The House in Goido is a simple, thoughtful structure designed in response to a busy neighborhood in Japan. Designed by Fujiwaramuro Architects, the home consists of four independent structures connected using bridges and patios. These structures are nestled behind tall exterior walls. The walls shield the residents from the street and allow them to focus on the internal happenings in the structure. A central courtyard creates an outdoor environment that is protected from the street. This design is a typical response to the dense urban environment of Japan. I will never tire of seeing smart and effective solutions for urban dwelling. The House in Giodo forges a private, peaceful family life in the middle of a crowded, bustling town. The layout creates both independence and togetherness, while the use of neutral materials allows the small spaces to feel open and airy.
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The lovely Casa da Agudela is located in a sunny, residential area of Portugal. Designed by Rui Cerqueira Barros, this structure first appears as a sleek, dark volume nestled in a busy neighborhood. The facade features an original take on the traditional pitched roof vernacular: the asymmetrical slant forms the ceiling of the uppermost and middle story. These upper floors contain the bedrooms and an office, while the ground floor houses a living room, kitchen, and garage. Casa da Agudela is undeniably modern, yet I love how it still fits in with the more traditional surrounding homes. The facade is gorgeous. I enjoy how the windows are set in a little, as if they were carved from the exterior material. Overall, Rui Cerqueira Barros has designed a beautiful and practical home that is sure to please.
The Takanawa House is a simple concrete form nestled in a busy Tokyo neighborhood. Designed by Hiroyuki Ito of O.F.D.A., the strong exterior of this three-story structure hides an intelligent interior layout. The house is split distinctly in half by a central glazed staircase. The staircase connects the two halves with cantilevered concrete landings. The interior rooms are painted an airy white, and strategically placed courtyards ensure the home receives plenty of natural light. From the outside, the Takanawa House seems like a straightforward design. The thoughtful, playful interior is a secret world hidden within the exterior concrete box. I love the layout of this space: it is both simple and complex, open and protected, light and dark. Much like the staircase that connects the interior forms, each element of this home is connected through a thread of perfectly executed design.
Jasper Morrison designed his iconic Air Chair for production by Magis in 2001. I recently bought a few of these for my new apartment and it surprises me how well the design has held up over the years. Coining—in conjunction with Takashi Okutani—the term ‘super normal’ to describe the kind of work he aims to produce as a designer, these chairs certainly do seem to be nothing special on first (and second) glance, but nonetheless exude an atmosphere of quiet, grace and honesty through their simplicity. One of the first significant pieces of furniture design to apparently use injection blow moulding technology, this chair is crafted from polypropylene with added glass fibre and is stackable. The chair has several variations (the Folding Air-Chair and the Air-Chair with arms) and is accompanied by the Air-Table and the Air TV table.
Today we are featuring a house in Tavira, Portugal by Vitor Vilhena and photographed by Joao Morgado. The house is built around the original old building’s footprint and consists of two parts. Both parts are created through different architectural forms, one with sculpted geometry, the other with systematic, regular geometry but they communicate with a glass hallway. We get only a peek into the interior space but from what we see I like the option of enclosure with sliding doors (shown below). And as always, I enjoy when architecture nestles into the landscape and natural terrain. Not to mention the bonus of surrounding of 400 olive trees!
The beautiful Casa del Acantilado is located on a cliff in Alicante, Spain. Designed by Spanish studio Fran Silvestre Arquitecto, the centerpiece of this residence is an long cantilever that stretches towards the Balearic Sea. One side of the white-washed home is nestled along the cliff, while the other reaches away from the rocky setting. The structure is made from concrete, yet the concrete has been coated in stucco for a sleek, clean look. The living rooms and bedrooms are on the upper story, while the kitchen, pool, and terrace are located on the ground floor. This stunning home celebrates its ideal location, yet it does not seek to merge into it. The monolithic structure manages to appear separate from the site, so that it can be appreciated like a sculpture in a gallery. Yet the sharp edges and bright white color of the home contrast with the surroundings; allowing the rocky landscape to become part of Fran Silvestre Arquitecto’s gorgeous sculpture. I am obsessed with architecture which seeks to blur the boundaries between functional building and artistic object. The Casa del Acantildo is a perfect example of architecture as art.
Honest By is a fashion company conceived and curated by Belgian designer Bruno Pieters with experiences at Martin Margiela, Thimister and Christian Lacroix under his belt. The philosophy behind it is rooted in its transparency behind the operating methods and manufacturing processes of a fashion design company from conception to production. All the information is presented right down to the cost of making the ‘care’ and ‘made in’ labels. Every part of the collaboration process is transparent including the store mark up calculations. In communicating all information regarding a garments production process; Honest by wants to shed light on the questions: where is it made and by whom. Bruno Pieters believes that fashion is a celebration of beauty and that the story behind that celebration can be equally beautiful. Yet it is the clean aesthetic and sharp tailoring that first caught my eye in Pieters’ 2012 collection where the minimalist silhouettes allow the details of the designs to be somewhat androgynous. I really like how the structured forms are juxtaposed by its versatile way of wear and comfortable materials. The responsibly sourced, supplied and produced philosophy is the icing on the cake.
Designers of Building Block, a leather bag company founded by Kimberly and Nancy Wu of Los Angeles, reflect timelessness in their S/S 2013 collection. The construction of the bags of leather and their accessories are honest and simple, yet they look like they’re built to last. Its focus moves freely in between luxury and industrial design where utilitarian materials and processes translate into minimalist forms. With the intent of magnifying essentials and editing out excess, Building Block finds continual inspiration in returning back to square one Whether it is in the Business, Rectangle or Dice style, what is really appealing to me besides the minimalism is the versatility of looking formal and professional while being relaxed at the same time.
Sarah Böttger, a Wiesbaden born industrial designer is fascinated by simple and easy things which are thus out of the ordinary. Her most recent design is the multifunctional wardrobe Skale. Comprised of coated metal and measuring 85cm x 155cm, Böttger describes the design: Skale can be what you make of it – a wardrobe, side table, shoe shelf or simply to display your favourite outfit. Its form is based on a collage of one original shape that has been multiplied, scaled and nested into one another. All shapes are connected to each other and thus form a stable structure. The result is a harmonious acting helper for those who like order. Although this design may not be for everyone’s everyday storage, I really enjoy the use of a single shape throughout the design.
Nestled alongside an undesirable industrial yard in Japan lies the tiny House of Trough. The unattractive surroundings inspired the home’s architect, Jun Igarashi, to focus the attention of the inhabitants inward, on the home itself. Igarashi used a series of platforms, catwalks, and sheer curtains to divide the relatively open floor plan into separate living areas. The main living area, bordered by two catwalks, lies appropriately at the center of the home. Accessible by ladders, the catwalks lead to the bedrooms and other utility areas. The home has no outside space, but the changes in height and unique spaces of the home create a stunning interior landscape. The House of Trough is a home defined by space. Open space. I love how the architect created such a dynamic environment using minimal materials and room dividers. I am a huge fan of the many platforms and catwalks. They are so beautiful, but I hope the inhabitants have a strong sense of spatial awareness so they don’t fall off! Overall, this is a unique project which exhibits an elegant use of open space.
Guimeràicinca studio has designed Plec for the Spanish lighting company Estiluz. Plec is a simple and subtle wall sconce measuring just 234x209x91 mm, which provides a soft, indirect light. The Plec design is made from single piece of cast aluminium and is available in a number of different finishes: aluminium, white matte and sand. I honestly love this kind of object, made using only a sheet of material folded in a beautifully creative way. Furthermore, Guimeràicinca has successfully combined functionality with elegance, resulting in a very impressive product.
Nested in the historical center of Vacallo, a small village with 3.000 inhabitants in the Italian-bordering side of the Swiss frontier, this building renovation was designed by Swiss-based architecture studio Studio Inches Architettura. Originally an agricultural village, in the 20th century Vacallo became a residential area and the 17th century constructions in the historical center became protected by the government, a condition that imposes a series of restrictions for any architectural intervention. Initially a storage barn for the farmers, it came to house 6 families and then had the ground floor converted into the headquarters of a local political party. The renovation project respects the rigid swiss laws that impede any alterations to the façade openings nor the ceiling structure. The interior, however, was completely gutted in order to maximize the small area of 30 sq. meters, a feat greatly aided by the double-height atrium in the ground floor. I love how the cast concrete slab complements the pure white of the interior walls and floors, brightened beautifully by all the greenery, and how the many openings pour light into this small 6m x 6m space! Photography by Tonatiuh Ambrosetti, Daniela Droz.