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Contents

44

Shorts

People

22 ____ MIL AN DESIGN WEEK

61 ____ INSIDE STORY

The very best from the world’s premiere design event.

Award-winning designers, Erini and Scott Compton, open the doors to their radiant Saint Heliers home.

28 ____ URBANISTS 66 ____ ADELE MCNAB

We speak to the people bringing much-touted character to Auckland’s bold new hub, Morningside Precinct. 44 ____ HOT HOUSE

Now living in an art deco building with views of Bondi Beach, this Australian architect has been guided, in part, by her father’s legacy.

48

An emergency doctor and his pet bulldog live minimally – and stylishly – in this modern Madrid apartment. 48 ____ OBJECTIFY

Bangs of colour gloriously swirl around a maze of translucency and light. 54 ____ COMPACT LIVING, BIG IDEAS

Three petite spaces with even smaller footprints offer lessons on going minuscule. 66

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Contents

72

Spaces 72 ____ URBAN COLOURS

A pre-war apartment on Park Avenue, Manhattan, is given a playful, glossy update. 84 ____ OF THE EARTH

The interior palette for this Queenstown abode was inspired by the ground and the trees. 96 ____ BARCELONA NOUVEAU

128 96

Nestled in a passageway beside Antoni Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia is a tiny apartment with flair.

& 128 ____ IN THE WILDS

106 ____ DANISH FAIRY TALE

An off-grid micro-home offers its dwellers the luxury of infinite movement from one location to the next.

Two industrial designers escape to the snow-covered countryside in this Danish home made of two intersecting boxes. 116 ____ L AKESIDE LUXE

Darkly distinguished rooms fill this rich apartment, poised near the edge of a glacier-fed lake bordering Italy and Switzerland.

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Editorial

One of the many unexpected benefits of small spaces – and the cities that embrace them – is their ability to elicit a wider rejuvenation of the public spaces around those private domains. Generally, apartment buildings are full of insular homes and offer little opportunity for chance encounters between neighbours. By necessity – or, perhaps, market forces – this insularity brings about more hospitality spaces, libraries, co-working spaces, parks, community centres and other such areas that allow for people to mingle with strangers and create communities around their houses. Our Urbanists column is a strong testament to the importance of these kinds of public spaces when a city is headed towards higher density. One of our hot houses (page 44) also serves as an example of how small spaces can be more efficiently (and economically) re-invented to suit the needs of their owners. In this issue, our writer in Amsterdam takes a look at three separate, tiny abodes (page 54) and the New York apartment on our cover to understand the typology. Sustainability and alternative ownership models are two intriguing aspects of smaller footprints and we explore them both in their small, large and luxe formats throughout this issue. We hope you enjoy! FEDERICO MONSALVE

Editor Email us federico.monsalve@agm.co.nz Follow us @UrbisMagazine Like us facebook.com/UrbisMagazine Follow us @UrbisMagazine

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Masthead

Publisher Nathan Inkpen Senior Editor Federico Monsalve Creative Director Thomas Cannings Director of Production AndrĂŠ Kini Contributing Editors Dean Cornish, Andrew Kerr Editorial Assistant Julia Gessler Design Services Elliot Ferguson

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Urbis is owned and published by BCI New Zealand Pty Ltd, publishers of Interior, Architecture NZ, Houses, architecturenow.co.nz, selector.com and urbismagazine.com. Advertising statements and editorial opinions expressed in Urbis do not necessarily reflect the views of BCI New Zealand Pty Ltd and its staff, unless expressly stated. Copyright 2019 by BCI Publishing; all rights reserved. ISSN 1174-6424 (Print), ISSN 2324-4240 (Online). Standard conditions of entry for Urbis competitions: prizes cannot be redeemed for cash; employees, immediate families and agencies of BCI New Zealand Pty Ltd and associated sponsors are ineligible; prizes may be accepted only in New Zealand and Australia; the decision of the publisher, BCI New Zealand Pty Ltd (at whose premises all draws will be made), is final. By participating in competitions, the entrant consents to BCI New Zealand Pty Ltd using personal details for further marketing purposes. Special conditions may also apply. Prices listed are Recommended Retail Prices and may be different from those in store.

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ON THE COVER New York apartment, designed by Michael K Chen Architecture. Image by Brooke Holm. For full coverage, see page 72.


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Contributors

JULIA GESSLER Julia went to university in London and moved back to New Zealand in 2017. She is the editorial assistant for Urbis and Interior. You wrote a piece on Andrea Serboli’s Barcelona apartment. What did you like most about it? I loved the playful nature of the apartment. If feels, to me, like a homevariant of a Japanese puzzle box; its secret compartment, like those in a ‘trick box’, is deftly hidden from unknowing visitors. What has been the most memorable place you’ve visited abroad? In 2016, I went on a solo trip to Iceland. The BBC reported that one in 10 people there will publish a book and it’s easy to see why; the imposing topography of the country is stunning and, with little effort, can serve as a wild, windy conduit to creativity. Combine that with the Northern Lights and Reykjavik’s charm, and it’s a magnificent and, by turns, humbling place that I would love to go back to. You recently moved into an apartment. Tell us about it. My partner and I moved into a New York-style loft apartment earlier this year. We’ve kept the space fairly minimalist. A set of AH McIntosh midcentury chairs has pride of place around our dining table.

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SAM HARTNETT Sam Hartnett is an Auckland-based architectural, editorial and fine art photographer. He is a regular contributor to art and architectural publications in New Zealand and abroad. What sparked your interest in photography? Photography is something I have been playing around with for a long time now. However, when it became my profession, it was apparent that this type of work suited me: being somewhere different every day, meeting and spending time with new people, a lot of travel around the country and fairly flexible hours so I can spend a lot of time with my kids. This issue focuses on small spaces, yet the house you shot is anything but small. Were there any details within it that you particularly liked? That house was enormous; everything about it was big. Huge tectonic plates made out of solid and permanent materials, all stone and steel, were set within a mountainous landscape. You specialise in photographing artworks. What’s been your favourite amongst the small-sized pieces of art you’ve come across? I was in Auckland Art Gallery recently, looking at the 19 Gallery miniature exhibition. There are 19 New Zealand artists responding to Francis Hodgkin’s works (also on show at the Auckland Art Gallery). David Kisler built the gallery, the tiled floor by Isobel Thom is fantastic and the whole show is really great.

CLAIRE MCCALL Claire has written about architecture and home design for almost two decades. Originally from South Africa, she immigrated to New Zealand in 1993 and has edited a number of New Zealand magazines. Tell us about your favourite part of the Copenhagen home you covered. I loved the fact that two industrial designers would choose to ‘upcycle’ an Ikea kitchen, using a value-for-money product as their base and then making their own brass panels to glue onto the carcass and the drawer fronts to give it a unique luxe look. You’re the author of a book on ecoconscious homes. How do you see sustainable living progressing? Well, we are all certainly more aware of it than even, say, five years ago but there are huge challenges, as a recent item on Fair Go highlighted when they pointed out that solar panels – a pretty major investment – seldom save money on power. Once the panels are developed enough to ensure some saving (and the electricity industry falls into line to allow it), home-owners are more likely to take up the option. The building industry, too, continues to be incredibly wasteful. What have you been working on of late? I’ve been writing the text for a landscape design book set to be published towards the end of the year. And, I’m trying to write a fictional short story, which is pushing me out of my comfort zone.


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Shorts MID-CENTURY MOD Richard Neutra’s VDL Research House, built in 1963, is considered a modernist masterwork. This year, almost six decades later, Kettal has collaborated with the late Austrian-American architect’s son, Dion Neutra, to re-interpret its rooftop penthouse. The result is a softly lit homage that’s cognisant of nature and clothed in striking past-meets-present good looks. Kettal is available from Studio Italia. studioitalia.co.nz

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Shorts TINY CABINS FOR INTREPID TRAVELLERS f Winter isn’t all about hunkering down and leaving plans to embrace the outdoors languishing next to your summer-wear. British company Tree Tents has recently released the Fuselage: a cabin measuring a mere 3 x 5 metres, which can be transported in and assembled from kit form. It has stilted feet, which can adapt to any landscape, and triple-layer walls and an aluminium outer shell for added insulation and year-round weatherproofing. With discussions underway to have, potentially, up to two of these in New Zealand, these cabins may soon serve as examples of how we can admire picturesque dells from the comforts of sustainable design while, at the same time, having minimal impact on the sources of our admiration. treetents.co.uk

c MINIATURE ART GALLERY The Auckland Art Gallery’s current – and highly recommended – exhibition, Frances Hodgkins: European Journeys, has a clever, small space of its own. Exhibited on the gallery’s mezzanine level, 19 Gallery is a diorama of an art space. This petite wonder is a detailed gallery interior in which 19 New Zealand artists have responded, in bite-sized artworks, to Hodgkins’ exquisite oeuvre.

d CRAFTS & BRIGHT LIGHTS The punchline for the joke “three Dunedin creatives walk into the windy capital”, is just a little closer to being written. Dunedinites Julia Palm, Bridie-Rose O’Leary (pictured below) and Louise Clifton – fashion designer, LED-neon sign-maker and shoemaker, respectively – have recently founded a Wellington hub that showcases and, in some instances, even teaches their crafts. It’s no laughing matter, then. jpalm.co.nz; glowjob.nz; shoe-school.com

WEBBER’S NEW HOME c Local designer Tim Webber has opened a flagship store, in which to display its many furniture and lighting designs, in The Scrap Yard, an old scrapyard building turned stylish precinct in Auckland’s Grey Lynn. “With a furniture store, you’re wanting to create a space where people feel welcomed... so that they can imagine the pieces in their own homes,” says Webber. “So, the idea was to retain a lot of the industrial aspects, but then soften them nicely with black tongue-and-groove timber, natural cedar battens and a textured, painted concrete wall.” timwebberdesign.co.nz

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Shorts

I OWN THAT The current mantra says homeownership is oh-so-hard for the younger generations so… in come some new local models to try to bridge that gap. One such initiative is The Property Crowd. Self-titled as a market place for property crowdfunding, the online platform enables punters to purchase PropertyShares (‘shares in a company that owns residential property’) from a minimum of $100. Founded by entrepreneur Jim Janse, it’s a co-ownership model that, while still dawning, puts down an intriguing stepping stool for members of the public wanting to place their feet gently onto the property ladder. thepropertycrowd.co.nz

c IN FOCUS: CITY-MAKERS Thomas Ward and Jessica Driver (pictured above) are developers with a passion for city-making and moving New Zealand into more considered, well-designed housing. What do you do? We help lower the barrier of entry into property developing. With an increasing population and signs of a housing shortage, it’s becoming harder for our young people to get into home-ownership, so we are encouraging and empowering our clients to develop their land through a guided process that focuses on well-designed, medium-density housing. Why are you passionate about helping New Zealanders into smaller living spaces? It’s not so much about smaller spaces as it is about moreconsidered and well-designed spaces. In property developing, where the numbers drive a lot of decisions, by the end of the project, it is often the well-being of the future residents that is overlooked in favour of achieving a better bottom line. We want to show people that good design can lead the process; it doesn’t have to be expensive, and a balance can be achieved between making a profit and creating a good product.

