New identity for Sydney’s underground retail hub

This gallery contains 7 photos.

GRAY PUKSAND has completed the refurbishment of 52 Martin Place for REST Industry Super and Colliers International. This sees the underground concourse and retail hub in the Sydney CBD revitalised for the first time in 25 years. The concourse connects Martin … Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Field House creates delight in its amorphous architecture

This gallery contains 11 photos.

ARCHITECT ROBERT PUKSAND describes Field House as a living sculpture. Externally and internally his home is designed to be seen as an arrangement of planes that appear to float and connect in unexpected ways, to create a field where the … Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Melbourne’s historic trams live on in Hawthorn.

This gallery contains 13 photos.

OPEN HOUSE MELBOURNE is held on the last weekend in July and offers archilovers and history buffs an opportunity to indulge their curiosity and visit buildings they have admired from afar. For as long as I can remember, the Hawthorn Tram Depot … Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Design Tasmania hosts Women In Design 2016

Helen Kontouris (L) and Anita Dineen (R) are amongst a small group of Australians whose designs are sold by high-end Italian home wares manufacturer Alessi. Picture: Supplied.

Helen Kontouris (L) and Anita Dineen (R) are amongst a small group of Australians whose designs are sold by high-end Italian home wares manufacturer Alessi. Picture: Supplied.

DESIGN TASMANIA hosts the second annual Women In Design colloquium in three weeks time.

The weekend event in Launceston will see 12 inspiring women from fields as diverse as editing and writing, archaeology, architecture and design, design education and exhibition curation speak about their experiences in response to the theme of Collaboration. Floor talks, in-conversation interviews and panel discussions will merge with Q & A sessions that invite audience participation.

Guest speakers from NSW include Katrina Strickland – editor of The Australian Financial Review Magazine, artist and ceramic designer Jacqueline Clayton, jeweller and academic Dr Zoë Veness and educator and researcher Dr Katherine Moline.

Tasmanian delegates include Patsy Cameron who is a member of the Tasmanian Women’s Honour Role, architect Lindsey Wherret, multi-disciplinary practitioners Natalie Holtsbaum, Dorita Hanna and Peta Heffernan.

Multi-disciplinary designer Elliat Rich is based in the Northern Territory, while architect Claire Scorpo and curator Fleur Watson are based in Victoria.

This year’s event follows the success of the inaugural Women in Design 2015 colloquium when 14 speakers explored topics such as ‘Communication – Stories, Authenticity, Publishing, Gaining Recognition, Advocacy and Ideas’, ‘Networking – Collaboration, Interactions, Mapping and Engagement’ and ‘Education – Mentorships, Sponsorships, Public, Professional Development and Life Long Learning’.

Women in Design 2015 began with an evening cocktail function and exhibition launch of Material by Design which celebrated the objects and furniture designed by Helen Kontouris. More than 100 guests and delegates enjoyed the in-conversation interview by Simone LeAmon, a design creative and educator, and the Hugh Williamson Curator of Contemporary Design and Architecture at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne.

Kontouris revealed the history of several pieces in the exhibition and spoke about the importance of sketching to quickly lay down ideas and thoughts for each new design. Three examples of Kontouris’ Panier Stool were displayed at the entrance to the exhibition and were accompanied by a banner that displayed her concept sketches and the progression of her ideas.

“Curating a survey of my work to fill the beautifully light filled spaces of Design Tasmania, I placed the designs to either capture the natural light and allow the shadows to play with the negative space of some of the selected works, along with revealing just enough of the designs in the adjoining rooms, so that visitors feel curious to explore more,” she said.

Later that weekend, Kontouris spoke about the design of the 101 Chair and her determination at the age of 26, to source skilled manufacturers to collaborate with and to find solutions to the fabrication of this iconic piece.

Women In Design 2015 attendees at Design Tasmania. Picture: Supplied

Women In Design 2015 attendees at Design Tasmania. Picture: Supplied

Hobart furniture designer and maker Laura McCusker discovered that she is a natural presenter and engaged the audience with stories about her experience as the only female employee in a yard of 350 shipwrights and fabricators, and developing a profile in the media.

Initially reluctant to accept some of the media opportunities that have come her way – including a screen test as the host of Grand Designs, appearing on The Renovators Australia and appearing on the July 2012 cover of Handyman Magazine, McCusker explained how unexpected benefits and opportunities presented themselves because she pushed forward through her discomfort.

