Hiding its Brooklyn roots inside a contemporary appearance, the State Street Townhouse by architects and owners Christine and Ben Hansen is an intriguing mix of old and new. This family crib in New York, USA, inspires openness and light throughout, as well as a great connection to the outdoors. The backyard, complete with swings and barbecue area contributes to a healthy and relaxing lifestyle. Step inside and you will be greeted by charming interiors, filled with color and character.According to the architects, the custom kitchen, “complete with Flavor Paper wallpaper, feels traditionally modern while retaining a bit of Brooklyn grit. Upstairs, the couple and their three children share two bedrooms with a connecting Jack and Jill bathroom, creating a fun open plan to contain them for years to come. The bedroom level is filled with natural light from huge steel windows, and leads up to a scenic green roof that stores rainwater and nourishes the garden.” The design scheme for this Brooklyn home includes texture variety, original lighting units and surprising pops of color. Enjoy the virtual tour! [Photography by Francis Dzikowski]
Aiming to help users stay connected at all times, IKEA is to launch a wireless furniture collection with incorporated induction-charging stations. The new range consists of bedside tables, lamps and and desks, each item integrating subtle white charging pads. How does the system work exactly? According to the official press release, the wireless charging pads “use transmitter and receiver coils to generate a magnetic field which induces a voltage in the receiver coil. The voltage can then power a smartphone or recharge its battery simply by resting a phone on the Qi pad. Once placed on the pad, a notification pops up to alert the user the device is charging.”If you are worried that your phone will not be compatible with the new IKEA furniture range, don’t. The majority of smartphones currently being sold on the market come with inbuilt Qi wireless charging (the inductive charging standard). This makes it easy for any phone with this embedded technology to charge from any Qi charging surface. “Through research and home visits, we know that people hate cable mess“, said Jeanette Skjelmose, Ikea business area manager for lighting and wireless charging.”Our new innovative solutions, which integrate wireless charging into home furnishings, will make life at home simpler.” The wireless charging furniture range will be available on IKEA’s website from mid-April.
Architect Luca Marastoni in collaboration with interior designer firm BONVECCHIO have completed House in Sardinia, a daring modern residential project. Situated on the first line of the Gulf of Portisco, in the heart of Sardinia Emerald coast, the residence stands out due to its concrete structures pierced by windows and green rooftops. An outdoor shell pool surrounded by a lovely teak deck, a jacuzzi and a private beach are reasons enough for the inhabitants of this “earth home” to come out of their luxurious crib.Step inside and you will be immersed in a soothing atmosphere: “The interiors are characterized by a strong contrast between concrete surfaces and the warm tones of wood. The furniture and the floor are completely customized, all realized in oak, treated in different shades, and solid too. The kitchen is defined by a long marble top with a dedicated breakfast area and walls covered by oak.” A custom-designed sofa in the living room invites guests to relax and enjoy the lovely bay views, while the dining area beckons for romantic meals. According to the designers, all the five en-suite bedrooms have tailored desks, beds and cabinets. [Photography by Alessandro Gadotti]
Loft „Alte Wollgarnfabrik“ depicted in the photos below was designed and implemented by Berlin-based BERLINRODEO interior concepts. The project is a transformation of a yarn factory into a luxurious and elegant contemporary home. One of the aspects that make this project special is that it was especially created for the designers themselves (couple Axel Schaefer and Ingo Hoelters, who currently share living spaces with their dachshund Elliot). An original wallpaper with translucent effects is the main focal point in the generously-sized living area, an interior that sets the tone for an inviting apartment with plenty of inspiring details.The color palette in soothing tones of white, beige and brown makes for a harmonious ambiance throughout. We like how the designers kept some of the elements of the old yarn factory (take the brick walls for example) and gave them a refined final look. Crystal chandeliers, a selection of artworks and vivid flower arrangements add up to the joyful and welcoming character of the contemporary loft. Have a look at the images and tell us what you think! [Information provided via e-mail by BERLINRODEO interior concepts; Photos by Adrian Schulz]
