July 23, 2013 – Behind a humble garage entrance, a surprising experience begins to unravel as an architecturally dynamic and edgy space is filled with a collection of colorful toy bears. The outrageous ‘Garage of Bears’ is an ingenious collaboration between the creatives at OpenBox and Onion. The design directors at OpenBox, Nui Suwannatrai and Prang Jenpanichkarn, realized the architecture of the home before calling upon Onion’s founders, Arisara Chaktranon and Siriyot Chaiamnuay, to spearhead the design of the bold display units that house the bears in the garage.
Needless to say, The owners of the home are avid Be@rbrick collectors, rendering this home incomplete unless their family of cartoon-styled bears were respectfully showcased. The figures are an anthropomorphized bear, with an extremely simplified form and a pot belly.
Each plastic figure features nine parts (widely referred to as tools in the toy industry): head, torso, hips, arms, hands, and legs; These nine tools allow eight points of articulation: swivel head, swivel waist, ball joint arms, swivel wrists, and ball joint legs.
‘Garage of the Bears’ is an exploration of one simple form and space, shaped by desired visual impacts from various angles. The backdrop of the angular display units are white with black grid-like lines running through them. The lines strategically add visual depth to the shelving, while insinuating movement for the viewers of the collection as they go from bear to bear.
Sheets of glass are secured to the front of the shelving to ensure the protection of the Be@rbricks.
Size matters in the Garage of Bears. The design process of the well thought out display units began with the Be@rbricks themselves. It is thought of as a house of seventeen 400% Be@rbricks. The bears come in all different sizes, many are twenty-eight centimeters high and are referred to as 400% Be@rbricks as its actual size, while some are referred to as a 100% Be@rbrick, at seven centimeters high.
Inside the units are floating white platforms that the bears stand on, equally spaced apart, but constructed to hold the specific size and weight of the bears.
The owners chose to display their prized collection in the garage, the architects knew that they needed to transform the garage into a place where the owners and their company can actually enjoy.
With this in mind, the architects created a raised lounge area, essentially a viewing room. The lounge is also enclosed by glass, where the owners can view their collection in an impressive environment.
Adjacent to the lounge is a monochromatic marble restroom, where one of the bears stands at all times, facing the corner, as if he were taking a leak!
July 21st, 2013 - Clare Cousins Architect’s have recently completed Moor Street Studio in Fitzroy, a suburb of Melbourne. The upbeat and energetic design is an internal office fit-out for a creative design studio and a private residence for its directors within a striking three level building constructed in 2001 by architect Ivan Rijavec in Fitzroy.
Working beautifully within the original structure of the building, Clare Cousins, leading architect and founder of Melbourne-based practice, proposed a respectful approach to celebrating the historic building’s best assets, while implementing modern design elements.
The proposal consists of two mirrored self contained units over three levels in a striking architecturally designed building. Maintaining a restrained color palette the internal works focus on fine detailing & highly textured surfaces. Custom-designed elements were made in collaboration with local designers, including lighting designer Volker Haug, steel manufacturers Glyde Metal Industries Pty Ltd, and artist Rowena Martinich.
A boxy glass conference room becomes a eye-catching feature for the studio with a large scale commissioned mural painted by prominent local artist Rowena Martinich. The mural stands out among the white space and forms a colorful backdrop to the meeting room. The project respects the iconic nature of the existing building, while creating a strong visual identity for the design studio within.
The exterior of the building has an almost entirely glass front which was created during an architecture renovation in 2001. The renovation gave a modern look to the facade and ensured that bursts of sunlight filter through the office.
July 19th, 2013 – An out-of-the-box brand that turns the act of purchasing a mobile product into an active and fun experience, has hit the shelves of Shanghai. COORDINATION ASIA, a Shanghai-based architecture firm known for creating visually robust environments, completed a new breed of telecom stores named AER for AISIDI, one of China’s leading resellers for mobile and digital products and services.
AER is a retail brand that enhances the life of the individual mobile user by offering customized mobile services in a playful, cool and customer-focused environment. The Lego-influenced shop is overflowing with voluptuous typography, creative display units, and an eye-catching indigo blue paint job!
Instead of rolling out the red carpet, the designers at COORDINATION painted a black pathway down the center of the store that reads ‘app up your life’ in a mixture of various-styled fonts.
AER is based on a great understanding of mobile lifestyle, in which mobile devices keep you connected, entertained and updated through a variety of online and offline apps. The store is designed as an interactive environment that caters to the needs of different target-customers: Trendy, Lifestyle and Tech Savvy.
Products are thematically presented in combination with related accessories, apps and carriers on custom-made presentation tables with ‘serving trays’. Following a black runway from the entrance, customers find the App Bar where they can try out mobile apps on a large interactive screen.
Photography Provided By COORDINATION ASIA
July 17th, 2013 – Designed to emulate the smoke of Arabian incense, the spectacular wooden wall of Kuwait City’s new TFK store is constructed of 500 laser cut wooden pieces. Jassim Al Shehab Architects (ARCHJS) are the creative minds behind the seductive, sensual, and architectural ambiance of TFK, a moniker short for The Fragrance Kitchen.
