The beauty that is so obvious in this Parisian apartment is in the stark contrast of the use and proportion of the stone designed within a space that uses minimal details. P Apartment by Claudio Silvestrin Architects while resembling a monastery at first glance, is more like an art gallery when taken for a closer look. Every piece of furniture is custom designed by Claudio Silvestrin except for a Wegner Chair. From the 13m long cast bronze kitchen bar to the flushed mounted wall television, these architectural details have been beautifully positioned and installed. And every view from the penthouse apartment is intentionally designed to frame the amazing Paris skyline. Its contrast from the usual highly decorative Parisian architecture and from the busy city is perhaps a much welcomed escape. Photos by James Morris.
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The San Paolo Parish by Fuksas Architetto, completed in 2009, is a carefully articulated play with volumes. In concept, the main space is a box suspended within a box. It’s a play of intersecting regulated shapes, strategically placed, with emphasis on the void. The relief between volumes is therefore where the natural light enters the structure, allowing for shards of light to move through the spaces over time. Light enters both horizontally and vertically through the space. Emphasising the play with nature and built elements. Located in Foligno, Italy, the San Paolo Parish was initially conceived for a competition, which was won in 2001. The jury cited that the design was a sign of innovation that met the latest international research, becoming a symbol of rebirth for the city after the earthquake. Also therefore capturing the essence of what the spiritual and meditative space is intended to embody. This project features the use of pure geometries and natural day-lighting that create a spiritual connection with the heaven. Comprised predominantly of concrete, glass and metal, the series of regulated shapes that comprise the San Paolo Parish complex is beautiful. The lines are consistent, beautifully executed and each element is carefully curated....
French architects Emmanuel Combarel and Dominique Marrec Architects (ECDM) completed a sanctuary for children within this beautifully constructed building located in the busy city of Paris. The designers address the social needs of the users of a day care especially as well as the constraints of the small site being shadowed by a much taller adjacent building. Interior and exterior access for the users are carefully thought out within the site through a series of paths and terraces so children can get to and play safely with convenient supervision. The outdoor space is oriented to get the most amount of sunlight while it inhabits a site with much taller buildings nearby. Windows of varying heights provide views from the clean, minimal interiors. The undulating exterior pre-fabricated concrete curtain wall, being the most interesting feature of the building, evokes a protective layer in the program, both for the children and the architecture itself against the weather and elements of urban life. What I respect most about this project is the relationship the architects have given it with regards to the other buildings. The windows are of similar sizes, the panels are in proportion to the facades of its neighbors and the 2-storied...
This beautiful piece of modern architecture was recently finished by Vicens + Ramos architect bureau. The church graces a new and largely undeveloped residential area in Cordoba, Spain. The building’s innovative structure is comprised of a single prism and a tall short facade. The facade is combined with the bell-tower and skylight – the components that are usually separated in historical church architecture. The prism, made from white concrete, has a fluted base able to let in horizontal light. The interior of the church is minimal and unembelished. It is designed to accentuate the focal points of the composition, namely the altar area and the roof paintings. The light, coming from the skylight and skillfully directed by the curved shape of the ceiling, completes and unifies the space. Photography courtesy of Vicens + Ramos
Though not the most minimalist posters out there, the reduction of the two cities into one poster series, Paris versus New York, by Vahram Muratyan, cofounder of ViiiZ, really hits the spot. Muratyan puts it most elegantly: A visual but friendly match between those two cities seen by a lover of Paris wandering through New York’s infinite details, clichés and contradictions : this way, please. Something that I know I’d love to receive for a Christmas gift this year!
Sydney based menswear label Song for the Mute unites Parisian-born, Italian-trained fashion designer Lyna Ty and graphic artist Melvin Tanaya under its wings. Coming from these two different angles, it seems to be the fabric’s surface which initially brings the two creatives together and inspires the work on any new collection: In essence, the label is a symphonic poem of tactile expectations and contemporary dreams. Visiting the flagship store of Song for the Mute in Sydney, I am not only awed by the impeccable fit and the cutting edge use of fabrics, but also by the all-round perfect and inviting set up of the label’s branding, the most friendly staff imaginable, and an open and honest interior design. And although it is definitely a menswear undertaking, there are more than a few pieces in the current collection I would love to wear myself. So I am very much looking forward to the upcoming online shop opening.
