CHAT IN A CHAIR: NICKY LOBO

In/Out - CHAT IN A CHAIR: NICKY LOBO

In/Out - CHAT IN A CHAIR: NICKY LOBO

There are some people that seem to posses a particularly special quality. Something you may not be able to put your finger on instantly, but that you sense as soon you meet them. Nicky Lobo is one of these people. Meeting this creative woman, the now-Editor of Habitus Magazine, leaves you feeling calm, inspired and a little closer to what matters. Of course, as someone who has seen (and sat on) her fair share of designer furniture, we were especially keen to hear what her chair of choice was.

With the aim of Chat in a Chair being to celebrate the importance of collecting objects and shed light on why it’s such an individual pursuit, Nicky is a perfect interviewee. She reminds us that in each object is a wealth of opportunity that reaches far beyond the object itself – if you’re willing to discover it.

In/Out - CHAT IN A CHAIR: NICKY LOBO

In/Out - CHAT IN A CHAIR: NICKY LOBO

In/Out - CHAT IN A CHAIR: NICKY LOBO

In/Out - CHAT IN A CHAIR: NICKY LOBO

In/Out - CHAT IN A CHAIR: NICKY LOBO

In/Out - CHAT IN A CHAIR: NICKY LOBO

In/Out - CHAT IN A CHAIR: NICKY LOBO

In/Out - CHAT IN A CHAIR: NICKY LOBO

In/Out - CHAT IN A CHAIR: NICKY LOBO
Despite holding the much sought after title of Editor to one of our (your/everyone in Australia’s) favourite design magazines, Nicky ‘stumbled into the design world’. Working as a studio assistant in the interiors department at Group GSA, she decided to apply (and was accepted) for the Advanced Diploma of Interior Design through TAFE at the Design Centre Enmore. What she realised (and which makes sense if you know Nicky and her inquisitive mind), is that it was the ‘talking and thinking about design’ that she liked most. In true Nicky style, she followed her gut and went on to study Communications at UTS with a major in Writing & Cultural studies.

“It was then that I had a brainwave and thought I could combine my interests and write about design,” she says, “so I approached Indesign for some work experience.” Working with then-Editor Dr Paul McGillick and then-Deputy Editor Andrea Millar on Habitus from its inception means Nicky has seen and been part of a major project through its development.

The richness we see in the pages of Habitus today can be traced back to a strong idea at the beginning and a passionate team working on it, but also to Nicky and her integrity. Nicky isn’t about quick fixes or ‘instant gratification’ when it comes to discussing design, but about creating conversation that is accessible in ‘an intelligent and meaningful way’. Behind all those pages of beautiful words and images, which flow effortlessly from start to finish, is hours of planning and careful consideration.

When it comes to her chair of choice, Nicky’s answer is equally meaningful. Though as much as her eye for quality design and interest in the subject influenced her choice, it is clearly her love of yoga (and the floor) that made The Togo, from Ligne Roset, winner. This chair, she tells us, embodies the idea of ‘play’. “I believe we are at our most creative and productive when we are relaxed, comfortable and having fun,” she says. “The Togo encourages all of this. You can curl up on it and read, squash up next to your best friend on it, lay on the ground with your legs up on the seat, sit cross legged…”

Such an adaptable piece, it’s no wonder Nicky chose it. Togo is for its sitter, letting them decide the position that best nurtures them and their creative self. After talking to Nicky then, perhaps we can say it is the quality of connectedness we sensed. Whatever Nicky decides to involve herself in – whether it’s talking design or choosing a piece of furniture – she does with thoughtfulness and awareness. It was a treat chatting to her.

Your three great passions?
Creativity, yoga, education, food.
I couldn’t leave one out, sorry.

Your favourite works of fiction and non fiction and why?
Fiction: The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy. The writer is an absolute sorceress and transports me fully into the story, which is both beautiful and terrible.
A Tangled Web, L.M Montgomery. An old-fashioned book about a family clan, full of humour and wit.
Anything by Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton, to whom I credit my early love of books and reading.

Non-fiction: Age of Kali, William Dalrymple. Most of the books I’ve tried on the history of India and Pakistan have been quite dry but Dalrymple has a gift for narrative. It has a filmic approach in this sense – like a collection of short period stories rather than a documentary. I’m also reading the Dalai Lama’s autobiography (now 15 years old), Freedom in Exile.

Where do you turn for creative inspiration?
Conversation. Asking questions, exploring, interrogating, nudging thoughts along usually takes you to new places. Also internal conversation. Daydreaming, yoga and time alone is a constant source of ideas and realisations.

