August 11 2011
My favourite neighbourhood in Sydney is Surry Hills, the Notting Hill-esque inner suburb that’s 10 minutes’ walk from the water. It’s often overlooked because it lacks a waterfront, but I love the low-slung skyline and the leafy trees that line the winding streets. My favourite place, though, is the snappy conversion of a modernist hulk in the centre of the area that once housed a hospital. It’s now a plaza, crammed with retail and cafés, and home to a shop that I return to whenever I’m in Sydney: Collect (second picture).
This is the retail offshoot of Object, a showroom-cum-museum for Australian design housed upstairs in what was once the hospital chapel. The glass box-like shop displays a raft of contemporary down-under design, from jewellery to housewares in glass, china or acrylic. My last purchase was the beautiful, subtly witty Husque bowl from Marc Harrison (first picture, A$171). Gleamingly lacquered in a dark orange, it looks like wood but in fact the shell-like bowl is made from one of Australia’s most renewable resources: macadamia nuts, whose husks are compacted and shaped into bowls. It sits on my desk in New York filled with paperclips and reminds me daily of that surprisingly chic little shop in Sydney.