Located in a typical, turn of the century apartment building in Barcelona is this vibrant interior. Little has been done to alter the layout over the three floors, and views through to the outside are not evident. However, clever cut outs have been created within, offering unusual angles and vistas through from one level to the next.
The most striking element, though, are the colours. Deep forest green, pale salmon, strong white and cobalt blue are used to stunning effect on adjacent as well as distant planes. The result allows each surface to take on a sculptural, stand alone quality, whilst still working together in a sort of Escher-style sum of parts. A surrealist sky above a bathroom void draws the eye up. The overall effect is mesmerising.
Apart from the vibrant paintwork, decoration is restricted to the typically colourful tiled floors of the era.
I also love the way colour blocking is used in this interior.
Covert House has been much acclaimed in the architectural press of late. It offers a successful case study for good design despite difficult site demands – the house is mainly underground, restricted by a 3.5 meter height limit and huge boundary setbacks. But equally successful to my mind is the interior. There is too often an overwhelming gap between architecture and interior, with architects neglecting the interior for sake of the big architectural expression, and interior designers having little if any influence over the outside form. Here, the architect owners have embraced both.
Concrete is used outside and in in various forms – cast in situ, left raw, highly polished. In its unfinished state, it provides the perfect backdrop. The imperfections – discolouration and mottling – show the effort and craft involved in making the structure. Light abounds, via light wells and the white and light reflecting surfaces. The effect is elegant and light-handed and the resulting spaces appear calm and domiciliary. Furniture is mostly mid-century and there is a mix of timbers used in the furnishings, and a timber lined bathroom. The only soft surfaces appear to be the upholstery fabrics.
For me, concrete has always been the ultimate building material (more concrete inspiration, here). It can work very successfully in commercial interiors. Here, it is equally successful in a residential setting. What do you think? Would you live here?
This apartment in Rome feels light and dark and shadowy, with its monochromatic palette and natural tones. The wonderfully sensual wall finish throughout is a mix of clay and aggregates – essentially refined earth – one of the beautiful, organic finishes of the Italian company Matteo Brioni.
A dark grey terracotta floor, laid in herringbone pattern, adds a decorative element to the otherwise austere surfaces, as does the beamed ceiling. Raw materials are used to their best effect, the detailing bringing the refinement – a low, linear concrete ledge acts as fireplace and seat; fine metal shelves frame a library wall; a folded metal stair, with mesh panels forming the balustrade, serve their purpose without affectation.
The kitchen combines dark stone, sleek, brushed stainless steel and beautiful, metal framed ribbed glass doors, which work to soften and blur the hard working utility zone. Copper pendant lights lift the monochrome palette.
The choice of furnishings is simple – a mix of mid-century Alvar Aalto, Eames and others.
Design store Spotti Milano’s current showroom interiors are a collaboration with multidisciplinary design studio (and fellow Milanese), Studiopepe. Called Home Couture, these interiors or ‘setups’ are rather beautifully curated vignettes. At first appearing distinctively Italian, they beautifully mix Italian luxe with Scandinavian simplicity and French classic contemporary.
Wall surfaces range from silks to chevron patterned stone to classical mouldings in modern hues. Textures are rich and luxurious, colours are warm and subdued. Sofas, a dining table and chaise by Maxalto share floor space with classic Saarinen pieces – Tulip tables and conference chairs – and Carl Hansen CH25 lounge chairs. Light fittings range from a Jonathan Adler brass chandelier to the classic Serge Mouille floor lamp.
Next up for Spotti Milano will be a spring collaboration with Raf Simons and Kvadrat. Just another reason I should be heading to Milan, along with Salone del Mobile in April and Expo 2015 in May…
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.
Like Ampersand house (I write about it here and here), this home in Antwerp doubles as a gallery space. The first thing that one notices is the wall colour: an intense, muted grey/green. The second thing is the cobblestone floor and exposed brick. Originally built as a workshop in the 19th century, it translates beautifully into the 21st, with contemporary materials – resin floors and polished concrete elements – adding to the simple fixturing that allow the gallery’s pieces to be shown to best effect.
Much of the furniture is by Muller Van Severen, who describe their pieces as ‘sitting somewhere between art and design’. I love their simple, industrial but elegant aesthetic.
Gallery house in Antwerp via AD. Photographs: Ricardo Labougle
Caught in its original condition with just the addition of a rich, chevron patterned oak floor, this apartment contains an enviable collection of modernist delights and objet trouve. Looking very much like a Parisian apartment of the Haussmann era (more Parisians here, and here), the striking furniture is all postwar, French, too: Jean Prouvé, Charlotte Perriand, and an inventory of the wonderful, organic light fittings of Serge Mouille.
It is a very strong aesthetic; each piece of furniture a statement in itself, and each in strong, saturated primary colour. There are lovely details too – the little shelves above the radiators, for example.
Apartment in Barcelona, AD Espana. Photos by Pablo Zamora
This 1920s Milanese apartment is an eclectic mix of late Art Nouveau with nineteenth-century embellishment; and colourful, contemporary furniture mixed with neo-Gothic inspired, monochromatic artwork.
Beautiful, highly polished Palladian marble floors with touches of blue inform much of the interior’s colour palette, with palest blue walls and a curvaceous, powder blue velvet sofa. Furniture is sophisticated, elegant: blown glass and brass Bell Tables, an iron, wood and brass screen, Gio Ponti‘s Superleggera chair, a delicate, oval dining table of marble, wood and metal. The ornately carved, wood-lined bay window adds another level of sophistication and a connection with the outside.
It is an interior that is infused with personality. I find the vivid, cerulean blue master bedroom, with its Vertigo pendant light quite beguiling. What about you?
More Casa Russo, here (via) Photography by Filippo Bamberghi