There is a very long history of past architects whose designs live on today, but are the current world-leading architects living up to those of the past? Image Source: Far HorizonsWe live in a world where it’s an understatement to say that things move fast. We desire and have even come to expect instant efficiency, if not constant entertainment. With the sheer amount of technology waiting at our fingertips at any given moment, it’s not hard to understand why when it comes to creativity, the age of having absolutely everything can make inspiration a bit muddled.For those who love and aspire to contribute to the world of architecture, this is also a common theme. Between the pressure to create beyond anyone’s wildest imagination and still come up with something that’s functional in society, it’s hard to find a place to stand, let alone build.When you come to the place where your passion for architecture starts fading in place of technology and the pressure of global competition— it becomes important to step back for a minute and look to the past. Yes, looking back in time can make you a better architect and can help you rediscover your passion for design. Reminding yourself of what has been gives you a foundation for the future. It’s a necessary pause for every architect to remind themselves of what inspiration in the field truly looks like.This article will take you back in time, so to speak. So, take a break from all your designs for just a moment and reflect upon the real reason that you became an architect—your passion for great design.Do you admire the great architects of the past and reflect their work in your own designs? Image Source: E-ArchitectThe beauty of architecture, and those who create it, is that their work becomes an enduring part of the world everybody lives in. The essence of their creativity lives on in stone and design whether passerby’s realize it or not. It becomes a part of everybody’s scenery and looking back to the greats can be a vital step in remembering where genius really comes from and how it flourishes.Antoni Gaudi is perhaps the best example of extended creativity. As an architect, he wasn’t afraid to mix style in an attempt to revere traditional values. A devout catholic whom one might assume would stick to rigid structure, he instead willingly delved into structures that captured the best of Spanish Late Gothic, Baroque and Art Nouveau to celebrate the faith he loved.He also didn’t only design for the here and now. In fact, his cathedral titled Sagrada Familia began in 1882 and is so complex, it’s not expected to be finished until approximately 2026. Take a moment to look back to the great architects of the past for inspiration—there is a reason people travel the world to catch a glimpse of their historic work.Works by Antoni Gaudi are truly forms of art. Image Source: Arch DailyFor some it may be enough to be a good architect, but those who have a true passion for this art will find themselves wondering what it takes to be phenomenal. Great architects leave a mark on the world through their design, and often those designs carry some sort of message.It is possible to put meaning into design in a technology-driven world, it just takes a patience and perseverance that requires dedication. In the world of architecture, this means designing with a message in mind. Before you sit down and begin to draw it out, ask yourself what you want it to convey. When you look back at those great architects of yesterday, can you clearly identify their messages?It may come down to actually writing out your message or design meaning before you even begin to measure lines. Having a concrete idea of what it is your are setting out to say will help your structure growing into a creation that speaks to those who lay eyes upon it. What is it that you are trying to tell the world through your designs?What do you suppose is the message that Gaudi is trying to convey in this amazing architecture that he created? Image Source: WikipediaArchitecture lends itself to aesthetic appeal. Half of the job is creating something beautiful enough to capture the attention of practically everyone. However, the fear and downfall in this is that while it’s possible to create something stunning, it can equally be created in a void of purpose. Is beauty the only purpose of your design, or is there a deeper message that you want top convey?For this reason, it’s important that architects train themselves to be above all, superior communicators. If you cannot look at what you are designing and fluidly state what’s its purpose in the world is, than you cannot expect anyone else to either.The ability to communicate purpose in architecture becomes more important as cities grow, competition in the field increases and pressure to design quickly and efficiently becomes the common demand. In moments where purpose is threatened, it’s imperative that an architect step back, examine what exactly he or she is doing, and be able to clearly articulate that purpose. Once this is established, something truly remarkable can be created.The purpose of architecture is as important as its aesthetic appeal. Image Source: Global Site PlansIf your heart is set on architecture, but you’re struggling to figure out your niche or creative path, never hesitate to ask yourself the important questions. Are you willing to tell your story to the world? Great architects are able to infuse their work with their own passion.What they feel and what they want to say is visible in their design and the purpose is clear. Going into architecture is a test of artistic communication and a willingness to dedicate the time it takes to create something that will eventually be considered timeless.Make sure you’ve asked yourself the right questions before you enter lightly into a world that can quickly decline into design chaos— one that is controlled by technology and instantaneous gratification.The Montezuma Castle in Arizona certainly tells a story of ancient civilizations and how they lived. Image Source: Arizona RuinsOnce you’ve taken the necessary steps to look back to the greats who have come before, examined their messages and determined your own architectural purpose, you’ll be ready to set off on an adventure that could lead you around the globe.Architecture is a unique and stunning field that can be full of inspiration, if only you know where to find it.What is your inspiration for design? Who are the greats that you admire?
