May 31, 2013

It’s always a delight to see Tobias Partners’ projects featured in the press. For the affirmation, of course. But also, and even more importantly, for the pleasure of reading the critics’ interpretations of our work. We were particularly thrilled to read Chris Pearson’s insightful interpretation of our recently completed, somewhat sprawling house in Bronte in this month’s Belle magazine. Pearson digs right back to Tobias Partner’s roots; even before Nick Tobiss set up the practice, he toured Europe’s classical architectural gems with the late, great interior designer John Coote, and quite rightfully hones in on Nick’s fascination with Palladian villas. While this Bronte home is avowedly down-to-earth in its glamour, we gleefully accept Chris’ point about “proportion, scale and gravitas”. Recommended reading.

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May 29, 2013

Well, it was a whirlwind tour of the Art Basel Hong Kong Art Fair – and the takeaway is pretty positive. Whilst the timing (so close to Frieze in New York and the Venice Biennale) led me to think that a lot of the top-notch stuff was withheld, the turnout was impressive nonetheless. What was particularly interesting – beyond the extraordinary Jean-Michel Basquiat show at Gagosian Gallery – was the evolution of contemporary Chinese art in the world today. No longer is it dominated by the reverberation of anticommunism, an entirely new aesthetic feels to be afoot. Zhu Jinshi’s The Reality of Paint show at Pearl Lam Galleries is a case in point: rarely have I seen so much paint in an artist’s work!

ABHK was also, in a sense, the first (unofficial) off-shore meeting of the advisory panel of the Sydney Contemporary Art Fair, to be held this year from 20-22 September. Roslyn Oxley, Tim …

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May 24, 2013

Miranda and I hit the ground running yesterday for day one of the Art Basel Hong Kong Art Fair. After an amazing breakfast at Café Grey on the 49th floor of the Upper House (swarming with familiar faces!) we headed to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre where works by over 2,000 artists from around the globe are spread out over two massive floors. The ground floor is filled with large-scale works, the first floor a little less intense: both floors echoed with a cacophony of accents – from French to Mandarin to German to Strine. Spotted: some extraordinarily elegant young Mainland Chinese being guided around by their advisors, barely looking before buying! I was chuffed to stumble upon some of my favourite Aussie galleries in the mix – Jensen Gallery and Roslyn Oxley9 to name a couple. A quiet dinner for four at the much-reviewed Hutong turned into a crazy banquet for …

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May 23, 2013

The other night I had the honour of being invited to a rehearsal of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, directed by conductor and composer Richard Tognetti. A virtuoso violinist, Tognetti is a Wollongong boy who studied at the Sydney Conservatorium and as far as I can see (and hear!) his global reputation as an innovator, as someone who brings a fresh new perspective to the classics as well as developing an exciting new range of compositions, is totally justified. On the night in question he navigated us through some exquisite French pieces — from a Debussy Suite, to a wonderful Tango, to a couple of key pieces by Satie which were not only beautiful, but under Tognetti’s direction humorous, even hilarious! The man has established a repertoire that is a pure extension of himself and his own incredibly quirky style. The renaming of the ACO as ACO2 is an expression of this new energy — and …

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May 21, 2013

Last week saw the inauguration of the TP-designed library of the Montessori School in Bondi. Total disclosure number 1: my wife Miranda Darling is, among many other talents, a published author. Total disclosure number 2: my two boys, Samson and Griffin are enrolled as students at this school. These facts made the importance of reading – a reality sometimes relegated to the realm of abstract truism – a total home-grown truth, indeed our focus here at Tobias Partners as we worked on the design and delivery of a key component of this terrific school’s offer.

We are really chuffed to have been able to have made a significant donation to the library through design, documentation and management of the library project. Keeping it simple, we opted for a gridded structure in unfinished ply wood that took full advantage of the natural light flooding into the library precinct of the building. Leaving the room as uncluttered as possible means that …

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May 15, 2013

To celebrate the Australian Financial Review’s ‘Bespoke’ symposium to be held tomorrow at the Opera House, Jeremy Langmead, Editor of luxury website threw a decadent dinner at The Rockpool Bar & Grill. Now, I hate the words ‘world-class’ but they really can’t be avoided when referring to chef Neil Perry’s flagship establishment, set up within the haute luxe marble interior of a disused Art Deco bank. Soaring green-veined marble walls, faceted columns and a fine crenellated plaster ceiling make for one of the most majestic settings for a meal that was spectacular in its simplicity. (Think grilled Blue Eye with a crunchy potato gratin served up in a sparkling copper pan. Chic.) London-based  Mr Langmead seemed suitably impressed. As I expect guests at tomorrow’s symposium will be by his insights into editing in the age of e-commerce.

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