Feature Posts

Chat In A Chair

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: TOME

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Ryan Lobo

Although fashion design duo Ryan Lobo and Ramon Martin of Tome hail from Sydney, last week was the very first time the pair have shown at Fashion Week Australia. It was somewhat of a home coming for New York based Lobo and Martin.

Late last year we had the very good fortune of catching up with one half of Tome; an energised Ryan Lobo, for a wonderful short and snappy Chat in a Chair. With the heavily anticipated inaugural showing down under, we spoke with Lobo about what drives the creative dream that is Tome.

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Ryan Lobo

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Ryan Lobo

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As a designer who strives to interpret the wondrous complexity of the female form, it is really no wonder that Lobo’s chair of choice is the iconic Eames® Moulded Plywood Lounge Chair, colloquially known as the ‘LCW’. With its compounded curves and exquisite minimalist configuration, it continues to feel contemporary seventy years since its inception. To Lobo, it is “…understated, casual, comfortable confidence”. It is a harmonious coupling – the sincerity of the LCW with the elegance of Lobo’s work – both sharing a sublime understanding of the fundamentals of basic beauty.

Lobo and Martin share a wealth of experience and an infectious passion for fashion, design and art. Recognising each other’s strengths early in their careers whilst studying a Bachelor of Design, Fashion at the University of Technology Sydney they took their time to come together with the knowledge that if they were ever to start a label, it would be together. Martin moved to Europe and the USA to work for Alberta Ferretti, Jean Paul Gaultier and Derek Lam and Lobo worked as a creative consultant, stylist and buyer for prominent Australian brands and magazines. Building their skills independently until the natural sense of time was ripe to come together has resulted in a well-rounded, mature and professional friendship. In 2011, with the world under their belt Tome was born (and remains still) within the world’s most inspiring creative metropolis, New York City.

Tome is not restricted to a place or a time rather, it celebrates the ‘every woman’ who dresses in the infinite wearability – clear cut, essential dressing – of Tome’s classic tailoring, soft silhouettes and seasonal hits of artistically-curated colour.

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: TOME

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: TOME

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: TOME

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: TOME

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: TOME

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: TOME

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: TOME

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: TOME

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: TOME

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: TOME

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: TOME

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: TOME

Lobo & Martin have always found remarkable women, both historical and contemporary, to inspire creative stories. For their recent Cruise/Pre fall 2015 collection shown at Fashion Week Australia, Lobo and Martin revisited their teenage crush on the Sylvia Plath masterpiece ‘The Bell Jar’, touched by the depth of its aching beauty. They rediscovered their fascination by listening to voice recordings of Plath’s own voice reading poetry. The visions materialised with crisp structure and 50s-esque silhouettes in largely black and white with an almost restricted sense of femininity. Pieces that are coloured subvert the order of the tailoring with ensembles that pair the soft bodily tones of flesh pink with berry-stained red, and baby blue with electric blue. Sublime details peek through; arcs of lace, square pleats at the bottom of plunging necklines or a provocative slit to the front of a high necked blouse. All ensembles are bound at the waist or the neck with a suggestive gesture of restraint.

The Tome woman is of her time and of all time. She is a vision of both strength and vulnerability.

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Ryan Lobo

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Ryan Lobo

Who are your favourite artists and why?
I have always loved formidable female artists and their practice. I learnt very young that women have been written out of the history books (well beyond the art world) and so I guess that spurred my interest in art created by women.

I was always intrigued by Hannah Höch, Fiona Hall, Louise Bourgeois, Shirin Neshat, Yoko Ono and Tracey Moffat to name a few.

Art and literature has always informed you work. How do you go about translating what you are inspired by into a marketable piece of clothing?
We are two men who make clothes for women so we miss out on the ultimate purpose of clothing – to actually wear it! So we don’t fall into fantasy with our clothes we select women as our muse for each collection, a kind of guiding light, and become absorbed in that woman’s world. We read about her life, her art practice, and are often as intrigued by her output as her inner life. We are often as attracted to the strictness of their work ethic as the sobriety of their personal style. It’s a mood as well as something literal. It’s very hard to put into words.

Your favourite works of fiction and non fiction and why?
Too hard!
Ok here goes: The Hungry Caterpillar, The Handmaid’s Tale, The God of Small Things, The House of Mirth, and all of Jeanette Winterson, because she is a literary master!
Non fiction: anything from Germaine Greer because she is a hero and a legend and should be taught and revered in schools!

Where else do you turn for inspiration creatively?
We are inspired by dance, music, costume and other designers!

Until now, you’ve never shown TOME in Australia. Can you tell us a little about living and working in NYC and what it has done for you and for TOME? How does it feel to show back home?
It is the most validating thing to be welcomed home with open arms. In the beginning it was really important for us to translate our laid-back and unfussy Australian aesthetic into a U.S. based brand. To bring our downtown NYC woman home to Sydney is a wonderful contrast to the beginning of the inception of Tome.

Living and working in NYC is a dream come true for so many reasons. It is where our homes are and it allows us access to the world.

What is the greatest lesson you have learnt about dressing women?
Never assume anything about who a woman is and what she wants! EVER!

Tell us about the chair of your choice, the Eames LCW…. What makes it special for you? What does the chair represent for you
It sums up my dream existence…understated, casual, comfortable confidence.

Credits:
Chat in a Chair Photography by Luisa Brimble
Shot at The Studio
Runway Photography by Amanda Austin

CHAT IN A CHAIR: RYAN LOBO

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Eames Demetrios

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Eames Demetrios

Eames Demetrios is our guest of honour for this month’s Chat in a Chair. Sarah-Jane Pyke had the fortune of visiting the Eames House this time last year as part of Modernism Week. As luck had it, she had the chance to reminisce and discuss the reality of that iconic house as a home, The Eames Office today and the future personal endeavours of Eames Demetrios, Geographer-at-Large and grandson to the most influential design soulmates of the modern era.

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Eames Demetrios

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Eames Demetrios

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Eames Demetrios

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Eames Demetrios

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Eames Demetrios

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Eames Demetrios

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Eames Demetrios

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Eames Demetrios

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Eames Demetrios

In the design community the sublime, good-humoured, brilliance that is Ray & Charles Eames is universally magnetic. Their truly visionary legacy lives on in their grandson, Eames Demetrios.

Demetrios is one busy man. Not only does he oversee The Eames Office, whose mission is “communicating, preserving and extending” the life work of Charles and Ray Eames, but he also finds the time to work on ‘Kcymaerxthaere’ – described as a 3-dimensional parallel universe – a project so detailed and expansive, that the horizon is somewhat elastic. Somewhere in between his work and passion, he finds the time to tour the world engaging audiences with his philosophies on the importance of scale as the new geography, and humankind’s omnipresent global connectivity.

His chair of choice, the Herman Miller Eames Moulded Fibreglass Chair, is well known and loved. As Eames Demetrios explains, this chair is and always will be in a state of evolution. First made in wire mesh, then metal, then fiberglass with a rope edge, then polypropylene, the iconic chair is now available in a new environmentally friendly fibreglass material that allows it to have that original compressed fibre texture.

