Without further ado, we introduce our top ten international designers for the year, that starred on est and excelled in 2018.
Great design graces our screen daily here at est – so you can imagine how hard it was to refine our top ten international designers for 2018. Joining the high calibre crowd are; renowned Belgium designers Vincent Van Duysen, Hans Verstuyft and Nicolas Schuybroek, Denmark’s Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen, Britain’s Simon Astridge, Luke McLaren and Rob Excell and Sheena Murphy, and Canada’s Kim Pariseau, Alain Carle, Antonio Di Bacco and Cecile Combelle.
Call them the crème de la crème, these international designers are the names to know in 2018 and their ten out of ten design work has us assuming there’s only more success to follow. For some, their engaging and inspiring work may just be welcoming global attention, and for others, it’s but another year of design ingenuity that warrants international recognition.
“Undoing the clutter and getting to the core; paring back to the bone and achieving an authenticity, simplicity, and purity. When you refine excess you engage with the fundamental aspects of life I consider most important – eating, sleeping, conversing.”
– Vincent Van Duysen
Vincent Van Duysen
It would be a disservice to the design community to not recognise Vincent Van Duysen in our top ten international designers for 2018. A perennial favourite, it’s a name admired and work aspired to by designers globally, seeking to emulate what he does best: curating ‘the art of living well’. Today he leads a team of twenty five and projects that span Europe, the Middle-East and in the USA, while also working across product and lighting design, appointed Art Director of Molenti&Co in 2016. In the same year this multidisciplinary approach earned him the title of ‘Belgian Designer of the Year’ and the ‘Flemish Culture Prize for Design’.
“Some say our interiors look empty. I think we focus on what’s important, and that’s why beauty is expressed more intensely. So it’s an invisible approach, rather than using explicit forms, objects and materials.”
– Hans Verstuyft
Another prominent protagonist in the Belgium’s brimming design scene is Hans Verstuyft, founder of his namesake studio. The maestro of minimalism has quietly turned heads with a care for his craft and its raw beauty, sticking to a traditional approach to reform. Alongside his firm of four, Hans focuses on process, to create not a new space or home, rather a new way of life. This approach has remained largely the same since the firm’s first residential project eighteen years ago – a home that is just as unapologetically contemporary today.
Family HQ by Michael Viviano
“We believe in durability, in terms of aesthetics, materiality and craftsmanship. We aim at always arriving at the maximum of expressivity with the minimum of expression, and we believe that’s an eloquent gesture in a time where images, forms and sounds are ever so overwhelming.”
– Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen
Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen has led famed firm Norm Architects’ growth across industrial design, residential architecture, commercial interiors, photography and art direction. Taking us to some of the most rugged regions of Northern Europe, the firm are all about creating refined shelter from the elements, while cherishing its untouched beauty. But their name isn’t just engraved on the spaces we covet, it’s objects too — including the familiar Menu Bottle Grinders and Stand Washbasins.
“A home is for living in, and our clients’ specific needs are always central to our work. This means creating spaces which flow and work hard for their intended use, whether for a busy young family, or a couple building their ideal home.”
– McLaren Excell
Childhood friends and founding partners Luke McLaren and Rob Excell established their eponymous studio eight years ago, as a standpoint of British craftsmanship. We first discovered their British charm in the Park Corner Barn, demonstrating an artisanal pride in using natural, tactile and hard wearing materials. And it’s that passion for material and texture that has made their work covetable from across the shores.
“I think my own personal life journey is what influences my work and what has seen it evolve. Rather than trends or travel, which do of course influence us all, I have seen a shift in my design preferences based on what’s going on in my life. Life is many things, and one thing it most certainly is, is a sensory journey.”
– Sheena Murphy
Native Brit Sheena Murphy, founder of nune (formerly sheep + stone) garnered experience in a number New York interior design firms, making a name for herself with a horde of commercial projects. Soon after it was time to start her own thing; to demonstrate her British eye for refinement, with a New York City zest. Recently returning to live in London and opening up another studio here, we’re excited to see what’s next for the global studio.
“We imagine projects as stories, or at least as decors in which the stories take place. We would say there is a cinematographic approach to design in our practice. And our clients are the protagonists. We always base our design on the sequences that will shape the way people live in the spaces.”
