This inner-south interiors hub may appear to be a raw industrial landscape, but it’s also an up-and-coming quarter full of surprises. Sophia Davies reports on all Alexandria’s highlights at Sydney Indesign 2015.
August 20th, 2015
Alexandria is where Surry Hills design brands relocate when they want a fresh start. Within factories, business parks and malls you’ll find alluring commercial showrooms offering footprints their city-centre brethren can only dream of. With its mix of local food producers, creative studios and pioneering high-rise residents, affordable Alexandria is set to overtake the eastern suburbs as Sydney’s coolest design precinct.
Australian brand Jardan launched its new ‘Apartment Collection’ of furniture sized for compact spaces. It also hosted a Habitus LiveLife talk covering issues such as renting in super-pricy Sydney, and the furniture solutions required for these more insecure habitats, inspiring its style-aware young customers to personalise their living spaces. Bar staff served up sangria, while outside Cantina Movil’s food truck kept the tacos coming.
For the ultimate wow factor, Living Edge’s gorgeous, two-level new flagship nestles inside a seemingly innocuous business zone. Once inside, guests were beguiled by stellar pieces, including UK architect David Chipperfield’s minimal wooden ‘Fayland’ table for E15, pendant lights by Buster + Punch, and new work by Made in Ratio, Walter Knoll, PROOFF and Caon Studio. Sculptures by Sydney-based Morgan Shimeld added an arty touch, as did the spot-lit table of luscious food, which resembled a Dutch master painting. Australian artist Ken Done proved a star guest at a LiveLife talk on design icons, in which a mock-up visual of Zaha Hadid and Frank Gehry shown as religious icon paintings illustrated concern about starchitects hired as marketing tools. Visitors sipped coffee outside at The Little Hopper van, and fine wine inside at a buzzy Saturday party.
Sand sculpture in a contemporary design showroom? Tick! At design hub 69 O’Riordan Street at Level 1, Cosentino presented its Dekton Ultra Compact Surface material at its Alexandria showroom, with Blue Mountains sand artist Jino van Bruinessen carving a homage to Daniel Liebeskind’s Dekton-formed ‘Beyond the Wall’ sculpture and announced UTS student David Hamilton as the local winner of the Cosentino Design Challenge for 2015. A LiveLife talk saw architects Isabelle Toland from Aileen Sage, Koichi Takada and Lucy Humphrey discuss the importance of experiencing tactile materials in the visually dominated Instagram age. Cocktails, from Dekton Martinis to the Silestone Smurf, kept the well-heeled audience animated.
At the 69 O’Riordan Street Level 1 building, furniture supplier KE-ZU collaborated with Other Architects and otherothers to riff on seminal French filmmaker Jacques Tati’s movies Mon Oncle and Play Time for The Project, creating a lifesize cardboard model house, topped by a radically angled reflective surface mirroring the interior. Each cubicle celebrated a key domestic area, from The Reading Room to The Courtyard, picking up on everyday routines. Different coffee and chocolates were served throughout the day in another nod to comforting daily rituals. A LiveLife Design Hunter talk on longevity and icons at KE-ZU suited the Tati theme.
69 O’Riordan Level 1 neighbour Blu Dot, a Minneapolis-based firm known for hip homes designs, brought its co-founder John Christakos over for several talks for DQ Magazine. Christakos attributed Blu Dot’s success to the need for affordable items in independent stores with customers shopping up and down the price spectrum more, perhaps teaming a B&B Italia sofa with affordable Blu Dot pieces and IKEA kit for kids’ rooms.
A WorkLife Seminar explored Big Data and Smart Buildings next door at TCW’s expanded showroom, which also launched three new global brands, including the ‘Rhyme’ sofa by the UK’s talented naughtone, vibrant ottomans from Finnish label LoOok Industries and work stations from Canada’s Teknion. Street-art-style wall decorations and interactive activities by PTID for The Project helped visitors rethink the workplace experience. The doughnut stand was a particular hit!
Collaboration between brands was evident throughout Alexandria, with many sharing showrooms or presentations. Coco Republic teamed with Smeg to bring glam international guests to town for workshops, including vintage expert Timothy Oulton and Benjamin Brougham, Director of Interior Design at quirky-retro US homewares brand Jonathan Adler. The spectacular showroom was humming with punters pecking at parmesan and sipping Aperol Spritz.
Typifying Alexandria’s industrial quirkiness, CDK Stone and showroom partner Thinkdzine created an urban beach party in their car park forecourt. Deckchairs, inflatable flamingos and a barbecue pleased punters, while indoors CDK showed off new smart surface material Neolith (eco-friendly, it can take any punishment you throw at it), and Thinkdzine’s swish kitchens (the newly launched Maxima 2.2 series drew admiring glances). Only the hard-hearted could resist the little carved heart Neolith samples.
Nearby Euro Natural Stone showcased grainy new marble launches Atlas, Ananke and Laverna. Backdropped by a huge photo of a snow-white marble quarry in Tuscany and vast slabs of stone, guests feasted on Turkish delights, from burek to baklava, celebrating one of the brand’s eastern source countries.
Photography by Fiona Susanto Photography
Keep up to date with the latest and greatest from our industry BFF's!
The first local design event of its kind for several years, Brisbane Designscape provides a unique opportunity for design-minded professionals to explore new solutions, trends and innovations that will shape the commercial spaces of the future.
Plumes of smoke, delicate glassware and of course a captivating, textured backdrop of sintered stone – take a look at what it takes to bring an image to life as we go on set with Neolith.
According to Le Corbusier, the struggle for it underpins the history of architecture. Frank Lloyd Wright described it as a “beautifier of buildings”. And Motoko Ishii famously equated it to life itself. Indispensable, life-affirming and metamorphic, light underpins all architectural and design efforts.
The same blue-sky thinking that underpins Woodside’s energy exploration, development delivery and supply business set the tone for its new global HQ in Perth, designed by Cox Architects and Unispace.
“We connect with the Chin Chin customer through materiality. You would expect to see the chipboard substrate cladding in a twenty-something’s apartment. It’s raw and youthful and in that sense makes a relationship with the Chin Chin majority diner” says George Livissianis.
The internet never sleeps! Here's the stuff you might have missed
The auditorium was full, the vibe electric and the winners truly outstanding last night at the INDE.Awards Gala. Scroll the Indo Pacific’s most outstanding projects and people, here.
Beyond the realm of academia, RMIT’s administrative offices, or RMIT Our Place, by ARM Architecture called for a series of curated, tech-savvy spaces to appeal to its diversity of workers.
It’s what interior designers are doing with vintage pieces that makes an impression. We look at seven examples of great vintage design pieces with Gillian Serisier.
On the evening of 4 August, the INDE.Awards will put the spotlight on four outstanding individuals – people who have attained great success and respect in the sphere of architecture and design. Meet Nonda Katsalidis, Meryl hare, Nathan Yong and Marisa Yiu.
Pingelly Recreation and Cultural Centre by iredale pedersen hook exemplifies design that is sensitive to place, people and culture:
a template for best practice into the future. We present to you, the winner of INDE.Awards’ Building category.