Renowned Lunetier Lionel Sonkes whose store on a small street in Brussels had commissioned Nicolas Schuybroek Architects with Marc Merckx Interiors to completely refurbish and rethink the existing shop, atelier and facade, in a warm, minimal and elegant volume. For over 20 years, Sonkes has been selling imported high-end glasses as well as custom made ones. Recognized as the Belgian equivalent of Maison Bonnet in Paris, the retail architecture by the design team had to reflect that reputation. What this optical store lacked in physical footprint was made up in its luxurious interiors. All the custom-made furniture and simple facade was designed with respect to the sleek minimalist character of the store. What I love most about this project is that instead of displaying an overwhelming variety of product, Sonkes Lunetterie has let the interior architecture speak for the atelier. The best examples executed here are the subtle volumes for merchandising, beautifully designed into wall niches, black metal framed vitrines and Carrara marble pedestals. The grey veins of the marble compliment the grey/white brushed oak wall panels and chevron-laid reclaimed oak floors, tying into the overall elegant and minimal architecture. Photography by ©CAFEINE/Thomas De Bruyne for NSArchitects and images courtesy of Nicolas Schuybroek Architects.
Most minimalist lighting projects shun wires, treat them like an eyesore that should be hidden from view. Paris based designer Arik Levi embraced the enemy and made it a focal point of his pendant light collection Wireflow for the Spanish brand Vibia. These lights consist of thin extra long metal rods with the LED fixtures on its ends. These long wires can create various two- and three-dimensional geometric shapes. I love how sculpturesque these lamps are. Who would have thought that a simple thread of metal and a light could create such powerful presence in a room. The Wireflow collection has won the Wallpaper Design Award 2014 as the Best Line Work.
Accessories have become such an important element in everyday’s fashion. With the constant rush of life, their flexibility also has transformed over time. Having that idea in mind, Paris-based industrial designer Isabelle Bois collaborated with & Other Stories, a womenswear fashion company founded in Sweden, to generate a capsule collection of bags, pouches, and cases. Made from vegetable leather, these products vary in sizes to offer a wide range of usage — from business meetings to casual rendez-vous and formal dinner parties. Being minimal in appearance with natural colors like peach, nude, and black, those factors create a versatility to these accessories when one has many occasions with little time. As a fashion enthusiast, I love the oversized portfolio-like pouches. Others might see them as a bulky addition to an outfit, but I view them as a way to create a character to the wearer. They compose a certain boldness that is not overpowering, but rather both artistic and professional. Photo Courtesy of & Other Stories and Glamour
It is a very special thing to be invited by the highly reputable Le Chambre Syndical de La Haute Couture to present a collection during couture week in Paris. It must feel even more special to be the first designer to do so with a complete unisex collection. The talented man who received this honor was Jordan born fashion designer Rad Hourani. After relocating from Montreal to Paris in 2006, he established his namesake haute couture collection and a ready to wear line named RAD by Rad Hourani. Both lines focus on a luxurious but stark look, cut in razor-sharp precision. They are asexual, aseasonal, they come from no place, no time, no tradition, yet they could be at home anywhere, anytime. They exude a sense of discreet chic, the essence of timeless style, drawn on a monochromatic and graphical canvas. On the occasion of the brand’s 5th anniversary, Montreal based art center phi. invited Rad Hourani to curate an interdisciplinary show presenting the designers work in the context of his inspirations. The doors will open today. If you are in the area, don’t miss it.
Berlin based studio The Medley Institute is found and led by fashion designer Jana Patz. Since 2010 she has developed a constantly growing variety of sculptural but filigree accessories and bags, which she presents at Paris Fashion Week. She finds her inspiration in materials untypical for fashion, such as wood or porcelain. Her main aim is to make these materials correspond to the wearer and the surroundings. That is why – she claims – communication and conversation are the basis for all her work: There will be new ways of reflection and unexpected suggestions for wearable objects, accessories and pieces of jewellery. That is how the design will get to be a stunning single piece in an outfit and there will be a chance of a fusion between body, textile and object. The brand name incorporates these ideas perfectly. Besides the concept, I am very taken by the fundamental clarity and powerful appearance of pieces which are visually very subtle. The latest collection, Fold & Pleat, is a mix of pure and elegant leather bags accompanied by a selection of various accessories shaped by a clear geometric rhythm. A rhythm you can easily tune in to. Photography by Patrick Houi
Overall, Fashion Month was very disappointing. However, perhaps the fall of big houses give rise to smaller brands, such as Cédric Charlier. Rather new to Paris Fashion week, the Belgian designer’s collections have been solid, with evidence of impact from his two years workmanship under Michael Kors for Céline. His runway for Spring Summer 2014 might not be minimal or even sophisticated, but the clothes completely contrast this. With Eastern inspirations, very clean cut garments were sent out, primarily in black, white, and navy. The hanging belts seem extraneous sometimes, but subtle elements like the black elastic blazer holder in look 10, with a starch white base, grab my interest. The trend for this season seem to be sheer blocking, and this can again be seen through the striped dresses toward mid-show. I especially love the sequin dresses at the finale, due to their ironic image. Here, they are matte, mute, and modest – a perfect way to leave the audience wanting more. The collection only consists of 30 looks and I must give praise to Cédric Charlier for the ability to edit. Some can argue that he didn’t have enough people or budget to curate 70 looks at once...