Photo by Tim Casten

GEYSER Installation by Caitlin Perry, Ella Leoncio and Robert Bravington. Photo by Tim Casten


Friday night saw my first opportunity to use the canvas I bought a while ago. The heater was on, we were watching a corny Mel Gibson film on the projector and little Wolfie was curled up at my feet. What better subject than my favourite four legged friend and for the first time in a long time my hand just painted as my mind began to shut off. My ultimate relaxation.

By the time I was half way through his little petite face the painting began to resemble this image {below} which I had seen in the background of one of my favourite blogs a few days earlier. A dashing Daschund with a very sophisticated bowtie. {Unfortunately, I do not know who to credit for this very cute print Print by Lisa Bengtsson}.

There was something really wonderful about painting with oil paints again. The smell, the texture and the way they lift of the canvas was a welcomed change from the staleness of the computer world.

15 minutes was all it took but its thearaputic qualities have set me up to face the work week ahead.

Image Credits: 2nd image by Jennifer Hagler . All other images by Thebowernest (Caitlin Perry). Please credit and link back if used.

Masonry is going through a facelift of late, with many contemporary projects taking the modular based building construction type and manipulating its geometry in a variety of interesting ways.

Referencing back to the architectural greats like that of Frank Llyod Wright and his 1948 Xanadu Gallery, brick is being used to successfully create drama and intrigue into modular facades.  

This play and manipulation of the modular becomes interesting when combined with the element of subtraction. No longer does the structure need be interpreted as heavy and solid, brick structures can be light weight, open and airy.

With subtraction comes heightened light penetration, which on an external level allows warm glows to escape into the dark night. From an internal perspective the subtractions can create dappling and choreographed sunlit environments that shift and change through the progression of the day. 

Peter Zumthor has taken these such notions and applied them to his inspirational extension to the Kolumba Art Museum. Taking the colour hues of the existing heritage walls he has created a contemporary addition that neither over shadows, nor ‘squashes’ the existing facade. Inside, the gallery is an art piece unto itself. 

Office dA Architecture and Anagram Architecture both explore texture within their masonry facades. Extrusions of surface in Tongxian Gatehouse allows for depth and shadow to emerge. Taking what might have been a fairly flat faced building and giving it texture and interest.

The Human Rights Documentation Centre uses rotation of the module to promote movement within the surface. This rotation also allow for moments to occur where light is able to escape the facade, making the building equally as inviting at night time.

All these projects are fantastic examples of  simple material and modular manipulations. Each are really inspiring examples of how monolithic architecture can achieve scale and texture across a variety of scales. I can not wait to see what other buildings will begin to emerge in their wake.

As I psych myself up to dust off my paint brushes and tackle some still life this weekend I can not help but to think of oil painter Carly Waito. I am however, unsure as to whether her paintings are inspirational or severely intimidating. Do I reach for the stars and set the bar higher than ever or do I lock the brushes up for another rainy day and declare the task defeated?

One thing is for certain, her renderings of semi-precious gems and minerals are unbelievable enticing, detailed and magnificently realistic.

Whilst one would presume it mere impossible to expand on the allure of these natural specimens she has taken oil painting to a whole new level.

Ever since I was a child I’ve always held positive associations with timber crockery. Each birthday mum would dust off the wooden bowls and pour the chips and cheezels in as we waited in anticipation. To this day I am not sure why but they were reserved only for parties.

What I really appreciate about this particular material exploration is how out of context this application is. Taking something generally refered to as heavy, dense and solid and giving it fragility, shape and lightness.

Below are my wish list items for timber dinnerware. Hopefully I can build a collection in time for my next birthday party and relive the ‘chips-in-wooden bowl’ memories.

Images via: {1} {2} {3} {4} {5} {6} {7} {8} {9} {10} {11}

Today has been one of those days where everything you see induces jealous urges of ‘why didn’t I think of that?’.  These feelings were particularly heightened today by the fact that we have given ourselves until the end of the week to order all our materials for GEYSER.

As you can imagine it is nerve central over here! Do our materials evoke the reactions we want and allow for the craft we desire? Well, fingers crossed because only time can tell…

I wanted to post today two installation examples I have seen in the last 24 hours that implement creative material choices and whose executions are beyond impressive. Both feature materials that create very specific and unique senses of space and I couldn’t be more envious.

Zilvinas Kempinas (sourced via) takes an obsession with old VHS tapes and creates a 25 metre masterpiece!  A tunnel is created by removing the magnetic strips from the tapes and anchoring them between two structures. It is unique, beautiful and thought provoking. It takes a material out of context and redefines its agenda by focusing on its physical properties. In this case, the way the light bounces off the strips, its wafer thin structure and ability to be pulled tight are utilised in distorting views and influencing human movement through site.

It creates a space that cries out for human engagement.

For anyone who hasn’t seen Tokujin Yoshioka‘s work before then I couldn’t stress more than to instantly check him out. It is officially installation eye candy. His work is whimsical, pure and one that you just want to jump in and explore. Above is an installation that he did out of white drinking straws! I hate to imagine how many is actually used but the result is pretty unbelievable.

If GEYSER’s material palette and form comes out even a smidge as good as these guys then I will be a very happy lady!

