248 episodes

Blueprint For Living is a weekly rummage through the essential cultural ingredients—design, architecture, food, travel, fashion—for a good life.

Blueprint For Living - Full program ABC Radio

    • Arts
    • 3.6 • 5 Ratings

Blueprint For Living is a weekly rummage through the essential cultural ingredients—design, architecture, food, travel, fashion—for a good life.

    British Dandies, puff pastry, a sentimental journey of motels, and The Great Bed of Ware

    British Dandies, puff pastry, a sentimental journey of motels, and The Great Bed of Ware

    For the dandy, looking swell is a way of life! He prides himself on wit and dress, but their influence reaches beyond fashion and intellect, as Dominic Janes discovers in his latest book British Dandies: Engendering Scandal and Fashioning a Nation. It tells a scandalous story of fashionable men and the role they played in the cultural and political life of Britain.

    Regular listeners might remember a conversation Jonathan had with Blueprint friend Annie Smithers on the controversial subject of his preference for cold toast. For him, it all goes back to the motels of the mid-sixties and little wax paper envelopes of white toast delivered through the breakfast hatch. If you're an Australian of a certain age or perhaps even a mid-century obsessed hipster, you'll love the country's motels. Author, broadcaster, and architecture nerd Tim Ross sure does. He's been working on a new exhibition at Canberra's National Archives Reception this way: Motels – a sentimental journey.

    In this instalment of Kitchen Rudimental, Annie Smithers gives Jonathan a puff pastry masterclass. Layers of dough and butter – butter and dough - form a gorgeous silky texture – if you can get it just right! It’s a beautiful process that’s perfect for a Saturday afternoon. 

    Then, The Great Bed of Ware was intended to wow. And who among us doesn’t feel excited by the prospect of sleeping in any four-poster bed, even one that is half the width? Blueprint's resident design expert Colin Bisset explores their influence as symbols of romance and intimacy, majesty, and class.

    • 54 min
    More escapism, Garden Rudimental, Australia's oldest community cookbook plus, and pioneering women designers

    More escapism, Garden Rudimental, Australia's oldest community cookbook plus, and pioneering women designers

    Hotel designer Bill Bensley lives by the motto, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing. The California-born designer has studios in Bangkok and Bali, and his latest book More Escapism: Hotels, Resorts and Gardens features some of the region’s most extravagant resorts. His inspiration comes from treasures around the globe, including a 1930s Vietnamese bamboo hat that provided the design spark for the Hotel de la Coupole in Vietnam.

    In this week's Garden Rudimental, award-winning landscape designer Paul Bangay takes Jonathan for a stroll through Stonefields, one of Victoria's most beautiful country gardens where exotics and native plants merge to create a definitive style of Australian garden.

    Cookbooks aren't just a bunch of recipes. They often contain insights into the political and cultural contexts of their time. Never was there a better example of this than Australia's oldest continuous community cookbook, The Barossa Cookery Book. Initially released in 1917 as a war fundraiser it's now in its 33rd edition. Sheralee Menz and Marieka Ashmore, also known as Those Barossa Girls, have begun a companion venture with The Barossa Cookery Book Project.

    Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier are considered titans of the modern movement but in this week's Iconic Designs, Colin Bisset examines the contribution that women made to their most famous designs. It’s only been recently acknowledged that Lilly Reich was behind much of Mies’s furniture, and Charlotte Perriand behind all of Le Corbusier’s.  

    • 54 min
    The perfect potato cake, a peek inside the National Archives, the origin of the match, and copying nature to build our lives

    The perfect potato cake, a peek inside the National Archives, the origin of the match, and copying nature to build our lives

    Once regarded as a fringe movement, more designers and architects are looking to nature-based systems to build our lives while reducing carbon emissions.

    Claire Beale, Executive Manager at LCI Melbourne and a former Design Institute of Australia President, takes us through the Three Bs of organic design; biomorphic, biomimetic and biophilic.

    The National Archives of Australia records and stores key events and decisions that have shaped Australian history and after one heck of a move has opened the doors of its new facility. With enough shelving to stretch from Canberra to Cooma the purpose-built facility is environmentally controlled, environmentally friendly and energy-efficient. Jonathan Green takes a stroll through its corridors with Sean Debenham, Assistant Director Storage and Lending to check out what’s in there.

