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ARC - Feature

A House That Doubles As A Sustainable Community Model

For Made in Earth Collective – a sustainability-conscious architecture and construction practice in Bangalore – building with natural materials has always been at the centre of the firm’s philosophy. It’s projects, mainly residential and commercial spaces, reflect its founders’ ethos of building durable, accessible and environmentally friendly buildings utilising local and easily available resources. Furthermore, Made in Earth’s interest in experimenting with earth building techniques to adapt them for different construction purposes in a sustainable community. The firm’s founders, who have completed many earth construction-based projects to date, attribute the Brick Kiln House – the model house for NSR Greenwoods, a sustainable community in East Bangalore – as their first foray into CSEB (Compressed Stabilised Earth Blocks) architecture. The house takes inspiration from the vernacular architecture of its region (mainly the distinctive brick kiln chimneys that pepper the surrounding landscape), while contemporary design features, such as large windows, clean lines and composite thatch roof reimagine the rustic local elements into a contemporary design.  

Brick Kiln House takes inspiration from the vernacular architecture of its region, mainly the distinctive brick kiln chimneys that pepper the surrounding landscape.

  “The little parcels of land amidst farmland were to host residences designed and developed individually, yet tied together in their approach to sustainability and responsible construction,” says Agnimitra Bachi, a partner at Made in Earth. “The Brick Kiln House was built to pioneer and set a precedent within the community. It was imagined to be a compact residential unit, built with a combination of various earthen techniques and planned to be a getaway space from the din of the city.” The design team implemented several innovative design and construction strategies throughout the house, not only to diminish the impact on the environment but also to reduce the overall amount of materials used. Using filler materials such as terracotta tiles, pots, coconut shells and bottles embedded into the reinforced cement concrete slab, the team reduced both the weight of the slab and the total amount of concrete being used in the construction of the house. Another sustainable design strategy included integrating a greywater treatment system using a passive wastewater treatment plant and providing water for the house’s garden.  

Using filler materials such as terracotta tiles, pots, coconut shells and bottles embedded into the reinforced cement concrete slab, the team reduced both the weight of the slab and the total amount of concrete being used in the construction of the house.

  While the usage of natural materials for the construction of the building allowed the house to effortlessly blend with its environment, Made in Earth Collective kept the overall structure feeling light with an incorporation of porous spaces and open courtyards to break up the building’s massing. The effect of the thatch roof seemingly floating above the walls of the house enhanced the emphasis on the thin side profile of the roof, further juxtaposing the delicate detailing against the more sturdy structural features and recalling the familiar rural landscape. Agnimitra says that the attempt was to maintain the aesthetic of the house in the contemporary realm, while borrowing from its setting, culture and tradition. With this humble but ambitious keystone project, Bachi and the team hope to set a precedent for an entire sustainable community envisioned in East Bangalore. “The vision is to inspire each land owner to build in the most responsible way possible while choosing and sourcing their materials, encouraging them to engage with local artisans, revive local building practices and subscribe to systems that are efficient and sustainable.” Made in Earth Collective madeinearth.in We think you might also like this rammed earth extension by Steffen Welsch abc
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Blackwood Rest Is A Re-Imagined Aussie Bush Shack

After the interior of Blackwood Rest cottage was partially destroyed due to freak flooding in 2016, Bijl Architecture was engaged to re-imagine their clients’ beloved North West Tasmanian sanctuary. “The flood also altered the riverbank bringing the river somewhat closer to the dwelling on two sides – extending the picturesque, reflective setting of the river towards the dwelling but also impressing upon us the need to consider the interior renovation of the building,” explains Melonie Bayl-Smith, director of the practice. “This new outlook gave us the opportunity to rethink the internal layout to make the most of the water views, while shoring up the home against any future, if unlikely, flooding.”  

“In strong gabled gestures, ridge beams rise to meet large format windows, and clerestory openings capture treetops and sky.”

