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ISSUE 09 OCTOBER – DECEMBER 2010

habitusliving.com

AUD $13.95 NZ $14.95 USD $15.95

CDN $16.95 GBP £8.50 SGD $10.95

WALLPAPERS TO LOVE RE-INVENTING THE QUEENSLANDER – AN AUSTRALIAN ICON KATE SYLVESTER’S CREATIVE PARTNERSHIP IN NZ NEW COASTAL HOMES EAST WEST DESIGN FUSION ARCHITECTURAL CONTRASTS IN THE PHILIPPINES BANGKOK CALLING – LIVING WITH ART GLOBAL DESIGN NEWS FROM DARK TO LIGHT: A TERRACE TRANSFORMATION

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contents 1. HABITUS PRODUCTS STEP INSIDE AS WE BRING YOU PRODUCTS FROM AROUND THE WORLD,

2. HABITUS PEOPLE & PLACES

3. HABITUS HOMES WHETHER COASTAL OR INNER

BE A FLY ON THE WALL INSIDE THE

SUBURBAN, HABITUS HOMES EXPLORES

INVESTIGATE THE POSSIBILITIES OF

LIVES AND SPACES OF CREATIVE MINDS

THE DIFFERENT WAYS IN WHICH SITE,

CARDBOARD AND UNROLL A NEW

AND INSPIRATIONAL PEOPLE FROM

SETTINGS AND CONTEXT TURN THE

GENERATION OF WALLPAPER.

AROUND THE REGION.

HOUSES WE LIVE INTO HOMES.

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DESIGN NEWS

partnership

Scenario: South Coast House

From reindeer leather to recycled sail cloths, we showcase a selection of ingenious and texturally-rich products from around the world.

Andrea Stevens explores the collections and collaborations of fashion designer Kate Sylvester and her partner Wayne Conway.

79 Creation

Eastern Weft is a weaving collective in Laos producing contemporary textiles using traditional techniques. Nicky Lobo talks with its LaoAustralian designer and discovers how a blend of cultures is influencing their design.

Residential architecture South of Sydney, Paul McGillick enjoys a house by Fergus Scott Architects which makes an experience of the landscape it bonds with.

33 RE-SHOOT

Expand your mind with our collection of some unlikely but inventive cardboard creations.

60 Creation

Fiona Tan’s video installations canvas the complexities of cultural identity. Michael Young profiles the artist and her work.

109 Scenario: newtown House

Residential architecture Andrea Millar visits an inner suburban home in Sydney and discovers the clever and inventive ways Sam Crawford Architects brought light into this dark Victorian terrace.

85 Close Up

37 in camera

Wallpapers have had a facelift. We sample a selection of inspiring designs and patterns.

69 Inspired

Grazia Materia, an interior and furniture designer of Temperature Design in Melbourne, shares her inspirations with Kath Dolan.

On Great Barrier Island, off the north-east coast of New Zealand, lives architects Nicky and Lance Herbst. Andrea Stevens profiles the pair’s work and unearths the simple, honest expressions of the Herbsts’ architectural rationality.

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habitus 09

contents 171 HOME MOVIE: JOHN BIRMINGHAM

118 SCENARIO: APARTMENT HOUSE

Residential architecture How do multiple generations of one family live independently in a single residence? Chu Lik Ren discovers the intricate spatial relationships that make this house in Singapore by Formwerkz Architects one coherent whole.

141 SCENARIO: SANDHILLS RD

Residential architecture Treading lightly on the ground, yet intrinsically rooted to its site, Andrea Stevens explores the many contrasts of this house in Medlands Beach, NZ, by Fearon Hay.

129

200 SNAPSHOT: HAMBURG

Solveig Walking re-discovers a gracious and cultured city, perhaps not as well known as it ought to be, re-inventing itself as a vibrant creative city.

181

SCENARIO: WESTWYCK HOUSE

Residential architecture Multiplicity are renowned for their masterful ways of re-purposing old buildings. Stephen Crafti visits a home office reborn from a former school drill hall.

Where personality and residential architecture meet Author John Birmingham has always had a love for the ‘Queenslander’. Lucy Bullivant discovers how architects Owen and Vokes adapted this quintessential dwelling to suit the author’s contemporary family lifestyle.

