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Guillaume Alan Interiors

French interior designer, based in Paris and in London, Guillaume Alan is known for his very own special inspiration. A signature: his projects express a minimalist poetry of space, an elaborate and highly precise poetry giving birth to universes of serenity and calm spaces. He knows how to add douceur in a subtle alchemy between raw and extremely neat materials. A subtle luxury architecture: wall of XVIIIth century french panels or in beautiful brushed oak pieces contrast with a concrete floor. A decorator who has a passion for craftsmanship: his collection combine luxury and discipline. Forms are pure and structured, colours are mostly monochrome or degraded shades.

Info and images courtesy of Guillaume Alan

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Valentino New York Flagship Store by David Chipperfield Architects

The Valentino New York Flagship Store is situated on Fifth Avenue in the former Takashimaya Department Store, designed by John Burgee and Philip Johnson, which opened in 1993. The 1,100 square metre flagship store (1,400 square metres including basement) officially opened on 1 August 2014. It continues the new Store Concept developed for Valentino by David Chipperfield Architects in collaboration with the brand’s Creative Directors in 2012. By combining old and new, the Store Concept generates a palazzo-like atmosphere, steering away from a showroom approach of a traditional boutique and promoting a more architectural retail format instead.

Architectural elements are at the heart of the design concept. Architecture is brought into the store rather than remaining on the exterior alone, thereby reducing the use of superficial decoration and thin panels to create an interior scenography. Architectural features such staircases, walls and columns remain exposed to reveal their intrinsic materiality and complement the items on display. This approach imbues the store with a sense of permanence and purity that reflects the quality of the brand’s products.

While the Store Concept has been implemented in numerous locations worldwide, the Fifth Avenue Flagship Store also integrates new developments. The building incorporates a new slim, transparent eight-story façade composed of black steel and aluminium, inspired by some of the city’s modernist icons, such as Mies van der Rohe’s Seagram Building. At the lower part of the façade the vertical bars have a brass finish, while the five upper floors remain black. The brass finish unifies the store front across the three retail levels. Also integrated into the façade system are a lantern, a clock and the Valentino sign – all presented as (brass) elements of the façade.

At the entrance, a double-height space houses a monolithic staircase made of palladiana. This staircase connects all the store levels, taking the customers on an ascending tour and allowing them to observe and experience the striking entrance space from the upper levels. This entrance space is made of terrazzo and features a display wall (8 x 8 metres) in which a series of single shelves exhibit different items. At ground floor level, a completely new Accessories Concept is adopted, with terrazzo perimeter walls on which brass and oak shelves are attached for product display. A new range of timber display furniture sits in conjunction with long marble volumes that act both as plinths and furniture.

The level above follows the traditional Woman Store Concept: an enfilade of rooms, each with different architectural characteristics, separating different types of merchandise. Each space offers a distinct atmosphere generated by a custom palette of colours, textures, and lights. The architecture is designed to complement the pieces on display, making use of a range of materials (grey Venetian terrazzo with Carrara chippings, timber, marble, leather, carpet and carbon fibre) subdued in colour to focus attention on the collections and also evoke a sense of intimacy.

On the top store level, the new Man Store Concept proposes terrazzo walls and palladiana floors. The collection is displayed on oak shelving and hanging elements, which are supported by polished brass fixtures around the perimeter. These features incorporate LED lighting, allowing each shelf or display to be discreetly illuminated. The Man Store Concept offers a consistent experience through unified floor surfaces of terrazzo and palladiana. A series of pure volumes, such as the marble blocks and free standing marble columns, complete the architecture in a similar way to the ground level, where the new Accessories Concept is applied.

The general lighting strategy of the Fifth Avenue Store reflects the variety of spaces and finishes. Overhead lighting combines concealed ambient lighting and clear white product lights on the periphery of the rooms, with warm lighting or decorative chandeliers at the centre. The new global Store Concept for Man and Woman creates a shared personal atmosphere while still maintaining the brand’s fundamental values of craftsmanship, romanticism and classical style.

Info and images © David Chipperfield Architects

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Zaha Hadid’s High-End Homeware Collection

Zaha Hadid has launched at Harrods as part of London Design Week a homeware collection comprising vessels, candelabras, vases, and a chess set. The materials used to create the items from are bone china, resin, acrylic, while the colors employed are white and black, with hints of green and pink. The futuristic-looking pieces, which display the signature curves Hadid’s buildings usually feature, have the unmistakable feel of the buildings she has designed throughout the world.

