Design

Design

June 2 2009




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


 

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Design

March 25 2009



Barcelona’s new wholesale flower market – Mercabarna-Flor – near the Barcelona International Airport was designed by Willy Muller Architects.
 
The most striking features of the new market are the multi-faceted angular roof structure and the multi-colored outer shell inspired by an aerial view of flower fields in full bloom.


 
The new complex – 15,000 square-meters of buildings on a 44,000 square-meter lot – houses three main sections, one for cut flowers, one for plants and one for accessories. The location near the airport cargo terminal is crucial to the flower business that relies on fast air delivery of fresh flowers.


 
The impressive building joins a line-up of several much talked-about new structures in Barcelona: Fira de Barcelona’s (Barcelona Fair grounds) nine pavilions and two 114-meter towers designed by Japanese architect Toyo Ito; Terminal Sur at the Barcelona Airport by Barcelona’s own Ricardo Bofill; and the Hesperia Hotel and Towers by the British Pritzker Prize winner, Richard Rogers.



 Willy Muller’s Barcelona office is led by Muller, a native of Argentina, and by Frenchman and associate architect, Frédéric Guillaud. They also have an office in Brazil. - Tuija Seipell

Design

March 11 2009




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
 

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Design

February 12 2009



Peter Masters of Burned Toast Design is known for his elegant bent-wood and curved-acrylic tables and chairs, but the Manchester, UK-based furniture designer can be big, bold and public, if required. A recent re-vamp of the funky Reuben Wood Hair Salon in Manchester’s city centre shows that Masters has the talent to create an entire environment that is eclectic, electric and elegant.


 
Using simple curved mirrors, he created the storage units necessary to hide the day-to-day paraphernalia of a busy hair salon. The creation of the large mirrored surfaces dictated that everything else needed to be streamlined and toned-down so that the space would not appear too busy or scattered when clients and staff would populate it.


 
The long blue table in the middle of the salon is an industrialized version of Masters’ Horse design. The mirrors in this station are removable which makes it easy to change the look of the space without destroying the overall feel. Dashes of pink, green and blue play off the larger surfaces of black and white, and create focal points in the mirrored environment.


 
When making and designing furniture, Masters plays with a large variety of materials, methods and technologies. Laminating plywood, casting resins and metals, fabricating plastics and upholstery are all familiar to Masters, as are using a machine created for violin manufacture or hand-crafting custom pieces from sustainable materials. - Tuija Seipell



Related articles - Pimps & Pinups - London & Fur Hairdressing - Melbourne

Design

January 13 2009



Many of the brutalist forms of architecture constructed under the watchful eyes of the Soviet regime in the latter half of the twentieth century sit unused or abandoned throughout various eastern European cities.  The ‘Danube Flower,’ a Belgrade landmark sited along the river’s foreshore was no exception.  Originally opened as a restaurant in the 1970s, the triangular structure built 15 metres above the river sat empty for fifteen years after the fall of Communism and during the civil war in what was then Yugoslavia and now is Serbia. 

 

The Belgrade design studio, 4of7 partnered with London-based Superfusionlab to adaptively reuse the space as a high-end gym and spa in city’s centre.  From the ground-level pedestrian esplanade, visitors enter the Wellness Sky through the central core, the sole support for the entire structure, which contains two lift shafts and a double spiral staircase.



Once inside the facilities, its namesake genuinely takes meaning.  Fitness gurus and gym junkies are immediately awash with sweeping city and river views from the uninterrupted ribbon window, which wraps entirely around the building.  During the day, light glows through the widows onto the reflective resin floor.  The faceted ceiling comprised of backlit semi translucent triangular panels allows visitors to feel as if they are exercising within a cloud.  The openness and loftiness of the design of the Wellness Sky allows members to feel nearly weightless in the very environment where burning away the excess is the ultimate achievement. - Andrew J Wiener.

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Design

January 6 2009




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



Images/Fernando Guera


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Design

December 4 2008



123dv Architectuur & Consult is yet another award-winning – and strangely numbered – multi-disciplinary Dutch design firm. The Rotterdam-based 123dv practices architecture and interior design in a wide range of areas from residential to commercial buildings, from small-scale to huge projects.
 
A commercial project, the new wing of the Media Plaza in Utrecht, was launched with a high-tech party in October.
 
The Media Plaza is one of many conference and exhibition venues under the wings of the venerable Dutch Fair organization
JaarBeurs.


 
The Media Plaza’s new expansion involves eight meeting rooms and a main congress hall that accommodates 700 people. The space 123dv created is an incredibly flexible blank-canvas for seminars, conferences and corporate events.
 
