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


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


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


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Glenn Murcutt: Touch the Earth Lightly

Glenn Murcutt was born in London, England in 1936 and lived on the coast of Papua New Guinea for most of his early years. In 1941, he attended Manly Boy’s High School in Sydney before continuing to study architecture at the Sydney Technical College (now the TAFE New South Wales Sydney Institute). Murcutt currently lives in Sydney with his third wife Wendy Lewin, who is a fellow architect and a founding member of the Australian Architecture Association. Glenn Murcutt had two sons; Daniel and Nick Murcutt. Nicholas, also an architect, founded the Neeson Murcutt architecture firm. Nicholas passed away in 2011, aged 46, and younger brother Daniel Murcutt has since become an advocate for cancer research.

Recognition and Awards

After his 1961 graduation from Sydney Technical College, Murcutt spent the next eight years at renowned Sydney firm Ancher, Mortlock, Murry and Woolley. In 1969 he began his own practice operating out of the Sydney suburb Mosman, while also teaching design at the University of Sydney. The first official recognition of Murcutt’s rare talent came in 1992 when he was awarded the RAIA Gold Medal by the Australian Institute of Architects. The criteria for this award include:

  • Designing or executing buildings of high merit
  • Producing work of great distinction that has advanced architecture or endowed the profession in a distinguished manner.

Despite working exclusively in Australia, Murcutt was awarded an equivalent Gold Medal by the American Institute of Architects in 2009 for his “profound impact on Architecture throughout the world.” These are just two of many symbols of Murcutt’s influential approach to architecture worldwide; Murcutt made history as the first Australian to ever win the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2002, generally regarded as the most prestigious architectural prize in the world. Some of his other most notable awards include

  • Alvar Aalto Medal (1992)
  • Richard Neuta Award for Teaching (1998)
  • Green Pin from the Royal Danish Academy of Architects (1999)
  • Thomas Jefferson Medal for Architecture (2001)
  • Kenneth F. Brown Asia Pacific Culture and Architecture Award (2003)
  • Praemium Imperiale (2021)

Philosophy and Media

Murcutt is known for his iconic design philosophy, “touch the earth lightly,” an Aboriginal proverb which takes center-stage in all Glenn Murcett designs as he seeks to create sustainable buildings which work in harmony with the Australian environment.  Many of his architectural choices are influenced by his upbringing in Papua New Guinea, where his family home was a testament to the unique landscape – for example, the house was built on stilts for protection from water and animals. It is Murcutt’s devotion to specificity and individuality that made him such an unlikely candidate for the Pritzker Prize, competing with multi-billion dollar projects despite his exclusive commitment to the Australian environment and modest (single story) houses. Murcutt’s unique philosophy has inspired many books. Philip Drew authored Leaves of Iron: Glenn Murcutt: Pioneer of an Australian Architectural Form in 1994, drawing attention to Murcutt’s vast influence over modern Australian architectural practices. Drew authored another book on Murcutt’s philosophy in 1999 titled; Touch this Earth Lightly: Glenn Murcutt in His Own Words. This is a novel in conversation with Murcutt himself as they discuss the relationship between nature and architecture and the influences of Murcutt’s childhood on his design practices. Other Glenn Murcutt books focus on different aspects of his career, including;
  • Glenn Murcutt, Buildings and Projects, Fromont Francoise (1995)
  • Three Houses: Glenn Murcutt Architecture in Detail, Elizabeth Farrelly (2002)
  • Glenn Murcutt: A Singular Architectural Practice Beck, Haig & Cooper (2005)
  • Locating Design: A Site Every Design Professional Should See: The Marika-Alderton House, Yirrkala, Design and Culture Vol.3 No.3 (2011)
  • Glenn Murcutt: Thinking Drawing/Working/Writing Gusheh, Heneghan, Lassan, Seyama (2008)
A 2016 documentary by Australian filmmaker Catherine Hunter takes an in-depth look at Murcutt’s career and famous commissions. Glenn Murcutt: Spirit of Place primarily follows the completion of Murcutt’s ten-year project: The Australian Islamic Center in Newport, Melbourne. Read a more detailed account of the Glenn Murcutt Mosque and its groundbreaking construction here.

Detailed List: Houses & Projects

Glenn Murcutt has taken the lead on over on over 20 buildings since the 70s. His projects since the 90s have included. Since the 90s, his work has included:
  • Magney House, Sydney 1986-1990
  • Done House, Sydney 1988-1991
  • Meagher House, Bowral 1988-1992
  • Raheen (Pratt Family Wing Addition), Kew 1992
  • Simpson-Lee House, Mount Wilson 1989-1994
  • Marika-Alderton House, Yirrkala Community, Eastern Arnhem Land 1991-1994
  • Murcutt Guest Studio, Kempsey 1992
  • Bowali Visitor Information Centre, Kakadu National Park 1992-1994
  • Schnaxl House, Newport 1994-1996
  • Fletcher-Page House, Kangaroo Valley 1996-1998
  • Douglas and Ruth Murcutt House, Woodside 1995-1996
  • Arthur and Yvonne Boyd Art Centre, Riversdale, West Cambewarra 1996-1999
  • House at Kangaloon 1997-2001
  • Murcutt/Lewin House and Studio, Mosman 2000-2003
  • Walsh House, Kangaroo Valley 2001-2005
  • Lerida Estate Winery, Lake George 2002-2003
  • Moss Vale Education Centre, Moss Vale 2006-2007
  • Australian Islamic Centre, Newport 2006-16
  • MPavilion, Melbourne 2019

High-Profile Projects

Murcutt’s best known works include the Kempsey house (also known as the Marie Short House), Magney house, Simpson Lee house, and the Marika Alderton house. These houses and their features are unified by a commitment to the Australian climate through their unique architectural features. Read on for a comprehensive outline of each house, their floor plans, and Murcutt’s initial drawings.

