December 4th, 2013 – Though it shares part of its name and most of its structure with DEDON’s iconic NESTREST hanging lounger, the new SWINGREST by Daniel Pouzet is in a class all its own. The ultimate hanging lounger, SWINGREST is one of the first products to emerge from Dedon Island resort, the company’s Outdoor Living Lab in Siargao, Philippines.
Pouzet, co-architect and designer of Dedon Island, took his inspiration for the SWINGREST from the extra-high ceilings of the resort’s villas. Borrowing the basket-like bottom from his earlier creation, the NESTREST, he has managed to create an altogether new work that feels even more spacious (and fits more people) while seeming to take up less space.
Perfect for hanging on the terrace or veranda, or even indoors, the SWINGREST is distinguished by the purity and simplicity of its concept. Rather than complicate it unnecessarily, Pouzet decided to focus instead on refining the details of the design, developing, for instance, the SWINGREST’s elegant suspension system, its 180° rotating tabletop and the specially-created cord that wraps around its exposed tubing. The swing is dressed in a Natural colored weave, and comes with an optional fabric curtain cover that’s perfect for making shade and giving privacy while letting those inside see out.
December 4th, 2013 – Perhaps this is the kind of workspace that makes our parents want to throw up in their mouth a little…then swallow. While they spent their 20′s, 30′s and 40′s slaving away in the confines of uninspiring cubicle squares, their now employed children are basking in the glory of contemporary designed workspaces. (Thank you, mom and dad, for leaving the world in a better place than you found it!) An even bigger ‘thank you’ should be extended to the design creatives over at Gensler who realized AirBnB’s homey new San Francisco Headquarters.
Gensler transformed a former industrial building in the rapidly-developing SOMA neighborhood of San Francisco, into a residential-esque workspace for the property-swapping website’s 200 employees. The architects hollowed out a central atrium foyer to filter in sunlight, a layout that naturally situated the office’s around the perimeter of the four-story structure.
The atrium includes a GSky Green wall, outfitted with 1,226 sq ft of beautiful greenery that stretches up to three floors high. The Green Wall is a grand centerpiece that adds to the overall aesthetics of the building, employees will be able to enjoy a breath of fresh air everyday.
The team at Gensler integrated touches of home to enrich the workplace ambiance. The rooms are all replicas of actual homes that can be rented through AirBnB, named for the places they can be found in from Reykjavik to Paris, Amsterdam to Bali. It’s a smart touch that speaks to the company’s house-swapping concept, as well as providing a variety of spaces for people to meet and work in.
After gutting the building, the architects preserved existing elements such as the atrium’s worn and unpolished concrete wall and flooring. To enhance the salvaged components, a pallet of fine natural finishes like wood, stone, and the greenery were introduced into the space.
Parts of the home are swapped in for the typical office space. Instead of a boardroom, AirBnB enlisted a cozy living room as a place to come together. Instead of a cafeteria, the team dines together in a large kitchen environment. Broad hallways are broken down into small conversational areas donning a ‘mi casa es su casa’ vibe. Oh, and let us not leave out the nerd cave, hopscotch, and even a place for employees to lay down their head for a nap.
San Francisco has rapidly become the headquarters for tech giants, who aspire to re-write the laws of the workplace. Rather than keeping workers chained to their desk for hours on end, companies like AirBnB increase productivity and positive attitudes amongst their team by cultivating flexible, interactive, and comfortable workplace environments.
Photography by Emily Hagopian
December 3rd, 2013 – Is it just us? Or does everyone have that moment where they zone out in front of their work desk (perhaps after hours of mind-blowing deadlines to meet) and daydream about zipping through tiny Italian streets on a mint colored Vespa? Italy may have been where the scooter makers got their start (and where the daydream takes place), but lately, the company has their eyes set on Asia. With the consistent economic growth, Asia has become the strong market for a beloved brand of scooters. This growth has manifested into the creation of Bangkok’s new Vespa Galleria, skillfully designed by the creatives over at Supermachine.
Being more than just showroom and sales space, Vespa Galleria includes a scooter showroom, merchandise shop, scooter service and small exhibition space all-in-one. The 7,500 square foot gallery features a high-gloss mint green finish on the floor and ceiling, curvy white brick walls, and custom wood furniture that bind together to create the cheerful space.
“For us, designer, “Vespa”, with its long history, is more than just a scooter. It is a culture, a lifestyle.” Explained Supermachine’s founder Pitupong Chaowakul. “We tried to add different dimensions of Vespa into the project. Behind the sales counter, the bricked wall becomes the ‘scooter wall’. Hundreds of tiny models of Vespa are secured onto it to create the back drop for the full size scooter in front. Above the counter, we installed a series of big cylinder lamps custom made from blown up vintage Vespa advertisements.”
For the Bangkok showroom, Supermachine tweaked the initial concept to veer away from being a little “corporate”, and lean towards creating a more playful space by using curved brick walls juxtaposed with vintage graphics from Vespa’s old posters. But the designers didn’t deviate too much from Vespa’s original concept, as the main sales space remains bright white as requested from the brand.
To artfully display the models, Supermachine employed an elliptical shaped stand to showcase the scooters in a dynamic radial orientation. Deeper inside, the space is curved continuously into the “Vespa Green” exhibition showing a collection of old and special edition of Vespa scooters!
