Designing with an Olympian

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The day is finally here where I get to creatively collaborate with a childhood friend of mine. This past  week I’ve been helping out  on a few bits and pieces for an interior wall makeover. My friend Vicky, a badminton player  in the 2012 London Olympics  and now an interior designer, organized this project to take place on what seemed to be a tight schedule. Vicky is still heavily involved in the Victorian badminton community, regularly coaching students of all ages. The badminton facility she coaches at needed some life to it – the walls were covered  by  fingerprints and the majority of paint was off-white.

Ever since I found out she took interest in design a while ago I had a feeling there would be a collaboration looming ahead. Now there is.

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Photography: Olivia Na

This project required two walls and a door to be designed and repainted. Primarily experimenting  with  water-based paints and Washi tape, we  had some rough concepts that were tweaked along the way. We treated the white wall like  they were huge canvasses and decided to work our way through the mural instead of having it all precisely planned out.elevation-main-hall-doors-lets-play-concept

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Photography: Olivia Na

There were another  two painters who sped up the process by taking care of most of the orange and blue on the long wall. Vicky and I took care of the details on both walls which we managed to finish in two days.

When picking colors it’s always hilarious having deep conversations about which shade of color pairs best with the other. Talking about this with Vicky and the painter reminded me of what my year 10 art teacher always used to  say to me and my friends…”it’s not blue, it’s ultramarine. It’s not brown, it’s burnt umber. Use the correct terminology!”

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The last time I was involved in  anything close to  interior design was the RMIT communication design graduation show. Apart from that I’ve done some planning work around my  house with changes to our flooring, walls and kitchen this year. It’s a hugely fun process choosing materials and designing a space the way you imagine it to be. These encounters taught me how to be resourceful, in fact you NEED to be resourceful because you’re dealing with a large space and a budget. Things like reusing the same paint for another wall or element – really pushes you out of your comfort zone and to think strategically…luckily we didn’t run out of tape or paint!

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One lady from the gym walked past our finished product and asked what our concept was, Vicky and I paused and looked at each other. We actually didn’t have a word to describe our concept. But it was self-explanatory in the end. We agreed, “badminton” is the concept!

A cosy space in Windsor

promo-windsor“Sheen Slip” art exhibition by Naomi Nicholls

Happy Spring people, although there’s not a whole lot of sunshine happening just yet, we certainly are getting hit by the typical Melbourne hayfever and bipolar weather. I’m pretty sure Melbourne is the only place on the face of this planet that endures extreme change in weather. I’m still learning how to adapt to these quick turnarounds, clearly I won’t get used to it since I’ve always been  the one to  catch a cold easily, which sadly is a reoccurring pattern for me this past month.

One of the nights I had to hide my cold was when I attended the opening of 4 solo shows at the Alternating Current Art Space two weeks ago.  I know it’s only a week left till it closes but maybe if you’re strolling through High St in Windsor, you might wanna volunteer some of your time to be in this small location.

The gallery is currently hosting  4 solo exhibitions under the one roof, curated and produced by some of Victoria’s successful young artists. I didn’t manage to get photos of all the artworks but shoutout to all the artists involved: Naomi Nicholls, Jessica Ledwich, Kate Wallce and Melanie Joy Caple. It was nice meeting some of you, great to be able to bounce ideas around and listen in on  your  motives behind these works.

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I really love Kate Wallce’s miniature hand painted  subjects. Her exhibition “In Transit” showcases her observations of people in the middle of  commuting to different places. The paintings look like they’re a decent size but they’re actually tiny – roughly the size of my index finger. They’re quite realistic and the simplicity of the paintings are quick enough to make you want to look closer to analyze the tiny brushstrokes.

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Naomi’s use of space was interesting given that she works on a large scale, it’s different to experience spacious art in a narrow space. The narrow part of the gallery  can be easy to pass by without noticing but with her bold and colorful palette it’s probably the perfect spot to drive attention. You won’t miss it from the corner of your eye.

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My friends and I headed to Fonda on Chapel for dinner afterwards. The atmosphere was buzzing and the waiter took us to the rooftop area, which was even louder…Friday nights what can you expect! The food was freaking delicious and the menu was an appealing piece of art  to look at. I recommend the Fish Tacos and the Pulled Pork Quesadillas.

I find myself in the city too often and don’t get the chance to fully explore places around South Yarra, Windsor and Prahran. The last time I was here was in July when I had dinner at Woodland House  with my family – another tasty  restaurant and less noisy! In fact we were the noisiest ones dining here.photo-5-7-16-6-52-41-pm photo-5-7-16-7-29-04-pm photo-5-7-16-8-24-44-pm photo-5-7-16-8-24-53-pm

I’m usually around these areas whenever there’s an occasion for a lunch or dinner. I do hear  there’s some great art and design galleries and shops around there also. If you guys can recommend me spaces or even restaurants to visit please email me!

Zenith

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In Melbourne, street fashion is growing faster than ever. Bomber and puffer jackets have dominated clothing racks in retailers and oversized sweaters paired with tights and sneakers have been the go-to winter outfit for many youngsters. Celebrities collaborating with designers such as Jeremy Scott and Raf Simons and of course the likes of my favorite girl band 2NE1 are endorsers of  this street style.

With this kind of influence, it’s no question why we’ve seen the birth of Giuseppe Zanotti in David Jones and Raf Simmons with Adidas in selected boutique sneaker shops. New retail stores like Sneakerboy   and  Republic Boutique  are the few street fashion hubs across  Melbourne and Sydney.

A store selling luxury street fashion does not yet exist in this city….until July 9th that is. Zenith is a new shop situated in the heart of the Melbourne CBD. It’s a condensed version of Collins St all under the one roof and I had the privilege of  getting  my first look at the opening.

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It’s a small space and from what I’ve observed, most of the items they stock are sweaters, t-shirts, bags and bag charms. I also wouldn’t have been able to find this gem if it wasn’t for my dear friend, June Chen, who was working with the Zenith team to create a  series of hand sculptures for a wall installation. June is a fellow artist who I connected with from a uni friend and  although I love street clothing, I was mainly at the opening  to see her work. The street clothing is of course a bonus!

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I thought the hands looked very realistic and were executed perfectly. They are moulds taken from real hands! She told me her  models had to sit in a chair for half an hour, in order for the hands to set before they could get taken off. It goes to show you how much patience and energy any sculpture requires. The worst thing is knowing that there’s a high possibility of breaking them as they are incredibly  fragile especially after they’ve dried, they’re prone to cracking if not moistened enough. From my past  experiences creating sculptures in my art classes and external projects, every  sculpture I ever made had cracks and annoying fingerprints. Only with the right skills, tools and bucket loads of patience will you have the ability  to deliver at a high standard. 

Whether you’re into funky luxurious streetwear or an art or interior design enthusiast, Zenith is always open for you to see. Go have a look and don’t touch the hands! 

A right-brainer by day and occasional blogger by night, you've landed on a place where I live and breathe all things art, design, culture and fashion. You'll find me documenting my life in the creative field, endless travels with friends and family and a bit of food.

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