A Glistening Jewel in Chiang Mai

In Thailand’s cultural capital, local and traditional vernacular are reimagined at Little Shelter hotel

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Along the Ping river in Chiang Mai, a glistening jewel of a hotel has recently opened, offering a new spin on local design techniques. The Little Shelter hotel was designed by Bangkok-based architecture, interior and landscape design firm Department of ARCHITECTURE Co., whose design of the fourteen-room hotel is a homage to the traditional housing typified by wooden structures with a single pitched roof.

One of the most striking features of the hotel is the gleaming facade’s gradated effect, which the designers achieved using a mix of wooden shingles and polycarbonate sheets. Solid wooden shingles on the roof and side walls trickle down to eventually blend with polycarbonate versions, and are fixed with translucent studs and transparent screws. In the daylight the facade appears to blend into the surrounding treetops, while in the evenings it takes on a lantern-like glow.

A roof deck on the western side offers panoramic views over the nearby river, and inside the hotel, site-specific installations inspired by the nearby Bo Sang umbrella village offer a contemporary take on local handicrafts. Guest room ceilings are adorned with images of Chiang Mai, such as the ancient city wall and floating lantern festival, that reflect off of mirror shingles to create a kaleidoscope of colours and images.

Text / Babette Radclyffe-Thomas
Images / W Workspace Company Limited

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An Urban Ryokan and Rooftop Onsen in Tokyo

ONSEN RYOKAN YUEN SHINJUKU embodies the essence of traditional ryokans adapted for modern travellers

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Surrounded by a sea of summer-green bamboo, a wooden gate with a blue noren curtain opens onto a tranquil pathway lined with lanterns, pebbles, plants and, at the far end, a rock handbasin with trickling water.

This sounds like the entrance of countless traditional ryokan inns across Japan, the serene pathway typically providing guests with a sense of transition from the outside world to its inner sanctum. Yet this hotel isn’t located on a rural mountainside or quiet Kyoto lane. Instead, it can be found in an area more famed for its futuristic neon lights and skyscrapers than its traditional aesthetics: Shinjuku in Tokyo.

The traditional and the contemporary easily overlap in ONSEN RYOKAN YUEN SHINJUKU, which recently opened on a quiet street about a 15-minute walk from Shinjuku’s main train station. The atmospheric 20-metre entrance walkway leads into a discreetly positioned grey 18-floor tower, complete with 193 guestrooms resembling a contemporary take on traditional sukiya tearoom-style architecture.

‘Yuen Shinjuku is a modern and urban version of the traditional Japanese ryokan,’ says Daishi Yoshimoto, its designer from UDS. While the hotel is owned by JA Mitsui Lease Buildings, UDS is involved in its planning, design and operation.

‘We extracted the essential features of a ryokan and “edited” it to fit the practical needs of modern travellers,’ Yoshimoto explains. ‘While the front facade is that of a very traditional ryokan, the traditional design begins to gradually blend and shift to modern contemporary design as the guest proceeds towards the lobby and on to the guestroom. This transition is intended to be very subtle and natural so that the whole experience is comfortable and memorable, while being authentically Japanese.’

Stepping inside the modern, minimal space, a series of design touches evoke ryokan interiors: from the night-time shadows of bamboo plants moving in the wind, seen through white washi-paper screens behind the check-in desk, to the hovering under-lit wooden platform with circular straw cushion, minimal ikebana displays and the traditional incense burning in corridors.

Clean-lined signage by Tokyo-based branding agency artless Inc. guides guests to the elevators. ‘Through unique impressions and delicate sign designs, I would like guests to feel the unique qualities of Japanese hospitality,’ explains Shun Kawakami, founder of artless Inc.

The seven room types span a range of sizes, but all share the same aesthetic: tatami-style flooring, low-lying white beds, walls that evoke traditional plasterwork, and touches of craftsmanship in the round ceramic washbasins made in Shigaraki and the tiered wooden jubako boxes containing amenities.

The windows are also eye-catching in their simplicity: a single horizontal slit framing views across the Tokyo skyline. Inspired by the traditional concept of yukimi shoji (which literally means ‘sliding screens for seeing the snow’), the intention is for guests to slow down, position their gaze and savour the view.

Kakatojo restaurant on the ground floor — a warm mix of grey stones, a sugi cedar wood ceiling and an L-shaped counter made from a single piece of Japanese gingko — serves contemporary Japanese cuisine, plus delicious breakfast in tiered ceramic boxes.

But the hotel’s crowning glory can be found at its apex: the rooftop onsen, for which an undisclosed amount of mineral-rich onsen water is delivered weekly by lorry from the mountainous Hakone region. Here, noren curtains lead to indoor and outdoor baths for men and women, plus a small lounge with a wall of glass, where stunning views across Shinjuku can be enjoyed post-bathing.

Text / Danielle Demetriou
Images / Nacasa & Partners

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Electric Feel

Shenglong Electric’s Beijing headquarters is designed to reflect the company’s identity and expertise

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In Beijing’s business and commercial district of Wangjing, Wuxiang Space Architecture Design Studio have designed power and energy corporation Shenglong Electric’s fifth and primary headquarters into an elegant office space influenced by the company’s identity and scope of offerings.

The design team conceived a series of open and private spaces, with four inner and one outer space that house a reception hall, video display area, cafe, and individual and open-plan offices. Discreet and modest traditional design influences appear throughout the office, while the materials palette, inspired by the company’s products and services, includes elements of copper and antique brass. Old wooden boards evoke the passing of time and the company’s heritage, while hints of stone and pops of bright furniture are contemporary touches, along with the energy-saving and environmentally friendly features.