  The architects embarked on a ‘tidy up’ of the interiors and a planning re-jig. The bedroom was enlarged with a new deck added (which replaced the old kitchen and dining space), and the entry area reduced in size in favour of an extending living area and fire-side dining area. “The plan has a simple tri-partite logic marked out by the stone/masonry blade walls that run approximately north-south,” explains Melonie. The front door, located centrally in plan brings one straight into the living/dining space with the bathroom and kitchen and master bedroom located on opposite sides. A mezzanine sleeping space sits over the entry, with its own elevated perspective of the bush setting. Architecturally, in re-imagining the new cottage, Bijl Architecture argued for a more contemporary take on the “Aussie bush shack” and as a result, new larger, corner windows were installed, capitalising on the new views. “The rigorous structural approach to the plan and section balances the rustic aesthetic of the exposed timber and stone construction,” says Melonie. “In strong gabled gestures, ridge beams rise to meet large format windows, and clerestory openings capture treetops and sky.”  

Blackwood Rest is not a house designed for entertaining, but for retreating, and thus its plan and interiors reflect an uncomplicated and relaxed lifestyle.

  Fundamentally, Blackwood Rest is not a house designed for entertaining, but for retreating, and thus its plan and interiors reflect an uncomplicated and relaxed lifestyle. “The house needed to have an ease to it – cooking outdoors nearly all of the summer, with casual indoor and outdoor dining that complements the relaxed atmosphere of the house,” says Melonie. “The living spaces are simple, with the lounge area centred on the fireplace with outward facing views to both the nearby hill and the river.” These ideas are reinforced by the robust and natural material palette which features external-grade render application to the internal walls, joinery handcrafted from local timber and an exquisite stone chimney, built by a journeyman stonemason. “Working with a local builder and stonemason, the owner made the plans his own to deliver a faithful interpretation of our one bedroom, one bathroom, plus mezzanine scheme,” adds Melonie. “The building is a nod to the site’s former function as a timber forest with locally obtained and milled wattle (ceiling) and cypress (floors). Blade walls anchor the timber, the stone sourced from the back paddock of a local farm.” As expected there are a number of integrated sustainability initiatives including solar water heating, an Airius destratification fan, a heat pump, rainwater recycling tanks, ample natural ventilation and light via the clerestory windows, with the latter transforming into figurative lanterns after dark. Bijl Architecture bijlarchitecture.com.au Photography by Adam Gibson Dissection Information Nectre N60 wood burning stove Vintage Parker Furniture armchairs Airius destratification fan We think you might also like Shoreham House by Bryant Alsopabc
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Design Products

10 Architect-Designed Home Offices And Study Spaces

There has perhaps never been a more relevant time to spend your idle moments admiring the study spaces and home office ideas of others’ houses. So much comes into play when it comes to creating a space that is optimised for productivity – and even more so when that space suddenly finds itself in the middle of one’s guest room, living room, or bedroom. Above and beyond a place to park your laptop, the best home office ideas take into account everything from lighting to acoustics; storage solutions to spatial ergonomics. Whether it be due to their inimitable style; the beauty of their built-in joinery; their wealth of natural light; or the practicality of their materials, we could all take a leaf out of the home office ideas book used for these projects.  

The Ridgeway House by Ha Architecture

The Ridgeway House Ha cc Derek Swalwell studyFeaturing blackbutt veneer joinery from Timberwood Panels. Photography by Derek Swalwell. Being home to a workplace architect, one would certainly hope that The Ridgeway House by Ha Architecture would be host to a plethora of home office ideas and study space inspiration. This particular study space finds itself tucked at the far end of the client’s bedroom. The bedroom and study have been tailored to suit how the clients, Steve and Keryn, live. Dimmable lights at a low level on the bedhead wall joinery enable Steve to rise for travel without waking Keryn, with a little light strip allowing him to see his clothes. The same Blackbutt veneer joinery forms the built-in wardrobe that runs the length of one wall, culminating in the study nook which benefits from plentiful natural light. Read more  

Urban Cocoon by Bean Buro

Urban Cocoon by Bean BuroFeaturing a wardrobe system similar to Battente designed by Piero Lissoni for Porro When it comes to home office ideas and small, multi-use living space design, one need not look much further than the likes of Hong Kong and Singapore for some of the best-in-class examples. Aptly named ‘Urban Cocoon’, this 110-square-metre apartment in Hong Kong has been masterfully programmed by Bean Buro to house a series of intimate living and working areas informed by the different family members’ needs. The designers were originally challenged by creating spaces that fitted the needs of the couple – who both work from home – and their newborn child. Bean Buro began by designing the cocoons where the views and natural light were most plentiful. The working ‘cocoons’ centre on the parents’ individual needs. The husband preferred a private enclosed working space, while the wife has an open hidden nook in which to work. Taking into account her love of playing piano on short breaks from work, the designers integrated space for the musical instrument in the continuous wall of her area. Read more  

