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You must feel comfortable being surrounded by really bright colours if you plan on studying at Tokyo's famous Senzoku Kaguen College of Music's latest addition. It is called Black Hole on the school's site, but Black Hall on the site of Terada design & Architects, the Tokyo-based architecture firm that designed it. We want to believe the school, especially when we know that one of the large studios is called Big Mouth. The Black Hole has recording studios, multimedia studios, electronic organ classrooms, PC labs, and practice studios for jazz, jazz vocal, pop and rock. In the otherwise basic hallways, intense wall and ceiling colours have become the main design element, and the way finding ' large-scale painted signage on the walls ' is the main artwork. Terada is an architecture and design studio established by the Osaka-born, 42-year-old Naoki Terada in 2003. - Tuija Seipell
Great, aesthetically pleasing design needn't be limited to traditional architectural forms such as houses and public buildings.
Utilitarian spaces, such as car parks, present architects and designers with a unique opportunity to bring beauty and harmony to the everyday functional spaces that are normally ignored by great design minds.
We're excited to report that the tide is changing, evidenced by these good-looking car parks.
Modern design is all about "experience" and these car parks pictured acknowledge that one's experience of a private or public place begins the minute they pull up in their car. Innovative developers and designers are recognising just how crucial this is - it's almost too late by the time the consumer arrives at the front door. The "experience" of good design starts well before that.
Our agency ACCESS is currently working with a few developers/city councils globally in creating the ultimate public car park and we're on the hunt for architects/designers who already have created in this space. In the know? Get in touch. Seen any other interesting car parks we should know about - send us tips - Bill Tikos
Wood is both universal and unique. No other material is as deeply embedded in the history, culture and life of humans worldwide as wood, yet every single piece of wood is unique.
The color tone, texture, durability, flexibility and even sound qualities of different tree species have puzzled and challenged artists, architects, designers, builders and artisans for thousands of years.
Still today, nothing matches wood in versatility or beauty, so it is great to see how today’s designers and architects continue to face the challenge of wood, and use it creatively to interpret sleek, modern designs.
They use wood to meet their current needs and desires for which wood is ideally suited. People seek calm surroundings, simplicity and minimalism to soothe their frayed nerves and to counter the constant visual overload they face. Wood’s warmth and natural beauty works wonders for creating a sense of balance and calm.
People also look for sustainable alternatives, eco-friendly options, greener solutions. When harvested, managed and used sustainably, forests are still the source of the greatest material on earth.
We especially love the influence of Scandinavian and Japanese traditions that we can detect in today’s wood architecture and design. Minimalist, functional, beautiful, and light in both color and weight.
Scandinavian building and design traditions are based solidly on the use of wood. Finnish modernist master, architect Alvar Aalto, stunned the world with Living Wood, his design for the Finnish Pavilion for the Paris World Exposition in 1937. In the pavilion, he combined both traditional and modern architecture and showcased his functionalist design sensibilities. It was considered one of the boldest and most innovative pavilions of the Expo.
Earlier, Aalto’s exploration of the limits of bent wood and mass production had resulted in the Paimio chair (1931) and other furniture classics, and had a permanent impact on how furniture looks even today. Aalto’s work influenced many other modernist masters including Charles and Ray Eames and Eero Saarinen.
The use of wood in Japanese architecture and design is characterized by austere construction methods, the lightness of materials, the connectedness between indoors and outdoors, and the way in which buildings merge with their surroundings.
With hardly any furniture used inside, Japanese master craftsmen were able to focus their skills on the buildings themselves, on skilful joining of sections without nails, and on revealing, rather than covering or adorning, the original texture and tone of the wood.
Wood as a material has held a charmed place in architecture and design for both its simplicity and complexity. It lends itself to imposing, bulky structures, yet also yields to delicate, undulating forms that seem lacy and transparent.
We love this lightness and elegance, the play of light and shadow, the countless tones of color that can be achieved with skilful use of wood both structurally and decoratively.
