Design Lives Here: Australian Interiors, Furniture and Lighting

Penny Craswell

Design Lives Here: Australian Interiors, Furniture and Lighting
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Design Lives Here: Australian Interiors, Furniture and Lighting

Penny Craswell

Australian design has forged its own unique trajectory, influenced by geographic isolation, a distinctive natural environment and a modern sensibility. Design Lives Here showcases the best of Australian residential architecture and interiors, and pays homage to the local designers and makers who have crafted bespoke pieces of furniture and lighting for these homes, whether large or small.

From a reimagined Californian bungalow with a dining table inspired by the humble HB pencil to a monumental inner-city residence furnished with more than 100 custom pieces, these houses - and the objects that reside within - offer a compelling snapshot of contemporary Australian design through the lens of materiality, utility, site and place.


The beauty of this book is that it does many things in a (seemingly) effortless, elegant fashion. For every house or apartment featured, the sum of its parts creates the whole: architecture, interior design, furniture and lighting.

All projects are well documented regarding specifications, design features and products. So much so it is an inspirational resource in its promotion of local talent, ingenuity and materials and, if your budget is small, so many achievable details can be adapted or cherry-picked. I love a sawtooth roof and Project Zero (Brisbane) uses one with north-facing ridges for solar panels and south-facing verticals for soft and diffuse light. Equally, the kitchen floor in another project with geometric floor tiles that gives a 3D cube effect is fabulously satisfying. Shower in a moss garden, anybody? Oh, okay, if you insist … and, please, also Ruth Allen’s recycled glass Black Sambuca Chandelier.

The book covers new builds, renovations and adaptive reuse of existing buildings. The projects range from terraces and apartments to the grand, the star being Indigo Slam in Chippendale. This magnificent home is so finely crafted it is a pleasure to contemplate its existence and although in my dreams I have always wanted to cook in an old kitchen with giant Agas in a grand English home, the sleek, pristine, extremely contemporary galley kitchen pictured has turned me to the other side.

To be honest, each of the twenty-one projects in this book has star quality, not the least of which is the amount of patronage of local talent, design and resources used, and the generosity and trust towards the creativity of the designers and architects.

Sustainability and environmental considerations are high priorities and Design Lives Here shows just how capable and talented Australians are in this area, and how natural, right and now this collaborative, informed approach feels and looks.

Margaret Snowdon is the art & design book buyer at Readings Carlton.

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