Between Worlds

At barely 30 years old, a young Australian is conquering the world of design. After numerous interior design projects in Hong Kong, Sydney and Melbourne, Steven Blaess is now creating furniture for Edra, lamps for Iguzzini and portable goods for Samsonite. His ice-cream parlour project for Gelatomessina covers not only the interior design, but the entire corporate identity as well. The designer meanwhile handles all his projects via the Web. Nevertheless, he loves to visit Europe as often as possible before happily returning to his native country again. There he finds peace and indulges his great love of nature: „White salt lakes that turn a glowing pink at certain times of the day and sand dunes off in the distance, like cream silk." His projects radiate this same wealth of shapes and colours.
Sydney’s Tantra night club is true to its name. Steven Blaess attempted to create the atmosphere of old Indian rituals in a bar. And he did just that in only six weeks of conversion work.
The exceptional size of the night club was a special challenge for Blaess. Now differently defined zones create variety. As soon as the experience-hungry night owl enters the club, he is magicked away to different spheres. A staircase over two levels leads to a uterus-like room with a red carpet and magenta walls - bathed in red light. The visitor is meant to experience feminine energies such as peace, gentleness and that of the nourishing source. The uterus-like entrance is meant to diminish the ego-aspect in the consciousness of all who enter, according to the Australian.
The new arrival’s curiosity as to what awaits him in the depths of the room is certainly aroused. Walls and ceiling in a warm, restrained shade of grey allow the main elements of the bar area to dominate the foreground: stainless steel stools with seats made of ship’s rope, set in front of solid tables in Australian oak and, at the far end, a statue of the Indian deity Shakti.
The backbone of the night club is an open screen embodying a mandala - which is also the logo of the Tantra bar. In relief, the golden mandala logo also adorns the walls and ceiling of the „VIP Gold Room", one of the favourite meeting places in the Tantra Club, where everything has been given a bronze finish and is backlit in red. The limits of the room are flowing, the depth dimensions diffuse. Plenty of eye-contact is preordained and intended by the architect. He doesn’t think much of overcrowded dance temples with no opportunity for making contact with other clubbers. On the contrary: although the DJ is heroically elevated and cut off in his cylindrical glass chamber, the dancers at his feet can get in touch with one another whenever they like. The „chill-out room" - separated from the dance floor only by a glass wall printed with the mandala - invites guests for more than a chat on its opulent landscape of sofas.
The omnipresent Tantra logo symbolises the fusion of female and male energy and is not the only symbol in Blaess’ repertoire. Many of his works are based on a strong symbolic content. His design approach is comprehensive, as is his philosophy of design. The law of cause and effect, the affinity of all living things or the unconscious effect of archaic symbols are only a few of the subjects to which the young designer devotes intense thought.
Symbolism is also a central theme in his „M Pod for living". Planned for a client in Dubai, the project is based on the segments of a circle. All the components are prefabricated and erected on location. The size of the residential dome is variable. A steel structure supports an outer ceramic layer that is equipped with photovoltaic cells and an interior of prefabricated plasterboard. An ingenious system takes care of air conditioning and energy. Rainwater is collected in tanks and purified if necessary. And of course several „M Pods" can also be arranged to create a residential landscape. Not only in the desert of Dubai. The shell-like dwellings would function just as well in the mountains of Switzerland or the lowland plains of Hungary. But wherever they are deployed, they will almost certainly create the impression of a recently landed UFO formation. Petra Trefalt

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A UFO for the desert of Dubai: the residential unit „M Pod for Living" is prefabricated and erected on location: an outer ceramic layer with photovoltaic cells and an inner layer of plasterboard are supported by a steel structure. Glass sliding doors separate the living room from the outdoors.

The mandala as a leitmotif for the design of the Tantra night club in Sydney

Differently defined zones create variety. The main bar area channels visitors through the club. From here you can reach the dance floor or the
„Chill Room".

„Chill Room" with „C-Pod" seats for cooling off.
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