4. HABITUS SIGN-OFF WE DISCOVER THE EMERGENCE OF HAMBURG AS A CULTURAL HUB AND TAKE A PHILOSOPHICAL LOOK AT THE BROAD SUBJECT OF ARCHITECTURE.

JUMP CUT: PHILIPPINE HOUSES

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Two projects in one location Aya Maceda compares two houses and reveals the cultural influences behind these contemporary interpretations of the Filipino home.

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SCENARIO: BILL’S HOUSE

MONTAGE

Residential architecture Rachel Bernstone visits a house in Sydney’s Earlwood by architect Tony Owen, who mixes sculptural forms and crisp interiors inspired by James Bond movies.

Philip Drew tackles the question ‘What is architecture?’ through his review of three books by wellknown architects Robert Dickson and Denise Scott Brown and writer Paul Goldberger.

161 DIRECTOR’S CUT: TEN’S RESIDENCE

Architects and designers designing for themselves Tonkao Panin peruses the house and collections of Thai interior designer Varaka Tipprapa.

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editor’s letter paul mcgillick

For...those the design places, hunter, things, lifepeople is not beliefsbecause which make us feel an and accident, an accidental in an sense. lifesecure is... well, notexistential a life at all.

We tend not to talk about ‘homes’ in Habitus, preferring ‘houses’ and ‘apartments’. But the idea of ‘home’ is very much embedded in everything we do. In most languages the word for ‘home’ is polysemic – which means that, like most everyday words, it has more than one meaning. Check it out in the dictionary and you will see what I mean. In fact, just speaking our mother tongue can make us feel ‘at home’, especially if we have spent time communicating in another language. This is partly because our first language is inseparably linked to our development in childhood. But it is also because in subtle ways, our values and view of the world are encoded in the mother tongue. So speaking it becomes a matter of “God’s in His heaven, all’s well with the world” – we feel reassured that things are the way they were always meant to be. These are ideas most famously elaborated by Gaston Bachelard in The Poetics of Space where he comments that “A house that has been experienced is not an inert box. Inhabited space transcends geometrical space.” So, we can feel at home in a house but, as Bachelard says, we can also feel at home in a specific space in the house – or, for that matter, outside the house in the garden or the landscape, because that space in which we feel at home does not necessarily have to be an enclosed space. So, we can feel ‘at home’ in a particular place, speaking our mother tongue or in the company of certain people. And ‘coming home’ is about returning to – even discovering for the first time – those places, things, people and beliefs which make us feel secure in an existential sense. Conversely, we can feel that we don’t belong anywhere – a condition referred to as anomie. In this issue of Habitus, for example, we meet Fiona Tan whose art is essentially about dislocation, and is made from the fragments of things and experiences which once made up someone’s sense of belonging. But most of the stories in this issue are more typical – they are about a sense of place, and about how we can maintain a sense of individual and cultural uniqueness in ‘the global village’. As always, we range widely across the Region, from Laos and the Philippines, through Bangkok and Singapore to New Zealand and Australia. Hence, we have an architect in Bangkok who has created a home for himself and his art collection. We have a home for an extended family in Singapore which is more like a small block of apartments. We have a writer in Brisbane who has adapted a classic ‘Queenslander’ house for his own purposes and a house south of Sydney which set out to be completely at home in the landscape and history of its site. And for the first time since we launched, we journey to the Philippines for two examples of home-making in a very special context. Paul McGillick, Editor

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1. news

back to basics

with beautiful design,

cardboard

& wallpaper 23

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habitus 09

design news work + play 21

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Rockaround Sway gently or rock wildly on this New Zealand design by Tim Wigmore, made with naturallyoiled plantation bamboo and hemp, timwigmore.com

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paper alarm clock South Korean expats in the

XY+Z A micro-wardrobe for the selection and display of tomorrow’s ensemble, this suit rack is the result of a careful study

Netherlands turn a typically mass-produced item into

into the act of getting dressed. The XY+Z re-formalises the everyday act of dressing, eliminating the habitual morning

something sublimely delicate and tactile, joonjung.com

rush. The rack accommodates an entire outfit – jacket, shirt, tie, pants, belt, shoes and bag, well-groomed-fox.com

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The usuals Made from Oak and leather, this lunchbox designed by Van Eijk & Van der Lubbe is crafted with memories

The Blob Shaped like a glass-blowing mistake, the

of wooden toy chests and leather-strapped school bags. It’s part of a collection of common, yet somewhat forgotten,

Blob is a glossy desk organiser and paperweight,

items that include a sewing kit and tea cosy, evoking the nostalgic simpleness of yesteryear, ons-adres.nl

establishedandsons.com / livingedge.com.au

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2. people

texture & tradition trickle through

the tales of

creative MINDS 47

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partnership kate sylvester — AUCKLAND, new zealand

“Our collections tell a story... and with a show we can realise the entire vision – characters, sound track and setting.”

