer and was one of the founding design-thinkers behind Brasilia. Perhaps one of Martin’s most prestigious pieces, the Costela chair is testament to the sophistication of Brazilian design mastery. An armchair that marries informal style with elegance, Costela is characterised by sensual aesthetics, authentic materiality, and intelligent design. The rounded bands of its elegant wooden structure wrap around the seat cushion to form a comforting embrace. A piece well ahead of its time, the Costela chair is design for longevity in its purest form; textile coverings for the seat cushion are customisable and changeable, meanwhile the base is easily dismantled and recyclable.

Sella Sofa by Carlo de Carli

Just a few years prior to Martin’s taking refuge in Buenos Aires, Milan-born Carlo de Carli was a gung-ho architecture graduate working under the great Gio Ponti. Quite like Martin, Carlo’s career did not discriminate between design disciplines, and he took over the interior architecture, furniture, and decoration arm of Gio’s studio in 1962. “I love any form of design,” said Carlo to Creatività in 1973, “provided it’s researched, tested and essential.” Whether designing a piece of architecture or a piece of furniture, Carlo’s attitude was to focus on the people it was for, how and why they would use it, and the context in which it was to exist. Embodying Carlo’s philosophy of primary space – that is to say, relational space – is Sella. Originally designed as an armchair in 1966, Tacchini has reimagined and refined Sella for today's lifestyle. Equally detailed at the front or when viewed from behind, Sella combines a high level of comfort with quality craftsmanship and materials. Available as a lounge or single armchair, Sella features feather cushions for optimum comfort, with upholstery from Tacchini's house range of fabrics and leather. The frame of Sella is manufactured from solid Walnut with black chrome used as a finishing touch. A signature of Sella is the leather belt detail within the backrest, which provides both character and gentle lumbar support.

 Joaquim Tables by Giorgio Bonaguro for Tacchini

Accompanying Tacchini’s collection of furniture pieces that pay homage to mid-century design masters is the Joaquim tables. Designed by Giorgio Bonaguro for Tacchini in 2019, the Joaquim tables channel the softness of mid-century Brazilian furniture in the modernist architecture of icons such as Niemeyer, Costa, Vilanova Artigas and Bo Bardi. The Joaquim table’s linear, geometric shapes are a nod to the simple and elegant lines favoured by its namesake designer, Joaquim Tenreiro – one of the fathers of modern tropical design. Made with a modern sense of environmental responsibility, the Joaquim collection has been designed to salvage off-cuts, fully embracing the principles of upcycling and sustainability, which are linchpins of Brazilian design. In February 2020, StylecraftHOME warmly welcomed the arrival of Costela, Sella, and Joaquim by Tacchini to its Australian showroom floors. StylecraftHOME stylecrafthome.com.au We think you might also like Ilse Crawford's short film on wellness, wellbeing and designabc
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Fixed & Fitted

Practicality And Modern Aesthetics With Stormtech

A leader in industrial design, consultation and manufacturing, Stormtech was established as an Australian family business in 1989. It specialises in the production of beautifully integrated linear drainage systems, both for indoor and outdoor use.  Traditionally, drainage functions through a series of multi-directional grading systems to a single area, with shower hobs being a necessity to prevent damage to other living spaces. Stormtech’s linear drainage offers a modern solution to traditional drainage systems, preventing common issues such as ponding and consequential hazards. Prioritising easy installation and flexibility thanks to its modular structure, Stormtech elevates its linear grates as an architectural feature, accentuating greater design hand-in-hand with functionality. Practicality has become a fashionable choice with Stormtech innovations, with focus on sustainable production and simplistic aesthetics. Stormtech centralises the notion of breaking down barriers – shower screen doors and hobs – in preference for a thoughtful take on open-plan living that prioritises practicality and efficient drainage where its aesthetics become a pleasant complement, concealing itself into any living space. Providing seamless solutions to issues of accessibility and mobility, Stormtech’s specialists can offer bespoke plans and solutions for customised drainage designs and effective ideas for unique projects. Stormtech also offers the only linear drainage system in the world with Global Greentag certification. All of Stormtech’s products are WaterMark certified and take the WSUD (Water-Sensitive Urban Design) standards into consideration, presenting Stormtech as a brand consciously shaping the ethical landscape of industrial design and innovation.  Offering a variety of options for both commercial and home usage, Stormtech provides a range of products including linear drains, tile insert drains, manifold and threshold drains. For landscaping usage, Stormtech also offers a selection of sleek outdoor designs of Slot Drains and the Special Assembly range. Stormtech’s latest innovation includes black UPVC Drainage Channels. A twist on the classic grey UPVC finish, the new black detailing offers a more unique and contemporary option for designers and consumers. [gallery size="full" type="rectangular" ids="98922,98921,98923"] Available in the full range of 100-millimetre grate designs, the new black channel adds a hint of modernity to the stainless-steel and metallic detailing of Stormtechs’ modern grate designs. This subtle variation creates a striking contrast, both elegant and instantly on-trend. Stormtech stormtech.com.auabc
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Lighting
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Journey To The Moon In The Comfort Of Your Backyard

