Concrete In Lighting Design
Jul03

Concrete In Lighting Design

Concrete is not just the latest trend in flooring. It extends past designer kitchen bench tops and polished decorative planters. Concrete is now one of the most popular materials used by object and lighting designers and interiors decorators around the world. For homes that have an industrial edge, using concrete lighting just makes sense. If you want to exude a raw, industrial feel in your home you want to incorporate industrial materials into the overall design of your interior and lighting is one of the most important elements you need to consider. There’s no doubt that concrete and lighting make for a unique and unexpected pairing of which an Australian designer was the first to consider. Paul Mulhearn is the founding director and designer at Viore design. It was Viore who were the first in the marketplace to offer a range of concrete pendant lights. Coming in a range of three different sizes, plus a conical-shaped pendant, Viore’s original concrete pendants are ideally used in homes with high ceilings, where they can either be grouped together, spaced evenly or clustered over a dining area in different shapes, sizes and lengths. Each light features a beautifully textured concrete exterior with anodised silver interior and polished chrome finishing touches. The Australian lighting company, Viore continues to enjoy working with concrete as a medium and expects to continue to use it in the future with upcoming releases. These concrete pendant lights certainly have an organic, natural feel to them, which means they not only work well in industrial-inspired homes but also in minimalistic, Scandinavian-inspired and almost any home or apartment with a neutral colour palette. Because these concrete pendants have such timeless appeal, they make the perfect investment for redecorating home owners. Since learning more about the Viore Design concrete pendants, I’ve started noticing not only concrete lights, but concrete home wares and furniture items too. From side boards to chairs (I’m not sure how comfortable they’d be) to dining tables and even office desk accessories there’s really no limit to how concrete can be used. One things for sure, this trend of using concrete not only outside the home but inside too is not something that appears to be fading fast. If anything, I expect we’ll be seeing designers coming up with more ways to use concrete for a range of interior design projects for years to...

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Bring a Touch of The Chelsea Flower Show to Your Garden
Jun29

Bring a Touch of The Chelsea Flower Show to Your Garden

Nine-time ChelseaFlower Show veteran and winner of Australia’s only ‘best in show’ medal in the historic event’s 100 year history, Wes Fleming knows a thing or two about creating show-stopping gardens. From dramatic plunge-pools and outdoor bathtubs to relaxed outdoor dining and sculptural outdoor art, new landscaping and design trends are formed at Chelsea. So how can you recreate a touch of Chelsea in your garden at home? Wes Fleming reveals his top tips to inject a Chelsea feel into your outdoor space… “Plonk Gardening” – don’t overthink the location of plants too much and don’t be afraid to mix and match within a garden bed. Rather than strive for perfection and symmetry, for a more natural look simply ‘plonk’ plants down in the garden bed still in their pots and stand back – if it looks good, then plant. Use a mix of evergreen, flowering, autumn colour and feature trees to create a stunning array of texture and colour that will change with the weather and take on a different character with each turn of the season. Reserve a good budget for planting – the plants will pay you back in spades as they mature and in turn increase the value of your home. Use colour to layer – use deep purple foliage as a backdrop, fading to brighter tones and silver foliage plants as the top layer of planting. Use low growing and spreading plants as ground cover, rather than mulch or bark. This will create a more full-bodied garden with lots of different plants, colours and textures. Create interest and structure to your garden with a touch of ‘hard’ landscaping –wooden beams or decorative screening make for a dramatic addition to any garden and help balance the ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ landscaping elements. Be creative with exterior lighting. Accentuating mature trees or feature points in the garden with up-lighting can look incredible at night and ensure your garden is a focal point both day and...

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Being Mindful With Good Design
Jun23

Being Mindful With Good Design

When is a chair not a chair? When it has a dual purpose. I first saw these beautifully crafted chairs when I lived in Canada and I had just started getting into meditation. They offer a comfortable spot to meditate, be mindful or just relax in. Meditation was like a blessing. I was working crazy hours in the oil industry and found meditation helped to ground me, even if it was just for short amounts of time. Relaxing, being at peace, slowing down and just being was helping my state of mind immensely. However, as everyone knows, when you have a busy schedule I found it hard to keep it up with the demands of everyday life. I found I needed to create a little oasis and needed a visual reminder to make sure I took time out for myself. While I meditated, I wasn’t a big fan of cushions on the floor or hard wooden surfaces. I like to be comfortable when I’m relaxing, so when I found this beautifully designed chair, which was also meant for meditation or just for generally chilling out, I jumped for joy. Fast forward a couple of years and my husband and I moved back to Australia to be closer to family. I was working on another business idea at the time, which didn’t work out, and then the chair popped back into my mind. I wanted to revive my meditation practice and to create my own little oasis. I got in touch with the designer to see if he could send a chair over to me but with the logistics of it he said no he couldn’t just send one. As a busy working mum I really needed that chair now, more than ever, so I ordered ten! As soon as I received the chairs my friends and family starting asking about them, and wanted to know where I had found them. I sold those ones in no time and that’s when my business idea came to fruition. The designer did not ship to Australia, so I would become the distributor here. I now import these chairs which are ethically made in Java, Indonesia. The bases are made of sustainable mango wood, with a seagrass and banana leaf weave, and the cushions are 100 per cent cotton and kapok filling. Since I started importing these beautiful pieces I’ve had CEOs of multinationals to Buddhist nuns; health practitioners to mums purchasing them and also conveying their yearning for a place of peace and solitude. I believe the benefits are huge, from spending just ten minutes a day listening to your breathing and...