– KATE

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of sportswear and couture, and the conceptually rich notion of ‘earth versus plastic’. The artwork of Christo and Jeanne-Claude inspired the ‘plastic’ colours. Kate juxtaposed bright yellow gowns with safari jackets; natural linen with sporty nylon zips; gaiters and techy backpacks with summer frocks and rompers. For the show, dripping pink paint was used on the plywood invite and runway backdrop. From seemingly disparate references, Kate cleverly distils ideas into a very readable and balanced collection. “I guess that’s what I love about it”, muses Kate, “that you can take something as extreme as Christo and a wayward English aristocrat, and somehow make them into a coherent collection. They came together and they worked together.” This mental and physical freedom was the stuff of their childhoods. Coming from different parts of rural New Zealand, people “grew up making things,” recalls Kate. After studying and meeting in Wellington, they departed for a five-year working holiday. Each landed jobs in London and Paris, which exposed them to highend contemporary practice.

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A wall of photographs greets visitors to Kate and Wayne’s home.

Dripping pink paint was used on the plywood invite for ‘Take a Hike’.

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03

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Lipstick t-shirt from ‘Diamond Dogs’ collection autumm/ winter 2010.

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Kate’s design board for ‘This Charming Man’.

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Clarkson House (2008). Main entry is by a link bridge, which separates living from sleeping. 05

A child’s cubbyhole below stairs leading to the main bedroom. 06

Folding roof forms and structure create a sense of enclose.

“The weather encourages a rigorous approach to semi-outdoor space... it is a wonderful pointer and anchor to work with.” – NICOLA 05

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beach community and the natural beauty of the island were everything they were looking for. “We completely fell in love with it,” recalls Lance. They returned for several holidays and eventually bought a piece of land at Medlands Beach. The first bach they designed at Medlands was their own, which they built piece by piece over time. A water tower was built initially with wet areas below, followed by a communal room and covered deck. Dining and the ‘field kitchen’ are contained on the deck, and protected with wind shutters and a simple iron roof. A few years ago, they built a sleeping cabin and workshop at the rear of the site. The whole arrangement is anchored around the tower, with a large open green space between both shelters. “Nothing is formal at Barrier,” Nicola observes. “Baches typically develop as an accretion of small elements over the years, and this is how we approach their design.” Coming from a warm, dry African climate with year-round outdoor living, what struck them about New Zealand was the changeability of the weather. Subject to El Niño and La Niña patterns, it is not unusual for northern regions to experience four seasons in one day. “The weather encourages a rigorous approach to semi-outdoor space,” notes Nicola, “and we embrace that because it is a wonderful pointer and anchor to work with.” The orientation and fabric of their buildings are designed to trap the sun and shield the wind. They go to great lengths to create protected space, thus maximising the number of months people can live outdoors. In 2008, they designed the Clarkson House on the outskirts of a city in the Waikato, a region that has a cooler climate than Auckland and generally a flatter topography. The main feature of the site is a sapling forest, and so the building is all about integrating with this forest and bringing views of the trees into the architectural composition. A strip of clerestory windows and ground-level windows were one of the first architectural decisions. These captured different forest layers – trunks versus foliage – contrasting and thus highlighting the architecture

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3. houses

homes that mould

space & light into inspiring

galleries of human

experience 97

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habitus 09

scenario newtown terrace — NSW, australia

Sam Crawford Architects

Into the

Light

For a young Sydney family, transforming their inner-suburban home proved more rewarding than moving elsewhere. Andrea Millar responds to architect Sam Crawford’s transformation of a dark Victorian terrace into a light filled contemporary home. Text Andrea Millar

