Category Archives: Product of the Week

Since I became a father eight years ago my focus and perspective on life has massively changed. Even though the age gap between myself and son is substantial (42-years) we are very close. In fact, he takes a massive interest in my profession and really is interested in design in general. Ultimately this is why we work on concepts together and have developed a watch label in his name (Paolo Mathai Horology). » Read more

Presently one the watch industries most prestigious events has just come to a successful conclusion. The show I am referring to is SIHH (Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie) which is dominated mostly by brands in the Richemont Group. This year watchmakers Hermès, Carré des Horlogers, Armin Strom, Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud, DeWitt, F.P.Journe and Romain Gauthier also attended for the first time. Certainly (as usual) there were many phenomenal timepieces to delight the discerning crowds. However, these novelties are what I would describe as aspirational and beyond the budgets of most people. That is why on Total Design Reviews I like to offer readers more affordable alternatives (as well as luxury) like SNGLRTY by Swiss Reimagined. » Read more

A few nights ago I watched a captivating documentary about the life and career of Harry Seidler. Since I moved to Australia four years ago I have become more and more fascinated with contemporary architecture. I don’t mean the generic box like dwellings that occupy most suburbs around the world. Ultimately I am talking about sustainable buildings that have involved serious consideration and are designed to last the test of time. Certainly this was Harry Seidler’s primary objective. » Read more

This Christmas (2017) friends kindly invited us to stay as their guests in a cottage they own in Tasmania. As the temperatures were due to soar in South Australia we jumped at the opportunity. At this time of year Hobart was hosting many events like the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race and ‘Taste of Tasmania. Ultimately this meant we were unable to hire a car because we hadn’t booked in advance. Fortunately, our hosts generously loaned their car so we could engage in various activities. One of our main highlights (recommended by many people) was the amazing Museum of Old and New Art (MONA). » Read more

Just over a year ago myself and family treated ourselves to fantastic cruise around New Zealand. As a child I had always dreamed of visiting this amazing country and certainly was disappointed. In fact, arriving by ship is delightful because you are greeted by the awesome Milford Sound Fiords located at the tip of the South Island. This is one of the regions most famous tourist destinations and is described by Rudyard Kipling as the eighth Wonder of the World. As well as being considered as an area of outstanding natural beauty there are also some ground breaking residential homes. A great example is Back Country House by Ltd Architectural. » Read more

Recently I wrote a review of a fantastic holiday home located in the picturesque town of Dover, Tasmania (Australia) called Quarry Hill Lookout. The home wasn’t excessively large or expensive to build but illustrated how you could achieve something special without breaking the bank. At the other end of the scale MGA Architects are really pushing the boundaries of modern design and work for discerning clients who haven’t got monetary restrictions. One of their finest accomplishments is a residence in Battery Point, Hobart. » Read more

Generally, in my spare time I really enjoy perusing real estate property websites to look at aspirational homes. Certainly in South Australia (where I reside) there are many generic residences that are pretty formulaic. Normally these building are formed around a cheap timber frame and clad with various materials like brick, rendering, stone etc. However, at the higher end of the market I have found some extraordinary architecture. A primary example is a dwelling located near Adelaide hills that was designed by renowned Melbourne architects Wood Marsh. This seemingly floating curved structure is composed of concrete, glass, metal and timber. Internally the aesthetic is also very minimalistic but interestingly the present custodians have chosen vibrant touches like deep purple carpet. This colour is my personal favourite and has become synonymous with UK footwear company Eves & Gray. » Read more

A few days ago I watched a couple of episodes of TV programme called ‘Most Expensivest’. The show is hosted by a US rapper called 2 Chainz (Tauheed Epps) who also is an entrepreneur. Essentially each episode illustrates different ridiculously expensive products that extremely wealthy people purchase. Some of the examples include $1,000 gold leaf doughnuts, $4,900 chicken wings (that are smothered in caviar, truffles, vintage cognac etc.) and even bottled Swiss air. Obviously the sensationalist and tongue in cheek format is designed to attract viewers. It is also very intriguing, thought provoking and entertaining. However, I could certainly think of more interesting ways to spend my money. One of them would have to be one of Steve Hermann’s minimalistic Californian houses. » Read more