Imagine the renovation dilemmas. A huge penthouse of a converted 1930s office building in TriBeCa, New York, is to be turned into a functioning home for a family with three teenagers.
In fact, we can not quite imagine the issues that faced Steven Harris Architects when the family showed up, literally, at the doorstep of the celebrated architect and asked if he’d like to work on their home. Harris said yes and proceeded to make his magic.
The scale of the apartment is huge and the freedom from budget constraints allowed for some spectacular solutions.
Harris’s work is often distinguished by clarity and light, by the use of glass, by the maximization of views and, above all, bold solutions. All of those are evident in this project.
What emerged as a result of the TriBeCa Penthouse project, is a multi-level (27th and 28th floors) nearly 8,000 square-foot (743 square meter) family-friendly residence that includes self-contained guest quarters and a new glass-and-teak-beam rooftop pavilion that functions as a recreation room.
The most frequently used areas of the apartment – kitchen, master bedroom, rooftop gym, even the laundry room – have the best views, including those of Manhattan and Brooklyn, and many of the city’s significant landmarks.
The double-height living area on the lower floor boasts an 18-foot high window with the view of the Woolworth Building. The room gained its height by necessity because adding the rooftop pavilion took the condominium conversion over its allowable floor area ratio. The team solved this problem by cutting off part of the lower-level ceiling, thus creating the double-height living area.
Harris’s team replaced the existing 70 double-hung windows with single-panel tilt-and-turn versions, and used glass in dividers and doors where-ever possible. The window panes were limited to 61⁄2 by 91⁄2 feet in size because of the size of the building’s freight elevator.
Early on, when the owners and architect realized they were looking at a substantially dramatic remodeling but the owners did not want to move out of the building, the family bought a couple of other apartments in the same building for temporary residence – and had them renovated before move-in, too. Those two apartments are now for sale.
One of our favourites in this apartment are the stairs. They are made of ¾-inch-thick steel plates wrapped in leather. The stairs appear to float in space and take up almost no visual room yet they are also stunning eye-catchers. Stairway to heaven, indeed, or at least toward it. - Tuija Seipell.
Any room can be completely recreated and revitalized by a well selected statement piece. It does not have to be expensive, or a major piece of furniture, it can just as well be a piece of art.The only requirement is that it does make a statement, stands out, looks stunning.
The photographs of clouds by Hamburg, Germany-based artist Robert Jahns have the drama needed to create a true statement piece.
Printed on metallic paper that makes the colours really stand out, and then mounted under a layer of persplex, the 1000x1000 mm photograph is as stunning to see as the most dramatic view through a window.
Can be wall mounted or leaned against a wall. Exclusive to TCH online store
See also these Francoise Nielly prints below
Biribildu is a new souvlaki restaurant in the Alimos (or Kalamaki) area of Athens. The quirky design of the casual fast-food eatery is by Thessaloniki architect Minas Kosmidis whose Farma Creaton restaurant we have featured previously.
The Basque word Biribildu means to turn, to make a round, to round out, to perfect, and the round form appears frequently in the design. As a travelling circus goes around from town to town it became a fitting theme for the casual eatery that offers gyros made with meat off a vertical rotating roaster.
Two circus carousel horses imply going around and around,and they also direct the customer traffic toward the ordering counter and large menu. The tables are circular, as are many of the circus-themed wall decorations.
The kitchen, washrooms and storage areas are hidden inside huge wooden “boxes” that give a nod toward the transportation crates used by a travelling circus.
The cash desk is inside what looks like a tiger’s cage and above it hang the knives of, Mr. Biribildu, the circus master himself who is, apparently, a mean knife-thrower.
We like the overall midway and boardwalk feel of the 80 square-meter (860 sq.ft.) space with its eclectic juxtaposition of elements such as the Mediterranean plaster mouldings in the ceiling and the tile pattern covering the air vents, mixed with the floor treatment that resembles a typical circus-tent floor: wet sand. - Tuija Seipell.
In the 1950s Roger Delbôve started a chain of high-end hair salons in Belgium, eventually growing and expanding it with his wife, Marion who had worked with Helena Rubinstein Belgium. Some 20 years later, they were researching, developing and producing their own products and offering a complete service for women, from head to toe.
