Our November issue focuses on a beloved material. Professionals have enjoyed pushing glass to its limits and beyond, innovating new ways to manipulate it and enhance its capabilities. In the article “The House: All About That Glass”, we take you on a journey through time. We pay homage to those who sat at the forefront of implementing glass facades when constructing homes and marvel at the new uses of glass in today’s era. We highlight regional specificities in our piece “The Middle East: Innovating Glass in Extreme Climates”.
This issue’s designer focus whisks us off to Poland for exclusive interviews with the country’s top designers. Jump to the article “Design: Poland in the Spotlight”.
November is also the hottest month of the year in terms of technology. Portugal’s Web Summit the “largest technology conference in the world”, with over 1,000 speakers and 60,000 attendees. From this special event, we bring to you thoughts on how urbanism can benefit from technology in ” Urbanism: An Innovative & Sustainable Future “. DO NOT miss reading this article featuring exclusive interviews with Jeurgen Resch, founder and director of Wmoove, regeneration architect Thomas Ermacora and Yvonne Wassenaar, CEO of Airware (drones!).
In a typical conversation about Europe’s most design-forward countries, Poland doesn’t exactly leap off the tongue. However, this former member of the Eastern Bloc is quietly hard at work smashing a dated preconception—with far-reaching results.
As the third largest European exporter of furniture, Poland clocked in...
Known to the ancient Egyptians, glass was first used to create small decorative objects. With time, processing became more efficient and economical, leading to its usage for larger objects and structures such as buildings and houses.
The birth of the Maison de Verre in 1932, built by French architect Pierre Chareau and Dutch architect Bernard Bijvoet, opened up a world of possibilities for using glass in construction projects, inspiring architects worldwide to use this versatile material.
The Maison de Verre was one of the first examples of the juxtaposition of traditional building materials like steel with glass. The Modernist Period saw wider use of glass, including the Glass House by American architect Philip Johnson.
Completed in 1949, just before Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe’s Illinois Farnsworth House, it was one of the first of its kind in the United States.
Christa Carr, Glass House communications director, told ArchiExpo e-Magazine the story behind its creation. Listen to the Soundcloud clip below for the exclusive interview.
The Glass House commemorates its 10th anniversary this year as a National Trust for Historic Preservation site. A fundraising event hosted by Norman Foster and Robert A.M. Stern was recently held on its premises, celebrating the timeless beauty of this glass masterpiece.
Super Architectural Glass
External forces can affect the suitability of glass as a building material. But modern treatments are designed to increase its resistance to shock and confer insulating and other characteristics.
AGC Glass from Japan has developed various types of “super architectural glasses” which can be used in different areas of the house. Insulating Glass traps heat within the building, preventing its loss and contributing to the comfort of the occupants. Their Laminated Glass is made of several sheets of glass separated by PVB plastic film. If it breaks, fragments remain attached to the film, protecting people from flying glass.
AGC Glass Europe
One of their stronger products is Toughened Glass, produced by heat treatment and five times stronger than ordinary glass in terms of resistance to physical or thermal shock. Homes may include a combination of these different types of glass, often in steel or wood frames.
Stay up to date with AGC Glass through the online exhibition site ArchiExpo.
Glass Inside and Out
A house can showcase glass everywhere. A prime example is the S-House, designed by Yuusuke Karasawa for famous Japanese philosopher Takashi Shimizu. Construction took 33 months.
Karasawa explained to ArchiExpo e-Magazine that he used “a normal float glass with a thickness of 10 mm.” He added that the size of the glass is nearly the maximum the manufacturer can produce. “I installed a special “mirror curtain” allowing people to see outside from inside but people cannot see inside from outside.”
The mirror curtain is made with polyester, and it reflects sunlight and shines like a glass block or crystal when sunlight comes inside, especially in the morning.
While its facade is made entirely of glass, the sisal hemp and oak flooring “make the space more natural and human,” the architect said.
Karasawa was in Paris recently for the opening of “Japan-ness : Architecture et urbanisme au Japon depuis 1945” at the Pompidou Center Metz. The S-House was featured on the cover of the catalogue. Karasawa’s team is currently working on a daycare project in the Philippines. Windows consist of a series of glass panes set at different angles, mixed with mahogany elements.
S-House / Yuusuke Karasawa Architects
The Invisible and the Rotating
Building a glass house has become easier nowadays with various glass manufacturers and suppliers to choose from. Guardian Glass launched their latest campaign called “The Invisible Glass” which offers a range of creative tools highlighting the benefits of using their invisible glass. Order a free sample of the invisible glass to check it out and consider including 360° rotating and sliding doors with the aid of Portapivot’s invisible pivot hinge kits called “Stealth Pivot” which can be ordered at their new B2B E-commerce store.
