The latest residence from Fran Silvestre Arquitectos is minimalism in its purest form. Niu 160 is a classic example of minimal architecture, from the structure to the colour palette and decor. As a guiding design principle, minimalism can be quite rigid. In Niu 160, Fran Silvestre takes this rigidity to the next level by imposing even more restrictions on the design. The intention was for these self-imposed limits to lead to greater creativity in the work.
In Niu 160, the architects take a simple volume—the rectangle—and experiment with pushing and pulling walls and windows to develop the home’s composition. The design process started with a collection of aluminium models that the architects used to generate nearly endless structure combinations. As the models were used to generate the design instead of traditional sketching or drafting, the ideas were limited. The creativity, however, was not. Niu 160 is the result of an experiment with infinite configurations.
The dwelling is an observation into volume and void, the clear and not-so-clear delineations that make up our built environments. The most considerable void in the design is a central living area. Adjacent, two other volumes hold the remaining rooms. Rows of floor to ceiling windows take over whole portions of the dwelling, creating boundaries while also subverting the formal restrictions of opaque walls.
True to minimalist roots, Niu 160 is comprised mainly of white. White, after all, is the colour of ultimate creativity. It is only fitting that a home developed from a strict process to encourage creative output would be finished in this limitless colour. The exterior is a white metal with a slightly reflective tone. The material no doubt refers back to the process of designing with the aluminium models. On the interior, matte and glossy white tones shine from the floors, walls, and cabinetry. The few furnishings throughout the residence are monotone, keeping the focus solely on the architecture.
Light has an immense presence in the design of this home. From the exterior, the volume is illuminated, drawing you towards the dwelling. At night, the large windows showcase the interior and highlight the excellence of the design. Inside, the many recessed lights cast a soft glow and provide an artful accent.
Fran Silvestre Arquitectos continues to present us with excellence in minimal architecture. And with Niu 160, they develop a new way of design thinking that unearths limitless creativity in the process.