Copenhagen-based Norm Architects designed this remarkable townhouse inside a deceptively rustic exterior; beyond the structure itself, the minimalist sensibility springs from elegant hand-picked furnishings. The project in hand can be considered an all-around marvel, it delivers on all fronts easily. The structure showcases assorted features; ranging from high ceilings adorned with a skylight, a transparent staircase, numerous wide windows to shower the interior with natural light and, finally, beautiful wood beams (painted in white, of course). The coup de coeur to take this exquisite residence to the next level is the well curated interior design. The white canvas accommodates the black and white objects effortlessly, bringing out the best of them for each room. This project really shows off its strength when familiar, and often overused design pieces gain new life and freshness — such as the various chairs, lamps and tables carefully placed throughout each room. All of the elements and insights above are frequently listed as essential trends on several publications, it speaks volume on the quality and success of the architect’s endeavor.
Based in Maastricht, the Netherlands, Studio Niels was founded under Niels Maier with a focus on interior design and its effects on the built environments. Varied in size, the studio’s approach depends on its philosophy about clarity, simplicity, and contextualization; this is apparent through the Authentic Mansion 2, completed in 2011. Also located in Maastricht, this apartment was designed to be monochromic with stark white interiors, highlighting the wooden floor and contrasting home furnishes. Behind the television is a hidden shelf that is utilized to both cover the technical system and provide a place for storage, which is a clever spatial move. I especially appreciate the negative space produced from the continuously white interior, appearing under the sink, between the bed, through the key hole, and many more instances. This shows an articulation in details that Studio Niels was able to achieve through envisioning a bigger picture, then narrowing down in scale—an important quality of designers alike. The minimalism in Authentic Mansion 2 is strongly apparent, emitting an elegance and sophistication. What else can a client ask for? A space of minimal design, maximal effect.
The French branch of the Italian company Marchesini, a leader in packaging applications, was built in 2008 by architects Benoit Jallon and Umberto Napolitano of LAN Architecture in Saint Mesmes — a small town about 40 kilometers east of Paris. Aseptic yet elegant, formal yet cozy, flexible yet defined, are only apparent contradictions that define the ispirational principles that guided LAN Architecture to achieve the design of this 1,000 square meter building, which extends over 6,000 square meters of land. Its face is oriented with the wide glass wall in the direction of Paris, the marketplace of the office. The main interest of the site lies in its morphology and in its orientation. The level of the soil follows a slope of 3 feet above sea level, and the west side provides an exceptional view of the surrounding hills. In the planning phase we examined the relation between the building and the landscape, and between users of the building and the landscape. Strong, iconic and hotly black.
Plywood House is a distinct home refurbishment tucked among London’s traditional Victorian row homes. The exterior is comprised of brick and concrete punctured by single framed windows. These materials are splashed throughout the interior as well. Concrete and brick are wonderful raw materials that add visual interest inside and out. However, the most distinguishing feature of this home is its namesake: plywood. Plywood is one of the simplest yet most versatile construction materials. In Plywood House, it is used instead of sheetrock to form the walls and ceilings. The soft wood casts a warm light throughout the minimal interior. Designed by Simon Astridge Architecture Workshop, the living spaces of Plywood House are distributed across two stories. The first floor holds a cast concrete kitchen, dining, and living rooms. The master suite, structured entirely with plywood, fills the second story. I love when modest materials are allowed to take center stage. Plywood House creates a beautiful aesthetic from an often overlooked construction material. Perfect!
Aroeira III is an elegant dwelling located on a sunny, arid hilltop in Portugal. The home is designed by ColectivArquitectura, a small architectural office located in Lisbon, Portugal. The thoughtful design seeks to maximize sun exposure and work with the sloped landscape. The structure is u-shaped and divided among two low-lying levels. This building is refreshingly honest about its structure both inside and out. The reinforced concrete foundation is visible throughout the exterior, while steel support beams puncture the wood and glass facade. These classic materials continue on the interior. Exposed concrete walls and floors are juxtaposed with wood panelling and stairs. The floor to ceiling windows keep everything bright and airy. Aroeira III embraces a design that is as beautiful as it is timeless. This is surely a home that will be admired for years to come. Photography by FG+SG Architectural Photography.
Shot by Flemish photographer Frederik Vercruysse, this temple of modernism was built in the 1950s by Andre Wogenscky, a renowned architect who worked with Le Corbusier for a long time. Although it was built about 60 years ago, it seems to belong to a current concept. All the furniture is custom-made in a clever contrast between materials and forms, while remaining in absolute rigour. The modernist spirit plays with the position in the middle of the countryside and the view from the interior give a timeless touch to the house. Located just outside of Paris, House Saint-Forget was designed according to the golden section of Le Corbusier and the measure of a man, known as modular. A staircase leads to an exquisite black and white living and dining room, which is open to the outside, and features a corner fireplace in the original steel roof. Remarkable.
