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Tony Stephens Art Bank Habitusliving

With the reopening of Artbank at their new site getting close, we speak to director Tony Stephens about his favourite cocktail bar and most treasured piece of art.


Name: Tony Stephens

What you do: I am the Director of Artbank, one of Australia’s most significant collections of contemporary art which, we make available through a leasing program.

Your latest project: Managing the design, construction and move from our Rosebery site where we have been located for over thirty years, into a purpose built facility that will house over 3000 artworks, our staff and a new public gallery. With our reopening scheduled for approximately eight weeks, nearly all of our time is consumed with this massive undertaking.

Who are three people that inspire/excite you:

1) Diller and Scofidio… does that count as two?
2) Chet Faker – a unique and amazing talent.
3) Cormac McCarthy – a storyteller like no other.

What is your favourite…

Car model: I have a thing for classic English automobiles and in my mind there is none better than the Jensen Interceptor.

Chair model: Finn Juhl 133 Chair… restrained elegance at its best.

Residential space: Villa at Sengokubara, by Shigeru Ban.

Commercial space: The soon to be completed Artbank facility designed by the newly formed collaborative Aileen Sage Architects.

Decorative product: Jielde lamps… ideally the vintage ones though.

Functional product: The very sharp, handmade Japanese kitchen knives by Kuro Kuma Nashiji!

Handmade good: My painting by Mark Rodda – ‘Golden Sky #2’, 2013.

Mass-produced good: The modem.

Meal: Anything I don’t have to cook myself… and that goes well with a glass of wine.

Restaurant: Without a doubt – Fratelli Paradiso in Potts Point!

Drink: Red wine – natural and crunchy hits the spot.

Bar: At the moment, it would have to be Luke Nguyen’s Red Lily in East Sydney – great cocktails!

Item in your studio: My laptop.

Piece of technology: My iPhone – although it is a love/hate relationship, I am unsure how I would survive without one!

Historical figure: Le Corbusier – I like the way he thought about space and place and connected this to ideas around social inclusion and equality.

Fictional character: Don Draper.

Vice: Anything sweet… and/or cooked by my mother!

Virtue: … I take multi-vitamins???

What does the term ‘Design Hunter’ mean to you? It is someone who can look through what they are told to like, instead listening to their own internal narrative to understand the truly special, unique and important.


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