A VISUAL LIFE | Creative Direction + Design

Tag: retro

HOUSE CALL // the ideal home

Douglas Snelling chair and foot stool, 1957 (timber and synthetic webbing); Douglas Snelling cabinet, 1949 (timber); George Nelson ‘Bubble’ lamp, 1947-70s (plastic and metal)

Robin Boyd ‘House of Tomorrow’, designed 1949 (model made 1992)

Wolfgang Sievers ‘House of Tomorrow’ photographs, 1949 (printed 1990)

Grant and Mary Featherston ‘Numero IV’ lounge suite, 1973-74 (polyurethane foam, ABS plastic and wool); Grant and Mary Featherston dining setting, 1969 (stem, plastic, timber, metal, rubber and fabric); Korban/Flaubert ‘Swaylamp’ floor lamp, 2002 (background); Marc Newson ‘Helice’ floor lamp, 1993 (foreground)

Catherine O’Donnell ‘Sirius Topography (series)’, 2018 (3M vinyl tape 471)

Mid century modern style made a comeback years ago and it’s not going away any time soon and for good reason – great design. I recently saw The Ideal Home exhibition and although it’s very small, it’s worth it if you’re in the area (there’s a larger second site at MAAS Powerhouse in Ultimo). The exhibit shows a slice of history with examples of what a 20th century Australian home looked like with furnishings and household items from the MAAS Collection.

In this era Australia had one of the highest rates of home ownership in the world and suburbs grew quickly. Modern technology and mass manufacturing made goods readily available to consumers and time saving products allowed more leisure. While modernist designers created trends in architecture, interiors and design internationally, Australian pioneers made their own mark. Architect Robin Boyd’s creations are featured as well as iconic furniture designers Grant and Mary Featherston.

Another interesting and unexpected element was the installation of drawings of the Sirius brutalist apartment block. I’ve written before about the threat of redevelopment that the iconic building is facing in my Save Our Sirius post. Catherine O’Donnell has covered the walls with tape outlines of the Sirius footprint, floor plans and elevations to showcase this treasure in a fresh way.

Australians embraced mid century modern as it represented comfort, style and function. 100 years later it is a lifestyle that we still aspire to today.

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INSTA-JAM // 2018 flew

        

Usually I post a visual diary and show a snapshot from each month at the end of the year, but 2018 flew by and before you know it we’re at the end of January 2019. It’s a little late but here are some highlights from my Instagram that I hope you enjoy and feel free to browse my feed. I have to say that I used to be much more consistent and I think we all go through that social media fatigue at some stage. It is still a great medium to express yourself and connect with people but I’m taking Marie Kondo’s ‘KonMari’ approach – only if it sparks joy!

STREETSCAPES // give me a sign

It’s obvious from my posts that I love architecture, typography and anything vintage so these old finds are right up my alley. This bar in Rozelle is new but the clever retro design of the sign in a weathered style gives it an old world look. The empty shopfront in Bondi features original signwriting in the window with a pretty pink and white tile facade probably dating back to the 1950’s. The Royal in Bondi has just been revamped and I’m glad to see that the character of the pub has been retained. Sadly the tile words outside have been removed so I’m glad I captured it before they disappeared. I’ve shown examples of tiled signage in a previous post and it would be great to salvage them but I know tiles are difficult to remove successfully. These letters would have been so cool reinstalled by a swimming pool – fancy a dip?

TYPE-RIGHTER // vintage pub art

Pubs in Australia are part of the suburban landscape and iconic to our culture. It’s a shame that so many are disappearing and being redeveloped into high rise apartment blocks due to the land size and good locations. Luckily there are some that are bought and revamped but it’s a fine balance of keeping the heritage while bringing them to the modern age. The architectural styles of the buildings can vary like Federation or Art Deco but I also find the signage used at the time interesting.

Vintage posters and beer branded signs were commonly displayed because the breweries had major influence over pubs by controlling the choice of beers they sold. Tooth & Co dominated in Sydney and eventually bought out Resch’s, which led to them owning the majority of city pubs. Tooth’s branding is still seen around such as this painted mural at Terminus Hotel in Pyrmont. Posters advertising beer brands were also popular and can still be spotted in older areas like The Rocks. I particularly like this Victoria Bitter one at the Royal Hotel in Bondi as the surfer represents the beach area and the graphic style is reflective of the era.

DEAR DIARY // winter blues

I have a confession and I know I’m going to sound like a typical Sydneysider, but I’m not a fan of winter – AT ALL. It’s only the beginning of the season but I’m already dreaming of warmer climes. While sitting at home drinking endless cups of coffee by the heater, I’m transported to Mykonos having cocktails on the beach. When walking in the rain past this aqua apartment block in Bondi, I’m strolling under the sun among the pastel buildings in Miami. I’ll just have to play out these illusions until I work out a lifestyle where I can travel the world enjoying an endless summer.

STREETSCAPES // train of thought

ANFM_life-train02

ANFM_life-train01

I love the Blue Mountains and I go there regularly to visit family and friends. After moving out of my apartment, I stayed with my parents before I could move into my new house. It was nice living back where I grew up and it gave me a different outlook. When you’re young you can’t wait to leave the familiar and explore a whole new world.

Even though I was busy packing and organising my next move I did enjoy returning to my hometown. Years ago I had grown tired of my surrounds but now I saw it in a new light. An appreciation for the little things like the quiet atmosphere and getting back to nature.

I relished sitting on the intercity train (which I loved since it felt like a Wes Anderson film), reading a book while admiring the adorable historic stations along the way. The commute to the city gave me time to think of the next phase of my life – literally a train of thought.

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