Lee Broom – Park Life

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British designer Lee Broom reveals ‘Park Life’, a dazzling pop-up exhibition in a car park in Sydney

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

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UK design talent Lee Broom is known for glamorous lighting, furniture and accessories. His shows are just as cutting-edge, with the rising star previously exhibiting his work in a mock department store, a mobile van (albeit one tricked out with an elegant room interior) and on a fairground carousel. Now Broom is taking over an underground car park below Space’s Sydney furniture showroom for ambitious pop-up ‘Park Life’, sharing his new lights with the public in a modernist maze. The Alexandria installation will be his largest to date, covering 4,000 square feet, with the free exhibition running from 14 to 20 March.

‘I am delighted to return to Australia to present this exciting exhibition with Space Furniture,’ says Broom. ‘Australia has been a big supporter of my work for many years and it is an honour to create such a significant installation to showcase my collection in Sydney.’

TOP: The entrance to Sydney’s subterranean ‘Park Life’ maze pavilion, with Lee Broom flanked by his ‘Orion Globe’ and ‘Orion Tube’ lights. ABOVE RIGHT: Fix up, look sharp… London lighting designer Lee Broom before he turned blonde for his Australian tour

A former actor and fashion designer, Broom is known for his trademark sharp look, teaming simple classic and street-savvy details. His designs also reinterpret classical styles in contemporary ways, giving them an unexpected edge. Expect more striking fusions at immersive experience ‘Park Life’, where he’ll be transforming the raw, concrete, industrial car park into his take on a trad English garden.

ABOVE: Lee Broom’s surreal modernist garden maze ‘Park Life’ in Sydney, a beautifully resolved installation featuring his lighting, accessories and furniture in a series of 16 illuminated room sets. Enchanting vignettes play with ideas from chess boards and Newton’s Cradles to cascading waterfalls and trompe l’oeil reflections

Channelling a meandering maze, the pop-up will take guests on ‘a poetic journey of discovery through hidden passageways, with tableaus and vignettes,’ says Broom, showcasing his lighting, furniture and accessories. Inspiration hails from 18th-century pleasure gardens, with their mazes and miniature waterways, amusing visitors with the latest art, architecture, music and illuminations. However, Broom gives the concept a modernist spin, aiming to create a sense of escapism, entertainment and drama.

ABOVE: More mesmerising moments from the ‘Park Life’ pavilion. A white polycarbonate box within the concrete car park, its interconnecting spaces are lined with pale gravel, with designs displayed beside classical statues on boxy, layered plinths. Black acrylic, cut-outs and mirror add surprise to surfaces

If Broom’s mind-bending 2017 trompe l’oeil installation ‘On Reflection’ at his London showroom is anything to go by, design hunters should be in for a treat. Broom chose to show in Sydney, not Milan this year, reaching out to his Australian and Asia-Pacific fanbase, and has put all his creative energy into crafting a surreally beautiful space, guaranteed to whisk visitors into wonderland.

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ABOVE: Lee Broom’s new ‘Eclipse’ pendant lights, updated in polished gold, will be showcased at the pop-up

Debuting at the ‘Park Life’ installation is a new version of Broom’s award-winning ‘Eclipse’ light in a polished gold finish, a warmer, softer interpretation of the original chrome. Like an elegant mobile, these sculptural pendants look different from every angle, with mirror-polished gold and acrylic discs interacting, simultaneously eclipsing and revealing their charms.

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ABOVE FROM LEFT: ‘Eclipse’ chandelier three piece in sheeny gold. The design also comes as a table lamp, with all three variations available to order from April. Broom’s ‘Orion Tube’ and ‘Orion Globe’ pendant lights in polished gold

‘Park Life’ is part of Broom’s wider #LBTour of Asia and Australia, which has seen him give design talks at Space’s showrooms in Singapore for Singapore Design Week (4-17 March), and Brisbane, with another to come at Space Melbourne on 14 March (6pm-9pm) for Melbourne Design Week (14-24 March). Design fans can buy tickets to the Melbourne event, in which Broom will chat about his career, global brand and the experimental nature of design. Plans are also afoot for him to talk at ECC’s Auckland showroom in New Zealand. Don’t miss this illuminating talent…
leebroom.com spacefurniture.com.au

