GREEN NATION BLOOMS IN BRISBANE

An exhibition opens in Brisbane on 18 November that truly breathes life into art…and needs regular watering. Green Nation is the latest show from Artisan, Queensland’s peak body for promoting unique and individual quality crafted design. This bold exhibition features art, craft and design exploring the next frontier of ‘green’ by integrating living, growing nature into the work.   The living works on display include moss graffiti, growing jewellery, permaculture design, contemporary bonsai, furniture, grass rugs, installation art and living garments. The artists featured in Green Nation are: Eliza Donald, Christian Duell, Donna Franklin and Gary Cass, Janet Laurence, Richard Neville, David Nicholson, La Chanh Nguyen, Claire Poppi and Nicole Voevodin-Cash. (m)art & Gallery artisan is at 381 Brunswick St, Fortitude Valley. It’s open from 10.30am-5.30pm Tuesday-Friday, and 10.00am-4.00pm Saturday. Artisan is funded by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland and the Federal Government through the Australia Council. Green Nation runs until 21 December 2011. For more information, visit http://www.artisan.org.au/index.php/component/content/105?task=view IMAGE: Clare Poppi Growing bangle 2010. Recycled sterling silver, organic pod and organic grass, 90 x 90 x 90mm. Photo: Katie Stormonth.  

QUENCH

By Danielle Koopman Queensland designers are collaborating to quench global thirst for fresh new brands and innovations. Designers Alexander Lotersztain, Bjorn Rust, Surya Graf, Marc Harrison, Jason Bird and David Shaw are a collective of emerging, mid-career and established professionals who in 2010 banded together under the banner Quench. Quench aims to promote new design developed here as well as raise the profile of Queensland design as a whole. Its early forays into the international market have chalked up some impressive results, including an exhibition at Design Tide in Tokyo, Quench plans to bring Queensland design to key international marketplaces to strengthen the recognition and value of Queensland design, build design knowledge and seek both public and private investment Argentinian-born Alexander Lotersztain, established his design furniture brand ‘derlot’ in Queensland in 2003 and won the Inaugural Queensland Premier Smart State Designer of the Year Fellowship Award in 2010. He is passionate about bringing together businesses and designers to create new ventures and opportunities in the global market. “Design is a platform for entrepreneurial development,” he says. “Design is very closely related to business and marketing strategies. You need to understand the business’ short and long-term goals. “Queensland industry is currently ...

LIMES HOTEL: WORLD-CLASS DESIGN

By Danielle Koopman When Brisbane entrepreneur Damian Griffiths acquired the 233sq/m site in Fortitude Valley’s rundown Constance Street to build his dream hotel, everyone told him he was insane; it was too small for a house, let alone a luxury 21-room establishment. But when Limes Hotel opened in 2008, Queenslanders claimed ownership of it as our hippest hotel – a place of understated elegance that we were proud to recommend to the most urbane visitor. Limes is a rare example of a hotel that successfully combines ‘wow’ with simplicity and comfort. It also illustrates how good design can enhance a space. Every detail was designed to intuitively be where it should, nothing was left to chance. Designer Alexander Lotersztain, Queensland Premier’s Design Awards Smart State Design Fellow in 2010, was originally approached to design the rooftop but when Damian realised he had found a kindred spirit, they rewrote the brief together. Alex’s studio, derlot, oversaw every aspect of the hotel design and branding, from the funky façade, front desk and bedrooms to custom-made furniture, bar glassware, menus, music and even drink coasters. “Alex didn’t just follow clichés, he understood my vision and took it to the next level,” Damian says. ...

KURILPA BRIDGE A WORLD BEATER

The Kurilpa Bridge over the Brisbane River has become the first Queensland project to win a World Architecture Award.   Judged World Best Transport project at the World Architecture Festival Awards in Barcelona, the Kurilpa Bridge was designed by Cox Rayner Architects and took the honour over projects in the United Arab Emirates, China, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Opened in 2009, the Kurilpa Bridge was designed to represent the ships that once sailed into the Brisbane River. It has since become a tourist attraction carrying an estimated 50 000 pedestrians and cyclists each week between the CBD and South Brisbane. Judges said the bridge appeared to ‘float’ over the river while its structural elements ‘seem to be abstractly suspended in the air making the bridge appear very different, functional, unique and sculptural’. The Kurilpa Bridge is the world’s largest structure based upon the principles of ‘tenesgrity’, a term first used by legendary 20th century innovator and architect Richard Buckminster Fuller to describe a system of balanced compressive and tensile forces. The judges added the bridge provided a pedestrian and cycle connection across Brisbane’s river but also formed a new public space, as well as a symbol for art, ...

