French-Deco Industria And Old World Decadence.
June 17th, 2013 – Sydney-based architecture and interior design practice Blainey North and Associates’ have re-invented one of Melbourne’s prized restaurants, Conservatory. The new Conservatory makes guests feel like they have been instantly transported to London, Shanghai or New York during an era when craftsmanship and materials were revered and buildings and interiors were designed to endure and built to last.
Located in Melbourne’s Crown Towers’, the new eatery draws inspiration from the grand conservatories of Europe. “The adoption of century-old techniques set in a modern context, such as the use of traditional fluted details on the bar and the restaurant’s solid metal screens, along with the repetitive use of a soft arch formation, create a true mix of French-deco industria and old world decadence,” founding architect Blainey North says.
The restaurant is flanked at either end with floor-to-ceiling mirrors, which, teamed with double-height windows overlooking the Yarra River, create a natural light-filled and spacious environment.
North introduced a collection of white arches and columns outfitted with marble, paired with large Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees that are planted into the custom cabinetry. Together, the elements create grand proportions, and are the fine recipe to a splendidly regal experience for restaurant guests.
There are four distinct areas in which to dine at the 190-seat buffet-style Conservatory, including a small collection of tables assembled close to the antipasto, seafood, salad and cheese selections, an intimate area near the bar and two larger dining areas.
White marble floors, bespoke chandeliers, a woven timber ceiling, custom-made carpets, generous chairs and tables, locally made steel screens and dramatic reflective surfaces combine to create a lavish and engaging space in which to dine.
Designing the Conservatory led North and her team to experiment with distilling the concept of a space to a simple line drawing, then translating this graphic form into a repetitive architectural detail. The arch motif features on every thing from the chandeliers to the chairs, tables and wall detailing are intentionally intersecting.
Brazilian Designer Guilherme Torres Creates Cool, Sustainable, & Cozy at MonstraBlack 2013
June 13th, 2013 – In the 18th century, the word ‘hotel’ was defined, at first, as the official address of the King of France. The term was later extended to describe the aristocrats’ houses and became a synonym for a large private residence which stood out in the neighboring area. A common practice among elite members was to rent its pied-a-terre when they were away for long periods. That experience allowed tenants to enjoy, though for a short time, the exclusive and reserved luxury of the finest addresses in Europe.
From this concept, described by Jaques-François Blondel in several of his treatises of architecture, Brazilian designer Guilherme Torres took advantages of the sensations caused by the characteristics of the space allocated to him at this years MostraBlack.
MostraBlack is a 40-day annual event that brings creative and conceptual content of the top professionals in architecture, décor, and design throughout several areas of Brazil. Guilherme Torres and his team were selected by MonstraBlack to showcase an oasis of comfort and style right in the heart of urban chaos, baptized Hotel Black.
Cool, sustainable, and absolutely snug and cozy. The bamboo – with none of its eastern folklore – plays a central role in the project. Bamboo is used on the floor, ceiling and some of the walls, which divide the scene, with an incredible three-dimensional ceramic coating, almost optical – The architect’s interpretation of the legendary fresco paintings and tromp l’oeils of the court in the old continent.
The lighting technique, which illuminates the space with energy efficiency, is brought to life through large tensioned screen panels. The high standard interior architecture travels beyond modern and functional furniture – most of them designed by the architect’s team, specifically for this dreamy hotel. where contemporary masterpieces interact with the passer-by. It’s an invitation to relaxation. It’s unforgettable, to say the least, revealing the city at your feet.
During the forty days of shows, the last five floors of MonstraBlack’s Tower A, located in the complex WTorre Plaza, receive thirty spaces freely acclimated by a mix of new talent with renowned architects, decorators and landscapers coming from various states Brazil.
Brazilian designer Guilherme Torres and his design team at MonstraBlack 2013.
Photography By Guilherme Torres Studio
June 12th, 2013 – Ever wonder what it would look like to paint your bedroom door neon green? Dash your walls with black polka-dots? Or hang a huge yellow chandelier over your dining room table? Architects Nick Travers and Justin Northrop, founders of Melbourne-based architecture practice Techne, weren’t shy to add playful splashes of color and quirky design details to their latest residential restoration, South Yarra House.
To celebrate the existing Victorian structure, the architects skillfully preserved the exquisite detailed lacework balcony, interior crown moldings, and arched hallways, then juxtaposed the space with modern design elements. Techne’s design concept for this residential alteration and addition was to pare back the fussiness of the existing Victorian residence and at the same time celebrate its stately proportions.
The family that resides in the South Yarra House are avid art collectors. Because of this, Travers and Northrop conjured up a monochromatic color scheme to showcase the family’s art and furniture which imbues the interior with a frenetic vibrancy.
After passing the zestful stained glass that surrounds the entry door, Techne composed an interior strategy, where each area of the home complements the next.
The living room and dining room are bursting with colorful attributes such as the visually engaging paintings by artist Abbey McCulloch resting on the mantle, bright orange decorative vases, and a contrasting zebra rug over the hardwood floors.
Upstairs, the white washed wood flooring is a stark contrast from the dark wood planks that make up the flooring on the first level. Here, Techne’s clients are able to showcase their art collection in a gallery-like setting; hanging masterpieces by the likes of Australian painter Darren Wardle.
A neon green door creates an imaginative entrance to the children’s room, where polka dot walls, bright yellow bed frames, and a unique red table set collectively tell a jolly story.
This post is curated by KNSTRCT in partnership with Jaguar. Experience F-TYPE.
June 12th, 2013 – Ever wish you could add a little more greenery and light to your life? Nope, that dead, neglected orchid in the corner of your cubicle doesn’t count, nor the flickering fluorescent excuse for a light. We’re talking about stripping down the walls and welcoming the sun with open arms (and SPF 75). We’re talking about ‘living’ greenhouses – a growing design trend.
‘Living’ greenhouses are re-defining the function of the classic greenhouse by utilizing the traditional plant conservatory as homes, offices, and restaurants. The architects behind these brilliantly simple structures have been transparent in their designs. Literally. They’re providing a fresh perspective by breaking down conventional walls and erecting translucent spaces that flood living and working zones with warmth and sunlight.