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ABOVE: Broom’s circular ‘Carousel XL’ pendant light in matte black at the installation, inspired by British fairground merry-go-rounds

Free exhibition ‘Park Life’ is at Space, 84 O’Riordan Street, Alexandria, Sydney, from 14 to 20 March 2019 (open daily 10am to 5pm); a launch evening on 13 March is by invite only. Lee Broom’s products are available exclusively in Australia, Singapore and Malaysia from Space Furniture. His ticketed Melbourne talk is at Space, 629 Church Street, Richmond, on 14 March (6pm-9pm)

Pictures: Craig Wall (Sydney installation)

Jardan Sydney

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Australian interiors brand Jardan's new Sydney store has put the seductive into staircases

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

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Sculptural. Seductive. Super-stylish. The staircase at Australian design brand Jardan's new Sydney flagship store has been drawing admiring glances, from its pale, pretty-in-pink pastel colour to its gorgeous curves. Linking the shop's three levels, it's a serious scene-stealer, with a sinuous wooden hand rail, sleek, gold-edged wooden stairs and grainy marble flooring.

ABOVE: Poised in pink: the sculptural staircase is a centrepiece at Jardan
ABOVE RIGHT: The inviting gold-meets-glass exterior of Jardan Sydney's flagship new store on a corner of Paddington's Oxford Street
BELOW: The softly geometric staircase runs from the lower ground floor up to the first storey, lit by a skylight, with tactile details including a sinuous wooden handrail, marble flooring and gold-tipped treads

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ABOVE: A seductive first-floor living area at Jardan, painted to pick up the greens and blues of the trees, sky and Sydney Harbour. Covetable ceramics make great take-home buys

By Melbourne's IF Architecture, the store on Paddington's Oxford Street takes its cue from Sydney's shifting seasons, spanning the blues of the harbour, the green canopy of the city's hilly streets, and the reds and yellows of the sun. 'Colour is expressive light, and Sydney has light like no other place in Australia,' says lead architect Iva Foschia, who designed the different levels of the space to transition between whites, blues, greens, pinks, greys and blacks. Foschia also took inspiration for the palette from the colour systems of iconic Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier, 'who used colour to enhance the emotions of people in his buildings', harnessing custom paints from Australian specialists Porter's Paints.

Sydney's creative families were another key influence for Foschia, including local interior designer Marion Hall Best (whose career from the mid-1930s celebrated bold colour, pattern and modernism), late artist Brett Whiteley (who famously painted the harbour in ultramarine hues), veteran artist John Olsen (known for his love of nature, greens and blues), and his daughter Louise Olsen and son-in-law Stephen Ormandy's homewares/jewellery brand Dinosaur Designs (beloved for its sleek forms and vibrant hues).

BELOW: Up on the first floor, Jardan's modernist-inspired, contemporary furniture is flanked by a fireplace and backdropped by airy views; Rugs and cushions are displayed on the lower ground floor, styled with a dark-grey sofa as a living zone

Melbourne-born, family firm Jardan sells Australian-designed and-made furniture and lighting, crafted using local materials to exemplary eco standards. Its own-label contemporary collections are displayed alongside a brilliant edit of art and accessories, from tableware to coffee-table books, rugs to vases. After closing its original Sydney showroom in Rosebery, Jardan launched a recent pop-up in Paddington, before finding a permanent home in Oxford Street's 1924-founded Alderstein House, an Art Deco building formerly occupied by Ariel Booksellers.

Styled like a home, the stunning flagship features dedicated zones for living, sleeping, dining and cooking – an alluring curved shelving area displays print titles, ceramics and plants, while upstairs there's an entertainer's kitchen – with lofty views over the harbour. Connecting the lower ground floor, ground floor and first floor is the eye-catching central staircase, flanked by sensual surface materials. Art is a highlight, especially Australian talent Kate Ballis' kooky-coloured 'Infra Realism' photos of America's palm-dotted landscape, pools and modernist architecture. You can even pick up a Maren surfboard. Only in Sydney...
www.jardan.com.au

BELOW: Blue-and-rust-grained marble etched with the Jardan logo forms the store's impressive entry wall (signage was created in collaboration with Seasaw studio); A sleek modern first-floor kitchen showcases tableware and vessels by local makers

Jardan Sydney is at 42 Oxford Street Paddington, Sydney. Click here for details of Jardan's Melbourne and Brisbane stores, also designed by IF Architecture

Pictures: Sean Fennessy

Midnight Modern

Tom Blachford shoots iconic mid-century architecture by moonlight. We're smitten by 'Midnight Modern'...