One quote from Charles Eames that resonates with Eames Demetrios is the idea of the “Guest/Host relationship – the role of the designer being that of a good host, anticipating the needs of the guest”. What a truly empathetic fundamental statement that is so relevant that it transcends time. Demetrios was so very generous with his time and his passion, we struggled to leave out any of the details. If you too have ever wondered “What were dreams like before movies?”, pondered the importance of design vs. style, or what’s upstairs at the Eames House, please read on.

SJP: I was so thrilled to visit the Eames House recently with a group of friends, and we all found the day to be really emotionally charged. I think it was because we were taken through the house by a member of your family.
ED: Did she have dark hair? That’s my sister Lucia.
SJP: I think it was that personal connection… That it was a family home…
ED: That’s what we want, that’s awesome!

SJP: I have to ask, because we couldn’t see it, what is upstairs at the Eames House?
ED: Upstairs is the master bedroom and the two bathrooms and wardrobe. There is a really cool guest room that was a sliding wall in the master bedroom, if they didn’t have anyone staying there then their room would just be bigger. We used to stay there when we were young, if all five kids came then we would stay in the studio. Right now, one of the reasons you couldn’t go up there is firstly, just wear and tear on the stairs and also, we are doing some work up there and most of the equipment that runs the sensors we are using need to feed into something up there so it’s a little inelegant for visitors!

SJP: Your sister told us some great stories of her memories of times in house, especially around Ray setting the table and creating special meals with all the different dishes. What are the lasting memories for you?
ED: I have a bunch of memories that centre around being there and photographing with Charles, spiderwebs out in the meadow, then there was also the Neutra House next door which had a swimming pool so we used to go swimming over there… I think all the kids have a strong series of memories around the way food was presented up there, picnics out on the patio and on the meadow. Breakfast was always very beautifully presented but not pretentiously so, just beautifully considered in a lovely way. I also remember Charles & Ray had this really cool telescope and we took it out and were able to see the rings of Saturn from the meadow.

SJP: There was a really beautiful sense of the family still really being part of that space which felt very special.
ED: It’s a family home, and it’s easy to forget that. What I find interesting about that house historically, is that it was important to a lot of people, relatively quickly. In the sense that Jorn Utzon stayed there on his way to Sydney. His son came by like 20 years ago and we started talking, he said “oh yeah my dad stayed here” and what was most striking about that fact was that in the mid 1950s an architect in Scandinavia knew he should go there. Where as now this would be on Architizer right away and we would see all these images and that would be great too, it’s just interesting that we think we have invented word of mouth…

SJP: The important things have always travelled quickly, and you’re right, it’s interesting that the house asserted it’s importance so quickly. So, you talked about taking photos and making films with Charles and that’s obviously part of your work today…
ED: Charles and I always had a special connection, with film making especially. We were both very excited that the summer after my senior year in high school I was going to work in the office, but he died the summer before. So my older sisters, Lucia (who you met) and Carla got to work at the office for a summer and that is something I could never do. On the other hand I learned a lot by running the office for so long that it’s been a different kind of apprenticeship.

SJP: Can you tell us a bit about The Eames Office today?
ED: Our mission statement is about communicating, preserving & extending Charles & Ray’s work. One of the interesting things about that is you take something like the house, and even though people probably don’t know how much work it is, they have some idea of what conservation means there. In the case of the chairs conservation is a little different because what’s interesting about the Eames chairs that Charles and Ray were designing, is the chair that Herman Miller makes tomorrow. In other words, multiplicity was always part of it, this idea that you can keep making authentic objects. So that has a whole set of challenges so different than when, say an artist or a painter dies and there are no more paintings. I think a lot of people bring that fine art ‘idea of authenticity’ to design when actually there is something else. I think it has to do with the fact that multiplicity was inherent in their designs from the beginning. Whereas when you look at a painting, say a Jackson Pollock, you’re standing where he was in relation to the canvas, and there is only that one.

Charles and Ray were so forward-looking that to not do something new is also not being true to them. So, what can you do that is new and true to them? We decided that education is the key. We can do new things in education that communicate their spirit and their values. We do a lot of work about the ‘Powers of 10′ (see below) which is the film I showed here at the film festival and also on youtube. Lots of people have seen it and don’t know it’s an Eames film. The work we do is centred around the idea that scale is the new geography and if you don’t understand scale in this day and age it’s a form of illiteracy so we try to help people know that a map is important, know that a timeline is important.

SJP: Tell us about your work with ‘Kcymaerxthaere’
ED: It’s a global work of multi-dimensional story telling. It’s almost like a novel where each page is in a different place. The idea is that I’ve created this parallel world and I go around and install markers in historic sites that honour events in the fictional world in our world. The thing about reading in particular, is that when you read something you see the horses on the beach or what that text is, reading from your mind’s eye. But what is really weird is that if you put a camera in your eye you would see letter’s on a page, so what you are seeing is not what you are seeing. I wanted to use that aspect of how our minds work to create an interesting way to tell a story which is related to, but disconnects to our world. We have 99 sites in 22 countries right now, and a lot more work to do.

One of the things I thought a lot about is how we visualise things. One of the facts of movies today is that now you can see everything. There are instances, like in horror movies, where what is not seen is very effective, but at the end of the day you are seeing what the story is. This got me thinking, wondering, what were dreams like before movies? Maybe we just didn’t have the words “it felt like a movie” to describe what dreams were back then. So maybe they haven’t changed,  but maybe they have changed. If you take a Madonna and child painting from anywhere in the world, Russia, Mexico, Kenya, Italy in the Renaissance, they all look different but they also look the same. Nobody got a PDF that had the guidelines, but they all tell the same story.  The idea is so powerful that when they render it, they render the same thing.

I thought that it would be cool to do something similar with my stories. So, we created something called “disputed likenesses” which we workshopped at Vivid Festival at the MCA where I told stories and gave out postcards that were blank on one side, and on the other the text of the marker we installed in Australia. We asked people to draw what they think the story looked like then this gets mailed to the people who did the last workshop. Then, when I do the next workshop, those will be sent back to Australia which builds of this idea of the disputed likeness. One of the most impressive groups I did this with was a group of artisans in Namibia, who embroidered their vision.

SJP: Architecture and design are a part of your DNA. If by some twist of fate you were born to another family, what alternate history or future could you imagine for yourself?
ED: Let’s put it this way, I have always been filmmaking and always been interested in story-telling, so maybe I would have done Kcymaerxthaere a little earlier, or other films. One of the things that makes this probably a little unexpected for me, is that I really had no plan to take care of the office. I was never raised to take over the family business. It was really something that came from me, when I made a film about The Office. After Ray died, I documented the studio and realised that if one of us didn’t pay attention, things we cared about would go away. The process of making the film, actually made me look more closely at my heritage and my legacy and I realised that my mum couldn’t do it on her own. I had this intuition that it could work. Things were pretty difficult for a while there but I think the work was always good and was beautiful, it just needed to be shared communciated and protected.