One example of this is the Aqua Platter, inspired by the London 2012 Olympic Aquatic Centre, which comes with a price tag of $16,400 (£9,999). Another eye-catching item is the minimalistic Field of Towers Chess Set, priced at $8,000 (£4,860). The collection also brings together elegant candlesticks, a double-headed candelabra, and a series of scented candles housed within vessels based on the architect’s skyscraper designs.

Images © Zaha Hadid

Info via Luxatic

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Theatre de Stoep by UNStudio

The design for the Theatre Spijkenisse focuses on the placement and orientation of the building in the urban location, whilst simultaneously providing architectural solutions for programming needs and public access. The placing of the programmes within the building aims for efficient routing through the theatre, coupled with a logical relationship to the surroundings, whilst the design and placement of the various volumes make use of the natural variations in the levels of the site. The two main theatre spaces are positioned to receive the visitor flow directly from the foyer and the public square. From the foyer, a sculptural stairway forms the binding element towards the entrances to the theatre rooms. The theatre cafe is located adjacent to the nearby water and is designed as a third theatre, in the form of an amphitheatre.

Info and images © UNStudio

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An introverted living space: 7×18 House by AHL architects associates

AHL architects associates: ‘7×18 house is located in densely populated and chaotic area of Hanoi. Tu Lien village is famous because of fields with Peach trees and Kumquat trees – these two trees are especially popular during Lunar New Year – traditional Vietnamese new year. Location, culture and demands are required to be solved in our design.’

‘Design team along with the owner (young and single man) made an outline for this project with following criteria: – Saving Energy; – Creating space which is attractive, open but still private and safe; – Using local materials; – Flexibility in use.’

‘When analyzing the characteristics of the site area, “introverted living space” has very quickly been decided to develop the structure of space and layout. Rooms, space, garden are separated according to vertical and horizontal axis. All would create an empty/solid combination in the bulk of the house of 1134m3 (7x18x9). Every place in the house would make the best of natural light and natural ventilation, which is a good idea for electricity savings in daytime. Sun light intensity in the summer can also be controlled by the steel fillets in the front and on the roof.’

‘The house is facing south-east with the 7m wide. Moreover, distance between next houses is quite limited (a little bit more than 5m). These two factors seem to be challenged with design task. The facade is processed by using a system of vertical steel fins combining with 3mm thick of steel leaves. The density as well as the interference of two-way wave of steel leaves depends on the privacy purpose of the room inside. The whole glass façade is retrograded inside to create buffer space to avoid direct sun light in summer but allow winter sun light to go deep into the spaces.’

‘The master bedroom space is connected to the gym on the third floor by round shaped steel stairs, which is located outdoor with the garden. All make a bulk of 343m3 (7x7x7). The old star fruit tree is kept by the owner since their old house. After the house is finished, the star fruit tree will be brought back and grown in the garden on the second floor as a memento.With the distinctive position in the area for traditional trees such as Peach and Kumquat, the design group has saved the central area of the house for these trees. Together with the fish tank, they make up an interesting and relaxing space.’

‘Naked concrete, ceramic bricks, patterned porcelain bricks and raw wood for interior furniture are the main materials exploit throughout the project. All of them are economical but are processed carefully and suitably for their functions, which brings a new breeze to the conventional materials.To sum up, the design group have provided the house owner with a distinctive space, satisfying the initial requirements and contribute one more solution to the urban housing scene in Vietnam which is now rather boring and messy.’

Info and images © AHL architects associates

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The new commercial centre at Charles de Gaulle airport at RIFF 2014

The commercial centre Aéroville, located in proximity to Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, in value of €185 mil will be presented at RIFF International Architecture Expo Conference, in November, by the French architect Philippe Chiambaretta. Inspired by the imagination of the airport and the movements in travel, the developed concept borrows from the architectural vocabulary of the terminals and runways to form the facades of an imaginary city composed of large blocks of varying height. Adorned with a double skin of steel and glass, the building is dressed with letters forming the word “AEROVILLE” – a futuristic hybrid of airplane terminal and shopping mall.

