Bricks and Blocks

So lately I've been thinking, dreaming, and living bricks. Samples are strewn around my desk in an ever changing hierarchy. Concrete and clay in all shades of grey form stacks of precariously balanced blockwork.

I have been assessing the Perth mantra of 'brick is best' and am finding that I am actually coming around to the idea. Sure, I'm not really in love with the double-brick and tile hot box that plagues most suburbs of Perth, but channelling a bit of Iwan Iwanoff can never hurt. Here are a few projects that I am in love with at the moment, that showcase bricks and blocks in all their glory.

supercool Space invaders in the Florence St House by Klopper & Davis Architects, in West Perth, Australia. More bricks and blocks on the blog.

supercool Space invaders in the Florence St House by Klopper & Davis Architects, in West Perth, Australia. More bricks and blocks on the blog.
{Get your geek on with these supercool Space invaders in the Florence St House by Klopper & Davis Architects, in West Perth, Australia}


Sustainable House Day 2014

Open the door to sustainable living by touring some of Australia’s most environmentally progressive homes on show at Sustainable House Day. This Sunday, 14th September, you have the opportunity to tour an amazing array of everyday Australian homes all built and created around the ideal of reducing their footprint on the earth.

By partaking in Sustainable House Day you can tap into local knowledge to learn how to successfully integrate renewable energy, recycling, and other sustainable practices into your home and lifestyle. This unique event is a valuable resource for anyone looking for inspiration, ideas and the key to sustainable living.

Homeowners, sponsors and local sustainable groups look forward to sharing their knowledge with you, plus I'll be volunteering at the Harrisdale home in WA for the day. There are homes and gardens open to the public throughout Australia. You can find more information about each house and its features on the webpage. This is a national event, but since I'm volunteering here in Perth, I've just highlighted a few WA ones below.

Carla & Bens House, part of #Sustainable #House Day 2014.
{Carla and Ben’s House, 128A Roseberry St, Bedford WA}


Re-use Revolution breeds new App

I have put together a few of my faves from the recently launched Couchelo app below to showcase just a few of the large range of items available.

To celebrate the launch of the app, Will and the team are offering a $250 giveaway to 5 lucky people. More information on the giveaway at the end of the post!

Vintage finds on the Couchelo App. The RSD Blog.

So get in there all my lucky, wonderful Melbourne and Sydney readers and snatch them up quick - or if you are feeling generous, feel free to send some of them my way Winking.


Black and White

Here are just a few pretty monotone goodies that have caught my eye lately. I'm desperately trying to restrain my purchasing until I have at least designed my house, let alone built it! Until then, I'll let you drool with me.

Harbour House by uber-talented Arent&Pyke. How yum is that Christian Liaigre console table?!
Harbour House by uber-talented Arent&Pyke. How yum is that Christian Liaigre console table?!}


Gravity Light

I came across this project and just had to share. Sure, it's not pretty, but how innovative and what a great humanitarian effort. Well done Deciwatt and everyone that contributed through their Indiegogo campaign.

The GravityLight was the result of wanting to help solve the unreliable and unsafe lighting issue for the poverty-stricken 21% (more than 1.5 billion!) of the world's population. Deciwatt's mission is to provide affordable, sustainable and reliable light, anytime, that enables people to break free from the economic, health and environmental hazards of kerosene lamps.

The GravityLight is an innovative way of generating light and low levels of power from gravity. It takes only 3 seconds to lift the weight that powers GravityLight, creating 25 minutes of light on its descent. Can be used over and over again, anytime without the need for sunshine or batteries, therefore having no running costs and being extremely long lasting.

The sustainable gravity powered #LED GravityLight by Deciwatt.
{The human-powered, Gravity-run LED GravityLight by Deciwatt. Image source}


Nautical dreams

The boys and I did a spontaneous day trip to Lancelin beach on Monday and I felt inspired to share some nautical ultramarine goodies with you. Some I own, some I lust after and some are just plain fun. Enjoy Happy

Modern Pirate and #Nautical #homewares on the RSD Blog
{ 1. Compass cushion, 2. Côte d'Azur Ice bucket, 3. Ahoy Door Mat, 4. Skull & Crossbones Cushion, 5. Hold Tight wall flag, 6. Pier Rope Table lamp, 7. World Map Sticker }


Lamp revamp

Those that follow my mish-mashed Instagram account, may have seen my impulse buy at the Abbotsford Convent markets waaay back in Feb 2013. Some of you also commented on my lovely bedside table lamps from our real estate shots, home open and move. I've put together a quick summary of my DIY lamp update, but scoot down the page further for a bit more detail. Enjoy!

