Matsuso T is a collaboration project between Hiroshima’s expert carpentry workers and Jin Kuramoto design studio. Many of the professional wood working techniques used by expert carpentry workers in Hiroshima come from traditional wooden boat making. These boat making techniques can be seen in the overall design, as well as a gracious harmony between function and form.
Matsuso T, by Jin Kuramoto Studio
Photography by Takumi Ota
G12 House, Überlingen, Germany, by (se)arch Freie Architekten BDA
Photography by Zooey Braun
The owners of this house are a family of five with kids ranging from elementary school to middle school. They had hired Klopf Architecture about 10 years ago to design an addition to their ranch home, but had dreamed of living in a modern home even back then. When they eventually found the right home, an Eichler in Burlingame that had recently been used as a group home for up to 12 people at a time, they knew from the start they wanted an open, light-filled, clean, bright (and of course updated) home. The owners shared much of the same tastes with us, so the design was a very smooth collaboration. The family had been collecting mid-century modern furniture, and once they were moved into this house rounded out their collection to furnish the whole house.
Project goals were to allow for more connection than even the original house had, as well as increase the functionality of utility spaces and improve the kitchen / family room so that a family of five could live together happily in these spaces. There were removed half the wall between the kitchen / family area and dining room, and also replaced half the solid wall of the dining room with a large, fixed window to the back yard – this gives a direct view to the rear yard from the computer desk area, as well as allows much more circulation into and out of the kitchen / family room area. We also reconfigured a hallway closet, laundry closet, and 2-room bathroom into a full bath, a half bath, a laundry room, and a linen closet. We widened the space in the kitchen and set up a huge, single plane island for projects, feeding the kids, entertaining, and work space.
Double Gable Eichler Remodel, Burlingame, California, by Klopf Architecture
Photography by Mariko Reed
At the bauhaus art school in Dessau, two original buildings designed by Walter Gropius have been restored and reinterpreted by German practice BFM Architekten. The project, which reopened its doors on may 16th, 2014, generated a great deal of debate regarding alternative approaches to the memorial site. Potential options included the complete reconstruction of of the homes, in line with the principles of monument protection; the aesthetic reconstruction of the outer shells in the interests of tourism; and the conservation of the structures as historic records of destruction.
The final decision was to integrate both reconstruction and conservation, safeguarding the legacy of the building with an updated and reconfigured design. The completed structures stand as stacked compositions of concrete, influenced by their former structural shape. Externally as well as internally, many of the design’s intricate details have been excluded, simplifying the existing volumes.
Bauhaus Masterhouses, Dessau, by Walter Gropius
Photography by Sebastian Gündel and Christoph Rokitta
Casa Spodsbjerg is a family summer home on a rocky beach in Denmark. Completed in 2010 by Arkitema Architects, this house is designed to take advantage of the views and characteristics of its site. The structure is composed of two staggered volumes on a concrete foundation. One volume houses the living rooms while the other holds the bedrooms and bathrooms. The living room utilizes floor to ceiling windows to achieve an unbroken view of the sea and beach. The bedrooms are on the second story and are more shielded, allowing for a quiet and peaceful place to rest. Casa Spodsbjerg uses a limited number of materials in its design. Concrete is used for the base and internal forms, the floors are a light hardwood, and the ceilings covered with a warm, slatted wood.
Casa Spodsbjerg, Denmark, by Arkitema Architects
Richard Hutten has designed the Layers Cloud Chair made from layers of fabric cut using a CNC machine.
Dutch design office Roderick Vos Studio has recently opened a new showroom in the town of ‘s Hertogenbosch (also called Den Bosch for short) in The Netherlands, which reflects its designers’ convictions and philosophy about what design should (or should not) be. Founded in 1990 by designers and partners in life Roderick Vos and Claire Teeuwen, the studio specialises in innovative interior solutions and product designs for the home. With collaborations with companies such as Alessi, Driade and Moooi, products on display include iconic design pieces such as the modular Dresser Montigny, the almost poetic Kiyo faucet and the organic Atlantis bowl. More recent projects at the Roderick Vos Studio include the hybrid Bucketlight (cast-aluminium pots with live plants hung from the ceiling, double-functioning as lighting) and the interior design for the eat-in kitchen of hotel Château de la Resle in Burgundy, France.
Roderick Vos’ philosophy as a designer is simple and concise: ”Good design should be self-explanatory,” in other words, a design object should not require intellectual and conceptual explanations in order to be appreciated, used and enjoyed. For Roderick Vos, art and design are two different beasts, with the latter being in the service of everyday life, utility and efficiency. A firm believer in the disarming power of simplicity and beauty, he strives towards creating objects that make the people who use them happy, placing more emphasis on the emotional impact of a product. Like a researcher armed with a child-like curiosity and eagerness for experimentation and play, he seeks new ideas in the factories and workshops where his products are manufactured, drawing inspiration from getting to know different materials, crafting techniques and the craftspeople themselves.
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