Besides looking super cool and making your sad, stucco-clad neighbors obscenely jealous, these ethereal structures serve as veritable hot beds for inspiration and fresh ideas. You could say they’re fertile grounds for growth – personal or otherwise. Opaque wall treatments add privacy and sun protection, and proper ventilation systems can control heating and cooling. Not to mention, plants offer positive psychological effects and indoor air purification, removing CO2, which is correlated with lower work performance. One thing’s for sure, when it comes to living greenhouses, the only thing that’ll be in a vegetative state are the Ficus plants. We give them two green thumbs up.
Casa Mediterráneo has teamed up with Manuel Ocaña Arquitecto to breathe new life into an old railway station in Benalúa, Alicante. The archaic exoskeleton of the former station remains, while new life springs forth under the Klein-blue translucent roof.
Sunlight reverberates off an aluminum lattice, casting a sea of blue shadows onto a range of event spaces, built to host exhibitions, concerts, shows or parties – all supporting Casa Mediterráneo’s pillar of fostering public diplomacy. Photography captured by David Frutos.
To combat short hours of sunlight in the winter, Tato Architects erected the top floor of their residential project inside sheds that sit atop the roof. Designed for a small family in a residential neighborhood in Japan, the project utilized translucent polycarbonate walls to allow for maximum sunlight, a stable indoor climate and ample ventilation for the lower floor.
Brilliantly simple in design, the sunroom collects heat in winter, and exhausts heat in summer via the breeze from five motor-operated windows.
Sitting atop Copenhagen’s rectangular urban landscape like a bubble perfectly poised to pop, The Dome of Visions’ delicately erected skeleton and glass-like façade almost create gravity-defying floating effect. Designed by Danish architects Kristoffer Tejlgaard and Benny Jepsen, The Dome encourages vibrant life in a space clouded by construction cranes and freight containers. Upon entering, guests’ senses are greeted with the warmth of a summer afternoon, the wafting scent of rosemary and the spectacular sight of a 100-year old olive tree.
An angular steel and glass framework comprise the beautifully transparent House Café located in the Kanyon Shopping Mall in Istanbul. The brainchild of Turkish design firm Autoban, the cafe is an adaptation of the mall’s original architecture, revamped with a walnut platform that adds warmth to the space and elevates it to a whole new playing field.
Founded on the structure of a carbon molecule, the dome allows for substantial strength and stability, while the construction optimizes resources, using minimal building materials and boasting reduced energy consumption for heating due to minimal surface area and the aerodynamic form.
The epitome of waterfront property, the Garden Shed by architect Ville Hara and designer Linda Bergroth of Hel Yes! features a unique prefabricated garden shed on a remote Finnish island. Customizing their prototype with a wooden floor, solar panels, steps made from reclaimed brick, safety glass and automatic openers to control the temperature inside, the pre-made greenhouse can be bought in four different variations and is built upon modular parts that can be assembled by simply using an everyday screwdriver.
Mirroring spindly scaffolding, House NA utilizes an open floor plan with minimal walls, ever-ascending levels, and a bright, airy aesthetic. Designed by Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto, the Tokyo house is divided into three main stories, then subdivided further into staggered platforms. The open interior is comprised of 21 individual floor plates situated at various heights, allowing residents to move freely and unobstructed from one sun-drenched space to another.
Leyk and Wollenberg created an L-shaped layout by securing a collective of wooden dowels from the floor to ceiling. The repetitive dowels create an interesting design feature while defining the spacial perimeters of the space. Central to the restaurant is a large food prepping and buffet station where Total’s employees gather around to load up on daily specials. Both, the dining area and the food counter are crafted from oak wood then stained in black to stand out amongst the neutral-toned color palette of tans and white. Various sized table tops and counters are methodically scattered throughout the lounge to promote a social environment for Total’s employees.
June 10th, 2013 – When it comes to hotels in Miami, beach junkies find themselves limited to two very distinctive options. Behind door one is high-end establishments glittering with glamor and elegance. Behind door number two are a variety of spring-break-esque hotels where vinyl tiles replace vomit stained carpet. Ew. Miami’s hospitality industry has offered very few “in-between” choices, until now. The recent opening of the Freehand Miami Hostel, a reinvention of the historic Indian Creek Hotel, is filling Miami’s hospitality gap with its chic and authentic accommodations.
The Freehand is responsible for releasing an effortlessly cool and well traveled energy into Miami. This feel-good vibe is likely due to the New York City powerhouse creatives behind the establishment. Developed by The Sydell Group, hyped by the public relation gurus at M18, musically sculpted by Honor Roll Music, and designed by Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch of design firm Roman and Williams. “Our work continues where history dropped off or disappeared” Alesch explained, as it was up to him and Standefer to re-sparked a flame in the historic 1930s Art Deco building.
The two Roman and Williams designers were working with The Sydell Group on the ACE Hotel NYC when the development team approached them about designing a new boutique hostel in Miami. “It actually had no name when we started – We named it – We did the initial branding, naming, and logo for the project,” Alesch noted. Preserving the space was only one of the many challenges in rebuilding the Freehand, “oddly enough the largest obstacle was the Historic Commission in Miami – getting approval on a Modern Aesthetic is easy, getting approval on a historic or eclectic style is near impossible. We have no interest in a clean and contemporary look so we are confronted all the time with confused administrators and also architects who don’t understand our desire to be “unprofessional” in our choice.”
Vintage wood furniture pieces meet an impressive collection of weathered National Geographic magazines in the lobby as the back-door courtyard dripping with palms sets the scene for this Camp-ground gone tropical establishment. The cool yard-sale-style furniture pieces came from “all over the place!” Alesch explained. “We hunt everywhere, we have the best shoppers in the world working with us at Roman and Williams.”
