Peek inside Bloombergs sustainable new headquarters in London

June 21, 2017 by  
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Former Mayor of New York City Michael R. Bloomberg’s eponymous company is moving into the heart of London with the help of Foster + Partners . The renowned British architecture firm designed the new 3.2-acre Bloomberg site with approximately 500,000 square feet of sustainable office space illuminated with natural light and naturally ventilated with a large living green wall. Set to open this autumn, Bloomberg’s new European headquarters focuses on the creation of healthy, collaborative workspaces. “Our people are our most important asset,” said Bloomberg in a statement. “I wanted to create a unique, sustainable building where our 4,000 London employees would come to work every morning inspired to connect, collaborate and innovate. I believe in openness. This building takes that to a new level – there’s nothing like it in the world.” In addition to office space, the new Bloomberg headquarters will include two public plazas featuring custom art, a restaurant arcade built upon an ancient Roman travel route, and a cultural hub that links the ancient Roman Temple of Mithras to its original site. Related: First Apple Store in Southeast Asia is 100% powered by renewable energy The interior features open-plan layouts connected with a spiral ramp spanning seven floors in the nine-story building. An atrium ceiling funnels light deep into the building. Workspaces feature bespoke desk designs arranged in circular pods around a central table to promote collaborative working. Each desk also has an adjustable standing feature and upholstered pedestal to allow people to sit and work side by side. The building’s central hub on the sixth floor features a double-height column-free “pantry” with views of St Paul’s Cathedral and functions as a space for impromptu meetings over food and drink. + Foster + Partners Images by dbox, ChopsMoxie, and Foster + Partners

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Peek inside Bloombergs sustainable new headquarters in London

Cleverly layered compact dirt walls mimic ice cream cakes in this Tokyo patisserie

June 21, 2017 by  
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Dirt may seem an odd material choice for an upscale patisserie in Tokyo , but design studio nendo playfully pulls it off with style. The Japanese designers layered compacted soils of varying colors to mimic the layers of an ice cream cake. The earth walls lend the “à tes souhaits!” shop a sense of warmth and contrast beautifully with the glass-and-steel facade. Located in the trendy Kichijoji neighborhood in Tokyo, à tes souhaits! is a small and elegant shop specializing in ice cream and chocolates . The earth walls comprise stacked soils of varying shades arranged in a staggered pattern to look like cut slices of ice cream cake with different flavors. “The wall guides people into the shop by the soft curvature from the outer wall, and then creates a gentle all-enveloping effect, like melted ice cream, all the way into the back of the shop,” writes nendo. “This created a relaxing ambience, taking advantage of the compactness of the space.” Related: Ancient Japanese tombs inspire nendo’s first public space design Since the new patisserie is the second location of à tes souhaits!, Nendo wanted to differentiate the two shops. The flagship uses bright lighting with mostly white surfaces and hard materials like marble and metal. In contrast, the new location uses a subdued color palette and softer lighting to complement the dominant use of wood and soil . + Nendo Images by Takumi Ota

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Cleverly layered compact dirt walls mimic ice cream cakes in this Tokyo patisserie

South America’s first luxury sleeper train is a traveler’s dream come true

June 20, 2017 by  
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Travelers looking to explore Peru in style can now jump aboard South America’s first luxury sleeper train – the Belmond Andean Explorer . The train’s interior was designed by London-based Muza Lab to pay homage to the golden age of train travel, enhanced with vibrant colors and textures inspired by the local Peruvian culture and landscape. According to the founder of Muza Lab, Inge Moore, the train’s interior is designed to take travelers back to another age of train travel: “We design journeys, and with Belmond Andean Explorer, we have distilled the romance, nostalgia and freedom of the train voyage. The train is a place of transition where time seems to slow down between the departure and the arrival. Our vision was to design somewhere to ponder and dream, a space where the beauty of the land can infuse the soul.” Related: You won’t believe the interior of Japan’s jaw-dropping new train Although the name and the design of the Belmond Andean Explorer are new, the 16-carriage train was originally the Great South Pacific Express. During the renovation process, the design team worked hard to renovate the space while retaining some elements out of respect for train’s long history. The train’s original timber walls were painted soft, neutral tones to help create an open, airy feel that runs throughout the interior. However, it’s not quite a minimalist color palette; touches of vibrant colors and varying textures are found throughout the train thanks to the various Peruvian crafts and artistry that were found locally. In fact, most of the design touches were locally sourced – from the timber floors and roman blinds to the hand-crafted woven textiles. The sleeper cabins were designed to provide a luxurious travel experience. Once again using local culture for inspiration, each cabin is named after Peruvian flora and fauna. In addition to the comfortable beds and soft Saffiano leather seats, vibrant tapestries can be found in each car as well as baby alpaca blankets for extra chilly nights. Even the smallest detail speaks to the country’s rich culture, such as the brass room keys in the shape of the Chakana Cross – a symbol of the Incan civilization as well as the train’s crest. Outside of the private sleeper cars , guests can also enjoy watching the beautiful landscape pass by from the rounded outdoor deck of the Observation Car, called Ichu after the tall grasses that grow on the Peruvian plains. There are also two dining cars, a serene spa, and an old-world piano bar named after the herb Maca. + Muza Lab + Belmond Andean Explorer

