A carefully considered response to a very steep site with understated ‘mute’, gently sloping, roughly rendered walls and a curved concrete roof. Celebrating modern Australian family life, a generosity of space without ostentation that is practical and serviceable.
Yarra House, by Leeton Pointon Architects, in association with Susi Leeton Architects, Photography © Peter Bennets
“My Flat, Mega Farm, Power Plant and Highway are designs that came from my research into public space and architecture and the idealized version of both in toy modelling. On the basis of my research I selected a number of buildings that epitomize today’s zeitgeist. I transformed these architectural types into toy blocks. In doing so I have two objectives. The first is to shed a light on the excessive nature of contemporary large scale architecture — the mega factory — by using the poor and abstract form language of toy blocks. My second objective is to make full use of the contrast between the harshness of contemporary architecture and the illusory children’s world of friendliness and unlimited possibilities cultivated by adults.”
- Maykel Roovers
Critical Blocks by Maykel Roovers
Mass-produced midcentury furniture by the Italian modernist Carlo Mollino can cost a few thousand dollars per piece, and his prototypes and custom works cause greater market stirs.
In 2005 and 2008, Christie’s in New York got seven-figure prices for 1940s oak and maple tables that Mollino created for a marquis in Turin. The designer worked in a vocabulary of hairpin turns, spikes and flanges. He was also notoriously moody and obsessive, and a daredevil who flew experimental planes, scaled mountains and raced cars.
His colorful biography adds to the appeal of the objects. “They have a huge aura about them,” said Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, the founder of the Salon 94 galleries in Manhattan.
A show with a few Mollino works from around 1950 (with five- and six-figure prices each) opens on Thursday at the Salon 94 branch on East 94th Street; display cases were designed by the British architect David Adjaye. The exhibition includes an ash bentwood chair and a resin-and-glass bookcase, made for a Turin publishing house, and aluminum boomerang light fixtures from a textile magnate’s apartment in Turin.
On Oct. 23 the Italian government blocked an auction at Christie’s in London that featured 30 pieces of 1950s Mollino furniture, which had long been installed in an Italian industrialist’s country house in the foothills of the Alps. The works, including oak and chestnut tables, chairs, cabinets and ceramic coat hooks, were deemed by the government to be treasures that could not be exported. (They were returned to their owner.)
On Dec. 10 Sotheby’s in New York will offer four 1940s oak chairs (estimated at $100,000 to $150,000 for the set) with split backs that a private collector found years ago at a Los Angeles tag sale. Mollino used the split-back design in ski resort and restaurant interiors, but no one knows where the tag-sale chairs originated.
Defined by a tall peripheral wall and several trees scattered throughout the property, the form follows the stacking of three basic concrete boxes of differing dimensions, the bottom open on the east/west axis and the top two facing north/south. made for a photographer to live and work, the ground level is a large open studio space, characterized by an all-white neutral interior that allows for control over color. Two large aluminum metal doors like awnings swing open to bring the exterior gardens into the space to provide natural light, or can be completely closed off so that the artist may manipulate artificial lights as desired. A free-standing green Formica box contains the bathroom and dressing room and separates the main studio area from the concealed stairs along the wall, lit from the sky, that take the residents up to the kitchen and dining room. This next volume is a single open space with a smaller inset concrete core containing the restroom, kitchen and storage space. The entire northern facade is a uniform fine wooden screen left in its natural dark stain that filters the intensity of the natural light coming in, while still allowing views to the outside with retractable sections; at night this lattice skin projects pixelated silhouettes of the interior as it glows from interior light. a wall of sliding glass panels further insulates the structure and provides cross ventilation. Following the vertical circulation to the next level reveals a living area within a smaller-scale version of the previous mass, containing a vibrant red mashrabiya skin that opens to a rooftop terrace, extending views over the tree canopies.
Our 2010 series on architectural models included the X-House (Casa X), Wallpaper* magazine has published some images of the completed project.
