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Aziza means India’s finest

09 Feb 2012

Aziza means India’s finest Image

The word “aziza” has several meanings.


In Arabic, it is “cherished”, in Egyptian it is “precious”, in some African dialects it means “respected”, and in India it refers to a “good friend”.

They all aptly describe the staff and the remarkable Indian furnishings on sale at Aziza Designs, in South Melbourne.

Business partners Jo and Gil Tucker (of Cop Shop fame!) and Lulu Extonpery describe their products, as “a textural feast of opulent, hand-picked furniture with symbolic elements”.

Antique timber doors, marble wall pieces and ornaments, intricate timber chests and jewellery boxes, brass pots and fixtures, the list goes on – and all are hand crafted.

Most are sourced from Rajasthan, in north-west India, where Ms Extonpery lived for eight years until recently returning to Melbourne. Another partner, Salim, heads their production team there.

“Lulu has the expertise to source the special, individual pieces, and to develop relationships with the individual crafts people,” Mrs Tucker said.“We support the grassroots, crafts people and artisans.”

Ms Extonpery added: “As well as goods perfect for apartment living, we cater to interior designers and architectural designers, and we are able to custom make any stone or marble product.”

“We have beautiful, hand-carved granite leaves about two metres high, which are ideal for a garden, a foyer or a hotel entrance.”

Mrs Tucker said: “Our incoming shipment includes textiles and jewellery.”

A beautifully-carved wall, with a door and windows is from early 18th century Rajasthan. Signed, limited-edition prints by noted Melbourne artist John Baird would be at home on any Southbank apartment wall.

Mrs Tucker points out intricately-latticed jaali (windows) dating back to the Mogul Empire (1400s–1800s). Antique rosewood and teak doors, with brass and iron fixtures, are circa 18th century southern India.

Large antique brass cooking pots, called uruli, “would be perfect for floating candles, or as a fire pot on an apartment balcony,” Mrs Tucker says.

“We have collectible antiques called monstas, that were once in a Portuguese Catholic church in southern India.”

The store also has contemporary furnishings, such as decorative, metal hanging-lights and industrial-type, iron furniture.

Aziza Designs is at 282 Coventry St, South Melbourne, ph 9699 4664, www.azizadesigns.com.au

Community comes first at La Camera

There is no problem with the acoustics at La Camera restaurant, nestled near Hamer Hall at Southgate.

Manager Paul Scidone and his assistant, Renee, host an Acoustic Community Night on Monday, February 27, which Mr Scidone describes as “a perfect meet-and-greet night for local residents”.

“The first time we held it we had 20 people,” he says. “It has grown to be a huge night.”

“La Camera has a keen sense of community spirit. Our Monday Community Nights keep us well connected with local residents.”

La Camera has a Community Night every Monday, with a special theme on the last Monday of each month.

March 26 is Opera Challenge, “which is the most popular”, Renee said.

The other community nights are April 30 Jazz and Shiraz; May 28 Pianist (“He has the reputation for being a fabulous entertainer and it is our fifth birthday,” Renee said); July 30 Classical String Trio; August 27 Acoustic Night; September 24 Jazz and Shiraz; October 29 Opera Challenge; November 26 End of Year Party.

Southgate residents and La Camera members receive a 25 per cent discount on their food bill up to $75 on every Monday night except Opera Challenge. Membership is available at La Camera’s website, www.lacamerasouthgate.com.

“We give our members a monthly special, and we’ll double the offer for anyone who joins us on Facebook in February.

“We have over 12,000 members on our website, who see our regular newsletter.

The major sponsors of the community nights are Central Equity, Angoves Wines and Coca Cola, and MICM provides prizes. This month’s sponsor is Southgate Pharmacy.

Mr Scidone says La Camera is well positioned, on the mid-level above Southgate Food Court.

“Southgate has gone through the hardest part with all the renovations and once Hamer Hall reopens in July, it will be a fantastic place again,” he said.

“The location is second to none. There are now new shops as well as the popular restaurants.”

“La Camera has been here for 10 years and is one of  Melbourne’s most popular restaurants.

“La Camera is Italian for ‘the room’ and we want to be your home away from home, always friendly and with great value meals.”

“Try our Full Monty brekky – it’s with everything, for just $8.90. We also have a lunch special: $12 for pasta or risotto with a glass of wine.”

“Our most popular item is the Roman-style pizzas, which are thin crusted but very large.”

Pop into La Camera this month to receive a VIP card. Phone 9699 3600, www.lacamerasouthgate.com

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