LeAmon and Rakumba launch Ricotta lamp

Ricotta by Simone LeAmon.

SIMONE LEAMON, in partnership with Rakumba, launched her new product on Friday night in Sydney. A designer of repute and winner of many prestigious awards, the versatile LeAmon has once again designed a creative and beautiful product, this time a standard lamp. The lamp consists of two large drum shapes made of wire. The inner drum is covered with hand-pleated cotton fabric and the outer, a wire cage, encases the first. Ricotta is at once a statement piece in size but elegant in design. Each lamp has a white shade that can be complemented with a variety of colours that include white, black and chartreuse. As to how Ricotta received it’s name? LeAmon says the Italian ladies who hand pleat the shades all agreed that the finished object looked very much like the basket that holds ricotta cheese, and so, the lamp was christened Ricotta. This is not the first collaboration between LeAmon and Rakumba and what a fine partnership it is.

Centor hosts Lord Mayor plan announcement


BRISBANE-BASED WINDOW and door system innovator Centor hosted the Brisbane Lord Mayor’s recent announcement of a new steering committee for the city.

The new committee will help develop Brisbane Economic Development Plan for 2011-2016 which is due out in November 2011. This is intended to help market Brisbane to the world in order to drive investment and jobs in the city. Made up of key industry leaders and lead by Brisbane Marketing’s Ian Klug, the committee will make recommendations to the local council on where investment is best allocated. The Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Graham Quirk, wants more local business involvement in the economic planning of Brisbane so that the city can be a destination for business, investment and tourism.

Centor has been based in Brisbane since 1951 and the city is the foundation of Centor’s global achievements. The company has grown to be an award-winning designer and manufacturer of innovative folding, sliding, locking and screening systems for windows and doors.

Image: Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk and Centor’s managing director Nigel Spork.

Three buildings from Melbourne Open House 2011

The top of the Manchester Unity building.

MELBOURNE OPEN House – what an occasion! It seemed like all of Melbourne turned out to tour some of the best buildings in and around the city. Proof was in the length of the queues that snaked along city blocks, people waiting patiently for their once-a-year opportunity to catch a glimpse of rooms, floors and entire buildings usually out of bounds to the general public.

Setting off with the large Melbourne Open House guidebook in hand, the first building I visited was the ANZ Gothic Bank on Collins Street, which was built in the late nineteenth century. The exterior is impressive, combining Venetian and French gothic traditions, and the interior is extraordinary. The main banking chamber is richly decorated, with a ceiling that was hand painted and decorated with gold leaf and locally made cast iron columns and brackets. Adjoining the main public area is the Cathedral room. This is an impressive space, complete with stained-glass windows, large granite columns and arches that follow the ceiling line. Fine marble and mosaic tiles, coupled with a luxurious dado, represent a former life of opulence and luxury. Moving to the upper rooms, you see the sizes become more intimate and the décor restrained. The apartments proffer a taste of a bygone era, with chandeliers, fine carpets and even a twenty-first century necessity – a fire alarm painted in gold leaf.

The next destination was the Mission to Seafarers on Flinders Street at Docklands. This is a building that has long intrigued me. I would often look at the exterior and wonder what lay inside. Built in 1916, this building came into existence as a refuge for visiting seamen. The interior layout consists of a chapel, an apartment upstairs, back garden area, rooms for socializing and a large, domed adjoining building that doubles as an exhibition space. St Peter the Mariner chapel is at once intimate and quirky with the nautical theme in evidence, such as a pulpit in the form of a ship’s poop. Modest, stained-glass windows ring the area – most of the period, with some modern additions. This is a charming place where one can find solace from the busy life outside.

Perhaps the most impressive of all the visits was the Manchester Unity building. A visit to the first, eleventh and twelfth floors is something magical. Ushered through the building by Kia Pajouhesh, who owns these floors, we were regaled with stories and anecdotes that made the building come alive. Lovingly restored to former glory, each of the areas featured marble, exact replica tile work, exquisite carvings, original statuary and true-to-the-period fittings and fixtures, many especially commissioned. This is a restoration of love and passion.

The first floor is now given over to commerce – rooms for the cosmetic and general dentistry practice Smile Solutions – and has been renovated with taste and sensitivity. The reception area is spectacular, with a large desk and waiting area that overlooks the intersection of Collins and Swanston Streets. Then it’s up to the twelfth and top floor and the amazing rooftop garden designed by Wood Marsh. Once an apartment for a wealthy family, this has now been converted to another commercial area, with offices and medical rooms. To reach the pinnacle of the building there are several stages to climb. From the rooftop garden, you go through a cylindrical room, up a step ladder, a Victorian wrought iron staircase and then another ladder to finally arrive at the small look-out tower. And what a view – a breathtaking panorama of Melbourne from a vantage that, eighty years ago, was the highest point in the city. Next the eleventh floor, the boardroom and Pajouhesh’s private offices. From the lift, it’s a short walk down a corridor to the reception and main offices, again meticulously restored to the period, with marble, wood veneer panelling, leather chairs and original art pieces. But the best is yet to come: the boardroom. Restored to its original design from photographs, large armchairs surround an enormous bespoke table with a glass top, that it is rumored was made by Lalique. All furnishings are of course true to the period, if not to the building, and the attention to detail is extraordinary.

Three different buildings. Three wonderful experiences. This year there were 75 buildings open, and I can mark three off my list.

Words and images by Jan Henderson.

Decoration + Design, Furnitex and Lightsource

Entanglements Bubble candle holder.

THE TRADE shows Decoration + Design, Furnitex and Lightsource all opened on Thursday 21 July at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre as part of the State of Design festival.

There are a number of highlights of the co-located shows.

The International Industry Seminar Series is an exceptional collection of Australian and internationally acclaimed speakers, discussing trends, design, lighting, decorating and more. Friday’s lineup includes UK designer Lee Broom, Australian trend forecaster Genty Marshall, architect Roger Nelson and lighting expert John Ford.

Alone, Together is an exhibit made up of four private environments, that take the visitor into the places where balance, moments of solitude, reflection, concentration, intimacy and imagination can be savoured. This is in contrast to the modern idea of shared spaces in our homes, workplaces, social and virtual lives. Where technology has allowed us to be accessible at every moment.

A Little Bit of Sunshine is a weather inspired collection of outdoor fabrics. Thirty deckchairs wear the very best in inspirational fabrics for outdoor décor including a number of unique designer pieces from Australian textile design professionals.

Vivid features talented designers who explore a diverse range products, design styles and manufacturing techniques.

Hotel and Hospitality Furnishings highlights products suitable for hotels, motels, clubs and resaurants.

And, finally, Design:Made:Trade is a diverse and inspiring trade exhibition space of over sixty 3 x 3 metre Visy cardboard booths in the Royal Exhibition Building, located in the Carlton Gardens.

Check the State of Design website for a full schedule of events.

Melbourne Open House 2011

The State Library of Victoria. Photo: Pietro Giordano.

MELBOURNE OPEN House is on again on the weekend 30–31 July.

There will be seventy-five buildings open over the weekend and all but six buildings open on a first come, first served basis. The other six buildings are entry by ballot only (see the Melbourne Open House website on how to enter). Entries to the ballot close at 5pm tomorrow so get in quick! The buildings with a ballot entry are Federation Square, Manchester Unity, National Gallery of Victoria, Newman College, the Johnston Collection and Triptych.

Melbourne Open House is a not-for-profit association that runs annual events providing the public a free and rare opportunity to discover a hidden wealth of architectural, engineering and historic buildings nestled around the city. The event started in 2008 with eight buildings open, three years on there are seventy-five buildings open.

State of Design festival kicks off tomorrow

Opening night State of Design 2010.

THERE ARE so many events happening around Victoria during the State of Design it is hard to know where to start.

The opening night celebration is not a bad place to start. Join festival staff and contributors in celebrating the beginning of the 2011 State of Design Festival tomorrow evening at the Royal Exhibition Building, Carlton. The night will feature locally-produced entertainment and provide more information about what is happening during the festival.

Other architectural events kicking off tomorrow include Hassell’s Chasing Kitsune. A Japanese food truck that will be touring inner Melbourne locations throughout the festival serving sensational Japanese food and encourainge patrons to interact with and enjoy its design while pondering qualities of space.

Mapping the ‘Burbs is a self-guided cycling tour through outer Melbourne designed by a group of Victorian architectural firms and presented by the Victorian Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects. Moving Through Time is also a self-guided tour, this time on foot. The audio walking tour of four of Melbourne’s transformed industrial and mercantile gems provides interviews with the four architects involved in the projects.

While walking the streets of inner Melbourne you may also notice the unique window displays and installations of some inner city shops. These displays will be accessible to the public throughout the festival.

If an exhibition in one location is more your thing, head to Footscray or Collingwood. Footscray will host a exhibition of images, entitled F5: Footscray in Transition. Pin-up Architecture & Design Project Space and Greyspace will present the Housing Project in Collingwood. A playful, interactive installation and exhibition engaging with current issues surrounding housing, shelter and urban design in our city.

For further details on State of Design events, go to the State of Design website.

Image: State of Design opening night 2010.

Decoration + Design feature areas

Reggie Eco Rocker

THE UPCOMING Decoration + Design fair will have two feature areas – Alone Together by Genty Marshall and A Little Bit of Sunshine by Barbara Marshall.

Genty Marshall, the fair’s resident trend forecaster, will present a feature space and seminar inspired by Alone, Together. Marshall reminds us of the significance of privacy, solitude and intimacy as we continue our search for more connected ways of living. For designers, this is an opportunity to consider how to create private spaces that encourage us to switch off and cater to our need for solitude in what is becoming an increasingly shared environment.

A Little Bit of Sunshine is designed to lift our spirits and celebrate the nicer aspects of our climate. Barbara Marshall has put together a collection of sunny outdoor fabrics which will be displayed across thirty classic English deckchairs. To support the Australian Red Cross’s work with people affected by the Victorian Floods, and inject some sunshine into their lives, the chairs will be available to visitors through a silent auction.

Visit Decoration + Design from 21 to 24 July at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre.

Image: Reggie Eco Rocker.

New products from Artemide

Cosmic Landscape.

LIGHTING COMPANY Artemide recently added four new lamps to its collection.

Cosmic Rotation and Cosmic Landscape are new additions to Artemide‘s organic Cosmic family. They are available as ceiling, pendant, table and wall versions.

There is also a giant version of the iconic Tolomeo lamp that was designed by Michele de Lucchi and Giancarlo Fassina. Tolomeo XXL stands three metres high.

Karim Rashid’s Doride Terra Floor Lamp has a leaf-like form – almost like the line a pen might draw.

All the products are now available in Australia.

Houses Awards celebration

Architecture Media editorial director Cameron Bruhn.

THE INAUGURAL Houses Awards were presented on Friday to an enthusiastic crowd of winners, runners-up and members of the architecture community.

Photographer: Kelly Gardner.

Skylight screen by Martin Hodge

The skylight screen.

THIS STAINLESS steel screen was designed by Martin Hodge for a client who wanted a skylight cover for a four square metre area and the design was to reflect the surrounding native bush.

Martin Hodge is a Melbourne based sculptor and designer. His recent work looks at ways of embellishing surfaces with pattern and typography. Hodge has worked on a number of art commissions and commercial development projects using a number of industrial production techniques.

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