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Les Enfants Rouges Apartment by Ubalt Architects

Les Enfants Rouges by Ubalt Architects

Les Enfants Rouges by Ubalt Architects

Les Enfants Rouges by Ubalt Architects

Les Enfants Rouges by Ubalt Architects

Les Enfants Rouges by Ubalt Architects

Les Enfants Rouges by Ubalt Architects

In a typical 17th-century flat of the Marais in Paris, architecture and interiors firm Ubalt have completed the project Les Enfants Rouges (a reference to the nearby historic market). The less than 400 sq ft space is designed to appear longer and more spacious, blocking a bath and kitchen at one end, and a bedroom opposite, with a space arranged as a dining area, lounge, and office in between. The careful use of space and line-based placement, as well as thoughtful, polished finishing, successfully combines functionality and modernity while preserving the historic character of the building.

Specialized design choices, such as accordion partitions that do not reach the ceiling, separate the spaces, maintaining a feeling of openness and allowing the original beamed ceiling to be continuously exposed. Storage, imperative in a small space like this, is situated on the traverse of the apartment’s length; the custom-made furniture pieces are space-specific, and lend aesthetic continuity to the apartment, as well as visual effect with their mirrored bases (topped in marble). An all-white paint job highlights the textures and material applications throughout, including the beams and flooring, and suspended, industrial-inspired lighting runs lengthwise, opposite the ceiling beams. 

Ubalt is a Parisian design agency founded in 2015 by National Institute of Architecture (Versailles) graduates Nastasia Potel and Mylène Vasse.

More at: Ubalt

Life House by John Pawson / Living Architecture

Life House by John Pawson

Life House by John Pawson

Life House by John Pawson

Amidst the rolling hills of the Welsh countryside, Living Architecture commissioned architect John Pawson to create a house of serenity and beauty – Life House (or Tŷ Bywyd, as it is called in Welsh). The house serves as a retreat that can sleep up to six people, with the architectural and design intention of contemplation and restoration for its guests.

John Pawson is a master of working within the parameters of landscape, ecology, and historic importance; his portfolio is filled with minimalist homes, boutiques, and even religious spaces. Working in collaboration with philosopher and writer, as well as the founder of Living Architecture, Alain de Botton, Pawson’s approach to Life House was an uncompromisingly modern design where it would be possible to inhabit a different sort of architectural space. Luxurious in its carefully executed simplicity, the house has been influenced by Japanese design, as well as the architecture of Benedictine monks. To further inspire mental awareness and tranquility, a sequence of walks have been curated the artist Hamish Fulton.

“In this house I wanted to create a modern, secular retreat, where guests can experience the benefits of introspection, solitude, and immersion in nature,” said Pawson.

Life House by John Pawson

Life House by John Pawson

Life House by John Pawson

From the handmade Danish bricks (black on the exterior, pale grey inside), to the polished terrazzo floor, and Douglas-fir ceilings, the house’s materials and finishes were chosen for their calming and clean nature.

Life House’s floorpan is organized around two corridors that meet at a right angle: one “dark,” leading to a chamber built into the hillside, a cavernous space designed for contemplation, the other, “light,” leads to an outdoor space where the exercise of purifying the mind is also encouraged. A combined kitchen, dining area, and lounge serve as the central hub, with a layout to satisfy both complete privacy, and when it is desired, sociability and communion.

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Casa Voltes by Sergison Bates Architects and Liebman Villavecchia

Casa Voltes

Casa Voltes

Casa Voltes

Casa Voltes

In the seaside Catalonian village of Cadaqués, on the site of  a ruined historic dwelling, sits Casa Voltes, a collaborative project between Sergison Bates Architects and Liebman Villavecchia of Barcelona.

The former fishing village that was, for centuries, cut off from the mainland, has a distinct architectural style; adapting new buildings to the surrounding village context and unique geography requires an extremely fine hand, with an understanding of Cadaqués’ identity.

A storied history, that includes artists and writers such as such as Picasso, García Lorca, Dalí, Duchamp, John Cage and Richard Hamilton, amongst others, is woven with both tradition and twentieth-century influence. Many cultural, as well as architectural contributions, were made to Cadaqués’ footprint during this time; as noted by Oriol Bohigas, architects such as Federico Correa, Alfonso Milá and Coderch, Harnden (American) and Bombelli (Italian), “wisely set the tone of the ’60s in Cadaqués by providing the models to develop a current of stylistic discretion” and “succeeded in understanding the geographical and social reality of the town.”

This philosophy applies to Casa Voltes; carefully working inside the parameters of village architecture, geography, and respect of the former building, the house is graceful and modern, without any sense of historic recreation.

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Piece in Brief: Alvar Aalto Tea Trolley 901

Aalvo Tea Trolley 901

Aalvo Tea Trolley 901

Designed by Finnish designer Alvar Aalto in 1936, the Tea Trolley 901 is a decidedly modern take on a traditional piece of furniture; a nod to British tea culture, perfectly balanced with Japanese carpentry and architecture, at home as a tea or coffee cart, but also a distinctive bar or side table. With a bentwood frame of blonde birch, and a tabletop and lower shelf finished in linoleum, the trolley is designed with functionality in mind; a handle that spans the width of the trolley, as well as rubber-treaded wheels, allow it to be moved gracefully.

