To celebrate the Art of Giving at SMITHMADE, we've curated The Edit of just a few of our favourite things. 

Be sure to also browse the beautiful array of distinctive and different Christmas gifts. We’re confident we have something for every person on your list. SM Store you're one stop shop this holiday season. 

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Artist in Residence; Mick Bruzzese

Artist in Residence; Mick Bruzzese

 Nicole Dunbar, co-founder of SMITHMADE, sits down to shoot the breeze with Northern Beaches based photographer, artist and maker Mick Bruzzese

How long have you been working as a photographer?

I have been in the industry for about 20 years, starting out just before the transition from film to digital. I knew everything you needed to know about film and spent endless hours in the darkroom. At the time I had really hoped to go to university and do a Fine Arts degree however places were finite and I had to find alternate way into doing what I loved. The photography assistant job was perfect for me as I have always had a thing for fashion and art.

How would you say your photography style has evolved over time?

I’d have to say while it has evolved in fluid way, my photography has always been consistent. My style of fashion photography is a little edgier than most and I don’t see that changing. I think my style resonates with youth. You could describe it as gritty with a romantic edge. I’ve never given up on that aesthetic, from when I was assisting right through to my time as head photographer on shoots. It’s what I do.

Tell me about your upcoming exhibition at SMITHMADE?

My upcoming exhibition at SMITHMADE on December 1 will be one of my largest. It’s a somewhat eclectic collection of works from the last few years that encompasses mainly fashion and florals, as well as a few other things I’ve captured that I think are beautiful.

Did you have a specific inspiration, or inspirations, for the exhibition?

I have always had a fascination with finding the beauty in imperfection. Working in fashion for such a long time I’ve seen many beautiful young models come and go, it’s a fickle industry that seems focused on perfection. However, my belief is that it’s the subtle imperfections that demonstrate what real beauty is all about. Fashion allows you the freedom to express and create therefore I always look to feature the imperfections and shoot them beautifully well.

I’ve replicated this same approach with flowers. All my floral images find beauty in imperfection.

Poppies, roses and magnolia are quite graphic and lend themselves well to this type of photography however even dead flowers are exceptionally beautiful. In this series I’ve played with colour and introduced an Andy Warhol aesthetic to colour print in different ways. I’m able to draw on my experience in the darkroom and really enhance and manipulate colour.

I’ve actually shot flowers for years but most of this work is buried in scrap books and has never seen light of day. It’ll be nice to actually showcase them when I exhibit at SMITHMADE in December. 

Who are your greatest influences? Photographers, artists or otherwise.

I’ve been fortunate to work with some top fashion photographers who specialise in film, including Richard Bailey and Chris Colls. I love some of the early work of Bruce Weber, and also admire Helmut Newton and Irving Penn.

Apart from that, the grunge movement in the 90’s has, is and will always be, a massive influence of mine.

What are your tips on choosing the best art for your home?

That’s a difficult one. You can never discount the importance of personal taste. Be sure to choose what you like as you’re going to see it often. Also consider the broader look and feel of your home.

Personally, I think big bold pieces are great. One or two stand-out pieces in every home is a must. Also, change your artwork around every year or so, and move pieces from one wall or room to another. Ensure you have a good mix of styles incorporating temporary and classic.

Mick Bruzesse, a body of Work will run from Thursday December 1, exclusively at SMITHMADE store. Contact us here for expressions of interest and to RSVP.

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Celebrating Beauty In Imperfection

Celebrating Beauty In Imperfection

At SMITHMADE our style ethos is to offer different aesthetics and design ‘points-of-view’ from which our customers can draw upon. Over the next few weeks we are highlighting the beauty in imperfection, often juxtaposed against modern design and its desire for perfection. This is one of our favourite combinations, and when put together, it can create magic!

Like our feature Maker this week, photographer Mick Bruzzese, we too believe it’s the subtle imperfections that are the real beauty. 

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Fleurette Flower School

Fleurette Flower School

The start of Spring saw our Creative Director and floral stylist Christelle Scifo pop up within SMITHMADE with her florist, Fleurette and Flower School. Students and flower lovers young and old sat in on Saturday brunch workshops with Berkelo Bakery and learnt and made their own flower crowns, posies, table centres and Spring bouquets. With more Fleurette workshops in the works through Summer, be sure to register your interest and purchase tickets directly here.




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Sydney Design School at SMITHMADE

Sydney Design School at SMITHMADE

This week saw Sydney Design School host a series of design talks in the SM Studio, designers & students came together to hear SMITHMADE architect Drew Heath, Editor and Curator Karen McCartney and Shiobori textiles designer Karen Davis for the Movers & Makers evening. We were inspired to take on each of their unique design approaches into the home and into our own lifestyle spaces.