Kempsey House

  Initial Sketch Overhead drawing of the initial design for the Kempsey House by Glenn Murcutt. Note the separation of public and private areas. Marie Short, the client, requested a building which could be disassembled, transported and reconstructed with ease. This inspired Murcutt to draw from the Japanese Metabolic architecture movement, separating the house into six cell-like structures which he later expanded to nine. Floor Plan The house was built using local timber, and the roof was constructed from curved corrugated metal sheets which allow ventilation. Like Murcutt’s childhood home, it is set on stilts to discourage animals. It requires no air conditioning as the wide-set eaves provide shade from the sun and allow wind to blow through during the summer. The steel louvers can be adjusted to moderate air flow, and heat up during the winter. This is the level of environmental planning typical of Glenn Murcutt houses, each specific to their individual situation and geographical context.

Magney House

Initial Sketch Floor Plan

Simpson Lee House

  Initial Sketch Floor Plan

Marika Alderton House

Initial Sketch Floor Plan Note: The Marika Alderton House, commissioned by Aboriginal leader Banduk Marika, was designed with particular reference to Indigenous Design principles. For more information on the use of Aboriginal Designs in architecture, look here. abc
Around The World
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TanzoSpace Designs A Contemporary Courtyard House In The Sky

On the top floor of an apartment block on the west side of Beihai in Beijing, Yin’s house provides a place of comfort and refuge far from the hustle and bustle of the busy city. Designer Wang Dasquan, senior interior architect and founder of the critically acclaimed design practice TanzoSpace, has created a unique environment for a family that merges traditional detail with contemporary facility and the result is a slice of paradise high in the sky. The 300 square metre floor plan contains living and dining areas, bedrooms and bathrooms and a Tatami or tea room. However one of the most striking features of the design is the incorporation of a 100 square metre, Japanese style courtyard that becomes the focal point to life within the apartment. Separated from the courtyard by glazing is the Tatami room, where the family can sip tea while enjoying the tranquility that such a garden affords in this metropolitan milieu. The entry to the home is through a long corridor with the tea room and courtyard on one side and spectacular views of Beijing city on the other. At the end of the walkway is a Chinese ink painting that heralds the arrival to the public spaces. The living and dining spaces are separate and a kitchen has also been incorporated into this area. The interior is light-filled as all non-structural walls have been removed and this encourages light to reflect with shadow to add depth and definition. The colour palette is subdued, primarily grey interspersed with warm timber hues, but colour pops of yellow and magenta have been added through furniture pieces such as the B&B sofas. Yin’s house is an unexpected jewel in such a city as Beijing and offers pared back elegance, peace and respite but also functionality and form. Dasquan has designed a home that incorporated the best elements of design from both east and west and the result is a place of quiet and unexpected beauty. TanzoSpace tanzospace.com Photography by Shi Yunfeng We think you might also like Stiletto House by EHKA Studio      abc

Australia’s Top Ten Interior Designers

Interior Design in Australia has come a long way in recent years and is finally gaining recognition as a valuable profession. This cultural shift was in large part pioneered by the famous Australian interior designer Marion Hall Best, who advocated for the understanding of interior design as the creation of a specific and evocative atmosphere (rather than decoration alone).

The term ‘interior design’ did not even exist at this point – the practice was referred to simply as interior decoration. The majority of work in the field was limited to arranging department store windows and other small-scale endeavors. Best’s efforts to popularize interior design in Australia paved the way for independent professional designers to make names for themselves, a fight later undertaken other famous Australian interior designers such as Sue Carr, who worked to prove that architecture and interior design have equal merit in the creation of an environment. Read more about Carr's incredible career here.

While it may be tough for beginning Australian interior designers to break into the international market, there are a few renowned figures on the global design stage; notably, Alwill interiors, Doherty Design Studio, YSG Sydney, Alicia Holgar, and many more. Australian interior designers do not subscribe to one all-encompassing style and many have cultivated their own unique design fingerprint.

Overall, however, there does seem to be a recent trend towards naturalism and a return to vintage influences, perhaps as a result of the extensive time spent indoors during the pandemic. Find below a detailed overview of Australia’s top ten interior design companies, counting down to the most famous. For more information on Australian firms, have a look at this little black book of interior designers.

10 Best Interior Designers Australia

10. Studio Tate

Studio Tate is a renowned Australian interior architecture practice which focuses on maintaining the balance between design and individuality. Studio Tate’s creative approach to making functionality playful has granted it much recognition in the field, becoming known as one of the top Australian interior designers. Studio Tate has won such prestigious awards as the WIN Award, Interior Accessories (2018) for their Green Gables project, as well as making multiple shortlists for various IDEA, Dulux and Dezeen Awards.

For a comprehensive list of their professional achievements, see here. Studio Tate’s most well-known projects include the Malvern Residence, a private home pictured above, and the iconic Holiday Inn Werribee.

09. Mim Design

Mim Design is an upcoming design and architecture firm based in Melbourne with a diverse portfolio of high-end residential, custom multi-residential interiors, commercial and corporate projects. Mim Design is known for its creative approach and attention to detail, and has been commended for its flexibility in adapting to client needs. Several of Mim Design’s projects have been shortlisted for the AIDA, including the Delaney Residence, MAH Residence, Landream and Lexus Pavilion. For more information on Mim Design and their upcoming projects, find their website here.

08. Fiona Lynch

The design office of Fiona Lynch is committed to creating an emotive atmosphere, paying particular attention to texture, colour and lighting. This approach has been taken with all of Fiona Lynch’s projects across a range of disciplines, from residential to commercial. The blend of natural and sculptural materials as well as a spirited minimalist style separates Fiona Lynch from the majority of Australian interiors and cultivates their distinctive style.

This style has been recognized privately and professionally, with the most recent awards attributed to Fiona Lynch including; Female Designer of the Year (Design Anthology Awards 2021), Commendation for Hospitality Design (Australia Interior Design Awards 2021) and Top 200 Design Influencer (AD Germany 2019). Their best received project is the CicciaBella Parramatta, which won them the 2021 AIA award, and the South Yarra residence, pictured above. A detailed overview of these projects and many more can be found on the Fiona Lynch website here.

07. Hecker Guthrie

Hecker Guthrie is one of Australia’s leading design firms with a diverse portfolio of multi-disciplinary projects ranging from hospitality, residential and commercial sectors. The philosophy of Hecker Guthrie is to create beauty over extravagance, prioritizing feelings and atmosphere instead of just superficially appealing furnishing.

The firm has been internationally and domestically recognized as a powerhouse in modern architecture, winning the 202 AIA for Retail Design and shortlisted for the Best Hospitality Design, The Wellness Space, and the Best Residential Design – all just in 2020. The best known project of Hecker Guthrie is the retail Script Skincare design which won their 2020 AIA, as well as the Maddox Fit health club and the Darlinghurst apartment, pictured above. Find more information about upcoming projects here.

06. Flax Studio

Flack Studio is another multi-disciplinary studio with a broad range of projects. Dedicated to expressing personable and bold designs, Flack Studio uses lighting, furniture, textiles and fittings to convey elegance and modernity. Flax Studio has received much acclaim as one of Australia’s leading interior design firms, announced as IDEA Designer of the Year in 2021, and awarded both Best work with Colour and Best Residential Interior at the 2020 Belle Coco Republic awards.

A Flack Studio project also featured on the cover of Vogue Living 2021, featuring a house designed for the well-known Australian pop artist Troye Sivan. Flack Studio have 14 upcoming projects primarily in Australia, though they have a project in Los Angeles set for completion in 2023. For more information, take a look at their website.

05. SJB Interiors

SJB Interiors is a powerhouse of Australian interior design, focusing primarily on projects in hospitality. However, SJB will occasionally undertake a residential or commercial fit-out, such as the breathtaking Clark house pictured here. SJB Interiors commit to sustainable solutions specific to the environment of their projects, and place a strong emphasis on intelligence, practicality and vibrancy.

In 2017, SJB won the award for Residential Decoration for a Private Residence (AIA) and was shortlisted for multiple other awards in 2018 including Hospitality Design, Installation Design and Beach House for Residential Decoration. Five other projects were shortlisted in the Residential Design category, including the Clark house. Their best known projects – many of which were the nominated projects for these awards – include the SJB Sydney Studio, the UNSW Bookshop, the Hermitage, Emerald City Residential, and many more. For the project overview and a detailed list of notable SJB endeavors, view the website here.

04. Woods Bagot

More than a century after its founding, Woods Bagot remains one of Australia’s most prominent figures in interior design. Undertaking large-scale commercial and hospitality projects, the practice has extended its reach globally with major projects now completed in China, Abu Dhabi, America and the U.K – to name just a few. The project pictured here was a daring admission to the Sculptform statement showroom designed by Woods Bagot. Read this article on the process and design aspects of the showroom for more information.

Woods Bagot prides itself on encompassing a vast range of styles, refusing to be confined into a niche market, and has won multiple awards such as; the AIA Award for Residential Architecture (with projects The Crest and 537 Elizabeth Street) and the NSW Architecture Award for Interior Architecture (project CBA Axle), both just in 2020.

03. Hassell

Hassell has perhaps one of the most extensively diverse portfolios in this list, all tied together with a commitment to contemporary exploration. With studios in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth (as well as internationally) Hassel projects are always undertaken with attention to research, technology and experience to build an inclusive and sustainable future. Hassell places emphasis on responding to the developing challenges of modern life – globalization, climate change, digitization etc. – in an original and creative way.

The recipient of the Lloyd Rees Award for Urban Design three years in running, Hassell has been the subject of much recognition especially in recent years for projects such as the North West Metro, Harold Park, and the Darling Harbour Public Realm. The UNSW Electrical Engineering Building received the Educational Architecture award and Sixty Martin Place has been commended across Commercial Architecture and Urban Design. These are just small instances of recognition in the vast professional career of Hassell; find out more about their commendations on their website.

02. Bates Smart

Bates Smart is a multidisciplinary firm encompassing interior design, architecture and strategic services all across Australia. Their core design philosophy aspires to create projects that are beautiful, innovative, and deeply specific to the client’s needs. Bates Smart projects are future-proof, planned to the utmost detail, and seek to revolutionize practices of architectural design in a contemporary landscape.

Recent awards attributed to Bates Smart projects include: the AIA (National) Architecture Award 2018, the Property Council of Australia, Innovation and Excellence Awards, Victorian Development of the Year 2018, and the AIA (VIC) Public Architecture Award 2018 – all for one building; the Bendigo Hospital. Another of the most acclaimed projects undertaken by Bates Smart is 35 Spring Street, Melbourne, which won the AIA (National) Architecture Award, The Frederick Romberg Award for Residential Architecture – Multiple Housing 2018, and the AIA (VIC) Residential (Multiple Housing) Architecture Award 2018. See more of their developments at their website.

01. Carr

Carr, a Melbourne based design firm which has been operating for over five decades, has undoubtedly earned the title of Australia’s most famous Interior Design practice. It was founded by Sue Carr, recognised earlier as one of the pioneers of modern Interior Design and named one of the 100 Women of Influence in the 2016 Australian Financial Review’s award programs. Carr has recently unveiled a new design philosophy; ‘Dynamic Restraint.’ The concept encapsulates Sue Carr’s commitment to change and progress, and the role played by décor in fostering human connection. Read more about Sue Carr's dedication to philosophical design here.