Marrickville Warehouse by Adele McNab

Rendered concrete walls give this Marrickville Warehouse conversion by Adele McNab a minimalist, industrial aesthetic.Photography by Benjamin Hosking Though technically this one is not a ‘home office’ as such, it is a multi-use workspace designed impeccably by Sydney-based architect Adele McNab, and therefore simply should not be overlooked when searching for home office ideas. The Casing Boutique, a natural sausage casing business, is a warm, open and inviting space with a focus on people and sustainability. The workspace is located in a warehouse in Marrickville, Sydney, and incorporates a kitchen, product display, sausage-making room and refrigerator. “I wanted to make sure that I pushed for a fresh and inspiring concept that was functional for the constraints and operations of the business,” Adele explains. In an industrial-esque, concrete-coated space that serves first and foremost as a commercial kitchen, Adele employs timber, plants, art and furniture to add colour, life and detail. Read more on Adele McNab  

Rose Bay House by Ricci Bloch

Featuring Chair 811 by TON from James Richardson Furniture. Photography by Tom Ferguson. Rose Bay House is a charming Californian Bungalow in Sydney’s inner-east, eloquently altered by architect Ricci Bloch to accommodate a couple who work from home; their teenage son; a pet dog; and a yearning to age in place. Their vision was for a humble abode; a house that would also serve the function of a home office, while catering toward their love of entertaining, and comfortably accommodating the needs of their small family – now, and into the future. In response, Ricci took a holistic approach – sensitive of site, landscape, and materiality – to deliver extra space, light and amenity, while retaining the original charm and character of the house. Through a meticulous reconfiguration of the original volume, Ricci turned the front half of Rose Bay House into a series of well-proportioned private rooms for sleeping and working. Read more  

Victoria Gardens House by Lucy Clemenger Architect

Featuring wallpaper by Studio Droog. Photography by Shannon McGrath. In renovating her own home – a c.1880s double-fronted Victorian residence – architect Lucy Clemenger incorporated biophilic design principles in a number of ways to create an inner-city home connected to nature The timber and natural material palette borrow from a nearby park, with cool greys, warm caramels and deep greens that mimic the textures and colours of the foliage and branches of the plane trees. Lucy engaged local artisans and tradespeople to build custom-designed timber furniture and joinery, and commissioned Droog to produce the over-scaled botanical wallpaper in the study, which replicates Coenraet Roepel’s painting Still Life with Flowers from 1721. “It is a nod to my time living and working in the Netherlands, and also references the classic English children’s book The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett,” says Lucy. Read more  

8m House by Architects’ Creative

Featuring stained teak veneer cabinetry from Prime Panels. Photography by Sam Hartnett. 8m House is yet another exemplar of an architect’s – or in this case, architects’ – renovation of dilapidated architectural heritage into their own comfortable and modern family home. Based in Christchurch, New Zealand, Kate and Daniel Sullivan are partners in life as well as their practice, Architects’ Creative. Over the course of nearly eight years, the duo worked on 8m House in-between working on client projects, running their practice, starting a family, and the occasional surf. With design for longevity and sustainability front and foremost of the project, Kate and Daniel rescued a rare still-standing piece of Christchurch’s architectural heritage and elevated it to meet modern living expectations and best practice design standards. Proving that clever home office ideas are more often than not a matter of being strategic with the space you’ve got, a built-in library / study nook makes use of an otherwise redundant corner in 8m House, demarcated (though not entirely cut off) from the living room by an archway. Read more  

Fitzroy Terrace by Taylor Knights

Featuring engineered timber floorboards from Tongue n Groove and Compact 04 Pendant by Douglas & Bec. Photography by Peter Clarke. For anyone from – or at all familiar with – Australia, the name Fitzroy Terrace pretty much says it all; a terrace in one of Melbourne’s grittier inner-suburbs in disrepair, with a need of being brought up to speed with its resident’s modern lifestyles and expectations. Working in quite demanding industries, the residents of Fitzroy Terrace ultimately wanted to create a series of flexible, connected spaces that would host not only their private lives but also their love for entertaining. In response, Taylor Knights sought to create a series of layered volumes that harness light – or omit it – accordingly, accommodating for both moments of privacy and stillness, as well as times shared with treasured family and friends. Contrary to the light and airy kitchen, living, and dining spaces, Fitzroy Terrace’s study is finished in a somber palette of deep, yet soothing hues. The desk is positioned against the window, affording abundant natural light, while a sheer drape mitigates unwanted distractions caused by the visual stimuli of the world outside. Read more  

