November, 2018

Stephen Crafti: Black warehouse a modest advert for Big Red

A Prahran warehouse redesigned by Pandolfini Architects for advertising agency Big Red. Photo: Josh RobenstoneUnlike many advertising agencies whose splashy signs clearly light up their building’s facades, Big Red gives no clue as to what goes on behind its office’s black exterior.
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Visitors simply walk through a car park and enter through steel-and-glass doors. Even the reception area is underplayed, with stained black timber-battened walls and a modest glazed window resembling Ned Kelly’s helmet in a painting by the likes of Sidney Nolan.

“Our brief included a secure entrance as well as a level of discretion,” says architect Dom Pandolfini, director of Pandolfini Architects.

Originally built as a warehouse/factory in the 1960s, this orange-brick warehouse in Prahran was previously used as a gallery for Helen Gory, together with studio spaces for artists and designers.

The orange bricks have been painted black to complement a black web-forged steel wall and security gate. Reworked by Pandolfini for Big Red, the discrete facade conceals a busy office – well, three interconnected offices that work independently as well as coming together for larger advertising campaigns. “Each ‘arm’ of the business required its own space, but one of the key drivers in the design was flexibility,” says Pandolfini.

While the original warehouse-style office space appears relatively intact, the architects virtually gutted the 800-square-metre building (over two levels) and created new steel and glass windows to increase natural light and allow for greater transparency. One of the few remaining features is a side steel door where a lift and freight platform once stood, together with a terrazzo staircase typical of the late 1960s. “We retained all the structural steel and concrete columns, but removed paint from ceilings and floors to expose the concrete,” says Pandolfini.

At ground level, occupying their own niches, are a number of enclosed offices. And to the rear of the building is now the staff kitchen linked via large doors to a boardroom. “When larger functions are called for, the two areas become one,” says Pandolfini, who included a generous commercial-style kitchen complete with a five-metre long stainless steel island bench. Double doors, equally as generous, measuring almost four metres in height, allow the rear courtyard to be integrated into the scheme during warmer months of the year. “One of the most challenging things with the brief was to create quiet and more intimate nooks and meeting areas, while still allowing for fluid spaces that could be used by larger teams,” he adds.

The first floor of the Big Red agency combines both these type of spaces. Pivotal to the design is a house-like structure completely covered in grey felt. Enclosing three meeting areas, including a mezzanine-style office on the roof (below the ceiling), the felt functions as both a pin board as well as for acoustic control against the concrete floors. “Staff are constantly pinning work on walls and discussing ideas and concepts. It’s an integral part of how an advertising agency operates,” says Pandolfini.

Pandolfini’s brief included using a limited colour palette, restricted to black, grey and white. The only exception is the red, indicative of the agency’s name, appearing in the red painted steel rafters. Even the photos, dotted around the building, taken by eminent photographer Angus O’Callaghan in the 1950s through to the 1970s, are in black and white. Depicting Melbourne’s street life from that period, these photos, like this warehouse, are a gentle reminder of the city’s previous life. “Our approach is fairly restrained, so this brief tied in with our office’s aesthetic,” adds Pandolfini.

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Deals: Bargains of the week

Skiers at Aspen. Photo: SuppliedROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH
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Travelplan Ski is offering significantly economy and business fares to those travelling to Aspen and all major Colorado resorts for the whole US ski season. The offer also includes being able to add other US destinations to your trip. For example, you can add New York to your Aspen (or other resort) fare for $200. It also extends to upgrades. For instance, upgrade your business class fare from Australia to first class for only $490 each way.

Travelplan Ski is also offering 20 per cent discount on some of the most popular Aspen apartments, with very limited availability, and similar great accommodation deals at Telluride, Crested Butte, Steamboat and more.

All deals are valid for sale till December 31.

Call 1300 754 754, or visit Travelplanski南京夜网


Stay seven nights at the Millennium Resort Patong Phuket for $999 for two adults with up to two kids, aged six or younger, staying free. The package,  valued up to $3599, includes daily breakfast, some dinners, spa treatments, Wi-Fi, and much more. The Millennium Resort is in the heart of Patong, close to the beach and Jungceylon​ shopping centre.

The sale expires December 19 and the deal is valid for travel until December 2016 with minimal blackout periods (travel is available during most of the summer holidays). Phone 1300 889 900. See LuxuryEscapes南京夜网.

EAST TO EDEN has partnered with the Singapore Tourism Board, Singapore’s airport and P&O Cruises on a range of holiday packages centred on Pacific Eden cruises during her inaugural Asia season in 2016.

Holidays range from seven to 17 nights and include return international flights, hotel accommodation, transfers, tours and cruise. For instance, a 10-night package is priced from $1899 a person, departing on July 30.

Ports include Phuket, Krabi, Bangkok, Ko Samui and Ko Chang in Thailand as well as ports in Indonesia, Malaysia and Cambodia. The longer 17-night packages are from $2189 a person twin share.

Phone 1300 369 848. See


Cockatoo Island is offering discounts on its glamping packages, camping packages and camping sites for the 20th Biennale of Sydney.

