Friday, 27 September 2013

Japan Handmade Homewares at Maison & Objet

Producing some of the most intriguing designs at Maison & Objet 2013 earlier this month were Japanese designers from the innovative Japan Handmade group from Kyoto. Inspired and informed by their country's metalworking, ceramic and wooodworking traditions, the young Japanese designers of Japan Handmade presented inspiring homewares and furniture. The simple copper teapots by Kaikado, a company that was established in Kyoto in 1875, were real showstoppers.

Japan Handmade at Maison & Objet earlier this month. Top: brass and copperware from Kaikado; bottom left to right: copper wire metal-knitting from Kanaami-Tsuji; wood and copper stools from Nakagawa Mokkougei; ceramics from Asahiyaki; and again using wire metal knitting techniques of Kyoto, this limited edition library chair was designed for Kanaami-Tsuji by Danish architect Børge Mogensen.

Outdoor Living with Dedon: DALA by Stephen Burks

Designed for life outside, this gorgeous range of Dedon furniture, created by the talented American Stephen Burks, takes inspiration from the improvised seating arrangements of the developing world and the skillful artisans who inhabit it. The pieces are formed by constructing a colourful powder-coated frame of aluminium on to which is woven a colourful mesh which uses fibres made from recycled food and drink packaging. The comfortable cushions are made from high-tech Batyline fabric. The collection, called DALA, consists of a lounge chair, footstool and stool or side table. It is available in the UK via Heals and here in Australia from Cult showrooms from October 2013. Read more on the latest outdoor furniture in my article for The Sydney Morning Herald in Life & Style for Fairfax Media.

Retro Style Homewares With Scandi Sensibility

From teapots to cake stands, the contemporary and quirky Jansen + Co homewares range is well-suited to today's hipster home. Designed in Amsterdam by Anouk Jansen and available here in Australia through Outliving, every product combines the very best of industrial production with hand-finished classic shapes that sport a mix of bright colours and subtler contemporary tones.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Jump for Joy: Flip Imaged Wallpaper

What's a girl to do? Paint or Wallpaper? Find out what suits you in my article 'Lots to choose in paint or wallpaper'  in Home & Style section of Sydney Morning Herald and Fairfax Media's Life&Style. You'll find some great images, too, similar to this non-woven Jump patterned wallpaper designed by Ximena Escobar from Wallpaper Republic. It's super cool not just because it looks great but it's also hard-wearing, scratch-resistant, washable, dry-strippable and 100 per cent Australian-owned and manufactured. 

Lush Lush Baby: Stunning West Elm Sideboard

London-based artist Lubna Chowdhary collaborated with West Elm to produce this gorgeous tiled buffet in a smoke-coloured, glaze finish with two doors and two adjustable shelves inside. Contact West Elm to order.

See New 1888 Hotel in Pyrmont, Sydney, on Instagram

It's always a pleasure to recommend a great place to eat, drink or visit when friends from overseas come to Sydney, so The Style Index is delighted to publish some images of the recently opened 1888 Hotel in Pyrmont. Housed in a building that was originally a wool store and factory constructed in the year 1888, this is one cool boutique hotel. The design, a collaboration between architect Chris Haughton and Interior designer Cressida Kennedy, is inspiring and bold (note the pops of purple - our moodboard theme for tomorrow). Plus, all artworks are Australian – we love the Nick Cave drawing in the corridor.

The hotel comes to us from the 8Hotels Boutique Hotel Company who have launched a snappy campaign to intrigue and enchant would-be guests. Each month, one lucky guest will win an additonal night's stay free for the best Instagram picture posted with #1888hotel. Plus, all Instagram users with over 10,000 followers get a free night at the hotel. Finally, all hotel guests are invited to go on a custom-made ‘Insta-walk’ at their leisure. The Insta-walk is a map of local places and landmarks that are perfect for snapping through an Instagram lens.

Monday, 23 September 2013

David Trubridge Launches New Koura Light

It seems design afficianados can't get enough of David Trubridge's gorgeous Koura pendants. Now he has created a middle-sized one, to be launched at Santa Monica's Westedge Design Fair in California next month. The Koura 750 is the most recent addition to the Seed System family, ensuring that whatever size your space, there is a Koura pendant light that is just right.