Photography courtesy of Supermachine
December 3rd, 2013 – Curvaceous forms create sinuous connections at Greenland Group‘s new sales center in Zhengzhou, China. Shanghai-based creative studio MRT Design conjured up a showroom that defies straight lines with a dialogue that constantly shifts and realigns as architectural components move through the space. This establishment marks the second Zhengzhou-centered sales office that architect Bill Yen, Founder of MRT, has created for the real estate moguls.
Yen designed the showroom to operate as a place where Greenland can attract and entertain prospective real estate buyers. Dressed for success, the center is outfitted with sculptural white walls that organically mold into tables, display units and seating. Here, ambient lighting is dynamically integrated into the ceiling and walls in the form of sweeping light strips that add a sense of movement and dimension to the space.
The center features a spacious oblique lobby that displays 3D models of the company’s most recent developments, private sales offices and a lavish lounge used for entertaining – all spaces speak the same curvilinear architectural language.
Upscale interior finishes such as marble, copper, wood and leather impressively infuse together to create a sophisticated and opulent atmosphere, an elegant setting where the team at Greenland will proudly exhibit their latest developments!
December 1st, 2013 – A total transformation took place on the coast of Spain for Xpiral Architect’s recently completed Tuning House. Javer Pena, founder and lead architect of Xpiral, was contacted by a French couple who wanted to turn two residences on the coast of Mazzaron into one “comfortable and familiar house” with plenty of room for entertaining guests. When Xpiral got their hands on the house they found that the layout, building systems, and materials were outdated and the direction of the house was not taking full advantage of the beautiful surrounding landscape and view. The architect refreshed the home by bringing out its phenomenological and climatic aspects while incorporating the elements and textures of the existing house itself.
The facade is outfitted with an artistic white crochet network that Pena says is his favorite element of the Tuning House. “The main innovative effort of the project was focused on the facade, which is a multitask element that came up after several steps of design.” Pena explained he “got involved with it from the early conceptual design to the final construction, being the one who directly built the crocheted component as a handicraft element.”
This element had three steps of design, which showcase the post-production work that went into the Tuning House. The first step was to demolish the south façade. This opened up the house to the sun and landscape. Next, the exterior was painted white to reflect the sun, which aids in temperature regulation. Lastly, thick rope weave over a glass fibber pipe network was made to create the façade. But this design was built for more than just aesthetics. The pipes water the plants, protect the house from the sun, and filter the wind.
Inside the house a kaleidoscope courtyard aids ventilation and a series of mirrors helps distribute light. The post-production work in this design shows technology and handmade design can seamlessly work together. The garden, which sits lower than the house, was turned into an open terrace incorporating an outside sitting room and kitchen. When all these elements come together a fine tuned, modern and functional living space is created rightfully known as the Tuning House!
Photography by David Frutos @ BIS Images
November 26th, 2013 - The new Cheval Blanc Randheli represents a contemporary vision of the Maldives. Architect Jean-Michel Gathy has conceived uniquely designed spaces skillfully combining local traditions with the finest materials to create a stunning modern and graphical structure that is in complete harmony with its pristine and natural surroundings.
Guests of the hotel arrive by Cheval Blanc’s seaplane that carries the travelers for 40 minutes from the Male International Airport to the resort.
The tropical establishment consists of 45 residential-scale, open-plan villas with 23-foot-high ceilings. All accommodations feature infinity-edge pools and spacious indoor and outdoor living areas. Walls slide open for unobstructed ocean views. The resort has a poolside bar, four restaurants, a private dining space, and in-room dining.
45 residential-scale, open-plan villas with 23-foot-high ceilings. All accommodations feature infinity-edge pools and spacious indoor and outdoor living areas. Walls slide open for unobstructed ocean views. The resort has a poolside bar, four restaurants, a private dining space, and in-room dining.
Guests can swim in their vast private villa swimming pool, sunbathe on their private white sand beach, enjoy a live-cooked dinner in the garden, relaxing on a daybed on their pontoon right over the lagoon all in the intimacy of their villa.
Around the hotel is the discovery of 46 sculptural color spots, an exclusive art exhibition by French artist Vincent Beaurin, titled Couronne. Beaurin’s artwork explores the richness of a wide spectrum of color tones, creating a stimulating and inspiring collection of artwork. Made from a blend of marble and quartz sands, each spot is unique and will soon unveil its vibrant colors in one of the Maison’s villas.
Surrounded by the turquoise waters of the Noonu atoll, Randheli Island is a true haven for lush vegetation. Majestic palm trees shelter the delicate ephemeral flowers creating a luxuriantly decor that changes with every season to provide a renewed sense of discovery with each visit!
Photography by Stefano Candito Photography
November 25th, 2013 – After surviving the traumas of devastating fires and wartime bombing, what’s left of Augsburg’s thousand year old St. Moriz (Moritzkirche) Catholic church has been paired-down and refined by beloved British minimalist architect John Pawson. Pawson says that he approached the project as a “re-tune of the existing architecture from an aesthetic, functional and liturgical perspectives, with considerations of sacred atmosphere always at the heart of the project.”