I now feel like I have two full-time jobs. One is taking care of The Office, and the other is my parallel universe project, which in a way is an extension of the film making I used to do. I say used to do, while I still make films, everything I do now is either animated or mostly documentary type things. The fiction work I used to do is now channelled through the Kcymaerxthaere experience. So I feel like I am in that parallel universe already.

SJP: Charles and Ray’s work is so iconic, what do you think is the essence of that?
ED: They believed in something they called the Guest/Host relationship, the idea that was best expressed by Charles when he said that the role of the designer is basically that of a good host, always anticipating the needs of the guest. What’s really important about that quote for me is that they meant it literally, they really lived it. Therefore, when you sit in their chair, you are their guest and that has consequences. For one thing, there needs to be ways to keep making them if they want you to be their guest 20-30 years after Charles died. So, we have to create a system and have someone who is fighting for the design. You have to make sure all the forces of mass production are making the design better. You have to think about the warmth of it, you are literally their guest.

Another thing that Charles said was, “how do you design a chair for use by another person?” He said that, “you design it for yourself, but the trick is you design it for the universal part of yourself”. It’s not the place where we are different, because that is usually on the surface. We have a lot more in common with each other’s people than we do with a cow or a stone yet all we talk about it difference… we have so many more things in common. Those things are what he and Ray respected when they designed these chairs.

Ray once said, “what works good is better than what’s looks good because looks good can change, but what works good will always work good”. Another way of saying that, it that the extent to which you have a design style is the extent to which you’ve not solved the design problem. For me that has a lot of resonance for many ways, but one of the interesting things I find when I travel and talk about the Eames’ work is that the guest/host relationship is universal, every culture has it. It’s human nature. All those factors are really literally expressed in their designs.

When I travel, one of the things I realised I have to do is when I speak in a country where my words are going to be translated, is first talk to the translator to be sure that when I say the word ‘design’ and the word ‘style’, that they translate them with different words. All around the world we use those words interchangeably. In general, design has allowed itself to be defined primarily visually.

I’m sure you’ve had this experience where a friend of yours says, “I just bought this designer coffeemaker. It didn’t work. It was too design-y. You’re a designer. Right? Well, it was too design-y”. If it didn’t work, in fact it wasn’t design-y enough. Again, this shows how the perception of design has been this almost elite thing as opposed to something that people have been doing for millennia.

One of the things Charles and Ray did is that when they designed their furniture they did a lot of iterations of the designs. And so, that sounds very ‘designery’ but actually they would have argued that was just how it happened. If you had a chair 500 years ago in a little village and it was not your favourite you probably couldn’t have afforded to throw it away. But, when it did finally break you would say to your dad or whoever made it, “Did you notice how it was always rocking like that, can you do something about that?” And over time someone else might say, “why did we make that chair out of that wood that we don’t have around here, let’s use a local wood”. And that’s how all these things develop over time where they become these distinctive styles or approaches for any given village or country. And so, what Charles and Ray wanted was to accelerate that process by doing iteration after iteration. Even after the chairs went into production they would change them, they would make them better. Sometimes collectors fettishise the early models (which is totally ok because its interesting to see how they developed), but those aren’t any more authentic than the ones that are made today. For example, the first one of these chairs had a rope edge, and the reason they had to was because they couldn’t make the edge soft enough and it was actually kind of sharp. This was only the first 2000 chairs. So these are a premium. We don’t do the rope edge today, they are no more authentic, it was just a journey they were on. This is why turning these into eco-friendly fibreglass after 15 years of not making them is amazing.

SJ: Can you tell me about the chair, while you’re sitting in it? 
ED: These are one of the few forms they designed and explored in different media. The wire chair is the same shell, they did it in plastic, in reinforced fibreglass, and a version in metal (which never went into production). They were exploring this form and it was too bad that we had to discontinue it in fibreglass for ecological reasons. About 4 years ago the folks at Herman Miller heard about a material that was being used in the automotive industry but in a way that was not visible to the public. So one of the big challenges was making this be able to be seen in beautiful colours that would be consistent and make sure that the fibreglass fibres would be surfaced in the right way.

SJ: Because the way that they are still visible is a really big part of the patina of the chair.
ED: Exactly. Where as when it was used in the automotive industry nobody cared, so it didn’t matter. And what was interesting was that this also really proved to me something that Charles used to say, that we used to talk about, which was this idea that aesthetics can be a part of function. This whole ‘either/or’ thing… Form and function are both important. Part of the problem with this whole ‘design/style’ thing is that we compartmentalise the two as opposed to realising that they are both of value. So for example, it would be less functional (as you know as an interior designer), that if all the oranges [of the chair] were a little bit different, then that is one look. But you would probably want to achieve that look by actually using totally different chairs. If you had a bunch of different variations sitting around a table but they are all the same chair you would sort of be, like, why? And that would interfere with its functionality in a lot of its applications. In terms of its look, we wanted that to be consistent so there was a lot of work that went into calibrating this to be exactly right. In the end it was worth it.

Yet, we still continue the polypropylene version because there was another dimension that Charles and Ray explored which was trying to make it a more uniform surface completely to the touch. So for people who really want that same ‘object same object same object’, as people do from say, the Aluminium Group chair, then the polypropylene is perfect for that. What’s interesting is that different colours work better on that than this [fibreglass] material. People think that it’s all plastic or it’s all ‘this’, what’s the big difference? There is so many ways to really master the achievement of a different experience. Even with the polypropylene, Charles & Ray experimented with something very close to that in the 70s. So the point is that they had designed one of the most successful chairs of all time and they were still trying to make it better even 30 years later.

SJ: What I find really interesting as a designer, is that the colour palette has remained current for this long? There hasn’t been a time when this palette wasn’t relevant.
ED: I totally agree. There are some old colours we may bring back and we are not against doing some new colours but what’s amazing is that pretty much every colour that people say “oh you know, you should do that”, we say “well we can, but we are re-issuing”. They don’t realise that when the Aluminium Group chair came out, we brought it out in mesh. We got a lot of grief from certain self proclaimed experts, saying how dare you do it in mesh and violate their vision. What they didn’t realise was that the first version of that chair was in mesh, the indoor/outdoor version that is at the Herman Miller house. The question should be “is it working, is it good?”

There are still ways we are discovering what Charles and Ray did that are so ahead of their time. That makes it a great collection to work with.

Credits: Photography by Ben Pyke

CHAT IN A CHAIR: Eames Demetrios

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Richard Unsworth

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Richard Unsworth

With spring just around the corner we thought who better sit down with in their favourite chair than Richard Unsworth, Creative Director of Garden Life. It’s hard not to feel relaxed in Richard’s company – his sunny disposition and open-hearted smile are immediately appealing. It’s always a welcome reprieve to enter his lush shop of foliage on Cleveland Street, Redfern. The serenity of all that thriving greenery has an immediate soothing effect. Richard has ensured that Garden Life is not only a shop full of healthy plants and exceptional pots but that it also offers full garden design services and ongoing maintenance.