Gelato Colours in Nel Lusso Icecream Cups and Bowls

How could icecream look anymore delicious than in this new gelato-coloured collection of non-breakable acrylic tableware? The dotty designs takes inspiration from 1950s Italian gelato bars and are part of a new range of homewares from Nel Lusso, available through Zimba here in Australia.

Fronds and Things: Wicker Bedhead and Leaf Quilt

There's a renewed interest in what could be called whimsy graphics. The intricated scrolling of leaves and fronds are the prime inspiration for the motifs most commonly being drawn or fashioned. Take this Love Nest Bed Head, for example. The delicately ornate design has been woven by hand in three colours of Antique, Mint or White. Pair it with a cottom Resort Botanical quilt, which also has a leaf design, in Seafoam green, and is dyed by hand. Both are available online from Nest Emporium, or at the store in Thirroul, which is just a short but scenic trip along the coast just south of Sydney.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Shelf Life Part 2: Found Objects & Stackable Colour

If my books and treasures could be elevated on walls up high, I would choose brightly coloured shelves of great ingenuity. I would find a way to use plumber's piping, cardboard boxes, vintage suitcases and old branches dropped in the garden. I would fill my house with colour and character stacked in DIY shelving, just so I could be surrounded by my amazing display units.

1. The Block Box light-weight shelf system by Nicolas Haeberli presented at DMY berlin 2013; via
2. French designers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec have added three new colours to their Corniches shelves for Vitra; via and
3. Industrial Pipe Corner Shelf by Stella Bleu Designs;
4. Pegged shelves shot by Jeroen van der Spek, Amsterdam; via
5. Hanging rope shelves; via
6. Ki Nassauer, editor-in-chief of Fleamarket Style magazine’s suitcase shelving;
7. Easy-to-make branch self; via

The Shelf Portrait Project by UK artist Darragh Casey via

Plastic Fantastic: Recycled Lighting From The Amazon

A few years ago Studio Alvaro Catalán de Ocón in Columbia, South America, launced a project to reuse PET plastic bottles that were rapidly suffocating the Amazon River. The result was a new product upcycling the disused bottles into delightfully quirky lighting crafted by local artisans. The light fittings, produced from a workshop in the Columbian capital of Bogota, not only resurrect the plastic bottles in their entirety (the body is sliced into strips to create the warp for weaving while the wiring and hardware is fitted through the screw top lid and bottleneck) but also the ancient textile traditions of the craftspeople themselves, whose style and methods of weaving, from the fibres used to the colours to the motifs, render each and every light both totally unique as well as totally reflective of the tribes they come from. Feted at various international design fairs this year, the PET Lamps are now in Australia for ordering through Spence & Lyda, a gorgeous treasure trove of a store in Sydney's Surry Hills.

An Guide to Outdoor Living Essentials

Whether you're planning a garden party or just want to set up a spot to relax in the sun, there are some must-have items that will make outdoor living and dining extra enjoyable. See my story in the Sydney Morning Herald and Fairfax Media online: Get Ready For Outdoor Living.

Mornington cushions from IDC Australia.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

All Wrapped Up: Luxurious Linen Towels

This collection of striped European-style beach towels, called Laguna, is being launched in good time for the southern hemisphere summer. Called The Laguna, this super soft range is made from absorbent linen and boast a luxurious handle that gets better over time. The towels are also extremely versatile and can be used as wraps or tablecloths, and are large enough to spread out and picnic from. Designed by Coast, the clever New Zealand crowd that brought us sophistication in a bean bag, i.e. weatherproof canvas seating for outdoor living, the towels have been made in a little family-run, 100-year-old mill in Lithuania that specialises in linen. Orders to Australia have free shipping.

Caravan Bed For Happy Kiddy Campers

Happy campers will fall in love with this cute-as-a-spotted-toadstool Retro Caravan Bed from The Great Australian Shelf Company. We're betting hipsters parents will love it, too, due to the fact that it boasts both vintage and eco-friendly credentials: The bed is modelled on the caravans of the 1930s and '40s is made with sustainably sourced Australian hoop pine finished in Linseed or Danish oil or clear lacquer. Its spacious design incorporates a place to sleep as well as a creative area for kids to explore and enjoy. There is clever shelving, a door that opens for kids to climb through and a tow bar seat.

