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Bathroom

Delving Into Design With Patricia Urquiola

Speaking to her about her practice, the past year and her collaborations with bathroom specialist LAUFEN, Patricia Urquiola reveals herself as a woman who is very much looking to the future as she explores the ways in which her design prowess can contribute to the changing face of working and living. Understanding that design can lead in the workplace by fostering safety and wellbeing, Urquiola is using her unique talent to pave the way with new and exciting product collections that are both visionary and practical but always inspirational.

Alice Blackwood: As a busy designer, how do you like to begin your day and what and where is your happy place?

Patricia Urquiola: I like waking up pretty early, it gives me time to organise my day and start it with my family, having breakfast together. The first thing I do when I wake up is read the news on my iPad while drinking coffee. Right afterwards, I start thinking about my daily appointments. I go through my messages, reply and see things that my team sends me. I do some research for projects, take books and materials from home to the studio. My happy place is where my family is. [caption id="attachment_112852" align="alignnone" width="1170"] Nuez Lounge designed by Patricia Urquiola for Andreu World[/caption]

At this time what challenges and excites you?

First thing that came to my mind is Salone del Mobile, scheduled for September 2021. We missed it in 2020 and I really hope we will be able to celebrate the 60th edition in a proper way. Milan and the whole design industry are looking forward to it. Even this year, we will all have to go through new challenges and difficulties, it will not be the same fair as before, we need to become more and more adaptive.

Can you describe how your practice and design approach has evolved?

I think my method is still more or less the one I had when I started my career. It means I go through a lot of research; I look for inspiration in every creative discipline, but also in the simple actions of everyday life and in the world that surrounds me. Then, when the design process starts, I constantly look for the dialogue, with both the client and my team. A good designer needs to deeply enjoy the whole process, with its challenges, changes and most importantly mistakes. They are essential, I have learnt a lot from my mistakes. [caption id="attachment_112853" align="alignnone" width="1170"] Nuez Lounge designed by Patricia Urquiola for Andreu World[/caption]  

What do you love most about designing for the bathroom? And given that we are all spending so much more time at home, working, homeschooling and living out all facets of our daily life, has the role of the bathroom changed, in your view?

The bathroom is a place for retreat and self-care. Especially during the past months we spent at home, we realised that our bathrooms have become almost like our personal spa, in which we can really spend moments of privacy and wellbeing. We can finally relax in our bathtubs, while before we were used to just having a fast shower before going out again. Design of bathrooms will follow this re-discovery of this pleasant domestic moment. [caption id="attachment_112854" align="alignnone" width="1170"] LAUFEN Sonar[/caption]  

Tell me about your new release for LAUFEN and the points of investigation (for example, sound waves, sculpting surfaces) that define this?

For me, Sonar stands for contrasts, balance, elegance: the rigour of architectural minimalism, formal understatement, and the dynamism of water and sound waves in close relationship. My aim was to combine these apparently widely separated sources of inspiration into a collection that is the expression of a gentle balance between angles and curves.

Bathroom aside, you work with many of the world’s leading design brands. What makes your partnership with LAUFEN special for you?

Well, we first worked together in 2016 on the brand’s showroom in Madrid, [Spain]. From that first collaboration, a positive relationship started to grow between my team and LAUFEN’s. So, we started collaborating on a design collection, which began with LAUFEN’s SaphirKeramik, the world’s thinnest ceramic. I wanted to explore and interpret the unique and interesting characteristics of this material, in terms of design, form and function. From this, the Sonar project started to take shape. I always state that the best part of my job is the joy of the process and this was absolutely the case with LAUFEN. Patricia Urquiola patriciaurquiola.com This article originally appeared in issue #83 of Indesign [caption id="attachment_112855" align="alignnone" width="1170"] Cabana Lounge designed by Patricia Urquiola for Haworth, photo by Kendall McCaugherty[/caption]abc
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Swapping Suburbia for a Compact Inner-City Terrace