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South America’s first luxury sleeper train is a traveler’s dream come true

Decrepit lumberjack shack transformed into a beautiful retreat with minimal site impact

June 20, 2017 by  
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A decrepit lumberjack’s shack has been transformed into a beautiful light-filled weekend getaway just outside of Montreal . Local studio YH2 led the renovation of the shack, renamed La Colombière, turning the simple one-story building that lacked running water into a cozy three-story retreat with all the luxuries of home and minimal landscape impact. When the owner Suzanne Rochon commissioned YH2 for La Colombière, she required that the renovation not expand past the shed’s existing footprint for fear of damaging the surrounding forest. Thus, the architects built upwards, drawing inspiration from the way a tree branches into a canopy. No trees were cut and heavy machinery was avoided to minimize site impact . Related: Sublime Nook Residence blends seamlessly into the snowy Canadian landscape The redesigned three-story retreat is clad in dark cedar in reference to the bark of nearby conifers, while the vertiginous interior is painted all in white. “Materials and structure of the previous phase are kept and uninterrupted so that the addition acts as an extension rather than an insertion,” write the architects. A living room is located on the first floor while the bedroom and bath are placed on the second. The eye-catching third-floor is bookended with oversized windows and an outdoor covered terrace to the west. + YH2 Images by Francis Pelletier

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Decrepit lumberjack shack transformed into a beautiful retreat with minimal site impact

Luxury tree house lets owners hide away in a Cape Town forest

June 20, 2017 by  
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Not all tree houses are rustic backyard projects—some, like the stunning House Paarman in Cape Town, take the typology to luxurious new heights. Designed by South African studio Malan Vorster , this one-bedroom getaway is a modern interpretation of the forest and blends in with its surroundings. The compact cabin is elevated off the ground and immerses guests into the tree canopy with views overlooking the forest and a quartet of square reflection pools. The freestanding House Paarman is an abstraction of the forest and comprises four cylindrical units that symbolize trees, each with a tree trunk-like steel pillar with branch-like beams and circular rings that provide support to the floors above. The four cylindrical units are arranged in a pinwheel layout around a square base. The columns, arms and rings are constructed from laser-cut and folded Corten steel plate. Western red cedar wraps the building and is left untreated so as to develop a patina over time. The architects write: “Inspiration was drawn from the timber cabins of Horace Gifford and Kengo Kuma’s notions of working with the void or in-between space, while Louis Kahn’s mastery of pure form and the detailing ethic of Carlo Scarpa informed a process of geometric restraint and handcrafted manufacturing.” Related: Dreamy treehouse hidden in Woodstock offers magnificent Catskills views This masterful attention to detail can be seen everywhere in the compact cabin , which was designed with ample glazing to give it a sense of lightness. Connections between the mostly vertical steel elements and the horizontal timber elements are joined with hand-turned brass components. Furnishings, such as the bed and cabinetry, were custom-made from solid oak. In addition to floor-height glazing, natural materials and a subdued color palette reinforce connection with nature. The House Paarman features a living space on the first floor, a bedroom on the second, and roof deck on the third. A sculptural staircase connects the floors. A plant room is tucked below the building on the ground floor. The half-round bays created by the cylindrical shapes include a patio, dining alcove, bathroom, and built-in seat. + Malan Vorster Images by Adam Letch and Mickey Hoyle

