This three-bedroom vacation home on Big Sur’s spectacular south coast is anchored in the natural beauty and power of the California landscape. The site, which features a 250-foot drop to the Pacific Ocean along the bluff and toward the west, offers dramatic views. Yet it demands a more complex form than a giant picture window. The long, thin volume of the house conforms to the natural contours of the land and the geometries of the bluff, deforming its shape and structure in response, much like the banana slug native to the region’s seaside forests. In this way, the complex structural system applies natural forms to accommodate the siting. The main bearing system of the house is set back twelve feet from the bluff, both to protect the cliff’s delicate ecosystem and to ensure the structure’s integrity and safety. The house itself is cantilevered over the bluff. The interior is a shelter, an elegant refuge in contrast with the roughness and immense scale of the ocean and cliff.
The main body of the house is composed of two rectangular boxes connected by an all-glass library/den. A one-story concrete wing perpendicular to the main volume holds the ground-floor bedrooms and features a green roof; it is the boulder that locks the house to the land. The lower of the two main volumes, a double-cantilevered master bedroom suite, acts as a promontory above the ocean, offering breathtaking views from its floor-to-ceiling windows. The upper volume is an open-plan space-kitchen, living room, and dining room-with a swooping ceiling, all clad in wood, that follows the shape of the land.
The house’s two main facades express both shelter and exposure. On the north, clear expanses of glass reveal ocean and coastline views; long strips of translucent channel glass dapple the light, playing on the sea’s shimmering surface. The south facade, clad in copper, which wraps over the roof, is mostly enclosed, offering a retreat from the forces of nature. Roof overhangs on the east and west protect the windows and the front door from the harshness of sun and wind.
Fall House, California, by Fougeron Architecture
Photography by Joe Fletcher
Barcelona-based designer Eugeni Quitllet’s ‘Tabu’ for Alias reinterprets the hand-crafted tradition of chair-making using digital fabrication, digitally carving and assembling FSC certified wood to create a series of contemporary chairs with various seat backs. There are five different versions/generations of ‘Tabu’, from full back rest to one that doubles as an occasional table. The most striking, a version with a plexiglass backrest. “To synthesize nature in order to naturalize industry. To recover the sense of Authenticity, Beauty and Goodness, ‘Tabu’ is a metaphor of truth.” says the Catalan designer.
Tabu Chair, by Eugeni Quitllet, for Alias
Trained as an architect, but proficient in all manner of activities, Alexander Girard was introduced to Herman Miller through Charles Eames and George Nelson, established the Herman Miller Textile Division in 1952, and served as its Director of Design until 1973. From his outpost in Santa Fe, New Mexico, he designed over 300 textiles in multitudes of colorways, multiple collections of wallpaper, decorative prints and wall hangings, an expansive group of furniture, and both decorative and useful objects. His passion for international folk art led him around the globe as he amassed a collection of roughly 106,000 pieces, and his many corporate and freelance assignments-including the La Fonda Del Sol restaurant and the total design program for Braniff International-engendered lavish praise for his diverse skills and unique vision.
With a resolute and reserved personality, Girard believed quality should speak for itself-and he did much to propagate the notion that life should be lived with a higher regard for the humanity of one’s surroundings. His uncommon way of seeing and admirably undogmatic approach to each new solution resulted in an unparalleled body of work that is not only staggering in sheer volume and creativity, but due to its fundamental qualities of beauty and usefulness, remains completely relevant today. In 1972, Girard developed 40 decorative silkscreen designs to add an element of “aesthetic functionalism” to corporate environments. Unlike his printed textiles, the panels consist of single, stand-alone images that range from abstract patterns to figurative pictograms. Herman Miller is pleased to make 12 of these designs available once again.
Walking through the 2,000-square-foot showcase, traces of world cultures soon become evident. Girard did not wish to break all ties with the past, but was able to pull together disparate elements-popular culture, non art, folk motifs-and re-synthesize them with harmony and humor. “In the ideology of his work, Girard was about taking the entirety of history but in execution, he was one of those designers who followed nobody’s rules. And because of his skill level, his eye, things looked amazing. Girard could combine 18 fonts on one poster and it looked incredible. He could hand draw entire alphabet in mixed case letters and somehow it all fit together,” says Grawe.
Alexander Girard: An Uncommon Vision, May 17 – May 28, 2014, New York, Sponsored by Herman Miller Collection, Maharam
In early 2011 “House in Monterrey” – Ando’s first residential project in Mexico – was completed. The sprawling 4,900 sq-ft home, wedged into a mountain slope, looks like a little slice of heaven. It sits almost 3000 ft above sea level and looks out on the Sierra Las Mitras mountains. Amongst other luxuries, the home boasts a cantilevered infinity pool, a double-height library, a wine cellar, gym and, of course, a gallery.