The renovated church building is situated in Augsburg’s historic center, right within a triangle formed by the Augsburg dome, Saint Ulrich basilica and Saint Afra church. Over the centuries, the church has seen various reconstructions and additions, leading to a conglomerate of style relics that have shed reference to their romanic, gothic and early baroque precursors. The impression of change, destruction and reconstruction has led to the decision to develop an integrative concept for the renovation of Saint Moritz.
Pawson and his team, with the consent and encouragement of local Catholic worshippers, have stripped away much of the old interior, rearranged a number of artefacts, and lit the church in compelling new ways. In particular, the architect laminated a thin layer of onyx to the windows, diffusing daylight rays throughout the building.
Pawson created an encompassing renovation concept for the church nave, paying tribute to the long history and tradition of the building while keeping in mind the needs of a modern community.
With its high vaults, illuminated cupolas and baroque paintings, contrasting with the dark wooden pews, the all-white church interior makes an overwhelming impression, culminating in the mighty statue of Christus Salvator by Georg Petel from the year 1632.
With the help of Bion Technologies, the renovation included an innovative illumination concept blending harmonically with the building’s interior features. This underscores Saint Moritz’s unique architecture. Modern lighting technology was called for to provide the mild yet accentuated illumination intended by the designer. The new and predominantly indirect illumination provides full surface flooding as well as accentuated highlighting of individual building components, giving a unique impression of space, plastic shape and detail. All fixtures are concealed in architectural recesses to prevent blinding, yet ensuring a most natural lighting.
Portuguese limestone lines the floor; hidden LEDs illuminate gloomy parts; certain Baroque elements, including the carved figures of the Apostles which look down on the congregation, have been retained. To no one’s surprise, Pawson executed extraordinary control in drawing on existing forms and elements of vocabulary, an architectural language has evolved that is recognizable in subtle ways as something new, yet has no jarring foreign elements.
Photography by Gilbert McCarragher
November 24th, 2013 – The Land Rover Defender has turned 65! That means this robust cross-country vehicle long ago passed the minimum age to qualify as an old-timer. To enhance the vehicle’s history and aura, Job Smeets and Nynke Tynagel, the duo behind Antwerp-based Studio Job were asked to take this 4×4 in hand. It has become a pièce de résistance. The Land Rover has been submerged in a Studio Job ‘bath’, with all that this implies. Like a project that has got out of hand, the Land Rover has been dissected and interpreted, ridiculed and celebrated, laden with stories and adorned with a variety of materials. The motor has remained in place but driving the vehicle is anything but a comfortable experience.
‘As you would expect from someone who knows nothing about making a car, our approach got completely out of hand,’ says Job Smeets. ‘The numerous elements kept accumulating. The car literally sticks its tongue out. It wants to be something that it actually isn’t. It’s become a great concoction, monumental and cynical. But isn’t that also true for power and class structures? Those are surely also inventions. A fictive status symbol that other people supposedly look up to. It’s also a nudge at designers who are asked to design a concept car and who then invent a stylish-looking apparatus that is launched with all the necessary bells and whistles. So we also take aim at the car industry: I can already imagine the chief sitting in this modern carriage, with the chauffeur in the front and his various wives and children in the back. A Popemobile for an African chief, personalised in a bizarre way.’
In respects to the novel and flamboyant additions to the Defender, we felt the need to properly credit each one. Outfitting the Land Rover are lamp holders with polychrome glass, rugged terrain exhaust system, mechanical door handles & faience grips, crystal enlaid xl exterior mirror, high-beam headlamp with candle, high load imperial with smurray planks, sirens in hand blown glass, imperial mounted sound speaker, aluminum & polished brass shock-absorber, stained glass windows with peepholes, aluminum casted tailor-made mudguard, hand painted flags on pole (zimbabwe & congo), curtain rails & rings in wax printed vlisco fabrics, mud flap holders with xl figurative rubber mud flaps, crystal inlaid globe with belt drive & pulley system, fuel system: hose, trumpet, grinder & barrel, stick out tongue grill, sex cake hub-cap, bronze bull bumper, charm chain, capitol hub-cap, colloseum hub-cap, exhaust flame, warning bell, coach wheel, high load tail gate, gilded rhino hood horn, rock mudguard & side, exterior fire pan mirror, thick toot, porch roof fender, cable reel & bracket, crate of duvel, barbed spare wheel & suspension, classic steering wheel and knob, low tech thermometer, leveler, timer & navigationfront seats upholstered in wax printed vlisco fabrics, rear benches upholstered in wax printed vlisco fabrics, car leveler, sand timer, dashboard clock, mono radio, rock handle & headrest french oak floor, brass pedals, heavy duty shift, compass and a rock headrest.
Photography by Zero40 | fashion by Viktor & Rolf
November 22nd, 2013 -Bringing a sense of cheer, bounce and freshness to an otherwise harsh Melbourne street, is a corner shop that goes by Spring Street Grocer. Architect Kristin Green, founder of KGA Architects, infused theatrical design flavors in this boutique grocery outlet, in respects to the shop’s neighboring Parliament House and Princess Theater.
The design of the grocery shop captures the new urban essence of small-grain urbanism where the relatively hidden activities of Melbourne’s lanes are manifested on the main streets. The miniture footprint and volume of the shop have been worked hard to accommodate not only a delicatessen, a grocer, a cafe and a cool, glazed-brick cheese cellar, but also flexible space for exhibitions and functions.
