At the top of a Manhattan high rise is the pristinely designed home of Kanye West. Kanye West Loft was completed in 2007 by the esteemed Italian designer Claudio Silvestrin. Every aspect of this loft — the architecture, interior design, furniture and lighting — was designed by Silvestrin. This serene and monotone apartment features an open floor plan to allow for a continuous flow of space. Strong geometric forms are created from soft white walls, limestone, and pear wood. The forms divide the space as needed while also acting as the home’s main decoration. Two stone islands, reminiscent of sculptures, provide a built-in kitchen and bathtub. Hidden light sources at the top and bottom of the walls add to the calm, gallery-like quality of the rooms. This loft has ancient quality which I attribute to the generous use of stone and minimal furnishings. This quality allows Kanye West Loft to feel both expertly designed and remarkably natural, not unlike Mayan temples of the ruins of Rome.
A courtyard house located in a rural landscape near Guadalajara City, Mexico — Pino Street House is built for a small family with a lot of friends. A clean white façade is defined by bright yellow paintwork used to feature railings, guttering and doorways of this 165-square-metre house made up of a series of stacked white blocks, with glazed living spaces facing the brick patio. Architect Oscar Gutiérrez explains: The house is divided by a courtyard designed to create parallel paths between social and family life, while also creating a feeling of amplitude. The ground floor is characterized by platforms that rotate around the yard and have different uses and atmospheres. The upper level features three blocks that open onto the landscape: two rooms are articulated by a corridor and staircase, a terrace and balcony that establishes a relationship between the garden and courtyard, in conjunction create a linear sequence of open spaces. With my love of the countryside and the color yellow, this beautifully minimalistic building has quickly captured my attention to the light and touch of traditional elements. Photography by Vanessa Guízar.
Casa Brunhais is an elegant white home located in Póvoa de Lanhoso, a municipality in Portugal. The home was completed in 2009 by architect Rui Vieira Oliveira with Vasco Manuel Fernandes. When viewed from afar, Casa Brunhais is a simple white form against a rocky landscape and blue sky. On closer inspection, this house is brimming with impeccable details in a dynamic structure. Multiple forms comprise the structure of Casa Brunhais. Shape, height, and material subtly differentiate the intersecting volumes. A traditional courtyard is placed at the center of the form, creating a private outdoor space for the residents. Few windows are placed on the exterior facade, as the interior courtyard brings plenty of natural light indoors. The interior features large expanses of white walls and floors, along with neutral curtains on the many large windows. Built-in furniture and recessed lighting allows Casa Brunhais to be as minimal on the interior as it is on the exterior. I find this house absolutely captivating: the design is strong yet still exudes a sense of humility. Photography by Fernando Guerra FG + SG.
Located at the heart of an apple orchard, in the region of South Tyrolean Dolomites near Bolzano, stands a curious and eye-catching mirror structure. Celebrated architect, Peter Pichler blurs the lines between a relevant contemporary construction on the countryside and art installation. A valiant move for a region known for rejoicing long-standing traditions. The premise of the project is a Vacation Home, taking into account the surrounding area and the upmost comfort and privacy for the guests. The front of the house showcases an honest modernist façade, with clean geometric lines. The interior design follows the cue with a strong white color dominance, with the occasional raw wood on walls and furniture. It’s worth mentioning the house boasts a floating illusion above the ground thanks to well-placed foundations — the light-project for the night time is exquisite, taking the striking mirror walls a step further. It may not be an explicit intention, however I find the gorgeous Mirror Houses to be a crossbreed of flawless architecture and a site-specific that would fit art magazines effortlessly.
Located in Valencia province, Spain, lies House in Ontinyent — a private residence designed by Borja García, a local architecture studio. It is connected to the recently renovated original headquarters of Gandía Blasco, an outdoor furniture and textile factory. The house is an extension of the building and reflects the same values and aesthetics, externally and internally, with the use of white and neutral colours ensuring that the house conforms to the company’s contemporary design principles — simplicity and refinement. Borja García explains: The core of the project is a large open space on the ground floor and a sculptural staircase made of concrete that guide visitors to the upper floors. The materials, with an absolute use of white, are always naked and honest. The basement, a large sheltered space between concrete walls, connects the house with the pool. The pool, built in white concrete also represents a large water plane floating with the rest of the field. I appreciate the choice of the owner, José Antonio Gandía Blasco to link his work and his life in a unique concept — a sort of landmark for a small town. Photography Courtesy of Borja García Studio.
Cement as a material for a luxury residence. The young Mexican architect Abraham Cherem of Cherem Arquitectos, recently completed the design of a residence on the outskirts of Mexico City. House P was built for a well-known football player, Aarón Padilla and his family of four, who wanted a concrete home that blended well with its surroundings. The project is based on the study of the house views and the circulation of the light inside. The architect created two large blocks of cement, creating a complex set of rectangles and curved walls. The goal was to minimize the view on degraded suburbs of the metropolis, focusing on the vast central patio. Inside, the walls are designed as cement curtains, which regulate the spaces and the entrance of light at different times of the day. Cherem Arquitectos used elements of modern Mexican architecture to design the courtyard, but were also inspired by the traditional Mexican patio, which creates a space to reunite elements in the centre of the house. I love cement houses integrated in natural surroundings. House P is the perfect place to live with a golf course as good neighbour.