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Richard Unsworth

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Richard Unsworth

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Richard Unsworth

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Richard Unsworth

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Richard Unsworth

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Richard Unsworth

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Richard Unsworth

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Richard Unsworth

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Richard Unsworth

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Richard Unsworth

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Richard Unsworth

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Richard Unsworth

Since 1998, Richard has been striving to bring mother nature into the homes of the inner city dweller. As his reputation for creative landscape design solutions travelled he soon found that the demand for his green thumbs outgrew his humble Darlinghurst shop. He moved to his current shop and showroom in Redfern with a café devoted to the other one of his loves, food. Richard has a team of warm natured loyal staff that are a credit to his direction.

Richard is the go-to for all that’s green in our built environment. His vast choice of plants are always exceptionally happy and his variety of vessels and decorative elements are joyfully eclectic. He understands the individual looking for a friendly fern, or the homeowner wanting their Eden realised. It is a true passion that extends past the commercial into community garden projects. Open in mind and spirit, when we caught up with Richard on a sunny day out the side of Garden Life he had a 16 year old local painting a large mural behind him. It was a super lively vibe. It’s this approachable professional personality that has seen us working with Richard on numerous projects.

Richard’s chair is a one of those unique treasures that seems to have found him, as much as he has it. With origins somewhere in West Africa it’s full of personality. The sturdy latticed base, stretched leather seat and the addition of the sheepskin just enhances the tribal craftsmanship. It’s where Richard seats his dinner guests “I’ll cook and they will tell all from the chair of truth!” oh the stories that chair has heard in its lifetime! Who built it, who brought it across the seas to end up in a little second hand shop – Dust – in Darlinghurst? It’s a seasoned seat that is a reflection of Richard’s curious nature to find the road less travelled.

Richard shares his years of experience with us in a new book ‘Garden Life’. It’s a picturesque journey full of specialist advice from the small apartment sanctuary to manicured manors. Each project is a beautiful reflection of the client and designer collaboration.

Feeling buoyant from this achievement Richard is enjoying life. He is one of those lucky people who have found their passion and is living and breathing it. Thank you Richard for taking the time out to chat with us in your chair!

Tell us about your chair? What is its story?
It’s West African, I think from Ghana or Nigeria. I found it years ago at Dust in Liverpool Street, just down the road from the old shop in Darlinghurst – I love fossicking around in there. It usually sits in my kitchen and mostly gets used when friends come round for dinner. I’ll cook and they will tell all from the chair of truth!

Proudest moment in your career?
The book thing is really, really exciting, and seeing it finally coming to fruition is definitely a high point so far (although I think it’s also my mums proudest moment, the whole of Yorkshire will soon know about it). When I first started out by myself and opened the little shop in Darlinghurst – I remember being so chuffed with that.

Your most prized possession?
It’s too hard to think of one stand out prized possession – I am a bit of a hoarder. I have a collection of old pots and planters at home that have been given to me, or that I have collected over the years – a cast iron smelting pot, French 1950’s hourglass planters, and old timber piece from Turkish travels. Winnie my old faithful dog, she is a total character and although not a prized possession is totally part of the family.

Why plants?
Each time I revisit a garden we have created after about a year or so – when there is loads of new growth and it’s starting to mature – to see plants thriving and starting to own the space around them – I always get a big kick out of that. Plants are forever changing, an integral part of life, an essential part of our existence. One of my earliest memories is sowing radish seeds with my father. As a kid we had to mow lawns and clip hedges for pocket money and I think something just stuck with me. For the fact I can make a living out of it, I have much gratitude.

King Gees or Jeans?
Jeans for sure. Can we please have Uniqlo in Sydney? Their jeans are the best, and the service is superb.

The most amazing plant ever seen is?
HUGE baobab trees recently in Botswana – some are over 1000 years old. I think its mind-blowing to think of what the tree may have seen, the events come to pass around it.

Describe your ideal studio soundtrack
Often it’s Radio National! or Something dreamy by Kate Bush/Ennio Morricone

What is the most treasured tool of your trade?
My secateurs – which I seem to use less and less… These days I can find myself sitting too much behind a desk. My hands and my eyes – where would we all be without them?

Describe your day
They are so varied, which helps keep me sane. I have taken up cycling this year, so it may be a morning ride to La Perouse or a dog walk before work, usually being at the desk by 730am. In the day I could be seeing new clients on site, discussing new products with Ebo in the store, working on current design jobs with Nick in the office. I could be re-arranging the shop, unpacking the dishwasher or jumping on a plane to go and find new adventures!

What I know about people who love plants is…
They can be a bit nutty and unique – especially people who work with them! Nurserymen are often wonderful eccentrics and I think prefer plants to people. C’mon we all love plants don’t we? We couldn’t be human beings if we didn’t.

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Richard Unsworth

To celebrate the launch of Richard’s new book Garden Life we are asking our readers and likers to get creative with their own #gardenlife. Take a creative snap of your own garden life – the very best sunny spot in your garden, your prized collection of succulents, your little rooftop terrace, your fruitful planter of veggies, a perfectly grown fragrant rose…

Thanks to Richard and Penguin Books we have 5 copies of ‘Garden Life’ to giveaway to our best entries. The competition will be judged by Richard Unsworth & Arent&Pyke.

Tag your instagram photos with @arentpyke_inout @gardenlife_syd and #chatinachair

THE RULES
1. You must follow @arentpyke_inout @gardenlife_syd on Instagram
2. You must tag your entry with @arentpyke_inout @gardenlife_syd
3. You must hashtag your entry with #chatinachair
& #gardenlife
4. Competition opens 6am AEDST on Wednesday 27th August 2014 and closes at midnight AEDST on Tuesday 3rd September
5. The winner will be announced on Wednesday 4th October 2014 via In/Out design blog & Instagram. The judges’ decision is final.
6. Delivery of the book is only available Australia wide.
7. Full T&C’s are available here

Credits: Photography by Ben Pyke

CHAT IN A CHAIR: RICHARD UNSWORTH

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Mr Jason Grant

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Mr Jason Grant

Mr Jason Grant is a force to be reckoned with. His charismatic attitude and his bright and breezy “just-walked-off the beach” vibe is infectious. With creative talent as a stylist, as an author, as a brand ambassador and a collaborator, Jason has magnificently moulded a life where work and play are one and the same. With weather-worn, well-washed signature nautical colour tones Jason can be found styling a glossy editorial, dreaming up new colourways for Murobond Paints and sunny and styling away from Bondi to Palm Springs.

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Mr Jason Grant

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Mr Jason Grant

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Mr Jason Grant

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Mr Jason Grant

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Mr Jason Grant

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Mr Jason Grant

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Mr Jason Grant

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Mr Jason Grant

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Mr Jason Grant

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Mr Jason Grant

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Mr Jason Grant

Mr Jason Grant has beautifully unraveled the secrets of home styling in his first book ‘A Place Called Home’ and will very shortly release his latest styling adventures with ‘Holiday at Home’. Both books are a comprehensive visual guide to living and celebrating the joy of our homes and treasures. Taking his reader from mood boards to finished projects dotted with practical tips and tricks, he also includes a comprehensive black book of his favourite shops and suppliers.

