Tag

concrete

in Interiors

The Green Box

Hello,
I hope you have had a nice September!
I love September (read the post about the amazing La Minervetta Hotel for a complete September praise) and I am full of meaningful resolutions for the new year (my head is still set on scholastic years) most of which are based on time and energy optimization.
Almost two years of pandemic have left me and, I suppose, many other people, with a decreased ability of focusing due to the amount of time spent at home in an environment that push you to multi-task and be connected for too long. The book Deep Work by Cal Newport has really helped me to reflect on some aspects of our increasing inability of focusing and pinch down what I want to improve in my daily life regarding time management.

To illustrate with an interior how important is to use your time well, I want to show you a project where the space has been used notably and where a green box has became the focus and the core of the project.
The project by Ester Bruzkus Architekten is refereed to as The Green Box for obvious reasons. As Ester Bruzkus founder of Ester Bruzkus Architekten has explained to us:
“Before we transformed the top-floor apartment into a cozy home for a Berlin couple living a vegan lifestyle, the empty apartment had floor- to-ceiling windows on two sides and exposed concrete walls on the other sides. It was raw and cool and open – and there was something nice about that to hold onto in the new design. So rather than create a series of conventional rooms that would close off the sense of openness, a single millwork box was positioned away from the walls to make rooms between it and the existing walls. The box, lacquered in a deep green, works with warm golds and violets and brown tones to play off the cool concrete ceiling and wall, contrasting materials and colors, and carefully crafted details to make a home that is at once cool and cozy.”
I am very impressed by the choice of the green: it is the perfect shade for such a prominent feature, not ordinary but not too loud either.

“The kitchen takes up one of the long sides of the green box (hidden within is also a roll-out modular sauna!). Sheets of natural green-and- violet quartzite work with the lacquered wood. The cooking island combines the quartzite and the lacquered wood with black-tinted glass, and is covered by a playful and sculptural lighting by PSLab, who provided all of the lights for the apartment. An important detail of the green box is that the ceiling is part of the box and is held away from the concrete ceiling. In this way, the “box” is not just a freestanding object but it makes rooms.

“The kitchen counter, back and shelving are made from natural green- and-violet quartzite. The millwork on the green box is lacquered wood, some of which is detailed to have a strong rhythm of ribs.”

In addition to the deep green of the central millwork are a rich palette of other materials – travertine, marble, limestone, quartzite, glasses of different characters, brass, stainless steel, and rich colored fabrics. Because the owners are vegan, no animal products were used – for example, the carpet is hand-tufted from botanical silks.

The bathroom occupies the space between the green box and the existing wall. Sinks are made from green marbles, black steel and pink basins; the shower and bathtub are made from a pale limestone that harmonizes with the other tones. The design also uses the simple geometry of the circle in a number of ways: in the design of handles for the cabinetry, in an oversized round mirror, and in a circular skylight that was built above the shower.

“The headboard is an exuberant design by Josef Frank (produced by Svenskt Tenn). The bedroom is located between the green box and a floor-to- ceiling glass wall to an outside terrace.”

I love this project. It is functional, elegant and with plenty of personality; these very important characteristics ultimately the most important aspect is how rational is to space where you live. A bit like my days…

(Photos by Robert Rieger, courtesy of Ester Bruzkus Architekten )

in Arts+ Crafts, Interiors, Ispiration, Outdoor

Dine under the sea

Sliding into the cold, rough North Atlantic Ocean, there is a unique semi-submerged restaurant called Under near Lindesnes, in Norway.

Based in an incredibly powerful setting, Under offers its guests a unique point of view, five and half metres under the water, and a simple yet sophisticated menu.

The restaurant, designed by the Snøhetta studio with precious contributions from several local partners, is perfectly integrated into the craggy shoreline and at ease in the midst of the often sudden weather changes.

The style is essential and the real decoration is the magical rarefied light coming from the big windows looking into the deep water and the sea life it contains.

Watch the video on You Yube where the chef Nicolai Ellitsgaard explains the philosophy of the restaurant and you’ll be looking for an excuse to go.

Photos courtesy of Under.

in Color Inspiration, Furniture, Interiors, Ispiration

Wood and concrete for the restaurant Ryù

The Japanese restaurant Ryù in Westmount (Canada), designed by Ménard Dworkind is a very good example of natural elegance.

The interior design rotates around lines and circles, wood and concrete. Straight lines, which are in the panelling, the bar wooden chairs, the wooden strips above the bar, the lines of the concrete bricks that form the bar, the suspensions, the floor boards mix perfectly with the circles which are in the rounded seats and armchairs around the rounded tables, the rounded light bulbs of the suspensions, the hole in the base of the bar chairs but also the curve of the stripy panelling above the bar in contrast with sharp angles of the lights above the bar.

Two natural materials like concrete and wood dominate the space and combine the two geometric elements. It is all grey and a warm honey wood color inside the restaurant Ryù a part from accents of emerald green/blue (plants and upholstery) and black (the pendants, the pipes, some architectural spots lights, the uniforms).

The scraps on the walls look like an abstract painted forest, giving the dismissed wall look a new meaning.