The 700 square foot shop is the latest chapter of the ongoing perfume legend that began in 2005 by Sheikh Majed Al-Sabah, where rare scents such as Oud, Taif Rose, and burning Agarwood are bottled with class and sophistication. The Kuwaiti based fragrance house was born of childhood memories and sensory memories that became associated with Sheikh Majed beloved grandmother.
The architects at ARCHJS interpreted Sheikh Majed deep passion for fragrance into the built environment starting with a minimalistic and discreet exterior appearance. The TFK signage, is extruded and back-lit upon the dark facade of the entrance to create a sense of contrast in effort of attracting passing shoppers at Kuwait City’s Al Hamra Mall.
Upon entrance, shoppers are initially drawn to the spectacular wooden wall display consisting of 500 laser cut wooden pieces designed to emulate the smoke of Arabian incense; recognized as bukhoor in the Arabic language. The voluptuous wall display highlights a limited collection of fragrances that sit on a back-lit surface, meticulously aligned under a parallel direct light. Here, the perfumes are elevated by a custom designed metal stand meeting ones eye level to enhance the interactivity level between the product and consumer.
The laser cut wall feature runs from the wall, up to the ceiling, guiding the consumer toward a multimedia black mirror wall that reflects the wooden wall display in a darker tone. Containing ten LCD screens, the mirror wall showcases an exclusive collection with each screen dedicated to a different perfume.
Moreover, the plan reflects a symmetrical layout. With the back portion divided by a wall that segregates the service area from the private area.
The private area features a large central table and upholstered chairs, to provide a more intimate fragrance shopping experience for the customer. In this intimate retail space, a brighter ambiance with a softer material selection of reflective brass and back-lit sheer curtains create a subdue and calming space.
July 8th, 2013 – Four Lau and Sam Sum, founding designers of Hong Kong-based creative firm AS Design, actualized a dynamic restaurant outfitted with contrastingly layered hives to appeal to the swarm of youngsters in Guangzhou City, China. ‘Rice Home’ is a newly launched premium casual dining brand that pursues superior rice quality with an emphasis on unique and contemporary recipes.
The 1,300 square foot restaurant creatively blends modern and innovative rice-based meals with diversification to meet the young and trendy customers – all in an elegant and clean dining environment.
Lau and Sum explained that their clients wanted to “pursue new stimulus from their dishes to interior design with style, highlighting and showing the charm of cosmopolitan in new era.” The team of designers achieved this request by creating visually stimulating space using an grid of three dimensional hexagons, bright colors, and contrasting materials.
“We distributed this natural beehive structure in every corner, representing a dynamic “Home / Living space” with the meaning of being hard working to delve into new food products.” The designers noted. The inclusion of the irregular hexagons in the space was not only meant to represent the idea of home and hard work, but also to enhance spatial layering of the space and add visual depth.
Yellow bowl-shaped sculptures are secured the curved wood wall to create visual sense of food aroma and to arouse ones appetite. Instead of traditional food board menus, the designers opted for e-menus which are displayed on a series of TV’s at the entrance.
Photography Captured by Sing Studio By Sum Sing
July 2nd, 2013 – Under the canopy of an old warehouse, interior architect Grégoire De Lafforest used a dash of imagination to reinvent a Parisian loft, with a new design inspired by nature. Lafforest, who has previously lent a creative hand to brands such as Hermes, Cartier, and Veuve Clicquot, describes the gutted out space as “a warehouse floor with the boiler of the building in the middle.” The architect took one look at the 1,100 square foot loft and re-imagined the space as “a village of six small houses that helped gain volume and life to the space.”
Lafforest, a creative man accustomed to working with such high profile brands on high budgets, had to use some of his low-budget instincts to create the eclectic aesthetics for the Rue Voltaire Loft. The designer decided to mix the old with the new, expensive with the inexpensive, and pops of bright color with muted tones to achieve a playful and sophisticated ambiance.
The two bedroom apartment is comprised of a master suite, children’s suite, a large living-slash-dining room, a kitchen, and bathroom. The kitchen and living room area are located under an A-frame glass ceiling. To highlight this greenhouse effect, Lafforest erected a build-it-yourself greenhouse kit, painted it black, then specified a black Ikea kitchen inside.
In the living room, sits a maritime pine tree. With nature as an inspiration for the design, Lefforest cut and dried the branches, then attached plastic needles to the tree trunk. The architect’s DIY methods of creating interest and beauty in a space proves that a small budget is a mere hurdle that creativity can surely jump.
An eclectic choice of furniture fills the common areas. In the living room, an Ikea sofa sits directly across from Ligne Roset’s stylish Facett Sofa. Lining the walls of the common area is a three foot high wall ledge with framed paintings and illustrations resting on it. Under the ledge are a series of Ikea storage units that have been retrofitted and secured to the wall to function as book shelves.
