ISSUE 21.06 LM 1.50 where sold
ISSUE 21 OCTOBER 06
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HOMEWORKS 21 edition. st
Architecture has a profound impact on the environment which shapes our lives. Whether we are aware of it or not, the buildings which we inhabit inexorably frame most of the events in our lives. What's more, these ephemeral creations outlive its creators and become heritage to future generations. This is why when we see a beautiful building that has all the criteria balanced, we celebrate it and its creator. This issue we’re doing just that, with more of a focus on the architects themselves – their work displayed as a testament of their architectural philosophies. Internationally renowned architects Ray Demicoli, Richard England and Edwin Mintoff talk to us about their values, triumphs and goals. Newcomers Michael Pace and Alberto Sansone voice the next generation, talking about the challenges on the way up, aspirations and inspiration from experiences to come. Veteran architect Ray Demicoli reveals a remarkable guest house in Lija, which sums up his contemporary and simple style, showing his respect for the context of the village in which it was built. Renowned for huge projects such as Casino di Venezia and Bay Street, innovative architect Edwin Mintoff’s creation in Mellieha is truly spectacular, with various levels that leave so much to the imagination. The Godfather of modern Maltese architecture, Richard England, shows us 'A Garden for Miriam' – a garden inspired by the ‘nostalgia for paradise’. As surreal as a Dali painting, the internationally renowned architect doesn’t disappoint us with this space. Michael Pace’s new young firm presents a young architect’s dream space – the new Styx nightclub. Newcomer Alberto Sansone unveils his first project – an ambitious renovation in Zebbug. Alberto also writes about a project that took place during his grandfather’s time as an architect – the post World War II planning scheme for Malta. It’s fascinating to see plans made then that would have many up in arms now. Dr. Malcolm Borg writes about the forgotten romantic movement of architecture in Malta – the Victorian Domus, which we still see many remains of today, probably without even realising it. There you have it – we’ve covered as many architectural angles as possible. All that you see around us has a creator – some to be scorned, others to be praised. Undoubtedly, this issue will offer a little insight in to what makes a building a good one; being within reach, visual interest, complement and contrast with surroundings, quality that lasts, aging well. These are all factors that we should be looking at when assessing what we see and interact with every day.
WELCOME TO ARCHITECTURE 101
079 SOOO SWEET BY RONNIE CARUANA & BILL HERMITAGE
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015, 017, 055, 037, 067, 077 HOMEIDEAS
AROUSING SENTIMENTS BY DR MALCOLM BORG
THE NEW KID MICHAEL PACE
THE PASSIONATE EDWIN MINTOFF
THE DISTINGUISHED ONE RAY DEMICOLI
007 HOMEWINNERS 009 HOMENEWS
A GARDEN FOR MIRIAM BY LISA BORAIN
019 WELCOME TO ARCHITECTURE 101 020 THE PASSIONATE
THE WILL OF AN EPOCH BY ALBERTO SANSONE
030 THE DISTINGUISHED ONE 040 THE NEW KID 048 THE VISIONARY 059 AROUSING SENTIMENTS 068 A GARDEN FOR MYRIAM 079 SOOO SWEET 084 THE WILL OF AN EPOCH 089 HOMEWORKS A to Z of SUPPLIERS 003
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OUR READERS WRITE ON ISSUE 20
EVERY ISSUE WE INVITE OUR READERS TO SEND US THEIR COMMENTS AND OPINIONS ON WHAT THEY LIKE OR WOULD LIKE TO SEE IN HOMEWORKS... “Well done for this excellent publication. I do not miss one issue of your magazine and am hoarding the whole lot! My husband and I recently acquired a very small modern house and our biggest challenge was to furnish it without losing much space and at the same time having enough storage space. This proved to be very tough and we had to hunt high and low to get ideas. I would like to see more ideas in HOMEWORKS as to how one could maximise their liveable space. Also, as the owner of a very small yard, I would also like to see ideas on how to develop this space.” Mary Grace Zammit
“We would like to congratulate you for offering such a superb magazine. We would really love to see HOMEWORKS help young couples convert their shell-form apartments into a lovely home and dedicate two pages of every HOMEWORKS edition to demonstrate the changes occurring at the chosen flat together with useful ideas for other young couples.” Laura Fenech and Manwel Darmanin
HOMECOMPETITION - WE WANT YOUR FEEDBACK!
Forward your ideas outlining what you would like to see published within HOMEWORKS.
Congratulations to Daniela Coppini – our twentieth HOMEWORKS reader suggestion winner. Daniela has won the set of bamboo storage boxes in 3 different sizes from BO Concept.
The person submitting the most interesting idea/concept will receive a Riedel 'O' for Two Tasting Set worth Lm11.50, from Living Interiors. Send your ideas to: HOMEWORKS Feedback, P. O. Box 48 Msida, Malta or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
HOMEWORKS NEEDS YOU! Daniela wrote: “What a wonderful magazine! I enjoy reading and browsing through each edition of HOMEWORKS.... and this magazine seems to be haunting me!! I keep seeing copies of it everywhere – when I visit friends’ or relatives’ homes... piles of them are all over – in living rooms,
bathrooms, bedrooms, by the pool... No doubt that it provides good reading and valuable reference material. I would love to see hints about children’s bedrooms and playroom areas including safety tips, storage and accessories.”
HOMEWORKS READERS are invited to submit interesting photographs and a brief description of their homes, which may be distinct in their architectural design. Of particular interest are homes that offer outstanding elements of both interior and exterior living spaces. HOMEWORKS will select the best submissions for future features. Send a photo and information to the attention of: The Editor, Writeon Ltd., P. O. Box 48, Msida, Malta or email@example.com (photos will not be returned)
EDITOR ART DIRECTION DESIGN PHOTOGRAPHY CONTRIBUTORS
HOMEWORKS is published by writeon ltd. every two months and is distributed with The Sunday Times
LISA BORAIN MARC SPITERI MAS COMMUNICATIONS KURT ARRIGO, ALAN CARVILLE, MAS, PIPPA DR. MALCOLM BORG, RONNIE CARUANA, RAY DEMICOLI, RICHARD ENGLAND, BILL HERMITAGE, DR. EDWIN MINTOFF, MICHAEL PACE, ALBERTO SANSONE
SALES & MARKETING 2133 9999 ALBERTO E SERRA PRE-PRESS AND PRINTING PROGRESS PRESS POSTAL ADDRESS / E-MAIL WRITEON LTD. P. O. BOX 48 MSIDA, MALTA firstname.lastname@example.org
Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission from the Publisher is prohibited. All rights reserved. Dates, information and prices quoted are believed to be correct at time of going to press but are subject to change and no responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions. Neither the editor no publisher accept responsibility for any material submitted, whether photographic or otherwise. While we endeavour to ensure that firms and organisations mentioned are reputable, the editor can give no guarantee that they will fulfil their obligations under all circumstances. © 2006
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HOMEWORKS is a registered trademark of WriteOn Ltd.
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THE LATEST INDUSTRY HAPPENINGS HOMEMATE ART Genuine handpainted oils on canvas just received at Homemate in Mriehel. Different styles, various sizes – all at great prices. All canvases come ready stretched and are available from stock.
CORE OPEN WEEKEND Core is having an open weekend to mark its 1st anniversary at the B’Kara showroom from October 28th-29th. New models of GRATTAROLA 100% solid wood kitchens in Walnut, Grey Oak and European Cherry will be unveiled, together with living furniture from Pianca, the ‘07 rug collection from Brink&Campman, new exotic parquet from Flexura and the latest crockery from Iittala. The Core showroom is situated in the upper part of Valley Road leading to Mannarino Road, B’Kara and will be open 9.30am till 9pm on Sat the 28th and 10am till 7pm on Sunday the 29th.
PACE & ASSOCIATES NEW VIDEO PHONE Urmet has just launched the ARTICO video door phone with a flat 4” screen. Artico is provided with a door opening key, two service keys for additional lock opening gates and call volume adjustment levels. Distributed by: Pace Associates Limited, 134, Stefano Zerafa Street, Marsa.
DESIGNERS GUILD BABY Designers Guild have just launched their New Baby Collection “Etoile”. This collection of luxurious fabrics,wallpapers and embroidered voiles for babies come in various combinations to make that special nursery just a bit more unique. Available at Design House, 61 Sir Adrian Dingli Str, Sliema.