The communal-style boutique hostel pays homage to an ‘endless summer’ as travelers make easy friends around the courtyard pool, artfully surrounded by the graffiti work of artist and photographer, Curtis Kulig, who repeatedly bombed ‘Love Me’ in bright colors across the courtyard fence. An absolute poolside favorite is The Broken Shaker, the Freehand’s tasty interpretation of a hotel bar that features specialty handcrafted cocktails with elixirs, syrups, and infusions made from herbs and spices from our garden, fresh-pressed produce and exotic ingredients from around the world.
The Freehand offers private and shared accommodations, the Super 8, Shared Quad, Private Quad, and Bungalows shelter groups of travelers, while the Standard King claims the adventuring duos. Each of the shared two-toned yellow and blue hostel rooms are outfitted with lake cabin paraphernalia such as worn ladders, wood paneling, bunk beds, and bulky red hooks to hang your towels. Your endless summer begins at $40 a night. Enjoy!
June 7th, 2013 – A reputation is on the rise for street artist Oli-B, as his colorful and shapely murals are brightening the grey walls of Brussels. Although he’s an amazing muralist, Oli-B (short for Oliver Binamé), won’t limit his artistry to a wall or a canvas surface, the painter beautifies stickers, clothing, scarves, and now skateboard decks. Four hand-painted boards are each composed of Oli-B’s vibrant figurines that collage into an abstract totem pole on the underside of the wood deck. These decks will more than likely be used for wall decor as opposed to shredding the rails, but for the skater/art enthusiasts, Oli-B’s boards are surely an object of affection.
June 6th, 2013 – In it’s current state, modern Shanghai is booming with architecture, fashion, finance, and technology. As the largest populated city in the world, travelers flock to the metropolis to experience a city filled with lights, adventure, and a unique interpretation of western pop culture. Although there is much to celebrate about the city’s modern movement, it is undeniable that Shanghai in the 1920s and 30s, dubbed by the Chinese as the “Old Shanghai,” epitomized the most glamorous and most stylish of China in the last century.
The National Museum of Singapore recently exhibited the glamor of “Old Shanghai” in a exhibit titled ‘In The Mood For Cheongsam‘. Alluding to the title of the show, the design plays up the mysteries and subtleties of the Cheongsam, the traditional body-hugging one-piece Chinese dress for women. Evoked by the sensual quality of the Cheongsam, the exhibition, which was designed by Singapore based design studio FARM, takes the form of curvaceous walls like a large dress, sculpting pockets of spaces where each display conceals and reveals, teases and surprises.
The exhibition is one singular continuous space with curvaceous walls that entices visitors to move through the space. The creatives at FARM designed soft pockets of spaces throughout the exhibition, Sometimes convex, other times concave in nature; sometimes expansive, at times intimate. The exhibition is a spatial experience that continues to surprise at various sections within the singular idea.
Providing a context to the various sections is key to provide differentiation and a narrative to the exhibition. Circular plinths, employed throughout, alter in form to suggest these changes in narrative and context. Objects or simple furniture relevant to the era or theme of the section are also integrated together with the Cheongsam on display to create a mise-en-scene within the section.
The design of the Cheongsam still is influential in today’s fashions, as it has become the inspiration for recent collections such as Jason Wu’s Fall/Winter 2012 collection, Gucci’s Fall/Winter 2012 collection, and Emilio Pucci’s Spring/Summer 2013 collection, making the title of the exhibition ‘In The Mood For Cheongsam’ extremely relevant.
June 4th, 2013 – The new Dunmai office has taken over an old motorcycle factory in the creative plaza on Shanghai’s South of the Bund, a place that serves as a remembrance to the familiar stories about old Shanghai. Designer Thomas Dariel, founder of Dariel Studios, gutted the old factory and replaced the space with a pleasurable, relaxing and modern workplace that reflects the company’s dynamism and creativity as well as serving their professional needs.
It took an internal architectural reconstruction to memorialize this old 4-floor factory building, Dariel kept the building’s historical façade, but completely transformed the internal structure into an open, high 3-floor volume arrangement under the design concept of “work in the park – play in the office.” A concept that is reflected in the overall structure and in every detail of this edgy and humorous-looking space.
The internal reconstruction is a response to the friendly atmosphere to the open space required by the client. A 3-floor high central patio, furnished with large white lacquer desks, was built so that colleagues can easily communicate with each other despite what floor level they are on.
Dariel appointed shades of white as the dominant wall color to push out the dark and dingy feeling of the old factory, and to reveal the original structure of the building. The shape of the new internal structure is inspired by the branches of a tree. Drawers on the wall let people imagine that all the plants growing in that space are spreading along the wall and up to the ceiling.
In order to make people feel as if they were surrounded by nature in the given space, the designer attempted to move all the elements of a garden to inside the office: grass lawns under chairs and tables, gardener’s tools designed on the walls, swings displayed during afternoon breaks that exhibit the sweet memory of childhood, and a groove for flowerpots on tables.
The natural light has been designed to infiltrate the whole space, so that one could feel a sense of being outside. The color scheme consists of pure white but bold colors such as vivid pink or green are used ubiquitously for contrast and for developing natural energy.
The restrooms’ entrances are designed to look like open elevator doors. Thus, when one is in search for an elevator, he or she will be surprised to find that it is actually a bathroom. Even the toilet walls are creatively designed, for the designer pays homage to a famous French artist street style by using images from video games to decorate tiled mosaics. The design illustrates that working in an office can be a joyful and unique experience. An office space can be open and transparent, just like the glass walls and doors of many individual spaces in Dunmai Office.
The collaboration between JCA and Les Bébés happened when Chiu and his partner were having a drink outside their office after a long night of diligent work. “Our friend who we have known from our dragon boat team rode their bicycle passed us.” Chui says, “we said hi and realized they were looking for a retail space around the neighborhood. We advise them about a shop that just came on the market by the corner of our office. The next day the shop was rented, and we were commissioned to design their first brand shop.”
“From the first meeting with the client, I was fascinated with the cupcake packaging, how a flat surface cardboard could eventually fold up to create a space that allows for the cupcake to be taken away.” Chiu explained. “After much study, this exact “folding” action became our main concept in creating a space where cupcakes and how we view/walk/rest/taste became a unified experience.”