Known for calm, understated and thoughtful designs, Carr have been the recipients of multiple prestigious awards including the Australian Interior Design Award for Hospitality Design (2019) for the United Places Botanic Gardens project and IDEA Best Overall Design Project (2017) for their groundbreaking sustainable hotel Jackalope. For more insight into what Dynamic Restraint means for future Carr projects, view the website here.

What's On

You’re Invited To Our Most Anticipated Event Of The Year

It's said that every cloud has a silver lining – even those as sombre as the year that has been 2020. For instance, despite restrictions and lockdowns imposed across the globe, this year has opened doors far and wide, offering a look in on previously exclusive, industry-only events recently made digitally accessible to one and all. Thanks to this virtual turn of events occurring at such scale, it is our utmost pleasure to officially invite you to join us on Thursday, 3rd December, for the Habitus House of the Year 2020 digital winner announcement. Since the program's inauguration in 2018, it has been Habitus House of the Year tradition to culminate with an illustrious cocktail event, hosted by Stylecraft in its stunning Sydney showroom, bringing together hundreds of our community of Design Hunters and eminent industry figures to celebrate as one. Needless to say, this year we'll be doing things a little differently. A unique, hybrid physical-digital awards ceremony will take place on Thursday 3rd December, hosted by Stylecraft, Sydney, in which we will announce our 2020 Habitus House of the Year winners and present them with a custom trophy designed and made by Axolotyl. For the first time ever, we'll be streaming the winner announcements, live and in real time, direct to you from StylecraftHOME in Sydney. All you need to do is RSVP and, when the time comes, be sure to be someplace that you have an internet connection. To join Habitus editor Aleesha Callahan and the team as we announce the Habitus House of the Year 2020 winner and commendations, RSVP here by Thursday, 3 December.

Habitus House of the Year 2020 Selection

[gallery type="rectangular" size="medium" ids="106373,106330,106320,106297,106248,106242,106227,106194,106165,106137,106132,106121,106099,106017,105997,105967,105961,105943,105926,105911" orderby="rand"]   Habitus would like to acknowledge the support of our Major Partners for 2020: Gaggenau, StylecraftHOME and Zip; and our Supporting Partner: Rocks On. Our Trophy Partner, Axolotl, and our Design Hunter Partners: About Space, Didier, Euroluce, Phoenix Tapware, The Green Room, Savage Design, Stylecraft and Top3 By Design. We think you might also like to relive last year's Habitus House of the Year cocktail eventabc

Reclaimed Construction: Top Ten Sustainable Building Materials

Recycled supplies are often more durable than conventional methods and are usually the cheapest option on a small-scale. Currently, this trend is not quite supported by large-scale supply and some recycled construction materials can be quite costly. However, with the rise in awareness of climate change and an incentive to reduce the collective carbon footprint of the construction industry, it is possible that many of the materials listed below will soon become commonplace.

Eventually it is entirely likely that building a house with recycled materials will be the industry standard, rendering conventionally manufactured building materials obsolete. Scientific developments in construction are likely to speed this process, as new eco-materials like Ferrock will soon begin manufacturing on a global scale.

Reusable Building Materials: Top 10

10. Straw Bales

Straw is a waste product and is often discarded or burned at the end of a farming season as it does not provide enough nutrients to become animal feed. Manufacturing a single tonne of concrete generates over 50 times the energy than one of packed straw. Straw bales have an extremely low environmental impact and significantly reduce the carbon footprint of buildings they are used for. It is one of the most cost-effective thermal insulation materials available and they are very resistant to fire due because when compacted, straw bales become almost airtight.

Straw can be used in loadbearing walls, openings (frames; windows, doors etc.), and finishes (usually rendered with a mix of lime, cement and/or sand). However, though straw bale is a cheap green material itself, the practices in its manufacturing require fossil-fueled machinery and high intensity labor practices.

09. Sheep Wool

Sheep wool insulation performs equally as well as typical fiberglass, but with many added benefits. Amino acids in wool bond with the molecules of harmful chemicals and actually filter the indoor air. Wool also absorbs moisture, suppresses mold, resists fire and has excellent thermal qualities.

However, it can be expensive and requires an expensive chemical curation process to ensure the before-mentioned benefits which can undermine the goal of keeping materials environmentally friendly. For detailed information on pricing and the science behind wool insulation, have a look at Mountain Made.

08. Rammed Earth

Made from compacted natural materials such as earth, gravel, lime etc., rammed earth can be an affordable pathway to creating a durable structure with strong foundations. Rammed earth provides protection against pests, is completely non-toxic and highly resistant to fire.

A rammed earth building is simple to construct and requires very little equipment – for the DIYer, building a rammed earth structure could be the cheapest possible avenue for construction. However, rammed earth can become expensive on a larger scale if the material being purchased is not sourced locally and contractors have to be hired.

07. Bamboo

With the fastest growth rate in the plant kingdom, bamboo’s regenerative potential is unprecedented. Given that it is technically a grass, it can be harvested at a much faster rate than trees (just 1-5 years) and does not need to be replanted as regrowth comes from its own root system, making it one of the cheapest and fastest recyclable building materials. It is the superior option for flooring and cabinetry as it toughens over time and has even greater comprehensive strength than concrete or brick.

However, it is susceptible to pests and rot and will deteriorate if left untreated (either naturally or chemically). Shipping concerns are also a problem for bamboo’s green reputation – vast quantities of international shipments certainly increase the overall carbon footprint of bamboo usage.

06. Recycled Plastic

The practice of grinding up recycled plastic (and other waste products) is starting to replace the expensive and pollution-heavy process of mining materials to manufacture concrete. This significantly reduces the carbon footprint of concrete production and makes the entire process more affordable. The potential future of recycled plastic construction is immense and includes recycled plastic roads, bricks, houses, and of course concrete – as well as pipes, roofs, floors etc.