House in Monterrey, Mexico, by Tadao Ando
Photography by Ogawa Studio
Has a wobbly head like the wobble-head figurines. The lampshade is fixed by a vacuum cup. In the base there is a magnet that connects with a separate magnet that you mount under the tabletop for stability.
Wobbelhead Lamp, by Morten & Jonas
Photography by Montag
The rural retreat home sits on an 80-acre agricultural site in the desert of California’s Central Coast wine region. The covered outdoor living and dining area is the heart of the home and the hub of family activity with the inclusion of an intimate fireplace overlooking the vast rural landscape. Concrete block walls create the spatial, social, and ecological organization of the building. Masonry was chosen for its elemental presence, its link to historic building traditions, and its visual and textural harmony with the surrounding natural environment. The design organizes domestic activity around the passage of the sun throughout the day, choreographing the quotidian rhythm of life on the land. Removed from the primary living zone, intimate bedrooms offer privacy and retreat when desired, each with its own separate outdoor domain.
A combination of thermal mass, building orientation, shading devices, and intelligent ventilation allows a bright, open home that remains comfortable throughout the day and throughout the year. This energy-efficient performance allows solar photovoltaic and thermal panels to provide electricity, space heating, and hot water. Aidlin Darling Design approached sustainability as more than simply a checklist of aggregated features. One of our guiding principles was the simultaneous performance of multiple functions by a single design element, achieving maximum benefit from minimal means. Ecologically responsible decisions are integrated throughout the design, making sustainability a deeply-embedded and inseparable quality of the completed project.
Paso Robles Residence, California, by Aidlin Darling Design
Photography by Matthew Millman
Alpina is a group of display stands designed for the London-based jewellery designer Melanie Georgacopoulos. The name Alpina refers to the landscape of the Alps region which is reflected in the design of the display. There are four sizes of stand and two neutral colourways in the group, which can be used together or individually, depending on the required arrangement. Georgacopoulos’s collection of rings, bracelets and necklaces can all be displayed on the stands, at different ‘points’ of the individual peaks.
Alpina Display Stands, by PostlerFerguson, for Melanie Georgacopoulos
The Jesolo Lido Pool Villa is the first of a developement for 9 single-family residences in the beach town of Jesolo Lido, Italy. The villa is a custom designed prefabricated wood structure, and it was built and furnished in only 6 months. Energy-saving high standards have been applied to the shell to guarantee maximum comfort and almost zero costs throughout the four seasons.
The building features wood structures as a flexible and anti-seismic system which also avoids thermal bridges. The 31cm of perimeter insulation, argon-gas insulated glass facades, 10 kw of photovoltaic panels installed on the roof and the interior / exterior led light fixtures co-operate in making a technologically contemporary building. Because of the small dimensions of the plot, the design goal has been directed in leaving as much open space as possible.
The indoor living area has transparent sides which opens towards two different-sized patios. An olive tree is the main three-dimensional element in the patio and it’s placed next to the staircase which leads to the underground level, where the storage and technical rooms are located. The outdoor areas, as a client’s main request, needed to be low maintenance, so most of the surface was paved and the plants in the inserts where selected in order to live with the least care possible. The 4-meter roof overhang to west allows to have enough shading during the hot summer months and allows to place a covered outdoor seating and dining areas. As always for JMA, the persuit of simplicity and linear solutions represented a large part of the design work.
Jesolo Lido Pool Villa, Jesolo Lido, Italy, by JM Architecture
Photography by Jacopo Mascheroni
As living spaces and kitchen islands merge together in most contemporary homes nowadays, i29 designed a kitchen that acts more as a piece of furniture instead of as a kitchen. Our aim was to develop a kitchen system that seems to disappear in space. The design is reduced to it’s absolute minimum, having a top surface of only a couple of centimeters thickness with all water, cooking and electrical connections included. Large sliding wall panels conceal all kitchen appliances and storage space. In the case of this apartment in Paris, where the kitchen concept is installed, an existing profiled wall is exactly copied on the front panels in order to integrate the solid volume with the monumental space. The freestanding kitchen island is placed in front of the panelled sliding doors.
Invisible Kitchen, by i29 Interior Architects
The jewelBOX accommodates two contradictory concepts. A monolithic mask, the building’s exterior versus a fluid interior. The mask reveals the ground floor volume through an ornamental iron gate. A black rectangular column redirects the visitor towards its two sections. The retractable iron gate exposes another metal canterleveled ‘sculpture’ that, along with the linear lighting, leads to the first level.
A dark wooden surface running along the wall masks the elevator door, frames the entrance and literally invades the otherwise bright light coloured space. At this point the visitor is ‘trapped’ within two perforated elements that mark the waiting area through which he can get glimpses of the white landscape wrapping around the perimeter of the space. This synthesis is abruptly interrupted by the roof that shoots up revealing the bright light coming through the huge glazing that frames the city.
Jewel Box, Kifisia, Greece, by Panos Nikolaidis & Errica Protestou
Photography by George Fakaros