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10x10 House offsets a small footprint with endless views; design anthropologist Trent Jansen in his new studio; and a remote, Indonesian farm stay. This is the Life Outdoors issue.

46 9 771836 055007 > DECEMBER – FEBRUARY | 2020 AUD$17.95 | NZ$17.95 | SGD$13.95


#46 Here’s a Habitus-curated snapshot of the latest and greatest products to hit the local market. See it here first! 26

DESIGN NEWS Discover the latest in furniture, furnishings, accessories, appliances and hardware to enhance your life lived as a true Design Hunter. We’ve done the research for you and scoped out the pieces that you need to be aware of – from established and emerging designers, makers and suppliers alike.

26 Personal stories, cultural traditions, and shared histories inform the design thinking of our Design Hunters this issue – and some of their most celebrated work. 46 TRENT JANSEN A designer and design anthropologist based on the NSW south coast, Trent Jansen uses his skillset to share the narratives and rich histories of the many cultures that exist within the Australian borders. 58

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MILO NAVAL An intimate dialogue between Filipino designer Milo Naval and his friend and frequent collaborator, Filipino–Australian architect Aya Maceda of actLAB.

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MARTIN JOHNSTON The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in the Byron Shire, where furniture designer and maker Martin Johnston took an apprenticeship with his father after high school. Following a brief working holiday abroad, Martin eventually – perhaps inevitably – took over the family workshop.


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SUKASANTAI FARM STAY Patrons of this unique farm stay in rural Indonesia are encouraged to work the land and prepare their own meals from the fruits of their labour. The desire of the owners is to re-establish a connection between people and nature, and people and food.

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MATERIALITY EXPOSÉ: RAMMED EARTH What are the properties and benefits of rammed earth as a building material? Olha Romaniuk finds its claims to sustainability are multi-faceted.

104 LIFE OUTDOORS A strong indoor-outdoor connection headlines many architect’s briefs in the residential sphere, but how are patrons and consumers seeking to be connected to nature in their public lives, too?

Steep sites, international influences, and the desire to feel close to nature has informed the briefs and inspired the architects behind these projects. 114 POWELL STREET Melbourne-based architecture writer and editor Stephen Crafti speaks about his own home, and working with architect and friend Robert Simeoni on its renovation. 126 HOLE IN THE ROOF HOUSE Not an inch bigger than it needed to be, this restrained house in Sydney’s east by Neeson Murcutt wraps around an internal courtyard and enjoys views down to the ocean. 136 RAMMED EARTH RETREAT Brazilian-born, Byron Bay-based architect Thais Pupio doesn’t believe that a house needs to be high-tech to be architecturally innovative; this project is proof. 148 10X10 HOUSE It didn’t bode well for Patchwork Architecture that their clients had bought this site in Wellington off

architects who couldn’t make it work for them, but Patchwork persevered and the results are like nothing we have seen before. 160 FADE TO GREEN Raw and imperfect, this house by HYLA Architects in Singapore is quite a departure from the decadent nature of its neighbours. The thinking here was to blur the lines between nature and architecture, for the former to almost feel as it is overtaking the latter.


issue #46 habitusliving.com

Life’s simple pleasures The PETRA SIDE TABLE by James Howe is named after the ancient Jordan city, carved from solid stone and designed to underscore the beauty of oak grain with its elegant and angular simplicity. jameshowe.com.au

The WILLOW bed from the Weekend Collection by Jardan explores the relationship and materiality of rattan and timber. A round sweeping silhouette offers a soft and gentle touch to any bedroom setting. jardan.com.au


1. lightbox

Curl up and relax on the modular SENJA sofa from Cosh Living. The highly flexible design invites you to combine a one, two or three-seater module with either high or low arms and a choice of regular or extradeep cushions for the ultimate outdoor lounge experience. coshliving.com.au

The PLEAT COLLECTION designed by Adam Robinson for House of Bamboo is a range of modern and simple planters with smart architectural detailing. outdoordesignerstore.com.au

An Organised Life’s 2020 COLLECTION is designed to bring structure and organisation into busy lives through a curated selection of minimalistic stationery products. anorganisedlife.com