The shape of the store is simple; rectangular with an a-frame ceiling, playing on the idea of the outside folding into the inside, and vice versa. Breaking the boundaries of interior and exterior, the clean glass facade is acutely cut into the perimeter of the space to abolish the division of exterior and interior. Secured into the glass facade is a black wooden door and a two-toned square shelf to display the daily cupcake special.
Inside, a long marble top counter stretches back to a black painted wall. On the adjacent wall, a long shelf functions as a bar top for the sweet-lovers to enjoy their treat. As the shelf stretches along the wall, it breaks up into tiny shelves to display the cupcake packages in a modern singular manner.
Chiu explained that the success of the first shop has prompted Les Bébés owners to open up their second shop: Les Bebes Cafe and Bar, opening soon.
Photography by Kevin Wu
June 3rd, 2013 - The codfish – “bacalhau” – has always been deeply knitted into Portuguese cuisine. Legend has it that there are at least 1000 thousand ways to cook it, making this fish a local foodie favorite. Architects Nuno Mateus and José Mateus, co-founders of Portugual-based architecture firm ARX, designed the Ílhavo Maritime Museum in the city of Ílhavo back in 2002, the finalized project was even deserving of nominated for the Mies van der Rohe Award in 2003.
Now, the museum is one of the most visited museums in the region of Centro de Portugal, telling a story of high sea fishing in the Newfoundland and in Greenland, as well as in the “ria” of Aveiro. The Mateus brothers have recently revisited their celebrated museum to design a new codfish aquarium.
The codfish aquarium connects two other buildings and is a complex built ensemble. At the heart of the building museum visitors will find the fish and the sea. The visitor’s path is a spiraling ramp, a journey that begins in suspension over the tank, to turn into a diving mode of gradual discovery, an experience of immersion in the cod habitat. The informal auditorium, with extensive visibility into the aquarium, marks a pause in the visit for contemplation and information about the life of this species.
The architects use their expertise in creating contrast and movement throughout the space as architectural elements such as ramped hallways, stairs, and exhibition features visually fold into one another, allowing the visitors to learn about the history of codfish fishing in a fantastic way.
The aquarium features a Sea Room that presents an interesting collection of nautical instruments and miniatures of ancient boats. The new extension will be the first in the country, and the ideal place to observe this interesting species with a closer look. The Codfish Aquarium is a must-see spot of the city of Ílhavo, which intensely promotes the preservation of sea traditions.
May 30th, 2013 – A brief yet powerful collaboration, aptly titled – Fresh Paint, has brought three artist together to create four unique pieces of art. Jon Kleinhample, Founder of Brussels-based design firm LMBRJK, has a knack for creating intriguing objects using digital methods of fabrication. The objects of subject are LMBRJK’s Trilip Series Vases, a handmade collection of voluptuous vases constructed from layers of plywood. Kleinhample’s Trilip vases became the canvas for fellow collaborating artists Oli-B and LastYardz to paint on.
The TRILIP SERIES is an investigation and catalog of organic beauty. Each vessel is distilled from the formal logic of a tulip and an index of functional constraints, such as height, width, performative cavities, perforations, historical vase typologies, etc. The vases are a result of digital wood, A term Kleinhample has coined meaning a re-assembly of sheet lumber into functional objects.
The Fresh Paint exhibition called for both Oli-B and LastYardz to each paint two Trilip vases, one vase over the course of two weeks, and another vase was painted live at the exhibition’s final event. Oli-B is a street artist and painter from Brussels who uses uses vibrant shades of acrylic, spray paint as well as screen printing techniques to create abstract and curvacious characters.
Also a street artist and painter, LastYardz, paints tantalizing yet slightly ailing scenes filled of societal decay with an urban twist. His work, tantalizing yet intriguing, exuding a delightful bit of anarchist spirit.
To create the Trilip vases hundreds of veneer layers form together, cut from hardwood and softwood species harvested from Slovenian forests. The layers are tooled using a CAD-based, 80-watt laser cutter, and then assembled by hand in the studio.
The exhibition resulted in four unique vases, each illustrates a medley of the collaborating artist’s styles. Oli-B painted a collage of colorful curvy shapes overlapping one another, exposing portions of the raw wood below.
LastYardz coated the top portion of one Trilip in black, and the other in white, with etchings branded into the unpainted areas. At the final event, the design enthusiasts of Brussels packed into a shop to witness the artists painting the vases live, at the end of the evening, the collaborators gave away two of the four painted vases in a raffle. Lucky.
This post is curated by KNSTRCT in partnership with Jaguar. Experience F-TYPE.
How eight impossibly thoughtful designs are conceptualized from the most improbable everyday materials.
There was a time in all of our lives when we envisioned a rocket ship from a discarded cardboard box, light sabers from the prosaic paper towel roll, and an infra-red Mission Impossible-esque laser security system out of our standard, yawn-worthy electrical tape. Well, at some point along the way, we lost that childlike wonder and imaginative spark. Not these folks. They’re the MacGyvers of the design world. Give them a rubber band, three paperclips and stick of gum and they’ll build you a geodesic dome (Okay, okay, maybe we took that a little too far – but you get the idea). It takes a truly brilliant brain to create sheer design genius from uninspired everyday objects that the rest of the masses discard – we’re talking pencils, tape, cardboard, fabric, and chain link fence.
Enter …. designer Aakash Nihalani, artists Soo Sunny Park, Philip Karlberg, Janet Echelman, Jacob Hashimoto, Nils Völker, François Dumas, and the creatives from M4 Architects. These cardboard crusaders and rope renegades are pushing the limits with disruptive design, shifting our perception of traditional design by utilizing mundane materials in new, innovative ways. Ten bucks says they’ll have you thinking twice the next time you take out your recycling. Could that empty gallon milk jug be an impromptu watering jug? There’s only one way to find out…
Aakash Nihalani – The Taped Crusader
Featuring bold, fluorescent streaks of tape, Aakash’s geometric installations exist on a completely different plane, offering optical illusions that are divinely incandescent.