"When our clients initially came to us, they were so excited about moving from suburbia to the inner city,” says Melissa Lim, principal at Mitsuori Architects. “It was the same excitement you see when someone sets themselves on a path to a tree change – it is liberating. We loved that they were intending to create a family home on this tiny block and how committed they were to creating an unconventional home that didn’t tick boxes, but was just right for them.” Analysing Tree Change House is an exercise in grasping just how expertly Mitsuori Architects has conceptualised and crafted space and light in a modest Victorian terrace house, within exceptionally challenging planning and spatial parameters. Given that the original house was sited on a mere 4.2 metre-wide corner parcel meant that an additional level had to be added to the building to accommodate the new spaces required. In addition, the proximity of the neighbouring properties precluded the addition of windows to either side of the building at ground floor level. The team’s solution was to bring light in from the top of the house. “Our approach to the design of spaces (especially very small spaces) is to influence the perception and experience of spaces by manipulating light and views. In a sense, spaces are visually enlarged by ‘borrowing’ from other spaces as daylight and volume became extremely valuable,” says Melissa. “The result is a necessarily sculptural building form that is legible from inside and out.” The architects’ resolution includes a soaring six-metre-high void over the main living space, which brings north light into the centre of the home and allows extended views through both floors of the house. In the deepest part of the home, a sky-lit shaft is positioned over the bath to bring light and contrast to the ensuite, also drawing natural light into an attic bedroom above. At first floor level, a bridge with views across the skyline crosses the void below and links bedrooms with a small outdoor terrace. “The interlocking of spaces and sharing of views makes this home feel larger and more open than it actually is,” adds Melissa. From a planning perspective, the layout comprises a number of “zones”. “Zoning is particularly important for a family home as occupants need opportunities to come together but also to retreat to their private spaces,” explains Melissa. As a result, the house has two separate points of entry, the existing front door and a gate through to the rear yard. A master bedroom and ensuite are located in the existing rooms of the house. Behind this, a stair, study nook and utility areas separate the bedroom from the main living space. The stair sits discreetly off the main corridor and splits in two with one flight leading to an attic bedroom tucked between the ceiling of the main bedroom and the existing roofline. This room was cleverly transformed from a constrained space into a studio bedroom by placing the ‘bed’ on a raised platform over the existing bedroom. The other stair flight leads to a third bedroom, a bathroom and a bridge to the outdoor terrace. Industrial in nature, the approach to interiors was driven largely by the clients’ perception of Fitzroy as a vibrant and edgy retail precinct. "The restrained palette of dark grey paint, stained plywood, steel and glass are reminiscent of Fitzroy’s industrial heritage,” says Melissa. “In addition, the original house had very few original features left. Chimneys had been removed, brick walls were painted out and wood panelling covered almost everything!” The team stripped back the painted brick walls to reveal the natural color and texture of the original brick and in referencing the client’s connections to the timber industry, reclaimed timber was used in the structure, cladding and joinery. “This house was one of those projects that began with us wondering if it would even work,” concludes Melissa. “We had never heard of a family with two adult children moving from spacious suburbia to a compact inner-city terrace.” Reverse Tree Change House serves as proof that a house that prioritises the ergonomic and pragmatic needs of occupants over architectural form, still has the potential to be both extremely functional and aesthetically arresting. Mitsuori Architects mitsuori.com Photography courtesy the architect We think you might like this Portsea project by Mistuori Architects abc
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The Spirit of Old Melbourne in Brew Apartment

There is a certain style that speaks of living in Melbourne – perhaps it is the weather that informs the design of homes where the cold winters or crisp autumn and spring days make inside the place to be. Whatever the catalyst for Melbourne design, in essence it is about good taste and comfort that is appropriate for its place. With this in mind, Brew Apartment captures the feeling of Melbourne with a renovation and interior redesign that incorporates the best of heritage and modern to perfection. Brew Apartment has a history. Located within the Second French Empire Mansard Roof of a heritage-listed building, the Yorkshire Brewery Brew Tower, the situation is indeed unique. The brew tower was constructed in 1876 and at the time was the tallest building in Melbourne – oh how things have changed. As the only substantially intact example of 19th century brew towers in Victoria and with deference to this history, there was a sensitive restoration by SMA Projects with assistance from Hayball Architecture and Lovell Chen Architecture + Heritage in 2015. However, it wasn’t until 2020, when Kate Roach Architecture and Design was approached to redesign the interior. [caption id="attachment_112817" align="alignnone" width="1170"] Photo by Peter Clarke[/caption]   Now the apartment is a fusion of elegance and contemporary form and function that emulates a new grandeur all of its own. Roach explained, “Working with heritage buildings always presents challenges – but of course this is what makes delivering a project like this so special. Embracing the building’s history, we wanted the spaces to take full advantage of the exposed brickwork, structural beams and mansard roof, rather than seeing them as challenges. We saw it necessary to preserve the impact of place and the spirit of ‘old Melbourne’ but maintain residential scale.” Historical features in the heritage brickwork and bracing complement modern custom-made joinery, while marble benchtops and tiles sit comfortably beside European oak timber floors. To access the three levels of the apartment a spiral staircase has been installed and this becomes a design feature, definitely 21st century, but in sync with the spirit of the original building. The materiality provides gravitas to the design while the colour palette of browns, white and black add definition and warmth to the space and Roach commented, “We were inspired by the brewery’s natural charm and Collingwood’s district character. Shades of caramel and muted grey counter the industrial elements – we wanted to deliver a residence that was both warm and striking.” The open plan entertaining area is punctuated by carefully placed cabinetry and furniture groupings and there is ample natural light from the many windows, both original and new. The interior is sophisticated and luxurious but not overwhelmingly so, and there are lounge chairs and a leather couch that provide just the place to relax. Lighting is minimal and unobtrusive save for the beautiful pendant above the dining table that echoes the form of the circular staircase and appears to simply float overhead. This is an apartment that while respecting heritage has created a new and contemporary home for the resident. Beautifully crafted, Brew Apartment exudes a Melbourne sensibility where refined design and the old and the new reside together perfectly. Kate Roach kateroach.com.au Project team Developer and Builder: SMA Projects Architect: Hayball Architects Heritage Architect: Lovell Chen Architecture + Heritage Project Architect: Alberto Contreras Flores Photography: Dianna Snape Photography We think you might like this house apartment in Singapore by L Architects abc
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Brunswick Yard In Conversation: Bringing Biophilia To Life

