Domain Trends

KAA Design Takes on Infinity Pools & Spas Along The Strand

KAA Design rethinks a mainstay of local outdoor living for a contemporarily conceived oceanfront abode on The Strand

In Southern California, the pool is a summertime essential to enjoy all year long—to infinity and beyond, as they say. We’ll take beyond, with the infinity pool pretty close to standard-issue in these parts.

Enter KAA Design. The L.A. firm went against the tide to create a focal point on the beach level of the contemporary home at 3rd Street & The Strand in the Manhattan Beach Sand Section—a sleek pool and spa hybrid it calls a “Spool.”

“After a big day out in the ocean, you can return to sit next to the fire and look over the still and reflective Spool for a calming effect.”

Adjacent to the terrace and living room, this astutely conceived feature is “outdoors but under cover of the second level” to allow “one to experience the California coast; the sun, the sand, the people-watching and the cool ocean breezes, without ever having to leave the comforts of home,” says landscape architect Michael McGowan, one part of the KAA Design team that also includes the firm’s founding partner and partner in charge of the project, Grant Kirkpatrick; principal in charge, Patti Baker; and project manager, Bradley Cooper. A place to chill on a hot day or, when in spa mode, warm up, the Spool grants a rare privacy on The Strand, with its louvered screens supplying discretion from the popular path.

As one focal point deserves another, KAA Design called on the mesmerizing Pacific seas so gloriously on show for inspiration. To gaze out at the cool blue expanse just past the property’s perimeter, 3rd Street & The Strand homeowners need but open up the glass walls to soak in the scene while, in the most ideal scenario, soaking in its figurative extension. In this way, the Spool embodies “fun and connection to the sand and surf,” offers Kirkpatrick. “After a big day out in the ocean, you can return to sit next to the fire and look over the still and reflective Spool for a calming effect.”

Sleek and sexy yet clean and quiet, the Mykonos-blue tiled Spool is as visually rich as it is sensitive to function. Stone flooring in the adjacent space acts as coping, and a structural board-formed concrete wall extends into the pool on one side. When the homeowners are not present, the Spool’s automatic cover ensures safety; when they are, a bench along two sides accommodates their lounging.

A wood deck promotes sitting poolside with one’s feet in the water while engaging in conversation happening in the living room, which remains free of inadvertent water run as the Spool is surrounded on three sides by a narrow slot drain. Activated by a custom cast bronze water cascade, the Spool is also equipped with spa jets for an impromptu massage. Because, sometimes, one just really needs to go with the flow. kaadesigngroup.com

Photographs courtesy of KAA Design

Luis Barragan Campbell Divertimento Fountain 637

Holmby Hills Adobe Reflects Iconic Fountain by Mexican Architect Luis Barragán

L.A. designer Tim Campbell re-envisions a Holmby Hills abode to reflect the character of its culturally landmarked fountain by iconic Mexican architect Luis Barragán

Designer Tim Campbell of Studio Tim Campbell, with offices in New York and Los Angeles, is a case in point of what can happen when cultures collide in a one truly visionary project.

In this case, the reconceptualization of a haphazardly designed home in Holmby Hills to take the place from “funky little L-shaped house” to one consistent with the style of Mexican modernist Luis Barragán, who decades before created the home’s striking courtyard fountain.

Luis Barragan Campbell Divertimento Fountain 637

A Los Angeles cultural monument, Campbell Divertimento Fountain 637 evokes the form of a Mayan temple and sits on a parcel that was originally part of a much larger estate from which it was eventually subdivided, leaving behind only a parking garage.

Converted indiscriminately, the structure was variously Tudor, Spanish, and Cape Cod— “architectural goulash,” Campbell calls it. Sisters and Hollywood actresses once owned the home, which was eventually sold to Douglas Campbell (no relation to Tim Campbell), whose work as a commodities trader frequently took him between the U.S. and Mexico.

Barragán Reborn in Los Angeles

In Mexico, he learned of Luis Barragán. Taken by the architect’s work, Campbell asked his landscape designer to create a swimming pool in the style of Barragán.

