I did not set out to build an award-winning home. It was the last thing on my mind. I wanted a place that captured the way I live. There are two large walk-in wardrobes that reflect a love for designer clothing. In comparison, the brief for the kitchen was for a ‘non- kitchen’, more of a gallery space that would allow me to display art and objects. My distinctive taste is black and moody, but certainly others in Melbourne share this aesthetic! I think it’s a shame when people don’t make the most of the opportunity to work with an architect or a designer. Simeoni has received numerous accolades in his illustrious career. He and his highly competent team know exactly what needs to be done. So why wouldn’t we make the most of this opportunity to embrace the journey and see where it takes us? It’s been highly rewarding, exciting and the end result is a home that is perfectly customised for us. It’s not everyone’s taste and nor should it be. But was I a good client? The more important question is: ‘Do we have a good architect/client relationship?’ The result will speak for itself if you allow your architect to do what they are trained to do, and continue to share conversations that go well beyond a few tear sheets from a magazine! See Stephen's home in full, as featured in issue #46 of Habitus Photography by Derek Swalwell abc
“One of the features of a ‘good client’ includes the ability to discuss ideas not finishes.”
Small things, add up to big thingsAs a topic, sustainability can be overwhelming. Where do you start? One of the golden nuggets was the fact that doing small things, repeatedly, build up to big things over time. At Sussex, Vanessa has simple yet effective procedures in place that speaks eloquently to this concept. A core part of Sussex Taps' business model is recycling brass and metal shavings, pouring the raw materials back into the local foundry and using them to form part of the final product. For Michael at Fibonacci Stone this was also a key thing in how he operates his business, making constant improvements and adjustments. For instance, Michael recently invested in a special machine that breaks down the packaging that the terrazzo stone comes in, allowing it to be more easily recycled.
Quality is everythingSomething that came up across the board was quality, underpinned by the tenet of buy once, buy well. Whether it’s a product, material or a building, quality can come with a price tag, but the payoff is in how long it will last. This leads to the next point…
The 150-year testWhile design is about innovation and can often be associated with newness; function and quality (again) should always come first. Which raised the question, how can something be designed and manufactured so that it will still be deemed beautiful, and useable in 150 years? That is the fundamental test of something being sustainable.
Understand the lifecycleWhile the notion of buying in a more ethical and sustainable manner has certainly hit public consciousness, the next phase of awareness is around lifecycles. For Samantha at Seljak, this is an integral part of their business model with an end-of-life scheme that collects any unwanted blankets, re-spinning them into new ones. Jeremy has also been working on a way to lifecycle a whole building, working alongside key collaborators who align with the same vision and commitment to building with the smallest footprint possible.
Never underestimate your influenceUltimately the power of inciting change and having a far-reaching impact comes not from the top-down, but the bottom up. All of the speakers agreed that as a consumer the choice to work with and invest in sustainable design businesses is where the real influence comes from. Photography by Amelia Stanwix This event took place at Sense of Self, a design-led bathhouse in Collingwood (Naarm) abc
Habitus: What led you to where you are?Salvador Farrajota: The path to starting my own practice is probably like many other architects; university, work experience and registration, then attempting some private work for family and friends while still being employed full time. I spent 10 years at Ellivo (Brisbane-based firm), starting out as a student through to becoming a registered architect. I gained experience in a variety of typologies working for a range of clients. It probably was not until my boss at the time, and mentor, approached me to help with his new family home that it clicked for me. After delivering predominately medium to large-scaled projects for many years, I felt that I needed a change and a new challenge.
What does home mean to you?Somewhere I feel comfortable, that’s not too big but has something for everyone, and Brisbane is that for me. [caption id="attachment_111455" align="alignnone" width="1170"] Bayview Terrace, Wavell Heights[/caption]
How does your home reflect your passions, interests and creativity?Brisbane is a great city. I’ve lived here for 18 years now and in the last half a dozen years in particular, I’ve seen the city develop into a vibrant and diverse place, particularly in the inner ring suburbs. Music/art/design and the general creative scene has been growing from strength to strength in which I immerse myself in whenever I can. [caption id="attachment_111453" align="alignnone" width="1170"] House 1, Tarragindi[/caption]
How do you balance personal and professional life?Lots of lists, managing clients’ expectations and good communication have kept life reasonably balanced. As the portfolio of work slowly grows so does our profile and I’m in the process of growing the studio.
