We hesitate to use words such as charming or sweet here as they might imply excessive cuteness, but the recently completed tiny chapel on Cyprus does have a welcoming, approachable appearance that made us contemplate tiny, cozy spaces.
However, we were also immediately aware that this is sanctuary, not some dwelling for friendly trolls.
We were also drawn to reflect on visits to small Greek mountain villages where tiny white churches cling to seemingly inaccessible cliffs.
And glancing inside and seeing the gorgeous hanging lighting fixtures, we remembered our visits to stalactite caves on several Greek Islands.
Cyprus-based, 35-year architect Michail Georgiou, with collaborator Theresa Kwok, has created this 56 square-meter (602 sq.ft.) gem of a Greek Orthodox chapel using an experimental building technique.
The light-weight structure consists of a steel frame and a thin ferrocement shell.
The 5.5-meter (18-foot) high doorway adds a sense of welcome and transparency, as one can see through the structure that from this angle appears as if it were just a dome of a temporary structure.
We are always excited by thoughtful design that manages to combine the traditional and the contemporary techniques and languages. This is right up Georgiou’s ally as he holds a MSc in Adaptive Architecture and Computation from the Bartlett and a MArch from the NTUA.
In addition to being a practicing architect with both residential and public projects, he also lectures on Computational Design and Fabrication at the Department of Architecture in the University of Nicosia (Cyprus). We expect to see more innovative work from him. - Tuija Seipell.
Photography by Charis Solomou
We had forgotten how beautiful grey concrete can be until we saw what Ezequiel Farca had done with a 1970s residence in Mexico City.
At the same time, we were also reminded of how much we love Farca’s elegant work in general.
To start with, the Barrancas House in Mexico City had a lot going for it before Farca came along.
It is located on a sloped property so that the four levels of the house, from basement all the way to the top, or second, floor, are all in fact on ground level.
In addition, the site overlooks a great wooded area with grown trees and greenery. The house had good bones that Farca and team members Cristina Grappin and Fernanda de la Mora preserved and then took to a new level of cool, modern comfort.
The 720 square-meter (7,750 sq ft) house is a family residence. Keeping that in mind Farca maximized the exposure to the views and daylight by opening up the rooms with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the woods. He also knocked down interior walls and replaced some with sliding screens and hidden doors and providing bay windows that open fully . All of these give the family members the option of creating specific spaces for their changing needs.
Much of the furniture was also custom-designed by Farca’s team for the Barrancas residence.
The new luxury amenities of the house now include a home theater, a wine cellar, a gym and two large terraces. Our favourite luxury features are the chic long pool on the topmost level and the skillful use of greenery both inside the residence and outside in the new garden.
The landscape was designed with plants that adjust to the local climate, with green roof and green walls, it also has a solar energy system and a automatized water saving system.
Marble, stone and wood dominate the interior, with earthy tones and neutral colours throughout. The interior flows seamlessly together with the exterior and all of that gives the sensation of expanded, unblocked freedom.
Ezequiel Farca and his team have achieved that tough-to-define and even tougher to accomplish harmony where the old and new coexist, where the exterior and interior belong together and where the meticulous design work does not honk its own horn but instead, stays stylishly in the background where it belongs. - Tuija Seipell.
Photography: Jaime Navarro, Roland Halbe
We have encountered dramatic, elegant and inviting yoga studios, spas and salons, but this is the first time that we’d like to include a boxing center on that same list.
In Taipei, Taiwan, local designer and principal of MW Design, Michelle Wei, has conjured up a dramatic environment for Boxing+ Wellness Center.
Located on the basement level of an industrial building, the entire space of 562 square-meters (6,050 sq.ft or 170 Taiwanese Ping) has an aura of dark strength without being boring or off-putting in a predictable over-masculine way.
Instead of the stereotypical solutions of lots of black fake leather, neon lights, tile, metal and functional but unimaginative showers, lockers and common areas, Wei has used environmentally friendly plywood, metal mesh, black iron, and recycled timber to create a sense of low-key elegance.
The interior design supports the goal of Boxing+ to be a comfortable space that suits both male and female guests of all ages who wish to learn and enjoy boxing.