The designer, in turn, wisely suggested that Campbell go straight to the source. The rest is revisionist history.

Campbell approached Barragán with the project and construction on the fountain began in the 1980s. Little was easy. Barragán wanted red cantera stone at a quarry in Mexico that had been closed for several years; Campbell funded the building of a road so that the quarry could be accessed and the stone extracted.

During the course of construction, Barragán died, as did the business partner who succeeded him in assuming oversight of the project.

Still, Campbell persisted and the fountain was completed later in the decade. He lived in the house until his death.

Luis Barragan Campbell Divertimento Fountain

Paying Homage to Barragán’s Fountain

Next to acquire the property was a developer—and a client of Campbell the designer.

Together they walked the property and Campbell, who has worked on a number of Modernist buildings—a few Cliff Mays, some Wallace Neffs and Richard Neutra’s Singleton House included—suggested a home that Barragan himself might have designed had he the opportunity.

But in such a way that it would not upstage the fountain. To that end, the house would be white; a neutral in comparison to the bold fountain.

Campbell reoriented traffic flow in the house and reduced its square footage to create more of a courtyard setting. The result is something referential of Barragán but “does not mimic anything he had done before,” Campbell says.

This was a way to pay a quiet homage to his work.

Quiet, perhaps, but a glorious tribute all the same.

Famed photographer Julius Shulman, of Case Study House renown, agreed to photograph the home that features the form, texture and functionalist influence of Barragán, and experts have recognized Campbell’s work as something the Mexican master might have indeed designed.

To this, even the characteristically humble Campbell says, “I felt rather vindicated by that.”

Designed by:
Tim Campbell 
studiotimcampbell.com

Vladimir Ossipoff changes the Hawaiian Landscape

A Modern Original


With a respect for nature and the modern genre, visionary architect Vladimir Ossipoff changed the landscape in Hawaii

One can’t help but reflect on what Howard and Betty Liljestrand might have been thinking when moving into their much-studied hillside home overlooking Honolulu—a lauded Vladimir Ossipoff with a porte-cochère, stunning central stairwell and dramatically angled overhangs. Did they know what we now do?

Liljestrand House yard

That the Liljestrand House (now a museum) would be named a “Pace Setter House” by House Beautiful in 1958? That it would be listed on National Register of Historic Places in 2008? That many would come to call it the Fallingwater of Hawaii? Certainly Betty, on board most days as general contractor of the project, sensed its specialness. Perhaps even Howard. They were, after all, people who appreciated good design and knew that in Ossipoff they had a once-in-a-million hire.

Outrigger Canoe Club

Although his name is less familiar to mainlanders as it is to islanders, Vladimir Ossipoff is celebrated the world over as the “master of Hawaiian architecture,” a moniker not without irony. Born in Russia, raised in Japan, and educated at UC Berkeley, Ossipoff landed in Honolulu in 1931, where he was at the frontlines of Tropical Modernism. In this vernacular, Ossipoff was brilliant, a dedicated combatant waging what he called—vocally and without reservation—a “war on ugliness,” brought on by dismal architectural design and rampant over-development in the Hawaiian Islands.

Conviction-driven and no-nonsense in his approach, Ossipoff argued for restraint, and for architecture that was environmentally sensitive, culturally contextualized and appropriate to the unique characteristics of the landscape—its light and microclimates. Inspired by the interaction of indoor and outdoor space, Ossipoff’s designs are best understood as responses to these regional concerns. His work within this place-sensitive framework exhibits a cross-cultural style; he fused Japanese building techniques with the principles of modern architecture that defined the Mid-century Modern period. Ossipoff’s use of natural materials, from native woods to lava rock, was crucial and reinforced his intent to create architecture that did not overpower nature, but rather, seemed to spring from it.

