Featuring a home in Hiroshima, Japan by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP. The Optical Glass house offers a welcoming, tranquil atmosphere rarely seen in such perfect combination with contemporary and minimal interior architecture. I love the simplicity in the execution of materiality, layout, solidity of forms and large scale geometric elements such as the wood storage wall in the main living zone. Color is expressed through the used materials such as warm brown from wood, soft gray from concrete, invigorating green from the central courtyard and beautiful blue from a small pool outside. Soft light penetrates through a reflecting tiled glass, highlighting the carefully curated interior space.
Strong ideas, less distraction.
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!
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.
The Soldati House by Victor Vasilev is located in Carrara, Italy. It is a family home covering 530 sq.m over three floors. The owners wished for ultramodern and Milanese look but with contemporary domestic environment where function was not left behind. The featured element of square volumes is highly visible throughout: the geometry of a fireplace, sunken floor, art, bedroom furniture etc. The ceiling’s lighting is also incorporated as if to enrich the concept even further. A special treat built for the family is a private spa area with sauna, a large tub and a massage zone. Travertine marble and Indonesian teak were used as primary materials through which a level of easy elegance is translated. I love that the photographs shown were taken two years after the project was completed, providing us with a hint of lasting ultramodern effect the family desired.
Designed in Japan in 2008 by Shinichiro Ogata of SIMPLICITY. Wasara is made out of 100% tree-free renewable materials (sugar cane fiber, bamboo, and reed pulp) and all Wasara products are biodegradable and compostable. The pieces are usable for both cold and hot food and are also oil and water resistant. They are extremely pleasant to touch and equally feel solid during use. Their soft, simple lines embody elegance and speak the language of minimal design. Here, the notion of paper plate is taken to a new level. I love the aesthetic pleasing sensibility of serving meals on visually engaging piece.
Today I would like to highlight a fashion editorial featuring Andrea Klarin for Pierre Cardin and photographed by Paul & Jo Figaro. We have seen editorials captured in gorgeous settings before but this particular one is a perfect blend of fashion and architecture. As a viewer I am equally intrigued by the clothes and the background. Paul & Jo Figaro are telling the whole story, without overselling either. The architecture is outstanding in its fluidity and almost futuristic essence. The curvaceous geometry is soft and elegant and Andrea Klarin’s poses are confident but vulnerable. I love how each scene allows for my own imagination of what lays beyond the camera lenses.
Lately I have been slightly obsessed with the work of photographer James Silverman. His ability to capture spatial qualities and light conditions of stunning homes around the world is endless. Today I would like to go back in time a little, featuring project from 2006 and designed by one of my all time favorite architects, Isay Weinfeld. Casa Iporanga is located in Iporanga, Brazil. Sophisticated layout and elegant use of materials seamlessly translate to incredible ease of living. Every room is connected to the outdoors, maximizing not only ventilation but also the luxury of such stunning environment. Weinfeld does his magic in carving out special zones within the property, combining envy-worthy luxury with casual settings where the comfort of living presents itself just the way it should be.
Featuring the freshly updated Muriel Grateau Gallery in Paris, France. Part gallery, part boutique it is place where contrasts play nice next to each other. Simplicity in the most-tested form provides solid background for colorful objects in vivid tones Grateu is famous for. Visitors are welcome to absorb the display of extremely well-curated objects and one can not help to notice the overall sophistication and elegance of the space. White resin, stones covered with white powdered paint, white lacquered steel plate and LED lighting were used to create the ethereal 140 square-meter space. Designed objects are clearly the focal point in Murel Grateau’s vision of the space and yet she managed to intrigue me enough to wish to personally experience the overall essence of the gallery’s environment.
Featuring Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa in Torres del Paine, Chile. The award-winning hotel is immersed in the landscape and emerges from the hillside, with views of the Torres del Paine National Park, declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1978. The architecture and interiors maximize the use of wood which exudes warmth, safety and protection. The hotel is like a cozy hideaway in contrast to the wide open landscape and one can only imagine the evenings spent in the different spaces within the hotel which are casual and friendly, supporting guests’ interactions as well as providing private zones for relaxing time and admiring the views. Furnishings and textiles were hand made by Chilean craftspeople, using natural materials from the region, high quality workmanship and inspiration from the surrounding estancias as well as the influence of the native Tehuelche people. The use of wood in such a large scale might feel excessive for some but I love the dedicated commitment to the primary material which deepens the connection to the outdoors environment.
The Fealdbalz House, 2,900 square foot tri-level family home (also referred to as a sculpture) overlooking the Lake of Zurich, Switzerland was built by Gus Wustemann Architects and was created to accommodate both the private as well as public life of its occupants. The upper level was set-up for parents, while the lowest level, opened to the outdoor patio and garden, belongs to the children. With easy access to the garden and the pool, it becomes the playing, active area. In between these two levels, the center of the house contains the family life, where everybody meets and circulates. The main living area is connected to the garden with concrete stairs, a perfect place to admire the view. The architects wanted to satisfy desired level of intimacy with the contrast of wide open views in a suburban context. The solution was to use simple techniques such as Sky-Frame windows (sliding screens) which one can open and slide behind the fireplace and the stairs and translucent polycarbonate (scobalit) material for all the facades facing the neighbours. The result is an opening with no frames and the use of the scobalit facade provides a warm sheen and welcomes without giving up privacy.
Today I would like to share a few quotes and diagrams from a book to which I often return to when needing a simple but meaningful pick me up during the design process. 101 Things I learned in Architecture School by Matthew Frederick has been around for a while and many of you might have already heard of it or even own a copy. For those of you who don’t, may this be a sneak preview of what is inside. The book aims to: Firm up the foundation of the architecture studio by providing rallying points upon which the design process may thrive. One of my favorite quotes: Architecture begins with an idea. Good design solutions are not merely physically interesting but are driven by underlying ideas. An idea is a specific mental structure by which we organize, understand, and give meaning to external experiences and information. Without underlying ideas informing their buildings, architects are merely space planers. Space planning with decoration applied to “dress it up” is not architecture; architecture resides in the DNA of a building, in an embedded sensibility that infuses its whole.
Today I would like to highlight the work of Pigeon Toe ceramics studio based in Industrial North Portland, Oregon. Founded four years ago by Lisa Jones, the studio has already gained a following of enthusiasts, who appreciate beauty of a craft and embrace not only the finished product but the story of a maker behind the product as well. Calling themselves a “creative evolution” Pigeon Toe’s refined selection, hand-touch within each piece and genuine passion for the making is obvious by first glance at their site. To see more of the process, watch this video. Pigeon Toeʼs aspiration is simple: to provide mankind with everyday beauty. Highly curated and refined, each piece is culled from skilled hands, trained minds and inspired hearts. Our designs are naturally imperfect, casually irreverent and playfully charming. Each piece is treasured. Beautiful. Authentically hand-crafted. I’m drawn to the simple lines of their collections and appreciate the playful approach to incorporate colors within some. Minimal design with lots of passion and love.