The Aeroville mall is designed in the manner of a city rail system, making a clear distinction between the public space and the built environment. The commercial program around the interior streets is fragmented into blocks of varying heights and dimensions referring to the islands of the city. Similar to being inside an airport, the interior street has natural light and views to the sky through a glass roof designed to reduce artificial lighting and avoid thermal warming. The interior street widens at several points to form nodes that are more illuminated and open to the highest points of the ceilings, which correspond to the five points of vertical links between the parking and the center: the hubs. The path of 1.1 km long is largely illuminated by continuous windows and is projected by the rhythm of the plugs on the façade.

About his participation at RIFF 2014, architect Philippe Chiambaretta said: “I am honored to be a speaker at the 2014 RIFF conference. It will be my first time in Bucharest and I am extremely eager to meet and share with Romanian architects about architectural and urban issues facing our societies today. I am particularly interested in the vision and approach to design and construction of the cities of tomorrow from the point of view of Romanian architects based on their economic, social and urban context and also in the way they envision and apprehend the evolutions of contemporary architecture in our context of globalization. At RIFF, I will be speaking about the Aeroville project that is a new mixed-use retail and entertainment hub at the vicinity of Roissy-Charles de Gaulle Paris Airport. I am happy to share the experience of designing and building this project with the East-European audience. Aeroville portrays the architectural principals of the PCA agency, and it is also an example of a shift in the approach to the shopping and leisure experience we face today.”

RIFF is part of the series of international architecture expo conferences organised by ABplus Events in 2014, in Bucharest, Warsaw and Budapest, together with the Order of the Architects of Romania, the Association of Polish Architects and the Chamber of Hungarian Architects.

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Maranello Library by Andrea Maffei Architects

Andrea Maffei Architects:The competition place is located in Vittorio Veneto street in Maranello (Modena), inside a well-established residential fabric. The building borders with a residential court on the north, with a public green area on the west, with a residential building on the south built in adherence and with other residential buildings on the East and partially in adherence. The project we propose presents a surface equal to 1175 mq. It is the existing building renovation trough the existing north perimeter walls maintenance, east and south confining with some residential offices, the demolition of the central part of the prefabricated and the construction of a library as a volume contained within the old building’s height limits and devoloped partly outside the earth and partly under the earth. The access to the new library is situated on the west side.’

‘The project has developed starting from the definition of three main spaces, corresponding to a consulting area, a great reading room and to the multipurpose rooms, these last rooms usable independently. Inside these three main spaces the consulting and library patrimony storage areas, the newspaper library, the sound archives and video library, the game room, the multi – functions room, the study hall, the historical local archive, the exposition and temporary exhibitions room are foreseen. Some service spaces have been foreseen inside these rooms which foresee some stations for catalogues consultation and for internet access, users’ loan desk, administrative offices for library’s staff and the library warehouse. A division of reading spaces has been foreseen according to possible users’category and a particular attention has been paid to 0 – 6 aged children’s spaces, for those children between 6 and 10 years and for those between 11 and 14. High school and university students instead have consulting and study areas which don’t interfere with the others. The building is composed by three main volumes conceived to satisfy the functions contained in them in the best way.’

‘A transparent volume which hosts the coffee house is located at the ground floor, with a service space and a wide counter, expositive spaces for the association “Maranello myth’s land and all the library consultancy and reading areas. The volume mirrors on the water surface which surrounds it and water reverberates the deep green colour which enriches the boundary walls preserved by the project. A platform roof juts towards public spaces and acknowledges architecture from the street ; inside the absolute white of the resin floor and of furniture shines with external green reflected through the continuing glass wall, which runs along the curvilinear shape.’

‘The light which pervades the library open space performs in a reflection game which bounces from the furnitures’ white elements, the floor’s elements and the structures’ elements, to water and to the continuing transparent glasses. A single opaque volume is positioned on the south side, also pure white coloured, to contain service spaces, the stairs going down to the basements and to the game room, provided with a window to allow natural light. The basement floor consists of a parallelepiped accessible by a stair and an elevator for invalids, with a function of goods lift for books. We immediately find in a free space constituted by multifunction room and by the expositive space, which can be set up at one’s pleasure. In this underground area also storage spaces for library patrimony find a collocation, as well as the historical local archive which has little apposite consultative areas.’

Info and images © Andrea Maffei Architects