However, as always, recycled plastic comes with drawbacks; the fumes produced while melting down plastic for repurpose will also generate carbon emissions, and can pose a health risk for those who come into contact with it. Plastic is also only generally able to be recycled once, and so using plastic as a reclaimed building material only somewhat delays its eventual return to landfill.

05. Cork

Cork is almost as fast-growing as bamboo and it can be harvested from a living tree, making it one of the most eco-friendly reclaimed building materials on the planet. It is flexible, lightweight and almost completely impervious to moisture, meaning that it has various application in flooring, countertop, acoustic wall coverings, roofs, rigid insulation etc. The most common use of cork currently is in floor tiling, though that may be headed for change with cork becoming a rising trend in exterior design.

A concern for the use of cork is shipping, as it is primarily an export of Portugal and the majority of cork oak trees are found in the Mediterranean. While this does raise the cost of cork somewhat, especially for Australian builders, the environmental benefits are still quite impressive, especially given its versatility in application.

04. Reclaimed Wood

Reclaimed wood is rapidly gaining popularity as an alternative to newly sourced lumber, not just for its environmental benefits but also for the warmth and aesthetic of second hand timber as a design feature. It can be harvested from any manner of abandoned structures such as retired barns, ships, decommissioned buildings, salvage yards, railroads, pallets, etc. It can be used as structural framing, flooring, external feature and cabinetry.

However, the nature of second hand timber means that it may be weakened from years of use and each piece needs to be assessed individually. There are also problems of pests and subtle dangers (e.g. hidden nails) which mean that the timber is likely to require a process of treatment and decontamination. For more insight into the potential of recycled materials in design, see here.

03. Reclaimed Steel

An estimated 25% of all steel used in construction is recycled. This still leaves huge potential for the future of reclaimed building materials in Australia.

Steel is more durable than timber and fortifies structures against climatic concerns such as winds or earthquakes, as well as resistant to pests/water/fire. Steel is best suited for roofing and structural support as there is no danger of warping. Steel has been used to create multiple carbon neutral buildings worldwide, and it is 100% recyclable.

Reclaiming steel drastically reduces the amount of newly manufactured steel (in terms of mining, heating and shaping) and thus greatly reduces the carbon footprint of the construction project. Recycled steel is also less expensive to obtain and purchase. There are, of course, challenges to using recycled steel; particularly, supply can be limited and often infrequent.

02. Precast Concrete Slabs

Precast concrete slabs require less energy in the manufacturing stage and are therefore more sustainable than conventional concrete. They can be used for walls, exteriors, roofing and floors as they remain durable throughout all weather conditions. Precast Concrete is also a cost-sensitive method of temperature control and the process of its curation avoids the structural faults that may occur within concrete cured under the unpredictable conditions of a construction site. A structure made from precast concrete slabs can be easily deconstructed for further reuse and slabs have a reliable supply flow.

One disadvantage to precast concrete is that it requires significant expertise to use in design, as changes are difficult to make once the casting is complete and every panel variation requires a unique design approach. It can also be more expensive than other materials.

01. Ferrock

Ferrock is a new material created primarily from the iron-rich ferrous rock mixed with recycled materials such as waste steel dust or components of ground up glass. Like concrete, Ferrock is so strong that it cannot melt back into liquid form. Ferrock is actually as much as five times stronger than conventional concrete and is even more flexible, making it more likely to resist earthquake damage. On top of that, the manufacturing process of Ferrock is carbon negative, as the material actually absorbs and binds carbon dioxide.

Given that Ferrock is so new on the construction scene, it is difficult to predict whether it will fade into obscurity or become the next new major construction trend. It is relatively cheap to produce now, but it is fairly likely that companies will begin charging a premium for their steel waste if it becomes evident that the waste is valuable. At the moment, Ferrock is not the most feasible recycled material for individual projects. That will, hopefully, be subject to change in the future.

Reusable Building Products: Top 3

  03. Recycled Weatherboards Using recycled weatherboards made from reclaimed wood is an environmentally friendly alternative to brick. They are easily available and usually low cost, with multiple companies operating out of Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane. They are easy to repair and install, their insulation capabilities are excellent.

02. Recycled Plastic Bricks

Recycled plastic bricks are an efficient solution to the problem of excessive waste now challenging contemporary society. They are building blocks made from waste plastic which would otherwise end up in landfill or polluting the natural landscape.

If recycled plastic bricks were to replace metal, it would drastically decrease the carbon footprint of the construction industry as the manufacturing of metal building materials emits large amounts of carbon and greenhouse gases. They are also significantly cheaper than any other recyclable material given that they are made from low-value common plastic waste.

Note that a recycled plastic brick is not the same as a bottle brick; bottle bricks are empty plastic bottles filled with tightly packed inorganic waste which are then compressed like bricks. With recycled plastic bottles, there is no outer bottle filling and the shape can be molded by the manufacturer.

01. Recycled Concrete Blocks

Since concrete cannot be returned to a liquid state, recycled concrete blocks are made using industrial crushing equipment to break up concrete which is then treated and reused. Recycling concrete helps to limit new concrete production, reducing greenhouse emissions, and reduces the concrete waste overcrowding landfill. Recycled concrete blocks can be made from multiple types of concrete structures such as foundations, curbs, sidewalks, and slabs.
Design Hunters
Design Stories
DH - Feature