– Cecile Combelle
Antonio Di Bacco and Cecile Combelle, young graduates from Toulouse, France, founded the Montreal-based firm Atelier Barda in 2012. Clients were quick to point out Atelier Barda’s “French touch”, while they pushed the boundaries away from the average and accepted architecture paradigm. But as Cecile puts it, no matter what the design references are, it’s the emotion – being attentive to feelings – that inspires and interests them.
“When you work with us, you gain access to these practised people and their craftsmanship. We believe in making, imagining, listening, learning, and empowering Workshop members, our collaborators and clients. Art, music, travelling, cuisine, words, wine, clothes, people and exhibitions inspire and inform our projects.”
– Simon Astridge
London Architect Simon Astridge and his studio first caught our eye in our search for clever extensions. But we are not alone – Simon Astridge Architecture Workshop have built a global reputation on both their conceptual approach and awareness of how to design to people’s everyday needs. Simon prides himself on the collaboration of a team of architects, designers and crafts-people, whom he credits as the defining strength of the Workshop for their wisdom, knowledge and dedication.
“To me, an appareil is an amalgam of things that contribute to its whole, to its functioning. That’s how I see my projects. Many different people are involved, like ingredients in a recipe. Each artisan and creator I work with lends their own personal touch, their own added value. The result is always interesting and unique.”
– Kim Pariseau
One glance at Appareil Architecture’s designs and you’d be forgiven for mistaking their work as Northern European. The Nordic sensibility emanating from the Montreal firm’s work reflects the history and craft of founder Kim Pariseau, and her constant quest to simplify design.Founding the firm off the back of an architectural competition in Montreal, Kim is proudest of the team she has created under the name Appareil Architecture. And if you’re not familiar with their refined work, your Instagram feed may well be.
“The use of raw, authentic, simple and noble materials, helps us create pared-down architecture that most importantly has a warm soul as well as a strong temperament. All in all, it could be summarised as a quest for in-depth substance and warmth.”
– Nicolas Schuybroek
Twice named as one of the world’s top 100 interior designers by French Architectural Digest, Belgian Architect Nicolas Schuybroek has long been on our watch list. In fact, like many others we’ve crowned him the monarch of reinvented minimalism – and for good reason. Time and time again his attention to volume, light and play on proportions is just as significant as his attention to detail.
“[The home] becomes a device to perceive the landscape rather than a fixed, self-referenced architecture.”
– Alain Carle
While some of our favourite houses have been striking, bold statements amongst their surroundings we have always held a soft spot for where architectural form melds into the natural landscape. Alain Carle Architecte is a designer well-versed in this earth-rooted design, sharing two stellar projects with us in 2018 – a chalet and a striking abode on a man-made island in Ontario. With a mutual affinity for black exteriors, we’re looking forward to what’s in store for 2019.
The post Best of Est 2018: Top Ten International Designers appeared first on Est Living Free Digital Design Magazine.
In the picturesque Yarra Valley, designer Leora Mendelson reinvents a 1970s family homestead as a sophisticated weekend getaway.
Just fifty minutes from Melbourne city, the Yarra Valley has long been a place of escape for both weekend warriors and those in more serious pursuit of a slower lifestyle. In local winery, restaurant and homestead Seville Estate, design-discerning city slickers may have found their ideal retreat. A family business with a firm emphasis on celebrating local craftsmanship and produce, the estate offers an authentic yet sophisticated way to experience the local landscape – and the jewel in its crown has to be the newly-restored Seville Homestead.
Leora made the most of local designers and makers in the furnishings for the homestead, sourcing handcrafted tables, cabinetry and accessories throughout. Signature pieces like the Made by Morgen dining set and the Ross Gardam wall lights add a contemporary detail to the spaces, which are characterised by base materials such as timber, whitewashed brick walls and stone. There is a sense of pride throughout the homestead; of both the surrounding landscape that underlines the design and the lifestyle it celebrates.
We rarely need an excuse to get away for the weekend here at est, and Seville Homestead makes it oh-to-easy with its character-filled design, comfortable spaces and award-winning wines. Oh, and did we mention the restaurant (also recently redesigned by Leora) showcases seasonal produce from neighbouring farms and the estate’s own vegetable garden? Suddenly a weekend at Seville Estate doesn’t seem long enough indeed.
This piece originally appeared in est magazine issue 31.
