The Centro Interpretação is a cultural centre built by architecture studio Spaceworkers inside a nineteen-century schoolhouse in Paredes, Portugal. The purpose of the structure is to provide information to tourists and serve as a venue for exhibitions and educational events. The all-black insertion is comprised of two volumes – an auditorium and an information desk/store, separated by the space in between, also painted black. The shape of the new centre mirrors the geometry of the existing building, creating a dialogue between the two. Architect Rui Dinis explains: We wanted to preserve the identity of the place with our intervention. We didn’t want to lose the shape of the ceiling, so we chose to add a kind of replicating structure. The white creates the atmosphere, the black gives some form and the activities of the space will bring the other colours. Architects built a modern complex, that is respectful of the space it occupies, achieving beautiful synergy between the old and the new. Photography by Fernando Guerra
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Last week, we featured a stunning collection of leather bags by TSATSAS, and I have recently been introduced to another of equal beauty – this time by the Polish clothing accessories brand Slava Varsovia. Slava Varsovia aim to highlight the significance of traditional craftsmanship. Hand-made by local artisans, Slava accessories are designed with passion that rises from a tradition with a modern edge, down to the tiniest detail. Designed by Anna Szydlowska, the Slava accessories features a number of beautifully crafted leather bags, designed with a notable simplicity and very subtle brand logo. The series includes several meticulously crafted shoulder and oversized bags, totes and elegant clutch bags of varying sizes and colours. Photography by Zuza Krajewska
Thin lines and effortless functionality are but two mere elements of Daniel Rybakken’s Ascent table lamp designed for Luceplan. Presented at Euroluce, in Milan 2013, this piece is made from a combination of aluminium and technopolymer and is available in two alternate versions, with or without a standing base. In the base-less option, there exists an anchor bolt. In both options, the lamp is designed to be suitable for larger public spaces as well as domestic use. Disassembled, the elements that comprise the Ascent table lamp are traditionally recognisable. However, its Rybakken’s reinterpretation of its reassembly that is impressive. Mounted on a slender vertical stem, by moving the head along the stem the light intensity goes from being turned off at the bottom position, to gradually ascending to the full light output at the top. This ease of use, and variation in customisation, affords the user the ability to control the light intensity, but also the spread of the light. Daniel Rybakken, based on Norway, has a growing portfolio of work that spreads installation, lighting and illumination experimentations. With a background in Fine Arts and Design, his work spans across both disciplines, pushing boundaries through innovation on both accounts. The...
Designed by Wendell Burnette Architects, The Dialogue House sits well-shaded at the base of Echo Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona with captivating views of the South Mountain and Sierra Estrella Mountain ranges as well as downtown Phoenix . As described by the architects: Two volumes of light – one warm and one cool – one projected to the expansive horizon and one toward the canopy of the desert sky. Inspired by John Van Dyke’s ruminations on the phenomena of desert light specifically “colored air” and “reflected light” in his 1907 book titled The Desert – Further Studies in Natural Appearances. These images by Bill Timmerman capture the most beautiful moments of this house. I love the contrast of the dramatic volumes of the exterior to the subtle, more intricate details of the interiors and finishes. The desert views and light compliment the architecture and complete the experience of a minimalist habitat in such an environment.
A living space where the presence of the family would always be felt. This brief from the client led Keiichi Kiriyama of Airhouse Design Office to design this single family house located in Yoro, Gifu Prefecture, a steel structure that allows an expansive open living space with no columns. Complimenting the open-concept kitchen , dining and living areas specified for the food-loving owners, minimalist details of the interior finishes and exposed structure enable the brightness and uniformity in the very large space. The private spaces of bedrooms and bathrooms are designed within a box-like structure with the children’s bedroom and play area above it. What I am drawn to most about this project is that the architect addresses the needs of the client first and foremost in the living requirements and cost efficiency. Constructed to minimize heat loss and improve insulation especially in the challenging open-concept interiors, it maintains a consistent design aesthetic throughout with a few welcomed surprises in color for the private spaces, giving this family home the spatial experience it wants and the personality it needs. Images and text courtesy of Keiichi Kiriyama of Airhouse Design Office. Photography by Toshiyuki Yano
Bound by a common commitment for a unique but simple style, Barena has developed a bold and wonderfully rich, yet beautifully pared down Spring/Summer line. The firm dates back to 1961, when it was founded from a passion for researching culture, tradition and the world of textiles of the enchanting Venetian lagoon area in Italy. The collection is in fact inspired by the peculiar dress code created and used by the folk who lived in those areas in ancient times, who traditionally wore clothing that was versatile and functional, for they were hunters, fishermen and farmers. Many of the garments in the collection are the reinterpretation of unique pieces found in museums, antique markets or books that portray old images. I love the essence of history, passion and craft that infuse the very brand and all of their attention to detail, construction, and the will to preserve a rich local textile culture. Photography by Tony Piarotto.