Meet The Miss Independent Of Industrial Design

Inga Sempé has been at the helm of her Paris-based design studio for almost two decades but wishes she’d had the confidence to start much earlier. “I never wanted to work for other people,” she says. “I am only interested in developing my ideas in design, and I can’t be fully dedicated to other people’s. I find it too painful.” Inga graduated from ENSCI-Les Ateliers in 1993 and, despite her desire for career independence, she credits her exacting approach to a brief experience working for Australian designer Marc Newson in Paris that year. “With Marc, I learned that designers have to be involved in all steps of the production, so that an object or a piece of furniture will be done with the final choices of the designer, and not according to one of the many other people that participate to the project,” she says. “Industrial techniques have to be understood and loved.” Inga has collaborated with iconic global brands such as Cappellini, Ligne Roset, Wästberg, Magis and Alessi. Some of her high-profile designs include the lush Chantilly modular sofa for Endra and the Matin table lamp for Hay, which features a pleated cotton shade in vibrant colours. She approaches her kitchen and bathroom designs with the same philosophy as all of her products: functionality comes first. “I hate gadgets, bad quality, and poor materials,” she says. “I’ve already refused to design some plastic containers for a bathroom for a very famous brand, because I think it is not necessary.” Her early kitchen designs include a colander prototyped for the 2005 Souvenir d’Italie exhibition in Milan, which was organised by Casa da Abitare and Alessi. Its whimsical form features perforations in the shape of the Italian flag. The collaboration with Alessi continued in 2012 when she won a competition to design a risotto serving spoon. The design was extended to an entire cutlery range called Collo-Alto, which is characterised by a slender neck that bridges the cutlery handle and head. Inga’s enamel ceramic tableware for Japanese manufacturer Koubei Gama has the traditional colours and earthy aesthetic of Japanese Oribe pottery. Her Tratti collection of ceramic kitchen and bathroom tiles for Italian company Mutina feature eight designs with composite elements that reference pieces of fabric, embroidery and cartographic symbols.      Inga’s latest collection of tiles for Mutina will be unveiled at this year’s Milan Design Week and she is currently working a collection of casserole dishes for the 300-year-old French company Revol. “They are made from a special porcelain that can be used on all type of heating – gas, electric and induction,” she says.  

“I’ve always had in mind to try to find some aesthetics that might be liked by very young people though to very old.”

  For a designer so resolutely independent, Inga says her kitchen and bathroom designs are never influenced by personal preferences. “My preferences appear when I meet a person from a company that has passion for the work he or she does and a real will for doing a collaboration with me,” she says. “One should never design for oneself.” While her skills have evolved in line with technological innovations, her approach to design remains the same. “I never wanted to be the kind of designer who designs for their own generation and the same kind of people,” she says. “I’ve always had in mind to try to find some aesthetics that might be liked by very young people though to very old. This hasn’t evolved at all.” Working with a small team of three, Inga has no ambition to expand her studio beyond its current size. “I can’t work with too many people nor too many companies,” she says. “My ambition is [focused on] quality, being interested in my projects, designing them from the first sketch to the production. I am not interested in growing.” Inga Sempé ingasempe.fr We think you might also like the new Holly Ryan Jewellery studioabc
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Bodyscape Yoga Studio Is Tranquil, Through And Through

Bodyscape Yoga has long been a vital part of the Perth yoga community and with these new premises there is now a space that is designed to enhance the learning and practice of yoga and also promote wellbeing. Combining the traditional with the contemporary, the team at State Of Kin has created an interior that is both simple and serene. The fit out commenced with transforming an aged office space into a sparkling new interior. The architectural bones of the one hundred year old building were laid bare as layers of aged material were peeled back to reveal the hidden architectural detail. The original high ceilings and decorative architraves, cornices and detailing were restored and now add character to embellish the new design.  Ara Salomone, Co Director (Architecture) of State Of Kin explained,  “The heritage building provided a fantastic foundation for us with stunning timber floors, lots of natural light and generous ceilings. We wanted to make the spaces feel comfortable, welcoming and calm – to imbue the building with a sense of tranquility and peace – not only in the practice spaces and treatment rooms, but in waiting spaces, corridors and amenities”. There is an abundance of natural light and, together with contemporary textures and modern facilities, the studio fuses old with new to present a place of peace and relaxation. The atonal colour palette of neutrals complements the soft, organic elements such as plantings, rugs, floor cushions, a hammock and draped textiles throughout. These in turn enhance and reflect the strength and softness, the movement and stillness that embody the practice of yoga. Natural textures predominate and limestone, timber and linen are juxtaposed with reflective elements, smooth lines and clean surfaces.  Alessandra French Co Director (Interior) of State Of Kin elaborated, “All surfaces are appealing in a tactile sense, very touchable and engaging; clean lines are softened with curved edges; light and shadow dance fluidly through rooms and play off reflective mirrors to emphasise movement and flow”. The studio is a modern environment but not cold. The interior is warm and inviting and ensures patrons are comfortable whether arriving, leaving or meeting for class. The high ceilings create a generosity of space where there is freedom to move as a well distanced group and the amenities are state-of-the-art in line with the new contemporary design.  This is a place to chill out and relax and the re-imagined Bodyscape Yoga Studio by the State Of Kin team provides the perfect setting. It’s always heartening to see old made new again especially when the result is such fine design. State Of Kin stateofkin.com.au Photography by Jack Lovel We think you might also like House With Scenes by Form Architects abc
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Habitus House of the Year Design Hunter Package

Congratulations to Michael Doyle, the lucky winner of the 2020 Habitus House of the Year Design Hunter Package. Thankyou to everyone who voted in this year's draw and a special thankyou to our Design Hunter partners, About Space Lighting, Design by Them, Didier, Euroluce, Phoenix Tapware, Savage Design, Stylecraft Home, The Green Room and Top 3 by Design. Missed this year's selection? There's still time to check the top houses for 2020 out here. Ready to discover your winners - register to tune into the live digital gala now!abc
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I Spy A Hidden House

