Design

3Novices:Rain collects and circulates around Jólan van der Wiel’s Tropic City bench

Dutch designer Jólan van der Wiel has created a water-filled seat made of dozens of pipes that store and circulate raindrops. 

Water Bench Tropic City project by Jolan van der Wiel

The piece is part of his Tropic City collection of furniture and homeware, which has all been designed with the challenges of tropical climates in mind. Van der Wiel tailored the bench to extreme environments, particularly places that suffer from periods of drought.

“You need to create possibilities to store the water when there is a lot of rain and release it when there isn’t enough of it,” the designer told Dezeen. “So why not incorporate this idea in our habitat in a visually attractive way?”

Water Bench Tropic City project by Jolan van der Wiel

Van der Wiel carried out several experiments to perfect the seating – which was created in partnership with Benthem Crouwel Architects – with the aim of creating a “pure and beautiful” system that would somehow resemble natural processes.

Water Bench Tropic City project by Jolan van der Wiel

“The water bench captures the water in Perspex tubes so it doesn’t evaporate,” added the designer. “With the use of air pressure, I created a dynamic surface that reminds me of natural sap circulation.”

Water Bench Tropic City project by Jolan van der Wiel

Many of the other pieces in van der Wiel’s Tropic City series take inspiration from tropical forests themselves – particularly the prickly skin and bright colours of fruits and insects. The huge leaves and trees often found in rainforests were also a reference, with the designer borrowing their forms for a pair of entwined, plant-like floor lamps.

There is also another chair, made up of 20,000 coloured tubes melted together to allow water to run through.

Water Bench Tropic City project by Jolan van der Wiel

“I was thinking of how heavy tropical rain showers are and how I wanted to create a piece of furniture that would be equipped to deal with these,” said van der Wiel. “Individually the tubes are light and thin, yet collectively they create a strong surface with enough volume to sit on.”

A spiky console table uses a technique the designer developed several years ago, which relies on magnetism to shape objects. Van der Wiel referenced the defensive spikes of animals to create legs that provide protective barriers to the tabletop – safeguarding whatever is placed there.

Water Bench Tropic City project by Jolan van der Wiel

To showcase the pieces, the Dutch designer created an installation for Amsterdam’s National Maritime Museum, using sounds and temperature to produce an artificial tropical environment. Alongside the exhibition, which was shown in March, van der Wiel worked with the museum to organise a series of lectures and debates around climate change.

The Tropic City pieces are part of an ongoing series van der Wiel has named Odd Environments, which will see him spend the next year designing pieces that reflect different natural forces and laws.

Water Bench Tropic City project by Jolan van der Wiel

The designer, who set up his own multidisciplinary studio in Amsterdam in 2011, is known for experimenting with unusual forms, often shaped by magnets and gravity. He used the process to design both prickly shoes and dresses for Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen and a candleholder created using iron filings.

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3Novices:Job of the day: Part-II architectural assistant at O’Donnell + Tuomey

Our job of the day from Dezeen Jobs is for a Part-II architectural assistant at O’Donnell + Tuomey, which last year unveiled designs for the new cultural quarter at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. More 

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3Novices:Gardens separate rooms wrapped in brick, stone and wood at Mexican courthouse

An oval stone wall encloses brick and timber volumes that offer varying levels of privacy and connection with the gardens at the centre of this courthouse in Pátzcuaro, Mexico, by Mauricio Rocha and Gabriela Carrillo.

Criminal Courts in Pátzcuaro, Mexico, by TALLER Mauricio Rocha + Gabriela Carrillo

The courthouse was designed by Rocha and Carrillo’s architecture studio in response to a requirement to update all of Mexico’s justice facilities so that oral trials open to the public can be conducted instead of the previous written process.

In cater to the different requirements of this updated system, the architects developed a proposal for a building based around flexible spaces that can accommodate both the traditional and the new oral trial formats.

Criminal Courts in Pátzcuaro, Mexico, by TALLER Mauricio Rocha + Gabriela Carrillo

The building’s various functional spaces are grouped depending on their use and organised to facilitate straightforward circulation whilst ensuring appropriate levels of security. Different areas are designated for use by judges, prisoners and visitors.

