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Oliver Höglund

Third generation glass artist and co-owner of SOKTAS.

Oliver Höglund has one of the most interesting and creative careers on the Gold Coast. A glass artist and co-owner at SOKTAS, he makes one-of-a-kind glass light fittings that are some of the most beautiful and intricate creations we’ve ever laid eyes on.

We sat down for a chat with Oliver about working with materials at 1100°C and the skills that have been passed down through generations.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
Two years here now, I moved up from Melbourne after spending a year there.

What do you love most about living here?
The climate here is perfect. The nature and beaches here are amazing.

Tell us about your business Soktas…
Soktas came about in 2015. Myself and Ryan (Roberts) had been living in Norway for the past 4 years, coincidentally we were both ready for a big change at that time. Our paths met and led us to combine both his business skills with my glass making experience. We set up the business at the end of that year here in Australia and have been working on it ever since.

You’re a Glass Artist, how did that come about?
My grandfather was a glass designer at Kosta Boda in Sweden and my dad grew up with the craft. He moved to NZ and started his glass company, I learnt the craft through him.

Can you talk a little bit about the glass blowing process…
The transformation of raw materials into glass takes place around 1200 °C. We spend a day loading the glass into the furnace with a combination of raw material and recycled clear glass. The glass is melted down and is ready to be worked with the following day at around 1100 °C. Using tools and techniques dating back to medieval times, we gather molten glass from the furnace. The glass is gathered using steel rods and pipes and can now be blown, shaped and formed. Stainless steel tools and wet wooden blocks are used to shape and form the hot glass. Wet newspaper is also used in the hand to form the glass into its desired shape. The glass will cool down to a solid state and once this happens we can now place the piece into an “annealing oven” which runs at 500 °C. If the glass cools too much it will crack so this is a critical point in the process. The glass will drop in temperature slowly over 30 hours ensuring it won’t crack or break. The newly blown glass has now been emptied from the annealing oven and we cut and polish the areas that were “cracked off” from the steel blowpipes. Using a large grinding wheel and magnetic diamond discs we can work to achieve the desired finish.

What’s unique about the work you guys do at Soktas?
Every piece is made by Ryan and myself and the electrical fittings have been customised for the glass. All the products are one of a kind.

Where can we find your pieces?
soktas.co is where you can find all our pieces, we have a recent project section and a stockist page that will provide a location nearby.

If someone had a dream to become a glass blower, how would they go about that?
There are glass schools and programs out there for anyone at any level, that could be a great start.

What’s the plan for the rest of 2019 for you?
We have a few projects going on, so the plan is to continue making lights here in Currumbin for the rest of the year.

Tell us your favourites on the Coast…
Coffee spot: Iron and Resin
Restaurant for dinner: Balboa Italian
How does your weekend usually look: Usually a swim or a surf and I enjoy spending time outside in nature.

13 reasons locals love Currumbin

Fuel Bakehouse
Fuel Bakehouse

It’s the unassuming seaside suburb quietly making itself known for the hippest coffee haunts and an industrial area that has grown into THE place to be, seemingly overnight.

Because somebody has to do it, we’ve rounded up 13 reasons why locals love Currumbin.

Fuel Bakehouse
Serving up some of the absolute best doughnuts you’ll ever have the pleasure of sampling is Currumbin’s Fuel Bakehouse. With varieties like Nutella, Passionfruit and Salted Caramel to name a few, you won’t be sad if you buy at least four of each. Not only doughnuts though, they also do epic pies, cruffins, croissants, all of the baked goodies and coffee too. Perfection the lot of it.
Where: 44 Currumbin Ck Road, Currumbin Waters

The Salt Mill
A tiny little space directly across from the beach, The Salt Mill is perhaps one of the most beloved cafes there is on the Coast. They do exceptional coffee, takeaway sandwiches packed with goodness, Açai bowls (arguably some of the best around), smoothies, fresh juices, smashed avo, raw treats, everything that is delicious in the world. Buy one of everything then stroll across the road and take in that unrivalled ocean view.
Where: 784 Pacific Parade, Currumbin

Gather Store
Hello homewares. And plants and art and jewellery and clothing. All the things you love and all delightfully arranged in the perfectly styled space that is Gather Store. In case you haven’t been in (WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE), allow us to enlighten you. Owners Jan and Sandy Hogg have carefully curated goods from local artists and craftspeople drawing inspiration from the local creative community. It’s pure gold, go now.
Where: Shop 1, 56 Currumbin Creek Road, Currumbin Waters

Consciously Clean
The newest kid on the block, Consciously Clean is the place to go if you need to stock up on anything and everything eco-friendly in terms of home and body cleaning goods. They have a system where you can bring in your own jar or bottle and fill that with the product of your choice or purchase one there and it’s all very affordable. Not only that though, you can also grab food containers and wraps, drink bottles, pet things and skincare too. It’s a one-stop shop. We love.
Where: 4/42 Currumbin Creek Road, Currumbin

Consciously Clean
Consciously Clean

Portside Coffee
The cry of “best espresso on the Coast” has been heard of Portside Coffee more than once and it’s true, this cool little joint is serving up the goods and not just in the coffee department. There’s also buttery homemade pastries on offer and intimate, friendly neighbourhood vibes galore. It’s the perfect place to get your early morning caffeine fix if you’re planning to explore Currumbin’s newly happening industrial area.
Where: 42 Currumbin Creek Road, Currumbin Waters

Panya Artisan Bakery
The only thing better than the smell of freshly baked bread is the taste of freshly baked bread. Sensory dreams can come true when you visit Panya Artisan Bakery. If you haven’t heard of it, don’t be alarmed, their main jam is supplying your favourite cafes and restaurants, but they do sell limited quantities of baked goodies to the public. Set your alarm for as early as you can handle, it’s well worth the wake up call.
Where: 42 Currumbin Creek Road, Currumbin Waters

Freeman’s Organic Farm
For a complete change of scenery make sure you add Freeman’s to your weekend plans. The farm was established in 1915 and in the 1920’s became the largest commercial banana farm in Australia with over 100 acres of trees. Today, the farm grows all organic produce which you can sample at the I Eight Cake Kitchen via a variety of delicious organic dishes and (more) baked treats.
Where: 618 Tomewin Mountain Road, Currumbin Valley

Dust Temple
All your favourite arty aspects combine at Dust Temple, an ex-warehouse turned gallery, coffee shop and creative community hang. Hosting local, national and international artists, musicians, poets and an in-house ceramicist, leatherworker and silversmith, it’s certainly a place to go if you need to feel creatively inspired. Amp up the happy vibes with a coffee while you’re there.
Where: 54 Currumbin Creek Road, Currumbin

Zipang Japanese
Casual Japanese dining at its absolute finest is what you’ll find at Zipang Japanese. If you’ve not yet had the pleasure, it’s time you did yourself an absolute solid and booked in there to devour one of the best feasts you’ll ever have. They’re open Friday and Saturday nights at the moment and you’ll absolutely need to book ahead because Zipang is very, very popular. For good reason.
Where: 5/31 Currumbin Creek Road, Currumbin

Zipang Japanese
Zipang Japanese

Balter Brewery
You’ve heard about it and if you’ve not yet had the chance to visit, make today the day. Balter is the brainchild of your fave local pro surfers combining two of the things we Gold Coasters love the most, beer and waves. It’s a delightfully decked out space with big old beer vats on display, a sweet mural on the wall and plenty of outdoor spots to sit. Happy days.
Where: 14 Traders Way, Currumbin

Iron & Resin Garage
Primarily a clothing store and coffee shop, Iron and Resin Garage was made for rockers and motorbike riders. The reclaimed industrial space features a famous Sunday session, #onanysunday. Every Sunday from 9am-12pm you and your crew are invited to enjoy great live music from the cream of local musicians and breakfast provided by assorted food trucks.
Where: 6 Stewart Road, Currumbin

Sanctuary Markets
Brimming with all the tasty food stalls, arts and crafts and live music, Sanctuary Markets are held every Friday night at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Oh, there’s a bar too. Whack on your stretchy pants and grab your gang, there’s fun to be had on Friday nights in Currumbin. Obviously check out Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary too for that matter, they’ve got a bird show that’s pretty fun.
Where: Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, 28 Tomewin Street, Currumbin

Parker and Persia
Love all of the vintage things? Us too. Luckily newbie Parker and Persia has us covered with a shop filled with revamped vintage furniture and homewares and some of the most stunning Moroccan rugs we’ve ever seen. Owners Steph and Sam have curated goodies from all over Australia to bring the stunning space to Currumbin. We’re in love.
Where: 2a/42 Currumbin Creek Rd, Currumbin

Words by Kirra Smith

Parker and Persia
Parker and Persia

Currumbin’s sweetest bakery treats migrate south

Fuel Bakehouse
Fuel Bakehouse

There are very few things in life better than sinking your teeth into a soft, sweet donut while sipping on a piping hot cappuccino and gazing out over the sparkly sea. Throw in a short little roadtrip and you’re living your very best life.

It’s a time that’s quite available to us here on the Gold Coast and now more than ever with the recent opening of Fuel Bakehouse 2.0 in the pretty little coastal village that is Cabarita.