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Photography Brett Boardman

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The proliferation of 19th Century Victorian terraces defines much of the streetscape in Sydney’s established inner-city areas. Many have been re-worked, recycled, and re-invented into divine, light-filled spaces suitable for contemporary living. Yet many others with their Victorian bones intact have tacky, thoughtless additions. Most are dark and miserable, full stop. The exact level of genius, difficulty and cost for the successful salvation of a terrace house can be hard to appreciate, and begs the question: Is it worth the time, effort and expense? The answer is yes, definitely. A case in point is this terrace re-invention by Sam Crawford for a couple and their two young children in Newtown, in Sydney’s inner suburbs. For Crawford’s clients, Anna Hall, Simon Tobin and their children Max, 7, and Lulu, 4, home was a three-storey terrace (including basement level), last renovated in the 1980s. In a picturesque row amidst mature trees and a moment’s walk to bustling King Street, it ticked many boxes. The physical proximity of the terrace to like-minded, neighbouring families, for instance, provided the Hall-Tobins with a strong sense of community, and the house also had a “feel-good factor,” says Anna. This meant that when, finally, the lack of natural light, a poor floor plan and the need for more bathrooms was too much to bear, the family opted for an architect instead of a real estate agent. Crawford was chosen because his ideas and past projects confirmed to the Hall-Tobins that he understood family life. Things couldn’t just look good, they had to function for a family of four. In terms of budget, there was enough in the proverbial pot for an overhaul of the terrace, but elements of the 1980s renovation had to be salvaged so that the quality of the new work could be at a high level. The basement level was dark despite the 1980s extension featuring a skillion roof and floor-to-ceiling glass doors opening to the garden, which were to stay under the new design. Crawford knew that getting natural light into the basement would require a

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The glass floor allows sunlight in to the basement level below.

The sculptural concrete stair wraps around recycled plywood joinery.

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The basement has become the new living, dining and kitchen zone. A Ben Quilty artwork hangs on the wall.

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Lounge room joinery cleverly conceals the entertainment equipment. 04

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ARCHIPELAGO

jump cut

batangas house — MANILA, philippines

Filipino Reinvention Two houses – one a beach weekender, the other an urban family home – represent two contemporary interpretations of a Filipino home. Aya Maceda reports that they take their cues from Philippine ancestral houses, local ways of living and climate. Text Aya Maceda

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Photography Tom Epperson

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Archipelago

batangas house — MANILA, philippines

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Batangas House Sitting quietly on a cliff, this beach weekender, located three hours from Manila, is designed by owner/property developer, Chut Cuerva and partner, Tisha de Borja, both graduates of Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc). Chut also pursued a graduate degree at Columbia University. After he and Tisha worked for various firms, they returned to the Philippines to collaborate on a series of commercial projects. Batangas House is their first built residential project together. It was designed to be a serene, modern beach respite from the chaos of Manila where the owner works and lives, but also had many other requirements. With four bedrooms, there were specific requests for gathering spaces for cooking, dining and entertaining. It had to withstand the harsh tropical climate and typhoons during the monsoon season while allowing open-air living during the dry season. The design approach to this house is a type of ‘soft’ Modernism. “We employ the language of the Modernist tradition, using strong geometries and elegant proportions to try and create a sense of timeless form,” says Cuerva. “With the deliberate selection of material and a deft use of lighting, we infuse our work with a sensual warmth and avoid the hard-edged minimalism that makes it difficult to live with Modernism. We regard each element of a project as integral to the whole and try to shape both architecture and interiors to create a cohesive entity.” What is so appealing about this house is the calm arrangement of the building form. There is a feeling of lightness from the entry that continues to the interior of the home. The symmetry in plan evokes a sense of order that is continued throughout the house. And although it incorporates strong ideas of minimalism, it does not lack narrative. An entry path and a beautiful umbrellashaped Talisay tree mark the central axis of the house. This leads to the entry court with a paved driveway on one side and a contrasting manicured lawn on the other. A reflecting pond sits in a recessed volume at the entry court of the house. Once the door opens, continuity between this calm water feature and the open sea is revealed. Since the property slopes down with the cliff, the progression through the house begins from the top level. Even when the front door is

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Batangas House presents modestly from the street. An assembly of elegant white geometries is subdued by a naturally sculpted umbrella-like tree. 02

Natural light floods the dining room at the lower level across the living room. 03

Open-plan living room in light, neutral finishes. 04

The kitchen on the mezzanine level looks down over the dining room and the view beyond.

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