Browsing Tag



Why I Expose my Toddler to Design

toutes les maisons sont dans la nature

In six words: to prepare him for the world. It has nothing to do with the fact that I’m a visual person or the fact that design is in my bones. I found my style at 6 years old. I recalled our Sunday car rides where my parents went to see upscale houses across the province. My parents were looking at traditional houses while I was admiring the few modern architecture houses that we encountered. They knew about my preference. Continue Reading

HOME + GARDEN MODERN architecture

Best of Conversations in Design 2012 (part 1): Swedish Design by Eero Koivisto

orsta gallery on a farm

orsta gallery exterior view in the day

It is not everyday that a private client sought an architect to design his own private museum. This is exactly what Anders Fasth, an avid art collector who lives on a farm with his wife Birgitta, asked Claesson Koivisto Rune to do. The result is a stunning building.

orsta gallery on a farm

The modern gallery is located next to a traditional farm home. The grandchildren of the couple can admire the brilliant structure when they play on the sand box. I like how Claesson Koivisto Rune added remarkable details to transform what could have been a standard rectangular building.

The museum sits on top of an artificial hill that was created to protect the art collection against nature. The walls at the bottom follow the curves of the hill and the roofline exhibited the inverted curve. These curves create the illusion of concave walls and add panache to what would have been otherwise a straightforward building.

orsta gallery glass beads exterior walls

Another striking element is the reflective nature of the exterior walls. Glass beads were scattered across the white painted structure using a technique developed by Swedish artist Mikael Pauli. The reflective effect can be fully experienced when the sun is at a proper angle, or at night, if you direct light beams towards the walls.

orsta gallery :: exterior walls at night with red and blue lights

You can see here the effect at night when they projected a red and a blue beam to the facade.

orsta gallery interior views

Inside, the floor plan is divided into 4 exposition rooms. The architects played again with the visitors. The two walls that you see when you enter the space are at a slight angle. It will take you a few minutes to notice. The owner wanted a fireplace. Look at the clever nook designed for the fire logs. I love the entire project.

orsta gallery plan

If you plan to pass one day by Kumla, Sweden, you could ask the Fasth for a visit. This rich man opens his private museum to visitors upon request.

Claesson Koivisto Rune is a Swedish multi-disciplinary studio that puts architecture and design on the same level. They created everyday products up to impressive buildings.

+ Conversations in Design
Claesson Koivisto Rune

HOME + GARDEN MODERN architecture

Wow for the Norwegian Wild Reindeer Observatory Designed by Snohetta

Norwegian Reindeer Pavilion Centre

Norwegian Reindeer Pavilion Centre

The Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion shows a wood construction like I have never seen before. I like how the benches are organically shaped to provide the visitors a stunning view of the wilderness. Wood pegs were used as fasteners for the wood section of the building. The rest is made of raw steel resembling the iron found in the local bedrock.

Norwegian Reindeer Pavilion Centre

The visitors could sit at the south facing exterior wall and enjoy the warmth of the interior space. The organic nature of the building is stunning and unusual. I dream to see a similar design at a ski resort.

Norwegian Reindeer Pavilion Centre

You can admire more photos on Arch Daily.

+ photos: Ketil Jacobsen and
+ via Core 77 and Arch Daily

HOME + GARDEN MODERN architecture

A Modern House in an Urban Forest

dining room :: a loft in the forest

Sometimes it’s good to look at past issues of magazine. I did it online on Dwell and found this inspiring modern house that is built on a forest lot on the border of the Portland. By keeping most of the trees, the couples have no need for drapes for their large windows. Who would want to break the view to the forest?

outside view of a loft in the forest

They play with the stain color to achieve a seamless look with the forest.

great room of a loft in the forest

The owners were after a loft feel. Their choice of furniture in the living room is not for me, but I can see the appeal for some. Otherwise, their modern great room seems functional and inviting.

