About space

Tree Living

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We are admittedly big fans of treehouses – both child and adult versions. And its pretty clear we aren’t the only ones. Spending quality time up in some branches is so popular that an entire design studio and workshop has formed and grown in Seattle to fill our dreams. The Treehouse Workshop offers a series of four-day workshops for those who wish to DIY and build their own dwelling, along with master treehouse designers. For those who wish to leave the work to others, those master builders can design a custom space to fit your needs.

Serene South Africa

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If we ever find ourselves in South Africa, Babylonstoren will be one of our first destinations outside of Cape Town. A hotel with only 17 suites, it is sited at one of the oldest Cape Dutch farms in South Africa, and made up of a farm, restaurant, hotel, and organic garden. All entities flow and feed each other seamlessly in the lovely space – bright, serene suites with kitchenettes, a communal pool and spa, and an open, beautiful garden boasting local plants. The restaurant serves food from the farm, focusing on local produce, in a barn repurposed by designer and food stylist Maranda Engelbrecht.

In the Mail

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While many of us still love receiving letters, postcards, packages, etc in our real mailboxes, some would rather have all mail – digital and physical – in one tidy spot. Outbox is a new service allowing users to view all of their physical mail on their computer, iPhone or iPad app. For a fee, subscribers allow someone with the secure service to access and photograph each letter, bill, and junk flyer. All can then be viewed in an organized digital Inbox, with the ability to archive, delete, or mark items as junk (Outbox contacts the sender to stop).

Hex Escape

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Continuing along the lines of our fascination with magical, inspired places to escape – whether treehouses or shacks – we can’t help daydreaming about this amazing hexagonal backyard structure. Designed by Colombian architects Manuel Villa and Alberto González Sepúlveda for a family with young children living just outside Bogota, the small space is the perfect retreat tucked into a corner of their garden. Black shingles line the exterior, and the entire interior is covered in wood, along with built-in angular furniture of a simple couch, desk, and storage. A round skylight tops the cozy structure, providing treetop views.

Up in a Tree

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Terunobu Fujimori’s fantastical Teahouse Tetsu (shown), which puts visitors in the midst of an incredible cherry blossom grove, is just one of several treehouses featured in Taschen’s recent Tree Houses. Fairy Tale Castles in the Air. The book collects a range of the dwellings – from the architectural wonders, to the cozy and handcrafted. A minimalist, clean wood space in Japan cohabits the book with a rustic, ramshackle spot in the Netherlands. All are inviting in their own way, fulfilling the childhood dream of living in the trees.

Community Pop-Up

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Seeing opportunity in “hidden” spaces, a new group hopes to work with vacant storefront owners and entrepreneurs to build community in New York’s Lower East Side. miLES (made in the LES) is a group of well-supported architects, activists, and designers, working to connect landlords of empty storefronts with potential temporary tenants looking to activate the spaces. Their hope is that entrepreneurs wanting to test pop-ups can capitalize on the large number of dark storefronts in the neighborhood, improving things for all. The team begins operations out of a temporary space themselves with classes, co-working opportunities, and events on April 1.

Floral Ceiling

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Our longing for Spring was made a little bit easier recently coming across the lovely installation of German artist Regine Ramseier. She very carefully suspended 2,000 fluffy dandelion flowers from the ceiling of a gallery as part of ArToll Summer Lab 2011, creating an instant blanket of spring indoors. Ramseier documented her painstaking process in photos, from picking each one, to transporting them hung from string in her car, to installing each one by one in a custom ceiling-mounted board.

Vignelli & Meier

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In a beautiful, slow-paced video on Nowness, two iconic design figures – modernist architect Richard Meier and Massimo Vignelli discuss their long friendship, grids, white space, and working and living in NYC. Both recently collaborated on a monograph – Richard Meier, Architect Volume 6, and both have worked for years on the West side of Manhattan. With Meier speaking beautifully to his use of white and light – “white is all colors,” and the obvious respect and admiration between the two, its a great little peek into their influential minds.

Shifting Perspectives

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Architects Lily Jencks and Nathanael Dorent took an assignment to design a tile showroom, and used the product to literally shift perspectives in the space. Using shades of grey to white in a herringbone pattern, the tile covers the entire room, including built-in benches, and following a sloped floor upwards. Inspired by Op Art, the tile was applied in three dimensions, creating a dramatic, pulsating wave effect. The installation will be on view through year-end, with events and parties taking place there to heighten the experience.

Shelter Relief

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Visible Good – a new startup from an architect and a consultant – is focused on the task of making improved disaster relief shelters, helping make the already tough task of  temporary shelter easier. Their RDM (Rapid Deployment Module) is a light, flatpack tent/trailer housing that can be easily shipped and assembled. The 9 x 14 foot base unit has well-insulated, strong plastic walls, windows, and locking doors. Modular, it also can attach to other units or shower/bathroom units. The company is currently working with the US Army on an extreme weather version.

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