Designers on your doorstep
Home - in terms of a structure where families of humans reside - can be anything from a caravan or a shed, to a house or a castle. In Australia, many humans reside in houses; and many houses used to have a ‘good room’ (less so now) - i.e. a dining room or parlour which was reserved for special occasions. A ‘pool room’, to quote beloved Australian icon, Darryl Kerrigan (from the film The Castle) - where people would put their most treasured possessions. My childhood home in Geelong had a dining room that contained my parents’ best mahogany dining setting, above which hung a crystal chandelier. To my six year old mind this was the ultimate in opulence! My piece, titled Chandelier, is a nod to that childhood memory, and also to that dying tradition of the ‘good room’. Its form as a slot together object references modern mass produced flat-pack furniture, thus tying the past and the present together in a neat (albeit lurid) bow. What’s your most treasured possession? Is it housed in your ‘good room’?
IMAGE > Jo Bangles, Chandelier, 2019, acrylic and battery powered LED tealights, 55 x 50 x 50 cm. Image courtesy of the artist.
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Spending so much time at home (in lockdown) has allowed me to ponder and think (i.e. fret) about some big issues, such as how societies are structured, and how the pandemic is forcing us to rethink SO many things we take for granted. I guess it’s made me realise how important design is …… uh ah …… (brain overload renders me inarticulate!)
I am very fortunate to live near the beach in Torquay, however I have found it difficult to identify a ‘design gem' in my neighbourhood! (Sorry Torquay). Nevertheless, there is a house around the corner from me that has a beautifully designed garden. The fenceless front garden is comprised of a pleasing mix of native plants laid out at various heights and with a limited colour palette. Through the middle snakes a low curved retaining wall that supports a small hill, atop which sits a willowy Silver Princess eucalyptus tree. The retaining wall is made of steel which has rusted and provides a splash of colour which ties the garden together nicely.
My favourite room at home is the Godfather room. I like it because in winter when it’s freezing, in the afternoon there appears a delicious patch of sunlight - and I like to lie on the floor and read and soak up the sun’s warmth. I also enjoy sitting in the ‘Godfather chair’ and making the most of the good lighting for darning socks.
My favourite design object is this rubber glove form that I purchased from a bric-a-brac shop in Sydney many years ago. I love the idea that it was once a small piece in a big factory, and now it has a new life as a pride of place objet d’art on our sideboard. The text printed on its base reads ’101/2 GENERAL PORCELAIN, TRENTON N.J. NOV 2 1961 PAT PEND’ - evidence of its past life. Also, I like hands - aren’t they the ultimate in good design?
My sister gave me a wonderful cookbook for my last birthday, and everything I’ve made from it so far has been delicious! The credit goes to Yotam Ottolenghi for this recipe, from his book Simple:
Pasta with pecorino and pistachios
(Serves about 4)
50gm basil leaves
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 anchovy fillets in oil, drained
A good slosh of olive oil
200g dried trofie pasta (or whatever pasta you prefer)
130g snow peas, finely sliced on an angle
75g pecorino, finely grated
75g pistachio kernels, roughly chopped
1 lemon: finely grate the zest to get 1 tsp
Put 30g of the basil in the small bowl of a food processor with the garlic, anchovies and oil, and blitz to form a rough paste, then set aside.
Half-fill a large saucepan with salted water and bring to a boil. Cook the pasta for about 7 minutes, until nearly al dente. Add the snow peas and cook together for another 2 minutes, until the pasta is just cooked.
Retaining 2 tablespoons (or thereabouts) of the water, drain the pasta and snow peas and tip into a bowl. Add the basil oil and stir well. Add the pecorino, pistachios, lemon zest, the remaining 20 g of basil, the salt and pepper, and toss gently to combine.