São Paulo-based design studio StudioMK27 has completed the Toblerome House project. The contemporary property was completed in 2011 and can be found in São Paulo, Brazil.
According to the architects: “The basic concept of the now contemporary Brazilian property can be described as a unique image: a free first floor with large sliding glass doors which support a wooden box delimited by concrete beams. The first floor houses the collective programme, with living room, utilities and kitchen. On the second floor are the three-bedrooms, the den and a home theater. The conceptual and programmatic simplicity of the house joins a structural simplicity: a 14-pillared grid, organised in two lines, support the construction. All of the pillars are exposed with a rounded format. When the doorframes of the first floor are open, the living room becomes a free floor, totally open to the gardens – a house on pilotis.
“The simple architectural concept reminds you of the Domino corbusian system, a type of manifestation about the free structure. The shape of the land allowed for a longitudinal implanting of the house with spatial permeability between the two extreme areas, with a loose canopy in the garden. The apparent architectural simplicity ends up revealing complex spaces.
“The veranda, which extends from the living room, becomes a central living space, with an external fireplace. The office, integrated to the living room, is delimited by a stand, free from any other element. This office is connected with the back patio, which has beautiful jabuticabeiras.
“On the second floor, the master bedroom and bathroom open to a beam – the roof of the veranda – and look out over the treetops that perfume the beam of the first floor. The wood establishes a dialogue with the other raw material, such as the concrete, and is used as a sun filter for the bedrooms. Each piece of this brise-soleil has a triangular shape and was fixed to folding doors, able to be kept open according to the needs of the users.
“On the ground floor, cross-ventilation allows for excellent thermal comfort. The simplicity of the contemporary Brazilian home surpasses the organisation of the house, the solutions for environmental comfort, or even in the everyday use by the inhabitants, little surprises complete the architecture.”
Gent-based design studio Juma Architects have completed the Dupli Dos project. Completed in 2012, the luxury home comes with stunning sea views of the Mediterranean in Ibiza, Balearic Islands.
According to the architects: “The house was not only designed to house eight to 10 people but most of all to create a comfortable contemporary Spanish house for two persons.
“That is why you can close off two bedrooms on the first floor. When there are only two people staying at the property, they can use the whole first floor of the building as one apartment. That rooms are en-suite. When there are more rooms used, there is a big removable wall in the master bedroom to separate the room from the hallway.
“There are two luxury swimming pools. The stairs used to be outside, by moving them indoors and to the back of the house we have managed to create a big space in front of the house.
“One of the houses lays a little bit lower than the other. We think that was something positive because we took advantage of that by creating different zones on the terrace, but also inside. For example: kitchen and living room. The wooden construction (terrace) together with the porches in steel merge the two buildings and make them look one contemporary Spanish house. We also opened up the wall inside the house. By creating a fire place that can be seen and used in both rooms, on both sides, it helps to create more space.”
New York-based design studio Inc Architecture and Design have completed the Laight Loft project. The stylish contemporary apartment can be found in New York City, USA.
According to the architects: “The contemporary New York apartment was designed in 2006, with a construction cost of $2,200,000, as a pied-a-Terre for European gentleman who makes New York his home only in the fall. A place for both work and the entertaining of friends and family, the residence was developed with a private suite, an entertainment area and two bedrooms for frequent guests. The project is a study in architecturally defined spaces verses architecturally distinct objects. An ambiguity or tension is invoked as one travels through the plan between rooms that are discernable as objects from one perspective only to collapse into complex and surprising spaces from another point of view. With a restrained but rich palette of limestone, Saepele mahogany, gold leaf, white marble, bronze and stainless steel, the contemporary New York loftwas developed as a clean, light filled canvas or back drop for furniture and antiques collected from throughout the world.”
Paradise does exist, and it is in the form of the Maison MK boutique hotel and Spa, says Assif Majid.
Maison MK is one of Marrakech’s most coveted boutique hotels. The luxury Moroccan hotel is home to the Spa MK, which offers a traditional Hammam spa experience with a British twist.
Hidden away in a one of the city’s back streets, the luxury Marrakech Spa is a haven for Moroccan rituals created in the most luxurious and opulent oasis.
Located in the El Ksour district of the Medina, 15 minutes from the airport by taxi, and only a two-minute stroll from square Djemaa el Fna with its fire-eaters, snake charmers and Berber storytellers. The luxury Marrakech hotel has been featured on Channel 4’s Jamie Does Marrakech and various international publications such as Vogue, Sunday Times and the Guardian.
The Spa MK boasts an impressive menu of treatment facilities, which you should make full use of. I have to confess I am a spa addict and when I was told rejuvenation comes at the magic hands of a tallak (traditional Moroccan washerwoman, of people not clothing) and a talented masseuse, I could hardly hold my excitement.
The luxury Marrakech hotel employs two full-time members of staff in the spa. The spa is fully equipped with a traditional Hammam, while the charcoal-polished darkroom ensures that massages carried out in the dark provide optimum absorption and relaxation.