In more and more residential projects, both big and small, architects and designers are finding new, creative ways to reveal and highlight the beauty and versatility of wood. They manage to create structures that appear current and cool, yet also exude a classic, timeless elegance.
Every day, we come across images of fantastic single-use residences, recreational cottages, furniture, decks and patios, where the qualities of wood are perfectly matched with the users’ needs and the requirements of the surroundings as well.
In retail and hospitality, wood is also making an impact. We love the blocky, clean look of the Aesop stores. At the other end of the spectrum a good example is the lightness and playfulness achieved in RDAI Architects’ use of wood-slat “huts” as departments in the Paris Hermès store built inside an old hotel swimming pool.
In not just eco-lodges, but also in luxury resorts, spas and hotels, wood is becoming the material of choice. As guests are looking for a retreat, a sense of being back in nature, a quilt-free, tranquil vacation, resorts are responding with wood-frame structures, wood interiors and sustainable solutions that also look fabulous.
Wood is not trendy yet it is incredibly cool. It is a demanding, noble, ancient, living material that we have the privilege to use and enjoy. In wood, the architect, designer and builder face the exhilarating challenge of the sculptor — to reveal the character of the specific species, the individual tree. And we, the viewers and users of their work, have the opportunity to discover it for ourselves. We are looking forward to more. - Tuija Seipell.
At TCH, we are so obsessed with wood that we even created Treelife, an event to showcase the most innovate work using wood in the design of Treehouses.
We love a fine wine, especially when it can be ingested in as thoughtful an environment as this one. Welcome to Merus, a "designer" winery like no other. Located in the Napa Valley in California, Merus looks more like a Michelin-starred restaurant than your average cellar-door retail outlet. Exposed beams are the only nod to the past in this interior design strategy, which is thoroughly modern with a hint of Californian warmth.
Amsterdam-based Uxus Design is the architecture and design firm behind the winery. With more than a few inspiring, high profile projects under its belt, Uxus is one of the Netherlands' hottest design studios - with an office to match.
It's been a busy year for Uxus, who have unveiled a number of other great retail design projects recently including the new Heineken 'concept' bars which will open in airports across the globe and one of Europe's coolest McDonald's play areas in Amsterdam. - Bill Tikos
See also Design Wine
Bold use of colour has never frightened the 40-year-old, Lisbon-based architect Pedro Gadanho. The colour extravagance of the recently completed single-family residence in Oporto, Portugal, follows Gadanho’s established modus operandi of using white and bright colours as key elements of a space. The petrol-blue kitchen and sanguine stairway draw the attention while at the same time punching up the power of snowy white.
Colour played an important part also in the widely reviewed and admired Orange house he designed with Nuno Grande. The private residence was completed in 2005 in Carreço, Portugal.
Another example of Gadanho’s use of color is the high-profile Ellipse Foundation Art Centre in Estoril/Alcoitão, Portugal. He designed the 20,000 square-foot converted warehouse with Atelier de Santos. It was completed in 2006.
Gadanho’s thought-provoking architecture matches his overall attempt to provoke critical thinking about the relationship between architecture and current culture. He is known not only as an architect but also as a free-lance critic, curator and teacher. He’s taught architecture theory and history at Faculdade de Arquitectura da Universidade do Porto and curated the Portuguese presence at the 2004 Venice Biennale. And for those of us who like lovely names, his full name is Pedro César Clara do Carmo Gadanho. Tuija Seipell
From the street, this Edwardian house might seem unassuming, undeserving of a second glance. From the back, however, the addition to the Trojan House by Jackson Clements Burrows, where three children’s bedrooms are cantilevered above a large living space, is anything but ordinary.
The entire addition is wrapped in a seamless timber skin that conceals any obvious openings. Windows, covered by shutters that follow the pattern of the façade, reveal nothing of the interior space.
