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Keith Negley
Over the last 50 years, a once-nascent conversation about sustainability has evolved into a full-scale priority for the profession.

Passive design—or design that takes advantage of the climate to maintain a comfortable temperature range—has been used to heat and cool living spaces throughout human history, but the practice saw a strong groundswell among architects in the United States in the 1970s.

The 1973 oil embargo, sweeping policy overhauls like the Clean Water Act, and the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency all contributed to the conviction of a small group of passionate and environmentally conscious architects that they needed to design differently. These architects saw it as an essential task to revive practices that could heat and cool buildings without relying on the energy-intensive mechanical systems introduced in the decades prior. In the process, much of the sustainability discourse present in the architectural profession today began to take shape.

With climate change conversations becoming increasingly urgent, sustainability has shifted from a nascent movement to a major focus. We talked to four architects—two who started their careers working on passive residential projects in the 1970s, and two leading sustainability initiatives at larger firms today—about how they use passive design techniques, how a drive for designing lowenergy buildings informs their practice, and what sustainability means to them.

David Wright, Owner, David Wright, Architect, Grass Valley, Calif.

David Wright is a pioneer in the field of passive solar design, a practice he still continues today. He is also the author of The Passive Solar Primer: Sustainable Architecture (Schiffer Publishing, 2008).,

I graduated from CalPoly [California State Polytechnic University] in 1964, and there was not a lot of concern for energy conservation in the early ’60s. I joined the Peace Corps and was assigned to Tunisia, and one of the projects I worked on was a 60-unit affordable housing design for police, schoolteachers, and nurses—people who couldn’t necessarily afford “good” housing. I had learned several things about some of the traditional architecture in North Africa, which used natural conditioning features—orienting the buildings properly to let in sunlight in the wintertime, and allowing breezes off the Mediterranean to cool them in the summertime. Lo and behold, the buildings worked to naturally heat and cool themselves.

I finished my stint there and was reassigned to Guinea, in tropical West Africa. My job was to design and build an agricultural junior college, 300 kilometers up in the jungle. There, I was designing for a whole different climate. I looked at traditional ways of keeping the rainfall out, making sure the breeze could blow through, and generally adapting the buildings to the climate zone.

When I came back to the U.S. and became licensed, I moved to New Mexico because I was enamored with the idea of using natural materials like adobe. I analyzed the performance characteristics of traditional adobes in conjunction with more modern materials, and with—by then—a very strong understanding of physics and the laws of nature, started developing what became known as passive solar techniques.

It was fascinating to evolve new ways of space-conditioning buildings, and when the 1973 oil crisis occurred, we went from what I call the “lunatic fringe”—people out there in New Mexico trying to figure stuff out—to what I call “lunatic center.” All of the magazines, all of the newspapers, and all of the people writing books showed up to check out what was going on.

From then on, everything we did was an evolution. I got away from adobe and into super-insulated and earth-integrated buildings, especially in Oklahoma and Minnesota—but with heavy insulation and thermal mass, using all of the principals of passive solar. At the time, my staff and I all thought, “We’re going to revolutionize architecture here because we’re going to create buildings that are functionally formed in response to the climate, and that will become a methodology for architects all over the world to start developing their own microclimate regional-style buildings.”

It’s still totally fascinating to me as an [older] architect. I’m amazed at how the code [has] changed and how, today, the things that I and a couple of other guys [were talking about] in the 1970s are actually in the code now, especially in California—you have to pay atten
Trent Bell
American firm Supernormal has created a nursery and preschool in the Boston area that features sculptural volumes wrapped in vibrant wallpaper and open play areas illuminated by speckled daylight.

Opened in 2019, the SolBe Learning Center is a nursery and preschool for children aged six months to five years. The 550-square-metre facility is located in a strip mall in Chestnut Hill, a community in the Boston area.

Supernormal – a multidisciplinary firm based in the nearby town of Somerville – sought to create a new type of daycare and learning environment. Working in collaboration with SolBe's founders, the architects conceived a model that pairs each classroom, called a Dwelling, with an open space, called a Yard.

"The SolBe Learning Center questions the traditional definition of the classroom, commonly interpreted from early education code as a room bounded by four walls with an area of 35 square feet of space per child," the studio said in a description.

"Instead, the classroom is re-imagined as distinct zones of activity with specific spatial characteristics that better match the quality and level of activity within them."

For the classrooms, the team created sculptural volumes wrapped in colourful, patterned wallpaper. The interiors are fitted with oak flooring, creamy walls and wooden decor. Up above, a billowing ceiling was constructed using light-gauge metal framing with an acoustical plaster finish.

"The ceiling geometry allows for, and amplifies the effect of, indirect light in the dwellings," firm principal Elizabeth Bowie Christoforetti told Dezeen.

"The soft classroom lighting and dynamic ceiling contribute to a sense of calm and wonder in the learning spaces."

Acting as "islands" within an open-floor plan, the Dwellings provide space for focused, quiet learning. In contrast, the Yards are meant for lively play, dining and group activities.

"This oscillation between focused learning and free-play territory reflects the innovative curriculum, creating space that is sensitive to the needs of children as they transition through growth stages and times of the day," the studio said.

In the open areas, activities take place under a 4.5-metre-high (15-foot-high) ceiling punctured with skylights and covered with a screen made of white, acoustic baffles. Dappled, natural light moves across the interior, enabling kids to feel and observe how light and weather change throughout the day.

When school is not in session, the facility acts a community centre, offering opportunities for weekend play, music lessons and continuing education courses for adults.

"The space is an embodiment of SolBe's distinct, open and inclusive approach to early childhood education and life in community," the studio said.

"The space and the concept that drove it hold an enormous amount of potential to push at the edges of the existing status quo toward a redefinition of our experience of young family life in America, in whatever traditional or untraditional form it exists."

The SolBe Learning Center is longlisted for the Dezeen Awards 2019.

Other innovative schools and daycare facilities within the US include Big and Tiny in the Los Angeles area, which has a co-working space for parents and a wooden play area for kids, and WeWork's first school in New York City, which features lily-pad-shaped cushions and sculptural wooden enclosures.
Max Touhey
This week, Gensler principals Robert Fuller and Amanda Carroll revealed the firm’s nearly completed revitalization of a former Jehovah’s Witness complex in Brooklyn for Columbia Heights Associates, a joint venture of CIM Group and LIVWRK. Located at the Northwest edge of Brooklyn Heights, Panorama, the name of the commercial development, comprises five interconnected buildings: a pair of 12-story concrete structures originally designed by Russell and William Cory for Squibb Pharmaceuticals (one of them with a 1980s steel addition), and three smaller Civil War-era brick and timber buildings.

As reimagined by the architects the complex will accommodate a variety of potential programs: a campus for a single tech company or offices for several creative businesses, in addition to restaurants, shops and other amenities, such as a fitness center.

The design team created gracious new entrances with spacious wood-clad lobbies, and they opened the previously dark, carved-up interiors, removing film from windows, punching fenestration into blank facades and breaking through dropped ceilings to reveal skylights and clearstories. The generous properties now offer 635,000 square feet of day-lit workspace, 55,000 square feet of terraced and street-level outdoor areas, and 130 on-site parking spaces. An additional 35,000 square feet are planned for retail and 15,000 for hospitality venues. Dark-fiber internet connectivity throughout the project will fast-forward the old buildings to fulfill 21st century requirements.

The views of lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge are spectacular, as are the stripped-down, industrial-style floor plates with exposed structures, fluid interconnectivity within the properties and access to fresh air. It won’t be long before a gracious stair to the street at the rear of one of the older buildings will welcome the community (and tourists) to sit or visit shops on the second level or even snap a selfie on a cantilevered platform that hovers above the landing and provides panoramas of the waterfront and beyond. Panorama will be completed, and ready for tenants, fall 2019.
Marsel Loermans via Studio Public
Dutch architectural practice Studio Public has carved out a slice of eco-friendly bliss in Houten, a nearly car-free suburb in Utrecht. Dubbed the Eco Villa, the 2,000-square-foot modern home slots in perfectly with its green and environmentally minded surroundings with an emphasis on natural materials, sustainability and the use of renewable energy. Powered by solar, the abode produces all of its own energy and is even complemented by a naturally filtered pool for chlorine-free swimming.

Built with an L shape to frame the outdoor garden and natural pool with a wooden walkway, Eco Villa features two bedrooms and an open-plan living area, dining room and kitchen. A slim “technical zone” divides the master suite from the living areas. The exterior is clad in a combination of Corten steel panels, plaster and wood screens and is punctuated with floor-to-ceiling, triple-pane glass to bring the outdoors in. The operable walls of glass and strategically placed skylights fill the home with natural light.

As with the exterior, the interior features a natural materials palette and a minimalist design. Timber is the predominate material that ties the various spaces together, from the cabinetry in the bathrooms to the flooring in the living spaces. Clean lines, simple forms and select pops of color — like the blue tile wall divider in the bathroom — make the home look contemporary and cozy without visual clutter.

