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Feature by Nyanhial Yang
Content Writer at Casper & Casper

The Dignity Kit project – helping Melbourne’s homeless women

“There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward”

Khalil Gibran

It was just on a year ago that Dr Tanya Cates watched a documentary about all the ways homelessness impacts women, particularly when they don’t have access to sanitary products. She was so moved and disturbed by these images that she decided to do something about it.

What is The Dignity Kit project?

Tanya and her co-founder friend Kerry McKendrick decided to hold a monthly get-together with her gal pals, focus on giving back some dignity to homeless Melbourne women. Together with the help of the Salvation Army,  they resolved to create The Dignity Kit; packs filled with feminine hygiene essentials.

Tanya and her team called on all their combined networks to create the kits, with Aussie retail giant Cotton On climbing on-board by donating a year’s supply of underwear. The ladies then connected with the Salvation Army to arrange distribution to women living tough on the streets of Melbourne.

So far, the venture has been an enormous success. Of it, Tanya says:

The response has been great. We sourced everything from feminine hygiene products to undies to toothpaste to help these girls get a little dignity back. Suppliers and friends have been great at donating time, money and products.

Currently, we do 80-85 per month and have been going for 14 months so far. We have done special winter kits with scarves and socks, summer kits with sunscreen and Christmas kits with lip gloss moisturizer.”

Casper doing its part

On June 28, Casper studios hosted Tanya Cates and her Dignity Kit crew for a special night of giving back.

It was an incredible success, and the energy in the studio was so sincere and moving. It was such a privilege to participate! It really warmed my heart to see people taking such initiative to help others in the spirit of giving … and having a whole lot of fun while doing it! Throughout the night, it was also evident that these girls love hanging out with each other to assemble these kits. The fact that they go to women in need is a HUGE bonus!

The work these women do really resonates with us here at Casper. We firmly believe meaningful contributions are an essential part of human nature as it fuels our soul. Giving is also more than just the act. There is something very natural and organic about helping someone in the spirit of love and compassion without egotistical intent.

This is precisely why we love The Dignity Kit crew so much. They have been quietly doing their part and giving back to the community for some time and it was an absolute pleasure to host them.

Check out some cute snaps from the night below as well as our studio chat with Tanya.

Dr Tanya Cates co-founder of The Dignity Kit 

  1. What inspired you to start?

Inspiration hit me one day when I was standing in the supermarket whining to myself that I couldn’t find my organic tampons. I stood back and just thought ‘Get over yourself. The cost of a packet is the same as a meal for someone!’ I also reflected on the fact that I had left home at a very young age, but how fortunate I was to not be in a situation where hygiene was a concern.

I knew about The Period Project, however, I wanted to do something that didn’t require the commercial angle. I wanted to do something for women, containing items they felt were necessary from their perspective, all put together and driven by people who just wanted to help for the sake of helping, nothing more (well, the team are motivated by food and good company which we happily provide J!).

I had also watched a video about women on the street in New York and how they stayed clean. I got to talking with a client of mine, Kerry (who is now a great friend!) who had also seen the video and told her I wanted to do something to help. It was important to me that I worked alongside someone who also had the intention to help for the sake of the cause, and nothing else.

Kerry kindly funded the initial starting phase and found contacts to distribute the kits. It was from here that we each tapped into our networks and managed to secure donations for the kits’ contents, along with people willing to give up their time to get them to the ladies.

  1. Why is it important to you?

It is important to me because hygiene is a basic human right. Everyone deserves a sense of self-dignity and an opportunity to feel clean, not to mention how necessary it is to avoid disease. To be able to take care of yourself is empowering, and reminds you of your importance, confidence and ability.

It was also important for me to directly understand from the perspective of these women about what they needed and what their daily challenges are. This is not just a young women’s issue. It crosses the lifespan as women also suffer incontinence on the streets.

  1. What are your hopes for homeless women?

I think people often start these projects with lofty ideas of change. But for me, talking to the women when planning the kit put things back into perspective.

My hopes are now are simple – it’s all about comfort, even if it is just for a moment. I want to help these women feel a little more comfortable and along the way, hope they will see there is someone out there that cares enough to help them in the way that they would like to be helped.

