Minimalissimo


Categorized “Architecture”

Situated in Paço de Arcos, a seaside neighborhood of Lisbon, this beautiful and entirely white house, designed by Jorge Mealha architect, proposes an arrangement of several solids trying to attenuate the overall mass due to a huge functional program requested by the client. A very functionalist approach. The result is a dialogue between a range of different solids and voids, using light to draw or reflect on the surfaces, proposing a changeable reading of space and volumes during the day. The metal screening/shading devices create large smooth textured surfaces on the façade of the house, emphasizing forms and controlling the relationships between indoor and outdoor, or between external and internal spaces. The staircase and main corridor are finished in white painted metal, which are slightly detached from the walls, leaving opportunity for natural light to pass in between. Pure minimalism at its best. Photography by Jorge Mealha.


The subject of this compelling photo series is MBAM, or the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal in Canada. The photography is by Matthew Brooks with assistance from Nathalie Quagliotto. MBAM is documented in a unique manner: rather than focusing on the function of the space, the attention is placed on the details of the architecture. The building is shown from an abstract perspective to spotlight the structural form. Several of the photographs feature a distortion of scale, which reveals the more sculptural qualities of the museum’s construction. In the images, glass and plaster collide in transcendent formations, stairs fall to the edges of the frame like waterfalls, and steel beams appear as delicate as spider webs. These photographs unmask the intricate details of the structure. Museums are used for exhibiting artwork, but, refreshingly, Brooks’ photography puts the museum itself on display.


Imagine taking a stroll through the beautiful city of Rio de Janeiro, enjoying breathtaking views of the natural landscape that embraces the city. While visiting the famous Parque Lage you notice an unusual structure inside the central Palace. When you dare to enter the tiny citadel, everything is covered in plastic and overtly orange. You’ve been lured in by the art collective known as Penique Productions. The duo builds customized inflatable balloons that fit and fill their chosen venue, guerrilla style: Penique Productions appropriates the original site that loses its routine to become part of the work getting a new identity. The balloon acts as a border and frames a new space. The container is also the content blurring the idea of the art object. The beauty of this site specific lies in numerous factors: the invasion of space by a vessel that manages to alter the perception of a visitor but does not harm the building in any way; it denies the original textures to shower it with a homogeneous quality; and finally, it works as conceptual exercise in reduction and simplification. It is a variation of minimalism when a classic building, filled with details and adornments, finds itself...


Penthouse V is a holiday home for a family of seven in Pörtschach, Austria. The Austria based studio destilat positioned the penthouse in the roof structure of a 1930’s cinema. The center of the apartment is a kitchen hidden in plain sight. Gray wall coverings and a matching island integrates the area with the apartment’s design, while white covers hide the utilitarian appliances and cabinetry. An extruding fireplace, set in the same gray tile as the kitchen, is the focal point of the living and dining room. The bedrooms surround the main living area, providing plenty of space for the family and guests. Soft gray flooring mingles with the plaster and asymmetrical tiled walls creating a modern yet cozy aesthetic. A mix of lighting, built-in and hanging from the ceiling, keeps the home well-lit in all areas. Every design element in the apartment is child-friendly, allowing this home to be as functional as it is beautiful.


Germany based Eckenberg Academy commissioned Ecker Architekten to build a mono-volume with a special focus on social gatherings and extra-curricular activities. The resulting project is a very special Forum housing numerous multi-function rooms, a library, a wide auditorium, a friendly student lounge and, of course, a cafeteria. For so many diverse practices in the daily life of a campus, something must bring visual coherence to it all, and surely enough, a strong minimalist influence is what it takes. Sporting very obvious and explicit circles all over the forum, the visual repetition brings a surprising visual lightness to concrete; disguised as a double agent for light source and to guarantee proper ventilation throughout the building. Confirming its running motif, the architects chose to employ on selected walls an extension of the circle found at the main hall, and consequently charming round sculptures adorn several rooms to great effect. Preventing any possibility of said building to be considered cold or uninviting, the architects smartly played their final hand employing basic colors on walls and furnishings. The selected furniture does a great job retaining a very modern and slick feel, while still engaging and welcoming any user. A true case study on how...


Situated in Vallvidrera, a stunning Barcelona neighborhood with excellent views of the city, Vallvidrera House lies on a small land between a valley and a pine forest. This beautiful and totally white single family home was designed by Barcelona-based studio YLAB Arquitectos and was built to cover the maximum amount of square footage on a tight budget, while at the same time positioning the house for great views and to maintain absolute privacy. A smart solution with incredible effects. The structure is a single and compact cube that consists of three levels. The geometry of the volume directly reflects that of the sloped land it sits upon. The façade is covered in a white finish on all surfaces including the roof. The windows are flush with the façade creating a smooth surface. A fine perforated steel fence surrounds the low end of the land. I love how this white cube sits low on the ground in perfect balance with its surroundings and nature. Photography by Marcela Grassi.


