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.
Photography Courtesy of Material Lust
October 23rd, 2013 – Aigner Architecture has formulated a true triple threat in Freudenhaus’ newest Munich eyewear shop. Three distinctive areas have been carved out of the 2,500 square foot shop in effort to cater to the shade-maker’s broad demographic.
Entering the boutique, visitors are warmly greeted with the Yellow Zone; a sun-filled space with lemon zest colored walls that display chic shades.
Venturing further into the shop, guests can peruse Freudenhaus’ sporty specs amongst an outer space inspired atmosphere. Large white cylinders house perfectly aligned frames below an unpolished concrete ceiling.
Perhaps the most wow-worthy design feature in the shop takes place in the children’s area, where pint-size furniture is secured to the ceiling and an entire wall becomes a Lego wonderland. Full disclosure: we’re more than a little envious of the kid zone. We have a weak spot for Legos.
Photography Courtesy of Aigner Architecture
October 22, 2013 - From conception to realization, the transportation designers at French based auto company Lazareth, control all of the construction operations on their vehicles. Because of this process, there are very little limits to what Lazareth’s talented team can build – enter the WazumaV8F “Matt Edition”! This Batman-like vehicle is a custom built, V12 powered, with a horse power of 250! The Wazuma V8F is like a flattened down motorcycle with two extra wheels, causing the rider to drive in a horizontal position.
The vehicle is unique in many ways, the most obvious way is it’s “W-wheeled geometry,” which consists of 2 largely spaced front wheels and 2 closer twin rear wheels.
Based on the same atypical 3 wheels geometry (2 largely spaced front wheels and 2 attached rear wheels), it has been thought to be simple, aggressive and highly performing. This Wazuma is powered by a Ferrari 3.0L V8, developing 250 hp for less than 650kg.
This engine incorporates the injection system of two sport bike engines and is electronically controlled by a Sybelle system. All the engine management can be modified and monitored with a computer. The 6 speed sequential gearbox comes from a BMW M3 and is controlled from the handlebars.
The machine gets specific and highly exclusive equipment like modified Momo (+Power) rims with Brembo calipers and four 324mm brake discs. The suspension system is very specific, featuring four horizontal shock absorbers, made?to?measure by EMC. Everything is enormous. For instance, the wheels are slicks 285?30ZR18 for the front and 315?30ZR18 for the rear. Another obvious unique quality to the Wazuma is it’s high price tag of a whopping $250,000.
October 16th, 2013 – Most of us stand in before a mirror each day, searching for a sense of reality. The same reflector that we grow to trust, is the object that artists have used to manipulate the mind in powerful ways. A clever use of a mirror can make a room look larger, make an object appear as though it’s floating, or make a space go from dark to light. Get a dose of some magical mirror trickery in this week’s roundup.
Seemingly floating Monopoly-like mirror houses designed by photographer and creative director Autumn De Wilde.
Bureau Betak used spherical mirror globes to visually distort Christian Dior’s runway at the Place Vauban, Paris.
Artists Hiromi Tango and Craig Walsh’s mirrored fishing boat, Traces: Blue, is nearly invisible to the eye.
Madrid-based architecture studio OHLAB created five eye-catching gold boxes inside Port Adriano’s new jewelry boutique, Relojeria Alemana.
A metropolis has been cleverly turned upside down due to mirror trickery at Audi’s ‘Hanging City’ during Frankfurt’s 2013 International Motor Show. The innovative exhibition was designed by Munich-based KMS Blackspace, in collaboration with Schmidhuber Architects,
Found Associates employed black mirrors to add visual depth and dimension to a symmetrical space. The shoes on display at this Kurt Geiger boutique multiply in record numbers, showcased on mirrored tables and cantilevered glass pedestals, behind back lit Kurt Geiger artwork.
The massive mirror globe overlooking the lobby of London’s new EDITION Hotel allows patrons to be more discrete when “scoping the talent”, thanks to Ian Schrager and design studio Yabu Pushelberg.
