Paris-based Agence Jouin Manku took on its first large-scale integrated architectural and interior design commission in 2003, when YTL Design Group from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, invited it to design the residence of a Malaysian power family.
Completed in the latter part of 2008, the residence is the ultimate expression of the taste, influence and industrial-scale capabilities of the prominent family whose entrepreneurial activities have shaped Kuala Lumpur’s skyline.
Three generations of the family inhabit the 3,000 square-meter residence designed to accommodate both private and public functions.
The building includes nine bedrooms, two family rooms, a family kitchen and a private dining area, a family library, a game room, a study, a public reception area, a formal dining room, a ballroom, chapel, 21 bathrooms, a swimming pool, two guest suites plus indoor private and guest parking.
The initial sketches exploring the owners’ usage requirements reveal resemblances to the boring stacked-boxes look still so ubiquitous in residential architecture. And while traces of the ”heaped trailers“ syndrome remain in the finished building, this is not the Jetsons, neither are we looking at EPCOT, Tomorrowland or the 1964 New York World's Fair.
We are in the lush vegetation of a posh Kuala Lumpur residential area, and in spite of the boxiness of the structure, an elegant circular softness manages to permeate the sightlines and key details of the building, making it an agreeable part of its landscape.
Inside, prominent examples of this curvilinear elegance include the amazing staircases resembling the inside of a shell when viewed from above, and the round ballroom chandelier of 13,000 custom-designed undulating petals of unglazed cast porcelain biscuit.
The curved walls both inside and out have a functional purpose of providing privacy and enclosing each function gently in its own space. The overall sweeping feel inside the spaces invites the viewer in and creates soft, arching vistas.
The concept consists of three layers: the base for public functions, the ring for guests and the private house for the family.
The inside of the magnificent residence is gorgeous with its high ceilings, large windows and abundance of light. White color and natural wood are dominant elements but they allow the view from the vast, mostly retractable, windows to remain the main visual attraction.
The residence is also a wonderful study of contrasts between inside and outside, private and public, traditional and ultra modern, man-made and natural.
YTL Design Group of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, was the architect of record. The Agence Jouin Manku design team included Patrick Jouin, Sanjit Manku, Yann Brossier (architect), Richard Perron (designer). Officina del Paesaggio from Lugano, Switzerland was in charge of the landscape design, and L’Observatoire, New York, USA handled the lighting. - Tuija Seipell
Images - Roland Halbe
Tomokazu Matsuyama’s work -- mostly acrylics on canvas or paper -- has a sense of intrigue, mystery and secrecy that draws the viewer in and demands a further look. There is also a feel of lightness, floating and movement that seems to suggest fleeting glimpses of something impermanent. At the same time, his art carries a strong implication of tradition and of enduring order.
His colors are subdued but lively, and much of the work suggest a paper-cut collage. Humans, mostly men, and animals, especially horses, populate his art, and even in the abstracts, there is a hint of an eye, a wing, a presence just beyond the immediate first glance. The implication of story and the touch of subtle whimsy make his work accessible and inviting, yet the viewer is not hit with rigid answers. One is left with an oddly comfortable sensation of incomprehension.
Tomokazu Matsuyama was born in Tokyo in 1976. He is a graduate of the Pratt Institute in New York and the Sophia University in Tokyo. He lives and works in New York City. He has held solo exhibitions in San Francisco, New York, Tokyo and Osaka and participated in numerous shows and installations around the world. He has also worked with well-known brands including Levi’s and Nike and Adidas. Tuija Seipell
Scandinave Les Bains Vieux-Montréal is the newest addition to the Scandinave spa line-up.
Located in Old Montreal and close to the Old Port, the 12,000-square-foot spa is the first urban undertaking of the Scandinave team, spearheaded by Benoît Berthiaume, co-founder and executive VP of the Gestion Rivière du Diable group.
Occupying the ground floor of a restored former warehouse, Scandinave Les Bains Vieux-Montréal’s setting is less intimate than the rural settings of the first two Scandinave spas. The first corporate spa opened in 1999 in the log-and-stone cabin country of Mont Tremblant’s ski hills in Quebec, and the first franchise opened in 2006 in the Blue Mountain ski hills of Collingwood, Ontario.
The Old Montreal spa was designed by Montreal’s award-winning architectural powerhouse, Saucier + Perrotte, led by Gilles Saucier and André Perrotte.
The interior is somewhat sterile and cold with its open spaces and expansive surfaces of glass, marble, slate and limestone. In recreating the hot-and-cold “thermo therapy” of the “Scandinavian bath” experience, this spa is definitely closer to Reykjavik’s somewhat clinical Blue Lagoon than to the wood-paneled saunas of Finland.
Scandinave’s next corporately owned spa is scheduled to open late this year in the ski hills of Whistler, British Columbia, to be ready for the 2010 Winter Olympics. - Tuija Seipell
Perwanal Saatchi & Saatchi in Jakarta, Indonesia, has taken interactivity and creepy-crawliness to a new, flat level with the creation of this massive 'floor sticker' in an Jakarta shopping center .
The ad, for Jakarta's pet emporium JAKPETZ, promotes Frontline Flea & Tick Spray with the slogan 'Get them off your dog.'
Viewed from the upper levels, the people walking on the ad look disgustingly flea-like, and the scene elicits constant reactions that sound something like 'yikes!' The team behind this effective promo included Chief Creative Officer Andy Greenaway, Executive Creative Director Juhi Kalia and Art Directors Aryanto Salim and Joel Clement. - Tuija Seipell