Friday, 25 October 2013

Summers Past at Bondi Beach, 1966

What will you be doing this weekend? This snapshot of summers past was photographed at Bondi Beach in 1966 and is now in the National Archives of Australia. Looks like fun.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Australian Textile Designs Inspired By Homeland

We just love the authentic goodness in the antipodean-inspired designs so obvious in Rouse Phillips' gorgeous textile prints. Artists Anastasia Phillips and her partner Tim Rouse started the company in 2012.

"We're a relatively new company based in Darlinghurst," says Phillips. "We design and manufacture textiles for soft furnishing and upholstery as well as a range of hand knotted rugs and kilims. We are trying to do something that is a bit different, made from high quality materials – home furnishings that will be beautiful for many years to come."

According to Phillips, the company is already experiencing a lot of interest in its work locally and overseas and has been featured in a number of publications including Design*Sponge, Inside Out and Home Beautiful magazine. Here below are some examples of Rouse Phillips textiles and rugs.

Cool Coffee Cup Wins Award

Congratulations to UpperCup for their win in the Product Design, Homewares category at the Melbourne Design Awards 2013 announced last night. The product is possibly the world's finest reusable coffee cup and was designed, developed and manufactured in Melbourne by Charlwood Design. A crowd funding campaign to raise the necessary funds to pay for an injection mould tool, brought the UpperCup to life. It's a great looking cup defined by a double wall design. This gives the cup a beautiful and elegant aesthetic and also serves the function of insulation, keeping coffee hot inside and hands cool on the outside.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Rattan & Bamboo Always Popular Outdoors

In recent years, rattan and wicker furniture, especially chairs and table settings designed for outdoor living, got us in the mood to accept more textural offerings elsewhere in the home. Now seating, beds and casegoods are being woven out of all kinds of natural fibres, including new ways with vibrantly painted bamboo. Outside, wicker has become very colourful with the introduction of sophisticated new techniques in making the woven strands out of weather-resistant and easy-to-dye polyester. This Montauk wicker chair from West Elm, made from all-weather polymer wicker over a powder-coated aluminium frame, is a real pleaser. Read my article on 10 Top Trends for Summer in The Sydney Morning Herald online and Fairfax Media nationally. Read more here.

Bathroom Bliss With Kaldewei Enamelled Baths

Plastic baths look, well, okay... but bathing in them is just not the same feeling you get when luxuriating in an enamelled steel bath. Kaldewei has produced its own, fully recyclable steel enamel since 1932. As a pioneer and style icon of bathroom culture, Kaldewei manufactures baths, shower trays and floor-level shower surfaces from eco-friendly Kaldewei steel enamel. Here are a couple of dream bathrooms with Kaldewei enamelled steel baths and shower trays – very zen! You can buy or order in Australia through Bathe. Oh, and check out that angular towel rack in the image below. What a neat idea!

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Molecule: A Melbourne Studio Moving Up

Great to see Molecule a small practice with big ideas making the shortlist for the Emerging Designer of the Year award in the upcoming Interior Design Excellence Awards for 2013. Molecule was established in 2010 by architects Anja de Spa, Richard Fleming and Jarrod Haberfield. It is a Melbourne-based studio that focuses on high design projects across the disciplines of architecture, interiors and art direction. The two Molecule projects shortlisted for IDEA 2013 are Grong Grong - a sumptuous and dramatic Toorak residence (top pic), and Coldstream Homestead - a rural retreat on a vineyard in the Yarra Valley (below). Photographs by Shannon McGrath.

Modern Memphis: Original Designer Collaboration

A trend to watch: Designers are having a field day operating under the veil of postmodernism by rediscovering the Memphis movement and delighting in the influence of the group's chief designer, Italian Ettore Sottass. Loud patterns, muted blocks of primary colour and geometric shapes can be seen in a range of specially commissioned homewares, furniture and furnishings at the London store Darkroom (it thankfully sells online) as well as in the new collection for Danish company Hay overseen by uber designer Sebastian Wrong. Original Memphis designer Nathalie Du Pasquier's Ice pattern was brought out of the archives to cover this armchair for the Wrong for Hay collection, available via Corporate Culture and Cult. Read my article on 10 Top Trends for Summer in The Sydney Morning Herald online and Fairfax Media nationally. Read more here

Monday, 21 October 2013

Scratch Me Happy: Cardboard Home For Cats

Okay, there's nothing Australian or Asian about this cute cardboard house for felines, but the cat-lover in me could not resist sharing, especially when for just over 90 euros, or about AUD $130, you can have one Krabhuis from Holland shipped to your door well in time for Christmas! Doubling as a carboard box to sleep in (what is it about cardboard boxes that cats like so much?) and a scratching post to boot, the house is made from recycled material of 48 layers of duofold cardboard. 

