About space

Zaha’s Endeavors

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Never one to shy away from new endeavors, architect Zaha Hadid recently created a very architectural shoe for United Nude, housing the foot in a vertical building of sorts with shifting planes. The shoes are made of metallic chromed vinyl rubber, with a fiberglass platform and nappa leather lining. Hadid also just opened a gallery in London, displaying her furniture, jewelry, lighting, and paintings. Architectural models are on view on the second floor of the space, by appointment only.

Cité Radieuse

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Le Corbusier’s iconic Cité Radieuse apartment complex, in Marseilles, is being newly updated and interpreted by a few designers. Industrial designer Konstantin Grcic recently completed the interior design of an original apartment there, furnished with several of Grcic’s own designs and large-scale black-and-white print-outs of a punk fanzine. And French designer Ora-Ito recently purchased the roof and solarium space of the complex, turning it into an exhibition space. It opened in June with an exhibition of large sculpture by architect Xavier Veilhan, on view through September.

Beautiful Power

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If all industrial buildings joined with the landscape as well as the Hydroelectric Power Station Punibach, in South Tyrol, Italy, the world would be a more beautifully integrated space. Inspiring in its respect for the beautiful mountain scenery surrounding it, Monovolume’s 2011 project of concrete and wood slices and swoops into the hillside, elegantly forming the needed structure, without disrupting the natural beauty. Covered by grass on top and wood slats on the front, at night the building glows warmly, indicating its use as a power station.

In the Mountains

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Villa Vals, a retreat in the hills of Switzerland, is a literal hideaway for those who stay there. Christian Müller Architects (CMA) and SeARCH, both based in Amsterdam, created the incredible structure by digging it into the side of the mountain. The stone and concrete structure provides unobstructed, amazing views of the nearby Vals baths and beautiful mountainside. Its concave entrance responds to the slope of the hill, while providing a patio area and ample natural light into the home, giving its inhabitants a fabulous escape.

Ando in Korea

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After 7+ years of construction, Tadao Ando’s design of the Hansol Museum in Korea’s Gangwon province recently opened to the public. Sited atop a mountain and adjacent to a 250-acre forest preserve, the museum’s stone, concrete and glass structure respectfully nods to and respects the surrounding landscape. Housing the modern and contemporary collection of the founder of a paper company, the art within and around includes a lovely arc-ed red outdoor sculpture of Mark di Suvero’s, and four light installation experiences by James Turrell. A stone garden with alternating mounds weaves through the surrounding lush forest to the Turrell works.

Walls of Shoes

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For the design of a new Camper shoe store on Fifth Avenue in NYC, Nendo lined the walls with shoes, literally. In a gridded pattern, white resin models hover, attached to the wall at the heel, layered from floor to ceiling. Nendo liked the idea of “decorating” the store with shoes, “making it look like a stockroom.” Real versions of the brand’s shoes also dot the walls, standing out against their ghostly white companions.

Orange Glow

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We recently came across Paris-based Jakob + Macfarlane Architects’ “Orange Cube” project, completed in 2011 on the River Saône in Lyon, France. With its striking bright orange facade, it more than succeeds in accomplishing its mission to revitalize the harbor area where it sits. The orange structure is porous in many ways – with large round cut-outs at 2 corners, and dotted with randomly scattered holes across its entire surface. Both in the daytime and at night, the building glows and radiates against its grey surroundings.

All Lit Up

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For those who run into walls on the way to the bathroom at night, two Norwegian sisters have a solution in LED-embedded wallpapers. One a textile artist and the other a spatial designer, the two brought their skills together to create Meystyle, where they digitally print custom wallpapers, designing small LED’s and Swarovski crystals  into their prints. Their subtle inclusion of LED’s highlights the patterns, creating a shimmering and sparkling, not overpowering effect.

Play While Learning

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In the creation of a new kindergarten recently completed in Leipzig, Germany, architect Susanne Hofmann made the project a participatory one with the kids inhabiting the school. They conducted workshops with them and the teachers and administrators, having them play games and build models to determine their needs for the space. The resulting building has low windows between rooms and walls at child-height, so kids can interact through them. Hallways became storage and meeting spaces rather than simply corridors. And the colors and materials chosen – with bright-hued rooms, woods and mirrors – encourage exploration while creating an environment of comfort and protection.

Room to Read

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For NYCxDesign earlier this month, furniture company Vitsoe created a little quiet space – a reading room for fair-goers to sit, drink coffee, read a book and take a break. Flavorwire put together a great collection of some of the best reading rooms around the world – a terrific round-up that reminded us of how great it can be to have an inspiring space for getting lost in a book. Included are Van Alen books’ bright yellow, angular wooden seating/stairs (shown), the British Museum’s massive domed reading room, and the Victoria and Albert Museum’s bookshop reading room, which is paired with a wine bar.

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