Tag Archives: Architecture

Le Corbusier’s Works Are UNESCO World Heritage Sites

It was a long time coming but better late than never, we say: architect Le Corbusier’s works will be listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. For those who aren’t familiar with the French titan of design, Le Corbusier (whose real name is Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris) was a pioneer of the Modern Movement. His works have more than just an artistic impact; Le Corbusier was also influential in the domain of urban planning, and was dedicated to providing better living conditions in crowded cities.

One need only look to the Indian city of Chandigarh for an example of his works, or to his French masterpieces like the La Cite Radieuse housing project in Marseille. With an emphasis on functionality, bold lines and materials of concrete, iron and glass, the chosen creations exemplify Le Corbusier’s contributions to modern architecture.

Seventeen of his projects were classified as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, of which they span across seven countries – France, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, Argentina, Japan and India. Testament to his global impact and his unfaltering belief in dreaming big, the grand master is finally recognized for his efforts.

UK, Turkey Dominate World Architecture Festival

When you have 50 projects hailing from one country in the shortlist of 343 projects and 58 countries, you know you’re at the top of your game. This is the case for the UK, which topped all other countries in the number of shortlisted firms in the World Architecture Festival; they are closely followed by Turkey at 28 nominations, and Australia at 25.

To be held for the first time in Berlin from 16-18 November this year, the World Architecture Festival award categories cover almost every kind of structure, from schools and malls to stadiums, transportation hubs and offices. In the House category, Australia dominates with five firms out of 17. This, however, is nothing compared with the UK, where several architecture companies – think Zaha Hadid Architects, Crab Studio and Glenn Howells Architects among others – achieving multiple nominations. Truly impressive.


All 300-plus firms will compete for 32 awards, of which the “World Building of the Year” and “Future Project of the Year” are the most coveted. Last year, the former was awarded to “The Interlace”, a vertical village designed by Buro Ole Scheeren, while the latter was awarded to Vancouver House by the Bjarke Ingels Group. Only time will tell which firms will emerge triumphant this year.

For more details on all the projects nominated for the World Architecture Festival, check out their website here.

Icefjord Centre: Climate Change Observation Deck

The UNESCO world Heritage site Sermermiut Valley will soon host the Icefjord Centre. The space, which is set to be created on the edge of the valley, is designed by Danish architectural firm Dorte Mandrup.

The center will be used for research, exhibitions and as a location for locals and foreigners to discuss environmental issues such as climate change. Providing a breath-taking view of the Ilulissat, Icefjord’s 250,000 year-old Sermeq Kujalleq glacier, the design was chosen over five other entries. Those in the running included world-renowned architects Snøhetta, Olafur Eliasson and Kengo Kuma and Associates.

Shaped like a boomerang, the wooden frame curves around the rugged landscape with the roof of the structure acting as a bridge, viewing platform and seating area for guests. The multi-functional roof also acts as the entrance to the World Heritage Trail. Fitted with large glass panels, the center’s harmonious relationship with the surroundings offer guests a chance to witness the “constantly changing view that enhances the experience of the landscape by framing the fantastic viewpoints.”

Another use for the center, perhaps the most important one at that, is to provide scientists a space to research the Earth’s climate via the glacier. As the Greenland ice sheet is currently the second-largest body of ice in the world, the location of the Icefjord Centre is ideal for studying climate change. Set to be completed in autumn 2020, the project is funded by Greenland’s government, Qaasuitsup Municipality and the Danish philanthropic organization Realdania.

Masterpiece London Exhibition to Honor Zaha Hadid

When one’s name is known far beyond one’s vocation, you know you’re dealing with a legend. Zaha Hadid is one such person, and her death in March this year has the world (still) mourning her loss. Known mainly for her extravagant parametric and neo-futurist designs (one need only look to the Guangzhou Opera House for an example), she has also dabbled in furniture, shoe design, jewelry and other creative domains. To honor her contributions to the artistic world, the Masterpiece London design fair 2016 will commemorate her works through the exhibition of some of her lesser-known projects.


Curated by Francis Sultana, CEO of David Gill Gallery, London Masterpiece will narrate her life’s story. Expect pieces from Hadid’s Liquid Glacial furniture collection (above), personal items, sketches, paintings and photographs to fashion pieces, such as her United Nude Nova shoes and her reinterpretation of the Louis Vuitton “Icone bag.” Her drafting tools will also make an appearance – even seemingly mundane objects are endowed with great importance when they belong to an expert.

Masterpiece London is on now till to July 6 at the Royal Hospital in London’s chic Chelsea district. General admission tickets will set one back £28 (approximately $37).

For more information, visit the site at www.masterpiecefair.com.

Focus: Baan Bang Sa Ray House by Jun Sekino

Commissioned as a holiday home for an extended family, the Baan Bang Sa Ray House takes full advantage of its ideal location and expansive lawn. Built in Chonburi province, some two hours away by car from Bangkok, the house is also a mere kilometer from the Gulf of Thailand. The plot is spacious enough for a par three golf course that is constantly cooled by sea breeze.

Bang Sa Lay4

The owners comprise a three-generation family who enjoy escaping from the city during holidays and on long weekends. The designer Jun Sekino, founder and principal of Junsekino Architect & Design Co., Ltd, took this as a cue to create a series of private spaces and common areas where each family member can relax in solitude or mingle with family and guests. Between these two zones Sekino also provided flexible spaces that can accommodate any number of uses.

Bang Sa Lay17

The house is accessed from the main gate by a driveway and a walking path that lead to the house. On the south side are the main entrance, garage, and service areas, while on the north side are the gardens and the putting green. The house is positioned and designed to catch the sea breeze. The ground floor is an ample open space that can be converted into an entertainment area or an additional storage space if necessary. At the back is a drawing room that is connected to the golf course and serves as transition space between indoors and outdoors.

Bang Sa Lay5

The second story, where the public areas are located, has large doors and windows that take in natural ventilation, lighting and views. A stairway leads to the second storey where a series of common areas are laid out. This includes the living room, dining room, study, and work space. Outside is a terrace with a swimming pool.

The private domain and family rooms are on the third storey. The entire floor is sectioned into two wings of bedrooms connected by a drawing room and the adjacent living room.

Bang Sa Lay15

As the enormous roof covers nearly 80 per cent of the house, it is designed to be as light as possible. Together with the ceiling, they add a touch of warmth to the entire house despite its expansive size. A selection of natural materials, including wood and stone, was selected for the house to give it an organic, warm character. The house turns into a wonderful sight at night. With its glass sliding doors and several openings, the lights turn it into a virtual lantern.

This article was originally published in FORM Magazine.

Zaha Hadid Retrospective Shows In Venice

In contrast with the classical ornate interior décor of the Palazzo Franchetti in Venice, the designs of Zaha Hadid stand as fiercely futuristic and sleek. Not everyone has been a fan of this kind of style, viewing it as cold and mathematical, or even totalitarian in nature. Still, this juxtaposition, whether intended or not, is a perfect way to introduce the work of the late visionary architect. A retrospective exhibition of Hadid will run in the palazzo, alongside the Venice Architecture Biennale, until November 27. It will feature paintings, drawings and models of her work – both finished and unfinished.