I decided to check out the ‘Design:Made:Trade‘ expo over the weekend at the beautiful exhibition centre in Carlton Gardens. The quality of this years show really surpassed my expectations and I walked away feeling quite inspired about life and design.

I secretly had a few personal agendas to fulfill within my visit which I’ll detail below -as well as some serious wandering around aimlessly to do .(Don’t you just love these ceramics cups and bowls by ‘themodcollective’?).

Ok, so onto personal agendas:

Firstly, I was pretty ecstatic to see in person the turned timber ‘Interia’ robe handles which I had ordered for my sister’s extension. Having only communicated via email with their designer Karryn, it was lovely to see the master pieces in real life and experience how they felt in my hand. The quality of the turning and the tone and grain of the timber was really beautiful and promptly justified my decision.  Karryn and the Team at Interia were part of the Design Island syndicate which showcased some of the best and upcoming Tasmanian designers.  

Secondly, I was very curious to see an old Architect friend, Amber Lucy’s stand.   Thread Architecture is the name of her new design practise and the display was a real testament to Amber’s vast knowledge of Architecture and Interior design as well as her colourful and playful disposition. From all accounts her threaded Bentwood chairs were quite a show stopper and has earned her much acclaim.

Finally, I was super excited to have my friend Sarah Deasy come to stay with us. Sarah had come down from Brisbane to exhibit at Design:Trade:Made as part of the University of Queensland’s Industrial Design collective. Sarah’s been exploring the potentials for hybridising computerised/mechanical fabrication techniques with hand made weaving. It was great to see what she has been up to over the last year and I particularly took a fancy to her 3d printed bracelet with cotton weave.

With the call out for Meredith Music Festival ballot entries arriving at my inbox Wednesday (I know, it’s that time already?), I am dreaming of the 2nd weekend in December.

Each year there are certain things you can generally bank on. Besides having a glorious time, bumping into long lost friends up front of stage and either surviving heatstroke or torrential rain I will, without a doubt over pack.  Every journey home involves me at least once telling myself to do it more simply next time (this generally occurs at the point where I need to cart it all back exhaustingly into the house). 

Well it appears that Martin Azua might indeed have the answer. A blinging portable structure that can be inflated by either the suns rays or human body heat.  It fits neatly in your pocket prior to use and unlike all tents I’ve ever owned fits right back in again when you are done. The best part however is its glorious metallic finish, one structure that you couldn’t loose in the sea of tents!

This concept was first exhibited at the MOMA in New York way back in 2005 so hopefully a rich financial backer has picked it up and propelled it into production.

Images by Daniel Riera.

Instead of dreaming up blog posts this week I have been dreaming up house designs for my future retreat in the country. Carrying my train of thought on from last post I have spent a great deal of this week daydreaming, drawing and 3d modelling the possibilities of what our straw bale house could be. A great deal of time has been devoted to the ‘big white box’ ideal. As wonderful as it is, however, now I am shifting my focus to other options, all centred around the design of the roof.

When I ask my nieces and nephews to draw a house it has very little number of components. Usually there is 2 windows and a door contained within a box. The most crucial element of the drawing, the thing that makes it a ‘real’ house is the pitched triangular roof.

So this week I am going to focus on just that. I’m going to design the ultimate child -like picture of a house. How can I fit all that we need and want into a square and a great big triangle. What are its limitations and what are the happy accidents that can develop?

Below are a few of my favourite current designs that work within the same formal principles. Each take what could be a basic structure and add interest via material, texture, views and landscape:

These projects also demonstrate the peaked roof’s potential to offer unique and interesting interiors. Tilting windows allow for an abundance of natural light that falls into the volume on a variety of angles depending on the time of day. Exposed structures and trusses add character, warmth and cosiness without detracting from the grandiose height of the middle seam.

These images really inspire me to test out this design style for our hypothetical-I-Hope-It-Can-Actually-Happen– strawbale house. An added bonus of this roof design is it aids in the functionality of recording studios, where odd angles are appreciated and enhance the acoustics of space. I will keep you posted!

Image Credits:

{1} {2} {3} {4} {5} {6} {7} {8} {9} {10} {11} {12} {13} {14} {15} {16} {17} 

My mind is constantly coming up with new projects that will ultimately occupy a lot of my time. With GEYSER in full swing and my sister’s extension in its crucial fixtures and fittings stage I really should be allocating the little time I have left to relaxation and doing nothing.

That would be fairly boring now wouldn’t it?

Bobby and I have been dreaming of this idea for a while now and I am currently starting to think/research it a lot. Haybales. That is currently where it is at. Cheap, and both environmentally and thermally sound they are a great building alternative.

Ultimately we would love to buy some land in the country and build a Strawbale house for the weekends and holidays. Just imagine: Bobby’s recording studio up one end, my art studio up the other and then amenities and accommodation wedged in the middle, a winning combination.

It is a pipe dream at the moment but seeing projects like this by Swiss Architects ‘Atelier’ I am enthusiastic and eager to make it happen .

No longer do strawbale houses have to be daggy-mud-covered-curvacious-blobs (with mosasic tiles pressed into the walls). They can be crisp, rendered and modern. My dream house indeed!

All images via.