JR Loft is a project located in Brussels, Belgium and was awarded to Nicolas Schuybroek Architects with no specific design architectural qualities in the brief to start with. The original site was a former carpenters’ workshop separated from the adjacent neighbors by a very high separation wall. After obtaining permission to demolish half of the separation wall, the architect took the opportunity to design an extremely large steel framed window over both floors to maximize the amount of light let into the loft. It is the architect’s detailing of the interiors that make this such a beautiful project. The architecture of the loft is expressed within the clean lines of the polished concrete, Carrera marble and reclaimed oak, and the datum of the joints within the materials delicately highlights the contrast of their textures and surfaces – the wood cabinets vs the marble backsplash; the black steel framed shower wall vs the thin edges of the square white tiles etc. Noted by French magazine Architectural Digest in the 2013 Collector Issue as one of the 100 best interior designers, Nicolas Schuybroek had decorated the loft with furniture from Jean Prouvé to Pierre Jeanneret, adding a little mid-century personality to this minimalist loft. Additional...
Minimal. Fundamental. Elemental. Relevant.
With its breathtaking location directly facing Lake Maggiore and the surrounding mountains, this New Concrete House by Wespi de Meuron Architects protrudes stoically on a steep slope while connecting itself to existing and new construction on the same site. The minimalist design in concrete, while simulating the color of natural rock, reflects an organic presence back to the landscape while its volumetric openness exposes the warm oak finish of the millwork and furniture to the exterior. Sunlight pours through these seamless connections of volumes, blurring the lines of where the exterior starts and interior ends. The architect’s implementation of the continuous use of concrete to highlight different experiences within the house is what I love about this project, to say the least. The direction of the concrete slab towards the picture window subtly orients your eye towards the framed landscape while the concrete floor catches the gleaming sunlight and reflects it back up into the space. The calmness of that experience with the view of the mountains and the lake could be considered a cliche by some, yet it is a summer getaway desired by most. Photography by Hannes Henz
G house, a stunning minimalist private residence nestled in Afeka, northwest of Tel Aviv, is the result of the collaboration of Axelrod Architects and Pitsou Kedem Architects whose work may already be familiar among our readers. Their masterful attention to detail reveals itself in the frameless, flushed architecture. The intersecting beams, columns and planes of this project deliver the sunlight in an almost abstract way, penetrating the volumes and reflecting across the glass and walls on the inside. The roof floats over and cantilevers over the structure, providing much needed shade for this home. My favorite part of this project is the narrow, vertical stairwell, the ‘slice’, that faces the street not only serves as egress, but emphasizes the dramatic volume of the interior with the massive height and extensive use of glazing . The back of the house now has a clever way of letting light in. As the architects describe it: The ‘slice’, containing stairs to all floors, is punctuated by a linear skylight and a ribbon window that dramatically illuminates the stairwell. The result is a spectacularly unifying element in what would have simply been the backside of the building. Photography by Amit Geron.
The Australian label Bassike is well known for their structured collections that emulate both minimalism as well as the carefree attitude of beach living. In their Spring Summer 2013 Women’s Campaign, each piece appears well tailored while looking relaxed; chic in the minimal palette and elegant in forms and material. Reputed for using high quality in material and an emphasis on local production, Deborah Sams and Mary-Lou Ryan, the duo behind the label, always design with comfort in mind for both sexes: The beauty of bassike is its appeal to men and women whose easy-going style still requires an element of subtle luxury. Bassike’s very specific aesthetic is influenced by the contrasts of loose australian beach style and the integrity and simplicity of japanese design. Draw-string and dropped-crotch pants have not looked any more stylish on women with Birkenstock sandals. This collection Bassike has taken relaxed luxury to another level.
Building an art workshop on a small site of 27m2 in Mexico City was not the only challenge faced by Frente Arquitectura. Within the constraints of the space, the architects had to design this Mini-Studio to avoid the harsh direct sunlight and heat of the climate. This has resulted in an amazing volume that not only emphasized the double height space but also delivered a sculptural interior that breathed life in its asymmetrical architecture as well as into the quality of the light and shadows throughout the day. With a careful control of perspective and using trapezoidal shapes, vanishing points are emphasized, amplifying the space scale. The beauty of this project is how the fluidity of the architecture balms together so you can’t tell where exactly the wall ends and the ceiling begins, where interior ends and exterior begins. The orthogonal stair rail provides the datum within the space that somewhat lets the voids and angles play off on. It is a sculpture that has a purpose and a workshop I personally wish I could have an opportunity to work in. Mini-Studio won FRENTE Arquitectura the AZ Awards in Toronto for design excellence, the Jury’s Prize as well as the...
