The James Street Residence by Romona Sandon Designs

I am pretty nervous about this, but I am going to kick off a new series of posts with my own home, designed and built by me (and my super talented family of course). I thought with Sustainable House Day just around the corner, now was as good a time as any to get this out there.

In designing our home it was important for me to balance the comfort and lifestyle needs of my young family with my environmentally sustainable goals from my work in Sustainable Architecture. I wanted to test if low-cost sustainable design could still be convenient and aesthetically pleasing to the clients (my family). I also wanted to test people's perception of what an eco-house should be or look like.

The James Street Residence, by Romona Sandon Designs, Front facade.
{The James Street Residence, by Romona Sandon Designs, Front facade}

With the kitchen, I wasn't aiming to do anything new or innovative. I wanted timeless and simple. A canvas devoid of colour so it could be injected by way of homewares and appliances and food and family. I guess I never strayed far from what I had always wanted, even showing this colour palette (or lack thereof) in previous posts, such as the Monochrome Kitchen. Cabinetry either flows through to the ceiling or is capped by bulkheads, to reduce surfaces that dust could collect on, reducing potential allergens.

Monochrome kitchen of the James Street Residence, by Romona Sandon Designs. Image by Dion Robeson.
{Monochrome kitchen of the James Street Residence, by Romona Sandon Designs. Image by Dion Robeson.}

Passive solar design principles were utilised where possible within the council and R-codes on a small rear battle-axe block. Large north-facing windows and doors allow winter sun to penetrate and store heat in the thermal mass of the polished concrete floor. The polished concrete floor was high on my list of features that I really wanted in this house - surprisingly, planning for this quite early on in the design process kept the cost quite comparable with alternative floor coverings.

Open-plan living space of the James Street Residence, by Romona Sandon Designs. Image by Dion Robeson.
{Open-plan living space of the James Street Residence, by Romona Sandon Designs. Image by Dion Robeson.}

Insulated cavity brick construction helps contain winter heat. Cross-ventilation allows excess heat to be dissipated in summer. A SolarStar solar-powered thermostat-controlled roof cavity ventilation system also rids the building of excess heat when needed. In the two years of occupancy, no active heating or cooling has been necessary except for the Big Ass ceiling fans (their name, as well as description!)

Solatubes with integrated PV (photo-voltaic solar panel) LED day and night lighting is used in conjunction with natural daylight and low-energy lighting elsewhere. Low VOC (Volatile organic compound) paints and carpets are used throughout to reduce sick-building syndrome (off-gassing). PV's sufficiently power the house with a larger inverter for future-proofing. East/west openings were minimised and treated with Low-E glazing where unavoidable, as well as awning shading.

Kitchen details of the James Street Residence, by Romona Sandon Designs. Image by Dion Robeson.
{Kitchen details of the James Street Residence, by Romona Sandon Designs. Image by Dion Robeson.}

Laundry details of the James Street Residence, by Romona Sandon Designs. Image by Dion Robeson.
{Laundry details of the James Street Residence, by Romona Sandon Designs. Image by Dion Robeson.}

The bathrooms features hobless showers for accessibility. The glass above the half-height wall allows light to penetrate fully into the bathroom to reduce mould build up.

Master ensuite details of the James Street Residence, by Romona Sandon Designs. Image by Dion Robeson.
{Master ensuite details of the James Street Residence, by Romona Sandon Designs. Image by Dion Robeson.}

Curtains and blinds are opened and closed to allow optimal light and heat inside, which is also aided by deciduous vine plantings on the north for additional summer shading of openings. While we wait for the grape vine to grow, we use a combination of shade sails and a passionfruit vine that we trim back in winter to allow more sun through. In the mean time, we are drowning in fat juicy passionfruit and the kids adore it!

The garden also considered sustainable design elements in the use of reclaimed breeze blocks for the entry, edible garden courtyard and native or self-sown water-wise planting. Indoor plants are used for improved indoor air quality and visual calm.

North-facing, rear exterior of the James Street Residence, by Romona Sandon Designs.
{North-facing, rear exterior of the James Street Residence, by Romona Sandon Designs.}

North-facing, rear exterior of the James Street Residence, by Romona Sandon Designs.
{North-facing, rear exterior of the James Street Residence, by Romona Sandon Designs.}

As a sustainable designer, I see it's discrepancies and the details that could have been improved, with time, money and less council limitations.

As an architect, I see the features that I could have amplified and where I wish our money could have stretched to.

As the client, it is perfect. It is the perfect design for how my family and I live, our budget at this stage of our life, and the place and site that we built it on. It is our home and I'm proud of it.

xo Romona

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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}


How Hardwood Flooring Has Changed

*The following is written for the RSD blog by Jonathan Sapir M.D. of Wood and Beyond. They are ethical FSC certified vendors of hardwood from engineered to solid hardwoods.

Hardwood flooring has changed profoundly in recent years. These changes in floorboard technology, colour and texture mean that hardwood can fit a greater number of interiors than ever before. Here’s our visual recap to the latest trends in hardwood flooring.

Sustainable Sourcing

Individuals are often concerned that their decision to fit natural hardwood will lead to the demise of natural habitat. In truth, thanks to organisation such as the FSC (FSC Forest Stewardship Council), hardwoods from trusted vendors are sourced from sustainable forests where trees are consumed based on a rigorous and controlled quota and new trees are planted instead. This process is called managed sourcing. Your vendor of choice will be able to share the origin of the hardwood.

Solid Hardwood Flooring
{Solid Hardwood Flooring}


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}


Terrariums and Potted Green

Here's a follow-up from your requests for more, after posting Vertical Green #2. These fill the gap for some even smaller and affordable greenery options when you have limited space, budget or garden know-how.

Ceramic Diamond Planters on table and Petite hanging Vase on the wall, both by LoveHate and available at Cranmore Home.
{Ceramic Diamond Planters on table and Petite hanging Vase on the wall, both by LoveHate and available at Cranmore Home}


Vertical Green #2

So the design and decoration world was going a bit nuts over green walls in 2013. I personally hope the trend continues. I don't think you can overdo it and kudos to anyone who has built, designed, installed, planned, housed or dreamed green walls in any form. No matter what you call them - vertical garden, green wall, wall planter, wall garden, living wall - and no matter what form they take - green wall, green roof, floor planter, tabletop or even suspended in midair - they inject much needed life, colour, oxygen and fragrance into our surroundings.

I have been through some of the benefits of green walls with some examples previously, here, but since there have been so many fantastic examples of late, I felt the need to give you all a second helping of green delights.

The Florafelt F12 Greenwall growing panel by Fytogreen as used in Kim & Matt's outdoor space on The Block Sky High 2013. The panels are made from 100% recycled PET plastic felt. More #greenwall ideas on the RSD Blog.
{The Florafelt F12 Greenwall growing panel by Fytogreen Australia as used in Kim & Matt's outdoor space on The Block Sky High 2013. The panels are made from 100% recycled PET plastic felt and are available from The Block Shop}


Now that's efficient

Sorry for the long break. I was going to say I’ve been slack, but the reality is far from that. Blogging just happened to slide down the massive list of things-to-do over the Easter break. Hope you all had a great one and here is a cool little apartment run-through that’s worth the watch when you have a spare ten minutes. Very efficient use of space and storage through innovative design.

“Located in Barcelona's hip Born district, the tiny apartment is a remodelled pigeon loft. Christian [Schallert] says its design was inspired by the space-saving furniture aboard boats, as well as the clean lines of a small Japanese home”. I personally love that the bed slides under the balcony and converts to a step, chair or lounge. Great work by architect Barbara Appolloni. Enjoy!

xo Romona

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Bathroom... After

Hello lucky readers! The bathroom transformation has occurred much faster for you than for us - a day rather than two weeks. The only thing we are waiting on is the frameless shower screen so we can make full use of the yummy new shower head, but I didn’t want to keep you waiting. I’ll give you a quick run down on the work, then get into the good stuff - the before and after photos!

Work started early on a Monday morning. Dad, hubby and I got stuck into ripping off the wall tiles. As with most old houses (with the added bonus of previous owners who have attempted DIY renovations themselves) the wall structure was no longer (if ever) level or square. There was also the unhelpful surprise of most of the wall sheeting coming off with the tiles. The flooring didn’t fare any better - also ripping half up with the tiles. Previous work scraps had been tossed in the wall cavity - I like to think for reuse as insulation - and a few little creatures had been making there nests around the bath supports. On Tuesday the plumber started his work relocating the bath, shower and vanity fixtures and putting in the pipes for the new toilet (yay!). Once that was completed, we could start on sheeting and patching up the walls, floor and front of bath. Waterproofing was painted over all surfaces and allowed to dry (time for a well deserved bevie break). The rest of the week was spent cutting, tiling, painting and cleaning out dust and debris, in time for the plumber to finish up and fit off the following week. For a more visual step by step of the process, you can check out my
Instagram page. You can also read more about the bathroom ‘Before’ the renovation here.

Drum roll…. the finished product! What do you think? We are very happy with it, of course, and I catch myself walking past the door quite slowly now just to admire the view. In fact on seeing this post, hubby commented that he can’t even remember the bathroom before, even though it was only two weeks ago. Purged.

#Bathroom #Renovation Before and After - See more before and afters on the RSD Blog
{The Sandon Bathroom - Before and After}

#Bathroom #Renovation Before and After - See more before and afters on the RSD Blog
{Bathroom Vanity and Toilet - Before and After}

Here’s a summary of a few of the changes and features we have in the new and improved Sandon House Bathroom.

The vanity was moved closer to the bath to allow for the toilet, but still enough room for the much larger bath (we went from a 600mm to a 820mm wide - much more user-friendly). If we had an OH&S inspector in-house, they would definitely approve. You can read more about the troubles I’ve had with the narrow old bath in the previous post. The bath is not only wider, but taller. It took a few goes to get used to stepping over it, but it’s very handy with keeping small children from toppling over and into it. Plus during one of my habitual, long relaxing soaks, I don’t have to have the water full to the brim to actually be covered and stay warm.

#Bathroom after the #Renovation - See more before and afters on the RSD Blog
{The finished product}

Our second toilet - hooray! On plan it looked like a bit of a tight squeeze, but we have since found that there is more than enough room and it is quite a comfortable space. It’s still quite precious and we are not used to having the second option, but I’m sure that will end soon. The seat is soft-closing (the slowest we have ever seen actually - almost ridiculously so), which helps prevent slamming noises becoming a child wake-up-call in the middle of the night.

#Bathroom after the #Renovation - See more before and afters on the RSD Blog
{New Mizu Vanity and Toilet from Reece}

We added a tile shelf high enough to keep expensive shampoos from becoming very expensive bubble bath, as well as far enough away from the shower head to be a pool collector. I find them a great idea when you don’t have the building room to put in alcoves or set-in shelving. As long as you keep it simple, it allows the featured items to stand out without becoming a feature itself. We added an extra towel rail from before and made them double. Not necessarily for two towels, more for the aid in drying. My husband finally gets a towel rail of his own, as opposed to the hook on the back of the door where it never really dries. At the moment the kids towels hang on the back of the door, but we allowed space for another towel rail to be added if and when we need it (big enough to hang bath sheets because once you go up from towels to sheets, you can’t go back!)

#Bathroom after the #Renovation - See more before and afters on the RSD Blog
{New huge bath and surrounds}

I chose white wall tiles and a white vanity for brightness, simplicity and longevity. Even though we haven’t changed the skylight, the white reflects the light much more and creates a connection with the outside that belies its central location. The concrete-style grey porcelain floor tiles also give the space a neutrality that is much easier to style and change with soft furnishings and accessories. I had chosen a sleek minimal bath spout, but on further thought, we swapped it for a gooseneck swivel style so that we can run the bath and get it out of the way when the kids are in there, avoiding bumped heads. The Shower diverter mixer was placed far enough left that you can easily turn the water on without getting sprayed, and high enough that the kids shouldn’t be able to play with it for a little while longer. You may notice that I haven’t chosen very ‘designer-y’ fixtures. This bathroom for us is a family bathroom, and with two growing boys that will undoubtedly test the strength and endurance of the fixtures, we went to the budget end of the market. Fixtures are items that are easy enough to replace in a few years, so our money was directed more towards the items that are more difficult to change, such as the bath and tiles.

#Bathroom after the #Renovation - See more before and afters on the RSD Blog
{Bright white large-format tiles allow us to play with colour}

Having said that, after years of low pressure and uncomfortable showers, the selection of the shower head was quite important. My husband wanted a good soaking while I wanted to make sure that it was still water-efficient. We found our compromise in the Halo shower head from Reece and so far soooooo good.

Halo Showerhead from Reece. #Bathroom after the #Renovation - See more before and afters on the RSD Blog
{Halo shower head from Reece}

If you would like me to post the plans, let me know - but photos are more fun, right? If there is anything that you want to ask about the project or specific products please do. I am more than happy to have conversations about it in the comments section below or over email.

FYI - Some of the items pictured and their sources:

NB: Everything was chosen by me for personal reasons (i.e. budget, aesthetics, efficiency, etc) and not gifted by the supplier. I am not endorsing or advertising these products, simply using them in my own home.

I hope you enjoyed this exciting little project with me. Time to plan the next one! (Sorry honey)

xo Romona

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A Spot of Paint

I’ll take any technological advantage to convince my husband that it is not that difficult to repaint a room a new colour (or finally paint over the god-awful cream in my office-slash-laundry, the only room left to repaint). He recently came home marvelling at his great new discovery on a Bunnings trip. Paint that lets you know if you’ve missed a spot and when its ok to paint the next coat! Taubmans EasyCoat Ceiling Pink to White changes from pink to white as it dries. I’ve since found that there are a few others out there, such as Dulux NeverMiss One Coat Ceiling White so you have a few choices.

The only problem I’ve found with this is the high VOC levels, a staggering 105g/L compared to low-VOC ceiling white paints that have around 5g/L.

Since a friend asked the other day, and I realised that not everyone has a background in Architecture and Sustainability, I thought I’d share a few simple tips for paint selection. The type, that is, not the colour - thats waaay too personal and subjective and depends on soooo many factors.

Its handy to know what to ask for when you get to the paint counter. Here are a few things to look out for:

Low or No VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds). I am astounded that this is not standard by now and you have to specifically look for it, but fortunately it is getting a lot easier to find. Apart from these products reducing your greenhouse footprint, they also provide instant benefits to you and your family, for example a decrease in asthmatic reactions and allergic sensitisation through less off-gassing, that nasty paint smell.

No Formaldehyde
- yes that stinky stuff that they preserve bodies with (at least they did during my former life in the medical field, but have hopefully ceased using now) and is carcinogenic as well as thought to cause allergies, headaches and numerous other health issues. This can also be found in adhesives, particleboard (like MDF), linoleum, disinfectants, and some nail polishes - eek! Best avoided.

Here are some to keep your eyes open for:
* Any Dulux paint with the Eco Choice symbol on the label is low-VOC. This includes most of their Wash & Wear wall paints, EnvirO2 and ceiling white.
* Taubmans Pure Performance with Microban is a low-VOC, mould resistant Acrylic.
* Porter's zero VOC or low VOC paints
* ecolour’s entire range
* Resene’s Environmental Choice approved paints
* Wattyl interior design i.d Paint System using Ecotint for colouring.

When in doubt, check out Ecospecifier for more responsible product selection. Greenpainters also have this (a bit long) vid that explains low VOC paints, if you want to know more.

A few cool bits of paint tech and terminology I can’t resist throwing in there:

* Thermochromic paint - Changes colour with the temperature. I think I could have endless fun pressing up against the wall like a hyper colour t-shirt.

* CoolColour - reduced Total Solar Reflectance (TSR), that is, the colours work by reflecting energy in the near and far infra red region of the spectrum even though they absorb strongly in the visible region. Put simply, dark colours reflect more light than normal but look the same, so you don’t have to stick to white for most reflectance.

* SolarPaintTM - a solar paint that may be printed onto plastic, integrated into tinted windows and other building materials, making the whole structure itself a source of power. How awesome!

And I realise I said I wouldn’t touch colours, but in honour of Christmas and the end of the year, why not have a bit of fun and paint Pantone’s colour of the year for 2013, Emerald 17-5641, somewhere in your house.

2013 Colour of the Year Pantone 17-5641 Emerald.

We are on break for a bit, so this will be my last post until the new year. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and all the other reasons in the world to celebrate with family and loved ones.
Cheers and Go nuts!

xo Romona

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Vertical Green

Greenwalls seem to be popping up everywhere these days. About time, I say. Back during my early student days, vision of them was scarce and often could only be found in hippy bio-domes or a Patrick Blanc involved building. I’m not delving into the complexities and technicalities of green walls. Rather, I wanted to collect a few of my favourite examples of green walls, in all their varied glory and hopefully inspire you to maybe give it a go in your home or next project.

Since I went there, I have to display just a few examples of Patrick Blanc, the pioneer of Green walls in architecture and visual overachiever, including a few very close to home. While the scale is a little above domestic, take inspiration from his sculptural use of botany.

Quai Branly Museum Jean Nouvel & Patrick Blanc | Vertical Green - More on the RSD Blog
{Quai Branly Museum, Paris, 2005. Architect Jean Nouvel. Greenwall Patrick Blanc}

Pont Max Juvenal Aix En Provence Patrick Blanc | Vertical Green - More on the RSD Blog

Shot Tower Melbourne Patrick Blanc | Vertical Green - More on the RSD Blog
{Our own piece of Patrick Blanc at the Shot Tower, Melbourne Central, 2008}

One Central Park Sydney Patrick Blanc | Vertical Green - More on the RSD Blog

{One Central Park West, Sydney. Architect Jean Nouvel, Patrick Blanc. Due 2013}

I love that green walls have become a prevalent cafe and commercial decoration, and that most will now try and incorporate some functionality into it, with herbs and indoor veggies. Its great to see the new ways people can develop this old idea. I like this alternative to the usual terracotta and unpainted reo mesh of the signature Vertical Garden by Joost Bakker (as seen at Grand Designs). The simple white pots and white mesh offset wonderfully against the uniform dark succulents. Maybe it is just refreshing not to see the terracotta pots again. I think it’s like a popular song on the radio - you hear it so often that you can’t tell anymore if you love it or hate it, but still find yourself singing along.

Vertical Garden by Joost Bakker for Schiavello | Vertical Green - More on the RSD Blog
{Vertical Garden by Joost Bakker for Schiavello}

This smooth sculptural wall with rounded inserts for potted herbs suits the modern bright-white kitchen. Talk about easy access and great smells. I would love this in my house.

Edible Herb garden wall complements this modern white kitchen | Vertical Green - More on the RSD Blog
{Edible Herb garden wall complements this modern white kitchen. Source}

The simple draped Porthos between nine white pots on wall-mounted floating shelves are used to break up this double-height common wall in a warehouse conversion in Brisbane.

Minimalist Vertical Garden by Lushe Urban Greening | Vertical Green - More on the RSD Blog
{Minimalist Vertical Garden by Lushe Urban Greening}

I couldn’t leave out the bright entry space to Fujitsu’s 6-star Green Star Docklands office (yes, mainly because it was worked on by yours truly while at Woodhead). The original designs did include using black mondo grass and having a dramatic monotone effect with the black glass walls, emphasising the Fujitsu red. I believe the black mondo didn’t survive too well so the bio-wall is now more in keeping with the bright greens of most green walls, but is still quite effective. The bio-filtration system used was designed by Umow Lai who worked with Woodhead on the project. The ground level foyer of the Gauge in Docklands, Victoria also sports an impressive green wall by The Greenwall Company

Green Biofiltration wall at Fujitsu Offices, The Gauge, Docklands by Woodhead | Vertical Green - More on the RSD Blog
{Fujitsu Head Office, The Gauge, Docklands by Woodhead}

GreenWall at the Gauge by The Greenwall Company | Vertical Green - More on the RSD Blog
{Just a section of the massive foyer green wall, The Gauge, Docklands by The Greenwall Company}

There are more than a few products popping up that can be used for DIY green walls at home, ranging from the cheap and simple to the complex and often quite pricey. A few options are pictured below (or just type green wall or vertical garden into Youtube and go nuts!)

Gro-Wall Vertical Garden System | Vertical Green - More on the RSD Blog
{Gro-Wall Vertical Garden System}

Greenwall Australia’s Vertigro Home | Vertical Green - More on the RSD Blog
{Greenwall Australia’s Vertigro Home or Pro}

Wallgarden’s DIY Vertical Garden | Vertical Green - More on the RSD Blog
{Wallgarden’s DIY Vertical Garden, also available at Lushe}

Urbio Urban Vertical Garden is another Kickstarter project (like the previously blogged about LIFX globe). I love the simple design and the adaptability of this product. Swap out the plants for some magazines or books if they need a little outside time in the sunshine.

{Urbio Urban Vertical Garden on Kickstarter}

There are so many benefits to using green walls in design, including but not limited to:

▪ Improved air quality and reduction of odours; ▪ Improved well-being with the visual link to nature and the outdoors; ▪ Visual aesthetic of a living decoration; ▪ Supply of fresh, edible produce - herbs, fruit, vegetables, flowers; ▪ Protection from wind, heat and light; ▪ Thermal Insulation and shading; ▪ Noise buffering; and more I am sure.

Have you seen any green walls out there that blew your mind? Or used any products or DIYs for your own vertical green wall? Let us know below and share the love!

xo Romona
Bookmark and Share EDIT: If you liked this and want to see many more green wall, green roof and planting ideas, check out the latest post 'Vertical Green #2'!


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

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Sexy and Smart - LED Tech

The self-proclaimed smartest light globe in the world to date has gone viral. By the time I saw it, a few days into the Kickstarter backing process, it had already sold out. This sexy and smart product is bound to get the creative juices flowing of both designers and tech-heads alike.

LIFX is a WiFi enabled, multi-colour, energy efficient LED light bulb that you control with your smart phone. Developer’s boast “LIFX gives you unprecedented control of your lights, reduces your energy costs, lasts up to 25 years and delivers an amazing range of experiences we think you’ll love". They couldn't be more right - the response has been phenomenal. The innovative use of energy-efficient LED technology, combined with responsive smart phone tech that is so ingrained in our lifestyles now is irresistible, as evident by the amount of money raised, in such a small amount of time, from people wanting to get a hand on this new and exciting product.

Simply switch out your existing light globes and pop in these innovative new globes. Set your colour to any shade via your iPhone, to suit your mood or decor. Endless fun could be had with this feature - think of the parties, romantic evenings or even just for relaxing. With this, you are able to turn your lights on and off without getting up, or even being home - a plus when travelling. You can program the lights to a time schedule, as a wakey-wakey in the morning or to fade out slowly after an unnerving night of horror movies. I do also love the idea of a fading night light for the kiddies. An added brag, it has been designed, developed and manufactured right here in Melbourne, Australia!

I’m very impressed by the colour versatility, the programmable dimming and lighting up, not to mention being able to receive all your social media alerts with a flicker or colour change of the lights - say hello to the future! I'll take my drink in the VR room thanks, robomaid!

Unfortunately, the future doesn’t arrive until 2013 - and possibly a bit longer for those of us not lucky enough to have got in the early bidding. Maybe, with its popularity, the price can come down somewhat and it could be in stores next year.

LIFX - Visualise your music through smart phone controlled LED lighting. Read more on the RSD Blog
{Image via Kickstarter}

For a full explanation, and some cool demonstrations, watch the clip below or for more info see the LIFX or Kickstarter websites. Enjoy. 

xo Romona

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