Join Habitus Living for a webinar as we hear from the architects and designers, urban planners, landscape architects and sustainability consultants behind a new development in Melbourne's Brunswick. Drawing on its industrial urban surroundings, Brunswick Yard is a project that fuses architecture, interiors, landscape and streetscape into a contemporary multi-residential offer. As the project gears up to start on site, join the project team as they discuss the contemporary design and the key drivers that have formed its unique identity. From establishing the pattern of development in Brunswick, navigating the project through Moreland City Council, the architectural language and the integration of landscape and biophilic design elements. In this new era of inner-city living where there is a shift in values, sped up by the effects of the pandemic, learn how Brunswick Yard is forging new ways to consider scale, wellness, community, and landscape design. Hosted by the editor at Habitus Living, Aleesha Callahan, our project speakers are Rebecca Lyons, director at Urbis; Stephanie Poole, senior architect at Carr; Liam Bowes, studio director from 360 Degrees Landscape Architects and Gary Wertheimer, director at GIW. Thursday 8 July, 5pm REGISTER HERE Renders by Stab Studioabc
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New Nostalgia at Next Hotel

While posted as 80 Collins Street, the Next Hotel by Woods Bagot (a collaboration with Netherlands-based studio UN) overlooks Little Collins Street. And as with Melbourne’s laneways, the path to the foyer of the hotel winds its way through the two street addresses. “Our brief was to create a flagship hotel, one that captured the essence of the site and as importantly, its history,” says interior designer Isabel Munro, an associate at Woods Bagot. However, the lift to the second floor and the reception area for the Next Hotel is certainly worth it. Understated, with just the right amount of glamour (a gold-mesh curtain behind the marble reception bench and a complementary gold-mesh chandelier inserted within the timber staircase), the colour palette is a deep spectrum of aubergine, metallic greens and earthy tones. Deep leather-covered armchairs and lounges are found in the lounge area while faded finishes, including a highly grained marble in the separate club lounge (complete with business facilities), suggests the history of the site, halfway between Collins Street and Chinatown. “We looked at the history of the immediate area. The site that we’re on was originally a horse bazaar (trading horses). But we were also drawn to the artistry of the Chinese migrants who came here during the gold rush of the 1850s – their finely crafted furniture and their beautiful ceramics,” says Munro. Ceramics, by both Chinese and by contemporary artists, can be found on most shelves, in the restaurants and bars, and in the suites. Woods Bagot also included ceramic bedside tables so the memories of the past are also the last thing seen before the light switches are flicked off at night. While history was front of mind, the design team used these references in a contemporary manner. Wired glass used in areas such as the bar in La Madonna, a nook where spirits are concocted, appear sin glass and steel cabinetry. And in the bedrooms, there are steel frames in which to hang one’s dressing gown. “We were thinking of the type of structure that could equally support a horse saddle or a leather apron that the early artisans would have worn”. They were also conscious of the hotel’s location at the Paris end of town, where designer boutiques are dotted along Collins Street. So, against the more industrial aesthetic are finer and softer touches, such as a heavily woven Chanel-inspired tweed-covered bedhead. Other areas within the Next Hotel have been treated with the same panache. The hotel’s restaurant, for example, also called La Madonna, features sumptuous leather banquette seats and comfortable well-padded chairs. And to create the right backdrop, artist Jodie Gray was commissioned to create a ceramic installation as tactile as the interior. “We worked with design agency Studio Ongarato to engage local artists where possible, including work by Melbourne-based artist Jonny Neis in the guest suites,” says Munro, who was keen for those staying at the hotel to appreciate, from the moment they arrive, that this could only be Melbourne. Next Hotel nexthotelmelbourne.com Photography by Sharyn Cairns We think you might like Aesop Pitt Street by Snøhetta abc
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Exploration Meets Craft With Shibori

Habitus: What inspired you to start Shibori?