The architectural layout is driven by immediate local references. Local materials have been chosen for their longevity and durability, sustaining and inspiring local craftspeople and thereby encouraging the local economy, for example the use of recycled timbers and local aggregates sourced from nearby quarries, minimized transportation and ensured low maintenance.
Downstairs in the cheese room, the integration of motifs continues. The more than passing reference to the Greek heritage of the owners is a whimsical and quirky delight. The glazed bricks and cheese cellar are constructed with family-owned Euroa Bricks.
Layers of historic and cultural references play out with an arresting frieze overhead. Gelati bar joinery extrudes inwards to the store, where serpentine shelving entices customers towards a central stair and cheese shop below. Unique usage and detailing of local and readily available products capture the imagination despite a strict budget.
The Spring Street Grocer complex is a worthy finalist in the 2013 eat-drink-design awards. Here, the architect has given consideration to every surface, space and curvaceous shelf. Colors as bright as the organic veggies juxtaposed against stone and timber fixtures.
On November 13, 2013, acclaimed Brazilian architect and designer Isay Weinfeld opened A/Z, his first ever US exhibit at Espasso in New York City. Espasso’s showroom is dedicated to featuring modern and contemporary Brazilian furniture and this new exhibit showcases many of Weinfeld’s products. The exhibit also focuses on his newly released monograph compiling his most recent works in celebration of his studio’s 40th year. I was fortunate enough to be able to sit down with him to discuss his journey, which, according to Weinfeld, is far from being over.
“Pleasure,” Weinfeld said with warmth in his eyes as he contemplated the one word that sums up the feeling of looking back at his studio after 40 years. Weinfeld is responsible for numerous minimalistic and contemporary boutique, home, restaurant, and hotel designs, projects that have received many accolades. Though despite his tremendous success, Weinfeld does not feel that he has reached a marking point in his career worth such nostalgic reflection. “I don’t feel that time passed like this so quickly as I am still working. I don’t feel as if 40 years is a marking point, something that is strong. It’s still going,” he said confidently then adding with a laugh, “I am not dead yet.” And it soon became clear that as long as Isay Weinfeld is alive his designs would continue to flourish as well, for creating seems to be a part of who he is.
He admits that he doesn’t remember how he got into architecture, it simply just happened. This seems to be how he begins many of his designs as well, by just letting it happen. He doesn’t constrain himself to stick to any particular style or set of materials, in fact he says he cannot even commit to a favorite. Instead he treats each project as an individual, creating each piece with inspiration from various aspects of life, art, dance, theater, film, etc., and choosing materials that will best compliment his design. “I never start with a material, it’s always a consequence,” he explains. It is clear that Weinfeld views architecture as more than simply a strive for a finished product.
He treats the whole process like an art form and finds pleasure from the first sketches to the end product. “It’s like a baby that I take care of from the beginning to the end,” he says. And just like a father would say of his children, Weinfeld says that he cannot pick a favorite or most meaningful project because they are all unique and important in their own way. He does admit that he receives great pleasure from seeing the finished product of a work he put 100% into. Weinfeld doesn’t remember any significant ups or downs over the past 40 years and modestly says he always felt to be at a consistent middle level of work, never at the top, never at the bottom. But he says this is not what he focuses on, instead he focuses on doing his best designing a variety of projects like hotels, spas, fitness, and cultural centers. He dreams of designing a brothel in the future but says with a grin “I’m still waiting for a call.” A/Z will be on display at Espasso until December 1st. As I left the exhibit and thanked Isay Weinfeld for his time he gave a “good luck” to any aspiring architects. And as for anyone who is still looking for their calling he simply says to “let it be.”
Writing by: Jessica Britvich
November 20th, 2013 – For the new PlayStation 3 racing game Gran Turismo 6, the Mercedes-Benz designers have developed the visionary concept of a super sports car – the Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision Gran Turismo. Extreme proportions, sensual contours and intelligently implemented high tech blend to form a body that visually brings to life the breathtaking performance of 577 hp (430 kW) and 590 lb-ft of torque. As a 1:1-scale model, the Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision Gran Turismo is celebrating its world premiere on November 19, 2013 at the opening of the new Mercedes-Benz Research & Development Center in Sunnyvale, California. The super sports car with its hallmark Mercedes gullwing doors will be taking to the virtual racetrack when the new racing game goes on sale in December 2013 – as the first of the “Vision Gran Turismo” series of vehicles.
To mark the 15th birthday of the popular Gran Turismo series this year, Kazunori Yamauchi, Producer of Gran Turismo series and President of Polyphony Digital Inc., called upon the world’s leading automotive manufacturers and design studios to look forward into the future. Using the theme “Vision Gran Turismo”, these creative teams were to develop concept models which give a unique insight into the further development of the automobile. As virtual vehicles that nonetheless function just like a real car, the visionary concepts will be gradually unveiled in and integrated into the new game Gran Turismo 6 through online updates.