How do you split your time between work and play?Anything that allows me to clear my mind. Riding custom motorcycles have become a passion in recent years. The custom design aspect of motorcycles is what drew me in initially and the lifestyle, the inclusive community and travel associated with it has kept me interested. [caption id="attachment_111447" align="alignnone" width="1170"] Prospect Terrace, Hamilton, Queensland. Photo by Andy Macpherson.[/caption]
What obstacles have you had to overcome?It was a confidence thing for me. I knew that I would never be the best designer, so I focused on trying to become a well-rounded architect (and still working on it), particularly important as I’ve essentially been operating as a sole practitioner. Looking after your mental health is also important, I am passionate about my profession, but I don’t live to work. [caption id="attachment_111452" align="alignnone" width="1170"] Eldernell Terrace, Hamilton[/caption]
What’s something you wished you had known before setting out on this career path?There are too many to list and it’s probably impossible to fully prepare yourself for anything anyway, but if I could pass on any advice to young architects, it would be to learn as much about as many things as possible, and if you can’t get these opportunities from your job, find somewhere else where you can.
Why do you believe culture, art and design are important?It allows us to tell the story of a place, reflect on the past and look to the future. In my opinion, art and design as a reflection of culture are undefined, anyone can participate, and anyone can learn from those who create it. The Artificial theartificial.com.auabc
Habitus: What drew you to pursue a career in design?Marisa Hang: My parents were refugee migrants from Cambodia, and when they first arrived in Australia my mother was working as a seamstress. From a young age, I was always with her in the garage while she was working, and it encouraged me to think creatively and explore form and materiality. A career in design was instilled in me from a young age and going down the path of interior design felt so visceral. I went into an interior design degree straight out of high school, where my knowledge and passion for design grew and I started to dabble in furniture design and completed a course in that also.
What is your design philosophy?Be holistic. I always try to think about how elements within a space speak to one another. I try to be holistic in my approach and also take into consideration the smaller details of texture, smell, ambience, function, experience and context. Having a highly considered concept to be the basis of the design is of major importance. Understanding the context and history of the project and evolving that information into a fluid design is equally important. At K2LD we also have a studio vision statement of ‘nurture the future’. This is ingrained within all the projects we produce and it’s imperative when one’s aim is to design timeless projects that have a positive effect on the community.
What are some key considerations when designing a home?How to efficiently utilise the space. This is important in order to create a good flow. Form, function, and longevity of design. If function is considered in a space, and how people will move throughout and use a space, then longevity of the design will be an outcome. So this is particularly important. Ambience and atmosphere: we try to consider what sort of a feeling we are aiming for in a space. Being empathetic towards the end-user is another key consideration. We ask ourselves how will they use the space? How will they adapt or how can we adapt the space? And how can this be the basis of a concept of home? Optimise the features of the home. For example, if it has particular access to daylight, views, repetition, connections etc.
What does living in design mean to you?Design is all about creating intimate moments, which can be done in multiple ways. It could be through light or access to greenery, or a sense of calm from a tiling choice. I love good design that evokes emotions. A well-designed space will see a balance between function and aesthetic sensibility. If there is a dialogue between personal experiences and tastes then the design will feel right through attention to detail and the emotions they evoke, that is fundamental to good design. Design is such a personal experience and it’s about the balance of your own personal experiences and aesthetics. [caption id="attachment_111345" align="alignnone" width="1170"] The K2LD team[/caption]
What responsibilities do you feel are imperative for an architect/designer in the 21st century?Inclusivity, sustainability and wellness. Design is about improving living standards and lifestyle. Its intent is to provide a solution that is unique and respectful to the client’s individuality. Having inclusivity, sustainability, and wellness at the forefront of how our industry will open the dialogue of how we can better our society and way of living.