The original bricks were repainted to a bright white throughout the home to lend a gentle modernity while keeping the rustic foundations of the home.
The post Seville Estate by Welcome to Here appeared first on Est Living Free Digital Design Magazine.
Australia’s first urban resort The Calile Hotel opened its doors not so long ago in the sunny city of Brisbane. Keen to learn more about the tropical urban experience by Richards & Spence, we sought an exclusive tour.
Brisbane-based firm Richards & Spence are the name behind an exciting new chapter in their city, bringing new life and look to the James Street precinct in the Fortitude Valley.
Characterised by the concrete and geometric, their latest and perhaps the most highly anticipated development of the precinct is The Calile Hotel. Taking the lead from hot urban spots in the world, the 175-room architectural hotel draws on the tropical Queensland climate as the foundation for this Australian first.
Living outdoors for most of the year is a quintessential part of a Queenslander’s lifestyle. So Richards and Spence set out to sow Brisbane’s warm and tropical weather into every aspect of how The Calile Hotel is experienced. At the centre of the resort, the elevated, centrally located pool and deck area lets you soak up the rays on a sun lounge, sit under a cabana or dine outdoors. The rooms aren’t isolated from this easy, breezy (and completely luxurious) outdoor living, with a mix of pool-side and terrace-style balconies and two private rooftop terraces. As Richards and Spence co-director Adrian Spence puts it, “The naturally ventilated rooms allow guests to share our unique outdoor lifestyle again reinforcing a sense of place that is uniquely Brisbane.”
Behind the 270,000 Brickworks bricks is an interior that resembles a whimsy and playful ethos. Open-air spaces and breezeways link to well-appointed suits, of sisal matting, marble finishes, cork floors and concrete details. Here in these pastel, milky-coloured rooms you will find all the trimmings; custom linen robes, Grown Alchemist bath amenities, locally sourced mini bar and motorised blackout blinds. With comfort and climate key, the dedicated living area offers a primo day bed and dining area.
Let the light in
available free to est subscribers
“We looked to other hot weather cities with a resort focus to inform our design… Miami, Palm Springs, Rio De Janeiro and Mexico City.”
– Richards and Spence Co-Director Adrian Spence.
When you think of designer stays in different cities they are often focused around conferences and as Adrian Spence says, “pitched to the corporate market”. In a bid to change that, The Calile Hotel hopes to be the location for all – be it formal, less-formal and conference events – while redirecting eyes to the pool and hotel’s surrounds. Beyond the in-room amenities and leisure facilities, The Calile Hotel is host to an award-winning restaurant, day spa, cocktail bar and fashion boutiques – all in the vibrant urban streetscape of the James Street precinct. So whether you’re feeling like fine dining (and wining) or some serious rest and relaxation – The Calile Hotel seems to have a handle on it all.
Described as Richards & Spence’s “greatest professional achievement to date”, The Calile is not just about where you stay but how you stay – becoming a design hotel that superbly achieves both in a subtropical city.
BOOK A STAY
The post The Calile Hotel by Richards & Spence appeared first on Est Living Free Digital Design Magazine.
Playful and fresh, this renovated Lorne beach abode by Georgina Jeffries showcases its Australian ocean outlook and makes new space for a growing family.
When Georgina Jeffries design studio in Lorne, on the Victorian surf coastline, was approached by a husband and wife duo to reimagine their existing two-storey weatherboard beach house (also in Lorne) it didn’t take long for the brief to broaden. Originally Georgina was enlisted to breathe new life into the tired and outdated spaces, however this quickly expanded to include making entirely new zones to accommodate an ever-growing tribe of visiting grandchildren.
Georgina first set about extending the lower level to include a second living space, additional bedroom, a kids bunk room and another bathroom. Thankful for a client who put their absolute trust into her vision, she was able to create an unpretentious and low-maintenance concept that was contemporary, yet relaxed and most importantly practical.
Located high above the treetops with sweeping views of ocean and sky, the home’s palette is a mirror image of its stunning coastal surrounds. Against a backdrop of soft greys (both inside and out) and pale timber floors, the accents of sea greens, oceanic blues, chalky whites and sandstone are a constant reminder of the homes’ prominent beachside location. These layered, often powdery hues build an aesthetic that is a little retro and a lot fresh. Soft and gentle, the simplicity of these tones work beautifully accompanied by the contemporary shapes of the furniture and textural materials throughout.
