A VISUAL LIFE | Creative Direction + Design

HOUSE CALL // save our sirius

Sirius is an iconic apartment building in The Rocks that is a perfect representation of brutalist architecture. It was designed by architect Tao Gofers and built in 1979 for the Housing Commission for public housing tenants. It’s prime location next to the Sydney Harbour Bridge with views of Circular Quay and the Sydney Opera House make it an enviable site. In 2014, the New South Wales Government decided to sell the block of 79 units along with many Millers Point heritage-listed terraces, possibly for demolition to make way for luxury apartments. Despite protests from tenants, locals and architectural lovers, nearly all the residents have now moved out of Sirius. The Government decided against heritage listing despite a recommendation by the Heritage Council, but this will be challenged at a hearing at the NSW Land and Environment Court in April.

Tao Gofers has hosted tours of Sirius to try to get more support from the community by opening up the apartments to the public and educating people about the significance of social housing. Peaceful protests have also been held to show the Government how much this building means to Sydneysiders. Comedian and radio presenter Tim “Rosso” Ross has also been instrumental in organising the campaign Save Our Sirius.

Tonight a rally was held on site for people to have Friday drinks to appreciate the building but also to raise awareness. Since Tao Gofers started his tours, the building’s windows have been blocked out by the NSW Department of Family and Community Services. The beautiful interiors and foyer artwork by artist Penny Rosier is now sadly hidden from view. It was a great crowd full of supporters who respect the historic value of Sirius and who want the best for our city and the people.

 

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STREETSCAPES // the rocks

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Being a local in Sydney you can sometimes take the beauty of the city for granted. When I recently spent a day playing tourist it opened my eyes again. The Rocks has heritage elements everywhere with sandstone walls chiselled by convicts and cobbled laneways once frequented by settlers, sailors and soldiers. You can picture what life must have been like over 200 years ago by exploring the heritage buildings and some of the oldest pubs in Australia.

This historic precinct is a colourful mix of the past and present, with plenty to see and do. Food festivals are held here regularly, but new bars and restaurants are adding to the cultural scene. While the weekly markets, art galleries and museums have always made it a creative hub. It’s a great spot to wander around, make discoveries and have a history lesson while having fun along the way.

 

TUCKER TIME // camperdown commons

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My childhood home always had a vegetable garden, fruit trees and even beehives! (kudos to my parents) So I grew up knowing the importance of fresh food and appreciating the process of growing your own crop. Thanks to the resurgence of organic and sustainable living, our generations are going back to this way of life. Unfortunately we’re living closer to the cities where space is limited, so a great alternative that has evolved is the community garden.

Camperdown Commons is an urban hub that gives locals and visitors a place to connect and meet. This green space is like a big backyard for everyone – interactive play areas for kids, spaces to exercise and yoga classes. The real beauty in this development is the working farm on display and the food on offer.

Pocket City Farms have established an ecological farm and they also run workshops so you can learn how to cultivate your own garden. There’s also a community food forest, chicken coop, greenhouse, composting program, vegetables and herb crops. Everything is grown organically and ecologically, and you can even buy direct from the market stall selling the harvest. You can taste the seasonal on-site produce as well as locally sourced food at the Acre Eatery. Otherwise you can enjoy a snack at the Garden Canteen or a coffee from the Container Cafe.

INSTA-JAM // 2016 countdown

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I know it’s like wishing time away but I think we all agree that 2016 has been a very interesting year that has been punctuated by loss and turmoil. Now that the end of the year is counting down, I’m looking forward to a new year of hope and beauty. I’m sharing some moments from my Instagram as a reminder of brighter times and moving into the future. Wishing you all a peaceful, fun holiday break and may 2017 shine!

DEAR DIARY // the big design market

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In perfect timing for Christmas, The Big Design Market was on at The Royal Hall of Industries over three days this weekend in Sydney (Melbourne is on 2-4 December). Starting in Melbourne in 2012, this is the first year it’s come to Sydney and I think it’s debut was a success. Showcasing the best of local and international art, craft and design with over 200 stands of unique, exclusive products. There’s an emphasis on ethical production, sustainability, quality, originality and good design. This shopping mecca caters to all ages with a huge choice of everything you could ever need – or just really, really want!

There’s also a limited number of showbags on offer with a selection of pieces from the designers involved. Another innovative extension to the stalls are the creative workshops hosted by stallholders and renowned designers such as Sibella Court, Beci Orpin and Home-Work. With free kids activities and areas to sit and relax, it’s an enjoyable day out for the whole family. You may need to refuel for energy, so there’s plenty of delicious food and drink from all your favourite local taste-makers.

MASTERSTROKE // frida loves diego

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Frida Kahlo has been adored as an artist worldwide and as a national treasure in Mexico. Her work and life is celebrated in literature and film, and she is still influential as a feminist icon today. Suffering injuries from an accident she began to paint while recovering in hospital. Initially fame came to her when she married the acclaimed painter Diego Rivera, but her auto-biographical paintings eventually gained her the respect and recognition she deserved.

Frida’s art chronicled her physical hardships and relationship betrayals. In particular her self-portraits feel intimately real but as if she were hiding the secrets of her personal life, with Diego even nicknaming her ‘the great concealer’. Diego focussed on painting the serious problems of the world and they both became involved in politics and the issues facing their country. 

The exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW was so popular that it was extended. The artworks are from the collection of Jacques and Natasha Gelman who were their friends, although this friendship was complicated with extramarital affairs. Photographs and letters were also on display, which gave an insight into the family dynamics and the problems they faced. The bond between these two colourful characters is undeniable when you watch them lovingly interact in the Super 8 film footage shown on screens at the end of the exhibit. The couple had an intriguing relationship but ultimately their artistic world endures as well as their revolutionary and modern views.

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