3Novices:Monochrome materials define living spaces inside converted Italian farmhouse

Architecture office Deltastudio used a palette of monochrome materials to create light-filled rooms with views of the surrounding countryside at this modernised farmhouse near the Italian town of Caprarola.

Martina house by Deltastudio

Local practice Deltastudio oversaw the conversion of the traditional farmhouse into a contemporary home for a family who left the city to begin a new life in the countryside.

The client, Martina, and her family operate the farm from the house, which was renovated and expanded to make it suitable for modern living.

Martina house by Deltastudio

A series of compact spaces are tailored to the needs of its users and are designed to provide a pared-back, neutral backdrop to enhance the views of the landscape.

“The old farmhouse is renewed, expands, becomes a home, becomes a refuge,” said the studio. “Simple and compact, it accepts the needs of a modern life in close contact with nature.”

Martina house by Deltastudio

The building is separated internally into three distinct bands. The first of these is a new section added to the south side of the house that accommodates the main living areas.

Large windows lining the living and dining space provide a panoramic view across the fields towards a nearby lake, while sliding glazed doors open the room up to the outdoors.

Martina house by Deltastudio

The living room is enclosed on one side by the original outer wall, which is now punctured by black-framed openings that ensure natural light flooding in through the windows reaches the kitchen in the central band.

On the other side of this space is a service core containing a pantry, washroom and a closet for the master bedroom, which is situated in the third band to the north of the house, along with another bedroom.

Martina house by Deltastudio

The building’s entrance area is situated in a double-height space next to the kitchen. It contains built-in wooden benches and a staircase featuring cantilevered treads and a minimal net balustrade.

The staircase ascends to an upper floor containing a study, a large bedroom for the owners’ two girls, and a bathroom. The bedroom on this level features a skylight and built-in storage with a seating nook beneath the sloping eaves.

Martina house by Deltastudio

Throughout the house, a focus on the junctions of materials and contrasts of tone are used to define the different functional zones and the create a striking visual contrast between juxtaposing surfaces.

“The interior becomes essential,” said the architects. “Materials and colours interact with the external landscape, which penetrates into the rooms as a manifesto of what pushed the owners to leave the city.”

Martina house by Deltastudio

The flooring of the entrance level transitions from poured cement to black hexagonal tiles that extend out from the kitchen and through to the dining area.

The bedrooms feature wooden parquet and have a calming simplicity intended to evoke the almost monastic existence of the peasants and farmers who traditionally occupied this region.

Timber joinery used throughout the interior introduces a warm tone and texture to the otherwise monochrome scheme, creating a tactile connection to the surrounding nature.

Photography is by Simone Bossi.

Project credits:

Architecture: Deltastudio
Construction: Ricci Edilizia Aurora srl

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3Novices:Aesop Montreal store by Alain Carle draws on local jazz heritage

Dark green suede and brass details were used by Alain Carle Architecte to make this store for skincare brand Aesop feel like a jazz club.

Aesop Montreal by Alain Carle Architecte

The local firm designed the interior for the store in Montreal’s Petite Bourgogne – or Little Burgundy – a neighbourhood in the southwest of the city, historically known for its music scene.

“The interior draws influence from the neighbourhood’s heyday as a jazz hub, when the music of Oscar Peterson or the Sealey Brothers could be heard from the streets,” said a statement from Aesop.

Aesop Montreal by Alain Carle Architecte

With a combination of dark, rich and natural materials, the shop is evocative of a speakeasy.

“All of the brass used in the store is solid brass, and we added dark green synthetic suede for a reference to the jazz club,” said Alain Carle Architecte told Dezeen.

Aesop Montreal by Alain Carle Architecte

The storefront features large windows, with inside revealing a symmetrical plan. White oak custom-made cabinetry wraps around the space in a curved shape, acting as a divider and adding intimacy to the store.

“Recalling the feel of a private club, the space rounds and winds like the shapes of a wind instrument, evoking a decidedly warm and intimate experience,” the brand said.

The walls and ceiling are painted a dark black, with a matching check-out desk and freestanding wash basin.

The sink, which customers are encouraged to use when testing products, is housed in a dark volume and has brass faucets on either end.

Aesop Montreal by Alain Carle Architecte

Floors are kept pale to match the timber furniture that envelopes the space, and comprise wide white-oak beams.

Alain Carle Architecte has also designed an Aesop store in the nearby area of Westmount, while another in Mile End features rustic timber and limestone elements by local studio Naturehumaine.

Aesop Montreal by Alain Carle Architecte

“Montreal combines rich history with vibrant cultural life,” said Aesop president Stuart Millar. “Each neighbourhood offered a fertile ground for architectural interpretation.”

No two Aesop stores are alike, as the brand’s founder explained in a ??/ interview with Dezeen. Others in Canada include a grey-toned store decorated with custom-made lamps by MSDS Studio in Toronto.