Turns out, there is no waiting list to explore outer space, or more specifically, the moon. And no $250,000 ticket to board Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic. Instead, you must bring your imagination. Released in 2019 and designed by Japanese product designer Naoto Fukasawa for Kettal, the Half Dome Lamp found its inspiration in the shape and diameter of the moon. Furthermore, it was designed to simulate the brightness, feel and atmosphere of natural moonlight. The outdoor lamp comes in two structural variations – the Floor Lamp or the Overhang Floor Lamp ­­– and 34 aluminium colour options. Through collaboration with Naoto Fukasawa on the Half Dome Lamp, the Barcelona-based outdoor furniture company merges a Japanese aesthetic and approach to design to that of traditional Europe. Naoto Fukasawa graduated product design at the Tama Art University in Tokyo, Japan, in 1980 before moving to San Francisco to work with Ideo for eight years. On his return to Japan in 1996 he became director of Ideo Japan. In 2003 Naoto Fukasawa established the Naoto Fukasawa Design Studio in Tokyo. Here, he works across product, architecture and interior architecture for global clients, such as Kettal. Kettal kettal.com Naoto Fukasawa Design Studio naotofukasawa.com We think you might also like the work of French lighting company, CVL Luminaires abc
Architecture
Interiors
Places

Lladró Sydney Is The Epitome Of Approachable Luxury

After decades of dabbling in Australia’s retail market via an extensive network of authorised distributors, Lladró has consummated its relationship with FormFluent – the Australasian region – with the opening of its first bricks-and-mortar boutique in Oceania: Lladro Sydney. From its prime York Street location in Sydney’s central business district, the new boutique offers the complete cross-section of Lladró’s inimitable catalogue of designer porcelain offerings. This includes lighting, sculptures, jewellery, home decor and fragrances, with designs from the likes of Marcel Wanders, Jaime Hayon, Ricardo Cavolo, Bodo Sperlein and Hisakazu Shimizu, to name just a few. To make a home for the collectable design creations of Lladró on Australian shores, renowned architect Héctor Ruiz Velázquez worked in tandem with the brand’s in-house creative team. Marrying Lladro’s rich heritage with the contemporary design prowess the brand is now known for, the resulting space is approachable and luxurious in equal measure. The boutique’s material palette is a nod to the components of porcelain: kaolin, feldspar, and quartz. The white Calacatta marble floor with its grey veins is also reflected in the cement texture of the walls, and both are a contrast with the delicate art pieces on display. The opening of this flagship store in partnership with FormFluent puts Sydney in good company with New York, London, Paris, Tokyo, and Singapore making up just a handful of the international design hubs to be home to a flagship Lladró boutique. Lladró lladro.com FormFluent formfluent.com We think you might also like Ilse Crawford's short film on wellness, wellbeing, and design. abc
Homes
Around The World
Architecture
ARC - Feature

Intrigue Awaits At The Roof House In Thailand

At first glance, a house with a roof might not seem like anything notable or outstanding. But visually, The Roof House (designed by Looklen Architects) nestled in a quiet residential neighbourhood in Bangkok, will stop you in your tracks. Behind a 14-metre rolling fence, extending almost the entire length of the 16-metre-square site, sits a new, entirely separate and entirely self-contained addition to an existing house. Although the owner has lived in the original house for more than 15 years, the new addition was designed to better facilitate communal activities like entertaining friends and extended family, relaxing, playing with the dog, and piano practise. The Roof House by Looklen Architects hides behind a timber gate in a quiet residential street of Bangkok. To passers-by, the central courtyard is just visible through the lath timber fence, creating intrigue as to what lies beyond. And yet, with their neighbours’ attention focussed on those two elements the residents are able to enjoy their privacy without sacrificing a connection to the outdoors. Following the principle first do no harm, the central courtyard was designed around an existing tree. This has the benefit of bringing greenery inside the house, connecting diametrically opposed spaces and creating a common central focal point for each area within the new house. Looklen Architects has designed the house to operate around passive design principles. Accordingly, the north side of the roof has been detached to encourage natural ventilation and sunlight into the interiors. Likewise 5-metre-long windows line the north- and east-facing walls and large eaves offer generous shade in the hotter parts of the day. An open-plan configuration was requested by the client to maintain a sense of connection when using different spaces or engaging in different activities, and flexibility to extend zones for large events. The different areas are punctuated by long sliding partitions that can be opened or closed as required to allow a breeze to pass through or conversely to contain certain areas. The use of timber in the residence connects the built environment with the natural environment. It also adds atmospheric warmth and helps to absorb sound. With residential neighbours to three sides, and fronting on to a quiet alley, The Roof House offers a considered balance between honouring the existing streetscape, and pushing the boundaries of what is expected, to what is possible. Looklen Architects looklen.com Photography by Varp Studio We think you might also like House in Ohasu by Arbol The internal courtyard of The Roof House by Looklen Architects is just visible through a lath timber fence. abc
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Design For The Next Generation

