Shanghai-based architects Neri&Hu recently completed a 250 square-meter private residence in a high rise tower in the heart of Singapore. The client’s mandate was simple: “Give me three bedrooms and a project that will challenge the conventional notion of what a flat should be.” Rising up to this challenge, Neri&Hu initiated the project by questioning the fundamentals of the “house” typology itself, asking themselves: How can we free up the plan and make it feel light and loft-like? What is the relationship between the communal and private? When and how should privacy be maintained, if at all? What are the essential and non-essential program components that make a “home”? What is domesticity?
The resulting parti breaks though all conventions of the standard apartment layout by placing the rooms away from the building edge, reserving a continuous corridor along the entire perimeter. Rather than enter into the center and then radiate outwards towards individual rooms, a configuration often taken for granted as the ideal condition in high rise residences, here, the private zone forms the core of the space, while the public circulation zone envelops and ties everything together. The strategic insertion of three free floating volumes, clad in wood, stone, and copper, adds to the depth of the spatial layers, enclosing within them the most private and intimate rooms of all–the study and the two bathrooms. The remaining space is kept transparent, pushing the boundaries of how open and extroverted a room can be, while still maintaining privacy. The project rejects the parcelization of spaces found typically in apartment layouts, creating an openness and expansiveness that is more conducive to the contemporary lifestyle.
Wu Residence, Singapore, by Neri&Hu, Photography by Pedro Pegenaute
This flat was originally the atelier of the painting school, a spacious room with a lot of light, surrounded by a corridor with several serving rooms. In the 1920s two conventional flats were built in.
We stripped everything back to the original structure, looking for space and light and interpreted the corridor and the additional rooms as one entity with the atelier, by enlarging the original door openings into proper wider gaps. So in the end there was just one big space, with the necessary remaining fragments of the original supporting wall. These slices of walls we are the semen out of which we created the 5 sculptures, new objects playing and generating different living situations. Each sculpture can unfold by sliding room high, partly soundproof elements.
Different room situations occur, when the sculptures touch each other. The flat can be used as a loft or, great for a family, as a 4 bedroom flat. By creating sculptures rather than rooms (the bath is an open stone sculpture, which can be separated by a fine glass membrane) the maximum amount of space is available and usable the whole day. the sleeping room is like the bath room part of the living room, but can be separated from it by a large sound proof sliding door (part of the kitchen sculpture).
The 5 sculptures give light to the whole place through indirect in built light gaps and become a lively part of this world and not just periphery furniture. Those light gaps indicate the trace of the old supporting wall, the semen and the freshly grown sculpture. They are witness of time and the progress of our perception of living. We impose various programs on the sculptures, which influence the materialization. So holds a stone the bath and shower, the y shaped cupboard sculpture creates a new room by touching this stone, in the same time cuts the ceiling and exposes its inner skeleton and the kitchen is a flying cube, telling of the original spacious structure. The sculptures write their own script.
5sculptures, Zürich, Switzerland, by Gus Wüstemann, Photography by Bruno Helbling
Located in a quiet street in the Chamberi neighborhood of Madrid, the Orfila flat is a gut renovation intervened within a historic 19th century apartment building. The original 200 sq. meter flat contained a winding maze of rooms which were gutted to design a structural framework allowing for an open plan which brings together various domestic programs including sleeping quarters, office, living space, open shower, kitchen and terrace.
The project materials are addressed simply using naturally treated Macael marble throughout the flat and Dinesen hardwood floors in the bedrooms. The massive nature of the marble surface offers a continuous artificial landscape that fuses washrooms and public spaces into one.
Vertical openings were enlarged through structural means as much as possible and a terrace was extended beyond the existing limits of the property to maximize natural light.
5th Avenue Apartment, New York, by Thomas Phifer and Partners
Brandimage and Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance have designed the new Air France business lounge at Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport. This lounge has been conceived as a harmonious pathway, consisting of sections which are conducive to walking acting as a prelude to the journey ahead. The architectural concept was inspired by a park and developed around a contemporary reinterpretation of the plant expression. Shapes, materials and colours conjure up nature and the organic world. The paths are organised and give structure to the lounge like offshoots of a plant: taut lines and curved shapes go hand in hand with the vision and retain privacy without partitioning. This upmarket lounge, which is over 3,000 m2, is situated in the new S4 boarding satellite at Paris-Charles de Gaulle.
Located in the heart of the city, little more than 200 metres from Valencia Cathedral and the Basilica, the Caro Hotel is the first historical monument-hotel in Valencia. An urban and commercially independent hotel, the establishment has intelligently merged the legacy of historical substrata lying within its walls with the most vanguard of interior design.