On a heavily wooded corner lot in an established neighborhood of Mississauga, Ontario, sits Copper Corner Residence, a timeless home envisioned by David Small Designs. Dark painted wood emphasizes the bold roof-lines, while light-colored stone adds warmth to the façade. And the most outstanding feature, the leaded copper roof, creates character and architectural interest. The leaded copper not only adds aesthetic intrigue to the home, bringing out the charcoal colour of the stone, but plays a functional role as well. It is a highly durable material with an incredible lifespan. As the home ages, the leaded copper will change colour, developing a beautiful silver-gray patina that will deepen over time. This home is a prime example of traditional detailing mixed with modern simplicity.The traditional gabled roofline is executed in a minimalistic way (clean lines, no shutters or brackets). The result is transitional architecture; a design style that merges the warmth and comfort of traditional architecture with the modern ideals of minimalism and open concept living. The elements of the design – the mix of exterior materials (stone, wood, stucco, leaded copper), the rows of windows enveloping the copper corner, the warm colour palette, and the preservation of a significant mature tree stand – work together to perfectly integrate the home with its natural surroundings. [Information provided via e-mail by David Small Designs; Photography by Jason Hartog]
In creating these cement spiral staircases, Rizzi Studio combines a sophisticated design with a perfect technical core. Each of the projects acts as a connection between storeys, enhancing the value of the settings and accommodating the requirements of contemporary living. The self-supporting staircase winds around itself according to the available space in a harmonious upward crescendo to become a fundamental element of interior design as well as a functional feature. Individual prefabricated modules are put together to form self-supporting staircases, with 11 standard diameters of between 125 cm and a maximum of 300 cm, to offer fully customizable projects according to the finishes of the intended surroundings.The logic behind the installation of Rizzi’s reinforced concrete spiral staircases drastically reduces installation times: individual unrefined steps are shipped and subsequently assembled directly on site. They include the tread, the riser and at either end the stringer which, when assembly has been completed, will form two spiral stringer boards notched to accommodate the reinforcement connecting the starting storey to the landing. The treads and risers can also be clad with wood, stainless steel, ceramic, marble and resin. [Photos and information provided via e-mail by Rizzi Studio]
When time spent with family and friends becomes a priority, you also take into account the place you would like that to happen. This is where the smart refuge comes in. El Refugio Inteligente was imagined by NOEM as a functional space easily and automatically controlled from the owner’s mobile device. The blessed owners having been dreaming to build a small refuge in the ??Serra Espadà mountains of Spain. Working with Spanish studio NOEM ( the name comes from “No Emission”) opened their eyes to the possibility of enjoying an energy efficient leisure home where everyone they love is welcomed.Using prefabricated wooden modules to erect the refuge fast and efficient was key. Adding the swimming pool, barbecue and toilet extends the versatility and encourages a natural, conscious lifestyle. According to the architects, “Its S-SE orientation maximizes thermal comfort in winter and the abundance of sunscreens also ensures summer enjoyment. The architectural design stands out for its simplicity and for a metal frame which marks out the covered areas and provides the appropriate level of design. It is an area defined to cater for all the customs and habits of the occupants,with maximum accessibility and with openings which permit a privileged view.?”Photos by Meritxell Arjalaguer show the interiors and surroundings, both during and after construction. For a time lapse of the construction, check the video below. It would be amazing if you let us know what you think about this smart shelter or if you’ve seen anything better you’d like to share.El Refugi – Time Lapse – NOEM Go from NOEM on Vimeo…
The role of the kitchen in our homes has changed dramatically over the years. What used to be a space simply used for food preparation has now become the hub of the home. Today, cooking is accompanied by a greater variety of activities such as entertaining, socialising, dining, working, laundry etc. As our use of the kitchen has changed, the technology that is used within it has had to adapt to meet our needs.
Nobody knows what the kitchen of the future will look like but with each new technological advancement the realms of possibility are extended ever further. In order to find out what exactly we can expect to see in terms of technology in the kitchen appliances of the future our site spoke to Stefano Marzano, the newly appointed Chief Design Officer at Electrolux, one of the global leaders in home appliances and appliances for professional use.
Household appliances have come a long way in recent years. What developments would you say have been the most game-changing and why?