Malevich’s Tektonik

Hadid is widely known for being one of the greatest female architects – as the first woman to achieve the Pritzker Architecture Prize and to receive the Royal Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects. Her own style is strongly influenced by the Russian Avant-Gardists. Their love of simple geometries and colors can be seen throughout her various plans – with one of these actually being named after Russian artist Kazimir Malevich.

Grand Building's for Trafalgar Square

Grand Building’s for Trafalgar Square

The Malevich Tektonik (1976 – 1977) was one of Hadid’s earliest works. It was a 14-storey hotel on Hungerford Bridge over the River Thames in London, which was her fourth-year project while studying at the British capital’s Architectural Association School of Architecture. The building model is put together with strictly cubical shapes standing in contrast with the extensively wavy, almost biomorphic, forms of her later works. Other unrealized projects displayed include the Peak Club in Hong Kong and her Grand Buildings designed for London’s Trafalgar Square.


Displayed in conjunction with Hadid’s own drawings are the photographs by famous architecture photographer Hélène Binet. She’s done many of Hadid’s works great justice through the composition of the photographs, accentuating the stark cohesiveness of the architectural forms.


Fans of Zaha Hadid will be able to get their fill of the architect’s work at the exhibit – ranging from the London Aquatics Center in the UK, built for the 2012 Summer Olympics, to the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati, USA. Her legacy will loom large even after her death, for many many more years to come.

You can find out more about the exhibition over here.

Images courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects and Luke Hayes

New Photos, Video of Tallest Glass-Bottom Bridge

If you are afraid of heights, look away now because this story is all about the world’s tallest and longest glass-bottom bridge. New photos have emerged of what’s poised to become, arguably, the world’s most dizzying glass-bottomed bridge in China. Scroll to the bottom of the article for the video.

Located in the national park that inspired the floating mountains of James Cameron’s film Avatar, the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge is not for the faint of heart, connecting two precipices 300 meters above the canyon floor. The transparent bridge spans 430 meters in length, 6 meters in width and can accommodate up to 800 people.


Designed by Tel Aviv-based architectural firm Haim Dotan Ltd., the feat of structural and architectural engineering holds 10 world records including the world’s highest bungee jump. The bridge is meant to be “as invisible as possible,” work seamlessly with nature and give visitors the sense of floating in mid-air.

Zhangjiajie National Park is located in the northern part of Hunan province. The bridge is expected to open this summer.

Though the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge will claim several bragging rights when it opens, the one title it won’t hold is being China’s first glass bridge. Last fall, a glass walkway opened in central Hunan province at a more modest height of 180 meters.

More pictures follow,below the video:


tallest longest glass bottom bridge China


Rotterdam Staircase Honors Wartime Reconstruction

Standing tall in the heart of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, is a 29-meter staircase built to head up to the roof of the Groot Handelsgebouw building, leading to a view spanning over the city. This staircase is made entirely from scaffolding, and seems almost like a diagonal board leaning on the side, perched on crossing lines. All this was put together by Dutch design firm MVRDV to celebrate 75 years of post-war reconstruction.

The city was heavily bombarded during World War II by Germany – leading to the Dutch surrender to prevent further attacks. These days, Rotterdam has built itself up as one of the largest ports in the world and a leading light of contemporary architecture. It is the architecture bit that involves the new staircase.


At the top, visitors can observe the sights from a temporary observation deck. They can also enjoy a new line-up of refreshment facilities and find out more about the development from a rooftop information center. The location was even home to the former Kriterion Cinema – a popular haunt in the 1960s. It’s reopening specially for the event with movies, debates, and performances on show.

“Back in the day, I would look out over Rotterdam after the film in Kriterion. It offered a fantastic view of the city,” explains Winy Maas, co-founder of MVRDV. “The roof of the Groot Handelsgebouw, one of the best buildings from the reconstruction period in the Netherlands, deserves to be used as a basis for the next re-invention of Rotterdam. With these stairs, we want to offer this suggestion and celebrate at the same time.”


Maas hopes that the stairs will become a permanent fixture, noting that it “must create more liveliness on the roof and show a second layer in the next step of urban development of Rotterdam”. It’ll also be another monument to showcase how far humanity has come from the turmoil of the war period, and the staggering costs of it.

Prague to be Remade by Zaha Hadid Architects

We’ve come a long way from Kafka’s Prague. While the city’s most famous author never mentioned it directly in writing, when you move through the spiraling derelict and bureaucratic architectures of his literature, you’re bound to wonder what kind of place it was in his time. Now, the city has to take in demands from its contemporary urban fabric – including growing service and IT sectors – and for that they’re calling in Zaha Hadid Architects to set things up anew. The architecture firm will work with the city to develop a design that aims to regenerate a brownfield urban site adjacent to the city’s Masaryk Railway Station. The new buildings will be futuristic and gleaming, hopefully bereft of the suffocating structures of Kafka’s offices.


The whole design will stitch together Prague’s various districts (1,3 and 8) to create a sequence of buildings and interconnecting public spaces along Na Florenci Boulevard. Adjacent to the railway station will be a new public plaza, providing a gateway to the city. The buildings will vary in scale and style the curved wavy forms that characterize the work of the late Zaha Hadid. The whole thing is due for completion in 2022.

“In collaboration with our partners and the city, we have developed an urbanism for the site which draws inspiration from our analysis of the city and the site’s dynamic circulation networks, creating an architectural response that is sensitive to context, unifying in aspiration and contributes to the urban fabric of Prague” said Craig Kiner, Project Associate at ZHA.


This adds another interesting piece to the list of memorable projects taken up by the firm, which includes the London Aquatics Center in the UK, built for the 2012 Summer Olympics, the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati, USA, The Guggenheim Museum in Taiwan and the Cardiff Bay Opera House in Wales. Hopefully, Zaha’s vision will be honored in the streets of the Prague, even after her passing.

Images courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

Unit One Design: Private Sierramas Residence

Unit One Design needs no introduction to architecture and design aficionados. Founded in 1996 by John Ding and Ken Wong, its body of work spanning private homes and boutique developments is distinguished by creativity, elegant ideas and crafted details. The raison d’etre of this architecture and design studio is to create spaces that leave a lasting impression on the people using or visiting them—a goal that drives it to ever greater heights, winning numerous local and international awards, among them the PAM (Pertubuhan Arkitek Malaysia) Award 2014 in Single Residential Category for this remarkable private residence in Sierramas.


Unit One’s work is always based on ideas that are rooted to context which translates into a unique solution for a specific site. This ensures that a building cannot be transferred to a different spot simply because it just wouldn’t work there. Blessed with a high vantage point overlooking the lake, the house was orientated to exploit the views attained from this direction. In response to the difficult site, the house is organized geometrically and conceived as a set of three concrete frames sitting in parallel succession from the lake. These concrete frames are used as a device to layer the different portions of the house and to cater to the needs of a growing family, the private spaces are hung from above as enclosed boxes that leave the public spaces totally open.