Here in Australia, we’ve seen a series of disastrous bushfires, unexpected hail storms and heavy rainfall and floods all in the first two months of the new decade and there's no sign of it slowing down. Long story short, there is a 99.9% chance that the future will be dark – if the work of humanity will continue at the rate it is now. Yet there’s still hope – our design leaders; our industry’s movers and shakers and the emerging generations are ready to disrupt the status quo by reversing the harm done from the last few decades and bringing in a new understanding of the term, sustainability. The built environment is the biggest emitter of carbon, putting us in a dire need of change and in prime position to lead the way. Therefore, 2020 is all about climate activism, reshaping the world’s built form and reversing our climate – putting architects and designers at the forefront in this new wave of sustainability practices and beliefs.  Innovative and boundary-pushing Danish architect Bjarke Ingels once said, “If we can change the climate of planet earth by accident, then imagine what we can achieve if we’re actually trying to do it. I have infinite faith in the human capacity to do something about it.”  And that’s exactly what we’re doing – taking our planet back.

The Age of Responsibility

‘Sustainability’ is a mainstay word of today – addressing our century’s new normal. Divisive and inherently politicised, sustainability means different things to different people. For architects, creatives and designers, it is a way of life – something embedded in the soul that drives any practice; its values; its products; and projects. These industry voices have an inimitable responsibility to introduce built forms that support human stability and growth for the past, present and (hopefully) undying future.  In an era where we have reached catastrophic environmental lows, there has never been a more pressing time for the industry to save us than now. The practice of “doing less” is way past its expiry date and our new responsibility is to “do more” through, reshaping, restoring and rebuilding the land that we’ve lost. This means that the demand for sustainable structures, ethical practices, waste-eliminating products and sustainable consumerism is urgent in order to reduce our carbon emissions, inspire our lifestyle and define our direction forward.  A brand that acknowledges this need for impactful change is Caroma. Dedicated to creating a greener future, Caroma lives and breathes sustainability within the bathroom space. With a heritage spanning across nearly 8 decades, sustainability has been ingrained into their DNA from the beginning – acknowledging the responsibility and power that their products have. Drawing from the influences of our current context and landscapes, Caroma translates their shift into a contemporary elegance that speaks to sustainability in the 21st century.  Marking an incredible milestone to the Caroma name, the latest addition of the Elvire Collection delivers a new message of Australian sustainability into the home through timeless aesthetics and considered design.

The Next Chapter

Since 1941, Caroma has always paved the way in delivering smart, sustainable and innovative bathroom solutions. Over 75 years of research and practice within the industry, Caroma continues to drive functional, efficient and sustainable ingenuity for the Australian bathroom. In 1980, Caroma developed the world’s first Dual Flush toilet designed to improve water efficiency, saving approximately 32,000 litres of water per household, through state-of-the-art full flush/half flush technology. In 2007, Caroma introduced its first WELS 5 Star Toilet Suite featuring a cistern with a dual-flush push button and integrated hand basin. Over a decade later, Caroma’s Cleanflush® technology won the Good Design Award – consistently demonstrating their passion for protecting and conserving water to benefit all Australians.  In 2019, Caroma took a step into uncharted territory with Elvire – the introduction of a new, tactile and natural material that they can proudly put amongst the past products designed with a vision of protecting our resources for the country’s next generation.  Looking beyond the millennial generation, the concept of ‘new sustainability’ speaks to a wider segment of consumers – one that the industry and market is becoming more familiar with. Caroma has captured this new, revitalised essence of sustainability with Elvire that represents youth, emotion and refreshed production processes through a full suite of bathroomware products from tapware; to hardware; and all the way through the bathroom accessories made from Australian-sourced materials.  Designer, Luke Di Michiel creates a story of heritage, wellness, connection and a new type of sustainability that rediscovers the beauty of Australian nature and human-centric design. Pushing past notes of functionalism, the bathroom is transformed into a personalised sanctuary – one that is designed for people. Made to support any lifestyle, Elvire is an extension of the way Australians live; their living spaces; and stands as a collection that honours the simplicities of beautiful and ethical design. Luke notes, “It’s not just about designing a product that looks good and putting it out there for the sake of it – we have to step back and think, ‘how can this actually help society and the present and future of the design industry?” Caroma recognises changing consumer behaviours and in the last few years, the industry has seen that customers are more inclined to buy products that align with their own sustainable morals and values. How does Luke respond? Through combining his design expertise with passionate creatives within the industry that hold unique and similar philosophies ready to define the next wave of Caroma products.  Today, Elvire surpasses these consumer expectations with an emphasis in their environmental and consumer responsibility – focusing on local manufacturing, locally sourced materials, design longevity and a new, revitalised collection that’s close to home. 