The shoe lockers located under the entrance staircase are made of recycled timber, and wood paneling is used in the reception desk and several other feature areas as warm accents.
The shower rooms’ gray floral tiles and light gray marble countertops add a feeling of luxury and pampering for the guests after their vigorous exercise.
With the help of Chubic Lighting, Wei has also incorporated dramatic lighting in many areas. The main lockers have grey doors and each has its own spotlight for both exclusivity and a bit of stage-show drama.
During match nights, multi-color lights focus on the ring producing a professional-like experience for the audience and the boxers. Tuija Seipell
Photography by Figure x Lee Kuo-Min Studio
Mesmerizing, intriguing, stunning, elegant. We could not stop staring at this enchanting photographic image of a bubble by Mathieu Missiaen and so we had to have it.
The image is called “Bubble” but we keep seeing all sorts of strange worlds in it. This piece has all the hallmarks of an eye-catching conversation piece. It does stand out. It will be noticed in whatever space you’ll hang it.
In addition, it has a hypnotizing effect. In its enigmatic core there appears to be an explanation. If you just look at it long enough, you will solve the puzzle. You will figure it out. You will see something in it. You will know how it was created.
And yet, you don’t really want to know.
We are usually pretty tough on facts. We want to know the details, but in this case, we do not want to know. It would break the spell. We just want to stare.
Buy it online here
For more than a decade, shared offices have been an option for business in most larger cities around the world. Creating and renting out such premises is a highly competed business and success is not guaranteed.
The necessary ingredients include a fine balance of location-appropriate sizing, pricing and design, a customizable set of services and facilities, and of course a favorable location.
We’ve seen both boring and inspiring examples. Some of them are not much more than bland office pens or chairs and desks for rent. Some are too casual and communal, or veering too far toward the creative-businesses-having-fun-together variety.
Not everyone who wants a shared office environment is looking for constant interaction, open-concept layouts or the minimum of luxury.
Elegance, privacy and high-end design are also on the must-have-list of many potential tenants of such spaces.
All of these less-frequently-seen attributes have come together in Paramount by The Office Space, a cool retrofit of the 1940s Paramount Pictures building at 80 Commonwealth Street in Surry Hills, Sydney, Australia.
The Office Space founders Boris and Naomi Tosic are veterans of the shared office game in Sydney. Boris Tosic’s high-end office fit-out firm, Elan Construct, was in charge of building and joinery in this project.
To transform the heritage-listed landmark Art Deco building into a 22-suite luxury office space taking up the total of almost 300 square meters (3,230 Sq.ft.) , the Tosics engaged global architecture, design and consulting firm Woods Bagot.
Woods Bagot principal, Domenic Alvaro, who with Todd Hammond formed the Woods Bagot project team, says that the concept and harmony come from “ … creating a simultaneously functional and aesthetically beautiful experience in every detail.”
Mid-century modernist vibes are strong in the space. American Cherry and oak panelling is curved to echo the building’s exterior and to form visually soft divisions.
Additional materials - limestone, marble, goat-hair carpet – are used in features customized for the project.
A three-dimensional ceiling of timber and brass ties it all together, as period-appropriate lighting by Light Practice.
Brass and leather accents and mid-century pieces from Molteni Co and Walter Knoll are perfect with the BassamFellows hand-crafted furniture and select pieces from Australian AB Projects’ inaugural collection
The overall effect is akin to a boutique hotel where the rooms are in fact offices and work spaces.
We suspect that this trend will be strong in globally the near future as more and more successful professional individuals and businesses are looking for workspace to align with their style and brand. - Tuija Seipell.
A confident black margin drawn on a crisp sheet of pristine, white paper anchors everything on that sheet and divides it decisively into sections. But it leaves everything else free and open; to be decided later, to be filled in - perhaps in writing or with drawings or other media.
That same feeling of order and balance - and also of rejuvenating freedom - permeates this Olivier Dwek-designed residence on the island of Zante. Zante, also known as Zakynthos, is one of the Ionian Islands that also include Kefalonia, Ithaca, Corfu and Paxi along the western coastline of central Greece.