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

Caught between dream and waking, Tom Blachford's magical-realist photos of classic Modernist architecture are on show at Sydney's Black Eye Gallery in Darlinghurst until Sunday 12 June. What makes the images in 'Midnight Modern' so alluring – apart from the Mad Men-esque residences, cool vintage cars, turquoise pools and towering palms – is that all were photographed during a full moon, bringing a unique light (or should we say darkness?) into the frame.

ABOVE: 'Abrigo Corner I'
BELOW: '888 Regal'

A chance discovery one night led to Melbourne photographer Blachford's love affair with the interplay between architecture, mountains and moonlight. Seeking to avoid the cliché of snapping California's Palm Springs in sunlight, he tried a nocturnal shoot and was blown away by the moonlit glow. Focussing on the desert resort city's iconic mid-century homes, he spent several years revisiting the area, capturing the evocative landscape under five full moons, including a supermoon. The ongoing series is cinematic, tinged with an air of unreality, as if the buildings were model kits or advertising fantasies – sometimes hyper-real and glossy, other times darker, shadowed and more unnerving.

BELOW: 'Frey II'

Shot close to midnight, front on, using long exposures that stretch out passing stars, Blachford's eerily otherworldly yet glamorous images have a dash of a David Lynch movie about them, stripped of people yet high on colour-rich style. Despite their artificial look, the lighting is wholly natural, with no post-production meddling. What man-made illumination there is comes from domestic house, garden and car lights, backdropped by looming desert rocks, cacti and trees.

BELOW: 'Los Robles Affair I'

Working covertly originally, but then in cahoots with the community, Blachford has gained access to inspiring properties including Richard Neutra's 1946 Kaufmann House, Frank Sinatra's legendary 1947 estate Twin Palms by E. Stewart Williams, and the Frey House II by Albert Frey, as well as restored Alexander tract pads. Beautiful, surreal and haunting, his pictures beg the question: "Is anybody home?" and, more mysteriously, "Is anybody out there?"
blackeyegallery.com.au

'Midnight Modern' is at Black Eye Gallery, 3/138 Darlinghurst Road, Darlinghurst, Sydney, until this Sunday 12 June 2016 (open Tue-Sun 10am-6pm)
All photos by Tom Blachford, available in three sizes from Black Eye Gallery. Prices vary for different editions; framed or unframed.

George Byrne – ‘Local Division’

For colour and architecture inspiration, we’re wowed by photographer George Byrne’s striking shots of Los Angeles…

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

Australian photographer George Byrne captures the graphic shapes and colours of Los Angeles’ streetscapes in his new exhibition ‘Local Division’, currently showing at Sydney gallery Olsen Irwin.

Born in Sydney in 1976, Byrne started out studying painting but discovered photography in his late teens. He graduated from the Sydney College of the Arts in 2001 before settling in LA in 2010, where he has concentrated on his photographic practice.

Architecture fans will love the clean-lined buildings, snapped both from a distance and in geometric detail, some flat, two-dimensional planes, others textural and almost painterly. Some images feel abstract and becalmed, with a sculptural still-life quality. Street furniture from posts to parking signs and lights adds to the static feel (imagine late Adelaide artist Jeffrey Smart’s vibrant urban paintings transformed to photos).

Byrne’s palette is beautiful, portraying a dreamy mix of soft pastels – minty greens, dusky pinks and baby blues – contrasted with primary yellows, reds and cooler cobalts. Colour pops up on painted roofs and pavement edging, stripy wall tiles and vibrant doors, strings of balloons and a doughnut-like inflatable ring bobbing in a turquoise hotel pool.