Celebrating Locality

In Australia, our design history demonstrates the influence and integration of overseas trends in our nation’s creative narrative. However, in the last few decades, the Australian design market has seen trailblazing feats in local innovation, craftsmanship and artistry step into the scene.  Design thinkers and creators, such as Caroma are changing the pace of Australian design; what it means; and redefining the sustainability message of today for the next generation. In partnership with Australian designers such as Port Stephens Joinery and Evostyle, Elvire was able to grow and develop into a collection that is right on-trend at the moment.   Elvire highlights the beauty of intricate details that are only achievable by the unique material of Tasmanian Oak and Tasmanian Blackwood. For Caroma, this renewable materiality dominates the collection and defines a design narrative that is operating a bit differently than the rest of the world. It’s celebrating the evolution of a new, cohesive and beautifully resolved design language that speaks to incoming generations who are just getting to know Caroma and generations that have been around for years.  Luke states, “We visited all options from laminate to cheaper American timber options – but there’s nothing quite like Australian timber and having that identity to the range. It gives it a special charm that is undeniably Caroma.” The opportunity to bring in a new, quintessentially Australian element into the sustainability conversation was a significant step for Luke and Caroma. By integrating ethically sourced material from Tasmanian forests, the leading brand showcases their ability to present a beautiful piece of natural material that has been carefully treated with good intention and a lifetime warranty on it. Design longevity is ingrained into all Caroma products with quality elements that strips away any built-in obsolescence.  “Stepping away from form and function, the timber creates a bigger, stronger focal point and it was beautiful to have this natural material defining our new direction,” Luke expresses. “It’s ultimately the star of the show.” The raw, natural texture and aesthetic of the Tasmanian Timber speak to a new kind of sophisticated elegance, tailored to any individual and any lifestyle. The unique grain created an organic journey of locality, individuality and sustainability that showcased the best of what Australia has to offer. It pays homage to the heritage of the Australian land, with its innate tactility and unique grain that connects its user to the ground it’s come from.  Married with the boldness of enamelled steel and gunmetal finishes, Elvire is pivotal – demonstrating the best of progressive local design.

A Collection To Remember

Looking forward to the new decade, there is still a long way to go. Beneath the surface of Elvire lies a complexity that is inimitably Caroma. Through its simplicity in form, tones and material integrity, the design and ethical decisions in this new collection have opened a new dialogue for the bathroom pioneers. Though Caroma has had significant feats and contributions since its inception, this is just the beginning. A firm believer in good, honest and sustainable design, Caroma demonstrates the human capacity to reshape, rebuild and restore the past, present and future spaces of tomorrow. abc
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Design Stories
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People

Martin Johnston’s Homage To Craftsmanship

Byron Bay and its surrounds have changed over recent years as city dwellers have flocked to the coastal paradise for a sea change or tree change. But drive 25 minutes north to Billinudgel and the laidback utopia still exists in the hinterland and on the coast. It’s here that Martin Johnston grew up and now works and lives with his young family, designing and making furniture with great respect for history. As the son of a well-respected local joiner, Marty grew up in and around the workshop of his father, Bruce, becoming familiar with machinery, tools and timber. He had a passion for being creative and developed a love for working with his hands, making skateboards and ramps with his friends. Following an apprenticeship with Bruce after high school, Marty and his now-wife Casey travelled abroad and worked in England, where Marty made shop fittings for Urban Outfitters. Although he worked with less desirable materials, there was creative freedom in what he produced and the experience inspired Marty to start his own workshop. He and Casey moved back to Australia in 2010, ready to “chase the dream” as Marty describes.  

Their house merges many of their stylistic preferences, including the classic Queenslander and the mid-century fibro fishing shack.