Karen Davis and Pepa Martin: Shibori began in 2005, the year after studying textiles at East Sydney where our friendship was formed by our shared rebellion of traditional textile methods. We both had prior design jobs and were bored with trends and loved the excitement of unbinding hand-dyed pieces, it’s addictive and exciting and screams creativity. The satisfaction of making functional art is what spurred us into starting the Shibori label as we found a missing niche.

What inspires your colour palettes, textures, and patterns?

Colour is such a personal thing and the psychology of what steers one to a colour is a whole science in itself. We began with two very different personalities and over the years our true colours came out. Colour is everything to us, unlike many designers who find they have a limited palette, we can’t help but flirt with new colours and dirtying them down to satisfy our senses. Making colour is like cooking a delicious meal, bits of this and that, and test and rework, it is sugar for the soul delivered through the eyes and the texture of fabric elevates the experience. Perhaps it’s our Australian lifestyle but we find the muted moody colours work beautifully with the bled lines inherited by the dyeing process. It’s impossible not to be inspired by other cultures while travelling and prior to 2019 we frequented many countries to taste their colours. It is evident from the recent additions of dirty pinks and purples to the collection that Marrakech had an impact on us with its city dancing in colour that a photographic image could only offer a glimpse of. The patterns we share mostly began as a shibori interpretation with some sort of wabi-sabi folding, wrapping or binding and then we become the medium for the fabric to meet the dye. It begins with an idea and then becomes an adventure and starts to make sense as we go. Rarely does the story end the way it starts. It’s often a union of both of us starting with colour choices and base fabric and then a decision of technique and enthusiasm builds and there it is baked. Metaphorically.

Tell us about the process – what’s involved, how do you work together?

We are both “creative types” and would always choose the high of making over the mundane life ‘stuff’. It was only natural that we pursue everything the shibori technique had to offer. As any business, you are driven by the client and their needs, and when approached to produce a six-metre giant heat set light for a venue it was the sort of challenge we could not refuse. It might be the oversized tourist sites in Australia or something, but we just love the challenge of making oversized pieces. Heat set shibori is sculptural fabric, ie fabric with form and dimension. The heat set has since found its way into our collection with various commissions for heat set artworks. Making heat set artworks is very decadent, we again start with a colour story and then produce many metres of heat set silk that holds its bound form when dried and unbound. The sculpted silk moves with motivation and is held in place with tiny stitches. Multiple sheer layers build depth and this is what makes the artwork so unique.

How do you balance personal and professional life?

Work life balance I imagine is difficult for most business owners, we have made Shibori our life and consider teaching workshops part of our downtime when we get to play with other people and see their personality through creating. Our interests tend to evolve around fabric which is wound into every culture and hence when travelling we tend to explore as many textile-oriented places as we can, in search for differences and similarities.

What’s something you wished you had known before setting out on this career path?

There is nothing we wish we had known because the joy has come from the learning. I remember wanting to know what to, and not to do, however it’s different for everyone. With all life experiences – they have to be your own and are felt differently. If there was one answer, it would be wonderful to share but, it is all about trusting your instincts.

Can you talk about your workshops, why do you think it’s important to teach and what can people learn?

Workshops are our way of sharing the creative experience and the joy of making but we also have always wanted to keep the tradition of craft and shibori alive in the world. Shibori has been around for over 4000 years and prior to social media we did not realize how many people were interested in and needed a creative outlet. Often people come with the belief they are not creative and leave with a bag of wonderful pieces and a new outlook. Shibori shibori.com.au We think you might like this story about Rive Roshan abc
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Nuura: A New Age Of Nordic-Inspired Lighting From Great Dane