Incidentally the inside is just as remarkable as the outside. A thermal chimney and a breezeway corridor allow for passive cooling in the warmer months as each room was designed to allow for cross ventilation. Additionally a rain screen provides extra shade from the hot summer sun, and also insulates the inside in the winter by forming a space for warm air. - Andrew J Wiener
Opened this spring in Poland’s second-largest city of Lodz, the Andels Hotel has one of the most stunning entrance foyers we have seen in a while. The restored, stoic, red-brick facade hides the entrance so well that the initial impression is very strong.If you need to host a large event and impress your guests in this city, this is the place to do it. Andels has a large conference space plus the city’s largest ballroom at 1,300 square meters, and it shares its expansive red-brick domain with the best in the city’s cultural and shopping offerings.
The hotel structure is Manufaktura, Polish textile magnate Izrael Poznans’s former textile mill, now meticulously restored under strict official guidelines for building preservation. We love the interplay of old and new, square and rounded, natural and artificial, intimacy and open space.
The design concept of Andels comes from Jestico + Whiles, an award-winning design and architecture firm with offices in London and Prague, and a long relationship with the Andels hotels. This month, Andels Hotel Lodz won the Best Conversion of an Existing Building in the 12th European Hotel Design Awards.
Andels Hotel Lodz is the first four-star hotel in Lodz and the latest addition to the Andels Hotels group, which in turn is part of the Vienna International Hotels & Resorts that has more than 40 hotels in Eastern European countries. - Tuija Seipell
Mecanoo Architects is designing the city hall and central train station for its home town of Delft, in the Netherlands. The top level will be glass-ceilinged, and even the underground levels will have a feel of transparency and light. Vaulted ceilings, archways and a strong use of white and blue will lighten the visual weight of the complex that will include a 30,000 square-meter public hall. The four-year construction will begin next year.
The Dutch-born and educated architect Francine Houben established Mecanoo Architects in the mid-80s. Mecanoo has since completed an incredible variety of public and private projects, including retail stores, theaters, hotels, libraries, museums, chapels, residential neighborhoods and parks. Houben’s focus on ”sensory beauty,“ color and light has produced many spectacular buildings in Europe and around the world. Most recently, Mecanoo won the competition to design the new master plan for a central business district in Shenzhen, China. The district will include 8,000 houses and 400,000 square-meters of commercial and cultural facilities. - Tuija Seipell
Kids have boundless imaginations. No matter how poor, colorless and toyless their environment, they’ll find a way to play. They will play with stones, twigs, grass and water, and they will play with each other. They’ll think up ways of turning mundane items into creations that have all the life of the latest computer game.
But only if they are lucky enough to have the free time to play, are not too hungry to move about, or have water to play with.
In this light, what our urban kids have available to them, is excessively abundant. They have daycare and play spaces, parks, playgrounds, even yards. Yet, when we look at the basic play environments in our communities, there’s no denying that they are sadly short of what they could be. With some color, imagination, labor and resources, they could all be so much better.
There are wonderful examples of this, such as the recent “accidental” kids’ park at Madison Square Park in New York. It is an art installation by artist Jessica Stockholder, commissioned by the Madison Square Park Conservancy.
The installation includes a multicolored triangular platform, a sandbox of bright-blue rubber mulch, multicolored bleachers and painted pavement. It was not intended originally as a children’s play space, but kids have taken to it like crazy, surprising both the artist and the Conservancy. The lesson we can learn from this is that if we point our resources in the right direction, the result can be infinitely fun and rewarding for everyone involved.
We spend millions annually on "adult playgrounds" — stadiums, concert halls, bars, restaurants. We spend billions advertising and promoting them. Why is it that we do not seem to want to dedicate the necessary resources to give our children the best we can offer?
Every dedicated kids’ arts organization will be able to point you to reams of research reports that show that early access to arts and arts education aids children in all aspects of their lives later on.
