An architect's house could be his ultimate expression of his relationship to the surrounding world. Arthur Casas positioned his own House in Iporanga outside of Sao Paulo deep in the Atlantic forest - the quintessential Brazilian landscape according to Casas.
Two symmetrical rectangular cubes face one another on the north and south sides of the site. Two retractable 36 foot-high glass walls connect the cubes and frame the main living and dining rooms of the house. The entire exterior is panelled in Cumaru wood that blends effortlessly into the surrounding forest.
Cumaru is also used inside as flooring where it stands out against the stark white walls - the only 'colour' found in the minimalist space. To an architect, one of the defining features of the overall design of a structure is effective interior spatial division. In his own house, Casas successfully divided the ground floor into distinct public and private areas. The kitchen and service area - including a separate bedroom and bathroom - were placed in the north cube structure. A studio and a guest bedroom and bathroom are located on the opposite side. The entire space is connected by the vast living room flanked by wood terraces on both ends. An infinity pool appears to be spilling over to soak the surrounding flora.
A floating Cumaru stairway leads to the first level, where one finds the master suite in the southern cube. A narrow bridge crosses over the middle of the living room and leads to an additional guest bedroom, bathroom and a home theater.
The main objective of Casas' design brief for the House in Iporanga was to provide an escape into the Brazilian forest. He has accomplished the creation of a personal retreat, a place where he is able to relax and recharge. By Andrew J Wiener
Negro de Anglona is a stylish restaurant in Madrid created in a converted 17th century Spanish palace, Palacio de Anglona, by architecture and interior design virtuoso, Luis Galliusi. Known for his ability to combine unexpected elements and to create elegant spaces, Galliusi has designed houses, stores, hotels, restaurants, offices and clinics in Madrid, Paris, Cairo, Mexico, Morocco, Indonesia and Miami. His client list includes Manolo Blahnik, Chanel and Phillippe Starck. In the seven rooms of Negro de Anglona, Galliusi has shown his usual flair. He has combined a strong, black-and-white color palette - including enormous black-and-white, back-lit images of castles - with ornate floor-to-ceiling drapery and other, strong decorative elements. The task of overseeing the predominantly Mediterranean menu has been trusted to the 24-year-old chef, Aitor Garcia Cerro. By Tuija Seipell
For eons, walls of greenery have surrounded people and creatures living in jungles, rainforests and other lush places.
Ancient Asians and Europeans since Roman times have paid gardeners to create green art and sculpture for their gardens, from elaborate topiary sculptures and mazes to vine-covered walls.
And, of course, we’ve seen inventive uses of built outdoor space – including rooftops, patios and balconies – as places to bring more green into our overly concrete-covered lives. Smudging the line between indoors and outdoors, and playing with the illusion of greenery where it doesn’t really belong, are also the basis of some recent installations that we like.
Mass Studies, founded in 2003 by Minsuk Cho in Seoul, Korea, has produced some great examples of this. Among them is Ann Demelmeester’s store (pictured above) in Soul. It is one of only four concept stores showcasing the fashions of the Flemish designer.
Green walls are not just visually interesting and environmentally beneficial, they add a sense of calm and peace that is difficult to achieve by other means. The inclusion of real, living plants on a large scale in places where you don’t expect to see them, also adds other sensory elements – the scent of the greenery, the sound of water, perhaps the feeling of humidity around the installation. The organic texture invites touch and inspires conversation – how was this installed, how is it cared for, who did it?
We’ve found some interesting green installations, such as this school in the UK and a hair salon in Japan, but we’d love to see many, many more. We think there’s room for much more creativity and daring in this arena, so let us know if you spot remarkable and unusual examples. - Tuija Seipell. Send to [email protected]
Leo Burnett in Sao Paulo created this simple yet clever ad for Arcor bubble gum.
Inspired by the F-22 Raptor fighter jet, US$1.5 million Lamborghini Reventon was unveiled. If numbers mean anything to you — the new supercar is powered by a 650hp 6.5L V12 engine, accelerates from 0-100 km/h in just 3.4 seconds and has a maximum speed of over 340 km/h. The Lamborghini design team used the technical base of their Murcielago LP640, compressed it and then amped it up. As with other current models, the Reventon is defined through its sharp edges, smooth surfaces and aerodynamic lines. Tempted as you may be, put away your cheque books and credit cards, all twenty models that will be manufactured are taken as the Lamborghini brand reinforces its legendary status. By Andrew J Wiener
For many of us, taking our cars to the garage can be a daunting experience. Feeling anxious and uncertain over the price and duration over jobs, use of technical jargon and the like. This may soon be a thing of the past, thanks to the launch of the major rebranding programme for car care network HiQ, starting with their new concept centre opening in Nottingham, UK.
The aim was to revolutionise the way fast fit car care is delivered and to develop a fresh retail concept that would set new standards in this sector. And it looks like they have come up with the goods.
Designed by the London team at Fitch, the brand has been repositioned by using simple language, illustrations, and the centre itself has clever features like glass walls that allow customers to see onto the garage floor for themselves.
We have seen this uncomplicated, tell it like it is mentality popping up all over the place, especially as banks try to re-align themselves with their customers. It is now nice and refreshing to see this evolving into other touch points of consumers' lives. I wonder if this approach would make going to the dentist any better? By Brendan McKnight
We have found a candidate for the winner in the Coolest Home Theatre category. Just short of being a drive-in, this outdoor home theatre surpasses the stinky basement family 'media room' by close to a light year.
Glass walls, clean lines, uninterrupted space, uncluttered rooms, expensive detailing the hallmarks of a modern, upscale classic are all present in this stylish residence. Why anyone in possession of such an amazing home with such breathtaking views, would want to watch movies at home, is beyond us, but let's just say that we wouldn't mind being invited to a screening or two. The terraces, patios and the 65-foot infinity pool and spa will keep cinematically uninterested guests entertained as well. And we'll all stay at the separate guest house, of course.
But we must admit we are still lacking an invite to the 5,800-square-foot Skyline residence overlooking Hollywood and downtown LA. The visit is up to the owner of the home, architect Hagy Belzberg, a Harvard graduate (1991) who interned in Frank Gehry's office.
The opulent home was designed by the entire team of his Santa Monica-based, 13-member Belzberg Architects that the now 43-year-old Hagy Belzberg founded in 1997. - Tuija Seipell