Text / Babette Radclyffe-Thomas
Images / Beijing Fujue Photo

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The High Life

Designed by Joyce Wang, the newly unveiled penthouse at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park offers refined pied-à-terre living in one of London’s most prestigious locations

Following the most extensive refurbishment in the landmark hotel’s 117-year history, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park has debuted its ‘crowning jewel’: a three-bedroom penthouse by acclaimed Hong Kong designer Joyce Wang. Wang’s studio, which specialises in hospitality and residential interiors and furniture design, is also behind the Landmark Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong and is currently involved in designing residences Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok.

Two interconnecting suites, the Mandarin and the Oriental, form the expansive suite that covers all of the ninth floor. Five private alfresco terraces boast panoramic views over Knightsbridge and beyond, while inside the design evokes the golden age of travel and elements of Art Deco design. The light-filled penthouse embraces soft, muted colours and botanical-inspired textures.

Text / Babette Radclyffe-Thomas

Heritage and Design Meet at The Gage

Designed by local firm 4N design architects, this restored apartment building in Hong Kong retains its historic charm  

 
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On Hong Kong’s Gage Street, just a few steps away from a bustling wet market, a 1960s residential building has been artfully restored to become a block of chic and light-filled apartments that maintain the historic character of the original space. Hong Kong-based architecture and interior design firm 4N design architects transformed the existing building, which was built in 1967, into The Gage, a six-storey building that spans approximately 460 square metres and embraces the site’s original heritage. ‘We wanted to create a getaway home in the heart of Central’s hustle and bustle,’ says Danny Ng, co-founder of 4N design architects.

The client, Sino Properties Hong Kong, is known for focusing on city-wide rejuvenation projects and was keen to conserve the historic building, so Ng and his partner Sinner Sin led the transformation of the entire building, including facade, windows, staircases and interiors. Originally the building’s pale pink exterior was dotted with eyesore aircon units, so the design team retouched and repainted the exterior and created black ‘borders’ to make a geometric, Bauhaus-influenced facade. ‘We tried our best to keep most of the original architectural finishes, even though finding replacements for the touch-up areas proved to be a difficult task,’ Ng shares.

During the evenings, exterior lights illuminate the building and the sign for Pak Tse Lane, leading to a public park at the opposite side of the building, which was restored and reinstalled on the street level.

Inside the building, the old staircases were restored with vintage-inspired mosaic floor tiles, though the solid timber railing is an original feature. The contemporary apartments, each with its own unique floor plan, are bright with plenty of natural light: the one-bedroom suites comprise a living and dining room, kitchen and walk-in wardrobe, and some units have balconies. Overall, the facade, interiors and materials like metal, glass and timber come together in a chic locale that reflects the area’s history and the urbanites who call it home.

Text / Babette Radclyffe-Thomas
Images / Sino Properties & James Goldman of Hollywood Studio

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Process and Practice: Understanding Marc Newson

On the occasion of his first solo exhibition in Hong Kong, held at Gagosian Gallery, we talk to designer Marc Newson about resuscitating lost techniques and the art of balance

Charcoal Glass Chair , Cast Glass by Marc Newson. Image by Jaroslav Kvíz. Courtesy Gagosian

Charcoal Glass Chair, Cast Glass by Marc Newson. Image by Jaroslav Kvíz. Courtesy Gagosian

Image by Jørn Tomter. Courtesy Gagosian

Image by Jørn Tomter. Courtesy Gagosian

Design Anthology: You’re showcasing a number of lost techniques in this show, from cloisonné to Japanese katana sword-making. Was this purely out of artistic interest, or is there a sense of wanting to preserve or resuscitate these arts for a more noble reason?

Marc Newson: I would be lying if I said that there wasn’t an element of that that inspired me — the idea of doing something that is really difficult to do always interests me on many different levels. I love challenging myself, I love doing things that other people can’t do, but I also love the idea of championing processes and techniques that are essentially lost or becoming lost.

Are there other design processes you’ve come across that you’re considering incorporating into your work in the future?

There’s something I was thinking a lot about, it’s a process called netsuke carving. Netsuke carving is an ancient Japanese form still practiced today, and involves carving wood or ivory into intricate ornaments. But every one of these processes, every one of these endeavours, takes years. You’ve got to investigate, and it doesn’t kind of just fall in your lap. You’ve got to dig. There’s this whole cultural and historical investigation that you’ve got to do, it takes years. These [pieces in the show], are the result of a five year process, and there’s no way it could have been any faster.

How do you juggle your many, many projects?

I say no to a bunch of things, and you have to prioritise. I have many different projects going on at one time, and I’ve got a small studio — only 15 people — and it’s been that way for 20 years. I don’t want it to get bigger; it could be at 150 people if I wanted it to, but that’s not the way I want to work. There’s many things going on at the same time, but they’re all in different stages of their evolution, some are starting, some are reaching completion. Everything I do as a designer — it’s not quite as bad as with architecture — but nothing I do takes less than two years from beginning to end. That would be fast. Even just designing a bag for Louis Vuitton is an 18-month to two-year process.

Your Lockheed Lounge, created in 1986, is the most expensive design object ever sold at auction. How did you start creating these passion pieces — these single- or limited-edition collectibles?

It was never a conscious decision, because when I started doing that kind of work it was the first thing I started doing. I was 18 or 19 years old. The reason I started making one-off pieces was because I couldn’t afford to make more than one. That was the very pragmatic reason, and so they ended up becoming limited edition, not because of wanting to be elite, but because that was all I could afford to do. It was all I could manage because I was making them myself. Unlike other designers, I can do it myself, I know how to build stuff. I know how to make them and I’m interested in making things.