I had opted for the Afternoon Tea Package, which included a Hammam, and massage combination, followed by a full English afternoon tea on the rooftop terrace.
I was greeted by my tallak who explained the treatment and advised me that after my Hammam a masseuse would see me. I was then ushered into the changing room, which was rather small but fit-for-purpose. I was given a disposable G-string like panty to wear, which seems to be the norm in spas these days, a thick fluffy robe and some trendy Havaianas flip-flops – they even had my size, a UK 10.
The private Hammam is heated to about 70’C (158’F). The steam of the Hammam allows pores to dilate, allowing a deep cleansing of the skin. I was lead into the Hamam in only my swimwear (if you can call it that!) and asked to lie down on the slab of marble. The hot water and steam stimulate the energy points and relax the muscles.
I was first washed down with buckets of luke warm water. Next luxury savoir noir (black soap) made from a base of black olives with eucalyptus and mint was applied all over my body. Once I was fully soaped I was left for 10 minutes to relax and breath the lovely smell of eucalyptus and mint in the steamy Hammam.
A few moments later the tellak returned and gave me another wash with buckets of water. And then the exfoliating begins.
Loofa-like gloves called a Kessa were used to clean my sweaty skin of the entire residue I had accumulated from the dusty souks. Every inch of my body was thoroughly scrubbed before billowing suds washed me squeaky clean. The next stage was the application of Rhassoul, clay specific to Morocco (you can only find this in the Middle Atlas). I was then left to relax for a further five or 10 minutes, while the mask took effect.
The next stage of my luxury Marrakech spa treatment was the sugar and Argan oil rub. The tellak covered me in the stuff, it had a real intense sweet but wonderful aroma. This ensures the final remaining roughness is removed and hydrates the skin at the same time. Once again I was doused from top to toe with pails of water, and then I was left to relax some more.
After my Hammam treatment I was given some ice-cold bottled water, while I waited for the next stage in my spa experience. The masseuse asked what oil I would like for the massage, I picked Argan Oil, ubiquitous in the region, I then took my place face down on an indoor bed in a candle-lit darkroom. The massage was one of the best I’ve had. I’ve had massages that claim to work wonders from head to toe, but this was something else. It felt like I had been in there for hours, it was so relaxing and ultra-soothing; I could feel the massage had worked wonders into my muscle tissue.
Once the massage was over I was given a shot of fresh mango juice accompanied with some freshly cut fruit and raspberry coulis. As a souvenir I get to keep the Kessa glove and pumice stone used in my treatment.
After getting changed I made my way to the rooftop terrace where afternoon tea was served. The terrace comes with panoramic views of Marrakech and the snowcapped Atlas Mountains. I was offered a choice of fair trade teas by Forte – I opted for Earl Grey – before being presented with three tiers of exquisite pastries, cakes, sandwiches and chocolate & orange macaroons. The scones were fresh and staff kept topping up our tea. It was clear that presentation was important at Maison MK.
The afternoon package is one of many packages available at Maison MK, and is at an affordable price too. It would make a marvelous treat as a birthday, anniversary, or any other celebration gift. The staff at the luxury Marrakech hotel is fantastic – professional, approachable and very attentive. The Spa MK is a delight, a truly luxurious and soothing experience. Perfect for couple looking for a luxury but affordable romantic getaway.
For reservations or for more information visit Maison MK.
Cape Town-based design studio Antoni Associates have designed the Sygnia project. Completed in 2010, the stunning contemporary office space can be found in Green Point, Cape Town.
Antoni Associates were appointed by Sygnia, a financial services company to re-locate their offices to the top two floor levels of The Foundry in Green Point. The brief to Mark Rielly and Michele Rhoda of Antoni Associates was to create an open plan office environment, inspired by industrial New York loft-style gallery spaces.
According to the designers: “The client is an art aficionado and has curated a collection of prominent international and local artworks which she wanted installed throughout the new office. The design team conceptualised the stark white interior to capture a gallery ‘feel’. All walls, ceilings and exposed steelwork were painted white. The floors were treated with a light grey epoxy high gloss finish. This clean palette created the perfect backdrop for exhibiting the various artworks and installations.
“Meeting boxes were created as an alternative to traditional meeting rooms. These are raised off the floor and are accentuated by concealed strip lighting in the skirting detail. V-shaped suspended, fragmented bulkheads running along the gallery corridor cleverly contains concealed lighting and allows light to reflect off the ceiling of the contemporary South African property.
“David Reade was commissioned to design an installation of over 700 pieces of hand-blown coloured glass which was suspended from the roof ceiling, through the central floor perforation into the level below. The refraction and reflection of this infusion of colour in this white palette creates a focal point on this level.
“For the staff cafeteria and relaxation lounge a feature bar and serving counter was created from in situ concrete into which the Sygnia logo was cast. A metal chain industrial screen divides the entertainment space where groupings of smaller dining tables have been provided. This entertainment level spills out onto a large roof terrace with panoramic views of the City.
“The overall success of this contemporary South African property is that it translates into an inspiring work place where art has been successfully integrated into a working environment.”