HOUSE W, TAIPEI | BRINGING IN LIGHT, PLANTS AND AIR

2 March 2017

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Despite being located in a densely populated area of Taipei in Taiwan KC design studio managed to bring light, plants and air into this small three storey townhouse simply called, House W.

To overcome the houses’ disadvantaged location KC design studio opened up the roof and installed structural glass as part of the flooring on every level. This transparent core lets light travel all the way to the ground floor giving much needed daylight to the open plan kitchen, dining and living area.

Their second radical decision was to set the facade back and putting a metal mesh in its place. This creates semi transparent small outside spaces on each floor allowing the owners to bring in plants and greens whilst giving much needed air flow and a wonderful space to sit and relax.

I’ve been featuring a lot of extraordinary architecture lately – partly because I haven’t come across many equally extraordinary interiors. But the main reason is that even though these houses are out of many people’s reach financially (certainly mine) I believe you can always pick up interesting details and ideas from spaces that have had less constraints on budgets. Boutique hotels, bars, cafes and restaurants as well as any public building incorporates a myriad of ideas, details and materials that can translate into your own home. All it needs is some closer inspection and an open mind.

This home is fascinating for me as they’ve achieved an open-plan, modern and industrial look on a vertical scale. Bringing in plants and greenery has softened the look and added another layer of interesting texture. I like the juxtaposition of rough concrete beams next to the sleek stainless steel kitchen which is cleverly integrated into the staircase to make use of the limited space and to keep the ground floor as wide and open as possible. A design trick you may have seen in my blog post of an Islington conversion here a few weeks ago.

I hope you share my enthusiasm for this unusual space and it’ll give you some inspiration for your own home. It’s certainly got me thinking.

 

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house w, taipei, taiwan, townhouse, kc design studio, air, light, plants, structural glass, semi transparent, metal mesh facade, trend, industrial look, concrete, architecture, interiors

house w, taipei, taiwan, townhouse, kc design studio, air, light, plants, structural glass, semi transparent, metal mesh facade, trend, industrial look, concrete, architecture, interiors

house w, taipei, taiwan, townhouse, kc design studio, air, light, plants, structural glass, semi transparent, metal mesh facade, trend, industrial look, concrete, architecture, interiors

house w, taipei, taiwan, townhouse, kc design studio, air, light, plants, structural glass, semi transparent, metal mesh facade, trend, industrial look, concrete, architecture, interiors

house w, taipei, taiwan, townhouse, kc design studio, air, light, plants, structural glass, semi transparent, metal mesh facade, trend, industrial look, concrete, architecture, interiors

house w, taipei, taiwan, townhouse, kc design studio, air, light, plants, structural glass, semi transparent, metal mesh facade, trend, industrial look, concrete, architecture, interiors

house w, taipei, taiwan, townhouse, kc design studio, air, light, plants, structural glass, semi transparent, metal mesh facade, trend, industrial look, concrete, architecture, interiors

house w, taipei, taiwan, townhouse, kc design studio, air, light, plants, structural glass, semi transparent, metal mesh facade, trend, industrial look, concrete, architecture, interiors

house w, taipei, taiwan, townhouse, kc design studio, air, light, plants, structural glass, semi transparent, metal mesh facade, trend, industrial look, concrete, architecture, interiors

house w, taipei, taiwan, townhouse, kc design studio, air, light, plants, structural glass, semi transparent, metal mesh facade, trend, industrial look, concrete, architecture, interiors

house w, taipei, taiwan, townhouse, kc design studio, air, light, plants, structural glass, semi transparent, metal mesh facade, trend, industrial look, concrete, architecture, interiors

house w, taipei, taiwan, townhouse, kc design studio, air, light, plants, structural glass, semi transparent, metal mesh facade, trend, industrial look, concrete, architecture, interiors

house w, taipei, taiwan, townhouse, kc design studio, air, light, plants, structural glass, semi transparent, metal mesh facade, trend, industrial look, concrete, architecture, interiors

 

 
MORE INFORMATION & PHOTOGRAPHY | KC Design Studio with thanks
 
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IKEA | BLACK KITCHEN MADE FROM RECYCLED MATERIAL

27 February 2017

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I’ve been eyeing up black kitchens for a while on Pinterest and love Ikea’s new Kungsbacka model made from recycled materials. Designed in collaboration with Swedish design studio Form Us With Love the doors and fronts consist of a core of recycled timber and a veneer of recycled PET plastic bottles in anthracite.

I like how Ikea have kept the monochrome black look in this set up with a gorgeous black tap and a splashback made form the same material as the doors finished off with a black picture rail at the top including some black hooks to put your favourite cups on display. Ikea doing their own #ikeahack – genius.