+ photos: John Clark for Dwell

HOME + GARDEN MODERN architecture

What I Like the Most from this Geometric Hamptons Guesthouse

adjacent bath

adjacent bath

This huge guest house has plenty of things going for her (in French, a house is female). It unusual shape delivered fabulous spaces beautifully filled with high-end finishes and modern furniture. My top ideas to steal from this project are:

The adjacent bath is practical as more people can use its components at the same time. The blue tiles from Ann Sacks is stunning; sadly, I could not find which model it is.

modern kitchen

The kitchen cabinets are a mix of custom made (upper cabinets) and a Bulthaup kitchen system (lower cabinets and island). It shows that you do not have to stick to one company to achieve the design you are looking for.

nurseryworks bunk beds

I rarely look at bunk beds as a design inspiration but these ones caught my eye. The Duet Bunk Beds from Nurseryworks provides storage under the bed and at the end. You have a choice of wood and colors.

cabana room

The cabana room is inviting and provides tons of storage.

+ Geometric Hamptons Guesthouse from Architecture Digest – photos: Scott Frances


Smart Kids Play Zones in Toronto Architect John Tong’s Home

urban family home kids play zones

urban family home kids play zones

You do not need to have kids to appreciate the space planning of this backyard. It’s unexpected, fun and practical! One of the a founding principal of 3rd Uncle Design, the architect John Tong built a stage where his kids can sing, and watch or do clown shows. The stage platform could be repurposed for other uses.

City dwellers who become parents often deal with how to transform their home into a space that works for the entire family. The small footprint of a house in a city adds to the challenge. I know that figuring out where and how the kids will play at home could be overwhelming. This is a little bit how I feel right now. What encourage me is that I realized that you can’t anticipated what your kids will like when they get older. Putting too many constraints, limit your options and block your creativity. My advice is to keep things simple by looking for solutions suitable for a couple of years at a time.

For example, I keep a big empty space in the living room as a play area. I plan to add a play rug to delimitate the play area. It sets a boundary for your toddler, which limits the cutter to a specific zone. Plus, a carpet adds comfort if you have hardwood floor. Opting for a FLOR tile carpet provides a more grown-up look than using a play rug; especially if you plan to leave it in your living room all the time.

urban family home

Yes, living in the city requires to be smarter about how you design and use your home. But the rewards of life in the city (easy access to museums, parks, festivals, restaurants, and more…) far outweigh the amount of hours lost in commuting. Until I found how to design our backyard, I will continue to surf the Web for inspiring urban family houses. A good starting point is to have a look at the pictures and learned the details of this great family house on Dwell magazine. Another well-thought urban family home is the Maison en U by architect Natalie Dionne, that is here in Montreal.

+ photos: Christopher Wahl for Dwell magazine


Artesio Kitchen by Poggenpohl

Poggenpohl artesio kitchen

Poggenpohl artesio kitchen

German architect Hadi Teherani worked with Poggenpohl to create a kitchen system where the kitchen cabinets, the furniture and the space form one entity. I like the overall look and feel.

Poggenpohl artesio in a high-ceiling home

The kitchen design seems fit for a loft since it creates a division between the kitchen and the rest of the open space. The beautiful “arch” solves a common problem with very high ceiling by lowering the ceiling lamps. It brings down the kitchen to human scale, instead of feeling lost in the space.

Poggenpohl artesio details

The minimalist lines of the white cabinets work well against the wooden wall. The glass box could be used as display area or my favorite, to grow an herb garden.

Poggenpohl artesio full kitchen view

The shown configuration looks great on pictures. I would probably add a row of lower cabinets to be with the family or see my guests while I prepping my food and plating my dishes. It does not have to be wide as an island for it to work. Artesio kitchen will be available in the USA in January 2011.

+ photos: Poggenpohl
+ photos: Hadi Teherani

HOME + GARDEN MODERN architecture

The Sustainable ISEAMI House by Robles Arquitectos

Iseami House designed by Robles Arquitectos in Costa Rica

eco-friendly home Iseami House designed by Robles Arquitectos in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a superb destination. I have been there and recommend it to anyone. Naturally, the Costa Rican climate is well suited for bringing the outdoors in and the indoors out.