They will build self-confidence; discover their abilities, skills and talents; and in the best of circumstances, they will grow to be fantastic contributors in their communities. Yet another reason to make sure our kids live and play in environments that are rich in creativity, arts and inspiration.
If this generation of children is going to be responsible for solving the problems of a world where children are still too hungry to play at all, then we should be paying closer attention. We should be giving our kids — regardless of their resources — all the support and inspiration we can.
Anyone with creative ideas, energy, staff and money, can give to kids in his or her neighborhood. Who knows what could happen, if we as individuals, companies and cities paid as much attention to our kids’ play environments as we do to our own? - Tuija Seipell
Developers, city councils wanting to see ideas and concepts in how to design super cool educational environments and playgrounds effectively, contact our marketing agency, ACCESS AGENCY.
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
Shanghai’s shiny new Museum of Glass opened last week as part of Shanghai’s campaign of becoming a globally important cultural and creative centre by launching 100 museums in a decade.
Shanghai-based German architectural firm Logon handled the architecture and exterior of the museum. Germany’s Glashütte Lambets supplied the enameled glass used for the museum’s façade inscribed with glass-industry terms in ten languages.
COORDINATION ASIA, also based in Shanghai, was in charge of the overall museum concept, art direction, design and supervision of the museum interior. It was also the chief consultant for curation, marketing and operation, as well as coordination of an international team of architects, artists, designers, filmmakers and multimedia specialists.
COORDINATION’s Tilman Thürmer tells TCH that they used black lacquered glass for the interior (cases, floor, furniture, walls), but left the existing structure untouched. The museum building is a former glassmaking workshop, one of 30 former bottling-plant structures that the Shanghai Glass Co. still owns.
The black, sleek glass of the interior reflects the LED lights and screens positioned throughout the space, creating a shiny and glittering multi-dimensional feel. This emphasizes the interaction, interdependence and influences of periods, continents, materials and peoples involved in the art, craft and industry of glass.
The design of the space and exhibits and the use of various media help create an interactive and participatory museum experience where the visitor is directed through the story of glass.
“Designwise, we wanted to create a piece of black crystal glass. Sparkling, reflecting, sleek and deep,” Thürmer says. - Tuija Seipell.
An existing subway or metro station does not give much room to creativity. Drassanes is a metro station in Barcelona’s Ciutat Vella district at the old docks of Port Vell.
The original station was built in 1968. Eduardo Gutiérrez Munné and Jordi Fernández Río, the 31-year-old partners of ON-A Arquitectura WWW.ON-A.ES, had no other option but to accept the limitations of the constricted space and make the best of it by covering the old station with new surfaces. They decided that a subway car already has everything a passenger needs and proceeded to create a station that emulates the feel of (a) subway cars. Light-weight, white glass-enforced concrete covers the vertical surfaces and a resin component helps make the white floors vibration-proof.
The overall feel is clean and open, something that could not be said of the old station. Eduardo Gutiérrez and Jordi Fernández have completed several public and commercial projects, from hotels and bars to stadiums and zoos. They established ON-A in 2005. - Tuija Seipell
City of Utrecht in the Netherlands has developed a large complex, Cultuurcampus Vleuterweide, where half of the floor plan is taken up by a school and a sports facility, and the other half includes 55 residences, a church, cultural center, theater, and a library.
It is the internet “café” of the info centre/library that sparked our imagination with its bulky, woody mass and colorful, folkloric embellishments. Wouldn’t it be amazing if more internet cafes paid this much attention to design?
The architect of the complex is Vera Yanovshtchinsky Architecten based in The Hague. Interior design and furnishings are by Assen-based AEQUO BV Architects that is known for impressive school and library work.
