While the 1950s Catalan façade has been left untouched stylistically, architects Carlos Ferrater and Juan Trias de Bes have made some major changes to the former bank while retaining its symmetrical simplicity. The nine-storey building’s unassuming façade opens to a light-drenched atrium, around which the hotel rooms have been designed. Crossing the atrium via a floating catwalk, guests pass into a lobby before being drawn to a split-level mezzanine platform – flanked on one side by Moments restaurant and on the other by Banker’s Bar – from where they view the central Blanc lounge below. “Previously visitors walked down into the building, so we designed an elevated ramp for the gallery entrance to make it feel as though you are walking on air,” says de Bes. “By placing black reflective stone at floor level, there is a multiplying effect to the perceived height of the windows and atrium.”
The building’s character also provided much inspiration to Patricia Urquiola, who knew she must come up with a visual story specific to Barcelona while hinting at the Oriental roots of the Mandarin Oriental brand. “I noticed all this light flooding into the building, and wanted to harness it to mirror the light that shines in this Mediterranean city,” comments Urquiola. “Then I thought of how a white glove represents elegance and service. Closing my eyes, I knew there had to be a continuity of design flowing through the spaces; one point of view. But I also wanted there to be a sense of memory here.”
The original structure, with rooms for staff, a double hall and long hallways with lots of doors has been transformed into a spacious, transparent single-family apartment for four people, full of light and air.
A kitchen in combination with cabinets from floor to ceiling has laser-cut front panels, all spray painted white. This pattern results in a dynamic mixture of open and closed cabinets, the holes also function as integrated handgrips. The transparency of the object’s skin gives depth to the volume which is complimented by furniture like the Grcic chair one. An atrium with open staircases brings natural light from a large roof light into the living area. Along the open staircase a wall of two stories high is covered with clear pine wood, and connects the two levels. Upstairs the master bedroom is situated next to a large bathroom with a finish of structured tiles from Patricia Urquiola, glass, and wooden cabinets.
Home 07, Amsterdam, Netherlands, by i29 | interior architects
The radical functionality of jet fighters and the elegance of supersonic aircrafts like the Concorde have inspired the style of the Berlin based architecture and design office KINZO. For a young family in Hamburg, KINZO has created a kitchen, reflecting the streamlined aesthetics, but also the spatial economics of aircrafts: The upper cabinets are reminiscent of the overhead compartments of aircrafts – and they swing open just the same way. The kitchen elements seem to float in space, cleverly arranged lights enhance the bright, airy and slightly “clinical” impression – but first of all, they create an illusion of space in a room of barely 20 square meters. What’s more, this bespoke kitchen didn’t cost a fortune.
Jet-Kitchen, Hamburg, Germany, by KINZO
It all started early this year when Jasper Morrison introduced us to the owners of one of the apartments in the housing block unit of the Marseille-based Radiant City by Le Corbusier. The Apartment 50 is not a museum; it is a lived-in space that we remodelled – just for the time of the summer season. We decided to feature a selection of objects from our collection of designs which seemed to rightly fit in this apartment and match the way the owners are living in it. As an echo to Charlotte Perriand and Jean Prouvé’s original furniture of the space, it seemed natural to us to articulate the remodelling around the SteelWood collection, Magis – including a table, some chairs and a shelving system. Additionally, while remembering that Le Corbusier had a special interest in tapestries, we felt comfortable with the idea of installing a group of Clouds, Kvadrat up on the wall. Finally, a Zip carpet, Vitra and two of our latest lighting designs, including Lampalumina, Bitossi and LightHouse, Established & Sons and Venini, complete this ephemeral remodelling project.
Despite its compact layout and clearly defined living zones, the model apartment appears extremely spacious, an effect that was achieved through a strong emphasis on transparency and openness in the design of the individual elements. A glamorous, curved staircase forms the central core of the apartment and opens up the two floors to create an open airspace, around which all the other rooms are grouped. Stepping onto the staircase thus becomes the ideal way of experiencing the apartment in its entirety.
Quant 1, Stuttgart, Germany, by Ippolito Fleitz Group
Rushcutters Bay Apartment, Australia, by Chenchow Little
Zege Architects has designed a new exclusive hotel in Thessaloniki for Chandris Hotels & Resorts. The Met Hotel includes a spa, VIP lounge, conference rooms, gourmet restaurants and atmospheric bars. The design hotel also displays works and installations of their own collection, featuring artists like Andreas Gursky, Thomas Struth, Bill Viola, Jenny Holzer and Jannis Varelas.
Bruce B./Emmy B. Design Agency, by Ippolito Fleitz Group
Enthusiastic collectors, Rob Ancum and Walther Kloet have restored a neglected house in Amsterdam to display their 20th century art, photography and furniture. During a visit, the architect Sjoerd Soeters remarked, “you have built your own small MoMA“.
Rob Ancum & Walther Kloet Residence, Amsterdam, Netherlands, by Designer, for UNStudio, Photography by
Circus is a restaurant that is also a venue for cabaret style acts, where the staff become the performers with the diners. The main dining table brings theatrical presence to the restaurant, as it doubles as a stage, with stairs at either end. The building once housed the animals which performed at the Royal Opera House.