Eduardo Souza

Brands and Materials Senior Editor. Architect and Master from Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC).

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The Interplay of Water and Light Through a Sculptural Experience Shower

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In the hustle and bustle of modern life, with deadlines, goals, and performance, finding moments of tranquility is essential for maintaining overall well-being and peace of mind. These moments provide a necessary break from daily stresses, allowing the mind and body to reset and thoughts to reorganize. Rituals of relaxation can create a sanctuary of calm amidst the chaos, promoting a sense of balance and peace, providing a healthier and more harmonious lifestyle, and contributing to better physical and emotional health. However, these rituals need not be expensive or complex.

Simple activities, such as breathing exercises, taking a walk in nature, or a relaxing bath, can be extremely effective. In fact, taking time to experience the calming and energizing effects of water can significantly enhance mental clarity, bring new ideas, provide comfort, and improve mood.

Blending Nostalgia and Modernity: The Rise of Synthetic Profiles in Furniture Design

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Furniture made from natural materials is widely valued for its beauty and texture, especially when it comes to wood, bamboo, reed, and rattan. However, they often face challenges such as weather damage, pest infestations, and high maintenance requirements like regular cleaning and treatments to prevent fading and structural weakening. Additionally, their lack of uniformity and strength can compromise consistent quality, while harvesting the raw materials can have negative environmental impacts. These issues, combined with inconsistent availability and higher costs, have driven innovations in synthetic materials that aim to replicate the aesthetics of natural products, often using recycled materials to promote sustainability.

The Rise of Standing Desks for Active Workplaces

Vibrant colors, ping-pong tables, video games, free food and extravagant decorations. Photographs of the Silicon Valley offices of the early 2000s became the model for ideal, disruptive work environments, meticulously designed to attract and retain new talent in a highly competitive job market. Most importantly, they were the extreme opposite of the famous cubicles of previous decades. Over time, these same companies have invested in creating healthier and more dynamic working environments, giving special consideration to providing contact with nature and better ergonomics for employees. Among the innovations of the past years, the so-called “standing desks” have been gaining popularity, as they offer flexibility and promote a culture of health and well-being. Having the flexibility to work either standing up or sitting down encourages more movement throughout the day and has been proven to improve health and stretching, burn more calories and even increase concentration.

Multifunctional Furniture for Indoor-Outdoor Living

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In contemporary architecture, the boundary between indoor and outdoor spaces has increasingly been dissolved. This dissolution establishes a smooth transition between spaces, promoting a sense of harmony and connectivity with the surrounding environment. This trend reflects a fundamental change in contemporary lifestyles, where seamless integration between humans and their environment is increasingly valued and sought after. One of the ways this can be achieved is through fluid spatial arrangements or distinctive architectural elements, such as large windows, open plans and integrated outdoor areas. 

Other elements that promote integration and connection are multifunctional furniture. These can play a fundamental role in blurring the boundaries between indoor comfort and outdoor freedom. Andreu World, a Spanish company, offers furniture that transitions easily between indoor and outdoor environments. Three of their furniture lines—Dado, Nuez and Liceo—work especially well in both indoor and outdoor setting.

The Role of Ceramic Tiles in the Rebirth of Tinnerbäcksbadet Leisure Center

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Tinnerbäcksbadet, a leisure center established in 1965 on the shores of a lake in Linköping, Sweden, was showing signs of aging. To revitalize the area and meet the ever-changing demands, the city launched an international architectural competition for a new facility. The winning design, conceived by the Danish firm 3XN, blends modernity and functionality. This integration into the surrounding urban landscape, with the new structure serving as a focal point in a newly reimagined neighborhood square, was crucial to the project's success.