In addition to solar panels, the Eco Villa is equipped with a heat pump. The use of renewable energy combined with highly efficient insulation and an emphasis on natural daylighting has made the home capable of generating all of its own energy — sometimes with power left over to send back to the grid.

The Polish city of Lublin will soon be home to an environmentally friendly bus station that not only offers a new and attractive public space, but also combats urban air pollution. Designed by Polish architectural firm Tremend, the Integrated Intermodal Metropolitan Station in Lublin will be built near the train station and aims to revitalize the area around the railway station. The contemporary design, combined with its environmental focus and green features, earned the project a spot on World Architecture Festival’s World Building of the Year shortlist.

Located close to Folk Park, the Integrated Intermodal Metropolitan Station was designed as a visual extension of the neighboring green space with a lush roof garden and large green wall that wraps the northern facade. Greenery is also referenced in the series of sculptural tree-like pillars that support a massive flat roof with large overhanging eaves. Walls of glass create an inviting and safe atmosphere, while the administration rooms will be provided with tinted windows for privacy.

To reduce energy demands, the building will be heated with geothermal energy and outfitted with energy-efficient LEDs. Meanwhile, motion detectors will be used to activate the lighting to ensure energy savings. A rainwater collection and treatment system will also be used to irrigate the plants that create a cooling microclimate and improved air quality. Air quality is further improved with the use of “anti-smog blocks,” a modern photocatalytic material containing titanium dioxide that breaks down toxic fumes.

“Architecture of public places is evolving in my opinion in a very good direction,” says Magdalena Federowicz-Boule, President of the Tremend Board. “Combining different spaces, open shared zones favors establishing contacts. The communication center, which is to be built in Lublin, is to revive it for revitalization district and become a meeting place where people will be able to meet and spend together time in an attractive environment with green areas. The project is also a response to problems, related to environmental protection and city life, such as smog, water and energy consumption, noise. It is an image of how we perceive the role of ecology in architecture.”

John Muggenborg
In the middle of the last century, when suburbia threatened to drain Minneapolis of businesses and retailers, the city reinvented itself in the image of corporate campuses and indoor malls. Local officials converted a dozen blocks of the city’s Nicollet Avenue into a transit mall according to a design by landscape architect Lawrence Halprin, while real-estate developers inserted miles of skyways that connect the surrounding buildings. Today, this downtown zone is being revitalized as a mixed-use neighborhood, and Minneapolis is again reshaping its urban fabric by implementing a redesign of the Nicollet Mall, led by the landscape architecture and urban-design firm James Corner Field Operations, with lighting by New York–based Tillotson Design Associates (TDA) and local expertise contributed by the notable Snow Kreilich Architects and landscape architect Coen+Partners.

According to Field Operations senior associate Megan Born, the new scheme retains Halprin’s existing curvilinear street, while organizing it to work better for pedestrians—people who are walking through it or those seeking out the mall as a destination in itself. For the former group, Field Operations created a clearly legible, 10-foot-wide walkway next to buildings, with TDA outfitting 43-foot-tall poles with adjustable LED floodlights to supply most of the ambient illumination. “Making a welcoming, safe place to stroll at night was a big priority for all stakeholders, so lifting the light source and letting it create an even wash of light is one of the primary design elements of this project,” Born says.

The light poles are spaced approximately 70 feet apart on average, and each has four pairs of small LED floods, each with a warm 3000-Kelvin color temperature and 85 CRI—a welcome change from the single, glaring light source often used for such projects. At the same time, for familiarity, the lighting designers maintained Nicollet Mall’s previous level of brightness, which exceeded 2 foot-candles. Cylindrical RGBW beacons located at the top of the light poles may be programmed in conjunction with different events, and unique, globe-shaped lanterns project from select poles as part of a public art program.

Outside of the walk zones, Field Operations conceived a variety of outdoor rooms for destination seekers. These include a lushly planted reading area for fine weather, where luminaires that look like oversize floor lamps add to the ambient glow, and a theater-in-the-round accented by LED points. At the heart of Nicollet Mall, pedestrians might gather, find respite, or take a selfie underneath the Light Walk, a series of contiguous trellis-like armatures, topped by mirrored fins, that the lighting designers outlined with color-changing LEDs in channel extrusions. Stands of uplit birches, northern pin oaks, and other trees unite the rooms into one continuous experience and lend a seasonal diversity to this reinvented street’s warm, multifaceted scene.
Casey Dunn
Texas architecture studio Clayton & Little has built a barn from reclaimed oil field pipes and weathering steel panels, topped with solar panels to provide power to a vineyard in California.

The Saxum Vineyard Equipment Barn is on the James Berry Vineyard – part of the Saxum Vineyard group – in Paso Robles, a town in central California known for its olive groves, hillsides and wineries. It has been longlisted in the business building category of this year's Dezeen Awards.

Clayton & Little created the simple barn to provide covered storage for farming vehicles, implements and livestock supplies, while also being a structure to hold solar panels to power the nearby Saxum Winery.

The studio describes the structure, which is made reclaimed oil field pipes, as a modern version of a pole barn – a type of agricultural building that began being built in the USA in the 1930s.

The structure is mostly symmetrical with an open central storage area and enclosed rooms for storage on either side. The building is clad with perforated Corten panels that protect the machinery from the sunlight, while allowing the wind to pass through.

On top of the barn's long roof, which is supported by the reclaimed pipes, are a series of photovoltaic panels. These laminated glass solar modules act as the barn's roof, reducing cost as there was no need for a separate structure.

The solar panels offset the electrical demand of the winery, freeing it from the dependence of grid-tied power. Energy from the panels also supports irrigation well pumps at the vineyard.

"Designed to harnesses the local climate to maximise cross ventilation, daylight and solar energy, the recycled oilfield pipe structure holds a laminated glass photovoltaic roof system that produces a third more power than needed [at the winery]," Clayton & Little said.

The roof is also designed to collect rainfall for irrigating trees and adjacent grazing meadow, which is stored in cylinders nearby.

This is intended to dramatically reduce the vineyards dependence on mains water, and combined with the solar panels, effectively take it off the grid.

Saxum Vineyard Equipment Barn was awarded as one of this year's AIA Small Projects and joins BIG'S Klein A45 cabin in the Catskill Mountains and South 5th Residence in Austin by Alterstudio Architecture.

Founded in 2005, Clayton & Little is led by partners Paul Clayton, Brian Korte, Sam Manning and Nathan Quiring. The studio has two offices in Austin and San Antonio, Texas.

Other barns include an oak-clad structure in the Netherlands, Swallowfield Barn in British Columbia and a blackened wood structure by Worrell Yeung in Upstate New York.
Andrea Ferrari. Courtesy of Dimoregallery
Inside the rebirth of Gabriella Crespi's fabulous mushroom-shaped lamp

Glamorous Milanese designer Gabriella Crespi contemplated an age-old decorating dilemma in the mid-1970s: How could she bring the restorative warmth of the sun indoors? Her answer came in the form of Rising Sun, a radiant lighting collection made from an unusual pair of materials: brass and bamboo. The latter, she observed, “combines force and flexibility, the warmth of color and a capacity to let light through.”

Of Rising Sun’s rare designs—few were ever produced—one has recently proliferated: the Fungo lamp, which features a swooping brass base and bamboo shade that gives it a mushroom-like silhouette. The lamp “embodies Crespi’s talent to produce objects of great perfection,” says agenda-setting dealer Nina Yashar, who showed an original Fungo alongside other Rising Sun pieces at Nilufar gallery (nilufar.com), her Milan showroom, in April. “It is a sinuous and simple form—a feminine image. It shows the power of the female.”

Crespi, who died in 2017, explored other materials to give Fungo a new look as time passed, topping the brass bases with Plexiglas shades to create even more light play. This year, Crespi’s daughter Elisabetta put that later iteration back into production, and is selling them at Dimoregallery—run by AD100 design firm Dimore Studio. Made by the same craftspeople as the originals, the reproduction Fungos were launched in a dreamy installation at Dimoregallery during Milan Design Week. Why this piece? Elisabetta Crespi, whose childhood home had a Fungo in almost every room, reflects on the lamp’s splendid solar energy: “In my early life I definitely felt surrounded by the sun.”
A huge converted grain silo in Shanghai was the setting for Prada's 2020 Spring Summer menswear show, designed by AMO as a hall of futuristic neon lights.

The show took place on 6 June at Silo Hall, Asia's largest silo building. A powerful reminder of Shanghai's industrial heritage, the building provided an appropriate backdrop for Prada's latest mens collection, described by the Italian fashion house as "a power of energy, provocation and freedom".

AMO, the research arm of Dutch firm OMA, transformed the industrial interior of the 80,000-tonne warehouse into an "illuminated vista" of bright blue lights.

A linear runway intersected the longitudinal axis of the monumental, labyrinth-like space, while guests were arranged in the central nave of the building in an amphitheater of circular seats that mirrored the shape of the silos.

