London Design Festival 2014 Highlights

The twelfth annual London Design Festival, which took place from 13th to 21st September 2014, was indeed quite eventful. No, literally! It had something for everyone. The annual contemporary design festival celebrated designs in all forms: landmark, interiors, furniture, graphic and sculptural installations. With over 300 events held across the city, the festival showcased innovative and thoughtful designs by artists, designers from around the world. We chose to highlight some of the fun, quirky design ideas that held our attention a while longer.

A Place Called Home 

Designers Jasper Morrison, Studioilse, Patternity and Raw-Edges came together to install their interpretation of ‘A place called Home’ for Airbnb’s landmark project. 
British designer Jasper Morrison was inspired by the location and created a home for a pigeon keeper.

Yael Mer and Shay Alkalay of design studio Raw-Edges focused on a versatile living arrangement, creating a house with spaces and rooms that shift and change around a central lighting fixture.

Studioilse founder Ilse Crawford got the audience thinking about what a home meant to them 

Young British duo Anna Murray and Grace Winteringham of Patternity staged an interactive installation of oversized kaleidoscopes with repeating triangles, circles and squares.

Double Space for BMW – Precision & Poetry in Motion

Incredibly talented industrial designers Jay Barber and Edward Osgerby, together with BMW, designed Double Space, a kinetic sculpture wherein they installed reflective glass panels at V&A Museum’s Raphael Gallery in order to display the classic artwork in a distorted new light.
The Crest by Zaha Hadid

Hadid’s Crest installation is an experimental structure, commissioned by ME by Meliá Hotels International to mark the 2016 launch of their Hadid-designed ME Dubai hotel. After the event, the demountable structure is to be relocated to the Dubai Hotel.
Driverless Sleeper Car of the Future by Dominic Wilcox

London-based designer Dominic Wilcox created this life-size car with stained glass chassis. He believes that in future roads would be so safe that it would be cool to drive around in this unmanned vehicle while a person sleeps in it.



How to Decorate Small Balconies

How often have you come across homes that have a beautiful living space but dull, uninspiring balconies that are a complete eyesore? Most people use their balconies to dump storage and stack unused items but let us remind you that balconies are an extension of your living space. By investing a decent amount of time and money, you can create a cool retreat where you can unwind after a long day and enjoy the beautiful sunset. We give you five simple tips on how to decorate your balconies.

Cover the boring surfaces: Paint the wall with a lively colour and cover the floor, if necessary, with a rug, fake grass or simply paint. Pick a palette that inspires you and is an extension of not just your living room but also your personality.

Create privacy: You can opt for simple DIY for sheltering yourself from the harsh sun or the prying neighbors by hanging sheets or installing weather-proof blinds, a reed fence or simply by planting medium-sized plants along the balcony.

Seating Arrangements: Make the balcony your own personal oasis by building a small bench or buying few stackable chairs or stools that can comfortably accommodate more than two-three guests in the sit-out area.

Add green: Invest in small shrubs, herbs and perennials that will screen unsightly areas of the balcony and brighten up bare walls. Balconies with high railings will serve to support climbers like Clematis, Morning Glory and Sweet Peas that can offer privacy as well as shade from the sun.

Outdoor lighting: A space is not completely put together until you add lighting that complements the décor. Depending on the size of your balcony, you can choose from fairy lights, wall sconces, pendant lighting or small lamps.

We have a small video here from Engineer Your Space that shows you how a tiny
5 x 9 ft rental apartment balcony can be transformed into a cozy sit out area with just a DIY bench, reed fence and few planters.

Six Game-Changing Architects from Africa

These renowned architects from the continent of Africa have made a world of difference to not only architecture but also to the world beyond their homes. They have overcome prejudice, shattered glass ceilings, worked on award-winning international projects and introduced sustainable and low-cost solutions in economically distressed areas. These six African architects are lauded for their outstanding work and design acumen…
Paul Revere Williams (1894- 1980):

Paul Revere Williams has designed over 3,000 buildings in his career spanning over five decades. He was also the first African American ever to be elected as a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 1957. The bitter irony of his situation was that he designed homes for whites in localities where blacks were barred from entering. Williams was an outstanding draftsman and had a unique ability to render drawings upside-down; it is said that he perfected the skill in order to make his white clients, who would sit opposite him, more comfortable. But despite the undercurrents of racism, he became well-known as the “Architect to Hollywood Stars.” His star clientele included the likes of Frank Sinatra, Humphrey Bogart, Groucho Marx, Lauren Bacall among others.