Throughout the entire Vleuterweide facility, AEQUO has sprinkled fun embellishments, including lime-green, lemon-yellow and azure-blue walls, and pink carpets. Furnishings and lighting fixtures also draw attention: A prim, baroque chair covered in hot-pink fabric in one corner, a group of lumpy recliners upholstered in brown flour-sack material in another. - Tuija Seipell
Loft Hamburg, located in a restored building in Winterhude district of Hamburg, is a private 118 square-meter residence designed by Graft. The focal point of the high-ceilinged and otherwise white space is a large pod paneled with walnut. The pod contains the residence’s kitchen and bathroom, hides its central heating, cooling and plumbing, and even provides some cupboards and bookshelves. The owner was looking to use a wide variety of materials, and the walnut pod contrasts beautifully with the soft fabrics, leather and natural stone used elsewhere in the loft.
Graft is an architecture, urban planning and design company established in 1998 in Los Angeles by German architects (,) Lars Krückeberg, Wolfram Putz, Thomas Willemeit and Gregor Hoheisel, all now in their early forties.
Their Berlin office opened in 2001, and Beijing office in 2004. Alejandra Lillo joined Graft as the fifth partner in Los Angeles in 2007. - Tuija Seipell.
West Hollywood, California-based Clive Wilkinson Architects has completed many projects for California’s Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. The private college offers two-year fashion, graphics, interior design and entertainment education at four campuses Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orange County and San Diego.
Clive Wilkinson’s latest undertaking with the Institute was the 31,000-square-foot Sand Diego facility located on the third floor of a new, unremarkable office tower overlooking the Petco baseball park. Bold use of color defines the various functional areas of the campus, and makes dividing walls unnecessary. Glass walls are present in almost every space, which allows light to flow freely. These are all effective ways of creating openness and visual interest while avoiding the claustrophobic, square-box feel that could result, especially in the areas located farthest from the perimeter walls with windows.
Sand-tone flooring and hard, angular lines link everything together, and establish an edgy, free-flowing sense of vibrancy. Visually light-weight furniture paired with heavier blocks of seating and desks bring variety without looking pretentious. Everything seems a bit temporary, in the positive sense of the word. Softer, rounded treatments in the lounge area invite relaxation and rest.
The Cape Town and London-educated architect, Clive Wilkinson, established his office in Los Angeles in 1991. The company has since reaped awards in both interior design and architecture, completing commercial, residential and hospitality projects. One of the firm’s current assignments is the renovation of the 370,000-square-foot Nokia House in Helsinki, the headquarters of Nokia, due to be completed in 2010. - Tuija Seipell
In a world where people appreciate good design everywhere, cool mini hotel rooms are the latest ‘it’ trend. In Tokyo, the Capsule Inn exemplifies the bare-essentials hotel rooms for brief use, and similar concepts are popping up at airports, train stations and downtowns around the world, replacing and mimicking the “day rooms” already existing at many airports.
Unlike Tokyo’s bed-only cabins where customers climb into a human equivalent of a honeycomb for a night’s rest, Yotel pods at Gatwick and Heathrow airports in London and Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam come in larger and more comfortable formats. These self-contained mini hotel rooms are equipped with a bed, table, HD TV and Wi-Fi.
The fourth Yotel is set to arrive in New York in 2011 with a location opening on 42nd and 10th street boasting 669 luxury rooms and the largest outside terrace in any hotel in New York
Also in Amsterdam, Citizen M has a hotel with 230 mini rooms at Schiphol Airport and a 215-room hotel in Amsterdam City. Citizen M plans to open similar hotels across Europe.
Qbic Hotels has opened two “cheap chic” hotels with mini rooms in the Netherlands: Qbic World Trade Centre Amsterdam and Qbic Maastricht, plus one in Antwerp, Belgium.
Taking the next step in rest and space efficiency, Russia’s Arch Group designed the SleepBox.
Along with an airport version of the rest pod, equipped with the usual, high-tech necessities offered by other companies, Arch Group has also designed an easy-to-relocate version fit for hostels. A small, mobile compartment, 2m (l) x 1.4m (w) x 2.3m (h), SleepBox is made of wood and MDF. SleepBox is meant to “allow very efficient use of available space and, if necessary, a quick change of layout”, making it perfect for hostels where demand and space available often come in conflict with each other. The hostel-specific SleepBox features bunk beds, flip-out tables and sockets for computers or phone chargers and not much else. Yuri Pushkin, Tuija Seipell.