The iconic IBM Building

Ossipoff completed a staggering number of projects, more than 1,000, including significant private homes like the Liljestrand House; simple, culturally considered chapels; airport terminals and more. The IBM Building, its latticed façade part of architectural lore in Honolulu, is a tour de force of his commercial output. Now occupied by the Howard Hughes Corporation and the primary office for Ward Village, the building is a guiding ideal of the Mid-century Modern aesthetic, its honeycomb motif meant to reflect a computer punch card while keeping the blazing sun at bay.

IBM Building

As modern it is, the structure is a glaring prompt of Ossipoff’s past. As a young boy in Japan, Ossipoff and his family would occasionally take tea at the Imperial Hotel, designed by the architect to whom he is most frequently compared, Frank Lloyd Wright. Given this, one naturally wonders if Ossipoff channeled this memory when blueprinting the IBM Building.

In 1998, having spent nearly seven decades in the Hawaiian Islands, Vladimir Ossipoff succumbed to old age. But his vision for Hawaii was, as it still is, modern.

Honolulu Urban Solitude in Kapiwai

Touted as “a modern return to living in the natural world,” Kapiwai (meaning “sprinkling water”) offers residential paradise—and a communing with nature—just minutes from bustling downtown Honolulu. Set atop a gentle bluff overlooking a sparkling stream, the new private, eco-friendly project features a 16.5-acre residential development adjoining an additional seven acres of preserved open space and a nonprofit component focused on sustainability that enables homeowners to grow their own gardens, help restore a traditional `auwai water channel for irrigation and even catch crayfish.

“This was among the last large, historically cultivated sites in urban Honolulu,” says Barry Sullivan, a managing member of developer Pauoa Builders LLC, who collaborated on the project with de Reus Architects, Turkel Design, and Unlimited Construction. “I grew up on a small farm, and with my partners, wanted to create a natural setting where families could reconnect directly with raising food, cultivating fruits and florals, and spending time outside paying attention to nature.”

Adds architect and designer Mark de Reus of de Reus Architects: “The architectural assignment at Kapiwai was one of letting sustainability and livable functionality drive the design response to achieve an aggressively low construction cost.” 

Situated on a newly built private road in upper Pauoa Valley—less than five minutes from downtown Honolulu, near Pacific Heights, Tantalus Mountain, Punchbowl Crater and the south shore of Oahu— Kapiwai was completed in 2017. Living options include 24 single and two-story three- to four-bedroom homes ranging from 1,500 square feet to 2,000 square feet, with prices from $1.2 million to more than $2 million.

Expect modern, tropical-style residences designed to blend with the natural surroundings, complete with soaring ceilings, oversized windows and butterfly roofs to allow for abundant natural light, along with Viking and Thermador appliances, wine cellars, designer closets, lanais, two-car garages and solar packages.

Home sites vary from 5,500-square-foot treetop lots offering expansive views to 18,000-plus-square-foot estate parcels adjacent to the stream. Almost every lot overlooks and opens onto Kapiwai Gardens, which boasts vistas of the spring-fed stream, a 25-foot waterfall, a grotto, hiking paths, a community pavilion, and an apiary.

“The project is an urban oasis,” says Sullivan. “Within the homes, you hear nothing but birds, the breeze and the stream. Yet, within 10 minutes, are all of the major hospitals; downtown Honolulu and the Chinatown Historic district with its restaurants, bars, clubs and theaters; Kakaako; and the Ala Moana Center and Beach Park. It’s close to everything, but a world away.”

kapiwai.com

Written by Wendy Bowman
Photographs: courtesy of de Reus Architects

Kelly Hoppen and a New Collection for Restoration Hardware

Designer Kelly Hoppen MBE brings au courant appeal to a new textile collection for Restoration Hardware

In designing a new collection of textiles for Restoration Hardware, London-based Kelly Hoppen MBE has brought her sense of easy elegance to one of the most beloved homewares brands on the planet. Graceful and smart, the line of pillows are given to the organic beauty and informal refinement that characterizes Hoppen’s work and the contemporary aesthetic.