COLLETT’S CORNER c On the corner of Lyttelton’s London and Oxford Streets is Collett’s Corner, a mixed-used property development setting yet another new precedent for collective ownership models across the country. Poised to become a community-focused site with accommodation, retail space, a cinema, a public bathing area and more, the project, spearheaded by Camia Young and designed by In:Flux, was put up for equity crowdfunding on PledgeMe. It’s the first crowdfunded commercial development of its kind in New Zealand, allowing locals and others to buy ownership shares in the building. Estimated to be completed in 2020, it offers a glimpse at what might be the future of property ownership.

You are starting to work with alternative ownership models… tell us a little about what your involvement in this has been and what those models are. Our focus has been on the co-development model rather than on a co-ownership model because, where possible, people still want to own their properties. The co-development model we’re currently working on is great in that it removes the idea of an entity developing for a future market to make profit. Instead, the development is facilitated by an intermediary and any profit is given to the owners in the form of equity. What do you think is the most important aspect when moving from low density to high density? Because of the nature of living in greater proximity to your neighbour, there needs to be a keen focus on well-designed spaces, higher ceiling heights, consideration of sun, light and view aspects, the integration of courtyards and decks, and a sense of privacy to allow for premium living and comfort without feeling as though you are infringing on your neighbours. Smaller footprints also mean less room for ‘stuff’. It’s a great chance to remove unnecessary clutter from your house, be more selective about what you buy and reduce your impact on this world. Iamdeveloper.co.nz For a full interview, see urbismagazine.com

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This page. USM installation at Milan Design Week usm.com Facing page. Pezo von Ellrichshausen’s mirrored pavilion in Palazzo Litta pezo.cl; Hutchison Collection by Lambert & Fils lambertetďŹ ls.com

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Shorts

Milan Highlights Objects from Milan’s iconic furniture fair, Salone del Mobile, put in the proverbial spotlight. WORDS JULIA GESSLER

At Salone del Mobile, remasterings of shape, form, function and light introduce themselves to the world from the design capital. While, this year, some spoke softly, many were loud and fantastical, showing undeniable curl personae: from subtle bends to sinuous loops bordering on the recalcitrant. Organic silhouettes mirroring the geometries of the natural world were also at play, full of important narratives about creating designs with environmentally and ethically minded consciences. The finalists for the inaugural Ro Plastic Prize, whose entries – including an infinitely recyclable chair – were presented at design doyenne and gallerist Rossana Orlandi’s exhibition, pushed these critical conversations further.

Elsewhere, strong graphic elements, almost illustration-like in form, made for striking installations, showing that a winning design formula might just be rooted in arts and crafts – a theory supported by the passel of woven baskets and wicker shades spread across the fairgrounds. As in previous years, the furniture fair devoted much of its focus to lighting design with its biennial lighting showcase, Euroluce. There, products were full of attitude and innovative punch: some spanned two walls; those with floral motifs flourished; and others, seemingly untamed and fringed with tassels, draped colourfully downwards. It can be said, then, that our edit of choices from this year’s iteration of the fair has a lot to offer. In many respects, it presents a modicum of the sheer ingenuity that took form throughout those few days in April. These examples are also, in their balance, tones, functionality and beyond, snapshots of where designers, artisans and visionaries are turning their discerning eyes now and, perhaps, later. Though the prescience of the following pages may still be far too early to confirm, the memorable impression of the shouts and whispers left by what Milan brought forth is instantaneous. We hope you hear a few of both.

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Shorts

From modular to sculptural and classic to abstract: Milan Design Week 2019 has left us with an enviable array of bright ideas.

Bisel Low Table by Patricia Urquiola for Glas Italia glasitalia.com

Above. Pole 02 by Philippe Malouin for Roll & Hill rollandhill.com Below. Haller E by USM usm.com, available from ECC ecc.co.nz

Geometria Light by Shinya Yoshida for Leibal leibal.com

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Above. Half Dome Lamp by Naoto Fukasawa for Kettal, available from Studio Italia studioitalia.co.nz Below. Chroma Radiate Rug by Germans Ermiþs for cc-tapis cc-tapis.com

Elementa’s Klorofyll Planter System elementa.no; Ekstrem Chair by Terje Ekström; Volver Studio’s Eik Rug volverstudios.com

Above. Belt by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Flos, available soon from ECC ecc.co.nz Left. Elle Bench by MLXL m-l-xl.org

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Above. Serena Confalonieri’s Arabesque collection serenaconfalonieri.com Left. Non-Objective Table by Atelier Avéus atelieraveus.com

Giancarlo Valle’s Stump series giancarlovalle.com

Above. One Zero Lamp by Karel MatČMka karelmatejka.com Left. Hécate Lamp by Barber & Osgerby for Hermès barberosgerby.com

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Shorts

Strong graphic design influences are delightfully apparent in some of these objects.

Above. Light with a table by Living Divani, available soon from Studio Italia studioitalia.co.nz Left. WireLine by Formafantasma flos.com

Above. Tero Kuitunen’s Tiki Lamp terokuitunen.com Right. Kolho Chair by Matthew Day Jackson for Made by Choice madebychoice.com

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HEATHER BUCHAN, ‘THE GARDENER’

The Urbanists

WORDS EMMA MCINNES AND JULIA GESSLER

PHOTOGRAPHY JAMIE BOWERING

The Morningside Precinct is an unabashedly bold new dining development built around the relics of a bygone curtain factory. Since it opened only last year in mid-November, of late, it has been a food and drink cache for those who know where to find it: behind the train tracks of Morningside’s purlieus industrial area, on the fringe of Auckland city. In this trove, the coffee and food are excellent. It’s also dripping with a muchtouted cool factor – something that quickly grew with the help of the Precinct’s first tenant, Crave café (image 6). For the local coffee cognoscenti, this was of little surprise. The eatery’s previous haunt, located down the road, boasted a seemingly endless stream of weekend crowds. The appeal was not simply the fare but the fact that the not-for-profit café, owned by a collective of neighbours, was addressing the poverty and social isolation endemic to the surrounding suburb. It’s a high-mindedness that the wider precinct is adopting, too. The owners of the development hope to turn Morningside into a connected neighbourhood that works hard at fostering a sense of belonging. Crave café’s general manager, Nigel Cottle, who also runs the site’s newly opened Kind café and is part of local brewery Morningcider (image 2), describes the Morningside of old as a transient neighbourhood; there was, he believes, nothing tying people to it. Now, with a large-scale offering, there has been a surge of renewed interest; Morningside has found its missing link. 28

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If you go to the Precinct’s Kind café for an early morning coffee, Heather Buchan (image 3) will be there standing on a ladder giving her hanging baskets some tender care. “I like to think everyone loves them because I do; the truth is probably more subtle,” she says. “A lot of us living in the city have lost our connection with nature – bit of a cliché, I know, but I believe we do better as humans when our spaces are green. I’ve never really talked to anyone who doesn't like to be surrounded by greenery.” To spread frondescence beyond the Precinct, she will be working on plant-minded community initiatives this year, giving away free seedlings and running workshops on how to compost and plant trees. Buchan, a former local who now lives in Point Chevalier, wants to stay close. “Beautiful spaces inspire us – we are wired that way. Plants are beautiful and, as we begin to notice and appreciate the beauty of plants, we naturally begin to become more interested in bigger, related things, like where our food comes from and how we think about consumption and waste.” It’s easy to see how she can draw parallels between the Precinct and her verdure: both inspire something beyond themselves.

DAJIANG TAI Dajiang Tai (image 4) knows Morningside Precinct with exclusive insight. On a macro-level, the multihyphenate, whose titles include principal architect, hospitality director and project manager, works for the architecture firm that built it. On a smaller, more personal level, he’s been occupied with co-owning hole-in-the-wall eatery Bo’s Dumplings, which takes its moniker from the business’ other half, third-generation dumpling connoisseur Bo Feng. Though still in its rudimentary stages, it’s a venture that has offered Tai a fresh perspective. “At Bo’s Dumplings, Bo is still the real boss; partnering up with him allowed me to be my own client,” says Tai, who has worked at Cheshire Architects for the past 10 years. “Usually, the project ends on my part when the venue is open but, with Bo’s Dumplings, the real project only started on its opening day. I get to see and understand what I’ve designed in its completeness – what works and what doesn’t.” With his elusive eye for good design (it won him the sought-after Emerging Design Professional category at the Interior Awards in 2014), Tai knows what makes the Precinct, like Cheshire Architect’s previous largescale offering, Britomart Precinct, truly work. “The nature of the two sites is almost opposite. However,” he explains, “despite the different ‘bones’ of the precincts, I feel like understanding what the city needs – and making the best possible version of it – was always the key. The tenants remain as the heart and soul of the precincts so architecture quietly steps back to facilitate individual operators.” Authentic elements have given shape to the coolerthan-thou originality of Morningside: something for which Tai has an appreciation. “I think there are many ingredients to this development that are unique; it’s tailor-made for its community and its tenants, and, most interestingly, it’s a self-adjusting, self-perfecting precinct that improves with age.” This said, there’s another side to the novelty that he, as a tenant as much as an architect, recognises as a rarity. “I feel like the ‘hardware’ – the physical things that people can see and touch – could definitely be replicated, but the ‘software’ – the curation of the Precinct, how the tenants are picked and assembled, what the Glasshouse (image 1) and laneway are and how they feed into the workings of the entire precinct – will be hard.”

NIGEL COTTLE: GENERAL MANAGER AND NEIGHBOURHOOD CONNECTOR OF CRAVE, KIND AND MORNINGCIDER The Morningside Precinct is a ripple off a wave of bigger change that Nigel Cottle (image 5) would like to see in the world. But this hasn’t deterred the reformer from making it his starting point. The development, under his influence, is contributing to sustainability in an unusual way. “The Morningside Precinct doesn't own any car-parking,” he says wryly. Complaints are regularly made because people struggle to find available parks, but they continue to come. His reasoning is that, if the food, coffee, service and vibe are of a high order, it will be popular. To date, he’s been right. It’s success that is regularly demonstrated by the reclaimed use of the suburb’s name. “Residents now happily associate themselves with Morningside,” Cottle says. “They no longer claim they’re from Sandringham or Kingsland.” His next plans for the area are lofty. In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities, Cottle is spearheading a housing project with Crave Collective members – and he wants 40 per cent of the total enterprise to be social housing. The best way to ensure people and families stay in Morningside, he explains, is to enable them to be proud enough either to live there long-term or to come back to the place where they originally grew up. For all of this, there’s one pressing question: Why invest in building a neighbourhood? Cottle says it’s simple. “You get to live in a better neighbourhood. There’s a deep richness in our lives from engaging in Morningside. I love my life.”


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THE OWNERS... HOPE TO TURN MORNINGSIDE INTO A CONNECTED NEIGHBOURHOOD THAT FOSTERS A SENSE OF BELONGING.

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These pages. Designed by Pip and Nat Cheshire, Morningside Precinct isn’t fanciful. Rather, it’s a hub with good food and a warm, inviting atmosphere.

Emma McInnes is part of Women in Urbanism Aotearoa and sustainable transport planning firm, MRCagney. Julia Gessler is Urbis’ editorial assistant.

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Books Rare jewels – some with gems, some without – are inked on the pages of these fine tomes.

Courtesy of Cristiano Toraldo di Francia/Superstudio.

