eddy-francois12_ohl.

forest house.

Reminiscent of house of 150 trees, this beautiful forest house is situated in a rural region of Gent. Contemporary yet traditional, the Japanese aesthetic of wabi-wabi, which celebrates the imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete, is clearly evident here. Other influences include Frank Lloyd Wright, Carlo Scarpo and Andrea Branzi, who was a friend of the architect owners, Eddy Francois and Caroline de Wolf.

The house, as an extension of its environment, utilises natural, earthy materials. The vertical mullions of solid timber separating the floor to ceiling windows rise like tree trunks; the earth-toned, raw brick floor has the outdoor quality of a forest floor. Concrete soffits line some ceilings, others are wood with exposed beams continuing the line of the mullions. White plasterboard walls float beneath. Skinny brick walls with deeply recessed mortar joints to add texture, become the structure both inside and out.

housewoods05_ohleddy-francois09_ohleddy-francois14_ohlhousewoods03_ohleddy-francois13_ohleddy-francois07_ohleddy-francois10_ohl

Forest House, Gent, by Eddy Francois and Caroline de Wolf.

Photographs 2,3, 6,7,8: Jean-Luc Laloux; image 1,5: Sarah Blee; all others, unknown.

rl_avpauldormer_ohl03

intimate spaces, defined.

Bold, modernist spaces in and around European cities dominate the site of French photographer Romain Laprade. He seeks out the intimate places often forgotten or deemed unimportant – foyers and entry halls – transition spaces that are too often seen as a luxury. It is these spaces that in reality allow a building to breathe, provide a place for occupants to pause, a space to contemplate or to stop and chat before passing through.

Romain started working as a graphic designer, working at French Vogue for 4 years. Now 28, his obsession is photography. The places he has found and photographed – the ones I like the most – are the foyers of modernist buildings from the ‘60s and ‘70s, most often in Paris. These wonderful interiors are rich in colour and texture – black granite cladding inlaid with bronze, or rows of mosaic tiles in bold hues of orange or red; bold concrete forms standing like voluptuous, oversized chess pieces, and floors of verde green marble. All surfaces have been considered – fine, dark bricks laid obliquely adjoin a ceiling of glossy black and red tiles; a vertical screen of rich brown wood opposes perfectly proportioned piers of tiny, matt black mosaic.

rl_paris15_ohl12rl_paris15_ohl13rl_paris15_ohl14rl_avpauldormer_ohl04

Images 1, 2 , 3,  Paris 15; image 4 and feature image, Av. Paul Doumer, 1960, Paris.
rl_2016_brusi_ohl18rl_leperiscope_ohl05rl_lemeridien_ohl15rl_lemeridien_ohl16
Image 5, Carrer de Brusi, Barcelona; image 6, Le persicope, 1972, Paris; images 7, 8, Le Meridien, 1964, Paris.rl_crimee_ohl02rl_creteil_ohl01rl_beaugrenelle_ohl06
 Image 9, Crimée, 1968, Paris; image 10, Créteil; image 11, Beaugrenelle.

See more Romain Laprade imagery, including beautiful fashion photographs for John Galliano and Tomasini Paris, here.

All images, courtesy Romain Laprade.

season’s greetings.

tree_ohl

Celebrating ‘life and all its myriad forms’, Antony Gormley’s Christmas Tree is a western red cedar with its trunk wrapped in a tapering column of light.

The Connaught Christmas Tree, Mount Street, London W1. Image by owl’s house london.

peter’s house.

petershouse_dining-ohl

I uncovered the beautiful interior of this converted garage whilst researching materials for the transformation of an agricultural building into a residence.

As with all good design, inspiration comes from the context and fabric of the original building, in this case raw brick and blackened steel. A narrow site and desire for natural light has prompted a glass walled atrium to be cut through the three floors. The clever placement of dark mirrors throughout has created a striking effect; not light and bright but spacious and theatrical.

