Hercule is a project that was recently completed by Luxembourg-based architecture practice 2001 in Mondorf-les-bains, the southern part of Luxembourg. Much like an iceberg, the monolithic structure rises from the ground as a rectangular concrete volume that was named after a local hero named John “Hercule” Gruen.
The design of the home works with the sloped land to incorporate all three levels, including the basement level that houses the garage, entrance, laundry room, fitness and spa area, wine cellar, as well as the open kitchen, dining room, and living room that lead out to the patio.
Floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors open to extend the living space into the patio.
The finishes were kept minimalist, much like the exterior, with textured concrete surfaces.
The upper two floors house the bedrooms and bathrooms which overlook the back part of the house to ensure privacy from the street.
Photos ©Maxime Delvaux.
Once again, we headed down to Miami Beach to see what this year’s Design Miami/ had to offer. The show always exhibits a well curated collection of artists, designers, and galleries that bring a mix of work from the up-and-coming to the well-established and everything in between. While there were many favorites, we narrowed it down to 10 to share. Take a look.
Brazilian designers Fernando and Humberto Campana partnered with American artist KAWS on a playful collaboration, KAWSxCampana, that featured seating covered with pink and black KAWS plush toys, presented by Friedman Benda.
Another collaboration, this time between Calico Wallpaper and designer Philippe Malouin who presented The Color and the Shape. Inspired by Henri Matisse’s cutouts, the interactive installation included oversized shapes that take collage to a large scale.
The Future Perfect displayed a new large-scale table by Dutch designer Floris Wubben that’s part of his Pressed project, where objects are made in combination of an extrusion machine (made by Wubben) and human action.
Salon 94 Design presented new work by Gaetano Pesce who revisited his 1984 series of cast resin Pratt Chairs. For Design Miami/, Pesce created 16 new ones in a range of colors that give them a candy-like appearance.
Théophile Blandet’s work, showcased by Functional Art Gallery, comprises industrial plastics and resin that looks as if it’s been dripped, stretched, bubbled up, and more to get the finished results (see more below).
Gallery ALL shared beautiful work by several artists, including Color Wheel rugs by Yan Lei, the R1 armchair and R2 stool from Aranda\Lasch, and the Synthesis Monolith (stainless steel) collection by Hongjie Yang.
J. Lohmann Gallery presented really fun contemporary ceramics by emerging South Korean designers, including Jongjin Park, whose work is shown in the front and on the right, and Ahryun Lee, who made the pink piece.
The 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show was marred by a surprising downpour of rain, but nevertheless, the exhibition left a warm impression with the unveiling of the BMW Vision iNEXT. On display in a private venue, parked in an industrial section of Downtown Los Angeles, we were given an opportunity to tour the vehicle in person to gain additional insights about what the German automaker has envisioned for drivers following developing trends toward autonomous technologies and lifestyle trends within electric vehicles might soon encounter in the luxury automotive category.
Guided by Steven Wörns, BMW Group Innovations & Design Communication, touring the all-electric BMW Vision iNEXT show car in person affords additional clarity about what the automaker describes as “human-centered design”. First proposed earlier in September through a series of dreamy renders and a highly styled video illustrating the journey from conceptual to physical, in person the Vision iNEXT looks and feels surprisingly not too far off from reality.
Though plenty of attention was given to the vehicle’s exterior – including the concept’s stunning matte copper finish (Liquid Greyrose Copper), its seemingly endless sunroof, the suspicious squint of its narrowed headlights, and the sharp angular muscular flanks cutting the wheel arches from an otherwise – the most intriguing features reside within BMW’s Sports Activity Vehicle interior.
The elegant environment – revealed behind a pair of suicide doors that open with the swipe of our host’s tablet controls – divulges BMW isn’t obtuse to driving habits evolving from one behind the wheel to one simply enjoying the ride. Besides a layout of two landscape oriented screens, the interior cabin is mostly stripped of distractions, bowing to perceived “feel” over the presence of “function”.
Awash with modern hues complementing a harmonious interplay of hard and soft materials that seem to spill, pour, and undulates into and from every corner, the interior is airy and inviting. Strongly inspired by home/hospitality decor, the push toward an environmental experience is most prominently communicated by the warmth of wood with the collaborative combination of colors bathed by light coming from above through its roofline – a foundation of Purus Rosé illuminating the electric Jacquard weave upholstery pouring from the curvaceous sofa-like rear seating (BMW calls it Enlighted Cloudburst, but the pixelated flecks of green floating within the sea of aquamarine hint something more aquatic than heavenly). The cabin is quietly framed by grey carbon fiber detailing visible covering the transition of the exterior into the interior while the doors are opened.
BMW senior vice president of design for the BMW Group Adrian van Hooydonk emphasizes the design team aimed to fashion a passenger experience with technology and information distilled into ambient interactions, rather than series of front and center interruptions: “We call it ‘shy-tech,’ not high-tech,” explains van Hooydonk.