While Unit One is renowned for its understated palette, their deft manipulation of space, material and volume creates impactful architecture. To create an unforgettable first impression, a tall main door makes a dramatic statement at the entrance, and gives guests a sense of arrival. This is reinforced by the Juliet balcony beside it which also runs all the way through the house to address security concerns. The expansive living and dining area with its double-height volume is accentuated by a cluster of Tom Dixon Pipe Pendant light that adds a subtle sheen to the space. This sizeable living and dining area opens up to the pool and main deck to create a large entertainment area with an external link to the leisure areas below, while a monolithic counter top extends to the exterior, further reinforcing the idea of a seamless transition.

The spacious deck has room for relaxing and entertaining.

Privacy is often a concern in homes and demarcating spaces so that the need of the family who uses it are met were considered in the overall layout. Tucked in the back, the master suite has the complete privacy of a wing all to itself, while the children’s bedrooms and the owner’s private office are arranged at the front part of the house. The façade is clad with a layered timbre structure that doesn’t just allow natural light to filter in, but also functions to restrict solar gain and prying views. Shrewdly placed at the edge of the house, the swimming pool forms a backdrop for unrestricted views of the lake.


This story was first published in FORM.

Taipei Named World Design Capital 2016

Held biennially, the World Design Capital (WDC) is a city promotion project that celebrates the accomplishments in design. As populations grow and economies prosper, the future success in cities are largely reliant on urban planning, design and management.

Taipei joined Torino, Seoul, Helsinki, and Cape Town when it was inducted into the league of World Design Capital this year. A global event initiated by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID), WDC is selected every two years among applicants with the most design potential.


Taipei, like other cities, is expected to face many social challenges in the future, including population, economy, urban environment, healthcare, ecology, and housing, as it grows and matures. In 2012, the city government began initiating several projects under Public Policy by Design. Taipei was the first city in Taiwan to adopt design as a means of urban transformation. Through cross-departmental integration of the city government and participation of experts from industry, government, academia, design professionals, and citizens, the Taipei City government reviews urban problems and uses design thinking to develop public policy based on people’s needs.

In addition, Taipei was the first city in Taiwan to hold a series of courses on design thinking in order to cultivate public servants’ knowledge of the concept of design thinking to permeate into all government agencies. Based on the spirit of ‘adaptive city’, WDC Taipei 2016 hopes to call on local designers and citizens to promote urban innovation in Taipei through co-design.

Through Adaptive City – Design In Motion, WDC Taipei 2016 will demonstrate that Taipei is an adaptive city that continues to improve, and strives to solve social problems through social design.


WDC 2016 is expected to be an urban transformation movement in Taipei. Using design thinking and design management as the basis for its innovative guidelines for urban governance. WDC will invite design enthusiasts to engage in major areas of Quality of Life and Health, Ecological Sustainability, Urban Regeneration, and Smart Living.

WDC 2016 will seek participation of leading local designers from industrial design, graphic design, brands, products, architectural space, and public art to lead citizens to experience design and nurture diverse innovative capacity for the city from the professional perspective. These select design professionals will be enlisted to propose related recommendations for design based on their education and experiences in their field. In addition, they will also propose prospective thinking on public policy implanted in WDC Taipei 2016, hoping to use innovative design thinking of technology, resources, manpower, and cultures to influence experiences and build a liveable city.


The strength of Taipei City is people’s activities. Taipei City is a place with integrated new and old cultures. For example, Neihu belongs to a technology park and a residential area; Ximending has featured film culture and the fashion trends for over 40 and 50 years, respectively. Taking a closer look, one can easily discover many compatible features in every area around Taipei City; unfortunately, most citizens in Taipei ignore these features due to busy life and consider ‘inconvenience’ to be the norm. The creation of every design needs time to verify.

Through time and practicality, people review whether design brings positive response to people or life. “Through WDC, let the spirit of Adaptive design not only prosper in 2016, but also pass down continuously for years through people’s experiences and events,” said Liao Chun-Hao, chief convener of Taiwanese designers. Many people do not realise that they actually engage in design, Taipei, even Taiwan, categorises design into detailed fields and considers design as producing beautiful things or styles; in fact, design includes services, thinking, planning, etc. Liao reiterated that when people are solving problems, they are engaging in design.

Click here for full information on Taipei WDC 2016, and view the calendar of activities here .

This story was first published in FORM.


Interview: Designer Tim Bowder-Ridger

Conran + Partners has become one of the most well known and respected design studios in the world. Founded in 1989 by Sir Terrance Conran, they design everything from hand crafted furniture to large-scale mixed use developments. At its helm is Mr Tim Bowder-Ridger. An 18-year-old veteran at the company. He joined Conran in 1997 and today leads teams across the globe as it’s Managing Director. Our friends at Palace magazine sit down with him to get an insight into what it takes to oversee a company at the forefront of international design.

How did you come about joining Conran + Partners and what’s been your favorite project over the years?

I joined Conran and Partners 18 years ago, at a time when the London restaurant scene felt truly explosive. Conran were instrumental in this change in consumer attitude to eating out and I was attracted to this exciting cultural shift. Consequently for a few years following my arrival, I led on all Conran Restaurant projects, overseeing the design and implementation of what have today become classics. This part of our work continues today with the completion of our 100th restaurant and bar just before Christmas.

But my passion for residential and hotel design is at the core of what we do as a practice. Inevitably my favorite project is the one I am in the middle of working on at any one point. Currently that is Centre Point in central London.

In this project we are reinventing an icon of 1960s brutalist commercial architecture into a spectacular apartment building, whilst repairing the city fabric at the East end of Oxford Street.

How has your design philosophy and style changed throughout the past almost 19 years you’ve been with Conran + Partners?

I began with a relatively conventional professional approach of white modernist architecture that imposed a language onto whatever the context was.

Our approach at Conran and Partners has a greater flexibility in the ways of answering the user’s needs. It is always contextual, engaging with the physical and cultural reference points of its location to create a narrative that is explicit in the design solution. Always trying to create a specific sense of place in a world that is in danger of becoming ever more generic.

What do you believe has made Conran + Partners so successful?

The success of Conran and Partners rests upon the core value that has been with the company from its founding which is to make aspirational design accessible to as many people as possible.

We work across all sectors and scales around the world, but our underlying thread is always to bring about quality design that is articulate and tangible to the people who are going to use the buildings whether as occupants or simply as members of the community within which the building exists. The world population has become much more design savvy. People travel more, read more, eat out more, shop more.

There is a greater level of expectancy when it comes to design and creating a memorable experience. An indication of success to us is when people not involved in our project can describe the point of design without being told it… hopefully in positive language!

We focus on mainly luxury residential property at Palace. Can you tell me a bit about any upcoming residential projects you will be working on? Centrepoint? Any others?

Culture, for me, is the new luxury. Centre Point, which I mentioned earlier, is in my opinion, one of the most beautiful listed buildings in London. It is a prime development where we are converting what was office space into 82 extraordinary apartments which marry the spirit of the 1960’s with the vibrant hot bed of creativity London exuberates today. The building is located in the very heart of London’s cultural district within a few minutes’ walk of the British Museum, Theatre Land and the national galleries.

Once the project has finished in 2017, it will be one of the most exciting addresses in the heart of one of the most exciting cities in the world.

Blake Tower, Richard John Seymour

Blake Tower

Our Blake Tower project is another exercise in reinventing a 1960s piece of Brutalist architecture located within London’s Barbican Estate; a cultural oasis within itself. The apartments have been strategically planned to engage with the building’s original architectural anatomy of pickhammered concrete structure, with a contemporary palette to provide extremely stylish homes.