Philip Karlberg – The Pencil Pundit
A study in smart design, Karlberg’s pencil pin art effectively captures the likeness of iconic figures in a simplistically loose and beautifully abstract manner.
M4 Architects – The Fabric Shifters
For a Moroccan Tagine restaurant in Seoul, Korean design office M4 created a graphic black and white space with a dreamy, cloud-like ceiling. The curvacious white fabric is dotted with lights, and diffusers that cause the clouds to shift and move.
Nils Völker – The Rubbish Beautician
German artist Nils Völker has transformed a bunch of black plastic garbage bags into captivating wall art in his newest installation, Eighty-Eight.
Janet Echelman – From Mesh Fabric To Wind Choreographer
Janet Echelman’s floating sculpture She Changes in Porto, Portugal dances in the air because of its lightweight materials of string and mesh fabric.
François Dumas – Broom Re-purposer
Jacob Hashimoto - The Paper Prep
For the American artist’s first solo show in the UK, he hand-made hundreds of small kite elements from paper, which he then adhered to bamboo frames. In the exhibit space, the kites hang from thin dowels and rest at various levels to create an uneven, fragmented landscape.
Soo Sunny Park – The Chain Link Scuplter
Suspended from the walls and ceiling are thirty-seven individually sculpted units are arranged to appear as twisting mesh of crystals at Park’s ‘unwoven light’ installation that animates the Rice Gallery.
May 28th, 2013 – Architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron is best known for erecting high-styled super structures around the globe. But the team of 40-strong are focusing their talents in their own hometown of Basel in Switzerland, where the origins of a 14th Century castle were in desperate need of a 21st century make over. Architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, founding principals of Herzog & de Meuron, took on the small hometown project in effort to bring a historical local establishment back to life.
The new Volkshaus Basel has been turned over numerous times throughout the years. Debuting as the Castle of Bailiwick, later People’s House Basel, then a brewery and concert hall in 1874, and after that the building functioned as a central meeting place for political, social and cultural activities. In 1925, architect Henri Baur transformed the historic space back into a concert hall for the folks of Basel to enjoy.
Herzog & de Meuron restored and preserved the building back to it’s 1925 glory specifically putting their focus into the design of the bar and brasserie.
“Based on the original architecture of 1925, the Volkshaus will be preserved in all its diversity and complexity and will reflect the spirit of its own history,” says Herzog & de Meuron Senior Partner Ascan Mergenthaler. “Our intention aims to revitalize the diversity of this location which is so important to the life of Basel, while at the same time restoring its architectural identity.”
In the Brasserie, the architects re-exposed the ceiling beams by taking down a dilapidated old ceiling from the seventies. Benches divide the Brasserie in different spatial zones with the help of the tin covered bar and tables. Suspended LED luminaries hang from the ceiling with blown glass diffusers that embodies the spirited chandeliers of the buildings early days. The chairs in the Brasserie are a replica of the original People’s House chair.
Seventeenth century etchings have been transferred to the green-toned wallpaper used in the corridors of the restrooms thus establishing a link with Basel in the days of the former medieval manor.
materials like tin, leather and wood, which acquire a patina through years of use. Striking architectural elements of 1925 have been reiterated elsewhere in various scales and articulations. For instance, the oval window above the entry resonates in the window to the public passage that leads to the inner courtyard, in the swinging door between the bar and the brasserie, in an opening that reveals the historical staircase and in the mirrors of the restrooms. The sinks in the restrooms are recycled items found in Basel’s building components exchange.
Photography by Volkshaus Basel
May 23rd, 2013 - Vivid Sydney, an annual 18-day festival of light, music, and ideas, will once again transform Sydney’s skies, waters, and landmarks into a spectacular canvas of light. Kicking off the festival is Australia’s own creative innovators The Spinifex Group who have taken over the Sydney Opera House sails with a newly commissioned artwork, “PLAY”, transporting audiences through a playfully projected journey that will celebrate Vivid Sydney’s light, music and ideas in an immersive new way.
In the ultimate art meets architecture encounter, The Spinifex Group is outfitting the Opera House sails with a new visual adventure featuring dramatic animations and iconic, thought-provoking imagery. As part of the Opera house’s annual makeover, the ground-breaking technical executions on the sails will combine light projection, architectural mapping and tightly-choreographed motion graphics as the sixty-strong Sydney agency takes on their hometown to perform on one of the nation’s most culturally significant landmarks.
Also part of this years festival will be a glowing makeover of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Using the latest interactive lighting technology, you’ll be able to select a section of the bridge to light up, choose your own color and watch in awe as your illuminated creation brings to life the beautiful grey arch and spans of this iconic piece of Australian architecture. It’s a rare treat to play with something you drive, walk or cycle over on a regular basis!
The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCAA) is a major harbourside venue in Vivid Sydney. Not only do stunning 3D mapped illuminations light up the façade of the building in a creative splurge of colour and movement but, inside, the museum is home to the ever-expanding Vivid Ideas Exchange as well as a series of major new exhibitions. 3D-mapped projections are the result of a unique collaboration between a world-class content creator and a world-class creative communications company. The sublime work of Australian artist, Gemma Smith, represented in the MCAA’s collection, is also brought to life by Sydney’s Spinifex Group.
May 23rd, 2013 – Until recently, the Adastra Superyacht was merely a concept, with early renderings of the yacht generated numerous ‘ooohs’ and ‘aaaaahs’ from boat enthusiasts across globe. Last year the Adastra got its toes wet for the first time in Hong Kong, and has now taken the prize for ‘Most Innovative Design’ at the 2013 World Superyacht Awards. Designed by UK based yacht-maker John Shuttleworth, the trimaran is the second largest of its kind and can be controlled by an iPad from miles away from the actual vessel. Hong Kong-based shipping industry billionaire Anto Marden first commissioned construction of the Adastra five years ago. The finished product is worth $15 million, and will likely be used by Marden and his wife Elaine to sail between two islands that they own off the coast of Indonesia.