As told to / Christina Ko

Installation view, Marc Newson at Gagosian Hong Kong, 23 May–27 July, 2019. Image courtesy of Gagosian

Installation view, Marc Newson at Gagosian Hong Kong, 23 May–27 July, 2019. Image courtesy of Gagosian

Installation view, Marc Newson at Gagosian Hong Kong, 23 May–27 July, 2019. Image courtesy of Gagosian

Installation view, Marc Newson at Gagosian Hong Kong, 23 May–27 July, 2019. Image courtesy of Gagosian

Installation view, Marc Newson at Gagosian Hong Kong, 23 May–27 July, 2019. Image courtesy of Gagosian

Installation view, Marc Newson at Gagosian Hong Kong, 23 May–27 July, 2019. Image courtesy of Gagosian

Installation view, Marc Newson at Gagosian Hong Kong, 23 May–27 July, 2019. Image courtesy of Gagosian

Installation view, Marc Newson at Gagosian Hong Kong, 23 May–27 July, 2019. Image courtesy of Gagosian

Installation view, Marc Newson at Gagosian Hong Kong, 23 May–27 July, 2019. Image courtesy of Gagosian

Installation view, Marc Newson at Gagosian Hong Kong, 23 May–27 July, 2019. Image courtesy of Gagosian

Installation view, Marc Newson at Gagosian Hong Kong, 23 May–27 July, 2019. Image courtesy of Gagosian

Installation view, Marc Newson at Gagosian Hong Kong, 23 May–27 July, 2019. Image courtesy of Gagosian

Installation view, Marc Newson at Gagosian Hong Kong, 23 May–27 July, 2019. Image courtesy of Gagosian

Installation view, Marc Newson at Gagosian Hong Kong, 23 May–27 July, 2019. Image courtesy of Gagosian

A New Lease on Life

This petite Sydney home is brought to life by contemporary additions to its existing structure

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In the historic and residential Sydney suburb of Randwick, Brcar Morony Architecture has renovated a semi-detached single-storey home into a sleek design-led space.

The design team started by demolishing the existing structure found at the rear of the property, and then replaced it with a brand new first floor addition that now houses a master bedroom, large wardrobe and en suite. In the newly created void above the dining room is a plate steel staircase that connects the existing living and dining rooms to the new spaces. The staircase’s eye-catching graphic profiled edge uses black joinery and flows into the new matte black wardrobe, which omits a need for walls by acting as a room divider and conceals the bathroom entry.

At the core of the home’s design is a neutral and monochromatic material and colour palette. Larch timber floorboards and a hallway skylight offset black joinery and white surfaces, while colourful art and objects punctuate the restrained colour palette.

Text / Babette Radclyffe-Thomas
Images / Justin Alexander

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The X-Files

Futuristic design reflects the ultra-performance sports gear offered at new store Durasport

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Singapore’s Changi Airport is frequently lauded as the best in the world, and with the new addition of Jewel Changi Airport, it looks likely to hold that title. Within the mixed-use space is the recently opened Durasport, an immersive ultra-performance retail space that celebrates cutting-edge technology and futuristic design.

Durasport, a new-to-market brand and offshoot of work- and sportswear brand Durasafe, aims to target the relatively untapped market of ultra-performance athletes and enthusiasts. Singapore-headquartered architectural, interior design and branding firm Ministry of Design (who also designed the Durasafe Gallery in Singapore), are behind the sleek branding and identity as well as the interiors.

Looking to the future of brick-and-mortar sports retail, the firm designed the 180-square-metre store to include hands-on zones for where customers can try out state-of-the-art equipment. The store houses five simulators, among them the immersive ski simulator Pro Ski 360 (the first in Singapore), non-motorised Freedom Climber climbing wall, and a ‘Magic Mirror’ that allows customers to try on ski clothing virtually. The design team even had a say in the product range, co-curating a selection that includes the world’s first graphene bicycle and heat-mouldable cycling shoes.

High-grade stainless steel is the primary material used, a reference to the research and development (R&D) labs where the store’s products would have been created. A customised display system enables shelves, racks and holders to be clipped in and out of notched display walls, while the integrated LED lighting system and dynamic facade emphasise the fast-paced and futuristic character of the products inside.

Text / Babette Radclyffe-Thomas
Images / CI&A Photography, Edward Hendricks

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The Legacy of Charles and Ray Eames

We spoke to Eames Demetrios, the influential American design duo’s grandson, during his recent visit to Hong Kong where he launched a range of iconic Eames pieces in collaboration with Herman Miller and local design boutique COLOURLIVING

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Design Anthology: How would you define the Eames’s approach to design?

Eames Demetrios: Charles and Ray believed in something called the guest-host relationship. They believed the role of the designer was that of a good host anticipating the needs of their guest. They didn’t believe in having a style for its own sake. They tried to solve each problem the best way they could, and trusted that their voices would be there no matter what. When we look at their designs, there’s a continuity of attitude and thinking even though visually they’re sometimes quite different.

They had a very broad practice and vision of design even before they became famous. That splint [an emergency transport splint for soldiers in World War II] was designed when they were living in an apartment and storing their design equipment in the bathtub. It was a very influential project for them because it was their first mass-produced object – they made 150,000 in the war effort.

When did you decide you wanted to work on preserving their legacy?

There were two different moments. The first moment was in college, when my professor showed us a picture of the Eames house and I said, ‘Wait a second! That was my grandparents’ house!’ I’d always known they did amazing things, but I didn’t realise that other people knew it too. And then the moment I decided to help came a few years later, when my grandmother died, and I made a film about closing their workshop.

How do Eames pieces today stack up to their very first pieces?

