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Ladies of Leisure Up The Ante With Their Impressive New HQ

Creative People

International Women’s Day is an opportunity to recognise extraordinary women around the world, and today we introduce two extraordinary ladies in our very own back-yard – one of them, actually, from within The Design Files team!

If you’ve ever wanted to feel like a room is giving you an empowering hug – Sally Tabart and Savannah Anand-Sobti have created the space for you. The women behind of Ladies of Leisure (LOL) creative collective have opened their very own ‘LOL Space’ to host an ongoing series of workshops and events led by inspiring and resilient women, from all walks of life. 

8th March, 2019

The warm and inviting workshop are in LOL Space! Interior design by Pip Newell of Curated Spaces. Flowers by Hattie Molloy. Planter by Lightly. Wall colour is Salmon Slice by Dulux. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Savannah Anand-Sobti.

Savannah Anand-Sobti and Sally Tabart, the women by Ladies of Leisure collective! Interior design by Pip Newell of Curated Spaces.Flowers by Hattie Molloy. Planter by Lightly. Wall colour is Salmon Slice by Dulux. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Savannah Anand-Sobti.

The majority of the furnishings in the LOL Space were sourced secondhand. The chairs came from Gumtree, the table from eBay, and the cylindrical table legs were made by Sav’s partner! Interior design by Pip Newell of Curated Spaces.Flowers by Hattie Molloy. Planter by Lightly.  Wall colour is Hypnotic Sea by Dulux. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Savannah Anand-Sobti.

Looking from the workshop area into the co-working studio. Interior design by Pip Newell of Curated Spaces.Wall colours are Salmon Slice and Hypnotic Sea by Dulux. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Savannah Anand-Sobti.

‘I learned from Pip that with bit of effort, you can make something look brand new again and it’ll look and feel so special because of that!’ Sav says. Tall glass vase from Jardan. Small glass vase sourced from the op shop. Wall colour is Salmon Slice by Dulux. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Savannah Anand-Sobti.

Ottomans from Kmart and purchased secondhand, reupholstered by Reioni Douglas of Upholstrei. Interior design by Pip Newell of Curated Spaces. Wall colour is Salmon Slice by Dulux. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Savannah Anand-Sobti.

The workshops in LOL Space are designed to aid personal and professional development. Wall colour is Hypnotic Sea by Dulux. Interior design by Pip Newell of Curated Spaces. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Savannah Anand-Sobti.

A corner of the workshop area, affectionately known as the ‘womb room’! Flowers by Hattie Molloy. Planter by Lightly. Interior design by Pip Newell of Curated Spaces. Wall colour is Salmon Slice by Dulux. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Savannah Anand-Sobti.

Flowers by Hattie Molloy. Planters by Lightly. Side tables and lamp sourced secondhand. Interior design by Pip Newell of Curated Spaces. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Savannah Anand-Sobti.

Glass objects sourced at the op-shop down the road from LOL Space. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Savannah Anand-Sobti.

Sally explains that the vision of LOL is to empower women and female identifying people to ‘know they can make a difference, and encourage understanding and empathy.’ Flowers by Hattie Molloy. Interior design by Pip Newell of Curated Spaces. Planter by Lightly. Wall colour is Hypnotic Sea by Dulux. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Savannah Anand-Sobti.

Miriam McGarry
Friday 8th March 2019

Ladies of Leisure (LOL) began six years ago as an indie publication, when Sally Tabart (yes, our gal Sal!) and Savannah Anand-Sobti met through a mutual friend, and bonded over a shared desire to celebrate and promote the powerful and impressive women in their lives. Sally explains, ‘Sav already had the idea for LOL when we met, but quickly realised that she was going to need some help’. After meeting once, Sav reached out to Sal and a collaboration was formed – Sally would oversee all written content for the magazine, whilst Savannah would focus on the visuals.

From here, LOL was born – and three publications, four workshop series, two films and events with the NGV, ACCA and Emerging Writers Festival later, they’ve decided to up the ante. Not content to rest on their laurels, in 2019 LOL has now launched an IRL space, to host their sell-out workshops!

The pair reached out to their friend, stylist and secondhand furniture seller Pip Newell of Curated Spaces, to come up with a creative concept for their new physical environment. ‘Pip is an expert at creating warm, welcoming environments,’ Sal says of her friend and former housemate, ‘she brings a special energy to every room she touches!’.

The team collectively imagined their ideal studio as an open-minded, safe and inclusive space, and Pip and Sav set about gathering references to bring their ambitious plan to life. One of the things Pip encouraged was to go ALL OUT with colour – ‘if you’re going to do it, you may as well go hard!’ Sav shares of Pip’s advice. A peachy cocoon room (affectionately known as the ‘Womb Room’) adjoins a rich teal green space, used as a workshop area and co-working studio respectively.

Incredibly, most of the space has been furnished with items from Gumtree or eBay that have been refurbished by the team and their friends. ‘I would say 85% of the furniture in the space is secondhand,’ Sav says, ‘I learned from Pip that with bit of effort, you can make something look brand new again and it’ll look and feel so special because of that!’.

A whole army of friends has pitched in to make LOL Space what it is today. Reioni Douglas of Upholstrei recovered all the secondhand ottomans and old church pews that line the space, Sav’s partner Joey Rizzuto handcrafted the cylindrical legs on a secondhand table in the studio area, and LOL’s long-term graphic designers Play On Play have been responsible for all the branding.

LOL Space is home to weekly workshops and discussions, designed to support personal and professional development. Upcoming events include Word Up!, an open discussion led by Sabina McKenna breaking down the new social and political vocabulary used every day, and Beth Wilkinson of Lindsay magazine as part of the This Is How We Do It series, which explores the inner workings of local creative businesses and how they get it done! Another popular event is the unique Friendship Speed Dating workshop, where attendees come together for a rapid-fire friend making session. New best friend alert!

Sally explains that the vision of LOL is to empower women and female identifying people to ‘know they can make a difference, and encourage understanding and empathy.’ On International Women’s Day, she notes that it is particularly important to recognise the people whose ‘voices a have been silenced and have not had the opportunity to tell their story.’ Ladies of Leisure is committed to harnessing the power of empowered women, and drawing upon that strength ‘to support marginalised people in our communities.’ That’s what it’s all about!

LOL Space (open for workshops only)
451 Brunswick Street
Fitzroy, Melbourne

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net