The former convict settlement and shipyard is one of several sites around Sydney to host Biennale events and for the duration will be home to major works by Korakrit Arunanondchai​, William Forsythe, Camille Henrot, Lee Bul, Chiharu Shiota​, Ming Wong, and Xu Zhen (produced by MadeIn Company).

Book accommodation on Cockatoo Island before December 31 and get 20 per cent off for stays March 18-June 5. Use the promo code *DSYDART20.

Book January 1-February 29 and get 15 per cent off, using the promo code *DSYDART15, and book March 1-18 to get 10 per cent off – use the promo code *DSYDART10. See cockatooisland.gov419论坛/stay/book-stay


Save $693 on a stay at Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley that includes three nights’ accommodation at the five-star self-rated property in a Heritage Villa, gourmet breakfast daily, lunch and dinner daily, local wine and beer with meals and two on-site nature-based activities a person a day.

Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley is a luxury resort in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage area. Activities include four-wheel-drives, guided Aboriginal interpretive tours, nature walks and wildlife spotting as well as a Conservation Hour available to guests each day.

The package is priced from $2769 a person, twin share. The deal is valid till March 31, 2016, unless sold out prior for travel April 1-23, April 26-June 11 and June 14-September 14, Sunday to Thursday night stays only.

Phone 1800 044 066. See travel-associates南京夜网419论坛

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Luxury ‘tree house’ Indonesian resort Nihiwatu on Sumba Island

A bedroom at the resort. Photo: SuppliedHow to build a unique resort suite that combines luxury with a tree house? Employ an architect with a deep understanding of location, high-end property and doing things a little differently.
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As recent winner of the 2015 PURE Design Award, the luxury Indonesian resort Nihiwatu on Sumba Island takes design principles seriously. So when they set out to create three new villa residences to complete the resort’s existing 21-villa estate offering, including the Mamole Tree House, they called on Habitat5, a Bali-based firm that has done extraordinary projects such as Jamie Durie’s beautiful multi-level Balinese home, the unique form of which sympathetically mimics the rice paddies surrounding it.

Perched on wooden stilts and based on similar principles of place-sensitive design, the three-bedroom Mamole Tree House melds into ancient trees and is positioned to have Nihiwatu’s best view of the beach. It comprises three two-storey, circular villas with a lounge area on the entry level and bedroom, bathroom and balcony on the upper level. A bamboo bridge connects the villas and a shared infinity pool with lounging deck features at the front.

The main space includes a private infinity pool and large living area with bathroom on the entry level, and upstairs, a bedroom with a bathroom, balcony and connecting bridge to the main outdoor bathroom.

With interiors by Parisian interior designer Marco Scarani and partner Susan Colley, Mamole Tree House is Sumbanese in style with traditional touches including local carvings, antiques and Ikat prints.

Mamole Tree House costs US$7260 a night including tax and service charge.  See nihiwatu南京夜网.

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Travel: Cruise packages and deals including a Christmas-themed river trip

Kayaking in Alaska with AdventureSmith. Photo: Picasa 2.7Christmas cruising
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Getting into the Christmas spirit? Then it’s time to start thinking of a Christmas-themed river cruise for next year, with Scenic unveiling its festive cruises for 2016. Among them is a 15-day “Christmas Markets” river cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest departing November 21, 2016, which includes shore excursions to Christmas markets in Vienna, Rothenberg, Nuremberg and Cologne. There’s also a 16-day “Christmas Wonderland” cruise departing December 14, 2016 that will have you in Durnstein in Austria on Christmas Day for a traditional dinner and midnight mass; extend your stay and enjoy New Year in Prague.

Phone 13 81 28. See scenic南京夜网419论坛.

To the islands

Aranui Cruises’ latest ship Aranui 5 sets sail today on its maiden voyage from Papeete in Tahiti. The custom-built, dual-purpose vessel replaces Aranui 3 (there is no Aranui 4) and will continue to deliver cargo to ports across the Marquesas, Tuamotu and Society Islands while passengers disembark and explore during the 14-day round-trip journeys. The 254-passenger freighter offers Aranui’s first single staterooms, new premium and deluxe cabin categories and suites, and significantly more balcony cabins. It also has airconditioned public spaces, restaurant, four bars, lounge, library, computer room, spa and fitness and boutique.

Phone 03 9449 3778. See aranuicruises南京夜网419论坛.

Intimate Alaska

AdventureSmith Explorations has a new “Islands, Whales & Glaciers” itinerary on the newly acquired, 10-passenger yacht Misty Fjord. Guests cruise between Sitka and Juneau or enjoy an alternative route from Petersburg or Ketchikan. Native culture and off-the-beaten-path explorations include excursions by sea kayak, zodiac and on foot in this corner of southeast Alaska, while a hover flight at Taku Glacier brings guests onto an amphibious hovercraft vehicle designed to travel over ice, water, sandbars and grasslands. Other new Alaska itineraries include an eight-day “Glacier Bay & Island Adventure”, with a focus on local nature, history and First Nations culture.

See adventuresmithexplorations南京夜网.