People often bring a fine art idea of authenticity to design; if you have your Jackson Pollock painting, there’s only one of that painting. But Charles and Ray weren’t just trying to make a chair that would go into a museum. They designed a system that would give you the same experience again and again. The chair that Herman Miller makes tomorrow is the same one that Eames originally designed; it’s just as authentic. The very first might be collectors-level, but Charles and Ray saw the mistakes they wanted to fix. From Charles and Ray’s standpoint, there’s no question that [today’s] is a better object.

As told to / Leanne Mirandilla
Images / Courtesy of COLOURLIVING

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The Future is Now

Bali’s Future Design is a week of exhibitions, workshops, talks and installations that show the potential of creativity to change the world

Along the Seminyak shoreline, resorts sit side by side in a strip of glossy finishes and internationally recognisable logos. Desa Potato Head stands out from the rest, though, trading steel and glass for brick and repurposed wood that pulsate with warmth. ‘Desa’ is Bahasa for ‘village’ — a fitting term for the idyllic complex that houses Katamama hotel, Potato Head Beach Club, and the group’s various restaurants, bars and boutiques. Adjacent to the complex, The Beach House — Desa's newest addition designed by OMA — is taking shape and sprouting a verdant blanket on its facade.

This is the site of the inaugural Future Design, a week of exhibitions, workshops, talks and installations that seek to create a better world through design and creativity. And Desa Potato Head is a natural fit for the groundbreaking conference, as sustainability has been one of its core tenets from inception. The group’s mantra is ‘good times, do good’, though a quick look at Instagram suggests that the first part is the key for most visitors, the emphasis is on the second. For instance, revellers flock to the Beach Club for its impressive DJ lineups and tropical vibes, but few are aware that the complex is certified carbon neutral.

This began with the building process. Architect Andra Matin created Katamama from more than 1.5 million bricks hand-pressed in a local artisan village, while Potato Head Beach Club’s facade is a hand-crafted assemblage of 6,600 antique windows and shutters sourced from around the archipelago. Crafting the bricks for Katamama took more than three years, in doing so revitalising the village while showcasing the contemporary possibilities of Indonesia’s indigenous crafts. Poolside restaurant Ijen is the first zero-waste restaurant in Asia, and the new Sustainism Lab conducts research and experiments to regenerate waste materials and shift the Desa into a circular economy. 

 
The nano UHERO bamboo tunnel installation beside the distinctive red-brick Katamama

The nano UHERO bamboo tunnel installation beside the distinctive red-brick Katamama

Sustainism Lab’s lego-coloured machinery upcycles plastics into wares for the hospitality complex. Images courtesy of Potato Head

Sustainism Lab’s lego-coloured machinery upcycles plastics into wares for the hospitality complex. Images courtesy of Potato Head

 
Ijen, Potato Head’s zero waste-to-landfill restaurant, features chic terrazzo-style chairs made from plastics pressed with upcycled styrofoam created in Sustainism Lab. Image by Alison Tan

Ijen, Potato Head’s zero waste-to-landfill restaurant, features chic terrazzo-style chairs made from plastics pressed with upcycled styrofoam created in Sustainism Lab. Image by Alison Tan

Future Design is the culmination of the Potato Head Family’s years of experimentation and dialogue in the pursuit of a zero-waste hospitality hub. The impressive roster of designers, activists and organisations are all at the forefront of ecological innovation — as well as people who already collaborate with Potato Head. To name a few, Faye Toogood, Max Lamb and Dirk Vander Kooij have all worked with the company to create sustainable furniture for its properties.

 
Faye Toogood, whose work is often hand-crafted in partnership with artisanal studios, shapes rattan canes into contemporary forms. Images courtesy of Potato Head

Faye Toogood, whose work is often hand-crafted in partnership with artisanal studios, shapes rattan canes into contemporary forms. Images courtesy of Potato Head

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Max Lamb worked with Smile Plastics to create chairs and tables from plastic yoghurt pots and cosmetic bottles melted into painterly patterns

Max Lamb worked with Smile Plastics to create chairs and tables from plastic yoghurt pots and cosmetic bottles melted into painterly patterns

A detail of Dirk Vanderkooij’s holographic bench made from fragmented CD-roms and oyster shells set in resin. Images courtesy of Potato Head

A detail of Dirk Vanderkooij’s holographic bench made from fragmented CD-roms and oyster shells set in resin. Images courtesy of Potato Head

 
 
Lamps by British designer Max Lamb are crafted from offcuts from the local stone and bamboo industries and coiffed with palm fibre

Lamps by British designer Max Lamb are crafted from offcuts from the local stone and bamboo industries and coiffed with palm fibre

Lamb crafts a line of ceramics for Potato Head out of metallic black sand from Bali’s beaches. Images courtesy of Potato Head

Lamb crafts a line of ceramics for Potato Head out of metallic black sand from Bali’s beaches. Images courtesy of Potato Head

 

Also at Sustainism Lab, the What a waste! exhibition, curated by the Dutch Design Foundation, showed projects that shift and expand perspectives on material usage, noting that ‘what was once a by-product in the aim for profit now has become a cost to society’.