Black and white are the safe choices in the design world. The color of luxury is elegant and subdued. Yet, at the same time, even top-tier designers, artists and luxury brands have always used bright colors as well. It is not about either or. It is not black-and-white or color.
Just try telling those who love Dale Chihuly’s art, Versace interiors, Karim Rashid’s Corian eco-house or Renzo Piano’s Central St Giles facades in London that the “designer look” is always predominantly black and white.
And although bright color is often associated with being a sort of primitive, wild, folk-art aesthetic, and therefore black and white would seem the serious and civilized alternative, color is not just wild, frivolous, and primitive.
Just think of your favorite brand’s logo and you will most likely visualize some color. Imagine a weekly market at a Peruvian mountain town, an Indian wedding party, a Norwegian fishing town, Marimekko fabrics, a Cirque du Soleil show or Avatar, and you cannot avoid feeling uplifted and happy because of the colors.
In fact, we are seeing a clear increase in the use of color in the broad design world.
We see more color in commercial and residential architecture, interior design, art and installations, events, retail and hospitality. We also see more color in products — from aircraft to fashion to everyday items — and in marketing and communications as well.
The recent super-enthusiastic online reaction to the redesign of the logo of the City of Melbourne in Australia is a good example of this. People are interested and they do see the difference. When did people last get that excited about a city logo? Disneyland’s soon-to-open World of Color and the Dubai Fountain are also great examples of what technology and color are bringing to entertainment experiences.
We are hard-wired to notice and react to color, and marketers (and Pantone and the Color Marketing Group) and psychologists have long known this. Children generally love bright colors. Fast-food restaurants use bright colors because they want us to notice, grab and go. Red is stop, green is go. Colors affect and express our everyday lives, even when we don’t notice it.
Throughout history, color has expressed and represented status, religion, origin, feelings and many other things, and its use has been dependent on resources. To be able to afford clothing or other possessions in certain colors meant you were wealthier than most, as some ingredients to produce specific colors were not available everywhere.
As we have seen so vividly in the widely circulated “color wheel” by David McCandless and Always with Honor, different colors mean different things in various cultures. And apparently, people from warm climates respond favorably to warm colors while northerners like cooler colors.
Perhaps it was the recessionary economy that enticed designers to use more color, and attracted the rest of us to it. Whatever the underlying reasons, we see more color and we love it. - Tuija Seipell
Brands wanting to see ideas and concepts about how to use colour effectively, contact our marketing agency, ACCESS AGENCY.
It is time to save inflatables from death by boredom, and elevate them to must-have designer experiences! We are talking about enhancing the way adults enjoy playing in the water, although even kids will find a designer inflatable quite a refreshing experience!
What if a designer hotel or resort had amazing, on-brand inflatables in the pool, or on the beach, available for guests to enjoy, take pictures of, share with their networks?
We are looking for architectural, playful, cool, imaginative, never-before-seen designer ideas for inflatables. Show us what you can do. Show us how far we can take this unexplored water experience and we'll manufacture them.
An entire new water surprise waiting for guests - what can we do to WOW them?
Please send us your design ideas including 3d renderings by the end of May, 2012.
What we are looking for specifically is an inflatable for one or two people. We are in search for the best design idea for a practical but awesomely cool water accessory that will make you want one as soon as you see it floating in a pool or on the beach.
The inflatable must fit into the vibe and atmosphere of a five-star resort – we are looking for something super-cool, sculptural, desirable.
The winning design, if and when manufactured, will earn the designer a royalty from each sale of the inflatable.