THE LAWN FRAGRANCES Introducing a fast growing segment of the Yankee Candle home fragrancing range – the electric base units. The selection of fragrances include Clean Cotton, Macintosh, Lavender, Splash of Rain, amongst others. For a limited time period only, buy one and get one free. Available from leading outlets in Malta And Gozo. The Lawn Company Limited, 51/55, St Anthony Street, San Gwann.
NEW BOCONCEPT 06/07 CATALOGUE
CHRISTMAS PALACE AT THE PLAZA Christmas Palace is now open at the Plaza Shopping Centre, Sliema. The shop is located at the alley entrance of the Plaza, level 1.
The new BoConcept® 2006/07 collection is based on emerging lifestyle trends and interpreted into carefully selected styles, colours and functionalities that help to create the unique BoConcept® look. This season, you can expect dark colours, natural elements, organic shapes, fabrics with texture, warm coloured leathers and big accessories. Don’t forget to collect the new BoConcept catalogue. 009
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HOMENEWS THE ULTIMATE HOME GIFT GUIDE IS BACK IN THE NEXT ISSUE OF HOMEWORKS
CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE 2006
After last year's successful launch of the HOMEWORKS Christmas Gift Guide, we'll be back this year with more items than ever. The guide has all you need to find that special gift item, from the smallest token to hi-tech, high value items.
FINO OPEN WEEK Fino are warming you up for a great festive season to come with another Open Week activity that will be held between October 17th - 23rd. During the Open Week new attractive offers will be revealed and the showroom will be open from 9am to 9pm from Tuesday to the following Monday (that includes Saturday and Sunday).
NEW FURNISHINGS AT IDEA CASA Kitchens, bedrooms, living rooms, occasional furniture in trendy, classical and retro designs. Vast new furniture range, collection of lights, hydes and leather accessories available at Idea Casa, Valley Road, B’Kara.
NEW RANGE OF SETTEES BY LEON Interiors by Leon have just introduced their exclusive range of classical and modern settees. "With the very first look you know that a great deal of intelligent effort lies behind our collection. It has the quality, the style and workmanship that people have been searching for - and when you sit down, you’re sure. Its something that happens all the time with the Interiors by Leon range of settees."
SPOT ON MIX & MATCH Spot On Supplies has recently introduced the Mix & Match concept – light fittings to suit your own requirements. You can customize your own light fitting to suit your particular needs at competitive prices. This new concept called M6 gives you the opportunity to choose glass shades and light fitting bases that you require to match your own modern interior decoration. The M6 collection comes with a large variety of white and coloured glass shades, together with different finishes for the light fitting bases. See this innovative M6 collection spread on the two floors showroom at Spot On Supplies, 102, Palm Street, Paola. 011
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HOMEIDEAS These sleek and sophisticated lampshades represent a mere glimpse of the extensive range of matching accessories to help you create a whole new look. Wenge and gold lampshade is available in two sizes, starting from Lm28.95 at Gifts & More at Topline, St. Andrews. Tel: 2137 2256
The range of beautifully frosted ornamental glass in various sizes and colours is now available at Fifth Avenue, 256, Main Street, Mosta. Frosted glass bottles pictured here: Lm11.95 each. Tel: 9986 2842.
Great bargains, great offers, great for Christmas shopping. Think early! 30% discount from October till the end of December. Opening hours: 9:30am to 7:00pm. Perfect Match, Ta’ L-Ibragg Road, St. Andrews. Tel: 2138 0743 Mob: 9949 0123
Save yourself the hassle of looking for a present. At Ambiente you can find the ideal gift. These candles come complete with pebbles and stand. Prices starting from Lm4.95. Tel: 2137 6481
This autumn, accessorise your sofa with one of these fabulous ‘faux’ fur throws. Both stylish and warm, they are available in black, brown and cream. In various sizes, starting from Lm26.95 at Gifts & More at Topline, St. Andrews. Tel: 2137 2256 A wide range of magazine racks now available at Contemp. All new, all leather, new trendy designs or wall mounted steel racks. For that contemporary look visit the new range at Contemp 119, Naxxar Road, B’Kara Tel: 2144 2116. Also open Saturday between 4pm and 7 pm
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HOMEIDEAS MITE, design Marc Sadler, 2000. Mite’s ergonomic and slick design earned it the “Compasso d’Oro”, prizewinner in 2001. Mite and the rest of the Foscarini lighting range are available at the new Fino Lighting Centre, Mriehel. Tel: 2144 0735 or email@example.com
The new twist knob by PAMAR. Available exclusively at Attard Tipped Tools, Triq is-Sebh, Qormi. Tel: 2148 7644, 2148 5203
Voltolina chandeliers are the latest innovation for those after that something a little more special. Made out of Venetian glass, these chandeliers will definitely add riches to any attire. Prices starting from Lm250. For more selection, visit the showroom VCT Ltd. Light & Design, Ponsomby Street, Mosta. Tel: 2143 2571 or 2143 6186. www.vct.com.mt
Style starts at your front door. Impress your neighbours with these solid brass door knockers. Available in various finishes, including Patined Steel, Oro Satinato, Nichel Satinato and Bronzo Antico. Prices starting from LM25. A larger variety at Attard Tipped Tools, Triq is-Sebh, Qormi
Ceiling lamp with base in stainless steel and glass diffuser. LUMIERE 05, design Rodolfo Dordoni, 1990. Comes in four different colours: white, ivory, amber and grey. Like most of the Foscarini range lighting range, Lumiere 05 is part of a complete collection of light pieces, which also include wall, table and floor lamps. Full range of Foscarini lighting at the new Fino Lighting Centre, Mriehel. Tel: 2144 0735 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Latest Fabas Luce collection of modern glass/stainless steel finish of light fittings and matching wall light, together with lovely lampshades. Featured is “Aran”, which comes in a complete range of fixtures. Visit the premises to see the rest of the collection. Price Lm80. VCT Ltd. Light & Design, Ponsomby Street, Mosta. Tel: 2143 2571 or 2143 6186. www.vct.com.mt
DRESS, designed by Defne Koz, 1996. Dual on-off switch for simultaneous or independent use. Comes in 2 colours: white and amber. Dress large and small lamps are available together with the entire range of Foscarini lighting at the new Fino Lighting Centre, Mriehel. Tel: 2144 0735 or email@example.com
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Welcome to Architecture 101 Ray Demicoli
Being a good architect isn’t easy. An architect shoulders profound responsibility when having to think about all the factors that need balance in a building, together with the added pressure of knowing that their creation will become heritage to future generations. Whether a building is used as a house, an office or a nightclub, it must accommodate practical requirements for every purpose within its walls. A building without function may be beautiful, but then it’s sculpture, not architecture. Whatever the building structure consists of, it must be sound as well as the loads placed upon it. But to be architecture, it must do more. It must create beauty from construction obligation – this is what separates architecture from engineering. Architectural beauty can be found in a patterned limestone wall, a vaulted stone ceiling or a small aperture exposing a stream of sunlight. Aesthetic allure is the definitive test of good architecture. Without splendour, a highly functional building is simply serviceable without rising to the dominion of architecture. It’s the difference between a council house and Edwin Mintoff’s featured Mellieha project (page 020).
Of course, what’s considered striking and what’s considered unsightly changes over time. On the other hand, an architectural style that was once considered stylish and elegant will fall out of “fashion”, only to be rediscovered and appreciated years later. Look at Art Deco for instance. Flats in Sliema that were built in the 20s and 30s were considered outdated in the 1970s and 80s. Now they are looked upon as stylish gems that need to be conserved. Truly outstanding works of architecture never fail to impress us with their awesomeness. Structures such as Castille or Fort St. Elmo are still admired for their imposing magnificence, even though they are hundreds of years old.
PHOTOS: ALAN CARVILLE, MAS, PIPPA
If a building expresses its function in a meaningful and visually interesting way, if it complements and contrasts with its surroundings, if it’s made to last with the finest of details being seen to, if it ages well and if the building’s spaces beseech an instinctive reaction, then…. it’s pretty safe to say that it’s good architecture. HOMEWORKS found six Maltese architects that fulfil all these demands: the discipline of composition, the art of construction and the craft of utilising space, to create outstanding buildings.