Haidan House by HAO Design

In Beijing, urban space is at a premium. In the Haidan district a family of three was looking for a home that could accommodate their family, as well as the occasional working from opportunities afforded to a software engineer and architectural book editor. The solution came in a unique, slanted roof 116-square-metre home, and the keen design eye of the HAO Design team who noted that the unique ceiling was in fact an opportunity, opting to preserve the design. In doing so, the home is given a unique interior look, as well as an increased feeling of space thanks to the ceiling height. Above the common area are a sidelong bookshelf, master bedroom and bathroom, and a workspace study – a quiet place for rest, work and reading. Through this height division, the home is split between public and private activates. The ground floor has been designed for socialisation, games and entertaining, while the above level is ideal for these parents to work, relax and keep an eye on the activities below. Read more  

Ang Mo Kio Residence by Atelier Here

Ang Mo Kio ResidenceFeaturing 265 adjustable wall lamp by Paolo Rizzatto from Euroluce. Designed by atelier here, the three storey single residence in Singapore is anchored by a predominantly white colour palette in order to visually bring in the lush greenery from outside. In search of a similar effect, the living room boasts a unique atrium that extends up from the ground floor. Here, a purpose designed white veil of gridded sunscreen fragments the park foliage into constant – yet varying – glimpses of green. Likewise, the first floor is heroed by a U-shaped balcony that atelier here have cantilevered out and over the street to further unite the lush foliage opposite and the interior design of the house. Raintree canopies frame the study to a peaceful, and work-inducing effect. Read more  

Redfern Warehouse by Ian Moore Architects

Equine laboratory in Redfern Warehouse by Ian Moore ArchitectsFeaturing Walk Easy Smooth Profile cork sheet flooring from Comcork. Photography by Rory Gardiner. In this pristine renovation of a brick-warehouse-turned-family-residence, lack of space was not an issue for architect Ian Moore. Rather the challenge was to make the expanse of space as comfortable for living and working in as it is to park a car. “The clients had lived in the space for a year before I started work on the project and their major issues with it were that it was boiling hot in summer, freezing cold in winter and when it rained they could not hear anything due to the noise from the tin roof,” explains Ian. The large natural cork flooring sheets are not only worth dwelling on, but are also one of the most overlooked home office ideas. In addition to their concrete-like appearance, they are soft underfoot, provide good acoustics (even when it rains), are cool in summer and warm in winter, and set the tone for the house’s restrained palette. Read moreabc
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Design Products

A Speaker Designed For Your Sixth Sense

Design it or not, space and atmosphere come as an inseparable pair. As people, we tend to be much more familiar with the former – after all, of the two it’s the one that we are able to see and touch. The latter, however, is much more elusive in nature; invisible, untouchable yet omnipresent, atmosphere is simply something instinctively (or intuitively) felt. In residential projects, it is rare for ambiance design to receive the energy, budget and consideration equivalent to that of its spatial counterpart. Thankfully, the likes of Danish luxury audio-tech design brand, Bang & Olufsen, and London-based multi-disciplinary design practice, LAYER, have been devoting equal efforts to aesthetics as well as atmospherics to bring us the Beosound Balance by Benjamin Hubert.  

The refined material palette softens the technology of the Beosound Balance and enables it to blend in seamlessly with quality furniture.

  Inspired by interior objects and created with a passion for music, design and craftsmanship, the Beosound Balance by Benjamin Hubert is a smart speaker that redefines home audio in a way that only Bang & Olufsen is capable. “Bang & Olufsen has spent decades researching the influence of room acoustics on human perception, which resulted in the development of unique technologies in our flagship speakers,” says the brand’s tonmeister, Neo Kaplansis. “The vision with Beosound Balance by Benjamin Hubert is to make the speaker feel like an extension of the atmosphere in the home, reflecting the place it is in and the person using it. The design is both sensorial and tactile, with a look and feel driven by high-quality interior craftsmanship and materials, as well as highly innovative,” shares Gavin Ivester, vice president of design for Bang & Olufsen. Like a sound technician dressed in couture clothing, the Beosound Balance comes with seven uniquely configured speaker drivers with two opposing woofers that generate powerful bass while canceling out vibrations, sculpted into a cylinder, clad in knitted textile, and poised atop a base of solid oak.  