However, it is in the material details and subtle undulations of its layout that the genius of the design is revealed, guiding visitors and users to the indoor spaces and verdant extensions surrounding the bathing lake. The project exudes warmth and sophistication with its palette of natural, earthy colors, through the extensive use of exposed wood, concrete, and ceramic tiles. Manufactured by Agrob Buchtal from natural raw materials, these tiles contribute to the space's elegance while promising longevity, a hallmark of truly sustainable architecture. Covering 18,000 m², the ceramic surfaces play a fundamental role in promoting visual comfort and unifying the entire structure.

Exploring the Smart Use of Brick: Thai Residence Case Study

Brick is one of the oldest and most versatile materials in construction, going beyond the simple masonry wall. Its origins date back to 7500 B.C., with kiln-fired specimens appearing around 3000 B.C., representing a technological breakthrough for the construction of sturdier buildings. Spreading across Europe and Asia around 1200 BC, they replaced materials such as wood and stone in scarce regions. Roman bricks, notable for their long shape, were widely used in the construction of their cities and are still used today. The history of bricks is intertwined with that of civilization, being an easy-to-produce, resistant and versatile material, allowing for a multitude of applications and achieving impressive and unusual results.

Designed by Coletivo de Arquitetos, the Thai Residence exemplifies the multiple possibilities that brick offers in contemporary architecture. Located in a coastal area in the state of Sergipe, Brazil, this residence not only exemplifies the aesthetics of the material, but also its functionality and adaptability to local conditions. One of the most striking features of the project is its layout in two distinct blocks. The main pavilion houses most of the house's program, while a second connected block houses the gourmet area, services and garage. This configuration provides an intelligent distribution of spaces and harmonious integration with the surroundings.

Exploring the Use of Stabilized Aluminum Foam in the Steirereck Restaurant

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The use of contrast is an essential practice in both cuisine and architecture, whether it's harmonizing different aromas and flavors or integrating buildings from different eras. This principle comes to life in a striking way at the top of the imposing Austrian Alps, where the Steirereck am Pogusch restaurant strives for culinary excellence, architectural mastery and the fusion of tradition and innovation. Under the guidance of PPAG architects, the establishment has undergone a revitalization and expansion marked by a deep respect for nature, while making a bold statement of contemporary design.

Exploring the Connection Between Water, Design and Wellbeing

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Water is fundamental to human life on several levels, and encompasses a spectrum of meanings that transcend the biological sphere, reaching the cultural and spiritual spheres. Biologically, it is indispensable, making up approximately 70% of our bodies and playing a central role in our physiological functions, from temperature regulation to vital cellular processes. Culturally and spiritually, water has deep significance, symbolizing purification, renewal and spiritual rebirth in a multitude of rituals and ceremonies performed in different cultures over the centuries.

In architecture, the presence of water is equally important, going beyond its basic cleansing function to encompass a rich diversity of meanings and influences. From the majestic Roman baths, where water was used for hygiene and also represented social status, offering moments of entertainment and relaxation; to contemporary bathrooms, where water is skillfully integrated to create luxurious and invigorating spa experiences. Its presence goes beyond the functional aspect and is also deeply symbolic. Evoking feelings of purification, renewal and serenity, water enriches architecture with an emotional and aesthetic dimension that transcends the boundaries of time and culture.

Seven Spanish Brands and Their Milan 2024 Showcases

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Milan Design Week is a celebration of creativity, innovation and excellence in design, captivating audiences from all over the world. It is an event that encompasses various design-related exhibitions and activities in Milan, while Salone del Mobile is Milan Design Week's main trade fair focused specifically on furniture and interior design. Every year, the city is transformed into a vibrant hub where designers, architects, artists and enthusiasts converge to explore the latest trends, ideas and innovations in the world of design. The instance is a catalyst for inspiration, promoting dialogue, collaboration and discovery across a range of design disciplines, from furniture and interior design to architecture, fashion and more.