Glowing neon lights complemented the hall's raw, industrial character and highlighted the geometry of the space, creating a "glowing enfilade" down the centre of the chamber.

"Mindful of its history, at intervals, the installation of the 2020 Spring Summer Prada Men’s show and events is disrupted by reminders of roughness and industry, embedded in the fabric of the building," said the brand.

"These retain the original character of the building, and the echoes of a past," it added.

The words "I am no longer an artist; I have become a work of art" and "I feel myself a god" were played out on a voiceover as models walked along an expansive runway dressed in oversized striped shirts, double-breasted blazers and colour-block windbreakers.

Colourful backpacks and knee-length shorts added a boyish aesthetic to the Optimistic Rhythm collection, which had retro-futurist overtones that could be seen on jackets and tees featuring vibrantly coloured prints of cassette tapes and video recorders.
James John Jetel
These days, workplaces often contain cafés, wellness rooms, and lounges galore. But a bar? Not as likely... let alone four of them. But such is the case at the North American headquarters of the Campari Group—the Milan-based company famous for its bright-red namesake aperitif—that now also counts more than 50 other beverage brands in its portfolio, some of them, including Wild Turkey and Skyy Vodka, Amer­ican. Mix them all together, and it makes Campari Group the sixth largest spirits company in the world—a feat worthy of celebrating. Gensler helped the group do so with its new two-story New York office.

But first, some background. When the U.S. became Campari’s biggest sales market, executives decided to move the company from its San Francisco headquarters east. New York would be closer to Milan and other parts of its empire and help recruit top talent. “It’s the center of the action,” Ugo Fiorenzo, Campari America managing director, says of the city. He and his team selected two upper floors in the landmarked W. R. Grace building, doubling work space to 65,000 square feet and affording views of neighboring Bryant Park. “We were looking for that wow effect,” Fiorenzo adds.

“Don’t think all anyone does is party around here—foremost, this is designed for work.”

To live up to the expectation, Gensler principal and design director Stefanie Shunk made a pilgrimage to Milan to steep herself in the company’s 159-year history and culture, which includes decades worth of art, among it posters commissioned in the early 1900s from Fortunato Depero and Leonetto Cappiello. Once back, she translated her inspirations into the design of the workplace, drawing on furnishings from such companies as Foscarini and Minotti and employing such luxe materials as Italian leather. “You gotta love it,” Shunk says as she trails her fingers over the hide covering the walls of the elevator lobby. She and her team specified it and much of the furniture upholstery in a deep blue similar to that in the Campari logo.

Further in, not a typical reception desk but an espresso bar—with barista—greets visitors, looking like it could have been spirited from Corso Magenta in Milan. In the shape of the letter C, its counter is topped in marble, Italian, of course, and features a brass footrest. Just behind it is another wow element: Gensler carved a double-height atrium through the two floors and inserted a 16-foot-tall cerused-oak wall assemblage inspired by a Depero brick artwork on a building facade in Italy. The installation here serves as a backdrop to a full-scale bar, also C-shape but in buffed brass, on the floor below. Dubbed the Fortunato bar, the environment has the look and feel of an urban five-star hotel.

The feeling changes to that of floating inside a bottle of Campari in the stairway connecting the floors. Walls, floor, and ceiling are drenched in carmine red, and LED strips along the coves and treads instill a nightlife vibe. A grid of steel-mesh lockers at the landing exhibits bottles of rare liquors produced by the Campari Group. Glimpsed through the lockers is an ornate crystal chandelier. Arrive there to find it suspended over yet another bar, this one inside a tall, slender jewel box. Intimate and hermetic, its walls are covered in an old-fashioned taupe damask pattern, and the bar proper is an elaborately carved mahogany antique. Inspired by a prohibition-era speakeasy, this Boulevardier Bar—named for the cocktail of sweet vermouth, bourbon, and, yes, Campari originating at Harry’s New York Bar in 1920’s Paris—is where top customers visiting the HQ are invited to sip special-edition whiskeys, rums, and liqueurs. It’s a wonder of a space.

Making sure the Campari bars not only look exceptional but also function extremely well “was the thing that kept me up at night,” says Shunk, who watched GoPro videos of bartenders at work to learn exactly where the sink, ice, and other components needed to be. That knowledge was essential to designing the office’s lablike academy, where master mixologists concoct cocktails and bartenders come for training. The café, which occupies a whole corner of a floor plate, functions as yet another bar, one that, with its brick wall, large windows, and Campari motto—”toasting life together,” rendered in neon—was intended to evoke and bring in the city.
Seon-Yeong Kwak
Sheila Kennedy and MIT researchers team up to introduce bioluminescent plants into architecture.

Even without the billion-plus people who still lack access to electricity, global electrical networks are under considerable stress. The aging and unreliable U.S. power grid strains to keep up with Americans’ increasing appetite for electricity. Gretchen Bakke, author of The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future (Bloomsbury, 2016), has argued that the grid's near-obsolescence makes it the “weakest link” in achieving our energy aspirations.

One of the more taxing demands on the grid is lighting. Despite recent improvements in energy efficient sources, such as LEDs, lighting consumes 15 percent of worldwide energy and is responsible for 5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to a Department of Energy report.

Such concerns have long motivated the work of Sheila Kennedy, FAIA, of Boston-based Kennedy & Violich Architecture. Kennedy’s experiments with materials as vehicles for low-power light sources have resulted in innovative solar textiles, sunlight-delivery systems, and the Portable Light project, a mobile, solar-powered illumination solution for communities lacking access to electricity. Her latest effort, developed in collaboration with MIT chemical engineering professor Michael Strano, utilizes plants as the light delivery mechanism.

Currently on display at the Cooper Hewitt 2019 Design Triennial, the Plant Properties project utilizes biocompatible, GMO-free techniques to generate ambient lighting with live plants, transforming living foliage into a zero-energy light source. Kennedy has long been exploring the implications of this biodesign approach to illuminating the constructed environment. According to the project statement, “The Plant Properties installation demonstrates the architecture of a post-electric, vegetal future when people depend upon living plants for oxygen, water remediation, and ambient light.” Plant Properties depicts the reconfiguration of an New York City brownstone to support the cultivation of light-emitting plants.
Bruno Zaitter
In the state of Paraná in the south of Brazil, architect Bruno Zaitter has created a contemporary and low-impact suite for the charming Hotel Fazenda Cainã in the countryside. Dubbed the Refúgio da Cainã, the building features walls of glass to take in sweeping views of the native forest, surrounding mountains and the city of Curitiba in the far distance. Elevated to reduce site impact, the prefab structure includes a repurposed container measuring nearly 40 feet in length.

Spanning an area of 538 square feet, the modern Refúgio da Cainã has been dubbed by Hotel Fazenda Cainã as their Hannah Arendt suite after the renowned American philosopher and political theorist. Included in their Villa do Bosque collection, the contemporary chalet is equipped with full-height windows for taking in views of the large native forest to the south, as well as city and valley views towards the east. The streamlined interiors are dressed with a natural materials palette that complements the outdoors.

“In this natural space marked by a wide green area and the characteristic geology of the site, the Refúgio da Cainã contemplates a simplistic structural concept that reveals the connection of the interior with the exterior by the minimal intervention in the natural environment,” explains the architect, who adds that the hotel is located in the area of a geological fault called the “Escarpa Devoniana.” “It has in its essence, the relation between the artificial structure and the natural universe, where the concept of the project is to harmonize with nature without trying to disguise it, revealing its straight lines as opposed the curved and organic lines of nature.”

To reduce environmental impact, the architect reused a nearly 40-foot-long metal container for the bulk of the building, which includes the bathroom on one end, the bedroom in the middle, along with a dining area and living room on the other end. A “glass box” was added to the container and houses a sitting area enclosed on three sides by floor-to-ceiling glazing. The building is elevated with pillars to preserve the natural terrain and minimize site impact.

Laura Dickinson
Thousands of color-changing fiber optic lights transform a Paso Robles landscape at the long-awaited art display off Highway 46 East.

The Field of Light at Sensorio — a massive illuminated installation that fills 15 acres of oak tree-lined fields — was created by artist Bruce Munro and commissioned by Ken Hunter, co-owner of Hunter Ranch Golf Course.

The solar-powered display, located at 4380 Highway 46 East, was installed as an introduction to Sensorio, a garden and interactive art attraction Hunter has been planning for years.

Hunter recently put the nearby golf course on the market to allow him to further devote his passion to the project. Sensorio will eventually feature a wine center and resort hotel, in addition to the garden and art display.

“This is a dream come true for Bobbi and I,” Hunter said of Sensorio at Wednesday’s media preview. “It’s something that started in my head some 50 years ago.”

Munro has been installing Field of Light displays at locations around the world since the early 2000s.

“Everywhere it goes, it’s different,” he said. “The one constant is it makes people smile.”

Hunter and his wife, Bobbi, first saw Munro’s Field of Light on display in Uluru, Australia, during a vacation and decided to bring the installation to the Central Coast.