At the height of design, Hoppen has designed homes, jets and yachts for private clients worldwide, but this is her first launch for RH. Which is a bit hard to believe. A look at the line and one immediately senses collaborators with complementary styles; Hoppen with her use of mixed materials, texture and graphic attraction, and RH with its harmonious sophistication and holistically appointed environments

For Kelly Hoppen, “Design is full circle, so fashion, product and interior design, and architecture are all one in the same for me… it’s a creative process,” says the self-taught designer. “My range of soft furnishings for RH is an embodiment of my East meets West design philosophy and I absolutely loved creating this new range with a brand that I absolutely adore.”

So if the line of pillows appears worldly, that’s entirely by design. “Everywhere I visit, I’m inspired by the people, the culture, the food, the sounds and smells, the landscape, the buildings, the beaches, and this translates through into my designs,” continues Hoppen. “These furnishings create soft and sumptuous places to curl up and relax and are perfect for every home.”

Newly launched and neutrally hued, the line is plenty plush. Pillows are fashioned from quality materials (pure linen, soft suede, supple leather) and meticulously detailed with monochromatic appliqués, satin stitching, precise pleats, pintucking, and banding. Offered in an array of sizes and with any-space suitability, the collection defines new modern with a season-less essence that resonates so well in Los Angeles.

Luckily, the collection is available here too, at Restoration Hardware stores throughout L.A., including RH West Hollywood, the Gallery on Melrose Avenue (8564 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood, CA, 90069). restorationhardware.com, kellyhoppeninteriors.com

First-Ever Urban Glamping Experience in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles

First-Ever Urban Glamping Experience in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles

The first urban glamping experience available in Los Angeles, atop Beverly Wilshire Hotel on the stunning Veranda Suite terrace with downtown LA cityscape views.

The next time someone suggests that you take it outside, don’t hesitate. Chic tipis for evening cocktails with friends, A-frame canvas tents for large-scale events—“glamping” has come from the savannahs of Africa to the urban jungle of Los Angeles with incredibly fashionable effect.

The move towards urban glamping is not surprising, nor is it anything new—architects are rendering elaborate tree houses, Airstreams are rolling like rock stars, and Big Sur has a big thing for mountaintop yurts. There’s a cover for every occasion, and going past the pergola is proving particularly popular in Southern California, as so much of what defines living here is our indoor-outdoor lifestyle.

“Glamping is the most wonderful way to experience the outdoors without the hassle and work of camping,” says Sarah Dusek, CEO of Under Canvas, curator of luxury camp experiences with a new home collection.

“This really is a luxurious, elegant way to experience nature without having to give up luxuries of a hotel like… hot running water, showers, flushing toilets, plush king beds and luxury linens! There is nothing more unique or more exciting than glamping.”

Glamping, the new wave of luxurious outdoor shelter is popping up all over Southern Californian in luxurious ways.

But one need not venture far for this experience—urban glamping is often best when it’s close to home. Those with small spaces should worry not. A simple tipi is a slim, space-saving option, and one easily luxed up with luscious floor cushions and hanging lanterns a la Morocco. Larger versions, like a pop-up pavilion, can accommodate an entire family. Those with an epic backyard might find that a done-up safari-style tent is more sumptuous than yet another Sunbrella. Pool cabana with Wi-Fi? Done. 

If feeling the need to take the trend to next level, the obvious choice is the Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel, where “next level” is the rooftop, on which is an expansive tent with a plush, linen-dressed bed, opulent crystal chandelier, fur rugs and more. Guests can also partake of a glamping tasting menu, complete with campfire s’mores made with 24-karat gold leaf, Tahitian vanilla bean marshmallow and a smoked Valrhona chocolate with Champagne flight. There’s simply nothing like the great outdoors.

Website: fourseasons.com/beverlywilshire

Photo Courtesy of Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire

Architectural Accolades — AIA Housing Awards

This year’s AIA Housing Awards recognizes 11 projects for their design dominance

A contemporary, cube-shaped live-work apartment building in L.A.’s Koreatown, complete with a rooftop deck; a LEED Platinum project in suburban Van Nuys that provides dwellings and social services for the homeless; and a nearby Palm Springs production home that equals the presence of a custom luxury estate, at one-fourth the cost per square foot of high-end residences seen throughout SoCal. These are among the winners of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 18th annual Housing Awards, which lauds exceptional residential design in new builds, restorations and renovations.