Holzer Kobler Architekturen designed the outer skin of the new Paläon Research and Experience Center to act as a giant mirror that reflects the surrounding landscape and thus becomes one with the surroundings. Ultimately, the precisely crafted volume is covered with a reflective surface that becomes a mirror of the landscape.
In this piece entitled Fear Expanded, by artists Ryan Everson and Jason Garcia, the idea of fear seems to vanish into a soothing and peaceful landscape. The pair decided to work on the project together, with Everson building the letters and then handing them off to Garcia to further develop them based on his own personal vision. The final results are these four large wooden letters covered in variously-sized pieces of mirror.
October 15th, 2013 – When juicing goes desert. In celebration of Britain’s best-selling contemporary artist, Damien Hirst, a retrospective of his life’s work will be on display from October 10 till January 22, 2014, at ALRIWAQ DOHA exhibition space. Relics will present the largest collection of Hirst’s work ever assembled. Spanning over twenty-five years of Hirst’s artistic career, the exhibition includes both iconic and previously unseen works. The artist, who has explored the complex relationship between art, love, life and death, explained “I’ve got an obsession with death, but I think it’s like a celebration of life rather than something morbid”.
In respects to the Relics installation, Hirst teamed up with the fashion aficionados over at Prada to create Pharmacy Juice Bar, installed in the uninhabited Doha desert, like a mirage of sorts. A juice bar is exactly what you want in the Arabian desert after all. Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani, chairperson of Qatar Museums Authority (QMA), is the third hand in this collaboration. It was launched in respects to “Relics”.
His work bears testimony to his enduring fascination with the daily intrusion of death into life, and the inevitable decay of our bodies despite an increasingly unquestioning faith in pharmaceuticals. Often framing scenes within boxes, tanks or vitrines, he stages startling and thought-provoking situations in which life cycles play out, life wrestles with death, and cures become confused with illnesses.
Emerging from the Young British Artist (YBA) movement that originated in London in the late 1980s, he was part of a group which became renowned for their audacious and often shocking works, receiving international acclaim and succeeding in revitalizing the British art scene. As Jean Paul Engelen, Director of Public Art at the Qatar Museum Authority comments: “With his own artistic language Damien Hirst changed our perception of London and the UK. There are very few artists in history that have had such a profound impact on high and popular culture. QMA is extremely proud to make this exhibition with Damien.”
The exhibition will be curated by high-profile writer, critic, and internationally renowned curator Francesco Bonami, currently Manilow Senior Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and who has previously occupied a number of prestigious posts, including Artistic Director of the Venice Biennale in 2003.
Relics is part of a series of cultural projects initiated by QMA to promote and support local and international art production, foster appreciation and understanding of artistic practices, and create opportunities for cultural dialogue. It also aims to encourage local audiences, to take part in debates and discussions about the arts that can challenge our understanding and unveil new perspectives.
The restrospective is part of Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture. Inspired by the Qatar National Vision for 2030, Qatar UK 2013 celebrates and showcases the deep-rooted bilateral relations between Qatar and the UK. It aims not only to showcase each other’s culture and forge new partnerships in culture, education, research, but also to provide a platform on which to build new long-term relationships between institutions and local communities.
Photography Courtesy of Qatar Museums Authority
October 14th, 2013 – The folks responsible for Stuttgart’s most exclusive sneaker shop, SUPPA, are at it again – this time with the opening of the their first menswear spot, MRQT. Swiss architecture firm ROK spearheaded the design of the new shop with a unique fur-like wall consisting of 22,000 wooden sticks operating at individual directions and of various lengths. The in-shop art installation refers to the flowing forms and delicate texture of textiles and cloth.
ROK’s principal architects Michael Knauß, Silvan Oesterle and Matthias Rippmann, used the free-flowing wooden stick installation as the main feature of the space. The wall was designed using customized digital tools to master the large number of wooden sticks.