For more concrete inspiration, have a look at the original Caso Do Coto Hotel in Porto or at Olimpia and Edoardo’s apartment in Rome or get some DIY ideas on how to use cinder blocks in your interiors.

Photos by David Dworkind.

in Furniture, Interiors, Outdoor

About the heat, ceiling fans and a handy lights shop

It is getting hotter and hotter here; all of a sudden, we go from wearing a jumper to not wanting to wear anything at all.

I don’t want to sound like an old lady but there are not middle seasons anymore.

After having lived many years in an hot country, I came to the conclusion that air conditioning has too many downsizes and ceiling fans are the solution. They don’t cause you fastidious sinusitis or back pain and they don’t pollute.

While searching for a ceiling fan for a client I came across the Italian online shop Lampade.it  and I was impressed by the huge selection of lights and ceiling fans they have and by the way the website is organized in many thematic menus.

Lampade.it sells designer’s lights but also lights from less famous brands; the range of prices is for every pocket.

It is definitely a useful source, even for things like light bulbs or Christmas lights.

They deliver all over Europe and in Italy for free with a minimum order.

A picked a few but I really believe that the strength of this website is the big variety of offers so this is only a small hint.

These two for instance are made of concrete:  the first one is a pendent, la second a stripe of led.

The next two are made of metal, for who likes the industrial style. Both fit well in most rooms; the first from top is vintage looking, the one below is a bit more Scandinavian style

 

The Filou light pictured below is fun and very maritime, with the knots and the red valve.

 

The online shop has also many outdoor lights. In this case too, the lamps are divided in sub-menus (recessed lights, terrace lights, solar lights, ceiling lights etc.) therefore it is easy to find what you are looking for.

I like the ones below, a bit oriental looking, they produce a mood light and the white ones, in the last photograph, above the table version.

In conclusion Lampade.it is a valid option if you need some lights or if you want to get some ceiling lights and you want to live better and help the planet living longer.

 

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in Furniture, Interiors, Ispiration

The future of design

On one hand the future of design will make a more and more sophisticated, creative effort to present new shapes, and on the other hand it is going to be about improving the performance of  furniture and spaces.

In the last half century, the production and sale of objects has increased massively and the thirst for new things has intensified vertiginously.

Images circulate extremely fast these days with the inevitable consequence that they get ‘old’ within a short period of time.

When in the past the development and the popularisation of a new design used to take years, now a new product is in front of everybody’s eyes and available to buy within minutes or, we should say, clicks. Trends come and go so rapidly that being trendy is a full time and expensive job.

Because in the last few years we have been immersed in images and products and we live in a fast devouring society, being original has become very difficult.

In fields where aesthetics need to meet functionality, like interior design or fashion, coming up with a new concept or idea is even more challenging.

Design, fashion, architecture are not like music that offers an infinite combination of notes; they need to take into consideration the use of an object, they need to pursue a certain standard of comfortability and performance.

So what has the future of design got in store for us?

I believe that in the next few years designers will concentrate on inventing new shapes or looks and they will focus on giving objects, furniture, houses and clothes new functions.

Designers will stretch the limits of functionality as much as possible in order to present fresh looking and more efficient products.

We will see houses that barely look like the houses we have seen before, furnished with tables with incorporated touch screens or beds that can react to the needs of your body. We will buy textiles that don’t need to be ironed and don’t burn or shrink and it will be normal to turn the oven on using our mobile phones.

Natural elements and vintage objects will compensate this compulsion to have or experience something new all the time.

We will have wooden floors, plants and some pieces of furniture from the past in our houses to remind us of what we are, in a society that moves too fast and produces too much.

The future of design will push the concept of evolution and ponder the fact that too much evolution can turn in devolution.ù

 

This blog post is a part of Design Blogger Competition organized by CGTrader, link to this page to get more info the project.

If you want to read my interview about the Interior Design Trends 2017, click here.

The Frame by Samsung, a television that looks like a framed photo.

The Frame by Samsung, a television that looks like a framed photo.

The new look of an every-day object by Bonnemazou Cambus.

The new look of an every-day object by Bonnemazou Cambus.

 

Two images of the Origami house by AGi Architects in Kuwait, a building that out-dares the concept of house as we are used to think about.

in Interiors, Ispiration, People

An informal apartment in Rome

Tucked down a little street, near Campo de’ Fiori one of the most vibrant squares in Rome, is this apartment, a few steps from a pretty market, shops and chill-out bars, in an area in the centre of Rome where you can still find artisans and Romans sitting in bars sipping spritz. When designing this house, the architects and owners Edoardo Rosati and Olimpia Stacchi  of Architects at Work Studio wanted to achieve an informal look and there is no doubt they succeeded.

The living space is open and light but visually divided into areas of use by the concrete structure, by the beams and pillars that also serve as a support for the kitchen counter panels and dining table.  There are numerous solutions and details utilised by the two architects that make this house timeless and trendy at the same time: the 2 different sizes of wooden floor boards, the custom designed skirting boards, kitchen and the glass and steel suspended table, the wardrobe, just to quote a few. A well measured mix of vintage and non vintage furniture make the house personal without overdoing it.