Great Dane is Australia’s eminent curator of Scandinavian furniture and lighting. Boasting almost 20 years of experience in Nordic design, Great Dane continues to help Australian design enthusiasts, architects and specifiers access the best products within the Scandinavian design market. The curated range, personally developed by founder Anton Assaad, ensures that quality, craftsmanship and service are always of the highest standard. Great Dane now exclusively offers the new lighting collections by Sofie Refer for Nuura, inspired by Nordic light and organic shapes that exist within nature. The starting point for each Nuura collection is the elegant form of the chandelier. From this, diverse silhouettes evolve into a range of pendants and lamps, beautifully crafted to different rooms and functions within the residence. In new brass and satin black finishes, the Miira and Apiales 9 collections offer timeless, balanced pieces to provide aesthetic brilliance and superb functionality. Miira embraces classic lines, simple design and refined forms to provide warmth and light to any space. Featuring grand chandeliers and a selection of wall, floor, ceiling and table lamps, Miira boasts great versatility throughout the residence. Whimsical yet elegant in form, Miira’s circular droplets provide a golden and warm light, perfect for an intimate gathering around the dining table or a soft, evening glow to unwind to in the bedroom. Its classical appearance is balanced by its smooth mouth-blown glass and processed metal hardware, designed with a sense of industrial sophistication. The standout new piece from the Miira series is the brass-finished ceiling lamp, with a choice of opal white or optic clear globes to create either a soft or more playful atmosphere. Apiales 9 is a collection of 9-globe chandeliers – a homage to the chandeliers of bygone eras. Taking a more modern and sculptural form, the Apiales 9 chandelier is reminiscent of umbellifer flowers with its gentle layers and more modest size. Opal white mouth-blown glass globes are supported by custom canopies that have no visible screws or joints, allowing the soft light of the chandelier to grace every corner of the space. The hardware is available in a reflective brushed brass or sensual satin black. Apiales chandeliers can hang high or low, so they can meet the functional needs of a wide range of living, dining, hall and entry spaces. Great Dane great-dane.com Read more about the timeless and sustainable approach that makes Great Dane unique  abc
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When Food And Technology Inspire Nostalgia

In response to the ever-changing nature of the world, Samsung has announced the addition of six new models to its French Door Refrigerator range. Perfect for families, entertainers and culinary enthusiasts alike, the 7000 Series offers advanced functionality to help your kitchen run in ways you never imagined you would need. With an updated Beverage Centre, advanced cooling technology for optimum freshness and a sleek exterior, the new range is sure to become an Australian essential. At the launch of Samsung’s new range, we sat down to talk all things food, styling and kitchens with Sian Redgrave. While her official title is ‘food stylist’, she really is a jack-of-all-trades. Sian describes her multifaceted role as a "chef, food stylist, fashion stylist, recipe developer – an amalgamation of creativity and all about creating feeling". Growing up in a creative family and seeking a break from rigidity in studying set and costume design at WAAPA, Sian’s turning point was five years ago: unexpectedly winning a cooking show. “I wasn’t expecting it at the time! I think it’s because baking is very visual, the decorating of the cake, I became obsessed with it. Everything I’d studied in design was applicable to food, and everything I’d loved my whole life.” Inspired by emotion, travel, music and nostalgia, Sian’s work is intentional and purposeful. She aims to create the romanticism and magic that we so often lose in our routine-driven, work-focused lives, and she is fuelled by a deep belief that food is fundamental to human connection. “When we think about our favourite dish or memory, it’s never just about the food – it’s what music was playing, what you were wearing, where you were, who you were with… There’s so much more to that nostalgia around food. We should be able to have romanticism in our lives – we have three meals a day and three opportunities to connect to something really wholesome and beautiful.” For Sian, like many of us, the kitchen is a sanctuary. A space for creativity, expression and experimentation; a space where we can take risks and create beauty if we’re backed by the right tools. Samsung’s latest range of French door fridges is an elegant, expertly crafted and intuitive addition to any kitchen. Strikingly designed, Sian aptly names Samsung’s latest development the ‘James Bond of fridges’. In addition to its sleek frame, this range is imbued with the latest technology and practical features. An auto-refilling water filter was a highlight for Sian, as were the moveable shelves to fit the most unique of platters, stands, and culinary creations. “Being busy and trying to cook most of my meals at home, I need order – all these little elements are so thought out for you in ways you wouldn’t have expected that you needed. The little moveable shelf is mind-blowing for me, because I’m constantly needing to change shelves around.” Samsung has gone above and beyond to enhance the kitchens of seasoned pros, culinary enthusiasts and amateur cooks alike. Supporting you through superb functionality and gorgeous design, the latest range of French door fridges truly embodies the best in kitchen appliances. Offering standout performance for food and beverage storage, the 7000 Series contains an updated Beverage Centre. With an Autofill Jug and a Dual Auto Icemaker, this refrigerator ensures you always have fresh, cold water and ice available. The Autofill jug comprises a 1.4L, BPA-free jug with an infuser attachment that enables users to create and serve naturally flavoured water. The Dual Auto Ice Maker provides both regular ice cubes and smaller Ice Bites, for faster chilling of beverages. Both functions are designed with the Aussie lifestyle in mind, understanding that gatherings of families and friends are frequent, and occur in a landscape where hot summer days are the norm. All-Around Cooling Technology ensures that freshness is preserved no matter where in the fridge you store your produce, while the Power Cool and Power Freeze functions help you quickly chill any last-minute additions. While the technology of the 7000 Series is undoubtedly impressive, its stylish exterior is unmatched. With an integrated look, the range employs sleek contemporary lines and a flat-panel built-in look. The flat-door finish (available in silver and black) is complemented by an Anti-Fingerprint Finish to keep your 7000 Series looking as new as the day you brought it home. “In 2020, we saw many Aussies turn to the kitchen as a hub for in-home entertainment. The kitchen remains the heart of the Australian home and Samsung believes in creating innovative kitchen appliances that can make a real difference in people’s lives,” expressesAndrew Wand, Head of Home Appliances, Samsung Australia. Samsung Australia samsung.com/au abc
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Be inspired by the region’s leading thinkers at the inaugural INDE.Summit

