Guest Post on The Interiors Addict with Liane Rossler

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The most exciting revelation in interior design at the moment is the gaining momentum of sustainable practices. Both designers and consumers are becoming more aware of the consequences of purchasing a mass produced cheap thrill. There is a renewed appreciation for the beauty of handmade objects and their skilled makers. We’re seeing truly innovative recycling projects everywhere, from our neighbours’ DIY to the latest online homewares store. It’s trendy to ‘upcycle’. It’s even trendier to do so whilst retaining good design and style.

With a vast array of projects on the go, Liane Rossler is succeeding at promoting local artisans, contributing to the recycling movement and sharing her knowledge as an advisor to the design industry. A creative pioneer based in Sydney, Liane has a reputation in the industry for her kind and generous spirit which is so apparent in her projects. I was lucky enough to interview Liane to find out what she is up to and to share her thoughts on the future of design.

The broad range of projects you are involved in is nothing short of inspiring. What are you working on at the moment?

I’ve been curating ‘Here and Now’ at Carriageworks for 2013 as part of their artistic program. It includes commissioned works by artists and designers for three projects: Useful, Totes and Lucky. 

I’m working with Sarah K on our Supercyclers project, making some Plastic Fantastic pieces for an exhibition in Italy. I’m doing an architecture workshop with my husband Sam for SCAF and their Fugitive Structures exhibition. Then there’s a design advisory day in October with Sydney Living Museums and The Garage Sale Trail (happening 26 October).

I work with a number of organisations and am onThe City of Sydney Retail Advisory Board, Creative Services Advisory at Sydney Living Museums, Editorial Advisory Board at ARTAND Australia, and Advisory Board at &Company. I’m an ambassador for 1 Million Women, for The Garage Sale Trail and am a member of The Voiceless Council. I’m also working on a variety of creative advisory, retail advisory, business and educational projects, as well as other independent design projects.

Your projects are diverse, but all share the common goal of taking action for a better future through creativity, considered living and good design. What are your hopes for the future of design and creative innovation in our society?

I’m excited by all the possibilities that design and creative innovation bring to society, and love discovering new ways of thinking that can make life better for others. I hope that people continue to create innovative and thoughtful ways to address the challenges that we face, and that the new wave of good things overcomes some of the not so good things.

What is your advice for lovers of all things design and interiors? How can we consume responsibly?

We all love to surround ourselves with beautiful things, so I think it is important that when we buy we think about how something was made, what it’s made from, who made it, where did it come from, how long it will last, and where will it go. There should be beauty in how something is made as well as what it looks like

I am a big believer in supporting local artisans and utilising honest, sustainable materials. I’d love to know who your favourite local artisans are and what materials are inspiring you at the moment?

I agree! I love materials innovation and I’m besotted by fungi and all the great things it can do. Other natural materials like algae hold huge potential. Wood and stone are always beautiful. I love seeing natural materials developed and used in unexpected ways.Sunlight is a pretty inspiring material and I love seeing all the developing technologies in solar power.

Local artisans like Dale Hardiman and Henry Wilson do consistently thoughtful and interesting work with sustainable materials, and artist Sarah Goffman does transformative work with everyday materials. I love the Tjanpi weavers, who create magic from local materials.

What’s next?

In 2014 I’m looking forward to more time to develop the design projects I’ve been working on, as well as more Supercyclers projects and a new Happy Talk project. I love working on all the advisory projects and look forward to seeing them continue to develop.

Here and Now: Lucky, by Liane Rossler

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This morning I popped down to the Carriageworks in Eveleigh to visit the latest instalment of Here and Now: Lucky.  Lucky has been curated by Liane Rossler to feature works by Australian and New Zealand creatives.  The concept is to explore the idea of luck and interpret their findings through design and art.

My favourite creation was the hanging bells called ‘let the pure wind release you’ by Tiffany Singh.  A concoction made from fabulous natural materials –  brass, copper, clay,  twine, beeswax, paper, flowers, leaves and natural dyes, these unusual objects really caught my eye!  Made in collaboration with other artists, the aim is to keep the ancient tradition of Kharki (bell making) alive.

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Other fun standouts were bronze knuckles and gold plated chicken wishbones, with wishes attached!  It’s well worth the visit.