How have you seen needs and wants for residential interiors changing?Adaptability; creating spaces for future endeavours is something that will continue to be important. In particular, since we have spent so much time at home in the last year. Having an adaptable home means we aren’t restricted to how we use any given space. Investing in vintage designer furniture will see a change in residential interiors. The increase in multi-generational living arrangements will also have an effect on residential interiors, as you have to have that sense of community and close relationships. Designing for multi-generational living also speaks to adaptability as different generations have unique needs from their home. K2LD k2ld.com Photography by Griffin Simm We think you might like this interview with Jonathan Richards of Richards Stanisichabc
Jack Lovel, pictured in the Featherby House, Karrinyup, 1970. Photo by Frances AdrijichGrowing up in Perth, and now based in Melbourne, architecture photographer Jack Lovel had been searching for a personal project where he could dictate his own brief and stretch his creativity. The idea to document Iwanoff’s body of work is one that should come as no surprise upon discovering that Jack was first introduced to the work of the late architect before he was even old enough to understand its impact. “I actually lived in the Jordanoff House. Some of my earliest memories are of the intricate detailing and layout of the home, which was one of Iwanoff ’s earliest projects,” he shares.
Jordanoff House, Claremont, Perth, 1954, Jack's childhood home and the genesis of his passion for capturing the legacy of Iwan IwanoffSince starting the photographic project back in 2016, Jack has set out to shine a light on this under-represented Australian architectural figure, “I really wanted to bring his work to a national audience and to help it garner the attention and respect I think it deserves in terms of its architectural history in Australia.” In the very early stages, Jack went through a period of intense research – “As soon as I fell on the idea, I just couldn’t stop” – trying to find out how many of Iwanoff ’s houses were still standing. Not only had many of them already been knocked down over the years, but there wasn’t a complete archive that captured all of the remaining projects.
Schmidt Lademann House, Floreat, Perth, 1958Industrious and persistent, Jack managed to get his hands on a copy of the full list of built projects from Iwanoff’s studio, which served as an essential reference point, alongside many hours on Google Street View and trawling the archives of the Battye Library. In order to gain access to the properties, Jack sent out handwritten letters, explaining his personal connection and intention for the project. Doors started to open. While photography is a creative pursuit in itself, Jack’s vision was to showcase Iwanoff ’s work in its truest representation. “My whole intention is to celebrate his work and for my photos to be an accurate depiction. But even though I’m just the one documenting it, my project has really developed its own aesthetic,” he says.
Inside the Featherby House, Karrinyup, Perth, 1970The environmental context of Perth plays an undeniable role in both Iwanoff’s architecture and Jack’s photographs of the architecture. “Iwanoff’s work was so heavily informed by the climate in Perth. It’s incredibly hot, there are these big blue skies, everything is very manicured and clean. The sheer intensity of the light creates a starkness that is very unique to this part of the world,” says Jack. The result is a visual aesthetic that responds to the same conditions that Iwanoff ’s architecture responds to, and which translates beautifully in the images.
One of Iwanoff’s most iconic homes – Marsala House, Dianella, Perth, 1976Now that Jack has photographed nearly all of Iwanoff’s remaining projects, he’s still not ready to put the camera down. Not only will he continue to photograph these incredible projects, but a self-published book, Catching Light, was released in January 2021, available for purchase via his website, alongside launch exhibitions. To top it all off, the recently opened WA Museum Boola Bardip (designed by OMA and Hassell) has acquired several photographs for their permanent collection. Jack Lovel jacklovel.com Photography by Jack Lovel. Lead image, Tomich House, City Beach, 1969 This article originally appeared in issue #50 of Habitus magazine, subscribe now
Madaschi House, Dianella, Perth, 1969
Kessell House, Dianella, Perth, 1975, uses the trademark concrete blocks
Roberts House, City Beach, Perth, 1968abc