Friday, 30 August 2013

Better Off Red: Wall paint

Red walls look amazing but who among us will be so brave? Taubmans Paints offers lots of new colours this season, including this slightly dusty red aptly called Burning Bush.

Burning Bush red paint from Taubmans Paints; via

Mixing It Up: Chevrons And Asian Antiques

Orient House is a specialist importer of Chinese, Southeast Asian and African artefacts in Sydney, but the store is also an agent for Schumacher fabrics and wall coverings. Mixing the rustic with exotic western patterns may seem incongruous at first, but the elaborate designs in the Schumacher collections very often complement an oriental or chinoiserie look at home. In store now is a new collection of wallcoverings by LA-based celebrity designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard, all in graphic monochrome patterns, including this chevron below.

Martyn Lawrence Bullard's collection of wallcoverings exclusively for Schumacher is available at Orient House in Glebe, Sydney, via

Escher-like Living in Tokyo

This award-winning two-storey residence, House T, is in the centre of Tokyo and has been designed for a couple who can more or less keep an eye on each other from any room in the house. It's an amazing Escher-like design, partly due to punched out walls and ceilings, open stairwells and ladders, which means that each level is on display from the floor above or below. Architect Hiroyuki Shinozaki likens his plan to a box containing "floating stages" or floors, each designated as kitchen, living, bedroom etc.

Multi-level T House in Tokyo, Japan, by Hiroyuki Shinozaki Architects; via

The Partridge Family Celebrates New Arrivals

There are new additions to one of our favourite furniture families. The Partridge Range of humble timber furniture designed by Sarah Gibson and Nicholas Karlovasitis for Design By Them now includes a round coffee table and dining table. Crafted from solid white ash timber and hand-finished with natural oil waxes, these tables are destined to become very important members of the Partridge family group, which already has two sizes of stools. “Our aim with the Partridge Range is to create simple balanced forms that will endure physically and aesthetically. We feel that using a warm and tactile material is comforting, and allows us to achieve this." says Karlovasitis of the concept behind the growing range.

The Partridge coffee table and dining table for DesignByThem; photography by Pete Daly.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Bedroom Furniture Inspired By Australian Bush

Now here are two great Australian beds that seem inspired by the textures of the Australian bush while giving a little nod in shape and styling to Scandinavian design. The Flow and Curve beds from Southwood are designed and made in Australia and are distinguished by a gently curved, ever-so-slightly-retro, shape of the headboard, bed base and legs. Crafted from sustainable hardwood, usually Victorian Ash, and featuring a natural oiled finish to accentuate the beauty and depth of the timber's grain, these beds come in queen and king sizes. There is a trundle bed for children.

Flow bed from southwood in Melbourne,
Curve bed from southwood in Melbourne,

Pop-up Gnome Now In White

Since Philippe Starck designed it in 2007, Kartell's cute and playful Attila Gnome has been popping up in bright colours, and more recently in black and gold. Now these delightful table-stools have been produced in a special edition white and are only available to Kartell in Australia. Use them as a stool or side table outside.

Limited edition Attila Gnome via

Bright Lights: Amalfi's new range of table lamps

This summer, furniture and homewares are going colour crazy! And it's not just apparent in sofas and rugs, tableware and napery, but in lighting, too. Celebrating colour with a new range of bright table lamps, Amalfi has all the season's best looks covered – from quirky flamingo bird bases to geometic printed shades. There are also other strong themes in the table lamp range, such as suave and sophisticated metallics of gold, copper and brass, as well as bold and beautiful primary-colours. What fun!

Amalfi's new summer 2014 range of colourful and quirky table lamps; via

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Foodie flourishes with Taubmans new colour palettes

It was all smiles and gasps of awe at last night's launch of Taubmans Paints inspirational Colour Look Books. The themed collections were created in collaboration with interior designer Shaynna Blaze, judge of The Block television series fame. To mark the launch, Taubmans hosted an elegant degustation dinner at The Bridge Room in Sydney, and asked chef Ross Lusted to create a fusion of the complementary disciplines of Interiors and Gastronomy, drawing inspiration from the images in the look books. They will be available at Bunnings and leading paint and hardware stores from September 2013. Take a look at the pics below to see what all the 'fabulousness' was about.