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How To Make a Large Room Feel Comfortable
Jun10

How To Make a Large Room Feel Comfortable

There are many ways to divide a large space into more comfortable smaller areas in which to live, work and play but for this article I’d like to concentrate on room dividers. The clever use of a physical barrier can set the tone for the design scheme; traditional, mid-century modern, urban, scandi style or shabby chic, anything is possible. Space dividers Open plan living spaces are popular, particularly with families, and they work really well when numbers swell at party time. However very large rooms can make people feel uncomfortable and sometimes it’s difficult to arrange furniture due to the lack of walls. It feels a bit weird placing furniture in the middle of an expansive room when, having been used to smaller spaces, we would naturally place large items around the edges of a room and face them inwards. Moving from a house with several small rooms into one with an open plan arrangement can be daunting and space dividers have an important role. The open shelving shown in the image below (from Bolefloor), allows the maximum amount of light to permeate through. This has the added design benefit of creating shadows, which can be very attractive, and it means you have a visual connection through the space. The design is perfect for a contemporary look and you may wish to display items on the shelves although I must admit to liking it just the way it is. To bring pattern into a room you could try a folding screen that can be moved and adjusted to fit the space. A solid screen like the ones below (Butterflies from Timorous Beasties and parrots from WallpaperDirect) can create the effect you specifically need. Give your room a lift with joyful pattern or bold colour. If you have craft skills you could make this type of screen at home; cover with fabric, wallpaper, or paint. If you need a divider that also creates a thermal barrier a glazed wall is one to consider. The decision to have small framed panes of glass or large pieces that are unframed will be dependent on the style you want to achieve in your home.  In order to decide what type of room divider you need consider the following questions:- Is it going to be permanent or do you need to move it around? For instance, will you want to take it with you to a new home or use it in another room in the future? Do you require the screen for privacy and if so, must it be completely solid or can it be semi transparent? Should the screen be more than just a visual divider? Could it be a thermal or noise barrier?  Is the screen required for...

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The Whole Enchilada: Stop Thinking in Terms of Rooms
Jun05

The Whole Enchilada: Stop Thinking in Terms of Rooms

Interior Design can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you have no training or serious experience with it. In fact, for many people who choose to go DIY (or must do, due to budget constraints), their gut instinct is to reduce the project’s scale down to something more mentally manageable. This usually means focusing on one room of the house at a time – or, sometimes, just one aspect of a room. Once they get the scale down to something less frightening the ideas start to come. The problem? This approach usually results in an over-designed home, or a home with a chaotic, rudderless design scheme that doesn’t feel cohesive. Beautiful, unique objects, textures, and colours won’t do much for your home if they fight with each other or don’t complement each other. Scary or not, the key to good design in the home is to think about the Big Picture. The Problem Here’s the problem: Whether you’re tackling each room as a whole separate project due to intimidation or budget, the end result is that each room feels like an island of design. On the one hand, this might make sense to you, because you’re pouring all of your creativity and resources into each space, so they will all emerge feeling “done,” with nice finishes. And that may well be true. But if you step back and walk from space to space, think about whether the colour transitions from one wholly distinct palette to another are jarring, whether the decorations on the walls and surfaces tie into each other or not, and whether you feel like you’re walking through different people’s apartments instead of one family’s home. In some cases, you want this distinction – giving a child his or her distinct space can be a great idea. But for the public areas of the home everything needs to feel like it’s part of a larger plan. The Solution The solution is simple: Step back and make sure there are visual “through lines” between each space. Take into consideration: Colour Palette: You don’t need to use the same colour palette in each room, but each colour palette should launch from the same starting point and complement each other. One great idea is to have each room shift from one end of the palette spectrum to another as you move from the front to the back of the home. Wall Art: Each piece of wall art should refer back to others in the home. Subtlety is key. Different styles of canvas prints or other wall decor all depicting similar subjects, or canvas prints made from the same photo set you took on...

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