The design process always starts with a mood board. It’s like thinking out loud on paper; a way to communicate visually and collect your thoughts. We get so inspired when we travel here at AZB Creative: the whole time, we’re thinking, snapping photos and building mental mood boards for future projects.
Making a mood board helps you distil your ideas and is a great way to communicate with clients. A picture really is worth a thousand words, and when we can show our clients the colour swatches, textures, visual references and inspirations, we can convey the whole story in the blink of an eye. Mood boards also help us to think outside the box. By getting away from words and numbers, we open up that deeper part of the mind where ideas bubble up.
Get out into the world and look for visual inspiration everywhere: a floor tile, a coaster, a vintage silk scarf, an old postcard, a scrap of wallpaper… So if you see us snapping wall textures and plants at the wonderful 18th century Orangery and Grotto of the Palazzo Parisio in Malta or focussing on the rich coral sunset today, we promise we’re not crazy; just capturing the mood.
It’s always so satisfying to see your sketches and ideas turn into a real space, so we were excited to work with Matt Cameron and his revolutionary supplement concept, Fit Nutrition Fix. Working with qualified nutritionists, Matt has created a range of tailored supplements and smoothies. More than a retail store, Matt asked us to create a lifestyle space to inspire and empower his customers. The first space is open in Bondi Junction, designed to boost your mood with a clean, minimalist design with plenty of sunny yellow, a zen relaxing zone and iPad stations to help you choose your best nutrition options. Drop in and say hi, try a custom smoothie and chill out to the inhouse playlist.
Well we do sometimes pull an allnighter here, and we are crazy about tiles at the moment! Inspired by our recent travels through Stockholm and Malta, dreams of Delft blue tiles and Moroccan palazzos as well as Australia’s gorgeous Victorian heritage, the AZB team are finding inspiration in beautiful, vintage and custom made tiles to create unique works of art. We love mixing and matching colours and patterns and picking up exquisitely moulded details. Tiles are definitely hot right now, for their impact and rich colour and texture. We can’t wait to share some of these exclusive designs and projects with you very soon, so stay tuned!
Drum roll, please:
GOLD for Interior Design Retail
Trumps Spa design at the new InterContinental Hotel Double Bay. Mixing elements of Moroccan luxury and Art Deco elegance, it was an amazing project to work on, and a satisfying challenge. Seeing the faces of the Trumps team when they saw the finished result was matchless, but winning this award came pretty close! It’s a tribute to our amazing team of designers, suppliers and contractors.
GOLD for Event Design
March into Merivale: five weeks of jaw-dropping events across 19 venues. We loved conjuring mermaid pool parties, Mexican fiestas, Neo Tokyo cyber dance-offs, romantic laneways, decadent dessert oases and retro-glam champagne bars and, and… We worked with fantastic chefs, wine makers, performers, musicians and creators, we didn’t sleep, we studied the weather forecasts obsessively, put up enough bunting and fiesta lights to reach to the moon and back, and met at least half of Sydney!
SILVER for Event Design
SBS Upfronts, a series of media presentations to introduce SBS broadcasting’s innovative programming. We created a multi-sensory, immersive experience, contrasting a sleek, high tech presentation with a riotous street fair representing the SBS commitment to multicultural and diverse programs. We’ll never forget the moment when the crisp white wall slid aside to reveal the carnivale beyond. As the guests stepped into this explosion of colour, sound, activity and amazing food, they really lived the SBS motto: “Join in!”
So thank you for sharing this journey with us. Behind these awards, there’s a lot of hard work and a fantastic team. Every team member is vital to the success of each project, and it’s great to share the acknowledgement for their amazing efforts. We’re thrilled, but still in shock. In the words of Academy Award winner Dianne Wiest, “Gee, this isn’t like I imagined it would be in the bathtub!” And so, to paraphrase Cate Blanchett: “Can I have my champagne now?” Please raise your glass with us!
“What we do is add soul to a home. It has a real vibe, a warmth, a personality.”
AZB announces an exciting new addition to the company’s design services, a brand new staging company for homes for sale as well as new development display spaces which working in synergy with all parts of AZB Creative.
A home, as beautiful as it might be, doesn’t just sell itself. Emotion and instinct play a huge part in selecting a new home. A home needs to be designed to sell and that’s where we come in. We create that immediate emotional impact when a buyer walks in: that positive energy, that good vibe, that smile.