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2 . portrait

Of course there is a sensitivity to be observed around the sharing of other people’s and cultures’ stories, of which he is acutely aware. From his perspective it is a great way to use his skillset to share important narratives with a greater audience. “It’s also important to me that the people that own those stories have the right to say yes or no as to whether I use them,” he notes. Some of the more iconic projects he has worked on over the years can be seen as key examples of the depth of research that informs his work and the seriousness and sensitivity with which he takes sharing narratives. In 2013 Trent designed and produced, working with Adam Price of JP Finsbury, the Chinaman’s File Rocking Chair for Broached East by Broached Commissions. The limited edition collection was an exploration of Asia’s influence on Australia – especially China’s and Japan’s – since the industrial revolution. It had a particular focus on the mid-19th century. The design theory is informed by a history lesson, it’s what inspired Trent to design what he did. And why close collaborators such as Adam and local carpenter Chris Nicholoson, who made the second edition in 2019, need to share his passion for making with purpose. Chinaman’s File Rocking Chair is designed to simulate the movement a child experiences when carried in a traditional Chinese baby sling on the mother’s back. The rocking mechanism mimics the distinct rocking motion of the sling – the exact arc – which was

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something Trent was able to observe in a filmic study and is very different to that of a normal rocking chair. It was also designed with a rural aesthetic in mind rather than a regal one, in accord with the class of economic migrants. More recently, The Shaker Family Home is the physical result of an anthropological interest in Shaker-style furniture and, zooming out, Shaker culture. It was first seen at Salone del Mobile.Milano 2019. The cabinet that Trent has created, once again working with Chris Nicholson, represents a Shaker home with elements that are disparate from the cabinet as a whole. The drawers pop out and operate as autonomous objects. The top drawer, for example, becomes a desk, another drawer becomes a candelabra, and another becomes a mirror. Trent was intrigued to note dual meanings within Shaker religion, crafting by hand, for example, also being understood as an act of prayer. And the furniture makers within the faith would certainly spend many hours ‘praying’ in this way, it became clear to Chris, working on this project with Trent, that the level of detail comes from an incredible amount of time spent and devotion to the craft. Critically, Trent and Chris share these values. “It’s not a story that could’ve happened with someone that was doing it on the clock. There’s so much time, so much precision, and so much detail. But, also, so much understanding of the history and the way that that culture manifests in those details,” says Trent.

OPENER | DESIGN ANTHROPOLOGIST TRENT JANSEN SITTING ON THE STEPS LEADING UP TO HIS STUDIO IN THIRROUL, NSW. OPPOSITE | INSIDE THE “CLEAN” SPACE ARE SIMPLE METAL SHELVES CONTAINING RESEARCH, SAMPLES AND SUPPLIES. ABOVE | THE MATERIALS THAT COMPRISE THE NEW STUDIO ARE MOSTLY RECYCLED AND SOURCED BY THE DESIGNER HIMSELF, INCLUDING THE TIN SHEETS AND CONCRETE SLEEPERS.


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2 . portrait

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Most recently, Trent has been working with Johnny Nargoodah, a Nykina man and studio technician who he first met in 2016 through the Fremantle Art Centre project, In Cahoots. During 2016 and 2017 Trent worked with several artists at the Mangkaja Art Centre in Fitzroy Crossing to create new work with locals. Both Trent and Johnny enjoyed working together and have continued to do so in the time since. Their latest project, supported by funding from the Australia Council for the Arts, questions the notion that artefacts are conveyors of a singular set of values, attitudes and the cultural heritage of the maker/designer. Untitled at the time of writing, this work is the creation of an artefact from two people of different cultures. It can also be seen as an exploration in ethical, cross-cultural collaboration and what that looks like: in practice as much as in the final product. Each time Trent and Johnny have worked together, this being the third, they endeavour to ensure authorship is entirely equal. With different personalities, skillsets, working habits and methods of idea generation, level collaboration can be seen as a skillset in itself. The pair often experiments with different methods of collaborative design and making, such as sketch exchange. “Sketch exchange is a process whereby one collaborator produces a sketch and sends it to the second collaborator. The second collaborator then interprets the sketch, adding and subtracting elements based on their own sensibility, and then sends it back to the first collaborator… The process goes back and forth until neither collaborator can recognise their authorship, and the idea is a true co-authorship,” explains Trent. This explicitly equally authored work will be shown through Gallery Sally DanCuthbert and Arc One in Melbourne, during Melbourne Design Week 2020.