Describe or dream up the perfect corner of your home
A corner with natural light. A comfortable lounge to sit on, or a fluffy rug to sprawl on. A fireplace. A lamp for when daylight begins to dim. A side table for my cup of tea. A blanket and a book. This is the winter corner. For summer, head to the garden, replace the lounge with a towel or picnic blanket and the tea for a glass of rosé with ice. Greenery is a must in both.

Tell us about the path to becoming the editor of Habitus
I stumbled into the design world working as a studio assistant for the interiors department at Group GSA. While there I applied and was accepted into the Advanced Diploma of Interior Design through TAFE at the Design Centre Enmore, where I studied with the lovely (and hugely talented even then) Juliette Arent. I did a 1-year stint at PTW in the interiors department too. Working full-time and studying part-time made me realise I liked talking and thinking about design more than doing it, so I left my job and the course and went back to uni to study Communications at UTS with a major in Writing & Cultural Studies. It was then that I had a brainwave and thought I could combine my interests and write about design, so I approached Indesign for some work experience. That was back in 2007. I’ve been here ever since! When I went full-time after I finished my degree, I was so excited to work closely with then-Editor Paul McGillick and then-Deputy Editor Andrea Millar on a new magazine we were launching called Habitus. It’s been an amazing experience to grow with the magazine and see it develop into the multi-platform brand it is today. I still get a lot of joy from it. And am constantly inspired, stimulated and challenged too.

Three creatives who inspire you and the reasons why?
Gene Sherman of Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation – intimidatingly intelligent, yet warm and down-to-earth.

Fashion designer Alistair Trung – highly principled with a unique lens of the world. He makes the practical seem avant-garde.

Yoga pioneers Ana Forrest and Seane Corn – using yoga as a creative tool to heal and inspire change.

And television personality Lee Lin Chin for being fashion brave and hilarious.

There are many more, it’s hard to choose!

Tell us what have you learnt about the design community in Australia?
The community is strong, but the awareness of design needs to grow beyond the professional community in order to be sustainable. I would love for design, architecture and art to be as talked about in Australia as it is in Europe, as widely discussed as sport or politics. For it to be valued in an economic and cultural context. So it needs to be accessible, but in an intelligent and meaningful way – not in a fast-food, instant gratification way. As the conversation about design becomes louder, there will be more opportunity for the community to be collaborative and supportive and continue to grow.

Tell us about the chair of your choice, the Togo from Ligne Roset, I’ve heard you like sitting on the floor…. What makes it special for you? What does the chair represent for you?
I discovered this chair when scouting product for a Habitus photo shoot to represent ‘Play’ and that’s what the Togo means to me. I believe we are at our most creative and productive when we are relaxed, comfortable and having fun – the Togo encourages all of this. You can curl up on it and read, squash up next to your best friend on it, lay on the ground with your legs up on the seat, sit cross legged. It’s so flexible and casual. The construction is amazing too – 5 different densities of foam in a single seat. Quilted cover (all hand-finished) that begs you to touch and sit. Incredibly light to move around. And designed in the 1970s – possibly the coolest decade there ever was.

In/Out - CHAT IN A CHAIR: NICKY LOBO

Credits: Photography by Luisa Brimble

G-Rough Hotel

In/Out: G-Rough Hotel

In/Out: G-Rough Hotel

In/Out: G-Rough Hotel

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In/Out: G-Rough Hotel

In/Out: G-Rough Hotel

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In/Out: G-Rough Hotel

In/Out: G-Rough Hotel

In/Out: G-Rough Hotel

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In/Out: G-Rough Hotel

In/Out: G-Rough Hotel

In/Out: G-Rough Hotel

In/Out: G-Rough Hotel

In/Out: G-Rough Hotel

In/Out: G-Rough Hotel

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Like its sister hotel, Palazzina G in Venice, G-Rough celebrates history and place. Set in a tall and narrow, five-story, 17th century building – in Piazza Navona not far from Sant’Agnese church, this design hotel is a satisfying look into the real Rome.

In collaboration with architect Giorgia Cerulli, Emanuele Garosci and Gabriele Salini have created a ten-suite hotel that preserves 400 years of architectural history and at the same time presents to its visitors a contemporary Rome.

Cerulli has incorporated as much of the building’s original features as possible. Old paint and raw materials are left exposed on walls – literally revealing the layers of history embedded in the property, and wooden roofs and elaborate parquet floors reflect the Rome that once was. Perhaps the most endearing feature of the building’s age is the original Latin inscription on the facade: “SATIS AMPLA QVAE SECVRITATE RIDEAT” (meaning “big enough to give a feeling of security”).