A guest explores the What a waste! exhibition. Image courtesy of Potato Head

A guest explores the What a waste! exhibition. Image courtesy of Potato Head

At What a waste!, Mycotech’s fungus leather and Studio Tjeerd Veehoven’s Palmleather (pictured) made for intriguing alternatives to plastic and animal-based products. Image courtesy of Dutch Design Foundation

At What a waste!, Mycotech’s fungus leather and Studio Tjeerd Veehoven’s Palmleather (pictured) made for intriguing alternatives to plastic and animal-based products. Image courtesy of Dutch Design Foundation

 
Both Studio Mixtura (left) and Atelier NL (right) work with rejected materials. The former transforms mineral residues from waste incineration into beautiful ceramic glazes, while the latter turns wild sand — rejected because it doesn’t produce clear glass — into colourful wares that reflect its original terrain. Images courtesy of Dutch Design Foundation

Both Studio Mixtura (left) and Atelier NL (right) work with rejected materials. The former transforms mineral residues from waste incineration into beautiful ceramic glazes, while the latter turns wild sand — rejected because it doesn’t produce clear glass — into colourful wares that reflect its original terrain. Images courtesy of Dutch Design Foundation

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As many of the exhibitors showed, while material is key to sustainable design, it’s not everything; genuinely sustainable design is grounded in local resources, practices and communities. Lim Masulin champions this approach through his company BYO Living, which applies traditional weaving methods to both traditional and upcycled materials, and engineers them into luxurious, contemporary furniture and architectural finishings with the help of designers and master weavers. BYO Living was a natural partner for The Shelter Project, which builds low-cost, fully equipped homes for survivors of natural disasters. When renowned inventor/designer Tony Fadell visited Bali, he saw that the locally preferred method of transportation by scooter was also a major polluter. With the flair of an Apple product unveiling, Faddell brought out a new generation of electric scooters sheathed in upcycled plastic that can be charged in normal outlets and purchased through a practical payment plan.  

 
The opening panel discussion set the tone for Future Design

The opening panel discussion set the tone for Future Design

Viewers were treated to a first demonstration of Edde, Tony Fadell’s electric scooter project. Images courtesy of Potato Head

Viewers were treated to a first demonstration of Edde, Tony Fadell’s electric scooter project. Images courtesy of Potato Head

 

Although it’s not advertised as such, Future Design is the first sustainable design event of its calibre. Desa Potato Head has created a blueprint for the future of hospitality and placed itself as a force for change in an industry renowned for waste and excess. As Mike Long, marine conservationist and director of operations for Parley, declared, ‘The new luxury is purpose.’ Thoughtful design, from material choices to systems of operation, means that sustainability need not compromise on aesthetics or comfort. While Potato Head didn’t invent circular economies, upcycling or community enrolment, they’ve integrated them into an elegant, joyful experience. ‘It’s got to be fun, cool and something to get excited about. Something that speaks to people on a human level, but is functional enough to be a realistic alternative,’ says creative director Dan Mitchell. If sipping lemongrass mojitos by the pool while Virgil Abloh takes to the decks can be part of changing the world, the future’s looking bright after all.

Text / Alison Tan

Potato Head’s motto is ‘good times, do good’

Potato Head’s motto is ‘good times, do good’

The Art of Reimagination

Australian designer Fiona Lynch reimagined the TarraWarra Museum of Art’s multi-use gallery foyer with the past and future in mind

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In the Yarra Valley, designer Fiona Lynch has given her artistic touch to the gallery foyer of the TarraWarra Museum of Art. The museum, one of Australia’s finest privately funded public art institutions, opened in 2002 and moved to its permanent home in 2003. Lynch was asked to reconceptualise the space in a way that reflects the museum’s emphasis on the experiential, unexpected and collaborative. In addition to retail, the 95-square-metre gallery foyer is intended as a multi-use space for events and functions.

‘The design needed to feel timeless and as if it was a part of the original architecture, but also speak to the modernisation and evolution of the museum, and at the same time show an exploration of our own ideas. We wanted to use materials that showed both heritage and evolution,’ Lynch explains. The studio achieved this with a tactile material palette of hand-worked and sculptural aluminium, Victorian bluestone tablets, earthy transparent resin that mimics the museum’s rammed earth facade, and timber and leather plinths. Together with the selection of finishes and creation of sight lines that direct towards the vineyard views, the studio’s approach was respectful to the design intent of TarraWarra’s architect Allan Powell.

Lynch also aimed to create balance and contrast with the architecture’s monolithic joinery by incorporating slender forms: the slim lines of the folded steel shelving, tables and jewellery display cases create new pathways and also capture the attention of visitors as they pass through the area. Local artisans, established and emerging, were invited to contribute to the project. The studio collaborated with designers Daniel Barbera, Makiko Ryujin and Josh Carmody, and together their respective works — including linished metal shelving, charred timber displays and slender tables — enhance the sense of flexibility required for the space.

‘We wanted to showcase a contemporary retail environment that was worthy of the museum and all it stands for, and that doesn’t appear temporary when compared to the significance of the architecture,’ Lynch says. The curved lines and sculptural forms, in tandem with the dramatic lighting, build upon the spatial and art experience for museum visitors, from the moment of approaching the building to the time spent exploring the galleries within it.

Text / Rossara Jamil
Images / Sharyn Cairns

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The Sound of Architecture

For this musician’s home in Bali, architect Alexis Dornier attempted to evoke the feeling of living inside an instrument

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In designing this 370-square-meter project in Mas, just south of Ubud in Bali, German-born architect Alexis Dornier — who relocated to Indonesia in 2013 — had two aims. The first was to pay tribute to the beautiful landscape, with its paddy fields and lush vegetation, and to the region’s rich cultural heritage of wood craftsmanship and traditional carving. The second came from the client, a musician-composer: design a house that evokes the feeling of being inside an instrument. ‘I’ve always been interested in collaborating with artists,’ says Dornier. ‘For this project, we collectively brainstormed what shape this “instrument” could take and how it would “amplify” its surrounding natural setting.’

The resulting design of the two-storey, three-bedroom property emerged from Dornier’s desire to translate a single sound wave into an architectural gesture. ‘The house consists of a series of manipulated lines resulting in bowl-shaped areas and warped planes that create spaces of intimacy, openness and a fluid combination of the two,’ he says.