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Please have a look at my guest post for The Interiors Addict on Liane Rossler and her latest projects….

http://theinteriorsaddict.com/qa-with-liane-rosler-on-sustainable-design

 

 

 

Bondi blue: dreaming of Summer

It’s mid winter here in Sydney and we’ve been spoiled by a lovely week of warm sun and sparkling blue skies. There was even a whale visiting down at Bondi beach!  Suddenly today, the rain is back and it’s got me reminiscing about all of the beautiful blues that mother nature treats us with.  Here’s some interiors in Bondi blues (‘Bondi’ is the best description I can think of!) and some tips on why they work.

Blue and Green should be seen.

If there was ever a rule that should be broken, it’s to mix blues and greens.  I think the image below is great evidence of this.  The reason these colours work so well together is that the blue and green are of the same intensity.  Instead of competing or one colour being washed out, they sit together happily balanced.  I love the timber bench seat, see how it softens the whole room because it brings in an organic element and looks so interesting because it is aged.  I’m already wondering if it’s from an overseas trip, found in an antique store… much more interesting that a chain store buy!

Contrast for maximum impact.

Speaking of interesting furniture pieces, I was out sourcing today and saw a few of these oriental armoires.  Not only are they incredibly practical and versatile, they come up so well when refinished in brighter colours.  This armoire really pops because it is placed in front of the red wall.  Red/orange and green/blue are complete opposites on the colour wheel, which guarantees maximum contrast.  Notice again, the colours are of similar intensity.

Just another great example of colour contrast, this time the colours reversed.

Break the rules.

There’s a lot going on in this room, but doesn’t it look fab?  I’m putting this one in just because even though it’s not perfectly balanced, looking at it makes me happy.  It must be all those beautiful jewel colours!

Now for the count down ’till winters end…

Learned on the job: mixing furnishings

As with any profession, there are some things that can only be learned on the job.  From my experience, getting that first job in Interior Design is no easy task.  I’d like to share some really vital tips in my next few posts that seem to be missing out there…

Mixing Furnishings

Successfully mixing furnishings is not an easy task and is something that Interior Designers will spend some time on, carefully considering their best options.  This is where reality TV shows are misleading – it’s not about a day of tearing through retail stores and making snap decisions, ending in bringing home half the showroom!

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This room really is an eclectic mix and is successful in relating each piece. The timbers are all harmonious in their tone, but not an exact match. The black and white zebra print is carried across from the floor to the sofa upholstery, even cleverly again in the black and white print on the wall. Colours are brought in on cushions, art and accessories that all seem to have a ‘friend’ somewhere else in the room.

Wether you are following a theme or putting together an eclectic mix, the pieces need to ‘talk to each other’.  There will need to be something that visually relates all of the furnishings.  Ask yourself, how does the colour of this chair (or texture, finish, pattern, shape, scale etc) sit with the colour of this side table?  Do they complement and bring out the best of each other?  Or do they clash and fight with each other?

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Placing artworks in a french hang is fantastic practice at relating odd furnishings. These artworks appear random at first, but they all have colours that relate to other colours not far away. Framing is kept quite light in colour and thickness. The fabric on the sofa and cushions relate back to the artworks. See the geometric black and white artwork with the sofa? And the green leafy artwork with the cushion?

Furnishings don’t have to match and I think are better when they don’t.  Relating is more about linking one piece to another.  As an example, imagine a soft linen sofa placed on a sisal floor rug – both are natural tactile materials that will sit well together.  The same linen sofa placed on a graphic and bold synthetic floor rug… not so much.  Look for relations in style, texture, fabric, colour and shape.

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The chairs are painted in different colours, but if you look closely you will see that these colours are taken from the wallpaper and are of similar intensity. The curving shape of the chairs is also reflected in the shape of the trees in the wallpaper.

Belle Editor-in-chief Neale Whitaker articulates my point well in a recent article– ‘Interior design becomes about balance and harmony – just because it’s free form doesn’t mean it’s a clash. There is a harmony and discipline to it.’

Having it all: A Designer’s Dilemma

Like a plumber with a leaking tap, a designer’s hardest job is their own home.  Honestly, we make our most difficult clients look like a breeze in comparison.  Personally, when it comes to my own home (which is currently rented, adding to the dilemmas), I am faced with such indecision that I end up doing nothing at all.  You see, I see so many beautiful homes, furnishings, textiles, styles, trends and every colour in between – how can I possibly choose?  How can I commit to a style, when I know I’m keeping my eyes open in case something better comes along?