Aalto’s cart designs were first introduced at the 1936 Milan Triennale, and later at Paris’ world’s fair in 1937. The design is still produced by Artek (now owned by Vitra), a Finnish company that was originally founded in 1935 by Aalto and his wife Aino, art promoter Maire Gullichsen, and art historian Nils-Gustav Hahl.

Alvar Aalto on The Aesthetic PostAalvo’s work on display at the Triennale di Milano, 1936.

Aalvo Tea Trolley 901Aalto at his home in Helsinki.

A world-class architect, and one of the faces of the International Modernism movement, it was Aalto who originally employed the process of bending thick layers of birch into smooth, chic curves to frame furniture, perhaps best noted in his stackable Stool 60, an icon of functionalist design.

Aalto’s work greatly influenced midcentury designers such as Eero Saarinen and Charles & Ray Eames. His style, which incorporated nature to architectural form, became known as Humanist Modernism, and his design philosophy, Gesamtkunstwerk (“a total work of art”) became his trademark, whereby he and his wife Aino, would design everything from the building, to the furnishings, lighting, even intimate details like glassware, inside.

As a final note, last year, Dutch designer Hella Jongerius designed an updated version of the 901 for Artek’s reintroduction of some of their archive’s most iconic pieces. In her interpretation, the frame’s color is the same as the shelf and tabletop, in light birch or black lacquer (see below).

Aalvo Tea Trolley 901

More at: Artek
Photos: Artek

Tuve Hotel by Design Systems

Tuve Hotel by Design Systems

Tuve Hotel by Design Systems

Intended to be an escape from the bustle and chaos of Hong Kong, a discreet, signless entrance in the Tin Hau district guides you into a quiet experience, Tuve, by architecture firm Design Systems.

Inspired by photographer Kim Høltermand’s panoramas of Sweden’s Lake Tuve, the owner wanted to incorporate the mood of Scandinavian landscape to the 66-room boutique hotel. Design Systems thoughtfully translated the atmospheric, cold images to the space, making the best of natural, often common materials. As described by the firm: “We feel that the term luxury has much been vulgarized nowadays, rather, we prefer the term refinement. Refinement goes beyond the surface.”

Avoiding the cliches of exotic, over-the-top elements, Tuve keeps it simple and engages the visitors emotions. Materials such as concrete, galvanized steel, brass, and oak are familiar, but used appropriately and elegantly. Creative use of lighting throughout the spaces, both artificial and natural, reveals texture, casts shadows, and establishes a specific ambiance.

Tuve Hotel by Design Systems

Tuve Hotel by Design Systems

Tuve Hotel by Design Systems

Tuve Hotel by Design Systems

As the spaces are used, hidden craftsmanship is revealed, quietly interacting with the minimalist environment. From the pale wooden box that opens to a desk and minibar, to the door that folds from the side of the cabinet to store tea-making equipment. Stools are made from roughly hewn marble, and brass switch plates are left to oxidize, exposing the true nature of the material.

By sticking to the basics, and executing this with the ultimate finesse, Tuve sets itself apart in a way that challenges the typical hotel experience.

More at: Tuve
Photos: Matteo Carcelli, Design Systems.

Gaudin House by Savioz Fabrizzi Architectes

Built in 1878, this structure in Anzère, Switzerland was originally intended as a barn to shelter animals and their keepers during the alpine grazing season. Decades later, under the hand of architecture firm Savioz Fabrizzi, the barn has been converted for modern comfort.

Gaudin House by Savioz Fabrizzi Architectes

Gaudin House by Savioz Fabrizzi Architectes

Gaudin House by Savioz Fabrizzi Architectes

Gaudin House by Savioz Fabrizzi Architectes

With the stone walls restored, a panoramic window added to the front, and a subtle raise of the roof (of about a foot), the exterior remains rudimentary in appearance. The stonework was so skillfully fortified, that it is hard to tell where the original stone ends and the new begins.

Gaudin House by Savioz Fabrizzi Architectes

Gaudin House by Savioz Fabrizzi Architectes

As a counterpoint to the rough stone exterior, made to resist the tough alpine climate, the interior is finished with smooth larch boards. This elegant, albeit simple finishing also provides a visual warmth to balance the expansive view of snow-covered mountains offered by the panoramic window, an excellent source of light to the space.

Gaudin House by Savioz Fabrizzi Architectes

Gaudin House by Savioz Fabrizzi Architectes

Inside, the upper floor houses the main living space, kitchen, and bathroom, while the lower level, dug into the mountainside, splits the bedroom and a utility space.

With an emphasis on comfort and thoughtful layout, this reinvention of a rudimentary structure offers new life to an old space, without introducing a new footprint.