 
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ikea, black kitchen, ikeahack, from us with love, design studio, collaboration, recycled materials, recycled timber, recycled pet bottles, anthracite, trend, style, styling, design, interiors, pella hedeby

 

 
MORE INFORMATION | Ikea
PHOTOGRAPHY | Ragnar Omarsson
STYLING | Pella Hedeby
 
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SPA ANNEX DESIGNED BY PATRICK JOUIN AND SANJIT MANKU

20 February 2017

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Oh this Spa annex had me at hello ‘beams and concrete’. It’s a recent addition to the family run Hôtel des Berges in the Alsace region and designed by Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku who previously redesigned the hotel’s Michelin stared restaurant.

To cater for mind, body and soul what better addition could there be to a family run hotel in a picturesque French village with a Michelin stared restaurant than a spa for guests who seek total relaxation in harmony with nature.

The building itself is inspired by the region’s large old barns and the structure is timber frame and concrete with chunky beams and untreated materials being used throughout. I like the deliberate choice of showing the building’s structure rather than concealing it with plasterboard. In particular the pitched roof in the generous five junior suites upstairs where the construction is fully exposed. A trend which I’ve noticed more of recently – see my post on the three mountain huts restaurant in Switzerland.

My favourite bit has to be the pool area though which is just perfectly and discreetly lit by the sunlight flooding in through those wooden slats across the window. What could be more relaxing than watching dispersed sunbeams dance across the water!?

 
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spa annex, mind, body, soul, relaxing, restful, harmony, nature, pool, french, alsace, pitched roof, exposed beams, untreated materials, discreet, michelin stared restaurant, hotel des berges, architecture, space design, Patrick Jouin, Sanjit Manku

spa annex, mind, body, soul, relaxing, restful, harmony, nature, pool, french, alsace, pitched roof, exposed beams, untreated materials, discreet, michelin stared restaurant, hotel des berges, architecture, space design, Patrick Jouin, Sanjit Manku

spa annex, mind, body, soul, relaxing, restful, harmony, nature, pool, french, alsace, pitched roof, exposed beams, untreated materials, discreet, michelin stared restaurant, hotel des berges, architecture, space design, Patrick Jouin, Sanjit Manku

spa annex, mind, body, soul, relaxing, restful, harmony, nature, pool, french, alsace, pitched roof, exposed beams, untreated materials, discreet, michelin stared restaurant, hotel des berges, architecture, space design, Patrick Jouin, Sanjit Manku

spa annex, mind, body, soul, relaxing, restful, harmony, nature, pool, french, alsace, pitched roof, exposed beams, untreated materials, discreet, michelin stared restaurant, hotel des berges, architecture, space design, Patrick Jouin, Sanjit Manku

spa annex, mind, body, soul, relaxing, restful, harmony, nature, pool, french, alsace, pitched roof, exposed beams, untreated materials, discreet, michelin stared restaurant, hotel des berges, architecture, space design, Patrick Jouin, Sanjit Manku

spa annex, mind, body, soul, relaxing, restful, harmony, nature, pool, french, alsace, pitched roof, exposed beams, untreated materials, discreet, michelin stared restaurant, hotel des berges, architecture, space design, Patrick Jouin, Sanjit Manku

spa annex, mind, body, soul, relaxing, restful, harmony, nature, pool, french, alsace, pitched roof, exposed beams, untreated materials, discreet, michelin stared restaurant, hotel des berges, architecture, space design, Patrick Jouin, Sanjit Manku

spa annex, mind, body, soul, relaxing, restful, harmony, nature, pool, french, alsace, pitched roof, exposed beams, untreated materials, discreet, michelin stared restaurant, hotel des berges, architecture, space design, Patrick Jouin, Sanjit Manku

spa annex, mind, body, soul, relaxing, restful, harmony, nature, pool, french, alsace, pitched roof, exposed beams, untreated materials, discreet, michelin stared restaurant, hotel des berges, architecture, space design, Patrick Jouin, Sanjit Manku

spa annex, mind, body, soul, relaxing, restful, harmony, nature, pool, french, alsace, pitched roof, exposed beams, untreated materials, discreet, michelin stared restaurant, hotel des berges, architecture, space design, Patrick Jouin, Sanjit Manku

 

 
ARCHITECTURE & SPACE DESIGN | Jouin Manku Agencies
MORE INFORMATION | Hôtel des Berges
PHOTOGRAPHY | Nicolas Mathéus with thanks
 
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ABSTRACT | THE ART OF DESIGN

18 February 2017

 

I’m currently glued to Abstract the new Netflix documentary series that showcases eight leading designers talking about their life, work, ideas and thought processes; from architect Bjarke Ingels, illustrator Christoph Niemann, set designer Es Devlin, interior designer Ilse Crawford, graphic designer Paula Scher, photographer Platon, automobile designer Ralph Gilles and Nike shoe designer Tinker Hatfield.