The Paso Robles installation is Munro’s biggest to date, with 58,800 glowing “stemmed spheres” that illuminate the hills in a patchwork of ever-changing colors and draw attention to the shadowy outlines of the oak trees scattered around the site.

The display is lit around dusk, but the magic really starts as the landscape transitions into darkness. Walkways built into the landscape guide visitors around the display, giving them multiple angles and heights from which to view the lights.

The installation is perfect for Instagram-worthy photos, but Hunter and Munro both hope visitors will put down their phones and take some time to appreciate the environment screen-free.

“It’s about connecting to the landscape,” Munro said.

Visitors will be able to enjoy the installation while sipping wine or beer, which will be available for purchase on-site. Live music and food trucks will also offer entertainment and refreshments.


The Field of Light will be on display Wednesdays through Sundays until Jan. 5, 2020. It’s open from 7 to 11 p.m. Adult admission is $27 on Wednesday and Thursday and $30 Friday through Sunday.

Tickets for children age 12 and under are $9 on Wednesday, $18 on Thursday and $19 Friday through Sunday. Children under age 2 receive free admission.

For more information, visit sensoriopaso.com or call 805-226-4287.
Interior Design
“From a very young age, I understood that I had a kind of over-sensitivity to atmospheres,” admits Jasper Morrison. In his desire to influence them, the British designer has become one of the most successful industrial designers of the modern day. Emeco, Flos, Vitra, and Mattiazzi are among his high-profile clients, while the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in New York are just two of the prominent museums around the world highlighting his work.

In Morrison’s latest collection, a limited-edition cork furniture series launching during NYCxDESIGN this week, faulty wine bottle corks rejected during the production process find new life. To present the collection, Morrison turned to gallery Kasmin in New York—a union which also celebrates a lifelong friendship. In 1970s England, the SoHo gallery’s owner, Paul Kasmin, was a schoolmate. On view May 9 through June 29, “Corks” unveils Morrison’s first complete series in the material, with a chaise longue, chairs, stools, bookshelves, and a fireplace. Interior Design sat down with Morrison to hear more about the new cork collection, recent Milan launches, and what London restaurant personifies his design mentality with celeriac and a boiled egg.

Interior Design: Why cork?

Jasper Morrison: I have done a few things in cork before and came to understand what a great material it is, both to the touch and in terms of what it does for the atmosphere of a room. It is difficult to do anything big industrially with it, because the material cost is quite high, the machining cost higher, and it needs to be hand-finished—so it really only works for limited production.

ID: What’s the design concept behind the cork pieces?

JM: The process is rather sculptural as the pieces have to be machined out of large blocks of cork. It's very different from designing things for mass production, which tends to be more about structure than volume. The concept is really just about finding good shapes to make each piece of furniture work well. The material suggests its own formal language, but you need to make sure there's the right balance of softness and tension in the forms. The repurposed corks come from a producer in Portugal. The primary product produced by cork is still the wine bottle stopper, and they grind these up and form them into blocks under pressure with a glue. I've known about this material for many years and have used it for a few smaller pieces, which were economic enough to be made in quantities.

ID: What else have you completed recently?

JM: Some new chairs as usual—at any one time I'm always working on at least four or five chairs. At Salone del Mobile this year, I presented a slightly sculptural solid wood chair called Fugu for the Japanese brand Maruni.

For Emeco, a company I have been working with very closely for the last five years or so, I did a cleaning-up job of a few of their heritage pieces—a chair, armchair, and swivel chairs from 1948 known as the Navy Officers collection. When I first saw them, I nicknamed them the ugly sisters. We really had to rework and fine-tune them to make them more appealing for today's market. From the proportions and thicknesses of structure to upholstery detailing, they really came from another era, when things were done in a very different way. I guess they were made to last, but they were a bit over-the-top in terms of structure.

We also just completed a big collection of tableware called Raami for the Finnish brand Iittala.

foster + partners continue their creative collaboration with lumina as they shed light on a new series of luminaries at euroluce / milan design week 2019. introducing three new pieces, the products pay tribute to the philosophies of the italian brand: honest aesthetics inspired by their function, the process of manufacture, and the tactility of their materials.

designed to be used independently or as part of a constellation, the lumina ‘tia’ is a smooth pendant light. it combines an intricately hand-blown venetian glass shade with an integrated light engine in the center. the shade offers flexibility with three different sizes as well as availability in a variety of colors. the engine in the middle has a specially designed lens that distributes light evenly from the downward-pointing LED.

as an intimate light source for the bedside or table-top, the ‘pin’ is a small, sculptural lamp that is available in a range of metallic finishes. its single anodized aluminum and CNC-machined stem contains a single LED source that is then reflected off the inside of a circular top. this holds a bespoke flexer that distributes the light evenly. powered either by the mains or with a rechargeable battery, the design can be dimmed or brightened by touching its top.

building upon their ‘eva’ lamp, the collaborated has created a smaller version titled ‘eve’. as a mixture of glass and innovative technology, the design is a streamlined model of the original complete with an exterior framed by details of gold finishes on the top and bottom. inside, the top contains a thin light source that then interplays with the glass housing.

‘right from our first collaboration on the flo lamp, working with lumina has been an exceptional experience. they have always shared our enthusiasm for the craft of manufacture and commitment to cutting-edge technology, themes that run through every lamp we have designed with them including the latest series. the new lamps embody an honest aesthetic that is inspired by their function, the process of making and the tactility of materials, yet serving varying functions – from an intimate light source to a pendant for ambient light,‘ concludes mike holland, head of industrial design at foster + partners.

Antoine Hout
Retail designers commonly show restraint in order to let the merchandise shine, but when conceiving a Rome boutique for Dolce&Gabbana, Carbondale scoffed at convention—and so did the client. “I had no fear that the architecture would overpower the products,” says Eric Carlson, principal of the Paris-based firm. “I was more worried about the opposite occurring.” Indeed, the Italian fashion company’s bold designs stand out on their own, and its founders—Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana—have adopted a retail strategy just as bold, collaborating with different architects to create distinctive stores rather than rolling out the same branding concept from city (Venice) to city (London).

The bi-level 10,700-square-foot boutique occupies a listed 16th-century building on the city’s renowned Piazza di Spagna. Working within the existing historic structure, Carbondale devised a journey back to baroque-era grandeur. The firm’s skilled approach to luxury, illusion, and craft creates an aura of Rome that greets visitors the moment they enter the vestibule, with a stone-mosaic medallion set into the Calacatta-marble floor. It depicts the city’s mythical founders Romulus and Remus with their mother (a she-wolf). A path through two contiguous spaces with lower ceilings and progressively narrower columns and doorways creates a forced perspective that seemingly elongates the corridor—a brilliant segue into the first of the shop’s lavishly appointed salons.

Though some of the rich surfaces and ornate architectural elements look historic, they are new and custom. Decorative columns throughout are made with board-formed concrete (save for marble columns in the staircase). The floors are marble with intricate inlays of brass, stone, or glass mosaics, all in a range of hues that refer to the city’s past. Modern touches also hint of papal Rome, such as glass walls backed in cardinal-red moiré silk and Murano-glass chandeliers with pops of red and gold.

On the ground floor, gold-mosaic-lined friezes decorated with Latin inscriptions draw the eye upward to a ceiling topography comprising marble- or brass-clad soffits, brass trim framing cove lighting and marble ceiling panels, or Vatican-inspired vaults and domes—the latter including a pair capped by 35-inch-diameter frosted-glass apertures that replaced existing industrial-sash skylights. Gradating mosaic rings within their spheres radiate outward from the apertures, producing a dramatic Pantheon-like effect in each.

Carlson and his team continue the illusionary scheme up the staircase leading to the men’s shops. Here, an expansive mirrored wall reflects the steps, so that the arcadelike landing appears double in size. An even more surprising trompe l’oeil effect awaits shoppers in a halfvaulted linear clothing gallery on the second level. LED screens along the length of an entire wall and on the curved ceiling loop a four-minute Sistine Chapel–inspired animated video sequence of battling Roman gods and goddesses, an ensuing thunderstorm, and finally a peaceful sunset, all to a background audio of Gregorian chants. A mirror on the opposite wall visually completes the vault “and creates a Rorschach-like movement to the ‘fresco,’ ” says Carlson. Psychedelic and memorable, this digital-meets–Old World feature amazes visitors, while fulfilling the client’s wish for an experience unique to the location.
Chun Lai
Craig Hartman and his wife, Jan O’Brien—both architects—spent nearly 10 years visiting their weekend property in Sonoma County, California, before breaking ground. They stayed in a yurt on the rolling 35-acre former cattle ranch and contemplated a gentle architectural intervention. Finally, the first phase, a guest/caretaker cottage, is done, serving as the couple’s own retreat until the main house is built, and embodying key ideas for the whole site.