Photography is by Aesop.

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3Novices:BDFO adds extensions and skylights to Brooklyn townhouse

Barker Freeman Design Office has completed the renovation of a townhouse in Brooklyn, demolishing some sections and adding others to make better use of the space.

20th Street House by BFDO

The 20th Street House occupies a corner lot, and previously had front and rear extensions added to it. Barker Freeman Design Office (BDFO) decided to reconfigure these add-ons for a more optimum layout.

“The building volume was selectively manipulated — in some cases through addition, in others through subtraction — to improve room sizes, sequences and adjacencies,” said the local firm.

20th Street House by BFDO

A new covered front porch leads to the entrance, which was altered to create a small foyer. The front door is now perpendicular to the street and the entrance is sheltered.

20th Street House by BFDO

This sequence leads to the living and dining room, which is laid out in the longitudinal main volume of the home. To install additional windows and bring more light into the space, BFDO relocated the staircase to the party wall.

“The corners of the living room and dining rooms were eroded to bring light in and extend views diagonally,” said the studio.

20th Street House by BFDO

Beyond this space is the kitchen, which is built within the home’s previous extension. “The rear extension was widened to about 15 feet (4.5 metres) to create a generous mahogany-panelled kitchen with an island, pantry and home office nook,” the architects said.

20th Street House by BFDO

A new deck steps down to the backyard, providing direct access from the kitchen.

To save space inside, the staircase now makes a right angle turn at the bottom to face the main seating area. Additionally, it is now lit from above by a new skylight.

Two children’s bedrooms are located upstairs, facing the backyard. They both feature corner windows, bringing plenty of light into the space.

20th Street House by BFDO

Down the hallway, the master bedroom overlooks the street. “A windowed walk-in closet, sky-lit bathroom and west-facing glazed wall bring lots of light inside,” said the architects.

20th Street House by BFDO

“White oak, used for floors, stairs and built-in shelving and cabinets throughout the house, keeps the palette pale and neutral,” said BDFO.

Certain colourful accents, like geometric bathroom tiles and intricate rugs provide contrast to the interiors.

20th Street House by BFDO

The exterior cladding is made of horizontal cedar siding. Facade elements that are set in from the main volume were finished in a darker tone, to highlight the home’s massing.

20th Street House by BFDO

New Yorkers eager for more living space are increasingly opting for Brooklyn, where other townhouse properties include a home reconfigured around its staircase by L/A/N/D/A and a row house only 3.4 metres wide by GRT Architects.

Photography is by Francis Dzikowski (OTTO).

Project Credits:

Principal: Alexandra Barker
Project manager: Ryan Griffin
Engineers: Zaki Albanna

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3Novices:Thomas Feichtner bases Octagon chair on wire fencing and shopping trolleys

Austrian designer Thomas Feichtner has collaborated with a group of craftspeople to create a wire chair with a technique more commonly used to manufacture wire fences.

Feichtner, widely recognised for his minimalist furniture, made the Octagon Chair together with members of H+S Zauntechnik – a wire manufacturer in Styria, Germany.

He used the form of a cantilever chair, a chair supported by one single leg, as a starting point for his design.

He also wanted to incorporate the wire welding techniques that he had learnt while manufacturing fences at H+S Zauntechnik, which he said reminded him of a shopping trolley.

“H+S Zauntechnik usually produces wire-mesh fences by welding wires together in an automated process,” Feichtner told Dezeen. “This overlaying of the wires reminded me so much of a shopping trolley. It was clear to me that I can transfer the two-dimensional fence into a three-dimensional object.”

“As a designer of furniture, a chair came into my mind first. It ended as a cantilever chair automatically. Using the overlaying welding technique only at the seat made all the rest describing an eight and the cantilever was done,” he added.

Feichtner adapted the typology of the traditional cantilever chair, which is supported by a single steel pipe.  Instead, he used 12 thin wires made from stainless steel, which he looped together to support the chair at a 90-degree angle.

Either corner of the structure combines to form the backrest and seat of the chair, while the seat is reinforced by overlapping wires that have been welded together to form a gridded pattern.

“It has an almost unreal impression. As a three-dimensional object, it still looks two-dimensional, like a graphical drawing of a pen-on-paper plotter,” he said.

“Even the photos look almost like renderings,” he continued. “Your eyes are confusing searching what is front and what is in the background. The parallel wires almost generate a moire Effect by overlapping.”

The Octagon Chair will be presented at Designmonat Graz, which takes place this year in Graz, Germany, between 5 May and 3 June.

Feichtner is an industrial designer based in Vienna. Previous furniture projects include an A-frame chair made using traditional carpentry techniques and a chair crafted from carbon fibre sheets.

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3Novices:Matra Architects creates holiday home with peaked roof and Himalayan views

The timber-clad roof structure of this house in the foothills of the Himalayas features a pointed peak incorporating skylights that allow daylight to flood an open-plan interior arranged over stepped levels.