    You sick of potatoes yet? We’re not.  Annie Smithers continues Kitchen Rudimental this week by tempting us to have a crack at making potato cakes (that’s a potato scallop for any Queenslanders and New South Welshfolk).

    And Colin Bisset takes a strike at the little magic fire stick with a red tip for this week’s Iconic Design. If civilization started when we learned how to create fire then what a link to our beginnings the arrival of the humble match was.

    • 54 min
    Genealogy for homes, design to the rescue, Anna Wintour, and the history of the public loo.

    Genealogy for homes, design to the rescue, Anna Wintour, and the history of the public loo.

    Via their Instagram page Design.Emergency Alice Rawsthorn and Paola Antonelli have brought designers together to tackle some of the worlds intractable problems.

    Journalist Amy Odell discusses her biography of the fashion industry's most powerful influencer Anna Wintour.

    New Zealanders have kicked off a citizen historian fad thanks to a new book from Dr Christine Whybrew of Heritage NZ called How to Research Your House. It helps you discover the genealogy of your home and uncover secrets of its past.

    Toilet, loo, powder room, the toot; no matter what you call it you use it everyday. In this week's Iconic Designs Colin Bisset casts his eye over the design evolution of the public toilet.

    • 54 min
    Besha Rodell on food critics, Australia's newest herbarium, the Gothic Revival, and potatoes

    Besha Rodell on food critics, Australia's newest herbarium, the Gothic Revival, and potatoes

    All the world's great cities have some things in common and fantastic food is one of them. But what happens if a city doesn't have a chief restaurant critic?

    Besha Rodell, the recently appointed Chief Restaurant Critic for The Age and Good Weekend discusses the role of a great food writer and why she prefers to remain anonymous.

    Then it's time to visit Sydney's newest herbarium at the Australian Botanic Garden in Mount Annan. Denise Ora, Chief Executive of the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, and Brett Summerell, Director Research and Chief Botanist, join Tim Entwisle for an amble through the new facility and discuss why they're critical to conserving plants and fighting climate change.

    Annie and Jonathan just can't get enough of the humble spud. In the latest edition of Kitchen Rudimental, Annie Smithers teaches Jonathan how to master a Potato Terrine with Gruyère.

    And finally, Colin Bisset explores the Tower House in London's Holland Park. It's the work of William Burges, an architect whose small but significant output represents a high point in the Gothic Revival. This is everything that minimalism is not.

    • 54 min
    Luxury Indigenous tourism, urban farms, and the English country home's post-war revival

    Luxury Indigenous tourism, urban farms, and the English country home's post-war revival

    We see Indigenous art and motifs used extensively in Australia's marketing campaigns. But do Indigenous communities and businesses benefit from this branding? Professor Anne Poelina — a Nyikina Warrwa woman from the Mardoowarra River in Western Australia's Kimberley region — is making sure they do.

    Then we turn to the grand old piles that dot the British Isles. Today, these buildings are more likely to host film and tv crews or tour groups. This is a marked turnaround given many were left in ruins, sold off, or simply demolished as aristocratic families fought over the scraps of empire by the end of the Second World War. Adrian Tinniswood has compiled this history in a new book, Noble Ambitions: The Fall and Rise of the Post-War Country House.

    Afterward, meet the team behind Growing Farmers — a new community organisation pairing trainee urban farmers with residents who want their empty yards to become flourishing, small-scale market gardens. Jonathan took a trip to meet farm host Sapphire McMulla-Fisher in Melbourne's outer-north, along with Growing Farmers' president Alice Crowe.  

    Finally, for Colin Bisset's latest edition of Iconic Designs we look at the mighty little box that revolutionised how we store food: the Tetra Pak.

    • 54 min

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5
5 Ratings

5 Ratings

MittenBits ,

Lively listening

I really enjoy this programme, it has such a fun mix of stories. You can tell Michael enjoys chatting with each guest. Keep up the great work Blueprint Team!

RN Diehard ,

Going Downhill

The new host is smarmy and very un funny. He’s transformed a formerly great poddie into a mediocre mess.

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