Look carefully or you might miss the tiny Yokaya restaurant and residence in Fukuoka, Japan. This humble white rectangle is nestled on a busy street between several tall condo buildings. Designed by rhythmdesign, the structure is a mere 135 square meters and houses a restaurant on the ground floor with an apartment above. The front facade is entirely opaque on the upper stories, while a cutout on the ground floor invites passerby into the restaurant. Wood and concrete are the main materials used in the interior. In the restaurant, the simple design allows the food to take center stage. The apartment above is arranged with a similar aesthetic: built in storage keeps the space uncluttered and the furnishings are limited to essentials. I love the modest design of this duplex building. The clean lines of the architecture and precise use of materials come together quite elegantly. Yokaya is quiet and reserved, but it is its little form that stands dignified on this bustling street.
Categorized “Architecture & Interior design”
The program guidelines for the Pocinho Centre for High Performance Rowing was to design a complex that not only facilitated training and preparation for the Olympics, but also to provide residential quarters and social interaction areas. Architect Álvaro Fernandes Andrade had the task of delivering the 8,000m2 project with a possible subsequent expansion phase of the housing area, without a significant impact on size and the landscape. Divided into 3 zones: Social, Housing and Training, the complex is built mostly into the terrain of Douro Valley in Portugal. I really appreciate how the structure echoes the undulating geography with deep respect to the context of the low buildings and slopes around it. The minimalist building of angled roofs and wave-like volumes blend in seamlessly with the terraces while the pristine white dry-stone walls give the Pocinho Centre an identity that is modern and chic yet functional at the same time. Photography by Fernando Guerra.
For the fashion house Rubens Luciano, Italian architect Simone Micheli has designed this spectacular office and showroomm inside a 19th century building near Venice, Italy. Its main feature is perhaps the careful use of light and glass, emphasized by the large open working spaces, the white furniture and walls, and the rounded edges and organic shapes along all elements of the building. On the other hand, the integration of these contemporary elements with the antique building is perfect, achieving a balance in some rooms and contrasting in others — yet always in harmony and very meticulous with each detail and finish. All previous elements of the building give to the project a great personality that makes it unique and distinguished. I like this.
B House is one of the few landmarks on the soft, rolling meadows of Segovia, Spain. Designed by CH+QS Arquitectos, this home was inspired by a prominent color in the natural scenery: yellow. This environment is speckled by yellow in every season. Flowers, wheat, leaves, sheep and sun brighten the terrain with their pleasant hues. B house accentuates these hues using warm wood and soft lighting. The structure is small, almost miniature. Eliminating unnecessary space allowed the architects to shrink the home’s footprint. Indoor and outdoor common areas are situated in the center of the home, with oversize openings framing the views to the east and the west. The private functions of the home are pushed to the outer edges, while the basement den accommodates the children’s playtime. House B is a humble home which enhances the beloved fields that surround it. The architecture emerges from the ground almost organically. With a bit of imagination it’s easy to picture the home growing from the earth along with the yellow trees and flowers. Photographs by FG + SG Fotografia de Arquitectura.
This sleek home is located on a sandy site in Comporta, Portugal. Designed by RRJ Arquitectos, this structure meets the needs of living in a harsh environment. Sun protection is a main concern in the scheme of House in Comporta. The single story home sits low on the site, maximizing coolness and minimizing sun exposure. The thick, concrete walls guard the home from the sun at the most vulnerable points. All the windows are recessed in the facade for extra shade during the brightest parts of the day. Clean lines, white walls, and hardwood floors are featured on the interior. I love how this home merges perfectly with its environment. The concrete facade appears to emerge directly from the sandy floor. The home is also sized so as to enhance the view of the trees and sky, rather than distract from them. House in Comporta is a perfect example of a structure inspired by the unique characteristics of its site. Photographs by FG + SG Fotografia de Arquitectura.
The Hongkun Art Gallery is a stunning interiors project by architects Penda, located in Bejing. Its monolithic exterior gives the first hint of the arch – a typical architectural element – at the entrance of the gallery. However, what appears on the inside takes one for a pleasant surprise. How can one make an art gallery more interesting? Penda’s solution implements a volume of continuous curves defining the space as walls, partitions and even into the cove ceilings. I love the consistency of the design that molds the typically white space for viewing art into a piece of sculpture itself, its curves as if a reflection of the landscape. Even the utilitarian areas maintain the proportion of the arches with the single use of wood for all surfaces, making it a beautiful, minimalist art gallery, which is as if art on its own.