Adastra is the result of meticulous attention to detail and innovative design to create a yacht that meets the needs of a very experienced ocean voyaging couple and their family, and to provide the level of comfort and style expected in a yacht of this class and size. No effort has been spared in the challenge to produce a beautiful yacht that has exceptionally low fuel consumption and yet provides excellent sea keeping qualities and luxurious accommodation.
Measurements taken during the sea trials show that her fuel consumption at 10.5 knots is as low as 17 liters per hour when carrying 10% fuel and water. At cruising load (20 tonnes fuel and water) she uses just 25 litres per hour therefore on delivery trips her range is 10,000 miles starting with 30,000 liters of fuel.
The slender hulls and streamlined exterior allow the Adastra to travel faster in the open ocean and at 17 knots she has a 4,000 mile range so can comfortably cross both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans at hi-speed.
The challenge of turning this concept into a viable luxury yacht has led Shuttleworth to further research and develop new thinking on stability and comfort at sea for this type of craft. Extensive tank testing and radio controlled model tests in waves have been carried out to analyze stability and performance. Outrigger height has been optimized for ease of motion at sea, and a new outrigger shape has been developed to increase stability in waves.
Shuttleworth and his building team have undertaken state of the art structural analysis of all the major components in the yacht in order to achieve the light weight required for very low fuel consumption. The deck and superstructure is constructed from carbon fiber with Nomex honeycomb core, the hull is glass/Kevlar foam sandwich and the interior is light weight oak cabinetry using honeycomb panels. To help reduce weight further, virtually every aspect of the boat is custom built. This includes carbon fiber hatches, toilets, port lights and ladders, which are all built specifically for the vessel.
May 22nd, 2013 – Swedish born industrial designer Victor Johansson’s new Ceramic Stereo seamlessly merges the physical and digital to create interactions with improved sensory richness. Using the Ceramic Stereo is simple; connect your smartphone device via bluetooth, place your phone on the wooden center, then move your phone towards a specific edge of the speaker where the phone will detect a command (play, pause, radio, etc.).
Johansson constructed the Ceramic Stereo during his final year at London’s prestigious Central St. Martins University, to illustrate a cohesive way of human interaction with digital design.
“The Ceramic Stereo is one of three outcomes from my degree-project at Central St. Martins. This means that there is about 6-months worth of research and design work preceding the concept,” Johansson explained. While building the Ceramic Stereo, the designer seemed to breeze through the technicalities of constructing the device, but molding the ceramic was a different story. “What took the longest was to create the ceramic bowl itself, I had no prior knowledge to working with ceramic so this was quite a challenge, luckily the amazing technicians at CSM helped me.”
“The interaction-design paradigm of the moment is being centered around swiping our fingertips on glass. May it be phones, tablets, computers, in-car systems, or even refrigerators.” Johansson wanted to reach further, and create objects that humans can interact with in a less tangible way, such as voice commands and waiving your hands in the air.
More tangible options do exist. These options often offer more natural interactions with greater tolerances and error margins and that stimulate a wider range of human abilities than it’s screen counterpart. However, more often than not these tangible interfaces end up having very few functions and limited in terms of adaptation and customization. The Ceramic Stereo is Johansson first stab at creating an interactive product containing user friendly commands that act upon movement.
April 21st 2013 – There is something about a body of water, small or large, that instinctively beckons for our bodies to jump in. Most of us start as splashers, but over time we grow to be relaxers, making a hotel pool an essential tool for any mind-mellowing getaway. We went ahead and hunted down the coolest and most current hotel pools around the globe so you can make and educated decision about the future of your next swan dive.
Normally when you think of tropical hotels, palm leaf ceilings, shabby-chic wood huts, or bamboo constructed walls come to mind, but the Cassa De La Flora is Khoa Lak’s first modernist hideaway. VaSlab Architecture took a risk when they started going down a different path and designed cutting edge architecture and it mixed with stunning tropical landscaping. Not only does each villa have it’s own private pool here, a large pool is sits snug on the rooftop and stairs directly into the turquoise waters.
The Monastero Santa Rosa Hotel & Spa is located between Positano and Amalfi is a historic Monastery fully transformed into a boutique hotel. The hotel is considered to be one of only 39 castle hotels in all of Italy, originally converted from a monastery into a hotel in 1924 where it was run for three generations by Roman hotelier Mr. Marcucci. The Santa Rosa is filled with four levels of gardens, an infinity pool, and views of the Gulf of Salerno right in it’s backyard.
Singapore-based Guz Architects are well known for creating bona fide tropical fortresses’ throughout southeast Asia. The firms latest project comes in the form of Coco Privé, a secluded resort on the Kuda Hithi Island in the Maldives. On the island, Guz Wilkinson, founder and principal architect at Guz Architects, designed on master residence, the Palm Residence, and five other private villas. The architecture reflects the natural charms of its surroundings, an elegant blend of modern and natural materials, where craft and attention to detail combine to achieve a spacious, elegant and intimate haven.
Cue Villa Egerton, one of the French Riviera’s most iconic villa estates. For the last century the villa has remained a fiercely-guarded secret summer residence, historically frequented by the world’s glitterati. But six years and several million euros later, the restored property is being brought to the rental market, billed as the Côte d’Azur’s most desirable holiday retreat. The villa now boasts one of the largest outdoor entertaining spaces in the region, complete with heated swimming pool, hot tub Jacuzzi, outdoor cooking and dining facilities, and a pool terrace bar. The existing mature trees were retained throughout the property, to protect the privacy of guests.
Grace Santorini is an exclusive boutique hotel located in the beautiful setting of Imerovigli in the northwest of the island, high above the Caldera, the Grace Santorini is the perfect vantage point from which to view the famed Santorini sunsets that envelop. This photograph is the view from the personal plunge pool in their honeymoon suite, but the hotel also offers guests access to a few other supremely stunning pools overlooking the ocean.