“By virtue of its proportions and expressive appearance, the Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision Gran Turismo embodies the brand’s defining design philosophy of sensuous purity in a unique way. The design of this concept car reflects to extreme effect the perfect symbiosis between emotional, sensuous contours and intelligently presented high tech,” says Gorden Wagener, Vice President Design Daimler AG.
The sports car proportions that are a typical Mercedes feature have been reinterpreted: the long hood has a flowing transition into a compact greenhouse offset to the rear, which takes the form of an aerodynamically efficient water drop to descend slightly at the rear, where it rests on the rear end with broad shoulder contours. The dynamic aura is accentuated by an extended, dramatic side contour and a pronounced bulge to the wheel arches, which blend into the low-slung, muscular bodyshell.
The sports car proportions that are a typical Mercedes feature have been reinterpreted: the long hood has a flowing transition into a compact greenhouse offset to the rear, which takes the form of an aerodynamically efficient water drop to descend slightly at the rear, where it rests on the rear end with broad shoulder contours. The dynamic aura is accentuated by an extended, dramatic side contour and a pronounced bulge to the wheel arches, which blend into the low-slung, muscular bodyshell. The angled headlights, with their color scheme and determined look, convey a sense of sportiness and readiness to leap forward. This impression is reinforced by the hood with its expressive forms and motorsport details, such as the release catches on the hood and the fuel cap, for example. The red-glowing contour lines on the lower part of the vehicle create an effect similar to that of exterior ambient lighting and stand out from the silver-painted bodywork. This makes the Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision Gran Turismo look even more aggressive. For fans of Gran Turismo® 6, the Mercedes-AMG sound specialists have created a powerful, sonorous exhaust note that authentically celebrates the V8′s love of high engine speeds.
Photography courtesy of Mercedes Benz
November 18th, 2013 – Draped over the hillside of La Coruña, a busy port city of Spain, sits a new structure that is formalized by the continuous flow of a completely neutral wrap – no edges, no color, no texture. The unfolding piece of architecture, titled Casa V, is the work of Madrid-based studio Dosis de Arquitectura. Casa V appears to be a new build, but it is actually the rehabilitation, adaptation and expansion of an existing vacation house, designed and built in the early 1960’s. After spending nearly fifty years worth of holidays in the home, it became imperative for the growing family to expand the house.
In the span of the last fifty years, even though the number of family members have increased, the house has remained the same, unable to fulfill current and future needs of the family. Dosis de Arquitectura’s principal architects Ignacio Peydro and Isabel Collado set out to create a home where the entirety of the family’s three generations would be able to enjoy the holidays simultaneously.
The existing home remains at the top of the hill, allowing the fluctuating architecture of the new structure to unfold as it cascades down the slope. The expansion, which consists of a side wing that articulates itself with the old building on the northeast, is intended to house the two younger generations.
The original house accommodates social areas for the entire family, as well as sleeping quarters for the first generation. With the home’s new addition, each family member has their own independence while being together, under the same roof.
Peydro and Collado designed the home to spread across the land, creating the perfect opportunity for an entirely new social area for the family – the rooftop. The rooftop serves as a private garden and a quiet place to enjoy unobstructed views of the Spanish landscape.
The interior spaces take on the form directed by the architectural shape of the exterior walls. The bedrooms, bathrooms, hallways and stairs all conform to the angular and curvacious likeness of the exterior architecture.
The harsh feel of unpolished concrete is juxtaposed with a smooth, high-gloss white finish to create the home’s stunning spiral staircase. Inside, areas are defined by the unfolding of matter in space and time, which topologically adapts itself to what happens inside.
Photography Courtesy of Dosis de Arquitectura
November 13th, 2013 – Hidden amongst the dwellings of modern tropical hideaways in a sublime suburb of Singapore sits Aamer Architects’ recently completed Garden Villa. The firm’s founding architect, Aamer Taher is no stranger to the palm-lined block. Ten years ago he built two identical neighboring homes for a local advertising executive and his two children. The same client returned to Aamer eight years later with big plans for a third house – complete with stacked gardens, koi ponds, and a rooftop swimming pool.
The intention for the third build was to, “design the new home in sync with the previous two, but different.” Aamer explained. “The owner specifically requested a garden courtyard and koi pond. Hence, the swimming pool was designed on the roof with unrivaled views of the estate and surrounding houses, which are compromised of 2-story bungalows.”
The owner’s love of gardening and greenery is reflected in the close relationship of indoor and outdoor space. Enveloped by the lush, vertically stacked gardens is a contemporary villa that comes alive with a rich blend of natural materials, like timber, marble and granite.
A glance upward from the ground floor reveals a window to the bottom of the rooftop swimming pool. The rippling shadows of the water reflect onto the architecture to creating create a surreal, dreamy vibe.
“Because the client’s two sons are already in their late teens and early twenties, the family wanted to provide them more space and privacy,” noted Aamer. “So an interesting planning layout placed the boys’ rooms outdoors via a veranda terrace with their own access via by way of ground level, right up to the rooftop entertainment room and pool garden terrace.”
“While the first two houses had trees growing through wooden balconies, this time we had creepers climbing up vertical timber trellises that extend about the rooftop swimming pool. Even the bathrooms are open to gardens with lush flora and fauna like birds and butterflies making it a true vertical garden villa,” Aemer explained with delight.
