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.”
Paphos-based design studio Lambrianou Koutsolambros Architects have designed the Funnel House project. The contemporary property can be found in Paphos, Cyprus.
According to the architects: “The contemporary Cyprian property was built on a flat plot in the village of Agia Marinouda. The shape was determined by the views and climatic factors such as the sun movement and prevailing winds. The internal sides of the L shape plan face a generous orchard under development on the east side that will further enhance, in combination with the swimming pool, the coolness of the courtyard. The pool has a vanishing edge to further emphasise the coexistence of greenery and water as seen from all parts of the house. A bridgelike deck strip divides the water feature and defines the location of the external dining and bbq. Mature olive trees transplanted there will be used to create a green umbrella over the white marble floor.
“The mass is dominated by a funnel shape main structure with a large east overhang. It dramatically directs views and prevailing winds through the house towards the courtyard. Other massing elements like the penetrated concrete screen and the timber entrance element are subordinate to its presence.
“Materials for the contemporary Cyprus property were selected on the basis of their luminescence, lightness of colour and appearance in order to provide a clean, fresh feeling and are mainly natural. The outcome is reminiscent of Greek island whiteness, coolness and adjacency to earth and water.”
Melbourne-based design studio Matt Gibson Architecture + Design have completed the Shakin Stevens House project. The stunning contemporary property can be found in Melbourne, Australia.
According to the architects: “The conceptual drive for the interior of this house is largely in response to a brief which crystallised into a need to be connected with ‘green’ space. Beyond the heritage front the project wanted to not necessarily increase floor area but to increase amenity. To make spaces feel bigger, more functional, to be light filled, and to visually extend and borrow from within and beyond the site.
“The contemporary Melbourne property is not only about a coloured front door but the experience of what’s beyond it. Conceptually beyond this green door, there are no doors; the newer space is about flow and continuity where delineation of space is soft nd less finite than expected from the street. In a clear formal idea the rear composes three extruded white cubes that look essentially like they have been let go, landing like dice randomly on top of each other next to a Victorian ‘monopoly’ house. The three cubes, as with the existing villa, are composed so as to be immediately deciphered internally or externally and in clear programmatic zones all house different functions. The cubes which are opened at their ends (or sides where required) are utilised as devices to orchestrate views to green elements within the structure and to greenery within or beyond the site.
“The client requested a predominantly white interior with a feature highlight colour. Green became an obvious choice, working in combination with the proximity of the garden. The green spaces within and beyond the site became the focus with the white cubes acting as lens for these events – effectively assisting in bringing the green inside and dissolving barriers of enclosure. In this way interior, exterior, landscape & old and new – through colour – all inform each other with equal importance.
“The contemporary Melbourne property utilises many ESD principles – retention of existing structure, orientation and configuration of new works and so forth.”