Both developments are outside of London’s traditional luxury neighbourhoods but are incredibly sought after in the fact they are rare opportunities to buy into a creative way of life and to own a unique piece of London’s art and design scene.

We work all over the world, with live projects currently in Copenhagen, Tokyo, Istanbul, Jakarta and Auckland. With all these projects, the overarching story stems from the culture of the area and the building, to create unique experiences of their location.

They will appeal to a generation that is fundamentally very cultured, though of course that is not a pre-requisite.

How is Conran + Partners expanding across Asia?

Our love affair for working in Asia began in the late 90’s with a new urban quarter in the heart of Tokyo.

Appointed as part of an international design team, we were involved in the architecture, interior design, landscape design, product design and graphics for the Roppongi Hills Development. The scheme, which occupies an 11-hectare site, is as significant to Tokyo as Canary Wharf is to London, and is well known for the mix of luxury apartments, restaurants, bars and private members clubs which we created at the time.

We subsequently continued with large scale architecture across the city, completing Japan’s largest single mixed-use development last year with Futako Tamagawa. I fly out to Tokyo next week to develop another residential project and will be visiting every six weeks or so. It’s a fantastic city and I love the Japanese approach to design, culture and, of course, food.

Our other thrust in Asia, however, is led by our hotel work, having designed a plethora of private members clubs, hotels and restaurants throughout Hong Kong, India and South Korea. We are currently in the midst of designing a new luxury 5 star hotel in Jakarta. It will include over 200 rooms, a luxury spa, multiple bars and restaurants, and another (whilst not strictly in Asia) in Auckland.

What trends are you currently seeing in Modern Architecture and Design?

A strong recognition of the quality of 20th Century Modernism, which represented a clarity of thought and an honesty of implementation. Many of our briefs are currently about reinterpreting that into the 21st Century, taking on-board the technical and lifestyle changes that have happened in the interim. A credible representation of our time.

Horseferry Road

Horseferry Road

What would you say is the most exciting city for Modern Architecture?

London for its combination of enormous energy and a value attached to quality design.

On the other hand, Tokyo, for me personally, whilst a difficult market to get into for foreign designers, is fascinating to work in, not least because of the synergy between the Japanese design values and our company perspective, such as clarity of approach, the importance of narrative, attention to detail, clean lines and a simple palette of materials. Possibly the least ostentatious culture in the world.

Walk me through your daily routine.

I tend to arrive to the studio early. An hour or so before everyone else to answer emails, read the news, gather my thoughts and focus on designing uninterrupted. The day quickly becomes a mix of back-to back management meetings and project reviews, of which I am either the lead designer or is being directed by another member of the senior team. On average I have three business lunches a week, sometimes along the River Thames but quite often around Soho or Mayfair. It’s a chance to properly catch-up, throw some ideas around and work through a design. Either way, always armed with an A5 sketchbook and 2B pencil. I’ll then head back to the studio, touch base with my design team, before finding a quiet corner to work through some ideas. I finish the day either by going out to dinner with clients or friends, or visit our local independent cinema with my family. Otherwise, subject to how big my lunch was, I will drive down to the country to exercise my horses.

When you travel, what do you like to bring with you? Smartphone, tablet laptop etc…

I take all of the above plus a pile of magazines. Air travel in particular is a chance to escape from my phone and find time to think. My constant companion is my luggage. Rimowa, a classic German brand made of solid aluminum looks beautiful new but over the years patinates fantastically.

Favorite restaurant to take clients?

Quo Vadis in London is a great location to take clients. The atmosphere is glamorous enough to be interesting but not pretentious. In Tokyo I would recommend a table at Plate. It’s a small independent establishment with exceptional dishes made of quality ingredients. The owner is very eccentric and offers a Japanese take on Italian cuisine.

Liked or respected?

Hopefully a bit of both, achieved through keeping a sense of humor; no matter how challenging a task at hand is.

Leadership style?

To give everyone I work with ownership of their task and therefore ownership of the overall strategy.

Tim Bowder-Ridger Portrait edited colour 2

Story Credits

Text by Robbie Wilson

This article was originally published in PALACE Magazine

Zaha Hadid Salerno Marine Terminal Opens

There’s just no stopping Zaha Hadid. The world might have bid a tearful farewell to one of architecture’s most prized rebels last March but her work continues to awe and inspire.

Slightly more than 2,000 kilometers away from Zaha Hadid Architects in London, in the quiet Italian city of Salerno, an oyster-like structure quietly looms over the Amalfi Coast. Today marks the opening of the new maritime terminal – Hadid’s first major project to come to completion since her untimely death from a heart attack at the age of 65.

As part of a broader redevelopment of Salerno’s port area, the terminal was constructed to smooth the movement of ferries and cruise ship passengers that pass through it. Like many of her buildings, the Salerno Marine Terminal’s polished lines and sleek silhouette are sensual and intriguing. The building resembles an oyster, featuring a hard shell above a soft, fluid interior, complete with wavy lines that were Hadid’s trademark. “This extraordinary work adds to everything Salerno is doing to transform itself and I think it is marvellous,” said Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi after his visit yesterday.

“We should have been able to celebrate this moment together but it was not to be,” he added.

Hadid’s practice is now being run by her co-worker of 28 years, German architect Patrik Schumacher, with some 36 projects at the design stage or currently under construction. This includes a Port House in Antwerp, King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center in Riyadh and Mathematic Gallery at the Science Museum in London.

Said Hadid of her unorthodox designs: “When people see something fantastic they think that it’s not possible to achieve it in real life. But that’s not true. You can achieve amazing things.”


This story was written in-house, with an AFP report as the source and an image from the AFP


Focus: Architect Isay Weinfeld

Arguably Brazil’s best-known architect since Oscar Niemeyer, Isay Weinfeld has been designing private homes, luxury hotels and furniture since he founded his multidisciplinary practice in 1973. From the beginning, the Sao Paolo native has designed projects from the largest to the smallest scale and across a variety of programs; including civic, commercial and residential architecture, as well as interiors. Recently his firm has completed the Fasano Hotel in Uruguay, a private residence for the Royal family of Monaco and a line of office furniture for Herman Miller.

Fasano Las Piedras Exterior

Fasano Las Piedras Exterior

Fond of using concrete and simple shapes, many of Weinfeld’s private residences seem to float above the landscape with boxy, cantilevered living spaces that open to the outdoors. Although the architect has designed a multitude of them over the past 35 years, he still approaches each, with great specificity. “A house should exactly fit its user,” he says, and he signs on only after listening to prospective clients describe how they wish to live. “What do you do when you wake up in the morning?” he’ll ask. “How do you spend your day?”

In 2011, Weinfeld developed a strong rapport with a young couple looking to build a home in Sao Paulo’s Jardins, an area known for its trendy shops and restaurants. The pair wanted an informal, light-filled dwelling where they could live with their three children and Brazilian art collection — something modern, but comfortable. Weinfeld’s design features a series of serene rooms punctuated by diverse textures.