  Martin Johnston furniture maker and designer lives in a contemporary Australian coastal house designed by Justin Twohill of Büro Two Architecture in Byron Bay. It was serendipitous timing as the popularity of Byron was really kicking off, and an influx of new residents to the area commissioned Marty to produce furniture and built-ins for their new permanent or holiday homes. With the growth of his business and his father’s retirement, Marty took over the family workshop in 2017. “It’s a special privilege to continue in his workshop. I have a lot of pride in this area and people from dad’s generation still pop by,” Marty says. He also has the privilege of using the beautiful old machinery inherited from his father – British, German and Australian heirlooms from the 1950s. “They’re finely tuned machines and the whole street knows I’m working as soon as I turn them on. They rattle and roar. All muscle and no brains,” he says. Martin Johnston furniture maker and designer lives in a contemporary Australian coastal house designed by Justin Twohill of Büro Two Architecture in Byron Bay. Along with the workshop and machinery, Marty inherited his father’s approach to craftsmanship, working through each design from small concept sketches to full 1:1-scale drawings on large sheets of plywood. It’s a technique that craftspeople have used for centuries and a “foolproof system” he says. “It’s fitting because we are a small-scale operation nestled away in the bush in a little old industrial town, and here I am building furniture as they did 50 years ago.” He is also attracting clients in an old-school way, as local residents, architects and builders drop by the workshop to request a table, sideboard or chairs. Marty’s approach to his work is driven by strong beliefs and he draws on local resources wherever possible in support of the region’s skills, economy and sustainability. He brought on a young apprentice from Bangalow in 2019 – “Local work has always helped my family succeed so we wanted to further invest in our area” – and personally selects Australian hardwoods from plantations in Byron Shire and between Brisbane and Coffs Harbour – “I like to promote any business that is doing well in the area and coincides my beliefs.” Marty uses hardwood not only for its beauty and durability, but because at the end of a piece of furniture’s life, the timber is recyclable and biodegradable. “I think about where the material has come from and where eventually it will go; what will happen when its current use is fulfilled,” he explains.  

Located just five-minutes’ drive from the workshop, Marty and Casey live in a coastal town that conjures up the idyllic Australian dream.

  Martin Johnston furniture maker and designer lives in a contemporary Australian coastal house designed by Justin Twohill of Büro Two Architecture in Byron Bay. The designs of his built-in and freestanding pieces are intended to be as enduring as the material he uses, both in their robustness and style. They have appealing and timeless forms with clean lines, subtle curves and exposed details that emphasise the handmade craftsmanship and quality. These details often govern the form of a piece and have hints of mid-twentieth-century timber furniture, reflecting Marty’s interest in history and respect for Australian design. “My style is a response and homage to craftsmanship. I want to enjoy producing it and my pieces have become more technically driven as I have progressed,” he says. Marty’s work is also inspired and influenced by the architects for whom he designs built-in joinery and he appreciates the challenge of large architectural jobs both for the scale and technical requirements. He produced the Kashihara table and bench seat designed by Luke Hayward of Atelier Luke and has done multiple projects with Justin Twohill of Büro Two Architecture, including Marty and Casey’s own home where they live with their two young boys, Ozzy and Raph. The couple are long-time admirers of Justin’s work, so given the opportunity, they wanted Justin to design their house. Martin Johnston furniture maker and designer lives in a contemporary Australian coastal house designed by Justin Twohill of Büro Two Architecture in Byron Bay. Located just five-minutes drive from the workshop, Marty and Casey live in a coastal town that conjures up the idyllic Australian dream. “Being in the workshop is hot and labour-intensive, but as soon as I drive down my street I get the refreshing coastal breeze and we grab the boys and go for a swim,” Marty says. Their house merges many of their stylistic preferences, including the classic Queenslander and the mid-century fibro fishing shack. Marty designed and made all the joinery and at only 58 square metres, the house also embodies the couple’s interest in small-space living. While Marty balances the joys and hard work of a growing business and growing family, he is proud to carry on his family legacy and traditional approach, personally delivering each piece to his clients and seeing the smile on their face. “There is the satisfaction of building and creating something, but it is tenfold when you deliver it to someone’s home and celebrate what you’ve done,” Marty says. Martin Johnston Furniture martinjohnston.com.au Photography by Andy MacPherson We think you might also like this profile on Patchwork Architecture. Martin Johnston furniture maker and designer lives in a contemporary Australian coastal house designed by Justin Twohill of Büro Two Architecture in Byron Bay. Martin Johnston furniture is designed and made in Byron Shire, using craftsmanship techniques and machinery Martin inherited from his father.abc
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Return To Roots At Sukasantai Farmstay