She explained how these opportunities helped her to develop ongoing sponsorships and relationships with brands that are relevant to her area as a furniture maker, and how she recognised that she is the ‘product’ or ‘brand’, “rather than any one object that I design or make.”

Reflecting on the colloquium McCusker said, “I thought the event was incredibly worthwhile and I was left feeling inspired, energised and with a great sense of camaraderie.

“As a speaker I was really taken by the warmth and intimacy of the room and felt that there was much gained from this as the dialogues and conversations were relaxed, free flowing and open.

“As a self-employed practitioner, it’s often very difficult to justify both the time and budget towards professional development that others in the corporate sector take for granted. After attending the conference, I have been reminded just how vital this investment is in myself, my studio and my community of practice.”

Marion Webster OAM (C) responds to a question during a panel discussion on Education. Also on the panel (L-R) are Helen Norrie, Pippa Dickson, Kirsty Máté and Claire Beale. Picture: Supplied.

Marion Webster OAM (C) responds to a question during a panel discussion on Education. Also on the panel (L-R) are Helen Norrie, Pippa Dickson, Kirsty Máté and Claire Beale. Picture: Supplied.

Tamara Winikoff OAM, speaks on the topic of Communication and her role with NAVA. Picture: Supplied.

Tamara Winikoff OAM, speaks on the topic of Communication and her role with NAVA. Picture: Supplied.

Tamara Winikoff OAM is the Executive Director of the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA) and found the event to be a very rewarding experience.

“Seven years ago I initiated the establishment of the Australian Design Alliance which has since grown in scope and ambition. For the members of this peak design body, the overarching goal is to secure a national design policy for Australia. It is hard going and needs so much determination,” she said.

“But my experience at the truly wonderful Women in Design colloquium renewed my belief that design matters crucially to Australia’s future. Meeting such an amazingly accomplished and motivated group of women designers, curators, writers and educators and hearing their ideas and stories gave life to this vision all over again.”

As the result of conversations she had at the event, Winikoff was motivated to organise a teleconference with some of the speakers.

“This was the catalyst for a set of excellent ideas around how to deal with challenges such as copying and intellectual property protection, conducting an international career from Australia, access to markets, subsidy, tax concessions and residencies and integrating design across all levels of education. This agenda will keep us going for a good while but it clearly charts what needs to change.”

Design Tasmania host a Long Table Gala Dinner in Gallery One. Picture: Supplied.

Design Tasmania host a Long Table Gala Dinner in Gallery One. Picture: Supplied.

Design practitioners made up 65 per cent of attendees, 20 per cent were students and 15 per cent were design educators with most attendees coming from Tasmania and Victoria, and several from South Australia and Queensland.

“I thought it was a rich and inspiring gathering of fantastic women, and a few men, in a lovely venue showing progressive design works and a generally joyous time,” said an attendee.

Another commented on the feeling of camaraderie with fellow designers, and was inspired to have greater conviction and confidence in herself while another said she found the Women in Design colloquium to be “quite life changing.”

Design Tasmania hosts Women In Design 2016 from July 22-24. Tickets are available at womenindesign.com.au.

Posted in Events, News | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Redefining engineering learning environments

This gallery contains 3 photos.

This story first appeared online in ArchDaily in December 2015 and in print in inside INTERIOR DESIGN REVIEW, issue #90 March/April 2016. GRAY PUKSAND has completed a $53.3 million multi-level education facility for Deakin University’s School of Engineering at Waurn Ponds in Geelong. … Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Watch Tower by Elizabeth Harrower

This gallery contains 1 photo.

AUSTRALIAN AUTHOR Elizabeth Harrower’s fourth novel The Watch Tower sat on my shelf for months amongst many other novels and non-fiction books waiting to be read. My decision to buy the book may have been influenced by Joan London’s compelling introduction in this 2012 edition. … Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Adrift

This gallery contains 1 photo.

    Tectonic plates collide beneath my feet Rattled to the core Unsettled and heady We are set adrift you and I Our destiny unknown It’s dark then light as hours pass Ours is a silent and protracted death Yet you … Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Luke Neil talks furniture and adaptive reuse

This gallery contains 5 photos.

This story first appeared in Design Online in August. IT TAKES A KEEN EYE and imagination to see creative potential in large discarded household goods. When it comes to repurposing these items into unique and beautiful pieces of furniture, practical ability … Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Majestic Walls creates vibrant 3D wall art

This gallery contains 5 photos.