The X House project aims to solve by the definition of a system, language, or even through a unique form, a number of inquiries that rise up when we read the specific given site: how to protect and give protagonism to an impressive pine, that is located on the top of the site, and that makes access and approximation to the house extremely complex from the street; how to avoid deciding between the views to the sea and those to the mountains, and allow both visions in opposite directions; how to neutralize through form the presence of the contiguous constructions, to build up a fake isolation that denies the neighbours; how to double the main views, permitting quality frontal views from the front and the rear of the house; how to resolve so many a priories with a simple movement that answers to all of the previous aims without prioritizing nor explicitly formulating a response to any of them. The form, a unique form, is the result of a long process of search of individual answers to each of those challenges; thus, the form is not an a priori, but an effort to give a unitary response that satisfies each of the questions rose up in the design process.
The X House is also a constructive exploration: a technique regularly used for the infrastructural construction such as bridges and tunnels, is here developed to meet the architectural scale, aiming to incorporate efficiency, and reduction of costs to the construction. The use of a mixed technique based on the application of a high-density concrete allows projecting the material at a high pressure to a single-sided formwork, and to acquire high structural resistance in extremely short periods of time. Thus, it is possible to project continuous 6m high walls without the need to use a two-sided formwork (which would be the regular construction procedure). The house is therefore a living expression of the specific technique, and accumulates in its skin the diverse and continuous knowledge acquired within the process of construction.
The five courtyards articulate the flat continuous space of the house. The continuous concrete ceiling perforated by many square skylights erases the border between outside and inside.
Broken Pitched Roof House, Nakatsu, Oita, Japan, by NKS Architects
A new angular home in the south of Portugal has become a man made centerpiece between a family of 400 olive trees. The stark white structure, which appears to be a new build, is actually the remodeling and reconstruction of an existing home that has been covered with a geometric shell-like architectural canopy for temperature control against the beaming sun. Vitor Vilhena, founding architect of Vitor Vilhena Arquitectura, explains that the “architectural concept seeks to create two parcels with separate identities, including one volume with irregular geometry and other volume of regular geometry that communicate through a glass hallway. The surrounding outdoors relate to the terrain, landscape and vegetation.”
Located near the sea in Algrave, Vilhena decided to speak a contemporary language through the form of the home, with references to the vernacular of algarve architecture, then carry that language into the interiors. The interiors of the home are mostly white, with cool grey concrete ceilings. The interior rooms happily fit into the slanted ceilings, as bookshelves and cabinetry take unusual form to tie into the sculptural architecture!
“Mandatory reading for every graphic designer and architect, as well as those that aspire to these two professions, and most importantly for all who are concerned with the humanizing possibilities inherent in the visual arts.”
- James Stewart Polshek, FAIA
For centuries, the intimate relationship between graphic design and architecture has shaped not only cities and their structures but also the lives of their inhabitants. Graphic Design and Architecture: A 20th-Century History is the first historical overview which examines this unique marriage of graphic design and architecture in the context of artistic, social, and cultural movements and influences of the twentieth century.
Graphic Design and Architecture, A 20th-Century History: A Guide to Type, Image, Symbol, and Visual Storytelling in the Modern World, by Richard Poulin, 8.5 x 10 inches, 272 pages, 300 illustrations, ISBN: 9781592537792
Buy it here: Amazon
Dodo is a small container for soy sauce or oil. The container is made in silicone so that you can squeeze out the liquid. The shape of the container gives it a clear direction of use and also exudes a strong personality.
Ori grinders and salt cellar. These grinders and cellar were results from experimenting with origami in our studio. The shapes of folds and crystals inspired the idea of milling salt and pepper. The conflict between the top and the bottom parts is a physical representation of the internal grinding process. The grinders and cellar are made from maple wood and Corian.
Basic wood tools for food preparation including spatula, ladle, skimmer and rice paddle (shamoji). They are shaped in a way that makes them a natural extension of the hand.
These objects spring out of simple and ordinary, yet essential and vital, actions that tie people together across cultural differences. The objects are designed for everyday situations in Norway — they are Norwegian. However, we have been inspired by Japanese culture — or rather, by our particular understanding of Japanese culture. In other words: we have attempted to make Norwegian objects that could also be relevant to Japanese living. Our goal is to draw inspiration and knowledge from how our work is experienced in Tokyo.