CNC drilled holes define the individual direction of every stick installed. Only a perfectly streamlined production process guaranteed the efficient and feasible realization of the project. The wall creates a unique and sensational background for garments displayed on smoothly integrated clothes hangers.
The flow of wooden sticks and subtle lighting frames a central full height mirror and forms a central “stage” for the customer. Display stands and shelving in beech wood match the material of the wall installation.
Together with the minimalistic interior space featuring white walls and a grinded concrete floor, the store develops a warm and inviting atmosphere for the customers browsing through a well-curated selection of premium street-wear brands.
October 10th, 2013 – The realization of Isay Weinfeld’s Casa Cubo is the mutual vision of the Brazilian architect and the home owners; two contemporary art collectors. Conceived from the belief that art should be shared, Casa Cubo is a lodging and support center to artists and the development of the arts, but with all necessary facilities to serve as a home.
Architecturally, the home stands as a three level cube with a mezzanine directly above the ground floor. From the street, one enters the house walking up a stone path set in the midst of a lush garden. An entrance hall gives way to a wide room featuring double ceiling height and polished concrete flooring, intended to host events, exhibitions or simply function as a lounge, opening onto a small green lawn. The gallery, located on the basement level, opens onto a small patio bathed in natural light through an opening on the above slab.
The mezzanine is set on the concrete slab topping the kitchen, dining room. The entrance hall on the ground floor, houses the library, which is marked by three strong elements: a shelving unit extending the whole back wall, running over a strip of fixed glass next to the floor, and a spiral staircase covered in wood that leads to the three bedrooms with bathrooms upstairs.
The ultimate highlight of the space is the unexpected employment of art pieces scattered throughout the interiors. Artist Antony Gormley’s headless human-like sculptures carved from lead and fiberglass are secured into the ceiling, dangling by their necks. Custom furnishings, hand-stitched quilts, and bespoke railings all act as individual and unique art pieces within the gallery.
A contemporary floating concrete staircase extends from the ground floor to the mezzanine. Once on the mezzanine, Weinfeld contrasted the modern concrete staircase below with a wonderful Brazilian ironwood floating spiral staircase that reaches up to the living quarters.
All in all, this residence is a marriage between two great loves. The unconditional love of everything that is art and architecture. Both great loves come from one source: Isay Weinfeld.
October 10th, 2013 – A few years back Parrot teamed up with designer Philippe Starck to create a set of next-gen “Zik” headphones; noise canceling, hands-free calling and Bluetooth capabilities with concert hall-quality sound and a hyper-intuitive touch panel located on the entire right earpiece. This week, Parrot has announced an expanded range for the popular headphone collection with the launch of the Zik “Gold Collection”. The new collection includes three variations of the Parrot Zik, offering something for every taste and style: yellow gold – matte white with a yellow gold skeleton, rose gold – matte white with rose gold details, and black gold – Sleek black monochrome.
The Zik “Gold Collection” offers the same innovative technology as the Parrot Zik “Classic” – noise canceling, hands-free calling and Bluetooth capabilities with concert hall-quality sound and a hyper-intuitive touch panel located on the entire right earpiece.
To change a song, you just swipe your finger left or right against the right panel; to change volume, you move your finger up or down; to pause, you simply remove them from your ears. A free dedicated app, Parrot Audio Suite, enables users to personalize their sound.
Parrot Zik hosts the most advanced technologies in the Bluetooth wireless audio and telephony headphones. Designed as an extension of your Smartphone, it is equipped with a touch panel on the surface of the right headset for volume, music tracks or phone calls control with a touch of your finger, and one of the many powerful functions is their Active Noise Cancelling system that can capture and reduce noise.
The Parrot Zik “Gold Collection” will be available in November 2013 for $399 at retailers including Brookstone, Barneys, Bloomingdales, Fry’s Electronics, Apple, Ron Robinson and Parrot.com. The classic Parrot Zik, designed in black with silver accents, will continue to be an option for consumers as well.