It is a long-standing theme in the scheme of Australian residential architecture, for the best houses — those that truly capture the country’s essence and do its unique beauty justice — to be those that are elegantly connected to Australia’s breathtaking landscape — be it coastal, rural or bushland. One practice that is particularly well acclaimed in the bushland area is Archterra, who’s Wilderness House in Margaret River, WA, was amongst the selection for Habitus House of the Year in 2019. And in turn, it became part of the inspiration behind Hidden House. When they approached Archterra with their brief, the clients for this project knew exactly who they were dealing with — they had been coveting the practices built work for a while. Owners of a beloved family weekender amidst the enveloping wilderness of Margaret River bushlands, with a need to expand its living and sleeping quarters in order to comfortably accommodate extended family holidays and get-togethers, Archterra was destined to be a top pick. Specifically, their brief called for an extension to the existing house, comprising an extra bedroom and bathroom — to accommodate holidays that bring the extended family together; an additional living area and a reading space — to provide diverse common areas for adult children and guests to either come together or have space to themselves. Fenestration plays an important role in Archterra’s design. From the outside looking in (or at), Hidden House reads as a solid, dark and discreet volume that, if it weren’t for the vast openings carved out of it, could well and truly disappear into the bush. The smooth inconspicuous metal cladding is punctuated by recessed windows lined with the juxtaposing materiality of warmly stained plywood. Each opening – poised and proportioned according to the program of the space that it serves as a portal between the built and natural environments – is a stroke of considered design by Archterra. In the living space, tall windows provide an opening to take in the nobility of the surrounding woodland. A picture window frames a section of bush, creating the perfect backdrop for one to enjoy a book in the reading area. But the most intimate and immersive visual portal between house and bushland has been fittingly reserved for the bedroom, where a corner window takes centre stage. “The large window seat surrounded by bookshelves is a favourite of the clients,” says Archterra, “and the frameless corner window in the bedroom allows the client to lie in bed and feel like they are out amongst the bushland.” Paradoxically, this project’s core sustainability objective – to maintain the dense bushland in close proximity to the house at all costs – made it difficult for the architects to effectively bring northern sun into the additions, leading to a rare yet, for once, auspicious departure from the widely held best practices of passive solar design. “We chose to gather morning sun to warm the concrete floor slab early in the day as well as heavily insulating the walls and roof space so that the high efficiency wood fireplace could easily heat the living spaces when necessary,” Archterra explains. In the summer months, when the goal is quite the opposite, louvres enable controlled cross-ventilation airflow, keeping Hidden House’s internal microclimate optimal for comfort. “Having dense vegetation on both west and east also allowed larger areas of glass on these elevations than would normally be possible due to heat loads,” the designers continue. “Early morning and late afternoon sun can now filter through the trees and light up the interior spaces through these large windows.” Rather than attaching to the existing house in any structurally significant sense, Hidden House forms a humble, rectangular footprint of its own. The new volume shares a close yet casual connection with the original in the form of a breezeway, culminating in an architectural vernacular akin to that of a pavilion house. Having had over eighteen months worth of weekends, holidays and special occasions to enjoy group holidays and extended family gatherings in their new pavilion-esque weekender, Archterra’s clients are evidently wrapped with the results. Not only has Archterra eloquently resolved every aspect of the original brief for Alts&Ads to a family’s beloved bushland getaway, but while the architects were at it, they too gutted and made anew the existing house’s main bathroom, having discovered severe leaking and associated damage to the building. “We must have done a reasonable job as we are now completing a renovation of the old living/dining/kitchen areas to the existing house for the owners,” Archterra concludes. Archterra archterra.com.au Photography by Douglas Mark Black abc
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We’re Obsessed With All This Tom Dixon Newness

Tom Dixon — the man behind the luxury British design brand — is a compulsive designer; he says so himself. “When I get an idea for a strong aesthetic, have a favourite material or learn a new method of manufacturing, I want to try a multitude of iterations,” he shares. In jest, he puts this need to experiment on repeat down to “a misspent childhood with Meccano and other construction toys”. Whatever the case, Tom has channelled his compulsions into an auspicious design career and formed the eminent design studio of eponymous name, turning his obsessions into coveted possessions on a global scale.  The great Tom Dixon proclivity has most recently been realised through a series of experiments in luminosity, acoustics, durability, materiality and repetition, whereby the designer says, “my current obsession with basic units multiplied is turned into an abundance of sculptural experiments in function.’ The resultant collection of furniture, lighting and accessories represents Tom Dixon Newness as vogue as can be. Beginning with the furniture, the new and improved Mass table is manufactured in the UK and made from one single extruded box section of solid brass. By using the most familiar unit in furniture construction – the plank – and presenting a series of familiar objects in a highly polished gold hued metal, Tom Dixon manages to make domestic archetypes into monumental heavyweight sculpture.  Accompanying Mass in the furniture range of Tom Dixon Newness is Cork, a chunky series of tables and shelving; Flash, set of three crisp and smartly detailed side tables; and Swirl, a family of tables, each with their own distinct silhouette, colouration and personality. In the scheme of lighting, Tom Dixon Newness celebrates rotund forms and the invention of LED with Disc, Globe, Globe Burst, Press, Melt, and Spring. Recognising the need and demand for a more energy efficient future, in addition to its newly released lighting designs, Tom Dixon Newness comes complete with an upgrade of the brand’s best-selling lighting families — Beat, Cut, Copper, Mirror Ball and Void — to include improved LED fittings. Featuring LED chips on circuit boards arrayed in a formal geometric configuration, Disc appears akin to an immensely bright and strangely beautiful indoor sun. Meanwhile, reminiscent of ancient witch balls, hollowed spheres of coloured glass which were used to ward off evil spirits, Globe is available in copper and chrome finishes in pendant form, a floor light and a spectacular chandelier, Burst. The latest additions to the Melt family include the Melt Mega; a configuration of seven organic and imperfect orbs which explode from a central hub to create a dynamic lighting sculpture of infinite reflections. Melt Small Chandelier features four orbs protruding from steel tubes and is one metre high. Fitted with the new LED module, the Melt chandeliers are Tom Dixon’s contemporary interpretation of the classic chandelier. Spring is a series of pendant lamps made up of stainless-steel strips. Pliant ribbons of stainless steel have been arranged like a whisk around the custom-made dimmable Tom Dixon LED module. The semi-transparent shape thus created can be adjusted to a variety of silhouettes — from a flat arrangement reminiscent of a spirograph drawing, to a flying saucer configuration and on to a fuller shape akin to a pumpkin.  Bold in silhouette and simple in function, Press is a series of lights made from the thickest and most transparent glass with a satisfyingly rounded linear surface detail. The ribbed glass creates diffusion of the light source and projects linear and stripy patterns. Manufactured by dropping big globs of molten glass at 1,200 degrees centigrade and pressed in iron moulds, the Press series, spanning accessories as well as lighting, comprises Tom Dixon Newness in a set of incredibly enduring and equally alluring products.   Part and parcel with the Tom Dixon Newness releases is a psychedelic update to an Italian post-modernist aesthetic, a.k.a Swirl. Endowed with pop sensibility in plenty, Swirl is a set of vases created from a series of geometric forms stacked upon one another to create multi-dimensional, functional sculptures. Inspired by Ikebana — the Japanese art of flower arrangement — Swirl’s Stem, Small and Medium vases each have heavy bases and cylindrical vessels that allow branches and flowers to cantilever out. As a leading Australian distributor of Tom Dixon furniture, lighting and accessories, Living Edge is the place to go to peruse the latest in Tom Dixon Newness and all that it entails. With a website that’s been freshly updated for e-comm and showrooms in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, Living Edge is a design destination that’s never too far away. Living Edge livingedge.com.au abc
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What's On

