Implemented as a means to take full advantage of space, built-in furniture has grown in popularity as well as ingenuity as designers tackle the needs and tastes of a wide range of users. It's ability to adapt and integrate into architectural spaces allows it, through a variety of configurations and materials, to fulfill various functions; however, this poses an interesting question. Is it truly the furniture that adapts to our living spaces? Could it not itself become the protagonist and creator of the spaces that we project?
Just before the global lockdowns began in response to the spread of the widely discussed COVID-19, we met with Saint Gobain experts at their new headquarters in Paris to discuss an extensive investigation conducted in 2019, with the aim of understanding the transformations that architecture and construction have experienced in recent years. After an interesting exchange of ideas, we chose the most relevant topics to be analyzed in depth by our team of editors, resulting in a series of articles that combined the trends identified with the unexpected events that occurred during 2020, connecting them directly to architectural design.
Now, entering an uncertain but promising 2021, we took the time to stop and reread these articles carefully. How many of these trends are still valid and how much have they evolved? What new trends are likely to develop in the coming years?
The Unhão complex, constructed in Salvador, Brazil in the 17th century, consisted of a sugar mill with a big house, chapel, and slave quarters. At the time, Salvador was one of the largest and most important Brazilian cities, and its port was the site of a large portion of the Portuguese colony's sugar exports, an economy fueled primarily by slave labor. The ensemble drew the attention of Italian-Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi at her first visit in 1958, during which she spent some years working and teaching in the city. Following Bo Bardi's decisive contributions, the buildings were restored and became the new home of the Museum of Popular Art and the Popular University. But within the whole complex, the element that draws the most attention for its plasticity, functionality, and symbolism is the helical wooden staircase.
Lina Bo Bardi, one of the most important architects of Brazilian architecture, was selected as the recipient of the Special Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in memoriam of the Venice Biennale 2021 (also known as the Biennale Architettura 2021), which will open to the public on Saturday, May 22nd, 2021.
Few architectural typologies are as timeless as bakeries. A practice spanning thousands of years, the art of baking has diverse roots. Today, bakeries combine areas to gather, socialize, shop, and work. While industrialization and commercialization transformed the art of baking and baked goods, bakeries remain important community spaces for gathering and defining neighborhood identity.