Architecture

March 27 2007



The holiday home or summer-house by definition, is a building constructed with a strictly defined personality. For the temporary inhabitant, it is to provide a sense of escape without abandonment, and leisure without effort. It’s very existence is to promote feelings and moods not experienced in our everyday lives. A temporary euphoria squeezed between four walls for a period of the users choosing. It is a social engineer’s architectural dream.   

This idea of temporary elation has existed for centuries. But the concept exploded with the onset of modernism and the twentieth century.  A newly emerging middle class sought escapism from the polluted cities while still enjoying the comforts of their newly industrialized homes. A Modernist belief that experience was shaped through design spearheaded the mass-production of seasonal dwelling. Le Corbusier described buildings as “machines for living” and architecture was bent to supply the petit bourgeoisie’s need for leisure and relaxation. Buildings were simplified, historical references and ornament were removed in favor of promoting the beauty of modern materials and construction. Concrete and its featureless character became the material of choice in the construction of buildings throughout Europe and North America. Their homogenous appearance celebrated by Brutalist architects but condemned by post-modernists for their flagrant disregard towards the social, historic, and architectural environment of its surroundings. 



Today, this form of design is considered to be archaic in its principles. Concrete is seen to be aesthetically vacuous, and is used structurally rather than visually. Instead, glass facades and organic materials are a building’s ornaments. But a team of architects in Austria have resurrected the ideological trappings of modernist thinkers to create a unique and eerily beautiful interpretation of the holiday villa. Set on lake Millstatter See in Austria, this four-story villa is an ode to the idealism of the holiday homes of old, but simultaneously sits in the avant-garde.

Much of the design was adapted from the hotel that stood previously on the original plot, and can be seen in the bold and unrelenting expanses of concrete. But rather than mask the commanding stretches of grey matter, the team have embraced and adorned the blank walls to become a key part of the building’s persona. The vast expanses complemented by materials that not only enhance the concrete’s authority, but also mimic it in character.  Pale, smooth furniture occupy the inside, while white decking and exposed brick-work dominate the outside. The effect of which, can feel arresting at first, but develops a strange allure when looked at up close.



The building is a prime example of the brutal, unrelenting style of design from the 1950s, but the overhaul of ideas has transformed it into a testament to the contemporary. The fluid transition between interior and exterior, coupled with the large openings throughout the build, allow nature to flow through the cold interior, giving it a warm and organic feel. While the geometric shapes of the building draw imposing silhouettes on the lake and the surrounding countryside. 

The minimal material concept; structural concrete in combination with white painted wood and metal surfaces, lends the building a monolithic character. But the upper floors of the building have an intimate, personal feel that doesn’t compromise the need for personal space.



It’s a building that screams arrogance and in places can feel a little soulless.  But the sheer audacity of its form juxtaposed with its purpose as a leisure facility, offers an intriguing concept that hasn’t been seen since Modernism dared to challenge the purpose of design and the human condition. By Matthew Hussey
 





Ads

March 22 2007

h


Baggage claims at airports get more and more interesting for advertisers. The Venice Casino uses the moving ad space to communicate with tourists. Additionally free tickets for the casino get shared to the tourist.
 

Share It:  
More Ads
Tags: Ads

Lifestyle

March 17 2007


Whilst the surf may be up Down Under at present, it's also letting rip in Munich. Just outside the “Haus der Kunst” museum, sits a canal who's wildly gushing rapids have created the cities underground surfing spot de jour.

The rapids supply local surfing buffs with ample waves, keeping their surfing skills sharp throughout the winter. It seems its one man at a time at this surfing hole, so future enthusiasts need to join the queue. Unlike the Aussies, these German surfers need not worry about sharks. By Billy T (photographed exclusively for TCH by our German spotter, Gunnar)




Share It:  
Architecture

March 17 2007



The “Chalet” is by far the most famous product of Swiss architecture.  The wooden dwellings with sloping roof and overhanging eaves, are as much a part of the Swiss landscape as the Alps themselves. The single storey bunkers traditionally served as seasonal farms for dairy cattle in the summer months, and haven’t changed much since these humble beginnings.  

But high up on a mountain pass in the Bernese Oberland, a new type of seasonal home has emerged as a stark contrast to the timber heavy squats the country is so famed for.  With its back turned to the harsh northerly winds, this contemporary take on the log cabin straddles the vistas to the south via a huge five meter glass pane that invites the landscape to fill its vast, open plan spaces. 



Swiss planning regulators favor lots of small, pokey windows, this house is anything but.  Rather than shielding its inhabitants from the outdoors, the house embraces the mountainous terrain, with large glass doors opening out onto the wooden terrace that appears to float alongside the house.

With its elegant, concrete slab base, it juts out into the landscape like a beached vessel.  The domineering fireplace runs through the core of the building, dragging its brutal lines from the basement to the roof three floors above.