The Retro Caravan bed for kids, via

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Shining A Light In Western Australia

A new online shop stocking mostly Australian designers is our idea of wonderful. Cranmore Home is an Australian online retailer offering homewares from such brands as Bonnie and Neil, Pony Rider, Ink and Spindle, Jessie Breakwell, Rabbit Trap Timber and Elk, to name just a few. There is free shipping Australia-wide but owner Tracy Lefroy offers a little more for her customers near Perth in Western Australia. They have the pleasure of visiting Tracy's pop-up retail events at Cranmore Park farm and Cranmore Home retail outlet in her hometown of Moora, north of Perth. Here is the new-in-store industrial-looking Telegram table lamp made from metal and wood.

Feast Your Eyes: Jimmy Grants Souvlaki

Got to love a colour palette you can eat!!

These styled up ingredients come from some of the tastiest treats south of the border, down Melbourne way, at the recently opened Jimmy Grants, a hip new 36-seater souvlaki bar, brought to us by the Greek power-partnership of George Calombaris (of MasterChef fame) and George Sykiotis. 

Jimmy Grants is Australian rhyming-slang for 'immi' 'grants', a tongue in cheek reference to the wave of Greek immigrants that came to Australia after WWII, and to Melbourne in particular. That wonderful upbeat irreverence is also obvious in the naming of the menu – a delicious bestseller is called Mr Papadopoulos, and contains mouth-watering lamb, mustard aioli, chips, onion and parsley.

Question is: why does our most southern mainland state keep all the good souvlaki for themselves? The other states are wanting... C'mon Jimmy G, share!

The menu unwrapped: Jimmy Grants souvlaki bar in Melbourne; via

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Zuster: A Creative Force in Furniture

A week ago, The Style Index was sent the Dulux colour forecast for 2014, and we were bowled over by the styling as much as we were the cool paint palettes. In this image, you can see lots of gorgeous objet and furniture, including the new black 'quilted' console that is part of the Traverse Collection. It is designed by the talented Wilhelmina McCarroll for her Melbourne-based furniture company Zuster.

The Traverse black console, right, by Wilhelmina McCarroll for Zuster and her styling of Dulux colour palette 2014.

To Have And To Hold: Poppy's Pots

These gorgeous hand-painted pots by floral stylist Poppy Lane are made from lightweight fibreglass and are suitable for indoor and outdoor use. I came across them via Tait Outdoor here in Sydney but Poppy creates them in Melbourne in a cooperative workshop called Pop & Scott, which she and Scott Gibson share with other talented craftspeople. The pots are made to order, so allow two weeks.

P&S Pots; via

Decorating with Herbs

Whether you like to line them up in pots on the kitchen windowsill or hang them up in pockets on the wall, fresh herbs can look amazing. Read my story on How to Grow Herbs at Home in The Sydney Morning Herald and Fairfax Media online. Hopefully pick up some inspiring ideas for potting up your favourites as well as some maintenance tips to keep them providing. If you are time-poor, purchase a neat idea such as these rectangular wall planters from Williams Sonoma, USA. I think you'll agree they are a spectacular and space-saving way to harvest herbs at home.

A vertical wall planter is a decorative way to grow and harvest fresh herbs directly on the wall;

Monday, 16 September 2013

Super Luxe Interior: Melbourne Design Awards 2013

It's easy to see why this sumptuous home has been up for numerous awards. Shortlisted last year for national awards and now competing in the residential interior design category in the upcoming 2013 Melbourne Design Awards, Barry Street Residence, a major renovation and extension to an original grand old Victorian home in Kew, Melbourne, is a super luxe home. The interior design is by Australian studio caia_di_lizio design, a collaborative effort between the talented Nicolina Caia and Tania di Lizio.

The designers describe the material and colour palette as a range of textured monochromatic finishes invigorated by punctuations of colour. They selected neutral white walls to offset the deep warmth and richness of the natural materials and to enhance the sculptural qualities of the space. Colour was used to intensify particular areas, such as a massive yellow curtain between the kitchen and the living room, the teal blue door leading from the old part of the house to the new, the sea green tiles of the basement powder room and teal blue carpet in the library.

