The municipality of Wemmel, situated on the outskirts of Brussels, is well known for its green areas with their monumental villas of the upper class. After a search of several years, the principal saw a house situated in one of those quarters. It was not his dream house but because of its marvellous location and the south orientated garden, he decided to buy it.
DmvA was commissioned to turn the rather classical house into a contemporary edifice. No sooner said than done, but the fact that also the neighbours had to approve the design to get a building license, as prescribed in the building regulations, had a great impact on the design. So no total ‘methamorphosis’ of the existing house, just small interventions. The façades of the existing house were painted white. The interior was furnished in black and white. The swimming pool was renovated and framed by an illuminating glazed ‘retaining wall. Finally, two sculptural white volumes were added connecting inside and outside, linking house, pool and garden.
House LS, Brussels, Belgium, by dmvA
Photography by Frederik Vercruysse
Caslon is a high class sofa and one-seater with international potential and generosity. Caslon is architectural in the outer shapes and carries elegant sewing details that enhances the feeling of exclusivity. At a distance Caslon blends into the interior without screaming for attention, but once you get close you start noticing the care for details.
“There is a pure simplicity to the front, which draws the perfect balance of hard and soft, of pure geometry in its form and unexpected beauty in its details.” says Brad Ascalon. “The sofa is at first glance, simple, easily understandable, unadorned. But as one examines it in greater depth and with greater closeness, one begins to see the details – the stitching, the treatment of its upholstery, the attention given from every angle.”
Caslon Collection, by Brad Ascalon, for Mitab
The residence was designed to take advantage of the site’s striking features, including majestic oak trees and large boulders. The house is divided into two wings. A public wing includes living, dining and kitchen areas and opens up to the main outdoor dining and lounging areas. The second, more intimate wing, contains bedrooms, bathrooms and a library all of which open up to small outdoor courtyards and terraces. The property also includes a lap-pool and an existing guest house.
The building is constructed of exposed steel, glass, concrete and insulated metal panels. The Montecito Residence takes full advantage of the indoor-outdoor living made possible by California Coast’s mild climate. Designed specifically without air-conditioning, the house is cooled exclusively by cross-ventilation. Large operable sectional glass doors, sliding doors and windows can be opened and closed to quickly adjust to the climate conditions and the occupants’ comfort. In addition, the house’s radiant heat system is fed by solar collector panels. Other sustainable features include highly efficient boilers, photovoltaic panels and an Energy-Star rated “cool” roof.
Montecito Residence, Montecito, California, by Barton Myers Associates
Photography by Ciro Coelho
On a marvelous place like a piece of earthly paradise, at Cádiz, we have built an infinite plane facing the infinite sea, the most radical house we have ever made. At the very edge of the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, where the sea unites the new and the old continent, emerges a stone platform. At the place where all the ships from the Mediterranean used to pass and still pass by as they head off into the Atlantic. There we have erected a house as if it were a jetty facing out to sea. A house that is a podium crowned by an upper horizontal plane. On this resoundingly horizontal plane, bare and denuded, we face out to the distant horizon traced by the sea where the sun goes down. A horizontal plane on high built in stone, Roman travertine, as if it were sand, an infinite plane facing the infinite sea. Nothing more and nothing less.
The House of the Infinite, Cádiz, Spain, by Alberto Campo Baeza
Photography by Javier Callejas
Ruutu, which means diamond or square in Finnish, is a collection of 10 vases available in five sizes and seven colours. When collected and combined, they make small seamless installations where both the strength and the delicate nature of the glass come alive. Like Ittala’s iconic Alvar Aalto collection, Ruutu is also created in Iittala’s Finland factory. However, where the Aalto vase embodies an organic form, Ruutu follows strict form and makes a perfect collectible.
Designers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec explain, “Iittala knows very well how to manipulate colours. In Ruutu, we were able to create a delicate, watercolour-like palettes that intermingle with each other when combining sizes and colours. Ruutu allows a game of composition. We wanted to show the sophisticated range of Iittala colours while at the same time handing the job over to the user who will feel tempted to have several modules to create his or her own individual assemblage.”