The design is both sensorial and tactile, with a look and feel driven by high quality interior craftsmanship and materials.

  This refined material palette softens the technology of the Beosound Balance and enables it to blend in seamlessly with quality furniture. Blending in as an interior object, Beosound Balance has a hidden touch interface to manually control the speaker. When approaching the speaker, the interface lights up as an invitation to interact. A few simple commands in swipe language is all you need to know to manually control volume; pause; play; skip; or select pre-saved tracks. Bang & Olufsen have not forgotten that this is the 21st Century, and no person nor thing need be restricted to solely touch communication – not when products can hear too. As any self-respecting smart speaker should, Beosound Balance by Benjamin Hubert supports Google Chromecast, Apple Airplay2 and Spotify Connect1. The speaker comes with leading voice assistants built-in: The Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa2 so, when you are on Wi-Fi, you can play music, check the news and much more completely hands free. Bang & Olufsen bang-olufsen.com We think you might also like the Samsung Serif TV by The Bouroullec Brothers abc
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Design Hunters

Introducing Our New Series, Dialling In With…

Hello from our new HQ – my house. And Raj’s house, and Vicki’s and each member of the team’s house. We’re all working from home, as we imagine you are. There are a few of you we know to be working from home, because we’ve spoken at length to members of the industry across Australia. Which brings me to my cause to address you in this way; it’s to introduce our new series, Dialling In with… Kate Fitzgerald of Whispering Smith, Paul Owen of Owen Architecture, Miriam Fanning of Mim Design, Rebekah Clayton and Michelle Orszaczky of Clayton Orsaczky – among others – have leant us their time and insights. We know a lot of our industry’s working conditions have changed, but we also knew a lot may not have, as many of you work from home or remotely as standard practice. But likely not with partners, children or housemates in the mix! Things have changed for everyone, but in different ways and at different scales. It’s our hope that this series, Dialling In with… will share insights into different circumstances and different methods of adaption ensuring the industry continues to move forward and comes out the other end of ‘this’. Moreover, we’re interested to hear how the industry is making themselves malleable for further changes, or changes back. We’ve spent a good while teasing out how, if at all, we felt it was right to address and respond to the current climate. On the one hand, it’s impossible, impractical and disrespectful to ignore. We know everyone is facing challenges right now because we are too. We see this, we acknowledge it, and we’re absolutely doing everything in our power to support our team and our industry where we can. On the other hand, we’re trying to retain a sense of normalcy for sanity’s sake. Ultimately, as news and politics pervade every corner of our headspace it’s our wish to offer a breather from that, respite, maybe an escape or even an antidote. This is largely based on our own feelings; so if we’ve got it wrong, let us know. If you have ideas or requests, send them through. For more than a decade Habitus has implored itself to serve, support and champion the architecture and design industry. We are here for you, so let us know what you need right now. In the meantime, enjoy our first installment in the series, with Kate Fitzgerald of Whispering Smith. Holly Cunneen, Editor holly@indesign.com.au Cover image: Concrete House by Andres Casillas de Alba and Evolva Architects. Photography by Christine Francesabc
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ARC - Feature

