Design

3Novices:Wood, stone and adobe create cosy interior for Lima’s Mérito restaurant by Ghezzi Novak

This compact dining spot in Lima is designed by local studio Ghezzi Novak as a snug space, decorated with natural materials that reflect the authenticity of the food.

Mérito recently opened in the Barranco district of the Peruvian capital, an area renowned for its arts scene and nightlife.

Merito by Ghezzi Novak Blanco

Serving local cuisine, the restaurant is squeezed into an old building, spread across two floors that each has a compact plan.

“Mérito is an intimate experience, where food and architecture understand each other to speak of the same idea,” said a project description from Ghezzi Novak, a Lima-based studio run by Arturo and Gustavo Ghezzi Novak.

Merito by Ghezzi Novak Blanco
Photograph by Ivan Salinero

Tucked behind a grand wooden doorway, the small space has hosted several purposes over time, which resulted in several interventions to the layout.

Ghezzi Novak stripped all of these away, revealed the original walls lined with bricks of adobe – a traditional construction material made from mud.

Merito by Ghezzi Novak Blanco
Photograph by Ivan Salinero

These surfaces are left exposed in some areas, while others are covered in timber planks and wood panels with narrow vertical slats.

Downstairs, a central blackened-wood island is shared by diners and kitchen staff, who face each other across the stone countertop.

Merito by Ghezzi Novak Blanco
Photograph by Ivan Salinero

Food is prepared on the surface and using equipment behind, then eaten in front by those sat on tall wooden stools.

A more traditional dining area upstairs has tables for parties of various sizes, all positioned along a wooden banquette on three sides of the room.

Merito by Ghezzi Novak Blanco
Photograph by Ivan Salinero

“The first floor is about action, a central table that is both dining and kitchen,” Ghezzi Novak said. “The second floor is about calmness, a wrapping wooden baseboard and paper lamps that soften the light.”

Lighting on both levels is dim and moody, creating a warm atmosphere with the beige and brown material palette.

Merito by Ghezzi Novak Blanco
Photograph by Ivan Salinero

The rustic feel at Mérito is similar to a few recently opened eateries and watering holes in Central and South America. A pizza place in Córdoba and a social space in Monterrey are among other examples.

Photography is by Renzo Rebagliati unless stated otherwise.

Project credits:

Architecture: Arturo Ghezzi Novak and Gustavo Ghezzi Novak
Design team: Arturo Ghezzi Novak, Gustavo Ghezzi Novak, Pamela Remy

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3Novices:Concrete shell wraps Luciano Kruk’s Rodríguez House in Argentina

Argentinian architect Luciano Kruk has designed a linear concrete house on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, with a slatted wood entrance and a large swimming pool in its expansive garden.

Based in the capital, Kruk used board-marked concrete to form the shell of the 1,711-square-foot (159-square-metre) Rodríguez House.

Rodriguez House by Luciano Kruk

The single-storey residence, rectangular in plan and section, is located on a spacious property in a gated community called La Esperanza.

“Its streets, made out of compact calcrete and crushed stone, and are configured in accordance with the area’s longstanding woods,” said the architect’s description.

Rodriguez House by Luciano Kruk

Landscape also played an important role in this project. A reflecting pool is positioned at the entrance and a swimming pool is found at the back, while an expansive lawn and an internal courtyard offer more outdoor spaces.

Rodriguez House by Luciano Kruk

The building’s structure is based on concrete load-bearing walls, which interact with inverted T-beams.

On approach, the front facade comprises lapacho (wooden planks) that hang vertically, atop a black flagstone base. This wood lattice design conceals “wet spaces”, such as a kitchen, laundry room and bathrooms.

Rodriguez House by Luciano Kruk

A raised concrete-slab floor serves as the entrance, while inside, a glass wall reveals the internal courtyard.

This sequence of spaces aligns perfectly with the outdoor pool, forming an axis perpendicular to the concrete building.

Rodriguez House by Luciano Kruk

The home is split into two wings, with public areas on one side and private spaces on the other. An open-plan living and dining room, with a galley kitchen, are all located to the left of the entrance, while two bedrooms and two bathrooms are to the right.

