EDIFICE AROUND THE WORLD Modern Ideas from Abroad
EDIFICE.com December 2012
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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH ROSSANA ORLANDI
COLORFUL CHAIRS WE LOVE
EDIFICE December 2012
INTO THE WIDE GREAT OPEN
After years of city living, Maggie Treanor was ready to move to the country, though she didnâ€™t know how far her journey would take her. Story by Alex Bozikovic Photos by Derek Shapton
GUYS AND WALLS
With their light, white house that owes equal debts to its Nordic surroundings and to the Japanese provenance of its architects, a pair of design-minded art lovers are boldly making their mark on their new home: the tiny town of Landskrona, Sweden. Story by Jane Szita Photos by Mark Seelen
Wood is good to photographer Ed Reeve, whose David Adjayedesigned house in North London has us wondering if his neighborhood wonâ€™t be rechristened Knotty Hill. Story by Max Fraswer Photos by Ed Reeve
Cover: Treanor Residence, Ontario, Canada, page 102 Photo by Derek Shapton 9 EDIFICE | October 2012
Londoner Marcus Lee turned a narrow lot next to pickle works into a high-flying wood retreat with a garden out back and plenty of soaring space upstairs.
Six colorful chairs perfect for any room. All chosen by us.
Design weeks have mushroomed across the U.S. in cities including Los Angelos, Portland, Detroit, and Philadelphia.
HOUSES WE LOVE
Inside of John Braver’s sylvan neighborhood in Newton, Massachusetts.
Occasionally dubbed “the British Eameses,” Robin and Lusienne Day are far more: a pair of innovative furniture and textile designers worth their weight in gold – or, better yet, pounds sterling.
During Salone Internaionale del Mobile in Milan, there is one person that everyone watches: Rossana.
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OFF THE GRID
Normal Studio takes an egoless, manufacturing-driven approach to design, whether creating tableware or a seven-ton, solar-powered adobe wall.
No strangers to the dirty junkyard, Scrapile’s scrappy woodpickers handily salvage everything from discarded Steinways to unused bamboo, refashion it as a new wood hybrid material, and produce everything from sideboards to hanging lamps to table. sustain-able second home in Montauk, New York.
TAKE A SEAT 6 Stylish chairs perfect for any room
1. OPEN CHAIR $125 by Design Within Reach
4. MARAIS CHAIR $225 by Kartell
What to do when the summer weather’s so darn nice? Find a seat outside and perch in the sun for as long as you possibly can. We like the look of this bright seat by designer James Irvine for Alias.
Another quintessential cafe chair—this one sturdy and suitable for sidewalks. Made of galvanized steel, it’s available in either a metal finish or in a wide variety of colors, thanks to an epoxy or powder coating.
2. CAMPING CHAIR $235 by Heller
5. AIR CHAIR $154 by Conran Shop
The cartoon simplicity of these camping chairs belies the craftsmanship that went into their molded and laminated beech-wood construction.
These lightweight polypropylene-and-glass-fiber chairs are ideal for outdoor use; they’re stackable and each has a cutout that ensures the seat won’t gather puddles.
3. REAL GOOD CHAIR
$150 by Blu Dot
It packs flat, which means it’s cheaper and more environmentally friendly to ship. Plus you can fit a whole dining set in your Le Car.
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6. FLORINDA CHAIR $229.00-249.00 by Herman Miller Mother Nature’s finest beech meets man-made plastic in this stackable seat that makes the most of both materials’ properties.
Photos by Design Within Reach, Heller, Blu Dot, Kartell, Conran Shop, and Herman Miller
SECTIONWE HOUSES NAME LOVE
BRAVER’S NEW WORLD Inside of John Braver’s sylvan neighborhood in Newton, MA
He employed Jinhee Park and John Hong of architecture firm SsD to help him “spread out a little bit” without letting his living room swallow up the lawn. By building up (to add a second floor and roof deck), down (to create a split-level kitchen and office space), and green (to benefit from a passive ventilation stack and a solar array to heat water) the Braver house has gone from 1,300 square feet to a more expansive 2,600 without blowing things all out of proportion. By Nani Marquia 94 EDIFICE | October 2012
To read more, visit, edifice.com/ houses-we-love.