The ground floor and roof are subtly intertwined, with a combination of curves and lines that give the interior a sense of fluidity. Wood and concrete are present in all spaces, creating contrast and complementarity between the warmth of one and the rawness of the other. The materials also reference Dornier’s approach that blends influences from tropical modernism and industrial architecture. ‘The warped roof is a hyperbolic surface, and we materialised that by using steel for the frame and wood strip cladding for the ceiling,’ Dornier explains. ‘The strips reminded us of the keys of a piano, and more generally speaking they created a sequence and a sense of rhythm.’ 

‘Neutral and pastel colours offset the house from its environment,’ the architect adds. ‘The gesture evokes lightness and movement, which are an important feature of this home.’

In addition to being the owner’s permanent dwelling, for several months of the year the house also functions as an artist residency, hosting creative minds from all around the world in an environment designed to inspire.

Text / Karine Monié
Images / Tommaso Riva

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Dining with the Stars

Opulence and glamour are on the menu at rooftop restaurant Nineteen at The Star

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Up on the nineteenth floor of Gold Coast hotel The Star sits a brand new restaurant and bar showcasing refined contemporary luxury and encapsulating elements of its stunning surroundings. Nineteen at The Star, which tops The Star’s luxury suite hotel The Darling, was designed by Melbourne-based design practice Mim Design, who drew inspiration from the surrounding landscape.

The stunning skyline is a key focus of the fine dining restaurant, which boasts views of the South Pacific Ocean, is backdropped by the lush Hinterlands and opens up onto an infinity pool. Sophistication and tasteful restraint characterise the space, with opulent materials and touches such as marble, emerald green upholstery, stone, mirrored walls, brass panelling paired with custom-made lighting, furniture and carpets.

A ribbon staircase leads guests to the private dining area and VIP lounge on the mezzanine level, where deep mulberry and cognac hues evoke a moody intimacy. One of the main challenges the design team faced was defining the relationship between the club space and the fine dining zone, so they visually and acoustically concealed the club space using a wall clad in 6-millimetre-thick glass and custom crystallised wallpaper.

A refined and tranquil colour palette reflects the surrounding nature – forest greens evoke the Tamborine and Springbrook mountains, pumice whites and teal blues mirror the ocean horizon and brass evokes the city’s night time skyline. The lobby beautifully reflects the sunset’s changing light, while inside a matte black open kitchen allows uninterrupted views of the horizon. Here, the atmosphere of elegant luxury is topped only by the unforgettable vistas.


Text / Babette Radclyffe-Thomas
Images / Sean Fennessy

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A Slice of Hawaii in Tangerang

Just west of Jakarta, poke and matcha bar HONU’s third location brings a beach house atmosphere to the city

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Located in the Indonesian city of Tangerang, part of the Greater Jakarta metropolitan, poke and matcha bar HONU is the brainchild of furniture designer Sashia Rosari, who designed all three outlets (the first two are in the Jakarta neighbourhoods of Kemang and Menteng) in collaboration with Rafael Miranti Architects (RMA), founded by husband-and-wife team Rafael Arsono and Margareta Miranti.

In Hawaiian culture, the green sea turtle that HONU is named after symbolises good luck, endurance and longevity, so naturally the colour green is a key design element of the restaurant and its branding, from the facade to interior accents, materials and pops of foliage. ‘HONU’s ethos is about creating a wholesome, accessible dining experience with genuine passion and care. Everything we create has to have a soul. The way we design each outlet is always driven by these core values,’ Rosari says.

Despite its small size (at only 100 square metres), the restaurant offers various internal spaces. ‘The general approach was to create a space within a space, to create different experiences in the relatively small area,’ Arsono explains. ‘The back dining area, with bar seating and communal dining, is elevated and covered in green tile, separating it from the entrance area. In doing this, we wanted to make a cozy and chilled vibe that resembles the back terrace of a beach house.’

The interiors and furniture were selected or designed to enhance this beach house feel. ‘Furniture found in coastal or island regions often features natural materials and nature-inspired shapes, so for HONU Southwest we wanted to use more rattan weaving and teak than in the other HONU outlets, where we mainly used American oak for the furniture. We deliberately designed the banquet seating to have loose back cushions and a lower frame to create a more laid-back feel. We upholstered some of the furniture with textural fabric that reminds us of stone pebbles and sand to further enhance that “beach house” vibe,’ Sashia shares. Custom and ready-made furniture is paired with green tiling, exposed MDF and a patterned ceiling, while outside the restaurant’s signature green covers the facade, and timber planks and a fabric canopy create evoke a back terrace aesthetic. Here at HONU, guests can get a taste of Hawaii and say aloha to a slice of beach life.

Text / Babette Radclyffe-Thomas
Images / Sefval Mogalana

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Smooth Sailing

Travel app Porter & Sail combines modern travel conveniences with local insights and personalised content, and it’s making its way into Asia

Nobis Copenhagen

Nobis Copenhagen

It seems that spring timed its arrival in Copenhagen with mine: the sky was blue, the sun was shining and the flowers in bloom. I’d arrived at hotel SKT. PETRI by train from the airport in an easy and efficient manner — so typically Danish — and upon check-in was told I’d been upgraded, to the clerk’s favourite room in fact, which has a small terrace with a bird’s eye view over the neighbouring rooftops and nearby chapel. A great start to my stay, I’d say, and it would only get better with the help of travel app Porter & Sail.