Gold polka-dots become an exciting feature wall in the children’s room and are paired with minimalistic children’s furniture from Ikea. In the hallway, Lafforest resorted to Ikea again for a basic console table, then added a luxurious slab of Carrara Marble to stylize the otherwise yawn-worthy casement piece. Droog candlesticks and Lafforest’s own “Olab” Lamp sit on top the marble, with an all too intriguing spotted wallcovering as the backdrop.
Photography Courtesy of Grégoire De Lafforest
June 29th, 2013 – “We like to think of our interventions as positive manipulation of the human brain,” Paulo Merlini, founder of Portugal-based architecture firm Paulo Merlini Arquitectura explained of their recently completed Bakery In Oporto. “We focus on giving positive inputs to appeal to all the five senses (when possible) so that we can alter ones homeostatic level, and as result make people feel happier.”
The architect tends to approach his work with a mixture of research and philosophy, which manifests metaphysical environments that keep functionality well intact. “Our main concern is to create spaces that gives people the right stimuli, positively influencing their homeostatic levels.” Merlini continued, “this is a concern based in the notion that we´re the product of an evolution. As such, we focus on the knowledge of the human body, mainly on the brain response to exterior stimuli.”
The light filled spaces is comprised of a repeating gang of thin laser-cut wood slats on the ceiling and walls. The cream colored slats become the architectural highlight of the bakery because of its sculptural disposition and alluring lighting effects that gives the space a magical glow.
Each slat separated by a mere four inches, became a moment of opportunity for Merlini as he proposed a new logo for the bakery and saw the perfect place to showcase it. “Wooden stripes descend through two of the walls creating an effect that dialogs directly with the consumer. When one moves throw space, hidden forms start to appear on the walls. Those forms are an abstraction of the proposed logo. The intention is to unconsciously reinforce the image of the firm in one’s mind.”
Merlini’s chiseled ceiling functions seamlessly with the lighting of the space, along with the bakery’s new branding and identity initiative. But, the architect had another, more playful, reason for creating the sculptural slats, “we made the ceiling ‘melt’ in some points to make it look like a cake topping,” Merlini noted.
The harmoniously designed space is separated into three sections, each evoking a slightly different feeling. The intention of this method was to create a space where diners would be able to choose a place that parallels their personal comfort levels. One thing we are sure of, when it comes to scarfing down a succulent cupcake, personal comfort is essential.
June 26th, 2013 – The second Hotel Indigo in Germany recently opened up with a premier new steakhouse for Berlin’s foodies, La Maison de L’entrecôte. The bronze beef establishment is gaining a reputation for amazing steak, paired with an affordable price and stylish digs – and the locals are filtering in to get a cut.
La maison de L’entrecôte serves only one dish: entrecôte (sirloin steak). Diners are allowed to chose between three different sizes along with the temperature of the steak, making this dining experience an appreciated break from novel sized menus of some surrounding establishments.
The eatery is divided into sections by curtains of bronze metal beads that manifest stunning reflections of yellow light throughout the space. Inside the beaded curtain section, the walls and ceiling are upholstered with a warm bronze fabric which form into the banquettes.
The use of authentic materials such as wood, stone, and marble create a luxurious and inviting ambiance in the main dining room. Here, rectangles with radial corners are repetitiously carved out of the taupe ceiling to house the glowing light fixtures that hang above the dining room tables.
Because of the restaurants main dish, the cow becomes an elegant mascot for the space. A life size white cow greets guests upon entrance, then again, when small white cows grace the tables as a centerpiece.
French-Deco Industria And Old World Decadence.
June 17th, 2013 – Sydney-based architecture and interior design practice Blainey North and Associates’ have re-invented one of Melbourne’s prized restaurants, Conservatory. The new Conservatory makes guests feel like they have been instantly transported to London, Shanghai or New York during an era when craftsmanship and materials were revered and buildings and interiors were designed to endure and built to last.
Located in Melbourne’s Crown Towers’, the new eatery draws inspiration from the grand conservatories of Europe. “The adoption of century-old techniques set in a modern context, such as the use of traditional fluted details on the bar and the restaurant’s solid metal screens, along with the repetitive use of a soft arch formation, create a true mix of French-deco industria and old world decadence,” founding architect Blainey North says.
The restaurant is flanked at either end with floor-to-ceiling mirrors, which, teamed with double-height windows overlooking the Yarra River, create a natural light-filled and spacious environment.
North introduced a collection of white arches and columns outfitted with marble, paired with large Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees that are planted into the custom cabinetry. Together, the elements create grand proportions, and are the fine recipe to a splendidly regal experience for restaurant guests.
There are four distinct areas in which to dine at the 190-seat buffet-style Conservatory, including a small collection of tables assembled close to the antipasto, seafood, salad and cheese selections, an intimate area near the bar and two larger dining areas.
White marble floors, bespoke chandeliers, a woven timber ceiling, custom-made carpets, generous chairs and tables, locally made steel screens and dramatic reflective surfaces combine to create a lavish and engaging space in which to dine.
