As far as nightlife goes, in Porto, Portugal, it is all happening downtown. A local company, Baixa (baixa is Portuguese for downtown), has recently added another downtown nightclub to its roster that already includes the Baixa bar.
The new nightclub, Instalação (installation), was designed by José Carlos Cruz Arquitecto, the same team responsible for the design of Baixa bar as well as the Farmacia Lordelo we have featured earlier.
The space for Instalação, opened in March, was in essence a long, narrow corridor with two dividing structural arches that support the building itself.
From this 250 square-meter (2,690 sq.ft.) space the designers created a golden wire tunnel where the main materials are concrete, brass and polished aluminum.
Inspired by various works of Olafur Eliasson,the team created a glowing, floating lighting program that helps expand the space visually and draws the attention to reflections and illumination, away from the narrow framework of the room.
Andy Warhol’s Factory inspired some of the ideas for the smaller VIP room, and Anish Kapoor’s ideas gave suggestions for the beautifully textured concrete ceiling – our favourite part of the entire project.
Apart from the Tom Dixon lighting fixture above the concrete bar counter, all furnishings and fixtures were design by José Carlos Cruz Arquitecto. - Tuija Seipell.
Photos by Fernando Guerra FG+SG.
Not only is this Bernardo Bader designed private home beautiful and elegant in its deceptive simplicity, it is also a great example of how to use resources to their fullest. Haus am Moor is a private residence with an attached studio, located in Krumbach area of Lower Austria.
For some of us, the exterior of the house brings back images of Scandinavian barns in their hulking, windowless, untreated beauty that weathers perfectly in the harsh climate till the barns appear to be part of the landscape.
Bader took some of his cues from the traditional stone-and-wood –structured Bregenzerwald house that also speak a minimalist visual language and use local materials beautifully.
For Haus am Moor Bader and his team used a concrete core and wood from the owner’s own forest. Every part of the the 60 spruce, fir and elm trees was used to construct walls, floors, ceilings, doors and furniture. During the construction, the building team unearthed clay in the depth of one meter. This clay was pressed to form bricks that were air dried on-site and used for the floor structure under the wood slats.
The house is heated with the central wood-burning hearth, and with geothermal heat pump.
Of course, we love the overall minimalist approach evident throughout the house both inside and out. But what we love specifically is the way daylight plays among the wooden slats, and the way the lit windows glow at night. Beautiful. Tuija Seipell
Tropea, Calabria, Southern Italy.
The garden of Saiho Ji in Kyoto, Japan.
Atlantic Ocean Rd, Norway
The Dunes of Lencois, Brazil
Ocean Beach, San Francisco, California
La Grotta Cove, Corfu Island, Greece
Vintgar Gorge, Triglav National Park, Slovenia
Qikeng Don in Wulong, China
Valloires Abbey Garden, France
Blanket Bay Lodge, New Zealand
Tulip Fields, Amsterdam
View the previous listings on our Amazing Places page here
We love the global cool design sensibility of Casamidy products. It is firm that combines that design sensibility with a deep respect for traditional craftsmanship. All products are designed by the founders, husband-and-wife team Anne-Marie Midy and Jorge Almada, and manufactured by more than 40 artisans, artists and craftspeople in San Miguel De Allende, Mexico.
The materials – iron, leather, tin, blown glass, wood – are turned into timeless and distinctive furniture and furnishings- seating, tables, shelving, lighting, headboards, mirrors and other accessories. The team has created customized pieces for numerous interior design firms in Europe and the U.S.
Midy is a French born graphic designer who worked for Martha Stewart Living. She met the Mexican-born Almada when both were studying design in the U.S. They moved to San Miguel De Allende and established Casamidy in 1998. They currently reside in Brussels where they also have a showroom for Casamidy with weekly deliveries to London and Paris. - Tuija Seipell.
High Tea at fancy hotels has long been a favourite of not just the Royals and the ladies who lunch, but even tourists glamming it up and gladly handing out their credit cards for a bit of high-brow fabulousness.
Wine Tastings and High Coffee came next, served and imbibed in various degrees of decadence and glamour.
But the stakes are getting higher and the temptations harder to resist. The Landmark Mandarin Oriental hotel in Hong Kong is now serving a L900 Jimmy Choo package but only till early May. It includes afternoon tea for two at the MO Bar where the expected fare is served: cucumber and smoked salmon sandwiches, the Mandarin's famous ginger scones and clotted cream, and macaroons in a multitude of flavours, but it is all meticulously handcrafted in exquisite shoe and handbag shapes. Jimmy Choo, of course. And after the tea, you can check into the Mandarin 9200 square-foot L900 Suite for a night and select a pair from Jimmy Choo's new 24:7 capsule collection. Price tag for the splurge? Approximately $1,500 US. - Tuija Seipell
Not your typical weekend cottage, LM Guest House in Dutchess County, New York, is a study in minimalist elegance. The 2,000 square-foot (approx. 187 Square meter) house was designed by New York-based Desai/Chia Architects on the private client’s working farm that had no existing buildings.