Nickel-plated lamp base with Washi-tape shade. #DIY Lamp revamp on the blog.


Spotlight on Australian Designers | Volker Haug

Sorry it has been a while since my last Spotlight on Aussie Design, but as I am sure you are also feeling, this time of year just sprints along. In light of the break (pun intended), this spotlight (again) will be shining (uh-huh) on the ever-awesome, Volker Haug and his brilliant lighting designs!

I have already revealed my Design-crush on Volker when I saw his work again at Grand Designs Live (here) and not just for his edgy but stylish Germanic good looks. His incomparable and innovative lighting showcases his skills with material manipulation and design, creating not simply feature lighting but stunning works of art.

“Haug is a scavenger of sorts, taking his material inspirations from junk shops to salvage yards. He synthesises the used and unexpected into ingenious sculptures: pendants, lamps and wall lights, which find themselves at home in commercial and residential spaces alike”. If you are lucky enough to see some of his work at design and trade events, you will find that he is very approachable, both passionate and down-to-earth. I encourage you to have a chat and a close look at the detail in his work.

Here are but a few of my favourite pieces of his, all available in Australia. I love them all, but hey, this is supposed to be just a tasting plate.

Cable Jewellery by Volker Haug - See More in Spotlight on Australian Designers | Volker Haug on the RSD Blog
{Cable Jewellery}

Cable Jewellery is a pick-and-mix lighting system. The ability to customise colours, shape and length, through arranging the U or S shaped components, means these lights can become what ever you want them to. Just like every girl, every home needs a funky statement piece of jewellery. The Wall Jewellery, Table Jewellery and Floor Jewellery are also quite stunning.

Daisies by Volker Haug - See More in Spotlight on Australian Designers | Volker Haug on the RSD Blog

Daisies are described best on the website: “Daisies could very well be the children of Star-Trek and Macramé. Electrical cable is hand woven to create these organic yet futuristic daisy-like shades”. As with most of his products, the names are charmingly witty - the smaller is Hello Daisy and the larger is Crazy Daisy.

WOW pendant range by Volker Haug - See More in Spotlight on Australian Designers | Volker Haug on the RSD Blog
{WOW pendant range}

Haug’s WOW range was one of the first products of his that I saw. In a multitude of eye catching colours and patterns, the inside surface of these massive pendants (ranging from 520mm to a full metre wide) is the unique point of difference - able to be customised to your preferred colours and patterns.

OMG! by Volker Haug - See More in Spotlight on Australian Designers | Volker Haug on the RSD Blog
{OMG! Pendant}

The grand, industrial and aptly named OMG! pendant is created from reclaimed industrial shades and measures an impressive 1.7m wide. The anodised crushed recycled shades can also be customised in a wide range of colours. Talk about a statement piece! It also comes in a freakishly big wall design.

Fire Trees by Volker Haug - See More in Spotlight on Australian Designers | Volker Haug on the RSD Blog
{Fire trees}

Fire trees are sledge-hammered aluminium tubing bent and twisted into fluid shapes, anodised in a bright spectrum of colours and then delicately wrapped with leather pieces. A definite work of art that would make a highly talked about table centrepiece. How yummy would the hot pink one pictured above look slithering down the centre of a long glossy black dining table.

Joker by Volker Haug - See More in Spotlight on Australian Designers | Volker Haug on the RSD Blog

And last but definitely not least, the innovative and just a little bit sexy Joker. Collaboration with a shoe-designer friend lead to this stunning creation, enveloping the good ol’ brass chandelier in zipped up black and white leather. Makes me wish I had kept the god-awful ones in our old house before turfing them, and been a little bit more creative with upcycling.

Of course you can check out all of Volker Haug’s work, lighting and projects, at his uber-cool website here (where all of the above images are sourced from) or visit him at his East Brunswick studios in Melbourne. Happy browsing!

xo Romona

Bookmark and Share


Spotlight on Australian Designers | Helen Kontouris

Seen in Space and Stylecraft showrooms this year during Melbourne’s Saturday InDesign, her supple and simple furniture inspires. She has collaborated with the likes of One Third Design, Alessi, Schiavello, Ritzenhoff and Celda, with her works being showcased in Belle, Vogue, InDesign, Artichoke, Monument and many other national and international publications.

Her design ethos is perhaps best described in her own words. “We live & breathe a culture of dreams, process & creativity. Our approach to each project is an opportunity to discover, learn, evolve, simplify, interpret, innovate and create. Strong creative partnerships are formed through our commitment, value, contribution & growth of our clients businesses. Our role as designer is not to give you the safe or predictable result.  We sometimes challenge & redefine the project to enable us to explore the possibilities we strongly believe in, whilst always respecting the client’s decision.”

“We believe ecology in design today, rests on the role of the designer as cultural architect, creating products with clear purpose, intelligent material appropriateness & function that arrest you with their beauty & promote a movement ‘against throwawayism’.  You are emotionally attached enough not to discard it.  When you no longer need it, give it to someone whom you know admires it or to charity for those who need it more now, than you."

I love that responsibility is taken as the designer to promote, encourage and even demand a holistic lifecycle approach to both the purchase and the retirement of their products. There is no reason that a product should not continue its life-after-you in one form or another, whether it is in perfect condition (go ebay or lucky friends), restorable (gumtree or second hand store), or completely decrepit (recycle those bits into something else or see what can be picked up for recycling by your council). Oh, how I miss the mass hard rubbish display around the neighbourhood at council collection time - it hurts to see people’s unwanted treasures now get picked up quickly and efficiently on individual basis, crushed into nothingness, when those poor items could easily have had another life or two. I digress.

She has a fun and informative website and blog, in which you get to read about her design processes and the happenings in the life of a talented designer, as well as peruse her many fabulous designs in detail, including the ones below. All images are from her website, which you can check out here.

Here are a few of my favourite pieces of hers.

The Penelope is a simple and classic steel and timber beauty, that was on display at Stylecraft during Saturday InDesign 2012. The masculine, honest structure of the legs complements the smooth streamlined timber top, allowing the polished woodgrain to feature.

Penelope Table and Side Table/Stool by Helen Kontouris | More on the RSD Blog
{Penelope Table and side table/stool - available at Stylecraft}

Her Scoop Egg Cup & Spoon collaboration with Alessi is a stand-out. What can I say - I am sure you have all seen this lovely, sculptural piece before. Beautiful but functional is epitomised in this lustrous and decadent egg cup. What a glamourous Sunday breakfast would be had with this baby. Puts my cheapo wire one to shame! It is now on the Christmas list.

Scoop Egg cup & Spoon for Alessi by Helen Kontouris | More on the RSD Blog
{Scoop Egg cup & Spoon for Alessi - Available at most department stores or online}

The La La Lamp is a floor lamp made of two conic, internally opaline coated fabric shades with a noiseless IGBT technology dimmer. Classic geometry combined with quirky lines create a real feature for any space. Unfortunately, I can’t find exact stockists in Australia, but it was featured at a Schiavello event and since they also stock her La La Stool, I am sure they could help you out.

La La Lamp by Helen Kontouris | More on the RSD Blog
{La La Lamp for Kundalini Italy}

La La Stool by Helen Kontouris | More on the RSD Blog
{La La Stool, Available at Schiavello}

The graceful lines and soft appearance of the Panier stool belies the fact that it is made from 100% recyclable Polyethylene and suitable for indoors or outdoors. Shortlisted for the best 'Object – furniture and lighting' in the IDEA Awards 2012 (to be announced November), this design highlights yet another triumph for Helen.

Panier Stool by Helen Kontouris | Read more on the RSD Blog
{Panier Stool, Available at Space}

I hope you enjoyed the first of what I hope will be many posts shining the spotlight on Australian Design.
Who is your favourite Australian Designer?

xo Romona
Bookmark and Share