Photos by William James, photo courtesy Phaidon Press
John Braver’s sylvan neighborhood in Newton, MA, has seen its fair share of lot-busting renovations in the last few years. A common tactic—if you’re not buying two lots and combining them into a hulking manse—is to knock down one of the 1,100-or-so-square-foot ranch houses from the late 1950s and replace it with a setback-hugging behemoth built as high as the local zoning laws allow. But Braver, a doctor on the faculty of radiology at Harvard University, wanted more (or, rather, less) than what he saw all around him.
ROSSANA ORLANDI During Salone Internaionale del Mobile in Milan, there is one person that everyone watches: Rossana.
From left to right: Interior design at Nike Zupanc; Glass lamps designed for Salone Internazionale; interior design for Damien Langiois-Meurinne exhibition
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You must be bombarded at all times by designers who want you to see their work. How do you decide? When something is good, I feel excitement. Sometimes it’s not immediate, I have to think about it. It depends on the project. Sketches and the realization, there is always a big difference. The sketches make it possible to understand what is in the designer’s mind, but you don’t know if the project will be as good as the idea. How has the design scene in Milan changed over the past five years? Whatever has happened is because of the financial
crisis, but the mentality of the designer has changed a bit. They are more concrete in the resolution of their ideas; they are looking more closely at price and quality. Ideas of eco-sustainability are very important, but that’s a term that’s been employed too much and in the wrong way. Because much of what is purported to be sustainable is a lie. A designer must always respect the way of the material, must think about waste and how to use things the right way. The transport problem is also very important. How to make things that are not breakable, items that can make journeys
of great distance. Now designers must be very clever and look very carefully at what they do. Is it harder to find people emerging with pure ideas, or is everyone just copying everyone else? “Copy” is one word and to feel the influence of other things is a different thing. Copy is horrible. Copy means to have no respect for anyone else. If a designer copies someone else, then they have no creativity, and so better that they change their line of work. By Amanda Jayzman
Photos by Haper Denver, photo courtesy Urban Pulication Press
What led you to create your gallery, Spazio Rossana Orlandi, 12 years ago? I’ve always been a collector. I’ve followed design since I was very young. But there’s a difference between art and design. Some design pieces can become art, become sculpture. But I am not interested in having an art gallery, but rather, a design gallery. Sometimes it’s difficult to say if it’s a piece of design or art. For instance, Nacho Carbonell. He started as a designer, but from my point of view, he’s not simply a designer anymore. His work is art.
THE DESIGN WEEK MOVEMENT Design weeks have mushroomed across the U.S. in cities including Los Angelos, Portland,Detroit, and Philadephia.
LOS ANGELES DESIGN
DESIGN WEEK PORTLAND
DETROIT DESIGN FESTIVAL
Dec 4-9, 11am-5pm ladesignfestival.org
Dec 15-18, 12pm-6pm designweekportland.com
Dec 13-16, 10am-4pm detroitdesignfestival.com
Dec 4-10, 10am-7pm designphiladelphia.org
Whether it is world class architecture, the design studios of major auto brands, the creative forces behind entertainment and communications or a boutique studio focused on fashion or product — the design economy in Los Angeles is significant.
Design Week Portland celebrates design as wour city’s most promising cultural and economic resource. The purpose is to explore process, craft, and practice across disciplines through our city’s vibrant design programming.
Presented by the Detroit Creative Corridor Center (“DC3”), DDF is a community curated and supported design festival developed to showcase the talents and abilities of Detroit’s creative communities.
The DesignPhiladelphia initiative unites the creative disciplines – from architecture to interior design, to product design to graphic design – reinforcing the message that Philadelphia is a rich resource for creativity, innovation and cultural vibrancy.
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I N TO T H E G R E AT W I D E O P E N
For this rural Ontario home, building sustainably was less about high-tech gizmos than learning to truly love the land.