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The app, established in 2015 in New York by tech entrepreneur Caitlin Zaino, is designed for ‘How we travel now.’ This tagline reflects the way that the platform addresses the needs of a new generation of digital nomads, and even those of us who are less tech-savvy, by making hotel stays a seamless experience. Essentially, it combines a booking platform with curated and personalised city guide content — an idea so simple I was left wondering how no one has thought of it sooner. As a frequent (and frankly, discerning) traveller, I was also happy to hear about Porter & Sail’s partnership with the Design Hotels™ group, which means a highly curated collection of properties can be booked through the platform.

While some of the unique content can be viewed on the app, you do need to be a guest at one of Porter & Sail’s partner hotels to unlock all the other benefits. For example, while the room upgrade was a pleasant surprise, the view was not. I’d already entered a set of preferences before arriving, one of which was room type. If I’d chosen to, I could have also used the app to check-in online and accessed my room using a keyless entry system. Room upgrades and add-ons – such as late check-out, spa treatments or city tours – can also be booked online via the user-friendly interface; and you can make restaurant reservations, and even call an Uber to get you there, directly through the app.

Once you’re checked-in, you can hit the ground running thanks to a personalised list of suggested activities, places to eat and drink, and insider tips that often come from local experts. This being my second visit to the Danish capital, I already had a list of locations I wanted to visit (or re-visit), but as I walked or cycled around town, my phone would buzz with notifications letting me know I was close to certain spots: ‘You’re close to this must-see gallery,’ or ‘Hej! A great coffee place is nearby.’

Until recently, the content and hotels has centred around North America and Europe, but the app is now making its way east and has recently added a few of our favourite properties in Asia: Katamama in Bali, The Warehouse Hotel in Singapore and TRUNK (HOTEL) in Tokyo.

Text / Suzy Annetta


Our editor-in-chief stayed as a guest of Porter & Sail at SKT. PETRI and Nobis Copenhagen

Nobis Copenhagen

Nobis Copenhagen

Nobis Copenhagen

Nobis Copenhagen

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SKT. PETRI

SKT. PETRI

SKT. PETRI

SKT. PETRI

SKT. PETRI

The Evolution of Yabu Pushelberg

Last month in Milan, we sat down with George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg to ask them a few questions about the studio’s growth since it was founded almost four decades ago

George Yabu (left) and Glenn Pushelberg. Image courtesy of Yabu Pushelberg

George Yabu (left) and Glenn Pushelberg. Image courtesy of Yabu Pushelberg

The Taylor collection for Stellar Works was among one of the studio’s ranges launched at Salone del Mobile this year. Pictured here is the Taylor valet

The Taylor collection for Stellar Works was among one of the studio’s ranges launched at Salone del Mobile this year. Pictured here is the Taylor valet

Design Anthology: You set up the studio almost four decades ago, how much has it all changed since then?

George Yabu: It’s changed a lot.

Glenn Pushelberg: For the last five years we’ve been working on morphing ourselves from an interior design practice into a multi-disciplinary design practice. Now we have a product design team, fabric designers, lighting consultants and a graphic communications department.

Yabu: And they’re all trained in these fields; they're not interior designers designing furniture but designers who actually trained in textiles designing textiles or carpets, and furniture designers designing furniture. Our clients say they can tell the difference, because these chairs that we're doing now aren’t the same, they're not designed by interior designers, and that’s a compliment to us. We're going to hire an architect next.

Pushelberg: The reasons we’re doing this is that when you design projects like resorts, you want the ability to design the building, the interiors, the uniforms —all the details.

Yabu: It's a little bit more about complete concepts.

Pushelberg: Yes, so we’re doing fewer projects, but designing more holistically.

And as the team has grown have you felt, as creative people, that it’s made your lives easier or more challenging?

Pushelberg: It’s made our lives more complicated but more interesting; more challenging but in a positive way. It keeps us young and keeps us curious. You know, if it was just about the money then we would be better off just continuing to design luxury hotels, but we’d find that a little tedious because we already know how to do it really well. We like doing them when it’s the right project, but we want to be challenged.

Over the years, as the practice has changed and you've grown, has the work-life balance gotten any easier?

Yabu: [Laughs] Glenn and I have never really experienced work-life balance, we think this is normal. I think we want to see what's going on outside the world of design; our pace may have changed a little, but our curiosity level still hasn't dissipated.

As told to / Suzy Annetta


Read the rest of this interview in the Design Anthology Fair Report: Milan Design Week 2019

From the editors of Design Anthology, this 94-page perfect-bound compendium captures the energy, events and encounters of the world’s most influential design event, combined with key insights and analysis unpacking the industry’s future

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The Taylor lounge chair and floor lamp for Stellar Works

The Taylor lounge chair and floor lamp for Stellar Works

The Taylor cabinet and bar stool for Stellar Works

The Taylor cabinet and bar stool for Stellar Works

The Puddle coffee table is part of Yabu Pushelberg’s second collection with Italian furniture brand Henge

The Puddle coffee table is part of Yabu Pushelberg’s second collection with Italian furniture brand Henge

The firm launched its new studio in Tribeca with an immersive installation by Jason Bruges Studio that incorporated the latest collection for Hinge. Image by Charlie Schuck

The firm launched its new studio in Tribeca with an immersive installation by Jason Bruges Studio that incorporated the latest collection for Hinge. Image by Charlie Schuck

The studio designed Hong Kong fine-dining restaurant Arbor

The studio designed Hong Kong fine-dining restaurant Arbor

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Jean-Georges Vongerichten ‘s The Fulton in New York, the chef’s first seafood restaurant, designed by Yabu Pushelberg

Jean-Georges Vongerichten ‘s The Fulton in New York, the chef’s first seafood restaurant, designed by Yabu Pushelberg

