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It seems as though a wooden boat washed up on shore amidst a neighbourhood of typical Aussie beach houses just south of Melbourne on the Mornington Peninsula. From the street the house’s irregular form reveals nothing of what unfolds once within the property.
At a closer look, the façade consists solely of a postbox. According to the design team at McBride Charles Ryan the openness of a holiday house in a beach community renders the front door arbitrary. You stop in for the weekend – your mates stop over for a Sunday afternoon drink.
The architects valued the existing scale of Blairgowrie – the house is certainly not an obstruction built within the community. Instead, it’s modest irregularity opens up into an impressive four-bedroom beach verandah. Bold blacks and whites sit on top of the stained timber floors, which run the length of the house.
A dramatic red support structure, the most striking interior feature, draws the divide between inside and out. According to the architects, the support shelves are where beach memories will be stored – a place where all the stuff you see every day will sit as you and your family grow. - Andrew J Wiener
Photography: John Gollings
Stockholm-based Sommarnöjen (Summer Enjoyment - or Entertainment - in English) has just unveiled the designs for five new beautiful 15-square-meter second houses. Sommarnöjen houses are designed by Sweden's top-tier architectural offices Kjellander + Sjöberg Arkitektkontor, Sandellsandberg Arkitekter and Tham & Videgard Hansson Arkitekter.
Sommarnöjen provides the houses ready-built on site. Some are suitable for year-round use as well. The mini-houses are also great as additions to a larger dwelling - as guest houses, studios, workshops, separate bedrooms and of course, saunas. For those of us with Scandinavian backgrounds, these cottages look like home. They look perfectly suited to join the thousands of tiny cottages that dot the small islands, rocky seashores and lakesides of Scandinavia where people take July off and also spend every weekend from April till September (or more) at the cottage, rain or shine. Sommaren har kommit! - Tuija Seipell
We are cautiously nursing a glimmer of hope that even the most corporate of the corporate world could start taking design seriously. And that they could really start understanding and taking advantage of the effects that great head-office design has on staff creativity, productivity and comfort; which, in turn, leads to either staff loyalty or revolving doors. And, most important, that all of this inevitably filters down to how the customers experience the company.
Some banks in Australia are giving us reason for this hope. We observed Macquarie investment bank’s new harbourside office building in Sydney some time ago.
We are now looking at the ANZ Centre in Melbourne’s Docklands and our hopes rise up further. Designed by Melbourne-based HASSELL, the massive “urban campus” occupies 130,000 square metres and is the location of the daily grind for 6,500 people.
The design centers around a common hub that on the ground level includes cafes, a visitor centre and public art. Throughout the campus, 44 individual hub spaces connect to quiet working zones.
The floor plan maximizes flexibility and daylight penetration, and fosters collaboration and varying work styles. About 55 percent of the work area is collaborative space and the remaining area is dedicated desk space.
HASSELL won the 2010 World Architecture Festival’s Interiors and Fitout of the Year award for ANZ Centre. The World Architecture Festival is an annual three-day event held in Barcelona where the Awards this year attracted a record 500 entries from 61 countries. - Tuija Seipell
On approach, the entrance looks like a cave formed by rendered concrete walls. Only the slight and irregular black window frame insertions appear to allow light into the house. But within, light falls through the double-story void from above in all directions.
Light cascades down oak and white plastered surfaces. It washes over limestone and marble, illuminating art, furniture and every handcrafted and natural surface throughout the house.
The focal point and central pivot of the house is a sculptural circular stair. This transitional element divides the entire double-storey space as it stretches out under a steep exterior site.
Curved surfaces play against rigid lines in a style that the architects describe as ‘archaic’ – an effortless blend of both the primitive and artistic. Materiality was the primary factor in the selection of timbers, stone and every other interior feature.
The house is sited south of the Yarra River in one of Melbourne’s many beautiful neighbourhoods. The team of architects won an Architecture Award for Interior Architecture at the 2009 Victorian Chapter Awards. - Andrew J Wiener
Painting on wall on image 3 is from artist Song Ling.
Cities grow organically, and while some areas thrive and prosper, others parts undoubtedly deteriorate over time as industry evolves, social dynamics shift and economies fluctuate. Many accomplished urban designers look at the multi-dimensionality of any city within which they work regardless of where a project is sited.
Ashton Raggatt McDougal (ARM) architects completed the design of the Melbourne Recital Center and the neighbouring Melbourne Theater Company helping to transform the formerly derelict Southbank area of the city to the dynamic district it has now become. The firm has been so successful in their designs of the two buildings that they have been honored with the 2009 Victorian Architecture Medal winning highest accolades in three categories for public architecture, interior design as well as urban design.
In a country where the two largest cities compete for just about everything, is Melbourne set to de-thrown Sydney for a higher quality performance space? Granted we’re not here to critique Utzon’s Opera House, but we are prepared to say that ARM, in collaboration with Arup Acoustics, designed a dynamic and original 1000-seat performance space and 150-seat Salon. “The fusion of architectural and acoustic design throughout the development of Elisabeth Murdoch Hall has produced a visually and aurally exciting hall,” a designer from Arup explains. “Based on the proportions of the classic shoe-box shaped European concert hall, the geometry has been enhanced to provide greater acoustic intimacy and improved sightlines for the entire audience.”
The design for the Melbourne Theater Company begins with the dramatic façade: 3D iridescent steel tubing folds and bends against black aluminum cladding – just as an actor brings performance to life against a dark backdrop. The interior is comprised of the Sumner Theater, a 500-seat hall noticeably without a balcony or mezzanine space, but still allowing exceptional site lines to the stage regardless of where your season tickets land you. The most striking element inside the main theater is the Word Wall – 70 quotes from different plays are illuminated when the stage is dark. The building also houses a full rehearsal hall that can be used as an event space or a smaller performance space, as well as a café and bar at the front of the house. - Andrew j Wiener
Boutique beauty brand Aesop has launched another collaboration with inspiring Melbourne design firm, March Studio. After designing award winning stores in Adelaide (remember that amazing ceiling constructed from recycled bottles?), Melbourne (those product displays crafted almost entirely out of recycled cardboard), Studio March was charged with the task of designing a temporary installation doubling as a bar at Melbourne's recent State of Design Festival.
A partnership with Absolut Vodka and the British Design Council, the installation, called "After Dark" was brought to life with 1400 meters of tracing paper, forming the cocoon-like ceiling and walls. We can't wait to see what they do next. - Lisa Evans
Self-described as a former frustrated David Carson wannabe, Melbourne-based Amy Moss has realized that her happiness – and her potential for design rockstardom – are dependent on her NOT being a graphic designer but her obsession about beautiful colors and beautiful things in general. She figured out she’s a stylist rather than a graphic designer, and her blog EatDrinkChic may well be her ticket to filmstardom, too, in the same way that Julie Powell’s obsession with Julia Child’s recipes, and her blog about them, took her in six years from relative obscurity to being a topic for the film Julie & Julia.
EatDrinkChic has a crafty, girly vibe but there are no crocheted polyester-yarn throw cushions or quilted tea cozies here. The blog is about interiors, parties, weddings and food and Amy Moss offers readers DIY ideas which she styles, designs and photographs and offers it all for free to her followers. It won't be long before book publishers come knocking. - Tuija Seipell
Nearly 25 years ago, the world tuned into Melbourne for the ultimate in sporting events, the Olympic Games. Even long before that, Aussies were renowned as being among the world’s greatest sport fans. From grand-slam tennis to cricket’s oldest and greatest rivalry between Australia and England, Ozzie sports are part of its culture.
Opening in 2010, the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, designed by COX Architects with engineering assistance from Arup, and from Norman Disney & Young — is a $200-million boutique rugby and soccer stadium with a capacity of 31,000.
Pride in sporting venues is also part of the very culture that supports sports so proactively. To stand on the same level as the Bird’s Nest, the Water Cube, Wimbledon, Coliseum and all sports architecture icons, new and old, great sporting venues support and enhance the cities in which they stand.
Melbourne expects its new Rectangular Stadium to not only contribute to the city’s sporting life, but also to be a focal point of the city’s Olympic Sports Park and Entertainment Precinct — only a short walk from the city center.
Fractured architecture is slowly becoming synonymous with 21st-century architecture in Melbourne. From the honeycomb concrete façade of Federation Square, to the steel tubing we recently wrote about on the city’s new recital centre, the bio-frame roof of the Rectangular Stadium already looks like it belongs. The roof will be covered with thousands of LED lights that can shine in many colors. They will be programmed to follow patterns that mimic the crowd’s energy during a match — soccer with Victory or rugby with Storm — or any other game or event. - Andrew J Wiener
There’s gotta be something in the water, right? First it was Jonathan Boulet and his gift for Technicolour indie, closely followed by fellow Australians Tim & Jean who blew our minds with their perfectly realized synth-pop splendor. And now we’ve got Melbourne-dwelling twosome Gypsy & The Cat who despite their young age have already got a firm mastery of classic pop.
Yes, we know that’s a big wrap for these relative unknowns, but the proof is in the pudding, or in this case the luscious pop gold of Gypsy & The Cat’s breakout tune Jona Vark, which distills their love of electronic tweaks, Fleetwood Mac-tutored songcraft and soaring hooks into three perfect minutes. - Dave Ruby Howe
Listen also to Thieves of Aon
Fitzroy High School has a long history in Melbourne, Australia. The government school closed in 1992 but it re-opened in 2004, after an 11-year campaign by parents and residents. In 2009, its senior students gained an exciting new building, designed by Melbourne-based McBride Charles Ryan who we have featured previously.
The school’s philosophy of innovation in education is reflected in the striking new building that connects with a cluster of older school buildings, some more than 100 years old. The new building’s exterior walls are deliciously wavy and painted in stripes of secondary colors, all of which helps the building both blend in and stand out.
Inside, the studio spaces had to remain extremely flexible and their configurations had to be easy to change by staff. The solution is deceptively simple: Bright-colored drapes and splashes of color that define a space. The school brought McBride Charles Ryan the 2010 Grand Prix at the Dulux Color Awards while the interior won in the Commercial Interior category. - Tuija Seipell
For a comprehensive visual presentation of schools/universities with thousands of visuals to excite you, contact TCH Platinum. Schools wanting to see ideas and concepts in how to design super cool educational environments effectively, contact our marketing agency, ACCESS AGENCY.
Shop by Zuster - All handmade in Melbourne. You want furniture that will last decades, not a season and Zuster deliver on all counts. It doesn't get any better than this
It seems that every day we come across yet another beautiful example of elegant use of wood and, more often than not, the architects and designers turn out to be Aussies! Watch out Scandinavians and Japanese!
Stephen O’Connor and Annick Houle, partners at O’Connor and Houle Architecture, are responsible for designing this stunning residence in Blairgowrie on the Mornington Peninsula in Melbourne, Australia. The Pirates Bay House is an L-shaped, one-storey, 200 square-meter (2152 sq. ft.) home for the two architects themselves and their twins.
Because this is an assignment they can fully control, the partners were able to indulge in all of their favorite features, They value slow life and harmony with nature. They also emphasize the various ways in which the residents interact with their living environment – the play of light on the walls and through windows and doorways, the feel of materials and textures, the breezes and airflow throughout the building, and of course, the views and vistas at different times of the day and during different seasons.
The optimal use of sunlight, rainwater and other natural resources, and the selection of landscaping features and native plants that require minimal maintenance or watering, are all part of the owners’ quest for sustainable living. Non-toxic materials, low-energy appliances, recycled timbers were also selected for the same reason.
The result is an elegant, minimalist house that makes us think of self-sufficient Finnish summer houses with no running water, no electricity, no indoor plumbing, yet with all the pleasure. - Bill Tikos
If Paul Gauguin hadn't died four years before Frida Kahlo was born, one might suspect that Gavin Brown is their lovechild. Certainly his art carries the organic lushness and slight madness of Kahlo's many self-portraits and Gauguin's Polynesian-period art.
You cannot blame the Melbourne-born, 47-year-old Brown for subtlety or minimalism. His world is populated by richly colored graffiti-like images of people and situations where fleshy faces and tattooed skin compete for attention with birds, fruit and flowers. The vivid richness and underlying drama contradict each other.
The color palette is happy and lovely, but these people are not happy. There is something sinister, tormented, going on. Which of course brings us back to impressionists and the most tormented of them all, Vincent van Gogh, whose self-portraits, if combined with his sunflowers would look completely comfortable with Brown's gallery of people.
Brown has had an illustrious and multi-faceted career in fashion, film and many other forms of art and design, but his focus is on painting.
He has participated in more than 25 solo and group exhibitions. Several of his large commissions adorn the luxurious Marina Bay Sands Singapore hotel and casino. - Tuija Seipell
We think Rokeby studios in Melbourne's Collingwood could be a portent of things to come: the designer photographer's space. Photographer Mariija Ivkovic wasn't happy with the spaces she shot in. They didn't reflect the creative spirit she wanted her work to imbue. So she created the space herself.
Joining forces with photographer Lachlan Moore she dug out a warehouse space to create a smattering of studios that now house two architecturally designed chameleon SMEG-stocked kitchens, a salon with a fully plumbed hair basin, a cafe area, board room, client “snug” and, of course, three lush shooting spaces.
It was much the same “build it and they will come – bugger the insanity of it all” attitude that saw the pair invent the world’s first inflatable and portable photobooth. Just because. They built the Photobooth prototype for a party they were hosting. For fun. Folk liked it, so they turned it into a side-business, catering to weddings, parties, anything. Photos can be branded, uploaded, shared and printed.
Perhaps Marija’s name rings bells? Her work has been featured on TCH before. She’s responsible for this McFancy range of images, which have since been featured in magazines around the world.
This is how creativity works. - Bill Tikos
Shrouded House is a discreetly opulent residence for a young, design-aware family of four (plus a Labrador retriever) in Toorak, considered the most prestigious neighborhood in Melbourne, Australia.
Inarc Architects was in charge of the architecture and interiors of the project, completed in February, with Allison Pye Interiors consulting on the interior design and furnishings.
The 13-room residence consists of the 850 square-meter (9,150 sq. ft) main house plus the 300 square-meter (3,330 sq. ft) basement, and the 70 square-meter (753 sq. ft) poolside cabana. The previous house and the earlier landscaping on the site were demolished. The new landscaping replaces most of the removed trees, and responds to the needs of the new house and its residents.
The project gained its moniker Shrouded House from the main feature: the effective screening of the slightly twisting and turning exterior from the adjoining properties and the street by bronze aluminum battens. Used throughout the exterior, the battens give the structure its homogenous coloring and its sense of lightness.
Bronze, steel and glass give the residence its contemporary sculptural presence yet they also allow light and clouds play on, reflect and penetrate the structure, which makes the entire building appear smaller and less monolithic. The effective use of these materials also helps connect the exterior to the interior spaces.
As the structure is also broken up into smaller-scale components, the sizeable house does not appear overly imposing or grandiose.
The interior is open, warm and light-filled with white, sandstone and oak surfaces linking the spaces together.
We love the understated way in which the designers have interpreted the family’s needs of privacy, warmth and openness through timeless, understated architecture. - Tuija Seipell
The Cool Hunter Pop-up boutique series starts this month in Melbourne, Australia continues in Sydney in December, and in 2013 we will be setting up temporary boutiques in New York and London.
THE COOL HOUSE at Rokeby Studios, Melbourne - 29 Nov - 2 Dec
THE COOL HOUSE at Pacific Bondi Beach, Sydney - 7 Dec - 16 Dec
Introducing the irresistible mix: The exclusive Penthouse display suite at Pacific Bondi Beach in Sydney, the coolest and newest photography studio Rokeby in Melbourne, a group of select exclusive feature sponsors and the design-savvy audience of The Cool Hunter, combined with an unexpected, limited-time designer product shopping experience.
In Sydney: Catching the wave of the temporary boutique phenomenon, The Cool Hunter (TCH) will refit the Pacific Bondi Beach Penthouse Suite for an unprecedented and unforgettable 10-day (including 2 weekends) event where potential buyers can not only view the suite but buy any and all of the furnishings, accessories and artwork.
In Melbourne: Rockeby studios becomes the setting for a 4 day designer shopping experience featuring the latest in home and housewares, designer accessories and unique products for the discerning home.
For the guests, shopping at THE COOL HOUSE at Pacific Bondi Beach penthouse and at Rokeby Studios will be unlike any other shopping experience – a striking break from the mind-numbing sameness of stores and malls around the world.
Not that anyone really needs a watch to check the time. We all carry more than enough devices that inform us of the time, or more commonly, the lack thereof.
Maybe that is why there is a nice retro feel in the whole idea of wearing a watch. I dare you to rush me! Let me just check the time on my watch and see if I care to rush!
We are certainly fans of cool time pieces here at TCH, so when we were introduced to the Melbourne-based AÃRK Collective our interest was immediate.
We love the minimalist, serious craftsmanship of not just the watches and every detail inside and out, but also the packaging.
The attention to every detail honours the craftsmanship, the timeless craftsmanship, of the entire experience. These are not jewellery or pretentiously magnanimous investment pieces for sheer show-off.
These are practical yet beautiful. Form and function. Minimalist and cool. Just what we love. We’ve ordered our Yolk Yellow watches. Now, if only time would fly a little faster…Tuija Seipell
The era of romantic letter mail is all but over, yet all of us still need a letterbox, a mail box, a mail slot... a something where our daily hard- copy mail, and even an occasional long-distance post card from our globe-trotting friends, can be delivered.
But what if we don’t want just “something”? What if we want a stylish, cool, fun, “look-at-me!” mail box that matches our stylistic tastes? Try to find a mail box that is anything other than supremely ugly and you will come up with nothing.
The concept of Koo Koo was developed by Bill Playso who saw the glaring need for a stylish and cool letterbox. he invited industrial designerJustin Hutchinson to help bring the concept to life. the result of Koo Koo letterbox by Playso. Designed and manufactured in Melbourne, Australia
Koo Koo is a stylized bird-shaped letterbox that does not take itself too seriously, yet it has serious curb appeal. It is a conversation piece outdoors and in. Expect to see Koo Koo indoors as often as outdoors. Maybe for internal mail in the office? A suggestion box for your customers? And even the box in which Koo Koo is shipped and displayed is a designer creation in itself. Expect the shipping box to live a long life as well, as a storage box that does not have to hide.
Great design moves people, conveys feelings, evokes a reaction, triggers memories, delights, goes against convention, breaks new ground and surprises in a positive sense.
Packaging designed by Fernando Volken Togni.
Zinc powder-coated metal body, compact laminate magnetic side panels.
Base model is A$330 and A$420 for the optional compact wood laminate side magnetic panels.
Mention TCH for free international shipping
A rear of a small inner city Melbourne pub has been transformed from a tiny add-on back extension into a voyeuristic playground by Techné Architects. The clever rethinking of the space has effectively turned the 130m2 back area of The Prahran Hotel into 300m2 over three levels.
The star of the design is a series of 17 ½ concrete waterpipes. These concrete culverts dominate the striking street façade.
For architect Justin Northrop, the pipes add a lot more than drama to the hotel’s exterior. “Inside you are climbing over the pipes, sitting in them, or on them at various levels. They have a lasting impact on the space.”
Guests can sit in booths inside the pipes. “We were looking for a sense of drama and theatricality,” says Northrop.
Booths can be seen from the street, and throughout the interior of the hotel. Each booth, that seats up to 12, features leather upholstered banquettes and is lined with recycled spotted gum slats and acoustic absorption mats. “The voyeuristic nature of these pubs is very important, the way the space is connected visually,” says Northrop.
The project is the fifth pub collaboration between Techné and hotel group Sand Hill Road (SHR has pubs around Melbourne and moonlight as successful film producers). Pub Group’s Matt Mullins was not trying to create a gastro pub. “I want it to be accessible, for locals, for neighbours,” he says. At the same time, the close collaboration with Techné in the past meant Mullins was more than open to left-field design ideas. The main bar features salvaged pipes, concrete cast lamps and plantings by Ayus Botanical.
Guests can choose between three levels; the ground floor mixes polychromatic textured tiles and spotted gum floorboards, with a light-filled courtyard and street views. The courtyard features a striking nine-metre trapezoidal concrete wall, that has a corrugated effect and porthole motifs.
The natural materials and soft upholstery take the edge of the concrete, steel and glass used in the interior. (Even the banisters are covered in leather for a luxe, surprise element.)
The 12-seat VIP area sits atop a giant water pipe, feeling suspended over the space. A key criteria of the design was to ensure that patrons always have a vantage point from wherever they are in the space. “It’s great for voyeurs,” says Mullins. An exception to the open-plan approach is a sunken seating area, known as ‘the lair’, below stairs for patrons who want to stay under wraps.
At its core, design “is about conviviality” says Northrop. “It’s providing people with opportunities to interact in non-standard ways, a whole variety of seating and gathering.” To make sure there is space for serious partying, one long table on the ground floor can be dismantled to make way for an impromptu dance floor. Northrop made sure the redesign featured a serious DJ deck. “Afterall pubs are not meant to be places of calm and reflection,” he says. Indeed. - Emily Ross