Each episode focuses on one designer and stands as it’s own film subtly implementing the subjects design sensibilities. The director cleverly lets us see through the eyes of Christoph Niemann giving an insight as to how he perceives the world around him and makes sense of it through illustration, trying to find just the right amount of ‘abstract’ on a scale from one pixel to a life like illustration. What really resonated with me was how he takes time out to experiment and play with shapes and objects, not looking for a solution but testing and simply enjoying the process. I feel in our result drive society this is something we all need to do more of.

Architect Bjarke Ingels is another hugely inspirational character who seems to have no fear but a helluva lot of passion for his art. More is more for him and his architecture design practice is appropriately called BIG – short for Bjarke Ingels Group.

His unconventional way of designing and building large residential buildings has not only caused controversy amongst the world’s architectural elite but set a historic new benchmark and he seems to be inundated with commissions from all over the world. From museums to stadiums, office and residential spaces – he’s enthusiastic about it all and comes across as a down to earth guy with no airs and graces just a load of bonkers ideas which turn out to be not quite so bonkers after all. Ski slope on top of a power station anyone!?

What I love mostly about this documentary is that it shows the human side of these iconic designers who are leaders in their field. 70% of Christoph Niemann commissions are under intense deadline pressure, he admits he struggles every day to live up to his latest great idea. Paula Scher says designing a logo is the easy part, convincing everybody to use it is the hard part. Bjarke Ingels fearlessly builds cheaper and bigger than any competitor causing controversy.

These are themes widely recognised by any designer – certainly by me – and it’s comforting to find out how everybody has the same doubts, fears and struggles.

Designer or not – go watch!

 

Above | illustration by Christoph Niemann

 


 
 
MORE INFORMATION | Netflix, Abstract: The Art Of Design
PRODUCED BY | Scott Dadich, Morgan Neville and Dave O’Connor
 
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UNIQUE MIRROR TRAYS BY NOTRE MONDE HOMEWARE

16 February 2017

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Back in October Tiff and I organised a Function+Form Bloggers Tour to Antwerp discovering this hip city (here and here) and all it has to offer including designers and makers. One brand we were introduced to was Notre Monde who’s founder Dawn Sweitzer has been creating unique functional objects since 1997.

Her inspiration mostly stems from travel and nature featuring distinctive global patterns, textures and layers which are translated onto objects with traditional printing and hand-finishing techniques. Dawn is a self taught artist and now lives in North Carolina where she experiments with new techniques to give her designs authenticity and unique character.

She has distinctive ranges from the cheerful and luxurious Mystic Gold and Ocean Blue, to The Golden Hour and the vivid and elegant Tribal Quest inspired by tribal textile prints from Africa to Indonesia. Her mirror trays represent the core of her collection which also features complementary objects such as tables, frames and cabinets.

I was lucky to be given a light aged mirror which adds some much needed gritty-ness and eclectic flair to my home which I tend to keep very minimal. The antique effect on mirrors is a trend I keep seeing more and more of and which works incredibly well with darker interior colours and rich textures – see the velvet renaissance all around.

I’ve not decided as yet if I’m going to hang it up or keep as a tray for special occasions. I guess the beauty in it’s versatility is that I can do both.

 

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notre monde, mirror tray, tables, cabinets, objects, functional, unique, design, trend, antique, light aged mirror, inspiration, travel, nature, distinctive, global patterns, textures, layers, traditional printing techniques, authenticity, character, mystic gold, ocean blue, tribal quest, golden hour

notre monde, mirror tray, tables, cabinets, objects, functional, unique, design, trend, antique, light aged mirror, inspiration, travel, nature, distinctive, global patterns, textures, layers, traditional printing techniques, authenticity, character, mystic gold, ocean blue, tribal quest, golden hour

notre monde, mirror tray, tables, cabinets, objects, functional, unique, design, trend, antique, light aged mirror, inspiration, travel, nature, distinctive, global patterns, textures, layers, traditional printing techniques, authenticity, character, mystic gold, ocean blue, tribal quest, golden hour

 

 
MORE INFORMATION | Notre Monde Homeware
PHOTOGRAPHY | Annie Kruse
 

This post is sponsored by Notre Monde. I only work with products and services I truly love and all opinions are my own.

 

 
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