A creative twist on the traditional shingle clads a Connecticut home. Adventurous but subtle. Something different that doesn’t scream for attention. These were the prompts John and Erika Jessen gave to architect Elijah Huge for the addition to their 1920s home in New Haven, Connecticut. With those in mind, Huge set out to find a cladding material that was both eye-catching and cost-effective. “They wanted the skin to be exciting,” he says. “I thought the shingles would be a good choice because they would echo the texture of the existing house without trying to imitate it.” Even better, the stamped recycled aluminum shingles cost just two dollars per square foot—on par with run-of-the-mill vinyl siding, which “wasn’t an option!” exclaims Huge.
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For the past decade we at Dwell have been ferreting out the best modern design wherever we can find it. And it should come as little surprise that we keep returning to a nation with a centuries-deep lineage of astounding material culture: la France. In honor of photographer Celine Clanet's amazing photo essay in our November 2011 issue depicting the astounding dams of the Savoy region, I've collected a handful of our best stories on French design over the last several years. From the furniture design of Inga Sempé to a masterpiece of rural prefab design by architect Jean-Baptiste Barache, we continue to tip our chapeaux to our amis across l'Atlantique.