It makes sense then, that his favourite chair is the one featured on the front of his first book; the Ercol Loveseat with colour graduation in the beautiful hue of ‘Mandarin’. This classic 1950’s loveseat is made to share and it speaks of the generosity of Jason’s hospitality and his sociability. It is his work chair, his dining chair and a chair he loves to share. A timeless piece, the Ercol Loveseat was originally designed by Lucien Ercolani, a legend whose ergonomically elegant furniture is an asset to any interior it may grace. The classically English silhouette has been beautifully rendered with contemporary boldness of colour. It is a treasured piece and a chair to share.

Tell us about you chair? What is its story? Please draw it for us.
It’s the Ercol Loveseat available in Australia from Temperature Design and its also the chair on the cover of my first book ‘A Place Called Home’ – so it’s a special chair and a special souvenir. I use it as my work chair when working from home. I love this chair.

Proudest moment in your career?
Working with Hardie Grant and Rizolli on 2 books and fingers crossed several more, finding my own style and being allowed to showcase this in books is beyond awesome.

The power of social media is…
Connectivity and sharing. Recently whilst on holidays in Palm Springs I connected with a fan of my book all thanks to Instagram. Lucky we were both staying at the same hotel. I guess to me I like to be open to the possibility of things happening. Instagram is a tool for this. I like to be positive in life online and in real life.

Bondi or Beverly Hills? Why?
Fingers crossed a little bit more of both with the big apple thrown in too. Bondi is now my base but I want to spend much more time in the USA. I do realise now that life is pretty good in Bondi but it’s good to think of the big picture.

To me Bondi is…
The beach. It’s Home, it’s relaxed, urban but still close to nature. It’s one of the best places in the world.

Ultimate and most prized possession – that you own or that you would like to own
A home in the Hollywood Hills – I like to dream big.

Describe your ideal lazy Sunday
A sleep in, take away coffees, a walk along the beach, Sunday markets, brunch at a local cafe and afternoon swim at Icebergs then fresh prawns for dinner followed by icecream all of course with my other half and hopefully soon a four-legged friend.

Tell us a secret about styling
Less is more – there is too much over-styling.

If you could holiday for a year straight where would you go?
LA – Palm Springs – Mexico – New York repeat repeat repeat

What I know about people and their homes is…
Home is what you make of it.

With an inspiring trip to the USA just under his belt and the launch of his new book, we’re looking forward to Mr Jason Grant’s latest and greatest adventures.

The Ercol Loveseat is available at Temperature Design.

Credits: Photography by Ben Pyke

CHAT IN A CHAIR: MR JASON GRANT

In Out - Chat in a Chair: Lisa Cooper

In Out - Chat in a Chair: Lisa Cooper

In Out - Chat in a Chair: Lisa Cooper

In Out - Chat in a Chair: Lisa Cooper

What a treat to introduce Sydney artist Lisa Cooper of DOCTOR COOPER STUDIO. With that alabaster skin, untamable jet black hair and intricate floral tattoo she embodies the still lives she so intuitively constructs. If you’ve ever had the luck of meeting Dr Cooper you would recognise that mischievous twinkle in her eye always present in truly gifted individuals.

With a Doctorate of Philosophy in Fine Arts she explains her studio work “as embodying human emotion thru art practice” using flowers “the greatest medium for human emotion”.

Cooper’s work is commission-based, whether it’s a floral expression for an individual, crowns for the Sydney Theatre Company or golden wreaths for Tiffany & Co. She is inspiring with her sense of social inclusiveness and is not only open to diverse briefs but excited by the challenge of left fieldness. Subscribing to her depth of soulful beauty you could approach her with any brief and she would return it with a considered, grand, yet fleeting floral testimonial.

We always feel uplifted when we see her van around knowing that we in Sydney have someone special in the fold that understands the need for personal human expression. It is a well-known fact that Dr Cooper brings such a sense of intimate joy to all that have the pleasure of working with her.

It’s no surprise then that her chair of choice is a sentimental one that has seen her through this incredible journey. A 1940’s sturdy timber chair with robust blood red upholstery and with a strong sense of history and comfort for Cooper. It’s where she sits in her St Peters studio every day conjuring up the stuff of our dreams.

In Out - Chat in a Chair: Lisa Cooper

In Out - Chat in a Chair: Lisa Cooper

In Out - Chat in a Chair: Lisa Cooper

In Out - Chat in a Chair: Lisa Cooper

In Out - Chat in a Chair: Lisa Cooper

In Out - Chat in a Chair: Lisa Cooper

In Out - Chat in a Chair: Lisa Cooper

In Out - Chat in a Chair: Lisa Cooper

In Out - Chat in a Chair: Lisa Cooper

In Out - Chat in a Chair: Lisa Cooper

In Out - Chat in a Chair: Lisa Cooper

In Out - Chat in a Chair: Lisa Cooper

In Out - Chat in a Chair: Lisa Cooper

Tell us about your chair? What it it’s story?
I’ve had this chair for about 15 years. It was given to me by another student at The College of Fine Arts, he was apparently ‘upgrading’ to another chair and as I had expressed affection for his chair he offered it to me. That was second year of undergrad. I have had it as my work/studio chair ever since, I’m very attached to it and intend to have it all the days of my life, god willing. I have developed all of my projects and made much of my work with its physical support. It is comfortable and ergonomic in ways that are particular to its era which I would put around 1940?

Biggest glory-moment career-wise?
My book deal. My van. The signage on my van. The first flower order from someone i didn’t know. Tiffany and Co. commission. First job for the Sydney Theatre Company. First funeral. At christmas my van was parked in Bowral and someone left a note on the windscreen that they like my work. My business card. Art Month. The MCA. Toni Maticevski. The phone call in tears because she loved the flowers so much. The ones who say they remind them of their nanna. They’re all equal.

The Doctor thing… Tell us about it.
I have a PhD in Art: ‘A Metaphysics of the Annihilation of Self in Video-Portraiture (Imaging mediations between the Human and Divine)’ – a document that speaks both of my art practice and the work that I have continued to produce with flowers as my medium. I worked very hard to achieve this degree and so the word doctor figured in naming my flower work: DOCTOR COOPER STUDIO the inclusion of my title both honours my work as an artist and academic and positions my flower work outside of the usual ‘floral’ names given to flower businesses which is useful in conveying my distinction.

Why flowers?
They are the most captivating and effective medium I have found for the expression of human emotion, which has always been the central tenant of my work.

Blundstones or RM’s?
Blundstones for work. RM’s for going out.

What gift do you give to a florist?
Bath salts, a crystal or one of Elise Pioch’s candles. Hermes.

Describe your ideal studio soundtrack
ABC FM (except when the crazy jazz comes on, I can’t abide the crazy jazz – then silence)

What is the most treasured tool of your trade?
My gold secateurs and my printer (which is why I employed my assistant Sophie, she knows how to work the printer – she’s very good)

If you could holiday for a year straight where would you go?
Marseille

What I know about people who give flowers is…
That they shall inherit the earth (the good souls).