Krabhuis, which means scratch house in Dutch, was designed by three architects from Rotterdam, the Netherlands. “Krabhuis was designed like a child would draw a house, complete with window and chimney. The measurements are 38 x 34 x 52 centimer. Your cat may enter through one of the sides that’s left open, may sharpen it’s nails on the roof and through the window your cat may look outside.”

Look on the Krabhuis website for delightful pics that happy customers around the world have submitted of their cats snoozing inside the house or sharpening claws on the roof.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Tribal Patterns At Habitat For London Design Week

If tribal art could pattern my domestic world, I would look to Africa for colour and shape. I would commission local designers, craftsmen and women to choose their favourite patterns and together we would inscribe and etch on wood and cloth their lovely ideas. Each printed and wrought object would have a name, so I could talk to them at a later date and tell them the tales of their genesis.

The Design Network Africa, looks at the current shifts and exciting developments in design happening across the continent of Africa. In an exhibition called Graphic Africa at Habitat's gallery Platform during London Design Week, 20 pieces of new contemporary furniture by 16 designers from 10 countries in East, West and Southern Africa were displayed.
1. Floor lamp: Operating from their studio and showroom, Co-op, in the city hub of Braamfontein, Adriaan Hugo and Katy Taplin produce furniture, lighting and innovative interior objects. Inspired by the idiosyncrasies of their surroundings, their modernist angular design has a bold upbeat energy that makes their objects and furniture immediately desirable and urban cool; via
2. Boubacar Doumbia’s Le Ndomo textile workshop specialises in natural fabric staining and dyeing techniques such as the traditional Bogolon mud cloth; via
3. Through his raw mixed-media furniture creations Hamed Ouatarra aims to bring out design that exposes the realities of modern Africa. ‘My goal is to provide a key point in a continent which suffers from imports and all kinds of imitation furniture, especially of poor quality and which does not reflect our culture.’; via
4. Boubacar Doumbia’s Le Ndomo textile workshop specialises in natural fabric staining and dyeing techniques such as the traditional Bogolon mud cloth; via
5. Purple chair: Cheick Diallo’s furniture and objects challenge common perceptions of African design with their mix of ancient wisdom and contemporary sensibility. A creative risk-taker Diallo trained as an architect and designer in France, before establishing a studio in his home city. His team of artisans manufacture objects from everyday detritus – from bottle tops to old tyres; via Felted black chair: Entirely self-taught and following her own creative instincts, Ronél Jordaan began by turning fine gossamer thread into robust felted forms; via Table lamp: Adriaan Hugo and Katy Taplin of studio Dokter and Misses produce furniture, lighting and innovative interior objects inspired by the idiosyncrasies of their surroundings; via
6. Vase: Shaped without a potter’s wheel and given a unique black patina finish by firing over an open bamboo fire instead of a kiln the ceramics from designer Joseph Nii Noi Douwuona are made under his direction by 70 Ghanaian women; via Sideboard: Adriaan Hugo and Katy Taplin of studio Dokter and Misses produce furniture, lighting and innovative interior objects,inspired by the idiosyncrasies of their surroundings; via

See below the African Beauty fashion editorial of model Kinee Diouf by Paris-based photographer Ishi for for Vogue Netherlands July 2013. 

Plankton Provides Inspiration For Design Award

Oh so ethereal and otherworldly are these Plankton lights by Malinko, the Adelaide-based studio of Marta Cherednik. Inspired by ocean microorganisms, the lamp is one of a kind. Its light, intricate body is produced via 3D printing using durable nylon-based powder and features a great amount of detail. The lamp uses LED light bulbs that consume minimum energy. Its surface is covered in flock that gives it that unexpected soft and velvety finish. Such beautiful innovation deserves high praise - recognised at the Sydney Design Awards 2013 with a win in the Product Design category for Lighting.

Recycled Cardboard And Bamboo Furniture Wins Award

Cardboard is a material designers love to experiment with. Its throwaway nature and impermanence presents a challenge it is true, but designers continue to come up with novel ways to provide a sympathetic structure to what is essentially just thick paper. Gary Pennington from Tane Design in Melbourne has done this with Groove, a seating and lighting range produced from 100 per cent recycled cardboard featuring sturdy bamboo frames. According to Pennington: "The cardboard components sit within the bamboo frame but are not glued like other furniture of this kind, this allows the cardboard sections to be removed, recycled and replaced when they become tired. However, with care, the cardboard sections will last many years. They have already lasted well over two years in the public children's section of the Adelaide Zoo." The Groove range won the top award in the Furniture Product Design category at the recent Sydney Design Awards 2013.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Multiple Winner Chris Elliott Architects at Sydney Design Awards 2013

It isn't hard to imagine how impressed the judges must have been when they received Chris Elliott Architects' entry of Seacliff House in the Sydney Design Awards 2013 – the form of the house is as awe-inspiring as the ocean view over which it presides. Built for a family of four on a rocky platform overlooking the sea, the stark white house is both sharply angled and undulating in parts. Inside there is more white, lots of floor-to-ceiling glass windows and a sleek furniture. In some areas however, two features bring fun and warmth to the home: bold colour-blocking around the internal pool and raw hewn sandstone walls in the shower room. Not surprisingly, Seacliff house took out the top awards in both the Residential Architecture and Residential Interior Design categories for the Sydney Design Awards which announced the winners for all categories of design, from Installation Design to Graphic design, at an event held at the Beresford Hotel in Sydney last night. The striking images below are courtesy Chris Elliot Architects and photographer Richard Glover.


Winner of Sydney Design Awards 2013 Interior Decoration category: Karen Akers Design

It's winner's day today and first to be congratulated is Karen Akers. The interior designer won the top award in the Interior Decoration category at the 2013 Sydney Design Awards event, held last night at Sydney's Beresford Hotel, for her graceful decorating style in the conversion of a bowling clubhouse into a homey beach house. Tucked away in the dunes of Gerroa beach, south of Sydney, the house has a restrained palette of greys and whites, warmed by the natural hues of timber floors and furniture. See Thomas Dalhoff's beautiful imagery below.

Chris Elliot Architects, Frost* Design and Principals were announced as the Best Creators. Awards director Mark Bergin said: "There have been an extraordinary range of winners, who have really pushed the boundaries to design fresh and innovative outcomes." Along with these, 37 other category winners were also announced last night. More on them later!

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Tony Parker at Grand Designs Live, Sydney

For over 40 years, Tony Parker's honest and streamlined furniture has graced modern Australian homes. You know the style: finely crafted pale-wooden furniture, a little bit scandi, a lot mid-century modern. In an exclusive relationship between Workshopped as retail outlet and Covemore Designs handling manufacture, selected pieces from the mid-century range designed by Tony Parker have been re-introduced into the market and will be on show this weekend at Grand Designs Live Sydney, 18 – 20 October 2013 at The Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour. It's a great opportunity to meet the man behind the iconic brand and then spend some hours at a wonderful showcase of design. Grand Designs Live Sydney is packed full of ideas to help visitors get their home build, renovation or makeover to the next level – regardless of budget – plus plenty of seminars led by some of the best in the business. The images below are photographs taken by Florian Groehn.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Flotsam Furniture: Tsunami Debris As Art

Fumiaki Aono has exhibited at venues including the Rias Ark Museum of Art and the Miyagi Museum of Art and in the 1990s he began working with objects washed up on the coastline and other fragments of broken items, using them as the base for creating artworks, making additions in a process he considers to be mending or restoring. How sadly ironic then that Aono's greatest creative challenge arrived on his doorstep when his local area was impacted by an avalanche of debris produced by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. He subsequently worked with the wreckage, including items from his own neighborhood, the homes of relatives, and familiar places, adopting a variety of approaches in an attempt to add in what is missing from these items and seek out the form that the recycled objects should take. His work appears in the second and one of the largest of Japan's art festivals: the Aichi Triennale which ends October 27.