Photography by Skewed Eye Photo
November 13th, 2013 – The master craftsmen over at Melbourne-based watch company AÃRK Collective, are heading into the holiday season with the introduction of their new 2013 Classic Premium Collection – a series of minimalistic and luxurious watches that follow AÃRK’s previous Classic Collection. The new range experiments with materials and finishing – leather, gold, silver and black – as a play on texture.
Each of the three models in the Classic Premium Collection have a brushed matte finish, a jet-black dial and accented gloss hands, all thoughtfully designed to achieve a graphic and not-too-flashy luxe result.
The Classic Premium Amber is made from a high grade 316L Stainless Steel, with a case that protects the timepiece’s precise Japanese Quartz Movement from water damage and the shock of hard knocks.
On top of custom-molded parts that are exclusive to AÃRK, this watch’s unique look comes courtesy of an independent second hand, while the pebbled Italian calfskin leather band makes it comfortable to wear. It’s the perfect unisex piece for everyday style.
The final piece in the collection is AÃRK’s Classic Premium Sterling watch, which is constructed of high grade 316L Stainless Steel and a pebbled Italian calfskin leather band.
Outside of the new collection, but still one of our favorites is the Iconic Graphite watch. A statement watch. Influenced by industrial and avionic instruments, it is raw, tough and precise. With solid form and proportions, it’s a utilitarian piece built for durability and aesthetic beauty; its endurance and strength are paramount.
At the core of the Iconic lies a 1:10 chronograph Japanese Quartz movement. Its dial is designed for both function and symmetry, with acid-etched details and a rotating bezel that can keep track of elapsed time. A 3mm Italian calfskin leather band complements the durability of the case, and softens with each wear for every day comfort. The 316L Aircraft-grade stainless steel has been PVD ion plated, which, combined with the 42mm diameter construction, ensures the Iconic will remain strong and intact.
Photography Courtesy of AÃRK Collective
November 12th, 2013 – A natural jewel nestles between the Pacific Ocean and the Sierra Madre del Sur mountain range that snakes through the Mexican state of Oaxaca. A top-ten surfing and popular fishing destination, the tiny coastal town of Puerto Escondido invites with its laid-back atmosphere and beachside vibe. Hoteliers Carlos Couturier and Moises Micha, the duo behind Grupo Habita, have transformed a pristine stretch of Oaxacan coastline into a private paradise for beach bums and thrill seekers alike, with the addition of Hotel Escondido.
Located directly on the beach and surrounded by nature, rustic bungalows soak up the laid-back seaside atmosphere. Each of the 16 huts bear the traditional palapa roof, but with tradition comes innovation. Architect Federico Rivera Rio modernized these classic beach bungalows with amenities perfectly attuned to the traveler looking to unwind after a day of surfing or sunbathing.
A private pool and sundeck offers personal sanctuary outdoors, while the inside of each room features tropical wooden floors, stucco walls, and polished concrete bathrooms. Cross ventilation and air conditioning refresh after a day baking in the sun.
Hotel Escondido offers a modern take on the traditional Oaxacan beach hut, cultivating a sophisticated atmosphere with a cheerful, centrally located bar and an underground dance club that quite literally lives up to its name. Each of the bungalows emphasizes a commitment to local tradition and design with traditional palapa rooftops on each hut and tropical wooden floorboards.
Minimal, yet comfortable design elements are amplified by the myriad opportunities that the resort offers guests for both group activities and private relaxation in their natural hideaway. Surfing, boating, and kayaking lessons occur steps from the door of your bungalow, while those wishing to explore the surrounding area can explore the nearby lagoon.
Those wishing to recharge after an action-packed day of sun, surf, and nature can recline by their own private pool, unwind with an in-room massage and enjoy locally-sourced dishes inspired by the internationally renowned Oaxacan cuisine.
November 11th, 2013 – It appears that the holiday season’s most popular stocking stuffer is on full display. Photographer David LaChapelle has outfitted a slew of super hunky dancers in nothing but socks, Happy Socks to be exact! In a fresh new collaboration with the Swedish sock makers, LaChapelle directed the colorful and highly stimulating advertising campaign – au naturel.
So why did the fun-loving sock brand team up with an entertainment industry provocateur like LaChapelle? “We wanted to work with David LaChapelle because we really love his art, so for us to try and put any boundaries on his creativity would just go against everything we believe in” says Creative Director Viktor Tell. The aesthetics of LaChapelle marries well with that of Happy Socks, resulting in a series of photographs bursting with color and attitude. Or how David LaChapell himself expresses it: “This colorful shot was really dictated by the socks”. The multi-colored collection and collaboration with LaChapelle is in celebration of Happy Sock’s fifth anniversary.
Photography by David LaChapelle
November 5th, 2013 – The much awaited Magnum MK5 has been officially unveiled! The first track-focused street-legal lightweight supercar from Canada is whispered to be quite addictive. Created from a passion for motorsport in the late 60′s, when original founder Jean-Pierre St-Jacques built Magnum’s first formula race car, Magnum Cars is now entering the lightweight supercar segment with the introduction of the MK5. The brainchild of his son Bruno St-Jacques, himself a well-rounded and successful race car driver, the Magnum MK5 aims to offer an incredible driving experience; the closest that most will get to experiencing a real race car.
