In the heyday of high modernism, architects such as Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe extolled the aesthetic value of whiteness, which they viewed as connoting purity and simplicity. Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House, for example, paired the stripped-down whiteness of its structural skeleton with expansive floor-to-ceiling windows, using the enveloping natural light to further elevate the already heavenly aspirations of the space. Today, some contemporary architects and designers have evolved the sublime aesthetics of white high modern architecture by using translucent fabric partitions, complementing the purity of the white walls with the fabrics’ ethereal play of light and shadow. Below, we discuss different design strategies for working with white fabrics in this way, and include two examples of projects that have used translucent fabrics in soothing but innovative ways.
When designing in times of quick and constant transformations, one must keep a close eye on the surge of new demands, and one must design spaces that embrace such mutability.
The presence of different ground levels requires solutions to connect them, either because of a need to adapt to the terrain or any other factor that leads to the verticalization of a building. Staircases serve the purpose of connecting the various floors and creating the building's dynamics through many different shapes, designs, and materials. When made of wood, they can also add a variety of colors and textures that contribute to the uniqueness of this element.
Cooking shows have never been more popular around the world than they are now. Whether from recipes, reality shows, or documentaries, writer Michael Pollan points out that it is not uncommon to spend more time watching than preparing our own food. This is a very curious phenomenon, as we can only imagine the tastes and smells on the other side of the screen, which the presenters often like to remind us. At the same time, when we watch something about the Middle Ages, polluted rivers, or nuclear disasters, we are relieved that there is no technology to transmit smells across the screen. In fact, when dealing with odors (more specifically the bad ones), we know how unpleasant it is to be in a space that doesn't smell good. When dealing with buildings, what are the main sources of bad smells and how can this affect our health and well-being?
Emmi Pikler was a Hungarian pediatrician who introduced, in the years after World War II, a new philosophy on early childhood care and learning for children up to the age of 3. It was after the birth of her first child that she began to question: what happens when a child is allowed to develop freely? The observed results culminated in the introduction of a new methodology.
Architects are known for returning from travel with more photos of buildings than people and for having an esoteric vocabulary of their own. Of course, these are clichés that are not always true. But something that unites most designers is the tendency to pay attention to each detail that makes up a project, be it the material that covers the facade, the junction between different floors, how the doors open, the type of window frame, how the forms were put together for concreting, and more. But a detail that often goes unnoticed – and that makes a huge difference in interior design – is baseboards.
Diversifying the materials of an interior space can greatly improve its depth and visual interest. At the same time, adding partitions or other delineations of internal space can help organize flow, circulation, and visibility. Polycarbonate, a type of lightweight, durable thermoplastic, is an excellent medium for both functions.
One of the most essential aspects of interior design is lighting – an element that can make or break an interior space of any size or material. Yet good lighting can be especially important for smaller or more crowded spaces, making them feel larger and more open even when their literal dimensions haven’t changed. In turn, larger spaces with poor lighting may feel smaller and less welcoming than they have the potential to be. To make interiors feel aptly large and well lit, designers can rely on several tried and true methods that make the most of a space, from using the right shades and types of lights to placing them in the best locations to integrating other elements that best complement existing lighting. These strategies, as well as several examples of their application, are listed below.
Interior design begins with human experience. Considering the physical, mental, and emotional needs of people, interior designers use human-centered approaches to address how we live today. Creating novel approaches to promoting health, safety, and welfare, contemporary interiors are increasingly inspired by biophilia as a holistic approach to design.
One of the most important design considerations that residential architects have the responsibility to address is accessibility, ensuring that people with disabilities can comfortably live at home without impediments blocking basic home functionality. Accessibility for wheelchair users is a particularly important architectural concern due to unalterable spatial, material, and other requirements necessitated by wheelchair design and use. Because guaranteeing the comfort of all users, including disabled users, is one of the most essential obligations of all architects, designing for wheelchair users must be done with utmost the attention and care, especially in residential environments. Below, we delineate several strategies for designing floors for wheelchair circulation, helping architects achieve this goal of maximum comfort and accessibility.
A monochrome environment is a space in which most architectural elements are of a single color. Although it is common for architects to design black or white monochromatic spaces due to its neutrality, it is possible to use almost any color to design a space, taking advantage of their infinite tones, undertones, and shades.
Interior design is a fundamental piece in creating an ambiance and complementing the architectural qualities of a residential project. It can either reinforce or subvert aspects of a building, create its own narratives within the rooms and also define the living spaces. Whether in renovations or designs started from scratch, creating interiors requires an understanding of the purposes and dynamics of those who will occupy the spaces. It brings architecture closer to a day to day level, in its most intimate form when it comes to housing programs.
Architects have long explored the concept of integrating interior and exterior, smoothing out the physical and visual boundaries in an attempt to bring the landscape into the architecture. However, when visiting the site to develop the project, two distinct scenarios may appear: an urban terrain, lacking a view, or natural elements; or a green area with trees and bushes, for example. In the latter case, many projects rely on the on-site location of each tree to accommodate the architectural design, respecting them, and creating new views, through patios and connecting them with the new landscape design. However, based on studies of the species and their size, it is increasingly common for these trees to be incorporated into the interior space, either partially or completely enclosed.
As the number of smaller and more compact apartments grows, architects and interior designers are challenged to create multifunctional solutions and systems capable of optimizing spaces, in a way that every inch seems to make a difference. As a result, it is increasingly common for professionals to focus on designing creative furniture solutions that allow the space to transform completely in a few seconds.