In this very competitive market, the right design elements and home styling drive sales and achieve greater returns. All aspects of a home’s sales campaign are crucial: from the print and online presence to the in-person experience.
When a prospective buyer views a property, they aren’t just buying a space; they’re buying a lifestyle. With expertly chosen and styled furnishings, we create a vision of that wonderful future life. That’s what sells. We create homes that buyers admire and aspire to.
Sellers can add tens of thousands of dollars to their sale price by having their homes professionally styled for sale. With a careful blend of custom pieces, tailored art and unique furnishings, we create a targeted desire that realises the home’s potential, transform the negatives and play up the strong points.
With our talented team of artists, designers, stylists, craftspeople and decorators, you have the power of an award winning creative agency in your corner.
We bring wealth of design tricks gleaned from our extensive experience designing commercial and residential spaces, plus the sense of theatre that gets buyers excited. Every home is unique, so we approach every staging project individually, to make the most of every property.
From re-organising a space and clearing out clutter to create a better flow, to installing the perfect balance of temporary furnishings, to consulting on colour…we can make small rooms bigger, dark spaces lighter and whole homes look amazing. Create a buzz, enhance a homes assets and start a bidding war and close that sale in record time.
Add drama, excitement and a professional edge to your home’s sales campaign with AZB Home.
It’s that time: a new year and a new start, when the chic set heads first to Pitti Uomo in Florence then up to Milan for the menswear collections. While we always look forward to seeing what the Italians are doing for next season, the real excitement is on the street. With the Pitti trade show running before the collections, the street wear comes first – and given the tremendous influence of street style on fashion, this makes perfect sense. I look forward seeing the way real men curate and style their looks, literally leading the fashion pack. New York Magazine actually spent more time rating Pitti’s “Best Beards” than discussing the fashion shows.
This year, I also loved how many women interpreted the menswear trends, adding more colour and layering for chic androgyny. So we saw the sweeping cashmere great coats and rich, exotic silks on the streets, then in Missoni’s exquisite ode to the Trans-Siberian express.
Brioni’s impeccable suiting style got a prescient preview in the neat tweeds and slim shouldered wool suits around the Piazza del Duomo, and Marc Jacobs’ rough mohair jackets and schoolboy slacks were foreshadowed in the effortless mixing of loose knits, hooded tunics and hand-dyed scarves lining up to get inside.
However, no one could have anticipated Gucci’s slightly clumsy exploration of the line between masculine and feminine. To be fair, with Frida Giannini suddenly out of the design seat, former accessories designer Alessandro Michele apparently had just 5 days to pull a collection together. Other collections – notably Prada and Saint Laurent examined similar ideas, but managed to straddle the thin line between edgy and effeminate with more polish.
At Gucci- the sheer red lace shirt got a lot of attention (and would probably have worked on Mick Jagger back in the day), but the padded red bandana print jacket we saw on the street was a heck of a lot more wearable. Then there were pussy bows, cropped jackets, lace shell tops ( this is still the menswear collection remember) and odd proportioned pants and ill fitting double G belts that looked more “Granny Takes a Trip” than vintage rocker. I wanted more Lou Reed than Betty White. Style.com’s Tim Blanks talked about the collection’s “deliberate sissiness” and wondered where Gucci would go next. For us, the stylish women outside the shows had a more nuanced, confident interpretation of the homme/femme look.
Miuccia Prada also played with gender lines, or dare we say “blurred lines” where she showed both mens and womens collections in one show at her menswear launch. She said as much in her show notes: “Gender is a context and context is often gendered.” She borrowed from the boys to give to the girls; sleek, severe uniforms in signature black nylon; epaulets and embellishments from military uniforms turned into bows. Both her collections were distinct, but harmonious, like men and women. Prada also summed up the perfect travel wardrobe, an antidote to the superfluous details at many collections: “You edit and you edit and all you are left with is the black and blue and grey.” Love it.
It’s so inspiring to see collections that change our perspective. Especially in a traditionally conservative market like menswear, shaking up the status quo is risky but much needed. But what is really amazing is when you look out at the audience and they are reflecting those seismic changes and advancing the conversation in their own way; from the Belgian boys in their ponchos, man-skirts and pilgrim hats, to the guys in banker stripes and oversized coats, so luxe and soft they look like bathrobes, to the classy mash-ups of gentlemanly tweed, 90’s Buffalo and rough work wear.