The Metamorphosis Of Tropical Modernism

Just ten minutes from the Balinese township of Ubud, the utopian community of Penjiwaan rests gracefully on a tranquil riverbank, amidst a milieu of picturesque rice fields. Penjiwaan began as a desire to build a community of like-minded individuals – specifically, a close-knit village of worldly creatives, yogis, and socially conscious entrepreneurs. Bringing to life this vision – architecturally speaking at least – is German-born-and-trained, Bali-based architect, Alexis Dornier, in collaboration with local developer Surya Kembar. Characterised by its sculptural cross-on-stilts-like structure, Butterfly House is just one of the architectural masterpieces that Alexis has designed as a part of the Penjiwaan development so far. As is the case with most of the houses within the community, the client behind Butterfly House – an acclaimed artist and musician from Germany – granted Alexis exceptional creative freedom in bringing the project to life. The brief itself was ambiguous, leaving plenty to Alexis’ imagination. All that was prescribed was that the building should meet the standard requirements of a four-bedroom residence, and it should marry the traditional vernacular of tropical modernism and topics of contemporary architecture. “They were very open to the extravagant building that pushes boundaries on many levels,” says Alexis, referring to the client’s reaction to the architectural experiment inspired by the open-ended brief. At its core, the design for Butterfly House is a cross surrounded by a circle; the cross forming the primary built volume comprised of dwelling spaces, and the secondary circle holding programs such as the pool, back-of-house amenities, and an atelier. At the heart of the circle, anchoring the rest of the abode is a sunken lounge. From here, two adjacent staircases rise, wrapping like a helix around one another, leading up to the interior volumes of the elevated cross, where each of its four ends holds a bedroom. The bedrooms themselves each face out in diverse directions and are crowned by a unique roof shape, framing distinctive views of Penjiwaan and its surrounding landscape. The roof of Butterfly House is a sculptural blend of vernacular silhouettes designed to visually connect the residence to its neighbouring properties. By this token, Butterfly House – as extravagant as its design is – does not make an obtrusive mark on the horizon, but rather continues the rhythm of existing built shapes. All in all, Butterfly House by Alexis Dornier is an intriguing experiment in residential architecture that strikes a harmonious balance between designing for both the individual and the collective. The resulting design ambitiously yet successfully pushes beyond the conventional perception of tropical modernism and local Balinese construction capabilities to create something new entirely. Alexis Dornier alexisdornier.com Photography by @kiearch We think you might also like Aperture House by Alexis Dornier abc
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Design Hunters

