Translucency, at its essence, is an optical property that enables the total or partial passage of light through materials, without providing a clear view of the objects behind them. Despite its apparent simplicity, this property has fascinating applications in the architectural field, generating attractive and powerful proposals that play with light without obstructing views.
The use and demand for natural materials in architecture and interior design have facilitated the revival of updated traditional construction systems for the contemporary context. What was once considered rustic is now being explored in more modern settings; therefore, the application of the material is also subject to new forms of fixation, coloring, and orientation (horizontal or vertical). While wood is the dominant material in traditional systems and environmentally sustainable materials, another material that has been used for centuries, equally sustainable and biodegradable, and has received less attention is straw.
Nowadays, the cycles of change around society and architecture have generated new urban models, emerging technologies, and design trends that underline the need for constant adaptability in all areas. In this context, aspects such as flexibility, reliability, and simplicity emerge as distinctive elements, both in architecture and in the components that constitute it, including materials. This is why lines such as the EGGER Decorative Collection 24+, crafted from wood-derived materials, seek to redefine concepts through a rolling series, updated at most every two years. This dynamic enables a more agile response to new trends, influences, and product innovations that arise in the built environment.
The influence of design on our physical and mental health has been largely explored in various contexts, ranging from spatial configuration to furniture. The topic has gained notoriety due to the growing awareness of human well-being, especially in recent times. An example of this bond between design and health is the emergence of concepts such as Neuroarchitecture, which seeks to understand the built environment’s potential in our brain. Another case that illustrates this approach, this time in furniture design, is the Paimio Sanatorium, where Alvar Aalto designed the tuberculosis sanatorium and all its furnishings. The chair created for the patient’s lounge —the Paimio Chair— facilitated their breathing due to its shape and the inclination of the backrest.
Autonomy and freedom during the design process are invaluable resources for architects, especially when defining a volume and choosing materials, systems, and solutions for a building. The flexibility of these elements must not only promote their harmonious integration within a structure but, above all, allow architects to incorporate them without the need to change their initial concepts. This design freedom becomes even more crucial in the context of facades, specifically in building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) facades. This is due to the unique challenge of incorporating the energy capture function into the design of the building envelope, simultaneously demanding adaptation to the designer's aesthetic preferences and effective performance, as well as the entire infrastructure for capturing and transporting energy.
Born in Brazil and educated in Paraguay, Gloria Cabral is an architect who early on learned that home can be many places—or none at all. Guided by a comprehensive understanding of the geography, culture, and social conditions of the places she designs, she has left her mark on buildings and artistic installations constructed in various locations, from Assumption to Venice.
The early 20th century marked a pivotal era in Brazilian architecture with the advent of the modernist movement. Architects like Oscar Niemeyer or Lúcio Costa introduced avant-garde designs characterized by sleek lines, reinforced concrete, and a focus on functionality. What's more: residential projects of the era, in particular, blurred the lines between indoor and outdoor, flawlessly merging interior and exterior spaces to reflect a lifestyle that harmonizes with nature. Fast forward to the present day, and contemporary architects and designers in Brazil continue to embrace the challenge of creating indoor-outdoor homes that nod to the country's tropical climate. These residences often feature open floor plans, expansive glass walls, and strategic positioning of courtyards, gardens, or terraces with a design philosophy that emphasizes natural light, ventilation, and the incorporation of greenery for increased well-being. We take a detailed look at four recently completed residential projects in Brazil that fuse contemporary architecture, sustainable living, and a deep appreciation for their natural surroundings.
The “Soil Sisters” initiative explores how architectural design and sustainable material practices can contribute to soil nutrition and resilience. Partnering with SOM Foundation, their joint effort has resulted in an exhibition aiming to redefine our understanding of “environmentally conscious practices.” Titled “Soil Sisters: A Ceiling, A Chair and Table, A Wall and a Threshold,” the display showcases their dedication to redefining soil health as a cross-sectoral objective by emphasizing materiality and color in the built environment.