So often on the runway, the message is reductionist, like a shopping list of must-haves to tick off: the jacket, the trousers, the shoes, the weekender carryall…maybe an insanely oversized scarf.
But out on the street, you find what’s missing: the personality, the curation, the individual. These guys are at the top of their game – this is menswear as Olympic sport (or maybe blood sport; the competition is pretty fierce). Every layer over peacocking, strutting layer; every risky colour combo, ‘unique’ beard, perfectly roughed-up brogue, antique watch, handcrafted pair of glasses, every “can’t get for love or money” pair of box fresh sneakers…every guy you see here is a champion.
So let’s celebrate the players in layers: layers of meaning and layers of style.
Alex Zabotto – Bentley
At AZBcreative, we’ll never be accused of being minimalists. Cold, blank spaces just aren’t our thing. But now it seems the world at large is getting with the program! Everyone’s going loco for Rococo.
But before you get carried away with visions of Marie Antoinette, pink and gold and dainty macarons (although we loved Sofia Coppola’s glorious take on all that is pink and pretty), let’s be clear: this is Rococo with a masculine twist.
I see it in the travertine and gilt interiors at Alexander McQueen, the darkly sexy, cinematic interior sets by photographer Eugenio Recuenco and Karl Lagerfeld’s own apartment. Lagerfeld and indeed Coco Chanel herself have always loved the elegance and decadence of Rococo design. Although the stores are calm studies in beige, their private spaces are richly detailed. Chanel’s personal domain, filled with masculine suede sofas, oversized gilt mirrors, coromandel screens and gilded lions, belied the simplicity of her clothing. Lagerfeld’s own retreat is a modern take on Rococo, where state of the art electronics-meets -decorative 1820s mouldings and Louis XV commodes mingle with 60’s armchairs. He described it to Architectural Digest as “a spaceship for the city where you don’t feel bound by the earth”. And perhaps that’s why we love Rococo so much right now; there’s a little crazy and a lot of passion; the Rococo period in Europe was the epitome of refinement and wit and these days we need more of both.
After decades of being told that plain and simple is the height of style, wanton decoration feels fresh and rebellious. Like a Jeff Koons work in his massive retrospective at the Whitney N. Y this year., it can be shocking in its sense of kitsch. We love finding those kitschy porcelain figurines and transforming them with a shock of matte, fluoro colour.
Designer Philippe Starck uses the drama and playfulness of Rococo style, mixed with modern to create spaces that feel almost like film sets. Walking into his Lan Restaurant in Beijing with over-the-top chandeliers and Rococo-extreme gilt chairs, or sliding into a padded banquette in a private room at the Lucas Carton in Paris, you feel like a movie star.
From the colour and passion of Vincente Minelli films (we could live inside the amazing sets of An American in Paris and the rich Parisian interiors of Gigi), to the gorgeously layered set designs of Australia’s Catherine Martin, that sense of fluid elegance and fun is an amazing combination. We find Rococo design so inspiring. American artist and designer Tony Duquette has long been an AZB touchstone, and his sense of grandeur and scale in his interiors and film work, inspire us daily.
For a modern take on Rococo, just look at Wes Anderson’s amazing Grand Budapest Hotel, an ode to Mitteleuropa and an amazing Austrian wedding cake of a set, full of lavish detail and bold colour by designer Adam Stockhausen. So when “good taste” gets boring, you need, as that very Rococo fashion figure Anna Dello Russo says, “a fashion shower”. After all, nothing succeeds like excess.
Chief Rococoist @AZBcreative
We invite you to look at some of our favourite dinner table creations. From food to table design AZBcreative love styling. Styling is the heart and soul of who we are, of what has brought us together as a team and what inspires us further. There is no dinner table too big or too small that we wouldn’t love to create for you….
Since Ray-Ban’s mantra is “never hide” and “stay true to your vision”, we loved the opportunity to bring our vision to a wider audience wearing these light up glasses at their Envision Tour. Calling on some of Australia’s hottest music acts including super talented and inspiring singer / song writer Matt Corby, Jinja Safari and Gold Fields, the events also brought together key influencers in each city.
Matt Corby and Bree Tranter helped launch the series at Sydney’s Hyde Park Barracks in December and kept everyone in thrall with their beautiful song “Big Eyes”. Fuelled by a few Lynchburg Lemonades, the crowd of over 450 key influencers and media types including Gracie Otto, Abby Earl, Tai Hara and Jackson Gallagher, kept partying late, in spite of the late summer thunderstorms!
