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!
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.
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
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 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.
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.”
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.
“The Hanging City” is illuminated by detailed projected images and a total of 11.2 million LED pixels, bring a broad range of urban scenarios to life; districts, streets and open squares hang above the heads of the visitors.
Mirrors on the ceiling and the walls extend the city landscape to infinity in all directions, and play with the glittering city lights, creating a spatial drama and forming a thematic backdrop for the Audi models on display.
Outside, a 13 foot high mirrored band surrounds the ground floor of the free standing building, creating the illusion that the building is floating in the air. This carries the theme of the exhibition “The Hanging City” outside the building itself. Visitors enter the structure through raised bridges.
Michael Keller, Managing Partner of KMS Blankspace explains that “The world is changing rapidly and with it the demands and challenges of a premium brand. This requires a change of perspective on the future of mobility. We show at the IAA as projection is implemented by technology in a variety of emotional and sustainable manner and provide the city literally on its head. “
Photography by Andreas Keller
September 23rd, 2013 – Employing the idea of jewelry boxes, Madrid-based architecture studio OHLAB created five eye-catching gold boxes within Port Adriano’s new jewelry boutique, Relojeria Alemana. Principal architects Paloma Hernaiz and Jaime Oliver outfitted the boutique with sculptural and abstract volumes that reflect a golden and slightly deformed nautical environment surrounding the shop – dissolving visual barriers between the interior and exterior.
The design of the boutique called for OHLAB to build five “Precious Boxes”, VIP area, temporary art installations, outdoor lounge, back office area, and the signage – leaving the space in between the volumes as an exhibition gallery. Covered in golden stainless steel plates with mirror finish, three of the reflective boxes are located inside the store, while the other two are outdoors, extending the exhibition gallery to the terraces.
The assembly of the plates is made with a deformed set of joints deliberately curved in order to create small deformations on the surface of the boxes. These deformations create a mind-melting array of distorted images reflected on the boxes.
The interior space, defined only by three glazed facades, features an intense and homogeneous lighting thanks to a matte white backlit textile ceiling that avoids reflections on the golden boxes while emphasizing the distortions.
Every box includes, in one of its corners, an eye-level horizontal reveal that creates a corner display: one side is by the glass facade working as a shop window while the other side opens to the interior of the store as an interior display. In the terrace, by the sea, there are two more boxes of different sizes. One is a lounge bed with an incorporated display and the other one features the only signage of the store. The VIP area is located inside one of the golden boxes, where Hernaiz and Oliver created an upholstered cave covered in fine emerald suede.
The project questions and reflects on the concept of luxury proposing a game of make-up and appearances –where things are not what they seem. Therefore, simple and orthogonal boxes that appear as undulated and distorted while the environment of the marina and the mega-yachts is reflected as glowing, complex and sublime.
September 16th, 2013 – Ian Schrager rose to fame by co-founding the most legendary disco of the 20th century – Studio 54, and has since triggered a boutique hotel revolution with his groundbreaking designs and attention to service. The Hotelier’s recent collaboration with Marriott has led to the much awaited debut of The London EDITION hotel, which opened its doors for the first time last night with a glitzy soiree in respects to London Fashion Week. The opening of the sophisticated establishment will mark Schrager’s third EDITION hotel, which is located in a historic building in Fitzrovia, a leafy neighborhood that occupies central London.
The décor is a collaborative effort of the Ian Schrager design team and respected design studio Yabu Pushelberg. Opulent but not overbearing, the design of the hotel blends the building’s ornate architecture with modern design elements, and creating a unique atmosphere that’s both sophisticated and welcoming.
The 173-suite hotel brings together the integrity and character of a historic building with a simple, sophisticated design sensibility to create a seamless blend of charisma and ease. In the lobby, two large bronze chandeliers, inspired by New York’s Grand Central Station, scale down the lofty ceilings to make the space more intimate. Here, a curated series of photographic portraits, landscapes and still lifes adorn the walls and add a personalized touch.
Berners Tavern, the hotel’s signature restaurant, is equally inspired by the American contemporary artist. Made from blackened steel, the eatery sits in front of four back lit and antique mirror silver leaf arches. The setting of this rather stunning 140-seat restaurant is inspired by the muted colors of Johannes Vermeer and Donald Judd paintings. The walls are dipped in a sensual taupe shade, and tub chairs in the front of the space create a café-like setting.