Dialling In with Kate Fitzgerald of Whispering Smith

In her own words Kate Fitzgerald describes Whispering Smith, the “staunchly feminist architecture firm working across both residential and commercial projects”, as a young and agile practice that has transitioned from start-up to officially emerged. Despite a small team of the three, the office is usually a full, fun and lively space as they work out of warehouse shared with other creative practices. At present the team (Anna Harford and Nikita Filippou) is enjoying autumn outside in Perth – while they still can – as Kate navigates what their days will look like when they return to work – albeit from home. Habitus spoke to Kate, curious to learn what, if anything, had changed for the studio in the past couple of weeks. Certainly nothing has dipped their spirits.   Habitus: What are your usual working arrangements? Do you work from home? Kate Fitzgerald: Whispering Smith has a studio space in an old warehouse in South Fremantle. We worked really hard as a team to build a space we now share and collaborate with other creatives. The King William Studios are also home to a landscape architecture firm, Seedesign Studio and an interior architecture studio next to us, Ohlo Studio. We also have a gallery space that has a roller door that opens up into the street, called the Sometimes Gallery, because we ‘sometimes’ host art exhibitions on the side of our practice for local artists. We host business events for small architecture practices in there as well – We co-founded the Business of Small Practice, or the ‘BoSP’ which we’ve been running in collaboration with the Association of Consulting Architects. It’s all about building a community of small practices, and developing ways of doing business better: how to make it more fair; how to make it gender diverse; how architecture can revitalise itself and offer something other than fees for service; and how we can lift the profession with business and have better, smarter, more profitable practices that employ people and pay them well. That is all operating out of the King William Street Studio, in addition to it being Whispering Smith’s HQ. So it’s quite a diverse space, and intentionally so. How long has it been open and running? We had our first exhibition in the Sometimes Gallery in November [2018], so we’ve been open to the community since then. Are you and your staff now working from home? Yes. What has that transition been like for you and them? We’re a fairly young and agile firm, we already work from home sometimes if we are working on tasks we think we need some space for. Having started my own practice, skating close to the line of survival was fairly standard in the early days. We’re emerged now and we’ve got a fairly significant portfolio of projects, but, it’s not that far away in the memory bank, so you could say we are emotionally prepared for this kind of downturn. We have been amazed at the support we’ve been given from government stimulus, to our bank putting an automatic freeze on any payments right through to our landlords and real estate agent giving us a break on our rent for a few months. Imagine if we’d had that kind of support as a start up… It’s food for thought on how much support there is for small businesses when times are tough. How do you have in mind to keep in touch with each other? We made the decision as a team that they should take a [paid] break right now, because they might not be allowed outside in a couple of week’s time. It’s Western Australia, it’s autumn, it’s beautiful here – they can enjoy this little bit of time while I figure out systems and processes. I’m doing my job as the Director of WS and plotting out our cash flow and figuring out how we’re going to get through this. I’m also figuring out tasks that we can do related to in-house work we’ve been unable to develop this year as we haven’t had the time. I’ve started reprogramming what our weeks are going to look like. What are some of the in-house jobs you’re thinking of? Is there anything that’s ready to talk about? We’re looking forward working on the website of our sister brand, New Resident, which is a delivery model for ‘ready-made architecture’. We have been taking the best ideas that have come out of our practice over the last 9 years and developments I’ve built with Whispering Smith and are using them as prototypes that have gone in to creating an affordable housing range. We’ve been looking forward to getting that out to the rest of the world but things have been busy as Whispering Smith and it’s taken us a while to get it happening. We’ve also been able to plot out how we can work on this while we have a bit time and while our clients take stock and figure out what their plans for their future projects are. For projects that are running at the moment how are you interacting with clients, suppliers, builders, carpenters and so on? Has that changed at all and are you predicting it to change? We are still meeting on site [as at the time of writing] to review projects being constructed. On our residential projects the trades are quite far away from each other, there is social distancing on site, and they are able to maintain that work flow because they are in such small groups, and it’s one trade in one trade out. So we are able to run our onsite work on those projects in a safe way, and we are lucky they are still progressing safely through uncertain times. We have quite a few projects that are just commencing design, which is when the risk is low, and everybody has time to input into those projects – so they’re really excited to go through the planning stage with us while things have slowed down for them. It’s quite a good idea, really, as there architecture fees to pay but it’s a small percentage of the investment required when clients are in the construction phase of a project. It’s quite a good time to be doing creative work on projects in the early stages. And not feeling rushed to fast-track design so you can get building. Exactly! The reduced pressure on deadlines is going to lead to better designs and better projects. Although we don’t have the same ability to meet with our clients face-to-face we do have the unusual ability to take our time with things. I was supposed to present three talks in the past two weeks that haven’t gone ahead so there is a lot of time in our business at the moment that we usually devote to advocacy and the profession in general. We’re now devoting that time to developing WS and and contracting other businesses to do things for us where we can to keep them working. We’re active in our small practice community and asking if other people are okay. Our network of small business is incredible; people are sharing resources that they’ve made or found. People like Warwick Mihaly on his architecture business blog, Panfilo have been amazing at digesting and sharing info, and I’m a very proud member of the ACA (Association of Consulting Architects) who are running surveys or ‘pulse checks’ to see how architecture businesses are going, and what assistance or information they need, or what they can advocate for at a National level. At a time when you see people ripping things off shelves and old ladies fighting over the last bit of toilet paper, we have small businesses, naturally supposed to compete with each other, that are helping each other out. Ultimately, this ingenuity and generosity will help us get through it. I have no doubt that a lot of these practices and businesses will survive this because of the community spirit and network of support we are sharing with each other. Whispering Smith whisperingsmith.com.au We think you might also like House A by Whispering Smithabc
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Fixed & Fitted

The New Face Of Minimalist Bathroom Design

The ultra-thin, ultra-sleek Axia collection from Phoenix Tapware presents a fresh take on modern minimalist bathroom design. Proudly Australian designed, the range comes after two years of research and development, and the result is a considered, beautiful collection. A modern twist on traditional minimalism, Axia is a collection that sits comfortably in any contemporary aesthetic, yet can stand as hero pieces in their own right. The collection was incredibly complex to bring to life, with Phoenix’s design team driven by a sense of purpose, pushing the boundaries of tapware design to create an ultra-thin outlet unlike anything seen before. “Our challenge was how to achieve a 6.5mm high super lean outlet through a one-piece casting,” says Ban Liu, Phoenix Senior Designer, “This results in a strong signature of machined in detail with a precision control aesthetic.” The design aesthetic of the collection – crisp, clean and well defined – enables design lovers to change the feeling of their bathrooms. This is statement tapware that complements contemporary environments, while also serving as highly functional and intuitive fixtures, with fine precision etched grooves for easy operation and control. [gallery type="rectangular" ids="99264,99262,99263"] The highlight of the minimalist bathroom collection is the Wall Basin and Bath Mixer Set. With a non-traditional and non-horizontal design, the set features the mixer dial designed diagonally to the outlet, inspired by the elegant way a thin, single sheet of metal folds and bends. In perfect balance, the large dial and the long outlet create a fine, profiled piece that feels light and effortless. Another feature in the collection is the lever-free handle design with conventional mixer cartridge seen in the Basin and Vessel Mixers. The resulting striking, pared back, minimalist look, combined with Axia’s signature ultra-thin spout, is the perfect solution for a sophisticated and refined aesthetic. [gallery type="rectangular" ids="99260,99259"] The full range of Axia tapware products is available in Chrome, Matte Black and Brushed Nickel, including…
  • Basin Mixer
  • Vessel Mixer
  • Shower / Wall Mixer
  • Wall Basin / Bath Mixer Set 200mm
  • Twin Shower / Wall Mixer
  • Wall Top Assemblies
  • Wall Basin / Bath Outlet 200mm
Phoenix Tapware phoenixtapware.com.auabc
Design Hunters
DH - Feature