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Luxury tree house lets owners hide away in a Cape Town forest

Gorgeous Washington barn house marries rustic elements with modern style

June 19, 2017 by  
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This gorgeous American barnhouse in Washington is the fruit of four years of collaborative architect-client labor. Seattle-based SkB Architects worked together with clients Charlie and Tracey Brown to design and build the Manson Barn, a large and modern multipurpose farmhouse built from the ground up with local materials. The gambrel structure puts a modern twist on traditional American barn vernacular and frames stunning views of the Cascade Mountain Range. Located within twelve acres of apple orchards in central Washington state, the Manson Barn combines a working barn with qualities of a luxury vacation retreat. The 10,000-square-foot barn distinguishes itself from its rural neighbors with its hybrid roof that adds dormers and gull wings to a traditional gambrel roof. The large dormers help break down the scale of the building, increase natural light to the upper levels, and provide additional floor space for guest rooms. Black-stained wood siding clads the exterior, which will develop a silvery gray patina over time, blending into the landscape. The Manson Barn’s ground floor is mostly an open-plan space for entertaining – it includes a commercial kitchen with a custom-design pizza oven, a dining area, and storage for orchard equipment. Large, sliding carriage doors open up to expansive exterior patios on both ends of the building, blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor living. The garage doors beneath the gull wings also open up to reveal stunning landscape views. A wine cellar with sanded cobblestone flooring is on the basement level. Related: Family renovates century-old barn into stunning modern home in Washington state The upper floor houses the master bedroom, guest bedrooms, and a living area that wraps around the building in mezzanine fashion. The center of the upper floor is left open to the ground floor below. Cedar sink wood pulled from the bottom of a nearby lake was milled and reworked into sliding barn doors in the wine cellar and master bedroom. In a nod to the apple orchards, the architects added a solid wall clad in vintage apple crate panels next to the three-story steel staircase. + SkB Architects

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Gorgeous Washington barn house marries rustic elements with modern style

SOMs diagrid glass tower rises like a Chinese paper lantern in Beijing

June 19, 2017 by  
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A glittering glass lantern has risen in Beijing . Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) designed the Poly International Plaza, a three-tower complex located midway between the Forbidden City and the Beijing Capital Airport. The main and tallest tower draws inspiration from Chinese paper lanterns for its continuous diagrid pattern that shimmers like a jewel and helps lower the building’s energy footprint. Winner of two 2017 Architizer A+Awards , the Poly International Plaza was completed in 2016 shortly after the Beijing Greenland Center , another SOM-designed energy-efficient glass tower. China Poly Group, one of the country’s largest state-supervised conglomerates, commissioned the commercial project. The client specified a modern and elegant building that, in the words of Poly executive Zhang Wei, would “make [their] company more famous.” The Poly International Plaza comprises three elliptical towers connected underground. The eye-catching central tower is nicknamed the Diamond Lantern and rises to a height of 499 feet and is clad in a steel-and-concrete diagrid exoskeleton with angled glass. The two smaller buildings on either side reach heights of 275 feet and 220 feet and are covered in vertical grids of dark metal rods. Related: Beautiful prismatic glass panels envelop SOM’s Beijing Greenland Center SOM writes: “The exoskeleton structural system forms an outer thermal envelope around the office spaces, which are enclosed within a second glazed interior envelope. This creates daylit communal areas that accommodate meetings and foster social interaction, while establishing physical and visual connections between floors. The long-span structural design not only opens up the interior, creating a column-free work environment, but also employs a highly sustainable architectural/mechanical approach to address the climatic and air quality challenges particular to Beijing.” + SOM Via Architectural Record Images via SOM , photos by Bruce Damonte

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SOMs diagrid glass tower rises like a Chinese paper lantern in Beijing