Up the handsome open-tread staircase the bedrooms and bathrooms blend into a continuous passage that invites you to keep moving.  The large, panoramic windows throughout keep the house light and airy, while the double insulated walls and thick wood decking keep the cool temperatures out. The sparse furnishings and sleek lines are a bold statement that matches the buildings unrelenting exterior. Rather than cluttering the house with gaudy ornaments and stuffy fixtures, it plays on the sparse landscape it so elegantly sits in.

Traditional chalets have a tendency to shy away from the landscape, sealing off its inhabitants to the beauty of the environment it inhabits.  This building however, embraces the countryside with an unyielding arrogance and swagger.  Perching precariously at the tip of a mountain, it stares boldly at its surroundings.  The interior eschews its contemporary credentials with clean, simple lines and muted colors.  But at the same time, it feels traditional, homely, and welcoming.  A small homage to the portly abodes that continue to dominate the Swiss landscape. By Matthew Hussey

Design

March 12 2007




Everyone is a pimp or a pinup, according to Simon Charrison and his cousin James. Not content with the current trend of hair salons - emaciated stylists, pissed-off pundits and sound systems capable of melting your face - the two South Australians decided something had to be done. So they decided to open their own hair salon that prioritised service over grandiloquence right in the heart of London's east-end.

“Both I and Simon have an 'old-school approach'. The stylists have a very close working relationship with the clients, old and new, and many of them come in just for a chat and a coffee. We offer a range of complementary refreshments in the salon and we even offer beer and wine, which is always well received, especially by the clients who have just finished work.”

The styling and design take a similar approach. Vintage Japanese chairs decked in thick black leather mould to your body while the vaudeville decor offers a sense of theatre. Simon has been cutting hair for over twelve years and James has worked in customer service for a similar period.  The sense of personal empowerment at the heart of Pimps & Pinups has attracted the likes of Green Day, not to mention local bands who regularly feature on the in house stereo. “The music we play is really important to the ambience.  There's a lot of indie rock, but Saturdays mainly just ends up being the ACDC day though,” muses James. By Matthew Hussey

Share It:  

Ads

March 9 2007




Nothing grabs an audience's attention more effectively than a clever optical illusion. Combine that with an ingenious ad campaign and you get this brilliant mobile billboard for The Red Cross, currently gracing the streets of San Francisco.

It's photo journalism, meets Hollywood blockbuster movie poster, and it is turning plenty of heads wherever it parks itself. Enthusiastic onlookers have been snapping up photos of the mobile billboard and posting, uploading and sharing them online with friends. This is a brilliant example of how an audience can further promote the exposure of a great advertising campaign through mobile phones, blogs and sites such as flicker. By Andy G

Share It:  
More Ads
Tags: Ads

Lifestyle

March 6 2007
br />
In case you hadn't noticed, over the last 5 years 'Cool' has become a very ubiquitous, easy-to-own commodity. Let's face it, everyone is 'cool' these days. It's also the most overused word in the western world, a sure sign of its bastardization. Cool is easy to market, sell and to certain degrees achieve, with the right look, stance, sound, you are ready-made cool - just check out how many Sienna Millers there are walking down the street or how many Beyoncès there are in the charts and you get the point. This is not a good thing. It's making us all the same - so when will we get tired of looking at each other? Whereas pop culture used to be about celebrating differences, now they are hard to spot. Cool and Consumerism go hand in hand - people believe that to be 'cool' they have to buy a massive amount - you have to have the 'right' bag, shades, jeans, t shirts, cap, accessories, ipod, car - it's never-ending, not to mention expensive.
 
What is infinitely harder to own is creativity. The truly creative people of the art, fashion, design and music scenes - these are our new heroes. Creativity is looked up to nowadays. Creativity is Cool (ha ha). But in order for these people to flex their genius, they need something magic, something you can't bottle, manufacture, package or sell, no matter how much those celebrity magazines would love to sell it to the masses. What we're talking about is inspiration. Once inspired, these people are producing work that really astounds us, that takes us someplace else, that moves us, that thrills us, that in turn inspires us do something great.

Getting inspired in today's culture is no easy task. It's hard to be fresh when fresh has become a commodity, when happiness has become fashionshaped, and fashion has shifted from niche pursuit to easy-access shorthand for cool. Like pulling up your hoodie to get an instant toughness boost or feeling 10% smarter because you've got new shoes on. The old signifiers of youth style and culture - music, and particularly, fashion? have become easy-access.
 
 In short, everyone has become fashion-able. Not fashionable, you note, just able to grab hold of this week's trends with a lunchtime purchase of some cheap white pumps or a faux cameo necklace. Super-hip stylist Christiane Joy claims to have almost dropped out of the global in-on-Monday, out-by-Wednesday fashion roundabout, preferring jeans, a shirt and less obvious signals to her style: a pair of sneakers customized by a hip friend, or pumps in just the right shade of blue. Perhaps that's the answer - subtle as the new black. It's an argument that old-school music purists have had with the Limewire generation since the first Napster file-swap happened. Forget the days when it took commitment to get music (ever thought about how hard it was for Mick Jagger to get those Muddy Waters records?).
 