Pollination Is Louise Olsen’s First Solo Exhibit

Lousie Olsen is surrounded by colour, creativity and the arts – and has been her whole life. Her father is John Olsen AO, OBE, a nationally celebrated artist who in 2005 won the Archibald Prize. Her brother is Tim Olsen, owner of the Olsen Gallery in Paddington, Sydney. Like her family, Louise has established her own legs in the art and design world. She has been painting for more than 30 years and in 1985 established Dinosaur Designs with her partner Stephen Ormandy. Creating jewellery and homewares from resin in their Surry Hills studio, Dinosaur Designs allows both artists to traverse the realm of sculpture and painting to create pieces they think of as “visual poetry”. Alongside Stephen, Louise’s art has been shown at at Brisbane’s GOMA, Newcastle Art Gallery, Karen Woodbury Gallery, Bega Valley Regional Gallery, Hazlehurst Regional Gallery, Griffith Regional Gallery, and Port Macquarie Regional Gallery. But for the first time ever – if you can believe it – Louise Olsen held her first solo show with Art Month Sydney 2020. In celebration of the fact, Habitus has the chance to speak to Louise about her first solo show, Pollination.   I think the most surprising thing about your first solo exhibition is that it’s your first! You’ve been painting for nearly three decades now and are as well known for your art as for Dinosaur Designs (certainly in the architecture and design community). What was the catalyst of events for your first solo show? Yes – I’m even surprised too! I have been exhibiting my paintings, but yes this was my first solo show. I have never stopped working making marks and creating objects. The catalyst was that I have always loved painting; it’s quite natural for me to be painting. I grew up in the world of art; it’s where I feel really one with myself. I feel that calling. I felt now was a time to show another side to my work. Tell us about your show, Pollination; how did your interest in nature and the circle of life turn into inspiration? And how has that inspiration manifested into art? I am fascinated by the cycle of nature, the way nature rejuvenates and pollinates. In spring nature springs, in summer it blooms, autumn leaves fall, winter nature seems to be sleeping or just resting. I love the way pollen blooms and floats in air and fertilities other plants and bees collect the pollen to make honey. Making, creating and giving natures wonderful cycle. I love a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins; “Nothing is so beautiful as Spring - When weeds, in wheels, shoot long lovely and lush; Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, thrush. Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring. There, it strikes like lightings to hear him sing; The glassy pear trees leaves and blooms, they brush. The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush....etc Where do you imagine, or hope, the sold artworks will sit? My Mum used to say paintings are like windows to a space. I hope my paintings are like windows to the imagination too. I feel my painting breath in space, painting bring a new life a new energy to a space. How does Pollination interact with your previous art and exhibitions? There is always that connection with nature in my work and it does continue a journey an evolution for there is endless inspiration when you search. Art is an endless curiosity. Can you talk about the use of colour in your work? You’ve previously said it plays an important role in your work. How do you use it to carry your messages? Colour is exciting it rushes to your senses. But tone reverberates in the soul. I love to explore this in relationship with colour warm and cool. To me colour is like musical notes developing the sound. Why did you want to work with Art Month Sydney for the exhibition? It was just a lovely coincidence that my exhibition dates fell in that timing. Louise Olsen louise-olsen.com We think you might also like the DL collection by Dion Lee for DesignByThem [caption id="attachment_100373" align="alignnone" width="1170"] Atmosphere[/caption] [caption id="attachment_100372" align="alignnone" width="1170"] Floating[/caption] [caption id="attachment_100371" align="alignnone" width="1170"] Seed[/caption] [caption id="attachment_100370" align="alignnone" width="1170"] Waterfall[/caption] abc