EDITED BY JULIA GESSLER

HOME FUTURES: LIVING IN YESTERDAY’S TOMORROW edited by Eszter Steierhoffer and Justin McGuirk, the Design Museum, $58

OTTO JAKOB: RIPE FRUIT edited by Angelika Taschen, Hatje Cantz, $97 Postmodern painter turned goldsmith Otto Jakob has many interests and his jewellery designs – like his house, which is filled with artworks by Georg Baselitz and Andy Warhol, Gandhara heads, agate stones and insects cased in glass – are informed by many of them. With a fixed gaze on Jakob’s work and these multitudinous inspirations, Ripe Fruit is a monograph that peels back the layers of what seems like unbridled passion, only to reveal a fastidious and disciplined work ethic at play. Complete with an introduction by jewellery historian Vivienne Becker, it becomes, albeit unintentionally, an elaborate example of the nature of creativity. Every tiny, amuletic design in this book swings from the beautiful to the educational and then back again, showing how we, too, might develop fledgling ideas with finesse.

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It is not hard to emphasise the leaps, if not gravity-defying bounds, we’ve made in residential technological progress in the last few decades. Think of Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa, the ubiquity of portable screens and homes fitted with labour-saving gadgets, and it’s clear that we live in an era that resembles the dreamt-up techno-utopias typified in 1960s’ and 1970s’ cult classics like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Jetsons and Star Trek. But, to what extent is today’s reality the future imagined in the 20th century? This is the question around which Home Futures: Living in Yesterday’s Tomorrow pivots. In case after case, including critic Reyner Banham’s inflatable bubble house concept and portable home designs by architectural heavyweight Ettore Sottsass, we are propelled into a constellation of radical, speculative proposals for the domestic interior while also being pulled back into a history of change. Published to coincide with an exhibition of the same name at London’s Design Museum, this tome is an engaging survey, divided into two parts (‘Catalogue’ and ‘Reader’), which goes a long way to unearth how the “acknowledgement and embrace of the emotional and social aspects of human existence” can positively affect the ways in which we might define our identities, compartmentalise space and reconsider our understanding of ‘home’. For anyone who enjoys a good paradigm shift, Home Futures gives an intelligent, gentle stirring.


Shorts

Things to do Filled as they are with taste, there is something restorative about good food and good design. Tend to yourself with these winter warmers.

CASA MALAPARTE by Karl Lagerfeld, Steidl, $124 Once the home of Italian writer and polemicist Curzio Malaparte, Casa Malaparte sits entirely alone. For a man who, during his exile from Italy, began to relish silence, this house presented a welcomed refuge; there, on a windy cliff edge in the Isle of Capri, accessible only by foot or – on a good day – by boat, the unrepentant provocateur and wily dandy was more isolated than ever before. Fast-forward to 1997 – four decades after the beloved house was abandoned following Malaparte’s passing – when Karl Lagerfeld visited it for five days. It was a brief stay but one that culminated in some of the most extraordinary polaroid photos taken by the late ‘king of fashion’. The images that fill the pages of his book are raw and uncompromising, and say as much about their creator as they do about their subject. We learn that this is a place of deep introversion, and of extreme and monumental architecture, succeeding, if somewhat narrowly, in its efforts to withstand nature’s brute ferocity. More than this, though, we see a different side of Lagerfeld’s world: in photographs depicting a detail of a wall or a view. His flamboyance is put aside so as to make way for a more reticent Lagerfeld: still an aesthete but without the showiness. There is much that is left unspoken in this book. In the few words that are offered in a final essay left by Lagerfeld, there is, nevertheless, a unique sense that he has penned not only the feeling of Casa Malaparte but of how he, no longer on his great podium, imagined audiences might have felt when leaving one of his own fashion shows: “We left behind this magical place sleeping in unseen arms of power and memory”.

MAORI MOVING IMAGE: AN OPEN ARCHIVE Until 21 July / Wellington Explore significant Maori works in animation, film and video, from the 1970s to the present, at The Dowse Art Museum. The ‘living archive’, running concurrently with Pa-taka Art + Museum’s From the Shore exhibition in Porirua, will host workshops, talks and screenings for an outing of cinema and cultural reflection. dowse.org.nz

RENAULT FRENCH FESTIVAL 11–14 July / Auckland If four days of croissants, wine, cheese and French films sounds nothing short of heavenly, the 2019 edition of the Renault French Festival is an event to make note of. A daytime market consisting of 40 stalls – aptly called Le French Village – will be held across Shed 10 and The Cloud. For something more grandiose, purchase a ticket to One Night in France: a five-course banquet, serving 650 guests, on the evening of 13 July. frenchfestival.nz

DENFAIR 20–22 June / Melbourne With 150 exhibitors, this year’s iteration of Australia’s leading design showcase will have a lot on offer. In addition to the variety of local and international brands presenting themselves, industry figures will sit down to discuss ‘workspace, sustainability and the ever-changing culture of design’. Can’t go? Urbis will be attending the three-day event to bring you reportage from the ground. denfair.com.au

CRAFT’D WINE + SPIRITS FESTIVAL 21 July / Auckland Wearing a fresh, new name, Craft’d Wine + Spirits Festival (previously called the New Zealand Boutique Wine Festival) is poised to be a fantastic event for oenophiles. More than 40 producers will have their liquid products available to swirl at Wynyard Quarter. Enjoy its masterclasses, tastings and food trucks, and dance a jig at its after-party. craftd.global

OLAFUR ELIASSON: IN REAL LIFE

THE CURATED PLATE

11 July 2019–5 January 2020 / London

8–11 August / Sunshine Coast

One need only think of The Weather Project to know that Olafur Eliasson has a history of impressive exhibitions at the Tate Modern. This year is no different, with several of his extraordinary installations on display. Visitors will be able to walk through thick fog or a tunnel of mirrors, and experience other works from his impressive career so far.

Australia’s Sunshine Coast will welcome a new culinary festival this August, celebrating organic food, sustainable practices and innovative dishes. Join an array of international guest chefs, including Raymond Blanc OBE, Zaiyu Hasegawa, Monique Fiso and Peter Gilmore, for backto-back days of exquisite, moreish meals.

tate.org.uk

thecuratedplate.com.au

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Hot House Atlanta’s Haus Gables is high and low brow, quotes modernism and pop culture, and is functional yet intensely sculptural. Yet, best of all‌ it is tonnes of fun. W O R D S F E D E R I C O M O N S A LV E / P H O T O G R A P H Y N A A R O

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…ULTIMATELY, THE HOUSE CRITIQUES THE AMERICAN SINGLE-FAMILY HOUSE THROUGH BOTH IMAGE AND CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUE.

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RCHITECTURALLY DESIGNED HOUSES are often built to

play a public role that goes beyond the simple boundaries of practicality. They are constructed as monuments – sometimes subtle, sometimes clumsily pretending to be so and sometimes blatant – to either wealth, history, aspiration, affiliation or a love for the surrounding landscape. These are symbols with which a house can cloak you. Sometimes, however, buildings come along that manage to critique those ulterior motives in architecture, not as a way to debase them but as an attempt to challenge old habits that have become communal vices. Atlanta’s Haus Gables, by American architect Jennifer Bonner, is one such place. The structural materials here are radically new for its location. Its roof plan and interior finishes can be interpreted as direct statements about its surrounding architectural stock; its design and construction are both methodical and undeniably robust. This two-bedroomed, 200m2 house was built from the top down, its roof made not just to inform but to define the interior spaces. It all began with the architect noticing and documenting the fact that Atlanta’s residential landscape is dominated by gable roofs. She then deconstructed the typology into a series of mad, origamilike undulations where the pitches have been exaggerated, their forms rotated at various angles and sliced asymmetrically. Even the balcony here appears as though a gable has imploded or been used as a mould to create a nook.

At first sight, the house could be confused for belonging to another location; its interior is Scandinavian in colouration, its exterior Japanese with a touch of Le Corbusier. But, as Bonner mentions: “ultimately, the house critiques the American single-family house through both image and construction technique. Because the initial research for the design of the house began with the ordinary roof forms, the idea was to challenge one’s reading of the house and its iconic gable pitch.” The roof, however, is more than just an academically inclined hat for a doll’s house. Once lifted, it reveals spaces entirely defined by those gables. The kitchen’s orientation, the narrow dining area, a passageway that behaves like a bridge… these are all forms imprinted in the home’s interior by a roof plan inspired by the city that surrounds it. The public and the private spheres intertwine in intricate and beautiful forms. Another subtle clue to the fact that this home belongs within its context is in its usage of faux materials. The exterior, for instance, is made from stucco, which has been mixed with glass beads to give the façade a certain shimmer in the sunlight. It has been applied in a way that pretends to be brick and is a continuation of Bonner’s (and artist John Baldessari’s) earlier, conceptual work looking at Mies van der Rohe’s usage of brick as a decorative rather than a structural material. It is in the home’s interior, however, where the faux extravaganza really kicks in. Bonner: “The faux finishes was partly an idea for mixing more luxurious materials, such as ceramic and terrazzo tiles, with inexpensive materials like vinyl flooring. The project undertakes

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an old tradition of faux-finishing. For Southerners, there is a history of not being able to afford precious materials with a subsequent desire to ‘fake it’.” The materiality here serves not just as a highly instagrammable addition (yes, millennial pink makes a couple of cameo appearances) but as colour-blocking, creating imaginary subdivisions within the timber-heavy space. “On the first level, grey (concrete vinyl), yellow (marble vinyl) and black (terrazzo tile) can be seen by standing in the master bedroom and looking through the dining room and into the kitchen at the back of the house,” says Bonner. Haus Gables was built in 14 days and almost entirely from 87 cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels. The materiality and construction method is quite new in the United States and, given the complex angles here, the core material needed to be imported from Austria, its construction pre-approved by four separate engineers. “Beyond all of the sustainable aspects,” says Bonner of CLT, “of no waste product, thermal benefits, solid construction, etc., CLT offers an alternative for the US market, whose primary image of the domestic interior relies on drywall.” So, with all this conceptual, aesthetic and practical baggage, what, one may ask, will the house’s main legacy be? “For me, the house is a proof-of-concept: a radical experiment,” says Bonner. “Hopefully, it will ‘disrupt’ the way in which the industry builds residential projects in the near future.” For a full interview with the designer, visit urbismagazine.com 34

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This page. Faux materials abound in this home’s interior, including marble finishes in the bathroom made of vinyl and cartoonish drawings, rather than the oft-desired, real Italian marble. The dining area includes Muuto’s 70/70 Table and Herman Miller’s 4-Leg Wire Chairs. Facing page. The living room is colour-blocked by blue vinyl that acts as a wainscot. Furniture includes, among others, a Plumy Armchair from Ligne Roset, Hay’s Dot Carpet and Slit Table, and a Floyd Side Table.


THE HOUSE MIXES MORE LUXURIOUS MATERIALS WITH INEXPENSIVE ONES. “FOR SOUTHERNERS, THERE IS A HISTORY OF NOT BEING ABLE TO AFFORD PRECIOUS MATERIALS WITH A SUBSEQUENT DESIRE TO ‘FAKE IT’ .” JENNIFER BONNER

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FIRE. REIMAGINED.

RIN0067FPURB

At Rinnai, we’ve completely changed the way we think about gas fires, from design through to build. The result is a stunning new range of premium gas fires that look more realistic and more impressive than ever before. To see the Linear Collection, go to rinnai.co.nz


01 / Jaipur Wunderkammer rugs by Matteo Cibic for Jaipur Rugs from $1499; jaipurrugs.com 02 / Bubble Rock sofa by Piero Lissoni for Living Divani $10,330; studioitalia.co.nz 03 / Hortensia Chair by Andrés Reisinger; reisinger.studio 04 / Parquet Tetragon Rug by Front for GAN from $1935; matisse.co.nz 05 / Cotton Velvet Cushion Cover by Città $49.90; cittadesign.com

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TOP SHELF:

Comfort du jour With their backs turned to caution, striking looks and tactile pleasures stride into winter’s spotlight.