“The spaces are relaxed and unpretentious, and make for an inviting home for the whole family to enjoy.”
– Georgina Jeffries
Unifying textures include the use of sisal and wicker and work in with the colour scheme to build a relaxed and inviting aesthetic. We especially love the rattan inserts on the bespoke white cabinetry which add a cool beachside vibe. Custom panelled joinery walls in the bathroom open up to reveal a hidden vanity mirror and sea foam green tiles from Byzantine in the bathroom add a calming floor-to-ceiling saturation of colour.
The freshness of these colours also work in with the playful edge in the furniture selected by Georgina. From the contemporary shapes of the Mark Tuckey Zig Zag stool in the living room, to the oversized Delano Sofa by Pianca from Meizei, circle pull handles in the kids bunk room and balloon-like Drop Pendants by Paris Au Mois Daout from Hub Furniture that overlook the hallway, it’s evident that Georgina has focussed on pieces that cast an organic silhouette and radiate an authenticity and timelessness.
Teaming timber with a uniquely coastal colour palette elevates the interior beyond the neutral to make a bold design statement. Georgina and her team have achieved a beautiful balance between a modern-day weekender fit for a large family and the spirit of the old Australian weatherboard house. This is the quintessential summer beach abode.
The post Lorne Beach House by Georgina Jeffries appeared first on Est Living Free Digital Design Magazine.
If you’re a sweet tooth and feeling the summer heat in Melbourne, it’s time you made your way down to the newest member of the Piccolina Gelateria family designed by Hecker Guthrie.
In 2016 Melbourne was introduced to Piccolina Gelateria – an authentic, all-natural taste of Italian gelato – opened by Sandra Foti in the neighbourhood of Hawthorn. The Piccolina craft for Gelato was instilled in the owner through her Italian heritage and her father’s made-from-scratch recipes. Since, Sandra Foti’s passion for traditional Gelato and the Piccolina fan base has led to a North-side sister store in Collingwood and now a sibling by St Kilda’s seaside.
The design gurus behind the Piccolina experience are local est favourites Hecker Guthrie, who have created spaces that echo 1950s Southern Italy. While no two Piccolina stores appear to be the same you’ll soon discover they all share an undisputed Italian ‘La Dolce Vita’.
Described as the ‘little sister’ of the Collingwood store, Piccolina St Kilda came just in time for summer. It emulates the beach-culture and the Acland Street surrounds – Melbourne’s ‘summer playground’. Owner Sandra Foti knew it was the perfect place for another Piccolina to call home; “We love Acland Street for its village feel and it’s always buzzing with positive energy,” she said.
Just as the others, Piccolina St Kilda is designed to bring people together and to pay homage to its heritage – years of gelato making, sharing and indulging. Aesthetically, this meant combining touches of terrazzo, pendant lights and exposed green timber. To differentiate from the other stores, Hecker Guthrie used a lighter colour palette that reflects the sea and sun. The open counter design clad with square-cut Italian tiles also means you can see the makers creating the magic.
Let the light in
available free to est subscribers
Wondering why the name “Piccolina” was chosen? In Italian it means little one – resonating with the small footprint of the Collingwood Gelateria. But while small, it packs a punch with vibrant colour and sculptural design work. Just as St Kilda and Hawthorn, the tile selection is an ode to the green of the Italian flag and again nails the fifties vibe.
Piccolina Gelateria describes itself as serving up the “best gelato ice cream in Melbourne” and we certainly won’t be challenging that. If you’re a Melbournian out and about on a scorcher, we recommend you don’t venture too far from these sweet spots.
The post Melbourne’s Authentic Italian Treat appeared first on Est Living Free Digital Design Magazine.
If someone told you I had a sister from Cyprus, I would think the person is slightly nuts. But guess what: I just found out I do have a sister from Cyprus, alas not a person per se but a wonderful new label called ‘Sister’. But let me tell you the pre-story quickly: I met Antonia, the girl behind Sister, a while ago on Instagram. As someone who has a dear relationship with Greece and Cyprus, I was intrigued when I heard of her plans to start a lable promoting Cypriot artisans and Cypriot design. One day I was in Berlin for a project and while I was having a coffee break in a café, a charming young lady approached me and said: You are Igor, right? I am Antonia! Yes, sometimes you meet people if you are meant to meet them. Without planning, without arranging. And a few days later she sent me a little surpise package with goodies from – yes you guessed right – my SISTER from Cyprus!
