We are quite easily charmed. Or, perhaps more truthfully: When certain elements exist we are highly likely to take a second look.
Give us beautiful use of wood, minimalist approach, classic lines, incorporation of nature in design, and we are intrigued.
And, if you can add that elusive ‘something,’ that special stroke of genius that makes your design unique, delightful, quirky, even weird, and we will really take a really good look.
The Tree Snake House in Pedra Salgadas by Luís Rebelo de Andrade and Tiago Rebelo de Andrade fits the bill perfectly.
The Lisbon-based architect duo has worked in the spa town of Pedras Salgadas in northern Portugal for some time, creating an Eco-Resort in the park. The resort huts are little eco-lodges made of modular systems and built on stilts.
The two Tree Snake Houses have many of the same characteristics and the architects worked with the Modular System Company to come up with innovative ways to create the feel of a tree house.
Each Tree Snake House has a studio, a bathroom and a kitchen.
The architects are working on additional versions of the Tree Snake House for different environments and climates, including mountainside, riverbank, urban and sand. They expect those to be available to purchase to the general public.
So, we suggest you start saving up for your own Snake House now. We certainly have been snake-charmed and can picture our office in one of them one day! - Tuija Seipell
Photographer: Ricardo Oliveira Alves for TCH
See also Treelife by TCH
Get off your butt and go already!
As we said in our long-ago post “It’s time to do your own thing”
You need to trust your gut and go. But to do your own thing, you also need perspective. Pretty much everything can be improved, and the solution is often on the other side. The second look, the upside-down view. The kid’s version. The new perspective.
You also need inspiration. Change the scene. Behave differently. Take a new route. Walk backwards. Jump. Watch others jump. Go somewhere scary. Shut down your gadgets and just look, listen, smell and feel.
You need to figure out the big picture, or at least give yourself the benefit of the wonder that you’ll experience when you do see the bigger picture.
Travel is the cure and the answer for all those needs. Get out and go somewhere new. Do it now and do it often.
We at TCH believe strongly that travel helps not just every individual but also the world at large. The more you see, the more you want to see. The more you see, the less you think your way is the only way. The more you understand others.
Even our tagline says: Roaming the Globe so you’re in the know.
In an interview, retired Commander Chris Hadfield – the Canadian guitar-playing astronaut and former commander of the International Space Station – commented on his experience in space. “In space, your convictions get heightened. You find yourself laughing and crying much more.”
“You start to think, about all those people you know in, say, Saskatoon, and how they’re not that different from the people in the city in Africa that you’ve never been to – trying their best, raising their kids – and how your particular set of loves relates to everything else.”
This is what happens on this Earth, too, when you travel and let yourself live a bit differently, and see others live differently.
No text book, degree or diploma will give you the valuable experience of what another city or country can provide
Travel the world, live in other cities, learn cultures. Learn because it keeps your mind young and your ideas developing.
Traveling offers you possibilities. When you’re stuck about what to do next in life, get on a plane and spend time in another country. You not only learn about others, you learn about yourself.
Travel opens up options you never knew you could have. You’ll become clearer on what to do in life or what exactly you should be doing.
Answers become clearer when you are in another country, exploring a different culture. We don’t know why or how, but something triggers answers when you are out of your environment in a place different from yours.
The answers have probably been there all along, but they’ll pop up when you are exploring the globe.
Travel now, not some other time when you have more time, more money, more this or that. Those days may never come and you may never have enough if this is your attitude.
Just make it work now. Experience is far more valuable than money will ever be. The less you need, the richer the experience. Your true value is what is left if you lost everything you own.
When you are old, it is your memories that you have to feast on. Don’t make those be regrets. Don’t be one of those who says: I wish I had, Why didn’t I, When I still could I should have…
The only thing constant is change, so you have to learn to embrace it.
We think we’ve figured the Answer to Life – and no, it is not 42. It is about moving forward. Whatever tragedy you face – and you will: you may lose a parent or someone close dies from cancer, you will go through heartache, a divorce, an end of some sort - and you cannot remain in that place of grief and heartache and worry forever.
You have to keep on moving forward, no matter what. Don't look back, keep moving forward. Pain is temporary, it may last for an hour or a year but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. Just keep moving forward. Travel is an incredible cure for the pain in life.
Everyone keeps being amazed at how quickly life passes by, so do yourself a favor, don't think about it any longer - make a choice, just decide, book your ticket and explore the world and keep on doing it, year after year after year, a new city, a new experience.