Construction glass is a building element that will never go out of fashion. Its remarkable flexibility makes it a reliable construction material that speeds the work and is ideal for embellishing facades. Since the construction boom of the 1990s, the Middle East, and Dubai in particular, have seen building designs...
It’s nearly three decades since Soviet planes last took off from an airbase near the Estonian city of Tartu. Today, a man-made object of a very different nature rises into the air from the long-deserted concrete runway.
Designed by the now-dissolved architecture office of Italian-Israeli Dan Dorell, French-Lebanese Lina Ghotmeh and Japanese Tsuyoshi Tane (collectively known as DGT), the Estonian National Museum opened its doors in October of last year. The gargantuan, 355-meter-long building cost €75 million and took over a decade to materialize.
While the distinctive sloping shape of the museum is intended to represent Estonia’s emerging history, its striking architecture also reflects the building’s ambient conditions.
“Estonia’s extreme climate—with temperatures swinging between 30°C in summer and -20°C in winter—was an important driving force behind innovation in the design,” says Ghotmeh, who now has her own Parisian atelier.
The museum’s 35-meter entrance canopy is designed to bear heavy snow and wind loads, and to ensure a thermal break between the exterior and the interior of the building. The metal structure rests on independent insulated pillars to allow movement with temperature fluctuation.
The entrance canopy. Courtesy of the architects.
The basement of the museum, which contains the archives, is constructed from a special silicate concrete that enhances temperature stability, while the building’s glass exterior, which features a repetitive, silk-screened pattern of white octagonal stars, represents both Estonian culture and the local weather.
“The star is derived from the cornflower, the national flower of Estonia, and takes its inspiration from Estonian folk heritage,” says Ghotmeh. “In winter, the skin of the museum mirrors the snow-covered landscape, helping to soften the impact of the building’s monumentality.”
The facade of the Estonian National Museum by DGTArchitects. Courtesy of the architects.
The land the museum sits on once held the Raadi Manor, which was owned by a family of Baltic German aristocrats. In 1940, part of the grounds was requisitioned to create the Soviet airbase. Deserted since the 90s, the land portrayed nothing of value on the site until the museum.
A third of the way along its length, the building spans a recently modified lake—one of a clutch that once graced the manor’s manicured gardens. This wing-shaped body of water should eventually provide an attractive recreational venue for ice skaters, boaters and swimmers.
“We have changed everything here,” says Tsuyoshi Tane. “Before, there was nothing on this site. But after 10 years, we have realized our ambition of transforming this massive airfield into a place for people.”
Despite its monolithic appearance, the Estonian National Museum treads surprisingly lightly on the landscape. It is already drawing crowds, despite its distance from the capital, Tallinn. With the building seeking to define ethnic identity and celebrate national culture, DGT’s humanist design is proving as appealing as it is groundbreaking.
Estonian National Museum restaurant. Courtesy of the architects.
Baroque palaces, brutalist office blocks, artist studios and contemporary residences of all kinds were among 106 buildings that welcomed curious visitors to the fifth edition of the Open House architecture festival in Buenos Aires. Over the weekend of October 28-29, the eclectic event counted a record attendance of more than 33,000 people.
In the historic San Telmo neighborhood, visual artist Rosa Skific placed a rectangular metal box on the empty roof of her small home when she ran out of space to create. The design by FPS Arquitectos takes after a conventional shipping container painted bright red. A large sliding window on one of the shorter sides illuminates and ventilates the workshop, which also has running water.
In a city where living costs have spiraled in recent years, finding an extra 26m2 without paying extra rent was a lifeline for Skific. A few subway stations away, in bohemian Villa Crespo, two architects similarly remodeled their home/office to get the most out of every square meter at the PH Lavalleja, completed by the CCPM studio this year.
PH Lavalleja, completed by the CCPM studio this year. Courtesy of the architects.
The narrow structure, which follows a typical Buenos Aires model, feels a bit like a child’s drawing of a house: rooms stacked above each other on four floors, connected by a spiral staircase. Storage drawers are squeezed below many of the steps. The architects fitted extra windows in the slanted iron roof and whitewashed all the inner walls, allowing more light to flow through the home, as well as building a small terrace on a neighboring roof—with real grass and space for a barbecue.
“Everything used to feel much smaller, darker, so we wanted to do the most with what we had,” said Pedro Magnasco of CCPM. His partner, Constanza Chiozza, told ArchiExpo e-Magazine that their biggest challenge was meticulously negotiating every element of their design with five different neighbors.
This project represents a way of elegantly tackling the complications of our city.
Other highlights of Open House included the Mercedes y Asuncion studio, built to house MMCV Arquitectos. Its concrete and glass structure is shaped to maximize the sense of openness between different areas of the practice, allowing light to flow freely—including from a glass display area which protrudes from the second floor.
