DM Residence, Keerbergen, Belgium, by CUBYC Architects
Photography by Thomas De Bruyne and Koen Van Damme
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of its iconic Bourgie table lamp, Italian plastic furniture specialist Kartell invited ten designers associated with the company to create tribute pieces for a special exhibition. For their contribution, Japanese design studio Nendo decided to work with two of the lamp’s most distinctive characteristics – its use of silhouettes and its transparency – rather than touching the original design itself.
Nendo created a new table lamp by inverting and rotating the Bourgie lamp’s silhouette, so that when two of the new lamps are lined up together, the space between them forms the upside-down silhouette of the Bourgie lamp. “Because our homage inverts both the lamp’s figure-ground relationship and our regular sense of up and down, we named the lamp Eigruob” the designers told us.
Casa Cubo, the initiative of a couple of art collectors, was conceived to house a lodging and support center to artists and the development of the arts, but with all necessary facilities to serve as a home. The program was solved within a cubic block, split vertically into three levels and a mezzanine, whose façades are treated graphically as a combination of lines defined by the cladding cement plaques, by the glass strip on the mezzanine, and the striped wood composition that changes as the bedroom windows are opened and closed.
The service nucleus is located at the front of the ground level, comprising a kitchen, a restroom, a dining room and an entrance hall giving way to the wide room with double ceiling height and polished concrete floor, intended to host events, exhibitions or even work as a lounge that opens onto the backyard.
The mezzanine of the lounge, standing on the slab topping the service nucleus on the ground floor, houses the library, which is marked by three strong elements: a shelving unit extending the whole back wall, a strip of fixed glass next to the floor and a spiral staircase covered in wood that leads to the private quarters upstairs.
Private quarters consist of 3 bedrooms and a living room thoroughly lit through a floor-to-ceiling opening. The garage and service areas are located in the basement.
Stripping away the frills poses the risk of coming up against bare essentials, sometimes in a highly visible way. A fine example are Alessandro Zambelli’s new lights, designed for .exnovo. He calls the collection “Afillia,” a name borrowed from botany. In plant terms, it means leafless, though not lifeless: surely an apt image for a collection of luminous essentials and airy voids.
The Afillia range of six lighting accessories consists of three table lamps and three pendant lights. The base or socket ring is in Swiss pine, a premium wood from the Alto Adige mountains, hand-crafted according to the region’s ancient traditions. The wood fitting locks on to a light diffuser in polyamide (also known as nylon fibre), sintered by professional 3D printing.
The results are furnishing extras, either one-offs or limited editions. The avant-garde technology really does print them, but the machined product is in perfect harmony with the intuitive skill of the master-craftsmen who shape the material from the amorphous polymer block. They finish off the process by hand, lending the personal touch to every creation. The centrepiece of each accessory is a diffuser which embraces and embellishes space. Delicate, lace-like patterns with their geometrical pinholes give rise to two-dimensional origami in thin, curvaceous spirals. Free to waver at will, the light casts fleeting shadows, then beams into unexpected focus, forming compact halos, round and bright. This is energy in fluid form, in the no-man’s land between stuff and shape, air and light.
Afillia by Alessandro Zambelli for .exnovo
Camino Norte House, Palm Springs, California, by William F. Cody, via: Plastolux, Photography © James Haefner
The increased use of screens, emitting their constant bright white light, is blurring the distinction between work and leisure, between day and night. But for us human beings it is best to experience light of varying warmth and intensity within the 24-hour cycle: bright white during the day to help us stay alert and concentrate; warmer, soothing light during the evening to help us wind down and prepare for sleep. Arnout Meijer has designed the Thanks for the Sun Series to allow users to adapt the temperature and character of the light in their rooms.
Thanks for the Sun Serie, by Arnout Meijer Studio
In his never-ending quest to capture the Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote has been a faithful customer of the Acme Company, whose products-Spherical Bombs, Rocket Skates, Spring-Powered Shoes-invariably fail him at the worst possible time. Pentagram’s Daniel Weil has reimagined designs for five of these gadgets, rendered as a series of highly detailed technical diagrams. The drawings were inspired by Ian Frazier’s classic humor essay Coyote v. Acme and accompany a republishing of the article for Pentagram’s annual holiday card.