There exists an ever-growing body of literature that promotes the benefits of human interaction with nature. In Japan, forest bathing is a time-honoured exercise that is believed to ward off illnesses. In Singapore, the practice of biophilia in design (a term popularised by Edward O. Wilson in 1984) and of building therapeutic gardens and community farms has become widespread. But the need to get away from the city to green spaces that promote wellbeing is an ancient impulse. They range from fanciful imperial retreats and country cottages to the humbler, present-day holiday campsites for families. With climate change and frantic urban living the reality for most people today, there is a rise of a different kind of getaway that is not themed after luxurious resorts for the well-heeled indulged within fenced premises. Rather, they advocate a closed-loop, ecological lifestyle and while offering a restorative holiday, surreptitiously question the toll that relentless productivity, reliance on genetic engineering, and increasing energy consumption inflict on the land and food we consume. They take the form of farm stays and therapeutic retreats with digital detoxes thrown in, where air-conditioned comfort is not a given, but guests can rough it out and go back to basics, in tune with the rhythms of the day and task of the hour. Their compounds are not necessarily gated and guests can interact with the local community and participate in planting and harvesting activities alongside with them. One such retreat is the Sukasantai Farmstay, a family-owned and run organic vegetable farmstay located on the highlands of Gunung Gede, Sukabumi, Indonesia.  

“With the growing disconnection of people not knowing how and where food comes from, the farm hopes to reconnect this disjuncture.”

  Sukasantai Farmstay is an ecological retreat in Indonesia designed by GOY Architects The 6-hectare farm had its beginnings as a hobby project to supply the family with vegetables free of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, but soon grew into a small home-delivery enterprise, selling organic vegetables directly to consumers in Jakarta using recycled crates. The idea then evolved into building a farm stay as a means for city dwellers to be reacquainted with nature and the origins of their food supply. “With the growing disconnection of people not knowing how and where food comes from, the farm hopes to reconnect this disjuncture,” said Stephanie Moriyama, owner of Sukasantai Farmstay. The original family bungalow is preserved on-site and an independent, larger wing of accommodation was added on a sloping terrain next to it. Stephanie, a trained landscape architect, engaged an architect she had collaborated with on a previous project in Singapore to design the new wing on the farm. This became one of the impetus for architect Zhenru Goy to launch her practice in 2015.  

“The architecture was crafted around the existing mature trees such that guests can enjoy [them] from the interior.”

  Sukasantai Farmstay is an ecological retreat in Indonesia designed by GOY Architects At Sukasantai, both Stephanie and Zhenru employed the simplest and most restrained of approach to consolidate the programme and layout of site. They eschewed the dispersed chalet layout so that guests are compelled to socialise and room service can be simplified. All 12 bedrooms the farm offers are lined across a linear block stretching some 75 metres over a terrain that dips gently down. They open out to a view of the bamboo forest valley while the bathrooms effectively become a barrier screening them from the noisier public road. The mid-point of this wing is bisected by a dining hall that spatially divides two implied courtyards of the wing. “Our design was also informed by the existing mature trees on-site,” says Zhenru. “A 10-metre-tall ficus elastica tree is our main feature for the dining space. We framed the tree by terminating the gable end wall with glass – showcasing the robust trunks and verdant leaves. The architecture was crafted around the existing mature trees such that guests can enjoy [them] from the interior.”  

The development is a showcase of building sustainably with the land, respecting its topography and trees.

  Sukasantai Farmstay is an ecological retreat in Indonesia designed by GOY Architects The dining hall is anchored by an open kitchen with self-serving dining concept, and guests are encouraged to participate in authentic “farm-to-fork” experiences such as vegetable harvesting, fruit picking, fishing, bamboo shoot hunting, sourdough bread workshops, tempeh making and other means of working for their meals. The rich volcanic soil here is host to over a hundred varieties of vegetable, medicinal plants, tropical fruits such as guavas, soursop, jackfruit, durian, and up to ten varieties of local bananas. They give the farm biodiversity that a purely commercial orchard would have lacked. Sukasantai Farmstay is an ecological retreat in Indonesia designed by GOY Architects With its all-year-round cool and wet montane climate, the high-ceilinged rooms are not air-conditioned, nor are the major roofs padded with insulation. “We had to convince the engineer to try his utmost to design the roof structure to be free of any bracing struts,” Zhenru explains, “because we wanted it to be as simple as possible.” Rainwater falls freely over the eaves onto gravel-filled swales and drains downwards to a fishpond, then a reservoir where it is used for irrigation by gravity flow alone. The development is a showcase of building sustainably with the land, respecting its topography and trees, working with locally available materials and workers to build and operate with. The understated vernacular design allowed the natural beauty of the site with its volcanic mountain as a backdrop to shine through without intrusive embellishments. There are no unnatural trappings of Wi-Fi, swimming pools, tennis courts or spas as the social enterprise agenda takes spatial precedence over the built environment. The effect is therefore not unlike a naïve painting of an extended habitat by a child; a staggered pitched roof shading open rooms amidst verdant palms. At night, lighting is kept discreet so that on a clear night, there will be no light pollution to mar the view of the stars, and that is about as unimposing and light-footed as one can get. Goy Architects goyarchitects.com We think you might also like Aman Kyoto by Kerry Hill Architects Sukasantai Farmstay is an ecological retreat in Indonesia designed by GOY Architects Sukasantai Farmstay is an ecological retreat in Indonesia designed by GOY Architects abc
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Melbourne Design Week 2020 Has Released Its Full Programme

