Completed in 2000, the simplistic beauty of Takashi Yamaguchi & Associates’ Glass Temple still stands unwavered. Located in Kyoto, Japan at foot of Mount Funayama where the hills are burnt to suggest souls entering paradise, this temple stands as a accompaniment to the existing Reigenko-jj, an imperial temple built by emperor Gomizuni-o in 1638. As a place of worship, the reaction to the site by Takashi Yamaguchi & Associates is one based on working with the flow of time. The architects sought to overlay our own time on the past in a way that would render it distinct. There is an overt and obvious appreciation for the sacred-ness of the site through the still-ness of the materiality and form. There is an obvious quiet-ness imposed also. Purposely sunken into the site, this Glass Temple represents a retreated respect to the existing temple, the site and its spiritual importance. The architects, when visiting the site, commented that they saw clearly how the building had lived and breathed within the flow of time from past to present. The emphasis then became to engage in a built outcome that would also breathe; have a sense of purity and embody an ethereal core. The...
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Featuring a home in Hiroshima, Japan by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP. The Optical Glass house offers a welcoming, tranquil atmosphere rarely seen in such perfect combination with contemporary and minimal interior architecture. I love the simplicity in the execution of materiality, layout, solidity of forms and large scale geometric elements such as the wood storage wall in the main living zone. Color is expressed through the used materials such as warm brown from wood, soft gray from concrete, invigorating green from the central courtyard and beautiful blue from a small pool outside. Soft light penetrates through a reflecting tiled glass, highlighting the carefully curated interior space.
Product Designer Simon Hasan has an exquisite collection of laboratory-grade borosilicate glassware in the form of a bottle, carafe and decanter, all carefully hand crafted and wrapped in leather. I am drawn to the simplicity of the details of this set of Wrap Glassware. The brass pins complete the beautiful sequence of the design, emphasizing the contrast of materials while the use of the leather softens normally sterile-looking objects. I know a space in my living room just for this.
The Moon Glass is a collection of ceramic cups, designed by Seoul based studio Tale. Created specifically for rice wine and sake, this unusual piece reflects phases of the moon. The bottom of the glass is curved in a certain way. This curve, paired with the colour of the beverage, creates the lunar effect. The glass shows a full moon when it’s full of liquid, then as your drink, it slowly unveils a half moon, then a crescent-shaped moon. I love the subtlety of the idea and aesthetically pleasing execution. Aside from the clever moon reference, these cups are simple and unembellished. Moon Glass comes in two sizes and two colours. Designers recommend to use the white version for coloured alcohol and tea.
Graphic designer Alex Lin is the author of the signage and wayfinding of The Glass Pavilion, Japanese design firm SANAA‘s first building in the United States, housing the Toledo Museum of Arts’s entire glass collection. Since the near total of the pavilion’s interior and exterior walls are made of glass, the resulting visual noise for the visitor is extreme. In response to that, two basic rules were developed for all signage: if on the ground, it would be dark gray; everything else would be white. Respectful of SANAA’s well-known understated architecture, Lin’s signage and iconography is a work of subtlety, mindful of its surroundings, light and whimsical.
Organic forms usually feel human and accessible. How far does design migrate from an original concept to find the form that was intended? Architect and designer, Vladimir Kagan is one of the most influential modernist designers of the 20th century. He designed the fiberglass chair sketches in 1950 and did not develop them with Ralph Pucci until 2009. The chair was introduced on October 29th at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York. Vladimir is a modernist. He emphasizes the materials and pure geometrical forms influenced by modern and abstract art. His passion for sculpting is evident. I love the chair asymmetry, the finish, the balance, the lack of detailing. It’s totally non-green… shhhh but I don’t think the design would change as a green design. Ergonomically, sculpturally, materially, and aesthetically exquisite. Simply what minimalist design should be. What’s more sustainable than that?
Rainha House is designed by the Belgium based studio Atelier d’Architecture Bruno Erpicum, or ABBE for short. The small, rectangular structure is home to a family in Portugal. Glass and concrete are the primary materials used in this residence. Polished concrete can feel cold and sterile, but this is not the case with Rainha House. Hardwood floors and well-placed lighting add warmth to the space and balance the coolness of the concrete. The full length glass windows bring in sunlight and connect the home with the natural environment. I love the use of concrete in Rainha House. Exposed concrete is a pure and beautiful material; it elevates this home from a basic structure to a fine work of art. Rainha House is an elegant dwelling perfectly suited to its inhabitants and environment.
Picto wall clock is a minimalist timepiece created by Steen Georg Christensen and Erling Andersen for Rosendahl. Inspired by the Picto watch, this piece features the same rotating dial principle as its predecessor. Hours are marked with a simple dot and minutes by a conventional moving hand. I love bold color combinations – light-grey and pink, dark-grey and lime. The clock also comes in two variations of black and white. There is no glass to catch reflections, leaving your view perfectly clear from any angle.
Iacoli & McAllister’s Frame Coffee Table is a sleek and streamlined example of seamless functionality. The line work of the copper-plated steel base, together with the tempered glass top, make for a crisp furniture addition to any modestly minimal interior space. Seattle-based Iacoli & McAllister acts as a catalyst for a number of understated sculptural pieces. Their site features a number of geometrically inspired pieces that, along with being very much on trend with current aesthetics and styling, are timeless and act as space beautifiers, if you will. The Frame Coffee Table is available in two finishes; natural oiled ash frame and a steel finish also and can be shipped internationally. The Frame Coffee Table would be a timeless additional to any space. Photography courtesy of Iacoli & McAllister.
House in Shimamoto is located in a busy residential neighborhood in Osaka, Japan. Container Design, based in Kobe, Japan, designed the simple home with the goal of connecting the residents with nature while maintaining privacy from near-by neighbors. The home is comprised of three basic materials: steel, glass, and timber. White galvanized steel plates cover the facade, protecting the retreat from the crowded street. On the north side of the home, large glass windows bring in natural light and offer a peak at the mountainous landscape. Timber is used throughout the interior: the ceiling and wall beams are exposed and the floor alternates between a solid and slatted wood pattern. I love the restricted use of materials in this home. The steel, glass, and wood feel complimentary yet still maintain an interesting contrast. House in Shimamoto is a no-fuss home that is sure to please anyone lucky enough to reside there.
Sekino Architects Office brings an absolute celebration of concrete to its combined House + Office structure in Tokyo. Staying true to the aesthetic that has become typified of Japanese architectural form, this structure is one of absolute minimalism. The clean lines and open voids acting as internal courtyards connect spaces through bridges and uninterrupted rail-work. Comprised of reinforced concrete and glass, House + Office sits on a site just over 800 sqm, providing a very generous, particularly for Japanese standards, 550 sqm of internal floor area. Both the House and Office components of this beauty seem to coexist in an effortless harmony. There is also an overt zen-ness to this space and the experience of moving throughout. This is an applauding example of Sekino Architects Office’s consistent discipline and restrained deliberation. Photography courtesy of Hiroyuki Hirai.
Swedish architecture practice Tham & Videgård has taken the traditional gabled house for a modern, minimalist interpretation. Summerhouse Lagnö is constructed with a series of pitched roofs that run the length the site with a rectilinear plan. The more public living space faces the Baltic sea while the private and service areas occupy the area closer to the forest behind it. It is the uninterrupted design language that I find so appealing in this project. The eaves of the roof weave seamlessly into the walls of the exterior concrete finish. At the same time, the interiors receive the continuity of the shape of the roofs. The use of natural cast concrete makes it possible to create the expansive volumes of the interiors, double height rooms and skylights. A pitched frame with a glass canopy provides cover, connects a separate living space and enables a view from the woods to the water which may have inspired the architects to begin with. Summerhouse Lagnö recently won the World Architecture News House of the Year for 2013. Photography by Åke E:son Lindman.