The design emphasis is on various light sources and different projection methods. The new wing is accessible via two tunnels in which 123dv designed all surfaces to be canvases for projection, with floors and walls reacting to the movement of people.


 
Light and projection are the main features also in the foyer and in the meeting rooms. To create different moods or to emphasize event-appropriate colors, the LED-light walls in the foyer and the fabric ceilings in the session rooms can change color.
 
123dv outfitted the main hall with a 100% transparent ETFE (ethylenetetrafluoroethylene) roof to mimic the feel of an ancient amphitheatre – a meeting under the open sky. The completely white congress hall seems an ideal backdrop for events where the organizer can really allow its colors or products to pop. We can already picture the possibilities for a fashion runway show. - Tuija Seipell



 
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Design

September 29 2008



Great surroundings will not camouflage poor programming in movie theatres. No matter how swanky the theatre, if it shows poor movies, we just won’t go. Which isn’t to say that we have given up on movie-theatre design. We still wish that one day, somewhere, someone is going to design a decidedly different, interesting and exciting movie theatre.


 
Glimpses of brilliance are visible in the new Light House Cinema at Smithfield in Dublin, Ireland designed by Dublin’s award-winning DTA Architects Of course, you really need to design – and judge – a movie theatre so that it looks and functions best when people are using it. So, having not paid personal visits to the new Light House, we cannot say for sure, but the images we have received of the empty space indicate that the play of light, colour and height works exceptionally well here.
 


Light House cinema has been a bit of an institution in Dublin. It started showing Irish, independent, foreign-language, art house and classic cinema 20 years ago, closed in 1966, and re-opened this summer in its new, customized space. The four-screen, intimate art-house cinema includes a wonderful, inviting and open cafe that looks like something you’d see at an art museum, not a movie theatre. The leader of the Light House project at DTA was Derek Tynan and the project architect was Colin Mackay.


 
The new cinema benefited from the financial assistance of The Arts Council, the Irish Film Board, and the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism. For Dublin’s city planners, this was to be a cultural magnet and a focal point for the largest mixed-use development ever in Dublin’s inner city, the massive rejuvenation plan for the historical Smithfield Market area.


 
And if you’d like to make our wishes come true, please let us know of any supreme movie-theatre design concepts you’ve seen, designed or commissioned. We are all eyes and ears. - Tuija Seipell

See also Home Theatre and AMC Pacific Place Cinema in Hong Kong.

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Design

September 24 2008



In most cities, strategic downtown street corners are flanked by enormous, old banks, the ornate cathedrals of capital designed to impress and intimidate. With the massive changes in real estate values and consumer banking habits, such monuments to Mammon are no longer smart or necessary. But what amazing opportunities such massive commissions must have been for the architects of the day! And what depressing alternatives we’ve experienced since! Luckily, online banking has made a bank visit almost obsolete, but when you must visit, most of the time you’ll find a boring, convenience-store-type standardized box – retail banking in the worst meaning of both words.


 
But we are starting to see a change. Several new bank design concepts are in the works, and some have been launched recently, including CheBanca! in Milan by Crea International. The concept for CheBanca! (translation: What a bank!) reflects the brand’s simplicity, transparency and innovation. When Crea International co-founder Massimo Fabbro will speak at POPAI Italia in November on the power of physical brand design to bring to life a brand's language, spirit and values, he will no doubt mention CheBanca!


 
And now that we have seen a few examples of fabulous bank design, we want more! If you’ve seen, designed or commissioned one, let us know. — Tuija Seipell



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Design

August 4 2008




Let's face it, most conventional medical interiors aren't exactly attractive. In fact, it wouldn't be surprising to discover that most people are allergic to the blandness and sterility of clinic interiors. Well the new Allied Health clinic in Melbourne, proves that it IS possible for health and design (and a bit of fun) to go hand in hand.

Accommodating the rather unusual combination of podiatry, physiotherapy, pathology, dietetics and psychology, the clinic feels like '2001 Space Odyssey meets late nineteenth century Victorian'. Designed by the Melbourne-based studio Chameleon Architecture, the interior juxtaposes elements of heritage, science and future. Ornate period details like crystal chandeliers, cornices, skirting boards and ceiling roses provide a classical backdrop. Exploring the idea of the medical as molecular, large glossy white molecules or futuristic pods are planted throughout the clinic, serving as consultation suites. Once inside the suite/pod, the mood changes again. The interior of the pod, from the walls, ceiling, floors to joinery, is clad entirely in plywood stained with a clear lacquer which enriches and emphasises the grain of the wood. So instead of looking pale under the normally cold and harsh light of clinical spaces, visitors here are instantly bathed in a warm, healthy glow without any treatment having even begun. - Jeanne Tan

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