Melbourne Design Week 2020 is back on from 12-22 March and this year, it’s programme and reach is bigger than ever before. Presented by Creative Victoria and the National Gallery of Victoria, the festival programme has been officially released, and within it, are more than 300 events including exhibitions, talks, tours, films, workshops and boat rides spread across greater Melbourne – more than earning the design week its title as Australia’s largest international design festival. As avid attendees over the years, Habitus is thrilled to announce that this year, we a major media partner of the eagerly anticipated annual Melbourne Design Week. We’ve enjoyed watching the design week grow and it’s an honour now to be involved. Melbourne Design Week is an opportunity for meaningful engagement within the design industry and between creators and consumers of art and design. This year, the programme has been curated around the provocation: How can design shape life? Within that, there are five essential pillars identified, Design Cultures, Waste, Healthy Cities, Design Evolution, Waterfront. “From tackling e-waste to creating healthy cities and driving sustainability, design has the capacity to improve the way we live and address the challenges of our times,” said Martin Foley, Minister for Creative Industries. “This year’s action-packed programme extends across greater Melbourne, and to Geelong, celebrating design in all its facets and shining a light on the designers who are shaping our lives – now and into the future.” Stay tuned for more information on the release of The Guide to Collectable Design at Melbourne Design Week 2020. Presented by Habitus Magazine and how you can join me on a Habitus walking tour. In the meantime, here is a brief overview of some of the key events around each pillar, informing how design can shape life. To see the full programme and design your own itinerary over 12-22 March, 2020, visit the Melbourne Design Week website here.  

Design Cultures

[caption id="attachment_99062" align="alignnone" width="1170"] FRANCIS KÉRÉ: ARCHITECTURE SHAPES LIFE
Presented by NGV with Architecture Foundation Australia and the Futuna Lecture Series
Gando Primary School by Kéré Architecture
Photo: Erik-Jan Ouwerkerk[/caption]     ROBIN BOYD ANNUAL KEYNOTE LECTURE: NMBW | OBSERVATION MATTERS Wed 18 Mar, 6.30pm–7.30pm Founding Directors of NMBW Marika Neustupny, Lucinda McLean and Nigel Bertram re-visit the studio’s body of work to discuss how architectural processes create the time and space to engage meaningfully with local traditions and enrich the culture of the everyday.   FRANCIS KÉRÉ: ARCHITECTURE SHAPES LIFE Tue 17 Mar, 6.30pm–7.30pm African-born, German-trained architect Francis Kéré looks at his personal and professional experience with architecture in relation to the central theme: How can design shape life?  

Waste

[caption id="attachment_99063" align="alignnone" width="1170"] RE-MAKING E-WASTE
Presented by RMIT School of Design and Monash Design
Image Courtesy Remaking E-Waste[/caption]       9 HOUR FACTOR Sat 21 Mar, 10am–7pm Dowel Jones is hosting a workshop – free to attend, but costs apply to participate – in partnership with Kvadrat Maharam in a bid to playfully educate consumers and creators alike on the capacity to re-cycle material offcuts. In this case, the much sought after Kvadrat Maharam fabrics.   E-WASTE CHALLENGE LIVE PITCH FINALVICTORIAN DESIGN CHALLENGE 2020 Wed 18 Mar, 10am–3.30pm The E-Waste challenge is educating designers and consumers about the surmounting levels of e-waste product. The challenge is for participants to pitch their design-led idea to tackle the 40 million tons of e-waste produced globally every year. Creative Victoria and NGV are offering a $20,000 major prize for the best design idea in the Professional category.  