Situated on a sloping site on the edge of the town, the building’s plan is divided into stepped parallel blocks separated by exterior gardens.

This arrangement enables the spaces to achieve varying outlooks and levels of transparency that create a sense of openness mitigated by barriers made from materials such as perforated brick walls.

Criminal Courts in Pátzcuaro, Mexico, by TALLER Mauricio Rocha + Gabriela Carrillo

“Since jail architecture has been designed to be observed, the new design must be an exposed system, opened to democracy, to the citizenship, with lighted paths, shadows, wind and silence,” said the architects.

The entire floor area is enclosed within the curving stone wall, which varies in height from five metres at the highest point of the site to eight metres at the other end.

The wall is built from volcanic stone obtained from the site and forms a robust surface that lends it a strong, archaeological presence within the landscape when viewed from outside.

An aperture in the wall on one side provides a way in for visitors and staff. The entrance is positioned at the centre of the building and connects directly with the two main courtrooms.

Criminal Courts in Pátzcuaro, Mexico, by TALLER Mauricio Rocha + Gabriela Carrillo

These spaces are accommodated in symmetrical wooden volumes separated by the main garden. The timber surfaces provide suitable sound insulation and acoustics, while low-level windows ensure privacy.

A separate entrance for prisoners is located at the lower part of the site. A dedicated corridor is used to transport them from a waiting room to the courtrooms.

Criminal Courts in Pátzcuaro, Mexico, by TALLER Mauricio Rocha + Gabriela Carrillo

The remaining structures that house the reception areas and judges’ offices feature brick walls and sloping tiled roofs. These structures reference vernacular architecture in a region that experiences significant rainfall.

Criminal Courts in Pátzcuaro, Mexico, by TALLER Mauricio Rocha + Gabriela Carrillo

The administrative areas are lined with glazing that provides an open outlook towards the adjacent gardens. Sections of perforated brick below the highest point of the ceilings allows dappled light to enter these spaces.

Photography is by Sandra Pereznieto, Rafael Gamo, and Alejandro González.

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3Novices:Andres Stebelski opens up artist’s Mexico City house to its courtyard during renovation

Stained white walls, black-framed windows and roof gardens surround a courtyard overflowing with greenery in this house in Mexico City, which architect Andres Stebelski has overhauled for an artist. 

While renovating the U-shaped residence in the old Tacubaya area of the Mexican capital, Stebelski was struck by the fact that the rooms were arranged around a central patio that they had no access to.

Veramendi House by Andres Stebelski

To resolve this, the Mexican architect added a series of glazed doors with black frames to open the ground floor onto the outdoor space, which features herringbone-patterned paving and an abundance of potted planting. New windows also ensure that plenty of natural daylight is brought inside.

“The new project is built around the original patio to create the central focal point of the house,” said Stebelski, who has also completed a clay-covered house in the city.

Veramendi House by Andres Stebelski

His design is the latest in a series of adaptations of the residence, which was once used as a dental practice. To create continuity across the building’s various elements, all the walls are covered with a white lime plaster.

This has already weathered with a black “tear-stained patina” caused by rain so that it appears aged instead of new.

Veramendi House by Andres Stebelski

“The intention of the house was that there wasn’t distinction between the intervened and the original,” the architect told Dezeen.

“The result is a new house full of light that seems to have always been there.”

Veramendi House by Andres Stebelski

On the ground floor, dividing walls were stripped out to create an open-plan space for the artist’s main living area.

It features a new wood-panelled ceiling supported by beams, while openings on either side create cracks of light.

Veramendi House by Andres Stebelski

The lounge and the dining area occupy one of the wings, and are partitioned by a wooden shelf.

A tall set of wooden bookshelves fitted at one end of the space is accompanied by a ladder that makes the top accessible, while low-level cabinets run along the longer wall to provide storage for an extensive collection of music records.

Veramendi House by Andres Stebelski

At the dining-room end, a large window offers a view to a secluded garden slotted in the corner of the house with a large wooden statue placed in front.

Colourful patterned tiles covering the floor are complemented by a series of vibrant features, like bright wall posters and potted plants – a continuation of the greenery outside.