“Projects are judged by architects who specialize in housing,” says Victor A. Mirontschuk, chairman and principal of the San Francisco-based architecture, interior design and planning firm EDI International, who this year helmed a five-member jury that chose 11 projects nationwide to receive awards in four categories: one- and two-family custom residences, one- and two-family production homes, and multi-family and specialized housing.

“Receiving an award from your peers reaffirms that the work produced is of excellent quality, down to the smallest detail. As a judge, we look at the overall aesthetic of the building, scrutinize the floorplans, analyze the details and use of materials, and try to understand how the project integrates into the surrounding community.”

Standing out among this year’s winners was overall excellence, expert execution, clean lines and exquisite detail, says Mirontschuk. In L.A., specifically, the Crest and Mariposa buildings look similar—both with stark-white exteriors and interiors, and no other color except black accents on Mariposa—yet their geometry is polar opposite.

“In contrast, the Mariposa building incorporates gentle curves on the exterior and interior,” he says. “On the exterior, the use of very boxy, varying size and randomly placed balconies add interest to the simple building mass. The interior walkway is an amazing curved sculptural element that is playful in its design.”

Meanwhile, the Linea home in Palm Springs is a boxy, L-shaped building with a strong yet private street presence, but an incredibly inviting and casual courtyard. “The strong linear geometry is simply detailed,” says Mirontschuk, “and massed to create a wonderful covered courtyard porch with expansive glass to enhance the indoor-outdoor relationship.” Always a winning combination.

Below are the recipients of this year’s AIA Housing Awards, all celebrated for design excellence, as well as sustainability, cost, durability, innovation, social impact, client needs and addressing natural and built contexts.

The Bear Stand

Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
Gooderham, Ontario, Canada
One- and two-family custom residences
(category one)

Ghost Wash House

Architecture-Infrastructure-Research
Paradise Valley, Arizona
One- and two-family custom residences
(category one)

South Fifth Residence

alterstudio architecture
Austin, Texas
One- and two-family custom residences
(category one)

Underhill

Bates Masi + Architects
Matinecock, New York
One- and two-family custom residences
(category one)

3106 St. Thomas

OJT
New Orleans
One- and two-family production homes
(category two)

Linea Residence G

Poon Design Inc.
Palm Springs, California
One- and two-family production homes
(category two)

150 Charles

COOKFOX Architects, DPC
New York City
Multifamily housing
(category three)

Mariposa1038

Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects
Koreatown, L.A.
Multifamily housing
(category three)

Navy Green

FXCollaborative
Brooklyn, New York
Multifamily housing
(category three)

Benjamin Franklin College and Pauli Murray College, Yale University

Robert A.M. Stern Architects
New Haven, Connecticut
Specialized housing
(category four)

Crest Apartments

Michael Maltzan Architecture
Van Nuys, California
Specialized housing
(category four)

Written by: Wendy Bowman
Photograph: Courtesy of Iwan Baan

Interior Designer Amber Lewis Reigns Over An Ottoman Empire In Los Angeles

Material Culture

“I started making the Chautauqua Ottoman back in 2015,” says interior designer Amber Lewis, whose reinterpretations of a mostly multifunctional piece has elevated it from humdrum to haute seat. “I love ottomans and I love vintage rugs,” she adds, “it’s a match made in heaven!” One that looks divine just about anywhere—as a coffee table between sofas, a perch at the end of a bed, or an accent the entryway.

Dressed in textiles from vendors across the globe, from Europe to Turkey to Argentina, even a material of one’s own, each custom-covered creation is made-to-order and takes six to eight weeks to complete. “They are truly a labor of love from start to finish,” says Lewis.

The result of a meticulous process that includes importing rugs, then customizing an upholstered top cushion and brass base hand-finished with a custom patina. The finished look telegraphs an easy yet elegant bohemianism a la modern-day Laurel Canyon. “Vintage textiles and faded colors mixed in with neutral rooms is very much ‘California’ style and I am here for it!” says Lewis.

