Architecture

October 10 2009

A fluidity of surfaces is witnessed in the Yarra House designed by Leeton Pointon architects and Susi Leeton architects. Floors become walls; walls become ceilings; and ceiling opens up to sky. 

On approach, the entrance looks like a cave formed by rendered concrete walls. Only the slight and irregular black window frame insertions appear to allow light into the house. But within, light falls through the double-story void from above in all directions.

Light cascades down oak and white plastered surfaces. It washes over limestone and marble, illuminating art, furniture and every handcrafted and natural surface throughout the house. 

The focal point and central pivot of the house is a sculptural circular stair. This transitional element divides the entire double-storey space as it stretches out under a steep exterior site.

Curved surfaces play against rigid lines in a style that the architects describe as ‘archaic’ – an effortless blend of both the primitive and artistic. Materiality was the primary factor in the selection of timbers, stone and every other interior feature.



The house is sited south of the Yarra River in one of Melbourne’s many beautiful neighbourhoods. The team of architects won an Architecture Award for Interior Architecture at the 2009 Victorian Chapter Awards. - Andrew J Wiener

Painting on wall on image 3 is from artist Song Ling.





Design

October 8 2009

Paleoanthropologist Erik Trinkaus purports that man started wearing shoes between 26,000 and 40,000 years ago. The average American woman today is said to own 27 pairs of shoes. This is all interesting stuff if shoes are your passion — as they are for Maecenas Dirk Vanderschueren, owner of Cortina, one of the world’s largest shoe manufacturers.

To share his passion Vanderschueren created a “shoe experience” SONS – Shoes Or No Shoes in Kruishoutem (Cruyshautem), in East Flanders, Belgium, about 70 kilometers (40 miles) from Antwerp and Brussels, and close to Cortina’s hometown of Oudenaarde.



SONS consists of three collections. The Ethnographic Collection, amassed by former shoe distributor William (Boy) Habraken, includes 2,700 pairs from 155 countries and is acknowledged by the Guinness World Records as the largest collection of tribal and ethnological shoes.
 
Antwerp-based shoemaker couple Veerle Swenters and Pierre Bogaerts contributed the Modern Collection -- some 1,200 pairs acquired from artists, many of whom customized the shoes, evoking the question: Are they art or shoes? Shoes or no shoes?
 
The Designer Collection, also accumulated by Habraken, showcases unique footwear form 20th-century and contemporary designers including Salvatore Ferragamo, Christian Louboutin and Manolo Blahnik.
 
SONS is housed in a building designed and built by gallery owner Emile Veranneman and architect Christiaan Vander Plaetse in 1973. Architects Lode Uytterschaut and Johan Ketele revamped the structure for the constantly growing shoe collections. Outside, they covered the building with lead and inside, they created an unpretentious warehouse look using industrial shelving systems and almost no color. - Tuija Seipell

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Fashion

September 30 2009


Street style blogs are one of the great online phenomena of the past decade. They have become a core reference tool for fashion houses and designers who monitor them for global inspiration and to learn how trends are being adapted on the street - and all without leaving their desks. Yvan Rodic, the photographer and creative behind the facehunter, gives the reader a window into the edgier side of street style. Rodic cut his street-styling teeth at The Cool Hunter, where he delivered many unique moments of inspiration direct from the pavement; the kinds of startling images that eluded many of the other most popular style blogs.



His latest venture is a new site, proudly under his own name - Yvan Rodic. Essentially a travel diary, Rodic documents the interesting people he meets in all sorts of places. We know we're biased but we believe Rodic's talent extends beyond the camera lens.

His eye for inspiration and cool is so finely honed that he could apply it to anything - be it design or art direction. The new Hedi Slimane perhaps? Maybe. WATCH this space. - Bill Tikos

Architecture

September 28 2009

Elegant, calm, minimalist, clean and beautiful are among the adjectives that can be used to describe almost all of Marcio Kogan’s much-publicized and much-awarded residential masterpieces.

The magnificent, streamlined residences must serve as an antidote of some sort to the Brazilian architect who has been quoted as saying that he loves his home town of São Paulo and New York because they are similar in their chaotic ugliness, and because he likes “energy, chaos and a multi-cultural population in a city.”



Out of this chaos-, humor- and cinema-loving creative mind, an astonishingly lovely, peaceful balance is projected onto residential projects.

Reviewers of Kogan’s work often mention Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Frank Lloyd Wright or their contemporaries, but Kogan has said that he is more inspired by Ingmar Bergman, Federico Fellini and Andy Warhol.

However, the 57-year-old Brazilian-born and educated Kogan does have a modernist approach, and he has described the work of fellow Brazilians of modernist ilk -- Lucio Costa, Oscar Niemeyer, Lina Bo Bardi and Vilanova Artigas – as incredible.



The Paraty House, pictured here, is located on one of the hundreds of islands near the colonial town of Paraty, close to Rio de Janeiro. Before it was completed, Kogan predicted that it was to be his favourite house. Its simple premise is two large drawers pushed into the hill and connected by an internal staircase.