The sheer volume of music that's available to all of us might irritate the purists but it hasn't dampened music's ability to inspire us, nor has it turned down the creativity of acts making music now. As Stewart Copeland (of The Police) points out, "the quantity of music available has gone up, but the quality is still there".  The early noughties have been characterized by a stampede of bands (just think about The Flaming Lips, The Gossip, even bloody Justin Timberlake now he's hooked up with the on-form-again Timbaland) that have blended the boundaries between genres and stamped right over the old ways of expressing ideas, transmogrifying ideas and creation into files we pop onto our iPods.
 
It's crystal clear: the most interesting movements express an individual's own world and morphs their universe into a fabulous new song or into dresses with great big spheres instead of sleeves (thanks again, Gareth Pugh) or, well, whatever. The crusade against the forces of conformity and control is taking place in homegrown mixtapes over mix CDs in the supermarket, fanzines over mega-magazines, high ideas over the high street. And the ideas will keep coming, they have to.

Recognizing true creativity when you see it, nourishing it and encouraging it to grow, is the only way to beat the frightening forces of things like the pop idol machine, high street fashion factories and lookalike magazines and models. Do your own thing, keep reaching up for those high ideas and never look over your shoulder; because that's what being fierce and being creative, is truly all about. By Emma Warren and Elizabeth McGrath

Travel

March 3 2007




Atkin's Architecture Group recently won the first prize award for an international design competition with this stunning entry. Set in a spectacular water filled quarry in Songjiang, China, the 400 bed resort hotel is uniquely constructed within the natural elements of the quarry. Underwater public areas and guest rooms add to the uniqueness, but the resort also boasts cafes, restaurants and sporting facilities.

The lowest level runs with the aquatic theme by housing a luxurious swimming pool and an extreme sports center for activities such as rock climbing and bungee jumping which will be cantilevered over the quarry and accessed by special lifts from the water. With a stunning visual presentation as shown here, it's no wonder this project took home the first prize. This is a fine example of an ultra modern facility co-existing amongst its natural environment.
by Andy G



Share It:  
Food

March 3 2007



Not content with selling their fruit concoctions in shops, the people at Innocent have created two mobile smoothie-vans to help quench thirst in the forthcoming months. The first, known as the Dancing Grass Van (DGV), is a turf-tarnished ice-cream van with matching cow-lined interior. Oh, and it dances. The vans have a hydraulic system attached to the wheels that makes it bob around to attract the attention of potential smoothie-drinkers. They’ve also got Tiny Grass Vans (TGVs) for emergency fruit cravings around town. These little pasture clad nippers are perfect if you need a fruit-fix pronto. 

If buying squashed fruit from a grassy van isn’t your thing, Innocent have also made Cow Vans. Complete with horns, eyelashes, udders and a tail, these bovine impersonators ‘moo’ on command.



Over to LA for the Hearts Challenger’s candy-colored van selling top international ice-cream, candy and toys. As part of the fairy-tale story; boy from country meets girl from city, girl designs ice cream van to spread fun and magic, boy makes soundtrack to accompany van and sells fun and pleasure, Lo and Benjamin are obsessed with spreading the love they have for things flavor-some and fun.  Their motto, “the greatest challenges are ones from the heart” will be ringing in your ears as the two bring impromptu dance parties to a street near you.



Packing a more philosophical punch for ice-cream lovers, The Tactical Ice Cream Unit (TICU) provides a bit more than just food for thought. With its primary aim to replace cold stares with frosty treats, the TICU is an oasis for community activists. Supplying water, first-aid, film, gas masks, water balloons in addition to ice-cream, who knew caring-for-the-community could be so much fun?

Look out for the TICU around California this spring, Vancouver in the summer followed by the San Francisco Bay Area in Autumn. 



Something for real kids now, the “Own Your C” is a traveling advice centre for teens unsure about what decisions to take in their lives. The van travels around rural and mountain communities in America distributing tobacco cessation leaflets and free advice for anyone who may need it. All conducted from the C-Ride — a branded ice cream truck with custom alloys, graffiti paintwork and a freezer full of C Popsicles.  The C message combines social responsibility with a love for iced treats and will be traveling across America this summer. By Matthew Hussey

Share It:  
More Food
Tags: News
Art

February 23 2007


Queensland based artist, Donna Marcus, is well known for her fetish of using kitchenware and aluminum products to create her impressive sculptures. Marcus was one of three artists who answered a call for entries to exhibit work in the main piazza of Brisbane Square. Her project STEAM, consisted of 15 geodesic spheres ranging in size from 1.3m to 2.6m in diameter.

The spheres were created from 7000 steamer pieces welded together as well as 780 plates bolted together. Inspired by the concept of random disbursement, Marcus has placed the works in a variety of locations throughout the space in an almost haphazard manner. Her experiment in deciding where the pieces would lie, began with her creating a scaled down model version of the work and throwing them across the piazza floor like marbles. The point at which they landed resulted in the artworks final destination. by Andy G



Share It:  

Random Archive

Ads
Art