Designing the Conservatory led North and her team to experiment with distilling the concept of a space to a simple line drawing, then translating this graphic form into a repetitive architectural detail. The arch motif features on every thing from the chandeliers to the chairs, tables and wall detailing are intentionally intersecting.
Brazilian Designer Guilherme Torres Creates Cool, Sustainable, & Cozy at MostraBlack 2013
June 13th, 2013 – In the 18th century, the word ‘hotel’ was defined, at first, as the official address of the King of France. The term was later extended to describe the aristocrats’ houses and became a synonym for a large private residence which stood out in the neighboring area. A common practice among elite members was to rent its pied-a-terre when they were away for long periods. That experience allowed tenants to enjoy, though for a short time, the exclusive and reserved luxury of the finest addresses in Europe.
From this concept, described by Jaques-François Blondel in several of his treatises of architecture, Brazilian designer Guilherme Torres took advantages of the sensations caused by the characteristics of the space allocated to him at this years MostraBlack.
MostraBlack is a 40-day annual event that brings creative and conceptual content of the top professionals in architecture, décor, and design throughout several areas of Brazil. Guilherme Torres and his team were selected by MostraBlack to showcase an oasis of comfort and style right in the heart of urban chaos, baptized Hotel Black.
Cool, sustainable, and absolutely snug and cozy. The bamboo – with none of its eastern folklore – plays a central role in the project. Bamboo is used on the floor, ceiling and some of the walls, which divide the scene, with an incredible three-dimensional ceramic coating, almost optical – The architect’s interpretation of the legendary fresco paintings and tromp l’oeils of the court in the old continent.
The lighting technique, which illuminates the space with energy efficiency, is brought to life through large tensioned screen panels. The high standard interior architecture travels beyond modern and functional furniture – most of the furniture pieces were designed by the architect’s team, specifically for this dreamy hotel exhibition where contemporary masterpieces interact with the passer-by. It’s an invitation to relaxation. It’s unforgettable, to say the least, revealing the city at your feet.
During the forty days of shows, the last five floors of MostraBlack’s Tower A, located in the complex WTorre Plaza, receive thirty spaces freely acclimated by a mix of new talent with renowned architects, decorators and landscapers coming from various states Brazil.
Brazilian designer Guilherme Torres and his design team at MostraBlack 2013.
Photography By Guilherme Torres Studio
June 12th, 2013 – Ever wonder what it would look like to paint your bedroom door neon green? Dash your walls with black polka-dots? Or hang a huge yellow chandelier over your dining room table? Architects Nick Travers and Justin Northrop, founders of Melbourne-based architecture practice Techne, weren’t shy to add playful splashes of color and quirky design details to their latest residential restoration, South Yarra House.
To celebrate the existing Victorian structure, the architects skillfully preserved the exquisite detailed lacework balcony, interior crown moldings, and arched hallways, then juxtaposed the space with modern design elements. Techne’s design concept for this residential alteration and addition was to pare back the fussiness of the existing Victorian residence and at the same time celebrate its stately proportions.
The family that resides in the South Yarra House are avid art collectors. Because of this, Travers and Northrop conjured up a monochromatic color scheme to showcase the family’s art and furniture which imbues the interior with a frenetic vibrancy.
After passing the zestful stained glass that surrounds the entry door, Techne composed an interior strategy, where each area of the home complements the next.
The living room and dining room are bursting with colorful attributes such as the visually engaging paintings by artist Abbey McCulloch resting on the mantle, bright orange decorative vases, and a contrasting zebra rug over the hardwood floors.
Upstairs, the white washed wood flooring is a stark contrast from the dark wood planks that make up the flooring on the first level. Here, Techne’s clients are able to showcase their art collection in a gallery-like setting; hanging masterpieces by the likes of Australian painter Darren Wardle.
A neon green door creates an imaginative entrance to the children’s room, where polka dot walls, bright yellow bed frames, and a unique red table set collectively tell a jolly story.
Leyk and Wollenberg created an L-shaped layout by securing a collective of wooden dowels from the floor to ceiling. The repetitive dowels create an interesting design feature while defining the spacial perimeters of the space. Central to the restaurant is a large food prepping and buffet station where Total’s employees gather around to load up on daily specials. Both, the dining area and the food counter are crafted from oak wood then stained in black to stand out amongst the neutral-toned color palette of tans and white. Various sized table tops and counters are methodically scattered throughout the lounge to promote a social environment for Total’s employees.
June 6th, 2013 – In it’s current state, modern Shanghai is booming with architecture, fashion, finance, and technology. As the largest populated city in the world, travelers flock to the metropolis to experience a city filled with lights, adventure, and a unique interpretation of western pop culture. Although there is much to celebrate about the city’s modern movement, it is undeniable that Shanghai in the 1920s and 30s, dubbed by the Chinese as the “Old Shanghai,” epitomized the most glamorous and most stylish of China in the last century.