SM. If I was to single out one, I would say the increased interest in sustainability. Sustainable design focuses on creating products with the least possible negative impact on the environment, featuring eco-sound materials, energy efficiency and easy recycling. The future of sustainable design is a culmination of what consumers see on the surface of a product, and how the product enables them to make a change for the better.
What are the main issues that are currently driving innovation in household appliances?
SM. In addition to sustainability, changed lifestyles are also one of the driving factors. More people live in cities and in less space; there are more single households, people travel and get inspiration from all over the world, and they also might have less time. The kitchen has become the heart of the home for socialising and entertainment. The appliances need to be functional and easy to use. This is one of the drivers for developing today’s smart and connectable appliances.
Another important driver is the increased interest in cooking. Many want to be chefs in their home. Therefore they also want some of the technologies that professional chefs use. Electrolux is unique in having a leading position both in the consumer and professional segment. In our innovation process we put a lot of effort into transferring some of the technologies and knowledge between these segments.
As you said, sustainability and energy efficiency have been high on the agenda for some years now. To what extent will the next generation of appliances go beyond this and what kinds of innovations can we expect to see in the next few years?
SM. I think we will see even more energy and water efficient appliances. These will also increasingly have to be manufactured in a way that minimizes air pollution. The air and water at home and in public spaces in many regions need to be cleaned and purified for use and consumption and this might have implications for future developments. Moreover there will be increased focus on recycled materials. Future appliances will also continue to be more silent, which is also an environmental issue.
Most appliance manufacturers are already working on a new generation of household appliances. What progress is Electrolux making in this arena and are there any exciting developments that we can expect to see from you in the near future?
SM. Electrolux has a many exciting and innovative products in the pipeline. And more is to come. Electrolux now has the structure for what we call the “Innovation triangle”. This enables R&D, Marketing and Design functions to work in synergy during the entire creation process, and with an even clearer focus on the customers and consumers.
Key to Electrolux’s strategy is the ongoing development of innovative and thoughtfully designed solutions based on end user insights. Now Electrolux will be able to take more relevant and innovative solutions to the market at a faster pace.
The connected home was a big topic at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. However, the idea of internet-enabled home appliances has been around for a while in predictions concerning the home of the future. Is this future now becoming a reality?
SM. When this idea was initially brought up I think it was technology driven rather than consumer driven. The technology existed but it was not relevant to the consumer to connect the oven or fridge to the net. Since then, much has happened. Now we have smart phones and are connected online with our friends 24/7. When physically together with our friends and families, we most often meet in the kitchen. The time might be ready for internet-enabled appliances, and there are examples of this already happening.
What effect will the development of Smart Grid technology have on our household appliances?
SM. Smart Grids reduce the environmental impact of the whole electricity supply system by avoiding peak period demand and decreasing reliance on backup power from carbon and diesel power plants. In this way, smart grids reduce carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency.
For the customer, Smart Grids will also provide opportunities for local monitoring and remote connections. They can have anything from new recipes, programme updates and software debugging to the possibility of remote diagnoses and customer service.
Electrolux is already involved in Smart Grid technology in a number of European countries including Sweden.
Intelligent appliances are becoming more common as we see increasing numbers of products on the market that are reactive and adaptive to human behaviour (such as TV systems that can recommend programmes you might like based on your viewing habits etc). Do you think we will see the same developments in household appliances?
SM. We see that development already. For example, the user of an Electrolux Inspiro oven only has to load in the content and push a button. It then calculates the precise combination of energy consumption and time needed to bring the food to the correct temperature. It also chooses the cooking mode or combination of modes needed and specifies the proper rack for the content.
Every year Electrolux runs a global design competition open to undergraduate and graduate industrial design students who are invited to present innovative ideas for household appliances of the future. Have you come across any designs that you think could, or will, make it into production?
SM. In Electrolux Design Lab we are presented with many fantastic solutions from all over the world every year. Some of the designs have been an inspiration to us when taking products to market. As long as the solutions are relevant to consumers, some of the products may definitely end up on the market.
The 2010 edition of the Electrolux Design Lab competition focused on creative solutions for compact living. As you mentioned, populations are growing and houses are getting increasingly smaller, so what effect will this have on home appliances?
SM. With urbanization, growing populations and smaller spaces in our homes, the appliances need to be even more efficient in size and performance. In Japan for example, where living space is limited, Electrolux recently launched a vacuum cleaner that has similar performance to our vacuum cleaners in other parts of the world, but at the same time it is particularly small in size.