“Beyond sustainability,” says Hartman, “we wanted land we could make environmentally even better than we’d found it.” Removing the cattle dramatically helped restore native ecosystems, allowing oak seedlings to proliferate and mature (instead of becoming grazing fodder), and protecting on-site creeks from contaminated pasture runoff. But without client pressure, the project became “like a hobby,” he recalls. “I worked on it here and there during weekends.” He savored the leisurely pace and modest scale—a welcome change from the vast structures he’s handled as a partner in SOM’s San Francisco office, where he designed, notably, California’s Oakland Cathedral and the U.S. Courthouse in L.A.. “With this house, my wife indulged me,” he says. “Though she’d built her entire practice on smaller-scale work and interiors, she generously let me design it.” (A young associate, Anesta Iwan, is collaborating on the compound, while O’Brien, as project architect, is overseeing it all.)

Nestled within a hillside oak grove, the net zero carbon cottage is composed of a “day” and “night” pavilion, joined by a canopy. Each of these volumes, totaling 840 square feet, is a rectangular tube, structured with renewable, heavy timbers and partially cantilevered to reduce the footprint. The exterior recycled-steel cladding is dark-colored to recede visually. The day pavilion contains a double-height living/dining/kitchen area, while its nighttime counterpart houses the master bedroom and art studio/guest room.

As in the future main house, the fenestration is oriented for passive cooling, privacy, and long, sweeping landscape views, as well as contemplative near ones. Heat-venting skylights with subtly colored baffles and LED components temper the interior illumination, in tandem with the changing qualities of daylight. A ground-mounted PV array, elsewhere on-site, covers the property’s energy needs while feeding excess power back into the grid.

The owners hope to make their cabin available for visiting artists, once the main house is built. When will that happen? “We were going to begin construction this spring,” says Hartman, “but now we’re putting it off another year.” Stay tuned.
Not so long ago, one of the most compelling reasons for daylighting a space was energy savings. Since the 1970s, lighting has been one of the largest users of electricity in buildings. But advances in lighting technology, namely the rapid improvement of LEDs, which are longer-lasting and more efficient than more traditional sources, are changing the discussion. Lighting’s energy consumption has been on the decline, representing 17 percent of electricity end use in commercial buildings in 2012, according to the U.S. Energy Information Association, down from 38 percent in 2003. Electric illumination’s slice of the energy pie should fall even more as LEDs develop further and their controls become both more sophisticated and more user-friendly.

Of course, there are other arguments for designing around daylight. Architects have intuitively understood its ability to elevate the experience of their interiors. Now an increasing body of science, accumulated over decades, has quantified daylighting’s beneficial effects. One still frequently cited 1999 study examined schools in three U.S. districts and found significantly improved performance among students occupying daylit classrooms. Since then, research has demonstrated higher sales figures in skylit big-box stores, as well as better outcomes for patients in hospital rooms with daylight, including shortened stays, reduced need for pain medication, and quicker post-op recovery.

Design teams and their clients are showing renewed interest in such health and productivity benefits. One chief factor is the expansion of the green building movement to encompass occupant well-being in addition to energy efficiency, says Chad Groshart, lighting-design lead in the New Haven office of Atelier Ten, an environmental design consultant: “The focus is no longer only on how the meter is spinning.”

One attribute of daylight that architects are keen to harness is its ability to help regulate our biological clocks, or circadian rhythms. Its spectral distribution and intensity affect a host of interrelated physiological and psychological functions including mood, alertness, and hormone levels. Designers are also eager to use electric light to improve these functions, a possibility enabled by the advent of tunable-white LEDs, which have color temperatures that can range from very warm to very cool. But experts warn that there is still debate about the optimum color, timing, and duration of exposure in such electric illumination. “Circadian lighting design is more of a lengthy experiment rather than an authoritative design standard,” says Brian Stacy, Arup’s lighting lead for the Americas. Groshart echoes this view: “Sunlight is the best circadian light,” he says, advising that project teams seeking to help regulate occupants’ internal rhythms should first focus on strategies for achieving the best quality daylight, including the orientation, form, and fenestration of the architecture.

Such factors can be readily manipulated when designing a new building, but tenant fit-out projects or the renovation of existing buildings naturally require a different approach. An example is one of Groshart’s own projects, the New York headquarters for Delos, the wellness real-estate and technology company best known for creating the WELL Building Standard (the rating system is now administered by Green Business Certification Inc.). Delos moved into its space on the fourth and fifth floors of 860 Washington Street, a new 10-story structure by James Carpenter Design Associates and Adamson Associates Architects in the city’s Meatpacking District in late 2017. The organization picked the building in large part for its floor-to-ceiling glass curtain wall on three of its four facades, since both daylight and views are important aspects of WELL. This skin affords ample daylight and views of the adjacent High Line park and the rest of the neighborhood. (The offices have been certified WELL Platinum, have earned Living Building Challenge “petal” status, and are on track for a LEED Gold or Platinum rating.)

The project’s architect, Gensler, with Atelier Ten as lighting designer, developed the 19,000-square-foot office with a variety of environments, including “free address” workstations, a café, and meeting and focus rooms, all organized around a central stair featuring a digital artwork that is activated as occupants ascend or descend. At lea
Sergio Pirrone
Unsangdong Architects has designed the Hannae Forest of Wisdom community centre in Seoul with a row of intersecting gabled forms enclosed by glass end walls.

Seoul studio Unsangdong Architects developed the centre in the Hannae neighbourhood as a cultural space for the community that repurposes an abandoned plot near the entrance to a public park.

To find a way to encourage local residents to re-engage as a society, the architecture studio designed the building to accommodate a library, cafe and spaces for after-school education.

Unsangdong Architects described the building as "an artificial forest" that complements the trees of the surrounding park.

The Hannae Forest of Wisdom is also designed as a rebuttal to the built environment of the neighbourhood, where concrete apartment blocks provide high-density housing with little connection to nature.

"It is not a dominant architecture, but the space expands one's imagination," said Unsangdong Architects. "Its shape is a combination of nature and concentric encounters, symbolised as overlapping mountains."

Intersecting gabled volumes symbolise a sense of togetherness, communication and community spirit, as well as creating a unique form that is less dominant than if a single mass was used.

In the elevation facing towards a public plaza, the gable ends are infilled with glazing that allows daylight to pour into the space. Further back, the overlapping forms create additional irregular openings that add to the dynamism of the interior.

The internal layout is based on a repeating shelving unit that forms the walls and becomes a partition between different zones. These wooden dividers designate space, whilst also providing a consistent element that flows throughout the building.

The shelving system extends across the library's ceiling, creating spaces that feel warm and intimate. Light panels are incorporated into the ceiling, which varies in height to give each zone a distinct personality.
Sean O’Neill
The partnership between the artist and the firm goes back more than a decade. Together, they aim to predict the behavior of light in relation to materials, weather, humidity, existing daylighting, and other factors.

Waxing transcendental on the abstract sublime in the color-field paintings of Mark Rothko, the critic Robert Rosenblum once wrote that the artist’s canvases seem to “conceal a total, remote presence that we can only intuit and never fully grasp.”

On the western side of Philadelphia’s City Hall, a similar thing could be said of the public art piece by sculptor Janet Echelman, who has conjured up her own take on the sublime. Pulse renders Echelman’s ethereal sculptural work in suspended netting into a kinetic cloud of mist rising from fountain-dotted Dilworth Park. Referencing Pulse’s lights, which reflect the movement of trains under the plaza, Echelman calls the work “a living X-ray of the city’s circulatory system.”

Commissioned in 2009 within a larger activation of the city’s central plaza (construction of which wrapped in 2011), and opened last fall, Pulse is the fruit of a close collaboration between Echelman and a team of engineers from Arup. To achieve the quality of color that the group had in mind—“the Rothko effect,” Brian Stacy, Arup’s global lighting leader, calls it—Echelman and the firm devised a lighting system that illuminates the water mist from multiple angles, which adds depth and layers of color. On top of that, they had to account for variable outdoor conditions of daylighting, humidity, and wind.

In the decade between Pulse’s conception and launch, Arup and Echelman collaborated on a number of other installations, both indoors and out. Among these was the artist’s 2015 work for Washington, D.C.’s Renwick Gallery, 1.8 Renwick, a suspended expanse of polyethylene and polyester lit by LEDs. To dial in the piece’s pulsing, jellyfishlike quality, Arup enlisted a 3D model to investigate not only “light on the piece but also the light that goes through the piece,” Stacy recalls.

Arup relies heavily on this intensive digital and physical modeling to predict the behavior of color. But even with top-of-the-line equipment, Stacy says, “you can only get it so accurate on screen.” As with many works of art—Rothko’s among them—Echelman’s true colors are best experienced in person.
The factory, which currently makes battery packs and electric motors for the Model 3, will eventually be the biggest building in the world–with the world’s largest rooftop solar array.

When it’s fully complete, Tesla’s Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada, will be the largest building in the world, sprawling over 15 million square feet on a plot of land more than three times larger than Central Park. The building, which Elon Musk has called “the machine that builds the machine,” will eventually also be the first large-scale battery factory to run on 100% renewable energy. The factory currently makes battery packs and electric motors for the Model 3 car, along with the company’s Powerwall and Powerpack battery storage.