Wood House by Office Matra

The private holiday home is located in the village of Satkhol in India’s Nainital district, which is a popular site for tourists looking to explore the landscape around the world’s highest mountain range.

The building was designed by New Delhi-based studio Matra Architects and is situated 2,000 metres above sea level on a terraced plot that offers a panoramic view towards the Himalayas.

Wood House by Office Matra

Its form references the peaks of the mountains that can be seen in the distance, and also reinterprets the basic vernacular dwellings occupied by farmers throughout the region.

“The design of this house is referring to the proximity of the snow-clad panorama of the northern Himalayan range at the horizon, and is nonetheless rooted strongly to the existing and unharmed terraces it occupies,” said the architects.

Wood House by Office Matra

The building is positioned on the lowest terrace on the site to minimise its visual impact on the natural surroundings and to provide a more intimate sense of connection to the adjacent forest.

The interior is arranged over three distinct levels housed within a suspended envelope that means internal supporting walls are not required.

The structure is provided by four timber main frames made from glued planks fastened with steel tie rods. These support the entire timber-clad roof, the insulated building envelope, a wooden mezzanine and the double-glazed skylight.

“The entire house suspended from these robust truss frames without the support of any intermediate columns allows an undisturbed flow of contours into the silent pine-wood panelled interior spaces,” said the studio.

Wood House by Office Matra

The 14.5-metre-long frames remain visible inside the living area. The construction allows glazing to wrap around the living room at floor level, framing views towards the neighbouring orchards and the town of Almora.

The glazed slot runs along the top of a stone plinth that extends around the base of the building. Both the stone and the wood used for the timber cladding were sourced locally, which helps to ground the house in the terrain.

The wooden walls are perforated by square windows that frame views of the mountains, forest and sky in all directions from the stepped living space and bedrooms along one side of the building.

Wood House by Office Matra

The property’s entrance opens onto a kitchen on the highest of the three levels, which are connected by short sets of stone steps.

The kitchen overlooks the double-height lounge and dining area, which is lined with a wall separating this space from a pair of bedrooms. The vast skylight allows natural light to flood into two further bedrooms accommodated on the mezzanine level.

Photography is by Edmund Sumner.

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3Novices:Pigzbe app aims to teach children about cryptocurrency

Children aged six and over can now own cryptocurrency using an app called Pigzbe, which functions as a digital piggy bank.

Created by entrepreneur Filippo Yacob, the app aims to teach children about cryptocurrency and finance while encouraging saving.

Described as a “piggy wallet”, the service operates using a blockchain-enabled currency called Wollo, which is described as the first cryptocurrency targeted specifically towards children.

“More than a piggy bank, Pigzbe is a ‘piggy-wallet’ for children, parents and families, powered by its own family-friendly cryptocurrency called Wollo, designed to be suited to thousands of tiny transactions as parents reward chores or give pocket money,” explained its creators.

The “family-friendly” cryptocurrency is part of a growing trend in blockchain-enabled currencies, which include Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum, as well as more obscure coins like Dogecoin and Putincoin.

The app encourages children to save in a cashless society, which is difficult with digital piggy bank apps that either do not allow small transaction or charge large transaction fees.

“Learning about money early is key to developing positive financial habits, but it will be impossible to do in an increasingly cashless society, and with current banking products,” said CEO, Yacob.

“When I looked for digital piggy-bank apps for my own son, I couldn’t find anything that would allow me to make small payments – even one penny or two pence at a time – let alone cross-border,” he explained. “Most digital piggy bank apps would charge me 50 pence just to send 50 pence!”

Pigzbe uses an app to transfer money from parent to child. An immersive game version of the app is available for children, while adults use a simpler version of the app.

“Pigzbe pairs a physical device with an app that turns gifting and saving into a game, while allowing families to transfer as little as one penny between one another globally, and within seconds,” continued the brand.

An accompanying pink controller for children is used to control games and receive notifications from relatives, while a black controller for parents has been designed for offline storage of Wollo coins.

A Wollo Card can be used by children and adults in many online and offline shops. The card includes pre-programmed parental control settings that restrict the spending of money on adult items like alcohol, online gambling and tobacco.

While physical money can be spent without any record the cryptocurrency allows parents to see exactly where their children’s money is going.

Last month, the MIT Technology Review listed blockchain as one of ten technologies it believes will make the most impact over the next 12 months, while Paul Coletti called it a design classic in an opinion piece for Dezeen.

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3Novices:Look back on Milan 2018 with Dezeen’s new Pinterest board

As Milan design week draws to a close, take a look back through Dezeen’s extensive coverage of the world’s biggest design fair via our new Pinterest board, which showcases all the best projects and exhibitions from across the event. Follow Dezeen on Pinterest ›

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