More at: Savioz Fabrizzi Architectes
Photos: Thomas Jantscher

Villa Mörtnäs by Fourfoursixsix Architects

Located in the Stockholm Archipelago, this private home by firm Fourfoursixsix, commissioned by Swedish developer Strömma Projekt, may appear discreet from the outside with its clean, aerated concrete exterior, but has been thoughtfully designed to best take advantage of both natural light and the home’s remarkable placement in the landscape.

Villa Mörtnäs

Villa Mörtnäs

Villa Mörtnäs

Specialized features such as large-format windows and extended-height ceilings exaggerate the scale of the upstairs living space from front-to-back, where a wall of sliding-glass doors extend to a south-facing terrace that meets a natural rock face.

Villa Mörtnäs

Villa Mörtnäs

Villa Mörtnäs

Villa Mörtnäs

In a simple arrangement, the bedrooms sit on the house’s lower level.

Villa Mörtnäs

Villa Mörtnäs

Whitened pine floors and clean angles make for a straightforward interior that doesn’t distract from the outside views via the artfully-placed windows.

More at: Fourfoursixsix
Photos: Wrede, Johan Dehlin

Eyrie Houses by Cheshire Architects

Eyrie Houses by Cheshire Architects

Eyrie Houses by Cheshire Architects

Eyrie Houses by Cheshire Architects

When friends pooled their money to buy a plot of land on a remote estuary in northern New Zealand, they eventually decided to build dual cabins. A thoughtful approach the vacation home, the buildings mirror each other on the outside, but have distinct personalities inside.

Designed by firm principal Nat Cheshire of Aukland-based Cheshire Architects, the cabins are entirely off-the-grid. Being only 312 square feet, both manage to accommodate a living area, kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping loft.

Charred wood exteriors and very little footprint (no driveway or yard) make for a striking placement, as Cheshire describes: “In that big long grass, it feels more like these were boats tied up at moorings in a slow-motion ocean.”

Eyrie Houses by Cheshire Architects

Eyrie Houses by Cheshire Architects

Eyrie Houses by Cheshire Architects

Each unit has two side openings: one as an entrance and the other a window. There are no traditional doors, instead, a boulder acts as a step to enter one of the cabins, the other with a small fold-down deck.

Eyrie Houses by Cheshire Architects

Eyrie Houses by Cheshire Architects

Eyrie Houses by Cheshire Architects

Both cabins have a functional (albeit compact) kitchen with a sink, refrigerator, gas stove, and even a dishwasher drawer, luxuries you might not expect for such a small space. Keeping the bathroom closet-sized, with the assistance of an outdoor shower, lends real estate to the rest of the space.

Eyrie Houses by Cheshire Architects

Eyrie Houses by Cheshire Architects

Interior design-wise, specific materials were chosen to set the cabins apart: one being light, the other dark. In the light cabin, the interior walls are unfinished plywood, the kitchen nook lined in oiled eucalyptus. Furniture selections include an Ercol sofa and Arne Jacobsen floor lamp. In the dark cabin, the interior is finished in black polished panels, which have a deep sheen at night, the kitchen nook in rich brass.

More at: Cheshire Architects
Photos: Jeremy Toth, Darryl Ward

Public Natures: Evolutionary Infrastructures

Public Natures: Evolutionary Infrastructures

publicnatures2

Public Natures: Evolutionary Infrastructures

Public Natures: Evolutionary Infrastructures is a hybrid manifesto/monograph from New York City-based firm Weiss/Manfredi; this collection of essays, roundtable discussions, and selected projects by the firm helps to identify new terms and models for architecture’s evolution in the field of landscape and urban territory. The functionally designed urban life is thoughtfully organized in the book, which features case studies such as the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle, and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Visitor Center, as well as contributions by academics and theorists such as Kenneth Frampton, Preston Scott Cohen, Felipe Correa, Keller Easterling, Paul Lewis, Hashim Sarkis, and Nader Tehrani; with a foreword by Barry Bergdoll.

Public Natures was designed in collaboration with studio Project Projects, and the format was developed to balance photographs and drawings alongside reader-friendly text and detail points. A beautifully offset-printed bookcloth cover is enlivened by a bold green book block, and inside, contrasting paper stocks articulate the shift between the theoretical and case study sections.

More at: Princeton Architectural Press
Photos: Project Projects

CD Poolhouse by Marc Merckx

CB Poolhouse by Marc Merckx

CB Poolhouse by Marc Merckx

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CB Poolhouse by Marc Merckx

CB Poolhouse by Marc Merckx

CB Poolhouse by Marc Merckx

CB Poolhouse by Marc Merckx

CD Poolhouse is the work of Belgian designer and architect Marc Merckx. The elegant, simple architecture is dark and spare, but still airy, reflecting Merckx’s design philosophy: “a constant search for the perfect balance between proportions, materials, and space.” With a black timber facade, the building extends to the pool via a black steel pergola. Inside, Merckx’s custom furniture designs, natural materials, and a minimal color palette connect the indoors to out.

Photography via Marc Merckx
More at: Marc Merckx









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