Slow architecture is a tricky concept to keep itself away from the trend-chasing label; fortunately, naf architect & design took the concept of working without the restraint of a due date, nor any concern for what many would consider common sense to unexpected heights. The Glass House for Diver project is a triple threat: mixing the familiar Japanese sense of reduction, undeniable visual lightness and, finally, one of the most original ideas to instil concrete cubes as part of a residence. Great slow architecture projects have great stories behind them. The source for the charming concrete cubes are local cement factories, but these aren’t common over the counter pieces; each one is the result of excess material, eventually turned into something useful. Consequently, the surrounding area was slowly completed as each piece was delivered. No one said it would be easy to be sustainable. The concrete barrier is visually arresting and dynamic, as it provides privacy to a literal glass house. All the walls carry on with a brave face through the burden of complete and total transparency. This is one concept taken to its limits, as living rooms, bedroom, kitchen and bathrooms get the same treatment. The simplicity is...
The graduate collection of Kingston University fashion design alumnus Shaun Harris, 0,1,2,3,4 is the result of the designer’s in-depth investigation into how to give fashion a fourth dimensional perspective. With Malevich’s painting Lady Torso (1928-29) as a starting point — and with engineering, mathematics and precision as key principles in his design practice — Harris thoroughly investigated not only how Malevich used geometry to visually communicate a play on dimensions, but also frequented quantum physics seminars as part of his factual research into what is contemporarily considered to be 4D. The result is a striking collection that is light in structure and form, using sheer cotton organdie fabric in order to expose all the garments’ elements, with the body as the key piece that holds together the clothes and transports them from 2D to 3D — fulfilling the 4D theory as the mass that structures the 3D object. Photography by Clara Giaminardi Makeup by Kamila Forini Hair by Patrick Forini Model: Caroline at Leni’s Model Management
The long expected World Trade Center transportation hub by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava is due to open later this year in New York. In 2004, Calatrava unveiled his design for the new facility for Lower Manhattan, replacing the original Port Authority Trans-Hudson rail system that was destroyed on September 11, 2001. The design is an expression of Calatrava’s signature skeletal structures. The building — the Oculus — is a free standing structure and creates calmness amid the urban jungle of commercial towers. The Oculus is elliptical shaped and comprised of steel ribs and glass. The soaring articulated ribs create two canopies over the north and south parts of the plaza. I love the dynamic exterior! Calatrava explains: The building is built with steel, glass and light. They will all be equal building materials. The station appears transparent, and also guards you with its wings. The white marble interior looks magnificent. It is light and airy. The steel and glass wings allow daylight to pass through the rail platforms approximately 18 meters below the street. The roof has an operable skylight made of glass panels that will be opened to the elements each September 11. Photography by Tamara Weber.
Building blocks are a toy box staple. They encourage creativity and help develop imagination. Designed by Laurence Calafat for Cinqpoints, a French maker of architectural stationery and toys, Archiblocks is a tremendously beautiful and minimalist construction set of building blocks. The mission of Cinqpoints is to spread contemporary architecture, so Archiblocks is designed to capture modularity, balance and composition, with an intergenerational appeal. The set contains 16 pieces, smooth to touch and with precision-cut edges and angles, made from untreated lime-wood, and then sanded by hand. They are also available in three colours: natural, black and white. Photography courtesy of Ode to Things.
German architecture firm Bruno Fioretti Marquez has completed a grand redesign of the House Gropius. The original House Gropius, designed by renowned Bauhaus architect Walter Gropius, was revolutionary for its time. The simple, geometric forms, large windows, and minimal decor were new architectural features that were thought to define modern living. In 1945, the bombings of WWII destroyed Walter Gropius’s modern masterpiece. After the war, the only part of the home that remained was the basement. This basement provided the foundation for Marquez’s reinterpretation of this important historic structure. The new design draws its cubic form from the original house, yet many details from the original have been retracted or redesigned. The decision to change the design was thoughtful: the architects chose to pay homage to the home’s complete history, destruction and all, rather than build a replica as if nothing had happened. The result is a structure that is a shadow of what it once was. At times the building looks unfinished, damaged, and unfit for occupancy. This unique design interpretation perfectly memorializes the Gropius House and its complicated history.
Newcomer Chun-Tso Liu’s Round Square Teaware collection simplifies the traditional. Based on a nod to the traditional and traditionally adorned and ornate teaware of Tea Ceremonies, this collection attempts to break the mold, literally in some senses, of what traditional and a modern design aesthetic can give birth to. Based out of Taiwan, Liu is an emerging designer who after studying Mechanical Engineering in Taipei decided Industrial Engineering was a clearer and more thoughtfully aligned pathway. His background in engineering, the thinking and processes he brings with him, result in a well-crafted design object. This collection is beautifully minimal, and challenges the user to rethink the way that they would normally engage with the object. Liu is one to watch. Photography courtesy of Koan Design.