Up top, the suites are outfitted with oak floors that are paired with wood-panelled walls in dark walnut or light oak, creating a cosy, cabin-like feel. Here, modern walnut desks and tables are cantilevered off the walls, comfy lounge chairs, linen-and-silk drapery, silk area rugs, and an original, baroque-framed work by belgian photographer Hendrik Kerstens. The suites and lofts have additional living areas with George Smith sofas, and a number of rooms have private terraces that come with sweeping views of London town.
Perhaps the most impressive spaces in The London EDITION will be the massive 2,000 sq. ft. custom-furnished penthouse with an expansive wraparound landscaped terrace and, obviously, the most stunning views the hotel can offer. This pad comes with its own private dining room, full kitchen and living room. There’s an abundance of walnut wood paneling, custom furniture and hardwood floors. The penthouses are furnished with a mix of unique pieces and iconic British and European design: Donald Jud-inspired sofas in pale green velvet, leather wingback chairs, an over sized and tufted leather khaki sofa, black metal furniture and lighting by Christian Liaigre, an antique billiard table; and mustard velvet slipper chairs.
Photography Courtesy of The London EDITION
August 12th, 2013 – Luxury is no longer enough for the modern traveler. Instead, the sophisticated globe trotters of today are in search of true authenticity. Mexico, is a historically enriched region that is flourishing with a new generation of boutique hotels that provide a genuine, culturally relevant experience needed to ignite the ultimate travelers high. Mexican Destinations such as Tulum, Veracruz and Puebla are staying true to their roots, by shutting out some of the big name hotels in order to keep smaller, local hoteliers in business. Among the bona fide boutique Hotel’s is Azul Oaxaca, a tiny new establishment in central Oaxaca.
Celebrated Mexican architect Hector Esrawe, founder of Mexico City based design studio Esrawe, transformed a crumbling building into a contemporary space that still preserves the warmth of Oaxaca by providing an atmosphere created in careful detail by local artisans.
The attention given to working with local artists means more than simply that Hotel Casa Azul de Oaxaca is just a well-designed hotel; it is a statement about the importance of Mexican design in the international landscape.
From the design of the lobby, to the rooms, to the menu with Oaxacan specialties like shrimp in yellow mole, and the films that play in the hotel’s screening room, the Casa Azul radiates the unabashed cool that comes from embracing an ancient culture and re-envisioning its place within the current aesthetic landscape.
Cool shadowed walkways leading to patios, cactus, and hidden retreats within the walls of Hotel Casa Azul de Oaxaca make for an environment open to the interpretation of each guest’s personal experience. Once hidden, the dominance of Oaxacan design is only a stay away.
Photography Courtesy of Azul Oaxaca
September 11th, 2013 – One store in the West Village just wasn’t enough for the cosmetic crew over at Aésop, so they built a second. The cult beauty brand has a delightful habit of juxtaposing beautifully modern design elements with Aésop products,implementing them seamlessly into their shops. The company often works with local design firms, in effort to tell a relevant story that simultaneously relates to the brand and the destination. In the case of their second West Village shop, Aésop called upon New York based design firm, Architecture Outfit, to embellish their 175 sq.ft retail space.
In 2004, in an underground nook in the Melbourne bayside suburb of St Kilda, Aésop hosted its first customers in a brick and mortar store. The space – once a narrow ramp descending into an underground car park – set the benchmark for future architectural ambitions. For Aésop – the smaller, more obscure, and abstract of a space, the more appealing it is to the brand.
For their new Greenwich Street digs, the architects skillfully carved out an organic, curvaceous form within the tiny space, with the intention of creating circular movement for shoppers. Coir Coils, a modest material commonly used in flooring, sweeps around the center of the walls, providing a subtle yet striking textural charm and a sense of warmth and intimacy.
While the size of the shop may seem insufficient to your standard, run-of-the-mill retailer, Aésop smartly stocked the shop with brand’s full range of care products using merchandise as a dominant decor element. The utilitarian containers are carefully showcased on wall-mounted black wooden shelving, and despite its size the store also features a water basin in the same hue. Aesop’s Fables? Not so much. This shop is the real deal.
Photography Courtesy of Aésop
September 11th, 2013 – For some, libraries are a place of study and silence. For others, a total snooze-fest. But for the Monterrey-based creatives at Anagrama, libraries should be a place that cultivates imagination and adventure. The creative studio has unveiled their recently completed Conarte Children’s Library & Cultural Center, a dynamic new library comprised of vibrant neon colored rafters, angular book shelves and an undulating reading platform.