Sliding glass doors line the entire rear facade, opening to a covered patio that spans the length of the house.

Rodriguez House by Luciano Kruk

“The openness with which its joinery is designed from floor to ceiling allows for a complete integration between the inside and the outside,” Kruk said.

For interior decor, the material palette matches the exterior, with concrete walls, black cabinets and greyscale furnishings.

Rodriguez House by Luciano Kruk

Warm wood floors help to soften the rooms, and the odd wall is painted white for contrast.

Designed for a young couple with no children, the house required possibility for expansion should the family grow.

Rodriguez House by Luciano Kruk

“They asked for a house with a pure external image and an uncomplicated inner distribution,” Kruk said. “They also requested a project for a future enlargement in view of the possibility to include a third bedroom.”

Rodriguez House by Luciano Kruk

Rodríguez House is one of many concrete residences designed by the architect in Argentina. Others include a house with a similar reflection pool at its entrance, and another home in the woods that sits on a sandy lot.

Photography is by Daniela Mac Adden.

Project credits:

Project manager: Belén Ferrand
Collaborator: Denise Andreoli
Construction: Constructora Correa

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3Novices:Norm Architects merges Danish and Japanese influences at Sticks n Sushi restaurant in London

Diners move from dark and cosy spaces to light spaces as they climb through the levels of this London sushi restaurant by Danish studio Norm Architects.

Located on London’s King’s Road in Chelsea, Sticks n Sushi seats 220 guests over three floors making it the largest restaurant that Copenhagen-based firm Norm Architects has designed to date.

Sticks n Sushi by Norm Architects

The architects wanted the interior to reflect the luxury of the local area, while also referencing Japanese design through the use of natural materials and finely crafted details.

Using a largely monochromatic palette, the architects set out to create different atmospheres on each floor. “The idea is that you walk up into the light,” explained the studio.

Sticks n Sushi by Norm Architects

The architects wanted to create an intimate and cosy space within the restaurant’s lower ground floor and private dining area. Finished in dark colours and materials, the room has garlands of hops hanging from its oak grid ceiling in a bid to “soften up the space”.

“Intimate and secluded, the lower ground floor is an atmospheric hideaway for parties to absorb the timeless elegance,” said the studio of the 26-seat space.

Sticks n Sushi by Norm Architects

The ground floor serves as the welcoming heart of the restaurant. Its interior incorporates custom woodwork, Danish design classics, industrial elements, natural stone table tops and a bar in blackened steel.

“Upon entering the ground floor of the restaurant, you’re drawn to the sculptural leather sofas, perfect for visitors paying the restaurant a brief visit, having cocktails or waiting for a table,” explained Norm.

Sticks n Sushi by Norm Architects

A sculptural blackened steel staircase lit by matching Japanese gong-like lamps connects the ground and first floors.

Filled with daylight from tall windows, the open-plan first floor is the brightest of all. Wide plank flooring from Dinesen lines the floors while the space is divided by oak partition walls and light, transparent textiles that become translucent, light-bearing elements when they’re lit up at night.

Sticks n Sushi by Norm Architects

“The textiles throughout the restaurant were carefully selected to suit the various settings: heavy where needed to create a warm and private seating area and light where installed as subtle, elegant room dividers that play with the light,” explained the Norm.

The first floor is furnished with oak tables and chairs alongside low banquette seating, while a large marble table in the semi-private dining room is lit by lantern-like, white lamps.

Sticks n Sushi by Norm Architects

Danish elements include the Carl Hansen & Son chairs that are used throughout the restaurant as a reference to Danish design heritage, quality woodwork and craftsmanship. All of the restaurant’s walls are painted with lime paints by Norwegian paint brand Jotun to give a soft textured finish.

Another recent project that saw the Copenhagen firm blending Japanese and Danish design sensibilities was a collaboration with Japanese furniture manufacturer Karimoku when the studio was asked to design four pieces of wooden furniture for a renovation project in Tokyo.

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3Novices:Iridescent free weights double as geometric sculptures

Designers Candice Blanc and Ulysse Martel have created a collection of iridescent exercise weights that can also be displayed as sculptures in the home. 