The aim of the Ray-Ban Envision project is to inspire creativity and give some lucky people the opportunity to bring their vision to life – certainly a philosophy that’s dear to our hearts! AZBcreative provided the Jack Daniel’s Bar for the key east coast cities. Since Jack Daniels has a long history with rock music, we created a glowing red bar, flanked by authentic rock ‘n’ roll gear cases, classic red Solo cups (there’s even a song about them) and the occasional sneaky black T-Rex!
Our rocking bar staff, dressed sharp – like Southern gentlemen with an edge – helped the Jack Daniel’s bar stand out from the crowd, and spread Jack’s smooth charm even further. And it worked! In each city, they found they had served about twice as many of those refreshing Lynchburg Lemonades as there were guests! Great work, guys!
I was asked recently to talk a little about wedding planning. Weddings can be wonderful, but also stressful. It should be the day you never forget – for all the right reasons! So I hope if you’re planning a wedding or just dreaming of the big day, this will help you feel inspired.
What Makes an AZB wedding?
An AZB wedding is a one that touches on the heart and soul of the day. It should be beautiful and completely unique, just like you.
It’s important to personally connect with each guest, taking them on a journey with you. It’s about creating an emotional and physical connection that starts with the design of the invitations, through to the room, the food and the little touches that tell your story. AZBcreative is all about the details! The smallest, most intricate detail can have the greatest resonance.
How is AZBcreative different to other companies?
Most importantly I think it is about the taste level. We have the experience across many disciplines, from interior design and decoration to branding and creating beautiful corporate events. So we bring all these other skill sets to planning your day – creating an unforgettable wedding is natural for us…and to be honest, I just love creating a dream experience for a bride and groom!
Why should couples hire a wedding planner/designer?
Firstly, you want to guarantee a successful, beautiful and importantly, stress free day. You should be enjoying the day without worrying about a thousand little things. It’s important to know you are in the hands of professionals who are passionate about creating the perfect experience for you.
It’s also a great way to SAVE money, as they set strict budgets, can advise you on what to spend and where, and have large networks of trustworthy suppliers so you can get the best deals.
Most importantly, I find that the fantastic people that come to us love our taste level…you’re getting suppliers that are on the same page and at the top of their game.
What makes a perfect wedding day?
It could be a big or small wedding, chic and sophisticated or delightfully rustic; the key for us is that your guests walk away feeling they have fully experienced the love and connection.
What are your top Do’s for brides?
Firstly, be yourself!
Makes sure everything from your dress, makeup and hair to your flowers and music is a reflection of you and who you are as a couple – then you will never look back on photos and cringe!
Let your wedding planner handle the day and allow yourself to be present and in the moment. That way you will have nothing to worry over and you can enjoy each moment as it unfolds. It’s amazing how fast the day goes – you don’t want to miss a minute.
Hire people whose work you love.
Then you can trust them to realize your vision and even surpass it – and you can truly relax!
What does AZBcreative offer for weddings?
AZBcreative offers a full service package that can be tailored to your needs. We can be there to design and style your perfect day from altar to table and we can also manage your wedding from the very beginning – from invitations to RSVPs, transport, music, catering, creating the spaces, and pre and post events. We can take care of everything so you can relax and enjoy the day of your dreams.
What do you see as the future of wedding design?
Destination weddings are getting more and more popular. It’s a great way to make your day a journey with those closest to you, and of course, it will be unforgettable. Creating a beautiful, unforgettable experience isn’t location specific; it can be anywhere in the world. We are working on projects from Bali to Buenos Aires, Malta to Rome. The challenge of producing a wedding in a far-off country is exhilarating to me.
Tell us a little about the challenges of planning weddings in Bali?
Bali is a very special place for all of us at AZB and there is nothing we love more than designing a beautiful Bali wedding. We have worked in Bali for over 20years so we have wonderful suppliers we know and trust! Overseas weddings are hard for couples as you can’t always be there physically at every stage of the planning. Long distance planning can be daunting. You really need people in the know who can contact local suppliers and make sure everything is organised. That’s where we come in!
On ‘island’ time things happen quite slowly so it’s great to have people to constantly chase up for you. Plus, working with us, you have the advantage of having your wedding planners here in Sydney, so that you can reach us whenever you need and have face-to-face meetings.