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The long gangplank of a deck runs right out into the fields, a fact that Treanor relishes.
After years of city living, Maggie Treanor was ready to move to the country, though she didn’t know how far her journey would take her. She first migrated in 2002, from the Ontario city of Guelph to a small town nearby, which “was like going on vacation,” she says. “Amazing sunrises and sunsets. I knew then that I wanted to move into the landscape.” A decade later, not far from Auburn, Ontario, in a rural corner of Huron County, she’s done it. Her living room looks directly onto cornfields, without a road or a power line in sight. The 925-square-foot house she calls home blends into the landscape somewhat; with a galvanized steel shed roof and siding, it looks like a high-design little brother to the barns on the surrounding farms. And its energy footprint is equally subtle: Designer Lisa Moffitt (whose partner is Treanor’s son) built it with an array of sustainable features that take the simple home off-grid. For Moffitt, the project represented a chance to put into practice ideas she explores in her work as a designer and professor of architecture, ideas about sustainability and shaping buildings around climatic conditions. For three years, she and Maggie’s son, Nick Treanor, traveled from their home in Toronto to do “field work” on the property, a 25-acre plot set among much larger working farms. The couple even went so far as to survey the land themselves, planting steel poles topped with windsocks to map the terrain
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and weather. So when Treanor commissioned her to design a house, Moffitt knew the site intimately. “There’s a presence to that place— it’s vast, and constantly shifting,” Moffitt says. “It was clear that this house should be an observation shed for the changing landscape beyond.” This led Moffitt, who left her job with Toronto’s Plant Architect to run the project, to sculpt the house around some carefully chosen views while keeping in mind the patterns of the sun and wind. Moffitt’s brotherin-law Peter Long, who has worked in construction, did the framing and and roofing and installed doors and windows—“assisted by the unprofessional likes of my son and a couple of my daughters,” Treanor says. A local farmer and electrician, Ken Shortreed, brought his bucket truck and his family to help out. Another acquaintance who fixes farm machinery fabricated and installed the exterior guardrails and steel mesh panels on the mezzanine sitting room. “That was how things went,” Treanor says. “Many of the workers did jobs they never knew they had talent for, jobs they’d never done before.” As you enter the house on its east side, you can see straight through to Treanor’s land beyond; a 50-footlong wooden walkway extends from the west side into the field, carrying you toward the horizon of waving EDIFICE | October 2012 104
THIS PAGE (clockwise from bottom left): Treanor’s bedroom is as simple as the rest of the interior. A few books sit on shelving that Moffitt designed and the bed rests on the polished concrete floor. The mezzanine is almost a kind of observation platform for the rest of the house. Perched above the ground floor, Treanor retires to this spot to read and relax. Though the house is only 925 square feet, Moffitt argues that it feels much larger, for which she credits three factors: its visual connections to the outdoors, its open spaces, and its simple interior-design language. OPPOSITE: “There’s not a single place where you’re not aware of the larger landscape,” Moffitt says. “The doubleheight living room is such a generous
space that it feels big.”
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SECTION NAME grain. A covered porch on the south side provides comfortably shaded outdoor space, and its roof keeps the high-angle summer sun out of the house. Likewise, triple-glazed windows provide even sunshine throughout the day, which, combined with the house’s largely open interior, saves energy on both lighting and climate control. In the winter, a radiant heating system, supplemented by the lower-angle sun, provides consistent warmth. These elements, along with highR-value insulation, help the house stay comfortable through the year, a tough task in a region where the temperature veers from zero to over 90 degrees Fahrenheit. “Often when we talk about sustainability we focus on the gadgetry, what makes things
feasible off grid,” Moffitt says. “But to me there are more interesting things in passive design that rely on the available sun and wind.” An eight-panel solar array does chip in significantly, generating all the electricity the house needs. Moffitt’s ideas resonated with Treanor, who is nearing retirement from her job at an engineering firm and who has a long-standing interest in environmental issues. “I wanted just enough for me—something simple and gracious, not ostentatious,” she says. “From the beginning, the premise was a house that minimized impact on the environment. We wanted the farming activity to carry on as before all around the house.” And it does; Treanor leased her land to a nearby farmer, who grows different
THIS PAGE: “In contemporary construction you have a layered approach to materials,” says Lisa Moffitt. Everything is on top of something else. We tried to avoid that.” Indeed, the house’s materials are few and hardy: polished concrete, maple, and Douglas fir, and white walls with a few bold accents of green and blue. OPPOSITE: Though small, Treanor’s house feels spacious thanks to
an open kitchen and a tranquil
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mezzanine above. Here she cooks at an industrial workstation next to a Premier Pro Series range. EDIFICE | October 2012 108
“A covered porch on the south side provides comfortably shaded outdoor space, and its roof keeps the high-angle summer sun out of the house.”