Trent’s love of storytelling and anthropological research frequently comes into play in forming the basis of his projects.

OPPOSITE ABOVE LEFT | TRENT DOESN’T HAVE A SET STABLE OF MATERIALS THAT HE WORKS WITH. OPPOSITE ABOVE RIGHT | UNTITLED CHAIR BY TRENT AND JOHNNY NARGOODAH IS THE RESULT OF THE MANIPULATION OF AN ALUMINIUM SUBSTRATE WITH HAMMERS AND RAMS OVER A TIMBER PUCK, THEN LAMINATED WITH SADDLE LEATHER. OPPOSITE BELOW | THE TOP DRAWER IN SHAKER FAMILY HOME HAS A DUAL PURPOSE, AS DO MANY OTHERS. PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROMELLO PEREIRA. ABOVE | TRENT’S DESIGNS AND HIS RESEARCH FILLS THE STUDIO.


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A return to roots A farm stay on the hills of Sukabumi, Indonesia, offers Goy Architects the chance to help realise a visionary client’s intention to build simply and sustainably for the community and beyond. TEXT CHU LIK REN | PHOTOGRAPHY FABIAN ONG


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here exists an ever-growing body of literature that promotes the benefits of human interaction with nature. In Japan, forest bathing is a time-honoured exercise that is believed to ward off illnesses. In Singapore, the practice of biophilia in design (a term popularised by Edward O. Wilson in 1984) and of building therapeutic gardens and community farms has become widespread. But the need to get away from the city to green spaces that promote wellbeing is an ancient impulse. They range from fanciful imperial retreats and country cottages to the humbler, present-day holiday campsites for families. Even so, with climate change and frantic urban living the reality for most people today, there is a rise of a different kind of getaway that is not themed after luxurious resorts for the well-heeled indulged within fenced premises. Rather, they advocate a closed-loop, ecological lifestyle and while offering a restorative holiday, surreptitiously question the toll that relentless productivity, reliance on genetic engineering, and increasing energy consumption inflict on the land and food we consume. They take the form of farm stays and therapeutic retreats with digital detoxes thrown in, where air-conditioned comfort is not a given, but guests can rough it out and go back to basics, in tune with the

rhythms of the day and task of the hour. Their compounds are not necessarily gated and guests can interact with the local community and participate in planting and harvesting activities alongside with them. One such retreat is the Sukasantai Farmstay, a family-owned and run organic vegetable farmstay located on the highlands of Gunung Gede, Sukabumi, Indonesia. The 6-hectare farm had its beginnings as a hobby project to supply the family with vegetables free of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, but soon grew into a small home-delivery enterprise, selling organic vegetables directly to consumers in Jakarta using recycled crates. The idea then evolved into building a farm stay as a means for city dwellers to be reacquainted with nature and the origins of their food supply. “With the growing disconnection of people not knowing how and where food comes from, the farm hopes to reconnect this disjuncture,� said Stephanie Moriyama, owner of Sukasantai Farmstay. The original family bungalow is preserved on-site and an independent, larger wing of accommodation was added on a sloping terrain next to it. Stephanie, a trained landscape architect, engaged an architect she had collaborated with on a previous project in Singapore to design the new wing on the farm. This became one of the impetus for architect Zhenru Goy to launch her practice in 2015.

OPENER | AN ARCHITECTURE THAT IS SIMPLE, AIRY AND WELL-VENTILATED, WITH LOW EAVES TO QUICKLY DRAIN AWAY THE ABUNDANT RAINS ON THE MONTANE SITE. OPPOSITE ABOVE | THE ENTRANCE FOYER FEATURES A HAND-DRAWN ARTWORK FROM A SINGAPOREAN ART TEACHER. OPPOSITE BELOW | THE EXPOSED ROOF IS DESIGNED TO BE UNENCUMBERED BY STRUCTURAL BRACING, AIR-CONDITIONING UNITS OR EVEN FANS.