Healthy Cities

[caption id="attachment_99061" align="alignnone" width="1170"] TRANSFORMATIVE LANDSCAPES: RESHAPING THE CITY THAT SHAPES US
Presented by Foreground
Victorian Health and Human Services Building Authority (VHHSBA). Image courtesy of Foreground[/caption]     GOOD DESIGN AND HERITAGE: WHEN NEW MEETS OLD Wed 18 Mar, 6.15pm–7.15pm The Heritage Council of Victoria and Office of the Victorian Government Architect bring together a panel of experts in the fields of heritage architecture, urban planning, and community to discuss how modern projects in heritage settings can simultaneously respect the past and well equipped for the future.   WALKSCAPES: TREEGAZING, FITZROY GARDENS Fri 13 Mar, 7.30–8.45am Sun 22 Mar, 10.30–11.45am Echoing the concept of forest therapy, this event will encourage participants to slow down and appreciate their time in the present and their fauna of Melbourne’s oldest city parks, Fitzroy Gardens. It’s worth noting, this event will proceed rain, hail or shine – so check the weather in advance and dress accordingly!  

Design Evolution

[caption id="attachment_99065" align="alignnone" width="1170"] PARTU (SKIN) BY JOHNNY NARGOODAH AND TRENT JANSEN
Presented by Gallery Sally Dan-Cuthbert and Arc One
Caption: Johnny Nargoodah and Trent Jansen, Ngumu Jangka Warnti Chair.
Photo: Abraham Markos[/caption]     IN CONVERSATION: DR VICKI COUZENS WITH MYLES RUSSELL-COOK Wed 18 Mar, 6.30pm–7.30pm Join multi-media artist and Senior Knowledge Holder of Language and Possum Cloak Story, Dr Vicki Couzens in conversation with NGV’s Curator of Indigenous Art, Myles Russel-Cook in the NGV International Members Lounge for a conversation about the reclamation and revival of Possum Skin Cloaks in the South East.   ANTHROPOCENE: THE HUMAN EPOCH Sat 14 & Fri 20 Mar, 7pm Sun 15 & Thu 19 Mar, 7pm “Magnificent in scope and frightening in subject”, Anthropocene is third in Baichwal and Burtynsky’s environmental trilogy of films that forces rather than invites its viewers to consider the impact of the human race on earth.  

Waterfront

[caption id="attachment_99060" align="alignnone" width="1170"] DEEP DIVE: SEA URCHIN SNORKEL TOUR
Presented by Open House Melbourne
Photo: Pirjo Haikola[/caption]     GREENING SEAWALLS Saturday 21 March, 10am Reef Design Lab has been working with Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS) since 2015 on the Living Seawalls research project investigating how 3D printed geometry can be used to create habitat for native intertidal species that live on seawalls. This boat tour features a discussion with Alex Goad from Reef Design Lab and Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS) researchers about the Living Seawalls Project and possibilities for Victoria’s waterways.abc
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A Quaint Cottage Gets A Garden Pavilion Addition

The client’s brief to Alexander and Co. for this alts and ads project in Mosman, Sydney, was not too prescriptive, but pointed enough. It requested a residence – part cottage, part garden pavilion – with a swimming pool and ample freedom and capacity to accommodate the ever-changing needs of a growing family. The original cottage that Alexander and Co. had to work with was quaint yet plagued by the traditional spatial limitations. On the bright side, there was at least one thing for the original property to boast: its large plot and expansive lawn had plenty of potential. Presenting to the street as the original, single level dwelling, the contemporary rear addition to Mosman House opens up across two levels, spilling out on to the lowered garden. Balancing weightlessly on a single, barely visible, steel column, the upper level comprises three bedrooms, an ensuite and walk-in-robe, bathroom, and internal courtyard balcony. The lower garden level is home to shared family spaces and amenities such as the kitchen, living, dining, spare bedroom, bathroom, laundry and cellar. Large format sliding doors spanning two walls of the lower floor make for flexible boundaries between indoors and out. The new house is an abstraction of the original form. Solid walls have been replaced with operable ones; transparent and gravity defying in appearance. The newly added volumes of painted brick, weatherboard, and timber work extrude from the older, traditional form, unfolding around the pitched roofed cottage. The interiors are a collection of found joinery, traditionally lined ceilings and walls and exposed brickwork; robust, textural and personal. Alexander and Co’s renovation of and extension to Mosman House has strengthened its sense of connection between old and new, indoors and out. A contemporary case study for the quintessential Australian family residence, Mosman House expresses the quirks of a young family as well as the great antipodean love for the outdoors. Alexander & Co. alexanderand.co Photography by Murray Fredericks Dissection Information Dining table and chairs from Anibou Sofa and occasional chair from Anibou Corbusier chair from Thonet Large jute basket with plant inside by J’Jute from Dunlin Artwork ‘Prey’ by Leila Jeffreys We think you might also like Rose Bay House by Ricci Bloch abc