Originally published in The New Yorker, Coyote v. Acme presents the opening statements of an imaginary lawsuit by Coyote against Acme for his personal injuries caused by the faulty devices, citing 85 occasions in which they “did cause him bodily injury due to defects in manufacture or improper cautionary labeling.” Our holiday greeting reprints Frazier’s essay as a mini legal brief with Weil’s drawings presented as supporting evidence. Weil carefully considered the design of each cartoon product, making sure the contraptions would functionally work.
So who is at fault, Coyote or Acme? Even when pressing his case, Coyote can’t seem to cut a break. Weil’s designs for the gadgets undermine Coyote’s legal claims with special safety features like “screw-in detonator” for the Spherical Bomb and a “weighted armor jacket” to be worn with the Rocket Skates. The look of the diagrams is inspired by the photo-realistic illustrations of the McMaster-Carr hardware catalog. But Wile E. skims over the fine print. As Weil tells Wired Design in a post about the project, “The Coyote, like most males, never reads the instructions.”
Pentagram Project Team, Product design: Daniel Weil, partner-in-charge and designer. Illustrations by Simon Denzel. Book design: Michael Bierut, partner-in-charge and designer; Jesse Reed, designer. Coyote v. Acme © Ian Frazier. First published in The New Yorker, February 26, 1990.
Coyote v. Acme, by Pentagram
Located on a sloping mountain ridge at the foot of the Yatsugatake Mountains, this house was designed on a piece of land that offers spectacular views that are rarely known. Seeking for the best in picturesque scenery, the client took up residence in Tateshina, and spent many years searching for the ideal site for building his house.Inevitably, the main aim of this project is to meet the client’s expectations to incorporate these stunning views in to the design.
When I visited the site, my first impression was that this untapped and expansive nature must be embraced into the interior to the greatest extent possible. I decided to arrange the house in such that this horizontal expanded scenery must be maximized. In order to realize this design, I introduced mega structures column enabling half of the house to extend into the air. To support this large overhanging floor, 2 diagonal bracing steel cylinders, each 300 mm in diameter is introduced. With this, the house is floats in to the midst of a glorious natural surroundings. With this overhanging structure, the breeze of the mountain plateau flow through the interior, makes you coexistent with nature.
When you are invited to the entranceway, after passing through the restrained space of the hallway, and as you enter in to this dramatic space, magnificent and impressive scenery spreads out before your eyes. Living / dining / kitchen area, the majestic panoramic view extends on all three sides is something you can’t find anywhere else, but here in this space. And the scenery is all to your own.
This space is an extravagant experience that only those who have given a privilege to be invited can truly enjoy. Other rooms are planed to offer differing views of the mountains, enabling a variety of views from each of the rooms. The high ceilings and wide wood deck and eaves enable a space steeped in the overwhelming presence of the panoramic views of the area.The feeling is so intense that it is almost as if you are living on a cloud.
The various components have been elevated through careful attention to detailing, and the refinement of the structure gives a sense of tension and unity to the space and adequate materials, achieving the proper balance between a dominance over and a harmony with the surrounding natural environment. The character and humility of this dwelling, constructed without compromising the vision of the architect, expresses a dignified reverence for the scenery surrounding it.
House in Yatsugatake, Nagano, Japan, by Kidosaki Architects Studio
Over the course of… four years, George Nelson, along with his associate Gordon Chadwick, would execute a highly personalized design-a home tailored to the members and lifestyle of the Kirkpatrick family. This itself is not remarkable-it could be said of any architectural commission. What makes the Kirkpatrick House so special-then and now-are the universal qualities that transcend the specifics.
The best Nelson designs, be it a clock, chair, or in this case, home, share that same elusive trait. His view of design allowed for both modular system and mannerist quirk. As an “architect in industry” (as he categorized himself in the introduction to the 1948 Herman Miller Collection catalogue), Nelson was responsible for creating-and making salable-consumer goods. In the Kirkpatrick House, it becomes clear that this mentality affected his practice of architecture in equal measure. A product had to be unique to stand out in the market, but it also had to appeal to a wide array of people to be successful. Even in the execution of this private home for personal friends, Nelson’s brand of modernism embraces this duality fully.
Kirkpatrick House, Kalamazoo, Michigan, by George Nelson, Gordon Chadwick
via: Herman Miller