In 2024, the event witnessed a strong presence of Spanish brands among the many exhibitors. This impact was fostered by ICEX (Spain Trade and Investment), a Spanish government agency responsible for promoting the internationalization of companies and the expansion of the country's exports, providing support and services to companies looking to enter or expand in international markets. In addition, the institution organizes trade missions, participates in international fairs and exhibitions and provides training and consultancy services to Spanish companies looking to succeed in the global market. Here is a summary of the exhibitions and activities of seven outstanding Spanish brands at the various events that took place during the week of April 15-21, 2024 in Milan.

Turning Challenges into Opportunities with the European Collective Housing Award

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Architectural awards serve as a fundamental platform within the profession and the wider community. They recognize and celebrate outstanding achievements in architectural projects, promoting excellence and innovation, while also providing visibility and exposure for architects and companies, highlighting projects that might otherwise go unnoticed. This impact is particularly evident in collective housing projects, which face a range of challenges, from issues of cost and compliance with urban planning legislation to the need to create welcoming and functional environments for residents. By highlighting diverse initiatives and approaches, awards inspire and educate, stimulate dialogue and the exchange of ideas, and contribute significantly to the advancement of architecture by recognizing projects that address specific themes such as sustainability or social impact.

ZEB Living Lab: Innovation in Sustainable Architecture with Solar Façades

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ZEB Living Lab is a research building that stands out for its pioneering initiative among zero-emission buildings, seeking to have a significant impact on the future. Located in Trondheim, Norway, it is much more than just a building; it is a tangible manifestation of the global commitment to sustainability and innovation. Conceived as an advanced research laboratory and a practical example of sustainable construction practices, it represents the point of convergence between architecture, technology and environmental awareness. Managed in collaboration between NTNU (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) and SINTEF (Scandinavian Institute of Technology), this center of scientific excellence is a platform for living experimentation, where innovative materials and solutions are developed, tested and demonstrated in direct interaction with the building occupants.

Modular, Photovoltaic, Green or Blue Roofs: How to Choose the Best Waterproofing System?

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Among the "Five Points of New Architecture" formulated by Le Corbusier, terrace gardens figure as a way to take advantage of a building's so-called fifth facade, either as leisure areas or landscaping spaces. Thanks to technological advances in reinforced concrete in the mid-twentieth century, usable flat roofs are far from new. There are traces in Mesopotamia and vernacular architecture from Greek and Arab civilizations. However, problems that frequently arise relate to infiltration and leaks. Water is relentless in finding a place to drain, and flat roofs are exposed to this when execution and design are not carefully thought-out. In fact, as documented in several letters, this was a source of disagreement between the owner and the Swiss-French architect in the case of the influential Villa Savoye. Today, nonetheless, there are good waterproofing options on the market that provide durability, resilience, adaptability and, above all, avoid headaches and fights between builders and owners. Elevate is built on 40 years of history in the production of roofing membranes, as well as insulation and vapor barriers, and develops solutions for waterproofing flat roofs with a low inclination.

Sculpting Time: The Contemporary Use of Marble in Bathroom Design

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Marble held profound significance in Greek and Roman architecture due to its abundance, luminous surfaces, and subtle veining. Its durability ensured structures' longevity, while its cultural symbolism of purity and divine favor made it ideal for temples, theaters, and amphitheaters. As a symbol of perfection, marble facilitated intricate craftsmanship for decorative elements, inspiring architectural marvels and exquisite art, leaving a legacy of sophistication and refinement. 

Today, marble remains a symbol of excellence and refinement, prevalent in contemporary architecture and art. Its timeless beauty and durability continue to captivate clients and designers alike. In sculptures, furniture, and decorative pieces, marble's natural elegance elevates any environment. Companies like antoniolupi integrate marble into their designs, combining creativity and meticulous craftsmanship to redefine the possibilities of this natural stone in innovative projects. The Italian company—a leading designer and manufacturer of high-end products—has ventured beyond conventional boundariesin a quest for innovation, embarking on projects that redefine the possibilities of this naturalstone.