The National Museum of Singapore recently exhibited the glamor of “Old Shanghai” in a exhibit titled ‘In The Mood For Cheongsam‘. Alluding to the title of the show, the design plays up the mysteries and subtleties of the Cheongsam, the traditional body-hugging one-piece Chinese dress for women. Evoked by the sensual quality of the Cheongsam, the exhibition, which was designed by Singapore based design studio FARM, takes the form of curvaceous walls like a large dress, sculpting pockets of spaces where each display conceals and reveals, teases and surprises.
The exhibition is one singular continuous space with curvaceous walls that entices visitors to move through the space. The creatives at FARM designed soft pockets of spaces throughout the exhibition, Sometimes convex, other times concave in nature; sometimes expansive, at times intimate. The exhibition is a spatial experience that continues to surprise at various sections within the singular idea.
Providing a context to the various sections is key to provide differentiation and a narrative to the exhibition. Circular plinths, employed throughout, alter in form to suggest these changes in narrative and context. Objects or simple furniture relevant to the era or theme of the section are also integrated together with the Cheongsam on display to create a mise-en-scene within the section.
The design of the Cheongsam still is influential in today’s fashions, as it has become the inspiration for recent collections such as Jason Wu’s Fall/Winter 2012 collection, Gucci’s Fall/Winter 2012 collection, and Emilio Pucci’s Spring/Summer 2013 collection, making the title of the exhibition ‘In The Mood For Cheongsam’ extremely relevant.
The new Dunmai office has taken over an old motorcycle factory in the creative plaza on Shanghai’s South of the Bund, a place that serves as a remembrance to the familiar stories about old Shanghai. Designer Thomas Dariel, founder of Dariel Studios, gutted the old factory and replaced the space with a pleasurable, relaxing and modern workplace that reflects the company’s dynamism and creativity as well as serving their professional needs.
It took an internal architectural reconstruction to memorialize this old 4-floor factory building, Dariel kept the building’s historical façade, but completely transformed the internal structure into an open, high 3-floor volume arrangement under the design concept of “work in the park – play in the office.” A concept that is reflected in the overall structure and in every detail of this edgy and humorous-looking space.
The internal reconstruction is a response to the friendly atmosphere to the open space required by the client. A 3-floor high central patio, furnished with large white lacquer desks, was built so that colleagues can easily communicate with each other despite what floor level they are on.
Dariel appointed shades of white as the dominant wall color to push out the dark and dingy feeling of the old factory, and to reveal the original structure of the building. The shape of the new internal structure is inspired by the branches of a tree. Drawers on the wall let people imagine that all the plants growing in that space are spreading along the wall and up to the ceiling.
In order to make people feel as if they were surrounded by nature in the given space, the designer attempted to move all the elements of a garden to inside the office: grass lawns under chairs and tables, gardener’s tools designed on the walls, swings displayed during afternoon breaks that exhibit the sweet memory of childhood, and a groove for flowerpots on tables.
The natural light has been designed to infiltrate the whole space, so that one could feel a sense of being outside. The color scheme consists of pure white but bold colors such as vivid pink or green are used ubiquitously for contrast and for developing natural energy.
The restrooms’ entrances are designed to look like open elevator doors. Thus, when one is in search for an elevator, he or she will be surprised to find that it is actually a bathroom. Even the toilet walls are creatively designed, for the designer pays homage to a famous French artist street style by using images from video games to decorate tiled mosaics. The design illustrates that working in an office can be a joyful and unique experience. An office space can be open and transparent, just like the glass walls and doors of many individual spaces in Dunmai Office.
The collaboration between JCA and Les Bébés happened when Chiu and his partner were having a drink outside their office after a long night of diligent work. “Our friend who we have known from our dragon boat team rode their bicycle passed us.” Chui says, “we said hi and realized they were looking for a retail space around the neighborhood. We advise them about a shop that just came on the market by the corner of our office. The next day the shop was rented, and we were commissioned to design their first brand shop.”
“From the first meeting with the client, I was fascinated with the cupcake packaging, how a flat surface cardboard could eventually fold up to create a space that allows for the cupcake to be taken away.” Chiu explained. “After much study, this exact “folding” action became our main concept in creating a space where cupcakes and how we view/walk/rest/taste became a unified experience.”
The shape of the store is simple; rectangular with an a-frame ceiling, playing on the idea of the outside folding into the inside, and vice versa. Breaking the boundaries of interior and exterior, the clean glass facade is acutely cut into the perimeter of the space to abolish the division of exterior and interior. Secured into the glass facade is a black wooden door and a two-toned square shelf to display the daily cupcake special.
Inside, a long marble top counter stretches back to a black painted wall. On the adjacent wall, a long shelf functions as a bar top for the sweet-lovers to enjoy their treat. As the shelf stretches along the wall, it breaks up into tiny shelves to display the cupcake packages in a modern singular manner.
Chiu explained that the success of the first shop has prompted Les Bébés owners to open up their second shop: Les Bebes Cafe and Bar, opening soon.