The elegant dwelling sits confidently on the ocean-side ledge of the island, overlooking the neighbouring island of Kefalonia (or Cephalonia).
The British-born, Brussels-based, 45-year-old architect Dwek is a master of the pure, clean line.
In the Zante residence, the first level includes an entrance hall, outdoor dining room, kitchen, living room, patio, swimming pool, terraces and a bedroom. The large master bedroom is located on the second level.
All windows look over the steep hillside and face the beautiful vista of Kefalonia.
There is so much we love about this project. Obviously we are drawn to the elegant minimalist white-and-black scheme, the efficient, open floor plan, the overall openness, the refined proportions, and the complete lack of gimmicks or unnecessary enhancements.
And we always love a structure that leaves room to breathe, see, hear and experience the surroundings.
But in this particular house, our favourite feature is the black margin. We see them in the frames for the windows and sliding doors, the edges of marble counter tops, the play of light and shadow on the white surfaces.
These margins border and outline the life inside and outside, and they define the scenery and direct the viewer to the incredible surrounding beauty. - Tuija Seipell.
We love design, architecture and art that exudes confidence, strength, character and drama. We love pieces that make a bold statement; that can stand alone.
Unsurprisingly, we’ve fallen for the photography work of the multi-talented American Sarah McColgan.
We have now commissioned her to create a series of photo portraits of horses exclusively for The Cool Hunter, and we are happy to introduce the first one of the series here.
The strength, stillness and sheer power of the black-and-white portrait is iconic. There is no way one can ignore this in a room.
Numerous other prestigious brands and publications have recognized Sarah McColgan’s talent. Her work has appeared, for example, in Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Rolling Stone and In Style.
And brands, including NFL, Pepsi and Pantene have also used her images in their campaigns.
She has also worked with many stars, including Heidi Klum, Beyonce, Kelly Ripa, Sheryl Crow, Mary J Blige and Bruce Springsteen.
We have opened The Cool Hunter Store – our antidote to boring shopping experiences - this past weekend in the Prahan neighbourhood of Melbourne.
The Cool Hunter Store
142 Commercial Road
Prahran Vic 3181
Tue - Thur 11am - 7pm
Friday 11am - 6pm
Sat & Sun - 10am - 4pm
We have created pop-up shops and galleries before, but this one will be a bit longer-term. How long, you ask. We have no idea. We will work it as long as it is interesting to our guests and to us.
(Our window display features The Horse photograph by Sarah McColgan)
The Cool Hunter Store is part art gallery and part shop, but everything is sourced by The Cool Hunter, and everything is for sale. Art, lights, books, gourmet foods, fashion accessories and so on.
We will keep everything fresh and exclusive, and the selection will change regularly so that visiting the store is interesting each time, and there are always goods here that you can’t find anywhere else.
As shopping has become more and more boring, with mind-numbing sameness across airports, high streets, shopping centres and brands, there seems little point in getting excited about a new store. So we know the bar is high.
But we also know that the sameness is the result of brands, stores and managers choosing to be followers rather than leaders. It is so much easier to produce and sell the same colours, styles, hem lengths, materials and products as everybody else. They all go to the same trade shows, same fashion shows, same predictable sources – so is it any wonder that the result is dull and boring?
Our approach is different, and far more time-consuming, but we are trying to un-bore ourselves here, too. We hope that as a result, we will be able to offer our guests a worthwhile experience in return.
And, as always, we used Natalie Longheon from Just Add Cream, our go-to girl to create our space. Time after time, she has executed everything from start to finish perfectly. We can trust her completely which is why we use her constantly. She always delivers.
We plan to use the 260 square-meter space also for client product activations, events, launches and whatever else interests us.
LED infinity mirror artwork by American artist Peter Gronquist, available exclusively at TCH gallery store.
Flowers by Melbourne's most iconic florist - The Studio by Fleur.
The Cool Box – our version of a cool, customized luxury gift “hamper” - will be launching in a few months. We are currently perfecting the packaging for it.