Antonia told me more about her new label ‘Sister’. Antonia, herself a Cypriot, lives in Berlin and had the desire to promote local craftsmanship and artisans from the Mediterranean island also known as Aphrodite’s birthplace. With Sister she created a platform for curated, handcrafted products from Cyprus. And I love it. Because I think Cyprus deserves much more attention – it is more than just a beautiful holiday destination. Did you know that Cyprus was home to humans already in the 10th millennium BC?!
The label Sister currently focuses on two product ranges – jewelry and ceramics. Sister jewelry is handcrafted by two brothers, George and Panagiotis, in the picturesque village of Lefkara, in a workshop they have been running since 1968. Sister jewelry draws inspiration from traditional Cypriot mythological and Christian images, statues and stories. As someone who loves archaelogy I was totally fascinated by the pendants depicting ancient idols – and yes I had to get one for myself too!
Sister ceramics are thrown, fired and glazed by Panikos, a ceramics artist near the coastal city of Limassol. Panikos’ ceramics are functional pieces in evocative curves and expressive colours; vases, carafes and plates, essential to the Southern Mediterranean “meze” style of eating, often impressed with traditional Cypriot lace. Also the pomegranate as a recurrent symbol of fertility and luck from the Mediterranean is present. I love the speckled white pieces and got myself a beautiful water carafe and a little vase for dried flowers.
Seeing all these beautiful pieces from Cyprus makes me think of my last trip to Aphrodite’s island. It is way too long ago and I kinda feel the need to revisit Cyprus again – the sooner the better. Maybe I will simply align with Antonia and then visit the artisans and their studios in situ. That, a few archaeological sites, beautiful churches, and the beach – I think I am ready for holidays. Again. And hey, now we all have a Sister from Cyprus (you can also finde ‘her’ on Instagram). So see you soon on the sunny island of Cyprus!
This blog post has been brought to you in collaboration with Sister.As always all opinions and photos are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands who support this blog!
Photography by Igor Josifovic and via Sister
The post From Cyprus with Love: Sister appeared first on Happy Interior Blog.
We can count the days of 2018 – the year is almost gone and hey has it been a whirlwind or what! Lots of amazing projects, trips, my new apartment, meeting cool people. But you know what: I am beyond excited to kick off 2019. Yes I know there is still Christmas coming and a few more days to New Year’s Eve. But my excitement grows with every day. Why? Because 2019 already bears the promise of adventures! To bid 2018 farewell and welcome a fresh new year I have decided to make a little change in my home. Last week I painted a part of my hallway wall in a deep, velvety green hue called ‘Bancha’ by Farrow & Ball. Why did I choose that color? Because 2019 will be a green year! And I can’t wait to tell you why – soon!
For quite a while I was envisioning a little change for this specific hallway corner. It is actually the brightest spot in the hallway as it gets some natural light through the kitchen door. Because of that I decided to put my vintage teak sideboard right there and hang the String Pocket shelf on the wall – for plants, crystals, ceramics. You know me! It looked nice but I felt all these little treasures deserved an even more exciting backdrop. I was basically just in time as Farrow & Ball recently launched a new collection of paints. And I quickly spotted a favorite hue among them: Bancha.
Bancha is a deep, velvety green. It is darker than the olive green hue and is also described as mid-century modern green – in a nutshell: it had my name written all over it. I imagined the dark green wall as a perfect background for the teak sideboard, the plants, the earthy ceramics. So the decision was quickly made – even though it took me a while to find time for painting and redecorating. But now that it is done, I am happy to share the result and some before and after shots with you.
With the help of my good friend Ben we repeated the painting pattern from my other rooms – a 5 cm rim from the edges sets the feature wall visually apart. Additionally, I decided to paint the little side wall on the left too for an alcove vibe. Two coats of paint and some drying time later, it was ready to be redecorated. The sideboard went back to its original place as did the String Pocket shelf. But then it was time to reshuffle and reorganize all the little decor items. An earthy mix of vintage ceramics, plants and crystals sets the tone against the ‘Bancha’ green backdrop. I really love how all the earthy elements perfectly match the deep green hue. And it is so amazing to observe the various shades of green depending on the light situation.
