Established and evolving artist, Dion Hortsmans is continuing to make leaps and bounds in the world of contemporary sculpture. After a veritable amount of time in the sun; sailing and searching, his feet firmly landed firmly back on soil, before plunging into his sculptural artistic pursuits. With a recent exhibition, Night Rider under his belt, his work has graced audiences in galleries and publications since 1996 across Australia. He notes that to be able to ask, and then to listen and believing in your passion are two of the prized earnings from his process. An idea is a nano-second, the journey is in making the idea, formulating it, working out how to do it, mostly when you’re on that trip you have a gazillion other ideas. Hortsmans has an extensive CV of work, spanning commissions and galleries in Melbourne and Sydney. His work is a combination of lines, embodying movement in still objects and responding to notions of want; a dynamic want. The line work is a geometric explosion of shapes resulting from lines, extrusions and playing with elements of scale. I am biased, but not blindly so, in saying that Hortsmans is a genius and his work a manifestation...
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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.
The brand identity for The Contemporary Austin, a new museum in downtown Austin, is a project by the international design consultancy Pentagram, the result of which I think is wonderful. Like the name, the new identity system is built around a simple wordmark, a sans-serif typographic solution that spells out the museum’s name in upper and lowercase but highlights the “A” in the word Contemporary with a capital letter and a change of color. This capital “A” makes reference to Art and the city of Austin, and the blue color is inspired by the lagoon at Laguna Gloria, tying in nicely with the lighting featured in the building’s facade. The capital “A” can work by itself as a icon for the museum and The Contemporary can and is already being used as a shorthand version of the identity. No doubt, this is extraordinarily clean and simple work with plenty of subtle references.
John Pawson’s latest unveiling; Palmgren House is steadily purest to his collective body of work. Located in Drevviken, Sweden this house engrosses both an enclosed courtyard to the rear and a terrace, to the front. It aligns with the shore of Lake Drevviken and when the lake freezes over, the site is blanketed in snow, and the pale volume is all but invisible. Whether ironic, purposeful or accidental, the selection of the site to align with the minimalist palette of the build is also nothing short of considered; a nod to Pawson if there ever needed to be one. Completed recently in 2013, Palmgren House is uncompromising in its dedication to both the contemporary architecture and minimalist movements. Pawson is minimalism and this much awaited piece fits seamlessly into the collection. The pale tonal palette of white hues, together with textbook minimalist lines brings this house together with the landscape and its context. Like learning a new language effortlessly, Pawson has an ability to educate, excite and inspire through his resulting forms and spaces. The restrained consideration and the seemingly invisible effort in execution all seem to create a sense of calm through space. Palmgren House is a great example...
With the growth of population and the lack of land, Japanese dwellings have become a device that’s made to adapt. Four meters wide, the Shiga based Promenade House by Kouichi Kimura Architects uses its elongated massing to make up for the narrow width. The corridor formed by the proportion is broken up with footlights in response to the light shortage. It then opens up to the backyard fully to mirror the entrance – a poetic visual connection. The minimal exterior of white and grey is brought into the interior, reflected through the white walls and concrete stairs. Wooden floor and furniture accents the otherwise stark ambience. Similar to many Japanese residential projects, the project’s lower and upper floor is linked again by a simple ladder. The hallway above divides into two, with one leading to a green space, literally, that is the washroom. The other leads to the bedroom and the child’s room, accompanied with skylights. The other end of the hallway is also painted green to weave together the front and back. With a small color manipulation and the clever execution of a long space with different widths, Kouichi Kimura Architects was able to create an experience of discovering...
Primary colors: black, white, red, blue, and yellow. Silhouettes: cropped shorts above knee, wide-sleeved t-shirts, tailored trousers, slim-fit shirts, long coats and smart blazers. Sounds simple enough? Not even. Christopher Kane has proven to be a strong contender in contemporary fashion; he likes to experiment and his ventures never disappoint. So why does this description sound so… ordinary? The Scottish designer seems to be on a rampage of prints lately, so this collection was no different. This time, horror characters from his last menswear collection are replaced by fine thin lines of computerized matrix images. Those meshes, or rather landscapes, span across the entire outfits sometimes, giving those looks a head-to-toe complexion. The undulated pattern might be the only element that elevated this presentation, but with the twist of buttoned-up-sleeved button ups, the collection became a little cheekier. By no means is Christopher Kane’s menswear S/S 2014 revolutionary like his womenswear collections, but with the fun take and its extreme wearability, one can’t help but appreciate the simplicity of the forms and the topographic field of contours. Photos Courtesy of Style.com
Low Table is a series of solid wood low tables, created by the Belgian designer Marina Bautier for her own furniture and products brand, MA. After ten years of working in the furniture industry, it felt like the right time for the launch of my own label along with its own retail space. MA is short for ‘Marina’, it coincidentally means ‘the space in between’ in Japanese, a translation fitting well with the brand’s ethos. MA was launched recently, with all product manufacturing taking place in Belgium. What is clear to me from these table designs is the incredible quality and care taken, producing a quite beautiful finish to each piece. I am certainly excited to see how this brand develops.
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The Stripe House is a modest, mixed-use home in the Netherlands. Designed by GAAGA, this three story house is named for the horizontal stripes carved into the facade on three sides of the structure. The groves were hand-carved into the plaster, creating a unique display of craftsmanship. The ground floor of the Stripe House contains an office and patio. The second story houses the kitchen and living space; and the third floor contains the bedrooms. The structure has very few windows, but the windows it has are large and strategically placed. The stripe house is sensibly designed, but not at all short on character. I love the hand-made facade; it gives the exterior of the home a warm, tactile nature. This home is simple and precise, and a lovely example of minimalist living.
Lately I am much more interested in graphic design, so that is why today I bring you another piece of great minimalist rebranding for Norwegian Shipowners’ Association, in this case, a project developed by the Norwegian Neue Design Studio. Norwegian Shipowners Association has around 160 members – shipowners in the tanker and bulk transport sector, short sea sector and offshore activities. We wanted to create an iconic, simple and elegant identity that would communicate NSA’s universe as well as being serious, bold and forward-looking, showing NSA as a competent and global actor. Again I find this to be very effective work, with a great combination of simplicity and symbology, representing the open sea using just two rectangles in different blue tone colors. I hope to discover and share with you similar rebranding works that are just as impressive!
Hidden in the bustle of Brooklyn Heights is the lovely Steele Residence. This chic and modern home was designed by the New York based firm Resolution: 4 Architecture, or RES4 for short. The Steele Residence is a complete gut renovation designed to reflect the personalities of a recently retired couple. The central element of the 1650 square foot home is a utility core made of maple. This core contains the kitchen, mechanical room, and storage. The apartment rotates around this core- the public areas are closest to the core and the private rooms rest along the exterior walls. The manipulated ceiling further seeks to accentuate the apartment’s organization. The ceiling is curved so as to contain the private spaces along the edges and expand the public spaces against the core. The Steele Residence is the definition of modern Brooklyn living! It is a gorgeous renovation in one of Brooklyn’s great neighborhoods. While the aesthetic of this home appears quite minimal, it is not without decoration. Yet each decorative piece has been carefully chosen and placed, allowing the apartment to feel clean and effortless. Overall, the Steele Residence is full of character, comfort, and of course, style.
The sinuous and segmented design of the bridge winds above the valley, along a distance of about 220m. The central takes a path perpendicular to the line of the valley. The other two sections are inflected and oriented towards their anchoring points. The connection between the two points is no longer the shortest distance between them. The tense geometry of its layout interferes with visual orientation and with the perception of dominating heights of “serra da estrela”, on one side, and with the vastness of “cova da beira” on the other. This way the Portuguese architect João Luís Carrilho da Graça describes the Pedestrian Bridge Over The Carpinteira. He developed it with a double curve to increase delicacy of the plain and smart design, being less rectilinear. I also would like to emphasize the continuity of the line horizontal to the two central columns, which makes it more singular for me. The interior deserves a mention too, with a great finish made in a very resistant wood-polymer composite, hiding a smooth illumination at night that you can see through this video.