The brief for Electrolux Design Lab 2012 challenges design students to draw inspiration from professional experience creators – such as chefs, architects, interior designers, hotel designers – to design home appliances that will provide a fuller sensory experience. Can you explain this?
SM. Chefs and creators use our appliances to achieve an even more fulfilling end product– a total gastronomic experience. The end result has to be perfect in so many aspects that they have to visualise before starting. They don’t have any construction plan to get there, but have to go entirely on their feeling and experience. That way, I think chefs are the complete designers. Therefore designers not only must understand them. We can also get a lot of inspiration from them and we want design students entering Electrolux Design Lab to do just that – create home appliance designs that will provide a fuller sensory experience.
The Cube by Electrolux is an excellent example of this. Here, the ‘tools’ provided by Electrolux allow the chefs to create the best possible experience for the guests.
What developments would you personally most like to see when it comes to household appliances?
SM. As I am very interested in cooking and fascinated by Electrolux’s strong connections to chefs, I am at the moment spending a lot of time exploring the interface between appliance design and the culinary world. I hope to see even more professional technologies used in consumer products. I want kitchen appliances to be tools for the full food experience – not only taste, but also smell, sound, and aesthetics.
Below is a short animation showing the Electrolux Heart of the Home kitchen concept. It is a thought provoking vision of the kitchen of the future – an integrated solution functioning as a kitchen table, cooking surface and bar all in one.
our site would like to thank Stefano Marzano for taking time out of his schedule to share his vision of the kitchen technology of the future with us. We would like to know what you would like to see in the kitchen of the future as far as household appliances are concerned. Please leave us a comment below and share your vision with us…
The Netherlands has always been an inspiration for living on water. This time, Utrecht’s Kanaalweg joined in the architectural effort of inspire people to live where they most feel comfortable. In the case of Hieke and Sietze, their home is a floating houseboat designed by BYTR architecten. Named The ParkArk, this steel ship acting as a cozy residence displays a seductive blend of modern solutions and functional design. In order to mix the indoor and the outdoor, architects designed the external staircase leading up to the roof terrace with white stucco on the interior, thus “creating the atmosphere of an outdoor room”. From photographs taken by StijnStijl, we can see the sedum roof cladding blending the floating houseboat into its context – next to a busy cycling route through one of the city’s parks.
Hidden drainpipes at every corner make the home stand its ground under rainwater, while the “do it yourself mentality” of the owners helped keep a balance between functionality and aesthetics. With a facade that reveals the home in its dance with the park’s natural vibe, the floating houseboat boasts copper sheets that “kiss” the water, making it reflect their simple geometry.
According to the architects, the clients “wanted to have the full experience of living and floating on the water” but on a private level – “a boat where no one can look in” but they could enjoy a full view of the park. So, the floor-plan was developed: “As a visitor, one first approaches the boat over a footbridge, to find a door that barely gives away anything of the interior. Inside, however, a large skylight offers you a view of the treetops, and directly in front of you the park is visible. Opposite the front door is an access to the roof terrace and the mooring for the fishing punt. On either sides are the living and dining room, accessible from the open hall, which is raised one step to give extra ceiling height in the shower.”
The owners’ words should pretty much describe their elation: “Every day we enjoy our new houseboat: the invading sun, overlooking the water and the monumental bridge, the ornamental grasses from the windows. What a nice home, we are so happy with the result!”
This minimalist house design is the result of a collaboration between architect Julio Vila Cortell and Viraje Arquitectura. Oficially entitled House V02, the project is located in in Valencia, Spain and displays an imposing silhouette. A clean and well defined geometry makes it stand out in its historic neighborhood, while the unassuming gray&white color palette enhances its modern personality.
Walking through the entrance hallway makes one think of an elegant art gallery. A double-height living and dining space suddently distrupts the visitor’s array of sober thoughts. It is within this inspiring contemporary interior that white and gray are complemented by a wide variety of color inserts, adding up to a warm and vibrant social zone.
Paintings and artwork adorn the walls, while the second level proudly displays a large bookcase. It is interesting to observe how the designers mixed comfort and creativity in order to counterbalance the common rigid feel induced by minimalism. [Photography: Germán Cabo ]
This Painting Studio in Coquimbo Region, Chile is an example of modern architecture in the service of neighboring art. Architects Felipe Assadiand Francisca Pulido were challenged to develop an oasis of creativity well integrated in its surroundings. The new building can be visually perceived in a variety of ways: “The painter’s studio has been erected to one side of a house in Bahía Azul. A small space, it appears to be a prolongation of the terrain when seen from the entrance, but from the slope it stands out as a piece embedded in the hillside”, explained the architects.
The space, ultimately conceived as the extension of its own window frame is said to “mediate between the sea and an interior garden located at the entrance. Reached by a narrow staircase, excavated out of the rock, it leaves the user in complete isolation. It is a sort of retreat from the surrounding constructions, basically just a wall with indirect sunlight entering from above to witness the process of painting.” Extensive use of wood for the ceilings and floors leads to a warm and friendly working environment, while glass doors allow inspiration to flow freely from the surrounding natural elements. [Photography: Fernando Alda]
West Elm Modern Weave Tall Lidded Storage works as a great side table with plenty of storage inside. HomePop Upholstered Decorative Storage Ottoman at wayfair.com hides blankets, magazines or anything else. SAIC Cache Storage Cabinet at cb2.com could serve as a bar; simply slide out the shelved unit to access drinks and barware. CB2 Peek Shelf with Mirror hides clutter behind a mirrored panel. West Elm Industrial Storage Coffee Table opens to reveal storage under the surface. Container Store Large Poppin Accessory Trays are useful when stacked to store papers, remote controls and other small items. Designer Pet Products Designer Catbox Litter Box Enclosure at overstock.com hides your kitty’s litter box inside a furniture chest. Great Useful Stuff Eco-Friendly Bamboo Multi-Device Charging Station and Dock at amazon.com hides cables and organizes all of your devices neatly in one place.
Bet you never expected this! Another example featured on Giddy Upcycled shows an armoire transformed into a big, beautiful birdcage for live birds. Of course, the glass is replaced again with more appropriate cage-like netting. Neat idea if you want to show off your feathery friends in style.
On a pristine plot of land in Zumikon, Switzerland, Think Architecture designed and completed 4 Courtyard Houses, a complex residential project composed of four identical houses/ structures. Basically, we’re talking about a home with a unique identity, divided in four compartments. Built as a reaction to the strict building regulations of the community, the residence distinguishes itself through a high level of quality and modularity. Interior courtyards, gardens and pathways link all four structures between them.
“The four houses are built up in a modular way, identical in the basic conception but mirrored in the common middle and reacting individually to the particular topographic situation. The stringent structure of the layout is reflected in the facades as well as the roof-landscape.” Rigid and defined by straight lines, the exterior of this complex of four buildings is coated with decorative concrete with clear and dark parts. Large floor-to-ceiling windows frame beautiful vistas, seducing the residents with spectacular dawns and dusks shed over the large expanses of green. To experience pure indulgence, each room comes with its own baldachin…
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Arturo Alvarez is an alternative and dynamic company, with its own personality. They design and manufacture all types of decorative luminaries, for home and commercial premises. Concerned with innovation in design, materials and energy saving light sources, their designs can be customized, allowing you to choose from different finishes and colors depending on what is needed for each decor.
The team at Arturo Alvarez Emotional Light strive to create exceptional residential and commercial lights: “We put all our hopes and resources to provide with hand-made designs, meticulous in every detail and able to fulfill all the lighting and emotional needs of any human being. Different international prizes certify our work, over the years, as being an honest and innovative company.” Enjoy the Q & A showing how he became a successful lighting designer, maybe you can follow the advice that will guide you in the right direction.
our site: What was the first time you thought about producing decorative lights?
Arturo Alvarez: One day, by chance I had a sheet of frosted glass in my hands, in that moment I started to think about how to make a lamp with this material.
our site: What were the main obstacles you had to overcome in your first years as a light designer?
Arturo Alvarez: The geographical distance with respect to the raw material supply centers related with lighting. We are in the northwest, in Galicia and the lighting industry in Spain is in the East, in Barcelona and Valencia.
our site: What do you consider the most important traits a light designer should have in order to succeed in this business?
Arturo Alvarez:The first thing every designer must have is an open mind, always keeping some degree of freedom to be able to offer something different to the market. Then it´s hard work until the design concept comes to fruition, along with the necessary brightness and a certain depth of intuition to connect users with their needs – which are ever changing.
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our site: How did you feel winning your first prize for lighting systems?