Did you know that the name ‘Bancha’ is derived from Japanese tea leaves. After all, this color has a soothing, calming and comforting effect. Just like a cup of green tea. Here’s to more green adventures in 2019!
This blog post has been brought to you in collaboration with Farrow & Ball.As always all opinions and photos are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands who support this blog!
Photography by Igor Josifovic
The post Welcoming 2019: ‘Bancha’ Green for the Home appeared first on Happy Interior Blog.
So it turns out I wasn’t having a baby girl but a baby boy instead!
Now that the shock of that news has settled, it’s time I remove all the pink decor and peony flowers and get cracking on a gender-neutral nursery for Alexander. (For those who have been asking, I’m equally happy to have had another baby boy, I was just convinced I was having a girl, ha ha.)
In today’s DIY I created an inexpensive, over-sized canopy for his cot that you could personalise in a range of ways to suit your child’s room or nursery.
The main items of hula hoop and white fabric cost under $30 and then I used a selection of artificial leaves from Koch & Co to decorate the top. If you were having a girl, you could use peonies or other flowers instead of leaves, if you prefer. I also considered dyeing the lower half of the canopy green to create an ombre effect but haven’t done this yet — it’s a fun idea to try for those who love colour.
You will need some basic sewing skills to create this canopy, here’s how to make it!
Items you will need:
Hula hoop (we got ours from Big W for $5)
11m of white fabric (or whatever colour you like, our fabric cost around $2 per metre from Lincraft)
Artificial leaves and/or flowers for around the canopy (ours are from Koch & Co)
Needle and thread
White spray paint (optional if hoop is not white)
Stanley knife (optional if you need to cut your hoop size down)
1. If you can only find a large hula hoop, undo the staples that hold the two ends together and cut it down to your preferred size. I removed approximately 30cm of tube to make the hoop smaller. If you can find a smaller hula hoop, you won’t need to do this step.
2. Spray paint the hula hoop white. Again this is an optional step if you can only find a coloured or patterned hula hoop. As the fabric I used is quite thin, the black twirl pattern on the hula hoop would show through if I didn’t spray paint it.
3. Now it’s time to cut your fabric. You will need:
4 x 2.5m lengths (my ceiling height is 2.7m so cutting the fabric at this length means it will touch the ground but if you have lower or higher ceilings, you will need to adjust the length. If you’re unsure, make the canopy a tad longer as you can always remove excess length at the end but you cannot add it!)
1 x 1m diameter circle.
4. Overlock the edges of the fabric you just cut as shown in the diagram above i.e. around the circle and each side of the lengths you cut. If you do not have an overlocker, you could create a small seam or select a fabric that doesn’t fray and just leave the edges as they are.
5. Hand sew the fabric circle around the hula hoop to create the tent on top. The circumference of the fabric is larger than the circumference of the hoop so you will need to scrunch it a little as you sew — the excess fabric is important though as it will give the pitch at the top of your canopy.
Tip: I should say that I’ve seen some DIYs where people have not put the this part of the canopy on and just used rope to attach the hoop to the ceiling. You can see an example of that in this Kmart hacks for kids round up. This is another design option you may like to consider.
6. Use your sewing machine to sew the 4 lengths together as per the diagram below. Make sure all of the seams are facing the same way (so that when you hang the canopy all the seams will be on the inside).
7. Continue using the sewing machine to pleat the top width of the strips you just sewed together. This will make it easier to hand sew it onto your hula hoop. You don’t need to be precise here, I just folded sections and sewed them as I went but you could measure and pin the pleats if you prefer.
8. Hand sew this fabric around your hula hoop with the pleated section at the top and the seams facing inwards.
9. Now that the body of your canopy is done, it’s time to decorate. I simply hand sewed two eucalyptus garlands around the top and then added some extra gumnut stems, berry stems and eucalyptus stems around the hula hoop.
Like I mentioned above though, there are an endless number of ways you could decorate the canopy such as using artificial flowers, fairy lights, dyeing the fabric or using other decorative pieces.
10. Once your canopy is done, it’s time to hang it. I created a loop of fabric that I sewed into the centre of the top and attached it to a hook in my ceiling.
