Tag Archives: industrial

villa altona.

Villa Altona is located on a dramatically sloping site in Sweden, with villas on one side and forest on the other. These site characteristics have clearly generated the form, placement and tones of the building. It is a bold, modern structure, with a low pitch roof, covered in sedum. Designed by The Common Office, it is considered one of Sweden’s most interesting buildings by the Swedish Association of Architects. And it’s for sale.

The interior is almost one continuous room, rising up over several levels, connected by a thinly profiled metal stair. At the top, a large, central retractable skylight (providing access to a roof terrace, of course), fills the interior with light and adds transparency to the building. Light abounds, with window walls everywhere. Family and private zones are separated, or not, with large sliding walls.

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Floor and roof slabs are concrete, cast in situ and left raw. Slender steel columns offer support.
A perforated metal floor gives an industrial feel, with the main floor of oak parquet. This is the least successful material to my mind: the sections of parquet too small for the scale of the building. Otherwise the materials are used boldly – stainless steel, mirror, brushed concrete.

What do you think?

Villa Altona, The Common Office, for sale here, via

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.

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More about Vipp Shelter, here. Photographs, via

at the fair – the mid century show.

Once you have your Richard Neutra-designed home (see my previous post, here), you will need to furnish it. Here’s my take on last Sunday’s Mid Century show at Lord’s in North London; a wonderful trove of Scandinavian classic furniture, simple, functional lighting, local salvage, industrial pieces, jewellery, art and ephemera. Forty seven businesses were represented, here are just a few of my favourites:

E&T photo by owl's house london

1. These gorgeous ducks also have the most wonderful provenance:

One particular spring day in 1959 in Frederiksberg, Copenhagen, a policeman found the time to stop the traffic in order to let a young duck family pass. It was a meaningful enough event to the passers-by that all the newspapers published a now famous photograph of the ducks. This captured moment ‘encapsulates the Danish attention to nature and detail and the ability to appreciate small everyday miracles’. Inspired by the duck family, Hans Bølling designed this pair of small wooden duck figures.

Duck and Duckling in teak by Hans Bølling 1959 at Elliot and Tate, specialists in finding and rsstoring the vintage Danish Furniture of Hans Wegner, Finn Juhl, Arne Jacobsen, amongst others.

LandCo photo2 by owl's house london l&c photo by owl's house london

2. Lovely and Company are an on-line vintage furniture store based in Brighton, UK.

One gets the same thrill scratching around here as any flea-market – they carry a clever mix of 20th Century design classics alongside soda crates and multi-drawer haberdashery chests. Ferm Living is represented, along with House Doctor and Tas-ka. They carry reams of Eames original fibreglass shells (the new version of the chair is in polypropylene), which can be mounted on new walnut bases.

Saunders Fine Art on owl's house london.

3. Beautiful mid-century art at Saunders Fine Art, specialists in Modern British and European painting (all images, Saunders Fine Art). Clockwise from top left:

Esbjörn (Bo) Lassen, Still Life, Daily News, Watercolour, 1946

Douglas Swan, Composition, Mixed media on paper, 1962

Jürgen Von Konow, Lowering the Nets, Oil on canvas1949

TMW photo by owl's house london

4. Based in Victoria Park, East London, The Modern Warehouse specialise in buying and selling mid century modern furniture and accessories from Scandinavia, U.S.A. and the UK. The collection is made up entirely of original vintage pieces, not reproductions.

The Modernist photo by owl's house london

5. The Modernist based in a wonderful little antique emporium in North London, is one of my favourite haunts: stunning vintage Georg Jensen silver jewellery along with other precious pieces, all from early to mid-century and all fabulous. I wrote about The Modernist in an earlier blog post on the Hampstead Emporium, here.

VU photo by owl's house london

6. Vintage Unit source and refurbish industrial furniture, lighting & accessories, with examples from Britain and the continent from the post war period. Their pieces are beautifully refurbished things of beauty as well as utility. Practical but decorative and collectable in their own right.

Retrouvius photo by owl's house london

7. Retrouvius is a stalwart in the architectural salvage business, full of wonderful reclamation pieces. They have released a book, Reclaiming Style, outlining the Retrouvius ‘re-use’ philosophy,  from sourcing material at demolition sites and filtering this into the warehouse to adapting materials for re-use in homes via their in-house design practice. I loved the stacks of worn, colourful aluminium pendants.

TCA photo by owl's house london

8. Twentieth Century Antiques are Edinburgh based, and specialise in modern design from 1920-1970. I rather liked the idea of the Jacobsen Egg chair, Danish rosewood sideboard and original Picasso exhibition poster on display in my own home…

AG photo by owl's house london

9. A fabulous array of classic lights including the sweet Pinnochio desk lamp from Augustus Greaves, who specialise in architect designed, post war modernist pieces (and have a beautiful web-site, as well).

Which pieces would you like to see in your home?

All images owl’s house london, unless noted otherwise.

More happenings, here.

eclectic loft style.

Industrial, eclectic, contemporary, this apartment in Paris is wonderfully open and spacious, yet intimate.

The interior has been stripped back to its shell, and the structure – concrete columns and beams and the odd brick wall – kept in their raw state. The original iron work of the window frames (and a wonderful transparent screen between the bathroom and bedroom, just glimpsed in the photographs) have been painted black, causing them to recede.  There is a lightness of touch – the structure is expressed, but it doesn’t overwhelm. A wide-planked American oak floor has been added for warmth.

The palette and fittings are kept simple with shades of grey, black and white, allowing the fabrics and materials of the found objects – a mix of industrial pieces and flea market finds – to add their own exuberant colour and texture. I spy contemporary design classics too – Eames DSW side chair (on sale, here), Bertoia side chair, Butterfly chair.

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Photography Birgitta Wolfgang Drejer via 

There is an interesting article entitled The Raw Design Movement, here, identifying the use of raw materials as an interior design trend going forward in 2013. This isn’t a new idea, but I’m all for materials left in their natural state. What do you think of the use of natural, unembellished  materials in interiors? Does this eclectic, raw loft space inspire you?

More wonderful spaces, here.

house of stone and wood.

Undeniably rustic, this house exudes warmth and a lack of pretension. However, it is also contemporary, open plan and airy. The beauty lies in its simplicity – poured concrete floors, rough stone walls given refinement with bands of brickwork, large sections of ply lining the ceiling. I love the tactile quality of the materials, and also the honesty – materials are left in their natural state.

The detailing is kept simple too – a massive window frame is brought to rest at the wall and ceiling, without being cut in or forced into a recess. There are no skirtings, or mouldings, or other extraneous elements. There is an integrity to this approach, with every element and material given its due. The roof over-sails to form another room outside, with the minimal intervention of the glazed wall to keep the elements at bay.

The furniture is a wonderful mis-match of reclaimed and industrial pieces – free-standing floor lamps and industrial pendants, a metal desk and chair, a wood-topped dining table.

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House in Lot-et-Garonne region, France, via French by Design.

More wonderful spaces, here