Bergen-based architect Todd Saunders and Røyneberg-based Tommie Wilhelmsen have designed the Aurland Lookout. Completed in 2006, the award-winning contemporary structure can be found in the Aurland, a small town in Sogn og Fjordane, Norway.
According to the architects: “Nature first and architecture second was the guiding principal when we sat down to design this contemporary Norwegian building. It was immediately obvious to us that in such beautiful surroundings one must make the least possible encroachment in the existing landscape and terrain. The landscape is so fantastic that it is difficult to improve the place, but at the same time very easy to destroy the atmosphere by inserting too many elements into the site. Even though we have chosen an expressive form, the concept is a form of minimalism, in an attempt to conserve and complement the existing nature.”
The contemporary viewing structure has 30 viewpoints and was commissioned by the Norwegian Highways Department. The 4m lookout stretches out 30m wide over the pine trees and is only 9m high.
“To make the situation even more dramatic it was important for us to create the experience of leaving the mountainside. We wanted people to come out in the air. The construction creates a distinct horizon; a bridge in the open room of this large fjord. It is imperative that the landscape and the vegetation not altered, but are protected so that one came come out from the landscape and experience it from new standpoint.
“We have managed to behold all of the large pine trees on the site. This allows us to create an interaction between the contemporary Norwegian structure and nature. One can walk out into the air through the treetops, helping dramatise the experience of nature and the larger landscape room,” adds Saunders.
Rome-based architect Maurizio Giovannoni has completed the renovation and interior design of a compact penthouse. Completed in 2012, the modern apartment can be found in Turku, Finland.
According to Maurizio his main objective was to ensure the apartment had plenty of light flowing inside, and to create a relaxing living room where his client could work.
A few walls had to be knocked down to ensure plenty of light could enter the contemporary Finnish property. He said: “The partial demolition of walls was a natural consequence, along with switching the location of the bedroom and living room. After fixing this, we decided on the overall ‘concept’ together with my client, organising all the details that coloured the white spaces. This happened during my clients visit to Rome (due to me unable to travel in that period), and via 4oo and so e-mails between Turku and Rome.”
Maurizio’s concept was to amalgamate the best of Finnish and Italian design by mixing them both to create something fresh and new. His concept was to use local Birch wood, Finnish vintage pieces and contemporary Italian design.
“The result is what I now consider my own personal style: a blend of cultures. There is nothing more that stimulates me than to study different cultures and make cultural themes recognisable, but never intrusive in the project,” he said.
The flooring in the contemporary Finnish property is covered with parquet of white ash, the shelves are birch including the the kitchen table but coloured with heat. Wood is an ubiquitous element in this apartment as it is in many Finnish properties, but the real attention grabber is the nature themed wall paper, carrying colours and contrasts and a typical Mediterranean ‘courage’.
The furniture itself is a mix of the two cultures and of past and present — the grandmother’s armchair and the red floor lamp are a vintage pieces from Finland in the 60s. The arc framing the wall paper is the famous Twiggy by Foscarini and the suspended lamps are Italian Olimpia by Ideal Lux. Everything blends in together to create perfect harmony.
Kyoto-based design studio Alphaville have completed the Folded House project. The three-storey, contemporary property can be found in Osaka, Japan.
According to the architects: This contemporary Japanese home belongs to a couple and their pet cats. The typical method for designing a house would assign rectangular rooms with specific functions and lay out them. Such a design produces a series of rooms of similar size and causes monotonous spatial experiences. Our approach was to avoid the conventional design practice and to create a structurally rational but spatially heterogeneous contemporary Japanese house.
“On the assumption that there is a human being within the optimal spatial coordinates resulted from the site and living requirements, we used Voronoi line segments that divide equally the shortest distance to create spaces.The actual trial and error involved the full use of 3D-CAD. First, the building’s shape was squashed in a parallelogram in order to keep an adequate distance from the site’s borders. Second, the center wall was folded to divide the space into two, diagonal to the site on the first floor and parallel to the site on the third floor. Next, the floors were skipped, and. The final step was to slope the roof. In this way, various spaces came to be created so that continuous changes can be experienced as one moves along or through the bent wall (the way of folding diagram).
“The slits on east elevation that run from first to third floor introduces direct light into the space reflecting the folded wall beautifully through the highly rational structure with minimum wall girders. At the same time, the slit on west elevation bring indirect light through the openings from behind the folded wall. Therefore while the space along the folded wall is an interior space filled with direct light, it also has an outdoor- space-like feeling facing folded walls with shining openings reflected by indirect light (light distribution diagram).
“We imagined a life in a building situated in a medium-density city where multiple buildings are connected via exterior in a loose relationship among man, building and nature, unlike in a city where each building is confined to each specific site. In that sense, although what we proposed here is a contemporary Japanese house for a single family, this design model is also applicable to larger buildings such as collective housings, offices, or multi-use complexes in a rational and versatile way.”
Kuala Lumpur-based design studio Twenty-Nine Design has completed the Hijauan House. This beautiful two-storey contemporary property can be found in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
According to the architects: “Situated on a small plot in a mature residential development, we took the Malay term ‘Hijau’ meaning ‘green’ as our design directive. Our aim was to avoid chopping a single tree on site. As such, the contemporary Malaysian house notches its way around the existing greenery, especially the two majestic 50 year old mango trees along the side boundary.
“The ground floor of this contemporary Malaysian house is all glass, and can be opened up to the tropical elements. The 1st floor bedrooms are shielded from the sun with timber screens as well as the tree foliage all around. The massing of the house has been carved out all around with courtyards that bring in light, air, and green, making for tropical spaces that breather.”
The Maldives is paradise, where the view shifts as easily as the sands between the toes and where the sounds of aquatic bliss carry on the trade winds. It is not just the magic of sight and sound. The Maldives is about touch too, like the gentle caress of warm waves, the pleasant tickle of exotic fish and the embrace of warm evening breezes.
The brightest gem in the sparkling waters of the Indian Ocean, Villingili Island is a haven for those seeking their own Shangri-La.
The luxury island of Maldives, like sapphire and emerald earrings off the colourful face of South Asia, is heaven, and a luxury resort has evolved in a special corner of this island paradise.
Located south of the equator on Villingili Island, on the southernmost tip of Addu Atoll, Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa, Maldives offers guests a stylish and luxurious experience in a spacious and boutique-style environment. As one of the best-equipped luxury resorts in the Maldives, guests can enjoy a range of spa and leisure activities and an array of exciting dining and entertainment facilities. There are over six kilometres of picturesque coastline to enjoy, with nearly two kilometres of beautiful white sandy beach. There are lagoon beaches on the western shore of the island and a surf beach on the eastern side.
From private ocean retreats to tropical tree house villas – unique to the Maldives – with panoramic views, accommodation is available in seven distinct styles, each equipped with an iPod docking station and other luxurious amenities.
The sensory pleasures of eating and drinking are well catered for on the luxury Maldivian resort. Dr. Ali’s leads the restaurant selection with three distinctive living rooms that focus on fine cuisine from the Indian Ocean, the South China Sea and the Arabian Gulf. Those seeking an experience with a difference are invited to take a cruise on a luxury yacht for lunch on the equator.
The luxury Maldivian resort and spa, is a 70-minute flight from Malé, which has around-the-clock flights from the domestic airport and is an eight-minute boat ride from Gan International Airport on Addu Atoll.