The neutral colors of the walls give continuity to the space and rooms and they enhance elements like the Scandinavian style bed, the collection of snapshots, the nurse glass showcase in the living room where they keep all their memorabilia of their trips.

The fascinating view completes this apartment, a nest of the creativity and life together of this young couple.

in DIY, Furniture, Interiors, Ispiration, Outdoor

Cinder blocks DIY ideas

I have seen a cute coffee table made with cinder blocks in a bar a few days ago which has inspired me to collect some ideas about cinder blocks DIY furniture for you.

Cinder blocks come in standard sizes and they are often use in buildings because of their low cost. A block costs around 2 euros (these days 2 euros is roughly 2 pounds and 2 dollars, just to give you an idea).  The holes make the blocks lighter without compromising the mechanical strength. If you like the industrial look, cinder blocks can be used as legs for beds or tables and in many other creative ways, some of which are shown below. I like the idea of using them as planters.

Cinder blocks are already quite a statement so if you decide to use them, remember to keep the decoration of the surrounding simple and according to the style. For instance, concrete goes really well with aged wood.

For more inspiration about how to use concrete in your house, check all the posts related to the subject in my blog.

Image credit : Maiko Nagao

Image credit : Design Tripper

Image credit : Dwell

Image credit: FANCY!

Image credit : Little Miss Momma

Image credit : Wise DIY

Image credit : Home Edit

in Arts+ Crafts, Furniture

FactoLab concrete world

Christmas is around the corner again, it is incredible how time flies. It is time to be merry, I know but I need to get something off my chest first.

As a mother of a five year old I am surrounded by parents and I can’t help noticing that sometimes as parents we say things to our children without thinking very much.

We should. We should reflect more accurately on what we say to these little sponges since we have a duty to educate them.

For instance, something I can’t stand in this period of the year is when parents tell their kids that they have to behave well if they want Father Christmas to bring them some presents.

What kind of message is behind this?

Have all the poor children whose parents can afford to buy toys behaved badly then? Are the rich and spoiled kids  better behaved kids?  Syrian children don’t receive anything because they don’t deserve anything according to this distorted logic. Is this the message we want to pass onto them, even if indirectly, to our children?

I know parents are sometimes under pressure and we all use blackmail with them but in a world where some people have too much and most people not enough, we should weigh our words a bit more carefully if we want to bring up aware and fair  individuals.

I’ve got it off of my chest. We can now speak about the festive holidays and in particular about presents.

This year I am going to buy most of my Christmas presents from Etsy and I will definitely get some of these elegant concrete pots from FactoLab.

Each piece is handmade in Italy and therefore unique with the little imperfections of the materia adding charm to their geometric grey shapes. Reasonabily priced, FactoLab planters, lights, candle holders, pots are the perfect presents for almost everyone.

If they behave well, of course…..

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in Color Inspiration, Furniture, Interiors, Ispiration, People

An incredible majolica tile collection

Last Saturday in Palermo, almost by chance, I discovered a gem Le Stanze al Geniowhich you can see in some of my photos of below.

Le Stanze al Genio is a private house, visits arranged by appointment only, where one of the biggest collections of majolica tiles in the world is kept.

The house/museum is on one floor of a building built between 1500 and 1600 AD and has ceilings decorated between the 18th and 19th century and some beautiful Liberty furniture.

The family that lives here has collected and restored majolicas from Sicily and Campania (the region where Naples is found), some of which are antique, and they have put them up on the walls all around the house.

Distributed around the 4 rooms is also a collection of vintage objects, toys, boxes (see my Instagram profile for a photo of those and some more photos of Palermo).

The passion they have showed in collecting all these gorgeous colorful pieces leaves you speechless.

Many of the majolica tile designs are incredibly contemporary. It can be a huge source of inspiration for graphic and textile designers and some patterns remind me of Missoni prints or some of the home fabrics on sale nowadays. The concrete tiles we see everywhere these days re-elaborate some of these designs.

What surprised my friend Rebecca and myself was that these are spaces that are lived in by the Torre and Benso family and within the walls covered in colour, among the al fresco ceilings, antique furniture, vintage objects and  17th century architectural features, there is also some Ikea stuff. It makes it real.

The art work, hanging in front of the windows and part of the collection “Babau” by Gai Candido, goes really well with the colours that fill the spaces.

In a few words, it is unmissable and they have recently opened the Stanze al Genio Bed & Breakfast with the same characteristics as the house/museum, so you can even sleep in it.

If you want to see the images of another of my discoveries in Palermo, an amazing vintage shop, don’t miss the next post!

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in Color Inspiration, Interiors

Dandelion tiles: my most pinned photo.

The one above is the most pinned photo from my Pinterest page. It is part of the post “New ways to do geometric” and it pictures the amazing Dandelion tiles by Marrakesh Design.
I understand why people want to pin or share this image: the concrete floor is gorgeous and it goes really well with the fabulous copper bath and the attractively styled plants. Not mention the fluffy dog of course.
I have attached some more pics of these geometric patterned tiles from Marrakesh Design for you to enjoy.
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