Fasano Las Piedras Bedroom

Fasano Las Piedras Bedroom

While Weinfeld generally dismisses the label of Tropical Modernism, his designs share the movement’s flair for the tactile and a look that is both sensual and stark. At the Jardins Villa his restrained palette features weathered-wood paneling, iron-gray concrete and raw granite steps, while splashes of color come from the art pieces and from the lush green garden. In the living spaces, muted mid-century furniture includes a coatrack by Le Corbusier, Hans J. Wegner dining chairs and leather armchairs by Danish designer Ib Kofod-Larsen.

Fasano Las Piedras Pool

Fasano Las Piedras Pool

At a recent hotel project in Uruguay, the architect created a series of concrete bungalows that appear like stones scattered across the area’s rugged landscape.  The project, Hotel Fasano Las Piedras in Punta del Este, combines private houses, hotel bungalows, a golf course, polo fields and a three-kilometer long beach over 480 hectares of arid, rocky land.

After a detailed study of the program, Weinfeld opted for a structure made up of single units designed and distributed as isolated modules almost “landing naturally” on the ground like the rocks themselves. From the outside the bungalows look like low-slung rectangles; on the inside the design features large open spaces, endless unframed glazing’s and pure white surfaces that combine with rustic woods, saddle leather and eclectic furniture pieces.

Jardim Exterior, New York City

Jardim Exterior, New York City

The project is not the first Weinfeld has designed for the Fasano Hotel Group. He designed the original Fasano Hotel, which opened in 2003 in São Paulo and was named one of the “50 Best Hotels of the World” by Condé Nast Traveler. He also designed several subsequent properties under the Fasano brand, including the upcoming Fasano Hotel and Residences at Shore Club in Miami. Developed by HFZ Capital Group, the project is located in South Beach and when complete in 2017 it will include a revamped Shore Club with a 100-room hotel and 75 luxury condominium residences designed by Isay Weinfeld.

The project marks Weinfeld’s first large scale project in Miami. He is also, currently working on his first multifamily project in New York City. Jardim, which means ‘garden’ in Portuguese, will be located in West Chelsea overlooking the High Line Park. The project design features a simple, monolithic structure rendered mostly in brick and concrete with latticed wood screens and a generously planted second-floor terrace that envelops the site.

Jardim Living Room, New York

Jardim Living Room, New York

The apartments themselves are a classy mix of smoked oak, marble, brass and limestone and prices average about US$2,500/sq. ft. (or $2 million for one-bedroom units.) Douglas Elliman Development Marketing is handling the exclusive sales and marketing. Jardim, also incorporates a private driveway and 2,000 sq. ft. of gardens across two levels. On the ground floor, the courtyard is viewed through tall windows that provide a leafy backdrop for the front desk. Glass skylights in the second floor terrace allow natural light to filter through to the residence’s swimming pool and gymnasium below.

The project is a welcome departure from the flamboyant architecture that surrounds it, including the soon to be completed 520 West 28th Street, a spaceship-like condominium by Zaha Hadid Architects. “This isn’t a kind of architecture that shouts, it’s an architecture that speaks low,” Weinfeld said in a recent interview. “What is very important for me is to have a very well-designed plan. For me, the function of a project is very important. It’s not a question of beauty. The building has to work to make sense.”

Fasano Hotel and Residences at Shore Club

Miami has long been a favored destination for well-heeled Brazilian travelers, now Brazil’s top designer and hotelier are teaming for a luxury development in South Beach. Isay Weinfeld is converting The Shore Club, a historic hotel in Miami’s Art Deco district, into a luxury complex with condominiums, hotel rooms and poolside bungalows, while Fasano Hotel Group will operate the hotel and residences.

Fasano Hotel at Shore Club Exterior

Fasano Hotel at Shore Club Exterior

The Art Deco building, which is located on the waterfront in South Beach, was originally built by Miami architect Albert Anis, in 1939. Weinfeld is preserving and transforming the Central Tower, the Shore Club’s original 22-floor structure designed by David Chipperfield and adding external living spaces. New renderings show glass-lined balconies, light-colored materials and lush landscaping. There will also be a converted eight-story North Tower and two-story poolside and beachfront bungalows. The re-design will feature a total of 100 hotel rooms and 75 apartments, many of them offering expansive views of the beach and Atlantic Ocean.

The South Tower will house the main hotel lobby and retain many of the property’s original details while also bridging the indoors with the outdoors via a mix of terrazzo, concrete, steel and lush landscaping. Outside, the new swimming pool, will be the largest in South Beach measuring about 250 feet long and over 9,500 sq. ft.

For the condominium units, Weinfeld is creating a look of quiet, laid-back elegance by combining wood grain with white stone finishes. He has also designed expansive outdoor living areas, some terraces larger than 3,000 sq. ft., and used wide oak floors to transition seamlessly from inside to the outdoor areas.  All residences will have floor-to-ceiling windows and Bulthaup kitchens complemented by a full Gaggenau appliance suite. The condominium units range from one to one to four-bedrooms and 800 sq. ft. to over 4,000 sq. ft. There is also one tri-level penthouse and a selection of two-story bungalows. Buyers enjoy access to the new amenities building that will house a gym, yoga rooms and a spa. Prices start at $2 million.

Story Credits
Text by Sophie Kalkreuth
Images by Douglas Elliman

This article was originally published in PALACE 15

Focus: Catch Nature in a Frame, Taipei

Beitou District is the northernmost of Taipei’s 12 city districts, and also its highest and most mountainous. Utilized by the Japanese for sulphur extraction and the health benefits of the hot spring waters during their rule of Taiwan at the turn of the 20th century, today the area is home to some of the most popular and luxurious spa resorts on the island.

The aptly named Catch Nature in a Frame, a residential project headed by Ryan Kuo, founder and art director of Taoyuan-based studio, Clearspace Design & Research, is nestled in one of Beitou’s many tree-filled valleys. The project is not Kuo’s first for this client: he has been working with the family—a married couple with two college aged children—for around five years, and in this time has designed a total of five residences for them. Catch Nature in a Frame is the second of such projects; the first residence, the family home proper, is located right next door, and three other apartment projects are in Taipei City.

Alternative view of the first floor entrance, with a view to the extensive garden in the background. The garden is created and maintained by the owners.

Alternative view of the first floor entrance, with a view to the extensive garden in the background. The garden is created and maintained by the owners.

Part retreat and part guesthouse, the owner, planning to attempt the renovation work himself, finished the demolition of the site’s original 30-year-old house in late 2012. With the first floor entirely demolished and only the basement level remaining, he quickly realised the immensity of the task ahead and decided to abandon his original plans, and recruit Kuo and Clearspace to the remodelling task.

Government restrictions on hillside construction work in Taipei meant Kuo had to stay within the footprint of the original building, and the finished residence, completed in mid-2013, remained a single-storied structure with a functional basement. At the request of the client, the downstairs natatorium was saved, only to be later remodelled into an open-air swimming pool.

The wooden shelving in the first floor kitchen is designed by Ryan Kuo. View of the kitchen on the first floor.

The wooden shelving in the first floor kitchen is designed by Ryan Kuo. View of the kitchen on the first floor.