Remote floats

Silversea is now featuring over 100 expedition cruises during its 2017 season, and will make inaugural calls in places as remote and diverse as Ampangorinana​ and Nosy Komba​ in Madagascar, Aride Island in the Seychelles, the Scottish Isle of May and Grimsey​ Island in Iceland. Silver Explorer will visit Canada’s remote and spectacular Torngat Mountains National Park, while a new Colombo to Kolkata sailing on Silver Discoverer heads to the Andaman Islands and – in a first for any cruise ship – a visit to Bangladesh, with stops at Chittagong, Maheshkhali Island and the UNESCO-listed Sundarban Islands.

Phone 1300 306 872. See silversea南京夜网.

North and south

Cruise Express has a 33-night luxury holiday package in mid-2016 with two cruises that showcase both northern and southern Europe. The Contrasts of Europe journey departs Australia on May 18 and opens with a 12-night cruise between Venice and Rome on Celebrity Constellation, with stops in the Adriatic, Malta, Sicily and the Amalfi Coast. There are then two nights in Rome and three in London before travellers embark at Southampton for a 14-night round trip on Celebrity Eclipse to Belgium, Scandinavia, Russia, Germany and Estonia, including two nights at dock in St Petersburg.

Phone 1300 764 509. See cruiseexpress南京夜网419论坛.

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Shout it from the rooftop at lovely Bellevue Hill

New bamboo floors are among the many updates to the apartment done in the past several years. Photo: Supplied The huge rooftop terrace has views out to the harbour and Bondi. Photo: Supplied
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The apartment is one of six in the art deco building. Photo: Supplied

One of the bedrooms at 6/73 Birriga Road, Bellevue Hill.

In the early years of the colony of NSW, lime and plaster of Paris were eye-wateringly expensive. Consequently, only the wealthiest people had decorative plasterwork in their homes, and even then it was meted out with caution.

Even in the grandest houses ceiling roses and cornices were only installed in public zones, according to a research paper published in Australasian Historical Archaeology.

From the 1830s, a range of factors, including growing affluence, fashion and technological developments such as gelatine moulds and canvas plaster, made it more affordable and fostered a thriving industry capable of producing increasingly elaborate and finicky designs.

This light and lovely top-floor apartment was built when the decorative plasterwork industry was going strong, and it has the beautifully patterned ceiling panels and cornices to prove it. The builder’s will to embellish did not stop with the interiors, either. The entire exterior of the block of six is covered in decorative dots, like a rash or a wedding cake, depending how your mind works. The building is scheduled for a full re-paint in February and the vendor has already paid her portion of the cost.

While the unit pays due respect to its past, it has plenty of 21st-century elements, too. Over the past eight years, the vendor has installed a new kitchen with Caesarstone benchtop, gleaming bamboo floorboards and elegant built-in wardrobes in both bedrooms.

The most recent improvement has been to re-seal the floor of the unit’s private, 82-square-metre rooftop terrace. The rooftop is on title and includes a cabana, a big laundry (there’s also a laundry space in the apartment’s bathroom), a storage space, a vast open area and bewitching district views that stretch from the harbour all the way across to Bondi.

The two bedrooms, the main with study, are notably spacious and airy, and they share the same view as the terrace. As elsewhere in the apartment, the bedroom windows would benefit from therapeutic attention.

The bathroom, while fine as it is, has lots of potential for improvement.

The ceiling light fittings are another striking feature of the property, but the spectacular one in the living room, which has attracted a great deal of attention during inspections so far, has been specified as an exclusion in the contract. Smitten would-be buyers could, of course, try lobbying for that to be altered.

The owner says: “I love the beautiful old, art-deco ceilings and the size of the rooms, but the biggest surprise is the magical view from the huge roof.”

Room for improvement: Most of the windows are in need of some TLC.

6/73 Birriga Road, Bellevue Hill $1.1 million + 2 beds, 1 bath Built Early 1900s Size 93 square metres internal, plus 82 square metres rooftop terrace Strata levy $1898 a quarter Inspect Saturday and Thursday, 10am-10.30am Auction December 19 ​Agent McGrath, 0414 400 345

Need to know: Last traded $900,000 in 2007 Highest recorded apartment price in Bellevue Hill (past 12 months) $4.3 million for 1/47 Victoria Road in October Median price for units in Bellevue Hill $963,000

Recent sales: $1.2 million for 2/267 O’Sullivan Road in November $1,165,000 for 1/18 Bellevue Road in July $1,115,000 for 2/70 Birriga Road in April Source: Domain Group

Surrounding areas: Bellevue Hill is one of the most affluent suburbs in Sydney and home to some of its most lovely heritage buildings, including Rona, Ginahgulla and Caerleon. Postcode 2023 also hosts Cranbrook School and The Scots College, two elite private schools with vast campuses, and rubs up against the manicured links of the Royal Australian Golf Club. Serviced by Buses Close to Double Bay, Bondi Beach, Rose Bay and Cooper Park, with its charming cliff walk and popular tennis courts. Bondi Junction’s multitude of shops and conveniences are about 10 minutes away by car or 25 on foot.

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