September 8th, 2013 – Shoreham Vineyard House, a weekend retreat designed by Jackson Clements Burrows, provides its owners with a place to relax from the everyday stressors of the week and just “wine” a little. This earthy weekender, seated comfortably among the vines from a vineyard on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula in Australia, offers its occupants with a weekend of understated luxury. The home was designed using passive design principals, which give the space a casual and modest feel despite its sizeable dimensions. Although the Shoreham House is ample in space, each room is fresh in character and function making this second home as comfortable and accommodating as the first.
Visitors approach the house up a gravel driveway, which leads past the left wing of the house to the main entrance, the garage. Approaching the house in this way makes it appear like a gargantuan wooden box. The house sits atop a natural cliff providing the house with a view of Western Port. The descending roof of the house was positioned to manage the winds, which are often very persistent on the embankment. The roof extends from the bulk of the house over the garage with a space in-between, which acts as the formal entry to the home. A wooden slider front door with an antique door inset brings texture and focus to the entry.
Entering the door brings guests into the entry hall decorated with bottles of wine form the vineyard. Guests can either go right towards the main living space and parent’s wing, left to the guest and children’s wing, or through a small entry to a climate-controlled wine room.
Let’s go right towards the heart of the house, the main living room. This room is very open with a kitchen at one end and a large fireplace at the other. Couches, chairs and a long table help create a homey space for lounging or eating with family during any season. Large sliding doors lead outside to the veranda, which overlooks the vineyard to the west and stone terrace positioned above a freshly planted garden to the east. The verandas was designed to be a social place, acting as another living room during the days of pleasant weather. The terrace overlooks the waters of Western Port, which gives the terrace a completely different character than the veranda.
Vines grow just beyond the verandas edge. The rooms of the house appear to be burrowed right between the vines so that “when viewed from this side, it is a house in the landscape, not on the landscape.” The house is mostly timber with the exception of contrasting black stained columns from the veranda. The columns were designed to imitate the linear growth of the vines. The deliberate selection of a limited palette was chosen to “settle” the design into its surroundings.
Continuing back into the house and past the kitchen is a second living room devoted mostly to television watching. A staircase between the kitchen and the second living room leads to the master bedroom, which sits beneath the high point of the roof. A smaller suite is connected to the bedroom. Both rooms have spectacular views of the waters of Western Port. Wooden blinds provide the master bathroom with privacy from the living room below.
Moving on to the left wing visitors will pass several bedrooms, another living space, and bathing areas. This wing was designed so it could be closed off when the owners are visiting without children or guests. The rooms in this wing benefit from vineyard views through sliding glass doors. Despite the many rooms, the house is described as being “one room think” which helps with cross ventilation while reverse brick-veneer construction aids in thermal performance.
Jackson Clements Burrows successfully created a materially and texturally warm and rich space “like an oak wine barrel,” which blends effortlessly into its surroundings.
Writing By Jessica Britvich
The VZ Desk Project started, as many design projects do, with an invited competition for interior designers. The client: VermögensZentrum, an investment consultation and asset management firm located in Zurich, Switzerland. The architects: The multidisciplinary designers of NAU Zurich in collaboration with Drexler Guinand Jauslin Architekten. The project: The VZ Finanzportal, an activity centered lounge in which customers can intermingle digitally and physically with the company and it’s advisors. The end result: A modern, eye-catching, architectural gem. Oh, and also a dramatic, room-spanning, multi-functional, highly technical, interactive desk in the shape of the company’s logo.
The VZ Desk is literally in the shape of the letters “VZ”. NAU and DGJ have somehow managed to turn the client’s brand into a physical structure that is central to the space. When asked about the difficulties of such a task, NAU’s Head Architect Jean-Lucien Gay talks about functionality being of the utmost importance; “The client had a very precise brief, detailing which types of activities should take place in which area, so the layout of the desk had to react locally, varying in height and in width in order to accommodate different seating/standing positions.” The desks’ functionality is centered on three main activities: learning, advising, and informing, all of which are essential to the VZ Finanzportal experience.