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Future foretold Upcycled, sustainable designs that thrum to the beat of time’s inexorable movement. 04

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Made from paper, discarded seashells and banana plants, among other materials, these new members of the circular economy have no end to their whirling life cycles.


GET THE LOOK ON YOUR WALLS

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Resene Twisted Sister™

Resene Mozart™

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01 / Barber & Osgerby’s On and On chair for Emeco; emeco.net 02 / Paper Blind by Natchar Sawatdichai; natchars.myportfolio.com 03 / Tron Meyer’s Cyclop Stools at Join, Norwegian Presence, at Milan Design Week from $1135; patrickparrish.com 04 / Substantial Chair by Alexander Schul for Leibal; leibal.com 05 / Pink Scallop Shell Desk by Bethan Gray $27,347; bethangray.com 06 / Bananatex® Roll Pack by Qwstion $498; qwstion.com 07 / Conifera by Arthur Mamou-Mani x COS; mamou-mani.com; cosstores.com 08 / Henrik Ødegaard’s Slurp bench at Join, Norwegian Presence, at Milan Design Week $6800; 1stdibs.com

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Shorts

Technophile Living spaces that are small on size don’t have to be short on functionality. These lovely bits of tech have a minimal impact, and will make any home smarter, safer and healthier. WORDS DEAN CORNISH

e THERMOSTATS WITH MASTER’S DEGREES When connected to your heating or HVAC system, these smart thermostats can help you save money on your electricity bill. They also have nifty tricks like programmable daily heating and cooling schedules, and integration with home assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant. For smaller spaces, we like the Nest Learning Thermostat 3 – it has a smaller form-factor and the ability to run on battery power for a simpler installation. The ecobee4 is also an excellent option and one of its party pieces is that it has Amazon Alexa built in. This is appealing for anyone who doesn’t already own a smart speaker. Both thermostats have the ability to connect to additional sensors throughout the house, and precisely control temperatures in different rooms, but the ecobee4 also has motionactivation, so it knows if rooms are occupied before it bothers to use energy heating them up. Both of these units also have the creepy/cool factor of using your mobile phone position to know if you’re nearing the house, and automatically applying your preferred settings to the house in time for your return. Nest Learning Thermostat 3 – $330 – nest.com/nz Ecobee4 – $299 – ecobee.com

ELIMINATE YOUR NASTIES f This Japanese concept is perfect for people living in large apartment blocks with complex piping – or just for anyone who wants to analyse the water they’re consuming. This little gadget simply screws onto an existing faucet. Ecomo says it is like having a full, scientific water-testing lab in the comfort of your kitchen. The small, streamlined piece of kit has a four-colour LED band that glows from red to green to indicate the quality of the water flowing through it. But rather than just tell you whether or not it’s any good, the Ecomo Fount also provides four-stage filtration before a drop even touches your lips. Initially offering black or brushed steel colour schemes, this start-up also offers in-depth water analysis via a smartphone app. Because your tap needs an app. Ecomo Fount – $TBC – ecomo.io

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e BINS: THE STRONG, SENSITIVE TYPE No one wants to touch the trash can more than they have to. The people at iTouchless know that and have invented the Automatic Sensor Trash Can, which allows you to wave your hands like some sort of rubbish-wielding wizard, while its lid magically opens. No contact, no germs and no hassle. For the sensitive of nose, these bins are also equipped with a state-of-the-art airpurifying system, which will help eliminate the stink of your junk. iTouchless 49-Litre Deodoriser Sensor Rubbish Bin – from $120 – itouchless.com

RING RING, WHO’S THERE? f The Ring Video Doorbell 2 allows you to keep an eye on who’s lurking outside your door – and even interact with them. This doorbell connects to WiFi and streams 1080HD video to your phone or tablet – enabling oneway video monitoring and two-way audio communication. The camera starts recording as soon as the doorbell button is pressed and, also, has the option for motion-triggered video recording. The RVD2 has one of the best viewing systems on the market, with a 160-degree field of view, and up to 10 metres of night vision, thanks to four infrared LEDs. Ring’s top-of-the-line video doorbell, the Ring Pro has even more features and a slimmer form factor – but we like the Video Doorbell 2 because it requires zero wiring and is battery powered. This is a good thing for apartmentdwellers who might be renting – just stick it on and take it with you when you move out. The rechargeable battery will last between three and six months, depending on usage. Ring Video Doorbell 2 – $299 – ring.com

e FOR WHATEVER HERBS MIGHT TAKE YOUR FANCY The Click and Grow Smart Garden 3 is a functional indoor herb garden with a beautiful design. Perfect for those without outdoor garden space – or perhaps urbandwelling herb lovers who don’t fancy their marjoram marinated in the muck of dust and pollution. Above the plants is an adjustable LED lamp, which provides enhanced lighting spectra to spur maximum growth. Meanwhile, these lucky little herbs have their roots nestled in NASA-developed smart soil, which releases nutrients in synch with the plant’s life cycle. The result is tasty herbs, grown while using minimum bench space, organically and in record time. The almost-zero effort required is great for those of us with 10 green thumbs and the top-lit plants provide a nice dash of green to the indoor environment. Click and Grow Smart Garden 3 – $150 – clickandgrow.com

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Urbis Drive Andrew Kerr drives three new cars that excel around town and devour an open road.

e GAME-CHANGING QUALITY: Lexus UX250h A latecomer to the busy premium crossover scene, the new UX stands out with its ‘cuts and creases’ design, sumptuous cabin and pleasing tactility of controls. It’s a true cross between a five-door hatchback and a compact SUV, with 4WD as an option. The profile is unusually sleek and you sit upfront in a semicommand position with good outward visibility for petite drivers and excellent headroom for the tallest. The centre of gravity is set low for car-like handling and a tight turning circle assists in city manoeuvres. Road manners and general ease of use are exemplary, especially with a plethora of driver assistance systems on board and a brilliant 360-degree camera always on the lookout. You don’t have to search hard for exterior highlights. How about the LED tail-light bar that stretches across the entire width of the car and is bookended by corner lamps that resemble upturned blades? One of the architectural concepts employed is ‘kansei’ engineering, which aims to create an emotional bond between the customer and the product and is the inspiration for the cabin design. In the topspec Limited hybrid that found its way to Urbis, we were struck by the richness of materials and the precision build (Takumi master craftsmanship), and the structured layering of the dashboard with a non-reflective top surface, inspired by the Japanese paper used in sliding doors. Self-charging hybrids will make up the bulk of local sales. They deliver total system output of 135kW and consume as little as 4.5L/100km. It’s easy to appreciate the simple joys of the petrol-electric car: chiefly, the smoothness, silence, obvious efficiency (plenty of electric-only bursts) and welcome low-speed responsiveness. Good enough to be well worth the wait? In hybrid Limited form, most definitely yes.

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e CONSUMMATE ALL-ROUNDER: BMW 330i Saloon

Image courtesy of Mike Ginsca, MGReviews.com

HIGH-PERFORMING DROP-TOP: Jaguar F-Type P300 Convertible d We’ve recently driven a very different car with the same turbocharged four-cylinder engine on board: the Range Rover P400e. The compact 2.0-litre unit makes a very different impression in the nose of JLR’s sports-convertible where it takes a horse jockey’s weight out of the nose when compared with the F-Type V6s. For an entrée, we took the P300’s wheel during a Jaguarbranded Art of Performance track session. It was employed for a ‘lane change under emergency braking’ exercise and for repeated slalom runs along a 200m stretch of tarmac. It felt usefully quick and very wieldy compared to some of the big-hitting V8s circulating on full track laps. While Jaguar’s V6 and V8 engines are explosive upon startup, the Ingenium four is restrained. R Dynamic trim brings with it 19-inch alloys and an eight-speed auto is mandatory. There’s an active exhaust for some theatre on the overrun, and maximum thrust is easily accessed, with peak torque on tap from 1500rpm. Rest assured, this F-Type will devour your favourite road with real conviction. The most affordable F-Type to date, Ian Callum’s drop-top still looks timelessly good in P300 trim and it’s only when you open the door that some eyes will wish for a touch more cabin magic.

First impressions count for an awful lot and it took only a few minutes behind the wheel of the new 330i to know that BMW has made a solid stride forward with its upmarket seventh-gen Three. It was immediately apparent from the hushed cabin that refinement levels are well up, with minimal mechanical and road noise. Now sharing 5-series underpinnings and weighing 55kg less on average, the new 3-series is longer, at 4.71m, with an extra 41mm in the wheelbase that partly accounts for a more settled, compliant ride. It’s vastly more forgiving than you’d expect from M Sport suspension and 19-inch alloys. The turbocharged 330i instantly feels better planted, too, with wider front and rear tracks and a heavily revised damping system with stiffer springs and roll bars. Switch to Sport and the feeling of confidence on a dry, winding road means you very quickly feel inclined to push the car as Munich’s engineers intended. The latest iDrive is the best yet with intuitive one-touch buttons and access to functions via the familiar rotating controller and broad central screen. Of the driver assistance functions, Reversing Assistant is carried over from the new X5 that was driven for the last issue. It’s very useful, unique to BMW and a feature that we would use regularly. The car records the last 50m of travel and can automatically reverse the route without steering input from the driver. An absolute first is BMW’s voice-recognition technology, a clever system that learns driver preferences and employs an Intelligent Personal Assistant that can anticipate commands. Exemplary around town, the 330i also continues a tradition of devouring the open road and shrinking around a driver in a sporting sense that no midsized SUV can emulate.

