All posts filed under: architectural design

Maison Louis Carré by Alvar Aalto

Inside Maison Louis Carré by Alvar Aalto

Maison Louis Carré – Finnish architect Alvar Aalto’s only remaining building in France – is a modernist architectural masterpiece situated about an hour outside of Paris. Open to the public from March to November, it’s a must-visit, Scandinavian gem for architecture and design buffs looking to get a deeper insight into his design process. As an avid Aalto fan myself, I’d already visited his home and studio in Helsinki, and was keen to step off the beaten tourist trail of Paris and step inside another Aalto interior, which combined architecture, furniture and design into a total work of art. The house is located in the remote village of Bazoches-sur-Guyonne and was the home of French art dealer Louis Carré. He acquired the sloping site in 1955 and the following year met Aalto at the Venice Biennale while the architect was supervising his pavilion there. They immediately bonded over their love of fine things – fine art, good wine, the good life – and became friends for life. Carré commissioned Aalto to design him a house that could serve both as a private …

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#MyFavouriteNewColour: Farrow & Ball 2016

You may have already heard that Farrow & Ball has released nine handsome new paint colours, coinciding with the paint and wallpaper brand’s Seventieth year. Expanding its ubiquitous palette to 132 paint colours, these nine beauties range from soft, delicate neutrals and muted greys to clean, fresh brights and dark, moody tones. There’s really something for everyone, whether you’re a die-hard fan of Farrow & Ball’s timeless, lighter heritage shades, or someone who likes a splash of bright intensity. There’s even a new shade of grey, proving you can never have too much of a good thing! Made in its factory in Dorset, Farrow & Ball paints rely on age-old production techniques, original recipes and high levels of rich pigments. Each new hue has been in development for the past three years, carefully crafted to reflect the classic Farrow & Ball aesthetic, and of course, intriguingly named with its own back story. There’s Peignoir, a romantic grey-pink inspired by the elegant chiffon gowns ladies once wore in their boudoirs – perfect for grown-up not girly-pink bedrooms – or Cromarty, a light grey inspired …

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Light loft living by Chan + Eayrs

I’ve recently been considering moving from my 1930s King’s Cross flat into somewhere new. I always find myself veering towards old, period properties for their unusual details, charm and little eccentricities. For me, new builds can so often be lacking in character, with generic, homogenous features and penny-pinching space standards. Not so for young, London-based studio Chan + Eayrs, which has branded itself as both architect, interior designer and developer. It has just completed its first project in New Cross, south east London. The New Cross Lofts are dreamy, with thought put into every little detail – from the exquisite herringbone brick exterior, that references surrounding Victorian terraces, to the cast concrete benches inside. Standing on the plot of a former garage on the corner of Pagnell Street and New Cross Road, the building comprises two work studios on the ground floor and two apartments above. A lofty winter garden connects the spaces and floods the spaces with light. A soft, neutral colour palette is seamlessly brought together with lime-washed oak floors, walls painted in Rolling Fog by Little Greene and exposed …

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Hack your IKEA kitchen with these designs from Reform

Have you heard of Reform? It’s a Denmark-based brand that allows you to hack and customise off-the-shelf IKEA units into beautiful, functional and architecturally-inspired designs. Scandi-design fans can buy their basic cabinets from IKEA, then pick their favourite Reform fronts and worktops. Designs come in everything from carpenter-milled oak and fiber-concrete to clean painted surfaces and streamlined linoleum, so there’s something for every budget or style. I’ve had an IKEA kitchen in my own London flat for about eight years now and although it has lasted remarkably well, tastes change and evolve over time. This could be a quick and easy update without starting again completely from scratch. Reform has just collaborated with three renowned Danish architects – BIG, Henning Larsen Architects and Norm Architects – on three unique and modern kitchens, seen here. BIG’s ‘hyper-modern’ design features an elegant handle made of seat belt fabric, HLA’s is a sharp and classic piece of carpentry, while Norm Architects has come up with a sleek, handle-free creation. ‘The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in our home. But Interestingly, it is often …

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Barge living with Bert & May Spaces

While browsing the showrooms, stalls and pop-up exhibitions of Clerkenwell Design Week at the end of May, I came across a barge in the middle of St John’s Square just as it was starting to drizzle with rain. I quickly nipped inside, having come out without an umbrella, and was greeted with a warm and cosy sight – a Scandinavian style hideaway complete with wood burning stove and soft Moroccan rug underfoot. What I had found was Bert & May Space’s first barge, a collaboration between designer and stylist Laura Fulmine, RaT Architecture and Bert & May (you might recognise Bert & May’s name, they create the most gorgeous handmade and reclaimed patterned tiles and wood floors) that aims to demonstrate that living afloat can make great financial and social sense. Super stylish and sophisticated, these aren’t the bright-red barges I remember from my childhood watching Rosie and Jim, they’re sleek, black, and very, very liveable. Designed to make the maximum use of the space, but without compromising on design, the barges come as either …