Have a look at one of the remarkable modern architecture house designed by Robles Arquitectos. The house is not only beautiful; it is eco-friendly on several levels. ISEAMI stands for sustainability, ecology, art, mind and investigation. I feel that they are on the right track with this project. The space planning is simply breathtaking.

Interior views of Iseami House by Robles Arquitectos in Costa Rica

Eco-Friendly Features

The ISEAMI house doesn’t have any public service supply as electricity or water. This is a practice that I experienced in small eco-lodging complexes built in the middle of the jungle. In the case of the ISEAMI house, the hill house is located 30 km from the closest town, Puerto Jimenez. Therefore, you do not have any other choices than to be self-sufficient for water and electricity.

They went further with their material selection. First, they opted for low maintenance materials that could resist the conditions of the Osa Peninsula. They factored in the humidity level, high percentage of rain, mould, fungi and its flora and fauna. Plus, all materials had to be 100% recyclable at the end of its life cycle. I am impressed! You can read the details on Design Milk.

+ photos: Robles Arquitectos


MoMA Modern Play House

MoMA Modern Play House

MoMA Modern Play House

At last a modern architecture play house that is affordable. In partnership with Chronicle Books, MoMA designed a set of sturdy cardboard boxes that you assemble to build the interior walls of your play home. Many items are reversible to expand your decor options.

MoMA Modern Play Family

The Modern Play House set contains 6 nesting boxes, 8 mix-and-match furniture pieces, and 12 removable vinyl clings. The 5-person play family comes with a cat, a dog, a doghouse, different hair styles and over 150 mix-and-match vinyl cling clothes! Both sets are for age 3 and up. It is a good toy if you wish to teach good taste to your kids or let them explore the world of architecture and interior design.

+ For Canadians: MoMA Modern Play House + MoMA Modern Play Family $31.84 CAD (play house: $17.29, play family: $14.55) – affiliate link
+ For  Americans: MoMA Modern Play House $13.25 USD – MoMA Modern Play Family $10.39 – affiliate link

HOME + GARDEN MODERN architecture

Grand Designs Magazine

grand designs magazine

grand designs magazine

A few years ago, I watched on TV Grand Designs with great interest. I also bought a few issues of the Grand Designs magazine. But that time is long gone since neither is available in Canada at this point in time.

It is not that the brand has not continued to grow. Kevin McCloud expanded it with the Grand Designs Live event in UK. Voted Consumer Show of the Year, the event brings design and inspiration for your home, combining cutting-edge design products, interactivity and an eco-friendly message. With so many reruns on TV, it seems tat they could be a space for discovering what people are building in UK and Europe. After all, modern architecture is more developed there than here.

Although the last episodes of the show dated from 2008 on BBC Canada, I enjoyed watching them. Sadly, I never had the chances to watch all of them. I am still hoping that the show will be presented again in Canada  some days since the series continues to produce new episodes airing in UK. To give you an idea of the types of houses that I am talking about, browse the modern homes showcased on Grand Designs. As a bonus, I included two modern houses that were featured in their latest issue in an attempt to convince you about what we are missing.

+ photos: Grand Designs magazines – July 2010


London Festival of Architecture – LFA 2010

lfa 2010 events :: love your street and open studios

event maps of the london festival of architecture 2010

If you are in London, UK from June 14th to July 4th, 2010 do not miss the London Festival of Architecture. This city-wide celebration of architecture proposes over 404 events and counting.

lfa 2010 events :: love your street and open studios

From exhibitions, installations, talks and debates, open studios, up to cycling tours and walks, including audio described tours, tours for dogs, treasure hunts and even tours on your iPhone. Love Your Street is an initiative that invite everyone to participate in cleaning and beautify the streets of London. Love Your Street brings together building and landscape professionals with local communities to pro-actively improve streets, spaces and places. I think that every city should do that.

+ image of map: Abitare
+ photos: London Festival of Architecture – LFA 2010