We’ve been keeping a close eye on Singaore’s PARKROYAL on Pickering ever since WOHA Architects released their architectural renderings of a lush four-story hotel full of tall sky-gardens, reflecting pools, waterfalls, planter terraces and cascading vertical greenery, a few years back. Recently completed, the hotel’s greenery flourishes throughout the entire complex, and the trees and gardens of the hotel appears to merge with those of the adjoining park as one continuous sweep of urban parkland. Massive curvaceous sky-gardens, draped with tropical plants and supporting swathes of frangipani and palm trees, are cantilevered at every fourth level between the blocks of guest rooms.
Situated amid the pristine scenery of the Swiss Alps, and with stunning mountain views in every direction, The Cambrian offers the kind of location that tense desk huggers all over the world over spend their days dreaming about. Designed by Peter Silling & Associates, the establishment Includes heated indoor and outdoor swimming pools, the hotel offers a lifted experience, amongst the Swiss mountain tops.
Off the northeast coast of Taveuni lies this tiny private island hideaway, Laucala Island Resort, where they capture the best tropical ambiance, the beauty of the scenery, and the exotic flavours of Fiji. In this world you can find the ultimate in luxury, romance, privacy and seclusion. The property has a series of lagoon like pools mixed with modern architectural elements, like rectangular pools with see-through glass sides.
We could not make this list without including the rooftop pool at Singapore’s Marina Sands Bay. The super structure, which was designed by Moshe Safdie is the world’s most expensive standalone casino property, with a budget of a staggering $6 billion. Towering over Singapore is the infinity pool that stretches the length of the elongated pod-like structure at the top of the building.
Six Senses Yao Noi was built on the site of a former rubber plantation. Many of the rubber trees were kept to create shade from the sun as well as keeping soil from eroding. In addition, the landscape and gardens have been improved with the philosophy of re-generating the tropical flora as it would have been if the area was left untouched. Enjoy wonderful panoramic ocean views from this villa, with a private pool and terrace for lounging and alfresco dining. There is a separate bedroom, a bathroom with outside shower and a sitting room.
Velassaru Maldives is a distinct Maldives Island hotel inspired by local architecture. Minimal chic revealed in teak, stone, thatch. Simple colour tones with a dash of bright green, vivid turquoise, refreshing yellow. Four premium Maldives water villas come with your own infinity pool overlooking the turquoise ocean. Sun-bathe in utter privacy. Warm natural light caressing your skin. Slipping into the shade for a nap. Indulge in a long, relaxing bath in the free-standing tub at our exclusive water villas in Maldives.
Nestled into the Santorini mountainside, along the main thoroughfare of central Oia, sits Katikies Hotel. The luxury boutique hotel, which has been one of the hottest places to vacation in the village, has recently been renovated. The new contemporary decor mixed with the preserved Aegean architecture gives Katikie visitors the best of both worlds. The hotel blends fantastical landscape with endless stairs and a jaw dropping infinity pool tucked into the white mountain.
The Viceroy Bali, a villa resort in Ubud with 5-star hotel service, consists of 25 luxury pool villas. It is majestically standing in Bali’s “Valley of the Kings”, a name given by locals for the generations of Balinese royalty who resided in nearby villages. The photograph above was taken at dawn over the hotel’s Lembah Spa.
April 21st 2013 – Nothing woos over prospective condominium buyers quite like a supremely zen-like sales center. Designers Elaine Cecconi and Anna Simone, founders of creative firm Cecconi Simone Inc., designed a park-like setting indoors for the sales center at Toronto’s new Monde Condominiums.
Monde Condos is a new condominium project from the global development giants at Great Gulf. The project is currently in construction on Lower Sherbourne St in Toronto, but Cecconi and Simone polished off the sales center first. The center makes use of evocative materiality that encompasses stone, concrete, wood and plantings.
The ground plane is redefined by a “stream” of crushed glass; the ceiling re-imagined with starry formations of LED pin lights. Benches and cantilevered ledges in privileged corners offer moments of rest and contemplation.
The nature infused interior design of the 4,000 square foot sales center was inspired by Monde’s local East Bayfront, as it contains emerging potential for a thriving waterfront community.
With the utmost respect for nature, Monde is a man-made homage to the timeless elegance of the outdoors. This earthy philosophy is what led leading architect Moshe Safdie to pursue LEED Gold certification for the building.
May 18th 2013 – We don’t often write about food on KNSTRCT, but this is not a subject about food. This is about innovation. Last Friday New York based Chef Dominique Ansel debuted a tasty new invention: the CRONUT, a delightful croissant x doughnut hybrid. No need to go any further, really, that should be enough to make you hop down to the Soho bakery and pick up a dozen. Oh, but that might be hard for New Yorkers, as the bakery has been selling out by 9:30am each morning since opening day.
Each of the gooey CRONUTS consists of a specialty croissant dough that has been proofed, then fried. To flavor, the CRONUTS are first tossed in sugar, and then filled with Tahitian vanilla ganache, and finally finished with a rose glaze and crystallized rose petals.
Needless to say, once word hit the streets about Ansel’s CRONUTS, tenacious Manhattanites poured into the bakery to be the first to get a taste. Unknowing of the hybrid’s success, Ansel only debuted 50 CRONUTS on Friday morning. With lines of people streaming out the doors of the shop, all sold out within 20 minutes. The CRONUT mayhem has since been in a critical state.
Ansel rose to fame in New York City, where he served as the Executive Pastry Chef for Restaurant Daniel under celebrity chef Daniel Boulud. Before New York City became his home, and Boulud became his mentor, Ansel picked up the art of pasty making in his hometown of Paris from his father.
Since then, Ansel has been named one of the “Top 10 Pastry Chefs in the United States” by Dessert Professional Magazine in 2009. In 2010, Dominique was chosen by Time Out New York as one of the city’s “Top Ten Pastry Chefs You Need to Know”. No need to fret New Yorkers, we hear that Ansel and his team are now working all night to bake you extra loads of CRONUTS.
May 16th 2013 – Parisian retailer Annie Aime has moved west, setting up shop on the bustling streets of Toronto. Local designer John Tong, principal of Toronto-based creative firm +tongtong, spearheaded the design of the shop, creating an eye-twisting space that is bold, flexible, and an open-concept environment that can easily be transformed into a space for scheduled art openings and other Annie Aime events.