Touch plays prominently across both soft and hard surfaces inside the concept vehicle, with the integration of intelligent materials allowing gestural movements similar to those common to mobile devices. An early touch/swipe and iconographic drawing interactive system already inhabits the iNEXT concept vehicle across the center armrest, and also in a small cordoned section in the ocean of upholstery in the rear.
During our demo the system proved somewhat persnickety in the sensitivity department, but even so, the example of shy tech hints how nearly any and all surfaces may soon become interactive, possibly making the BMW Vision iNEXT – or its eventual kin – the world’s largest touch UI device.
It’s funny where life can take you. Before opening his store Commonplace in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and establishing his in-house brand of home goods This That, Zach Peterson was a compliance analyst at a law firm who had minimal retail experience. In 2016, he took his online only shop that launched only two years prior and turned it into a physical storefront. Nowadays, he curates a rotating collection of everyday objects that seem ordinary but are thoughtful, beautiful, and/or minimal in design (though most of the time, they’re a combination of all three).
We caught up with Zach to learn more about the evolution of his store, the lessons he’s learned since opening it, and which items you should probably pick up for your own home…
Why did you pick this storefront?
Space was a major concern of mine when selecting our storefront. Not whether there would be enough, but making sure not to go too big too quick. It seemed there were endless options for spaces over 2000 Sq. Ft., but I had a harder time finding smaller spaces that would provide less risk. We’re really happy with where we ended up – tucked away in Milwaukee’s Bay View neighborhood just a few blocks from Lake Michigan. Milwaukee is a small city with a pretty established industrial identity, but it’s minimal traffic and affordability make it a great place to live and start a business.
Where did you get the name for the store?
I knew the products the store would stock would all be simple in nature. Whether a home item or accessory, most of our inventory consists of staple items we all use often, and most are limited in frills. With a lot of brainstorming on that idea, Commonplace was chosen. I like to think we sell a lot of ordinary items that once you interact with them and see them in the right environment, you fall in love and begin to understand their value.
Has it changed much since it opened? How?
So much. We opened so fast and for the first year were making do with old displays from a pop up we did the previous summer. After that year we worked with our frequent collaborator Ryan Tretow to remodel the whole shop to what is seen today. Our inventory has also shifted more and more towards home & design goods, with less focus on accessories.
What’s one of the challenges you have with the business?
Early on, the store had too high of an average price point. I still think we likely lost a few people in our market those early months with some sticker shock. Since then, we have aimed for more balance so that hopefully we have something for everyone’s budget.
What other stores have you worked in before opening this one?
Other than a high school job at a big box retailer, none. Before Commonplace I was a compliance analyst at a law firm. Life is full of weird turns.
What’s your favorite item in the store right now?
A little biased, as this item was designed by our friend Dylan Adams for the shop’s original product brand This That, but I really love the Corkscrew Wall Hook. It anchors the front of our store and is just a really clever design that is both fun and functional. We have sold these to customers for such a variety of reasons, from book shelf to coat hook, so it’s just a perfect shop item for conversation.
What is this season’s theme?
We don’t typically curate the store to a specific theme, but we have shifted our color palette for fall/holiday to be more focused on earth tones. This can be seen most prominently on our newly tweaked online shop.
Are you carrying any new products and/or undiscovered gems you’re particularly excited about?
We have a selection of ceramics from a Wisconsin local named Ian Wright that we love having in the shop. His pieces have clean lines that pair well with items from our staple brands, and typically feature earth tones that help balance the shop against our more colorful options. His work is not yet distributed widely, but I would expect that to change soon.
What’s been a consistent best seller?
Kinto’s tumblers, both their Travel Tumbler and new Day Off Tumbler, have done really well for us online and in-store. They are the perfect item for hitting all of the various demographics that visit us at the shop.
What’s your process for selecting + curating the objects in your shop?
The shop has been growing more and more in the online market, so how a product will fare in that space is always a point of consideration. Beyond that, it’s largely just making sure to keep a balance of shop favorites and new pieces while always keeping price point in mind. One trick is taking into consideration other taste’s beyond my own. It’s important that the shop keep a consistent identity, but as we are trying to appeal to a larger group in our city, I often have to tell myself to think beyond my personal tastes. Otherwise, the shop would probably end up too minimal and sparse for the market.
Any special events/exhibits/pop ups/collaborations coming up?
We’ll be showing an outdoor inspired furniture collection called Whereabouts by a local Milwaukee designer named Ben Husnick in February. It’s an exciting opportunity to continue to showcase design in the midwest.
Do you have anything from the store in your own home?
I took home a Wire Plant Stand from Menu a few months back that is now featured prominently in my living area.
Does the store have its own line?
Yes! Last year we launched This That, which is our in-house brand of home goods. We have a small line of original products and a few great retail partners in other parts of the United States, including Port of Raleigh, Yowie, Wilson & Willy’s, and The A/D/O Shop. Our Tapered Drinking Glasses have been our best seller and in 2019 we plan to expand that product line into other forms of glassware.
