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Chardon-heeeeeey! A Lesson in Being Social

What might the A+D community learn from libraries, gastronomic competitions, merrymaking and wine? Well, funny you ask…

Late last fortnight, a group of international judges descended upon Melbourne in a groundbreaking development to the “World’s 50” Awards programme.

Marking the first time that the “World’s 50: Best Restaurants” Awards have been hosted outside of either London or New York City, the presence of this jury in Melbourne – among whom are the likes of internationally-renowned chefs Heston Blumenthal, Daniel Humm, Brett Graham, Gaggan Anand and Massimo Bottura – represents a major coup for Australian gastronomic culture. And, while this year may be the first time the Awards is hosted in Australia, punters are touting this year to be the first time Australian restaurants will make it onto the “World’s 50” list too.

In a new partnership with Tourism Australia, William Drew (Group Editor of the “World’s 50”) recently declared at a press conference, “we are thrilled to be moving to Melbourne, one of the great food cities of the world. […] Australia will undoubtedly be the place to be for those passionate about great food and inspired restaurants. We are looking forward to highlighting the country’s unique produce, brilliant wines and dynamic dining scene”.

And while it is definitely becoming clearer each day that Australia has reached a point of gastronomic maturity to compete on the international stage, many of our top media personnel are also reporting that our viticulture is swiftly becoming integral to our national competitive edge too. Both deep in its roots and vigorous in its growth, Australia in 2017 has risen to become the fourth largest producer of wine world-wide, exporting a staggering 750,000,000 litres of wine per annum (equating to approximately $2.8billion of our Gross Domestic Product).

To say that viticulture is central to our collective social experience is not too much of an understatement. In the past thirty years, our winemaking prowess has risen to challenge even the most distinguished winemaking pedigrees of Italy, France, California and Germany. And, simultaneously, a level of wine connoisseurship has entered the Australian vernacular to such a vast degree that any of us could give Europe’s best sommeliers a run for their money.

But, though it is undoubtedly true that we should give a round of applause to our gastronomes, chefs, winemakers and farmers from coast to coast, I find it odd that few are willing to recognise the sterling efforts of our A+D community in raising the calibre of Australia’s increasingly gastronomic and wine-centric culture.

This was something that, late last year in Western Australia (one of this country’s premium wine regions), became all too apparent to me. Contemporary Wine in Design – a Perth-wide event celebrating the uniqueness of Australia’s wine and design prowess – called upon our collective A+D and winemaking to get together, socialise and discuss methods by which our newfound design and wine talent could benefit the wider public and those social environments in which we all commune.

This was something that the team at Living Edge – one of this country’s foremost design destinations for architects, interior designers and design enthusiasts – obviously understand all too well. During Contemporary Wine In Design, Team Living Edge hosted a panel discussion on the question of whether the term ‘design democracy’ is valid in A+D across our region. Packing out their showroom, more than 70 of A+D’s biggest names sat on the edges of their seats, weighed in on the debate, and really got to the heart of issues affecting the relationship between design shaping our social experience.

David Caon of Caon Studio, Sandy Anghie of Anghie Designs, Andrew Thornton Hick of Ultimo Interiors, Alec Coles OBE of the WA New Museum spoke considerately about the growing trend of design-discussion no longer being the preserve of studios – it’s in the street, around restaurant tables, on bar stools, in your living room.

Increasingly, thinking around the place of ‘democracy’ in design is taking into account an incredible degree of environments and stakeholders. From homes to restaurants, hotels to offices, schools to theatres, airports to stadiums – all quintessentially social spaces – our A+D community is fighting for a more inclusive, more intelligent and more compassionate approach to our collective creative practice. We’re fighting, that is, for spaces that can tell a relevant story of the people who interact and play within it, that can capture collective imagination and bring us together.

Wine in hand, discussion covered the full range of today’s professional reality in the A+D sector: that we, as designers, architects, or simply just enthusiasts, are facing very different roles in the public sphere. The way in which contracts, commissions and stakeholder relationships are handled today demands a high calibre of performance by the profession. Now seeking to empower an enormous array of stakeholder positions through design, our roles seek to balance creative expertise with considerate responsiveness to common (and sometimes, uncommon) need. Design, it would seem, needs to speak to our dreams of who We want to be, participating in Our fight of becoming.

Perhaps it was fitting, then, that this discussion occurred against the backdrop of elite, TO BE’s Libreria del Vino. Designed by Australian-born, Italy-bound brothers, the Libreria del Vino is inspired by the centuries-old vineyards dotted throughout Northern Italy. Redolent, equally, of both Tuscan charm and Milanese lustre, the Libreria del Vino bears its inherent drama with stylishly understated panache.

Gracing many a home, winery, bar and restaurant alike, the Libreria del Vino represents the perfect coalescence of sociality, connoisseurship and cosmopolitanism so central to the Australian social experience. In the design-duo’s own words: “[i]n each land, a culture; and with it, the knowledge of its people. Feelings that come straight from the nature of the materials, for the form, the colours, the history of that place”.

As a raison d’etre, elite, TO BE’s orientation to the romance of design could not be more beguiling. With an unimpeachable cosmopolitan flair, the design brains behind the brand unite truly international aesthetic and material influences from Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia as the cardinal points of a journey “we have not only chosen, but that has always been a part of our DNA […]. The true essence of elite, TO BE”.

Available exclusively through Living Edge, the Libreria del Vino is a timeless, impressive and customisable wine storage solution constructed entirely out of laser cut iron corten. Perfect for use in kitchens, wine cellars, wineries, restaurants, and even homes, the Libreria del Vino is distinguished by a minute attention to fabrication and material detailing. Available in six different modules, the options for optimum customisation are virtually endless. The modular bookcase is rendered with even more charm through the addition of the ladder supported by rolling casters, accompanying rails and softly diffused back lighting. Holding different bottle sizes and shapes, the Libreria del Vino is available in oak, suar wood, corten hard finishing, lacquered in white, red, burgundy, ivory, dark grey and black.

Living Edge is truly at the vanguard of discerning taste. As one of this region’s foremost design destination for architects, interior designers, and design enthusiasts, the team has curated a remarkable collection through Living Edge’s promise to foster and support authentic design. With an all-encompassing, holistic service, each brand in this impressive portfolio is carefully selected for the quality and significance of its designs, its responsiveness to the Australian market, and an uncompromising commitment to social responsibility at the core of sustainable design practice.

Living Edge offers narratives of comfort, warmth, elegance, and intimacy: design intended to bring people together. As the Official Partner for the 2017 INDE.Award for The Social Space, we want to raise a glass and toast team Living Edge!

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