In the heart of the city is Fundidora Park sits a unique specimen of industrial archaeology, which was previously a massive steelworks and foundry established in the 1900′s. The park is home to extensive gardens, museums, convention centers, auditoriums, theme parks and cultural venues such as Conarte (Council for the Culture and Arts of Nuevo León).
Conarte sought out to Anagrama, who is led by designers Gustavo Muñoz, Miguel Herrera and Sebàstian Padilla, with the mission to create a space that would foster a love of reading and learning for children.
The Children’s Library & Cultural Center was planned to be inside a warehouse-like building, an untouchable heritage site of the state. Anagrama’s design proposal took into account the untouchable nature of the building and, in some ways, enhanced it.
The result of Anagrama’s design approach is a multi-purpose, asymmetrical reading platform meant to simulate Monterrey’s mountainous topography. The bookshelves are not only used as storage, but serve as a dynamic space to play and learn, to fire the imagination and provide comfort while reading. The installation’s colorful and geometric aesthetic contrasts directly with its antique, industrial building, elevating both elements in a cheerful and unique way.
Photography Courtesy of Anagrama
September 9th, 2013 – Westerners have an undeniable desire to reach a respectable comprehension of Eastern culture. We do so through observing their customs, and through observation, hopefully, comes understanding. Some say, that the best way to engulf oneself in another culture is through food. Enter, the Matsuri Boetie restaurant in Paris, France. Designed by Moreau Kusunoki Architects, this Japanese food-bar concept appears simple, albeit beautiful, at first glance. However, once you begin a bit of introspective examination, you may notice a few unsuspected happenings.
The designers have given thought to this space that will possibly go unnoticed to the reluctant observer. For instance, we all know that wood can provide a certain acoustic ambience, but by using softly worked rough wood, assigned in a harmoniously vertical pattern, you’re able to create a wonderful sense of calmness and serenity.
In keeping with the theme of tranquility, Matsuri Boetie also houses several black fiber panels, which assist in the absorption of noise. It’s with these simple, yet highly technical design methods that the architects were able to create such a conscious space in the heart of Paris.
From the furniture, to the lighting, the firm of Moreau Kusunoki has managed to keep traditional Japanese sensibilities as the central theme. This can surely be appreciated from a Western standpoint. Through allowing customers to experience a feeling of intimacy while they eat, the aim is to bring forth a better understanding of the Japanese culture itself.
Look for Moreau Kusunoki Architectes (Matsuri Boetie) as they compete for Best European Restaurant in the 2013 Restaurant and Bar Design Awards on September 12th in London. Writing by Jordan Bailey.
Photography Courtesy of Moreau Kusunoki Architectes
September 4th, 2013 – Next time you find yourself casually roaming the streets of Casablanca, Morocco in search for a bite to eat and some solace from the bustling city look no further than Villa Zevaco for a tranquil dining experience, emphasis on the word experience. Start your evening off with a cocktail from the bar and a book from the library as you wait for the rest of your party to arrive. Then help your meal digest with a cup of tea and a walk around the gardens or terrace, all while never leaving the villa.
This experience is brought to you by Andy Martin Architects who has restored and converted a classic 1950’s three-bedroom house in the lovely Anfa District of Casablanca into Villa Zevaco, a complex including a restaurant, bar, teahouse, library, garden, and terrace.
The villa was originally named Villa Sami Suissa and was built by Jean Francois Zevaco in 1947. Sami Suissa was an emblematic figure of Casablanca’s Golden Age. He was born into a modest family but managed to climb his way into a position of high status in Casablanca’s society. After gaining professional success Suissa hired Jean Francois Zevaco to build the villa, which eventually became a neighborhood icon because of its beauty, modernity, and originality.
Andy Martin Architects aimed to pay homage to Zevaco’s work in their design. Therefore the original structure of the building was retained and work was done within the original framework. Much attention was put into making sure all aspects, including the way things felt and smelled, worked together to properly capture the essence of the building and overall contribute to the perfect dining experience.
Villa Zevaco is situated at the intersection of Boulevard d’Anfa and the promenade, which leads to the seafront. The building is complete with a grand rotunda entrance and striking central skylight inspired by Zevaco’s signature use of the spiral. Andy Martin Architects also enlisted the help of landscape designers to bring in elements of running water and plant life, both of which were important features of Zevaco’s design style.