Tip: be sure to hang your canopy in a way where there is no chance it can fall onto baby. Use a hook that can more than carry the weight of your canopy and ensure it is secured into a stud in the ceiling.
If you like this DIY, you might also like to try our other nursery DIYs here!
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Nikos Karaflos, the visionary entrepreneur-turned-hotelier, initially contacted Athens-based k-studio several years ago with an idea to transform an abandoned wine factory on the west coast of mainland Greece, into a hotel. After a long process of design, development and bureaucracy, his dedication is finally paying off, as Phase 1 of the project is complete and the Dexamenes Seaside Hotel is now open.
The history of Dexamenes dates back to the “Era of Currants”. Since the liberation of Greece in 1830, the cultivation of currants took on impressive dimensions as the main export of the Greek Kingdom. But when the “Currants’ Crisis” broke out in 1910, the trade of currants collapsed and the need to convert the unsold stock into alternative products, such as wine, was born. This was when the first wineries and distilleries were created. Dexamenes was built literally on the sea so that the ships could be loaded with wine via pipes constructed as a platform on the beach of Kourouta, and then set sail for the major overseas markets.
The derelict, industrial structures that characterise the site have been left relatively untouched since the 1920s, sitting quietly on a place that literally dips its toes in the water of one of the most unspoiled and beautiful stretches of coastline in the western Peloponnese. It is a naturally ideal location for a hotel.
See more adaptive reuse projects on Yellowtrace.
“From the outset it was clear to us all that the strong history and raw beauty of the existing buildings should not only be preserved, but be delicately showcased in a design that would breathe new life into their walls, compliment their brutality with elegant interventions and so transform their austere functionality into a place of calm, comfort and relaxation,” explains the design team at k-studio.
This transformation was the primary challenge of the project. After testing various ideas on plan, the vision began to come clear. “We needed to play on the bare aesthetic of the site, work with it and avoid introducing any elements or materials alien to it,” says the team. “This realisation helped to define our palette of concrete, steel and engineered glass, with the addition of timber as a nod to the nautical connection of the site to the sea.”
It also became clear that new construction should tread lightly and leave the existing buildings relatively untouched. The key to the design was to contrast and balance out the old and new by elegantly utilising an industrial palette.
Dominating the site are two existing concrete blocks that are divided into 10 storage tanks. These approximately measure 5m x 6m – perfectly sized for hotel rooms. K-studio quickly established a linear plan of identical rooms, with views directed towards the beach. Phase 1 of the development has seen the conversion of this first row of tanks as well as the addition of a lightweight structure at one end of the block, all connected by a wide walkway raised above the sand, leading down to the water.
Each individual tank is a cool, private and monastic space, sitting in stark contrast to the heat and exposure to the outside elements. Large sliding windows can be fully opened to the patio or kept closed to retain the cool without closing off the view. The 30sqm internal volume is carefully designed to sit within the exposed concrete walls of the tank without inhibiting their unique texture and patina. Each room features a double bed adjacent to a single bed that can act as a sofa, and an open wardrobe with a storage area. The bathroom is separated by a wall of textured glass that allows light from the window to reach the back of the tank.
Polished terrazzo surfaces act as a link to the texture of beach-pebble aggregates. These were revealed when the concrete walls were sliced through during the construction of the window openings. A large double shower and separated WC bring a sense of luxurious comfort to the minimal, pared-down interior.
Strategically placed steel spotlights are positioned along a steel framework that supports the various elements of the room. The frame snakes from the bathroom, the bedroom and out to the shading screen and canopy on the patio. It then continues, linking each tank before wrapping around the end of the block to provide the support for the lounge, bar and reception.
The metal framework acts as a thin black underline to the new interventions, signifying the delicate approach to bringing warm hospitality to an industrial site.
Phase 1 of Dexamenes Seaside Hotel has seen the transformation of just 8 of the 40 tanks within the first of the 2 existing concrete blocks. Phase 2, planned for 2019, will continue to transform the first block to provide more rooms and facilities, with plans to introduce a lush vine-garden, a taverna, a boutique selling local produce, and a history room that will connect visitors to the story of the site.
See more adaptive reuse projects on Yellowtrace.
[Images courtesy of k-studio. Photography by Claus Brechenmacher & Reiner Bauman.]
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