Nature is a recurring theme across all of the projects coming out of Clearspace Design & Research. “I try to bring the outside in, all those natural, simple materials like stone, like wood, like water,” explains Kuo. “I’m not interested in iconographic representations of these elements; I want to bring them into the space in a more conceptual way.” Given that gardening is a passion for the owners of Catch Nature in a Frame, and that easy access to a ground floor garden as well as a lot of sunshine and natural light featured in the client request list, the project presented Kuo with an unprecedented opportunity to focus on the urban outdoors. As he notes, “large gardens are a rare sight in Taipei.”

The open plan design of the first floor allows the residents the a direct connection to the surrounding nature, as well as utilising natural light for lighting during the daytime. The teak furniture and screens are custom designed by Ryan Kuo and manufactured in collaboration with local Taiwanese craftsmen. To save money and to reuse existing resources, the designer used marble offcuts, a by-product of the local stone processing industry.

The open plan design of the first floor allows the residents the a direct connection to the surrounding nature, as well as utilising natural light for lighting during the daytime. The teak furniture and screens are custom designed by Ryan Kuo and manufactured in collaboration with local Taiwanese craftsmen. To save money and to reuse existing resources, the designer used marble offcuts, a by-product of the local stone processing industry.

Sub-tropical Taiwan experiences temperatures in the high 30s in summer, and city residents often run their air-conditioners around the clock in the height of the season. To reduce the need for powered cooling, Kuo installed a slatted wooden awning above the first floor veranda. Working in conjunction with the shade created by the large trees that line the periphery of the property, the feature ensures direct sunlight (and the heat it generates) only affects the inside of the house for around 20 minutes each day. The large concertina doors that open onto the veranda, and a spacious lawn and sculpted garden mean that though direct sunlight is not a problem, natural light still penetrates, reducing the need for interior lighting during the day.

The slatted design is repeated in other parts of the house, such as in an exterior wall next to the front entrance, again letting dappled sunshine and natural light into the space without the heat. Above the veranda, the wooden slats are topped with glass, meaning the outdoor space can be enjoyed even during rainy days. On the flat rooftop, circular paving supports under stone tiles ensure easy drainage for water run-off and naturally regulate the temperature inside the residence, further reducing the need for air-conditioning. In adherence to the clients’ request, the rooftop also doubles as additional garden space, and today is adorned with plants. By keeping the pool at basement level, the water naturally stays cooler and evaporation is reduced, meaning the pool does not need to be refilled as often. The area of the pool open to the sky also reflects natural light into what would be an otherwise dark basement level, again reducing interior lighting requirements.

Water reflects off the basement-level pool, flooding a once dark downstairs space with natural light. Left The far wall of the basement level, which backs onto the hillside, is finished with ceramic tile to protect from the soil behind it. The TV stand and back wall are custom designed by Ryan Kuo from teak.

Water reflects off the basement-level pool, flooding a once dark downstairs space with natural light. Left The far wall of the basement level, which backs onto the hillside, is finished with ceramic tile to protect from the soil behind it. The TV stand and back wall are custom designed by Ryan Kuo from teak.

Wherever possible, materials for the project were sourced locally. This includes the marble for the interior and exterior columns, and the pebble-inlaid concrete walls, which also feature both inside and out. The stone, known locally as yilan shi, was sourced from nearby Yilan, reducing both monetary and environmental transport costs. For the columns, Kuo chose to use marble offcuts, a by-product of the marble processing industry; where each block of stone is cut into uniform blocks, there are inevitably odd-shaped pieces left over. These natural materials are also porous, helping to control internal humidity that is an inevitable feature of the often overwhelmingly damp Taiwanese climate in a way that the more popular ceramic tiles cannot.

Custom fixtures in the bathroom serve to remind visitor and resident alike where the water they are using to wash their hands comes from. Custom fixtures in the bathroom serve to remind visitor and resident alike where the water they are using to wash their hands comes from.

Custom fixtures in the bathroom serve to remind visitor and resident alike where the water they are using to wash their hands comes from. Custom fixtures in the bathroom serve to remind visitor and resident alike where the water they are using to wash their hands comes from.

The furniture, panelling, shelving, and cabinetry that feature throughout the house was designed by Kuo and custom-produced in partnership with local craftsmen using recycled teak, with the remaining furniture mostly sourced from B&B Italia. Touches of the old house remain: a wall light next to the mirror in the downstairs poolside bathroom was saved from demolition and re-installed. “It’s a good way to remind us of the former life of the house, the story behind the house,” Kuo says. “We’ll have a little bit more respect for the place because of it.” A sustainable mentality is even built into the design of fittings. For example, the first floor bathroom features a set of sinks and taps custom-designed by Kuo to constantly remind the user of water sources–one faucet plunges downward from the ceiling, representing water raining down from the sky, while another resembles a waterfall, with water cascading down its steps and into a lagoon-like handbasin.

Despite its open appearance, the hot tub area is entirely private. Located in the basement underneath the first level garden, it is sheltered by the trees of the surrounding mountainside. The basement level at night.

Despite its open appearance, the hot tub area is entirely private. Located in the basement underneath the first level garden, it is sheltered by the trees of the surrounding mountainside. The basement level at night.

Ryan Kuo is a latecomer to the architecture and interior design fields. He holds an undergraduate degree in graphic design, and worked in advertising for eight years before heading back to National Taipei University of Technology to study architecture and urban design at master’s level. Upon graduation, he founded Clearspace Design & Research, a practice he has headed for the past seven years. A delayed start, it seems, at least in Kuo’s case, is not always detrimental. In less than a decade, he has managed to amass a huge number of international awards for his design work, recognition from Germany’s iF, the A’ Design Award and Competition in Italy, Successful Design and the Jintang Prize in China, IDA’s International Design Awards, and Taiwan’s prestigious Golden Pin Design Award among them. “When it comes to incorporating sustainable design concepts into the renovation of a building, you need to consider not only the materials used, but also the surrounding environment,” notes Kuo. “I might focus on interior design and renovation, but many of my ideas come from sustainable architecture.” 

The basement level at night

The basement level at night

Story Credits

Text by Nicole Keats

Images by Clearspace Design & Research

This story first appeared in Form magazine.

Architect Zaha Hadid Passes Away at 65

The visionary behind the London Aquatics center and the Guangzhou Opera House, was 65 when she passed away in Miami yesterday, March 31. She had been in hospital to be treated for bronchitis when she suffered a heart attack.

Born in Bhagdad in 1950, she moved to London at the age of 22 and went on to be the first woman to be awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize. Along with this, she won Britain’s most prestigious architecture award twice and the RIBA Stirling Prize in both 2010 and 2011. A year later, Queen Elizabeth II made her a Dame.

Her achievements did not stop there. Earlier this year, the award winning architect, made history once again for becoming the first woman to receive the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Gold Medal. At the award ceremony, fellow architect Peter Cook described Hadid to be ‘larger than life, bold as brass’. Her work, known for its sweeping curves, can be seen across around the globe.

Interview: Architect and Designer Piero Lissoni

Piero Lissoni is world renowned for his pared down interiors and furnishings. Now the designer is bringing his understated touch to the Ritz Carlton Residences, Miami Beach.