Internationally renowned architects Ray Demicoli, Richard England and Edwin Mintoff talk to us about their philosophies, triumphs and goals. Newcomers Michael Pace and Alberto Sansone voice the next generation, talking about the challenges on the way up, aspirations and inspiration from experiences to come. 019
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The Passionate Architect: Edwin Mintoff
WORDS EDWIN MINTOFF STYLING FOR SHOOT KATJA WIEDERSUM PHOTOS ALAN CARVILLE
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he natural slope of the land on this site offered us a unique opportunity to develop a truly original building that fully utilises the potential of Maltaâ€™s flat roofs as an extension to the interior spaces.
We intentionally positioned the villa building at the very back of the site, where the land rises to meet the cliff face in order to elevate it and maximise the unobstructed views of the open sea and Mellieha Bay from within. The generous open space in front of the villa serves both as a large driveway as well as an imposing approach to the villa rising above it. A cascading water feature and a number of symmetrically planted palms frame the entrance porch with its stainless steel entrance door. While the ground floor of the villa accommodates a garage and a number of amenities, all the living and sleeping spaces are on the top floor. The living room and kitchen are situated along the front faĂ§ade of the building,
informing its design through the use of full height glazing and the provision of a deep open-air terrace. The unusual site configuration has provided us with the unique opportunity to truly integrate architecture and landscaping. As the building is essentially built into the rising slope, its back elevation disappears into the landscape and the roof of the building blends with the existing topography of the site, creating an extended roof deck. This magnificent space has been fully utilised and integrated with the building below, becoming an extended garden, a pool deck and a living space all in one. The roof deck can be reached directly through the house by means of a large glass spiral staircase that doubles up as a light, providing natural illumination to the circulation space below. When the roof is used for entertaining, one can by-pass the private areas of the house and reach it through an external staircase that climbs up one of the side walls of the villa.
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The spacious kitchen lends itself to entertainment and group cooking.
...CHOICE OF MATERIALS AND FINISHES TRULY GIVE THE VILLA AS WELL AS THE ROOF DECKS A MEDITERRANEAN YET CONTEMPORARY CHARACTER
A number of decks, all located at different levels, gradually climb up beyond the landscaped roof of the villa, reaching half way up the base of the cliff at the back of the property. Each deck accommodates a different function: a perched twolevel swimming pool with a cascade water feature;
an external dining area with a fully equipped kitchen for entertaining, an additional living space with a large format television adjoining a bar; and at the very top among a number of trees, an intimate shaded area with comfortable deck chairs and beds for relaxation.
The two large solar water heaters have been located on the roof of the villa, but have been screened by a number of palms that form an integral part of the landscaped section of the roof. Even the chimneys of the fireplace below form an attractive sculptural feature that further 023
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animates and gives character to the roofscape. The structural design of the building gave us a number of challenges due to the unstable geological conditions of the natural slope that the villa was built on. A foundation system, consisting of a number of piles that carry the loads from the building down through the top layer of unstable clay into the sound underlying bedrock was ultimately adopted. The Austrian designer's choice of materials and finishes truly give the villa as well as the roof decks a Mediterranean yet contemporary character. The stainless steel railing and fixtures, the timber decking, the dark blue glittering pool mosaics and large white furnishing combine with the greenery of the cliff and the blue of the sea to create a sense of peace and tranquillity." HW
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Edwin Mintoff “All architecture is shelter, all great architecture is the design of space that contains, cuddles, exalts, or stimulates the persons in that space.” Philip Johnson Renowned Projects: Corinthia San Gorg, Cottonera Waterfront (including Casino di Venezia), Bay Street, Arkadia. What first attracted you to architecture? I’ve always been in love with it. Actually, it was love at first site. (Laughs) Even when I completed my course in the UK, I went on to gain a PHD in architecture. I think I’m one of the few in Malta that went that far. I enjoyed working in the UK on fantastic projects and designs. I work very long hours, but only because I enjoy architecture and urban design so much.
Do you prefer working abroad or in Malta? There’s not much difference. A project is a project. Designing buildings within a context is always there to face. The value of architectural design is still the same. Abroad, there is much less bureaucracy and there are less restrictions with planning. Somehow this approach allows you to come up with innovative design with freedom. It allows you to express yourself, but still keeping within the context of the buildings.
What is your philosophy to architecture? To create developments which first and foremost respect their surrounding environments. Sometimes structures compete rather than compliment one another. These developments inflict a lot of damage to the street/town/rural scape. This is so important to me. Also, my philosophy is to make sure that all these designs take the human element into consideration. Sometimes, priority becomes expression for the architect rather than the feel-good quality for those that are using the building. Sometimes we dominate the scape and the functionality of the building is lost. Form and function are so important.
What is the biggest architectural disaster in Malta? The destruction of most of our village cores to make way for the invading auto car. The periphery vision and organic development was destroyed in the process and this is very sad. Our villages were originally designed to exhibit a serial vision effect. The result of this effect was a sense of fantasy and mystery, with the impact of entering the squares heightened due to the dominating churches over the village cores. These traditional buildings showed a respect to the environment. The surviving buildings responded well to climatic comfort without technology. It really is something to be admired. This was the essence of functionality meets aesthetics and we lost quite a lot of this. In fact, my inspiration for the design of Bay Street came from this. There is a big assimilation to meandering streets with Villa Rosa in the background.
What makes an architect a good one? This question requires a lot of reactions. There are a lot of factors. Good architecture will be iterated in the contractual design. A good architect is one who respects his surroundings and understands that buildings are going to be heritage for future generations. He/she should be conscious of the new, but respect the old. This shoulders a lot of responsibility. I have met people who have suffered the consequences of development and others who felt their quality of life has increased significantly because of it. That’s the difference between good and bad architecture.
What is your immediate goal? To spend more time with my family. Sometimes I feel like an athlete whose buildings are like trophies. I would like to keep building and contributing towards a successful architectural expression. I love challenges and every project is a challenge.
What’s the balance between conservation and development? There’s no secret formula, no fixed answer. This remains extremely subjective. In Malta, we’re somewhat conservative in our approach and should be allowed freedom to blend new buildings with structures. What is important is the way in which we achieve this. We should be conscious of the old and respect the new. We are living in an era where technology is very important and has to be accommodated by the building. The Casino di Venezia was very rewarding in this respect. Besides learning, it made me appreciate our heritage even more and made me aware of how important it is to generate new life into buildings. I got my PHD in urban renewal in Malta, citing Valletta as an example, so I could talk about this forever.
What new projects do you have in the pipeline? A very interesting project that we’re working on is the Xemxija development, which will substitute Mistra Village. In Gzira, we have the Metropolis Development, which is a residential development showroom. It will have views of the harbour and Sliema. We are really enjoying Ta’ Monita – a joint venture for a residential development in the south. The developers gave us freedom to express ourselves, so it’s a lot of fun. We’re doing the new automobile showrooms in Msida and a factory development for Coca Cola. We’re also mid-way through the development of a large factory.
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The Distinguished One Architect: Ray Demicoli
WORDS RAY DEMICOLI PHOTOS ALAN CARVILLE
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When I was first approached by the client to carry out this job I was delighted, as I knew this was an opportunity to come up with something different.
Undoubtedly, the most interesting feature on the site were these seven date palms that towered over the skyline of Lija, near the church of Tal Mirakli. The palms swayed in the breeze like models on a catwalk and were to become our weather beacon. The rustling of the branches is a
very relaxing sound and sets the somnolent village mood around the pool. Later on we discovered that these palms were sitting upon a well â€“ no wonder they grew to such a height! Besides the palms, other criterion of primary importance was the orientation of the building. We were after privacy as well as the afternoon sun. So the first sketches already decided that the house was an L- shape with a double height living room and a gallery.
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We would create two bedrooms at ground floor and another one at first floor. Less accommodation at the first floor would make room for terraces.
HERE IS AN UP LIFTING MESSAGE TO ALL THOSE WHO SAID “NEVER AGAIN” AFTER GOING THROUGH THE PANGS OF HAVING TO DEAL WITH CONSTRUCTION
Lija has several unique qualities (besides the fireworks), especially high rubble walls to protect the celebrated citrus groves. We therefore restored and raised the surrounding walls around the house, whilst keeping the language of the new building contemporary. Here is an up lifting message to all those who said “never again” after going through the pangs of having to deal with construction: the building process of this project was a very memorable experience as we were fortunate to have a positive client, very good builders from Bugeja Bros., an able hand on lighting and interiors by Greta Apap Bologna. Project management was in the hands of Perit Aldo Caruana, who orchestrated it with commitment and enthusiasm that rubbed off on all the trades who rose to the occasion." HW
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Ray Demicoli “Keep your measures true and be faithful to all your promises.”