The beautifully considered material palette includes concrete used on vertical as well as horizontal planes, clean, white and grey terrazzo forming the kitchen island and bathroom fittings and walls, and super-wide Dinesen oak floorboards used three ways – as a floor, as a wall, and as a ceiling lining. The blackened steel is used as both perforated panels flanking the stair, and as a wall lining in the double-height kitchen.

petershouse_kitchen-ohlpetershouse_living-ohlpeters-house-by-david-thulstrup-ohl02peters-house-by-david-thulstrup-ohl

Downstairs, furnishings and curtains are strong of form and bold of hue – deep purples, bright reds and vivid yellows show to great effect the form of such classic furniture as the Pierre Paulin Groovy chair and the Rietveld designed Utrecht armchair.

By contrast, the bedroom and study are softened with full height curtains, in a perfect shade of nude blush.

Peter’s House, Copenhagen by Studio David Thulstrup, via

Photographer: Peter Krasilnikoff

henri-bursztyn-mo16_ohl

m + o 2016: favourite things and new discoveries.

Maison et Objet is the prodigious design fair that occurs bi-annually in Paris as part of Paris Design Week, and I made it back there this September. Below are some favourite things and new discoveries.

Natural materials where strongly evident throughout the show. Netherlands based Ay illuminate produce lighting and accessories hand-woven from bamboo, sisal and other natural (waste) materials, working with artisans in Asia and Africa. The resulting designs are contemporary,  organic and very desirable.

Sika-design have been producing wicker furniture since the ‘50s, and are perhaps best known for their fabulous Hanging Egg chair and simple classic, rattan poufs (which I am supposed to call ’ottoman’).

Italian ceramicist Nina Menardi showed a vast collection of elegantly shaped and coloured ceramics, all inspired by nature. My favourite pots were called Barro, made from black terracotta and designed by Sebastian Herkner, who was also the designer behind some fabulous, smoky glass table lamps called Boule, for German brand Pulpo.

Pulpo was a new discovery for me, with the same designer responsible for a glass ceramic side table made of 100% waste material from industrial glass production in shades of ocean blue, polar white and champagne brown. Pulpo also showed striking containers in tinted and silvered glass, giving way to an iridescent effect; a trend also evident at Tom Dixon.

ay-luminate02-mo2016_ohl ay-luminate-mo2016_ohlsilka-design-mo2016_ohlrina-menardi-mo2016_ohlceramiques-m0_ohlpulpo-mo2016_ohl

Images 1 + 2, 3  Ay Illuminate; Images 4 + 5  Sika-design; Images 6 + 7  Nina Menardi; Images 8, 9, 10  Ceramics display / Barro, design by Sebastian Herkner / Grey, design by Milia Seyppel; Images 11 + 12 Boule lamp / Pulpo display.

Deep, rich hues of green, yellow and blue prevailed, either as a background colour or in the products themselves. I loved Swedish brand Linum’s Big and Bold collection with strong colours and abstract shapes.

Major Dutch brand Pols Potten have been around for 30 years, producing minimal, everyday products. More mainstream than a lot of Dutch design (which is characteristically quirky and playful – think Moooi and Droog); their products are commercial and always current. The French designer Charlotte Juillard showed a set of stunning bedroom pieces – daybed, side table and mirror – the lava stone bases giving a strength and elegance to the design.

Valerie Objects is an Antwerp based design label who work with designers, architects and artists. I always like the work of Muller van Severen (read previous blog posts, here and here), and was again drawn to the simple lines and clear colours of their products.

linum-mo2106_ohlpols-potten_ohlcharlotte-juillard-mo16_ohlvalerie-object-mo_ohlvalerie-object02-mo16_ohlImages 1 + 2  Linum; Images 3, 4, 5  Pols Potten; Image 6 Charlotte Juillard; Images 7 + 8, 9 Valerie Objects

I’m always on the look-out for new and interesting lights. Nyta are a young and dynamic German brand with a small but strong capsule collection. Stalwart DCW Editions are always big on architectural style, and showed my all-time favourite lamp, the Mantis lamp, in all its guises – floor, wall and table. This lamp was originally created in 1951 in homage to Alexander Calder. They also showed the latest incarnation of the classic Gras lamp, the poetic Acrobates de GRAS (a suspended version), and another reedit, Bernard Balas’ Here Comes the Sun from 1970.