The Casa Scout, designed by BAAG, is built around a similar concrete shell with wooden interiors and cleverly adaptable spaces for community activities. Its façade features a metal grill which allows ample light to enter, while enabling children to play without the risk of falling—as well as letting vines grow on top, brightening up the dense Palermo neighborhood with a dash of green.
A year of hunting products for architecture projects has bumped certain brands to the top of your wish lists. Below, you’ll find online exhibition site ArchiExpo’s compendium of 2017’s most solicited manufacturers.
The Season for an Open Fire
Focus, a leading French fireplace manufacturer for 45 years, made the list, no doubt due to their innovative approach to hearth construction. While their pieces tend to be sculptural, this year’s new product, Curvifocus, is the world’s first fireplace with a concave front. Enchanting and inviting, Curvifocus got immediate attention at the company’s first participation in the Hearth and Home tradeshow in Britain, where it won both gas fire of the year and model of the year.
Curvifocus by Focus
In conversation with Ira Imig from Focus, ArchiExpo e-Magazine was curious to know about the designer’s material usage and how that has changed. The firm has always used steel, but Imig emphasized that “for fifty years we have been using only one material: imagination. The imagination will give the right shape to the steel we are working with. It’s like composing music with shapes.”
However, the shape is not just charming; the curved screen contributes to its efficiency by cutting energy consumption. Beyond high-tech curves, Focus is also working with color! Hot off the stove, Focus White brightens its surroundings with its mod tone, bringing light and style.
Has Focus collaborated with any renown designers recently?
“We collaborated with French designer Thibault Desombre, who inspired the design of one of our fireplaces. He’s a good friend of Dominique Imbert, and together they created the Grappus fireplace. This collaboration is the fruit of a human adventure. Future collaborations may happen in the same way.”
Ready for the New Year
Wilkhahn‘s office furniture is tried and true. Offering comfort along with quality, the time-honored company is also acknowledged for its true dedication to sustainability and ecological responsibility. Wilkwahn will release its new Aula chair designed by Wolfgang C.R. Mezger in January 2018. Weighing 6.7 kg with armrests and 6 kg without, fiberglass-reinforced Ultramid® makes this chair exceptionally lightweight. Yet, it is still hard-wearing, offering superior comfort and support.
Aula by Wilkhahn
The Need for Comfort
In the bathroom or on the table Villeroy & Boch takes the cake for dependability as a traditional and sleek lifestyle brand. In October 2017, the company joined forces with Heinze GMBH to put on the forum Urban Wellbeing: Rethinking Residential Design.Devoted to research and understanding of the effects that design has on everyday life, this public dialogue, held in the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg’s HafenCity, featured internationally renowned architects discussing the need for comfort and efficiency, both small and large.
A Simple Object Can Save Lives
Opinion Ciattiattracts positive opinion for its contemporary approach to form and experimentation with the process and practice of design. This year, Lapo Ciatti designed Hope, an installation that was part of LUISAVIAROMA‘s exhibition Design on Water at the Bridge of Love in Florence. Coinciding with the 13th edition of Firenze4Ever in June, Hope embodied an interpretation of the word rope, looking at the ability of such a simple object to take on great importance, such as saving lives. Hung vertically, 19 ropes held red poppies, the bright color blazing through the room in a metaphor of love.
désirée divani has been on a roll recently, releasing several new furniture pieces in collaboration with distinct designers. Marc Sadler concocted the romantic Lovely Day sofa exclusively for désirée divani. Melding sophistication with purpose, this couch was envisioned with the philosophy of the company in mind.
Next on this list is Overplan, designed by Matteo Thun & Antonio Rodriguez. The modular sofa can bring balance and rigor not only to domestic settings, but also to business or commercial spaces. Last but not least is avì es. Designed by Jai Jalan,the piece is created with big, rounded cushions, comforting and soothing to tired eyes and sentimental minds.
avì es designed by Jai Jalan for désirée divani
Sexy Materials for Urban Designs
Metalco, a company based in the south of France, is noted for its exterior furniture for public spaces, urban decor and playground equipment. In recent months, the company has released plenty of urban designs worthy of attention. The Libre Evolution benches, designed by Alfredo Tasca, are made of shaped steel, with each individual tube uniquely contoured to fit its position. Moving to a completely different material, the Lorenzo bench is created entirely of reconstituted granite/marble supporting an integrated wooden seat.
Libre bench designed Alfredo Tasca for ID Metalco
The Smart Office
Estel exemplifies today’s smart office concept marvellously. The company develops its products in its own factory, engineered by experienced technicians, and often updates its collections with innovations from new devices, technologies, behaviors and relationships. It’s always eye catching and exciting to see what’s out now.
There are height adjustable desks for office areas, meeting tables that can be reserved with an app and armchairs with cable management. Estel often integrates a power supply into its furniture for smartphone and tablet.
An Italian smart office solution. Courtesy of Estel
Read more about the Italian brand’s smart office setup.