Monday, 1 September 2014

Donny's, one of Sydney's coolest bar interiors

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - Donny's bar designed by Luchetti Krelle

Vogue Living Australia has recently published the shortlist of Australia's best restaurant, cafe and bar interiors of the year. There are many that are absolute gems and, out of the total of thirty-five published by Vogue, it's tough enough to click fast enough through the glorious photographs of the contenders let alone pick a favourite. But I have here picked one that stood out to me personally, and I think it may have something to do with the fact that it is located in sunny, beachside Manly, where I may have just spent some years growing up, so maybe I'm a little biased... just maybe...

Designed by Luchetti Krelle, this is Donny's bar. Aside from its location, this gorgeous interior has so much spunk. There is no pretense of being pure and pristine, but rather a layering of so much character and oomph. There is a real sense of bareness and bringing to light only the very raw of what the interior is made of. There is a busy intersection of industrial textures, such as concrete, metal and brick... all while adorned with the basics of nature; wood and leather.

It's definitely a bar I want to discover very quickly. It just looks so cozy and welcoming, and beyond the obvious spaces that invite us to take a seat and relax, I feel like there is another quiet world looming on the walls and under the elevated ceiling. There is a definite gentleness in the play of unravelling pipes across the walls, softly met by the sea of high-hung lights.   

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - Donny's bar designed by Luchetti Krelle

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - Donny's bar designed by Luchetti Krelle

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - Donny's bar designed by Luchetti Krelle

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - Donny's bar designed by Luchetti Krelle

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - Donny's bar designed by Luchetti Krelle

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - Donny's bar designed by Luchetti Krelle

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - Donny's bar designed by Luchetti Krelle

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - Donny's bar designed by Luchetti Krelle

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - Donny's bar designed by Luchetti Krelle

Images courtesy of - donnys.com.au

Friday, 29 August 2014

The sheer magic of Parisian rooftops, by Michael Wolf

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - Paris rooftops - by Michael Wolf

If you have been following my blog for some time you would know that I spent 6 years living in the crazy and beautiful city of lights, love and luxury... Paris! And although I'm now back in Sydney, a part of my life is still intertwined into the happenings of this magical city. Whereby the everyday Parisian grind may have been tough; squeezing into the metro with lots of colourful characters, living through more rainy days than sunny, and constantly waiting in queues and fighting the administrative monster, there are undoubtedly unforgettable aspects that just make my heart melt and make Paris the ever-so-unique city it will always be... the food, the art and music scene, and of course, the mesmerising architecture speckled along cobbled, romantic streets.

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - Paris rooftops - by Michael Wolf

So, when earlier this week, I came across this wonderful work of German photographer Michael Wolf, I jumped on it like a mad woman. Too often we see representations of Paris that are the usual associations to tourist spots and attractions, so what I personally really like about Michael Wolf's work here, is that he is capturing Paris through the point of view of someone living within the maze of this busy cultural hub. And, I'll have you know, when living in Paris, these rooftops are considered as such a wonderful commodity. The truth is, if you can see rooftops out of your apartment in Paris this is great news! It means you're on the top floor, have some light streaming in, and are not looking into the wall of the adjacent building.

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - Paris rooftops - by Michael Wolf

In his work Michael Wolf focuses on very specifics facets of the dense layering that is the endless sea of rooftops. His images blur what we think we know Parisian rooftops to look like and drive our eye to quite select, intricate architectural elements that often go unnoticed when lost in the wider context of the famous city.   

In looking at these photos, I feel like I'm looking at a close-up of a musical instrument, whereby the red chimney tops are not too dissimilar to the the pipes of an organ. And as my eye dances up through  each photo, I honestly get the feeling that the chimneys are moving...

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - Paris rooftops - by Michael Wolf

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - Paris rooftops - by Michael Wolf

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - Paris rooftops - by Michael Wolf

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - Paris rooftops - by Michael Wolf

Source - designboom.com
Images courtesy of - designboom.com
Photography by - michael wolf

Thursday, 28 August 2014

The serene & timeless work of Luis Barragán

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - Work by Luis Barragan

As I dabble through some of my favourite design sites, and discover new ones, all in the name of research for the blog, I have come across the inspiring and ever-so-colourful work of award winning, Mexican architect Luis Barragán. I'm not sure when I last leaned on Barragan's work for inspiration, probably as early as my uni days, so there was certainly a little sensation of 'blast-from-the-past' when I, again, came across his work. More often than not I am so enthralled by new, fresh, edgy and minimalist work by young and upcoming designers from all over the globe, that I seldom dip back into the work of the classic architects that were a pillar of learning during my studies.