Colonel Captures Colour Zeitgeist

This second collection from Colonel was exhibited at Maison & Objet 2013. It is European and therefore design news not usually the focus of this blog (except for our moodboard entries), but the range neatly sums up the present global zeitgeist for pale, warm colours, refined plain timber craftsmanship and quirky features. Collection#2 is the creation of Isabelle Gilles and Yann Poncelet from France and is inspired by outdoor furniture (beach, camping, summer) aesthetics, so it seems to be quite complementary to Australian design. The designers describe the collection as: "a contemporary re-reading of this universe mixing colors, rhythms and patterns. It is mainly composed of wood, textile materials and surprising colors." Photo by Massimo Pessina.

Kicking Back With New Designs From Coco Flip

There's something very Japanesque about the furniture arrangement of these Puku ottomans and Bucket coffee table below. The scale and perspective is reminiscent of a kotatsu (table heater) surrounded by zabuton (cushion seats), but the truth is that this is a very Australian setting from Coco Flip, a multi-disciplinary design studio based in Melbourne. Established by Kate Stokes in 2010, Coco Flip undertakes projects within the creative fields of furniture, interior, and graphic design, including these two very recent designs. The Bucket coffee table is made from brass and cast concrete and the Puku ottoman (maori for chubby belly) are upholstered in the finest Kvadrat fabrics from Denmark. Photos: Haydn Cattach.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Hanging Around: New Coat Hangers from Aero

As you walk out the door, wouldn't you like to grab a hat, a coat, your scarf or a dog leash from one of these colourful hangers? A new product from Australian design company Aero, these hangers are made from powder-coated aluminium and are available in large and small sizes in a variety of colours, as seen below. The simple big dot shapes will suit the contemporary home or office and are even a natty idea for a gift. Each coat hanger comes individually packaged in its own stylish box. Contact Aero Designs.

Bright Beads: Lighting Up Style At Home

Don't you just love it when you see a design idea so simple and beautiful that you can't believe you haven't seen it before? The Bright Beads lighting system, designed by Coco Reynolds from Marz Designs and developed in conjunction with How We Create is beautifully handcrafted from FSC certified timbers, American Walnut, Smoked Ash, Rock Maple, American Oak, and can be custom made to any length and in any configuration to suit. Australian designed and manufactured, these beautiful lights are hung as a cluster to create a chandelier and provide a focal point for a room. This set of four, includes the Alice, Aleenta, Abacus and Africa pendants. Each pendant comes complete with a nickel ceiling rose for permanent installation by a licenced electrician. 

Hang-ups: Why Curtains Are Good For Your Living Room

The curtain is a much overlooked decorating device that needs a little reviving. Because, frankly, where else can you hang a length of sumptuous fabric? Curtains provide textural interest to plainly painted walls and add a vertical dimension to a room - oh, and let's not forget, they help reduce the heat and bright light of a hot Australian summer. Pick up some of the colours of a curtain's fabric design in a few scatter cushions on a sofa and a sitting room is done. The new spring design below is from Swedish textile brand Spira and is available at Nordic Fusion, a Sydney Scandi import company which will open its warehouse this week at 122-126 Old Pittwater Road, Brookvale, from Thursday, October 17-19, for a massive three-day sale.

Kvist Fabric, Krita and Klotz cushions, from Nordic Fusion

Friday, 11 October 2013

London Calling: Australian Lighting Designers

If all the wonderful Australian designers could be sent to London with a bright idea, I would like to see them create a light, a lamp or a pendant, so that they could, in that faraway place, switch on their brilliant creations all at once, pointing the light produced at our antipodean continent on the other side of the globe. With a little luck, and a big mirror positioned somewhere strategically in space to redirect the beam, the light would shine on our collective brilliance and the world would be reminded that we are an artful place full of innovative people who know how to use design to live harmoniously together. At the event 100% Design, part of the recent London Design Festival 2013, a group of such designers exhibited their lights in the inaugural Australia Pavilion. Here is some of their work.

1. Droplet pendant by Viktor Legin; via
2. Stoneware Lamps by Adam Cornish; via
3. Luna Lana Lights by Stephanie Ng; via
4. Scoop Lights by Stephanie Ng; via
5. Topaz by Edward Linacre; via
6. Dusk Pendant by Edward Linacre; via

Let There Be Light editorial for Tush Magazine photographed by Armin Morbach.