What does the future of design look like in the Indo-Pacific? How are we - as a region - responding to an environment and a world that is rapidly changing, harnessing the power of architecture, design and infrastructure to create the future we both want and need? This is the central question that the inaugural INDE.Summit will be asking, where an overarching theme of “develop/undevelop” will guide a series of four dynamic discussions designed to explore the next progressions of our industry and our region. Consisting of curated panels featuring the leading minds from right across the Indo-Pacific, the INDE.Summit is a symposium dedicated to analysis and exploration, where each discussion provides its own roadmap to the architecture of the future.

Will you be there?

Join the likes of fjmtstudio, Milieu, Crown Group and Woods Bagot for a full day event designed to challenge, educate and inspire. Open to attendees from right across the region, the Summit will be held live in Sydney and broadcast live across the globe. Choose your ticket type and cater your experience. Summit beings: 8:30am AEST Digital Summit ends: 3:00pm AEST Physical Summit ends: 4:20pm AEST

Discover the lineup

 Finding & Financing Sustainability: Indo-Pacific Built Environment Case Studies Iwan Sunito, Crown Group Prof. Stephen Cairns, ETH Future Labratories Jeremy Smith, Irving Smith Architects Ecosystems of Commercial Space in the Indo-Pacific Simone Oliver, Architectus Rosemary Kirkby, Rosemary Kirkby & Associates James Calder, ERA-co Mike Day, RobertsDay Manifesting Culture, Place & Identity in the Indo-Pacific Leone Lorrimer, GHDWoodhead Goy Zhenru, Goy Architects Akshat Bhatt, Architecture Discipline Richard Francis-Jones, fjmtstudio Michael Mossman, USYD School of Architecture Design & Planning The Housing Balance: Design, Community & Economy in the Indo-Pacific Amanda Stanaway, Woods Bagot Palinda Kannangara, Palinda Kannangara Architects David Kaunitz & Ka Wei Yeung, Kaunitz Yeung Roderick Wiles, AHEC Shannon Peach, Milieu Property   Be there as the INDE.Summit unfolds, purchase tickets here. abc
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This Void House In Singapore A-Voids Prying Eyes

