Design News

Design News

Last Updated: 09 Sep 2015
Lily Yeang

Award-winning design, world firsts and all the colours of the rainbow will have you out of hibernation and inspired into that long-overdue spring revamp.


Exciting news! Spain's Ondarreta has brought its range of handcraftEd furniture to WA. Named after a picturesque beach in San Sebastian, Spain, the family-owned company uses certified, sustainable materials that are local to its area when making its products. Easy to dismantle or largely recyclable, the designs are elegant, simple and innovative, and bring a breath of fresh air to furniture design in Perth. DesignFarm (08) 9322 2200,


Pegged as an urban design-hunter's dream, the Felix Metro is a modular sofa with a difference. It boasts a clever space-saving design, with discreet storage pockets to hide remote controls, magazines and anything else worth concealing, while the optional SmartPockets allow you to add practical accessories such as lamps and swivel tables directly to the sofa – pretty handy if you're limited for space, or just don't like clutter. The Felix Metro also comes with tufted cushion covers that can be removed and replaced, as well as matching ottoman and optional tabletop surface. King Living (08) 6389 8866,


Designed by Scandinavian Wallpaper and Decor owner Ann-Louise Jansson, using Rebel Walls' new make-your-own wallpaper option, this wall covering's colour palette adds a distinct Scandinavian touch to any room.

Ann-Louise got her inspiration from the Swedish midsummer, having got back from the country earlier this year. "I am not normally drawn to colours," she says. "I mainly work with whites, greys and blacks, and then textures – concretes, faux white wood – and monochromes. But since I returned from seven weeks in my homeland of Sweden, and the wonderful Stockholm, I realised how much positive energy certain yellows gave me. Yellow is traditionally a common colour in people's homes there, and the 1920 apartment I stayed at in Stockholm had
a yellow wallpaper on all four walls."

The new wallpaper is now part of Rebel Walls' Spectrum range. Rebel Walls 0455 854 212,; Scandinavian Wallpaper and Decor (08) 9444 2717,


Italian furniture brand Emmemobili is the newest addition to Ultimo Interiors' ever-growing Osborne Park showroom. From its humble beginnings as Tagliabue & Son more than 130 years ago, Emmemboli has gained a reputation for timeless elegance, and presents beautifully manufactured furniture pieces from the best designers and artisan craftsmen. Also new at Ultimo: Reflex, the first company to use Murano glass as table bases. Ultimo Interiors (08) 9271 2479,


Australian designer Tracie Ellis has wowed us with her geometric and pastel bed linen, captivated us with her lush bathroom range, and now is set to enhance our kitchens with her first collection of ceramics. Including side/tapas plates, stacking tapas bowls, and coffee mugs, they come in 12 of Tracie's most renowned designs. Aura by Tracie Ellis,

Paper with punched holes, by Emma Lipscombe.


Artist Open House Fremantle is back again this year, with more houses filled to the brim with innovative, modern and contemporary artworks. Created by Cathrina Read, the event showcases works by national artists in beautifully styled homes across Fremantle.

After seeing a number of galleries in WA forced to close down recently, Cathrina found herself looking for a new way of connecting art with the masses, and with potential buyers. Artist Open House was the result.

"AOHF is an event where art is viewed and sold within the confines of a private home," Cathrina says. "It gives visitors an opportunity to look at and purchase a wide variety of art in a homely environment. It also gives artists a venue to show their art, particularly since the closure of several art spaces in recent years."

Cat says the idea is to connect art with a new audience, specifically the younger market and those unlikely to visit commercial art galleries.

"We hope to make our audience comfortable with art so that over time, as they become more confident with buying art, they then visit the big commercial galleries."

So what's new for the latest Open House?
"This year, we have over 35 artists showing their work," she says. "We are having two walking trails to accommodate the eight homes – only two of them are the same as last year, and some of this year's are stunning, architecturally designed homes.

"Most exciting, though, is our 'styled house', where everything in the house, including the art, will be for sale. This is a collaboration with stylist Jo Carmichael, and will be a must-see house."

Artist Open House Fremantle, various locations, November 13-15.


Lap up the warm sun this spring in the 21st century version of your everyday, lazy man's hammock. The Satala by Aqua Creations is part hammock, part sculpture, standing on one leg that has a rubber-coated metal ball at the end of its single foot. A mounting bracket connects the chair to any wall, inside or out, and is made from galvanised metal. It comes in a bronze finish and has removable down-filled cushions. Available from HALO Lighting (08) 9221 5544,

Orang-utan enclosure (photography Peter Bennetts).