Olympia by Candice Blanc and Ulysse Martel 

Called Olympia, the minimalist pieces are coloured in an iridescent lacquer. When not in use, the weights can be joined with one another, or stacked, to form vertical, geometric sculptures.

The project, which has been shortlisted for a Dezeen award in leisure design, features a trio of free weights, a pair of push-up bars and a two-hand dumbbell.

Olympia by Candice Blanc and Ulysse Martel 

“As each of us seeks physical perfection, the cult of the body and the will to make it attractive to all has become one of the challenges of our time,” said the duo.

“In the near future, our progress in genetics and biotech will render these physical efforts superfluous transforming all our exercise equipment into artefacts,” they explained.

“Humans have access to a lot of technologies to enhance their body so, in the future, actual physical training will not make sense anymore.”

Olympia by Candice Blanc and Ulysse Martel 

The pieces feature a series of cylindrical and semi-cylindrical shapes made from machine-cut steel and coated in a glossy, iridescent lacquer.

“Both futuristic and retrograde at the same time, the use of iridescent paint aims to capture the eye and give the object an exaggerated pictorial character,” said the designers.

“The displacement of the gravitation centre of the pieces seeks to reinforce the sculptural of the objects,” they continued.

Olympia by Candice Blanc and Ulysse Martel 

Elsewhere, Swedish brand Tingest has launched a collection of home training equipment, which features marble dumbbells, a bamboo hula hoop and a slimline kettlebell.

Other shortlisted projects from the Dezeen Awards include a series of corrugated furniture objects from pipes conventionally used to carry waste sewage and a plastic mesh that connect medication boxes together to allow easier delivery of malaria medicine in remote sub-Saharan African villages.

Photography is by Raphaëlle Mueller.

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3Novices:Take a tour of Taiwan via our new Pinterest board

Our new Pinterest board showcases the best new architecture in Taiwan, including the “world’s largest performing arts centre” designed by Mecanoo and MVRDV’s unusual Y-shaped house with a rooftop pool. Follow Dezeen on Pinterest ›

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3Novices:Three geometric volumes form Nelson Resende’s architecture studio

Nelson Resende has designed an office for his architecture practice in Portugal‘s Arada district in a pair of tangentially touching cuboids and a cylinder.

Resende created the building to be capable of housing two autonomous offices that could be linked to function as a single space if required.

Arada Office by Nelson Resende

He designed the office as a cluster of basic forms that appear distinctly separate but are subtly connected at the points where they touch.

“The building is the result of the juxtaposition of a series of pure, little-tamed volumes, linked by necessity, but assuming its own identity,” the architect said.

Arada Office by Nelson Resende

The studio is reached by a paved path that rises gradually up from the street. A concrete courtyard slotted in between the two offset rectangular structures marks the entrance.

Both of these volumes have corners spliced away to create sheltered porches in front of doors leading into the offices. At the point where they touch, a bridging section contains a corridor connecting the two rooms.

Arada Office by Nelson Resende

The third structure towards the rear of the site is a cylindrical meeting room with bookshelves wrapping around its inner surface. A large glazed door incorporated into the wall allows the room to extend out onto a simple deck.

The offices are bright and simply decorated, with white-painted walls and smooth concrete floors. Skylights ensure plenty of daylight reaches the interiors, while the windows provide views out across the agricultural landscape.

Arada Office by Nelson Resende

Wooden details such as door handles, window benches and dividers incorporated into the fitted cabinets introduce a warm tone and texture to the otherwise neutral spaces.

The office is situated in an area dominated by agricultural activity. Its setting provides views across the neighbouring fields, which constantly change throughout the year as the crops are tended and harvested.

Arada Office by Nelson Resende

The building itself is also intended to change in appearance at different times of day and in different seasons, as the angle of daylight falling on its facades shifts.

In Belgium, architecture office Klaarchitectuur built their studio inside inside a dilapidated 17th century church, with a white cuboid bursting out through the roof. In the English countryside Stonewood Design created an office that doubles as a deer-watching hide.

Photography is by João Morgado.


Project credits:

Architecture: Nelson Resende
Structure: Sandra Leite, civil engineer

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3Novices:Mexican coastal house by CDM circles tropical courtyard

A limestone lattice curves around a tropical garden at the centre of this house in Colima, Mexico, which architecture firm CDM has designed to provide its residents with an “unending vacation”.

Casa TM is located on the outskirts of Tecoman city in Colima – a small state on Mexico’s west coast.

Casa TM by CDM

CDM designed the residence for a 11,670-square-metre former palm grove that was cleared for the build. The aim was to provide a relaxing retreat for a family of four, while taking into consideration the surrounding environment.

“The premise of the project was to integrate the diverse phenomenologies inspired by the tropical paradise of the Mexican Pacific, in order to create a residence that constantly refers to unending vacation,” said the studio in a project description.

Casa TM by CDM

The area’s tropical climate was “a major concern” for the architecture firm. Temperatures range from 25 to 50 degrees celsius, while humidity levels rarely drop below 75 per cent.

In response, CDM fragmented the residence into blocks with a series of open spaces left between. This allow wind tunnels to carry air through freely, from the swimming pool at the front, to the garden at the rear. This type of natural cooling system is commonly used in Mexico’s tropical regions.

Casa TM by CDM

“Mexican homes usually rejoice on the concept of blurring the limits between the inside and the outside, favouring patios, gardens, terraces, and open spaces in order to create a natural flow to, from, and throughout the home,” said the firm. “This case could not be the exception.”

The main outdoor area is a round courtyard at the centre of the house, which CDM filled with native vegetation and palm trees.

Casa TM by CDM

“We almost wanted that patio to feel like a chunk of the surrounding jungle had been taken from its original place and relocated in the inside of this home, with its palm trees reaching to the sky,” the studio said.

The blocks circling the yard have sliding wooden doors that provide access to the patio. Each volume around the outdoor area hosts a different function, including the family room and the kitchen – which are separated by a narrow passage – the guest room, a gym and two bedrooms.

Casa TM by CDM

Additional wings for the games room, the master bedroom and ensuite, and a second living room and dining room, are arranged on the outskirts. Even more outdoor spaces are slotted in between.

The firm intended the inward-facing layout to boost the security of the one-storey residence. A low-lying wall runs along the front so that it remains unnoticeable from the street.

Casa TM by CDM

Another challenge during construction was the site’s flat topography, which is prone to flooding during heavy rainfall. In response, CDM raised the building three feet (0.9 metres) on a stone and concrete platform, with the surrounding vegetation planted at ground level to act as a buffer.

Local craftsmen were enlisted to work with traditional materials and techniques for the residence, which features a mix of white-painted brickwork and rendered walls.

Casa TM by CDM

Some of the roofs are flat, while others are topped with palapas – traditional gabled structures, covered in dried palm tree leaves to reduce solar absorption and overheating.

“For this particular case we used a concrete roof structure lightened with expanded polystyrene blocks below the palapa to efficiently insulate the interior,” said CDM. “This resulted in ample, comfortable interior spaces with an exterior aesthetic profoundly related to its context.”

Casa TM by CDM

Other local materials include a limestone partition that runs along one side of the patio. It screens the garage behind, while still letting the breeze through. Limestone also forms the deck around the pool that extends at the front.

A simple material palette continues inside the residence, including pale walls, wooden furniture and muted textiles.

Casa TM by CDM

CDM, which stands for Casa de Mexico, is based in the Mexican city of Zapopan, near to Guadalajara. The firm recently completed another property on the Mexican coastline, comprising a cabana and swimming pool nestled into a rocky hillside.

Photography is by Rory Gardiner and Lorena Darquea. Video is by Juan Benavides.


Project credits:

Project team: Javier Dueñas, Jaime de Obeso, Delfino Lozano, Alan Macías, Daniel Villalba, Manuel Manzano, Gloria López, Rodrigo Carreón, Elizabeth Fernández
Interior design: MUMO, Karla Vázquez
Landscape: Juan Carlos Pérez Trejo
Lighting: Artenluz, Javier Ten

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