house of simple ambiguity.

The first thing that struck me about this building was the beautifully proportioned front facade (read my take on composition, here); next, the stratified brickwork – thin linear strips graduating to larger brick sections as the eye travels up the building.

Located in an historical centre but lacking any character of its own, this house also faces the challenge of its narrowness, a 6.5m width. To resolve the problem of getting light in, a series of outdoor spaces create a transition between the rooms, thus becoming rooms themselves. Privacy, solar gain, ventilation and light are all addressed and resolved in one fell swoop. The sequence of spaces also creates a lovely ambiguity about what is an interior and what is an exterior space.

Because the colour and rhythm of the exterior masonry is visible from within, the interior walls are painted white, with just the window reveals left raw. There are simple, pale wood floorboards and an exposed (but beautifully detailed) metal ceiling. Sometimes, the materials are reversed, and the ceiling or walls are lined with wood. The zig zag line of the stair soffit plays against the pattern of the metal ribbed ceiling as it rises up, as well as the rhythm of the wood planks.

A kid’s room contains a single piece of furniture serving all necessary functions – sleeping, reading and storage.

Perfectly proportioned on the outside, simply and beautifully detailed within.

House 1014 by H Arquitectes, via Photographs: Adrià Goula

memphis-styled sound.

I love these images for Bang + Olufsen’s latest range, featuring the work of photographer Phillip Karlberg (it’s worth a look at his portfolio, with stunning photographs for Kasthall, amongst others). The products, all angular shapes and luxe materials – brushed aluminium, oak and black, are styled against a palette of white marble, blush pink, vibrant blue and pale silver.


There are distinct references to the Memphis movement, which is having a moment in interior and product design, but without the flamboyance. A sort of minimal, refined post-modernism. I think its a great look, what about you?


a danish shelter in black.

We all seem to respond to the idea of living more simply and in closer proximity to nature. Like the cabins I wrote about in the NZ wilderness (here), these shelters offer a pared-back environment, but very little, if anything, is compromised.

Vipp Shelter is a 55m2 cabin comprising living, bathing and eating areas, and sleeping for 4. They are prefabricated in Denmark and brought to site – anywhere in the world you happen to own a piece of wilderness – where they are erected in a few days. The facade is sheet metal, fully insulated and painted black. And everything is included. There is a complete kitchen, in matt black, with Vipp fittings and all cutlery, kitchen utensils and plates. A fully functioning bathroom, with towels. The sleeping loft has an integrated bed with bedding. All lighting is included. A functioning fireplace, floor heating.

The interior aesthetic is contemporary Danish; like a Vipp bin the vibe is modern – not minimal, but clean and industrial. But unlike a Vipp bin, there is no choice of colour. As Henry Ford said, you can have any colour so long as it’s black.

vipp-shelter-morten-bo-jensen-ohl3vipp-shelter-morten-bo-jensen-ohl.vipp-shelter-morten-bo-jensen-ohl2vipp-shelter-morten-bo-jensen-ohl3Which cabin would you own?

More about Vipp Shelter, here. Photographs, via


modern and serene in antwerp.

Beautiful, serene interiors that belie the bustle of everyday life. Shown are three separate projects from the same design studio.

The kitchen below is minimally detailed, with a wall of white, streamlined cabinets with concealed handles and hinges and matt white marble countertops. Timber floorboards and furniture and brass taps add warmth to the palette. The soaring ceiling is simply adorned and brought back down to human scale with the elegantly minimal Tube Chandelier.

The monochromatic bathroom is kept clean and minimal with a linear marble countertop stretching end to end, with simple, rectangular mirrors and black Vola taps. The effect is softened by the diaphanous curtain to one end.


I could move right in. What about you?

All by Antwerp based Rollies + Dubois.

season’s greetings.

snowflake_ohl Yuji Obata / Homage to Wilson A Bentley #4, 2005-2006 / 
Edition of 10 / Danziger Gallery, NY

here comes the sun.

olafur eliasson, contact, 2014
 image © iwan baan

olafur eliasson, contact, 2014
 image © iwan baan

I’m always deeply impressed by industrial designers who design products that function well and look good too, products that you can’t imagine being without (hello, toothbrush! hi, umbrella!). Here’s a chance to create something functional, beneficial, and hopefully, beautiful too. Natural Light is an international competition for design students to create a special edition solar lamp, with the intention of bringing sustainable light to areas in Africa where there is none. The original Little Sun lamp – a simple, vibrant-hued flower lamp – did just that. Thousands of Little Suns were distributed to nine African countries, replacing expensive and polluting alternatives such as kerosene lamps. littlesun_ohl.

Little Sun is a social business who produce sustainable lighting solutions for off-grid African communities; the artist Olafur Eliasson is a co-founder. Eliasson is probably best known for The Weather Project, the dynamic and captivating sun installation that inhabited Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall in 2003-2004 (see his gorgeous current project at the Louis Vuitton Fondation, here) oe_weather-project

The Natural Light competition is a collaboration between Little Sun and Velux. Velux promote sustainable architecture and publish research into daylight, its effects on well-being and the environment. Their informative magazine contains useful information for designers on daylight and sustainable architecture, and of course they produce all manner of blinds.

Further details on the competition, Natural Light, here. disclaimer2