Credits:
Photography by: Ben Pyke

CHAT IN A CHAIR: DOCTOR LISA COOPER

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Nicholas & Alistair

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Nicholas & Alistair

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Nicholas & Alistair

Nicholas Mesiano and Alistair Knight are seasoned regulars on the vintage furniture scene in Australia. Their Melbourne-based gallery Nicholas & Alistair which retails original 20th century antiques and vintage furniture, decorative objects and applied arts is a regular haunt for us at Arent&Pyke. Over the years we have been captivated by the carefully-curated rare European objects sourced by the gentlemen on their frequent trips abroad.

Mesiano & Knight’s enviably balanced work/life routine of travelling, collecting, curating and reconditioning vintage goods from across the globe is nothing short of a dream. The pieces sourced are those of impeccable craft and extraordinary quality with a legacy like no other. It is a brave and passionate vision by the pair to bring such objects to the Australian market.

Their Chat choice of chair is a pair of very rare 1950s armchairs by Italian architect & industrial designer Gio Ponti for Cassina.

With the sharpest eye gleaned from their shared backgrounds in Interior Design and Fine Art, these enigmatic gentlemen are In/Out’s first ‘Pair in a Chair’.

We are proud to kick off a brand new year of Chat in a Chair and hope that you enjoy a year of wonderful Chats with us in 2014.

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Nicholas & AlistairIn/Out - Chat in a Chair: Nicholas & AlistairIn/Out - Chat in a Chair: Nicholas & AlistairIn/Out - Chat in a Chair: Nicholas & AlistairIn/Out - Chat in a Chair: Nicholas & Alistair
In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Nicholas & Alistair

What is your favourite chair & why?
Tough question! So many amazing chairs have been produced and it is impossible to choose an absolute favourite… however, this pair of armchairs by Italian designer Gio Ponti are definitive 1950s, über stylish, and particularly rare.

Why not Alistair & Nicholas? Was there a coin toss involved?
No coin toss. Someone had to go first….

Very best country for sourcing vintage?
We specialize in European furniture and decorative arts, which means we spend a good part of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. It is a great challenge for us to find the best pieces, and we cross many borders looking for them.

Proportion of finds you can’t part with?
While we would love to keep everything for ourselves, obviously this is impossible. We see our role as caretakers and curators, and genuinely get great pleasure in offering the best pieces to our clients.

Scissors, paper, or rock?
Paper.

Bowie or Buble?
Bowie – Groundbreaker.

Breakfast involves….?
Breakfast always starts with coffee. We’ve been collecting vintage coffee machines for years, and at the moment are really enjoying using our La Pavoni. It makes a killer espresso.

India or Indiana?
Italy!

Colour or monochrome?
Colour is an amazing thing. A powerful communicator, thought provoker, a mood changer … although monochrome can be those things also…. Can we say both?

Hunter S. Thompson or Thomas Hardy?
Hunter. Hardy transports you, but Hunter catapults you.

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Nicholas & Alistair

Credits:
Photography by: Ben Pyke
Videography by: Jill Schaeffer

CHAT IN A CHAIR: Nicholas Mesiano & Alistair Knight

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Lucy Feagins

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Lucy Feagins
In design circles, Lucy Feagins is a lady who needs no introduction.

The Design Files (TDF) began as a hobby for Feagins and in little over a year it became recognised as one of the world’s top 50 blogs by The Times (UK). TDF has since cemented its place as an authority on design, craft and creativity in Australia and receives over 1 million impressions a month from across the globe. It is hardly surprising to know that it is Australia’s no. 1 design blog.

TDF is a part of our daily routine. We love it and use it as a dynamic reference point, a catalogue of creative inspiration for our professional practice and personally as designers. Wednesday’s home tours are a particular favourite (Juliette Arent’s home was featured last year) and we love the insights we get into the creative practice of other designers and makers.

What is most inspiring about The Design Files for its legion of daily readers is the seemingly endless talent Feagins uncovers. She is the great pioneer of discovering and supporting the work of Australian craftspeople, designers, artists and creative professionals. Features on up-and-coming creatives sit side by side with great Australian design icons young and old. What TDF does day by day, is share with the world the voice of the collective Australian design community.

Feagins’ editorial eye is meticulous, and consistently inspiring. The carefully curated daily features have an editorial bent for colour, pattern, boldness and freshness, for handmade quality, and for inspired, unique and passionately executed craft. Feagins’ warmth and generosity shine through the content on TDF. She has a kindness, a passion and energy that is absolutely infectious. She is also relentlessly hardworking (just check her Instagram for proof!).

We caught up with Lucy for a cup of tea and a chat in her brand new, freshly painted studio when we were in Melbourne earlier this year. In a Gorman tee, Converse kicks and signature up-do Lucy sat down in her favourite chair, the Tropicalia Chair by Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola for Moroso.

Our regular readers will have seen this chair before. It is not hard to understand why this is Lucy’s favourite – the Tropicalia is all about colour and craft. Thermoplastic polymer threads are woven around a metal frame, speaking of long standing traditions of handcraft and designer Urquiola’s continually feminine way of experimenting with materials, shapes & details. It is a piece which layers colour and geometry yet it is simple and truthful in its materiality and its sense of construction. It is exceptionally high quality, playful, bold and beautifully crafted and the same can be said for Miss Feagins. Lucy, a true honour to chat with you.

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Lucy Feagins
In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Lucy Feagins
In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Lucy Feagins
In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Lucy Feagins
In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Lucy Feagins
In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Lucy Feagins
In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Lucy Feagins
In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Lucy Feagins
What is your favourite chair and why?
My favourite changes all the time, but one chair that I have always loved is the Tropicalia chair by Patricia Urquiola. I love the way Urquiola uses traditional techniques like weaving in such a contemporary way, and the chair looks like a giant lolly which always helps.

Describe your own interiors style in 3 words:
Classic, colour-loving, and quirky.

Prague or Provence?
Provence. I plan my holidays based around food, and you can’t go past French cuisine!

What did you want to be when you grew up?
An airhostess. When I was young it seemed very glamourous, now it looks like the hardest job in the world. Upmost respect to all flight attendants!

How many hours a day do you work? Be honest!
15 hours. I work all day then dinner is my lunch break, then I go back to work.

Birthday or Christmas?
Christmas, as it’s the only time I close my laptop.

Can’t say no to________?
Loving Earth Coconut Mylk Luvju Raw Organic Chocolate. We’ve become obsessed with these in the office, they really deliver when in need of a 3pm pick up.

Vegetable smoothie or Veuve Clicquot?
Veuve Clicquot. I’m all for a health kick but you would have to be certified insane to choose a green smoothie instead of a glass of French champagne, which I firmly stand by.

Can you have too many cushions?
Yes, you can have too many at one time. It’s good to rotate them and not have them all out at once so you can freshen up your look.

Promise to keep blogging?
Yes, I have no backup option!

The Design Files Open House launched in 2011 and opens its doors in Melbourne tomorrow and then again in Sydney on the 5th December. The Design Files Open House lets us touch and buy what we read about on The Design Files every day. It is a simple concept – the ultimate Australian home – with the added bonus of everything being for sale.

