Sunday, 28 August 2011

Marvelous Melbourne

What's not to like about Melbourne...from a design point of view the city is full of inspiration. The city not only has some of the best architecture in Australia but it simply oozes with creativity at every corner.

Some of my favourite views including looking up in the centre of Melbourne Central, looking across Carlton Gardens to the Exhibition Building and of course Parliament lit up at night.

When the decision was made to move to this great city my husband and I knew we wanted to move into a classic warehouse conversion. We now live in one of the amazing Foy and Gibson textiles warehouses in Collingwood with amazing original features like exposed brick walls, timber floors and large full height windows. Foy and Gibson was one of Australia's earliest department store chains modelled on Le Bon Marche in Paris.

Street art has come to be one of my most favourite attributes of this great city, graffiti is celebrated here as a true art form which seems to encourage less tagging and more beauty. Some of the best grafitti art is found in unexpected laneways or side streets, usually where you would least expect it. 

Whilst winter can be cold, well actually it can be really cold, you can't help but feel happy when you wake up to find the bright blue winter sky full of hot air balloons of all shapes and sizes. One of my favourite sights driving to work in the mornings is the balloons riding high over the famous Nylex sign toward the city.

Next on my list of favourites has to be the coffee and dining experience here. I suspect the high standard set has something to do with the strong european influence throughout the city, but they really do know how to discourage cooking at home.

There is always something to see and do in Melbourne whether it be a new art gallery, festival or event, you could never be bored here. One of my favourites recently was our local Gertrude Street Projection Festival where artists set up evening projection installations all along this iconic street. The projected imagery transformed buildings and windows into live art pieces for passers by to admire. 

Exploring the laneways is another great past time in Melbourne, if you want to experience some street art, great coffee and food and soak up the atmosphere this is a nice mix of all. I think for me the laneways are the place I feel most like a slice straight out of Europe somewhere.

Finally if Melbourne is one thing it is certainly the shopping mecca of Australia. Whilst there are plenty of great shopping malls if you are into that sort of thing, for me I prefer the more quirky high streets of Prahran, Fitzroy and of course my local Collingwood and Smith Street. I have a love of all things eclectic and industrial so for me these areas are a haven full of treasures to explore each weekend.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Piero Fornasetti

Piero Fornasetti (1913-1988) was a Milanese painter, sculptor, interior decorator, engraver of books and a creator of more than 11,000 products, many featuring the face of a woman, operatic soprano Lina Cavalieri, as a motif.
I first learned about Fornasetti design during my interior design education with Nanette Cameron. There was something facinating to me about his work, particularly the collection of over 500 plates, some would say I became a fanatic.
When I visited the Milan store last year I was like a kid in a candy store so to speak, I wanted to savour every minute of this rare opportunity and absorb as much of the experience as possible.
I began collecting Fornasetti plates in 2007, my first small plate was purchased in Sydney during an interior design tour, I was so excited to finally own a little piece of my favourite designer and from there I have built up a small grouping of 3 large and 2 small plates.
Fornasetti’s son, Barnaba, is perpetuating the Fornasetti tradition by continuing to produce, and revive, Fornasetti designs. At the helm of the company and its creative heart, Barnaba is the custodian of his father’s legacy. He continues to create new Fornasetti designs, renew hand-crafted production and works in collaboration with industries which manufacture Fornasetti products under license.
If you have a chance to visit Milan make sure you stop by this amazing store:
Spazio Fornasetti Corso G. Matteotti, 1/A 20121 Milan Italy

My Inspiration

Nanette Cameron - NZ Interior Design icon
Welcome to The Design Side of Life...
This is a blog about my journey to discover my inner designer and reconnect with my true passion in life.
My love of design began at an early age, as a child I was surrounded by creativity and design.
My grandfather was a talented artist and creative explorer. 
Charcoal sketches, oils on canvas and intricate china paintings filled walls and cabinets throughout the house.
He had a love of antiques and interiors with 
lavish turquoise upholstery, neutral velvet embossed wallpaper and crystal chandeliers among my favourites. 
My grandparents travelled extensively and always collected pieces from around the world.
My mother inherited the creative gene, turning her hand to artistic endeavours like painting, sewing, cake decorating and furniture renovation throughout my life.
As a student I developed a love of my art and photography subjects, at 14 I began designing and making colourful fabric handbags to sell to friends and in year 11 painted my first mural which formed the basis for our school year book cover.
At 18, I began work as a journalist, photographer and designer at our local newspaper in regional South Australia which was an opportunity to continue exploring my creative passion. I won Best Feature for Suburban Regional Press at the South Australian Youth Media Awards in 1999.
My journalism career continued after moving to Queensland at 21 when I took up a new role for a Brisbane local paper, I still craved creativity so started my own freelance graphic design business designing business documents and newsletters. 
Before long I decided to explore the world and traveled to London to begin a new chapter in my life. This experience opened my eyes to say the least.
My career took a new path into the world of publishing, account management and retail marketing. This was an exciting new direction and over the next 2 years I had the chance to work for some great publications including The Daily Mail and The Evening Standard.
After meeting my now husband, a kiwi, I moved to Auckland, New Zealand and continued working in publishing for ACP Magazines. Surrounded by design and creativity once more I enjoyed working with titles including Home and Entertaining and Your Home and Garden but with a focus on the marketing side I began feeling I needed to reconnect with my own creative flair.
And that's when I met Nanette Cameron.
In 2006 I enrolled in the Nanette Cameron School of Interior Design, Nanette is an icon in the interior design industry in New Zealand and has inspired over 8,000 students in the past 40 years.
For the next 2 years I treasured my weekly classes, rediscovered a strong passion for interior design and met some life long friends.
Paul Hecker - Comme Melbourne
I had the opportunity to travel to Melbourne and Sydney with Nanette in 2007 on an amazing design tour. Nanette's reputation enabled us to meet renowned interior designers and architects including Paul Hecker, Scott Weston, Steve Varady and Debbie Lyn-Ryan, with personal tours of their projects, an experience I will never forget.
During this trip I learned 2 things, 1. Melbourne is the place to be if you love design, architecture and coffee 2. I want to be an interior designer.
Around the same time I began a new career in the advertising industry and started to merge my marketing and business skills with my creative eye to create a new division at DDB focusing on branded environments and communications.
I had the opportunity to relocate to Melbourne last year to expand Retail Engine into the Australian market, and with this I found myself back in Australia and in the city of creativity. Believe it or not my office is across the road from Paul Hecker's studio in Melbourne which was a great start. I have been fortunate enough in this past year to have travelled through Europe and the US presenting on the subject of Engaging the 5 senses in Retail through design and innovation...a subject I am passionate about.
Fornasetti store - Milan, Italy
During a trip to Milan, Italy I was able to fulfil a dream to visit my favourite designer store - Fornasetti and explore in amazement for hours.
Whilst I have spent the past 5 years surrounded by creativity...managing and directing interior, graphic and 3D designers, working with leading brands like McDonald's, Lion and Telstra, designing and delivering over 100 retail design projects and building a successful business unit within an international advertising agency...I have become one step removed from my true love of hands on design.
So today I have decided to take steps toward my ultimate goal - to be an Interior Designer in my own right....step 1 - start a blog (tick), step 2 - explore further education options and enrol (tick).
Thanks for following me and I hope you enjoy my updates...