You'll become far more interesting than the person you are now. And you will learn to love life on a totally different level.
"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions," says the Dalai Lama
Make your life a wonderful adventure.
The Cool Hunter Team - Images via Amazing Places
Imagine the renovation dilemmas. A huge penthouse of a converted 1930s office building in TriBeCa, New York, is to be turned into a functioning home for a family with three teenagers.
In fact, we can not quite imagine the issues that faced Steven Harris Architects when the family showed up, literally, at the doorstep of the celebrated architect and asked if he’d like to work on their home. Harris said yes and proceeded to make his magic.
The scale of the apartment is huge and the freedom from budget constraints allowed for some spectacular solutions.
Harris’s work is often distinguished by clarity and light, by the use of glass, by the maximization of views and, above all, bold solutions. All of those are evident in this project.
What emerged as a result of the TriBeCa Penthouse project, is a multi-level (27th and 28th floors) nearly 8,000 square-foot (743 square meter) family-friendly residence that includes self-contained guest quarters and a new glass-and-teak-beam rooftop pavilion that functions as a recreation room.
The most frequently used areas of the apartment – kitchen, master bedroom, rooftop gym, even the laundry room – have the best views, including those of Manhattan and Brooklyn, and many of the city’s significant landmarks.
The double-height living area on the lower floor boasts an 18-foot high window with the view of the Woolworth Building. The room gained its height by necessity because adding the rooftop pavilion took the condominium conversion over its allowable floor area ratio. The team solved this problem by cutting off part of the lower-level ceiling, thus creating the double-height living area.
Harris’s team replaced the existing 70 double-hung windows with single-panel tilt-and-turn versions, and used glass in dividers and doors where-ever possible. The window panes were limited to 61⁄2 by 91⁄2 feet in size because of the size of the building’s freight elevator.
Early on, when the owners and architect realized they were looking at a substantially dramatic remodeling but the owners did not want to move out of the building, the family bought a couple of other apartments in the same building for temporary residence – and had them renovated before move-in, too. Those two apartments are now for sale.
One of our favourites in this apartment are the stairs. They are made of ¾-inch-thick steel plates wrapped in leather. The stairs appear to float in space and take up almost no visual room yet they are also stunning eye-catchers. Stairway to heaven, indeed, or at least toward it. - Tuija Seipell.
Project architect: Eliot Lee
Photograpy: Scott Frances/OTTO
Biribildu is a new souvlaki restaurant in the Alimos (or Kalamaki) area of Athens. The quirky design of the casual fast-food eatery is by Thessaloniki architect Minas Kosmidis whose Farma Creaton restaurant we have featured previously.
The Basque word Biribildu means to turn, to make a round, to round out, to perfect, and the round form appears frequently in the design. As a traveling circus goes around from town to town it became a fitting theme for the casual eatery that offers gyros made with meat off a vertical rotating roaster.
Two circus carousel horses imply going around and around,and they also direct the customer traffic toward the ordering counter and large menu. The tables are circular, as are many of the circus-themed wall decorations.
The kitchen, washrooms and storage areas are hidden inside huge wooden “boxes” that give a nod toward the transportation crates used by a travelling circus.
The cash desk is inside what looks like a tiger’s cage and above it hang the knives of, Mr. Biribildu, the circus master himself who is, apparently, a mean knife-thrower.
We like the overall midway and boardwalk feel of the 80 square-meter (860 sq.ft.) space with its eclectic juxtaposition of elements such as the Mediterranean plaster mouldings in the ceiling and the tile pattern covering the air vents, mixed with the floor treatment that resembles a typical circus-tent floor: wet sand. - Tuija Seipell.
In the 1950s Roger Delbôve started a chain of high-end hair salons in Belgium, eventually growing and expanding it with his wife, Marion who had worked with Helena Rubinstein Belgium. Some 20 years later, they were researching, developing and producing their own products and offering a complete service for women, from head to toe.
In 2011, Gina and Sybille d'Ansembourg join the Delbôves’ daugter, Isabelle, in the business and focus on expanding the reach of the Delbôve Cosmetics name.
This has now culminated in the opening of the Delbôve Cosmetics flagship store in Brussels this May. Brussels-based freelance designer, Christophe Remy, was in charge of branding from web, package and stationery design to art direction and interior design of the boutique itself.
The clean and elegant store is a cool marriage of a modern spa and beauty salon with a pharmacy of a bygone era. - Tuija Seipell.