While a definite reminder of where it has come from, G-Rough also speaks to the present. The bare walls and high oak beam ceilings of the past contrast with iconic furniture and contemporary art, reflecting the city’s continual flux and cultural development. Each of the five floors pay homage to a different Italian designer from the 1930s to the 1970s, including Ico Parisi, Giò Ponti, Guglielmo Ulrich and Aristide Seguso, and a changing display of art works from emerging Italian artists fill the walls.

In aesthetic terms, the hotel is described as ‘rough-luxury’ – a new kind of Italian luxury characterised by distressed plaster walls and mid-century Italian design. But the design far transcends being superficial; its sentiment is genuine and firmly rooted in place. “We’re presenting a very Italian sense of luxury,” says entrepreneur Gabriele Salini, “one with history, design, art, and a touch of whimsy.”

To combine original features, classic Italian design and contemporary art might sound ambitious, even confused. But here the designers have struck a meticulously crafted balance between celebrating a rich history and acknowledging an exciting present. G-Rough is eclectic but consistent in its design, playful yet grounded. And it rejoices in all that is the city of Rome; its past tied to its present, and its continual evolution of a strong culture of art and design.

Credits: G-Rough

Out/About: Melinda Harper ‘Colour Sensation’

In/Out - Out/About: Melinda Harper 'Colour Sensation'

In/Out - Out/About: Melinda Harper 'Colour Sensation'

In/Out - Out/About: Melinda Harper 'Colour Sensation'

In/Out - Out/About: Melinda Harper 'Colour Sensation'

In/Out - Out/About: Melinda Harper 'Colour Sensation'

In/Out - Out/About: Melinda Harper 'Colour Sensation'

In/Out - Out/About: Melinda Harper 'Colour Sensation'

In/Out - Out/About: Melinda Harper 'Colour Sensation'

In/Out - Out/About: Melinda Harper 'Colour Sensation'

In/Out - Out/About: Melinda Harper 'Colour Sensation'

In/Out - Out/About: Melinda Harper 'Colour Sensation'

In/Out - Out/About: Melinda Harper 'Colour Sensation'

In/Out - Out/About: Melinda Harper 'Colour Sensation'

In/Out - Out/About: Melinda Harper 'Colour Sensation'

Melbourne based artist Melinda Harper has built a career on the seemingly endless possibilities of abstract colour placement. An impressive body of work is now on show at the Heide Museum of Modern Art. Appropriately titled ‘Colour Sensation’, this large exhibition chronicles three decades of artmaking and it is an absolute feast for the eyes.

In her early work you can see a strong connection to early twentieth century abstraction with simplified compositions that talk to artists such as Kazimir Malevich. However, it is not long before she develops her own language and a dynamic and unashamed celebration of colour begins. Harper’s canvases are structured in the varied relationships of shape – stripes, circles, triangles – with a sophisticated understanding of colour. Sometimes harmonious and other times discordant, Harper says the work is a direct response to her lived experience and she explains, “colour is emotional, it evokes a feeling. I have never read colour theory books. For me, it’s all about looking, feeling and reacting.”

While best known for her paintings, the exhibition also brings together Harper’s work in other mediums such as printmaking, sculptural assemblage and a series of intricate hand-sewn tapestries. Collections of whimsical sculptures dance in museum display cabinets; constructed from ceramic vessels (often purchased from op shops), Harper decorates with vibrantly coloured wood blocks and circular mirrors that provide the viewer with a three dimensional manifestation of her paintings.

If you live in (or plan to visit) Melbourne before October 25, a visit to Heide is an absolute must. Heide holds a significant place in Australian art history, originally purchased in 1934 by prominent benefactors John and Sunday Reed, it soon developed into a home for some of Australia’s best known modernist painters including Nolan, Tucker, Hester and Perceval. Becoming a public museum in 1981, after various impressive building projects and sizeable donations of work, have made it one of our more important cultural institutions.

So aside from the must-see Harper exhibition, there are always several other shows from the Heide collection, not to mention the drop-dead architecture and glorious gardens, that make for a truly wonderful day out celebrating all that is modern art in Australia.