So ideally suited to every space are her ottomans that Lewis has yet to design a house without one. Whether one fancies a traditional or contemporary abode, these pieces transcend style and offer a subtle and sophisticated statement in both. And though not inexpensive—ottomans run up to $3295.00—they are smart, long-term economical solutions that look like a million bucks.

“Purchasing a large vintage rug can be a huge investment, and with the Chautauqua, for example, you can incorporate a vintage rug look, with the texture and color, without committing to the massive area rug,” says Lewis. When considered as a pass-down piece—wearing well and lasting for generations beyond our own, a Lewis-fashioned ottoman is priceless.

Since funding her eponymous full-service design firm Amber Interiors in 2014 to assist clients with everything from selecting architectural details and finishes, to collaborating with architects and builders, to decorating a functional beautiful space with furniture, fabrics, accessories, to creating custom pieces, Lewis’ work has caught nods from the likes of Architectural Digest, the Wall Street Journal and more.

She also helms Shoppe Amber Interiors (two brick-and-mortars in SoCal, including a new outpost in Pacific Palisades, and an online component offering her home goods in a curated environment) and Made by Shoppe, her line of bespoke furnishings, including ottomans, sofas, tables and pillows—all custom designed with a global vibe, but always made in L.A. shoppeamberinteriors.com

Written By Jenn Thornton | Photo Courtesy Of Tessa Neustadt

All the World’s a Stage: Inside Advice from a Staging Pro

Few people outside of the real estate business think about home staging, and even less are aware that the entire industry was created in L.A. a little more than a decade ago. With 11 years of experience, Brett Baer of Vesta Home (vestahome.com) was an integral part of that founding team, outfitting almost 1,000 homes representing $5 billion-plus in real estate in the company’s first year of operations, and going on to craft interiors for high-profile clients from Kanye West to Faye Dunaway. With Vesta now launching its first operation outside L.A. (in San Francisco this December), Baer reflects on helping revolutionize the field.

When did you first develop a passion for home staging?

From the start, I loved the component pieces of the service—fast-paced real estate, architecture, construction / development, production, logistics, and most importantly, design. It’s infinitely more complex than the simple end product of furniture in a space, and that puzzle keeps it fun.

 

What is your signature style?

It’s rare for us to buy anything in large volume, so our homes look bespoke.

We also take risks in our design; we don’t default to the easiness of putting a white sofa in every living room. As a result, we are hired to stage the highest-priced homes in L.A. We’ve also been approached by some of the most talented furniture designers to run small productions of their designs, which will be seen in our homes in the years ahead—the vision being an open gallery show for new furniture designs throughout L.A. All of this means we have unprecedented flexibility and a product line that is always evolving.

 

Who is your clientele?

Anyone selling a home in the $2 million to $50 million price range is our potential client . . . so we serve all the top celebrity agents, high-end brokers and luxury developers in L.A. However, what’s really interesting, and personally, what really excites me the most, is all of the houses we’re doing in the $2 million to $5 million range. We aren’t the least expensive home staging company out there, so the clients who bring us into these projects recognize the value of design. Sophisticated sellers understand that there is no better return on their client’s investment than paying a little extra for a staging job that will raise the purchase price by 3 to 5 percent ($100-$150,000); it’s a no-brainer.

 

What is your favorite type of work to do?

What I love to watch—be it in the luxury or mid-level market—is inventive use of space that requires innovations in furniture. We’re working with extremely talented architects with new visions on how to use space…and they want furniture that furthers and enables their projects.

What are some of your most notable projects?

We recently staged a home in Brentwood that overlooked the Getty and acted as a spa home; it was just the most difficult home to leave, because you felt so great hanging out there. The architecture and furniture made it one of the most compelling spaces I’ve been in, and the fact that two buyers entered a contract at well above $2,000 per square foot spoke to the power of design.

What have you’ve brought to L.A. with your work?