Paul Williams and Theme Building (top left) at Los Angeles International Airport, designed along with William Pereira and the Guardian Angel Cathedral Las Vegas 
Norma Sklarek (1928- 2012):

She is the first licensed African-American female architect and the first black female fellow of the American Institute of Architects. Born in New York, Sklarek studied architecture at Columbia University. Despite being discouraged from joining a man’s profession, she was determined to work for an architecture firm. After a short stint at NYC Department of Works and Owings and Merrill, she moved to Gruen Associates in Los Angeles. At Gruen, she climbed the corporate ladder and became the firm’s director in 1966. She was also the vice president of the Welton Becket firm and is associated with landmark projects such as the Fox Plaza in San Franscisco, Terminal One of Los Angeles International Airport and the American Embassy in Tokyo.

Norma Sklarek and The Fox Plaza in San Francisco

David Adjaye (1966 – Present):

This multi-award winning ‘starchitect’ is the principal of his eponymous firm. Being born in Tanzania to a Ghanaian Diplomat, Adjaye travelled the world before finally settling down in Britain at the age of nine. He graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1993 and around the same time, bagged the RIBA Bronze Medal. His commissions include designing private residences, pavilions, major arts centers and important public buildings across Europe, North America, the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Some of the well-known projects include the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver and the Skolkovo Moscow School of Management. In 2007, the Queen conferred the OBE (Order of British Empire) title on him for his services to British Architecture. In 2009, he was selected to design the $500 million National Museum of African American History and Culture, part of Smithsonian in Washington DC, which will be completed by 2015.

David Adjaye and the Skolkovo Moscow School of Management

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Minimalism in Design

Farnsworth House by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Illinois (US)
Farnsworth House by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Illinois (US)

Minimalism cannot be more aptly defined than with the expression – “Less is more,” a motto adopted by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe to describe his aesthetic yet practical arrangement of indispensable components to create an impression of simplicity. He incorporated only the absolutely crucial elements to serve the requisite visual and functional purposes of it. Simply put, the idea suggests eliminating excesses, de-cluttering and making use of bare essentials. The movement started way back in the late 1960s in various forms of art and design, more specific to visual arts and music then. The minimalist artists drew references from the De Stijl (Dutch for “style”) movement, founded in the early 1920s, which was also known as “Neoplasticism.” Advocators of De Stijl movement simplified visual compositions and reduced the essentials of form and colour. The movement propagates that ideas could be expressed with the use of basic elements such as lines and planes organized in precise manner.

It is also noted that minimalist design has been highly influenced by Japanese traditional design and architecture. The Japanese culture advocates the concept of MA (間) (pronounced ‘maah’) meaning “the pure, and indeed essential, void between all things.” The concept emphasizes the possibility of emptiness and de-cluttering where the focus is on a specific object that can exist, stand out and exude importance. When a home is cluttered, every valuable thing loses its value and where there is too much, our ability to focus on the important features of our living space diminishes. Thus the Western concept of minimalism is steeply grounded in many different cultures and revolutionary movements.

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Guess Who Moved Into Their New Home In Hidden Hills?

Here take a tour of the swanky new abode of the most-talked about celeb couple:

The house is largely done up in white interiors, which also happens to be  this hot reality show star’s favorite color.
The exquisite chandelier complements the lily-white dining room perfectly…
White follows into other rooms. Thankfully, hues of blue brings relief….
The wooden lofts adds a beautiful touch to the interiors…
Even the exposed brick walls are whitewashed to go with the rest of the decor…
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Days I regret becoming an architect

“Life is a grindstone; either it grinds you down or polishes you up…” True that. We have inspirational, motivational quotes to get us through the day. But there are definitely those days when we wake up and question our decisions to become an architect. Mostly on occasions when…

We end up working over 24  hours a day, especially when we have deadlines to meet… I mean 24 hours is a serious limitation. Architects must be assigned more hours in a day… 

Work-life balance, what is that? Sleep, what is that??

I know I deserve to get paid more, but will my clients ever get it? No, they simply won’t get the creative’s worth because they’d be like … 
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Ten Interesting Architectural Facts About Brasilia

Brazil, the fifth largest country in the world, is known for its rapturous carnivals and lively spirit. The capital of Brazil is no different from the rest of the country, except that it was formed only recently, i.e., it is less than 55 years old. Brasilia was the brainchild of the former president Juscelino Kubitschek who envisioned a new, modern city for Brazil’s government. In 1957, acclaimed Brazilian urban architect, Lucio Costa beat 5,000 entrants in a competition to bag the opportunity to become Brasilia’s principal planner. He roped in his close friend Oscar Niemeyer to design non-public buildings, while landscape designing was assigned to Roberto Burle Marx. The city, developed along the Brazilian Highlands in the country’s Central-West region, is venerated world-over for its beautiful modernist architecture.

 Rio de Janeiro was the capital of Brazil for almost 200 years until Brasilia, the newly designed city, took over the title in 1960.

The original master plan of the city, conceptualized by Lucio Costa, interestingly depicts the shape of a bird taking flight.

The city of Brasília is an enormous feat of engineering and planning and it was built entirely from scratch in the late 1950’s in just 2,000 days. UNESCO listed the entire city of Brasilia as a World Heritage Site in 1987.


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