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Hot House Home to an emergency doctor, Albรณndiga (Meatball, his pet bulldog) and a large collection of pot plants, this tiny Madrid apartment is full of solutions for small-space usage. WORDS LEANNE AMODEO / PHOTOGRAPHY JOSร‰ HEVIA

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ROWSE ANY POPULAR DESIGN BLOG and it’s immediately clear that more than a few of the most exciting new apartment designs are coming out of Spain. Of course, there’s no shortage of small abodes in the southern European country, where hot spots like Madrid are high-density metropolises in which apartment living has long been the norm. The capital’s metropolitan area alone is home to more than six million people, making it the third-largest city in the European Union. Residential renovations and refurbishments are popular and, even though architects and designers can often have quite the task on their hands, they’re also allowed plenty of scope for invention and innovation. Husos Architects is one practice making a name for itself with small residential projects that disrupt traditional ideas about how big our homes need to be. Led by co-directors Camilo García and Diego Barajas, the Madrid-based studio champions small-footprint living by re-imagining domestic interiors as multifunctional spaces that are accommodating, flexible and totally unexpected. The beauty of their small-footprint designs is the degree to which they customise them; this is a necessary requirement for the most diminutive of spaces if each part is going to work as hard as possible. One of the studio’s most recent projects features a ‘greenhouse’ seamlessly incorporated into the home’s wet area for a client with a large collection of pot plants. Meanwhile, its latest and most compelling is the renovation of a 46m2 apartment in the Arganzuela district of central-southern Madrid for Jaime, a young emergency doctor, and his pet bulldog, the aptly named Albóndiga (Meatball). The home occupies a modern variation on the traditional Spanish corrala – a block of flats

with access corridors that look out onto a shared interior courtyard – built in the 1960s. Like so many apartments of that era, its layout was problematic, disallowing a sense of logic and spatial fluidity. As Barajas explains, “It had a double east-west orientation but excessive compartmentalisation obstructed cross-ventilation in the bedrooms, which meant these west-facing spaces were very hot in summer. So, we redistributed the footprint to create a one-bedroomed apartment, which incorporates a generously-sized living area with openings on both east and west elevations.” The resulting plan positions the lounge and dining spaces as the heart of the home, which now receives plenty of natural ventilation. García and Barajas also seized the opportunity to integrate a vertical vegetable garden on the western courtyard façade, in keeping with Jaime’s commitment to sustainability. And the renovation’s new watering system makes use of grey water from the shower while it also works to keep the interior cool so there’s no need for air conditioning. By prioritising a large, open-plan living area, the apartment is made to appear bigger than what it actually is. It’s clever planning on the part of the architects, who arranged the bedroom, a dressing room, a storage area and a multi-purpose capsule space within a 1.5-metre-wide strip along the southern edge of the home. This neat resolution is made all the more efficient because of the bedroom’s sliding doors and ample shelving integrated within the partition wall. However, it’s the capsule that not only genuinely enlivens the space, but also takes the home’s overall functionality to the next level. No mere folly, this space serves Jaime well as a place to take a siesta to recover from an especially tough night shift or as somewhere quiet to read a book. It doubles as a guest ‘room’ too, complete with a URBISMAGAZINE.COM

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THE MINIMALIST PALETTE CREATES A SENSE OF COHESION AND THE PARED-BACK AESTHETIC MAXIMISES THE INTERIOR’S SPATIAL CONSTRAINTS.

sliding privacy screen, making it a much more streamlined alternative to a sofa or fold-down bed. And the adjacent ‘window periscope’ brings the outside in, allowing immersive views of the tree-lined street via a series of strategically placed mirrors. There’s even a small nook for Albóndiga, who has the option of lying on soft cotton mounds that are attached to the floor with suction pads. In considering the materiality, García and Barajas decided on the lo-fi combination of plywood and pine. “We avoided plastering the walls, opting instead for an outcome with breathable mortars,” García notes. “And we wanted the home to be cosy and comfortable so it’s in deliberate contrast to the mostly sterile white walls of a hospital’s wards.” The minimalist palette creates a sense of cohesion and the pared-back aesthetic maximises the interior’s spatial constraints. Lighting is subdued and the capsule glows soft pink or purple, while colour accents also pepper the rest of the home: orange for the bed base, recessed door handles and shelf supports; pink on the water pipes; and purple in the vertical garden. These add visual flourish without clutter. It’s a simple scheme that gives Jaime everything he needs for a comfortable lifestyle – nothing more, nothing less. And therein lies the design’s greatest success. Smallfootprint living is about being mindful of consumption and understanding that more doesn’t necessarily make for a better home. By stripping back the apartment to its most necessary components, García and Barajas have created a stylish haven, free of superfluous detail, which offers a nimble framework for urban living. 46

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Previous pages. This apartment is perched in a small block of flats in Madrid. The walls, storage units and floors are made of a combination of plywood boards and pine pieces from a carpentry shop. This spread. The interior space was rearranged to create ample room for the living area, which opens to both the east and the west sides of the building. A multiuse capsule allows for an alternative space where the owner – a doctor – can sleep after working a night shift, or for a private space where guests can stay. A watering system makes use of grey water from the apartment’s shower. It is filtered and used to irrigate a small vegetable garden.


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Colour maze Translucency and bangs of colour work together to emphasise the gorgeous shapes of lighting and furniture pieces. ART DIRECTION THOMAS CANNINGS / PHOTOGRAPHY TOAKI OKANO

From left. Boule Medium by Pulpo $4925, ecc.co.nz; Platner coffee table by Knoll from $4260, studioitalia.co.nz; Max-Beam stool by Kartell $630, backhousenz.com; Lightline by Brokis from $2025, ecc.co.nz; Aballs pendant by Parachilna $1485, ecc.co.nz; Baba side table by Poliform from $1750, studioitalia.co.nz; Atollo table lamp by Oluce from $1815, ecc.co.nz; Acrylic panels by PSP psp.co.nz 48

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This page. Crescent table lamp by Lee Broom $3335, ecc.co.nz Opposite. Cut Short pendant by Tom Dixon $1330, ecc.co.nz Blast coffee table by Kartell from $2020, backhousenz.com URBISMAGAZINE.COM

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This page. Taccia table lamp by Flos $2360, ecc.co.nz Opposite. Macaron table light by Brokis from $7690, ecc.co.nz; Dama stool by Poliform from $2980, studioitalia.co.nz 52

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Shorts

Compact living, big ideas Tracey Ingram explores three spaces making the most out of a smaller footprint.

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GREW UP IN NEW ZEALAND in the 1980s and ’90s, when

space was never an issue. Okay, my siblings and I did fight over territory within our shared bedrooms but only before fleeing the confines of the house for the big backyard beyond. When I moved to Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in the late 2000s, I realised just how little living space I actually need. That said, a reduced residential footprint requires a different mentality. Kiwis are much too accustomed to the notion of large, empty spaces. Every time I return to New Zealand, the next person is discussing their plans for ‘building on’. But, as the Auckland housing crisis continues and New Zealand’s population swells, smart small living could provide at least part of the solution. Jack Chen moved to Melbourne from Sydney and needed a cheap and convenient place to stay while working. The director of Tsai Design nabbed a top-floor spot in what’s colloquially called a “six-pack apartment”, with “a harsh box profile and harsh repetition”, says Chen. “The development was popular in the 1950s – a way to squeeze residential apartments for 12 families into a single-house site. It’s efficient in one way but the living conditions of such environments have been harshly criticised.”

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Chen decided to turn himself into a test case for small living while attempting to give the typology a second life. When dealing with limited square-metreage, the obvious challenge is how to include the required functions and furniture without suffocating a space. Chen’s answer was to determine a hierarchy in spatial planning. What important elements need to be easily accessible and permanently in place? Which spaces are less important and can be concealed when not in use? The process is “somewhat subjective”, says Chen. “It depends on your lifestyle. For me, dining is not a key space so I created a dining set-up that slides into the kitchen and disappears. You also need to prioritise your spending. In Type St Apartment, about two-thirds of the budget went to one-third of the space: the timber box that houses the entry, kitchen and bathroom. These key spaces make an impression for both the occupants and visitors.” ‘Plan Melbourne 2017–2050’, a report by the Victorian State Government, predicts that the city’s rapid population growth will necessitate 1.6 million new homes over the coming 35 years. It states that “the issues that need to be addressed include housing affordability, the types of housing available to cater for different household needs and lifestyles, and the provision of medium- and higher-density housing close to jobs and services.” Chen hopes Type St Apartment can be a case in point: “I think Melbourne – or Australia, in general – is slow to catch on to the idea of small living, but I believe the tide will turn once they start to see more examples of how well small living can work. It would solve a lot of stress surrounding home ownership – one of the main concerns for young Australians at the moment.” And what if sites themselves are smaller? This particular situation is commonplace in the Netherlands, where population density is 415 per km2 (to put that figure into perspective, New Zealand has only around 18 people per km2). Having renovated apartments as small as 40 m2 , Amsterdam-based studio i29 interior architects was recently handed a petite plot of land on which to develop a holiday home for its client. Limited in terms of volume and 56

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Previous spread. Mini Living and FreelandBuck’s Urban Cabin is on a rooftop in Los Angeles. These pages. Owned and designed by Jack Chen, this apartment utilises a timber joinery box. The diminutive design allows for comfortable living in just 35m 2 .


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These pages. (Left) Perched in the Netherlands, Tiny Holiday Home by i29 is intended to house a family of four. (Right) Mini Living and FreelandBuck’s Urban Cabin features a steel structure separated into two parts: a bedroom on one side and a kitchen and bathroom on the other.

height within a 55m2 footprint, i29 collaborated with Chris Collaris Architects to ensure “we could use every small corner of the house”, says Jeroen Dellensen, who co-founded i29 with Jaspar Jansen. “It’s a fully integrated design – that’s why it’s successful.” The clients basically gave the designers carte blanche – as long as the scheme accommodated them and their two children and included “everything you need in a house”. The challenge, says Dellensen, is to “provide the same functions and the same feeling of luxury and comfort, regardless of size. We prefer not to delete functions but to downsize them – and to combine them in a smart way.” Tiny Holiday Home’s spaciousness belies its size. It is, indeed, a complete house for four people; there are even two toilets. The design is based on four volumes, each with its own programme. These ‘building blocks’ encircle a patio, connecting the interior to the outdoors and bringing “a lot of air into the house”, says Dellensen. “Wherever the inhabitants look, there’s always a view to the outside.” Apartment living brings different challenges but part of i29’s secret recipe for residences is universal: integrating both functions and cabinetry. “It’s about thinking what to hide and what to show – and creating places for both.” Their approach is perhaps even more evident in The Invisible Kitchen, a residential project in Paris. That client wanted a luxurious kitchen with all the trimmings so i29 decided to conceal it behind sliding doors, leaving only a thin island out in the open. The designers opt for bespoke kitchens rather than branded ones; each of the former “becomes a single object in space”, says Dellensen. “We always try to integrate such functions within the architectural elements.” Dellensen notes that, while requests for small-living solutions by clients are not necessarily increasing, i29 is attracting more inquiries from developers for modest, modular homes to sell worldwide. Brands, too, are beginning to board the small-living train. Take Mini Living, for example: an initiative that investigates how the car brand’s key principle – the creative use of space – can inform the future of urban life. Going minuscule with its recent Urban Cabin project, the brand teamed up with local architects in four populous cities – London, New York, Los Angeles and Beijing – to create homes, each with a meagre 15m 2 footprint.

In LA, FreelandBuck was brought on board to explore “how these smaller homes can use design to be both cost effective and beautiful”, says the architectural office’s cofounder Brennan Buck. The team relied on spatial effects and the use of experimental materials to visually expand the cabin. Unlike i29, FreelandBuck chooses to “edit out unnecessary aspects and consolidate elements into objects with multiple functions”, says co-founder David Freeland. “We work hard to avoid the space ‘feeling’ smaller by focusing on proportion, light and colour to create a more expansive space.” The common thread among the new breed of small-living spaces is perception; just because a home takes up less room, it shouldn’t seem that way.