Piero Lissoni is often regarded as a minimalist designer. But, schooled in the Italian tradition of all-inclusive design, the Milanese designer also appears to thrive on complexity. From architecture to graphics to furniture to lighting fixtures his studio has built everything from private villas to corporate headquarters to hotels and yachts. His minimal aesthetic is the result, he has said, of the desire to “create a harmonious blend of different styles by cultivating the art of understatement.”

Villa living room at The Ritz Carlton Residences, Miami

Villa living room at The Ritz Carlton Residences, Miami

Understatement is often under-represented in the world of high-end design, as is a focused, uncluttered approach in a global cultural that is increasingly defined by distraction. In Lissoni’s studio, television and electronics are kept to a minimum. Instead the space is adorned with books, flowers and a gallery of items. He calls his studio “a playground with 71 children.” But however playful, these children must also be cultured in languages beyond design. “If you work for me you must be humanistic,” Lissoni states. “You better know Faulkner, Dante and Shakespeare. You must connect with cultures and speak several languages.”

Sensitivity to culture, history and place runs through many of Lissoni’s designs. At the Mamilla Hotel in Jerusalem, designed by Moshe Safdie, Lissoni’s pared down interiors frame the traditional architecture. Rough-faced masonry walls are met by walls of the same material but rendered in smooth blocks. In the vast reception areas he selected minimalist furnishings including green chairs from Living Divani and a white table by Kartell. In the hotel rooms, sheer curtains allow enough light to filter in to offset the black metal headboards, while the wood floors and bright stone walls give the rooms a calming, natural feel. The lamps, custom-made by Light Contract and Flos, sit on original side tables by Porro. “Mamilla wants to express harmony with a solution that brings modernity and high class in a soft way, respecting the local traditions,” Lissoni says.

Hotel Mare Pineta

Hotel Mare Pineta

Harmony between tradition and modernity is also evident at Hotel Mare de Pineta, a recent project along Italy’s Adriatic. Lissoni added a new wing and 16 rooms to the 1920s hotel, one of the region’s most exclusive, in the form of two overlapping volumes originally occupied by the building’s terrace. Inside he created a clean canvas of white walls with teak, bronze and glass. Outside on the roof, which is visible from the upper floors of the historic core, he created a roof garden complete with boxes in the grass, river pebbles and geometric patterns in teak.

After graduating from the Milan Polytechnic with a degree in architecture in 1978, he went on to work as an Art Director and Designer at Boffi. In 1986 he founded the firm Lissoni Associates with Nicoletta Canesi and today his studio works on all aspects of architecture, interiors, industrial design and graphics projects. His exhaustive list of furniture clients reads like a luxury showroom catalogue and includes Alessi, Boffi, Cappellini, Cassina, Desalto, Fantini, Flos, Fritz Hansen, Glas Italia, Kartell, Knoll, Living Divani and Porro. Recent architectural projects include the Grand Hotel Billia and the Parc Hotel Billia in Saint Vincent, the Conservatorium Hotel in Amsterdam, the Mamilla Hotel in Jerusalem, the Mitsui Garden Hotel in Tokyo and the interior design of the Hotel Monaco & Grand Canal Hotel in Venice.

Traditional Architecture - The Mamilla Hotel, Jerusalem

Traditional Architecture – The Mamilla Hotel, Jerusalem

Today, the studio has projects underway in the UAE, South Korea, Shanghai (for Swire Hotels Group) and Miami where Lissoni is designing a complex of condos and villas for The Ritz-Carlton Residences Miami Beach. Developed by Lionheart Capital, the waterfront development is located on seven acres facing a lagoon and will feature 111 condominiums and 15 villas, as well as 36 private boat dockages. Prices range from $2 million to $40 million.

Bedroom Suite - The Mamilla Hotel, Jerusalem

Bedroom Suite – The Mamilla Hotel, Jerusalem

Lissoni says Miami reminds him of Portofino — the Italian vacation resort famous for its picturesque harbor and its historical association with artists and celebrities. “In Miami, similar to a European seaside town, the architecture is built around the landscape, rather than on top of the landscape, to complement the setting.” The Ritz Carlton Residences are also positioned in “beautiful combination” with the waterfront, he says, with framed views and a design that mirrors the shape of the lagoon.

K20 Steel fitted kitchen designed for Boffi

K20 Steel fitted kitchen designed for Boffi

For the interiors, Lissoni has selected Boffi kitchens, oversized stone countertops and Gaggenau appliances for a look that is modern Italian-meets-tropical-warmth. “My vision was to create a contemporary and modernist project, one of purism, cleanliness, and openness,” he says. “The expansive, open floor plans at The Residences and the organic materials used in the design have facilitated a space that links directly to its surrounding environment. Each and every element was designed in harmony with Miami Beach”.

Q & A

In recent years you’ve worked on several residential projects in Miami. What interests you about design and architecture in the city?

Miami is, for me, a city with two faces of modernism. There is the art décor aspect, which is a historically modern style of building, as well as a contemporary wave of modern architecture being constructed throughout the city. Miami also features a distinctive, complementary combination of vertical and horizontal architecture unlike other cities in the United States. You have beachfront skyscrapers living the coast and yet, just behind Lincoln Road, you have entire flat neighborhoods that contrast with their more vertical counterparts. This unique combination is aesthetically pleasing, and has contributed to Miami’s reputation as an architectural destination.

When designing a new project, where do you begin?

I begin with taking a classical, European approach working around the individual and the context, to respect the nature in which I design. I work with the water, the existing dimensions of the space – and I design projects that contribute substance to the neighborhoods in which they are built.

You’ve remarked before that the quality of light in Miami left a strong impression on you. Did this influence your design for the Ritz Carlton Residences Miami Beach?

If you are visiting Miami for the first time, the initial feeling you get is the quality of light encompassed throughout the city. However, beautiful light also produces strong shadows. I wanted to reflect Miami’s quality of light in the design for The Residences, to create a building that reflects both the light and the shadow. It was important to me to respect the natural light and shadow, as this is an integral contextual element of the building.

The Residences include many state-of-the art features. What role does technology play in the project design?

From a designer’s perspective, the most significant technology for me is in creating a clean and clear building that contributes to a more sustainable Miami. With an intelligent water system that filters black water, we were able to focus on clean water with zero water waste. Overall, we incorporated appropriate materials, glass, screens and façade to create an honest building in an increasingly sustainable city.

Staff Credits

Text by Sophie Kalkreuth

This article was originally published in PALACE 15

Biré Bitori Promises Extreme High

The architecture and design firm Tall Arquitectos has a plan for a bar cum evil-mastermind-death-fortress jutting out the side of a cliff. The Biré Bitori looms ominously over the forests of Mexico’s Copper Canyon as a strange structure that, to any curious upwards climbing mountaineers, feels like a mostly white monolith from another dimension or planet. Of course, alien structures probably don’t contain smooth cocktail-making bartenders inside them.


You enter the area through a set of small steps traveling underneath a small pool (left of the entrance for the upper observation deck), where the bar can eventually be found. As long as you don’t suffer from serious vertigo, the design even includes a nice glass floor in the center of the structure so that you can drink, chatter, and tango while the 6,000-foot drop stares at you amiably in the face.


The building merely exists as a proposal for now, but if it ever comes becomes a reality, it would be the go-to drinking spot for any of the adventurous affluent out there.

For more information, you can check out Tall Arquitectos.