ABOVE: 'Temple St', 2015
ABOVE RIGHT: 'Motel Grand', 2014
BELOW FROM LEFT: 'Hotel Pool #1', 2015; 'Green and White #2', 2015; all archival pigment prints, editions of five

Byrne has a way with shadows too, incorporating their intrusive shapes, especially those of LA’s trademark palm trees, often cut-off in unexpected ways. Perhaps it’s his Australian roots, as the harsh light in his homeland is equally blinding. Bright modernist exteriors are backdropped by faded signs and retro typography, conveying a bitter-sweet sense of nostalgia.

ABOVE: 'Ace Hotel Sth Broadway', 2015

This being LA, hotels and motels get their hour in the sun too, including a vertiginous view looking down from the Ace Hotel Downtown on South Broadway. Yet it’s not the glamorous parts of the city that seem to interest Byrne, rather the run-down, neglected and unsung quarters of town. And in a city where everyone drives, shots of empty streets are animated by the rare pedestrians walking, lonesome in an Edward Hopper-esque way, including one sporting a cinematic cowboy hat (real life or film set?).

ABOVE FROM TOP: '99c Silverlake', 2015; 'Cowboy', 2015

‘Borrowing from the clean, vivid clarity of modernist painting, Byrne references the New Topographics photography movement via a subject matter firmly entrenched in the urban everyday,’ states Byrne’s CV. His work ‘spins LA’s most disposable architecture and redundant landscapes into seismic moments. He seeks the subliminal and sublime in the everyday.’ Early influences included artists Piet Mondrian, Richard Diebenkorn, David Hockney and Jeffrey Smart; photographers Walker Evans, William Eggleston, Stephen Shore and Andreas Gursky were also creative inspirations.

All the ‘Local Division’ shots are archival pigment prints, in editions of five with two artist’s proofs. Sizes are large, but smaller options are available on request. You can also follow Byrne’s gallery on Instagram (@george_byrne), which he uses as a visual scrapbook.
olsenirwin.com
George Byrne’s ‘Local Division’ series is on show at Olsen Irwin, 63 Jersey Road, Woollahra, Sydney until 28 February 2016; free entry.

25XDesign: Amanda Levete's inspiring Melbourne tour

MPavilion 2015 architect Amande Levete shares her 25xDesign Melbourne inspirations for a smart tour

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

At DesignFizz, we’ve long been fans of Melbourne’s design charms, from modernist architecture to quirky laneways, cutting-edge shops and salvage-chic bars. So imagine our delight when we heard that Amanda Levete of AL_A studio, the UK architect behind this year's magical MPavilion, had teamed up with London Design Festival director Ben Evans to create a guide to Melbourne's most inspiring style spots.

Launched at MPavilion today, the 25xDesign smart tour was conceived by Evans as an interactive digital event, intended to celebrate design and place. You can experience Levete's 25 hand-picked, favourite Melbourne design destinations as a traditional walking tour, but that would be like so 1985! This so-now tour was developed with Google Creative Lab's 360 degree technology, so you can access the locations as a virtual immersion on your mobile or online (provided you've got compatibility, 'natch). Dubbed Story Spheres, the platform uses experimental browser technologies including webGL and 3js, and can be viewed on your desktop, mobile or via Google Cardboard for a virtual-reality-esque experience. Future tours will help design fans discover other cities with the help of select tastemakers, but Melbourne is the first cab off the rank.

Tours start and finish at MPavilion, in Queen Victoria Gardens, and include a thought-provoking mix of art, architecture, transport and streetscapes (think Melbourne's iconic trams and 19th-century laneways, right), plus drinking and dining dens (such as Patricia's cafe, right, by Foolscap Studio and Beyond the Little Pixels on Little William Street, with pavement pews formed from trademark Melbourne plastic crates).

We won't give the whole game away, but top picks include artist Ugo Rondinone's 2007 'Our Magic Hour' light art installation in South Yarra (main image above) as well as Napier Waller's 1933 Newspaper House mosaic (inset on mobile above), Carlton's kookily nautical 1936 Cairo Flats by Best Overend with their swirly cream stairways (above), and Harry Seidler's modernist 1980s 1 Spring Street block (formerly Shell House, above). So wherever you are, take a tour...
mpavilion.org