Renowned Projects: Portomaso, Technopark, The Mall Offices What is your philosophy towards architecture? At the Church of San Giacomo di Rialto in Venice, there is an inscription that reads: Keep your measures true and be faithful to all your promises. This was a piece of advice to all the merchants of Venice that basically meant to just keep your word and you’ll fly. I try to keep this in focus in my relations and approach all of my projects with identifying what’s really important to achieve. My responsibility is not only to my clients, but we’re doing it for Malta as well and it has to be enjoyed by everyone. The building has relevance in society and becomes public – architects need to be aware of this. Just look at what Gehry’s museum did for Bilbao. An architect renders the best service when he challenges a brief and takes on board new opportunities that crop up. Contrary to what many people think, something special is not in its size or scale but rather its quality. Yes, design needs crafting. It always begins with a white piece of paper and some vague intention. We need to teach architecture like the film industry. You know, we should start with the story board and the picture, then work back from there. After 20 years of practice you realise this and you think – why didn’t anyone tell me this before? I had to discover this through so much pain?
criteria changes and one of the slide controls has to be adjusted accordingly. This completely throws off the harmony and you have to go back again to try and balance everything else so that it accommodates that one change. This is architecture. It’s all about the balance. When you see a building that strikes a balance between all criteria and issues, you see a beautiful building.
Is it better to develop or to conserve? There’s no duality in the two. The buildings are a memory of Malta and its land. If you eradicate them, you eradicate the memory. It’s just like a society – there’s the new, the young and the old.
What is your immediate goal? (Grins) I want to build a dream project that brings together my two big passions – architecture and the sea. I’ll stop there…
Not another marina? I’ll stop there…
What exciting new projects are you currently working on?
What is the biggest architectural disaster in Malta?
Several. A lot are confidential, but I can talk about the Hilton extension, which is pretty exciting. It’s challenging because each room has to have a sea view and they have to be nicely connected to the main building, fitting into the confines of an existing structure and the environment. This will be completed by next summer. This job is like scrabble: you have two words on a board and you try to get a seven-letter word in between. And if you hit a double word score it’s all a bonus. Another big one is the Blue Harbour project (formerly Les Lapins Hotel), which we’re renovating and creating luxury apartments and a boutique hotel with sixty rooms. We’re also working on a delightful house in St. Julians that’s a lot of fun. I’m even managing to put some new bathrooms into my own home!
Attitude. Not only this, but our values. They have to be changed completely if we want to get anywhere. Lack of vision and bad manners is a problem.
What would you like to see in the structure plan?
What first attracted you to architecture? No big romance or anything… when I was 14, my father decided that I had a good hand at sketching (starts laughing) and that I was to be an architect. I never questioned it. In retrospect, it was a good perception. I nearly failed my first year because I was heavily into music at that time and had a rock band. It was only until my third year that I really decided I wanted to do architecture. I guess my myths started falling away and I became more of a realist. I had to focus on what I wanted to do. Then I really loved it. It’s just that my passion for it had been dormant for all those years.
Do you keep going back to a project? Is there ever a time when you can say that it’s perfect and leave it alone? It’s never perfect. Never. I don’t even strive for perfection because it’s not achievable. It’s only divine. Things change. Criteria changes. Look, a perfect analogy is a recording mixer, with all those slide controls. You can have them all set so that everything is harmonic, balanced. Then,
More pictures. (Laughs). If only we could imagine where we would like to be in 20 years and work to that vision, visually transforming the potential of our assets… We’re a country that strives on tourism and services and we require a whole shift of values. The country needs to look good, not shabby. When we all believe this, that’s when we’ll move forward.
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Ambiente stock a large variety of distinguished gifts. A selection of desk and writing accessories
Shabby chic. Add that final touch to your décor with these pretty nick knacks found at Ambiente, Kappara. Prices starting from Lm4.95. Tel: 2137 6481
can be found at their Kappara shop. Prices starting from Lm12.95. Tel: 2137 6481
Create a unique atmosphere with these designer stainless steel table lights, table torches and picture frames for that contemporary look in your home. A wide range of wind lights start at Lm7.50 and picture frames at Lm8.40. Kymono offers a selection of brushed stainless steel accessories and decorative items for the home at 6, Triq l-Uqija, Ibrag. (Opposite BOV branch) Tel: 2137 8330
This time it happens on the table and it is a special event as described by its name - Eclipse. Produced in the best bone china and designed by Emmanuel Babled, together with Giannini Studio Design, the eclipse dinner set is a versatile collection available in three unique designs. Starting from Lm 4. Exclusively available at Living Interiors, Luqa Briffa Str., Gzira Tel: 2134 1166
Bernardaud Votive Lights add a warm, decorative accent to the bedroom, the bathroom, or any room in the home. The glow of the candle shines through the raised and carved surface of the votive to contrast light against shadow, revealing its richly detailed design. Prices start at Lm18.00. Available from Kymono, 6, Triq l-Uqija, Ibrag (Opposite BOV branch) Tel: 2137 8330
Thanks to worldwide demands, Riedel sommeliers is now the wine glass benchmark and the most successful series of hand-made glasses in the world. Each glass is individually made: the upper parts blown into a mould, the stem and base hand-crafted, using methods developed at the time of Christ’s birth. Starting from Lm 14.95. Exclusively available at Living Interiors, Luqa Briffa Str., Gzira Tel: 2134 1166
Arzberg’s Profi offers colour and design in perfect harmony. The blossom-shaped platters create an impressive decorative effect. The special thickness of the porcelain helps food and drink stay warmer for longer. Colours available in virgin white, soft and striking colours or even trendy stripes for a distinctive look. Available exclusively from Kymono, 6, Triq l-Uqija, Ibrag (Opposite BOV branch) Tel: 2137 8330
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The New Kid Architect: Michael Pace WORDS MICHAEL PACE PHOTOS KURT ARRIGO
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"IF PEOPLE WANT TO LOOK GOOD THEY PROBABLY WANT TO BE SEEN."
he original brief was for a clubin-club, with its main access from the main ground floor complex. This was later extended to include a second volume, which connected the original to a direct access from the road. The club was designed as two independent volumes: an orange chill-out bar and a white dance room. The bar is at the main entrance to the club, so it serves both as a welcome zone as well as a chillout space that gives the clubber a break from the noisier dance room. The main dance area focuses on the music. Basing our ideas around the 'happy vibe' of contemporary club culture, we found ourselves inclined towards playful internal volumes and colour washes that constantly change to suit the music. The wall washer system consists of LED tri-colour strips, concealed behind bulkheads or hanging pelmets. The result is a colour wall wash, which can be controlled from the deejay stand to any hue or intensity. We figured the not-so-dim lighting might be hard for some to swallow, but then again, if people want to look good they probably want to be seen." HW 041
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THE WALL WASHER SYSTEM CONSISTS OF LED TRI-COLOUR STRIPS...THE RESULT IS A COLOUR WALL WASH, WHICH CAN BE CONTROLLED FROM THE DEEJAY STAND TO ANY HUE OR INTENSITY
Bright and cheery kitchen in the summertime while cosy during the winter months.
Spacious living area with interesting symmetry. Looks out onto the garden.
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Michael Pace “Architecture arouses sentiments in man. The architect’s task therefore, is to make those sentiments more precise.” Adolf Loos
After graduating in 2000 and working with AP (Architecture Project) for three years, Michael Pace then set out to start spacestudio with Christopher Micallef and Ivan Cachia, both ex-course mates.
What is your philosophy towards architecture? Context comes before everything else. We try our best to approach each project independently of the last. Hopefully that should keep our ideas fresh.
What is your definition of architecture?
What first attracted you to architecture?
Anything that involves the man-made creation or conversion of space.
I think I just fell into the course. I found myself working with architects as a student when I was 16, so once I completed my A-levels, architecture seemed to be the natural thing to do. Had I been more mature or aware of the choices I might have done something else – like industrial design, for example.
