Santa Clara 1728 by Aires Mateus located in Lisbon, Portugal | The Hardt
Santa Clara 1728 by Aires Mateus located in Lisbon, Portugal. Love this space, housed inside an 18th-century pile on one of Lisbon’s most romantic squares, Santa Clara 1728 is the fourth in a string of slick design-led properties from hotelier João Rodrigues. Perched atop one of the city’s seven hills, overlooking the Pantheon and the Tagus River beyond, the hotel has been designed by magicians of minimal Aires Mateus, whose clean, modern interiors are refreshing trimmings to the building’s ancient walls; worn, limestone stairs lead to the guestrooms, where coarse linens, pale woods, and furnishings by designer Antonio Citterio come together in a neutral palette boosted by a graceful duck egg blue.
The goal was to construct a building that reflects the living experience of the city. A search, not done by the reproduction of traditional elements, but by a recombination of elements, materials, atmospheres, and proportions, to bring back this idea of living. A plain architecture, that combines few elements, while striving for quality in the use of real materials. An idea of authenticity and, therefore, an idea of timelessness.
Aesthetically and Geographically Related Projects:
Light Walls House (2013) by mA-style Architects located in Toyo kawa, Japan | The Hardt
Light Walls House (2013) by mA-style Architects located in Toyo kawa, Japan. The site is in a shady location where a two-story neighboring house closely stands on the south side, and even the shade and shadow on the path intensify the impression of darkness. Therefore, the design intended to create a space with uniformly distributed light by adjusting the way of letting daylight in, and the way of directing the light. By taking into consideration the space for the residents, the functions for a living, and the relationship with the surrounding environment, the creation of a diversity and richness in the house were intended by controlling the concept of light.
Along the edges of the 9.1m square roof, skylights are made, as if creating an outline, in order to provide sunlight. The roof beams narrow the sunlight, and the slightly angled clapboard interior walls with laminated wood reflect and diffuse the light. As a result, soft and uniformly distributed light is created and surrounds the entire space. Along the outline of lighting, workspaces such as a kitchen, bathroom, and study are arranged. Private spaces such as bedrooms and storage are allocated into four boxes. The path-like spaces created between them are public spaces. Each box attempts to balance within a large spatial volume. Light coupled with the rhythm of scale raises the possibilities of the living space for the residents.
Considering each box as a house, the empty spaces in between can be seen as paths or plazas, and remind us of a small town enclosed in the light. The empty spaces, which cause shortening or elongating of distances between people, are intermediate spaces for the residents, as well as intermediate spaces that are connected to the outside when the corridor is open, and these are the image of a social structure that includes a variety of individuals. In terms of a natural component, in which light is softened by small manipulations, and of a social component, in which a town is created in the house, this house turned out to be a courtyard house of light where new values are discovered.
New Concrete House in Brissago (2013) by Wespi De Meuron Romeo Architects located in Brissago, Switzerland | The Hardt
A simply cut monolith in washed concrete, which is docked directly to the road, rises from the natural topography of the slope. Two cars are parked almost directly on the roof. The visitor is guided down along a linear alleyway to the entrance door. An entrance courtyard is located directly behind the wooden entrance gate. Across this courtyard, one enters the house on the top floor and will be received by the kitchen with a long dining table and an open fireplace. Already when entering, the room open itself to the landscape, the “Lago Maggiore” and the mountains. The entrance door and the glass front to the court can completely be a shift into the wall so that the outside and the interior space flows together in the summertime. Lift and staircase lead to the lower floors.
At the floor beneath is located the additional living area, with living room, fireplace, library, and TV, as well as a covered outdoor terrace and a generous courtyard with natural stone pavement, two olive trees, and a fountain. Means wide openings to the court and to the outside, exterior and Interior, landscape and architecture forms a unity. The inside participates to the court, like the court participates in the landscape, offering spectacular views. The court can be closed by two wooden gates, which generate a secure feeling. This court becomes The Hardt of the house; different paths join together here, like in a historic village. On both sides of the court walkways and stairs lead down to the large garden terrace with swimming pool and outdoor kitchen.
On the two lower floors of the house are placed three bedrooms and the baths, as well as fitness room and a sauna; they are also connected to the garden and swimming pool by appropriate exits. Due to its spatial diversity, complex relationships between interior and exterior spaces, diverse path choice, this house can be experienced like a historic village.