Unique and authentic in style, the project undertaken by the interior designer Francesc Rifé is meticulous in its attention to detail, imbuing the hotel with a contemporary air, clean, geometric lines, which merge seamlessly with the original architectonic features of the former Palace of the Marquis of Caro, whose eclectic facade dates back to the nineteenth century. Beyond its facade, its walls stand guard over an unparalleled inheritance of more than 2,000 years of history, of which the original mosaic belonging to the founding city of the Roman era, “Valentia Edetanorum” (2nd century B.C.), the thirteenth-century Arabic defensive wall, several gothic arches and nineteenth-century constructions have been preserved, restored and integrated into its spaces.
Caro Hotel, Valencia, Spain, by Francesc Rifé Studio
Situated on the 56th floor of the Montparnasse Tower, the Ciel de Paris restaurant spanning a whopping 400 sq.m makes an awe inspiring amber glowing statement on the Parisian skyline. At once, incredibly chic, welcoming and ethereal, like a Barbarella set, Ciel de Paris surrounds you like a bubble, encompassing the sleek 1960′s space influenced aesthetic. The skilled composition of the sombre reflections transform with time to create the perfect space to while away the hours waiting to experience the City of Lights like never before. Stepping into this restaurant is like floating through space where the breathtaking view from the huge bay windows is juxtaposed with the Star Trek meets stylish bars seen in 60′s French Truffaut films feeling throughout. The whole ambience lends itself to a world of go-go dancers shimmying away atop tables cleverly mixed with incredible modernity aimed at the chicest of tourists and locals alike.
The sleek modern interior design by Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance sets the stage for the accompanying furniture pieces which sit organically in fluid surroundings. Smooth flowing walls nodding seductively to retro references dance with modernity to produce something that is very special indeed. The lighting, designed especially for the project, in partnership with Artemide, resembles a cluster of planets or even the surface of the moon. This lighting arrangement, which can’t help but remind one of evenings spent gazing at the skies above, is then artfully reflected in the subtle circles in the made-to-measure Taî Ping carpet and the bar. The bar, strongly resembling a spaceship, like many of the fittings, is backlit by indirect lighting, creating a halo of light that is then projected onto the ceiling. Further orchestrated touches in the grey satin finish seating, Stolz leather interior and wooden benches which add a natural touch bringing the whole scheme back down to earth, all add to the unraveling of layers of genius in the overall design. All in all, this is a space full of surprises that yearns to be explored by the eye.
Barbara Hill’s signature moves feature a heavy rotation of glass walls, open spaces, concrete floors, and the blue-chip minimalist art she helped introduce to the area back in the 1970s as an early champion of Sol LeWitt and Daniel Buren. For her latest project, the venerated designer ventured out of Texas in the company of a family of four, whose contemporary Houston home she outfitted four years ago. The owners, who relocated to Atlanta, Georgia, for work, wanted to re-create the feeling of their previous house with the furniture Hill had already selected and her unerring taste, which aligns so closely to their own that, say the homeowners, they “never” disagree. After striking out on a search for an outwardly modern home in the genteel capital city, they changed tack and ranked their new neighborhood – formal, tree-lined, and gracious – as first priority, figuring they could make over the interior spaces with Hill’s assistance. The house they purchased is a Mediterranean-style two-story stucco structure that was chockablock with dark wood molding and floorboards, making Hill’s modern transformation even more remarkable.
Atlanta House, Atlanta, Georgia, by Barbara Hill, via: dwell
Prototype of Futuristic Habitat, the structure is composed of three coordinated units which are equipped using technological advancement and innovative materials. A) Central-Living: living space for leisure; B) Night-Cell: can be closed and climate controlled for sleeping, includes bathroom and closets; C) Kitchen-Box: air-conditioned kitchen equipped with a pull-out dining table.
Central living block of the “Wohnmodel 1969″, by Joe Colombo, shown at the “Visiona” exhibition by Bayer AG (Leverkusen) 1969
Renovation of a 130m2 apartment, located in the heart of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, in a catalogued building located behind the City Hall. The proposal respects the original structure reinforcing the different spaces identity through a strong intervention. The project is based on a reinterpretation of the existing spatial structure of different rooms with differentiated uses and atmospheres, redefining the assigned uses and functions and creating new spatial and visual connections without allowing the traditional elements to predominate. The aim is to create a peaceful environment which allows its young owner privacy and a work place, while creating a social meeting place for meals and parties. The kitchen-dining room, a spacious and clean space, warm and elegant, recalls the old clubs and cafes. The ceiling and longitudinal wall, which begins in the entrance vestibule, are paneled with tinted pine wood slats, assembled by hand.
Apartment in Barcelona, by YLAB