Ruutu was an inspiring challenge in the Iittala glass factory given the many hours required to create symmetry, yet keep the feel of a handcrafted, unique product. “We were seeking to express the purity of glass blowing in this simple diamond shape,” explain the Bouroullec brothers. “Glass is a material that likes round shapes. When hot it flows like honey and does not like to be pulled into a very precise geometric shape. By developing the strict shape we are reaching the limits of the material, and using the highest level of the Iittala glass-blowing expertise.”
Hypetex, the high performance brand best known for having introduced the world to colored carbon fiber, has collaborated with furniture designer Michael Sodeau to create a limited edition lounge chair. Entitled ‘Halo’, the lightweight object is produced entirely from Hypetex, a material developed by engineers from Formula One, and has been designed to utilize the unique properties of the new composite. The Halo lounge chair features a thin wing-shaped seat on three legs and a large disc-shaped back that completely eclipses the seat when viewed from behind.
Halo Chair, by Michael Sodeau
Aptly named, Heavy Metal is a steel clad private residence that sits on eight acres of heavily wooded terrain. As an owner of a steel manufacturing facility, the homeowner wanted a residence to reflect his distinctive family business and his personal artistic background, but also become a “forever-home” for him and his family. As an industrial entrepreneur, steel is introduced as an element to add a level of interest and texture from the inside out. The hot-rolled steel on the interior of the home is blackened and maintains a natural “grain”, while outside the exposed custom perforated panels are allowed to rust, bringing out the natural warm reds of the steel’s iron oxide.
Being a single-level dwelling the home is easy to move through. Neutral walls and floors facilitate a gallery-like space that showcases the client’s art collection. Warmth and texture is introduced into the spaces through something natural, elements and furnishings that interact with the user and relate to the home’s exterior context. Heavily textured rugs break up vast expanses of concrete floor while walnut wraps selected vertical and ceiling planes for added richness and warmth. Natural light filters through the exterior perforated panels in the daytime and likewise in the evening the light from the home softly glows through the exterior skin. A careful combination of indirect cove lighting and aggregate task lighting help maintain the calm aesthetic of the residence and further define the spaces in the otherwise open floor plan.
Heavy Metal House, Joplin, Missouri, by Hufft Projects
Bridge House is a multi-generational family home that spans both landscapes and age groups. Sited between a suburban development and a protected wooded area, the Bridge House appears as a single family home from the front. Its rear elevation reveals an internal organization designed to accommodate three generations living together under one roof-or in this case, within three volumes that act as a number of roofs. These three volumes are devices that frame views through the house of the dramatically sloped wooded site.
Each tubular volume contains a carefully organized relationship of private and public areas that correspond to the family’s generational structure. The smaller volume of the ground floor is the private master suite for the grandparents (the clients) who are first-generation Korean-American immigrants to the United States. The larger volume of the ground floor is the collective public area of the multi-generational home, which includes all shared programs, such as the kitchen, family room, dining room and garage. Physicallybridging between these two spaces is a long volume that houses the family’s second and third generations. Two master suites bookend the bar volume: one for their visiting daughter and one for their live-in son and daughter-in-law who reside in the space with the clients’ two grandchildren. The grandchildren live in a “Jack and Jill” suite and have access to the upper-level outdoor space, which is set between the master bedrooms.
Bridge House, McLean, USA, by Höweler and Yoon Architecture
A trompe l’oeil wooden upholstery seat. Available in maple or walnut.
Trompe L’oeil Bench, by Rüskasa
One of our client’s major requirements was for a living space where the presence of the family would always be felt. In response, we devised a single-roomed layout without columns that took advantage of the distinctive features of the existing warehouse. A large kitchen was installed to cater to the needs of the food-loving husband-and-wife couple. We then conceived the entire living space by taking the kitchen as a focal point, with a mix of various other activities and functions unfolding around it. Within this single-roomed space, we also created a box-like structure with a loft bedroom for the children on top of it, and private quarters including a bedroom and bathroom inside it. In order to minimize heat loss within this massive space, a 100mm layer of urethane foam was added to the walls, floors and ceiling, while a combined heat and power device was installed in the living room to heat water and provide floor heating. All openings were designed by making use of existing sash windows and doors, while glass panes were all given a double-glazing treatment to improve insulation.
Family House, Gifu, Japan, by Airhouse Design Office
Photography by Toshiyuki Yano