Materially speaking, the desk is comprised mainly of wood, steel, Hi-Macs (a material combination allowing for a seamless surface), and the most up-to-date digital technology. Lighting also plays a major role in this retail-esque space. Linear LED bands, specifically arranged spotlights, and subtle backlighting on the undersides of the desk make available numerous lighting scenarios.
“In fact,” says Gay, “the suspended lighting elements work as (a) counterpoint to the desk by defining the different activity zones.” Beyond the lounge area lie the personal consultation rooms, donned with slightly warmer tones for a more intimate atmosphere and separated by use of a digital screen displaying the company’s identity.
VermögensZentrum translates to “fortune/wealth center”. Thus, it was important for the designers to instill a sense of brand confidence and professionalism to customers while maintaining the aesthetic wonder.
“Although the floating desk is the eye-catcher,” Gay says, “I really like the lounge space as a whole. In the evening, this (lighting) composition is transcended by a multimedia projection on the back wall, creating a poetic atmosphere.”
September 7th, 2013 – Perhaps it’s not just Isay Weinfeld’s extraordinary craft for designing beautiful structures that renders him one of Brazil’s most celebrated architects. Weinfeld has an innate knack for creating architecture and spaces that inherently bring people together. Two hours outside the Brazilian metropolis of São Paulo is Weinfeld’s recently completed Casa Piracicaba, a monolithic concrete home built for a growing family to enjoy holidays and vacations with one another.
The three story, L-shaped structure is strategically arranged on a 21,500 square foot piece of sloping land in a gated community near the town of Piracicaba. The three floors are arranged in perpendicular axes, making the home’s exotic garden accessible from any floor. The lower ground is semi-subterranean and houses the storage areas, the mechanical room and garage.
The ground floor is laid out as an L-shape and accessible from the street through a curvacious S-shaped ramp. The ground floor is occupied by the service areas and the lounge/dining room. Here, the dining room is fully encased in glass, and overlooks the back portion of the land that merges with the pool deck through wide sliding doors. The other side of the dining room is shielded from the sun and secluded from the street because of a long sun baffle constructed of large vertical concrete slabs, unevenly placed along the whole facade.
On top of the house is a monolithic volume that stretches perpendicularly to the contour of the land and is cantilevered towards the street. This hulking piece of architecture is planted on the higher section of the land, and houses the sleeping quarters. The center of this rectangular structure opens onto a large wooden deck, built on the ceiling slab over the lounge/dining room of the second level.
The swimming pool is located in the nook of the “L”. Facing the pool, an open social area is integrated from the inside to the outside via a set of sliding doors and a wooden deck that leads to the water’s edge. The angle between the social area and the service area frames the pool.
Inside, all of the furnishings have been chosen or designed specifically for this house. Weinfeld himself created some exclusive pieces for the house, such as a bed, desk and one of the many sofas. The architect complemented his own furniture designs with mid-century classics like the Esterinha chair designed by Charles Eames.
While the main structure is concrete, the building displays a variety of interior and exterior finishes ranging from stone cladding on walls to marble in the bathrooms. The Piracicaba House embodies a sophisticated balance of sculpture, drama, and comfort. Making this home, the perfect holiday retreat for a large family to be together
October 3rd, 2013 – Called upon by Miuccia Prada herself—four sensational muralists and two illustrators set a vibrant stage for Prada’s Spring/Summer 2014 fashion presentation, In The Heart Of Multitude, at Milan’s Via Fogazzaro show space. Inspired by “the political wall art from Mexican muralists such as Diego Rivera,” Mrs. Prada plucked the artists from all over the world: Mesa from Spain, El Mac from the United States, Gabriel Specter from Canada, Stinkfish from Colombia, Jeanne Detallante from France (she works in the U.S.), and Pierre Mornet from France.
