April 19, 2013

The latest issue of Houses magazine just arrived at the Studio, and we were delighted to read Adam Haddow’s review of our recently-completed Northern Beaches House. Haddow places NB House in the long tradition emanating from Philip Johnson’s Glass House of 1948 and Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House of 1951 – and of course we are honoured to be counted in such lustrous company. It’s a seven-page story, with terrific pictures by Justin Alexander, and – this is something we really like about Houses magazine – several floorplans as well. They also include a full fact sheet of the various subcontractors we use – it’s great to see these excellent craftsmen getting a shout out. Houses magazine issue 91 – out now.


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April 18, 2013

From Bauhaus To Our House is a killer title for a book on architecture. But, I’ve always had the feeling that Tom Wolfe’s 1981 tome was a bit thin on the analysis. Thumbing through a vintage copy recently, I realised just how pernickety it really is. Dubbing Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius the ‘Silver Prince’, he positions him as the progenitor of a long line of modernists who would create houses like ‘insecticide refineries’ and develop cityscapes he calls ‘Rues of Regret’. Reductive? Sure. Axe-grinding? Very likely. And while his snubbing of the International Style for designing buildings like ‘duplicating-maching replacement-parts wholesale distribution warehouses’ is witty, it is far from incisive. Clearly, in terms of architectural criticism, Mr Wolfe is lacking The Right Stuff. But I was happy to be reminded just what snappy dressers Gropius and Le Corbusier were. Respect.

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April 16, 2013

A friend of mine is in Paris at the moment, and just sent me the catalogue to the Eileen Gray show at the Centre Pompidou. Écoutez et répétez: ‘Eileen Gray/Centre Pompidou’ — it’s enough to send me running off to Mascot airport, Louis Vuitton duffel bag in tow. But I’ve got a lot going on in Sydney right now, so I’ll have to live this one vicariously…

In a lot of ways, Eileen Gray was the torch-bearer for women working in design and architecture today. Fully two decades before Charlotte Perriand signed up with Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret, Gray had started to map out her path, establishing herself as a force to be reckoned with. An acolyte of the Arts & Crafts movement, her initial impact came via her luscious lacquered finished of very minimal low tables and sideboards. Totes Arts décoratifs. But then she added an extra edge, creating some of the …

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April 12, 2013

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about context. The context of a building in its environment; the context in which a diverse group of people – for instance, the ‘family’ here at Tobias Partners – act and interact; the context on which an art work is brought to life, the dialogue it engages with other works, other artists, other periods in time. This last stream of thought has been greatly stimulated by the latest chapter of the South of no North series at the Museum of Contemporary Art. The premise is very clever: to choose an Australian artist and show a suite of his of her work in parallel with the work of two non-Australian artists. This time around, the Australian painter is Noel McKenna, the international guests: photographers William Eggleston (USA) and Laurence Aberhart (New Zealand). 

Of different origins, generations and essential intent, all three nonetheless share a fascination with the everyday; the …

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April 3, 2013

It was great to open the London Financial Times last weekend and read food critic Nicholas Lander’s review of Sunny and Ross Lusted’s Bridge Room. Quite rightly, he traces their Asian-inspired cuisine and sense of service to their extensive experience at the Aman resorts. And, like Lander, we are huge fans of Ross’ sake-marinated John Dory! But it’d be falsely modest of us if I didn’t ‘fess up: the bit about the “gorgeously simple, attractive dining room” really put a smile on our face.

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