Standing out in stark contrast amidst the traditional Japanese architecture in the city of Kanazawa, Takuro Yamamoto Architects designed the White Cave House for a client who wanted multiple external spaces of terraces and courtyards reflected in a minimalist architecture. The monolithic volumes conceal a courtyard with a shallow reflecting pool, a covered garage which is the ‘cave’ connected garage for the client’s multiple cars to the living spaces, designed with functional minimalism. My favorite detail of this project has to be the fact that the experience of a courtyard in a climate with heavy snowfall is a luxury. As described by the architects: We designed Cave unstraight because it prevents passengers outside from seeing through, though it is not closed. By this arrangement, Cave takes a new turn for each part letting in the sunshine while protecting privacy of the courtyard, the terrace, and the internal rooms. Cave also serves as a route to remove snow from the external spaces in winter, otherwise you would be at a loss with a lot of snow in the enclosed courtyard. The accessibility for the garage doubles as a way to remove snow from the courtyard, a clever solution by the architects without compromising...
Developed by LED Enterprise of Japan, Huug is a unique lighting fixture in the shape of an oval with LED illuminants which are only a few millimeters wide so they can be tucked away from the surface of the light, hidden from sight. Currently available in the Sky (ceiling recessed) and Air (ceiling suspended) models, Huug emphasizes the flexibility and potential of using LED in lighting design to illuminate interior spaces. Light source of Huug001 is set at the center of the fixture upwards so that the light is reflected from the oval shaped dish giving the effect of indirect lighting. This is exactly the balance of light and shadow that the Japanese have cherished. What I love about Huug other than its minimal, inconspicuous design, is that the light is developed around the technology to achieve the softness in lighting and shadows for illuminating interior spaces. And that you will not have to change a lightbulb for a really long time. You can follow Huug’s updates on their Facebook page.
The formal proportions and elements of a classically designed church is given a modern, abstract intervention by minimalist architect John Pawson. Moritzkirche, otherwise known as St Mortiz Church has survived multiple traumas of fires, wars and even changes of religion in its nearly 1000 year history in Augsburg, Germany. The abstraction of the Baroque forms is intriguing because the shapes and proportions from the cupola domes to the windows, from the nave to the apse are familiar yet appear the experience is completely different without the decorative religious elements and color. As described by the project architect, Jan Hobel: The work has involved the meticulous paring away of selected elements of the church’s complex fabric and the relocation of certain artefacts to achieve a clearer visual field. The light that enters and reflects within the reinterpretation of this church evokes a pristine, uninterrupted atmosphere that it is inevitable to find the peace that one seeks in a church. Images by Gilbert McCarragher.
Practical. Functional. Minimal. These elements were what inspired Ivania Carpio, the multi-talented force behind Love Aesthetics to develop her own design collection with BlackBlessed‘s Capsule Collection. With a sharp and clean aesthetic, the Pant-Skirt, the Jacket and the Bag, were results of Ivania’s desire to make life work for her that exudes her personal style and lifestyle. What I love about this collection is the intent behind each piece. All the elements are about the everyday life of running after a child, riding a bicycle, getting errands done, or just simply what you bring with you when you leave the house. Having a single bag designed to fit different needs for different occasions sounds more complicated that it actually needs to be and Ivania has a clever, minimalist solution with The Bag and its detachable straps that turns a clutch into a backpack. The silhouette of her collection reminds one of Calvin Klein’s sophistication and Acne’s simple practicality. Yet with the comfort and functional ease of these pieces, Ivania’s personal style of clean and minimal shines through. I, for one, am looking forward to her next collection of such beautiful, functional designs.
Two adjoining houses had been renovated to create this one House in Valencia, Spain by Fran Silvestre Architects. Designed to separate daytime and nighttime activities, public and sleeping areas are located at opposite ends of the site, leaving the services and circulation concealed within the core. The minimal architecture defines and connects the interiors like a sanctuary that draws light into its very linear spaces. The choice of lighting fixtures in this house compliments the strong amount of daylight designed to be let it through the big panels of glass on the exterior. The designers at Fran Silvestre Architects do what they do best in this project which I found by chance while browsing through their stunning portfolio: making minimalism desirable. Photography by Diego Opazo.
Nordic House is a a dry-cleaning company based in San Francisco who employed the branding talents of Anagrama from Mexico to develop the identity of its shop. Emulating Scandinavian design of strong geometric forms and a clean type within the colors of the cool nordic landscape, the result is this strong and minimal identity in all its collateral. It is as if the product, which is your dry-clean goods, will be delivered with the same level of freshness and clarity. I’ve always been a fan of Anagrama’s work. Their designs are often thoughtful and creative and Nordic House is just that: simple and effective.
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.