Designing the factory from scratch “provided some great opportunities to rethink manufacturing,” says Rodney Westmoreland, director of construction management for Tesla. “We look at challenges from first principles–breaking things down to the very basics of physics and what’s possible–since we’re doing something that has never been done before. As a result, our teams of mechanical, electrical, and manufacturing engineers have spent the last few years creatively building a sustainably powered facility with no onsite combustion of fossil fuels. This was critical to our mission of moving the world to a sustainable energy future.” A new environmental impact report released on April 15 includes a case study on the factory’s sustainable design.

On the roof–designed to accommodate solar power–a solar installation that is currently underway will eventually include around 200,000 solar panels that can provide most of the building’s energy when paired with Tesla’s batteries. When it’s finished, it will be the largest rooftop solar array in the world.

Inside the factory, high-energy manufacturing processes that would normally be powered by natural gas have been redesigned to avoid fossil fuels by maximizing energy efficiency. Waste heat from equipment like compressors or high-temperature ovens can be used both to run the equipment efficiently and to help keep the factory warm in the winter. LED lights and a lighting system designed to reduce power use means that lighting the building can save 144 megawatt-hours of energy in a month versus traditional lighting setups (the equivalent, the company says, of the energy needed to drive a Model S 480,000 miles).

The company has been working with vendors to find new techniques to make it possible to meet its goals. The process “pushes the general contractors and design-build firms to change the way that they think, hire, and construct,” says Westmoreland. “For example, Tesla engineers partnered with our equipment vendors to look at ways we could reverse-engineer air compressors to handle incredibly [hot] waste heat, which makes our factory and equipment more efficient. These have become solutions that vendors can use throughout the industry.”

Because manufacturing batteries is so energy intensive, the equipment in the factory generates so much heat that it’s necessary to pump chilled water through the building to cool it down–something that normally also takes a huge amount of energy. To solve the problem, Tesla designed a unique chilled water plant that makes use of the desert climate: When the air is cool at night, the plant generates more chilled water than needed, and that extra water can be used during the day. The system, which uses one of the largest thermal storage tanks in the world, will cut electricity used in the process by up to 40%, and cut water consumption up to 60%. “Up front, it seems quite monumental to design, construct, and estimate, but ultimately it eliminates the need for numerous chillers and the amount of energy required to run them,” Westmoreland says.

In parts of the manufacturing process that require dry air, the factory can pull in desert air to reduce the use of dehumidifiers. A heat pump helps power another process that coats part of the battery cell with a solvent. (Liquid waste from the process is also refined and recycled onsite, rather than shipping it to a separate processing center, eliminating the need for 30 tanker trucks a week.)
Pitched-roof Norwegian barns, urban hi-rises, and heavy metal chains: These are just a few of the unexpected sources of inspiration for new lighting products launched at Euroluce 2019. The international lighting event that runs every two years concurrently with furnishings fair Salone del Mobile wrapped up on Sunday—and once again attracted the global design community with a dizzying array of decorative and architectural lighting. From a lamp that highlights the natural beauty of marble to one that seems to curl right off the wall, here are 15 of our favorite lighting products seen at this year's show.

1. Carousel of Light by Preciosa

Drawing crowds of mesmerized onlookers, installation Carousel of Light by Preciosa showcased the firm’s layering-effect Pearl Curtain. The interactive platform was composed of nearly 8,000 spheres in opal, amber, clear, and pink frosted hues.

2. Fienile by Daniel Rybakken for Luceplan

Consisting of two sizes of indoor table lights and two outdoor floor lights, satin-anodized aluminum Fienile (Italian for barn/hayloft) by Daniel Rybakken for Luceplan references the pitched-roof farm in Norway where Rybakken’s grandfather grew up.

3. Noctambule by Konstantin Grcic for Flos

The interlocking genius of Legos inspired Konstantin Grcic’s hand-blown glass Noctambule for Flos. As a single module, the cylindrical LED lamp is a lantern. Stacked, the modules transform into a dramatic statement piece—either light column or suspended chandelier.

4. La Plus Belle by Philippe Starck for Flos

“Flos turned on the light around the mirror and Snow White appeared,” says designer Philippe Starck of La Plus Belle, his LED-wrapped mirror for Flos.

5. Gioia by Andrea Anastasio for Foscarini

Marble is framed—and its natural beauty pronounced—by transparent acrylic in Gioia, a wall-mounted lamp by Andrea Anastasio for Foscarini.
Matthew Millman
Boxy forms wrapped in Danish brick and large stretches of glass form this California residence, which was designed by US firm EYRC to capture light and connect to the outdoors.

The Waverley house sits on a half-acre site in a leafy, century-old neighbourhood in Palo Alto, just a few blocks from the home of late Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Created for a young couple, the Silicon Valley residence features a main dwelling and a detached guest house.

Meant to be "a study in strong, simple composition", the home consists of rectilinear volumes that are offset in plan. In the front of the dwelling, the upper portion cantilevers over the ground level, appearing to gesture toward the street.

"The massing defines solid and void, captures natural light and connects the indoors with the landscape – seeking to experience the outdoors from within," said Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects (EYRC) in a project statement.

The team aimed to give the home a museum-like quality, and prioritised materiality and craft.

Lower exterior walls are clad in grey, hand-fired bricks from Denmark that are longer and thinner than traditional bricks. The dimensions are meant to emphasise "the horizontality of the architecture that lays solidly on the land".

The upper walls of the home are covered with stainless steel panels. Fascias are wrapped in bronze, while honey-toned wood was used for soffits.

The main dwelling provides varying levels of transparency. In the front elevation, the lower level is opaque whereas the upper portion is defined by a large glazed wall with thin aluminium frames. In the rear of the home, the team incorporated floor-to-ceiling glass.

Encompassing 5,000 square feet (465-square metre), the main dwelling is divided between public and private zones. On the ground level, one side contains an open-plan kitchen, dining area and living room, while the other houses the master suite and a guest bedroom.

Upstairs, the team placed a study that connects to an outdoor deck. The home also features a basement-level wine cellar and tasting lounge, which look upon a zen garden that is open to the sky above.

All three levels of the home are connected by a grand staircase made of "floating" stone steps. The stairwell is lined with a continuous pane of glass measuring 30-by-10 feet (nine-by-three metres).

"Due to the unprecedented size of this glass in residential design, it was custom manufactured in Germany and shipped to California," the team said. "This dramatic moment in the sequence of progressing through the house helps visitors feel connected to the lush landscape outside."

Douglas Mark Black via Archterra Architects
While it may not exactly be the Little House on the Prairie, Osmington-based Archterra Architects certainly made the most of a beautiful plot of grassland in Western Australia. The architects have unveiled the gorgeous 2,000-square-foot Paddock House that uses solar power, natural materials and several passive features to blend the home into its natural landscape while reducing the residents’ water and energy use.

Located on an expansive field of rye grass in Margaret River, Western Australia, the home was strategically designed to have a strong connection to its natural surroundings. Oriented to the north to take advantage of sunlight, the main rectangular volume features a series of all-glass facades and openings that provide stunning views as well as access to outdoor spaces to take in the fresh air.

In addition to making the most out of its idyllic location, the design was also focused on using natural materials and passive design features to reduce the home’s ecological footprint. Starting with the materials, the exterior is clad in a skin of pre-sealed raw cement, which not only provides the home with a strong insulative envelope, but one that is also low maintenance.

To contrast the bright exterior, the external areas that wrap around the home were lined in a warm toned plywood, which was also used throughout the interior living spaces as a lighter tone. In fact, plywood and concrete feature prominently throughout the home, with sleek concrete blocks used to create walls and plywood used for the ceilings and additional furnishings. The light concrete blended with the warm wood gives the home a contemporary-yet-cozy, cabin-like atmosphere.

Along with an abundance of natural materials, the home was equipped with several passive measures, such as its northern orientation, which brings in optimal natural light and creates a system of efficient cross ventilation during the hot summer months. Additionally cooling the interior is the overhanging eaves that jut out over the sides of the house, providing shading to the interior and exterior areas.

Noah Surf House
The surf is always up at this gorgeous eco hotel along Portugal’s Silver Coast. Just steps away from the beach, Noah Surf House has everything you need for a rad surf getaway. The boutique hotel, which is partially made out of reclaimed materials, was designed on some serious sustainable principles, boasting solar panels, energy-efficient systems and appliances, a rainwater harvesting system and even an organic garden that provides delicious meals to guests.

Located in the area of Santa Cruz in northwest Portugal, the eco hotel is tucked into a rising hill just a short stroll from the beach. The project is made up of various buildings, but the most popular part of the complex is a restaurant that overlooks the ocean. Guests can enjoy a wonderful meal of organic fruits and veggies grown in the hotel’s garden, which operates on a “closed feeding cycle” with a little help from the hotel’s 12 chickens.

The guests rooms are comprised of various boho-style bungalows, most offering stunning ocean views through private decks. The rooms range in size, offering everything from dorm-style with bunk beds to private luxury bungalows that boast fireplaces and private terraces with outdoor showers.