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Stories, Textures and Character with Architect Drew Heath

Stories, Textures and Character with Architect Drew Heath


What makes a project interesting for you?

The basic brief of a client is often quite mundane and generic – a four bedroom house, two bathrooms, entertaining deck, whatever. However, it’s the small things that make a project interesting. An example would be a house I did where the owner wanted – in addition to the generic brief – a place for their piano. So we started with the piano and the design was created around that space. Sometimes it’s a colour or hobby, a point of view, or a passion for cooking or gardening. There is always one thing that sets one person apart from another.

How big a role does environmental and social sustainability play in your buildings?

I naturally do sustainable design because I care about the environment. I don’t do fashionable things but focus more on making the functional interesting, like cross ventilation or building comfort. I also concentrate on economies of structure so my buildings are fit and not wasteful which is not the norm. In my entire career I have only ever done one or two projects with air conditioning. In my view, air conditioning is a result of dumb architecture.

What is your ultimate project?

That’s kind of difficult but I would have to say a project for myself. I’ve developed strange taste over time, see things differently and am interested in different ways to live. For example, I am currently interested in building a house that consists just of a kitchen and a table. There would be somewhere to sleep – is it under the table? There’d be a bathroom - is it outside? I see it as a celebration of indoor-outdoor space, a kitchen and a dining room that is truly a ‘living room’.

Can you tell us about the house you grew up in?

I grew up in Tasmania living in a brick and tile house of no interest at all. I made lots of Lego houses that were copies of that. It wasn’t until I went to university that I was enlightened!

Talk to us a little more about architecture that is actually ‘designed for wear’?

Some materials you can control weathering on. For example, you can control the way water flows down a building, the absorbency of a wall, does it accept moss or will it stain? It’s the controlling of the patterns, the colours and the results of the aging or wearing process. A classic example is putting copper outside and controlling the patterns it makes. It’s going to stain but how do you want it to stain?

How do you balance your passion for 100 percent handmade with the reality of your clients’ budgets?

It costs money to make things no doubt. I try and proportion the brief and budget to enable some element of the handmade. If budget is generous there is more handmade, less budget is less handmade. The key is making sure your handmade objects are in the most obvious and used places, like the dining table or front door handle.

Recycled or new?

If you can use recycled then do it. It brings stories, textures and character.

What do you mean by a hierarchy of spaces in design?

Its more interesting in a house, or in any space, when there is a different level of spacial volumes. Its universally accepted in architecture that the most important areas get the biggest space. The dining space or living has the biggest volume or height, and bedrooms are at a lower height. Generally, it’s the importance of how much a space is used that dictates its hierarchy.

You said we need to take indoor-outdoor living much further? What’s your vision here?

It could be five or six layers of covered and uncovered spaces, not one inside and one outside space. Interweave the covered and uncovered throughout the design and experiment with making functional spaces outside. Climate permitting, I would have the minimum amount of space enclosed. Sleep inside and sometimes eat inside but do bathrooms need to be enclosed? I don’t believe so.

In your view, what is the winning combination in design?

For me, it’s a balance between vertical and horizontal planes where the inside and outside space is mixed with landscape space. I like geometric objects in contrast to nature that always has an organic form. These things marry together and give you a peaceful place in the world.

What do you want to be remembered for?

I kind of like the idea of a Renaissance man, being good at everything, whether it be cooking, concreting or creativity. Being a man of many disciplines and not being scared of it.

What advice do you have for any budding designers?

Architecture is like a language, such as English. We all know how to speak our own language but it has to be more than that. With English, some people sing songs, some write poetry, some tell jokes - we all find a way to use the language creatively. Architecture is the same. A bathroom is a bathroom however it’s the details that will set you apart. Create your own doorhandles or design your own fittings from recycled or primary materials. Make a song of your work. This will set you apart from the everyday which then gives you style. The same way we recognise a singer when we hear a song, we come to recognise great style of great designers.

Also, always have one strong idea and hang onto it. In my experience, it’s like a centre-half-forward in football whose job is to kick goals. Always come up with ideas to kicks goals!

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Welcome to SMITHMADE Sydney

Welcome to SMITHMADE Sydney

Thursday 28th July saw the official launch of SMITHMADE Store, Sydney. Local identities, VIPs, designers, artists, photographers and friends all in attendance at SMITHMADE Sydney. Well and truly bringing the creative community together and putting Manly on the map. Click to view the launch highlights here.

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