Artist wraps vintage steam locomotive in 39,000 square feet of aluminum foil

June 16, 2017 by  
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All aboard! Polish artist Piotr Janowski made waves a few years ago when he covered an entire Florida home in aluminum foil – and his latest work is equally massive and just as shimmery. The artist just unveiled “Get Off Lodz Fabryczna,” a vintage 1953 steam locomotive covered in 39,000 square feet of heavy duty aluminum foil. Built in 1953, the steam locomotive Px 48 is over 42 feet long and weighs 30 tons. Working with 14 local art students, Janowski covered every inch of the massive vehicle in just four days. The art installation was created to mark the opening of the new Train Station ?ód? Fabryczna and was carefully unveiled at the front of the station, where it’s been on display since December 2016. Related: Why did this Florida man cover his entire house with aluminum foil? According to the artist, the shiny installation is meant to inspire people to find new ways to look at common objects that often go overlooked in our daily lives: “It is very important for me to involve the urban and the natural environment into my art and to open new perspectives. Aluminum as a medium gives me the chance to gain great depth and vibrations of colors and tones mirroring the surrounding space.” + Piotr Janowski Images via Piotr Janowski

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Artist wraps vintage steam locomotive in 39,000 square feet of aluminum foil

100% recyclable materials make up these low-impact monastery huts in Italy

June 16, 2017 by  
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Edoardo Milesi & Archos designed a series of minimalist monastery guesthouses that reflect the monastics’ ascetic lifestyle in the Siloe community. Located in the province of Grosseto in central Italy, these huts are built entirely of recyclable materials and are elevated off the ground to ensure low impact on the beautiful rural landscape. The Monastery Complex of Siloe comprises five guesthouse units set outside monastery grounds against a hilly backdrop crisscrossed with trails. Each guesthouse was carefully sited on the landscape to minimize site disturbance . The buildings are elevated on stilts to mitigate uneven terrain. Only recyclable materials were used in construction, including timber used for the roofs, lofts, and walls, to the ventilated covering made of zinc and titanium. External cladding, floors, doors, and window trim are built of naturally oxidized larch. Related: Plastic waste pop-up pavilion rethinks recycling in the Netherlands Approximately 33 square meters in size, each guesthouse comprises a bedroom; bathroom; open-plan living room with a dining area and kitchenette; a north-facing balcony; and a south-facing loggia . The windows are located on the north and west sides to create diffused lighting indoors, while the south side is mostly closed off and equipped with eaves to protect against solar heat gain. + Edoardo Milesi & Archos Via domus Images by Aurelio Candido

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100% recyclable materials make up these low-impact monastery huts in Italy

The minimalist Yoshino Cedar House was built entirely out of locally-sourced timber

June 15, 2017 by  
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The beautiful Yoshino Cedar House , located near Osaka, was built by local carpenters and craftsmen with sustainable cedar harvested from the nearby mountains. The community-run retreat was created through a collaboration between Airbnb designers, Samara and architects Go Hasegawa . The team sought to foster the local community while providing a much-needed source of income for the town. The cedar retreat’s design was part of the 2016 event, Kenya Hara’s House Vision , an exhibition that showcases community-led housing projects that aim to help small towns boost their economies. Like a lot of rural areas in Japan, the small town of Yoshino has an aging population that is dwindling by the day. For years, the town’s principal industry was sustainable forestry , but without young workers working to enter the workforce, the town’s only economic boost these days is its annual cherry blossom festival. Related: Circular garden walkway cuts straight through Japanese timber home From the start of the Cedar House project, the architects and designers worked with locals every step of the way. Local foresters, woodcutters and carpenters collaborated on the process, from harvesting and cutting the timber to its construction. According to the architects, the design of the Yoshino Cedar House, which is technically owned and operated by the community, was meant to pay homage to the area’s local traditions as well as foster new relationships between residents, “Every detail of the structure inspires connection to the people of Yoshino and their underlying traditions.” Located on the bank of the Yoshino River, the structure is clad on the interior and exterior in warm-hued cedar planks whose intricate patterns create a calming, peaceful environment. The bottom floor, with a single table built into the floor, houses the living and dining space. An open staircase leads to two separate bedrooms on the second floor. The simple, uncluttered rooms have one mattress and a small table and are beautifully illuminated by natural light coming through the structure’s A-frame window. Since its inauguration, local townspeople take care of the Airbnb retreat ‘s rental operation and all proceeds are used to support the community. + Go Hasegawa + Samara Via Dwell Photography via Airbnb

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The minimalist Yoshino Cedar House was built entirely out of locally-sourced timber

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