I painted my living room to match my first big painting purchase, but this, THIS, is going to the next level in art appreciation. Welcome to Casa Cubo which is situated in Sao Paolo, Brazil, and is designed by architect Isay Weinfeld. This 715 meter square space is a privately owned gallery slash residence. While it is not classified as their ‘home’ it is a place for the owners to welcome visitors, have cocktail parties, and most importantly, show off their extensive and privately owned art collection.
I’ve mentioned before that minimalist isn’t always my ‘go-to’ aesthetic when it comes to architecture. But when it’s done well, no that doesn’t cut it, when it’s done brilliantly, such as in this situation, you’ve got my vote. What I keep coming back to here is the striking dark wood panel stairwell, its sculptural shape is Daliesque in nature and the opulence of the medium contrasts strikingly against the mainly white interior. The bookshelf that goes on for miles is also a hit with me; the added feature of the panoramic window underscoring the shelf throws an exotic flavor into the otherwise stark design. Antony Gormley’s life-size sculptures hang from the roof, suspended and headless; a compelling anxiety is created as they hover directly above the chairs and rug of a seating area.
Isay Weinfeld has been churning out architectural successes for over forty years, and now only accepts one in ten residential proposals. His website is packed full of stunning designs and is well worth a browse – just click here.
Now I’m just going to spend a moment pretending that I own so much art work that I need to build a new house to put it in……
I have to be honest here, I have not played sports in years and I don’t follow and sport on TV. Hell, I don’t even have a TV! But, you don’t have to be a sports fiend to appreciate this. ASB GlassFloor is an innovative, ground-breaking sports flooring system which uses LED lights to change the markings of the court. That means that numerous types of sports can played in the same space – I can imagine that this would be a game-changing (pun intended) development for places that have limited facilities, but have a high user demand to cater to.
On one level, this seems like a really obvious solution that someone should have come up with years ago. However, the flooring is created in an innovative way – the surface is custom-made glass, which sits on an aluminium substructure. Glass doesn’t seem like a good companion to jumping and running around, but it is an incredibly durable, good quality surface to play on. The LED lighting system makes it possible to quickly change the courts specifications, or create running text and moving image to entertain the crowd during breaks. I will confess that I am secretly hoping that this development results in the invention of some kind of cross between a sports game and a disco…
It’s always great to see innovative design outcomes that that refresh the industry and surprise with new, unexpected solutions. You can check out the ASB GlassFloor website to take a look at floor lights in action.
Doshi Levien is London based studio, established in 2000 by dreamy design duo of Nipa Doshi and Jonathan Levien. Nipa was born in Mumbai and met her Scottish counterpart Jonathan while both were studying in London. The designers blend two different creative approaches, perfectly complimenting one another’s strengths, while sharing the commitment to making beautiful objects developed from rigorously crafted ideas. They have designed everything from shoes to furniture, cookware, interiors and even an ice cream cake. Over the past few years they have worked with the likes of Cappellini, Moroso, Habitat, Tefal and Camper.
Recently, Grand Hornu Images asked Doshi Levien to put together an exhibition for the Europalia 2013 International Arts Festival, which has chosen to celebrate Indian culture and heritage this year. The focus of the exhibition, titled “Living Objects – Made For India,” are the humble objects that are entrenched in the daily life and rituals of this complex, vibrant country. Included are a number of tools and common consumables: kitchen things, toiletries, toolbox necessities, artifacts pertaining to religious rituals and household chores. The styling and arrangement of these quotidian regulars is stunning. The curated collection provides an interesting insight into the routines we often dismiss, but that make up much of our daily experience. The objects on display look so lovely and well-used, you can just feel the collective years of craftsmanship that have gone into these hardy tools.
“Living Objects – Made For India” is up until 16 February. Be sure to see Doshi Levien’s own work on their website. Their designs are a fine-tuned balance of contemporary cool and retro inspiration, bursting with lively energy and tactile warmth.
I was recently introduced to Karen Chekerdjian’s Ikebana mirrors and my instant reaction was unabashed lust for one of these beauties. If I owned one of these, I’d surely spend more time looking at the mirror itself rather than my own reflection! This series of three different mirrors is inspired by the principles of Ikebana – the traditional Japanese art of flower arrangement. The designer focuses on three of the seven guiding elements: asymmetry, space and depth. Each design explores these relationships in subtly unique ways. The materials used are warm and rich – brushed copper and brass, several types of wood, marble and, unexpectedly, formica. These materials reoccur in much of her work. Her overall aesthetic somehow brings up images of 80′s luxe corporate office furniture, in the best way possible, and very on trend with developments I am seeing in other areas of the design world.
Karen Chekerdjian, born in Lebanon, graduated from Domus Academy in 1997, where she studied under Massimo Morozzi. After working in Italy for a number of years she returned to her homeland and started a furniture, product and spacial design studio in Beirut. She is a trailblazer in her field in Beirut, where the design industry is very limited. Luckily, the lack of availability of industrial production methods proved to be a blessing in disguise. All the objects are made in collaboration with local artisans, often using and further developing ancient craft techniques. Local craft is so important in keeping cultural traditions alive, and it is beautiful to see this kind of collaboration taking place – and with such successful results! The studio produces a wide range of things, including jewellery, brass dining-ware, glassware and even olive oil! See it all here.
As you may have already noticed with the Ark Nova post, I have quite an interest in ‘temporary’ architecture. It’s fascinating to see what creative architectural solutions can emerge after an unexpected natural disaster strikes. Often, resources are low and shelter needs to built as soon as possible. Some people work best when they have the freedom to materialise their most fantastical ideas, others excel within tight constraints. One of my favourite architects, Shigeru Ban, fits the latter category. A master of low impact, truly environmentally conscious architecture, he is not one for showy monuments. Instead, his signature work combines the best of traditional Japanese architectural principles and Western modernist and rationalist methodologies.
Shigeru Ban started creating paper-tube based structures in 1986, finding this material to be surprisingly strong, fire-resistant and easily weatherproofed. Paper and cardboard are available in most places, are cheap to produce, light and recyclable. Since then, he has worked on everything from office buildings to trade show pavilions, museums and churches.
Ban has also helped to create low-cost, efficient shelter for victims of natural disasters and humanitarian catastrophes all over the world. He assisted with the Rwanda refugee crisis, the Kobe and Sichuan earthquakes and Haiti to name a few. What I find to be really special about his work, is it is not only practical, it is also beautiful. Shigeru Ban recognizes, in true Japanese spirit, how much of an effect harmonious aesthetics, balance, attention to detail and warm, humanistic design has on people. Especially in dire times of disaster and loss.
I would strongly encourage you to listen to his recent TEDx talk, it effectively outlines his oeuvre and philosophy with a warm sense of humor. Have a look at his website to see more projects.
Images: Shigeru Ban Architects