Another Parisian lighting brand, Henri Bursztyn, showed striking, bold forms. Forestier had a strong presence with their decorative fittings showing a definite 1920s and ’30s flavour. This era was also the influence behind Gubi’s latest collection, with the Danish brand’s stand referencing the architecture of the Schindler House (1921), with geometric lines, free-standing screens and lots of oriental fabrics, black chrome and coloured glass.

nyta-mo16_ohlmantis-m+o16_ohl.dcw-editions-mo16_ohlforestier-mo16_ohlhenri-bursztyn_ohl

Image 1  Tilt globe, Nyta; Image 2  Mantis, DCW Editions;  Image 3  Here comes the Sun, DCW Editions; Images 4 + 5  Forestier; Image 6  (and feature image) Henri Burstyn

What do you think? Any favourites?

Maison et Objet, Paris, 2-6 September 2016. Next event, January 20-24, 2017.

All photographs, owl’s house london taken with iPhone 6.

serpentine2016_owlshouselondon

serpentine summer.

One of the highlights of summer in London for me is the annual launch of the Serpentine pavilion. Every year, an internationally renowned architect is invited by the Serpentine galleries to create their first built structure in the UK. My personal favourite of the pavilions over the years was the pavilion of Oscar Niemeyer, not least because I managed to score an invitation to the opening night party that year.

Bjarke Ingels’ 2016 pavilion is a beautifully sculpted mass of slender, fibreglass boxes, stacked to form a twisting, tent-like structure. But also this year, four Summer Houses have been added to the program. These architectural follies offer a contemporary interpretation of an adjacent, 18th century Neoclassical summerhouse, Queen Caroline’s Temple. They are on show until October 9th, after which they will be sold off and disassembled. They are for sale, here, with prices ranging from £95,000 to £125,000.

2_nle_serpentine_-_photo_c_iwan_baan_2-1-950x633

1_barkow_leibinger_-_photo_c_iwan_baan_1-1-950x6331_yona_friedman_-_photo_c_iwan_baan_2-1-950x6331_asif_khan_-_image_c_iwan_baan_2-950x633

The Summer House of Berlin studio Barkow Leibinger is designed ‘in the round’ and out of plywood, conceived as a series of structural bands. It’s fun to traverse and sit amongst, with its curving ribbon of wood hovering overhead and twisting back around forming places to rest.

Nigerian architect Kunlé Adeyemi’s summer house is the most literal interpretation of the neo-classical summer house, offering an inverse replica of the original temple in form and proportion. Using prefabricated building blocks of rough sandstone, the composition takes the basic elements of architecture – a room, a doorway and a window – and forms a simple, elegant shelter.

The summer house of Yona Friedman comprises a series of metal rings of differing diameters that can be disassembled and re-assembled to form various compositions. Some of the voids are filled with transparent polycarbonate, most are open. It’s not so much a shelter as a backdrop for display.

Asif Khan has designed his Summer House as a series of undulating vertical posts, whose forms appear to enclose and open up to reveal the view beyond as one passes through. The ground is conceived as a continuous gravel landscape, punctuated by stepping stones. The sound of the gravel offers another dimension to this summer house, which has a wonderful fluidity and to me is the most successful of the four. Though don’t expect it to offer any shelter from this country’s inclement weather.

Serpentine Summer Houses, Hyde Park, until October 9th, 2016.

All images, Iwan Baan, via The Modern House; feature image, owl’s house london Instagram.

 

muller van severin

mvs at gallery valerie traan.

An exhibition of Muller van Severen’s latest skeletal, sculptural forms has just opened at the wonderful Valerie Traan gallery. I’ve previously written about this gallery, which is also home to the gallerist, here (and an interview here).

The gallery comprises a series of indoor and outdoor spaces featuring products by designers and artists, blurring the lines between the disciplines and the environment. The public and semi-private zones are separated by a glass partition and open kitchen, with plywood cabinets, stainless steel surfaces and concrete floor creating a visual transition between the contemporary gallery and the more rustic residence, with that beautiful, original brick herringbone floor.

12ValerieTraan_ohl.08ValerieTraan_ohl.09ValerieTraan_ohl.06ValerieTraan_ohl.Images, Verne Photography, via. Feature image, Muller van Severen

Studies for Office KGDVS Solo House, Muller van Severen, until June 25th, 2016
Gallery Valerie Traan, Reyndersstraat 12, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium