Tuesday, 31 July 2012

designer sally pottharst








It is almost impossible to open an interiors magazine and not see a rug from Armadillo&Co featured in a styling shoot, or someone's home. (They have recently launched I Love My Rug - whereby interior designers, architects and stylists can share images of their work with the rugs.) Yet it was only three years ago that the company was launched. But it had two huge advantages on its side. Jodie Fried - who I have interviewed here. And Sally Pottharst. The two met in Adelaide while Jodie was working on her Bholu project. Since then, across continents and countries, they have built up a formidable business that puts equal weight on style and sustainability. Here, Sally shares her story.


Which five words best describe you? Thorough, measured, Virgo, perfectionist, passionate.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I had a gap year where I returned to my school in Zimbabwe and taught art to 13-18 year olds – textile printing was my passion. Due to my imminent immigration to Australia I took a totally different tack and studied finance in Cape Town, South Africa, and became a chartered accountant with KPMG after I arrived here. After starting a family I worked with my husband in the newly established retail side of our floorcoverings business – Terrace Floors & Furnishings. During this time I learnt a lot about the craftsmanship and detail of weaving and making beautiful rugs. It was through my business that I met Jodie Fried and was inspired about making rugs for Bholu, which together we went on to do and created a really beautiful product. Even before we made Bholu rugs, I knew there was a gap in the market for carefully crafted and high quality understated rugs. It was from here that Armadillo&Co was born, and it has been a fantastic ride ever since.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Grab an opportunity when it comes along, and make it happen – no one else will make it happen for you.

What’s your proudest career achievement? The success of Armadillo&Co, and working with a fantastic team to provide such an appreciated product.

What’s been your best decision? Moving to Australia.

Who inspires you? My parents.

What are you passionate about? Elegant and simple design and my animals – my two faithful Jack Russels – Bruno and Puppy, my 23 dorper sheep and my four alpacas.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Nelson Mandela – I abhor racism and I can’t think of anyone else who has bridged a racial divide like he did in South Africa.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? Having very long holidays.

What are you reading? The poisonwood bible by Barbara Kingsolver, which is about a missionary family in the 1960s who move from the US to the Belgian Congo. I am always about three books behind my bookclub’s list and just pick up the ones that have had rave reviews. I was born in Africa, so am enjoying this one!


images courtesy of sally pottharst and armadillo&co

Monday, 30 July 2012

artist gria shead






For 10 years Sydney painter Gria Shead lived in Hill End, a former gold mining town in country NSW which is now known for its artist-in-residence program. She spent her time there painting alongside former husband Luke Sciberras, and raising their daughter, Stella. Since returning to Sydney Gria has returned to a place where she used to paint: Vaucluse House, a historic house in the Eastern Suburbs. She is exhibiting works from this current series at the Tim Olsen Gallery in Sydney until 12 August 2012.


Which five words best describe you? Artist, mother, optimistic, grateful, curious.

How have you progressed to a career as an artist? Just kept painting, painting and drawing always returning to painting and drawing.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Negativity gets you nowhere.

What's was the starting point for this exhibition? My starting point for this exhibition of paintings of interiors was to find a place that I connected with, but that also had meaning for others. I chose Vaucluse House, which is essentially a museum, so it is there to communicate with a wide audience from a historical point of view but in order to connect on a more emotional level I had to find something that resonated for me beyond the history and my own love of the place. I love researching my subject matter, discovering threads which I follow - some are stronger than others. The titles are the end result - the summation in a way, of the different threads. The Italian poet Petrarch was the strongest.

What’s your proudest career achievement? My current show “In the House”.

What’s been your best decision? Travelling when I was 20.

Who inspires you? My daughter Stella.

What are you passionate about? Colour, nature, painting, music, film, travel, research, fabric, interiors.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Buddha.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? To exhibit overseas.

What are you reading? The fatal shore by Robert Hughes.


images courtesy of gria shead and tim olsen gallery; portrait greg weight


Friday, 27 July 2012

designer gabriel hendifar






The most successful designs are often ones created when someone isn't able to find the item themselves. Enter the lights from Apparatus. Gabriel Hendifar, who trained in costume and scenic design and has worked as a fashion designer, was looking for something time-worn yet modern for his home with Jeremy Anderson. Together they decided to create their own. New York-based Apparatus is the result. You can see more of Gabriel's design work here.

Which five words best describe you? Closet-introvert, maker, thinker, laugher-at-inappropriate-things, aesthete.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I was trained as a costume and scenic designer and have been primarily designing womenswear for the past 10 years - first with JMary then with Raquel Allegra. I took on interior design clients as a way to expand my perspective and sharpen my eye. I really value an interdisciplinary approach — design solutions become more rich and layered that way. Apparatus was conceived when my partner Jeremy Anderson and I moved in together a few years ago. We were redesigning our apartment and I couldn’t find the fixtures I wanted to hang in our space - something that strikes a smart balance between utilitarian and decorative.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Let your brain roam and play and make. Then edit. And then edit some more.

What’s your proudest career achievement so far? Showing up to work every day knowing that I get to be an independently creative person makes me pretty proud.

What’s been your best decision? That’s a tough one. Maybe believing in my perspective until others catch up. It’s very “if you build it, they will come.

What are you passionate about? That moment when everything comes together. Balance. Imbalance. Music.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Can I throw a dinner party? Grace Coddington, Charles Aznavour, Chopin, and Cy Twombly.

What dream do you still want to fulfill? Expanding our collection into textiles and furniture. Designing menswear.

What are you reading? Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides


images courtesy of apparatus

Thursday, 26 July 2012

shop owner dean angelucci






There are some shop owners who see their job as a vocation. They do not merely sell stuff. Instead, they are curators, guardians, experts, even restorers. Dean Angelucci is one of these people. He has been a well-known figure on the Melbourne design scene for almost all of his adult life. In 1993 he opened his first store, Plasma, which focussed on the 1940s to 1960s and sourced locally. "Think Featherston and Meadmore, with lots of custom-made pieces from Caulfield 50s houses by Rosando and Zoureff," he says. When he moved to a larger showroom in High Street, Prahran about five years ago, the business was renamed to Angelucci 20th Century and shifted its focus to a broader, largely European, product range. While the bricks 'n' mortar store is now in Melbourne's Fitzroy, Dean is about to launch online shopping. (Read an interview with wife Lisa Gorman here.)

Which five words best describe you? Passionate, obsessive, focused, tireless, dreamer.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I put myself through uni by wholesaling Art Deco and 1950s pieces. During my final year in 1993, I opened our first store, Plasma. We've grown steadily ever since.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Being able to deliver the correct balance - giving customers what they want versus giving them what I want! Too heavily weighted either way can be a disaster.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Difficult. There's no Pritzker Prize in my industry. Little things mean a lot - such as being asked by the Robin Boyd Foundation to perform conservation work on furniture from their collection, selling scandinavian glass to a local museum, or simply handling, albeit briefly sometimes, really top-end work by legends such as Schulim Krimper.
What’s been your best decision? The move from sourcing locally to importing.
Who inspires you? Truly creative (and sometimes a little mad) Melburnians such as Michael Delaney-Korabelnikova (behind the interiors of clubs such as Honky Tonks and Bottom End), (my wife, fashion designer) Lisa Gorman, (artist) Rhys Lee, Roger Ward (interior designer from Richard and Roger).
What are you passionate about? My family (my wife Lisa and I have three- and six-year-old girls). Uncovering unusual things in faraway places. Wine.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? William Candy, the mid-19th century funerary stonemason who built the house I currently live in.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? Importing vintage design from at least two more continents. I have Design A.D.D. - I need to explore, understand, and buy new things all the time otherwise I risk losing interest.
What are you reading? The master and margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. And The world of interiors.

images courtesy of angelucci 20th century

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

landscape designer ned bailey






During a trip around Australia, Ned Bailey decided he wanted to take a slight detour from his landscaping business when he returned home to Melbourne. So after 15 years of working as a landscaper, he turned his attention to outdoor sculptures and screens and created Desert Scapes. The process involves upcycling discarded steel and turning it into fences and fixtures around the garden. He continues to offer sustainable landscaping services too.


Which five words best describe you? Laidback, impatient,resourceful, stubborn, loyal.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? Straight out of school I went to uni to study building construction. I dropped out to start a landscaping apprenticeship. I loved the hard work and discovered the design and visual aspect was just what appealed to me. Although landscaping fulfilled me for 15 years, after travelling around Australia with my young family I felt a pull towards sculpture, nature and recycling. This lead to me opening a showroom of my designs and developing my own style and presence. In my new space I surround myself with things people disregard and start creating.

What's the best lesson you have learnt along the way? Not to take other people's negative thoughts on board and do what I believe.

What's your proudest career achievement? The freedom to express myself in doing something I love, and making a living out of it.

What's been your best decision? Taking a risk on art.

Who inspires you? My eight-year old daughter Bella. She is up to surgery number 11, spends a lot of time in hospital, yet she is always positive and truly believes she can conquer the world.

What are you passionate about? Old to new recycling. Upcycling. Simplicity. Surfing.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Ned Kelly

What dream do you still want to fulfil? I dream of a relaxed life with my family living with the surf at the front door and my workshop at the back.

What are you reading? Shantaram


images courtesy of ned bailey

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

product designer diogo carvalho






Diogo Carvalho is only 26 years old, but already he is creative director of European lighting company, Delightfull. Born and based in Portugal, he started out studying engineering but switched courses to design at the Politecnico di Milano in Italy. At age 24 one of his designs was showcased at Mason & Objet. Today he is overseeing a team of designers, and doing his part to revive the Portugese arts and craft industry.


Which five words best describe you? Persistent, fearless, creative, dreamer, irreverent.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? My career kick-started when I designed a table for Boca do Lobo (Royal table, Limited Edition) that was selected to be displayed at Maison & Objet 2010 as a trend for that year. In the same month, I was promoted to the head designer at Delightfull | Unique lamps, and got specialised on lighting design since then.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Treat people in the same way you would like to be treated yourself.

What’s your proudest career achievement? More than designing a product, my proudest career achievement was to make Delightfull the freshest lighting design brand in the market where I had to think not only about product design, but coordinate a talented team composed by graphic and web designers, a photographer, a marketer and make a great investment in design events across Europe.

What’s been your best decision? Starting to study design, travelling two months around Europe by train and studying abroad in Milan, Italy.

Who inspires you? Chris Bangle, Tom Ford, Steve Jobs and Cristiano Ronaldo.

What are you passionate about? I am passionate about life, design and contemporary art.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Amy Winehouse

What dream do you still want to fulfill? To revive the Portuguese arts and crafts industry and to be internationally recognized by its quality and creativity.

What are you reading? The 4 hour work week by Timothy Ferriss, given by a good friend and designer РGon̤alo Campos


images courtesy of delightfull

Monday, 23 July 2012

illustrator maja beus






Living in London had a big impact on illustrator Maja Beus. She went there after completing a masters in graphic design in Zagreb, Croatia. During her time in London Maja came to the realisation that she wanted to focus on illustration. She started a blog at about the same time, which helped develop her style and, in turn, resulted in being signed with the Australian agency The Illustration Room. While Maja lives in Croatia, she has family in Brisbane, and spent time there after high school. Currently she is working towards an exhibition in Berlin later this year.

Which five words best describe you? Funny, analyzing, anxious, compassionate and a loner.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I have been drawing since forever and in my case it wasn't so much a choice, as it was a need. But I swerved a little along the way, trying to "do the smart thing" and things like this. I am, of course, talking about university. But never mind, I got a lot from my uni, and what I lost in time I gained in lost confidence.
What's the best lesson you have learnt along the way? I have learned that you don't have to be the best to make it. You just have to be good enough and persevere.
What's your proudest career achievement? I am not sure I have something like that yet, but an exhibition I am working on might be it when it happens.
What's been your best decision? Not to go all hippy on you, but I believe all decisions are good decisions. But one with the furthest reaching consequences on me and my life was definitely moving to London few years ago.
Who inspires you? People who go after what they want, no matter what "makes sense" or would be easier to do. Nonconformists. People who live here and now.
What are you passionate about? Everything and nothing. I enjoy all aspects of life, but often find passion takes too much out of you, leaving you empty later on, so I try not to indulge in it too often. But then again maybe am confusing passion and compulsive behaviour.
Which person, living or dead would you most like to meet? Who wouldn't I?!? Does Jake Gyllenhaal count? Because he is definitely on that list. But in terms of my work, I guess I wouldn't mind just hanging around with David Downton, carrying his pencils and just watching how he draws.
What dream do you still want to fulfill? How much time do you have? There is so much, but I am working on this one: in September I am going to Portugal and am finally learning to surf. The dream is to be a surfer in Hawaii (Blue Crush left a big impression on me).
What are you reading? Trust me you don't want to know. It's self help!

images courtesy of maja beus

Friday, 20 July 2012

architect & interior designer thomas jacobsen






Sailing from Australia to America three times, island hopping along the way, after finishing high school had a big impact on architect and interior designer Thomas Jacobsen. It taught him to appreciate design, and make the best use of the limited resources around you. Thomas went on to study architecture and interior design, and now has his own award-winning practice, designing venues such as the Beresford Hotel in Sydney's Darlinghurst and North Bondi Italian Food. He also creates furniture, which is available through his website.

Which five words best describe you? Caring, headstrong, understanding, resourceful, independent.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? My career started from my love of sailing at an early age - it taught me about designing, building and fixing things. It was a good test to make use of the limited resources around you. It also gave me an understanding of nature and it's forces. After high school and one year into my university studies my family decided to go sailing across the Pacific, which we crossed from America and Australia three times visiting numerous islands. This gave me an appreciation of the sea and all the different cultures. It also taught me how really small we are in the scheme of things and how to be practical. These lessons have been very useful in designing structures to furniture and how to pare design down to the simplest form while having longevity against the environment it will be living in. Once I finished my studies I landed my first interior architecture job which was awarded by the SIDA which is now the DIA. With this recognition other projects followed. During this time I started designing furniture and manufacturing it myself. Dedece decided to represent me, which then followed with eight years of Space Furniture being my reseller in Australia and Asia. I've been very lucky that my career to date has been very versatile ranging from components and furniture, to commercial and domestic projects.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? To listen to my clients and my team, understand their needs and apply these to my ideas.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Being able to work in so my disciplines from furniture to architecture to building to manufacturing.
What’s been your best decision? To believe in myself and my ideas.
Who inspires you? People who survive, create and problem-solve.
What are you passionate about? Integrity and honesty in people and design.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Arne Jacobsen. I would like to have met him as he had a similar design aesthetic, faced my difficulties and detractors during his career but still created beautiful practical designs which are still sold and used today, from his furniture to his architecture.
What dream do you still want to fulfill? To teach my children to sail, and to appreciate the beauty and uncompromising harshness of nature, and share this as a family.
What are you reading? Nothing at the moment. Really, I just have time to read about architecture, sailing and engineering on the internet and in magazines.


images courtesy of thomas jacobsen

Thursday, 19 July 2012

designer catherine martin







Catherine Martin is a name synonymous with one of Australia's most successful creative husband-and-wife partnerships. Alongside Baz Luhrmann, for the past 20 years she has created the sets on award-winning films, including Strictly Ballroom and William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet. Catherine won two Oscars for art direction and costume design on Moulin Rouge. She has also won a Tony Award for production design on the opera La Boheme which travelled to Broadway in New York.

But Catherine's design imprint isn't limited to film and theatre. She has also produced a range of wallpapers and rugs. The most recent flooring collection, inspired by the upcoming The Great Gatsby film, is her second collaboration with Designer Rugs.

Which five words best describe you? Passionate, positive, eccentric, determined, shoe-a-holic.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I had just dropped out of art school and was working in the rag trade as a sample hand when I heard a radio ad for a play in Western Sydney celebrating International Youth Year in 1985. I got the job as designer and from there I felt I had found my vocation and became inspired to apply for the design course at NIDA. I met Baz Luhrmann when he came to see an exhibition of our second year work. He had already graduated and had won the directorship of numerous companies in the bicentennial year of Australia and asked Angus Strathie and myself to start designing for him and these companies. Since then, I've been designing for Baz and we now have a company together and two beautiful children.
What's the best lesson you've learnt along the way?
Never give up.
What’s your proudest career achievement? My proudest life achievement is having my two beautiful children, Lillian and William. On the career front, it's continuing to enjoy the creative journey with my partner-in-crime, Baz Luhrmann.
What’s been your best decision? To have children and to commit to a creative and life partnership with my husband.
Who inspires you? Everything from walking the streets of New York and seeing the extraordinary panoply of life unfolding around me to reading books and magazines, surfing the web, visiting exhibitions and everyday conversations.
What are you passionate about? My children, my family life, my first morning coffee, inspiring design, shoes, good food, travelling, Paris, photography, art, New York and Ruinart champagne.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Elsa Schiaparelli, William Shakespeare and Albert Einstein
What dream do you still want to fulfil? To own an apartment in Paris
.What are you reading? The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt on my iPad kindle.

images courtesy of catherine martin and designer rugs

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

photographer pia ulin






Photography can still seem a male-dominated domain. And while it's possible to rattle off a long list of accomplished female photographers, it's always satisfying to add another woman to the list who's carving out a formidable reputation for herself. Pia Ulin is a Swedish photographer who studied and spends much of her time in New York. She travels constantly for work, thanks to her client base which includes HM HOME, Ikea and Anthropologie, as well as magazines such as Elle Decoration, Martha Stewart and Condé Nast Traveller. Pia has also published two books - Nesting is the most recent - and completed one documentary film.

Which five words best describe you? Spontaneous, fast, passionate, happy, melancholic.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I studied photography at the International Center of Photography in New York. Then I went back to Stockholm and my work just took off.
What's the best lesson you've learnt along the way? Say yes to everything, and learn as you go along.
What's your proudest career achievement? When Casa Vogue/Italia said they liked my book Nesting.
What's been your best decision? To have children.
Who inspires you? Silence.
What are you passionate about? Finding a home.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Georgia O'Keeffe
What dream do you still want to fulfill? Move to Los Angeles.
What are you reading? Living Buddha, Living Christ by Thich Nhat Hanh

images courtesy of pia ulin
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