Arturo Alvarez: It gave me energy, more confidence and was the first awareness that the work I do is considered honest and valid.
our site: What was the most important thing that led to the creation of LAB Arturo Alvarez, the “laboratory of ideas” that brings together your design team?
Arturo Alvarez: Keep the company fresh, not to close the design under the same vision. Bring new ideas. Enrich ourselves by all working together.
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our site: How does one become an expert in combining function and feeling in a lighting system?
Arturo Alvarez: Work, work, work, the experience gained from the years, from life, to be sensitive towards everything around us and never lose the sense of curiosity and surprise.
our site: How do you start the process for a new light? Please tell us about the inspiration and creative process behind your beautiful creations.
Arturo Alvarez: I imagine that I’m absorbing everything, colors, landscapes, trips, people, architecture, gardens, objects, from this point my process is to begin from an initial idea and sketch many possibilities in a notebook, this may take days or weeks, until I find the one I´m looking for, or I like most, or I see better options for it. Sometimes there are good ideas but technically or economically nonviable and I must finally abandon them …
our site: Do you use concepts or materials as starting points for your designs?
Arturo Alvarez: Yes, sometimes yes, I don´t only have a single way to tackle the designs. The mixture of mesh with silicone, a material which took two years to develop, sometimes the material itself gives me ideas as it already has multiple possibilities of textures, volumes and sizes.
our site: Did you ever have an idea that couldn’t be turned into a light because the technology or material did not exist yet?
Arturo Alvarez: Yes, the home automation system is advancing, to switch on a lamp from a computer, from any point at home or in the car, to alter its intensity, in the future this will be perfect. LED technology must also advance further, more refined, so that it does not technically fail and provides a good flow of light.
our site: What differentiates a light for home from a light for commercial spaces?
Arturo Alvarez: The idea is the same: to complement the decor in a harmonious way achieving a specific light effect. Before in commercial lighting, functionality was a priority. Since few years ago concepts such as well-being, comfort and enjoying oneself with pretty and original forms, which also provide pleasant light, is the most common and requested.
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our site: How do you jump-start your inspiration when the muse fails to show up?
Arturo Alvarez: I never go blank, I always have ideas. If I happen to get stuck one time with an idea, for whatever reason, then I leave it for a while and then return to it or drop it altogether.
our site: What was the worst mistake you made since you became a light designer?
Arturo Alvarez: I have made a lot mistakes, many kinds, but I always use them to learn, rectify and improve. Above all I look for honesty and excellence in what I offer.
our site: Tell us about the most important events leading to your present career – like school, practice, team work.
Arturo Alvarez: The most important thing is to keep innovating, searching for new alternatives, to surprise and not bore the public.
our site: How do you see the evolution of lighting systems – from the light bulb to modern lights?
Arturo Alvarez: Incandescent light is very warm and human beings still feel very attached to it because for many years it has formed part of our history. The fact is that we must inevitably move towards energy saving sources, and think that all of us must contribute in not continuing to squander the planet’s resources.
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our site: How do you see the future of lighting systems?
Arturo Alvarez: I see them controlled by computer, making a rational use of them and all with sources of low-energy consumption.
our site: Please explain how your tagline “emotional light” helps develop your products – do you base your designs on how people would feel in relation to them?
Arturo Alvarez: I will answer you with a wonderful story I was told today. One of our co-workers has a small son and in his house he has the standing Gea model, which resembles a female body. Well, this co-worker told me that his son likes to hug the lamp. It’s the nicest thing I´ve ever heard about what one of our lamps can arouse in people…
If you believe that green does not work in a trendy and minimal contemporary bedroom, then think again! A green accent wall is easy to shape and it brings that much needed warmth to an otherwise cool and mundane interior. Just repeat the color in the room using vivacious bedding, accessories, nightstands or even a couple of lovely vases and you have an inviting bedroom that is both energetic and relaxing. Those who feel that an accent wall in green or décor are not your thing can still add the color by placing a couple of potted plants to fill up those empty corners. It is an easy, eco-friendly and healthy choice to turn to that will instantly alter the mood in the bedroom.
Apartment Therapy shows a really interesting bathroom design where a bench on an outer wall extends right through the glass into the walk-in shower. Another great and simple example of a shower with a bench (again from Carla Aston) makes use of wood material for both the bench and flooring. You may not have a ton of room for a full-sized bench, so a corner built-in might work instead. This one featured on Angie’s List looks great in this smaller shower! Another from BHG highlights the top of the bench with white.