Although the setting itself is quite impressive, guests can rest assured that they are also staying in a very eco-conscious retreat. The hotel’s construction used quite a bit of reclaimed materials, such as old bricks recovered from industrial coal furnaces to clad the walls. Additionally, the buildings are filled with discarded items that have been given new life as decoration for the hotel. Plumbing pipes are incorporated into lamps, lockers from an old summer camp are available for storage and an old water deposit is now a fireplace in the reception area. The construction of the hotel implemented various sustainable materials as well, such as cork as thermic insulation. The bungalows are also topped with native plants.

For energy, solar panels generate almost enough energy for the all of the hotel’s hot water needs. When there is an abundance of energy, it is used to heat the pool as well as the radiant flooring in the guest rooms in winter. LED lighting throughout the hotel and energy-efficient appliances help reduce the building’s energy use. Noah Surf House also has a rain water collection system that redirects water to a well to be used in toilet flushing, garden watering and linen laundering.

Alan Tansey
"Mirror Mirror" will open to the public tomorrow and be on display through November.

When New York–based SoftLab founder Michael Szivos started planning "Mirror Mirror," the site in Waterfront Park didn't exist yet. The temporary park in Alexandria, Va., was under construction when Szivos was first introduced to the site where he would be installing the inaugural artwork for the Site/See: New Visions in Old Town program run by the City of Alexandria. The program aims to draw visitors to Alexandria with a new work of art informed by the site each year.

SoftLab's design takes the form of an open circle of vertical panels that visitors can walk into and around. The exterior surface is clad in a mirror finish and reflects the environment and pedestrians around the site; inside the circle, the surface is clad in a spectrum of film. The panels are equipped with custom LED tubes that respond to sound: softer sounds induce random bursts of light to resemble chatter while louder sounds produce a pulse. As night begins to fall, the surfaces become more transparent, allowing the light to shine through the panels and reflect off of the facing mirrors. The pavement on which the installation sits is painted white to allow the lights to "create a mural on the ground," Szivos says.

The panels consist of a laser-cut aluminum frame and flat, acrylic mirrored pieces, all of which were manufactured off-site and constructed in Alexandria "like a Lego set," Szivos says. The firm aimed to conceal the structural and technological aspects using recessed bolts to hold it together and placing the computer and lights out of sight. "A lot of planning went into what you don't see."

Szivos says he drew inspiration for the piece from the Fresnel lens on top of Alexandria's historic Jones Point Lighthouse, just south of the installation site. He was struck by the idea of the lens representing both coming and going; something to look out from and to be seen from afar. "The hope is that people interact with it in ways that we wouldn't have expected," he says.

SoftLab was one of 50 firms the City of Alexandria invited to participate in the Site/See: New Visions in Old Town program, which aims to install a different temporary installation each year for the next 10 years. The city knew it wanted a project that had both a daytime and nighttime presence and would encourage people to come back, says Diane Ruggeiro, deputy director, recreation, parks and cultural activities. "There had also been a lot of talk amongst the task force about the piece being Instagrammable."

The official ribbon cutting ceremony for "Mirror Mirror is at 10 a.m. tomorrow at Waterfront Park in Alexandria.

Ennead Architects
Ennead Architects and Andropogon Landscape Architects have won an international competition for the Shanghai Yangtze River Estuary Chinese Sturgeon Nature Preserve. The proposed design takes the shape of an undulating sculpture mimicking the curves of Asia’s longest river while referencing “biomorphic anatomy.” The building will be clad in translucent PTFE panels and engineered with sustainable, energy-efficient technologies such as geothermal heating and cooling loops.

The purpose of the Shanghai Yangtze River Estuary Chinese Sturgeon Nature Preserve is to rescue critically endangered species and to restore the natural ecology of Yangtze River, which has been plagued by pollution and construction. The project also aims to engage the public and raise environmental awareness with immersive exhibit experiences. To achieve these goals, the 427,000-square-foot nature reserve building, which will sit on a 17.5-hectare site on an island at the mouth of the Yangtze River, will consist of a dual-function aquarium and research facility, bringing together efforts to repopulate the endangered Chinese Sturgeon and Finless Porpoise.

Ennead Architects and Andropogon Landscape Architects proposed a dramatic design for the building that takes cues from nature. Split into three wings united around a central spine, the structure will be built with a cross-laminated timber structural system wrapped in a lightweight PTFE skin, which will fill the interior with daylight.

Inside, constructed wetlands landscaped with local flora and aquatic plants provide a beautiful connection with the outdoors, sequester carbon and serve as a biofiltration system for aquarium water, “resulting in a new paradigm of environmental equilibrium,” the designers said in their press release.

The landscape design in and around the buildings mimics the natural shoreline ecosystems found throughout the Yangtze River basin and provides opportunities for breeding and raising Chinese Sturgeons and Finless Porpoises. Visitors will be able to view these pools from suspended walkways that weave throughout the campus grounds.

Portuguese studio Digitalab has won the rising star award at Stockholm Furniture Fair, with an innovative method of turning cork into thread.

Architects Brimet Silva and Ana Fonseca of Digitalab have together developed a method of turning cork into a thin thread that can be used in the manufacture of furniture, lighting, textiles and accessories.

Called CO-RK, the thread offers a sustainable, non-fibrous alternative to materials like plastic.

The Stockholm Furniture Fair Editors' Choice jury, chaired by Dezeen founder Marcus Fairs, said the duo "used cork to produce a beautiful fabric that can be used to make products."

"The winner exhibited creative exploration of an underused natural material," they said.

Silva and Fonseca created the product for Gencork, an offshoot of 50-year-old Portuguese company Sofalca, which manufactures cork pellets using the branches of cork trees. This process is more sustainable than the typical manufacture of cork, which comes from tree bark.

The thread is formed by injecting water vapour through these cork pellets. This causes the pellets to expand, whilst the water bonds with the resin in the cork.

The mixture is then pressed and combined with a base layer of cotton fabric to produce a thin sheet that can be cut to a millimetre thick. The resulting threads are then washed to increase their flexibility and elasticity.

"It's a robust and comfortable material, resistant to light traction and it's also washable, keeping all the original physical properties of cork," Silva told Dezeen.

"This super-material, cork, offers a huge range of advantages, because in addition to being an excellent thermal and acoustic insulator and as well as anti-vibration, it's also a carbon dioxide sink, playing a key role in protecting the environment."
DSL Studio
Showroom openings, gallery exhibitions, and pop-up shops are all settings for new product launches. Check out the latest market introductions from top brands and designers.

1. Flos x Nendo introduces multi-functional lamp-furniture hybrid.

If you can dream it, Nendo can create it. Designer Oki Sato dreamed up Gaku, a multi-functional lamp and furniture piece that can be customized to fit the user. Thanks to Flos, wish granted.

2. Interface adds nora® rubber flooring to its sustainable product lineup.

Interface recently announced that its nora® rubber flooring is officially part of the company's Carbon Neutral Floors™ program, rounding out its diverse portfolio of products.

3. Dedon opens a flagship store in NYC.

The AIIR chair by GamFretesi through DEDON in saffron with new sled base. Photography courtesy of Dedon.
Along with its Upper East Side flagship's grand opening, Dedon showed some new colors and styles. In our February 2019 issue, we featured the Werner Aisslinger-designed Cirql in onyx, and the chair is now available in a palette of coordinating colors. Dedon also introduced a sled base option for the Aiir chair.

4. Eskayel debuts Matisse-inspired collection at Salon Design gallery.

Florals for spring? Well, the concept may or may not be groundbreaking, but for Eskayel, it's definitely inspired. The Belize Blooms Collection includes wallpaper, fabric, and rugs, all displayed at Salon Design, a Boston gallery for emerging artists founded by Amanda Pratt.

5. MoMA Design Store introduces The Print Shop pop-up.

In addition to the already-popular prints that MoMA Design Store will continue to sell at its offshoot, the pop-up offers personal framing services. The Print Shop will run until March 25 at 81 Spring Street in SoHo.

Marked by a stunning contemporary design normally reserved for land-based structures, +31Architects‘ latest houseboat is simply spectacular. The Amsterdam-based company, which specialize in floating constructions, has truly outdone itself with the Nature Cruiser, a motorized houseboat equipped with hybrid electric drive and solar panels.

The Nature Cruiser was commissioned by a German adventurer and entrepreneur who requested a motorized houseboat that would allow him to sail over lakes and rivers. Additionally, the floating home had to be just that, a modern living space that would provide the ultimate in comfort while exploring the world’s most exotic waterways.

Accordingly, the designers created a 15-meter-long cruiser with a slender shape punctuated with various large windows. These windows not only provide stunning views of the surroundings, but also allow natural light to brighten the interior spaces.

The floor plan is comprised of a large living room, a bedroom, a bathroom and an expansive rooftop terrace. A semi-covered front and back deck provide additional space to sit and take in the views. The beautiful interior design scheme is contemporary and sleek, with warm wood panels used to clad the floors, walls and ceilings. Minimalist, Scandinavian-inspired furnishings create a cozy, inviting space.