Barragán's work is timeless. The architecture and interiors depicted in these photos could very well be out of a publication dated from today. So many of the rules that govern beautiful design are present in his work, and it is a humble thought to consider that, when designing, we're mostly borrowing and manipulating things that have already been done in the past, rather than reinventing the wheel. Furthermore, it is mind blowing to think that the projects that appear in these photos were ones that came to life in the 20-year period between 1948 and 1968. This was post second world war, a time where the world was grimly rebuilding itself, so I think we can definitely appreciate how forward thinking Barragán's work would have been at the time.

But back to the projects depicted in these photos, what an incredible array of colour! I love the shadows cast by the geometry of the architecture in the very top-most photo here. They define their own rightful presence as design elements. And I'm far from a fan of anything gold, but in the below image the gold plated canvas seems so perfectly placed against the timid pastel colours, the hard lines of the staircase, as well as the shadows being cast all around it... all while geometrically complementing the shape of the floating work desk one floor below.

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - Work by Luis Barragan

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - Work by Luis Barragan

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - Work by Luis Barragan

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - Work by Luis Barragan

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - Work by Luis Barragan

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - Work by Luis Barragan

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - Work by Luis Barragan

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - Work by Luis Barragan

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - Work by Luis Barragan

Images courtesy of - pritzkerprize.com
See more on the official Barragan Foundation site - barragan-foundation.org

Friday, 22 August 2014

The fascinating concept behind the AMMO restaurant design

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - AMMO Restaurant by Joyce Wang

This is the lavish, sparkly and opulent interior of the AMMO restaurant in Hong Kong. Created by the interior design practice Joyce Wang, this extraordinary space dances with a depth of textures, surfaces and decadent accessories. Known for working in the realm of utmost luxury, Joyce Wang represent high-end spatial experiences that are one of a kind, composed of only custom designed furniture and fixtures, highly sought-after limited edition antique pieces, and artisanal crafts that have been carefully sourced from all over the globe.

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - AMMO Restaurant by Joyce Wang

Now, on first glance, this interior grabbed my attention due to its use of metal and quite industrial-like materials. I thought, ‘hang on, is this like steampunk?...’ I was wrong. Being more of a minimalist, I then questioned how much I actually liked an interior as rich and busy as this… so I dug a little further and read more about the philosophy and concept behind the work on the Joyce Wang website.

And oh how the story doesn’t disappoint! Built by the British army in the mid-19th century, the former explosives storage compound is a culturally and historically significant site. Hence, copper has been used as a predominant material in the restaurant space, as a nod to it commonly being found in machine rooms and industrial settings. Of note is also the bunker-like ceiling supported by copper ribs and then warmly lit, to further reference the history of the space having been used as storage for explosives.

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - AMMO Restaurant by Joyce Wang

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - AMMO Restaurant by Joyce Wang

Luxurious materials such as leather, velvet and silk have been chosen to offset the hard-edged custom fixtures and detailing found in the design. Through these juxtapositions, the diner is at once confronted with a design that is retro yet futuristic, mechanical yet luxurious. Diners will find themselves in a space that begs them to question the significance of its context. Under careful study of materials and detailing, the diners will be rewarded with clues as to ascertain the siteʼs history.

And the part of the concept that I find incredibly clever... With such a significant site comes, unsurprisingly, inspiration drawn from a significant film noir masterpiece, Alphaville. Now I’m ashamed to say that I’m not too familiar with this film, but it is now definitely on my to-watch list. The AMMO restaurant not only references the film’s prestigious context but pays tribute to it aesthetically and conceptually.

Just quickly, for those like me not too familiar with the film, Alphaville is a 1965 picture combining the genres of dystopian science fiction and film noir. The film has no special effects or futuristic sets, instead, is shot in real locations across Paris, with the night-time streets of the French capital becoming the streets of Alphaville, while modernist glass and concrete buildings (that in 1965 were new and strange architectural designs) represent the city's interiors.