You are a relatively young architect. How tough is the industry to break through? We all know that this country has been a building site for quite a few decades now. We’re about to reach the tipping point, but for the time being there is no lack of work for architects. The tough part is being good at what we do. Design is extremely time consuming, so efficiency is key.
What is your immediate goal? To get fit. Too much work is rusting my joints.
Advice to young architects?
What would be your dream project?
Be accountable for everything you do.
To design a private yacht.
What exciting new projects are you currently working on?
What three main characteristics must an architect have?
We’re trying hard to get a commission overseas. Things are looking promising but I won’t count my chickens yet.
Enthusiasm, vision and stamina.
Which local architect(s) are you most impressed by? What are our barriers in terms of architecture in Malta? The first barrier is money. Architecture in Malta has been exploited as a mere tool to making money. We lack emphasis on quality and aesthetics because, so far, shoddy buildings have been more profitable. The second barrier is exposure. We are an insular population, stuck in our tracks and reluctant to change or experiment. It might be related to our lack of personal, national pride and self belief.
I’d say AP has given us a great example of a fresh contemporary intervention with the Valletta Waterfront project. Hats off also to the developers for encouraging it. Let’s hope it inspires the rest of us…
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The Visionary Architect: Alberto Sansone WORDS ALBERTO SANSONE PHOTOS MAS
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his property was bursting with potential, yet the impression it gave to the onlooker was that it had remained in a time warp since its first conversion in the late 1970â€™s. Outdated bathrooms, light blue ceramic tiles in the main bedroom (clearly left over tiles from the neighbouring swimming pool), not to mention the over dark interior, jam-packed with clutter reminiscent of late Victorian homes gave the otherwise spacious property a claustrophobic feeling. This farmhouse had already been converted, albeit with grave errors along the way. The sheer size and lovely layout made the new British owners fall in love with the place straight away. The fundamental start to this conversion was clearing out the jungle and clutter as well as freeing all the ground floor walls from any paint and plaster finishes. These were evidently flaking off due to the rising damp. The thick walls with soil-filled interiors rendered ineffective any other methods of damp rise prevention, such as sliding in a DPC membrane or injecting chemicals to create a damp proof course. Exposing the walls seemed the most effective way of eliminating the flaking paint and plaster problem. The dusting problem that the clients faced was caused by the incorrect use of pointing material. The existing pointing was gently hacked out and a new mixture of slaked lime (gir) and lime (xahx) as well as minor amounts of white cement for strength was used. Using the correct mixture of pointing material almost completely eliminated the presence of dust. We then gave the exposed honey-coloured walls a textured hand dressed finish.
The newly added courtyard Loggia (built as part of the 1970â€™s conversion) provided some form of protection to the owners of the farmhouse when moving from room to room at ground floor level. Notwithstanding the useful function of the loggia, its finish with exposed modern sized cut stone blocks contrasted negatively with the larger more square-sized blocks of the original farmhouse. This was achieved by means of graffiato plaster. We transformed the large internal courtyard into a tranquil oasis of calm and classy relaxation with a few carefully chosen, low-maintenance Mediterranean plants that we strategically lit from below. Since the client did not want to go all the way in terms of contrasting the old with the new, it was decided that whilst the conversion was essentially to be in-keeping with the original character of the house, the contrast would have been achieved by means of the modern furnishings and lighting of the interiors. Exceptions to this concept were the very modern black kitchen units and the bathrooms. Since the beginning of the project it was noticed that certain parts of the ground floor were musty and did not have enough air circulation. These were mainly the mill room, study and master bedroom. Options of opening more skylights in the ceilings were soon discarded in favour of an air-conditioning system that brought in fresh air from the exterior. The air-conditioning equipment was concealed in a roof structure and the ducting was masked by means of beams and other features. Whilst cooling or heating these rooms, we were eliminating the stale air that was full of airborne fungi and dust through a heat exchanger. This also meant that the system offered considerable energy saving costs. The other ground floor section of the house did not have the same lack of air ventilation and therefore less expensive split indoor AC units were used. We painted these in a stone colour to reduce their negative aesthetic impact to the minimum. 049
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Any image you supply or choose from Wallart's catalogues can be printed on canvas and stretched to hang on the wall. Supply Wallart with your own photo and they will create a unique graphic style for you. A 60cm x 90cm print at just Lm72.00. Tel: 2141 9820, 7991 4306. firstname.lastname@example.org
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The pool area was lit by concealed indirect lighting that helped achieve a really stunning effect at night. Whilst no major works were contemplated to alter the eggshaped pool we refinished it to include an edge trim of brightly coloured fish, almost reminiscent of a childâ€™s drawing. The mill accommodates gadgets abound with the latest technology in terms of TV and hi-fi equipment with a centralized unit farming out music and satellite TV
to the different zones of the house. An automatically descending screen converts the mill room into a true home cinema experience. One ought to pause and think that this space originally housed the indoor shelter of bulls that were also made to turn the mill. During the conversion, a quaint old villager could not resist his curiosity and came in to say that â€˜hemmhekk kien ikun hemm il-barrinâ€™. The original and present owners of this mill room are certainly centuries apart! HW
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“Architecture is not an inspirational business, it’s a rational procedure to do sensible and hopefully beautiful things; that’s all.” Harry Seidler
What is your definition of architecture?
What first attracted you to architecture?
The design of the physical man-made environment so as to achieve an aesthetic ideal that fuses both form and function into a harmonious whole
Travelling as a child to Rome and being totally fascinated by the ancient Roman forum. This led me to start creating architectural models of ancient Roman buildings and soon I was creating models of hypothetical projects long before I was at University!
You are a relatively young architect. How tough is the industry to break through? The industry is large enough to provide all the opportunities for an architect to ‘break through’. It all depends on the quality of the personal service you give to your clients. Once they are satisfied, they will recommend you to others.
What is your immediate goal?
Advice to young architects?
What would be your dream project?
Put passion in your work and in so doing, strive to achieve professional fulfilment even from the most seemingly ‘uninteresting jobs’.
Designing a luxurious ‘waters-edge villa’ within a landscape of unspoilt natural beauty (and yes having no planning or budget restraints!)
What exciting new projects are you currently working on?
What three main characteristics must an architect have?
The construction of a ‘Student Guesthouse’, the design of a ‘Commercial Complex’, various architectural, interior and landscape design projects… In essence, each project is exciting in its own way.
An architect must be creative and innovative, whilst keeping focus on the particular needs of his client.
Starting to work on the design of my new offices.
Which local architect(s) are you most impressed by? What are our barriers in terms of architecture in Malta? Too many to mention or none at all…depending on the individual architect’s ability to consider obstacles as barriers or as challenges that can and should be overcome.
I am particularly fond of certain projects by Godwin Vella and Martin Xuereb. The two architects may be considered as having a different approach to architecture, with the former expressing pure modernist lines whereas the latter is known for instilling a Maltese character to some of his projects.
What is your philosophy towards architecture? True architecture has to provoke the senses. It is this that separates architecture from mere construction.
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HOMEIDEAS ASA Lotus Tea set. What better than to relax after a day’s work with a lovely cup of tea served in this stylish tea set by ASA of Germany. ASA is renowned for their quality at very affordable prices. The full range of ASA products can be viewed at the Domestica showroom or www.domestica.com.mt
Guzzini Espresso Cups are available in various colours and make a great gift. The collection comes in a lovely patterned tin. To view the full range of Guzzini products visit the Domestica showroom or www.domestica.com.mt
The variety of wine and tabletop accessories available at Kymono range from drip collars to wine pourers and bar trays. The selection also includes porcelain dishes on stainless steel trays – ideal for serving nibbles and sweets. Matching stylish cruets and oil and vinegar sets complement this range. Prices from Lm2. Kymono, 6, Triq l-Uqija, Ibrag (Opposite BOV branch) Tel: 2137 8330
Littala Tools are a high quality range of pots and pans designed in collaboration with top chefs and material specialists. Iittala Origo crockery sets have rapidly become a classic and represents simplicity of form meets function. Core, Upper Valley Road, B’Kara Tel: 2144 3449 or www. core.com.mt
Inspired by the culinary cool of the Italian lifestyle, this is the ultimate collection of Italian kitchenware classics by Typhoon. Starting from Lm 13.95. Exclusively available at Living Interiors, Luqa Briffa Str., Gzira. Tel: 2134 1166
Jamie Oliver has combined with Tefal to produce his professional range of frying pans. All made in 18/10 stainless steel and dishwasher safe. All pans are non stick and feature Tefal’s unique heat indicator, the thermo-spot, which lets you know when the pan is preheated to the right temperature to seal in the flavour of your food. Available from OK Ltd., Naxxar Rd., San Gwann. Tel: 2138 7495
The daring curved design of the Foodcups is the focus of attention at every table and buffet. The Rosle foodcups are seamless and manufactured all in a complete piece of 18/10 stainless steel. Starting from Lm 6.95. You can view the complete range of stainless steel accessories at Living Interiors, Luqa Briffa Str., Gzira. Tel: 2134 1166
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The Romantic Movement WORDS DR MALCOLM BORG PHOTOS ALAN CARVILLE
Above: The ceiling of the Mediterranean Bank - Barbara Bastions, Valletta
he Romantic Movement in the Maltese Islands is often regarded or disregarded for its pointed architecture and its neo-classical monuments. Although these were significant instances that mark the evolution of vernacular architecture, the style of the house reflects the modus vivendi and fashion of life in Victorian Malta.