The villa’s furniture and fittings where designed with inspiration from British styling and classic Moroccan materials and techniques. Screens and trellises are subtly worked into the design to create areas of natural shade and light that change throughout the day in accordance with the movement of the sun. And once the sun has set, table lamps and low level lights along the pathways, which link the rotunda and the restaurant, are used to light the gardens.
Andy Martin Architects was selected to design the Villa from a shortlist of acclaimed British restaurant designers. Their mission is to “carry out ambitious building at multiple scales and programs, with a commitment to innovation, design and sustainability,” all of which is evident within Villa Zevaco. – Contributed by Jessica Britvich
Photography courtesy of Andy Martin Architects
August 29th, 2013 – In the middle of historic Moscow, Russia stands a weapons salon that is of a bit higher-caliber than your local Cabela’s. That is unless the stuffed mountain lions at your local branch are mounted above marble floors among moldings, and monograms. This is the image of Kolchugas Weapons Salon, Russia’s first, non-government store of weapons.
The salon is located a merers 150 meters from Red Square and a short distance from the Kremlin in one of the many buildings in the area rich with history. This is why abandoning the typical hunting look of most weapon retailers in exchange for a more regal, sophisticated design was no random shot in the dark for Valery Lizunov and Valery Bykov, leading architects of the project from the architectural studio at ARCHPOINT. They envisioned a weapons salon that elegantly complemented and flowed with the historic design of the building and it’s surroundings, and what they created was a spectacular showcase of sporting and hunting equipment.
The Kolchugas Weapons Salon is often viewed as less of a store and more of an exhibition. For the first time in Russian history the guns have been taken from the counter and are instead showcased in display cases adorned with red cloth backdrops detailed with a royal classic pattern and carriage tie. This design gives the salon a museum like feel while allowing visitors to have direct access to the products.
The walls are also outfitted with moldings and monograms. Panels of oak arches stand under the vaulted ceiling and deer heads are mounted above each cabinet. The interior color scheme aims to mimic the color of natural wood through the use of white oak. Painted walls, trim windows, stained oak veneer, and marble floor are other major elements in the design.
One section of the salon is dedicated to the world-famous firearm company, Beretta. The design of this section is inspired by the Italian company’s corporate design style which favors dark wood finishes, parquet flooring, and bright backdrops. The only decoration in this section is the Beretta logo, which is embossed on the walls and windows.
The salon has zones for edged weapons, guns, clothing and even a VIP customer’s area. Zones are separated by the contrasting textures of wood and paint. Architect Valeria Bykova, reflected on the difficulties he faced executing this design, mentioning problems with removing bearing elements in such a historic building along with finding capacity for ventilation. He also wanted to be sure to accentuate the historic elements of the building such as the high celling and coving. He even went as far as preserving some of the door hinges and original masonry.
But the biggest focus of the project was ensuring the Ministry of Internal Affairs didn’t become all up in arms. Therefore, special safety requirements regarding equipment rooms, storage facilities, warehouses, premises for display, demonstration, and the placement of weapons must be strictly adhered to. Lucky the architect never found himself under fire. The design was a success along with the Kolchugas Weapons Salon itself, which this year celebrates its 10th anniversary of dedication to premium clientele by collecting the best of foreign and domestic manufacture’s weapons, accessories, and hunting equipment.
Photography by Sergey Morguno
Scripted by Jessica Britvich
August 28th 2013 - Taking it back to old-school bartending, The Collins is a dynamic new cocktail lounge in the heart of Victoria Square in the South Australian capital of Adelaide. The creative powerhouse behind the sultry yet contemporary design of The Collins is none other than Woods Bagot, a global design force with founding roots that run deep in the land down under.
Inspired by the classic form of a well tailored suit, the cocktail joint exhibits a fine blend of precious materials such as brass and marble juxtaposed with wire brushed, stained timber and saddle leather that will age and wear beautifully over time – paralleling the timeless cocktails served at the contemporary joint.
Located in an important venue on the ground floor of Adelaide’s Hilton Hotel, the architects at Woods Bagot were faced with a key site challenge of how to properly open the corner of the historic building to add some visibility for the new bar. Respecting both old and new, the architects implemented lift-up glazed doors, installed to open up the bar to the street and welcome passing patrons.