Tong outfitted the 800 sq. ft. space with stark white walls and oak wood flooring, which became the canvas for graffiti artist Pascal Paquette to create an “organic, almost spontaneous” graffiti mural. “It’s quite active. It’s dynamic. It’s textural,” says Tong.
The geometric display units, constructed of welded steel, are weighted so that they securely lean against the wall and can be easily moved throughout the shop with no fasteners required. “They’re layered into a space that is very animated,” says principal John Tong. “Bold colors and architectural expression were needed to really capture Annie’s personality. I got this from the very first time we met when she described her passion for what she does and the fashion she searches out for her clients.”
Tong also developed a low-lying stepped brick display unit down the center of the shop, as well as a floor-to-ceiling brick and wood shelving unit at the rear. “It gives the space a grounding with out being precious,” says Tong. “It brings a tactility and materiality to the space, which is otherwise made up of drywall, paint and steel.”
Tong visualizes the juxtaposition of the geometric racks layered over the fluid, almost malleable, graffiti as a built environment which also reflects the vibrant spirit of the labels she carries. The artistic design of the shop parallels the feminine, floral pieces as well as bold, architectural offerings from collections of Veeshoo, frrry, Outclass, Helene Clément, Prêt pour partir, Saint-James and Saisei. “Creating a space where Annie felt she could express herself, play and offer the treasures from her explorations and journeys to her guests has been a joy.”
May 16th 2013 - São Paulo’s Fazenda Boa Vista development is a massive 1,800 acre residential and hospitality complex rolling with perfectly trimmed hills, deep blue lakes, and untouched landscapes. The property features an array of amenities such a clubhouses, an equestrian center, golf course, tennis courts, five star hotel, and a spa. Also within the complex is a collective of newly built residences designed by Brazil’s architectural headliners, Isay Weinfeld, Arthur Casas, and Paulo Jacobsen and Bernardo Jacobsen of Jacobsen Arquitetura.
Jacobsen’s new MDT house is in the well designed company of Fazenda Boa Vista’s newly built residences. The home is sectioned into three rectangular volumes that are juxtaposed together to create three full patios, a gourmet kitchen, home theater, large entertaining areas, a kids room, library, and a swimming pool.
The outside of the MDT home is outfitted with a stone wall covered in vertical wood panels ranging in hues of brown, orange, and yellow. The stone and wood wall constitutes most of the exterior walls, except for the areas that overlook the pool and courtyard. Here, the bedroom suites fit straight into one of the rectangular volume, each bedroom has a glass wall so guests have a view of the swimming pool through the wood panels.
One feature not to be missed is the large wood covered patio that overlooks the pool. On the patio, modern furniture pieces create unique conversation areas, and the gourmet kitchen is only steps away to feed the need for serving and entertaining.
The architects took a topographical approach to develop to sculpt the land of the MDT House. Variations in floor and ceiling create different ceiling heights and different relationships with the garden,
sometimes enabling direct access to the gardens and pool.
Photography by Leonardo Finotti
May 15th, 2013 – It’s about time. The past fifty years have been dominated by large clunky headphones that don’t cater to female form. Somebody needed to solve this acoustical travesty, and that somebody is Sweden-based industrial designer Maria von Euler, founder of the female-friendly headphone company Molami. Von Euler combined quality audio with avant-garde design, incorporating a function meets fashion ideal with their latest Twine Headpiece – headphones truly designed with the contemporary individual in mind.
Twine is a soft headpiece made of silk-satin and chiffon blends that comfortably wraps around your head with 18K gold accent pieces – giving you a unique listening experience. The headphones are designed from a fashion standpoint, worn as a selected accessory and tailored for the style savvy individual. Von Euler has meticulous attention to detail that can be seen in each pair of Molami headphones – from the tailored silhouette of each model down to the braided textile-wrapped cords and discreet accents plated in gold and silver.
Photography By Molami
May 14th, 2013 – Nestled among the forested hills of the Serra dos Órgãos is Petrópolis, also known as The Imperial City of Brazil. Petrópolis is a popular summer holiday spot amongst the locals of Rio de Janeiro, a perfect place for the clients of Jacobsen Arquitetura to build a new holiday home to have a place to spend their weekends and holidays with family and friends. Because the couple planned on filling the house with frequent visitors, it was necessary for Paulo Jacobsen and Bernardo Jacobsen, founding architects of Jacobsen Arquitetura, create a program cautiously thought to create the perfect wellness and relaxation center.
Perhaps the title of JN House is a bit too modest of a mantra. Many might refer to this build more of an estate than a “home”, as the property features a main house, spa, swimming pool, pond, dog’s room, tennis court, leisure pavilion, hydro massage room, gym, small warehouse, garage, office, home theater – to name a few.
The architects took a topographical approach to develop to sculpt the land of what was to become the JN House. One concept behind the structure was to integrate architecture with nature, the elements that create the house were often hidden in the natural unevenness of the site, so there is mimicking with the land.
Consequently, the construction was distributed through the land, being basically a single story house characterized by different independent blocks. Concrete structures and garden slabs bind into the topography and others subtly stand out through a mesh of wood in the landscape, created through a succession of structural frames.
The access to the house is through a paved pathway leading to a suspended volume. This creates a front porch with a stunning view of the rocky mountains in the background. From a central core of the main house, you will find implanted on the land the SPA located by the pool, the children’s house, leisure pavilion with a tennis court and further away from the house the maids’ quarters.
The main house has a linear floor plan. On the ground floor of this construction are the living and dining rooms, lavatory, pantry, four guest suites and a deck. The deck faces the pool and spa. The guest suites have bladed louvered panels closing. In the inferior part of the house is the garage, office, lavatory, service area and a home theater.
The garden slabs form a ceiling for some blocks of the house, so indoor comfort is maintained for visitors. The fireplace and interior gardens help regulate the temperature. The existence of large glass panels and skylights lets in natural light.
The house generates different atmospheres depending on the brightness. By day the porticos create a game of exciting lights and shadow and at night the lights make the room cozy.