VANESSA FIEBIG was destined to make her mark as an artist. She grew up in the romantic region of Tuscany, Italy, in a house where you couldn’t see the walls for the artworks that adorned them. Art was her father’s … Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Gill Cohn’s multi-layered encaustic art

Gill Cohn working with her encaustic palette.

Gill Cohn working with her encaustic palette.

GILL COHN’S STUDIO in North Bondi overlooks a sandstone cliff face. Natural light streams in through the large window, and when she takes a break from her work to step outside, her eyes rest on the many layers of rock and the beauty of its natural lines and colours.

“I love that rock. Blue gums and rock are very much inspiring me these days,” she says of the lines of corrosion. “And if you look at a builder’s skip, there are incredible lines that happen in the rust. I photograph those and use those together with other elements in my work.”

Cohn has just returned to her Sydney base after a trip to Berlin and the Affordable Art Fair in Hong Kong where she gave a workshop in how to make encaustic rice paper screens. She exhibits work at a gallery there, and has sold work in Germany, the United Kingdom, Israel and South Africa. After a 30-year career teaching art to children which gave her a lot of joy, Cohn has since spent the last 15 years concentrating on her developing own work.

“It’s my bliss. It is what I look forward to doing when I get up in the morning and it’s a real privilege,” she says. “I get into this wonderful flow space and the whole morning just goes. It’s almost meditative.”

Her curiosity and fascination for the naturally occurring textures and lines she observes in rock faces, landscapes and the minute details of bark and leaves is expressed in her beautifully detailed artworks. She finds similar texture, patterns and lines everywhere and was amazed to see similarities in the sculptural work of Joseph Beuys exhibited at Hamburger Bahnhof Museum in Berlin.

“His cast animal fat sculptures reminded me of the sandstone I love,” she says. “He has the same textures and patterns in the cast animal fat as I see in the rock. It’s amazing to see these similarities in nature and these visual puns that happen in different places.”

Naturally formed textures and lines are elements that continuously find their way into Cohn’s work.  Her art practice and experimental approach to her multi-layered work is Cohn’s way of understanding reality.

Detail of Cohn’s encaustic rice paper screen.

Detail of Cohn’s encaustic rice paper screen.

Cohn’s encaustic rice paper screen is made of three layers infused with beeswax that gives it a stunning luminous quality. Screen size: 75cm x 50cm.

Cohn’s encaustic rice paper screen is made of three layers infused with beeswax that gives it a stunning luminous quality. Screen size: 75cm x 50cm.

Encaustic work is created using melted beeswax which Cohn says works best when many layers are applied. Her current approach to creating a work begins with applying the melted beeswax and then scraping through it to make lines. Cohn then adds bitumen and allows it to seep into the crevices and the lines that she has incised. Some pieces feature a stitched line of cotton thread, images or fabric; items which are revealed when she scrapes through a layer of beeswax. The addition of these man-made elements could be interpreted as a reference to the human intervention in nature. The layering “happens intuitively. It works for me,” Cohn says.

She works on several pieces at a time to make the best practical use of materials. This enables Cohn to step away, as she does when design issues and complex problems emerge, and then return to the studio with a fresh outlook and renewed concentration. Quite often she will look at a group of unfinished pieces and get “triggers and information about the work” that enable her to move forward or inspire another avenue of experimentation.

At times, images do emerge from her work but Cohn says this is unintended. She describes her work as abstract with a reference to real life and says her default position is a neutral colour palette.

“But every now and then I get so neutral that I have to do stuff in colour. It’s like my shadow side emerging,” she laughs of the two sides to her personality. “And then I use very strong colour and then I’m ready to return to neutral again.”

Cohn is in the midst of preparing work for Decor + Design in July and organising an event called Art Hop which is scheduled for early November. She initiated Art Hop together with a friend in 2013 as a way for her local community of artists to engage with each other and the broader community by opening up their studios and exhibiting their work across the weekend.

In the meantime, she will continue to be inspired by the sandstone cliff face that watches over her as she works.

gillcohn.com.au

Encaustic and bitumen on wooden panel by Gill Cohn.

Encaustic and bitumen on wooden panel by Gill Cohn.

Linear encaustic and mixed media on wooden panel. Size: 40xm x 40cm.

Linear encaustic and mixed media on wooden panel. Size: 40xm x 40cm.

Posted in Profiles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment