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/ NYC X DESIGN 2017 /


American design is often defined in terms of its pragmatism, scale, and the formidable manufacturing capabilities that trace back to the industrial revolution. But in recent years the rise of the maker-movement has put an entrepreneurial DIY spirit in the forefront and young designers are bringing local materials and artisanal touches to their work. We profile five design studios that caught our eye at NYC x Design 2017.




For years a ‘new vintage’ look featuring the ubiquitous use of salvaged wood, taxidermy and Edison bulbs has ruled design in New York. But this has started to change as studios such as Bower use materials like lacquered wood and tinted glass for a brighter, lighter aesthetic. Founded in 2013 by designers Danny Giannella and Tammer Hijazi, Bower studio was named after the Bowerbird, a species that builds brightly decorated structures using sticks and other objects to attract


a mate. Staying true to its namesake, Bower produces dreamy furniture and other objects made with contrasting materials from marble to mirrors and featuring sumptuous hints of ’70s and ’80s Miami lux. This year Bower showed a range of shimmering mirrors including the Half-Step Mirror, which is a circular mirror and bisected horizontally. The top half, composed of clear mirror glass, is offset by the slightly recessed antique cobalt mirror on the bottom; creating a subtle sense of depth. bowernyc.com


Established in 2011 by Stephanie Beamer, Crystal Ellis, and Hillary Petrie, Egg Collective is a local studio celebrated for its beautiful furniture and lighting collections that draw on its founders’ backgrounds in architecture, art and sculpture. Each piece is made by hand in the company’s Brooklyn workshop and the human touch is palpable. “We make them one at a time,” explains Ellis. “We want our pieces to have staying power, in terms of how they’re constructed and also how they look. Hopefully they’ll become timeless.” This year, the studio brought together furniture and homeware by other women designers in the city for an exhibition at its West Soho showroom entitled “Designing Women”. The show highlighted


Creative and life-partners Nick and Rachel Cope founded Calico Wallpaper in Brooklyn in 2013 and they combine artisanal methods from the decorative arts, such as traditional marbling and dip-dying techniques, with innovative digital technologies. In other words, this is nothing like your grandmother’s wallpaper. The studio’s latest collection, Aura, is a luminous wallpaper line inspired by unseen energy fields captured by aura photography. First developed by Russian electrical engineer Semyon Kirlian in the 1930s, aura photography is said to capture a person’s naturally occurring electromagnetic field, which is

then represented in photographic form as glowing clouds of colour that reveal the person’s aura. “Several years ago, I stumbled upon an aura photograph that Nick had taken as a child,” says Rachel Cope. “The photo was filled with red tones which indicate first chakra energy and action. The subtle interplays of colour were so striking that I immediately wanted to explore the medium as inspiration for a wallpaper collection.” The partners used their experience translating art process into custom prints to render the radiant ‘aura’ colour fields into a series of seven digital wallpaper designs. Shown is the Anja. calicowallpaper.com


the work of several emergent and veteran designers like Lindsey Adelman and Hiroko Tekada and donated 20% of its sales to charity Girls Inc, a women’s advocacy group and mentorship program. The election of U.S. president Donald Trump has brought a renewed focus on gender parity to communities around the country, including the design community. “This feels like an important moment to do something bigger, that has a cause and that supports our community, and speaks to the inequities that still exist,” said Stephanie Beamer. Egg Collective also contributed its own pieces to the exhibition, including a large wooden coffee table, sofas, side-tables and dark coloured cabinets. Shown is the Turner Sideboard. eggcollective.com



Alexandra Burr and Allen Slamic met as architecture students at Yale in 2005 and working for design luminaries like Raphael Vinoly, Leroy Street Studio and Ten Arquitectos before founding AlexAllen Studio in 2013. Based in Brooklyn, the studio works on architecture and design projects and manufactures lighting, furniture and objects. Their approach is material and process driven, exploring the technical challenges of the fabrication and manufacturing process while striving to produce innovative and timeless design.

At this year’s International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) the studio debuted CHORD, a delicate lighting fixture inspired by minimalist jewelry -- though this piece is intended to adorn your home, not on your body. The light features a simple but graphic semi-circle that glows from within the inner circumference thereby highlighting a portal of light when all other light sources are turned off. The exterior features a subtle golden finish. alexallenstudio.com





he successful opening of The Bulgari Hotel Beijing in September 2017 was graced by design dignitaries including the architects Antonio Citterio and Patricia Viel who designed the entire property in entirety. Five years after the opening of The Bulgari Hotel London in 2012, the Beijing property opened its doors as an urban resort blending art and nature in the Chinese capital’s exclusive Embassy district. The Bulgari Hotel Beijing is conceived as the ultimate Urban Resort that rises within the new Genesis complex. It is an oasis of tranquility that balances art and nature with sculpted gardens, which extend along the Liangma River and include the Genesis Art Foundation designed by the celebrated Tadao Ando. Citterio and Viel have the interiors and exteriors in a process comparable to the creation of a highend Bulgari jewel; by pairing rare, raw materials according to colour, texture and feel as they sculpt them into objects of everlasting beauty.

“The Bulgari Hotel Beijing has been designed and built with the same spirit and attention to details that characterise all our properties. We firmly believe that the extensive use of precious materials, Italian marbles, wood details and fabrics, a combination of the best Italian residential furniture and Chinese meticulous craftsmanship, will honour the expectations of our customers,” shares Silvio Ursini, Bulgari Group Executive Vice President. Still celebrating, Bulgari Hotels & Resorts announces the opening of The Bulgari Resort in Dubai. Nestled to be an urban oasis on Jumeira Bay, The Bulgari Resort Dubai is also designed by renowned Italian architectural firm Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel. Embracing a maritime theme, customising the resort to echo its unique island home, luscious Italian marble has been used along with coral inspired exteriors to truly epitomise the ocean surroundings. Meanwhile, in the spirit of integral designs dating back to the 1930s, the architects have also handselected or custom-designed every element for




1. The Bulgari Resort Dubai in Jumeira Bay 2. An overview of the expansive Bulgari Hotel & Residences Shanghai which will be opened in 2018 3. Like the rest, Antonio Citterio and Patricia Viel also designed the beautiful Bulgari Hotel Beijing 4. Interior spaces in Bulgari Hotel Beijing is designed with nuances of elegance and sophistication


consistency, comfort and purity. This allows the hotel’s design to maintain an uncompromisingly Italian style, while simultaneously incorporating the uniqueness of its destination; exuding timeless glamour. “The Bulgari Resort & Residences Dubai is another milestone for the Bulgari Hotels and Resorts Collection and represents a tribute to the importance of the Middle East market for the Bulgari brand. It is an honour for us to partner with Meraas (who is dedicated in making Dubai and the UAE a better place for living, work and play) on this extraordinary project, which brings the best of the Italian design and lifestyle culture to one of the most modern and future oriented city in the world,” says JeanChristophe Babin, Chief Executive Officer of Bulgari. The collaboration with Antonio Citterio and Patricia Viel is said to be the talk of the design world. As Bulgari Hotels & Resorts continues to expand its portfolio, the design-thirsty community will be tantalised with the brand’s next addition in Shanghai in early 2018, and then Moscow in 2020. (www.bulgarihotels.com)










he American Architecture Prize (AAP) is one of the most comprehensive architecture prizes in the world and is based in Los Angeles, California with the mission to advance the appreciation of quality architectural design worldwide. The AAP has recently announced this year’s winners: the most innovative, creative and inspiring architectural projects from all over the globe. Winners were selected from over a thousand entries from 68 countries in the 41 categories across the disciplines of architecture, interior design and landscape architecture. “It has been a privilege to receive such exceptional entries competing for the AAP this year. Every submission is outstanding in its own way. All these entries from accomplished architects and architecture firms give us the opportunity to not only promote amazing designs, but also to marvel together at the evolution of architecture, interior design and landscape architecture across the globe.” said AAP President Hossein Farmani. The Architectural Design of The Year award went to Hengqin International Financial Center by Aedas while Neri&Hu Design and Research Office took home the Interior


Design of The Year title for The Attic – Flamingo Shanghai Office. PWP Landscape Architecture bagged the Landscape Design of The Year recognition for the Barangaroo Reserve project. In addition to the top three Designs of the Year, an exciting lineup for winning entries from all over the world captivated the juries across 41 categories, including The Wedge by A-lab in Commercial Architecture, Chengdu City Music Hall by Andrew Bromberg at Aedas in Educational Buildings and Bahá’í Temple of South America by Hariri Pontarini Architects in Cultural Architecture. Malaysian design studio, S:lab10 led by designer Jason Sim and his team, Hao Wan and Fion Hsu won the Small Architecture award for their project JJ Wine Office in Johor, Malaysia. Winners were invited to the Sky Room at New Museum in New York City on October 27, 2017. They will be enjoying extensive publicity showcasing their designs to a worldwide audience throughout the next year, and their designs will be featured in the AAP Book of Architecture. (www.architectureprize.com)


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1. Malaysian design studio, S:lab10 bagged the Small Architecture award for JJ Wine Office in Johor 2. Architectural Design Of The Year went to Hengqin International Financial Center by Aedas 3. Neri&Hu Design and Research Office’s winning entry - Flamingo Shanghai Office - for the Interior Design of The Year award

he news has sparked debates across the design industry on the future of architecture and interior design firms whose founder has passed away. The conversation includes the likes of the late Jaya Ibrahim whose studio Jaya Interior Design Business (JID) was recently acquired by BLINK, and Zaha Hadid who left behind her namesake practice. In the first week of November, Zaha Hadid Architects, Arcplus and Wilson Associates, has announced a strategic alliance that will offer clients wholly integrated project delivery at the forefront of architecture, design, and engineering technology. Zaha Hadid Architects continues to redefine architecture for the 21st century with a repertoire of designs that have captured imaginations across the globe, and Wilson Associates is a worldwide leader in hospitality design, working with clients who have global reach and reputations for excellence and creating interiors for some of the most acclaimed hotels and resorts around the world. Arcplus is China’s largest design group, covering civic, transport and corporate architecture. Zaha Hadid Architects explains: “We see this alliance as a continuation of global best practice, maintaining research and innovative thrust, where each of the firm’s individual strengths will deliver. The combination of design excellence, resources, knowledge, and sector leading expertise, enables us to deliver more sophisticated, high-performance, and high-value projects.” Leveraging technology to increase efficiencies and integrate stages of the design process that are at present typically disconnected across locations and disciplines, the teams will collaborate on research initiatives with a focus on high-rise buildings. Arcplus reaffirms: “This team of global experts will be at the cutting edge of architectural and engineering technology, digital design, and energy efficiency.” The alliance brings together proven architectural, engineering and interior design experience that when packaged, will deliver fully coordinated solutions worldwide, providing owners and operators with one-stop solutions of multi-disciplinary services. Wilson Associates says: “The conceptual and creative force of Zaha Hadid Architects, Arcplus’ architectural and structural engineering excellence, and Wilson Associates’ unparalleled expertise in hospitality interiors, together will offer next-generation design. Three highly decorated firms, each comes with storied legacies and unparalleled reputations for innovative and imaginative designs. Together, we will work to collaborate on future proposals and provide advanced and practical solutions for international clients.” Zaha Hadid Architects, Arcplus and Wilson Associates, are committed to a common goal: to redefine the future of design and architecture and deliver projects with long-lasting and positive impact in the built environment. (www.zaha-hadid.com) (www.arcplus.com.cn) (www.wilsonassociates.com)



/ ABOUT HARIRI PONTARINI ARCHITECTS / Hariri Pontarini Architects (HPA) is a full-service Canadian firm devoted to producing work of lasting value.


Siamak Hariri and David Pontarini founded the Toronto office in 1994 motivated by a shared commitment to design quality. Today their 120-person practice has a diversely scaled, award-winning portfolio reflecting the HPA mission to craft architectural and urban solutions that exceed expectations, without excess.



residents and visitors direct access to Union Station, the regional train and bus terminal and the existing Union subway station. The project will act as a gateway to the new waterfront community still under redevelopment, with a design that strives to set a new standard for dense, urban revitalisation. “We are looking forward to developing this landmark community on Toronto’s revitalized waterfront”, says Mr. De Cotiis. Phase 1, the 65-storey tower, is scheduled to go to market in the coming months with subsequent phases expected to follow soon after. David Pontarini, Partner-in-Charge of Pinnacle One Yonge, focuses on building better cities through quality urban developments that channel the best aspects of their site and program into finely executed architectural and public realm designs. Over the past 31 years, he has built an award-winning portfolio of complex, variously scaled, urban high-rise and mixed-use developments in cities across Canada and the United States. David Pontarini’s design-led approach to smart development solutions contributes to his reputation as one of Toronto’s leading architects, and to the recognition of HPA, by the RAIC, as winners of the 2013 Architectural Firm Award. (www.pinnacleinternational.ca/communities/OneYonge) (www.hariripontarini.com/project/232/)

he Hariri Pontarini Architects (HPA) and Pinnacle International have unveiled their design for the over four million square-foot property at One Yonge. The design was led by Micheal De Cotiis, President and CEO of Pinnacle International and David Ponatrini, Founding Principal of HPA, who consider this project a successful demonstration of collaboration between the City, Waterfront Toronto, Developer, and Architect. The development, on Toronto’s waterfront, rethinks the typical mix of residential, commercial and retail space found in Toronto. It will comprise five new buildings and the existing Toronto Star building, all within two city blocks. The north block includes three residential towers (at 95, 80 and 65 storeys) with hotel, affordable housing, community centre and extensive retail. The south block includes two new office towers (at 35 and 22 storeys) including extensive retail on the first two levels, and the current Toronto Star building, which will be maintained and re-clad. Designed to densify and enhance the urban streetscape, the project links to public transit, improves and widens sidewalks, and provides prioritised pedestrian and cyclist access with north-south and east-west mid-block connections. By connecting to the climate-controlled PATH, Toronto’s downtown underground pedestrian walkway, Pinnacle One Yonge will give





/ ABOUT CHRISTOFLE / Christofle is a Parisian luxury house specialised in Art de vivre and jewelry. Since its founding in 1830, the house has continually modernised its exceptional silversmithing know-how and expanded its offer across the lifestyle sector. The Maison collaborates with the greatest designers and artists of the day to offer contemporary, ambitious pieces crafted by the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France (Best Craftsmen in France) in its workshop in Normandy, France. Embodying French elegance around the world, Christofle enhances both milestone moments and everyday pleasures with a presence in over 70 countries worldwide.


lending beauty with functionality has always been at the heart of Christofle creations — and this new collection is no exception to the rule. Designed in collaboration with the Japanese design studio Nendo, Constellation comprises a range of objects with Asian accents informed by simplicity and elegance. Every object expresses the marriage of two talents: Christofle’s unique silversmithing know-how and the delicate force of the Nendo aesthetic. Constellation is also the story of a journey that blossoms in the shade of the Sakura. Considered the symbol of ephemeral beauty, the cherry tree and its blossoms are worshiped in Japan. In the springtime, cherry blossoms flower by the thousands, casting Japanese gardens in an intense pink hue. Inspired by this phenomenon, Nendo created a motif engraved in precious metal. To this floral image, the design studio added a sprinkling of stars shining in the sky. A single line links each engraved flower to the next, etching out a new map of the heavens. Silver plate dazzles all the more when paired with shiny lacquered wood for a series of round or square trays and ‘vide-poche’ boxes in three colors: powder pink, almond green and midnight blue. Among these is a large design created especially for tea service and an entirely engraved ‘bonbonnière’, or candy box, for holding sweets or little treasures. The collection focuses on decor in a series of hand-blown vases in pink or light green glass, engraved picture frames and trinket tray, and scented candles bearing the Constellation motif — not to mention Chinese and Japanese-style chopsticks in resin with engraved silver plate. With Constellation, Christofle once again underscores its philosophy that beauty lies in the details. It becomes a part of everyday rituals, creating an elegant lifestyle that is as relaxed as it is refined. (www.christofle.com)



THE LURE OF LUXURY The new Ritz-Carlton Residences, Bangkok designed by David Collins Studio is akin to a Pandora box – seductively alluring and full of surprises. WORDS MARTIN TEO / PHOTOGRAPHY DAVID COLLINS STUDIO


1. The view at the Club floor lined with screens made out of dark teal eel skins

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ou could never have imagined the vast expanse of Bangkok city until you’ve witnessed it yourself. Standing on the highest vantage point of the iconic MahaNakhon building, the panorama is simply breathtaking. It is the first time that I’ve actually seen Bangkok’s skyline from this altitude; with a series of vistas unraveling seductively. Located adjacent to Chong Nonsi BTS station, the MahaNakhon is a mixed-used development that includes high-end boutique hotel, retail space and an outdoor public plaza. Designed by celebrated architect Ole Scheeren, the building is currently the tallest skyscraper in Bangkok and is home to the Ritz-Carlton Residences, Bangkok.


“One of the things that I fell in love with is the way the building works and I was lucky to witness it being pieced together. I don’t know how to put this in words but all too often when you’re in a tower block, you feel the repetition of interior spaces. Here, the nature of the building – architecturally – makes the space feels different. Every room varies in size and shape, and this to me is something amazing,” shares Simon Rawlings, Creative Director of David Collins Studio. David Collins Studio is an the award-winning Londonbased interior architecture and interior design studio that was appointed to design several show units, public spaces and leisure facilities in the Ritz-Carlton Residences, Bangkok. The interiors are anchored by a natural, crafted and layered



2. Private dining spaces are catered for intimate functions involving special guests or even a private chef 3. A warm palate takes precedence in the common lounging area 4. Decked in marble and Shagreen, the reception desks appear balanced and elegant in its simplicity

concept to reflect the prevision of the building’s architecture as well as the homeowners’ appreciation for sophisticated interior schemes. Simon shares: “Our intention was to create a classical and timeless design concept that is imbued with a distinct Thai sensibility.” The focus on place-making ensures that the locality informs the internal spaces. From the main lobby, a warm sense of hospitality embraces first-time visitors to the place. FIRST IMPRESSION Drawing inspiration from Thai forms, materiality and architecture, the lobby’s design provides a calming refuge for those seeking to retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city. A central water bath features floating decorative lotus flowers and running water, setting the scene through sound, scent and display of light. “We studied how the sunlight enters the space to create a beautiful soft glow throughout the day and into the night,” explains Simon.


A combination of soft green hues on the walls and marble surfaces infuses a therapeutic sensation. The Shagreen paneling behind the reception desks is overlaid with angular strips of bronze metalwork. This unstructured layering of strips contrasts with the measured proportions of the interiors and the rigid form of the building. The main lobby space features Thai-inspired ceiling details that lead you through to a candle-lit carpeted colonnade, creating a journey for residents as they move from the outside world to the inside. The walls are lined in alternating Thai silk and sting ray while furniture pieces include carved wood, rattan slipper chairs, sofas and tables in silver travertine and bronze. The designers also use objets d’art that are carefully curated from around Thailand to enliven the space with character and theatrics. COMMUNAL RETREAT A quick vertical shift brings us to the upper floors where the club is. The multi-functional club offers residents a sophisticated space to host private cocktail parties or even dinners that are catered by





STARTS WITH A BRICK A collaborative effort put into this family home epitomises the beauty of informing the past into present context. WORDS MARTIN TEO / PHOTOGRAPHY EDWARD HENDRICKS (CI&A PHOTOGRAPHY) & UPSTAIRS_


1. Playing with texture, the loose gravels and smooth precast concrete create a nice contrast to the entrance 2. Notice how well-defined each spaces are with nicely elevated spaces and selected textures


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hen the house began its construction, one apparent problem appeared after the existing walls were torn down. After 40 years of continual wear, the original structural frame was in a state of deterioration to the point of disrepair. The antique clay brick were extremely brittle, heavy and with an unusually flat profile. The disastrous discovery called for a quick solution: to double the brick wall thickness to ensure that the exterior walls would be structurally sound for the new building. The design team was tasked to exploit the existing structural framework of the 40-year-old house. Part of the brief narrated the extension of its floor plates outwards while creating a new


mezzanine level at its peak. Instead of building the brickwork façade from the ground up, the design brief included lifting the weight of the house completely above the ground to allow natural lighting into the otherwise, dark and dreary interiors. “When we were faced with a weak structure that was required to support twice the initial anticipated weight, we had no choice but to redesign the reinforcement structure while coming out with effective ways to ensure the design was not compromised by unforeseen issues,” admits Dennis Cheok, founder and architect of Singapore-based collaborative spatial design studio UPSTAIRS_. The resulting Ply House represents a simple solution – the end result of a long, complex but gratifying process.




3. Bricks are layered and overlapped in a traditional way to create a nice silhouette for the facade 4. Repurposing century-old Chinese clay bricks in such an artistic way 5. A singular Chinese chair adds an ironic yet conversational touch to the attic space


REDEFINING TRADITIONS “Seemingly, the traditional Chinese aesthetic preferences of the owner were in direct conflict with the younger family members. We were also cautious to tread the cultural route and we questioned the value of replicating Chinese aesthetics in a modern-day Singaporean context,” recalls Cheok. Clearly, residential project requires more than just design interventions. It is an architecturally ambitious endeavour to execute the rather complicated design brief. The Ply House is an architecturally ambitious endeavor to mitigate a complex brief. The client is deeply rooted in Chinese culture but yearns for a modern transformation to an aged family home and the diverse lifestyle demands of a large family unit. Part of the brief also includes ways to resolve the disadvantages of this nondescript westfacing row-house building that has been shrouded within an equally monotonous neighbourhood. While the house may look architecturally simple, the technicality and tectonics has been proved to be rather challenging. The external façade is conceived as an ultra-modern architectural shell, formed by hand with 100-year-old clay bricks reclaimed from demolished Chinese villages.


Cheok shares: “It was by chance that we accidentally stumbled upon a single sample of a reclaimed century-old Chinese clay brick, the by-product of massive urban gentrification in China, and pursued the hope of shipping the massive quantity of the building materials to Singapore. With the client, we envisioned and fell in love with the poetic nuances of building a two-storey tall, modern architectural shell out of this single aged material.” COLLECTIVE APPROACH The gravitas and physical heft of the building is lifted completely off the ground to create a virtually wall-less living space on the ground, and forming a shell from the harsh external environment for the private spaces above. Taking immediate cues from the inherent spatial quality situated beneath the ground, on the ground and above the ground, the interiors are more dramatically varied. In essence, a vertical stack of diverse spatial environments, each plied unto the other in four significant horizontal layers. The communal space for family gatherings is placed on ground level. Conceived in an outward-facing layout, the wall-less spatial volume is eminent. Cheok adds: “The existing exterior walls were






1. The museum’s volume cuts an arresting image in the townscape of Sumida City

THROUGH VOLUME The architectural porosity and drama of Sejima Kazuyo’s Sumida Hokusai Museum makes it an attractive destination for both museumgoers and locals alike. WORDS LUO JINGMEI / PHOTOGRAPHY ©FORWARD STROKE, KAZUYO SEJIMA & ASSOCIATES AND LUO JINGMEI

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umida City is a special ward in Tokyo just north of the glitzy streets of Ginza known for several attractions: amongst them being the home of Tokyo’s Sumo wrestling, the Asahi Breweries with Philippe Starck’s flamboyant, golden Asahi Flame capping The Asahi Beer Hall, and the Tokyo Skytree – the tallest freestanding tower in the world and tallest man-made structure in Japan that functions as a digital terrestrial television broadcasting tower used by NHK and other broadcasters, with a sprawling shopping mall in its podium. There is also a particular street – Hokusai-dori – featuring a series of prints by Japanese ukiyo-e artist and printmaker of the Edo period Katsushika Hokusai (17601849) who is most renowned for his painting ‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa’, one of the woodblock print series from the ‘Thirty Six Views of Mount Fuji’ series depicting


a gigantic wave towering over boats with Mount Fuji in the background. Hokusai moved residence more than 90 times in his 90-year-lifespan but was born in Sumida and spent of his life there, and hence, much celebrated locally. Many of his works feature the city’s landscapes, such as the Ryogoku Bridge and Mimeguri Shrine. Since November 2016, the city has added another gleaming new attraction to its midst – the descriptor ‘gleaming’ hardly an overstatement. The Sumida Hokusai Museum, designed by Sejima Kazuyo of Kazuyo Sejima & Associates (also of Pritzker Architecture Prize awardwinner SANAA fame, the international firm she runs with partner Ryue Nishizawa), sits in a park plot in the Ryogoku district of Sumida, backed and surrounded by a train line and nondescript low-rise blocks comprising cosy eateries, convenience stores, offices and homes. Its silvery, shiny skin makes it an anomaly in the



2. Porosity is a key datum, with ‘streets’ weaving through the museum’s gift shop and library on the first storey 3. A generous park space in front of the museum makes it an inclusive structure in the community 4. A spiral staircase connects the exhibition spaces and encourages an ambulatory experience

small-to-medium grain neighbourhood of common concrete, brick and tiled structures, and its dynamic, twisted mass is a physical allegory of Hokusai’s waves in abstraction, or his many landscape forms. Like a jewel dropped onto a patch of earth, there is something rather peculiar, yet poetic, in the contrast. COMMUNITY AND CULTURE The museum’s role in Sumida City is not only cultural, serving to educate visitors on the artist’s life and influence both locally and internationally in the art world (foreign artists in the likes of Vincent van Gogh, Edgar Degas and Henri Rivière among many, were all inspired). The provocative edifice is also designed to be a conduit for the community – from the generous open foreground comprising a playground that sees many families congregating from early in the morning to evenings, to the way the building’s spliced openings allow through views and visual connectivity from all sides. The client had requested for the building’s scale to fit alongside that of the surrounding buildings. On plan,


these smaller volumes merge into one another at a certain floors as a single building, and distance each other at others to be read as several volumes: on the first floor, several ‘streets’ cutting through the program (that includes the library, museum shop, entrance hall, lecture hall and other services) encourage intuitive meandering through the space; eschewing a formal back and front of the building removes the usual stoic frontage associated with such public buildings. With the openings tapering and rising to two volumes at various spots and angles, created is an experience akin to exploring a cave where some areas open up and others close in unexpectedly, inciting delight and curiosity at every turn. The uninhibited use of glass walls within – for instance, looking up from the public first floor up to the out-of-bounds second floor – also facilitates open dialogue between the museum staff and the public. At the same time, it loosens the stuffy image of such typologies. Up on the second floor, third and fourth floor, the floor plate comprising the archive space and office on the second floor,







5. Eschewing regular window openings are large fissures that open up the museum to its surroundings in a welcoming manner 6. The mundane and celebratory combine in this image of the sleek and glossy musuem against the elevated train tracks behind 7. The museum was designed to be considerate of the scale of its neighbourhood 8. Mirrored panels subtly reflect the silhouette of structures and movement around the museum

and exhibition spaces above, is continuous, with the building’s edge cut in at various parts of the plan. Generous foyers grant plenty of space for pause and views to different aspects of Sumida, such as the Skytree to the distance, or the excited interactions of children at play close by below. Meanwhile, a sculptural metal staircase joins the third and fourth floors, its circular nature furthering the ambulatory atmosphere. LIGHT TOUCH While much of the building is enclosed in order to preserve the artwork within, the glass slits, some layered with a metal mesh, allows in plenty of light into the common spaces and some exhibition spaces. The electro polished aluminum façade cladding with a slight mirrored finish subtly reflects the “friendly scenery” of the surrounding townscape. On the exterior, the metal skin projects a futuristic perspective, evoking a sense of excitement and movement, while inside,



light timber and white-painted metal surfaces provide a countering effect of calm that is conducive for contemplation. While the building has attracted many international visitors (no doubt also a result of the architect’s fame), for sure, it has already started to ground itself into the collective memory of the locals. From every exterior face, the museum’s angular massing lifts and peels away and grounds itself down in a unique manner. In a way, this multifaceted points of interest makes the building seem alive, well engaged in conversation from all angles. This building continues the architect’s approach in producing work that questions convention and stimulates fresh perspectives through the intricate and rigorous exploration of light, transparency, materiality and their relationships. Simple and complex at the same time, Sejima’s creations are keen studies of the physical and emotive states of the human being in connection with its environment. Though modest in scale, the Sumida Hokusai Museum is another example of this inspiring trajectory.

Permanent Exhibition



Special Exhibition



Archive Space



Work Room


Entrance Hall WC

Machine Room

Heat Strage Tank





9. In its expansive ecological site, the Cactus Park is integrated seamlessly into the old military camp 10. The shed is designed to create shelter while cultivating sustainable architecture and design in the park

their original looks at the same time, the design employs a new way of placement and facelifting. The new ‘green belt’ ties the different components together, creates the desired look and informs the feel of a park. The landscape design primarily focuses on improving the terrains surrounding the greenhouses and the overall environment; to enhance water conservation by setting up rainwater conservation basin; and to help the growth of plants under the cold weather. After investigating the whole district, the design team finds the well-designed rainwater recycling system from Japanese-Occupied Period. It suggests the problem of water shortage and importance of rainwater collection. The team interprets by keeping the water conservation design at the lowest point of the site and strengthens water conservation through infiltration, which in turn will facilitate the overall plant growth.


To block the cold north-east monsoon that carries salt and interferes plant growth, the team develops windbreak inspired by the method used by local farmers. The windbreak of 180~240cm can help the growth of plants by the sea more effectively. And it seems by now, every element is thoroughly thought through for the benefits of the people, plants and place. The Penghu Qingwan Cactus Park has transformed a significant military base of the past into a new tourist attraction. After seven years of planning and construction, the park is not only a place that exhibits different types of cactuses but also a land that nourishes the cacti and a dragon fruit business. The holistic approach of the park encourages a new wave of appreciation towards creative initiatives in this county.





LARGER PICTURE Artist and innovator Daan Roosegaarde is on a mission to create ‘landscapes of the future’ with the Dutch concept of ‘schoonheid’. WORDS YVONNE XU / IMAGES STUDIO ROOSEGAARDE




1. ICOON AFSLUITDIJK is a design innovation program, commissioned by the Dutch Government, which enhances the innovative character of the legendary 32 kilometer Dutch dike whilst highlighting its key functions: water protection & heritage, energy and mobility as an exemplary model of a smart landscape for today and tomorrow

Daan Roosegaarde

“I really like designing new links, between something which is function and something which is fantasy. Something which is practical and poetic—both. I think the new world is more about making new connections because in a way everything also exists—the ideas, technology and the thinking. We have to connect them to make it happen in a new way.”


he power in Daan Roosegaarde’s work is in the one-two: they first surprise and delight, often quietly; then, having so engaged the sensorium, deliver the messages they carry. In the work Windlicht, located at the Eneco windfarm at Sint Annaland, the Netherlands, laser-green light connects a line of windmills, beam to beam, post to post, winding up down up down with the blades, letting us see the unseen— wind, its energy, and our harvesting of it. The sight is movingly beautiful, and renders new meanings for ‘green energy’. Just as in the underground tunnel at the Eindhoven station in the Netherlands, where the work Space offers unexpected perspectives of Earth from outer space in the context of a subterranean experience, Beyond at Departure Hall 3 of the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol presents travellers a 112-metre-long lenticular print of clouds— anticipating the wonder of flight, if not evoking





AN ARCHITECT’S APOTHEGM Charlotte Macaux Perelman is a lady of few words. Her nonchalant smile is not a giveaway to who she is as an established architect and as the artistic director of Hermès Maison. In our encounter, she exudes a magnetic charisma that draws me into her realms of rigour and fantasy; translated in the Hermès’s new collection – Lien d’Hermès – which links time and space, as homage to the brand’s origin and heritage as a saddlemaker. INTERVIEW MARTIN TEO / IMAGES HERMÈS

YOU’RE AN ARCHITECT AND YOU’VE KNOWN THE BRAND FOR THE LONGEST TIME. BUT WHAT ARE YOUR FONDEST MEMORIES OF HERMÈS GROWING UP? I think when you’re French; you obviously grow up with an idea of what Hermès is. At home we may not have had objects from Hermès but my mother would have had a handbag maybe, so everyone had an idea of who Hermès is without knowing the details. Everyone has visited the store, but the whole idea is quite approximate. Once you’ve actually work with Hermès, you will realise that there is a true importance placed on the know-hows, the craftsmanship, how much attention is paid to the craftsmen and the importance placed on everyday life. A great deal of energy will be spent respecting the artists and their works as well as when we are designing pieces and peering into every single detail.


YOU WERE PRACTICING ARCHITECTURE AND YOU WERE IN NEW YORK FOR 10 YEARS, AND TODAY, THE CURRENT ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF HERMÈS MAISON. I launched my first agency in New-York in 2005 and then I opened a new branch in Paris in 2010. In November 2014, Hermès asked me to join the team as deputy artistic director alongside Alexis Fabry, in charge of the Hermès Home Universe, Hermès Sur Mesure, Saint Louis and Puiforcat. The House is always very keen on meeting people with unique backgrounds. I think that they liked my conviction and knew my deep feelings for objects and craftsmanship. They were interested in my knowledge in architecture, quality and usage of space. Both Hermès and I were very specific and concerned about the material used in our works. We clicked and knew then that we would get along, even on the minute details.

WE KNOW THAT HERMÈS HAS A UNIQUE AND RICH HERITAGE WHEN IT COMES TO SADDLERY, LEATHER GOODS. THESE HAVE BEEN VERY CLEARLY TRANSLATED TO THE LATEST COLLECTION. SHARE WITH US MORE ABOUT THE IDEOLOGY BEHIND THE LATEST HOME COLLECTION. The question has always been if the object is right for Hermès, will it appeal to a global audience? Sometimes by looking at an object, you can immediately tell if it’s Hermès. Sometimes it’s not so obvious but it is encompassed in a total balance. For this collection, we wanted leather to be the link between different materials like wood or metal. We also wanted leather to be reduced to its quintessence, a simple line with the freedom to meander… In homage to the house’s first métier – as a harness- and saddle-maker – it is the bridle’s motif and design that inspire this collection.. Mostly with this collection, we wanted to reduce the leather. Is it really that important? So rather than going full-on leather, we adopt the notion of leather as a link to integrate other materials like wood into the objects. reducing the presence of the leather, we end up with a piece like the groom, which is in full leather. It is sometimes the reverse of what we perceived For the lacquer piece, we worked with French designer Pierre Charpin who just came back from Japan after a 6 months’ internship with a lacquer master. The challenge was to make furniture objects without using any leather. Thus, we decided to ask our team of designers to create an object that would only use leather to wrap the object. They came up with a lacquer box with leather strap to fasten the box. YEAR AFTER YEAR, THE BRAND COMES OUT WITH SOME OF THE MOST FASCINATING OBJECTS IN THE MARKET. THE COLLECTIONS COME IN COLOURS, PRINTS AND ANIMAL MOTIFS. EACH MATERIAL SPEAKS ITS OWN LANGUAGE. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO EXPRESS WITH EACH COLLECTION, PARTICULARLY IN THIS LATEST ONE? We look at the bigger picture. The furniture has to be very rigorous but the textile can be fantasy. The leatherwork is very strict but silk is very colourful and fluid. Interestingly, we celebrate this ‘confrontation’ or clash between the rigorous furniture and its fabrics that are rich in colour. We want to accentuate the fantasy in this collection that is not very common for the brand image of Hermès. This collected gives Hermès a different image as we integrate more fantasy into the world of furniture. WHEN IT COMES TO WORKING WITH PEOPLE, IT’S QUITE COMMON FOR BRANDS LIKE HERMÈS TO COLLABORATE WITH RENOWNED ARCHITECTS OR DESIGNERS. THE MAISON HAS WORKED WITH JEAN MICHEL FRANK, SHIGERU BAN, ALVARO SIZA AND MICHELE DE LUCCHI OVER THE YEARS. WHO HAS BEEN THE MOST EXCITING DESIGNER YOU’VE WORKED WITH AND WHY? We choose the designers not for their famous names but because they’re most suitable. I have to say I was pretty amazed by Rafael Moneo, a Spanish architect. He is very well-known but I am more impressed by his humility. Most of these artists have great talents and we choose them because they respond best to Hermès’s needs, their understanding of the house and the relationship that we have with them. Each of them has their own idea and interpretations of Hermès, and that’s very interesting. Sometimes, the architects are very far from what we do in Hermès because of their personal aesthetics or different ideologies. The distance we make between their work and our work becomes our meeting point. That makes it more exciting. We do not stop at one thing but continue to work with materials and craft. You’ll never know the results, but when you do, it is very satisfying. For example, the AES coffee table designed by Barber & Osgerby is cast in bronze, in a single-use mould. We chose to work with this ancestral material,