The interiors of Barry Street Residence in Kew, Melbourne, were designed by caia_di_lizio and photographed by Brendan Finn. See or

Love One Another, Right Now: A New Homewares Range

One Another is a delightful Sydney-based homewares company that launched its range of ethical products just last month at the Melbourne Life In Style trade event. 

Husband and wife team, graphic designer Rick Carter and fashion designer Annette Carter, have created a line of homewares that brings together traditional Indian embroidery techniques with a more modern aesthetic. The embroidery is a key part of the collection and has been beautifully hand-stitched by a group of women from Lucknow in Northern India. 

According to the Carters, a secure job in safe conditions with fair pay ensures the life of poverty the women once lived is now a memory: “We hope that the range of ethical products we have created encourage people to support one another and understand that they are designed to enhance your life and importantly the lives of the women who make them.”

The colourful first range consists of limited edition, ethically produced cushions, scarves and artworks, which combine abstract photographic prints with delicate hand-embroidered illustrations. Below is a Chennai Chari cushion, which shows a street map of the Indian city of Chennai embroidered in a hit of magenta onto a rhythmic painterly print of swirls in pinks and black.

Chennai Chari is a limited edition embroidered cushion by One Another; via

Japanese Craft at London Design Festival

Some of the finest Japanese craftsmanship is found in the old capital of Japan, Kyoto. Six companies from the city, each of which is skilled in a traditional craft, have formed a group called +noma to promote various products that apply their particular craft in the creation of either established or modern living goods, including handmade bamboo chairs, ceramic lamps and carved screens. The products use natural materials, such as bamboo, clay and wood, and are presently on display in a show titled Crafted In Kyoto, part of the London Design Festival.

Hand-stitched cotton-filled Japanese cushions called kyozabuton on samurai shogi chair,
Handmade shirotake bamboo box stool by Yokoyama Bamboo,

Friday, 13 September 2013

Shelf Life Part 1: Clean & Simple

If I lived like a horder with papers and boxes stacked all about, I wager I would be immediately cured of my clutterbug habit if I was presented with shelving as lovely as these examples below. Not only would I stack them with only the very best of my treasures, but I would throw away anything that didn't look as sleek and as smart as these casegoods of distinction. I would clear out my house and live like a monk with few possessions, just so I could gaze at my pretty display units. I would be a changed person.

1. Juniper shelves by Kenneth Cobonpue; via and
2. Gardebias outdoor shelving by Jaime Hayón for bd Barcelona; via and
3. Reedy Bookcase by Istanbul-based design studio Autoban; via and
4. Aviolux is a series of hanging cabinets from Studio Cappellini; via and
5. Cloud shelving by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec for Cappellini; via and
6. Elysee stackable shelving by iconic designer Pierre Paulin for Magis; via and

Sportmax window pane prints for Spring Summer 2013; via

West Elm Melbourne Store Opening

There's less than a week to finish off what is promising to be a go-to designer destination in Melbourne - just another one, mind - the new West Elm store, which will open in Chapel Street at 8am on September 19. West Elm is a member of the Williams-Sonoma Inc portfolio of brands (Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids and West Elm) and a very welcome addition to the Australian furniture and homewares market, I think you'll agree.

The store, which is located at 464 Chapel Street, South Yarra, is the first company-owned stand-alone West Elm store to open outside North America. Housed within a refurbished two-storey heritage building, the store will have 744 square metres of retail space, including a West Elm Market coffee shop on the ground floor.

This new store follows recent openings of four Williams-Sonoma Inc stores – West Elm, Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Kids - in Sydney's Bondi Junction in May, and precedes the opening of the first West Elm European store scheduled to open in London in fall 2013. Aren't we lucky?

Go Native: Australian Botanicals in Print

The textiles of Ink & Spindle are celebrated among lovers of Australian design for their inspirational graphics depicting Australian native flora, as well as for the contemporary sensibility of the studio's colour palette and fabric choices. Ink & Spindle co-designers Tegan Rose and Lara Cameron are based in Melbourne. Their preferred method of image transfer is screen printing onto organic basecloths of cotton, hemp or linen, and the beautiful patterns are created with just one or two colour separations. The textiles are sold as meterage but many are available in a small range of simple homewares, too. The pair's latest design is of a waratah, but there are also textiles printed with kangaroo paw and grevillea motifs; see below and for more, visit


Thursday, 12 September 2013

An Australian Guide to Buying Outdoor Furniture

In outdoor furniture you often get what you pay for, so if you've made an inexpensive purchase be aware that cheap materials and cheap construction won't last long outside in the weather. If you want outdoor furniture for more than a couple of summer seasons, check on quality first. For a few tips on what to look for, read my online Guide to Buying Outdoor Furniture in today's Home & Style section of Fairfax Media.