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VIVID >

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People Inside Story A couple of award-winning interior designers, Erini and Scott Compton open their home and share the objects they love. WORDS JULIA GESSLER PHOTOGRAPHY L ARNIE NICOLSON

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People

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F THE COMPTONS’ HOME WERE AN

edible delicacy, it would smack of a dish at once light and full-bodied. In the kitchen, the olive-green cabinets would bring colour to this dreamt-up bonne bouche, while the living room’s lashings of sunshine and curtains would be served for contrast, balance and long-lingering warmth. At Scott and Erini Compton’s dining table, around which the three of us are sitting, both spaces can be seen in full view. “I think we’re probably sitting in the reason why we chose it,” says Scott, principal at architectural practice Warren and Mahoney, on their motivation to purchase this Saint Heliers home. “It’s a very bright house.” Indeed, beyond any thoughts of fine dining, there’s a sense that this is something approaching the famous white curtains episode in Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, sans the scene’s enormous divan and flagrant extravagance. The two seasoned designers know the importance of creating spaces that fit well with their dwellers. Their space is a private sanctuary: open-planned but with “that subtle separation”, explains Erini, spatial design leader at studio Designworks, where they carve out time to relax and return to a natural order. “The lesson to learn is not to shoehorn yourself into a space but to experience it and then let it become what it’s going to be,” Scott opines. “We grow older so our tastes do evolve. You’ve got to take time to choose what’s right for the moment.” Originally from Watford, England, Scott took up his first job in Shanghai before returning to his homeland, going on to work with the likes of fashion brands Karen Millen and AllSaints. It’s a nugget of wisdom, then, that’s come from hard work and worldly experience, which he has continued to glean in New Zealand since they moved here in 2012. Yet one feels that it was also learned during their renovations to the abode. 62

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People When they purchased the house a little over a year ago, it was a gritty vestige of 1990s’ interiors. The walls were yellow, and it featured terracotta tiling and shimmering red curtains in true-to-type style. The pair chose to gut it all before they moved in, and subsequently bucked any specific aesthetic. “For us, putting in a Chevron oak floor was a big thing, as was investing in curtains and adding incredibly minimal lighting throughout the house to create ambience,” recalls Erini. “You want it to be both timeless and in keeping with the era at the time the house was built.” She was at the helm of the redesign of Designworks’ awardwinning offices in the former New Art Gallery, so her words, too, are entwined with a wisdom garnered from her expansive interiors career. After meeting at BDG architecture + design in London, the couple, now together for 12 years and proud parents to a two-year-old and a four-year-old, has trodden a singleminded path when it comes to what they have wanted from their home. There’s a shared admiration for great design and, according to Scott, an appreciation for “the quality of the space more than the necessity to fill it”. It’s a combined understanding that shows; beyond the front door, a Frank Gehry Wiggle chair and a modular sofa hold court.

When they purchased the house a little over a year ago, it was a gritty vestige of 1990s’ interiors. The walls were yellow, and it featured terracotta tiling and shimmering red curtains in true-to-type style.

This spread. A blend of Scandinavian classics and simple design pieces fill the Comptons’ home. Usually kept safe behind cabinet doors, a Tom Dixon cake stand has pride of place on the kitchen countertop.

They are, of course, not without differences in taste. “I want an original Egg chair by Arne Jacobsen, the architect, interior designer and product designer,” reflects Scott. “That would be, for me, an object that summed up why I want to be a designer. If we could reach to have that chair – a beautiful leather one with a brass base – that would be amazing.” Erini jests, with a smooth-tongued quip: “That can be in the study.”

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Erini and Scott’s favourite things

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String system Our flexible Scandinavian friend that we got from Sweden. It is usually full of children’s toys and books, but it will become home to our treasures again one day.

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Noel Gallagher signature guitar Scott: I bought this in 1997. It inspired me to learn guitar and join a band. A friend of mine managed to get a signed copy of one of Noel Gallagher’s albums for me while he was working at MTV, because he was interviewing him. He just snuck it out in front of him. When I play the guitar, the kids get to sing along to The Smiths and Radiohead.

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Lego For Scott, Lego is timeless and never-ending fun. Being a designer and being in an industry that’s about building, He thinks it’s one of the most incredible tools.

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Borough Market artwork Borough Market was Scott’s local haunt for many years in London. This work was gifted by his best man. It reminds him of home.

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Gloria candle holder by Muuto This was a leaving gift to both of us when we left London to move to New Zealand. It’s a modern and clever design take on a traditional candelabra.

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Collected treasures Through our time together, we have picked up objects that have meaning and have brought beauty into our home.

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Mytilene 100 We designed the identity for this ouzo glass, which celebrates the 100th anniversary of the liberation of Mytilene from the Ottomans. The city is on the Isle of Lesbos, home of both Erini’s father and the best ouzo in the world.

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Naughtone chair in Kvadrat fabric This was a winning prize from an industry football tournament in London whilst Scott was working at a design company called Brinkworth. His team beat the hosts, Kvadrat, in the final. It’s really a memory of the UK design industry for him.

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Flower wall For our wedding, we designed a flower wall with approximately 3500 fresh flowers. They included: lilies, roses, carnations, chrysanthemums, cymbidium orchids and phalaenopsis orchids.

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Frank Gehry Wiggle chair This was a 30th birthday gift from Erini to Scott, and the subject of his university thesis. These chairs are actually quite robust, though they don’t go well with water and food.


“The lesson to learn is not to shoehorn yourself into a space but to experience it and then let it become what it’s going to be. We grow older so our tastes do evolve.” — Scott Compton

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Fresh craft Rebecca Gross talks to young, New Zealand-born, Australian architect Adele McNab about her career and her father’s legacy within it. PHOTOGRAPHY BEN HOSKING AND MICHAEL NICHOLSON

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DELE MCNAB MOVED FROM

Auckland to Sydney in 2011 to pursue her architecture career. This shift has, by now, led her to establish her own practice and will, if all goes to plan, see her build her own house. But first things first. McNab’s interest in architecture began when she was a child, growing up in Auckland where her parents renovated their family homes. During that same period, she spent weekends with her father, a panel beater, in his workshop and paint shop, learning how materials go together and how they are formed into spaces. She became familiar with tools and learned how to mix colours for tints. During her final year at Unitec’s 66

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School of Architecture, McNab participated in a summer school programme in Sydney under the tutelage of renowned Australian architects Richard Leplastrier, Peter Stutchbury and Lindsay Johnston. “The programme had a lasting impact on me and influenced how I see and practise architecture,” McNab says. “It taught me that responding to a site’s context, environment and inhabitants is the heart of any concept for a project.” Following her graduation, McNab jumped at the opportunity to move to Sydney, joining Bruce Stafford Architects where she worked on residential projects and “gained insight into the more personable, intimate aspects of architecture.”


People

McNab applied this to the remodelling of her own apartment in an iconic art deco building overlooking Bondi Beach. She created a modern, light and laid-back space, embracing the design language of the building, and with a colour and material palette inspired by the beachside location. Still enjoying being hands-on, from days spent helping her dad, McNab designed and built a bench seat and planter using leftover bricks from the apartment. “It took a couple of weeks to learn how to lay bricks but there is a real sense of satisfaction from making something,” McNab says. She also revitalised the exterior and interior of the apartment block, specifying a bright, tropical blue, inspired by the original colour scheme and the art deco period. In 2018, McNab took the leap to go out on her own, establishing her practice after her father passed away. “It prompted me to make changes in my life and diving into something I’m passionate about helped me get through a tough period,” McNab says. The fruits of McNab’s hard work and passion for architecture are

evident within the space of just one short year. She has transformed a Sydney warehouse into, of all things, a fresh and functional workplace for The Casing Boutique, a natural casing sausage business, and she is working on projects on both sides of the Tasman. These include: a new bach in Raglan, an addition to a Westmere home and two residential projects in Sutherland, Sydney. On the side, McNab also designs and makes custom furniture, including a stand-up desk crafted using plywood, refurbished industrial bench legs and Hebel blocks. She explains how being from New Zealand “and spending most of my summer holidays in baches had a huge influence in terms of learning about the necessities in a shelter and living simply, and that comes through in materiality and design”. So, are there any dream projects on this young designer’s horizon? “I always dreamed of building a house with my dad. So, geared with his tools and my builder’s licence, I hope to build a house in New Zealand in the not-toodistant future,” she says. This page. Perched inside a turquoise art deco building, this apartment, located in Sydney’s iconic Bondi suburb, underwent an extensive renovation. New additions, such as kauri flooring and in-built seating, mimic the local environment, without compromising the building’s precious heritage status.

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“… responding to a site’s context, environment and inhabitants is the heart of any concept for a project.” — Adele McNab

This page. Adele McNab transformed a butcher supplies warehouse into a sleek space for cooking classes, product displays, storage and offices.

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Interior Magazine presents:

Awards night tickets on sale Join us on Thursday 27 June to celebrate interiors, architecture, design, and the people that make them happen. Tickets for the Awards night are on sale now at interiorawards.co.nz


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Spaces

TACTILE PLEASURES From a copper-clad home in the Danish countryside to this sumptuous apartment on the edge of Lake Lugano, the following pages abound with luxury and panache in equal measure.

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URBAN COLOURS THIS NOT-SO-SMALL APARTMENT ABOVE MANHATTAN’S PARK AVENUE IS A DELIGHTFUL EXAMPLE OF THE MAGIC THAT COLOUR CAN BRING TO A PREVIOUSLY DARK ENCLOSURE. WORDS TRACEY INGRAM / PHOTOGRAPHY BROOKE HOLM / ST YLING CRISTINA SONNEMAN

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HEN RENOVATING MANHATTAN APARTMENTS ,

most designers are confronted with the challenge of space: how to squeeze every square inch out of minuscule floor plans. Not so when Michael K Chen Architecture (MKCA) was enlisted by a young New York family for its pre-war apartment on Park Avenue. Built in an era associated with high ceilings, wide hallways and spacious foyers, the 260m 2 space is almost four times the size of the average Manhattan apartment (around 68m 2). The residence is home to the Schwalbe family – Laura Farrell Schwalbe and Jason Schwalbe, and their two small children – whose main concerns, says Chen, were “addressing the lack of natural light in an intelligent way, creating a powder room, and ensuring that openness and a touch of formality were retained throughout”. To do so, the architecture team transformed what were once dark and claustrophobic storage and service areas into morefunctional living elements. The couple’s coveted powder room, for instance, occupies a former closet. A relatively fragmented layout led MKCA to enlarge various openings to create more circulation. One example is the replacement of a tiny aperture between the living and dining rooms with a sliding partition made from black metal 74

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and glass, which expands the space physically and visually. Alongside MKCA’s spatial interventions, the studio’s choice of furniture, finishes, and art and design objects played a large part in answering the clients’ requests for playfulness, connectivity and lightness. “We selected most

They were committed to living in the formal spaces, instead of reserving them for special occasions, and they wanted to have fun with the apartment but still preserve its historical charm. of the materials for their specific properties relative to light: glossiness, translucency, reflectivity and so on,” says Chen. He points out the 3.35m-long custom dining-room table in high-gloss lacquer, steel and gold leaf from Detroit-based Alex Drew & No One, as well as three-dimensional tiles in the kitchen, which elicit a subtle play of light and shadow in a space with only one window. Meanwhile, the acid-etched


Previous spread. A circular custom sofa, designed by MKCA and upholstered in a blue textile from Maharam, curves around the living room. This spread. White marble countertops complement the kitchen’s lacquered and ebonised oak pantry. An Enzo Mari gorilla print, with sconces by Erich Ginder on either side, hangs above the kitchen table.

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This spread. A stainless-steel shelving unit by Franรงois Monnet overlooks a linenwrapped games table in the living room. Two drawings by Karin Haas hang above a desk adjacent to the fireplace. Glossy, moulded tiles by Ann Sacks pick up light in the kitchen.

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This spread. The dining room, painted in dusty pink, offers a gentle contrast to the living room’s colour palette. A glass sliding partition allows the two spaces to be separated.

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partition in the laundry and service space beyond draws ambient natural and artificial light into the kitchen. “When we work in dim spaces, we like visual contrast. Actually, I like contrast all of the time, but especially in dark spaces because I think it makes them so much livelier.