In 2011, Gina and Sybille d'Ansembourg join the Delbôves’ daugter, Isabelle, in the business and focus on expanding the reach of the Delbôve Cosmetics name.
This has now culminated in the opening of the Delbôve Cosmetics flagship store in Brussels this May. Brussels-based freelance designer, Christophe Remy, was in charge of branding from web, package and stationery design to art direction and interior design of the boutique itself.
The clean and elegant store is a cool marriage of a modern spa and beauty salon with a pharmacy of a bygone era. - Tuija Seipell.
We became obsessed with inflatables ever since we created the Mini Inflatables. The reaction they generated told us that we were on to something – we were not the only ones crazy about them.
We wanted to see more, do more and create more of them, and as always, we wanted to see what ideas others could come up with. So we launched a competition and asked for submissions.
Tons of suggestions came in, one more imaginative than the other. But to us, many of them were too complicated and cumbersome, trying a bit too hard.
But finally, we can reveal the winning design. It is a masterpiece in minimalism and function created by Pablo Crespo Pita from Spain.
Pablo’s CHAT inflatable is a series of three models with unlimited ways to link and enjoy them. We love the flexibility, practicality and the juicy colours.
For two weeks only, you can now purchase the CHAT Inflatable from here.
Pablo's other entry and our favourite is Air Couture below
Once again, we find ourselves featuring the work of Masquespacio, the Valencia, Spain, -based studio with an eye for crisp, fresh interiors.
Masquespacio’s principal, Ana Milena Hernández Palacios, has been hard at work completing the graphic design and interior design for a just-opened language school with a minimal budget.
The 183 square meter (1,969 sq.ft.) language school called 2Day Languages is located in a heritage building in central Valencia. Its target audience is a 20 to 30 year-old international student for whom the school offers flexible learning options, cool surroundings and even a cooking class!
The space is divided into three class rooms, a staff room and a lounge. The colours and components of each space stem from the speech bubble/flag logo of the school. The three brand colours – blue, yellow and pink – represent the three levels established by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
Additional influence comes from the neoclassical architecture of the building, new and old architecture of Valencia, and parts of the Spanish language.
We love the use of pine wood and crude-looking stackable and light-weight furniture. We love the semi-domestic feel created by this furniture, the casual cushions, lighting and plants.
The entire space looks inviting and friendly, yet the lovely skeleton of the grand building is visible in the plaster moldings, the height of the rooms and the gorgeous windows.
Particularly intriguing are the 10 frames of crafty nails-and-wool-thread artwork, created by Masquespacio and involving 6400 nails and 2500 meters of wool. Tuija Seipell.
Photography: David Rodríguez from Cualiti
Now that nobody prints hard-copy photos any more, Hamburg-based Twinkind would like to create a Little 3D You instead. A realistic, little you. Or your pet, or Mum.
A visit to their pop-up studio for a quick scan and then, after some technological wizardry that involves 3D printing and other newly developed techniques, you will be the owner of a little photorealistic sculpture anywhere from 15 to 35 centimeters (6 to 14 inches) tall and made of polymer plaster powder.
What makes Twinkind’s offering different from the other 3D printed sculptures currently available, is the speed of the initial scanning.
It used to take a long time (20 minutes in some cases) of standing (or sitting or whatever) very still to produce the detailed data needed for a realistic sculpture.
With Twinkind’s process, the scanning will take only a split second. And therefore, they can alter the results and rescan till you are happy with the image, and they can scan pets and kids and other objects that are not going to sit still for long. Prices, apparently, start from 225€ for the tiniest figurines.
Twinkind’s founders, Kristina Neurohr and Timo Schaedel, are experienced creatives. Neurohr is the co-owner of creative agency Lux von Morgen whereas Schaedel’s has developed commercials for international clients including Audi, Fiat and Panasonic. - Tuija Seipell.
We have covered the restaurant design work of the Gothenburg, Sweden-based Stylt Trampoli before when we wrote about Le Rouge in Stockholm.
We loved Le Rouge for the same reasons we are now loving Le Pain Francais, located along Gothenburg’s classy boulevard, Kungsportsavenyen.