feels much larger, for which she credits three factors: its visual connections to the outdoors, its open spaces, and its simple interior-design language. “There’s not a single place where you’re not aware of the larger landscape,” Moffitt says. “The double-height living room is such a generous space that it feels big.” As for the interior detailing, “In contemporary construction you have a layered approach to materials. Everything is on top of something else. We tried to avoid that.” Indeed, the house’s materials are few and hardy: polished concrete, maple, and Douglas fir, and white walls with a few bold accents of green and blue.
THIS PAGE (from left to right): Doors and triple-glazed casement windows from Loewen work hard to form a tight thermal envelope. Maggie Treanor waters plants around her rural home. OPPOSITE: Moffitt calls the house a kind of “observation shed” with no front and no back. Open entirely to the landscape (which you can see both in front of and behind Maggie) the home is an outpost in the farmland.
crops there each year. This year it’s the corn that grows right up to the house and the wooden walkway. When building such a modest structure in a large landscape, designer and client often had to defend their vision to their collaborators. “We knew this house was going to be for Maggie and she would live there alone,” Moffitt says. “But people are always projecting for future resale. Putting in the smallest size of anything—to any subcontractor, it’s just not reasonable.” This is why Nick Treanor—a philosophy professor—selected all the mechanical and electrical systems. “When you do things yourself, you learn that there are a lot of myths floating in the building industry,” Moffitt says. “If you go to the source and talk to manufacturers, you learn that many things that supposedly won’t work are entirely feasible.” Though the house is only 925 square feet, Moffitt argues that it
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GUYS AND WALLS With their light, white house that owes equal debts to its Nordic surroundings and to the Japanese provenance of its architects, a pair of design-minded art lovers are boldly making their mark on their new home: the tiny town of Landskrona, Sweden.
With their light, white house that owes equal debts to its Nordic surroundings and to the Japanese provenance of its architects, a pair of design-minded art lovers are boldly making their mark on their new home: the tiny town of Landskrona, Sweden. The house’s street-level entrance shows an openness to its surroundings, and a glass door allows curious passersby a glimpse of the interior. Turning off Landskrona’s main square, with its gracious Gustavian architecture, and heading down a narrow 18th-century cobbled alley called Gamla Kyrkogatan, you 121 EDIFICE | October 2012
suddenly glimpse a different world altogether. There, among the traditional terraced cottages with their orange-tiled roofs, a white modern structure appears like a minimalist mirage. Completely unexpected in this small, rural town in southern Sweden, this resolutely contemporary building might have been transplanted from an avant-garde corner of Tokyo. Johnny Lökaas, a retail design specialist, commissioned the building together with his husband, Conny Ahlgren, an art dealer and cafe owner. Jonas Elding, one half of Elding Oscarson, the fledgling Stockholm practice
the couple engaged to design their home is fresh off eight years with Sanaa in Japan—“the kind of intense environment that you are part of even if you leave,” Elding says. It certainly shows. Completed in 2009, the Town House, as the building is officially known, displays the inventive use of light and space, compact scale, polar-whiteout aesthetic, modest detailing, and humble materials characteristic of the 2010 Pritkzer Prize–winning architecture firm. Yet somehow, the rectilinear structure seems in harmony with its Scandinavian surroundings. Like a
With their light, white house that owes equal debts to its Nordic surroundings and to the Japanese provenance of its architects, a pair of design-minded art lovers are boldly making their mark on their new home: the tiny town of Landskrona, Sweden.