QUEENSLAND RECOGNISED AS ARCHITECTURAL POWERHOUSE

Once again the 2011 National Awards of the Australian Institute of Architects proved rewarding for Queensland. Held at the Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart on 3 November, 34 awards and commendations, selected from a total of 160 finalists, were awarded across 12 categories with Queensland picking up five. The Harry Seidler Award for Commercial Architecture went to the Ecosciences Precinct at the Boggo Road Jail redevelopment in Dutton Park (designed by HASSELL). The judges lauded the building concept saying it ‘purposefully unites the complex, high-performance requirements of laboratory space with social, people-oriented environments filtered by a light garden ambience’. The Cairns Cruise Terminal (Arkhefield together with Total Project Group Architects) won The Lachlan Macquarie Award for Heritage, with a project the jury said had ‘breathed life into a largely forgotten part of the Cairns waterfront.’ A National Award for Interior Architecture was awarded to Nudgee College Tierney Auditorium (m3architecture) and the National Award for Residential Architecture – Houses – went to Solis on Hamilton Island (Renato D’Ettorre Architects). The AM60 building on Albert Street in Brisbane’s CBD (Donovan Hill) picked up a National Commendation for Commercial Architecture. More information on the awards and the winners is at ...

The Queenslander House

Anyone who has lived in a Queenslander house will tell you they have character and each one is an individual. Each has its own variation – a window sill that’s not quite straight; the enchanting shadow cast by sunlight streaming through timber fretwork; a little slit at the bottom of a skirting board that lets in a bracing winter wind; a wide veranda that shades your family from the summer blaze and welcomes the warming winter sun. The Queenslander house is unique, a design icon, a building that says much about its origins. Associate Professor Peter Skinner, Queensland President of the Australian Institute of Architects, points out that the Queenslander was designed to work within its unique environment. “The lifestyle in the Queenslander house was different to that of Britain, Europe and southern Australian states,” he says. “We lived with the doors and windows open. We relaxed, entertained and chatted to the neighbours on the street from the veranda.” When one hears the word Queenslander, in relation to a building, a clear vision usually emerges: a timber house with a steep-pitched tin roof, surrounded or at the very least punctuated by a wide verandah, high-set on stumps with decorative timber ...

Juli Grbac

Why do we create? For some it’s about achieving a goal to build something with one’s hands, for others it’s about solving a problem or responding to a need. For others still it’s a way to express emotions or tell a story. Others see beauty in the creation of things, something that is more than just visual. It is this appreciation of deep beauty and the emotional appeal of creating that motivates Brisbane-based fashion powerhouse Juli Grbac. “I have always been driven by beauty,” Grbac enthuses. “It’s why I create. I love to evoke a feeling that can be experienced just by looking at a dress.” This desire to create is something that seems innate in Grbac, something that started from a very young age when she used inherit her sister’s clothes and re-work them to suit her style. All this at eight-years-old! Early on Grbac would dream up designs and enlist her mother’s considerable sewing abilities to pull off her creations and then at 10 years, she took on the sewing herself and never looked back. Grbac’s design journey took her first to Gateway TAFE in Brisbane where she studied fashion design, she then took the next step and ...

Husque

Many great designs come from humble beginnings, not too many however can claim a birth as humble as a discarded nutshell. Nor can all designers see the potential in waste as possible materials for their grand ideas. Queensland designer Marc Harrison’s Husque range, which continues to grow, is one of those great designs with humble beginnings. An undisputed model of exemplary design, the Husque products tick just about every box when it comes to innovative, ethical, functional and sustainable design. Made from a unique composite material with waste Macadamia nut shells as a base, Husque products have an organic yet highly polished feel to them. A truly matchless design product made from a uniquely Australian material. More and more these days we’re seeing a shift towards the use of waste materials in design: cardboard, wood off-cuts, paper, plant materials, industrial leftovers, it’s an encouraging and necessary trend. Harrison was way ahead of his time, conceiving the Husque idea back in 1999. A Queensland Government grant through Arts Queensland supported his early research into using composite materials in design, which in turn led to a focus on the Macadamia nut, which was mainly used for its edible nut, kernel oil and ...

Thuringowa Riverway

Transformation comparisons are easy to make: caterpillar to butterfly; ugly duckling to graceful swan; cinder maid to princess … the list goes on. Cox Rayner’s architectural transformation of, and ongoing work with, Thuringowa City in Queensland’s north is nothing short of a Cinderella-style fairytale. Historically the poor cousin to the better-known Townsville, Thuringowa is a city on the up and up. Years ago, the then Thuringowa Council engaged Brisbane-based architects Cox Rayner to work on a number of strategies with the aim of moving the city towards the lofty goal of becoming Australia’s most sustainable regional city. Under this engagement Cox Rayner undertook four major analyses: the Thuringowa City Centre Master Plan, the Thuringowa Pioneer Park Urban Design Strategy, the Thuringowa Riverway Master Plan, and the Riverway Environmental Design Guidelines. The Master Plan details something of a comeback plan for the northern city including a new sports precinct, a retail and commercial village, two residential precincts, boardwalks and extensive landscaping. The design is ethical in its focus on improving and rejuvenating an otherwise degraded space with positive impacts for the community. The jewel in the crown of these detailed studies is the multi award-winning Riverway Arts Centre, Lagoon and Eco-Active ...