The slightly mad scale and the magical distortion of proportions, combined with an elegant use of colour and texture, make the four-story restaurant into a fantastic experience.
Le Pain Francais is an established chain of French bakeries in Gothenburg but this is their first foray into a full-scale restaurant.
Stylt, the architecture and design firm known for its use of stories and narratives as a base for design long before it became common, has infused Le Pain Francais with an eclectic and not-too-serious grandiosity harkening back to the times when Paris celebrated Jules Verne and Gustave Eiffel’s tower adorned the entrance of the Paris World’s Fair.
Founded by creative director Erik Nissen Johansen, Stylt has designed restaurant and hotel interiors in Scandinavia for the past 20 years including the recent successfully crowdsourced and widely celebrated redesign of the Livingroom of Helsinki’s Klaus K hotel. - Tuija Seipell.
Should you be so lucky as to be asked to design a Film Museum, how would you feel? Most likely, overwhelmed. The many juicy aspects of the dream factory of film business make one’s head spin! The technology – from the first scratchy silent films to today’s 4D experiences. The genres – from drama and documentaries, to sci-fi and animated movies. And the intrigue and mystery of film as propaganda tool and promotional vehicle. The stars and the drama of their lives online and off. The various awards, the gowns and the glitter. Even the people behind the movie cameras – the directors, the movie moguls and the critics – all seem to carry an extra aura of glamour and fascination. Add to that the sets, the locations, the props, the car chases, cliff-hangers, fantasy worlds and the historical epics created and recreated through film. Indeed, no lack of material.
When Tilman Thürmer the German-born architect and founder of Coordination Asia (that we have covered before), was selected as the Art Director of the Shanghai Film Museum, he had “film” and “Shanghai” as his directives. No more, no less.
The Shanghai Film Museum, opened on June 17 and currently hosting screenings for the nine-day 16th International Shanghai Film Festival, is therefore a highly commendable feat in its minimalist yet immersive approach.
It’s goal is to celebrate and introduce to visitors the past and future of Shanghai’s involvement as the centre of Chinese film. The 15,000 square-meter, four-storey building is located in a former film studio in downtown Xujiahui.
The new museum involves more than 70 interactive installations and 3,000 historic exhibits. The visitors can ad-lib for famous Chinese films in a real sound studio, walk the red carpet, or Carpet of Light, or learn about animation, post-production, sound and live broadcasting in fully equipped studios.
Thürmer chose light and shadow, black and white, as the main themes, with grays and metallic accents referring to the silver screen, the film equipment and the glittering awards.
We especially love Thürmer’s involvement in the other aspects of the customer experience as well, not just the design of the actual space and exhibits. Too often this is all left to the last minute and not considered important. Yet the visitor interacts with people and with the entire experience, not just the walls and “props.”
Thürmer’s role as consultant and art director was extended to the communication design and operations of the museum. He created a visual identity and a graphic design concept, and consulted the museum on selecting and training the right team.
“The opening of the new museum is the start of a longer development process,” Thürmer says. “The coming year will be about professionalizing operations, visitor services and management. To me, this museum can be considered a success when it stimulates a new generation to identify with Shanghai Film. I will be satisfied when I see young people leaving the museum inspired, thinking: ‘The Shanghai film industry, that’s what I want to dedicate my future to.’”
We love this kind of thinking! -Tuija Seipell.
Billboards are meant to distract and annoy, to draw attention and to not fit in. In its recent on-street ad campaign, IBM promotes its People for Smart Cities Program with billboards that are even more invasive.
Ogilvy & Mather France took the concept of the board and bent it into shapes that could – with some effort – be seen as solutions for a somewhat smarter city, London and Paris in this case. A board bends to become a bench, a rain shelter or a ramp over stairs.
It is still visual clutter, it is still preaching something, but at least it is doing it with a bit more imagination than just pushing a loud message. How many citizens actually paid attention to IBM’s message on the street while perusing the practical benefits of the boards, we don’t know, but the social media attention this campaign is achieving has certainly worked its magic. We certainly found ourselves deep in the depths of IBM’s Smarter Planet, Smarter Cities site, reading white papers and studies about retail and merchandising. - Tuija Seipell