House in Daizawa is located in a residential neighborhood in Tokyo, Japan. Designed by The Archetype, lead by Nobuo Araki, this structure aims to maximize outdoor space while creating a private environment for the residents. The home is situated in the middle of the site, allowing for a roomy patio in the front and a lovely backyard garden on the southern half of the lot. Concrete walls on both ends of the site separate the home from neighbors and the street. The interior features an open floor plan with large windows and hardwood details. I love Nobuo Araki’s simple yet thoughtful design. The outdoor spaces are perfectly framed by the concrete walls and large windows of the house. Inside and outside, the structure evokes a sense of seclusion reminiscent of a country dwelling. In a city as busy as Tokyo, the peaceful House in Daizawa is truly an accomplishment.
This beautiful vacation house has been built by Florian Busch Architects in Niseko, Japan. It is perched on a sloping lot overlooking Mount Yotei. Two blocks of the building are shifted in a perfect way to accommodate this challenging landscape. The structure is reinforced by a concrete shear wall and covered with light wood on the outside. The warmth of wood and coolness of concrete create an exciting textural dynamic in the interior. The lower level is comprised of bedrooms and private bathrooms, the upper one opens up to a living/dining area with the kitchen. The heated pool on the roof completes the design. Like the building itself, the interior is unadorned and simple. Well thought-out furniture pieces blend in nicely with the structural elements of the house. Nothing is there to distract from what this place is really about – stunning views of the mountain, serenity and peace.
The first thing you will notice about this orthodontic clinic in Catania, Sicily is its pristine whiteness. The walls, floors, ceilings, furniture, and even equipment is all pure white. The interior lacks color, yet hidden within the crisp design are a ton of smart little details. Designed by Italian studio Bureauhub, this office goes above and beyond traditional clinic design. The office’s extensive tools and equipment are smartly stored in the Corian walls. All the signage in the clinic is carved into the walls and illuminated with bright, white light. A custom furniture piece in the waiting area keeps children entertained with hiding spaces and a desk for drawing. The design of White Space is not without meaning. The futuristic environment reflects the cutting edge technology used by the clinic. The subtle design details emulate the precision and craftsmanship of orthodontics. And of course, the immaculate white environment symbolizes the perfect smile the patients walk away with!
Located on the coast of Geojedo, an island south of South Korea, Mug Hakdong sits on the beach off of the main street. It was designed by Hyunjoon Yoo Architects for a client who runs a medium-scale sales distribution company and wanted his employees to be able to utilize the space for training, learning as well as enjoying the cafe and its facilities. The architects developed the concept for this hotel to be as flexible as the program requires. There would be a varying number of people and customers at different times so the hotel would need to accommodate the constantly changing needs of the client’s staff and its own guests. The stunning result is a beautiful convertible space of mobile walls that rotate or fold to provide this flexibility. The intersection of walls as planes that overlap and dissect the interior spaces make an intriguing and complicated volume. I was drawn to this project not only of how beautiful it is aesthetically, but that the challenges of program requirements of connecting public and private has turned into a landmark that also helped revive the local community. Photography by Youngchae Park.
Factory Building on the Vitra Campus is the result of incredible work by the Japanese architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, who founded the studio SANAA almost 20 years ago, and won the Pritzker prize in 2010. The single circular factory is used by Vitrashop, a shop fitting company within the Vitra Group. Its interesting shape is explained: This proposal, which at first seemed unusual, was based on the realization that logistics and production methods no longer adhere to strictly hierarchical principles, but require flexibility. This was especially true in the case of the future occupants of the new facility. The circular footprint of the building permits the delivery and loading of goods in completely different locations, so that the flow of traffic inside the hall is reduced, optimized and simplified. The factory is more than 160 metres in diameter and reaches 11.4 metres in height, with a singular and characteristic facade, made of acrylic glass with three wave patterns on the surface to avoid a visual repetition, seeming infinite and homogeneous.
House F for a Violinist is another gorgeous build by one of my favorite Japanese firms, Hiroyuki Shinozaki Architects. The small, dark structure is situated on a narrow plot in busy downtown Tokyo. The architects responded to the site’s slim condition with a three story home, which uses height and depth to meet the needs of the occupant. The ground floor is a covered entrance, which also functions as a carport. The second and third stories contain the living and sleeping spaces, as well as a practice studio for the resident’s musical needs. I love the dark silhouette of this thin home. The arched opening on the ground floor and the large windows above add visual interest to the facade while serving practical purposes. This lovely structure is simple and beautiful, and looks great when illuminated at night!