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Coco Republic – Lifestyle Lecture Series

November 16, 2010

Formerly known as Town & Country Living, Coco Republic has been in the furniture and design biz for over 35 years, offering an extensive range of contemporary and eclectic furniture and homewares.

As part of their commitment to the interiors sector, they have launched a Design School in Sydney and will be offering courses in Brisbane as of next year. They also run a range of events, including the Lifestyle Lecture Series, which I attended last week at the Fortitude Valley showroom. It proved a great turn out with three top draw cards: Margie FraserVogue Living, Houses and Artichoke’s Brisbane Editor; Jonathan Lobban, Founding Editor-in-Chief of The Rake and Ex-Deputy Editor of GQ Australia; and Matt Moran Celebrity Chef and owner of ARIA restaurants.

Margie talked about ‘a room of one’s own’ – special spaces created for special experiences – and took us on a journey through a few Brisbane and regional Queensland architectural projects that in responding to client’s briefs had crafted spaces that gave the owners moments of reflection and enjoyment in their own private sanctuaries. During the course of her delicious visual presentation, Margie said a few things that resonated with me. She talked about how designs that come from experience are more evocative, and how the designer’s role becomes that of the curator of space. Reflecting on what a designed object or space is, Margie articulated it to be “a carefully thought-through and executed surprise”. And went on to say that peoples favourite place in their house is “rarely the grand statement”, but a small, often unnoticed corner.

Up next, Jonathan talked about his recent insights into true craftsmanship, through his recent experience, living and researching his recent book in Italy, Hand of the Artisan: The Soul of Italian Luxury. The book features 17 Italian luxury brands and for his presentation, Jonathan focused on a few stories about artisans such as Salvatore Ferragamo, the artisanal shoemaker, striving for perfection and originality and Giovanni Fontana of the bespoke handbag company, Valextra. Living in Italy for two years was imperative for his research and it was during this time that Jonathan noted how Italians don’t see themselves as “mere individual cogs in the wheel of production, but lead actors in the drama and spectacle of creation”, with their own specific, highly-skilled roles. I thought this was interesting as in Australia we lack this reverence and respect in our own diminishing manufacturing industry.

Serving us with sumptuous delicacies before and after the lecture was Matt Moran. Running through the evening’s menu and giving us a snapshot of his CV (including an impressive number of restaurants and ventures, some which have rocketed to success and some which didn’t), Matt made us laugh and ask all sort of culinary questions. I topped his talk and the night off with a mouth-watering mini lemon-merange pie and a great chat with interior stylist, interior decorator and writer Tahn Scoon of Tahn Scoon Living. Thanks for inviting me along Tahn!

Many thanks to Coco Republic for hosting the series and the presenters for generously sharing their ideas and humour…

I’m on the mailing list now, so will post these events in my Upcoming Events list in the side-bar of this blog. Visit the Coco Republic website to check out their current range, design courses and join the Coco Club!

Until next lecture…

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