Radar

Here’s what we’re reading, watching and listening to, plus other design goodness we come across.


VISIT / Architecture and music come together at Melville’s Contemporary Architecture and Sound Sessions. Each of the four sessions includes a house tour, special guest talk, live acoustic music and a complimentary wine on arrival. What’s not to like? ⁠Curated by Fremantle architect Emma Williamson of @thefulcrum.agency, the program features diverse architectural styles dating from 1971 to the current day, including recent works by local architects Officer Woods and Philip Stejkal Architects. With musicians Timothy Nelson, Davey Craddock and Mo Wilson all on the roster, it’s sounding like the perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon. The first session is on October 31.


VISIT / We’re thrilled that Fremantle Ports is opening the Fremantle Passenger Terminal to the public on November 15. ‘Fremantle Passenger Terminal Then and Now’ is a rare opportunity to see inside one of Perth’s mid-century gems – where to start? ⁠The iconic building was designed by Hobbs, Winning and Leighton and opened in 1960. The wonderful upstairs arrival hall features vast parquetry floors and panelled walls in local timber, and flora and fauna art works by Western Australian artist Howard Taylor.⁠ Rich in history, the Terminal is where generations of migrants first set foot in Australia. Don’t miss this if you are interested in mid-century design, architecture and art. ⠀


LEARN / Ableism, Bias, Critical Race Theory – the A, B and C of the wonderful Critical Alphabet, a project by Dr Lesley-Ann Noel. The project started as a deck of cards (still available on Etsy). “By constructing this deck, my hope was that designers and design students would learn to make space for multiple points of view, and to reflect on their design processes,” says Dr Noel. “Each card introduces an aspect of theory under a particular letter of the alphabet, then introduces a question for reflection, in an effort to put the theory into practice.” We think there is something for everyone to learn from this excellent resource, now a website and an app.


INNOVATION / The Flock Light is the national winner of the 2020 James Dyson Award. The innovative bike light improves cycling safety by highlighting the biomotion of the cyclist’s legs, making the rider more visible to others. Designer Tim Ottoway’s research found that the human brain responds more quickly on a cognitive and emotional level when it can see a person, not just a light. “I can’t believe this has not been invented yet,” was the comment from one of the jury members. Watch the video to learn about the thinking behind this clever and simple invention – good design explained.


LISTEN / Local architect Nic Brunsdon’s North Perth House is Episode 8 of Another Architecture Podcast. The podcast is created by George Bradley, architect and co-founder of London- based studio Bradley Van Der Straeten.  George interviews the designers of inspiring homes from around the world to reveal the stories behind their creation. The unique North Perth House makes the most of a small block and a modest budget and will feature in a upcoming episode of Grand Designs Australia. Tune in to the podcast on Spotify or here to hear Nic talk about the project, and answer the question ‘What’s one thing that annoys you about your own home?’


SUSTAINABLE HOMES / Sustainable Home Day 2020 has been and gone but there’s a wealth of sustainable homes around Australia to explore on the website. Locally, Abbetthaus in Scarborough is a great example. Designed by architect Ben Caine of Leanhaus, it’s WA’s second certified Passive House (or Passivhaus in the original German). We’re interested in the Passive House standard as the way forward for creating energy efficient, healthy homes. Especially now we know that being airtight doesn’t mean you can’t open the windows. Image: Jody Darcy.

GO LOCAL / With plane trips off the menu, it’s time to get out and explore our own backyard. Freo’s Cool Bean Campers let you take your own little hotel just about anywhere. Locals Josh McLernon and Wade Ellis spent two years developing the teardrop-style camper, which they hand build to exacting standards. The Cool Bean comes in a range of bright colours and is fitted with a quality kitchen. Unlike many camper trailers, it can be towed by a car and will turn heads wherever you go.

WATCH / We love this video ’Why Beautiful Things Make Us Happy’. It confirms that beautiful bridges are important and has introduced us to the wonderful world of Kurzgesagt. The German animation studio, founded by Philipp Dettmer in 2013, creates vividly- coloured short films that tackle everything from the philosophical (‘Is Reality Real?’) to the everyday (‘The History of Coffee’). The Kurzgesagt YouTube channel has 12.8 million followers and we’re working our way through the back catalogue, starting with The Existential Crisis Playlist.

VICTORIA HALL / There’s a lot going on at the newly-renovated Victoria Hall. Designed by Talbot Hobbs and completed in 1897, Victoria Hall is one of the few goldrush buildings remaining in the east end of High Street. It’s now a venue available for hire – great for weddings, parties, anything – and home to Freo’s narrowest bar, The Dugite. It’s also home to the exciting new Fremantle Theatre Company (FTC) whose first production The Other Place by Sharr White opens October 15. We love this illustration for the FTC, a digital collage by Nicole Lowe which gives local imagery a Bauhaus aesthetic, capturing the theatre company’s vibrant ethos and its connection to the hall.

LEARN / Wadjemup: Koora Wordel, Kalygool Wordel is an online exhibition that explores the Whadjuk Noongar people’s deep cultural connection to Wadjemup / Rottnest Island. The project is curated by Vanessa Smart, a Nyoongar woman from Manjimup, and Samara King, a Karajarri woman from Broome. Through text, images, audio and video the exhibition encourages new ways of seeing the environment and history of this unique island.


VISIT / A throw-away society is not one we support so we love our local Repair Café. The Repair Café Foundation was born in Amsterdam in 2010 and there are now 2094 repair cafes across the globe, including 7 in Perth. Bring in your broken household item and a skilled volunteer will help you to fix it. Not only will your item live on, you’ll learn a skill and make a friend at the same time. Fremantle’s Repair Café happens on the first Sunday of the month at Stackwood. Find your nearest Repair café here.

READING / The Architect magazine is published by the WA Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects. The WA Homes Edition features great houses from all over the State. Available from newsagents or as a free download here.

VISIT / Freo loves cycling and Fremantle’s design history includes a long legacy of bicycle manufacturing. Working from a backyard in Mosman Park Howard and Les Baldwin launched Swansea Cycles in 1927. Success meant a move to Fremantle where over the next 40 years Swansea became one of Australia’s biggest and best bike makers. Discover more about Fremantle’s cycling history via the excellent Historypin site where Rob Frith has created the ‘Fremantle Bike Shops of Yore’ tour. And check your shed for a Swansea (that’s Rob’s bike pictured).

LISTEN / Soul Traders is a podcast about the ins and outs of running a solo freelance business and living a creative life. Freelancers and friends Bo Wong (photographer) and Amy Snoekstra (content writer and marketing coach) have a easy rapport which makes this great listening. Topics such as setting values-based goals, collaboration, and working from home are relevant to pretty much anyone and everyone. Tune in on Spotify here or search your favourite podcast site.


VISIT / Samson House is Fremantle’s own unofficial design museum. Completed in 1888, the well-known Fremantle landmark was designed by Sir Talbot Hobbs. Home to two generations of the Samson family, its contents are a fascinating time-capsule traversing two centuries of changing taste in furniture and interiors. The National Trust opens the house on the first Sunday of every month. Unusual features include an indoor well and a 1950s home cinema with tram benches for seating. And how about that green? Well worth a visit.

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