The the artist’s paintings extend from the set of the show to the garments in the collection, as Prada employed the group of contemporary artists to help communicate her vision of the new power woman. “I saw them as strong, visible fighters. We need to be fighters in general. There is this debate about women again, and I want to interpret it. My instrument is fashion. I use my instrument to be bold. I had this idea that if you wear clothes so exaggerated and out there, people will look, and then they will listen.” She laughed. “It’s a sort of trick.” Then the designer added, “I want to be nasty.”
The visions of the artists were cleverly integrated into the collection in various ways. The bold, cartoon-like faces of Artist Jeanne Detallante are bejewelled onto bra-implanted coats, dresses, bags, and furs. This, of course, allows fashion enthusiasts to acquire a piece of art-fashion. In application, the garment will be speaking-as-you-wear the imagery of six artists.
Brooklyn-based artist Gabriel Specter composed a telling portrait of a weeping girl who is surrounded by rainbows. The artist says he’s inspired by the “overlooked elements in society, the things that most people would regularly pass by, those are the things I pick up on.”
Stinkfish boasts most of his inspiration from his home city of Bogota, the place where he honed his painting skills as a youngster. Recognized internationally for his large, colorful murals, Stinkfish works from the photographs of local people that he takes on the streets and later turns into stencils. For Prada’s fashion show, the artist splatted bursts of colors across the wall to create the face of a gazing woman.
Photography Courtesy of Prada
October 2nd, 2013 – Buried in the trees of Kazakhstan’s sweeping Almaty forest is a cylindrical glass structure designed to help one with spiritual and creative development. At the moment, the four-story greenhouse designed by Architect Aibek Almasov, founder of A.Masow Design Studio, is still in early conceptual phases. Soon, the realized home will be a tranquilizing escape from the bustling of Almaty – Kazakhstan’s largest, most developed and culturally diverse city.
Almasov designed the ‘Tree in the house‘ as a tool of meditation, an abstract labyrinth of sorts. For thousands of years, human beings have created the spiral paths that fold back on themselves within labyrinths for reasons ranging from decoration to art and myth. Used as a meditation tool consisting of a walkable single line path, a labyrinth can be a source of solace and can quieten a distracted or over-reactive mind. For some, walking a labyrinth can help resolve inner discomfort and still the mind.
Inside the greenhouse, the single line path of the labyrinth comes in the form of an endless circular ring. The round layout of each floor is continuous from the first floor to the top floor, connected with a spiral stone staircases between each level. At the center of the home is one giant tree that ascends from the ground to the glass roof.
Natural materials such as wood and stone are integrated into the design to parallel the habitual surroundings of the structure. Here, guests of the retreat have the opportunity to use the space as a spiritual tool, quietly revolving on a pathway that can help one to ponder life’s greater mysteries.
Images by A.Masow Design Studio
October 2nd, 2013 – Saturday in the Tuileries turned out to be a vision of teenage rebellion when the Victor & Rolf show hit the runway on a white-tiled locker room set with a collection that oozes adolescent unrest. The hints of punk on the charming school girl uniforms, plaid patterned garments secured with safety pins, and indie artist Joan as Police Woman’s belting out a unique rendition of Britney Spears (“… Baby One More Time”) helped set the stage for the youth at unrest concept. However, it was the Berlin-based creatives at Studio Job who really enhanced Victor & Rolf’s collection with a stark white ‘brick’ runway that forced onlooking fashion enthusiasts to be nostalgic for their school days.
Scribbled on the wall at the head of the runway is Victor & Rolf’s signature logo, an element that evokes memories of the Sharpy riddled locker room walls of high school. High contrast seemed to be a principal theme for the show as the models hit the black and white stage in their crisp white shirts adorned with spikes on the collar.
The display of Victor & Rolf’s punk-esque collection was presented in a dynamic and cohesive style thanks to the team at Studio Job and Bureau Betak, who produced and directed the entire event.