Photography by Kevin Wu
May 28th, 2013 – Architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron is best known for erecting high-styled super structures around the globe. But the team of 40-strong are focusing their talents in their own hometown of Basel in Switzerland, where the origins of a 14th Century castle were in desperate need of a 21st century make over. Architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, founding principals of Herzog & de Meuron, took on the small hometown project in effort to bring a historical local establishment back to life.
The new Volkshaus Basel has been turned over numerous times throughout the years. Debuting as the Castle of Bailiwick, later People’s House Basel, then a brewery and concert hall in 1874, and after that the building functioned as a central meeting place for political, social and cultural activities. In 1925, architect Henri Baur transformed the historic space back into a concert hall for the folks of Basel to enjoy.
Herzog & de Meuron restored and preserved the building back to it’s 1925 glory specifically putting their focus into the design of the bar and brasserie.
“Based on the original architecture of 1925, the Volkshaus will be preserved in all its diversity and complexity and will reflect the spirit of its own history,” says Herzog & de Meuron Senior Partner Ascan Mergenthaler. “Our intention aims to revitalize the diversity of this location which is so important to the life of Basel, while at the same time restoring its architectural identity.”
In the Brasserie, the architects re-exposed the ceiling beams by taking down a dilapidated old ceiling from the seventies. Benches divide the Brasserie in different spatial zones with the help of the tin covered bar and tables. Suspended LED luminaries hang from the ceiling with blown glass diffusers that embodies the spirited chandeliers of the buildings early days. The chairs in the Brasserie are a replica of the original People’s House chair.
Seventeenth century etchings have been transferred to the green-toned wallpaper used in the corridors of the restrooms thus establishing a link with Basel in the days of the former medieval manor.
materials like tin, leather and wood, which acquire a patina through years of use. Striking architectural elements of 1925 have been reiterated elsewhere in various scales and articulations. For instance, the oval window above the entry resonates in the window to the public passage that leads to the inner courtyard, in the swinging door between the bar and the brasserie, in an opening that reveals the historical staircase and in the mirrors of the restrooms. The sinks in the restrooms are recycled items found in Basel’s building components exchange.
Photography by Volkshaus Basel
April 21st 2013 – Nothing woos over prospective condominium buyers quite like a supremely zen-like sales center. Designers Elaine Cecconi and Anna Simone, founders of creative firm Cecconi Simone Inc., designed a park-like setting indoors for the sales center at Toronto’s new Monde Condominiums.
Monde Condos is a new condominium project from the global development giants at Great Gulf. The project is currently in construction on Lower Sherbourne St in Toronto, but Cecconi and Simone polished off the sales center first. The center makes use of evocative materiality that encompasses stone, concrete, wood and plantings.
The ground plane is redefined by a “stream” of crushed glass; the ceiling re-imagined with starry formations of LED pin lights. Benches and cantilevered ledges in privileged corners offer moments of rest and contemplation.
The nature infused interior design of the 4,000 square foot sales center was inspired by Monde’s local East Bayfront, as it contains emerging potential for a thriving waterfront community.
With the utmost respect for nature, Monde is a man-made homage to the timeless elegance of the outdoors. This earthy philosophy is what led leading architect Moshe Safdie to pursue LEED Gold certification for the building.
May 16th 2013 – Parisian retailer Annie Aime has moved west, setting up shop on the bustling streets of Toronto. Local designer John Tong, principal of Toronto-based creative firm +tongtong, spearheaded the design of the shop, creating an eye-twisting space that is bold, flexible, and an open-concept environment that can easily be transformed into a space for scheduled art openings and other Annie Aime events.
Tong outfitted the 800 sq. ft. space with stark white walls and oak wood flooring, which became the canvas for graffiti artist Pascal Paquette to create an “organic, almost spontaneous” graffiti mural. “It’s quite active. It’s dynamic. It’s textural,” says Tong.
The geometric display units, constructed of welded steel, are weighted so that they securely lean against the wall and can be easily moved throughout the shop with no fasteners required. “They’re layered into a space that is very animated,” says principal John Tong. “Bold colors and architectural expression were needed to really capture Annie’s personality. I got this from the very first time we met when she described her passion for what she does and the fashion she searches out for her clients.”
Tong also developed a low-lying stepped brick display unit down the center of the shop, as well as a floor-to-ceiling brick and wood shelving unit at the rear. “It gives the space a grounding with out being precious,” says Tong. “It brings a tactility and materiality to the space, which is otherwise made up of drywall, paint and steel.”
Tong visualizes the juxtaposition of the geometric racks layered over the fluid, almost malleable, graffiti as a built environment which also reflects the vibrant spirit of the labels she carries. The artistic design of the shop parallels the feminine, floral pieces as well as bold, architectural offerings from collections of Veeshoo, frrry, Outclass, Helene Clément, Prêt pour partir, Saint-James and Saisei. “Creating a space where Annie felt she could express herself, play and offer the treasures from her explorations and journeys to her guests has been a joy.”