What’s one lesson you’ve learned since opening your store?
It’s important to keep a running list of tasks. I found self generating work to be a greater challenge than expected, so I combat that by trying to keep a complete to-do list, which allows me to quickly move onto the next thing when I finish a project. Without it, I waste valuable time simply trying to come up with tasks to advance the business.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to follow a similar path to yours, what would it be?
If you plan to do most things yourself as if often required at the start, then play to your strengths. Very few of us are well rounded enough to do all the tasks needed for retail at 100%. I myself am not a great networker compared to my peers, so I instead sink my time into photography & brand presentation as a way to try and distinguish the shop. If you’re a great event planner, take on that as a shop identity. There are a lot of ways to make this work, but I think you’ll enjoy yourself more and have greater success if you lean into the things you’re best at and are most comfortable doing.
Visit Commonplace at 3074 S Delaware Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53207!
Ax3 is a loft located in Jaffa, Tel Aviv, Israel designed by Eitan Cohen of Studio ETN. The 90-square-meter apartment was renovated to better suit the clients’ needs while maintaining its original Jaffa character, including tall ceilings and wooden blinds. They wanted the apartment to feel open while having a home-like coziness to it with combinations of light, materials, and textures.
They worked to find the right balance between natural light that flooded the interior during the day with artificial light that began at sunset.
A balance of finishes includes the updated concrete floors and the original concrete details on the ceiling. White surfaces are mixed with black elements for a modern contrast.
The kitchen flows right into the living room, perfect for one of the homeowners who happens to be a chef and loves to entertain.
Instead of solid walls dividing the interior up, they used glass panels to let light pass through.
Photos by Gideon Levin.
Last year, Mexico experienced a devastating earthquake which led Mexico City based design studio Comité de Proyectos to reflect on safety and stability. They decided to re-think the average bookshelf with Librero Entropía, or Bookcase Entropy, that uses solid materials that aren’t typically used in shelf design. The bookcase is composed of solid white oak, metal, and cast concrete which assemble together to form a unique and sturdy place to hold your books, tchotchkes, and plants.
The wooden shelves are held up by cast concrete pieces that ensure the shelves aren’t going anywhere. In addition to the concrete braces, they incorporated three vertical metal risers that not only help hold the shelves up, they offer a visually lightness that contrasts the heavier concrete pieces.
Photos by Paulina Campos Hierro.
You may have seen Ben & Aja Blanc’s work before – their popular Half Moon Mirror is a coveted piece that’s been featured in many interior design spaces and homes. The design studio just opened their first ever solo show at Salon Boston, a new gallery that’s dedicated to independent American design.
From November 29 through January 27, you can view the 12 brand new mirrors created exclusively for their “New Work” exhibition for Salon Boston. The mirrors explore the juxtaposition of form, texture and transparency using natural fibers and pairing translucent with mirrored glass surfaces. “New Work” also features the duo’s new Superi collection that “explores tension in minimalist form and superfluous shape.”
Visit The Gallery at Salon at 126 Charles St, Boston, MA 02114.
The Penrose triangle has been a fascination since it was created in 1934 by Swedish artist Oscar Reutersvärd for its impossibly perfect form. It’s called the impossible triangle because it’s something that can’t exist in three-dimensional form, but Cuatro Cuatros took on the challenge and created a vase that gives the illusion that it does. The 90º vase is a minimalist object that depending on what angle you’re viewing it from can look like the Penrose triangle that has actual volume.
There’s a notched out section on the vertical part of the vase where the stem is threaded through that gives the illusion of the impossible triangle when viewed at a particular angle.
The vase is handmade in Spain from DuPont Corian® Solid Surface material and during the fabrication process, the joints can be hidden to give it its seamless look. It’s available for purchase here.
When iconic designer Dieter Rams comes to mind, you probably think about products for Braun or his furniture for Vitsœ, but did you know that he designed a handbag back in 1963? We didn’t either. About 50 years ago, Rams designed a leather handbag for his wife, Ingeborg, and thanks to German label TSATSAS, the 931 handbag is finally seeing the light of day.
The minimalist bag, named the “931“, evokes a timeless feel that’s stripped of adornment much like Rams’ other products, which all fall under his “less is more” philosophy. Clad in black or grey calfskin leather with a blue lamb nappa interior, the handcrafted bag opens up to reveal various compartments to keep items organized.
The design came about when Rams was working at Braun as their chief designer. He began working with leather while collaborating with leather crafting workshops in Offenbach/Main on the brand’s shaver cases. During that time he became inspired to design a bag he could give to his wife as a surprise. The one-off design remained dormant until this year when TSATSAS came on board and refined a few details to make it more functional. Now the brand is bringing the 931 handbag to market allowing design fans to obtain something by Rams that’s a little more obscure.
All images © Gerhardt Kellermann, Munich