The space is divided into two distinct areas: a bright active daytime venue or front bar that provides a sense of theatre, and a secluded cocktail lounge room that can be locked down for private functions.
Leaving no spot untouched, the designers carried the concept through the entire space that boasts patterned flooring, vertical wood wall partitions, warm-toned plush and textured fabrics for group seating areas, and robust light fixtures to help set the time-honored mood.
Photography by Peter Clarke Photography
August 22nd, 2013 – Two towering condominium buildings, King Blue, are the latest addition to Toronto’s growing skyline. Setting up shop in the epicenter of Toronto’s King Street West neighborhood, the 48 and 44 story buildings deliver the ultimate in style, sophistication, luxury, and amenities, all within an exquisite urban environment. The design of the high-end establishments are oozing with intoxicating swagger, thanks to Sai Leung design director of award winning interior design firm Munge Leung. Leung is well known for his meticulous work and uncompromising standards, which made his skills a perfect fit to design the trendy new condominiums that feature 807 luxurious suites with gourmet kitchens and spa-like bathrooms, two private lobby’s, two rooftop terraces, a pool bar, theater, fitness center, and a yoga room.
Designed for animation and activity for residents and their guests, behaving as an extension of the King Street West lifestyle. The street-level facades on King Street, Blue Jays Way and Mercer Street will be lined with restaurants and retail that embody the vibrancy of Toronto’s Entertainment District. “Our goal with king blue’s design is to promote human interaction and conversation.” says Alessandro Munge, Munge Leung’s managing partner. “Success would be to see people in the elevators not looking at their smart-phones, but engaging with each other because there is familiarity and comfort.”
“The courtyard will be King Blue’s cornerstone, with the two tower lobbies connecting to it,” says Alessandro Munge, Managing Partner at Munge Leung. “It will be like a village well from long ago, the gathering spot of the development for residents, guests and the public. The design aspires to integrate the energy and activity reflected by the surrounding spaces, with the courtyard acting as the perfect meeting place with the two towers soaring above it.”
“We studied the pace and pulse of King Street West and its distinct feel,” continues Munge. “And we designed the common spaces within King Blue to reflect the confidence and self-assured ebullience that comes from the area itself.” With both residential towers playing off the rooftop terrace, Munge Leung envisioned an interactive and sophisticated community setting, stimulated by the hub of energy emanating from King Blue’s common areas.
Amongst the most engaging social elements for residents will be a rooftop terrace atop the Canadian Westinghouse Building. Featuring an exclusive pool and bar, landscaped terrace with waterfall feature, sculptured trellis, adjacent party room and multi-media room, full catering facilities and kitchen, outdoor fire pits, private lounges and dining areas, the rooftop terrace will be a gathering spot for social interaction, entertaining and stimulating conversations.
March 8th, 2013 – Going to the dentist can be similar to asking someone to punch you in the face. Unless you’re a champion MMA fighter and you’re used to taking some gnarly upper cuts, a visit to the dentist is dreadful. We take it back, even MMA fighters don’t fancy getting their face drilled out – who does? Most people build up large amounts of anxiety when coming face to face with their arch-dental-nemesis. An anxiety that can be easily relieved in an imaginative environment. A tooth sore should not mean an eye sore. Now, wouldn’t it be cool if your dentist’s office felt like a warm and comfortable coffee shop? A place straight out of Seattle with wood planked floors, brick walls, and local artwork to jog your thoughts away from the unnerving task at hand. Would your mind wander away from the painful shots if there were an ancient map sprawled across the ceiling? We think so! To celebrate the dentists and designers who are using their creative juices to change the look and feel of the typical unwelcoming and stodgy dental offices, we’ve put together a roundup of stellar dental offices around the globe.
Dental Club by OOS AG located in Lucerne, Switzerland
Clinica Sabadell EN designed by Alfred Garcia Gotós Estudi
Toothbeary Dental Clinic in London designed by Luis Nieves
Dental Clinic in Oporto, Portugal designed by Paulo Merlini
D. Vision Dental Clinic in Prague designed by A1 Architects
ORL Clinic by MALVI located in Kalamaria, Thessaloniki
Dental Clinic in Lisbon designed by Pedra Silva Architects
Chiyodanomori Dental Clinic by Hironaka Ogawa & Associates located in Japan
GKK Dental Ambulatory by X Architekten
Weissraum Dental Surgery Clinic by Ippolito Fleitz Group