Inspirational paint palettes in Taubmans new Colour Look Books or visit

Branching Out at Bathtime: Fonte collection

There's a new trend in bathroom design that is seeing obvious square or circular shapes being eclipsed by an organic morphing of the two. Rexa is an Italian brand that has introduced a new bathroom collection called Fonte. The design is inspired by trees and branches, embodying some of the current fascination of bringing the outdoors in (and vice versa). It's new to Australian shores but available via Paco Jaanson.

The Fonte bathroom collection from Rexa, via

Stowaways On Display: Ikea

Put your stowaway items on display in this sleek, understated shelving unit from Ikea. Made from 100 percent steel, FJÄLKINGE is strong enough for a 25 kilogram load and has extra shelving and drawers. It is also available in two widths - 58cm or 118cm.

The FJÄLKINGE steel storage unit from Ikea;

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Breezy beach house in Gerroa: Karen Akers Design

Nominated for the upcoming 2013 Sydney Design Awards, announced October 16, this converted bowling clubhouse has been designed by Karen Akers. Tucked away in the dunes of Gerroa beach, a couple of hours' drive south of Sydney, the beach house has a restrained palette of greys and whites, warmed by the natural hues of timber floors and furniture. Certainly gets my vote!
Gerroa beach house interiors by Karen Akers, Photography by Thomas Dalhoff.

Star cast of designers for super-luxe Japanese ski retreat in Niseko

The Loft Niseko is set to open for business in 2014, just in time for the peak powder month of February. You can book to stay or even buy one of six loft-style split-level apartments with panoramic views of Mount Yotei in northern Japan. These amazing ski retreats are situated in the heart of Hirafu Village, in the powder capital of Japan, Niseko, and are close to the ski lifts and village. The interior design is courtesy of Yoo Design Studios, a John Hitchcox and Philippe Starck company, and the architectural design is by Riccardo Tossani.

The Loft Niseko apartments are due to open February 2014, via

Monday, 26 August 2013

Contemporary Homes of Southeast Asia

Flicking through the glossy pages of the sustainable asian house, a reader cannot be but impressed with the way the 27 spectacular houses reviewed within effortlessly combine striking architectural modernism, featuring concrete, steel, copper and glass, with the raw beauty of traditional local materials, such as bamboo, stone, native hardwood timbers and tropical plants. Author Paul McGillick, editorial director of the Indesign Group, documents the changing face of sustainable housing across Southeast Asia, stopping to admire how global trends and traditional practices are merged in the residential designs he examines. He also ponders some interesting questions on specific lifestyle and climate-related issues as well as how the rapid changes in demographics is impacting the architecture of the region. Published by Tuttle, this significant new book on the very best houses from the five Southeast Asian countries of Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines is a must to read and relish.

the sustainable asian house by Paul McGillick, with photography by Masano Kawana; via

Light Show: Crisscross range at ISM Objects

Patterns on the dining room walls, colour in the kitchen, statement pendants in the hall – the Crisscross Collection is the latest lighting range from bernabeifreeman. Featuring a perforated geometric pattern that creates elaborate patterns of light and shade, Crisscross designers, Rina Bernabei and Kelly Freeman, have harnessed the qualities of traditional hand-woven baskets in rolled aluminium to create a vibrant and playful set of lights. They are available from ISM Objects, a Melbourne-based company which shows its support for the Australian design community by working with up-and-coming and established Australian designers to produce iconic Australian lighting. The Crisscross collection is available in three sizes and a variety of colourful glossy powder-coated finishes, including black, white, red, yellow and orange.

Crisscross Disk Pendant by Bernabeifreeman for ISM Objects;

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Black out: Dark dream houses

If I lived far, far away from the city, I would live in a black house on a windy bluff, a cliff, a paddock, a grassy hill, a sand dune. Overlooking the North Pacific in Japan, Bass Strait in Victoria, the North Atlantic in Sweden, there are other sweet and sometimes sad souls seeking peace in the sound of the pounding surf during a storm and, just as often, beauty in the sight of a sparkling ocean on a calm and sunny day.

1. This summer house in Sweden designed by by Tham & Videgård Arkitekter sports a black shingle panel façade; via
2. Todd Saunders designed a series of six artists’ studios on various Fogo Island locations with views of the North Atlantic Ocean; via
3. Black-stained cedar clads this weekend house at the beach in Chiba, Japan, by Tokyo studio Bakoko, via
4. House Tumle in Gothenburg, Sweden, has a black facade clad in black corrugated metal sheeting. It is designed by Johannes Norlander Arkitektur; via
5. This black beach house called Scape House, overlooks Bass Strait in Victoria. It is designed by Andrew Simpson Architects, Owen West, Hatz Architects, and Dennis Prior; via
6. Villa Uttringe, a barn-like house in Sweden by Wahlin Arkitekter; via
7. This house extension on a property outside Melbourne has small windows scattered across the rear facade. It’s designed by Australian practice Wolveridge Architects; via
Viktor & Rolf Haute Couture Autumn/Winter 2013/2014 Collection; via

Friday, 23 August 2013

Easy does it: Darcy Clarke designs

Brisbane-based Darcy Clarke gets inspiration from both the Australian bush and coastline for the simple style of his product designs. Seen here is his Bonita pendant, Cruzada pendant, Branch coloured tree, Coastal Banksia wood, Ned seats and Polwood side table with paintings by Michael Cusack. 

Form and function with Darcy Clarke; via

Weekend dining: Branch by Tribu at Cosh Living

It's nearly the weekend and time to kick back. Can't you just imagine adding friends and lunch to this outdoor dining setting from Tribu. The Branch dining setting is by Spanish design practice Lievore Altherr Molina, but is available here in Australia at Cosh Living. The aluminum cast frame is combined with a seat and backrest in polypropylene, and is reinforced with glass fibre. These materials are easy to maintain, recyclable and optimally weather-resistant. Choose Branch in white or the two earthy shades of light linen or dark wenge.

Inspired by tree branches, the light Tribu Branch outdoor dinner setting from

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Play and display: Assemblages shelving from Lightly

Who would have thought that the inspiration for one of Lightly's recent designs "harks back to Australia in the early 1900s and the utilitarian resourcefulness found in the lifestyle"? So says Cindy-Lee Davies, the Lightly label designer responsible for the Assemblages range of products. This shelf mixes the kind of elements found in an old-fashion saddlery: hence the leather girths and belt buckles. You buy a set of belts with screws and plugs, and fit your own boards or, as a separate purchase, plywood ones from Lightly. Be aware though, you will need to do a little simple DIY to put it together.

Assemblages leather shelves by Lightly; via

White out: Japanese Cave house

A modern house squeezed in between traditional or conventional homes is not unusual in Japan. A great example is a recently finished house by Tokyo firm Takuro Yamamoto Architects. It is an ode to monolithic modernism, an ice-cube shaped block built on a suburban plot in Kanazawa, an old castle town on the sea of Japan. As Kanazawa is bordered by the Japanese Alps, it's not surprising that the clients requested that their new home be 'snow-proofed'. Yamamoto designed the home with a covered entrance passage to protect owners from winter snowfall and fittingly called it Cave. He also placed interconnecting rooms around an angled central courtyard in order to bring in light and reduce the need for external windows – and, no doubt, the view into neighbours' properties.

This ice-cube shaped house in Kanazawa Japan is designed by Takuro Yamamoto Architects; photography by Kenichi Suzuki.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Be daring: wide stripes for a spring makeover

Combining wide diagonal stripes with big bold prints in tropical colours is hot right now, but it takes a clever (and some would say brave) designer to put this together as effortlessly as Tracie Ellis does for her new season's range for Aura. Take inspiration from her palette and snap up at least a cushion or two to get a look that will makeover your home in a flash.

See more of Tracie Ellis's new season's range at

Outdoor furniture reconsigned

There's still a chill in the air here in Sydney but outside there are bright blue days and a hint of the warmer weather to come. That means outdoor living and entertaining. What better way to laze about outside but on these Hopper sun lounges by Belgian company Extremis? Better still, they are at a fraction of the original price, if you get them second-hand but in great condition, through Home Furniture on Consignment in Alexandria.

See more outdoor designer furniture at Home Furniture on Consignment; via

Capsule Coup: Japanese foldaway interiors

Japanese designers seem to come up with the most unconventional ways to save on living space. Small architectural residential wonders squeezed in between other small homes is the norm, but what about the interior space? Japanese design firm Atelier OPA has come up with a way to compress interiors into boxes. Called Kenchikukagu, this series of furniture consists of a bedroom, an office space and a kitchen, which can be folded in and wheeled away when not in use. And they are fully functional, too. The kitchen even has a cooking area and a sink. See all the models at


Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Time for Bed: with Lilly and Lolly

Finding just the right bedroom furniture for children can be a daunting task – so I was pleased to publish this cute-as-a-button image of a new furniture range from Lilly and Lolly. It's called the Florentine furniture range and it was designed and made here in Australia. I'm sure children will love the chubby turned legs on the bed, bedside table and chest of drawers and the brightly coloured buttons on the headboard.

The new Florentine children's bedroom furniture range available in both Sydney and Melbourne via

Learn new craft skills at Koskela, Sydney

Fun-filled craft workshops at Koskela in Sydney's Rosebery continue throughout the month of September. Learn how to create and decorate your own stylish rope clutter-catchers with Gemma Patford. Make felt marbles and mats from Merino wool with textile maker Jessica Robertson. Work on stone to produce a handcrafted framed stone art surface with stone artist Nicole Bowller. Learn the principles of Shibori, the Japanese art of indigo dyeing by manipulating fabric to produce beautiful and unique textiles with Karen Davis and Pepa Martin. Or join artist and bookbinder, Frances Robinson, to make your very own hand-bound coptic-stitched book! There are workshops tailored for kids, too, and these are scheduled for the spring school holidays. Contact Koskela via

Learn to make stylish rope clutter-catchers with Gemma Patford at Koskela; via

Bathing beauty: Marc Newson's new designs for Caroma

The collaborative result of two Australian design icons was on show at the Sydney Indesign event on the weekend. Drawing crowds was a curvaceous bathroom collection by Marc Newson for the 70-year old Australian bathroom company, Caroma. As Newson might say - it's retro futuristic!

For more details, visit

Monday, 19 August 2013

Not just for rabbits: Hutch-design house in Japan

It only has three rooms and a garage on a small corner parcel of land in Kyoto, Japan, but this little house, designed by architect Yoshihiro Yamamoto, is all his clients, a craftsman and his mother, wanted – even though the site was large enough to accommodate a wider dwelling. It is named Danchi Hutch after the narrow 'rabbit hutch' style housing complex the pair used to live in and, obviously, became accustomed to. The black exterior and plywood-lined interior accentuate the minmalist design.

Danchi Hutch house designed by Japanese architect Yoshihiro Yamamoto; via YYAA, photo by Yohei Sasakura

Pop-up store by stylist Sally Hayden

Lot 159 is a great name for a pop-up store full of auction finds and European vintage furniture. Stylist Sally Hayden's treasure trove of fab finds is open at Fleur in Armadale, Melbourne, until August 29.

Lot 159 pop-up store at Fleur florists; via and Red Rabbit Photography

Winners of the Reece Bathroom Innovation Award 2013

There were no surprises there were prizes for innovations in shower technology at the Reece Bathroom Innovation Award 2013 event announced over the weekend. Chris Connell, Principal at Melbourne’s Chris Connell Design, was awarded the Professional Prize of $20,000 for his multi-dimensional shower unit, Wind Rain Fire, which combines an air extractor fan with a flush-mounted showerhead.