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - AMMO Restaurant by Joyce Wang

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - AMMO Restaurant by Joyce Wang

What I find most quirky probably, and out of the realms of the average imagination, are the three staircases hanging off the ceiling. Joyce Wang explains that they are intended to draw the viewer’s attention to the 6 meter high ceiling as well as to create a dramatic and dynamic effect within the space. And, very importantly, the spiral staircase is also a reoccurring theme within the Alphaville film.

So I'm definitely glad that I delved further into the thinking behind this luxurious Hong Kong restaurant. Now, when I take a second look at the photos I see a completely different space, perhaps a film set where mystery and secrets will unfold, where chance encounters are bound to take place, and where the seating feels like only the most expensive silk, to be devoured only by the very rich and famous.


Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - AMMO Restaurant by Joyce Wang

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - AMMO Restaurant by Joyce Wang

Source - joycewang.com and wikipedia
Images courtesy of - joycewang.com

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Adoration for the pure rustic, photography by Fawn DeViney

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - Photography - Fawn DeViney

I'm writing this post on what is a fairly dreary, wet and grey winter day in Sydney, so anything that will give me a sense of coziness and warmth is welcomed with open arms... and the photography of Fawn DeViney might just do the trick!! She has an amazing knack for capturing the soul of the object that she's shooting. The elements in her frame seem stripped off any cosmetic or artificial layers and exude a sense of pride simply through existing as everyday objects.

There is a soft-spoken beauty that Fawn DeViney captures in her work that we, unfortunately, don't stop to revel in as we go about our daily lives. She hones in on the detail of the most common objects that we simply take for granted, so much so that as we stare at the photographs, we are all of a sudden challenged into questioning our point of view on how we consider the object that we're viewing.

Is the crusty, perfectly cooked bread just something that we want to devoir when hungry, or has it now become an object of aesthetic inspiration? Does the sheer, bare smoothness of the lonely young branch not evoke a sense of sadness due to its solitude? It is now no longer an object that we pass nonchalantly by, when walking to the bus stop...

One of the other standout photos for me is the deep brown wooden chair. In having captured the detail of the imperfect chiselling around the chair's armrest, Fawn DeViney brings into the photo a warm sense of humanness, albeit the photo being void of any human presence. This aspect of an artisanal presence in her photography, mixed with a natural and soft colour palette, exudes a comforting feeling of a certain rugged honesty.

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - Photography - Fawn DeViney

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - Photography - Fawn DeViney


Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - Photography - Fawn DeViney

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - Photography - Fawn DeViney

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - Photography - Fawn DeViney

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - Photography - Fawn DeViney

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - Photography - Fawn DeViney

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - Photography - Fawn DeViney

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - Photography - Fawn DeViney

Nest of Pearls - Design Blog - Photography - Fawn DeViney

Source and imagery courtesy of - fawndeviney tumblr
The photographer also has a great 'published and recent work' blog - fawndeviney.wordpress.com

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

A beautiful, ever-changing bench, by Aust & Amelung

Nest of Pearls_Design Blog_Bench by Aust & Amelung

"Defining the ideal form and function through reduction and simplicity"; this is part of the philosophy of German design duo Miriam Aust and Sebastian Amelung, who together form the design practice Aust & Amelung. And they have definitely been true to their philosophy with this beautiful, minimalist bench.

find that if you squint when looking at it, this bench takes you back to the 70's. It kind of reminds me of the furniture my grandparents had. Although I wasn't around when they'd have purchased it, it certainly lived on for quite some time into the decades that followed. The use of the faded grey and blue colours, with that distinct dash of brown, is quite retro-ish, however there is a definite signature of modernism in the use of the very fine light wood structure, the metal pins that the cushions strap in with, and the thin and elegant legs of the bench.

So, it very simply works by the comfy, rectilinear cushions sliding into the fine grooves in the back of the bench, such that a number of seating arrangements are possible. And I always seem to be harping on about simplicity, but I do love when gentle design is simply born through an intelligent, uncomplicated and functional response to a design problem.

Nest of Pearls_Design Blog_Bench by Aust & Amelung

Nest of Pearls_Design Blog_Bench by Aust & Amelung

Nest of Pearls_Design Blog_Bench by Aust & Amelung

Source - aust-amelung via pinterest
Images courtesy of - aust-amelung
Photography by - minu lee