May 13th, 2013 – Designers Four Lau and Sam Sum, founders of Hong Kong based creative firm AS Design Service Limited, are branding and re-branding gurus. When the duo were asked to assist in a massive tweak of Yoshinoya‘s brand, the long-standing fast food restaurant classic, they found a way to modernize the aesthetics and make each space distinctively unique. The team at Yoshinoya believes that it is important to synchronize with the trend even though the brand has a long history; it has to be innovative and moving forward.
Yoshinoya Restaurant in Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong
The architects were contracted to conjure up Yoshinoya’s new design concept then implement the concepy differently into restaurant spaces in Hong Kong’s Tsuen Wan, Tuen Mun, and Mong kok neighborhoods. The client wanted the design concept to be centered around the idea of a “home”, creating a relaxing and enjoyable dining environment.
Yoshinoya Restaurant in Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong
The idea of a home also brings out a people-oriented attitude that the clients wanted visually interpreted into the interior design.
Yoshinoya Restaurant in Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong
“In this design project, we had the opportunity to inject a sense of young, interesting, exaggerated, avant-garde, and experimental elements,” the architects explained. “We want customers to understand at the first glance, being simple and direct would make more sense.” Lau and Sum used the clients concept of “Home” as the core design element to build a “Modern Home”, to inject a sense energy, to a corporate brand with a long history.
Yoshinoya Restaurant in Tuen Mun, Hong Kong
Lau and Sum created three different design schemes for each of the restaurants, while staying true to the core design values of the re-brand. Each space incorporates the design concept of a “modern home” in a clever and playful way. At the Tsuen Wan restaurant, the outlines of a simple home create a stunning light fixture.
Yoshinoya Restaurant in Tuen Mun, Hong Kong
Over at Tuen Mun and Mong Kok seating pods are inspired by the form of a home, the architects even used the shape in the pick-up window and wall decor.
Yoshinoya Restaurant in Tuen Mun, Hong Kong
Recently, Yoshinoya’s main competitors also re-branded their company, going as far as to change their colors. It was important for Yoshinoya to stay true to their colors, but the company remained open to adding more colors to the interior design. The client also considered the linkage between traditional Japanese cultures to a part of the design but not too traditional.
Yoshinoya Restaurant in Mong kok, Hong Kong
The shape of a “house” in its simplest form became a staple piece in the interiors and the new graphics. Yellow pillar structures, geometric triangle patterns, giant Japanese chopsticks, Japanese wooden plate menus and Japanese roof tiles became the feature of traditional homes and a variety of combination of diverse elements. “We also found that the shape of a “house” has a high malleability, it could be used to link different areas and make the space more stereoscopic.”
Yoshinoya Restaurant in Mong kok, Hong Kong
The design of geometric triangles on the wall creates a diversity of design styles, and was inspired by Japanese origami, along with traditional Japanese chopsticks and wooden plate menus to create experimental and playful design effects.
Yoshinoya Restaurant in Mong kok, Hong Kong
The architects want Yoshinoya’s patrons to understand that “’less is more,’ we thought that a good design has to be “People Oriented”, to gain a win-win situation between client and their customers, and to achieve both aesthetics and practical is the most difficult, but it is also the most interesting and satisfying.”
Yoshinoya Restaurant in Mong kok, Hong Kong
May 9th 2013 – After the unrest of Bangkok’s 2010 Red Shirt Riot’s where protesters set ablaze to a large portion of Bangkok government buildings. The Central World Complex, the sixth largest shopping complex in the world and new home of ZENSE got caught in the crossfire and was totally unrecognizable. Although ZENSE was situated towards the top of the building, smoke and heat went upward and destroy all furniture and finishing of all interior space on the tower. ZENSE, then a newly-opened with a growing reputation as one of the hippest restaurants/bars in the city, situated on ZEN Tower top floor, was one of the casualties of this unrest.
May 7th 2013 – For the past few decades the weathering Swiss-Grand Hotel on Bondi Beach’s famed four mile stretch has been quite an architectural eye sore. That is, until developer Eduard Litver of Capit.el Group reinvented the structure into high profile Pacific Bondi Beach, offering 95 premium-end apartments, including 19 stunning two-level ‘lighthouse’ penthouses, 69 boutique hotel apartments, as well as a fashion and dining precinct combining restaurants, cafes and wine bars.
Occupying almost an entire block, Pacific Bondi Beach has design brief focused on creating a lifestyle destination that complements its natural environment. Capit.ed Group called upon celebrated interior designers and architects such as Koichi Takada, Architect Andrew Andersons of PTW, and Jonathan Richards of SJB to create the dramatic transformation.
The designers have each created a distinctive scheme that interprets and responds to the natural and cultural context of Bondi Beach. Working with the overarching concept of ‘Natural Luxury’, Jonathan Richards plays with texture, color and pattern, utilizing materials inspired by the natural environment of Bondi: bronze bench tops, Moroccan tiles and tactile, pebble-like carpets. The ‘Easy Elegance’ of George Freedman’s designs offer “cool, relaxed spaces where the sea and the air take precedence”, with an emphasis on polished luxury and elegant sanctuary.