Basic, simple things like running water, sanitary products, underwear and socks can so easily be taken for granted. How often in our day do we stop to be truly grateful for tampons and knickers? Probably not ever! The other thing is the brand of the products and colour of the knickers quickly becomes irrelevant when looking through the lenses of women without a home.

  1. Who helps you distributes the kits?

The Salvation Army Melbourne Project 614 with the support of Sandra Nottle and her amazing team. This group run an outreach program for women on the streets in the city area and they do a wonderful job gifting the kits the women. Women can also come into the Salvation Army at 69 Bourke Street to collect the kits. The word has fortunately spread that they are available.

We have been so lucky to have a number of businesses provide product for the kits and a number of ladies generously donate their time to allow this project to come to life. It is truly a privilege to watch all the people involved in The Dignity Kit enjoy working for the cause of the women.

We thank the women for allowing us to help them too.

Our final word

Today, let the actions of The Dignity Kit crew inspire you to give for the sake of giving … and discover the simple, pure and exhilarating joy in that!

If you would like to be a part of the Dignity Kit click the link The Dignity Kit

The Dignity Kit

Dr Tanya Cates @fitadvisortc

Kerry McKendrick

Feature by Nyanhial Yang @yangnyanhial

Edited Renee Lunder@misnomer_12

Photography by Jess Middleton @jessmiddletonphoto

Copyright © of Casper & Casper 15.8.2018


Feature by Milla Maria
Founder and Editor in Chief at Casper & Casper

Smartvoll wins the 2018 AZ Award

As a property developer, I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for beautiful design, strong form and clever engineering. The reality is without them we wouldn’t have some of the worlds most recognisable buildings, we wouldn’t be able to preserve some of the worlds oldest structures and more importantly we would not be able to push design and engineering boundaries like we continue to do.
Buildings and houses would look very much like the square triangle picture you used to draw as a child,,,,, boring!!!

So when I come across Austrian architecture studio Smartvoll, I was immediately drawn to the uniqueness of their award-winning interior design for Loft Panzerhalle, in Salzburg Austria.

Their design captivates through specific, spatial dramaturgy (which basically means bringing together two elements). 350 square metres and two storeys, the classic idea of a “loft” is noticeable, yet is being reinterpreted in many ways.

I never play with the façade, I do not live there“, said Adolf Loos.

As Loos has concerned himself with definitions of space, 100 years later Smartvoll does the same. A special focus lies on the utilisation of materials and of what is technologically possible. The architecture unfolds on the inside, as smoothed and waxed concrete is one of the decisive materials for shaping and creating the interior.

“We wanted to revitalize the space’s original charm. Magnanimity and a spatial experience of both storeys were priorities. In all dimensions.”

Space is being preserved and enriched by completely new qualities and natural light is omnipresent through the entire loft, Smartvoll deciding to forgo typical mezzanines and left the upper ribbon window free. Bedroom, bathroom and guestroom are distributed throughout the space, as separate bodies with the epicentre being the kitchen a seven-meter-long block. The whole composition is rounded off by a concrete stair sculpture, which not only opens up all rooms but also appears to be carrying them.

“Through the stair sculpture, which spans across the rooms, you do not see the way between the levels as a vertical, functional connection, but rather as an electric spatial experience.”

Incidentally, the sculpture divides the room, creates a roof over the kitchen, recesses and elevations and therefore allows you to stay in motion – and to see everything from everywhere. The same applies to the glass shower, which protrudes from the fully glazed bathing block at a height of five meters. James-Bond décor like this can be found all over. The absolute highlight, albeit being a bit hidden, is the wellness area inclusive with its own fireplace.

The stairs are an architecture within the architecture. Concreted in-house, the engineering is being exhausted in all respects. A tender object with minimal dimensions, but tremendous spatial impact. Something that does not allow for competition: Besides the concrete, only subtle, semi-transparent materials are being used, such as Profilit, to separate the guest area, curtains for the bedroom and integrated furniture, like a hanging steel shelf. Every other piece of furniture seems to be integrated into the construction. An unalterable picture, which celebrates only free space.

“Connections of space and view are being held intact marvellously and the room is not being cut into different bodies, but can be experienced perfectly with its impressive height of eight meters.”

At the lower level, the room is connected to two balconies. However, even this façade aligns itself with the carriers of the concrete sculpture in the slant; the balconies look like additional alcoves of the overall concept. They feature a contemplative zen-garden, including a grassy knoll, a tree jasmine and a classic relax-terrace.