Its elegance comes from the seamless link between indoors and out, from the use of native wood, stone and vegetation, and from the minimalist, sweeping vistas that make so many of Kogan’s houses appear as if they were either taking off or recently landed. And although the stacked-boxes style is starting to wear thin as style-du-jour, this is surely one of its best examples. - Tuija Seipell

Lifestyle

September 26 2009

Self-described as a former frustrated David Carson wannabe, Melbourne-based Amy Moss has realized that her happiness – and her potential for design rockstardom – are dependent on her NOT being a graphic designer but her obsession about beautiful colors and beautiful things in general. She figured out she’s a stylist rather than a graphic designer, and her blog EatDrinkChic may well be her ticket to filmstardom, too, in the same way that Julie Powell’s obsession with Julia Child’s recipes, and her blog about them, took her in six years from relative obscurity to being a topic for the film Julie & Julia.



EatDrinkChic has a crafty, girly vibe but there are no crocheted polyester-yarn throw cushions or quilted tea cozies here. The blog is about interiors, parties, weddings and food and Amy Moss offers readers DIY ideas which she styles, designs and photographs and offers it all for free to her followers. It won't be long before book publishers come knocking. - Tuija Seipell

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Art

September 24 2009

We believe you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but you can judge your favorite drink by its label. Vitaminwater is crowdsourcing its next flavor through the launch of their Flavorcreator app on Facebook, marking the first time that fans of Vitaminwater can collaborate to create the next flavor.

Vitaminwater enthusiasts will have the opportunity to name the flavor, write the bottle copy and design the label via a contest with the winner or winning team receiving a $5,000 prize from Vitaminwater.

Bottles designed by Access Agency

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Architecture

September 23 2009

The bucolic setting of this lovely private refuge is located in a tiny hamlet in the Flemish district of Belgium, about 10 kilometers from the country’s third-largest city of Gent. Gent-based architecture studio Wim Goes Architectuur designed the beautiful extension to this residence. The wooden addition sits above a new wine cellar and extends partly over the pond.


 
The natural, graying wood, the green vegetation and the blue sky and pond create a harmonious balance, accented by the slim vertical lines of the largest surfaces. Goes’s signature style combines intentional, unpretentious simplicity with functional clarity, and results in stark beauty with Japanese-Finnish undertones.


 
In this residential structure, Goes created an elegant facade that encompasses both visual and structural grace. The facade is created from slim strips of wood (only 6 x 8 centimeters in cross-section) selected for the straightness of the growth rings in each piece of wood. And although the wood will still warp slightly in the rain and sun, this does not pose a structural problem because the facade does not need to bear wind load -- the wind will blow right through the strips. The only structural load the wood strips must carry is the vertical load of the roof.


 
Wim Goes is an award-winning architect, born in 1969 in Ghent. He established Wim Goes Architectuur in 1997. The firm’s work includes private, public and retail projects, ranging from the stunning Yohji Yamamoto flagship store in a neoclassic building in Antwerp, to museum, office and design environments. This year, he was chosen as one of the 40 under 40 European Architects by the European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies and The Chicago  Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design. - Tuija Seipell.


 

Music

September 20 2009

Electro has always been the bread and butter of the Western crowd. France kicked off the distortion explosion with Justice, DatA and the Ed Banger sound, while the US set have been high balling with crunchy jams courtesy of the Los Angeles party set, including Steve Aoki's Dim Mak crew as well as Classixx and the late great Guns N Bombs. But over in Japan, Shinichi Osawa has been making plenty of noise with his relentless output of forward thinking, super-sized bangers, beating his Western contemporaries at their own game.

Having already unleashed a celebrated artist album back in 2007 (The One), Osawa's latest masterpiece comes in Teppan Yaki, and despite its dubious title, the oversized package collects all of Osawa's biggest remixes to date, including main-room reworks for the likes of Boys Noize, Cazals, Van She and Bag Raiders, as well as an extra disc of the producer's remixes for Japanese artists like De De Mouse, becoming a primer of sorts for far-out Japanese club culture. – Dave Ruby Howe

Shinichi Osawa's Teppan Yaki is out now.

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Platinum

September 18 2009


 

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Design

September 17 2009

It doesn’t take much imagination to understand that toys and childhood play were the guiding inspirations for the recently completed children’s sports and recreation center in Saint-Cloud, a wealthy community located in the metropolitan area of Paris, about six miles from the city center.



Designed by Paris-based KOZ Architects, and coexisting with several older educational buildings and a residential development, the 1,600 square-meter facility is unexpected and bold in its riotous use of colors both inside and out. A more typical an approach for this type of neighborhood would have been a structure that vanishes into its surroundings.



The funhouse by KOZ has turned into a favorite of kids, parents and teachers, as the facility was planned and its wild colors used in specific ways that fosters the intended functions -- play and sports – and not just to shock or delight.



Joining cube-shaped, basic concrete structures with an overlay and creating a sports court on top of the building have not only increased the building’s usability and maximized the use of the site, but also accommodated the complex’s surprisingly easy fit into the site. A monolithic, monotonic approach would have created a mass much more imposing and seemingly unfriendly than the varying-height structure with its pixelated glass facade that now draws children in through color and an abundance of natural light.



KOZ was established in 1999 Christophe Ouhayoun and Nicholas Ziesel, graduates of the Paris-Belleville School of Architecture who both spent part of their childhoods in the USA. With three other architectural firms, KOZ established a collaborative collective, Plan01 in 2001. - Tuija Seipell

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