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BELOW: The living room has a close-up street view and abundant natural light. The sofa is Mags from Hay Studio, the table is an old Fritz Hansen base with a new top, and the Arne Jacobsen chair is also a refurbished vintage piece. OPPOSITE: Johnny Lökaas and Conny Ahlgren pose in their living room with some of their art collection, which includes a Julian Opie portrait and works by Keith Haring and others. Space to show the art and good light for viewing
it were the priorities.
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ghost, the all-white Town House has a certain immateriality among the colored cottages. This is enhanced by its transparency—windows and terraces pierce its monolithic shape, and see-through glass and metal grilles avoid making the modernist statement arrogantly emphatic. Inside, the building—like its occupants, who are enthusiastic new arrivals from more urban Helsingborg— shows a generous openness to its setting. There are unobstructed views of both the quaint streetfront and the intriguing backyard jumble behind the house. The living room has a close-up street view and abundant natural light. The sofa is Mags from Hay Studio, the table is an old Fritz Hansen base with a new top, and the Arne Jacobsen chair is also a refurbished vintage piece. The Town House’s responsiveness to its environment comes from the fact that it was built from scratch, on the site—unusual for Sweden, where the majority of homes are timber-framed constructions largely built in a factory for later assembly. “We did look at flat packs,” says Ahlgren. “But they didn’t fit here because of the awkward site.” It took about nine months to complete the structure, and the result is a house beautifully tailored to fit its context. “We focused a lot on heights, proportions, and how the house meets the adjacent buildings,” explains architect Johan Oscarson. “This decreases its size and makes it kinder to the surroundings.” That was crucial, since the slender 16-foot-wide house occupies part of an empty plot backing onto two other buildings that the couple owns: As Elding says, “When you are on the roof terrace, you are so close to the neighboring roofs that you can almost touch them.” Behind the house a tiny garden is sandwiched neatly between the main living space and its satellite, a compact single-story office with a grass-topped roof, adorned inside by rare Andy Warhol self-portraits and a Gilbert and George print with a personal message to Ahlgren, who is a friend of the artists. The office, like the house itself, is flooded with daylight thanks to a large expanse of glass; the interior forms an ideal white-walled backdrop for Ahlgren’s impressive collection of British and American pop art and photography. “I bought my first painting about 20 years ago, and then found I couldn’t stop,” Ahlgren says. “Lots of wall space is one thing we specified in the brief. Making the most of the ever-changing daylight was another priority, since daylight affects our mood so much. Though our house is three stories high, it was so important to us to have the sun filter right down to the groundfloor kitchen.” Next to the bathroom and above the living room, the terrace is open to sky, street, and the house itself. It has no roof, so daylight floods the entire wall-less building from the top down. EDIFICE | October 2012 124
SECTION NAME The ever-changing daylight, plus the use of curtains and lighting options, means that Ahlgren and Lökaas enjoy a variety of different atmospheres.