It is difficult to describe the various evolutionary phases of the house in the 19th century in a few paragraphs, however it is possible to pin point the radical changes that composed domestic architecture and house building.
Often architectural history is misconceived as a stylistic evolution. This is never the case in any ‘period’ in history. This is why today’s heritage charters and conventions advocate the archaeology of building and as a result a holistic approach in scraping back the years out of a historic house. The house is a product of its age. The domus is the highest form of artistic expression. It is not only concerned with decorative form or spatial distribution, but it is also about natural lighting, colour, comfort, sanitary law and building technology.
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This page: Casa di Petri, Attard
The earliest developments of the Romantic influence in local architecture commenced after the early 1800s. British Governors took over many of the local palaces and auberges and as a result, the Georgian and Victorian influence was rapidly introduced. The redecoration of the Governor’s palace in the Throne Room and the Armoury marks this development and movement towards a Northern European notion of design. This included the stripping of heavy decoration and drapes, the inclusion of neo-classical elements and the introduction of timber flooring. These new internal configurations effected changes in the Manoel Theatre, at the Union Club ‘Auberge de Provence’ and the Bibilioteca, which was transformed into a museum of the antique. The first impact of British settlers was a reaction to ‘lofty’, oversized rooms, which were difficult to control climatically. This resulted in the insertion of intermediate floors and partitions, which became very common interventions during the 19th century. Until recently, the concept of the local Victorian House was colour-less or bland. The study of houses through paint scrapes has revealed an extremely rich palette for Victorian interiors. The importance of the archaeologist in heritage management has taken a new dimension. Locally this has been slow and the loss of ‘colourful’ information will mark the further study of Victorian living space. However, regimes dominating investigative methodologies regarding paint have been significant. In the Victorian age not only was the house or dwelling colourful but also heavily decorated. It also saw the emergence of active decorators and painters who reproduced wallpaper effects and depicted patterns and dados with elaborate idyllic scenes or friezes. 061
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HOMEWORKS Earliest descriptions of nineteenth century traditional timber balconies have been described as being painted black. Various theories have been applied to this idea; one thought is that the use of tar or oil used also on vessels could have been a preservative coating. The use of oil based paint for timber also evolved during the first part of the nineteenth century, where it is believed that predominantly green and blue where applied to timber balconies and fenestration. In most colonies these were predominant colours and the connection with the military as well as the navy and surplus paint may not be proved through documentation but through deductions of an anthropological nature.
It is unfortunate that such a rich epoch has been ‘forgotten’. The Georgian and Victorian period in domestic architecture is also rich in applied decoration. Various craftsmen were involved in the decoration of a building – the ironer, the glazier and the cabinet-maker all contributed to interior decoration. Sculptural motifs on the façade were not the only elements of distinction; the Victorian interiors were enriched by elaborate fan lights with coloured glass, intricately stapled or riveted wrought iron work and timber furnishings following imported ideals by British cabinet makers (c.1815). The introduction of a new lifestyle through urbanisation brought about new notions of healthy and comfortable living. Most Maltese landowners in the harbour area rented out their property in the city to British settlers and built new properties in the emerging towns; Pieta, Msida, Sliema, St. Julian’s, Hamrun and Paola (1840-1890). A new legislation through colonization was based on classical norms and this was to an extent, part of the Romantic Movement which effected Maltese society at the core. The modernizing Victorian mission brought to the Maltese Islands bronze taps, running water and storage tanks as early as the 1840s. The amendment to the police laws on sanitary matters in the 1870s also radically changed the formulation, planning and building of the house. The inclusion of ventilation shafts, flushed sewerage and drainage, waste management and the damp course are all Victorian concepts based on the effects of cholera and curbing disease in overpopulated urban centres. The introduction of the ‘plot’ of land for building was another significant development, which was based on sanitation as well as classical block distribution.
This page: Villa Portelli, Kalkara
The local evolution in the Victorian house is a representation of a better ‘standard of living’ to apply a modern term. The Romantic Movement is expressed holistically in the full application of revolutionary design and decoration that created a drastic cut with the Baroque past. The 19th century house presents the bridge or foundations of modern and contemporary living space. HW 063
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HOMEIDEAS Camelot Pictures' new, amazing canvas range is now available. Camelot’s superior protective textured finish enhances the colours in the image, which is then stretched around a 5cm boxed frame, creating a modern look to your interior space. New catalogue now available at Contemp, 119, Naxxar Road, B’Kara Tel: 2144 2116. Also open on Saturday between 4pm and 7pm
Using the designs and colourations developed by the Brink & Campman design studio, rugs are being knotted in Nepal according to a unique method. The pile is a blend of Tibetan and New Zealand wool and the woven collection is produced in the Netherlands. The result is a cosy rich high-pile carpet. Starting from Lm69.00. View the rug gallery at Core, Upper Valley Road, B’Kara. Tel: 2144 3449 www.core.com.mt
The “Ibiza Lounge Cabinet High” measuring 120x84x39 and “Deco Table Ibiza Lounge” assorted 16x37x37 combine together to give a more ethnic and eclectic look. Available at Design House, 61, Sir Adrian Dingli Str, Sliema. Tel.2134 6474 / 9942 3464
Put some comfort in your daily life. A 3-seater and two reclining armchairs in leather, for just Lm545.00. Roxy Home Furnishings brings comfort to your home at affordable prices. 800, High Street, Hamrun. Tel: 2122 4537 or email@example.com
The traditional nightstand is replaced by alternative elements enriched by back-lit glass screens and single drawer elements. These adaptable sliding benches are perfectly suitable for a multipurpose room. Ideal for working or relaxing. View the full range of Pianca bedrooms and living areas in Wenge, African walnut (as pictured), and Light Oak at Core, Upper Valley Road, B’Kara. Tel: 2144 3449 or www.core.com.mt
Leather reclining armchair for just Lm85.00. Roxy Home Furnishings brings comfort to your home at affordable prices. Roxy Home Furnishings, 800, High Street, Hamrun. Tel: 2122 4537 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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HOMEWORKS RICHARD ENGLAND’S
A GARDEN FOR MYRIAM WORDS LISA BORAIN PHOTOS MAS
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WHAT IS THE PHILOSOPHY BEHIND THE CONCEPT OF ‘A GARDEN FOR MYRIAM’?
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN TRYING TO ACHIEVE THESE QUALITIES?
According to the book of Genesis, the initial abode or home of man was the garden “East of Eden”. The Holy Book continues to recount that this was an environment both beautiful to the human senses and nourishing not only to man’s body but also to his soul. Post the loss of man’s earthly paradise (a word originating from an old Persian word “Pairidaeza” meaning walled garden) there is throughout the existence of humanity what could be termed a ‘nostalgia for paradise’, a longing for a return to that ‘Edenic Paradisiacal lot’.
The search for a balanced synthesis of man-made and natural elements; for these above all are the main tools, a task which could be defined as a poetic intertwining of geometry and greenery. Another guiding parameter was the objective that the garden should not only challenge and soothe the eye, but should also question and quiescence the mind. While the sound of water, the solidity of stone, the movement of branches and the ever-changing light pleased the eye, the garden elements reading as a reservoir of personal memories relaxed the spirit. Hence the garden may perhaps best be interpreted and read as a private arcadia of juxtaposed images of remembrances and recollections, a form of theatre of memory.
