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.



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…
To find out to whom this house belongs to, click here

Where Architecture Meets Cinematography

Chibi Moku is a dynamic team comprising a cinematographer and photographer duo that travel the world, live in an RV and shoot incredible architecture along the way. They have exhibited their exceptional works on and generated some amazing response for it as well; so in retrospect, we compile the four most-viewed projects of the lot.

The duo, Joshua and Natsuko Shaffer, sold everything they owned in Osaka, Japan and moved to America to pursue their passion of ‘sharing the stories of architects and designers.’ Armed with cameras in hand and ingenuity up their sleeve, they have captured the essence of contemporary architecture along their journey.

“Photography captures the aesthetics of architecture, but cinematography tells a different story” says J. Shaffer “It’s not just about the science, engineering, or even art, but rather ‘What defines contemporary architecture and design for our time?’ As storytellers, we help to make that mark on history. We like to make sure we dig into all angles of the story…including humor!”

Chibi Moku has filmed all over Asia and the South Pacific, however they spend most of their time in the continental United States. They are releasing 20 brand new projects between August and September this year and plan to film in the Pacific Northwest for the fall. The duo has ambitious plans to finish shooting in Florida and pack and move to Europe, to cover the breathtaking architecture of Greece and Italy next year. “I want to film architecture in every country in the world!” says Natsuko Shaffer. “It’s interesting to see how, for instance, Japanese architecture is used even in western worlds…even in places that you would least expect…like Nebraska!”

PROJECT 1: San Clemente Home, California

As you walk into this beautiful house in San Clemente, California, you are likely to notice the curved and rounded interior as opposed to its contrasting geometrical exterior. This is Dupuis Designs’ flagship project; the modern Californian-styled home features Peggy Dupuis’ signature red-painted (also the load-bearing) wall complementing the customized bay windows that stretch along the expanse of the house. The decorations and furnishings are simple, blending white, anthracite grey and black, with a hint of light-colored wood. The entire house, designed on low-energy consumption model, has clever set of window openings, glass doors and skylights that provide natural air conditioning.

More photos here

Project 2:  E11EVEN Nightclub, Miami 

Designed by Telesco Associates Inc., E11EVEN is a one-of-a-kind upscale 24/7 nightclub in Miami where the design thrives on the concept of a nightclub meets Cirque du Soleil meets international cabaret. This 25,000 square feet, two-storey club is equipped with a bar in the main room, has a mini-podium with a large centre pillar, a lit-up cage and an LED wall that grabs your attention as soon as you step into the club. The centre of the main room has a hydraulic stage that can rise to the mezzanine level, or be transformed into a dance floor. 

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Trump’s Deluxe Manhattan Penthouse


 Donald Trump needs no introduction! 

His penthouse does. Easily confused with a king’s mansion, the design of his house is inspired by the styles of King Louis XIV era. Trump along with his third wife Melania call this palatial abode their home. It is located in Trump Tower, a 68 storey skyscraper, on the busy Fifth Avenue of Manhattan. The three-floor penthouse offers an enviable view of the Manhattan skyline and Central Park. Designed by the celebrity interior designer late Angelo Donghia, the house is adorned in 24k gold and marble. Gold covers the walls and ceilings. The begilded, stone studded door to the mansion leaves visitors gaping in awe. The sitting room even has a fountain. It is this and the other attractive architectural features that won his home recognition among the elite.

In an ornate gold and white marble setting, the beautiful mural painting on the ceiling captures the imagination of the visitors. 
A closer view of the living room.
Cozy corners for private conversations and high tea.
The cherubs gilded with 24k gold
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Top Architecture Competitions (August Edition)

Whether you are a professional or an architecture student, there is always a multitude of challenges to overcome. Now is the time to ideate, innovate and reinvent because we have compiled some of the most ambitious competitions from around the world for you to be a part of…
Submission: September 30, 2014
Registration: August 31, 2014
Language: English
Location: Concept
Prizes: 1st Prize $ 3000     2nd Prize $ 1500
Type: Open competition for architects and architecture students.
“NEXT BIG ONE” – the 2014 disaster resiliency project organized by Architecture for Humanity Vancouver raises awareness on the high-magnitude earthquake and tsunami event that plagues cities around the world. 
More details here
Submission: November 30, 2014
Registration:  August 20- September 19, 2014
Language: English
Location: Moscow, Russia
Prizes: 1st Prize $ 3000     2nd Prize $ 1500    3rd Prize $ 500
Type: Open competition for architects and architecture students.
HMMD’s newest architecture vision competition is dedicated to ‘designing for tolerance’. It challenges designers from around the globe to propose a temporary pavilion for the education of social, political and religious tolerance, to be erected in Russia’s Red Square, Moscow. All scales and materials are admitted but the structure must be de-mountable. Most importantly, the pavilion should conceptually deconstruct ideas for tolerance, remembering those who were victims of fanaticism and representing those who firmly defend and believe in a future without violence against any minority. While the pavilion is meant to be temporary, entries will be judged on their ability to leave enduring social and political footprints.
Register on the official website
Submission: November 5, 2014
Registration:  September 12, 2014
Language: English
Location: Milan, Italy
Prizes: 1st Prize $ 3500     2nd Prize $ 1700    3rd Prize $ 800
Type: Open competition for architects and architecture students.
The aim of this International Competition is to design an Information Pavilion within the World Expo Park in Milan. The theme chosen for the 2015 Milan Universal Exposition is Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life. This embraces technology, innovation, culture, traditions and creativity and how they relate to food and diet. Attendants to the Expo are expected to include over 130 countries plus a significant number of international organisations.
Register here 
Submission: September 21, 2014
Registration: September 21, 2014
Language: English
Location: Concept
Prizes: 1st Prize $ 1000
Type: Open competition for architects and architecture students.
 If you are a planner, urban designer, architect, landscape architect, engineer, or ecologist, we think you may have some important insights to share with the world about how to transform our existing cities into more resilient, climate adaptive, regenerative, symbiotic cities. 
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Architectural Dynamo: Norman Foster