Veramendi House by Andres Stebelski

The kitchen, which occupies a nook around the corner of this floor, is finished more neutrally with wooden cabinets and white stone counters.

Continuing the more decorative aesthetic, the entrance hall has pink and green floor tiles and a wall made of moving blocks, an artwork created by the resident.

Veramendi House by Andres Stebelski

Above this wing, the architect added a new first floor to make two extra bedrooms – a third is located above the opposing other wing.

A doorway opens the master bedroom onto a narrow balcony overlooking the courtyard. It is one series of roof gardens added at different levels to the house.

Veramendi House by Andres Stebelski

Other residential projects in Mexico City include a concrete home with glazed walls that fully open to the outdoors and a property elevated off the ground to allow plants to grow underneath.

Photography is by Nasser Malek.

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3Novices:Casey Hughes Architects adds twin-peaked extension to refurbished LA home

Casey Hughes Architects has renovated and extended a 1950s house in Los Angeles, adding a tall metal-clad volume featuring a pair of high windows.

Casey Hughes‘s locally based studio – whose previous projects include a writer’s house in north Hollywood – modernised Shurkin Residence for a couple who work in the music industry, and their two young children.

Shurkin Residence by Casey Hughes Architects

The architects added a 300-square-foot (28-square-metre) extension to the old house, creating a new master bedroom suite that is separated from the existing building by a small, shaded garden.

“The addition was conceived as an independent volume to create a sanctuary for the owners while maintaining its connection to the rest of the house,” said the architects.

“The bedroom is focused inwardly on a glazed shade garden and up toward the sky through two five-metre-tall lightwells, that create a sense of calm and reprieve.”

Shurkin Residence by Casey Hughes Architects

This extension projects out into the garden and opens onto a concrete terrace. Its exterior is clad in metal panels, joined with standing seams that articulate its sharp, geometric shape.

The two peaks of the structure’s folded form contain windows – one facing north to draw in muted light throughout the day, and one facing west to capture evening light.

The roof extends in opposite directions from a central fold, resulting in a massing that appears different from various angles.

Shurkin Residence by Casey Hughes Architects

The project also involved the renovation of the existing 975-square-foot (90 square-metre) property. Its cluttered sequence of rooms, connected by dingy corridors, were opened up to create more cohesive living spaces.

An open lounge and dining area now flows through from the front door into a kitchen with a horseshoe-shaped counter and out into the rear garden.

Shurkin Residence by Casey Hughes Architects

Central to the reconfiguration of the house is a newly inserted volume clad in Mangaris plywood, which separates the living areas from the old and new bedrooms.

This structure contains utilities including a bathroom, laundry and storage, as well as a corridor that leads through from the living space towards the sleeping quarters.

Shurkin Residence by Casey Hughes Architects

Daylight enters through skylights set into the apex of the roof, and is funnelled down to illuminate the corridor and a corner of the living room on the other side of the dividing wall.

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3Novices:GamFratesi designs collection of sliding lamps for Louis Poulsen

GamFratesi‘s Yuh lamps for Danish brand Louis Poulsen feature a conical shade that slides and rotates to adjust light. 

Louis Poulsen & GamFratesi

Aimed at smaller living spaces, the lamps are designed to offer flexibility while taking up a small amount of room. Their name, Yuh, refers to the phonetic form of “you”.

Available in wall, floor and table versions, each of the lamp models can slide all the way down their supporting stem, and the shade can also be twisted.

Louis Poulsen & GamFratesi

“We think that being able to direct the light according to its own needs is an important quality in this typology of a lamp,” GamFratesi told Dezeen.

The studio also looked to the geometry found in classic Danish design by the likes of Arne Jacobsen and Poul Henningsen while creating the Yuh collection, which was unveiled during Milan design week.

Louis Poulsen & GamFratesi

“The lamp allows movement and rotation, but it was essential for us to maintain a strict aesthetic, avoiding all the technical elements typical of a classic task light,” added the studio. “The shape of the shade is naturally drawn following the movement and functionality of the lamp: a circle and a line.”

The lamp’s supporting tube conceals a switch and dimmer, and the collection is available in either white or black finishes.