Sitio Da Leziria is a former mews located in the highly agricultural region Alcácer do Sal of Portugal, which has now been redesigned into a contemporary residence by the architects Atelier Data. The project conserves the significance of the horse stable typography: the ‘horse path’ as an axis and for circulation; service walls that once provided sustenance for the horses now hold the modern day services of bathrooms and closets – and translates it into with minimalist architectural details and aesthetic. I appreciate Atelier Data’s sensibilities in approaching the project: The conversion of the mews into housing, gave us the opportunity to think about domestic space and also to test the way that people can inhabit again ancient rural areas. This project is the result of the first phase of a wide strategy that aims to revive an old agricultural land, combining new agricultural techniques with a new way of living. I love the fact that they decided to use resistant and affordable materials as well as that fit both the logic of the modern usage of the building and the old mews, preserving the vernacular architecture as well as the details such as inviting the artist João Mouro to create the...
Brazilian photographer and architecture student Vinícius Vitoriano Barbosa, based in São Paulo, has recently created a minimalist photographic paper series titled, Less is More. The whole concept of the project can be summarised in this phrase by legendary abstract expressionist painter Hans Hofmann: The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak. Vitoriano explains that the goal was to find an object as simple as possible that was capable of creating diversity, textures, shadow and light: the essence of photography. The chosen object to achieve this, was paper. Through this simple and commonplace industrialised material, were framed compositions of organic shapes that recall nature. What I particularly like about this project is that it gives the viewer a chance to be in touch with the essence of photography, rather than distract them with the trivial. Vitoriano has produced something really quite beautiful with this series. Less is indeed more.
The vivid city of Los Angeles is interpreted by photographer Nicholas Alan Cope in this photography book titled Whitewash, revealing forms, surfaces and volumes in visually stunning black and white images. His subjects of minimalist urban architecture stand out as an irony to what we typically perceive of the glamorous sprawling city on the surface and draws attention to the fact that much of LA is highly polarized in its demographic, urban planning, lifestyles and culture. As best described by Rick Owens in its forward: Whitewash utilizes the whitest whites, the blackest blacks, and the modern and stark architecture of an idealized future that never arrived to tell the visual story of LA’s uniquely conflicted soul. I really enjoy these images because they evoke an urbanism that appears to have been forgotten. The forms of the architecture are already severe yet when portrayed in black and white, they take on an identity often neglected in utilitarian buildings yet serve its purpose of reminding us of the post war boom of such structures and that there is beauty to be found within them. Whitewash will be available from Powerhouse Books from April of 2013.
The Ridge Road Residence is located on the Mornington Peninsular of Australia, within the Moonah Links golf course. Studio Four developed the design so that it addresses the existing site conditions and promotes environmentally responsible practices in its architecture – the adjacent tea trees that provide shade to the exposed living areas, full-height and completely operable windows for natural ventilation, various water-saving storage features and renewable timber as its main construction material. Above all, its minimalist aesthetic is what appeals to me most. I like how it sits low in elevation with terraced decks created from simple volumes so it blends in with the topography, and that the distinct separation of private vs public is complimented with such beautiful, seamless architectural details and contrast of white and black. Photography by Shannon McGrath.
Today I would like to feature Donata Wenders‘ photography of a world renowned architect Tadao Ando. In her bio Wenders mentions that she doesn’t direct her subjects, instead she observes and looks to showcase genuine expressions, body language, posture and appearance. Wenders develops an intimate communication between her subject and her lenses that is effortlessly passed on to the viewer. Black and white photography has always appealed to me for uncovering details that can sometimes get lost in colors and Wenders’ selective background compliments the architects philosophy of nothingness and empty space.
Designed by typically minimalistic, contemporary-modern Brazilian architect Marcio Kogan and his StudioMK27, Casa Osler is composed primarily by two prismatic volumes in reinforced concrete, glass and wood, positioned in such a way as to leave plenty of open space for a swimming pool and garden. The downstairs prism contains the rooms and living areas, and the upper storey houses a kitchen with a privileged view. The house is fit for its location in Brasilia, with its tiled mural designed by Athos Bulcão, who had long years of collaborating with Brazilian modernist architects such as Oscar Nieyemer and Roberto Burle Marx. Photography by Zuleika de Souza & Claudio Dupas.