São Paulo-based sdesign tudio Guilherme Torres has completed the FF House project. Completed in 2006, this contemporary property can be found in Londrina, in the state of Paraná, Brazil.
According to the architects: “The concept of this project comprises of four cubes. The volume covered with caramel Portuguese tiles signalises the entrance hall and a glass window of 2x5m, reveals the living room. All the leisure and service area are intertwined on the ground floor, painted in a chocolate tone, is at the base of the upper floor, where the intimate area is located.
“Exploring the cube concept, the application of coating materials subvert the traditional employment. Both stone coverings and wood floorings were used in order to seal all the volumes in a global way, overlaying simultaneously walls and floors. This concept grants strength and continuity to the contemporary Brazilian building.
“All the materials and textures were decided at our first meeting with our client, they wanted a contemporary Brazilian house with modern lines and at the same time ‘warm’ materials with many textures to provide a cozy feeling. Nothing is linked with fads but a fresh look at materials that can be found easily in the region.
“What’s really special about this contemporary Brazilian house is not only the finishings, textures and materials but the owners joy of living, that granted their ‘bossa’ and personality in every detail of the property, revealing a very Brazilian way of living.”
The Grand Hotel Villa Cora is located inside a centuries-old park that overlooks the Boboli Gardens, on the hills just outside the historical centre of Florence.
The main villa is an aristocratic residence built at the end of the XIX century by Baron Oppenheim reflecting the architectural styles of that period, dominated by a strong eclectic decor that provides the villa with different, sometimes even bizarre, artistic styles. Villa Cora, inaugurated when Florence was the capital of the Kingdom of Italy, has become throughout the years one of the major cultural and cosmopolitan symbols of Florence.
The luxury Florence hotel is comprised of three different structures which were restored to the minutest of details with the aim of conserving the original architectural style as much as possible.
In the main villa (Villa Cora) there are 30 suites and rooms divided into 4 floors, each with its own style. The decorations were inspired by famous people who have stayed there, such as the Japanese Emperor Hirohito to whom the imperial suite is dedicated.
The luxury Florence villa is also home to two restaurants. The first of the two is located in a luminous winter garden, while the second in located in the villa’s ancient cellars. The latter is dedicated to the Pasha Isma’il who stayed for numerous years in the villa.
The luxury Florence villa comes with its own spa offering luxurious treatments such as tepidarium, sauna, and hammam. The wellness centre also offers Asian and European massages as well as beauty treatments in collaboration with the cosmetic-pharmaceutical company MacPharma.
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.”