Iconic Australian Houses Part 1

Is an exhibition that has just opened at the Museum of Sydney, the exhibition is curated by and based on two books, Iconic Australian Houses 50/60/70 and 70/80/90 by Karen McCartney. Karen has written for the British, ‘Elle Decoration’ and ‘Financial Times’ and edited Marie Claire, ‘Lifestlye’ before become founding editor for Australian interiors magazine ‘Inside Out’. The exhibition is presented in partnership with Architecture Foundation Australia and after the Sydney run, it will tour Australia.







The exhibition explores 30 of the most important Australian homes of the past 60 years.

At (smow) Australia we were honoured to be asked to supply the furniture to the exhibition. We supplied Egon Eiermann tables and “Falter” stools. We believe they blend in nicely with the exhibition but hopefully not too much so they won’t be noticed! Our furniture allows visitors to sit and read copies of the books and also access information on the houses loaded into tablets installed on the Eiermann tables.


The exhibition explores the houses and also the experiences of those who designed, built, lived and live in these iconic houses. It also illustrates the emergence of a distinctively Australian approach to home design and its relationship with the Australian landscape. Beautiful photographs on large didactic panels, detailed drawings and graphics and three dimensional models add depth to the original books. But my favourite part is the stories, which take the form of 45 mins of filmed interviews; these interviews take us beyond the physicality of the houses and show how good architecture and design can really enhance life.


So why, you may ask, should German furniture should be used in an Australian houses exhibition. For the last 200 years Australia for better or for worse has been awash with immigrants and imports. Many of the architects’ whose houses are in the exhibition, such as Harry Seidler, the curator Karen and all of us here at (smow) Australia, are from other countries. The houses also tend to be furnished with mainly imported classics of the time. So I think we are keeping good company and we are more than happy to be asked!


In our next post we will look at some of the classic chairs inside the Australian Iconic Houses.


The exhibition runs until August 2014 at the Museum of Sydney.

Iconic Australian Houses Exhibition