Images courtesy of Tall Arquitectos and Uncrate

6 Rising Talents at Maison&Objet Asia

More and more designers are flashing hyphenate designations as badges of their ability to move through various creative fields. Arik Levy easily comes to mind with his outdoor sculpture pieces that double as indoor furniture. Roy Lichtenstein, Joseph Beuys, Donald Judd, and many more have made solid contributions in the functional sphere of furniture design without losing one bit of their stature as artists.

If the game was previously played according to the rules of specialization, today it is hinged on one’s ability to perform and deliver in diverse capacities and on multiple platforms.

At major design expositions, artists have been presenting solutions for everyday design challenges; the same can be observed in art shows where designers have shown works that explore materials to articulate new thoughts. Changrai Ferrari by Thai designer Anon Pairot, a detailed life-size model of a sports car woven in rattan, was a crowd-drawer at a recently concluded major art fair.

The practice is far from new—from Da Vinci to Salvador Dali to Charles and Ray Eames, creatives have never put labels on their talents. No one measures Alexander Calder’s output by his mobiles alone, when his furniture pieces are also part of his artistry. And although Fortuny is best remembered for his fabrics, people eagerly collect his artworks.

The border that separates art and design is not coming down anytime soon—or for that matter the one that comes between science and art. But one thing that looks set to last is the constant criss-crossing of disciplines.

Here is Maison&Objet Asia’s line-up for top cross-pollinators in the time to come.



Origins: Taiwan/Finland

What: Design Collective

Who: Kelly, Ketty & Alex

Stoked by: Cultures, east and west chemistry, childhood dream of being archaeologists

MO: Bring more classic and traditional objects into modern day life via beautiful and poetic solutions, discover new soul in old living objects

New Old Light Table Kimu Design 2


The creative balance of form and function is always present in every KIMU-designed product, but their completion is found in its everyday use.



Origin: Bangkok

What: Embroidery design studio based in Bangkok

Backstory: Launched in 2014 but built on family’s embroidery business with 30 years’ experience

MO: Combine industrial embroidery, art, and craftsmanship to create new experiences through experimental design

Ease 2

Ease Print

Ease 3

By seeking to integrate and express emotional attachment into their products, ease recreates ordinary yet meaningful objects that reflect everyday life. Their focus on function is always in tandem with a commitment to the art of storytelling. Ease applies traditional embroidery techniques to a myriad objects outside apparel.


Stanley Ruiz

Origin: Manila/Bali/NYC

True Calling: Trans-cultural designer

Background: Principal and creative director at Estudio Ruiz Design Consultancy

MO: Explore commonplace and familiar to bring about new meaning and interpretation; extensive background in craft design and production

Cred: Exhibited at the Museum of Arts and Design (NYC), New Museum of Contemporary Art (NYC). Sold at Habitat, Takashimaya, Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, among other boutiques and galleries worldwide

Blips: Named one of Avant Guardians of 2010 by New York-based Surface Magazine. Bronze Award, A’ Design Awards (Italy, 2013). Outstanding Asia Talent, Bangkok International Gift Fair (Thailand, 2014).

Stanley Ruiz Symbiosis II - Paper Speakers

Stanley Ruiz 2

Stanley Ruiz 1

Using his expertise as industrial designer, Ruiz easily moves across barriers to create products for different categories.


Lekker Architects portrait

Origin: Shing – Singapore/UK;Josh – Chicago

What: Singapore-based multi-disciplinary and architecture design practice

Who: Ong Ker-Shing, director; Joshua Comaroff, design consultant

Backstory: Met 20 years ago at Harvard GSD, working and writing together since. Following birth of their two children, developed an interest in designing preschools, kindergartens, playgrounds, as well as events and cultural spaces for younger audiences

Recent Projects: Buildings and landscape with a focus in residential and educational projects

Believe in: Design as key factor in enhancing the development of creative and analytical thought from an early age

Recently Published: Horror In Architecture (ORO Editions), a tongue-in-cheek survey of perverse and dream-like buildings

Lekker Architects 2

Lekker Architects 3

Lekker Architects 1

For his doctorate thesis Comaroff wrote about haunted landscapes and urban memory in Singapore. Wheelwright Fellow Shing, meanwhile, moved to Shanghai to research the Art Deco housing of the French Concession. www.lekker.sg


Labdestu Portrait

Origin: Australia

Founded by Dale Hardiman, Andre Hnatojko, and Adam Lynch in 2011, the three-member LAB DE STU works on various projects and platforms across Australia. The award-winning design collective is behind representing and commissioning body 1-OK CLUB, furniture and everyday object manufacturer Dowel Jones, and A OFFICIAL, a contemporary computer-free manufacturing house and design brand. Although formed as a vehicle for the designers to promote their individual works and practices, LAB DE STU has metamorphosed a collective and uniform banner.

LabDeStu Full Hurdle

LabDeStu_Mr Dowel Jones_Portrait

LabDeStu FactoryWorks

Hardiman exploration of the localisation of production is manifested in his chosen materials and overall practice. Lynch focuses on the simplification of objects down to their bare essentials; Hnatojko connects business with design, attempting to cross-contaminate different design industry models to experiment with the perceived value of furniture and lighting. www.labdestu.com.au



Origin: Kanagawa, Japan

MO: Explore the art and design aspects of lighting

Route: Apparel Design, Bunka Fashion College, joined Issey Miyake Inc., planner/designer at HaaT, established lighting brand Chihiro Tanaka

Exhibited: At nearly all major trade expositions including 100% Design, Salone del Mobile Milano, ICFF, New York International Gift Fair, Ambiente

Cred: BankART Artist in Residence 2015 at BankART Studio NYK, Yokohama




Although highly functional, Tanaka’s light installations cross over to art exhibitions. Another image of one his works acts the opener for this story. www.chihirotanaka.jp

Story Credits

Text by Marc Almagro

This story was originally published in Form magazine, Singapore

Wind Eaves by Kengo Kuma

Set in the garden of The One Nanyuan Hotel in Hsinchu, Taiwan is Wind Eaves, a multi-purpose pavilion designed by architect Kengo Kuma (Kengo Kuma & Associates). The One Nanyuan is a small hotel that proposes a fresh, nature-oriented lifestyle, and this structure couldn’t have found a more appropriate location.

The organic-shaped framework is made of hinoki, a Formosan cypress. The work was inspired by scenes on Mount Jiuchong, which overlooks Nanyuan, and is informed by the local weather phenomenon ‘winds of September’. Its form recalls an arch constructed with loosely assembled tree branches. Wind Eaves has 17 such arches constructed with wooden strips of various lengths. These wooden units are joined in different angles in order to achieve the desired form.

Wind Eaves by Kengo Kuma Front

The structure is covered on top with transparent ETFE film, a highly durable, lightweight, translucent, and recyclable material that allows sunlight to permeate the structure. Wind Eaves covers an area of 180sqm; inside one feels as though surrounded by a forest of cypress trees.

Wind Eaves is a Golden Pin Design Award 2015 Design Mark Recipient. It stands from 2 to 6 meters in height from entrance to rear.

Wind Eaves by Kengo Kuma Close Up

Wind Eaves by Kengo Kuma Night

This story was first published in Form magazine, Singapore.