“I have to admit there was a bit of apprehension about the colour scheme… but… we all love the result…” If they were neutral, they would feel incredibly flat and dingy.” It helped that the clients were interested in bold design choices. “The apartment’s aesthetics were developed in close collaboration with Laura and Jason,” says Chen. “We had a lot of conversations, spent a lot of time looking at things together, and sent a million text messages from travels, browsing and the like. They had a lovely sense of how they wanted to live. They were committed to living in the formal spaces, instead of reserving them for special occasions, and they wanted to have fun with the apartment but still preserve its historical charm.”

Chen describes the relationship as mutually motivating. One of MKCA’s propositions was a massive circular sofa, custom-designed by the architects. “It just made so much sense spatially and functionally.” “Spatially” refers to the bright-blue sofa becoming the centrepiece of the room, and “functionally” to its size – which allows the whole family to plonk down together – and to its ability to transition from an intimate conversation spot to the hub of a party. MKCA also pushed for pink in the dining room, where Laura had requested a strong colour. “I have to admit there was a bit of apprehension,” says Chen, “but we collectively decided to go for it. And we all love the result of giving the room a thoroughly consistent and immersive colour scheme that coats all of the walls, mouldings and ceiling.” The dining room is also home to one of Laura’s suggestions: the oriental screen, a flea-market find, which hangs above a mid-century console by designer Henry Glass. “A thrift store is just about the last place I would look for art,” says Chen, “but I think it looks great. The selection of that piece emerged straight from the paint scheme. The very best kinds of client collaborations are when we are asked to push the clients a little past their comfort zones, and when they do the same to us.”

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“We selected most of the materials for their specific properties relative to light: glossiness, translucency, reflectivity and so on…”

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This spread. A powder room, lined with handmade metallic black tiles from Heath Ceramics, is a sleek new addition as is the cloakroom, which features flamingo wallpaper and integrated LED lighting. Custom sconces by Allied Maker sit on vintage nightstands, designed by Luigi Caccia Dominioni for Azucena, in the master bedroom.

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OF THE EARTH With a clear mandate to be elegant, yet passive, Queenstown’s Team Green Architects has delivered a home that is powerful in many respects. WORDS CAMILLE KHOURI / PHOTOGRAPHY SAM HARTNETT

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These pages. On the verandah, mesh sliding screens filter harsh sunlight that floods the living and dining rooms in summer. Underfoot, the mesh provides a visual softness. The kitchen is clad in American white oak.

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“Modern informality; comfortable rustic elegance; sustainability; sense of permanence; textural warmth and richness; low maintenance; bespoke.” It’s not often that an architect is given such an eloquent and compact brief from a client but these are the words that were delivered to Team Green Architects as a starting point for the design of this Queenstown home. The site is on the side of a steep hill in a rural subdivision in Dalefield, with stunning views that include Coronet Peak in one direction and The Remarkables in the other. A six-metre height limit meant architects Sian Taylor and Mark Read had to look at the design creatively in order to fulfil the homeowners’ wishes for a master bedroom suite with some separation from the rest of the home. A retaining wall, articulated as a spine running through the middle of the house, holds back the earth and allows for three

zones, explains Taylor. “We have the master suite above, the living space with kids’ wing in the middle and, downstairs, the guest suite and garaging. Each storey is bedded into the hill with the top-floor master suite on top of the hill. Each level has connection to the land. That’s one of the reasons that the roof of the garage is designed as a continuation of the landscaping.” Following the prompts of the clients’ brief, the architects sought to create a design that used natural and hardy materials and could withstand the elements thrown at it from this exposed hillside site. Large-scale, highperformance, triple-glazed windows on the central floor allow the views in while keeping the cold out, and a combination of Corten steel, shuttered concrete and schist gives a rustic look that fits with the brief as well as merging nicely with the landscape. “The colours are from nature – from the ground or the trees,” says Read. “The clients love the honesty of the material palette.” The schist ‘spine’ of the house is a feature of the interior on the central level, where it runs through from the bunker-like den to the kids’ wing, which opens out to the

deck on the roof of the garage. The den is in direct contrast to the glazed living area, in that it is mostly enclosed and, in a home that is uncluttered and minimalist, it provides a space for the home-owners’ collection of travel memorabilia. “We thought it was interesting to play on the subterranean element of the house and reveal some of those materials, such as the schist wall,” says Read. “It was important to bring the outside materials in so we have concrete elements throughout as well.” Following the ‘sustainability’ aspect of the clients’ brief, and a large part of Team Green’s modus operandi, the house is designed using passive house techniques. A ventilation system, which runs even when the house is empty, ensures fresh air circulates through the airtight home, explains Taylor. “You can’t tell that it’s running but it’s constantly bringing in fresh air and taking out stale air. Combined with excellent insulation and good windows, and the usual things, like low-energy light fittings and hot water, this brings the energy use right down. Forty per cent of all energy use in most countries is from buildings. This is a big house and, if we hadn’t done what we’ve done here, the carbon footprint could be huge.” URBISMAGAZINE.COM

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These pages. The scullery is full of light, thanks to an opening in the wall behind the kitchen cooktop. The rear room on the central floor contains the homeowners’ collection of travel memorabilia. URBISMAGAZINE.COM

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The house has two fireplaces, one in the living room and one in the master suite, but they are not required for heating. “You feel different in a passively designed house and don’t need to light a fire to keep warm but people still like them for the ambience,” explains Read. The living-room fireplace is enclosed in a steel structure that takes centre stage in the space, creating division between the lounge and the dining area. The kitchen is clad in American white oak and has an interesting design feature; the scullery can be seen through the back wall, where it takes the place of a splashback.

... the house is designed using passive house techniques… “This is a big house and, if we hadn’t done what we’ve done here, the carbon footprint could be huge.” Sian Taylor 90

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From the upstairs master suite, the roof of the lower floor is visible. “From up on this level, we were aware that you were going to be looking at a lot of building. We’ve used this large aggregate ballast to calm that view so you’re not looking down at a bare roof. The aggregate is loose and sitting on top with a drainage mat underneath so it can drain freely and not be a problem when there’s snow and ice,” says Read. While the house was originally designed to be a holiday home, the clients have expressed a wish to make it their permanent abode; this, Read says, is a sign that the architects have done their job well. “The context of the house could have been heavy handed so we had to be aware of the softness that we needed to use as well. That came in at the end with some of the fittings and textures,” he says. “Every house of this scale has the potential to be ostentatious but we identified with these clients that this was not part of their palette or their brief. They are really practical people, who don’t want anything which is not of use to them, and that is expressed in the furnishings and in the architecture of the house.”

These pages. (Left) Twin blue-velvet armchairs create a colourful centrepiece in the living room. The ceiling is clad in richly toned Western red cedar from Herman Pacific. (Right) Schist, board-formed concrete and Corten steel provide the external material palette. These materials are also carried through to the interior.


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“The context of the house could have been heavy handed so we had to be aware of the softness that we needed to use as well... Every house of this scale has the potential to be ostentatious but we identified with these clients that this was not part of their palette or their brief.� Mark Read

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This page. White oak is used throughout the home and is seen here in the master wardrobe. Facing page. A deck has been created on the roof of the garage. Views from this site are beautiful in any light.

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BARCELONA NOUVEAU THIS TINY SPANISH APARTMENT OOZES COLOUR, GRAPHIC FLAIR AND PERSONALITY WHILE RESIDING A STONE’S THROW AWAY FROM THE SAGRADA FAMILIA. WORDS JULIA GESSLER / PHOTOGRAPHY ROBERTO RUIZ

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ACH DAY IN BARCELONA’S Eixample district,

the tourist throng goes to gaze at Antoni Gaudí’s famously ambitious church, Sagrada Familia. They know that there’s enough genius in this masterpiece in which to bathe themselves. Italian architect Andrea Serboli, like all denizens of the area, is also privy to this knowledge. Walk just metres down a quiet passageway beside the church and you’ll find his apartment, magnetic and resplendent, perched on an upper floor. Last year, the private space was purchased by Serboli and underwent a complete refurbishment with the help of his friend and colleague Matteo Colombo. Though many of the original fittings were irreversibly damaged after severe neglect, the architects, who cofounded Colombo and Serboli Architecture (CaSA), saw the opportunity to turn the flat into a wunderkammer: a cabinet of curiosities – according to the German expression – where objects from the owner’s growing eclectic collection of things could sit side by side. It’s a style that mushroomed in mid-16th-century Europe during the so-called Age of Exploration and one that neatly reflects the region’s long history of appreciation for the ornamental. The building, a product of Catalan Art Nouveau, which swept through Spain at the turn of the 98

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20th century, is also decorative; like other residential blocks nearby, iron balconies, all sinuous lines and coiling shapes, protrude from its façade in modernist fashion.

A congruence between forms is palpable here. Old and new, bold and neutral, casual and contextdriven materials combine to breathe interest into the ordinary. Serboli wanted a two-bedroomed unit – a difficult brief, in this case, for a set of period partitions divided the 75m 2 space into six rooms. But he and Colombo didn’t see it that way. Rather, it was a canvas they thought could also showcase their firm’s distinct style. “[It] gave us the chance to field a proposal that reflects our goal to generate a new, affordable luxury: not ostentatious but to be searched for in everyday details,” the firm says. Coral-painted beams now trace along those old divides, which were pulled out to make way for the addition of an unusually large, blue box.


Previous spread. Designed by CaSA and executed by Rec Disseny, the kitchen cabinets are a bold, bespoke addition. This spread. The living room features a Mags Soft Sofa by Hay and a Kettal Zig Zag pouf. A painting by Piero Serboli hangs above it. It is one of many artworks in this space.

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This spread. Glowing and salmoncoloured, a fluted glass window hints at the bathroom behind the kitchen. A boiserie of grooved panels conceals the doors to this room. Inside, artwork can also be found; an illustration by Martina ManyĂ sits on the vanity counter.

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“This relationship between usability and curiosity perhaps represents the most intriguing, dynamic part of the apartment,” the architects explain.

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This page. Graphic designs by Sigrid Calon, Hey Studio and Ares Design bring a sense of whimsy into the apartment’s bedrooms. Facing page. Traditional rasilla terracotta tiles on the terrace are complemented by two Village chairs from Kettal, available at Studio Italia.

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Designed in collaboration with firm Margherita Serboli Arquitectura, the wooden-clad volume was built into the centre of the floor plan to create what the architects call the apartment’s inner sanctum – the bathroom – whose entryway, camouflaged by a set of seemingly innocuous closets, is withheld from unknowing visitors like an intimate secret. For those who do know where to look – a circular glass window above the kitchen counter is the only tell – the inside is far softer. Salmon-coloured micro-cement covers each wall, while a fluted glass sheet, framed in black, acts as a screen for the combined shower and bath-tub. A congruence between forms is palpable here. Old and new, bold and neutral, casual and context-driven materials combine to breathe interest into the ordinary. Regular glimpses can be caught of the flat’s original geometric tiles, returned to their former splendour. Walk into the living room and vintage wicker chairs bearing an almost uncanny resemblance to Thonet’s Bentwood classic sit around a table with Ikea trestles. Go further still, and a semi-arched ceiling in the corridor gives the impression of walking through a slowly closing wave tunnel while, at the same time, serving as a striking contrast to the rest of

the apartment’s more traditional vaults. “This relationship between usability and curiosity perhaps represents the most intriguing, dynamic part of the apartment,” the architects explain.