A gorgeous white form is located in a hilly, rural area of Luxembourg. Simply called Luxembourg House, this structure is designed to create dynamic spaces inside and out. The home was designed by the infamous Richard Meier, an architect who has received worldwide recognition for his minimal buildings. Long walls of white tile and full length windows form the exterior structure. This layout anchors the home to its site and creates panoramic views of the environment. On the interior, the layout defines the public and private spaces. A large staircase rests inside a light-filled atrium; this staircase is the main mode of circulation throughout the home. The lower level of the house is mostly utilitarian: it contains parking and a fitness center. The living and dining rooms are nestled along a wall of windows on the ground floor, and the kitchen and playroom sit on the north side of this level. The uppermost story contains the bedrooms and study. Terraces on all floors embrace the light from the large windows and balconies. I love the thoughtful design of Luxembourg House. Every space in this structure was deliberately designed by Richard Meier and his team. The result is a house where every corner is full...
The new headquarters of the Benéfico Social Padre Rubinos Institution is an impressive building financed by the Amancio Ortega Foundation and developed by Elsa Urquijo Architects. Opened last week and located in A Coruña, Spain, the building features the following facilities for people in a social emergency situation: hostel/refuge for transient people with no resources or home; redidence for the elderly and day centre with charitable nature; infants’ school for children born in families in a precarious financial situation; and the Padre Rubinos social headquarters. In total, a size of more than 15.000m2, the architects explain: It is a building that renounces the academic composition of the facade and turns it in a front porch that surrounds and defines the square. This invites us to move in that protected porch, discovering the different spaces that are linked to it, creating a frame in which life can flow and develop. A truly wonderful project with a predominantly white colour palette, where luminosity and horizontal lines produce a stable, calm and relaxing environment, and every detail is carefully considered.
FREAKS Free Architects recently designed this one-story apartment in downtown Geneva, Switzerland. Completed this year, Geneva Flat is arranged to utilise every inch of space and does so brilliantly. The open floor plan is divided by thin white walls and panes of glass. Most of the walls serve more than one function. The walls become a wardrobe, bookshelf, and even a platform for the bed. The glass is a room separator but still allows each space of the apartment to feel connected. It also creates a bright and airy aesthetic throughout the home. Geneva Flat is decorated with monochrome furnishings and an artful light fixture. The gray and white palate of this apartment couldn’t be more simple. Yet, in a space as austere as Geneva Flat, every material is crucial to forming a comprehensive design scheme. Each element was chosen which great care, resulting in a composition that is both minimal and luxurious.
Tokyo-based design office id created a charming wooden garden, for coffee appreciation in its simplest form, for Café Ki. The ambient is a case study for tiny shops, affirming its visual identity through a strong concept and leaving unnecessary embellishments behind. The café consists of a large white canvas in which tables are organically supported by black branches; mimicking a patch of woods. It is worth noting that Ki means Tree in Japanese — the pictogram-like simplification is quite elegant and straightforward — no gimmicks here. The brand identity of Café Ki keeps it functional and affordable with smart stickers and simple print materials as tools for serving each customer’s coffee needs. Not only does the café offer a sharp visual distinctiveness, but I reckon, would make for a great brand to import as a franchise. An increasingly rare and satisfying equation: affordability + style.
Taipei Apartment is a clean white apartment in Taipei, the capital city of Taiwan. The apartment was designed for a young couple by Tai & Architectural Design. The couple wanted a beautiful dwelling that didn’t require much renovation. The architects answered their request with a bright and causal living environment. Every surface of the apartment, from the floor to the ductwork in the ceiling, is painted white. The whiteness is intended to celebrate the purity of the space. The living room features a grey sofa, pastel-colored end tables, and a projector screen. Across the room is the dining area which includes a white table, wooden chairs, and built-in shelving. A wall of glass highlights the view of the city and opens to a small balcony. A narrow hallway leads to the bedroom and study. These rooms are furnished similar to the living room: white and wood furniture accented with soft colors. I love how such a simple design can express so much character. The white interior is the perfect backdrop for the residents’ colorful furniture and textiles. The stark interior allows these objects to pop and bring personality to the space. Taipei Apartment is sure to be a hit with the current and future occupants.
Belgium based studio Five AM completed the interior of the new bedroom suite at a house in Bellegem, west Belgium, initially designed by studio Arch-id. The space was transformed by lifting the attic roof, which allowed to locate a bathroom isle inside the big open room. Arch-id explain the design: As the owner wanted an open and airy feeling, we designed a monolithic white box that doesn’t reach the ceiling. The height delivers the privacy when needed, but makes it still possible to interact with each other. The entire bathroom was produced in ‘solid surface’, which ensures seamless surfaces. The sidewall can unfold which makes interaction between sleeping and bathing possible. I love the delicate staircase leading to the bedroom and the sense of secluded space inside the all-white bathroom cube. The low bench that wraps around the room conceals ample storage, a nice touch, contributing to the clean and uncluttered state of the space. Photography by Thomas De Bruyne/Cafeine