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Lucy Feagins
In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Lucy Feagins
In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Lucy Feagins
In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Lucy Feagins
In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Lucy Feagins
The Design Files Open House – Melbourne
9a Westley Street
Hawthorn East
Thurs November 21st to Sun November 24th
10.00am – 5.00pm

The Design Files Open House – Sydney
Sydney address to be announced
Thurs December 5th to Sun December 8th
10.00am – 5.00pm

Credits:
Photography by: Ben Pyke
Videography by: Jill Schaeffer
Melbourne Open House photos by: Eve Wilson
Sydney Open House photos by: Sean Fennessy

CHAT IN A CHAIR: LUCY FEAGINS

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Miranda Skoczek

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Miranda Skoczek
1_miranda

On a rainy Melbourne day some months ago we were rather wonderfully welcomed into the home of Melbourne artist Miranda Skoczek and her young son. Dressed enviably fabulously in washed-out slouchy jeans, a loud metallic sweat, leopard print pumps, a swish of bright orange lippy and her signature tortoiseshell spectacles the woman truly embodies the warmth and creative genius that is her self, her work and her home. It is with great joy that we bring to you her Chat in a Chair today.

Chat in a Chair tells about the endless importance of collecting objects and enlightens the reason why it is so for each and every one of us. Chatting with people such as Miranda celebrates not only the extraordinary breadth of work of creatives in this country but their own stories, their homes and their most treasured chairs.

Miranda’s work of course, needs no introducing. Her beautiful paintings have gained her a legion of avid collectors, passionate supporters and lifelong friends. A symphony of much-loved historical and cultural influences inspire her layered, collaged and painted works, an extension of a whimsical and opulent imagination – in her own words “loaded with positivity”. You would undoubtedly recognise her trademark abstracted wolves, birds, zebras and owls colliding with a geometric kaleidoscope of pitch perfect palettes and “gestures towards fantasy”. Miranda is currently working on a new body of work for her show coming up in November at Edwina Corlette Gallery.

It is with great joy that we also launch, with Miranda Skoczek’s Chat in a Chair and video, our new INSTAGRAM COMPETITION to win a walnut Herman Miller Eames® LCW chair from Living Edge. Competition details are below.

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Miranda Skoczek
In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Miranda Skoczek
In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Miranda Skoczek
In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Miranda Skoczek
In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Miranda Skoczek
In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Miranda Skoczek
In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Miranda Skoczek
In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Miranda Skoczek
In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Miranda Skoczek
In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Miranda Skoczek
2_miranda-answers
In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Miranda Skoczek
Miranda’s favourite chair is nothing short of truly iconic. The Herman Miller Eames® LCW chair, a classic, collectable treasure of 20th century design was designed with technological valour and continuous to be produced with the legacy of love of husband & wife Charles and Ray Eames since 1946. It uses technology for molding plywood that they developed pre WW2 – an absolute revolution in its time. Now a design classic, the Herman Miller Eames® LCW was named by Time magazine as the Best Design of the 20th Century. Miranda’s own chair, like the lady herself is washed in a bold shot of colour. Hers is the Aniline Dyed Green which was produced by Hermann Miller in limited edition from 2009 – 2010.

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Miranda Skoczek

The Herman Miller range is available in Australia through Living Edge – and thanks to Living Edge we have one to give away! To celebrate Miranda’s Chat in a Chair we are asking our readers and likers to get creative with the colour green. See green, be green, put your green eyes on and show us what you’ve got.

We are thrilled that Living Edge who carry the Herman Miller Eames® collection will generously be making the competition winner the proud owner of their very own Herman Miller Eames® LCW chair in walnut.

The competition will be judged by Miranda Skoczek, Living Edge and Arent&Pyke.

Tag your instagram photos with @arentpyke_inout @mirandaskoczek @livingedge and #chatinachair

THE RULES
1. You must follow @arentpyke_inout @mirandaskoczek @livingedge on Instagram
2. You must tag your entry with @arentpyke_inout @mirandaskoczek @livingedge
3. You must hashtag your entry with #chatinachair
4. Competition opens 6am AEDST on Wednesday 16th October 2013 and closes at midnight AEDST on Monday 21st October.
5. The winner will be announced on Wednesday 23rd October 2013 via In/Out design blog & Instagram. The judges’ decision is final.
6. Delivery of the chair is only available Australia wide.
7. Full T&C’s are available here

Miranda Skoczek ‘Historical Panorama’
Edwina Corlette Gallery
November 12 – 30
2/555 Brunswick Street New Farm, QLD 4005
Open Tuesday to Saturday 10am – 5pm or by appointment

Credits:
Photography by Ben Pyke
Videography by: Jill Schaeffer

CHAT IN A CHAIR: MIRANDA SKOCZEK

09_dom_mini

In/Out - CHAT IN A CHAIR: DOMINIQUE BRAMMAH

In/Out - CHAT IN A CHAIR: DOMINIQUE BRAMMAH

Chat in a Chair is as much about the person as it is about the chair. The joy is in the story behind the chair, the treasured chairs of old and the lustful wishlists for the future. So often the story behind the chair tells us something really special. It tells us about sentimental moments and collected memories, of big life decisions and salvaged (or monumental) investments. Or it tells us about of the importance of collecting objects and enlightens why this is so for each and every one of us. Today we would like this Chat in a Chair to be as much an introduction as it is a chat.

This is our Senior Designer, Dominique Brammah. Now an accomplished interior designer or ‘lapsed architect’ (as she likes to call it), Dom made the jump to interiors to join us in early 2012. Immediately we knew she was meant to be a part of the Arent&Pyke family. She shares an aesthetic and an energy much like our own. She is a clever designer, a notable colour freak with a sharp eye and a whimsical mind. Most importantly, for the readers of In/Out, Dominique is the eyes and ears of our blog, bringing all these beautiful artists and creations to your attention.

Her favourite chair today is the embodiment of the girl herself – bold, colourful geometric details wrapped around a classic frame. The Tropicalia chair by Patricia Urquiola for Moroso, shows a tubular steel structure with complex geometrical shapes, embellished with a clever weft of intenstely coloured threads that alternates solids and voids. The Tropicalia chair is an interplay of pattern, colour & optical illusion executed with the meticulous attention to detail spiked with a sense of playfulness so loved by Dominique and so characteristic of Urquiola’s work. Dominique’s true wish is to own ‘The Cocoon’, a hanging version of the chair she sits in – gusty, bold and whimsical chairs – much like our Dom.