Dar Mim is an understated white home located in the picturesque coastal city of Hammamet, Tunisia. The home is designed by the Parisian based firm Septembre, a firm known for consistently producing elegant and sophisticated designs. Dar Mim is a renovation of a traditionally styled home and courtyard. Septembre preserved the integrity of the existing home by barely touching the front facade and patio, and designing a matching extension in the back. The main living areas are situated around a central courtyard. The expansion in back features a guest suite with a separate terrace. A block and void system is used in the structure to filter light into specific areas of the home. All the building materials for Dar Mim were locally sourced. The wood and metal work was done by local artisans, and the plaster walls were made using old school techniques. These traditional materials allow this renovation to blend seamlessly with the older buildings in Hammamet. Overall, the excellent materials and thoughtful styling make Dar Mim a unique and successful design. Photography by Sophia Baraket.
Situated in a small village in Portugal is the Taíde House, a renovation of an old mill into a beautiful modern home. The house was thoughtfully designed by Rue Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes. The structure is relatively small, so as not to interrupt the surrounding environment. The kitchen, living room, and office are located on the ground floor. Two bedrooms sit on the upper level, accessed by a stunning floating staircase. When looking at the structure, it is easy to determine the old and new. The rough stone base is inherited from the old mill. Everything white is assumed new. The interior, all renovated, uses limited materials: white for the walls, hardwood floors, and marble in the bathrooms. The result is a truly minimal design. Each element of Taíde House is expertly curated, creating a home that falls nothing short of perfection. Photography by Fernando Guerra FG+SG.
World renowned architect Tadao Ando is a clear trailblazer and vanguard. Early on it was clear his approach was on another level, and although he’s honed his style throughout the years, his first housing project still holds relevance. The Row House is a seminal work for contemporary and minimalist architecture. Located on a working class neighborhood in Osaka, the Row House imposed its first challenge off the bat, with a narrow, but not necessarily small space to work with. Ando’s response was a symmetrical composition, with simple forms and concrete as its main building material. Simple geometry is cleverly used to create an ample space for movement and transitions between each rooms, resulting in a self-sufficient living space. The visual revolution that was imposed in this wood-clad district isn’t the only innovation by Ando; the surrounding traditional houses are anything but private, with open windowpanes and gaps, and thin materials that makes for lousy sound isolation. The project in hand proposes a windowless façade and complete openness to the sky in the middle. Privacy is one of the main rewards for its residents, a change in the daily life, a concrete transformation of social patterns.
Mass Fradette Residence is a refined modern home in Greenfield Park, Canada. The home was completed in 2012 by Montreal firm Jean Verville Architects. Three interlocking volumes comprise the home’s structure. The volumes contain the garage and entrance, main living area, and upstairs bedrooms. The facade is covered in soft white wood cladding, with strategic openings for windows and outside access. The ground level features an open floor plan with long expanses of floor to ceiling windows. These windows overlook a garden, connecting the home with its surrounding natural environment. The interior is covered in a mix of matte and glossy white surfaces. Overhead lighting keeps things clean and minimal by eliminating the clutter of table and floor lamps. Polished concrete provides a modern, durable surface for the floors. This material continues on the exterior to form the back patios. Three bedrooms and bathrooms are located on the second story, accessed by a dramatic white and concrete staircase. An upstairs terrace provides a private outdoor space for sunbathing or stargazing. I’m obsessed with the unique geometry of Mass Fradette Residence. The blunt angles and crisp white surfaces are undoubtably modern, yet not without an element of playfulness.
Located in Hanekita, Japan, the new double-family residence by Katsutoshi Sasaki + Associates is designed to have a playful attitude toward the distribution of lights and shadows, public and private, as well as interior and exterior. Katsutoshi Sasaki found his namesake architecture firm in 2008. With many notable projects published in numerous renowned publications and websites, surely, House in Hanekita will not be excluded. To accommodate programmatic necessities, the architect divided the second floor of the main loft to thirteen rooms superimposed by a 3×3 grid with spandrel walls, creating a flexible interconnected series of spaces that deal with private and public boundaries. Complemented with two indoor gardens (yes, on the second floor!), the main loft is separated from the other with a light well. On the ground floor, which holds two kitchens and dining rooms, the two lofts share the same entrance and private gardens. The interior of this residence is covered with pale-colored woods, creating a lighter and spacious environment that further emphasizes the occasional pouring sunlight. Minimally, the clean cuts of every corner give off a sense of care from the designer. I especially love the simple additions of greens, harmonizing the interior wooden material with its...
House in Possanco is a contemporary home featuring a captivating array of architectural gestures. Designed by the prominent Portuguese firm ARX, this weekend home is located in the arid landscape of Possanco, Portugal. The structure is defined by a pure white facade with strategic carvings, which create windows and skylights. The pristine sheets of white are expertly constructed, allowing the entire building to exude the air of designed precision. Four patios cut through the bold form and are situated throughout the home. A triangular cantilever juts from the side of the building. It is an exciting piece, and it plays with the viewer’s sense of scale and structure. The interior is void of decoration. Instead, long and uniquely formed shadows are splashed along the walls like artwork. The highly geometric roof adds visual interest to any of the home’s interior rooms. The many windows and openings ensure plenty of natural light and views of the exterior landscape. The abstract nature of House in Possanco pushes the viewer to explore further. This is not a structure that can be admired casually: it requires one’s keen attention and an appreciation for the modern and spectacular. Photography by Fernando Guerra FG+SG.