Living in a landed home in Singapore is mostly seen as a privilege, with the majority of the population residing in public housing flats. But in that privilege often lies the irony that privacy is not always a given. Houses sit side by side, separated only by a low boundary wall, one dwelling only a few metres away from the next – neighbours can sometimes be disconcertingly privy to what happens next door. The owners of this house, however, were adamant on claiming their privacy. Tightly wedged between neighbours at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac, the residence consists of three full storeys as well as a mezzanine and attic floor. All this rests behind a guarded screen of steel-framed wood panels, with little revealed of the 455-square-metre plot. What was originally a modest semi-detached dwelling with a large garden had been on the current owners’ property wishlist for years. Not least because it is adjacent to the house where the husband’s parents live. When the house was finally put up for sale, the owners, a couple with three school-going children, swooped in. They turned to FARM Architects to design their home and offered a succinct but seemingly contradictory brief for privacy, and bright and airy spaces – in that order. Implicitly embedded in the brief was also the call to negotiate what appeared to be an inefficient triangular site. Tiah Nan Chyuan, Director at FARM Architects, shares that the design genesis came in the form of a trapezoidal block abutting a parti-wall. Two other edges of the massing were extended out, protectively enveloping as much of the site as reasonably possible. From there, the sculpturing work began. A generous carving of space here for family and friends to gather. A precise slit there in the envelope to catch a long sightline between neighbouring houses. A void in an internal wall to allow conversations, both literal and figurative, to happen between rooms. And a more judicious hollowing out of spaces to bring in light. Each gesture scrupulously avoids unwanted prying eyes from the exterior. “Theoretically, we could have squeezed everything into a very tall building and kept the original garden, but [the owners] probably wouldn’t use the garden because all the neighbours would be looking into it,” says Tiah. “So we made the house bigger and internalised the gardens within the envelope.” Sheltered behind the building skin, these intimate gardens not only offer private views for most of the bedrooms, but also modulate light to gently illuminate them. Spaces open up to the outdoors with uncharacteristic abandonment at the back of the house. Here, a cavernous volume of air and light sets the tone for carefree outdoor living. A lap pool underlines a dramatic 12-metre- high, fair-faced concrete wall, which the owner delightedly shares, doubles as a projection screen on movie nights. Ushering both sunlight and languid locks of greenery down into the pool area is a cut-out in the soaring roof deck, where the dangling creepers sometimes play the unwitting host to a nest or two of birds. “The only reason we could open up the back is because it directly faces their parents’ home,” Tiah reveals, adding that the owners wanted the outdoor area to be a space that could serve both houses. A gap in the boundary wall between the two neighbours facilitates – indeed, encourages – visits both ways almost on a daily basis. The owner shares, “Sometimes you see one of my parents carrying their dinner plates over to eat with us, or we find out that one of our children has gone over to their grandparents’ home on their own.” When seen from the parents’ house, the back façade brings to mind a Rubik’s cube in motion – some spaces neatly locked in place, others frozen mid-twist – and offers clues to the organisation of spaces within. “With every floor, we introduced a shift in direction so spaces don’t become repetitive and the whole house feels much bigger,” says Tiah. Alongside this, the employment of staggered double and single volumes provides a variety of tableaux. The living and dining area on the ground floor looks into a small plot of greenery at the deepest end of the site. In the left wing of the mezzanine level, guest quarters are afforded views of the pool area. On the opposite end of the same floor, the pebbled Zen garden faces the front of the house and is a suitable complement to the adjacent kimono room where kimono- wearing classes and tea ceremonies are held. On the next level, a double-volume library rises to greet all who come up the stairs. One’s gaze is drawn out towards the back of the house and over into the pool area again, this time, the view delightfully embellished by hanging foliage. And on it goes until one reaches the attic and roof deck where a panorama of the neighbourhood serves as a reward. The climb up to the attic is surprisingly easy, with none of the tedium one might expect from moving up four floors. To this end, the staircase is segmented and punctuated by extended transitions at various landings.
The rise for each step is shorter than usual and its tread broadened ever-so-slightly to encourage a slow, restful rhythm up the stairs. Nuances like these are present throughout the house and testify to a thoughtful regard for everyday living. Beyond formal and spatial readings, the house is perhaps most accurately understood as a vertical landscape of experiences that range from the dramatic to the intimate within mere steps of one another. And while life plays out in the house easily and casually, it does so only because of a highly calculated design approach that negotiates the tensions between privacy and openness with exacting precision. FARM Architects farm.sg Photography by Khoo Guo Jie
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A Barely-There Barwon Heads Beach House

It’s almost inconceivable to think that Barwon Heads House by architect Adam Kane was once a run-down weatherboard cottage. The reinvention of a dilapidated property into an expansive light-filled and updated home must be credited to Adam’s singular vision. “Many of the original 100+ year old cottages in Barwon Heads (a small coastal town about an hour and a half from Melbourne), have been replaced by new builds for permanent residents or are used as weekend holiday homes,” says Adam. “The original cottage presented a level of charm, and its history seemed a shame to disregard. With a site orientation running east-west and the original home close to the street, there was an opportunity to retain the original home and create an extension that took advantage of a long north facing aspect.” BARWON BEACH HOUSE kitchen Responding to the client brief for a contemporary addition that also made reference to the local gabled-roof architecture, Adam has restored the original cottage and linked it to an extension via a glazed link, with the original property only offering a mere hint as to the contemporary addition beyond. The cottage functions as an entry as well as a guest/children's wing comprising three bedrooms and a bathroom. After moving through the glazed transition, which offers glimpses to the garden, the mood shifts as one is brought into a dark and moody walkway. This space “conceals hidden rooms” including the rumpus, laundry, and stair to a mezzanine master bedroom. The denouement is then the unfolding of a grand space in the form of an oak-lined six and half-metre high living/dining/kitchen area. North facing, four and a half metre high double-glazed stacking doors blur the threshold of inside and out and facilitate a strong garden connection. BARWON BEACH HOUSE exterior This home’s pared-down restraint, reminiscent of a quintessential modernist interior, was inspired by the tones, textures and materiality of its coastal setting. "We also wanted to provide an abundant feeling of warmth and comfort in what is an ordered and strong architectural form,” adds Adam. “An unobstructed American Oak lined ceiling, burnished concrete floors, slabs of travertine marble, and custom scratched plaster walls, create balance and a holistic refinement and coastal sophistication throughout the space.” The resulting mood is one of restraint and calm. “The wholesomeness and considered approach of the architecture meant that we didn't have to clutter the spaces with unnecessary ornamentation,” Adam concludes. Adam Kane Architects adamkane.com.au Photography by Timothy Kaye We think you might like this story that showcases 5 homes that connect to nature BARWON BEACH HOUSE hallway BARWON BEACH HOUSE living BARWON BEACH HOUSE living room BARWON BEACH HOUSE dining BARWON BEACH HOUSE dining BARWON BEACH HOUSE living room BARWON BEACH HOUSE bathroom BARWON BEACH HOUSE bathroom BARWON BEACH HOUSE Adam Kane Barwon beach house adam kane architectsabc
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What It’s Like Inside The Mind Of Smart Design Studio