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The duo worked with Ian Schrager on the recently opened Times Square EDITION. Image by Nicolas Koenig

The duo worked with Ian Schrager on the recently opened Times Square EDITION. Image by Nicolas Koenig

Image by Nicolas Koenig

Image by Nicolas Koenig

Image by Nicolas Koenig

Image by Nicolas Koenig

The studio is also behind the design of the The Peninsula Chicago’s Z Bar. Image by Alice Gao

The studio is also behind the design of the The Peninsula Chicago’s Z Bar. Image by Alice Gao

A Live-Work Unit Inspired by European Art history

Bold colours reign supreme in CHI-TORCH’s new space in Taipei

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In Taiwan’s capital city, the founders of CHI-TORCH interior design have transformed a 40-year old, 40-square-metre apartment into their new office and living space. Chloe Kao and Ciro Liu took their design cues from the hotel room that they stayed in during their honeymoon in Europe, which coincided with Liu being awarded a design prize at a ceremony they attended on the same trip.

The idea was that the couple’s new working and living space should evoke the aesthetics, emotions and memories of that milestone trip. Overall, the design is inspired by the rich history of European classical art. At the centre of the communal area, a pop of fuchsia stands out among the bold blues that envelope the rest of the space, interspersed with mustard and gold accents. According to Kao, the colour combination was selected to reflect the rational, innovative, calm and passionate qualities that a designer should have.

The spatial layout caters to the dual need for privacy and interconnectedness, and demarcations between the studio and private areas come in the form of movable glass and mirror partitions. An abundance of natural light brightens the dark-hued space, creating a lively and bold atmosphere that befits a creative studio and its founders’ home.

Text / Babette Radclyffe-Thomas
Images / FineStudio

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The Neri&Hu-designed Aranya Art Center opens in Qinhuangdao

The holistic resort’s new art space is an exploration of the relationship between architecture, art, community and nature

Drawing inspiration from Aranya’s location along Qinhuangdao’s Gold Coast, one of China’s most picturesque beaches, Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu conceived an angular structure with a carved out internal cylinder, their response to the ocean waters just outside.

A stepped amphitheatre forms the light-filled base, which can be filled to become a water feature or drained to function as a site for performances and gatherings. Throughout the building, a series of interlocking spaces house five different galleries, a cafe, multi-use exhibition space and an outdoor amphitheater, while access to the rooftop grants 360-degree views of the coastal landscape.

‘It was exciting for us to work with Aranya on this project where we were able to explore a hybrid typology which combined design, art and performance. The project pushes the boundaries of how architectural space deals with sensorial experiences in unexpected ways,’ say Neri and Hu.

Text / Simone Schultz

A Bright and Light City Home

Inspired by Japanese spatial and aesthetic concepts, a refined material palette gives the Light Apartment a minimalist and luxurious character

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In their design of the Light apartment in the heart of cosmopolitan Singapore, local interior design firm Right Angle Studio adhered to the Japanese spatial concept of ma, which involves the principles of negative space and leaving room for intervals of quiet contemplation and reflection. Their response to the concept is a monochrome colour palette and a subtly luxurious melange of textures and materials. The space is planned in a rectilinear configuration that allows for open views to the living and dining areas, though a fluted glass screen at the entrance cordons off the dining area and provides some privacy, and access to the bedrooms and washrooms is discreetly hidden. Touches of greenery contrast with the muted scheme and add to the tranquility, echoing the Japanese aesthetic inspirations and rounding out the soothing city abode.

Text / Babette Radclyffe-Thomas
Images / Jonathan Danker (Ansel Media)

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A Warehouse Conversion with an Edge

Pitch Architecture + Developments has transformed a remnant of Richmond’s industrial past into their bright and social new office space

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Located on a tranquil tree-lined thoroughfare among residential homes in Melbourne’s vibrant and multicultural Richmond, an old commercial kitchen warehouse has been converted into an open-plan and characterful office space by and for Pitch Architecture + Developments. ‘As architects, we spend a lot of our time in the office, creating, drawing and problem solving. It’s important that the staff work in a functional and relaxing environment so they can feel comfortable and relaxed enough to create, push boundaries and maximise their potential,’ says Alex Chan, business director of Pitch.

A large graffiti mural by local street artist SET IT OFF of Maddie, Jedy and Betty, the company directors Bo and Alex’s three dogs, adorns the building’s exterior. ‘Our approach to work is accurate but easy going at the same time, the journey in architecture and construction is often demanding, so why not enjoy ourselves in the meantime,’ Chan shares when asked about the mural.

Inside, the design team has created an open-plan layout with a large kitchen and a games room, with most of the first floor space reserved for a communal relaxation area, all of which reflects the studio’s character and philosophy of ‘relaxed, efficient and collaborative with a flat office structure’.

The bare concrete surfaces were replaced with organic design features such as a curving stairwell, a raised platform floor of raw birch plywood and a large cylindrical void that feeds natural light into the main office space.

The pared back and simple palette was chosen to highlight the site. ‘Being in an old commercial kitchen warehouse, we wanted to use natural materials to reflect the rawness of the existing fabric of the space, while using the natural tone and texture of the materials to add warmth and diversity to the space,’ Chan explains. ‘Birch plywood flooring, joinery and wall panelling pair with natural seagrass sisal flooring to create a strong contrast with the existing brick walls and give a warm and relaxed vibe.’


‘We love the rawness and natural changes of these materials over time. The unpredictable nature of marble patterns and plywood’s variations through colours and tones make us appreciate that no one piece is the same. In some way, this is also how we see every staff, client and job as different from one another; we appreciate and celebrate the differences,’ Chan concludes.

Text / Babette Radclyffe-Thomas
Images / Ben Hosking

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