We became obsessed with inflatables ever since we created the Mini Inflatables. The reaction they generated told us that we were on to something – we were not the only ones crazy about them.
We wanted to see more, do more and create more of them, and as always, we wanted to see what ideas others could come up with. So we launched a competition and asked for submissions.
Tons of suggestions came in, one more imaginative than the other. But to us, many of them were too complicated and cumbersome, trying a bit too hard.
But finally, we can reveal the winning design. It is a masterpiece in minimalism and function created by Pablo Crespo Pita from Spain.
Pablo’s CHAT inflatable is a series of three models with unlimited ways to link and enjoy them. We love the flexibility, practicality and the juicy colors.
For two weeks only, you can now purchase the CHAT Inflatable from here.
Pablo's other entry and our favorite is Air Couture below
Once again, we find ourselves featuring the work of Masquespacio, the Valencia, Spain, based studio with an eye for crisp, fresh interiors.
Masquespacio’s principal, Ana Milena Hernández Palacios, has been hard at work completing the graphic design and interior design for a just-opened language school with a minimal budget.
The 183 square meter (1,969 sq.ft.) language school called 2Day Languages is located in a heritage building in central Valencia. Its target audience is a 20 to 30 year-old international student for whom the school offers flexible learning options, cool surroundings and even a cooking class!
The space is divided into three class rooms, a staff room and a lounge. The colors and components of each space stem from the speech bubble/flag logo of the school. The three brand colors – blue, yellow and pink – represent the three levels established by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
Additional influence comes from the neoclassical architecture of the building, new and old architecture of Valencia, and parts of the Spanish language.
We love the use of pine wood and crude-looking stackable and light-weight furniture. We love the semi-domestic feel created by this furniture, the casual cushions, lighting and plants.
The entire space looks inviting and friendly, yet the lovely skeleton of the grand building is visible in the plaster moldings, the height of the rooms and the gorgeous windows.
Particularly intriguing are the 10 frames of crafty nails-and-wool-thread artwork, created by Masquespacio and involving 6400 nails and 2500 meters of wool. Tuija Seipell.
Photography: David Rodríguez from Cualiti
Now that nobody prints hard-copy photos any more, Hamburg-based Twinkind would like to create a Little 3D You instead. A realistic, little you. Or your pet, or Mom.
A visit to their pop-up studio for a quick scan and then, after some technological wizardry that involves 3D printing and other newly developed techniques, you will be the owner of a little photorealistic sculpture anywhere from 15 to 35 centimeters (6 to 14 inches) tall and made of polymer plaster powder.
What makes Twinkind’s offering different from the other 3D printed sculptures currently available, is the speed of the initial scanning.
It used to take a long time (20 minutes in some cases) of standing (or sitting or whatever) very still to produce the detailed data needed for a realistic sculpture.
With Twinkind’s process, the scanning will take only a split second. And therefore, they can alter the results and rescan till you are happy with the image, and they can scan pets and kids and other objects that are not going to sit still for long. Prices, apparently, start from 225€ for the tiniest figurines.
Twinkind’s founders, Kristina Neurohr and Timo Schaedel, are experienced creatives. Neurohr is the co-owner of creative agency Lux von Morgen whereas Schaedel’s has developed commercials for international clients including Audi, Fiat and Panasonic. - Tuija Seipell.
We have covered the restaurant design work of the Gothenburg, Sweden-based Stylt Trampoli before when we wrote about Le Rouge in Stockholm.
We loved Le Rouge for the same reasons we are now loving Le Pain Francais, located along Gothenburg’s classy boulevard, Kungsportsavenyen.
The slightly mad scale and the magical distortion of proportions, combined with an elegant use of colour and texture, make the four-story restaurant into a fantastic experience.
Le Pain Francais is an established chain of French bakeries in Gothenburg but this is their first foray into a full-scale restaurant.
Stylt, the architecture and design firm known for its use of stories and narratives as a base for design long before it became common, has infused Le Pain Francais with an eclectic and not-too-serious grandiosity harkening back to the times when Paris celebrated Jules Verne and Gustave Eiffel’s tower adorned the entrance of the Paris World’s Fair.
Founded by creative director Erik Nissen Johansen, Stylt has designed restaurant and hotel interiors in Scandinavia for the past 20 years including the recent successfully crowdsourced and widely celebrated redesign of the Livingroom of Helsinki’s Klaus K hotel. - Tuija Seipell.