Norman Robert Foster, also known as the Baron Foster of the Thames Bank, is known for his unique and modern designs molded in steel and glass. The architect is never the one to shy away from implementing the latest technology in his projects, his architectural designs have been both lauded and disparaged. But it takes a lot for a man of his calibre to be discouraged. He is extremely mindful of the environment, and creates designs that bear minimal impact on the environment, so much so that it is noted that most of buildings are LEED certified for energy efficiency.
Foster was born in a working-class family in Stockport and later moved to Manchester. As a young kid, he was bright and  performed well in school. His affinity to architecture began somewhere around the time when he was first introduced to a copy of Le Corbusier’s Vers un Architecture in a local library. Thus his journey began. He worked his way through the Manchester School of Architecture, later won himself a scholarship and graduated from Harvard. There he met two people who altered his perception about architecture and laid the foundation to his creative works. It was Paul Rudolph, who taught him at the college, and the iconic Buckminster Fuller under whose guidance he created masterpieces. At Harvard, he also met Richard Rodgers with whom he later embarked on his architectural career.
Foster set up his first practice called Team 4 with Richard Rogers and Rogers’ sisters. When Team 4 disbanded in 1967, he and Wendy, one of his associates (whom he later married) started Foster Associates. The firm later became Foster and Partners. Foster worked in close association with American architect Richard Buckminster Fuller from 1968 until the latter’s death in 1983. Together they worked on projects that identified and characterized the environmentally sensitive approach to design.
Amongst his first project was a private glass house built on the steeply sloping site of Creek Vean in Cornwall, that marked his dedication to architectural detail and craftsmanship. The firm has always been way ahead of its time making ample use of prefabricated off-site manufactured components for their projects. Foster Associates has worked on massive transportation projects, large public structures, and private residences. Foster’s collaboration with Fuller resulted in impressive outcomes, right from their Climatroffice project to the administrative and leisure centre for Fred Olsen Ltd., in London. But his firm’s first ever widely acclaimed project came out in 1974 – the Willis Faber and Dumas Headquarters in Ipswich. He created and mastered the concept of an open-plan office long before it even became a norm. The building is covered in full length glass curtain wall and the facade shifts from transparency to opacity to curb the glare and absorption of heat for most part of the day. 
Willis Faber and Dumas Headquarters in Ipswich
He built his first ever skyscraper at the age of 44, when he bagged the project for the Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation’s headquarters in China. Michael Sandberg, president of the multinational bank invited architects from all over the world to present designs for the bank that would exude the corporation’s long standing power, wealth and virtue. Foster won with unanimous votes in his favour. The 590 metre powerful glass and steel design cost 5 billion HKD at the time of construction and was deemed the most expensive in the world. The project was completed over a period of seven years, from 1979-86. A ten storey atrium rises well above the main hall which holds the glass elevators on the extended curved belly of the building. The area is flooded with natural sunlight due to its skylights. The two majestic bronze lions are retained from the original building design as they are considered auspicious by the occupants and the visitors. The building’s powerful facade created a statement winning Foster an international acclaim.
Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation HQ in China
Foster’s yet another widely acclaimed project from his early years was the redesign of Reichstag, site of the German parliament in Berlin. He attached a glass dome adding his touch of contemporary element to an otherwise antiquated yet historical structure. The idea of including the glass dome with intricate skylights was to fill the gloomy interiors with light and to provide the visitors a sneak peek into the proceedings of a debate session. This idea revolved around his belief that “democracy must be made visible to the people.” The unique features of this building include an inverted conical dome that absorbs light and reflects it into the chamber below. An installed sunscreen follows the movement of the sun preventing the chamber from overheating and regulating the temperature in the premises. Air shafts constantly push in fresh air into the chambers and extractors release the warm air rising upwards.
A panoramic view of the Reichstag glass dome
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