May 1, 2014

The Four Winds Music Festival began in 1991, an initiative of the charming seaside town of Bermagui, not far from Bega on South Coast NSW. A biannual event, it went from strength to the point where today it’s safe to say it has come of age. I was down there last weekend, so decided to take a look. At the free, opening performance the audience of locals as well as visitors from Sydney and interstate gathered on the Fisheman’s Wharf of Bermagui port, while classical, indigenous, European and Asian dancers, singers and musicians performed on a boat. It set the international, interdenominational tone of the program, and immediately stamped it with a very special South Coast identity. Highlights of the weekend included Italian cellist Giovani Sollima’s rendition of his Concerto Rotondo, totally awe-inspring. Pianist Dejan Lazic’ Mozart Quintet for Piano and Winds, spine-tingling. And both men along with the Artistic Director of the Australian …

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October 30, 2013

Springtime in Sydney means Sculpture by the Sea. Tobias Partners Associate Aubrey Chan took an evening stroll from Bondi to Tamarama and had this to say:

“I decided to check out this year’s installation the evening before the official launch, a fantastic way to really experience the artworks in their solitude. And it was one of those glorious summertime evenings the make you feel so smug about being a Sydneysider, having such easy access to such a spectacular natural setting. There’s definitely a little for everyone this year. Symbolic, strong sculptural pieces, playful kitchy Pop art, bigger-is-better splashes of colour, sensory pieces playing off the movement and energy of the coast, and some really interesting interactive work. (If only I could climb up David McCraken’s monolithic Diminish and Ascend, a concrete stairway to heaven that provides a perfect platform from which to check out the progress on our Ben Buckler site.) My personal favourites: …

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July 5, 2013

A few days ago, the Tobias Partners team was invited to tour the sparkling new office tower at 1 Bligh Street. As Sydney’s newest skyscraper, the 27 storey building designed by German group Ingenhoven in collaboration with Australian collective Architectus is remarkable on many fronts. We love its elegant ovoidal form, sliced on a stepped ellipse at the street entrance – creating a dramatic setting for James Angus’ monolithic public sculpture ‘Day In, Day Out’. The double skin floor-to-ceiling glass façade creates a sense of transparency and lightness – such a pleasing contrast to the prevailing opacity of most city buildings. Then there’s the flowing, organic interior form of the open-air full-height atrium. Top Notch. But most of all, this building is remarkable in that it is the first to be awarded 6 Star Green Star rating by the Green Building Council of Australia.

As the GBCA points out, buildings consume 32% of the word’s …

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June 21, 2013

If anyone tried to call us here at Tobias Partners yesterday late morning, chances are you went straight to voicemail. We’d decided that, having spent months intensely focused on our folios, our computers, our projects, it was time to broaden our focus, and our minds. So we gathered together in the meeting room for a mini-TED conference. The Technology, Entertainment, Design symposia – fronted by the likes of Bill Gates, Larry Page and Chee Pearlman – began in the mid-1980s as a kind of high brow gab-fest, and since then they’ve gone from strength to strength. Yesterday, the team here curated a selection of three video talks to stimulate thought and discussion. ‘Mathemagician’ Arthur Benjamin wowed us with his lightening speed calculus; Jon Ronson demonstrated just how psychopathologized contemporary life has become; and social scientist Amy Cuddy gave us some revealing insights into body language (suffice to say, we’re all sitting differently today…) So, what does …

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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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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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February 22, 2013

Intelligent, sensitive exhibitions of contemporary architects and the houses they make are rare. Intelligent, sensitive exhibitions of a group of contemporary architects, together, in one space (we are, it must be said, a notoriously competitive lot…) are even more rare. So when we first heard of Dale Jones-Evans’ Icons By Icons show late last year, we were intrigued. Originally unveiled at the Studio Becker showroom in Redfern, the same show opens again tonight, this time in the more intimate space of the Australian Institute of Architects’ HQ in Potts Point.

The show is the first in what Jones-Evans has conceived as a ‘series of three intergenerational exhibitions’, starting with the undisputed maestros such as Glenn Murcutt, John Wardle and Denton Corker Marhsall; the next to feature their successor generation, and the third intended to showcase the work of rising talent.

By focusing specifically on practices along the Eastern Seaboard, Jones-Evans is making …

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February 8, 2013

We’ve been in a Norway state of mind of late. No, it’s not about Munch or Ibsen or even the rather lush Liv Ullmann. What’s been on our mind is this really innovative design studio called Snøhetta. We’ve mostly been aware of their trans-Atlantic (Oslo/New York) practice for a while, but it was a recent feature in The New Yorker (21 Jan 2013) that really got us intrigued. They’ve just completed the quietly spectacular Oslo Opera House that, like shards of an impacted iceberg, crushes and juts its way into existence from the shoreline of an icy fjord. Equally open to the forces of nature, their undulating wooden reindeer viewing station is a pure exercise in elegance and restraint. The size and dimensions of a regular shipping container, its molded wooden slats undulate organically on the edge of a pristine deer reserve in the tundra, a half day’s drive north of Oslo. And then, …

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