Melinda Harper ‘Colour Sensation’
Heide Museum of Modern Art
7 Templestowe Road
Bulleen, VIC
Tuesday-Sunday: 10am-5pm
Public Holidays: 10am-5pm
Until 25th October 2015

Credits: Courtesy of the artist Melinda Harper and Heide Museum of Modern Art
Words by Katrina Arent

ENSEMBLE ARCHITECTURE, DPC ‘Rachel Comey Flagship’

In/Out: Rachel Comey Flagship

In/Out: Rachel Comey Flagship

In/Out: Rachel Comey Flagship

In/Out: Rachel Comey Flagship

In/Out: Rachel Comey Flagship

In/Out: Rachel Comey Flagship

In/Out: Rachel Comey Flagship

In/Out: Rachel Comey Flagship

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In/Out: Rachel Comey Flagship

In/Out: Rachel Comey Flagship

In/Out: Rachel Comey Flagship

In/Out: Rachel Comey Flagship
Located in Soho NYC Rachel Comey’s flagship store is a perfect mix of robust and delicate, elegantly industrial and frivolously uplifting. Theatrical, in a historical context, it is full of 1950’s colour, 1980’s glamour and contemporary chic. A celebration of diverse creative minds headed by architect Elizabeth Roberts of Ensemble Architecture DPC, interior designer Charles de Lisle and Rachel Comey, this beauty was born. Comey started kicked off the creative process with ideas on materiality and worked backwards – this is what can happen when you trust your instincts.

Heralded by Leanne Shapton’s custom flag this converted mechanics garage with it’s raw hewn timber ceiling enters a new era. A heady mix of masculine and feminine, concrete floors peppered with hand placed aggravate are grounded by thick handsome stucco’d walls. A generous concrete shoe plinth is lovingly manufactured with stones from Comey’s favourite beach, and pumice from the stone wash facility. Custom Rodrigues-styled armchairs in lipstick plum are backdroped by timber imprinted concrete walls. Comey’s collections hover ethereally off the ground haloed by brushed brass hanging rails. And then there is the dressing rooms…..swoon! Pink herringbone carpet, playful apertures and discreet lighting make for a cinematic boudoir.

Not that Comey needs much help selling her brilliantly, good-looking, cohesive, tailored designs, but really who wouldn’t want to walk away with a souvenir of this beautiful experience?

Photography by Dustin Aksland

MULLER VAN SEVEREN

In/Out: MULLER VAN SEVEREN BOOK BY FREDERIK VERCRUYSS

In/Out: MULLER VAN SEVEREN BOOK BY FREDERIK VERCRUYSS

In/Out: MULLER VAN SEVEREN BOOK BY FREDERIK VERCRUYSS

In/Out: MULLER VAN SEVEREN BOOK BY FREDERIK VERCRUYSS

In/Out: MULLER VAN SEVEREN BOOK BY FREDERIK VERCRUYSS

In/Out: MULLER VAN SEVEREN BOOK BY FREDERIK VERCRUYSS

In/Out: MULLER VAN SEVEREN BOOK BY FREDERIK VERCRUYSS

In/Out: MULLER VAN SEVEREN BOOK BY FREDERIK VERCRUYSS

In/Out: MULLER VAN SEVEREN BOOK BY FREDERIK VERCRUYSS

In/Out: MULLER VAN SEVEREN BOOK BY FREDERIK VERCRUYSS

In/Out: MULLER VAN SEVEREN BOOK BY FREDERIK VERCRUYSS

In/Out: MULLER VAN SEVEREN BOOK BY FREDERIK VERCRUYSS

In/Out: MULLER VAN SEVEREN BOOK BY FREDERIK VERCRUYSS

In/Out: MULLER VAN SEVEREN BOOK BY FREDERIK VERCRUYSS

Belgian artists Fien Muller and Hannes Van Severen’s of ‘Muller Van Severen’, live and work from their Belgium home, their collection drawing on the simplicity of a basic notion of furniture.

Elegantly refined, their chairs and tables are interconnected continuously, intertwined in conversation. Delicate pieces responsive in functionality are a reflection of the two artists’ focus. On the one hand Muller, a photographic artist whose contemporary still-lifes connect opposing common objects into a serene moment, and on the other, Van Severen, a sculptor whose large-scale sculptures are disjointed and quizzical.

Muller Van Severen is the meeting of the two minds; their furniture, sole objects that have an almost Bauhausian sense of rigour and order. 

Fine lines, pared back; these are modernist objects, articulated in a minimalist art form. Not shy of colour, big bursts of primary red and yellow work beautifully with aqua green and sunrise peach. Timber, metal, marble – sounds humble enough – with the touch of Muller and Van Severen these pieces are both a delicate study of frame and a meditation on materiality.

Photographed by fellow Belgian Frederik Vercruysse, with his usual minimalist touch, gives space to celebrate the unique charms of Muller & Van Severen’s work.

Credits: Courtesy of Muller Van Severen & Frederik Vercruysse

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