The innovative houseboat was also designed to be self-sufficient and to minimize waste. Solar panels and solar collectors are installed on the roof to generate energy and provide warm water. The Nature Cruiser also operates with a hybrid electric drive. Its integrated water and sewer systems are aimed at using water from lakes and rivers. The water is purified through the boat’s systems and then stored in a water tank.

Danish design culture is “a natural part of me,” reveals Thomas Bentzen, who lives with his wife and three children—one named after a famous Finnish designer—in a 1,900-square-foot apartment full of prototypes in central Copenhagen. With a mission to create simple, useful products and aiming for the same qualities that Danish designers strove for more than half a century ago—functionality, rationality, honesty, and craftsmanship—Bentzen has designed for the likes of Bang & Olufsen, Louis Poulsen, Menu, Muuto, and Royal Copenhagen to name a few, out of his namesake design studio. Most recently, at the Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair, Muuto unveiled Bentzen’s Linear Steel series, a sleek line of powder-coated steel outdoor furniture drawing from classic picnic silhouettes. Bentzen sat down with Interior Design to reveal more about the new outdoor series, reflect on how his interests now are quite similar to those he had as a child, and pay tribute to a classic light that sits in his living room.

Interior Design: Could you tell us a little more about the Linear Steel series?

Thomas Bentzen: The Linear Steel series represents a very Scandinavian approach to outdoor furniture. It’s super simple and rational, durable and very understated, with subtle details—such as the folded edges and seamless meetings of leg and tabletop. The corner joint—where leg, apron, and tabletop come together—is the strong point where all parts meet, and that is the detail that adds distinctiveness. In terms of color, we wanted the series to have a subtle and understated sentiment along with a modern expression. It’s inspired by archetypal wooden furniture.

ID: What do you consider “archetypal wooden furniture?”

TB: For me that would be something such as a chair with four legs, all made in the wood Shaker style, maybe with a woven seat. I instantly think of the J39 by Børge Mogensen, now produced by Fredericia or the J46 by Poul M. Volther. Same goes for a table: four legs, one in each corner, strong and durable, very simple—I like tables that way.

ID: Do you think there’s an outdoor furnishings trend at the moment? It seems as if a lot of firms in Scandinavia are now launching their first lines.

TB: This movement is a natural evolution of the new wave of furniture brands from Scandinavia. Why not offer the same good perspective on design for the outdoors as you would indoors? Maybe there’s also a need for a different type of outdoor furniture—more urban and smaller in size than the big classic outdoor furniture environments, such as you would see in huge villas that overlook the French Riviera.

ID: What else have you completed recently?

TB: The Cover lounge chair, which I also designed for Muuto, launched this past January at IMM Cologne. The design is a natural extension of the Cover chair for Muuto, made for a lounge or living room environment, and a low open chair—in which I continue to work with a mix of thin veneer and solid wood. Veneer is one of my favorite materials when it comes to furniture. In fact, the transition from chair to a lounge version wasn’t easy at all. We needed to have a very different seating position, yet we needed to maintain the close connection, shape-wise, to the chair. I am very pleased with the outcome.

At Salone del Mobile 2018 in Milan, we launched the lacquered steel Enfold sideboard for Muuto. For this design, I took an industrial approach to the classic sideboards that I grew up with—mixing together the old heavy wooden sideboards often found in the living room, housing the most beloved items in the family, with the mid-century metal cabinets found in offices. Enfold is a more industrial and lighter version of the two typologies. The curvy sliding doors are not only a reference to the rolling covers but also a pattern that adds strength and durability to the design. En
The construction industry is responsible for a large percentage of carbon emissions. From sourcing to design to material manufacturing to building construction, the carbon dioxide output from projects around the world has a significant environmental impact. This has led to sustainable construction innovations that not only reduce the production of carbon dioxide, but also improve a building’s longevity, reduce energy bills and increase the use of natural light. Here is a list of some innovative construction materials and ideas that could revolutionize the industry and help us build a more sustainable future.

Transparent wood

Swedish researchers have turned wood into a material that is 85 percent transparent by compressing strips of wood veneer and replacing lignin with polymer. This product is light but just as strong as natural wood. It can be an eco-friendly alternative to glass and plastic.

When used to build homes, transparent wood will reduce the need for artificial lighting, plus it is biodegradable.

Transparent wood

Swedish researchers have turned wood into a material that is 85 percent transparent by compressing strips of wood veneer and replacing lignin with polymer. This product is light but just as strong as natural wood. It can be an eco-friendly alternative to glass and plastic.

When used to build homes, transparent wood will reduce the need for artificial lighting, plus it is biodegradable.


The Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia in Barcelona is leading the way in reducing the use of air conditioning by using hydrogel to create walls that can cool themselves. The architects are placing hydrogel bubbles in between ceramic panels that can be installed into existing walls.

Inspired by the human body’s ability to cool itself, the hydrogel can absorb water when the air around it gets hot and starts to evaporate. This can reduce the temperature by 5 degrees Celsius, so you don’t have to keep the A/C cranking non-stop during the summer.

Super-hydrophobic cement

Recently, scientists have found a way to alter cement’s microstructure in a way that makes it absorb and reflect light. This finding has led to the creation of super-hydrophobic cement, or luminescent cement, which could replace traditional street lights and the energy they consume.
Garrett Rowland
The next generation of intelligent buildings offers promise for unseen levels of energy efficiency, optimization, and occupant health and productivity.

Buoyed by a surge of high-tech innovations and several years of robust U.S. construction markets, AEC teams are working on ideas for “smart buildings.” Since the mid-1980s, a new generation of products, technologies, and analytical tools has transformed the building landscape. The benefits of “smart” technologies and operations for design, construction, and ownership/operations are now inescapable.

Prior to the 1990s, the notion of intelligent buildings focused on controls and automated processes for building operations, mainly in HVAC, lighting, and security systems, says Joachim Schuessler, Principal with Goettsch Partners. “Then, about 15 to 20 years ago, we started working on buildings that optimized controllability and comfort for the users,” he says. By the late 1990s, tools like building information modeling were making built projects a digital extension of the architectural/engineering and fabrication processes, with valuable impacts on downstream operations such as facility management.

The latest definitions of smart buildings embrace a much broader, more futuristic outlook. Schuessler and other experts describe the new paradigm as buildings and building portfolios created and operated using technology systems that aggregate data, make decisions, and continuously optimize operations with ongoing predictive feedback, including from building systems and occupants.

David Herd, Managing Partner with BuroHappold Engineering, asks: “Do the building’s design and systems anticipate programmatic change over time? Is it a ‘well’ building that helps keep people healthy? If it’s smart, today’s thinking goes, it can accomplish these goals, and more.”

Tech-enabled properties transcend time and place, too. “Smart buildings can also be defined as connected buildings,” says Marco Macagnano, PhD, Senior Manager, Lead: Smart Real Estate with Deloitte Consulting. They are “the product of an omni-channel approach focused on generating meaningful information to support decision making through data analysis.”

Connected systems should add practical value while protecting against hackers and other breaches. They can benefit O&M by tracking energy-use intensity (EUI) across multiple campuses or by alerting a facilities department that an escalator is in jeopardy of failing. Owners can use the cloud and the Internet to access existing systems to do more. Bring in the ability of Big Data to tap into worldwide reporting on facility operations, and building owners can suddenly identify patterns and trends that could lead to better design choices.

“The biggest difference with current smart buildings is that tech is the enabler of three primary pillars: sustainability and carbon neutrality, the well-being of users, and user-centered design,” says Jan-Hein Lakeman, Executive Managing Director of Edge Technologies and OVG Real Estate USA.
Dale Antiel, Edina Realty INC.
Interiors surprise with skylights and terrazzo floors

Earth-bermed architecture isn’t for everyone. But if you’ve dreamed of your own hobbit hidey-hole, check out this affordable two-bedroom, two-bath house on 3.4 acres of forest in River Falls, Wisconsin. When we originally reported on the listing in mid-January, it was asking $275,000. A recent price drop now has the bermed house at $190,000, making it a value for an “adventurous buyer.”

Designed and built in 1972 by architect Mike McGuire, the exterior of the home features two arched glass openings set into the rolling countryside. McGuire constructed the 2,236-square-foot home as an energy-efficient type of “sod house” that uses arching steel culverts as its structural system.

The two culverts are side by side—linked by a laundry and mechanical area—and the home also boasts masonry brick fireplaces in each room. Because brick heats up quickly and retains heat for long periods of time, the fireplaces keep the structure warm and disperse the heat thanks to pipes under the terrazzo floors.

Because the home is built into the earth, the surrounding soil helps to maintain a stable moderate temperature and saves on heating and cooling costs. Numerous skylights bring in light, and long built-in benches provide seating in many of the rooms.

If this looks like the hobbit home of your dreams, N8064 975th Street is on the market now for $190,000.