Restraint is a very underrated trait for simple projects, especially when taking into account a very fine line to cross and become just a run of the mill modern house. Therefore, what deserves to be considered a minimalist project? Is it the perfect balance of furniture and bareness? The symmetrical touches laid out throughout the residence? Perfect control of adornment? Crosby Studios answers with all of the above, presenting a very charismatic apartment near the centre of Moscow. Looking up you can’t help but see the remnants of past decades on beautiful raw concrete, worthy of note decision. The apartment rests inside a building built on 1900, a 64sqm space adapted for a couple. With clever solutions and divisions, the architects managed to include all aspects of social and daily life infused with utter lightness. The black colour is where restraint was so ingeniously addressed and accounted for, since all the furniture was taken into account from the get go. Harmonising white walls and dark elements was the main visual argument for this apartment, and so to guarantee amplitude, few inclusions were made. It’s inevitable to take notice of the metal and glass doors acting as frontiers between private and...
It is always exciting to find innovative designers off the beaten track. Tiko Paksashvili from Tbilisi, Georgia, is such a designer. Currently working for fashion house Matériel, she created a pure, elegant Autumn/Winter 15/16 collection which radiates a warm, embracing aura. Tiko understands not only the limitations, but also the opportunities that lie in exploring the outline and volume of a silhouette. She skilfully cuts through these outlines by integrating multilayered textures and transparent elements into the outfits. The colour palette is reduced to black, white and natural hues of grey, and there seems to be only one pattern: subtle window check. My personal favourites are the outfits which combine soft winterly padded clothes with transparent layers, creating their very own patterns just by combination.
Based in Melbourne, 11:11 is a studio that specialises in hand-crafted leather goods. With a background in interior design, its two designers incorporate architectural elements into their products to create an experimentation between old and new. When browsing through their online store, I was taken by the beautiful 11:11:01 tote bag. With such a clever and cheeky name, the bag proves to be just as similar — quirky and quite unique. Large bags often have the stigma of being over-designed, but 11:11:01 is a combination of modernity and simplicity. As the founders mention: With a penchant for architectural aesthetics that reflect the creative soul of the city, Studio 11:11 prefers simplicity to perfection. The urban feel is clearly embedded within this bag, especially through the perforated leather strip and brass handle. The polished metal reaffirms the bag’s structure and adds a certain wonder to the already wonderful mass of black leather. Large, minimal, and consistent down to every stitch, 11:11:01 reimagines the definition of a tote bag. Hand made to order, this accessory is a must have for fashion enthusiasts who prefer a personal touch to their purchases. Photography by Nicholas John Wilkins.
The German watch brand Ziiiro is characterised by a simple, minimalistic and futuristic design. Their newest and personal favourite model, Eclipse, has two markers that seem to float above a ring on the dial. One marker is slightly larger than the other, allowing them to pass over each other and for the wearer to differentiate between hours and minutes — achieving minimalist design without compromising function. I like that. Using a patented Swiss Super-LumiNova® pigment on the watch dial and minute hand, the Eclipse watch offers day and night visibility with bright illumination in the dark. Forget the days when you have to look for a light source or dig your pockets for the mobile phone to read the time. This watch glows in the dark with sufficient activation by sunlight or artificial light. Time has never been so extraordinary. The brand complies to futuristic and minimalist principles inspired by the philosophy; zero buttons, zero loose parts, zero numbers. All watches are designed by Robert Dabi from Nuremberg.
CD Poolhouse is a simple yet elegant space designed by Belgian designer Marc Merckx. The structure’s defining feature is its sleek, dark façade. Stretches of straight timber merge with black-framed glass and a metal trellis. The darkened wood continues throughout the interior, along with light gray walls and concrete details. The pool sits directly parallel to its house and is equally beautiful. Green, glassy tiles create a soothing aesthetic reminiscent of an ancient Roman bath. As a bonus, the peaceful water allows for a gratifying reflection of the stunning house and its wooded setting. Black outdoor furnishings blend seamlessly with the poolhouse, while the light interior furniture provides a refreshing juxtaposition to the structure. CD Poolhouse is the perfect design for a refreshing and relaxing getaway.
Agata Bieleń’s collaboration with Mosses Lichen sees the launch of a nature inspired line. The Nature Line Collection is, as the name suggests, mused by nature and the organic and seamless lines that result. Available in a sterling silver finish, all pieces are subtle lines of irregularly shaped geometries for adornment. The feint and light-weightedness of the collection is typical of Bieleń, and her style, and this collection is no exception. This collection sees a launch from her traditional, more rigid geometries and sees her exploring natural materials and fauna as inspiration. Based in Poland, the emphasis is on round and soft forms which opposes her traditional style. Inspired by water lilies floating on the pond surface and spreading aquatic circles, organic and light objects adapt to the part of the female body discreetly emphasizing their shape and beauty. Handcrafted and playing on the cross-over of modernity and natural form, this collection is a beautiful addition. Photography courtesy of Marta Zgierska, Michał Matejko and Mchy Porosty.