Louis Poulsen & GamFratesi

GamFratesi was set up by Stine Gam and Enrico Fratesi in 2006, after the pair spent several years working at various architecture practices. The Copenhagen-based studio mainly designs furniture and lighting, and has collaborated with brands including Gebrüder Thonet Vienna and Ligne Roset.

The duo also recently designed a series of metal wire animals for an Apple Watch Hermes window display in Japan.

Louis Poulsen & GamFratesi

Louis Poulsen‘s origins date back to 1906, when Louis Poulsen took over a tools and electrical supplies business in Copenhagen. It launched its first lighting design, by Poul Henningsen, in 1924.

The brand is known for its dome-shaped Panthella lamp by Verner Panton, which the company reissued in 2016 as a collection of smaller, brightly coloured editions. Other recent lighting releases from Louis Poulsen include a set of pendants by Clara von Zweigbergk that recall hot-air balloons.

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3Novices:MWAI uses pale grey tones in west London flat renovation for two design enthusiasts

London studio MWAI has used a soft-grey palette to update an apartment on the upper floors of a Victorian terrace in Little Venice, applying the tone to chevron-patterened tiling and oak floors.

The architects used geometric tiling and shades of white and grey to emphasise the space and lightness within the minimalist home, which they created for two design enthusiasts and their growing family. 

Clifton Gardens, Maida Vale by MWAI

At the centre of the property, a grey panelled entrance hall creates a large open space, with doors leading off to bedrooms, a bathroom and laundry room.

The soft hues of the walls here complement the grey-washed floors.

Clifton Gardens, Maida Vale by MWAI

Part of the brief called for the creation of a characterful entrance that would be warm, welcoming and naturally leading guest to the living room upstairs,” MWAI director Alessia Mosci told Dezeen.

“A contemporary design with warmth and texture to suit the clients’ modern classic furniture collection.”

The Victorian house had undergone several rounds of prior renovations, being converted into multiple apartments many years before the studio started the project, however it was their intention to maintain a connection with the original architecture of the building.

Clifton Gardens, Maida Vale by MWAI

Our proposal sought to reinstate the original plan form wherever possible, limiting the amount of structural disruption whilst significantly improving on services and insulation,” said Mosci.

“We certainly feel the communal areas should be refurbished in a sympathetic style to give more significance to the building.”

Clifton Gardens, Maida Vale by MWAI

Furniture company Andrew Morton paid similar attention to linear patterns in the bespoke joinery it created for the project.

The clean lines and simple forms are softened through the use of patterned timber. In the dressing area of the master bedroom, soft tones and within the timber furniture add a lightness to the design.

Clifton Gardens, Maida Vale by MWAI

In the master bathroom, “geometric rigour” was injected into the design by laying marble tiles in a chevron pattern across the floor and rear wall of the shower.

The shower itself is a glazed box, delineated by a black frame – creating clean lines and an atmosphere of what the studio called “controlled minimalism”.  

Clifton Gardens, Maida Vale by MWAI

On the bathroom floor, the architects created a soft gradient colour-scheme, by positioning the darker marble tiling at one end, so that the room fades from grey to white. 

In contrast, the walls and floors of the family bathroom are covered in blue-and-white tiles to create a more playful environment for bath times.

Clifton Gardens, Maida Vale by MWAI

In one of the children’s bedrooms, a house-shaped timber frame continues the light-hearted design, complemented by splashes of colour in the furniture and rugs.

At the height of the building, under the gabled roof, the open-plan kitchen-living-dining area is filled with light from the overhead windows and the adjoining outdoor terrace.

Clifton Gardens, Maida Vale by MWAI

MWAI opened in 2009 and is led by directors Matthew Woodthorpe and Alessia Mosci. The young studio has built up a diverse portfolio of commissions from high-end residential, refurbishment and restoration, to commercial fit-outs.

Clifton Gardens, Maida Vale by MWAI

Previous projects include a London apartment, recently transformed into a contemporary home with bespoke joinery, copper fixtures and marble surfaces.

Clifton Gardens, Maida Vale by MWAI

Other recent London residential refurbishments include a glazed extension by Mulroy architects, which features interiors and bespoke oak joinery by local studio Manea Kella, and the conversion of a west London home into a former office, featuring smoked oak and white panelling by McLaren Excell.

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