A large CJ Hendry drawing of a Giorgio Armani shopping bag was sold just a few hours prior to opening to a customer in Vancouver.
LED infinity mirror of policeman by Peter Gronquist.
Photographed by Sam Bisso
‘We eat with our eyes’….
Let’s take a minute and really consider what this means. Traditionally we have associated this statement with the freshness of our food; the moment you can see all the amazing components of a dish in their individual state and the vast array of colors they collectively offer.
The truth is though, that freshness is in everything around us, it’s in our food, our fashion, our music, our art, our ideas, our attitudes and of course our architecture. What becomes particularly exciting is when there is a distinct and clear connection of freshness between two or more of these aspects at any one given time and the ability it has to excite our multitude of senses.
Bar Nou is exactly this, a clash of freshness; fresh food, fresh design and fresh architecture. Located in a city known well for its unorthodox and unique architecture, this Barcelona statement piece is ‘light and fresh’ in every sense of the term. A product of emerging architectural design quartet Maio, this small but eloquent tapas bar pays homage to the traditional Catalonian dish of ‘pa amb tomàquet’. Which for those who are unfamiliar is the amazing combination of toast, diced tomatoes, and top-shelf olive oil with garlic and salt; simple yet highly appealing, much like the design.
Whilst the team from Maio have managed to achieve a design which is blissfully simple, the more you break it down it’s actually full of complexities. For example the timber clad ceiling which has been arranged like a vault gives the bar an interesting sense of proportion and provides an air of ‘domesticity’, which comes back to the idea of tomatoes on toast at home. The complexity of the construction becomes even more evident through in the way the ceiling intersects with the front façade, making it an interesting feature rather than hidden, which opposes the usual way in which roofing structure is treated.
Maio have been very careful in exploring the scenographic qualities of the bar and have done this through the use of warping timber, mirrors and that unique ceiling design. By doing this they have been able to achieve a somewhat endless space within a small hole in the wall; which challenges the notion of compact European design and in particular Barcelona which has small sized city blocks to operate within and usually presents many design challenges.
The menu mimics the design and vice versa which always creates an interesting concept when two creative entities communicate directly with each other. The pa amb tomàquet is the hero and is served in a contemporary manner. This is a strong and consistent theme as it was a request of the owner that Bar Nou would be architected in such a way that it combined contemporary design with traditional approaches.
Honouring the old in a new way is what makes this project particularly exciting. How the pa amb tomàquet is prepared in itself is more like an act of ritual, as it’s done at what is best described as a dj-booth-looking-alter placed within the core of the space. An interesting concept which becomes more evident through the overwhelming use of marble which is most widely used in churches within Spain.
The furnishings are modern and sleek with hints of traditional Spanish domestic tradition. The lighting is purposeful and well thought out, from the down lighting over each table to the vibrant neon pictographs on the front façade which depict pictures of wineglasses, a carafe, a tomato, a loaf of bread and so cleverly draws the eyes of passers-by.
‘We eat with our eyes’, a concept that Bar Nou and the design team from Maio have now forced us to consider in a whole new light. - David Mousa.
Glasgow-born, Berlin-based architect and designer Leigh Sachwitz’s Studio for Design flora&faunavisions GmbH has created a mesmerizing interactive experience called “Insideout” for the Triennale der Photographie in Hamburg.
The Triennale has occurred every three years since 1999 and this year’s event is held from June 18 to June 28.
Leigh Sachwitz’s installation is both chilling and soothing at the same time. It is a 360° multimedia installation that explores the house as a sanctuary and as a safe haven from nature’s many forces.
Inside the greenhouse-like illuminated installation, the viewer, or more specifically the participant, experiences nature’s many forces by hearing the rain and watching the dark clouds gather above, and when the protective walls disappear, the participant will feel exposed and vulnerable in the eye of the storm. But then, once the storm has passed, there is a feeling of purity and freshness, and an overall sense of calm envelopes the participant.
The visual installation is accompanied by sound design by the Berlin-based award-winning composer, musician and producer Andi Toma, one of the founding members of the electronic music collaboration Mouse on Mars. - Tuija Seipell.