About Smartvoll

Smartvoll. It is not merely Phillip Buxbaum and Christian Kircher, Smartvoll is a team of unconventional thinkers and visionaries. Their focus lies unequivocally on the architectonic design process. Having the goal in mind, they always pursue new ways and try out diverging pathways to ultimately surprise with new and extraordinary solutions. No thought should be left unthought when you want to turn a vague starting situation into succinct clarity. The creative freedom during the design process is being completed by a structured realism during the realization. Although, what should never be missing, is an unpretentious environment where one can have fun and laugh.

By Milla Maria


Photo credits: Tobias Colz/Smartvoll

For more information:

Copyright © of Casper & Casper 15.8.2018

V2com press release


Feature by Milla Maria
Founder and Editor in Chief at Casper & Casper

Bonaire – the perfect island escape

Dreaming of a Caribbean getaway? If you’re fortunate enough to get one, then Piet Boon’s Bonaire is THE place to stay. Here’s why.

The Hotel

Bonaire easily combines two of my favourite things in the world – stunning beaches and beautiful design.

This amazing hotel is located in the middle of the Caribbean, on a tiny island of the same name. It’s just a small island hop away from Aruba.

Nestled amongst sprawling lush gardens, each of Bonaire’s eight bespoke villas has been designed and furnished by the iconic Dutch designer, Piet Boon. No two are alike. Each has its own layout and style, but all incorporate natural, sustainable materials and a feeling of openness.

Piet Boon and his team have also specially commissioned the artwork featured in each villa, many of which have been made by local artisans with native materials such as sun-bleached driftwood.

Bonaire’s development came about because Piet had been visiting the tiny island for rest and relaxation for over 25 years thanks to its laidback lifestyle and natural beauty. It made perfect sense then for his next project to be an amazing high-end property for visitors to enjoy in the same place. And so Bonaire was born.

The Man

Piet Boon is a master of many design fields. He has dabbled in designs for cars, wallpaper, furniture and residential projects. Along the way, he’s also worked with some of the world’s most iconic brands such as Bang & Olufsen, Miele and Land Rover.

Take some time to have a browse at  Even if you can’t get there in person, it’s a lovely way to spend an afternoon daydreaming!

Milla Maria ; )

Copyright © of Casper & Casper 5.8.2018


DENFAIR 2018 – Highlights

DENFAIR is on now – and it’s REALLY worth checking out

One of our favourite design expos, DENFAIR is currently running in Melbourne. We make sure we’re there every year as it’s an amazing event featuring some of Australia’s best contemporary art and design professionals.

If you’re in need of a bit of design inspo, or just want to drool over all the fresh up-and-coming brands, products and installations, make sure you head on over. Can’t make it? No fear, we’ve got you covered! Check out our Casper sneak peek into all things DENFAIR …

Denfair 2018: Casper & Casper Highlights from Casper & Casper on Vimeo.

Filmed & Edited by Daniel Leyton
Copyright © of Casper & Casper 16.6.2018



Feature by Milla Maria
Founder and Editor in Chief at Casper & Casper

All things design with Tom Mark Henry Directors

We recently had the pleasure of chatting to Cushla McFadden and Jade Nottage, the directors of Tom Mark Henry, a leading Australian design studio based in Darlinghurst, Sydney. Founded in 2014, the creative team utilise their broad range of skills in interior design, architecture and business to produce inspiring and highly-awarded designs in residential, commercial, retail and hospitality spaces.

In this article, Cushla and Jade share their views about their process, the future of design and the important role women play in the design, building and construction industry. Enjoy!

1. Tom Mark Henry (TMH) has completed some beautiful work. Aesthetically, the designs are elegant and simple yet all different from each other. How do you come up with a design concept for a project?
Cushla: We start by really getting to know the client to understand how we can best help them and produce the best outcome for the project. We ask lots of questions if the client is not sure, and if the client knows what they want, then we listen.

2. Is there a particular process that takes place when doing this?
Cushla: Generally, this takes place in the form of one or two meetings with the client, perhaps in our office or on-site, where we walk through their requirements. We then go away and do our own research and come back to the client with our interpretation of their brief and initial direction for the project to ensure we are on the same page.