Casa Na Xemena is a stunning modern home overlooking the Mediterranean in Ibiza, Spain. Ramón Esteve, a design studio based in Valencia, designed the home in 1995 and completed construction in 2003. The site’s natural landscape was crucial in the design of this home. Most of the structure’s form was dictated by the sea, rocky cliffs, and sun. The exterior features a smooth white façade that reflects the heavy Mediterranean sun and contrasts beautifully with the rough cliffs and blue water. Several outdoor terraces are arranged as viewing platforms to gain the best perspective of the sea. A large infinity pool is positioned at a key point on the hillside, so that the line between the pool and the sea is elegantly blurred. The home’s interior keeps the white walls from the façade and features concrete floors and floating staircases. A sprinkling of windows illuminate the home without allowing too much heat inside. Geometric furniture, some of which was designed by Ramón Esteve, is placed in the interior and by the pool. Casa Na Xemena provides a striking response to a remarkable landscape. The house provides a true relationship with the environment, resulting in a magnificent sensory experience for its lucky residents. Photography by Eugeni Pons...


Spain-based architect Ramón Esteve designed a world-class residence with a privileged high view of the turquoise Mediterranean below; the scale of this project goes beyond 1,200 sqm, nevertheless it manages to nail a challenging combination of extravagance and minimalism impeccably. The outer façade facing the street is quite private and does not give anything away regarding its visual prerogative, a much-understated introduction to its wood-clad and geometric structure. On the opposite side lays a very modernist and playful take on various volumes, each one housing its own veranda and access to the beautiful view of the ocean. This project celebrates the natural landscape, yet the interior design brings forth symmetry defiantly. The interior design thrives in white color dominance, an effort to maintain a homogeneous feel in all rooms. Impressive how such a wide variety of materials managed to build a cohesive unit. Kudos to the excellent timberwork in the kitchen, bathroom and on the beautiful 6m high patio. With luxury comes great responsibility, and I’m pleased to see the architects did not ignore ecofriendly solutions: Two separate pools grace this residence, yet rainwater is recycled to fill each one. Lastly, the energy consumption is kept to a minimum with state-of-the-art...


Wall Cloud is a beautifully minimalist renovation project devised by Sasaki Architecture for a former waterfront warehouse in the Minato district of Tokyo that previously operated as a popular disco called Juliana’s Tokyo in the early 1990s. Sasaki Architecture intended to create an open space with floating walls and pillars. The beams and other components were reconsidered as different spatial components, and were redefined in the space. The ceilings were removed, and the beams now surround the space as drifting walls, while lights are used to enhance the sense of floating. Dividers of individual spaces for tenants are transparent glass attached beneath the wall volume. The attic of the former discotheque on the second floor remained untouched for a long period of time, causing an oppressive feeling in the space, but when an old space is given new life, it always brings excitement. I like that. The oppressive attic-like space of a symbol of the past was transformed like a wall cloud, and regenerated as an impressive and wonderfully spacious working environment. Superb. Photography by Takumi Ota.


This elegant dark home is located in Shiga, Japan and designed by FORM/Kouichi Kimura Architects. Framing House was built for a small family who desired to live in a habitable art gallery. The home’s name is attributed to the structure’s act of framing key spaces. This framing notion allows each space to feel unique yet still connected to the flow of the house. Three main spaces are carved into the home’s layout: an art gallery, living space, and courtyard. The courtyard links the gallery and living spaces, and has the added benefit of bringing nature and natural light into both areas of the home. In nearly every room of the home, sections of the walls are cut out to frame windows, artwork, countertops, and shelves. These features contribute to the minimal sensibilities of the home by removing the need for stand-alone furniture and hiding clutter. Framing House is not just a home and an art gallery, it is a home as an art gallery. I could not imagine a more beautiful dwelling place. Photography by Yoshihiro Asada.


Narita International Airport adds to its roster the exciting and very original Terminal 3. As a joint effort from NIKKEN SEKKEI + Ryohin Keikaku + PARTY, this project unapologetically uses the low budget to its advantage with smart choices regarding the structure, applied materials and even the layout. A great example of heavy-duty minimalism infused with playfulness. To break the mould and ignore the customary moving walkways was not only an aesthetic choice but also a monetary one, since the budget for Terminal 3 was half of the usual sum; in a bold move, rubber running tracks were installed all the way through guiding the travellers and the airport’s staff. The clear lines leave no room for doubt, the blue surface leads the way for the departing passengers, whilst the red/earth colour welcomes the arriving commuters. It’s worth pointing out the great pictograms replacing illuminated signs as well. The interior design made with much-celebrated MUJI furniture is a perfect fit for what Terminal 3 is about. The brand’s affordable and functional furnishings enriches the ambient with great visual patterns and additional colour. Since the structure is quite raw and exposed, it is a great contingency plan to add explicit soft...


Near the Norwegian village of Geilo, a popular skiing destination, Oslo-based firm Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter have designed Split View Mountain Lodge, an extremely beautiful family home for their holiday. The architects tell us: This holiday home has a clear and clean-cut expression. The volume has a main wing, housing mainly bedrooms, which naturally adapts to the terrain and divides into two branches of living zones. The shift in program and use of different levels allow this part of the building to adapt to the slope of the site. With the same timber cladding on all of the outer walls and on the roof, the holiday home is unified in one structure. If the exterior is great, no less remarkable is the interior, both made using mainly locally-sourced Norwegian piner, with huge gable-shaped windows to enjoy the unique views of the valley.