What must have been a rather sizeable budget gave Desai/Chia Architects’ founders, husband and wife Arjun Desai and Katherine Chia, an opportunity to create an updated interpretation of the iconic Farnsworth House, that Ludwig Mies van der Rohe completed in 1951 in Illinois.
Although Farnsworth House was considered by some at the time to be cold and characterless, an aquarium or a pavilion rather than a dwelling, it has held its place steadily as a superior example of understated sophistication and as a timeless expression of van der Rohe’s desire to create balance and discourse between the indoors and the outdoors.
Similarly, the LM Guest House allows the residents an expansive view of the landscape by framing it with the triple-pane glass windows that are 20 feet wide and more than 10 feet high.
And although the LM Guest House is deceptively simple in appearance, it is a marvel of engineering and sustainable features. Geothermal heating and cooling, radiant floors, natural ventilation, motorized solar shades, photovoltaic panels and rainwater harvesting for irrigation, are just some of the examples of how this modern retreat attempts to fit in with the surrounding nature rather than conquer or harm it.
The property’s landscaping follows the same philosophy. Native plants frame the views and provide privacy while also managing storm water run-off. The bluestone slabs excavated from the site are used in the outdoor seating, pathways and terrace. Indoors, in addition to glass, the main materials include American white oak that is used for sliding panels, floors, ceilings and built-in furniture. - Tuija Seipell
We are on a quest for truly transformed urban spaces. We are looking for instances where a council, city, town, municipality has taken the initiative, come up with the funds and actually transformed a mediocre, unused, ugly space into an inviting and fun public environment.
The spectacular reincarnation of High Line in New York from an impossibility to a cool urban environment comes to mind. Or the transformation of an ugly view-blocking concrete barricade between skyscrapers and beach to a colorful seaside promenade at Paseo Marítimo de la Playa Poniente in Benidorm, Spain.
Or the 324 meter-long meandering bench (world’s longest, apparently) by Studio Weave on the seafront at Littlehampton in the UK. It is not just a bench, it is an experience and an environment.
Or Copenhagen’s Skuperkilen neighborhood, where in a decidedly urban and straight-forwardly artificial way the designers and planners at Topotek1, Bjarke Ingels Group and Superflex invaded the entire available space to create a delightful expression of the various cultures and backgrounds represented by the area’s residents. Superkilen received the Institute Honor Awards for Regional and Urban Design by the National AIA Awards 2013.
We need more councils that have the vision and passion to do these things. We need people to demand and rally for them, and we need visionary designers, architects, planners and artists to design and propose and speak for them. Let’s just do it!.
The offices are located on Stockholm’s luxury power-shopping boulevard, Birger Jarlsgatan, in the two loft floors of building number 9 where the street-level occupants include Agent Provocateur.
Medge is a consultancy in sports rights management, TV distribution and media operations, so it is appropriate that their 180 square-meter (1937.5 sq.ft.) digs are testosterone-induced. Dark half-paneling with its English Gentlemen’s Club vibe gives a nod to the company’s other office in London and draws the line between traditional (below) and modern (above).
A hideously ugly reddish upholstered couch/sofa in a corner seating area, and the heavy iron bars and wood beams in the ceiling give off a sense of a confidence and strength. We love the use of white paint in the uppermost areas as it contrasts powerfully with the black, and opens up the space to the skylights. Tuija Seipell.
We have written about a Nike store display by the Finland-born, Amsterdam-based illustrator Kustaa Saksi before, but this time, it is his fantastical paper display at the Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair that drew our attention.
Saksi and Swedish architect Gert Wingårdh created the breathtaking display for the Fair’s third annual combined exhibition and talk show area called Hello!
The project is an initiative by the Fair to inspire and start a conversation about contemporary and future workplaces. This year’s theme was Communication.
Saksi created the intricate and delicate display from 1120 stacks of A4-size paper (total of 700,000 sheets of paper) suspended from 44,000 points in the ceiling. Ceiling frescoes, church domes, altars – these were all part of the inspiration for Saksi and Wingårdh who concluded that paper is still them most commonly used means of communication and therefor the perfect material for the display.
The Finnish forestry and paper giant Stora Enso donated the paper for the space that also hosts uses seminars and panel discussions. Tuija Seipell
Photos by Tord-Rikard Söderström