Some of the novel objects from the Lien d’Hermès collection

bronze, because it requires a specific expertise that we wanted to explore. Bronze is an ancestral material but this table looks very contemporary. This coffee table has the look of a metal girder, powerfully structuring the space in which it resides. Behind its apparent austerity, this monolith indulges in some skillful illusions through the detail of the matt material and the waxed patina of its surface. We felt that bronze was right for Hermès as it was a handmade material being made and carved craftsmen. IN YOUR OWN WORDS, HOW DO YOU FORESEE PEOPLE LIVING IN THE NEXT DECADE? Lifestyle changes swiftly outside the home than the inside. There will be a balance between traditional and modern values. At Hermès, we want to avoid creating a disruption with the brand while maintaining our heritage and values. We didn’t want to make much noise, but rather minor changes to the right works. So, there is a subtle interpretation of the old informing the new through our objects through the use of materials, craft and also the story. WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM HERMÈS MAISON NEXT? There will be some changes but it will continue in the same evolution – no break with the past. You’ll have to come to Milan to see! LUXURY OR COMFORT? Luxury FUNCTIONALITY OR AESTHETICS? Aesthetics BRIGHT OR DARK? Bright COLOURFUL OR MONOTONOUS? Colour of course!


OUT OF THE BOX Rob Wagemans, co-founder of Amsterdam based concrete, has always done things his way—just like that Frank Sinatra song. Case in point: his controversial design for Clinic, an infamous former Singapore nightclub where partygoers enjoyed IV drips or danced in morgues. He drops by Hong Kong to launch one of his rare residential projects, and sticks around to discuss reinventing the budget hotel, his take on extended stay properties, and what he feels millennials want when they travel. INTERVIEW REBECCA LO / PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF concrete UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED

Rob Wagemans in Aurora clubhouse gallery, Skypark. Portrait courtesy New World Development


WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND? I am from Holland’s South. My goal was always to get to Amsterdam. From the age of 11, I knew that I wanted to be a chef or an architect. When I talked to chefs, I found out that I had to be consistent every single day. That sounded boring. My interest in architecture was natural and logical. I didn’t get dragged to museums; I pursued it my own way, and I eventually got my master degree in Amsterdam. My family owned retail shops and I refurbished them. They took half a year to design and build. My drawings are not beautiful. Instead, I create ideas in my head. DESCRIBE THE PATH THAT LED TO THE FOUNDING OF YOUR FIRM, CONCRETE. Architects can become successful by working hard. Designers can become successful faster. I think of interior design as an escalator, to step into architecture. In our first few projects, mostly shops and small bars, architecture and interior design melted into each other. I started concrete with two other guys in 1997. We didn’t want a traditional name like a law firm; we knew that we would not be working together forever—one partner did eventually leave, and now there are two remaining partners. We picked a name to describe who we are. Concrete is a material to build with. It is straightforward, to the point, direct. I like the honesty of real materials such as concrete. In our firm, there is no hierarchy, not even with our clients. Instead, we build teams. And we bring passion to everyone on site. WHAT DO YOU OFFER THAT SETS YOU APART FROM OTHER FIRMS? We like to change the rules. We like to be challenged. We look at what the market has to offer, and we ask if we can fix it. Standing out from the rest is the best marketing tool. All of our clients want to stand out. And that gives us freedom. In our minds, we have no competition. HOW DID YOU GET SO INVOLVED IN HOSPITALITY PROJECTS? The world of hospitality design is a world we like to be in. I am often annoyed with badly designed hotels. I stay in a lot of hotels, and find most five star hotels boring. There were no lifestyle hotels 20 years ago, and I wanted to design a type of hotel that I love going to. That ended up being Citizen M, fun one star hotel with five star sheets that opened near Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in 2008.

A rendering of the citizenM Taipei

TELL ME MORE ABOUT CITIZEN M BECOMING A GLOBAL BRAND. There is chaos with Citizen M that balanced with calmness. When we create, we need restrictions; then we can step over those boundaries. For Citizen M, we convinced the Dutch owner to let us do the architecture. We found a way to work together, like a family. We had big fights with them, but we stay connected. Like families, we should never fight and then walk away angry; we have to fix things afterwards. There was a lot of mutual trust, as we had the same goals. There are now 15 Citizen Ms around the world, with the latest opening in Taipei and then Shanghai. Our firm tends to focus mostly on designing public spaces. We don’t really do residences. The discussions are strange; too personal. YOUR RECENT HONG KONG PROJECT, AURORA, THE CLUBHOUSE IN NEW WORLD DEVELOPMENT’S SKYPARK RESIDENCES, IS A RESIDENCE. CAN YOU ELABORATE ON THAT? I was intrigued by the idea of curated chaos. We wanted to capture the chaos of Mongkok life below on the streets.




Jakarta Jaya: the Green Manhattan is an integrated green master plan proposal by SHAU Architects for Jakarta Jaya Foundation. The recent winner of the Smart Cities prize at the World Architecture Festival 2017 strategically addresses the key challenges that architects are going to face in the coming decade to determine success. The master plan is envisioned as an ensemble of ecological and social projects in one multiple-grid layout. It will be a pedestrian-based city. Each plot will have special green regulations for buildings and open spaces, covering horizontal and vertical connections between buildings. Coastal communities including fishing villages will be given a dedicated zone on the most strategic part of the island, where small-scale traditional and modern fisheries can thrive. Housing for the community will be considered with the integration of green roofs, plazas and promenades. The Republic of Indonesia is at a turning point. It is expected to become one of the world’s five largest economies by 2030. While the fast-growing middle class represents a huge opportunity for the country, the combination of climate change and rapid population and economic growth could jeopardise its future prosperity. Land reclamation is an integral part of the seawall megaproject, with the potential to provide valuable new space for Jakarta’s future growth. So, what is stopping its progress? (www.shau.nl)


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