In/Out - CHAT IN A CHAIR: DOMINIQUE BRAMMAH

In/Out - CHAT IN A CHAIR: DOMINIQUE BRAMMAH

In/Out - CHAT IN A CHAIR: DOMINIQUE BRAMMAH

In/Out - CHAT IN A CHAIR: DOMINIQUE BRAMMAH

In/Out - CHAT IN A CHAIR: DOMINIQUE BRAMMAH

In/Out - CHAT IN A CHAIR: DOMINIQUE BRAMMAH

In/Out - CHAT IN A CHAIR: DOMINIQUE BRAMMAH

In/Out - CHAT IN A CHAIR: DOMINIQUE BRAMMAH

In/Out - CHAT IN A CHAIR: DOMINIQUE BRAMMAH

Favourite chair – and why? Draw it.
The Tropicalia chair by Patricia Urquiola is my pick. It really represents a professional lightbulb moment in life for me. I saw the hanging version of the Tropicalia in a house in Fire Island designed by LA & NYC based interior designer Alexandra Angle when I was working as a graduate architect. The image of the chair represents such a moment of realisation – I knew there and then I needed to ditch the black skivvy. I jumped and happily landed myself in the wonderful world of Arent&Pyke. It’s been a sparkling sequin of a colour-popping year of such happiness. But seriously, this chair represents the most profound sense of professional fulfilment for little old me. One day I’ll own it (the hanging version) and I’ll swing on it every day with hair in the wind and joy in the heart. For the moment i’ll nick this version from Hub Furniture if you please.

If your world were only one colour – what would it be?
Pink. Red. Orangey red. Pinky orange. Redy pink. I am trying to escape it’s grip but it is proving near impossible. I pity the chap who has to deal with it in his life forever. Diversify? With what? Maybe seriously bright blue?

Pants or skirt?
I don’t do pants. I do jeans. And I do occasionally do a skirt but I do prefer a dress. I’m not sure if it’s lazy but the standard outfit is dress and boots.

Dinner or dessert?
Dinner then dessert but I insist on sharing dessert. I don’t do one to myself because I get cranky if the other person’s dessert is better than mine. And it’s DESSERT everyone. Not DESERT (that is in Africa).

Matching – yes or no?
Matching sheets and pillowcases – yes. Matching fingers & toes – yes. Matching socks – never.

Marimekko or Mulberry?
Oh tough one. To upholster my sofa in – Marimekko makes my heart flutter and my eye goggles fly off my face with excitement. To drape over my arm – Mulberry. GIMME AN ALEXA in floppy brown leather. Not the weird tiny one. And not the giant one that I would fill with my whole world of crap. The perfectly brilliant middle sized beauty please sir.

Diary or digital?
Diary. Diary. Diary. If it’s not in there consider me absent. I am notoriously terrible at life administration. If I was rich I would have a man servant just to pay my bills on time for me. I would also have another one to drive me around in my bashed up Toyota Echo so I would never have to look for a park again.

Hair up or hair down – literally and figuratively?
Hair down wash day one. Hair up with dry shampoo the next day. Hair down for grunge. Hair up for priss. Figuratively speaking – I’m a half up half down. I think i’m a feather in the breeze but then I realise I’m actually more conservo than I think.

Music – male or female vocalist?
Female generally. I have naturally daggy DAGGY taste in music. I rely on friend Jo who I rather brilliantly named ‘The Gig Guide’ to keep me savvy. That said, when I hear a warm honey golden syrupy man-voice I go to mush and listen to it constantly – I am currently doing this with the song on the Pure Blond ad, a re-do of Steve Winwood’s ‘Higher Love’ by James Vincent McMorrow. LISTEN TO IT. THEN LISTEN TO IT AGAIN. Damn ads stealing my cool. Same thing happened with the Schweppes ad with The Cinematic Orchestra and the Sony ad in San Francisco (with all the coloured balls rolling down the hill) with Jose Gonzalez. I did know the Cello Song by Nick Drake on the Vittoria coffee ad before I saw it on the tele (still got it).

In/Out - Chat in a Chair: Dominique Brammah

Credits:
Photography by Luisa Brimble

CHAT IN A CHAIR: DOMINIQUE BRAMMAH

db_1723_mini

db_1723_mini

Earlier this year Arent&Pyke were working on a very special house in Sydney’s Eastern suburbs. A very special house requires very special furnishings – and one of our favourite inclusions was a bespoke coffee table crafted by industrial designer Daniel Barbera. It was a magnificent piece, fashioned lovingly and artfully out of marble and bronze. Originally designed as a dining table, it was actually customised to be a coffee table for the first time just for us, which was exciting.

So, on our recent trip to Melbourne, it was pretty much essential we meet this man, and see his creative space. It is safe to say we were charmed from the get-go. A lovely man, so humble and generous – with both his time, and his thoughts. After shooting and chatting, he sliced up oranges for us all to eat together.

Each Barbera piece is bespoke, and made by hand – he is an artisan of truly masculine yet elegant materials. Daniel fulfills orders of his trademark pieces for residential spaces, but is also very busy working on bespoke commissions for bars and restaurants.

His workshop is a reflection of the man – ordered, meticulous and complete with some boy toys!

His favourite chair is a Cassina ‘Cab’ chair designed by Mario Bellini in 1977 – a quietly confident and manly chair made of leather upholstery zippered over a steel frame. It’s a chair which speaks of the traditional techniques of slung leather on a steel frame of other iconic chairs such as the Knoll Spoleto chair (the favourite of florist Simone Gooch, our first Chat in a Chair). It is this particular technique that Daniel is employing in a chair he is current developing. The ‘Cab’ has a honest tactility, a legible sense of assembly, and a beautiful sense of flexure in both of its materials. The zippered legs ask you to unzip them to investigate the chair’s primary structure. It softens over time and develops that natural shine of leather where the hand touches it. It’s a piece to treasure and we agree with Daniel, it’s a perfect choice.

For the very first time on In/Out, we are so thrilled to share with you all a one minute short film of our Chat in a Chair with Daniel. It is an extra special insight and we hope you enjoy it (if the video is being a little sleepy please refresh your browser).

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What is your favourite chair & why?
I actually don’t have ‘a’ favourite, too many variables.. I could have a favourite if I knew how I was to use it.. As a pragmatist I would have to choose a chair that is useful and not just good looking, actually I would never choose a great looking chair if it didn’t work for me. But getting back to the point, if I were to choose a chair, I would choose a chair I can live with everyday, so it would maybe be a CAB chair. Why I love it is the simplicity of two main materials, steel and leather, both used very effectively, and I love how the leather changes over time and just gets better with age.

Order or chaos?
I think I like orderly chaos, which seems very dichotic, but essentially I don’t think it’s ever black or white, and I like constraints with freedom in between.

Chairs or tables?
Depends what for.. hmmm. If I was stuck on a desert island alone, probably a chair, if I was stuck on an island with friends, then a table.

Melbourne is home because…
I was born here, love the culture, food, and lots of specialist industry that I work with that merge with my design practice.

Marble or metal?
Marble if I wanted to create something that could never be melted down to create something else.

Dogs or cats?
I love cats, I like dogs, but only live with cats. I don’t have the time I would want to give to a dog.

Trivial pursuit or monopoly?
Monopoly, makes you feel like you are in primary school.

Sunrise or sunset?
Sunrise, I always have intentions, but rarely get up to see them.

A designer who inspires you?
Ross Lovegrove, for his love and pursuit of the sciences.. I love science too and it plays a big part in what I do, and how I see objects not only from the outside, but thinking like nature ‘inside out’.

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Credits:
Photography by Ben Pyke
Videography by: Jill Schaeffer

Chat in a Chair: Daniel Barbera

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