The main objective in my mind in the creation of a Garden for Myriam was to conceive an enclosed walled space, a meditative arena to allow one’s “quiescent dreams in borrowed time” to propagate. In today’s secular mechanistic life I believe it is essential for man to be able to move into environments which provide him with an ambience to allow one’s soul to catch up with his body. The concept may therefore be summed up as an attempt to create a place in which to stop and pause, a place in which to be silent ... and hopefully a poem that can be read and enjoyed both physically and spiritually. It was Axel Munthe who said, “The soul needs more space than the body”.
WAS THE DESIGN INFLUENCED BY ANY OTHER ARCHITECTS OR LANDSCAPE DESIGNERS WORK?
I have always been an ardent admirer of the great Mexican architect Luis Barragan. In my Mexico Instituto Nacional De Bellas Artes lecture of 2002 to commemorate the centenary of his birth, I referred to this great garden designer as a ‘poet of silence’. His high walled simple enclosures marrying sun, shade, water and the rich colours of the Mexican palette must surely remain among the most superb of the 20th century designed
Surreal - Arches reflected and floating styrofoam ball 069
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Shapes intermingle with the garden creating the effect of a stage set or the impression of an arena
spaces. Other influences may be traced to the enigmatic piazza spaces of Giorgio de Chirico’s canvases and the equally intriguing paintings of Paul Delvaux. My collaboration in the seventies with Ian Hamilton Finlay and my visits to his ‘Little Sparta’ Garden in Scotland also possibly contributed to the metaphorical overlays of the symbolic individual elements of the whole composition, as did also the literary works of Italo Calvino. This is a garden conceived as an illusory dream stage set, utilizing archetypal Mediterranean forms; a paradigm of peace to calm, soothe and evoke fairytale-like spaces of serenity, out of time and out of place and distanced from today’s chaotic life style and noisy surroundings.
Old friend Victor Pasmore's contribution to Myriam's Garden
WHAT OTHER CHALLENGES ARE THERE IN DESIGNING A GARDEN?
Apart from the designer’s professional skill, knowledge of plants and trees is essential. Here I had to rely on my wife’s expertise as an Ikebana expert, which she applied with both skill and enjoyment bearing in mind also that the garden is dedicated to her. The most important quality of all must certainly be that of patience. Nature needs time, and for the triad of the man made, the man controlled and completely natural to be fully developed it may well be necessary to have to wait for years. In fact it was in 1997 that I was able to install a mural design by Victor Pasmore, a representation of this great artist’s dialectical reading of the Cross as both a symbol of redemption and promise and also as the terrifying image of the crucifixion. Hence, I think it is only now after many many years that the Garden for Myriam has reached maturity and the full orchestration of its man-made and natural elements has become manifest. It was Ian Hamilton Finlay who said, “A Garden is not an object but a process”. ARE THERE ANY PARTICULAR GARDENS OR GARDEN DESIGNERS YOU ADMIRE??
Luis Barragan’s spectacular Mexican legacy and Ian Hamilton Finlay’s allegorical metaphors in his poetic garden, (the work of a savant poet of nostalgia telling teasing and stimulating tales) I have already mentioned. Other personalities in this field whose work I admire are Martha Schwartz, Peter Walker, Shodo Sukuri, Lawrence Halprin and of course the father of modern garden design, the Brazilian Roberto Burlo Marx. 071
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In terms of gardens, above all, my admiration goes to the mystical Buddhist gardens of Japan. These ‘simple in expression - deep in content’ gardens are ambiences provoking high aesthetic and spiritual emotions. Surely the Zen garden at the fifteenth century Ryoan-Ji temple in Kyoto by Japan’s famous Soami, consisting of just fifteen stones, contained in less than 400 square meters must be considered the most intriguing garden space ever designed. Its eloquence and simplicity continue to this day to fill one with wonder and awe; the ideal blue print for the perfect garden. ... AND IN MALTA?
Some recent good efforts on some of the roundabouts ... but whoever is responsible, please remove the plastic bath tub fountain on the one at lower Kappara and definitely NO MORE pathetic amateurish sculptural pastiches such as the concoction at the entrance to Zurrieq. One recently renovated project, which I have much admired, is the Valletta Upper Barrakka Garden. Excellently done ... but please more maintenance! FINALLY, THE ULTIMATE GARDEN? The BBQ/Eating area overlooking the pool. Every space has its own experience
Without doubt the Garden of Eden; probably a place where the walls were the wind, the floors were the earth and the ceiling was the sky. Pity we lost it!
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These ready-made Curtains “Deli” come in a range of colours such as orange, purple, brown and gold, measuring - 250x110. Available at Design House, 61 Sir Adrian Dingli Str, Sliema. Tel.21 346474 / 9942 3464
Unusual items for your home, these cute doorstoppers are made of solid bronze and would add a touch of class to any room. Prices starting from Lm12.95. Found at Ambiente, Kappara Tel: 2137 6481
No more problems with Flamingo's space saving washing machines. Find a range of space saving washing machines which fit into the tiniest of places. Whether front or top loading, these washing machines fit into 40cm of space. Flamingo Showrooms, Cannon Road, Qormi. Tel: 2279 4205-216 or email@example.com
Brighten up your home with Swarovski Crystal Home Décor. The “Leaves” Vase is entwined with metal branches and delicate pastel-coloured crystal leaves. These wonderfully faceted flowers will brighten up your home on the cloudy days to come. Available from OK Ltd., Sliema & Valletta and also the NEW Swarovski Store: 69, Tower Rd., Sliema. Tel: 2133 8248
The real leather floor mirror “Metropolis” , 180x90x2 compliments the “Metropolis” desk and “Swinger Chair Expo” made in black metal,chrome and PVC. Available at Design House, 61, Sir Adrian Dingli Str, Sliema. Tel.21 346474 / 9942 3464
The new Sharp 4-door bottom-freezer refrigerator with its stylish and elegant design will match your life in all aspects. It also offers outstanding convenience, featuring the ultra-wide interior compartments with the unique CentrePartition-Less Design, the Hybrid Cooling System and bottom freezer. Flamingo Showrooms, Cannon Road, Qormi. Tel: 2279 4205-216 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Create a happier and healthier lifestyle for you and your loved ones. The relaxed atmosphere in a spa is the perfect place to reconnect with your family and friends. This spa seats 4 persons. Price: Lm2300 inc.vat. Aqualine Ltd. 26-28, Mill Street, Qormi. Tel: 2149 3400 or email@example.com
CREATIVE IDEAS 077
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RONNIE CARUANA OF THE HILTON MALTA TAKES US ON A SWEET JOURNEY WITH SOME CREATIVE AND TASTY DESSERTS. MATCHING WINE WITH SWEETS IS SOMETHING OF A DELICATE TASK. BILL HERMITAGE OF EMMANUEL DELICATA OFFERS TIPS ON HOW TO TACKLE IT. PHOTOS MAS
DARK CHOCOLATE MOUSSE SET ON AN ALMOND BRETON AND A PASSION FRUIT SORBET INGREDIENTS: CHOCOLATE MOUSSE 100g 200g 65g 18g
Chocolate Cream Egg yolks Sugar
Make a ganache with half of the cream and all of the chocolate. Cook the sugar to 121Oc and pour over the egg yolk. Whip until cold. Fold in the whip cream and the egg yolk into the ganache.
ALMOND BRETON 280g 400g 140g 1g 24g 1 Â˝
Ground almonds Butter Sugar Baking powder Flour Orange zest Vanilla pod
Mix all the ingredients together with a beater and then rollout the pastry. Cut round bases 3mm thick and bake for 12mins at 150Oc.
PASSION FRUIT SORBET 15g 200ml 100ml 75g
Powdered glucose Passion fruit Water Sugar
Boil all the ingredients together and turn it off. Cool down and churn.