I think I have found the answer.  I CAN HAVE IT ALL.

I can, really.  And I’ve found evidence, in Jessica Helgerson’s latest interior.  Here’s my checklist of my dream home – all found in the images attached.

* Neutral palette of whites and timbers, a must for all big purchases (just incase I change my mind again….)

* Moody grey / charcoal walls (ala Abigail Ahern)

* Light and airy space (a must)

* Australian / Scandi / Japanese style (in that order, mostly Aussie)

Liven up your interior with indoor plants.

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The luscious green foliage of an indoor plant is so beautiful and versatile I think it’s an absolute essential for any interior.  A well placed plant can add the pop of colour you’ve been looking for, confidently trusting mother nature’s palette of greens to sit in harmony with any colour scheme.  The shape, colour and scale can be chosen to soften the look an interior and brighten up a dead space.

Another great benefit of indoor plants is that they improve air quality.  With so many voc’s swirling around in our homes today, how nice to think that this simple addition will cleverly filter out nasties like formaldehyde and xylene, not just a pretty face!

There are a few practicalities to keep in mind when selecting and caring for your new addition.

Which plant?

Now please, I’m not talking grandma’s cascading fern hanging from the corner in her pink tiled bathroom.  Like anything, if you’re going to do it, do it properly – think large in scale, wether that be with height or big bold leaves.  Consider the light in your home, a helpful tip is that the darker leaves need less light, this is because they photosynthesise more easily than lighter, coloured and varied leaves.

My favourites are …

Fiddle Leaf Fig – great for height and scale

Philodendrons – beautiful, big, deep green leaves

Schefflera – oval shaped glossy leaves

Bromeliad – will add a real punch of colour

Zanzibar gem – A newbie to the indoor plant scene, a fresh new look

Make it easy for yourself.

A trick I learnt from planting in pots outside applies inside, don’t plant them directly in a big heavy pot.  Select your pot to suit the colour scheme of your interior then place the plant in, still in its plastic pot, making sure the pot is big enough to hide the plastic.  This will make the plant easy to move, hold water in and insulate better than a pourous pot will and even act as a saucer underneath the plant.

Does it come with a care label?

I keep the label that the plant comes with because often it has some great care advice that I can refer back to such as watering frequency and fertiliser requirements.

Here are some other useful tips;

  • I find that when I pick off the dead leaves and flowers, particularly on geraniums, it encourages new growth.
  • Your big leaved friends will also enjoy a wipe down with a damp cloth, an equal mix of water and milk will do wonders.
  • Look out for insects which tend to appear when the plant is suffering a bit of neglect.  Remove the bugs first and if they persist you may need to spray.  I’d research a natural home remedy first before visiting the nursery.
  • Be aware of temperature changes that may affect plant, like direct summer sun and heating / cooling appliances.

I hope you enjoy your indoor plants and they bring many years of beauty, serenity and clean air!

Wabi Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets + Philosphers

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I recently read a sweet little book on one of my favourite topics called Wabi Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets + Philosphers.  Leonard Koren, the author, has really done his research and explains the concept of Wabi Sabi in an easy to understand, slightly poetic way.  I read the whole book one sunny afternoon!

“Wabi-sabi resolved my artistic dilemma about how to create beautiful things without getting caught up in the dispiriting materialism that usually surrounds creative acts.”

“Wabi-sabi is exactly about the delicate balance between the pleasure we get from things and the pleasure we get from freedom from things.”

The Japanese aesthetic of Wabi Sabi is something that I try to consider in my every day life and I really believe the ideals lead to a happier and more fulfilled existence.  It can be a challenge to define, but put simply Wabi Sabi encourages one to see the beauty in the imperfect.  As a designer, I see my fair share of the most beautiful products on offer.  Whilst this is a pleasure that I truly enjoy, I am very aware of over consumerism and really don’t like to see waste of items due to trends coming and going.

To design an interior scheme with Wabi Sabi ideals, first ensure the space is clutter free, clean and simple.  Ideally, handmade furnishings using honest, natural materials such as timber, stone, paper, natural fibres and clay (pottery) showcase nature and the ageing process.  Objects should not have any ‘status’ or make a statement of over importance.  Though it may not be realistic to live entirely in this manner, Wabi Sabi can be implemented in small ways and even the awareness can really will make a big difference to the way we live.