Forty Australian projects have made it on to the World Architecture Festival Awards short list this year, including West Australian company Iredale Pedersen Hook Architects' orang-utan enclosure. The project, part of the practice's ongoing work for Perth Zoo, required the architects to renovate the existing 30-year old facility. They delivered by replacing it with an upgrade that features a series of 'trees' that simulate the physical complexities of a rainforest. Made of recycled concrete pylons and robust steel 'branches', each tree holds a double-decker nest, providing a place of rest for the orang-utans.

Architect Adrian Iredale says the enclosure was designed to establish connections between orang-utan behaviour and the qualities of their native environment. "The orang-utan exhibit was influenced by the natural social and physical living patterns of orang-utans."

Also up for an award is the company's Walumba Elders Centre – winners are to be announced at the World Architecture Festival, Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore, from November 4-6.

The Unforgotten by Penelope Forlano (photography Eva Fernandez, courtesy of FORM).


West Australian designers Penelope Forlano and Sam Wright were two of six finalists in this year's Australian Furniture Design Awards. Penelope's entry, The Unforgotten console, and Sam's Lizard Lounge BOTH boast exquisite craftsmanship and inherently represent Australian design.

"The Unforgotten is a custom-designed piece that attempts to create an 'endearment' over time and recalls significant memories," Penelope explains of her entry. "Through my research, I believe that by embedding multiple meanings and narrative, technical precision, and memory of the past, an object can become a special, future family heirloom."

The surfaces of The Unforgotten illustrate different messages specific to the owner – some patterns inscribed on the surface, for example, transcribe stories, while others duplicate various treasures that have been hidden away for more than 60 years.

"These were digitally recorded and replicated in the texture of the work," Penelope says. "Other personal drawings and imagery of significant places have been used to create a narrative of the owner's family heritage."

Lizard Lounge by Samuel Wright.

The reptiles that survive in Australia's harsh environment influenced Sam's lounge design.

"I took visual cues from their scales, spindly front limbs, brightly coloured underbelly, and their cold-blooded behaviour," he says. "I also really enjoy the playfulness and colour that design leaders like Marc Newson and Philippe Starck have in their work, and I definitely had that in mind when creating the Lizard Lounge."

Sam says the Perth furniture and design scene is full of really talented manufacturers, not to mention bold clients willing to take on some innovative custom projects.

"Although the market is relatively small in the overall scheme of things, there seems to be a good appreciation for the value of design, and it shows in so many cool projects popping up all across the city. Perth is quite a creative little place."
Forlano Design,; Samuel Wright Design,; Australian Furniture Design Award,


A number of colourful wedges make up the circular facades of La Cividina's oversized poufs-turned-seating islands, which are aptly named Windmill. Originally envisaged as a stand-alone, the initial creation has now inspired designer Constance Guisset to produce an entire family of circular upholstered furniture. The Windmill is available in three different sizes, subdivided into rainbow or tone-on-tone segments. Priced from $1500. Contempo Collection (08) 9446 9244,


It's the first modern-contemporary building to be constructed in the Giardini – one of the main venues of the Venice art and architecture biennale – and it's soon to be the first to house a giant swimming pool. The Australian Pavilion, comprising an exterior of large black granite slabs and a stark white interior, will be transformed into one of Australia's greatest cultural symbols for the Pavilion's inaugural architecture exhibition next year. The Pool is a concept by architecture firm Aileen Sage and urban designer Michelle Tabet, and will see visitors taken through an immersive multi-sensory experience. A series of perceptual illusions will be created through the use of light, scent, sound, reflection and perspective, exploring pools of necessity and pools of excess. The exhibition will also profile some of Australia's most remarkable pools – natural, manmade, inland, coastal, temporary and permanent. For more information, head to


We can't get enough of the handmade ceramics – like this Punch Drunk Pitcher ($150) – by West Australian contemporary ceramic artist Patricia Fernandes. Patricia combines Scandinavian design with antique Indian textile prints, creating beautifully textured dinnerware and ceramic jewellery. For local stockists, visit


Jah Roc Galleries has printed a 154-page book celebrating more than 10 years
of creative collaborations with a number of local artists including Larry Mitchell, Shaun Atkinson, John Kinsella and Jim Banks. Check out this ode to our southwest artists at


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