Amanda Paukner, a final year Industrial Design student at the University of South Australia, won the Student Prize for her water-saving touch screen shower panel, At The Touch. She was awarded the $10,000 prize along with $5,000 for her university.

Now in its eighth year, the 2013 BIA challenged design professionals and students to look to the future and develop an original bathroom product that incorporates technology in one of three categories – Destination Space, Sustainable Space and Independent Space. Find out more about the 2013 winning designs at

Teal time at Southwood store in Melbourne

Quick spring decorating makeovers often involve changing soft furnishings, such as curtains, linens and cushions. If you're in Melbourne, head over to southwood in Fitzroy to see what's in store for the new season. These teal-coloured textiles pictured below are made up into cushions and throws from Belgian linen and wool felt. They might just be the thing to welcome in spring. Visit the store or online at

Friday, 16 August 2013

Terracotta: A colour oven-baked and ready to rise

If I was red clay, I would love to be scooped up and shaped on a pottery wheel into a garden pot. After firing in a kiln, I could join the terracotta tribe – the down-to-earth ceramics that form many of the products of every day life, from house bricks to baking dishes. Or possibly, I could be shaped into a lamp of such extraordinary delight that I end up in an interior design store.
1. The Garza chair, featuring a leather seat and steel base, is from Garza Furniture in Marfa, Texas; via
2. Paulistano terracotta leather chair with black frame by Paulo Mendes Da Rocha was design in 1957; via
3. Terracotta lamps by Tomas Kral, via
4. The terracotta-tinted museum Casa das Historias Paula Rego by Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto De Moura. Photograph by Luís Ferreira Alves; via
5. Kristalia terracotta Elephant Chair; via
6. The London-based designer Benjamin Hubert created the four jars for the Danish brand Menu; via
7. Terracotta tables from Italian label Flai; via

Taiwanese design firm Nexus Designs used brick and concrete for these stool and table; via

Galleria exhibition at Sydney Indesign

If you live in Sydney, you mustn't miss seeing the amazing new hub for the annual Sydney Indesign event from August 15-17. Galleria is a 3000 sqm site at the Australian Technology Park in Eveleigh, Redfern. 
It is part of the city-wide Sydney Indesign 2013 event. Here are some pics from my walkthrough yesterday.

For more information on Sydney Indesign, visit

Launchpad 2013 winner announced Sydney

It's easy to see how all the brilliant finalists' product designs entered in the Launchpad competition could become viable commercial realities, such was the calibre of the prototypes submitted this year. Someone had to win though, and it was Edward Wong who will score the opportunity to see his design the Ella Table Lamp being taken into production. Here are some pics: the top one is from last night's announcement at Sydney Indesign. It's of Edward Wong (centre) holding his lamp and surrounded by the judging panel. Other designs in the competition are below. For more info on Launchpad, see my article in Fairfax Media Life&Style online:

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Workshopped 2013 exhibition: Promoting great Australian design

If you live in Sydney and don't know about Workshopped, you should. It is the single largest event on the Australian Product Design calendar, and in its 13-year history has exhibited the innovative work of over 200 designers. Last night, over 800 people attended the Supa Centa, Moore Park, Sydney, for the opening night launch of WORSHOPPED 13. The theme this year asks designers to consider what makes a modern classic with the question: How can design be future-proofed for a disposable society? WORKSHOPPED 13 runs for 10 days and is free to the public. It is supported by the Powerhouse Museum as part of Sydney Design 2013 and design trade event, Sydney Indesign, both on now.

See Workshopped 13, a free public exhibition, from 15th to 25th August 2013, at the Supa Centa Moore Park, Sydney. Corner South Dowling St and Todman Avenue, Kensington; via

American Beauty Meets Scandi Chic: More from Ikea...

Ikea Australia seems to be pulling out all stops to bring us what we want... and we do want a handsome mid-century inspired piece of furniture! See below for walnut veneer and leather offerings from Ikea’s latest Stockholm range, which arrives in Australia this month. It features a stylish collection of statement pieces for the home, focusing on indoor living, dining and sleeping solutions. 

Stockholm solutions; via