A higher focus on design—from our furniture lines to in-home installations. We’ve slowed the process, spent more time in our homes making sure they are right and designed furnishings ahead of the curve. Instead of going to trade shows and buying furniture from vendors, our approach is to do our own design and build inventory that speaks to who we are as designers.

AS TOLD TO WENDY BOWMAN  |  Photography Courtesy of Vesta home and Marc Angeles (tigertail)

 

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Sustainable Style

The eco-sensitive, site-inspired Butterfly House represents the future of green design

“Sustainable design is more than an end result; it is a process,” says architect Christopher Kurrle of Feldman Architecture. “We aspire to create structures that are in harmony with their natural surroundings, conserve resources and are efficient in use.” Known for designing many LEED-certified buildings, the San Francisco-based studio places sustainability at the heart of its creative vision and process.

Built on the 2,000-acre private development of the Santa Lucia Preserve in the Carmel area of California, this house exemplifies the idea of seamlessly connecting exterior and interior. Designed as a retreat for a couple that searched for two years for the perfect piece of land, the project pays tribute to the site’s natural beauty. They told Feldman Architecture of their vision of butterflies alighting on the meadow site, which was the starting point of the whole concept, and desire to integrate indoor and outdoor spaces.

Topped by butterfly roofs that bring in views, expand the living area to the outside and harvest rainwater at the same time, the 2,900-square-foot home is composed of three pavilions (one public and two private) with different functions. From the landscape to design techniques, to material and color palette, everything was carefully chosen in keeping the natural surroundings. These considerations created a unique environmental harmony without neglecting the importance of comfort and aesthetic. Selecting locally sourced and reclaimed materials, such as wood, supports this synchronization.

“Buildings, their construction, use and maintenance are far and away the biggest consumers of energy,” explains Kurrle, but thanks to passive thermal strategies and a large solar array located out-of-sight, this house uses little of it. “The use of concrete and large expanses of glass acts as a heat sink—absorbing heat from the sunlight all day and releasing that heat at night.”

Proof that the right techniques exist to make our impact less visible and more respectful, the house’s architecture and interiors are an ode to the landscape, with some aspects designed to almost disappear while others add a sense of drama, like the Big Bang fixture from Foscarini hanging above the Feldman-designed table surrounded by green chairs from Ligne Roset. The human touch at the service of the landscape? A natural magic.

Written by Karine Monié  |  Photo Courtesy of Joe Fletcher Photography

The Call of Contemporaria

One the occasion of its 80th anniversary, beloved brand Knoll brings a better-than-ever home design shop to Los Angeles

Los Angeles is known for its great stock—celebrities, pro athletes, top artists, tech innovators, and just about everyone on the beach. Now, there’s Knoll, which has dropped a new home design shop on Robertson Boulevard. Just blocks from Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, this dream of domestic bliss coincides with the brand’s birthday this year.

[cs_dropcap column_size=”1/1″ dropcap_style=”box” dropcap_size=”0″ dropcap_color=”#fff” dropcap_bg_color=”#d7df21″]The opening of city’s design debutante marks new territory for Knoll, which comes to L.A. by way of New York City and has only two direct-to-consumer retail locations—our local outpost the sequel to its longer-running show in NYC. Coveted for its modern designs—those geometrized, cleaned-lined things from Mid-century Modern masters like Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and current L.A. legend Frank Gehry—the au courant emporium is meant to connect two of the city’s more prolific communities: residential design professionals and consumers.[/cs_dropcap]

 

So totally on-tone, Knoll Home Design Shop looks as if it came straight from the L.A. design playbook, immersive in all the right ways. Given a clean, gleaming treatment by L.A.’s Johnston Marklee, in collaboration with Knoll design director Benjamin Pardo and interiors by Barbara Reimelt of NinetyNineGroup, the store is already a classic. Parsed as it is, in exquisitely appointed vignettes, with judicious placements of this fabric here and that furnishing there, it evokes that beautiful unfussiness that Modernists crave for their own space.

