HERE’S MY RESOLUTION: OUT WITH THE OLD AND IN WITH THE NEW-ISH
Neale Whitaker resolves to embrace the pared-back look this year.
Iknow what you’re thinking, but no, it’s not too late for New Year’s resolutions. To be honest, after Australia Day is perfect timing because all the daft ones that you’ll never keep (like a daily swill with coconut oil and six alcohol-free nights per week) have evaporated and what remain are the sensible, achievable resolutions, like separating the paper clips and rubber bands in the kitchen drawer – and not buying any more chairs that can’t be sat on.
It wasn’t until we recently moved into our new apartment (selling off most of our useful furniture in the process) that my weakness for acquiring unusable chairs came to light – chairs that are more objets d’art than objets d’asseoir. The Tom Dixon S chair might be a Cappellini classic, but a greasy pole would be easier to sit on. And the antique Chinese chairs with worn rattan seats? Fine for curling up on – if you’re a moth. In other words, I have a habit of viewing chairs as sculpture. Perfect in a spacious terrace house where they can co-exist happily with more comfortable variations of the same species, but in our new, voluntarily pared-back, home less is most definitely more.
So what are my other resolutions? Well, it’s going to be a big year and I’d like to have some fun. The Block will be back, and Australia’s favourite real-estate agent, Andrew Winter, and I will be pitting our wits against each other as co-hosts of an exciting new TV series. (More of that as the year unfolds.) Vogue Living reaches its half-century, and while that’s a milestone for any magazine, I prefer to think of it as 50 years young. We’ll definitely be casting a wry eye over some wonderful coverlines from decades past (“Lifestyles of the Richly Furnished” was a good one), but what excites me most is the future. Good design is within reach of all of us in Australia now and that’s something to celebrate.
While looking through the Vogue Living archive, I stumbled upon an issue from 1969 and found decorative ceramic tiles (just like the ones currently enjoying a renaissance), tribal art and cane-backed furniture. What might have been a very current Instagram post was a room from half a century ago. It made me smile. Plus ça change, as they say. The more interiors change, the more they plunder the past. I love that.
EYE ON DESIGN Neale’s love of sculptural chairs is at odds with his new pared-back decor; (below) interiors shown in a 1969 issue of Vogue Living echo some of today’s hottest trends.