3. Has your design style changed over the last few years? If so, how has it evolved?
Cushla: We are constantly learning and evolving, so with each new project comes new insights. We don’t necessarily have a ‘style’ as every project is so unique, but we are continually putting into practice new ways of combining materials, different joinery details and junctions or using new finishes and lighting that we haven’t seen before. I guess we take more risks as we gain more experience.


1888 Certified

4. What is your favourite natural material to work with and why?
Cushla: One of our favourite and most versatile natural materials to work with is stone. There are so many variations and different ways of using it, from classic white Carrara marble to ‘out there’ types of unique marble like Calcutta viola as seen in our project 1888 Certified.

5. How do you handle resistance by clients, especially when you’re passionate about a particular design?
Cushla: We are not precious about our designs. If the client is not happy then ultimately, it is not meeting their brief. We’re only satisfied if the client is thrilled. If there is major resistance, we know we need to come up with something different, rather than pushing a particular design. If there is a little uncertainty about an area we are passionate about, then we will, of course, guide the client in the direction we feel the project should take. It is a constant process of problem-solving to work through every design decision.

6. What has been your favourite TMH project and why?
Cushla: We don’t have a favourite, however, it is always nice when a project is recognised by our peers. Some examples of these are Bondi’s Best, 1888 Certified, Dead Ringer and Bondi Residence.

7. Can you name a few favourite local and international industrial designers that TMH likes to regularly use?
Cushla: We love collaborating with talented joiners and local craftsmen, such as Jonathan West, Alma Lighting, Studio Ham and Articolo. Internationally, we love the work of designers Atelier de Troupe, Allied Maker and Matter Made, all based in New York.

8. Are there any exciting TMH projects on the horizon that you can share with us?
Cushla: We have a very exciting workplace project we are working on, but unfortunately we can’t say much more about that at this stage! We also have lots of retail projects in the works, an underground rustic Italian bar and restaurant and a handful of high-end residential houses and apartments.


Bondi’s Best

9. Where does TMH draw inspiration from?
Cushla: We are inspired by our peers – both locally and internationally – who are making leaps and bounds in the design industry. We also draw inspiration from expanding our environment; travelling, getting out to see suppliers and artists, visiting exhibitions. It is important to get ourselves out of our comfort zone to gain new perspectives and apply these to our designs.

10. Who are your favourite Australian interior designers right now and why?
Jade: There are so many Australian design companies doing beautiful work so it’s hard to pick a favourite! We recently saw Carr Design Group talk about their process designing Jackalope which was so inspiring. That project is amazing. We love every part of it.

11. Who would you love to collaborate with on a project and why?
Jade: We would love to collaborate with Amber Road on a project. They are so creative and do such beautiful work, full of texture and depth. We would love to see how they work and experience their process. We used to work in the same shared office space many moons ago, so perhaps we can make this happen!

12. Is there an international city that inspires some of your design ideas? Why?
Jade: New York City. It’s so full of life and vibrancy. Expression of thought and feeling is everywhere you turn; a never-ending source of inspiration for any creative person.

13. Being women in the building and construction industry is empowering and exciting, but challenging at times too. What parts of the industry would you like to see the change from a female perspective?
Jade: There are parts of the construction industry that require a change to create equality for women. It would be amazing to see more women take leadership roles in construction management and in the building process itself. However, from our perspective, in the interior design world, women are definitely treated as equals and we feel we gain respect from trades and builders because of our skill, rather than it being a gender issue.

14. What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned as a female in the property industry?
Jade: As female designers, we have learnt to back ourselves; our education, ability and hard work. It shouldn’t come down to gender. It should be about the best company/person for the job; a reward for dedication to our craft.

15. Both designers and consumers are becoming more ethically aware. Where do you believe design is heading in the future with relation to this?
Jade: Our entire design team is very ethical; half of us are vegetarian! We believe that an ethical approach to life should be implemented, which of course flows into the design world. Sustainable and ethical design is the way forward we as designers, can lead this by educating people about how beautiful spaces don’t have to leave damaging footprints.

We hope you enjoyed our chat with Jade and Cushla as much as we enjoyed talking to them! Take some time to check out TMH’s gorgeous mood board in our Mood Me page. It focuses on one of their current high-end residential projects. If you’d like to know more about TMH’s work, head over to their website.

Feature by @millamaria8
Edited by Renee Lunder @misnomer_12
Copyright © of Casper & Casper 25.5.2018

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