Jak & Jil outdoor metal furniture by Australian design company Tait Outdoors;

A Storytelling Design Date: Arflex at Poliform

It's a month away but design devotees won't want to miss saving a diary date for this a special evening at Poliform with leading designers Paul Hecker and Hamish Guthrie, plus the suave set of Belle magazine, to discuss and celebrate the unique style and design history of furniture brand Arflex. The event, which is catered with delicious canapes and fine wines, is on in Melbourne, Wednesday, October 9 from 6-9pm,; and in Sydney, October 16, from 6-9pm, If you can't make it along, don't worry, the Hecker Guther Arflex exhibition will remain in store for a month.

Super sleek Hug armchair and furniture from Arflex; via

Tropical Bird Life: Amalfi's New Outdoor Decor

Talk about pink flamingos and Polly parrots! The Style Index can just see this awesome range of light and lovely colourful outdoor furniture being a hit with the 'I want to furnish it now' crowd when it hits the stores over the coming months. Amalfi's tropically inspired outdoor furniture and decorative accessories promises to take you straight to paradise – or at least provide a comfy place for you to catch some rays outdoors. Pull up a Miami chair, string up some pretty glass planters and surround yourself with pink flamingo and lime green parrot decorations and cushions. Instant garden grooviness! 

Tropicana range of outdoor decor, including the Miami chair and side table, from Amalfi.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Shibui Chanel

The summer's almost over in the northern hemisphere but The Style Index couldn't resist publishing these images from Chanel's spring/summer 2013 campaign with a Japanese teahouse theme. Shot by Karl Lagerfeld (in New York), the oriental aesthetic of the campaign is created by the inclusion of traditional low Japanese tables, sliding paper screen doors and tatami mats. Its cool sensibility is what the Japanese might describe as shibui, which roughly translates as a quiet and simple beauty. Top model award has to go to the Zen-like super model Stella Tennant (mostly in black), who is obviously channelling her inner geisha;

Get Organised: Garage Storage

Clutterbugs stop procrastinating! If you have a garage, don't fill it up with untidy stacks of cardboard boxes and tubs. Get organised with a simple storage system. These racks and storage unit shelves from Howard's Storage World are simple to install and can be added to as required. The best thing about this system is that not only is your 'stuff' up and off the floor, it's on full display so you can readily use it when needed.

Fine Furniture For The Bathroom

This multifunctional bathroom furniture was created out of a collaboration between Japanese-Portuguese duo Ryosuke Fukusada and Rui Pereira, who used renewable Portuguese cork and metal to create their ‘Bug Collection’. Fukusada has established a design studio in Kyoto since middle of last year after worked for a few years for the Studio Urquiola in Milan as an assistant designer of product design for Patricia Urquiola. 

Bug Collection of bathroom furniture by Ryosuke Fukusada; via

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Something Beginning With... C for Chair

The great thing about local design fairs is that it provides both the media and the general public with the opportunity to see and appreciate the wealth of talent we have at home. With this in mind, The Style Index visited the recent Sydney Indesign event and was happy to see so many old and new names keeping up with the OS mob. Although The Style Index has more than a little interest in how our near neighbours influence our own ways of seeing, ie Asia and, in particular, Japan, we are committed to promoting Australian-designed products and services, or those made here. In short, it's a pleasure to show off what's so great about the Australian perspective on design. 

Earlier today we posted about textile designers Walter G, this afternoon we present Something Beginning With. With close to 10 years' experience in furniture and home ware design, SBW creates elegant Australian-made designs accessible to the residential, commercial and hospitality sectors. The company is a creative collaboration between Melbourne-based designers Lisa Vincitorio and Laelie Berzon. Here below are SBW's Oscar chair in yellow, Ren chair in white and Jac armchair in grey. All fabulous designs crafted here on our shores. For more information, visit somethingbeginningwith.