The building, a product of Catalan Art Nouveau… is also decorative; like other residential blocks nearby, iron balconies, all sinuous lines and coiling shapes, protrude from its façade in modernist fashion. All of this has been executed with a self-assuredness that speaks to Serboli and Colombo’s combined ability to alchemise the creative spirit of the existing space and marry it with their own house style. Perhaps this best explains the origins of the apartment’s pull; it, too, has an air of confidence hewn from raring aspirations.

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This spread. (Left) Sagrada Familia can be seen from the passageway down which this apartment is located. Home-owner Andrea Serboli in his apartment. A new French window, which opens onto the terrace, makes for a light-filled living room and kitchen. (Right) Light also streams into a bedroom at the end of the curvedceiling corridor.

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DANISH FAIRY TALE THIS COMPACT HOME IS FULL OF DESIGNER FURNITURE AND SURROUNDED BY A LANDSCAPE OF LAKES AND FORESTS. WORDS CLAIRE MCCALL PHOTOGRAPHY ANDREAS MIKKEL

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ARINA AND MARCUS MENCKE VAGNBY, who designed

this house in the trees, admit to some nervousness when the copper cladding they used on the doublestoreyed living volume was first installed. “We had to be patient as the façade started off a dazzling rose-gold and, for a couple of months, its shine was quite extreme,” says Karina. The small town of Søllerød, 20 kilometres north of the Danish capital, Copenhagen, is steeped in a fairy-tale landscape of lakes and forests. The two industrial designers, both of whom studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, have their own eponymously named business. They had previously renovated the ground floor of a charming villa on the fringe of the city but its large rooms and high stucco ceilings could not make up for a lack of greenery. “We both grew up close to nature and really missed that.” They started looking for the perfect spot and found it here occupied by a worn-down timber ‘lodge’ with a good basement on land right next to a beautiful forest. Marcus, who also studied architecture, and Karina, who has an artist’s eye, couldn’t wait to craft a family home that harmonised with its surroundings. Their first plan was to work with the existing wooden house: to lift the roof and extend it – until they discovered it was structurally unsound. “So, we dismantled it carefully, took the wall panels, insulation and cables to the recyclers, while most

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of the old windows and terrace doors were used to rebuild a friend’s allotment hut in Copenhagen,” says Karina. Plan B involved creating two intersecting boxes: one contains the office; the other is an elongated open-plan living zone with a pop-up second level for the bedrooms. Karina: “We pay tax per square metre [of house] each year in Denmark, so the planning is tight with big living and office spaces while keeping the bedrooms as small as possible.” Along with a construction team from Germany, the pair was involved in the build, working on site, starting with the laying of the insulated concrete slab and continuing right until the last railings went up on the roof terrace. They clad one box containing the office in dark wood that has a rustic quality. The other, they sheathed in copper. “The two materials have a lovely contrast and, colour-wise, they blend into the forest, especially in autumn and winter,” says Marcus. Of course, they didn’t only design the spatial aspects but turned their hands to the crafting of fittings. Case in point is the striking staircase that links the levels. “We wanted an open hallway and to use a minimum of room, so we designed it as a spiral,” says Marcus. The couple has long been interested in the possibilities of bentwood veneer and this inspired them to make the stair and its handrail in one continuous form. “It’s like a huge helix of wood.”


Previous spread. Four Viggo chairs by Mencke & Vagnby (the home-owners) are perched around the dining table. Snowflower pendant lights, also by Mencke & Vagnby, drop down from above. These pages. (Left) Concealed by trees, the home’s dark exterior belies the lightfilled space behind its walls. (Right) Equally full of the creative couple’s designs is the lounge, which features two of their turquoise Hermann lounge chairs.

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“It’s a wonderful house to live in,” says Karina. “The five-metre stud, with huge windows on both sides of the living room, lets us be a part of nature and of the seasons, day in and day out.”

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This spread. (Left) A Hermann sofa by Mencke & Vagnby offers the home-owners a warm, contemplative space for soaking in the snow-covered outdoors. (Right) Splashes of colour complement the home’s wooden furniture designs. URBISMAGAZINE.COM

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These pages. (Left) A log coffee table makes for a grand addition in the lounge, decorated with art by Karina Mencke Vagnby. (Right) The homeowners also designed the living room’s sinuous bentwoodinspired staircase, which coils up towards the bedrooms on the second floor.

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The other eye-catching feature is the kitchen which, like a Kinder egg, has a surprise inside. In essence, Karina and Marcus hacked an Ikea kitchen by using it as the carcass and then gluing custom-made brass panels onto the frame and drawers. Great idea and budget friendly – but, yet again, there were some anxious moments. “In the beginning, it all looked awfully shiny but, after using it, a darker patina with a wonderful glow emerged.” Furnishing a house isn’t difficult when you’re both designers. Many of their own pieces – designs that have their roots in the mid-century – fit seamlessly with the architecture. Bar stools in black oak contrast with the gilded island bench, and the dining table and chairs in pale beech epitomise the simple, crafted look we have come to associate with the Scandinavian aesthetic. “They’re the Viggo chair and table, which was one of our first furniture designs,” explains Karina. “The backs are braided together with the seating so they’re so flexible and comfortable but they still have a classy look.” A fine brass screw that holds the construction together makes a special detail that is repeated in the table legs. It was important to the pair to make this area as comfortable as possible because they are both keen cooks and like to entertain regularly (in fact, when they first met

at design school, they bonded over a love of food). You’ll seldom find a frikadelle (Danish meatball) here; more likely, it will be pasta or Asian dishes and the outdoor pizza oven runs hot in all weather. Now that the couple has two young daughters, on weekends, they can enjoy everything the home and its surrounds have to offer a family. Marcus calls the living room the ‘gallerina’ as it is filled with art that Karina has created. In the garden, there’s a playhouse made of leftover materials from a previous renovation project, a trampoline (Marcus’ wish), a slackline web (Karina’s) and a whole woodland to explore. Then, when all the activity comes to an end, there’s the house to return to, warm and cosy, its rust-toned coat now far more low-key. “It’s a wonderful house to live in,” says Karina. “The five-metre stud, with huge windows on both sides of the living room, lets us be a part of nature and of the seasons, day in and day out.” When the girls are in bed, there is yet more to appreciate. When they are relaxed into the pair of self-designed Hermann chairs around the fireplace, looking out at the falling snow as deer and foxes wander by, they know, without a doubt, that leaving the city was the right choice.

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These pages. Mencke & Vagnby’s Viggo table, like the bathroom (far left), has a simple but elegant design. This bedroom is particularly homey, with a soft, natural colour scheme. Indoors, artworks play and contrast with nearby design pieces; outdoors, wildlife also frolics.

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LAKESIDE LUXE This generous apartment packs a lot of living into a relatively small area, and does so with refined Italian style. W O R D S C A M I L L E K H O U R I / P H O T O G R A P H Y PA O L A P A N S I N I

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Previous spread. Warm and resplendent, this apartment, like the other 15 in its building, has an open floor plan with no feature pillars. These pages. Dimore Studio designed many of the apartment’s furnishings and broiseries, upholstering them in silk, velvet and leather.

Located on the edge of Lake Lugano, a glacier-fed lake that borders Italy and Switzerland, this apartment by Milan-based design firm Dimore Studio features clean lines and a balance of colours and materials, which result in a refreshing-yet-warm interior experience. The apartment is spread over two levels in a recently built apartment building, which was designed by Milan architecture practice Archea Associati. Comprising just 16 apartments, the building is supported solely by two stairwells, which connect the floors of the dwellings. This removes the need for pillars inside the rooms, leaving the interior spaces open and flexible. The design also includes a curved wall that adds a sense

of organic movement in each of the apartments. In this apartment, known as the Lugano apartment, the living space is contained on one 650m 2 floor, which includes four bedrooms, two living spaces, a dining room, a kitchen, two bathrooms and storage space. The upper level is a 750m 2 terrace, where extensive lake views can be enjoyed. Marble is a main feature of the material palette, especially in the bathrooms. For the master bathroom, a mottled green Alpi marble provides an aquatic-like texture that references the lake outside. In another bathroom, which is shared by the other three bedrooms, a monochromatic stone gives a more contemporary look. Calacatta gold marble is used for the door frames in the living room. Yellow Siena marble provides warmth to the guest bathroom as well as the fireplace in the living room, where it contrasts beautifully with the green, velvet-lined walls. “As with all our projects, there is a combination of historical and contemporary references in the choices of materials, metals and textures,” says Dimore Studio’s co-director Britt Moran. “In the living room, we have URBISMAGAZINE.COM

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These pages. Brass, varnished iron and glossy lacquering give the rooms a degree of metallicity. Green Alpi marble was used from floor to ceiling in the master bathroom.

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added a velvet block, which contains the guest bathroom, hidden cupboards and the chimney.” This velvet-lined cube creates a sense of softness as well as richness in the room. It gives the appearance of a jewellery box: an effect that is accentuated by the brass framing. Brass is also used in the edging of the living-room walls and in furniture elements, such as the midcentury lamp in the living area, as well as a full brass door at the back of the room. “Natural brass, varnished iron and glossy lacquering characterise most of the furnishings – heritage, custom and manufactured – thus creating a fil rouge of materials and colour,” explains co-director Emiliano Salci.

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Durmast oak flooring provides a consistent grounding for the entire apartment. The lines of the floors move outside onto the adjoining loggia and balcony, where they are continued in a more weatherproof teak. “The chromatic continuity of the flooring and the wide windows enhance the space and allow for perfect views of the mountains and lake,” says Moran. Durmast oak is also used for the wall linings in the dining area, where it provides a sense of midcentury warmth and simplicity. Furniture was carefully chosen for the apartment at the same time as the interior palette was being completed, to ensure a consistency of colours and materials. “Iconic mid-century collectable pieces co-exist with contemporary items selected from the international design scene and Dimore Studio’s Progetto Non Finito collection. The result is an interesting juxtaposition of furniture and the home-owners’ modern art collection,” says Salci. Compact, but with everything in its place, this apartment shows a sense of true, refined elegance that juxtaposes pleasantly with the rawness of the natural beauty outdoors.

These pages. Dimore Studio’s inimitable style is shown through the vibrant, svelte design pieces, both new and old, that work together in harmony.


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“As with all our projects, there is a combination of historical and contemporary references in the choices of materials, metals and textures.” – Britt Moran

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This page. The dining room is framed by a white marble doorway, which can be accessed via one of the living rooms. The pale-green walls and wooden accents are meant, in part, to offset the owners’ extensive art collection.

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CONTEMPORARY ART FOR RENT OR SALE

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In the wilds What if houses didn’t have deeply dug roots? What if they could be disassembled and transported at whim, only to be reassembled and fully operational just hours later? So asked, so delivered by architect Beatrice Bonzanigo of Milan-based firm IB Studio. Her patented design – called Casa Ojalá – is an off-grid micro-home with 20 different layout options, put together by way of a mechanical system that includes ropes, pulleys and cranks.

Image: Filippo Maffei and Beatrice Bonzanigo

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Fireplace, anyplace. With Escea gas fireplaces there’s no need to compromise on design. Flexible flue technology allows you to put the fire wherever you want and there’s also the freedom to surround your fireplace in any material you can think of, from timber to leather. The only limit is your imagination.

Learn more at escea.com/DS-Series


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Designed for life. Cutting edge urban designs for a lifetime of experiences. Uniquely yours. New Topus Concrete™ for your benchtop. www.caesarstone.co.nz

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