Week Two of Super Design is here!

After an incredible first week of Super Design, we’re sure you’re wondering how week 2 can match the amazing activations that rolled out over the initial five days. Well – wonder no longer, because Week 2 is here and it packs a serious design punch! Get ready to dive-in to more exclusive content and activate your all-access pass to a limitless world of design. You’ll join even more design discussions with our industry’s best minds, access exclusive insights in inspiring projects, witness never-before-seen content and engage with new products, spaces and conceptual creations. If you were already with us for Super Design’s first week, all you’ll need to do is jump back onto the site and add new sessions to your calendar. If this is your first foray, you’ll create an account and then the entire Super Design world is your oyster – simply browse the line-up and register for the sessions that interest you to build your dream festival schedule. Want to discover our top picks of the week? Read on below!  

23 November

The Rebirth of the Kitchen - Sub-Zero Wolf

24 November

Women Indesign: Collaborative Partnerships and Making a First Impression - Design Nation Well, Designed: Health and Wellbeing in Post-Pandemic Times - Porta The Culture of Collaboration - Neolith & CDK The Winning Appliances Kitchens - Specifying the Kitchen for your Customer’s Tastes and Lifestyles - Winning Appliances Light Stories, the Studio Journey - Euroluce  

25 November

Light Stories, the Studio Journey - Euroluce How the Right Light can Convert your House to a Home with Nicole Rosenberg - About Space Lighting Design-Leg Appliances for the Kitchen and Laundry - Winning Appliances Meeting of Minds: John Wardle and Durbach Block Jaggers in Conversation with Jan Hendersen - Tilt Industrial Design A Future-Proofed Approach to Design - Cantilever The Refresh Butler Experience - V-Zug  

26 November

Experience the Sub-Zero Wolf Showroom - Sub-Zero Wolf How Great Dane Creates - Great Dane Furniture Experience the Sub-Zero Wolf Showroom - Sub-Zero Wolf Finding the Light: Q&A with Michael Anastassiades - Euroluce Cocktail Hour! Four Pillars Gin x Cult - Cult Design  

27 November

The Culture of Collaboration - Neolight & CDK Beyond Carbon Neutral - V-ZUG Global Designer Collaborations, by Offecct of Sweden - Flokk The Culture of Collaboration - Neolight & CDK Missed last week’s content and keen to catch-up? we’ve created a full on-demand library for you to watch whenever, wherever.abc
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The Jasper Bed – Sleek Grandeur Meets Smart Design

Matching the low and wide proportions of the Jasper Sofa, the Jasper Bed suggests an immediate sense of relaxation. Yet this low profile hides a hidden storage area, which along with a series of clever details and design flourishes, preserve the essence of the award-winning Jasper design concept. The wide footprint of the Jasper Bed gives the bed a floating appearance, as if it’s hovering above the group – creating a form of sleep haven that encourages deep relaxation and rest. The wide footprint has been offset by the designers at King Living, who have done away with the need for bedside tables with a series of smart design flourishes. The most immediate of these is the new Lume lighting feature – a dimmable smart light that also features gesture control options. The Lume is featured alongside an integrated side table storage area that features wireless charging for phones and tablets. Both the side table and Lume are seamlessly integrated into the bedhead and base of the Jasper, providing a place to keep items close at hand, and visible in the evenings. The Jasper bed base and bedhead themselves are constructed from sturdy steel frames, with layers of premium foam for maximum laid-back relaxation, and a feeling sink-into-the bed comfort. The padded headboard also provides a comfortable support when sitting up in bed, and the bed frame corners are designed with soft edges to avoid bumps in the night. Below the bed though, is where the design of the Jasper truly impresses, with the in-built storage compartments allowing for neat storage options for homes of all sizes. Functioning through an easy-lift hydraulic system, the storage below the bed is lined with easy-care plastic tubs to protect the contents within. [gallery type="rectangular" ids="107386,107387"] Finally, Jasper’s popular bed-making position takes the back-breaking work out of making your bed by elevating the mattress to an ergonomically comfortable position and providing access to all sides of the bed. Available in King and Queen sizes with a wide range of premium fabrics and luxurious European leathers, the Jasper Bed is suited to accommodate any contemporary home aesthetic or home size. For a smaller footprint, the Jasper bedhead can also be matched with the Promenade Storage bed base. King Living kingliving.com.au  abc