Fuel has been around for a little while now, owner Ben Edwards took over the space that was once Currumbin Creek Bakery and brought a whole new way of baking to what is now a thriving foodie precinct in Currumbin. He refitted the entire space and transformed the humble pie into a work of art, quickly amassing a slew of loyal followers.

The pies, made with seven hour slow cooked beef and baked fresh throughout the day are some of the best around and the donuts, all soft and melt-in-your-mouth are renowned across the Coast and featured in the cabinets of many a local café.

Of course, when ones’ baked goods are adored as Fuel Bakehouses’ are, it makes sense to open a new location and that is exactly what they did. They being Ben and his new partner in baked goods Jac (who began as a Store Manager in Currumbin), the dream team you might say.

Back to the topic at hand though. Fuel Bakehouse 2.0 can be found in the Woolies precinct on Tweed Coast Road and just a short stroll to the beach.

Inside you’ll find said fresh baked pies of the seven hour slow-cooked beef variety in flavours like Aussie Bush Pepper (YUM), Chorizo Cheese, Chunky Cheese and Chilli Cheese and Bacon and they are both delicious in ways we can’t even explain and quite the sizeable bite.

There are also the freshest of croissants (regular and chocolate), salted caramel cruffins and semi-sourdough donuts in passionfruit curd, Nutella and salted caramel flavours, the softest, fluffiest cinnamon scrolls you’ve ever sampled, blueberry and pear danishes, you name it, it’s there and it’s AMAZING.

Not only those life-changing sweet treats though you can also indulge in the freshest of salads PLUS delicious takeaway dishes like Bacon and Egg Rolls, Burritos, Smashed Avo on sourdough, CHEESEBURGERS, Steak Sandwiches, all of the things.

Not to mention the perfect accompaniment to every single one of those eats, a smooth delicious coffee blend by the team at Social Espresso.

Grab one of each of those and hot foot it to the ocean and you’re living your very best life, see.

Caba here we come (a lot).

LOCATION: 39-45 Tweed Coast Rd, Cabarita

Words and photos by Kirra Smith

Balboa Italian

Packing punches bigger than Rocky…Balboa Italian, the new kid on the block. Adding to Palm Beach’s already impressive lineup of bucket list eateries. If it’s not the mouth-watering Italian cuisine and the delicious cocktails, it’s at the very least the phenomenal fit-out, the glamorous chandelier or the bright red Vespa that will leave you yelling ADRIANNN…

Firstly, let’s take a minute to appreciate the monumental precision that has gone into creating Balboa’s fit-out. A two storey Italian escape with red brick walls, big open spaces and head turning features. Wrought iron is used as a feature throughout the restaurant and can be seen on the staircase, the custom made shelves (which hold a fine range of liquor)and the exposed beams that seperate the two levels. Traditional Italy meets urban classic, the brick walls, polished concrete floors and big wooden bar framed with wrought iron panelling set the theme.

Balboa’s lower level offers seating both inside and out, and leaves you immersed in the thick of the action. Head upstairs and enjoy a more intimate dining space, with plush velvet lounges, even a private dining area separated by a chained curtain. Then there are the finishing touches, lush greenery, a variety of antique lights, a bright red Vespa that sits on a steel beam above the main entrance and the main head turner, a giant 12 tier chandelier which proudly hangs beside the bar.

If you can manage to keep your gaze focused for a short while, your attention will be drawn to the main event, food!  “insert eye of the tiger here”. They’ve kept the menu simple and embraced the traditional authentic flavours; pizzas, pastas, risottos, antipastos, steak… the essentials. If we’re talking about contenders for the champion belt, it’s going to be a tough fight; Chestnut Gnocchi, black truffle, vegetable essence, sage and Grana Padano VS the Pizza Bianche Pollo, caramelised pears, chicken, fontina, thyme, mozzarella and balsamic. Or the Polpete, house made meatballs, beef, pork, veal, tomato sugo and crostini going head to head with Fiorentina Style T-Bone Steak, Tuscany style potato, confit garlic, rosemary and pan seared tomato.

Rehydrate between rounds with one of Balboa’s delicious cocktails, a glass of local or imported wine or a cold refreshing beer. The attentive wait staff awaiting in the corner with towel in hand ready to make sure you’re well looked after. Finish up the final round, the big K.O, with a homemade dessert… Salted Caramel Panna Cotta anyone?

The gloves are off, Palm Beach home to yet another winner.


Dinner: Wednesday – Monday 6pm – late

Lunch: Friday – Sunday from 12.30pm – 2.30pm

By Amy Merridan

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