If there’s anything any home needs it’s an abundance of plant life. Studies show that plants help fight colds, clean the air, lower your blood pressure and make you happier overall. That said, could you imagine living in a multi-story concrete home that basically slender vertical garden? This is what architect and designer Ryue Nishizawa, one half of the design firm SANAA, has helped create.
Tucked away in a tiny crack in Tokyo is this four-story home which mixes concrete and glass to create a series of terraces and balconies that blurs the line between interior and exterior. The home is united with a spiral staircase the punctuates the space from top to bottom yet still feels elegant, not consuming or overpowering the space.
It’s always fascinating to me to see how the Japanese utilize such unique spaces with such creative solutions. A space like this isn’t for everyone, though if you offered it to me I’d take it in a heart beat.
Deep in Germany’s Bavarian countryside you’ll find these beautifully simple holiday cottages designed by studio Format Elf Architekten. The three buildings were commissioned by Hofgut; a hotel that already offers 7 cabins, a spa and a restaurant. Designed for guests who are looking to stay for a longer period of time, they look like the perfect place to relax, recuperate and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
Photographed here by Lothar Reichel, you can see just how beautiful these buildings are. They were designed to resemble the agricultural buildings of the region, yet in their black-stained timber cladding and their simple form I think they have a real sense of elegance about them.
Despite their initial similarities there are subtle differences between all three cottages. For example, one is located in a small clearing in the woods and its interior has been enhanced with darker elements to echo its more intimate location. Another can be found beside sloping fields and the architects have decided to use a lighter palette for this cottage. The third can found at the edge of a pond, and this one features the lightest finish. All three offer a large floor space, a kitchen area and a mezzanine.
They’re a beautiful collection of buildings and I can imagine that they offer a wonderful spot for those looking to getaway from the demands of a busy lifestyle. More work from Format Elf Architekten can be seen on their website.
The Line has a great story on Laura Ferrara and Fabio Chizzola and their amazing farm in upstate New York. Both work in fashion, Laura as a fashion editor, Fabio as a fashion photographer, but in 2002 they purchased the stone farmhouse and over the last 13 years has been revitalized. Their apple orchards, once overgrown and unable to bear fruit have been brought back to life, eventually producing a bumper crop which they shared with neighbors.
“This has been thirteen years in the making. It’s not like we woke up one day and said “I’m going to buy a farm!” It’s been self-taught in a lot of ways, and we’ve gone through a lot of ups and downs—hurricanes, lost crops. We feel blessed that we could do this, and we want to spread the kind of joy that we get from it, because that’s why we’re still doing it.”
What’s remarkable is how fully they utilize the farm. The grow pears, raspberries, and garlic, they have flocks of chickens, beehives, they harvest maple syrup, and started harvesting the wood from the orchard for cutting and serving boards. Chizzola uses maple, cherry, or black walnut, all of which can be found on the property, and even uses the beeswax from their hives to protect the wood.
Read the full story and see more photos by clicking here.
When you think of the locations of fancy ramen bars, Eastern Russia may not be the first place you think of. That’s the location of Mary Wong, a noodle bar located in Rostov-on-Don that was designed by the team at Fork, a studio based in Moscow. They did an incredible job with the branding and the build out, opting to do stay away from the tropes of “Asian” design and instead focus on the materials to evoke a certain feeling.
I feel like the vibe of the space is contemporary with a touch of cyberpunk, thanks to all the concrete and neon. It doesn’t lean too far into the sci-fi aesthetic though thanks to the copious amounts of wood in the floors, stools, and main table. Overall it’s a really fun space that would be welcomed in any city.
Over the weekend I stopped into thew new A.P.C. flagship shop, a space that’s nestled between buzzing Melrose Ave. and the sleepy Melrose Place. The area is dotted with high-end boutiques — such as the lavish Alexander McQueen to the iconically pink Paul Smith – but when you walk into the new A.P.C. it feels like you’ve escaped to a warm, summer retreat. What used to be an old antique shop has been transformed into something comfortable, spacious, and well-considered, with a thoughtful mix of architecture and vegetation.
The central plot features a luxuriously planted garden of Californian natives and is framed by a very large window, spanning 59 ft across 3 sides supported by diagonal wooden columns. In every sense it becomes the true heart of the structure. Ceramic brick, commissioned specifically for this project, is used for the floor and acts as a homage to the Hispanic history of Los Angeles, while providing extra light in its reflective nature. It also remains cool to the touch, important to the boutique where air conditioning is kept at a minimum.
The floor also unifies the space, where 3 presentation spaces are created by playing with the differing volumes inherent to the building. Ceilings range from a 20 ft cathedral-like stature to a more humble cottage-like height. As well as the central courtyard, the dual entrance from Melrose Avenue and Melrose Place creates a flow and sense of accessibility to the boutique.
Walking through the space you’re definitely met with a sense of comfort. I went around noon and the light was marvelous, spilling in from the skylights and tall windows. As mentioned above the floor tiles really do reflect the light beautifully, which in turn makes all of the wooden elements radiate a warmth that I’ve never experienced in a retail environment before. I wanted to sit and relax in the shop like it was my home.
The boutique will house the full A.P.C. men’s and women’s collections as well as the recently expanded denim collection, accessories, and collaborations. The Melrose shop will be the crown jewel to an ever-expanding presence in Los Angeles with new shops opening in downtown and Silver Lake in late 2014. Based on this space I’m excited to see how they continue to evolve their spaces.
Last November Nowness asked Moby to curate a playlist which twined music with buildings. The resulting piece was accompanied by some beautiful illustrations by the London-based illustrator Adam Simpson and I feel he really did an excellent job of combining Moby’s musical selections with his architectural choices.
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You know those little people who inhabit architectural renderings? Where the hell do they come from? I know one source now, it’s called Skalgubbar and it’s the passion project of Teodor Javanaud Emdén.
I started the project a few years ago and it has taken off fairly recently and my people who are my family and friends have now started to infiltrate the world of architecture. They are featured in a lot of architecture competitions projects (that I have seen 2013) and almost always in at least one shortlisted project.
The variety and range of people are incredible, anything from a person with a bouquet of balloons, an old woman holding giant mushrooms, or a man petting a black cat on the ground.
Two of my favourite things are architecture and illustration so it’s no wonder that I love these illustrated buildings by the Italian illustrator Giordano Poloni. Giordano currently lives and works in Milan where he creates both illustrations and motion-graphics for clients such as WIRED, Random House, Vice Magazine and Smith Journal. These images come from an ongoing series called “Climbing in Love” which Giordano describes as “a personal series about architecture and love stories”.
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