Koichi Takada’s interiors, developed around the theme of ‘Elements’, make use of a neutral color palette and natural materials like wood and stone to create warmth and timelessness. Takada says of his designs, “I strive to find the perfection of what nature can offer in Bondi Beach, such as the ambiance of light, the constantly changing color, the texture of the beachfront environment and somehow bring it back as inspiration into the interior space.”
At the pinnacle of the development, the ‘lighthouse’ penthouses feature undulating rooftops that replicate the waves of the ocean and semi-automated and gull-wing doors and skylights, which bring the northerly sun into the apartments. In some cases, the outdoor space is as expansive as the indoor space, with lawns, winter gardens, outdoor showers, alfresco dining, fireplaces and pizza ovens integrated seamlessly with the interior living zones.
As well as the natural perfection that so captivates Takada, Litver notes, “there’s a real artisan movement that has been emerging for quite some time at Bondi, which is also very, very special.”
Given the scope of the project, it is not surprising to hear that a team of world-class designers and architects have been convened to turn it into a reality. In the first release of apartments last September all but two of the 75 apartments sold within the first two hours!
Photography By Sharrin Rees
May 2nd, 2013 – 10 years after the opening of Barcelona’s Hotel Amrey Sant Pau, the Spanish-based hospitality group is opening the doors to it’s second establishment, Room Mate Pau. The hotel, which was designed by renowned architect and interior designer Teresa Sapey, is decked out with vibrant color pallets, charismatic graphics, and cosmopolitan decor.
The 66-suite hotel is located in the center of Barcelona, steps from Plaza Catalunya, and La Rambla; the most famous pedestrian street of the city.
Sapey’s reputation of using bright colors and bold objects in her designs is what made her a perfect choice for the lively Room Mate Pau Hotel. The Italian architect was called upon by the owners to create a hotel that is both friendly and stylish.
The building, which has just undergone a full restoration, now has an atrium full of piercing eye balls, and an elevator shaft outfitted with a huge mural of a ambiguous person wearing a houndstooth patterned dress coat. Spacey transformed large wall patterns into cool backdrops to unique and minimalistic furniture pieces that create a one of a kind experience for hotel guests.
Photography By Room Mate Pau
April 30th, 2013 – New to the streets of Barcelona is a restaurant that fuses Japanese and Brazilian gastronomies in a space that finds shared singularities between the two cultures. Oliver Franz Schmidt and Natali Canas del Pozo, founders of Barcelona based creative firm El equipo creativo, spearheaded the design of Ikibana Paral·lel, a place where culinary and architectonic concept goes hand-in-hand.
Japan and Brazil are two antagonistic cultures at first glance, one is minimalist and quiet, while the other is lush and bustling. The restaurant offers an interesting fusion Ikibana for their cuisines – its design also aims to extol some of its singularities shared, such as the importance of landscape in both cultures.
The architects used the space to visually translate the idea of the Ikibana’s food concept. Fusing design elements of two cultures can sometimes be tricky, but Schmidt and Pozo took inspiration from traditional Japanese flower arrangements called Ikebanas, and from Brazil’s Amazon rainforest to create the multicultural atmosphere.
The result of such a concept manifested into a landscape of layered wood that covers the walls and ceilings along with eclectically sized wood seating pods that are scattered throughout the space. The windy wood layers travel through the restaurant representing the wood of a rainforest, while creating a feeling of movement throughout the space. The seating pods, and colorful tables inside of the pods are a inspired from the flowers of the Ikibana arrangements.
In order for the establishment to operate properly, the spacial layout and movement of the restaurant needs to be functional. “The space should allow a constant movement of waiters presenting food to liven the atmosphere, activity all around the restaurant and working areas to be visible to clients,” Schmidt explained. “Here, a fluid space meanders around the restaurant, producing infinite angles of vision.”
April 24th, 2013 – In Bangkok’s seaside province of Rayong, a family-style seafood eatery designed by the Architects at Onion is adding a cozy, yet modern, atmosphere to the local dining scene. Modest beaches dotted around the Rayong Province are tranquil paradises for sea lovers who wish for hideaway places near the capital, a fitting place for Laem Charoen Seafood. The designers at Onion devised a hexagon pattern screen that creates partitions, adds architectural interest, and controls the flow of the restaurant.
Warm colors were introduced into the modern space to provide a warm atmosphere that best represents the identity of Laem Charoen’s 30 year old brand. Mint green glass railings, diagonal wood slats, and dining chairs upholstered in an array of emerald colored tones sit underneath custom made ceramic lamps that are coated in a copper color. At the front of the restaurant, the wooden hexagonal screens are open, but at the rear of the restaurant, the screen holes are filled with mirrors that reflect the geometric screens and create visual interest.
Photography By Pruk Dejkhamhaeng