Elding Oscarson did it by staggering three slabs to create a sequence of distinct areas over the house’s three floors. Light enters from the roof, the garden, and the street to illuminate what is basically one large space. No slab fully extends across the building, so on each level there are both single- and double-height spaces—the tallest of which provides the perfect canvas for Ahlgren’s prize pieces, including an Andy Warhol print of Chairman Mao. Cool, bright Nordic daylight floods in, but lest the house become too exposed, the architects devised enough cover to prevent the long days of summer from becoming overbearing. And for those epic winters, subtle grooves in the ceiling conceal the unobtrusive track lighting system outfitted with dimmable Erco spotlights. The result is a home that affords a range of atmospheres in a region of luminescent extremes. At night the outside views recede and the house becomes cozily self-sufficient. As Ahlgren says, “The house changes its personality when darkness falls.” As impressive as the Town House’s response to the Swedish sun is, one shouldn’t overlook Elding Oscarson’s deft work shoehorning a variety of spaces into the tiny house. “The biggest challenge was fitting everything that 125 EDIFICE | October 2012
we wanted in,” says Lökaas. “We asked for a big kitchen, a living room, a separate office, and so on. Using the steel deck plates to create the three levels allowed us to have all that.” So the kitchen, with its white Saari cabinets and cool marble worktops, flows into the dining area, with its double-height ceiling and glass doors opening onto the garden and facing the office—a smaller reflection of the house itself. The sequence of spaces, plus the range of domestic activities on show, lends the interior a lived-in liveliness that relieves the museumlike feel of the endless white walls. A wood-burning stove in the corner and homey furnishings enhance the warm, intimate effect. “We didn’t buy new furniture for the house, we just brought all our old things with us,” says Lökaas. “It was actually more a case of getting rid of things than of acquiring new stuff.” Johnny Lökaas and Conny Ahlgren pose in their living room with some of their art collection, which includes a Julian Opie portrait and works by Keith Haring and others. Space to show the art and good light for viewing it were the priorities. Some of that new stuff includes the metal and rubber flooring for the simple staircase that leads upstairs to EDIFICE | October 2012 126
THIS PAGE (clockwise, from top left to right): The office, which is a single-level separate unit, boasts Ikea desks and a signed work by Gilbert and George (friends of the couple). The roof terrace offers a view of the town square, â€œfilteredâ€? through a grille. The bedroom has no wall to divide it from the rest of the building; blackout curtains can shut out the light entirely. OPPOSITE: Next to the bathroom and above the living room, the terrace is open to sky, street, and the house itself. It has no roof, so daylight floods the entire wall-less building from the top down. The willow-green metal
chairs are by Fermob.
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THIS PAGE: The view from the kitchen is as lively as it is light, taking in the dining area, tiny courtyard garden, and the separate office building backed by the jumble of old buildings to the rear. The rustic dining chairs are by Börge Mogensen from Karl Andersson & Söner. OPPOSITE: Three thin slabs, staggered vertically through the space, create three distinct floors and allow light to flood in from the front, back, and roof. The white Saari kitchen makes the most of a compact space.
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“Conny and I wanted contact with each other when we’re in the house, and to do something for Landskrona. This place is our new home, and we plan to stay. There’s a new openness to modern architecture here, and we wanted to help that along.” He looks toward the street, where two women are studying the house with tangible curiosity (a frequent occurrence) and smiles: “The locals either love it or hate it; but mostly, they love it.”
the living room, where the view of the street has been beautifully framed by the “library,” a purpose-built bookshelf designed by Elding and Oscarson that also hides the ventilation system. From the second floor, another staircase leads to the bathroom and bedroom, where heavy white drapes—which double as black-out curtains, “essential for shutting out the light at times,” according to Lökaas—afford a tentlike sense of privacy. Next to the bathroom, accessed via an industrial white metal-grille walkway, the roof terrace is open to the sky but semiscreened from the street by another grille. The higher you go, the more transparent Town House becomes. “We wanted an open house, but with some shelter from the street,” Lökaas says, reflecting on the essence of what he, Ahlgren, and their architects have created.
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SECTION NAME CLOSING CURTAIN
Marcell Strolz and Uli Alber built a house that could weather even the fiercest storm.
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With its world-class skiing and picturesque Alpine setting, the Austrian village of Lech seems ripe to become a buzzing tourist destination. But due to strict regulations against second homes and a high risk of winter avalanches, very little building takes place in this small community. Marcell Strolz and Uli Alber were aware of these limitations when they set out to build a family home, and they knew their modern tastes might be contentious in the slow-changing town. The site they chose at the edge of the village afforded them creative freedom with one inherent condition: The house would have to withstand the forceful blows of sliding snow. Gutter Credit
BEST IN SNOW