In addition to being an amazing track warrior, the Magnum MK5 is also an outstanding street fighter. One that will challenge any sports car or supercar on their preferred territory: the road. With its light and agile nature, the Magnum MK5′s amazing acceleration and handling is pure driving bliss. The MK5’s open cockpit “speedster” styling is perfect for both the thrills of track days and Sunday drives through mountain roads. The MK5’s “rock star” stance will make owners feel right at home amongst luxury supercars during a night out on the town.
Featuring impressive power-to-weight ratio of 460 bhp per tonne, remarkable handling with cornering forces of over 2Gs, second-to-none build quality, and cutting edge design, the Magnum MK5 strives on offering the ultimate excitement for all the senses, so that both driver and passenger can enjoy the true feeling of a pure and exhilarating car. Having recently completed its development program, including 3 years of extensive track testing, the Magnum MK5 is now ready to be unveiled to car enthusiasts around the globe.
“The MK5′s amazing power-to-weight ratio delivers mind-blowing acceleration in the low 3-second range, while amazing handling conveys confidence and predictability which makes it is very easy to drive fast. We built the MK5 to offer the speed and agility of a racecar combined with the stance and refinement of a supercar, without the high cost of either one.” Points out Bruno St-Jacques, President and CTO of Magnum.
The Magnum MK5 is not only fast; it is equally versatile. From its cargo compartment that can easily accommodate two race helmets and a briefcase, to its street-legal amenities like full lighting and reverse camera, the Magnum MK5 can “bring it” both at the track or on the road. This reflects the MK5’s dual personality.
November 6th, 2013 – In a superlative collaboration by The Sydell Group with Roy Choi, The Houston Brothers, Sean Knibb, and Poketo, Los Angeles’ new Line Hotel is the fine fusion of American and Korean culture. Andrew Zobler is the creator of the Wilshire Boulevard hotel, which stands amongst Koreatown’s pre-1940 brick colonial revival buildings and southern California’s bustling restaurants, bars, and businesses. The building was originally built in 1964 but it recently received a stunning restoration and renovation complete with innovative public spaces and guest rooms designed by Sean Knibb.
The standard king room is 300 square feet, decorated with floor to ceiling windows and original works of art and photography. Negril chairs by Knibb and a large desk compliment the seating area. Baxter of California bath products and a bathrobe await the guests in the bathroom. The curated minibar is stocked with both American and Korean drinks and snacks and an in-room docking station and media hub also add to the room’s convenience. This same room design is also present in the 340 square foot room, which holds two double beds. Both versions have options of a view of the spectacular Hollywood hills.
The studio room holds all the same amenities as the standard king room except this 340 square foot option has a separate seating area and the option of a connecting room.
The one bedroom suite holds a king sized bed, wet bar, large sitting area and a huge bathroom with a freestanding bath tub and dressing area within it’s 900 square feet. This design also comes with the option of a Hollywood Hills view.
The 1200 square foot apartment suite is similar to the one bedroom suite with the addition of another bath, a dining table and bar, a large working desk, and the option of a connecting room to create a two or three bedroom suite. The Hollywood hills view is an option for this room as well.
The Line is also home to an international newsstand and boutique shop by Poketo. A husband and wife team founded the shop in 2003 and brought it from an “an upstart creative enterprise known for their limited-edition vinyl artist wallets to a leading lifestyle brand that retains its indie vibe.” The hotel’s two restaurants operate under the direction of celebrated chef Roy Choi. One eatery features a hot-pot cuisine, while another is focused on fruits and vegetables. Also feeding the guests is a late night bakery and 24-hour news stand, all designed to contribute to the all-night energy of the hotel and to capture all of the “good stuff” coming out of today’s Korea.
Writing By Jessica Britvich
November 5th, 2013 – Once upon a time, architecture was at the forefront of social innovation, addressing issues that the entire society felt were worth finding creative solutions for. As we’ve zoomed into the 21st century, have we lost the true intention behind the meaning of architecture? Are today’s architects catering too much to cut-throat developers who settle with the realization of banal structures?
Introducing Fairy Tales: The World’s First Architecture Storytelling Competition. Have you ever dreamed of an architecture competition that would inspire you to create something whimsical, magic and fun? A competition that would excite your fantasy to produce something that can be appreciated not just by your fellow architects and designers, but by all audiences. Well, this dreamy new competition encourages all of the above, and is open to architects, engineers, designers, illustrators, students and creatives worldwide.
KNSTRCT was thrilled to catch up with one of the Fairy Tale’s high profile judges, Pentagram designer Paula Scher, to get her thoughts on the completion. Scher has created some of the most iconic graphics of the modern world such as the logos of Citi Bank, The Metropolitan Opera, CNN, and Microsoft. So what was it about the Fairy Tales completion that attracted the famed designer to the jury panel? “As an environmental designer I am attracted to narratives in public spaces.” Scher explained. ”Very often architects are purely concerned with form and ignore the spirit and even function of the building for formalistic reasons. I am pleased that there is an architectural competition where spirited ideas become the important part of the equation.”
