A VISUAL LIFE | Creative Direction + Design

Tag: save our sirius

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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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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