 

This is the point—to inspire. To preview the thoughtfully orchestrated environments in one’s midst, the eye shifting focus at precisely the right speed, is to immediately begin to rethink the living room. Maybe the dining room. Always the patio. But, oh, that these reimaginings look as good, or as effortless, as Knoll’s signature flick-of-the-wrist ease. More than just pretty pieces arranged just so, the shop supports a total design experience, where the arrangements of palette, materials and finishes augment the larger architectural space, which is an ode to Northern Italian architecture of the 1950s and 60s, inspired by Tangier York Castle and spaces from Knoll’s design archives.

 

The shop’s full spectrum of Knoll designs include new collections from the likes of David Adjaye and David Rockwell, along with classics from the likes of brand co-founder Florence Knoll and lauded Modernist Marcel Breuer. Also on show are Knoll designs now available stateside for the first time, including  Avio sofas, Grasshopper tables by Piero Lissoni and Tobia Scarpa’s Bastiano lounge collection. Look for the introduction of upscale fabrics and find lustrous finishes for one-of-a-kind customizations for residential and home office applications.

The building housing it all—and then some—is itself something of a splendor, its façade of hand-polished grey terrazzo with white marble aggregate and brass details around windows the size of the open sky is Old-World meets the New for all to see. La dolce vita, L.A. style. 

Written by Jenn Thornton  |  Photographs Courtesy of Knoll Home Design Shop/ Eric Staudenmaier
Minimalism | DIGS Editorial

Minimalism: Less is More

[cs_dropcap column_size=”1/1″ dropcap_style=”box” dropcap_size=”0″ dropcap_color=”#fff” dropcap_bg_color=”#d7df21″]Minimalism is still all the rage. For the past few years, this word has been omnipresent in the pages of the world’s best design and decoration publications, from Paris to Hong Kong to Los Angeles. How has this trend become a movement?A focus on quality over quantity and the use of clean lines, subtle colors and natural materials in a simple way—these are some of the principles of minimalism, a design aesthetic that aims to create peaceful atmospheres.[/cs_dropcap]

In the contemporary era, our busy and cosmopolitan lives lead us to change locations many times, as opposed to previous generations of individuals who spent their years in what was considered the norm: same house, same city. Technology is now part of our daily routine too—in addition to the great knowledge that it provides, it also encourages a faster-paced environment. As a result, many covet the ability to slow things down at home.

Originally used in the 1960s to describe the work of American visual artists such as Robert Morris and Anne Truitt, minimalism is characterized by extreme simplicity of form. Interiors translate the style through clean lines and a sense of flow throughout spaces, two characteristics that are essential to traditional Japanese design. Embracing simplicity, this approach naturally focuses on the importance of de-cluttering and usefulness—having a purpose for all things.

Shaped by The New Design Project (a Brooklyn-based interior design studio led by Fanny Abbes and James Davison), this serene loft in New York City epitomizes minimalism in home decor. In the dining room of the 1,615-square-foot apartment, a custom floating upholstered bench by The New Design Project is combined with Saarinen Executive Side Chairs from Design Within Reach and a branching brass and frosted glass chandelier based on the Agnes piece by Lindsey Adelman.

Minimalism | DIGS Editorial

In Manhattan, this loft apartment by The New Design Project is refined and elegant, with a downtown feel

Keeping it simple with a monochromatic scheme or soft hues—such as gray in this loft—and opting for few materials are some of the things to consider when reinterpreting this aesthetic. However, minimalism doesn’t mean neutral. On the contrary, this style leaves plenty of room for boldness and creativity.

Choosing one color that really pops and a few sculptural items are the perfect ingredients to express a strong personality in minimalist interiors. In the dining room of the Manhattan loft, The New Design Project team uses the lighting as a way to add drama and emphasize the high ceilings.

The minimalist space is both functional and beautiful, with every piece and every detail placed with purpose—whether it is to make a statement or blend with other elements. Creating a relaxing, airy atmosphere with the right dose of coziness is key to feel calm, and the concepts of simplifying and curating helping to achieve just that.

Written by Karine Monié  |  Photo Courtesy of Alan Gastelum
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