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3 . on location

Reframing the past Being a good neighbour doesn’t mean not being able to enjoy your privacy, as this house in Sydney’s beachside Bronte demonstrates. TEXT PAUL MCGILLICK | PHOTOGRAPHY BRETT BOARDMAN

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“W

e decided to wrap the place in landscape,” says architect Stephen Neille. In this case, a landscape that not only includes trees and plantings of flowering shrubs and creepers (such as the bougainvillea “borrowed” from the next-door neighbour) around three sides of the curtilage, but also the ‘wider context’ of Bronte’s pre- and post-war residential architecture. Landscape architect, Sue Barnsley, has in fact added substantial amenity to the public domain, especially to the cul-de-sac street that terminates in a delightful pocket park. This in turn becomes another example of the architects’ strategy of borrowing the landscape and drawing it inside the house. The street is part of an elevated bullnose formation affording the house a garden at its tip, beyond which is an unrivalled view down Bronte Gully to the Pacific Ocean beyond. It is this view and the roughly arrowhead shape of the site which has driven the planning of this re-configured and extended pre-war single-storey cottage.

It is home to architects Rachel Neeson and Stephen Neille and their two children. Rachel had previously lived in Bondi and wanted to stay near the beaches, which also suited her all-yearround surfing husband and professional partner, Stephen Neille. The original cottage was entered from the ocean side and was of the railway carriage variety with a corridor down the middle and rooms off to either side on what is quite a deep block. The entry has now been shifted to the street, enabling what has become the living/ dining space to celebrate the view through a bold feature window and its all-glazed companion door to the garden. This was part of an imaginative re-think of the original cottage to open it up and create refuge and prospect, a private yet light-filled home. The side street was walled off (apart from the front garden) with just a discreet entry door and the carport. The white-rendered wall is inflected by the timber entry door and the slightly extruded timber-framed windows of the kitchen and downstairs bathroom. Inside, the street can be observed from a generous lateral

OPENER | VIEW FROM THE COURTYARD LOOKING THROUGH THE LIVING/DINING SPACE TO THE GARDEN AND OCEAN BEYOND. ABOVE | LOOKING BACK INTO THE COURTYARD WITH THE CORRIDOR TO THE PRIVATE WING ON THE LEFT. OPPOSITE | THE CHILDREN’S WING ENDS WITH THE LAUNDRY AND A DISCREET DOOR TO THE STAIRS LEADING UP TO THE MASTER BEDROOM.


3 . on location

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A fine perch Emerging New Zealand practice Patchwork Architecture had to ignore the rulebook to uncover an extraordinary solution for a challenging site.

TEXT ANDREA STEVENS | PHOTOGRAPHY SIMON WILSON


3 . on location

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FIRST FLOOR

GROUND FLOOR

ROOF

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

STAIRS DECK STUDY ENTRY LANDING LIVING KITCHEN / DINING

8 9 0 q w e

BEDROOM ENSUITE BATHROOM BUNK ROOM ROOFTOP DECK ‘BUS STOP’


3 . on location

To explore the house, you climb seven and a half metres up two sets of external concrete stairs to arrive at the entry deck protected below the house proper.

OPPOSITE | PLANS. ABOVE | PERCHED ON A STEEP BANK, INGENUITY IN DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION ENABLED A HIGHLY LIVEABLE SOLUTION.

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Discover beautiful products Meet inspiring people Indulge in architecture and design Across Australia, New Zealand, South and South-East Asia

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Sukasantai Farm Stay Photography by Fabian Ong


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Habitus 46 - Preview Issue  

The December issue of Habitus has to be one of our favourites to put together. As the weather begins to warm, seemingly promising summer’s i...

Habitus 46 - Preview Issue  

The December issue of Habitus has to be one of our favourites to put together. As the weather begins to warm, seemingly promising summer’s i...