The design competition is open to all designers, industrial designers, graphic designers, illustrators, architects etc -
Whenever wood is used beautifully, we pay attention. Kengo Kuma-designed 15-room hotel, and especially the attached fruit market in the town of Yusuhara, in the Takaoka District of Kochi, Japan, is a project worth admiring.
We love the skilful, minimalist use of traditional methods, materials and symbolism in the creation of the market space that appears both ancient and completely modern at the same time – a uniquely Japanese skill, it seems.
The cool, thatched façade pays tribute to the town’s ancient tradition of providing travellers who took the main arterial Yusuhara route rest spaces called “Chad Do” that also functioned as venues for cultural exchange and interaction.
As always with this type of design, our eyes are drawn to everything that is NOT there, which allows us to see what IS there even more clearly. No clutter, no visual noise. Contemporary minimalism at its finest. - Tuija Seipell.
Even those who are afraid of flying might enjoy the experience of piloting a Boeing 737 at the simmINN Flight Simulation Center in Stuttgart, Germany.
The reason for our confidence is two-fold. One: The aircraft does not leave the ground as the full-size replica of Boeing 737 with its Learjet 45x cockpit are firmly indoors. Two: The outside of the plane looks so cool that you will forget your phobias and just want to hop in and fly!
Frankfurt-based architect Boris Banozic is responsible for the concept, interior and graphic design of this center that is open to the general public. Yes, you, too can book a two-hour flight, piloted by Captain You and no crew! Now, if only an airline company picked up this concept as their head-office design, then we would be really impressed. - Tuija Seipell
The Capsule Lamp has captured our imagination. The intriguingly interactive lighting fixture gleans its idea from the plastic toy capsules of vending machines.
Initially, the Capsule was designed by Hong Kong-based Design Systems Ltd for the Actif children’s wear brand, but it has now taken on a life of its own giving tinkerers and creatives another reason to customize and make it their own.
The main structure of the ceiling pendant is made of stained oak, and either without the capsules, or with just the empty capsules, it looks rather coolly Scandinavian.
But the fun starts when you attach the little plastic capsules – in any combination and quantity you like with all sorts of little treasures in them.
While the fixture comes with a set number of toys, we can envision hiding our own little personal items in the capsules. Or customizing each fixture for each room, with specific themed contents for the capsules? Flowers for one room, office supplies for another, jewelry for the next, sewing items and buttons for yet another. And what about an office or any other work place where team members get to decorate their own fixture above their work areas?
We think we’ll just keep the Capsules for ourselves and never let kids near it. - Tuija Seipell
A science and engineering museum’s café project inspired interior designer and photographer Anna Wigandt to create a cool space for enjoyment and study, but she also invented a few products of her own.
The Science Cafe & Library is located in Wigandt’s home town, Chişinău (formerly known as Kishinev), the capital city of Moldova on the river Bîc.
The main features of the self-serve café and library are the jigsaw-puzzle table and the book displays.
The table’s inspiration, according to Wigandt, was German astronomer Johannes Kepler’s 1596 book, Mysterium Cosmographicum (Cosmic Mystery) that dealt with the proportions of celestial bodies.
The modular table’s various configurations allow set-ups from small: each café visitor can form their own work table, to large: lecture groups to gather around one big table.
The surrounding book displays are divided into eight topic areas ranging from Shipbuilding and Astronautics to Nuclear Science and Biological Engineering, each identified with the striking lettering.
The greatest achievement in this project, however, is the lighting. The designer ended up inventing a few engineering marvels of her own in the process. The chandelier was created specifically for the space out of 408 actual test-tubes. The same tubes were used for the pendants hanging from the meatal rigging above the table.
The celestial darkness of ceiling give the entire space an aura of being outdoors, under midnight sky. We also like the hexagons, chevrons and honeycomb patterns on the walls and floor. - Tuija Seipell.
Humming puppy? That’s quite a kooky name for a luxe Melbourne yoga studio – the humming is a nod to the Arup audio engineer designed sound system that delivers an exquisite hum soundtrack around the yoga studio; the puppy is a nod to the ubiquitous downward dog yoga pose.