BERRY SAUCE 75g 10ml 10g
Strawberries Lemon juice Sugar
GREAT WINE ACCOMPANIMENT
Delicata Girgentina Frizzante
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HOMEWORKS STRAWBERRY AND LEMON CHEESE MOUSSE
INGREDIENTS: BISCUIT 225g 50ml
LEMON CHEESE MOUSSE Crushed almond pastry Melted unsalted butter
STRAWBERRY JELLY 150ml Strawberry puree 45ml Water 30g Sugar Gelatine
35ml 300g 4 425ml 12g 145g 1 ½
Lemon juice Mascarpone cheese Egg yolks Cream Gelatine Sugar Lemon zest Vanilla pod
METHOD: MOUSSE Cook sugar with water until 121Oc and wisk over the egg yolks and whip until cold. Soak the gelatin in ice-cold water. Cream the mascarpone with a beater and add lemon zest, scrape the vanilla from the pod and blend in. Fold in the lemon juice with the whipped cream and the egg yolk. Melt the gelatine with some of the mix and fold it in quickly.
CRUMB BASE Melt the butter and add to the crushed biscuit and set it in a ring.
GREAT WINE ACCOMPANIMENT
Delicata Casella Moscato
Sweet, Sweet Vino
GELATIN Soften gelatin in cold water. Boil sugar and water. Add strawberry purree to the gelatin.
Serving a specific wine to accompany your dessert course can be the crowning glory to any dinner party; here are a few tips on which style of wine to choose. Most dessert dishes tend to be on the sweetish side and it is important to judge the level of sweetness accurately before selecting an accompanying wine. The wine needs to be as sweet as the food or slightly sweeter, otherwise it will taste dull and fruitless. Chocolate has always been a difficult accompaniment to wine but it actually submits easily enough to matchmaking except when the darkest plain chocolate has been used. Much trickier dishes are coffee and rum flavoured desserts, but even with these, you can usually find something sweet that tastes reasonable. It’s scarcely worth serving wine with sorbets or ice-cream – you’re not likely to taste much through the cream and the tongue-numbing chill, although some sparkling wines counteract this sensation quite well.
WORDS: BILL HERMITAGE
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The Will of An Epoch: The Harrison & Hubbard Report
WORDS: ALBERTO SANSONE B.E & A, A&CE
“Architecture is the will of an epoch translated into space.” Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Floriana (from Malta & Gozo - Then & Now by Joseph Bonnici & Michael Cassar)
he impact of the second World War on Maltese society was immense. The loss of life was a great tragedy that affected most families. Most towns and villages, particularly within the Harbour Region, bore the main brunt of the aerial bombardments of this war. Yet Malta had to rise from the ashes and even though lost lives could not be brought back, the rebuilding of our damaged towns was eagerly awaited by all. It had become a national issue, a case of civic pride. The man in the street wanted the rebuilding to start immediately…yet this post-war period provided a unique opportunity for large scale urban planning schemes, which had not seen the like since the building of Valletta by the Knights of the Order of St. John. Whilst sifting through the various papers that belonged to my late grandfather Luigi Sansone A & CE, who was largely involved in the reconstruction of post-war Malta, I came across a copy of the report prepared by Austen St. B. Harrison and R. Pearce S. Hubbard for the Government of Malta, in 1945. This urban planning exercise was carried out prior to the vast amount of reconstruction that was needed in Malta’s Harbour region in the aftermath of World War II. This urban planning report was written in post-war Malta; particular statements or suggestions outlined in this report would have caused a never-ending debate in modern-day Malta! This article, if successful, will provoke further interest in the immense architectural patrimony of our Harbour Region.
The report’s Foreword states: ‘Throughout her long history, the greatest natural possession of Malta has been her magnificent harbour. It is …the area around the harbour that has attracted the attacks of covetous enemies…During the 140 years of British Protection, Malta has been free from enemy attack and there has been little or no control of building activities. Consequently, by 1939, there existed…a picturesque but overcrowded built-up area; a veritable jumble of ancient monuments, shops and dwelling houses, hemmed in by fortifications and served by narrow streets. Then came the war and history repeated itself. The harbour was repeatedly attacked, but in a new form, that of aerial bombardment…Devastating as is all this destruction, it has provided the opportunity to build afresh on a wiser plan. Mr. Harrison and Mr. Hubbard…have spent a year of unremitting toil in producing a plan which incorporates the requirements of modern traffic and amenities with a minimum of fresh demolition and the preservation of the characteristic features of the cities and towns in Malta’s harbour area.’ The Preface outlines the purpose of this report, which was to: ‘prepare an Outline Plan for the region of… Valletta and Floriana, … Vittoriosa, Senglea, and Cospicua, the suburbs of this Pentapolis and the villages on the outskirts.’
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The bad state of Malta’s economy in 1945 induced these planners to suggest some solutions, amongst which the establishing of Malta as a tourist destination: ‘It is possible…that means may be found to recover the lost coal trade; to encourage oil-burning ships and freight planes to fuel in the island; to make of Valletta the centre of an entrepot trade; to persuade alien industrialists to establish assembly plants in the island; to set up new local industries; to direct to Malta tourists and visitors who have hitherto been attracted to other shores.’ MOTOR VEHICLES
The report’s analysis of the communications in the Region gives a curious outline of the increase in motor vehicles (from 300 in 1919 to 6000 in 1939!) and suggests measures for improving the road network of the harbour region. THE ‘GIRDLE ROAD’
The need for what was later to become the Regional Road with its tunnels and bridges (built in the 1960s) was prophetically highlighted:
‘We have included D’Argens Street in the girdle road only because we are without data upon which firmly to base an alternative suggestion. The carriage-way of that lengthy thoroughfare…is already inadequate to cope with all the traffic originating in Sliema…The widening of D’Agens Street is not possible. We recommend…the construction of a new thoroughfare to the west of Gzira… If we have not indicated on the map of our proposals the alignment of this road it is only because we are without contoured maps of the country, rather difficult in parts, which it must traverse.’ (see image above) PORTES DES BOMBES!
The planners wanted to improve the approach to Valletta in the suggestion: ‘After Careful consideration…we have reached the conclusion that… Portes Des Bombes be removed. One half of this gateway was erected in the eighteenth century and the other in the nineteenth. We propose that the whole be dismantled and one half erected on either side of the road, to be used only by pedestrians. We are convinced that this arrangement…would prove not only convenient but aesthetically pleasing.’
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HOMEWORKS Furthermore, the proposed and executed widening of St. Anne’s street took place. (see below)
The Harrison and Hubbard report gives small scale yet quite accurate site plans for the ‘pentapolis’ namely Vittoriosa, Senglea, Cospicua, Floriana & Valletta. These plans show not only the widespread destruction but also the large areas of obsolescent property divided into slum clearance and slum improvement areas. This may explain how the proposed outline plans envisioned such large areas of reconstruction. THE DECISION
As a final excerpt from this interesting report, one ought to ponder on certain statements with reference to the architectural heritage of Valletta such as the following: ‘of the eight auberges three have disappeared. That of Germany has made way for the Anglican Cathedral; those of Auvergne and France have been destroyed by enemy action. Of those that remain, none are externally recognisable as relics of the sixteenth century; for all have been subsequently rebuilt. The auberge of Castille and Leon…is by far the most imposing. The auberges of Provence and Bavaria are heavy and dull; that of Aragon is simple but dignified… But the monuments of Valletta are legion, and to enumerate them would be tedious. Because of the uncritical praise which has been lavished upon them, often by those whose standards of judgment are not sound, a truth of some importance in the relation to the reconstruction of Malta has become obscured…the value, as an historic and artistic monument, of the city as a whole exceeds that of any one of the buildings it contains. Valletta as the record of a phase in the development of Western Civilisation is unique; its churches and palaces, beautiful and significant as some of
them are, have their compeers. No one regrets more than we do the callous and gratuitous destruction of some of the monuments…but if, by the sacrifice of one or other of the 300 and more scheduled monuments of the Capital, the character of the whole can be better conserved, in our opinion, that sacrifice should, on occasion, be contemplated.’ This report is a milestone in Local Urban Planning. For better or for worse its suggestions were sometimes discarded, whereas in other instances they were either partly or wholly implemented. The results are there for all of us to see. A drive, or better still a walk around what the report calls the ‘Pentapolis’, is enough for each one of us to form his or her own views. One may say that ever since the 2nd World War, Malta has seen relentless construction activity that continues till this present day. The tidy and peaceful urban settings, of which pre-War photography is testimony, seem to be records of a bygone past. Notwithstanding this, careful planning should be encouraged and us architects together with urban planners should help contribute towards a better-planned, urban environment for the benefit of all. HW
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HOMEWORKS PROMOTIONAL FEATURE
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ISSUE 21.06 LM 1.50 where sold
ISSUE 21 OCTOBER 06
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