Latest Articles in Designer

Puerto Natales, Patagonia, Chile; Remota Hotel, designed by German del Sol

Hotel Remota, Patagonia

In the vast plains of Patagonia stands the Hotel Remota. Architect Germán Del Sol, who is also a professor at the Universidad de Chile, wanted to conceal the luxury that awaits the traveler, "to lower the expectations, so its interior will appear unexpectedly in all its splendor." It’s all about the element of surprise—including the fact that even with its innovative design and lavish comforts, the hotel was built with a conscious effort to care for nature, striving to use minimal energy.   
October 3, 2011
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Henry Wilson's "Things Revisited"

When Australian designer Henry Wilson moved to the Netherlands to study for a Masters Degree at the Design Academy Eindhoven, he says he experienced a "philosophical shift away from the creation of new things and a re-examination of the role of the designer." He was feeling "increasing disenchantment with the role of the designer at a time of evident excess and wastefulness in a consumer driven market," he writes, along with a growing awareness of the world's dwindling resources. His musings and experimentations led him to invent a design exercise for himself: to tweak and update existing "classic" designs in a way that would reveal them in a fresh light. Here are the clever and elegant results of his experiments.
September 30, 2011
Achieving zero net energy required integration with every aspect of zHome’s design. Even in initial site planning, we had to take into account solar heat gain and ensuring clear solar access to each unit’s roof.

A Zero-Energy Community: Part 2

Project Manager Brad Liljequist chronicles the building of the zHome, a ten-unit townhome in Issaquah, Washington—the first multifamily zero-energy community in the United States. Part 2: Building REALLY green... It's easier than you think. Forty percent. That’s the share of total CO2 emissions each year in the US that comes from energy used in buildings. Building operations—heating, cooling, lighting, and everything else inside the walls—are the single largest generator of carbon dioxide in the country. It’s an easy thing to forget about, sort of like background noise. But it’s there, humming along, 24/7.
September 28, 2011
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Jerusalem's Hotel Mamilla

When plans were introduced for the Mamilla Hotel Jerusalem, which opened in June of 2009 and is among the few selected five-star hotels in the city, it sparked a bit of controversy. This completely modern property could have threatened the sacredness of the Old City and its desire to keep an ancient aesthetic. But all was set at ease once architect Moshe Safdie and designer Piero Lissoni took creative rein. Faced with the challenge of designing a contemporary property for Alrov Luxury Group while honoring the municipal law of building with Jerusalem stone (local practice for years), Israeli-born Safdie used the material’s characteristics to his advantage. He took a medium used for centuries and practically redefined it by delivering something fresh and modern. 
September 19, 2011
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A Zero-Energy Community: Part 1

Project Manager Brad Liljequist chronicles the building of the zHome, a ten-unit townhome in Issaquah, Washington—the first multifamily zero-energy community in the United States. Part 1: Introduction to the project.   I am writing this as I sit in the zHome Stewardship Center, which will open later this Fall as a hub of education and market transformation for radically green housing in the Pacific Northwest. I’m surrounded by the sounds of typical construction wrap-up on a residential community—the clink of rebar being laid down for the concrete walkways, Motown being played on the radio by a cleanup crew, and a trackhoe moving larger trees into place. There’s also non-typical sounds—those of drills on the roof, where the solar panels are being installed, and ground source heat pumps starting up for the first time.
September 14, 2011
The Satélite Towers, Mexico City, Mexico.

Science Fiction Architecture

For this week's "Three Buildings" column I turned to industrial designer Gustavo Fricke. We featured him and his Oaxaca shop Blackbox in our July/August issue's Design Finder ("Hecho in Oaxaca," online here). He currently lives in San Francisco and has traveled a fair bit, so I was curious to hear which three buildings inspire him most. Sure enough, his picks span the globe, from Mexico City to San Francisco to Paris.   When asked what unites the three buildings he selected, Fricke replies: "Since I was a kid I've been fascinated by science fiction. Science fiction explores future scenarios that push the boundaries of our imagination. These three buildings, too, allow for the projection of the imaginary—for the representation in our present time of a future world to come. They are props of a future possibility, frozen in time."
September 2, 2011
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New From Petit Collage

Based in San Francisco, Petit Collage is "an incubator of new ideas, art and illustration for everything modern and children related," says designer and children's book illustrator Lorena Siminovich, who founded the company five years ago. Siminovich's home decor and accessories for contemporary families can be found in boutiques, museum stores and catalogs worldwide—as well as in the pages of the upcoming November issue of Dwell, where we'll feature her cozy and stylish 1,500-square-foot house. Stay tuned! In the meantime, here's a sneak preview of a few sweet items from her Fall  2011 catalog, along with Siminovich's explanation of the inspiration behind each new design.
August 18, 2011
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Big Sur Airstream Renovation

"I found the Airstream in the high desert of Anza, California, and thought it was a pure TLC job. Wishful thinking!" says interior designer Caroline Brandes, who also rents renovated Airstreams on her property in Big Sur through Big Sur Getaway. "Even though the interior looked decent, once back home in Big Sur I had discovered water leaks, extensive floor rot under the linoleum tiles, and even frame damage." She hired Area 63 Productions, a professional Airstream renovation company, to help. For the interiors, she sought a clean and airy look. "Most of the trailers I had seen so far were restored close to the 'vintage' idea, and to my taste most of them feel too dark, too cluttered and too traditional," she says. "I wanted the trailer to feel airy, calm and open, nearly a bit Zen-like." Here's a glimpse into the renovation, start to finish.
August 8, 2011
All photos by Gerry O'Leary.

Hotel Missoni Kuwait

Gold. Mosaic. Gold. Turquoise. Gold. Did I mention gold? Following the success of Hotel Missoni Edinburgh—a partnership between Rezidor Hotel Group and fashion powerhouse Missoni—the team turned their sights to Kuwait for a second project, which opened in March 2011. Hotel Missoni Kuwait has a glamorous and playful aesthetic, a signature of Missoni Creative Director Rosita Missoni. Here, everything is customized, from the staff apparel to the handpicked furniture and textiles covering the property. Color is the most outstanding feature in the hotel—tropical colors and intricate patterns weave their way through the walls, halls and furnishings, reflecting the country’s cultural affinity with the bold and bright. It's not just about the design—the place is functional and comfortable, too. As Signora Missoni has put it, "Real luxury is good attentive service, and good and comfortable design. This is real luxury—it’s a simple principle, but we kept them as our focus." Here's a look inside.
July 27, 2011