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I wish I lived here: an artist's warehouse conversion in Islington

Wow! This house! What a lovely collection of plants, mid-century furniture and textures. It’s a warehouse conversion designed by 6a architects in a private gated mews in central Islington, currently on The Modern House. Created for an art collector, the home is spread over two floors, with a roof terrace featuring planting by renowned landscape designer Dan Pearson (!) on top. It’s literally my dream home. The first floor seen above is dedicated to a giant living space that is loosely divided, with a kitchen at one end and a dining area, sitting area and a bedroom at the other end (on the ground floor there are two artists’ studios). Just look at those grey polished concrete floors and all those rugs and muted toned cushions! I can imagine being curled up on that sofa with the newspaper and the wood burning stove heating away, while the rain patters on the ceiling above – it would be bliss. Or entertaining guests at that long wooden table. There’s some lovely details too – built-in ceramic tiles by the artist …

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Vipp's plug & play getaway

Wouldn’t it be nice just to getaway, escape the hum-drum of daily life and the rat-race of urban life? Well, Danish design company Vipp has done just that: they’ve created this sexy ‘plug & play’ 55 sq m prefabricated shelter. And they’ve thought of every little detail, from lighting to linen, from table to toilet brush, and from shelves to self dispenser. All you have to do is decide where to put it, if you have €485,000 to spare… Prefabricated north of Copenhagen, the simple steel grid supports a two-level space with a compact bathroom, sleek, dark-toned kitchen and living space as well as a cosy bed loft. Taking 6 months to produce but just 3-5 days to install, Vipp’s CEO Kasper Egelund describes it as ‘a battery-charging stations for humans’. The starting point for the designers was going back to basics; the landscape is purposely framed by two large sliding window frames and an all-black interior lets the outside do the talking. Chief designer Morton Bo Jensen says: ‘Vipp is rooted in the manufacture …

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Dar Mim by Septembre architects

Paris-based architect Septembre has completed the renovation and extension of a traditional courtyard house in the historic heart of the city Hammamet in Tunisia (incidentally, as I write this post, I can’t help but hum along to Earth, Wind & Fire’s September… “do you rememberrr, the 21st night of Septemberrr, ba duda, badu, ba duda…). As January sets in, with its dark and wet weather here in London, this blindingly-bright home is the perfect remedy. It makes me want to book a holiday immediately, pack my bags and say goodbye to stormy England. The building itself was converted piecemeal over time, retaining a mixture of solids and voids that provide light and much-needed natural ventilation. The project organises the main living spaces around two open courtyards, creating a series of horizontal and vertical connections. All the woodwork and metalwork were made by local artisans, while traditional plaster and limewash has been used to create the whiter-than-white exterior walls. A two-story extension features a guest room and its own terrace accessed from a new staircase. There’s …

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An autumnal Sunday afternoon on Hampstead Heath

Often Sundays can pass by in a blink of an eye, you get up late, have a cooked breakfast that turns into a brunch, lunch, whatever, then end up whiling the afternoon away on the sofa. This weekend we decided to do things a bit differently and headed up to Hampstead Heath for a day of autumnal walking and pub grub. We meandered from Hampstead Heath station, admiring the wagging-tailed dogs and changing colours of the leaves, up to Kenwood House. In all my time in London, I’d never managed to visit before, but boy was it worth it. It’s recently been refurbished by English Heritage – it’s cream facade stands proudly in the gently rolling landscape and inside the newly painted library sings. Kenwood House was once the home of judge Lord Mansfield and his family, including his mixed-race niece Dido Belle (who was recently the subject of, in my opinion, a mediocre film, Belle). It was transformed by the great Scottish architect Robert Adam in the 1760s and 1770s into the fine neoclassical villa seen today. His work …

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A copper-clad community centre by Menzi Bürgler Architekten

There seems to be a trend at the moment for all things copper, from candles (I’m looking at you Tom Dixon) and planters to kitchens and bathrooms, and architecture is no different, as shown with this community centre in northern Switzerland. It has a fantastic copper roof, wrapping over its bulky concrete form, and punchy copper windows too. It is the new home of the Evangelical Reformed Parish, set in the existing graveyard of Wurenlos, and designed by Zurich-based Menzi Bürgler Architekten. The building was made of prefabricated wooden components, enabling the structure to take shape in just a few days. On the ground floor of the new building can be found a rectory and meeting room, while upstairs there are two rooms of different sizes, which offer space for events. The architect hopes that the copper and wood will naturally age over time, changing the expression of the building and how it fits in the landscape. Images: Rasmus Norlander, Zürich