The competition is an extension of Blank Space’s mission to uncover the true power of architecture by creating new opportunities for design to engage the public. Blank Space is asking for you to invent a story for your design. They would like you to rewrite the way architecture communicates itself to the world, and to do so in the most unconventional way. Schedule Launching Date: September 9, 2013 Early Registration: Until December 6 at midnight Late Registration: Until the Deadline Deadline for Questions: January 10 until midnight Submission Deadline: January 17, 2014 until midnight Results Announced: February 2014 * note: All the dates and time listed are EST, which is GMT-5 hours – More information.
November 5th, 2014 – Submerging a child into a vibrant, active, and creative environment is similar to pressing a ’play’ button on their sponge-like brains. And when we say play, we don’t just mean play. We mean activate, engage, and respond! Rotstein Arkitekter dreamed up an energetic and vivid space to spark the imagination and ignite the curiosity of the little tots who attend Stockholm’s Sjötorget Kindergarten.
The kindergarten is located on the ground floor, inside a newly developed block of connecting buildings in Stockholm’s Liljeholmskajen neighborhood. The area is facing a rapid growth spurt, and is searching for creative solutions for their new architectural and interior needs.
Founding architects Anders Rotstein and Rickard Rotstein applied hues of yellow, pink, blue and green to specific zones of the school. Using colors as a graphical wayfinding tool for the kids.
“Secret” hideouts, built-in wall seating, and canary-colored lookout towers are just some of the many exciting architectural elements injected into the space.
The architects worked strategically to create a nursery where the children can play and be creative. The team integrated storage into the walls and the stairs with dynamic play areas, huts and caves – taking the game of Hide-and-Seek to a whole new level.
Photograophy by Åke E:son Lindman
Outside, portions of the 22 feet high A-frame structure are covered with black steel cladding, while other parts of the exterior are outfitted with reflective mirror. Contrasting materials allows the mirror components to blend in with the natural surroundings, and the black-hued components to visually jump from the mountain landscapes.
The architects at UUfie created a free-flowing floor plan with comfortable and flexible spaces to meet the needs of a large family who will be housed in the cottage. A continuous set of windows are carved from the A-frame structure to provide natural light and openness – blurring the boundaries of interior and exterior.
In a conscious effort to integrate nature into the family’s daily activities, mirrored surfaces and several openings strategically punctuate the pale wood fish-scale textured walls.
The hand-chiseled staircase contributes to the raw aesthetic of the completely bespoke piece of architecture that was built using traditional construction practices and locally-sourced materials.
Formally educated in Tokyo, UUfie’s principal designer is highly influenced by the distinctive minimalist aesthetic of contemporary Japanese architecture. From that background, A delicate appreciation for nature, simplicity and fine details were scrupulously implemented into this poetic mountainside structure.
Photography by Naho Kubota
October 28th 2013 – Nobuyoshi Araki has been widely labeled as one of Japan’s most provocative artists. His works demonstrate features of post-modern Japan such as: richness of figurality, Evanescence and lyricism of life, as he has captivates audiences by portraying a variety of shifting values in Japan. For these reasons, Araki was chosen to take part in this year’s Setouchi Triennale, an annual collective of art installations constructed in various cities throughout China. Superimposed to the outside of a train that runs between Takamatsu and Kanonji, connecting Takamatsu to sites west of the city, is the photography of Araki. The imagery illustrates the idea of traveling art, with bold and vibrant flower arrangements that are meticulously juxtaposed with bright blue dinosaur toys and the naked bodies of retro baby dolls. The cars of this train have been wrapped in Araki’s work to create art in motion. Granting a wonderful way to travel to ports linking the Triennale islands west of Takamatsu.
Photography Courtesy of Setouchi Triennale
October 25th, 2013 – Two years have passed since KNSTRCT sat down with artists Lauren Larson and Christian Swafford of Material Lust over Le Pain Quotidien’s meticulously crafted lattes in SOHO. Even then, it was evident that the depth of their shared artistry is synced perfectly – like a sixth sense that only they can tap into. Since our coffee that day, the New York based duo have gone on to create a series of limited-edition art pieces that double as furniture. Their latest edition to the Material Lust family is the divinely-inspired Pagan Chair – a worship-worthy geometric steel chair rendition of the Pagan star. “The chair has received some visceral reactions. People either get really uncomfortable and quiet or immediately connect with it.” Swafford explained of viewer’s initial reactions to the dark piece.
The primal geometric steel frame of the chair is powder coated in a matte black finish with a smoke Lucite seat. “We used a matte black Powder coated finish on the frame to give it a graphic quality. The Pentagram is a powerful 2-dimensional geometry so the matte finish helps flatten the piece out and accentuate the lines. The frame is so heavy visually we lightened it up with a smoke Lucite top. The transparency of the top pulls the eye back to the frame geometry.” Larson noted.
The inherent talent of the two is ingrained in each of their DNA – Larson and Swafford’s Mothers were both painters and sculptors. “Painters love to use symbolism in their work,” Larson remarked, ”and we try to include that same power of symbolism in ours.”
The design duo upholds an extremely high standard of craftsmanship and strives to manufacture all of their work in the US of A. “Our method for sustainability is to make high quality pieces that never make it to a landfill because people pass them on generation after generation either through family or auctions or donation” says Larson. The Pagan Chair is one garage sale find we’d love our future self to stumble upon. I guess we’ll have to leave that up to divine intervention.