Orama | 2015

 

“We wanted to pull the two structures apart to bring light into the centre. People think concrete will look industrial but it has a lightness.”

  Photography by Sharrin Rees
 

Crown 515 | 2016

On a prominent corner in Surry Hills, Crown 515 presents a dynamic form to the street, reinterpreting the traditional terrace in a contemporary design of angular shapes and shimmering tessellated tiles.  

“Derived from the pitched roof forms of the surrounding structures and with a conscious nod to the vertical portals of the adjoining terrace typology, the architectural language of the building represents a challenge to the conventional terrace row.”

  Photography by Ross Honeysett  

Arbutus | 2020

 

“Using landscaping and distinct concrete spines, the extension to this family home appears as a single- storey addition.”

  Photography by Romello Pereira  

Indigo Slam | 2016

A piece of sculpture to be lived in. Indigo Slam is a home of distinction for an art collector. Behind the organic, curving concrete façade, serene living spaces and monumental halls create a dynamic spatial interplay of minimalist interiors in which the main decorative element is light.  

“The brief was for Indigo Slam to last 100 years. Materials were selected to wear and endure and the fittings to last. There was consideration for operable elements to be mechanically operated rather than digitally.”

  Photography by Sharrin Rees and David Roche  

Bourke Street Apartment | 2004

The Bourke Street apartment sits atop Smart Design Studio’s terrace conversion in Surry Hills. The building’s glass louvred sleeve extends above the old façade to create a light- filled rooftop dwelling.  

“It’s like a treehouse in the city; you feel like you have completely escaped. I love the very Australian aesthetic of the louvres; mostly they’re driven by aesthetics, but practically they’re a great way of ventilating the space.”

  Photography by Anson Smart  

Lamble | 2011

A pair of coastal homes that challenge convention, Lamble on the South Coast of New South Wales makes the most of the incredible views and expresses a simple but confident form.
 

“The strong natural light allows sun and shade to animate the architecture, making the house part of the ever-changing scenery of the ocean.”

  Photography by Sharrin Rees    

Tusculum | 2012

An extension of a turn-of-the-century terrace house in Sydney’s Potts Point, this renovation focuses on a grand and gracefully spiralling stair that forms the pivotal junction of the old and new parts of the house.  

“This house offers extraordinary spaces complemented by confident forms, understated design and exquisite detail.”

 

“We have broken the house in two, leaving the existing house as old and adding a modern extension grafted on via a glass link and a spiral staircase.”

  Photography by Sharrin Rees and Ross Honeysett  

Lena | 2020

“For us, there was no other material other than brick for the new addition. We needed a material that would complement the painted rendered walls of Paddington yet read in a contemporary way.”
 

A void gives so much more than it takes – providing incredible drama and making the rooms below feel very alive, airy and bright.

  Photography by Romello Pereira  

Arlington Grove | 2017

The architecture of Arlington Grove utilises carefully composed but long elevations, with principles borrowed from classical buildings, framed by articulated corners.
 

“The use of brick unifies each of the subtly different building forms, and provides a nuanced grain to the project, while its diversity and texture soften the exterior.”

  Photography by Ross Honeysett   Smart Design Studio smartdesignstudio.com This visual essay originally appeared in issue #50 of Habitus. We think you might also like to see the new Smart Design Studio HQabc