Clients leave a nondescript inner-city Prahran side street, climb a set of industrial stairs into the studio (known here as a shala) and enter a cocooned space where every detail of the design – custom lighting, soundtrack and interiors is geared towards preparing yogis physically and mentally for their practice.
Co-founders Jackie Alexander and Chris Koch wanted to create a different yoga studio experience – part day spa pampering, part ‘get on that mat’ yoga practice and worked with architects (and yoga practitioners) Louisa Macleod and Karen Abernethy and ARUP to create a new kind of studio.
The studio space features Silvertop Ash shiplap interior cladding that gives it a minimalist barn feel. Walls have extra layers of soundproofing to genuinely cocoon clients from the outside world. The 380 square metres yoga studio (known as a shala) features three tiers of mats, accommodating up to 39 students per class, soaring 10-metre high ceilings and engineered oak floorboards. Clients can book specific sanitized mats online before classes.
“Conceptually the preparation area (front of house) is intended as a 'refuge' - pure, simple and white with touches of timber,” says Louisa. “Whereas the yoga practice space is intended as a 'sublime' space, a universe of its own complete with pure black walls and linings.” The entire studio is sound proofed (well there is a pole dancing studio next door) and a Sonos system pipes in a specially commissioned soundtrack of soundwaves at 40hz - a frequency associated with ‘gamma’ brain wave activity and states of peak performance; it is meant to help people tune into the practice and not get distracted. Another layer of sound comes in the form of a 7.83hz, otherwise known as the Schumann Resonance that helps to 'ground' yogis during practice. Together they create an unmistakable hum that resonates throughout the classes. The shala is heated to exactly 27 degrees by a series of radiant heat panels too so it is all rather idyllic for yoga practitioners.
Clients can just turn up in their yoga gear – all props such as mat, belts, blocks, shower/workout towels and meditation cushions are supplied. Bathrooms offer five-star standards – fresh towels, toiletries, hair straighteners, driers even lockers with phone charging capability.
Amenities aside, real innovation here is the ingenious soundtrack. Co-founder Koch (an IT entrepreneur who created successful startup 1Form) had a “lightbulb moment” to add the gamma soundtrack to classes to stop people getting too distracted during their poses and tune into their practice. Humming Puppy also does the “afterclass”; offering chilled coconut water and warm green tea. Humming Puppy seems to have found a happy balance between luxury and simplicity. Says Louisa: “Luxury can be attributed to the generosity of space. This balance is maintained by a simple and raw material selection combined with fine detailing in the construction and the touches of more fine materials (brass etc.) in some of the fittings.”
For co-owner Jackie, the afterclass experience is key. “We wanted a place where people could hang out,” says Jackie. “We felt what was lacking in a lot of yoga studios.” There is a clear advantage in the architects genuinely understanding the end-users’ needs. Says Louisa: “The fact that we both practice yoga and have done so in many places all over the world definitely informed the design process as we know how a good yoga studio should function. We are aware of the rituals and how the spaces should flow.” - Emily Ross.
Andee Hess, founder of Portland, and his Oregon-Based Osmose have done their magic in Miami where they have helped revive what was a tired Coral Gables neighborhood bank by turning it into Small Tea, a tea boutique concept by Daniel Charles Joseph Benoudiz.
Small Tea extolls the benefits of real human connection via the consumption of tea under a canopy of 1,250 boxes wrapped in abaca or manila hemp, a type of banana-tree fiber used for baskets in some tea-growing areas.
We, of course, notice the elegant use of wood and wood slats, and oval and rounded accents, all of which helps evoke a tranquil sense of order and serenity.
Last fall, Hess and Osmose helped Portland’s Stumptown Coffee establish its swanky presence in New York’s Greenwich Village with reclaimed church pews and other previously loved pieces creating a great been-here-forever atmosphere. - Tuija Seipell.