Scorpions Retreat by Michael Schickinger of Lambs&Lions located in Mykonos, Greece | The Hardt
Scorpions Retreat by Michael Schickinger of Lambs&Lions located in Mykonos, Greece. Situated on the picturesque island of Mykonos, Greece, Scorpios by Michael Schickinger of Lambs&Lions is an exclusive getaway that celebrates beach culture. The project was developed in close collaboration with interior designer Annabell Kutucu to merge natural textures with functional contemporary amenities: “We tried to infuse Scorpios with the classic materials and construction tactics found in Cycladic architecture to root it in its internet site and context. It was then peppered with collected objects discovered by Michael and Annabell on their travels”, the designers stated. Inspired by the contrasts revealed by the island of Mykonos (mainly its rocky, hot landscape juxtaposed by the invigorating the blue sea), the project tea envisioned a holistic retreat: “We wanted the place to be a stage that invites all aspects of Mykonos life but often with a concentrate on leisure. The style is inspired by natural components that set a laid back, down to earth and comfy backdrop for all the various activities that will take place there. It is a spot that simultaneously excites the senses and calms the soul.”
Horatio Street by Steven Harris / Rees Roberts & Partners in New York, NY | The Hardt
Horatio Street by Steven Harris / Rees Roberts & Partners in New York, NY. The interiors of this 1840s four-story townhouse with rear garden and the sleek glass-walled penthouse was designed for a family based in Rio de Janeiro who has an eclectic art collection and unabashed love of color. The dining room, lined with subtle olive-grey painted shelves for art books and lit by a custom copper disc chandelier, houses a Brazilian antique rosewood table brought to life by padded vintage Jean Prouve chairs recovered in a striking pink fabric. The pale grey-walled living room which looks out over the garden below is highlighted by furnishings in lavender, putty, and black; the fuchsia and patterned accents here were a special request for the family’s daughter. The sleek lines and cool materials of the glass rooftop penthouse complete with fireplace, wet bar, and outdoor terrace were tempered with plush custom bench cushions and pillows; this space provides a magical setting for enjoying views of the High Line, Standard Hotel, and West Village cityscape.
When Donald Judd began his Marfa project in the early 1970s, he would never have predicted the near-mythic status it would end up achieving. The small town of 2,000 residents is 20 miles from the next town and nearly three hours from the nearest major airport, yet it features a contemporary art museum, the Chinati Foundation, and the highly instagrammable Prada Marfa, and attracts artists, celebrities, and urbanites looking for a simpler life—or the latest music festival—all year-round. Besides the austerely beautiful high-desert landscape, this creative enclave is also well known for is its minimalist interiors, architecture, and furniture. Last month, the Monacelli Press published Marfa Modern: Artistic Interiors of the West Texas High Desert, Helen Thompson’s look at 21 homes that illustrate the former water-stops sky, light, and unique sense of isolation. Here, a preview of seven of the homes featured inside.
The Coolest Pool
Trendsetting Austin hotelier Liz Lambert renovated Marfa’s 1950s-era Thunderbird Hotel into a boutique hotel, transformed a large plot of land into El Cosmico, a “nomadic hotel and campground”, and spiffed up an adobe bunkhouse that used to belong to her uncle for herself in the meantime. A water tank is a short jeep ride from the house—it’s her favorite spot for a quick swim and a breathtaking desert view.
“Trendsetting Austin hotelier Liz Lambert renovated Marfa’s 1950s-era Thunderbird Hotel into a boutique hotel.”
Pop Art in the Desert
Houston-based architectural designer Barbara Hill, a red-haired “Miss Texas, 1956”, prefers to remove decorative and architectural elements rather than add them. She spent a year and a half transforming this adobe building, which had been a private dance hall, grocery, and candy store in turn.
The house is located downtown and passersby, curious to see what’s beyond the wall, often peer over the top for a look. Their curiosity is rewarded by a view of a fire pit that anchors the front yard, which was created by Houston and Marfa-based metal artist George Sacaris. Marfa resident and landscape architect Jim Martinez designed the garden.
Hill used birth plywood on both the ceiling and the floor of her home, for visual continuity. White plaster walls add luminous glamour to the rough-and-ready décor. Deep-set windows throughout soften Marfa’s glaring midday light and suggest that the hefty structure is here to stay.
In another 864-square-foot adobe house in Marfa, Hill removed acoustical-tile ceiling in the two front rooms to reveal three additional feet above. Hill installed pink neon light behind the seven-foot-tall Warhol that presides over the dining table and its black and white Bertoia chairs. The bar cart in the kitchen is from Kuhl-Linscomb in Houston.
“Marfa, Texas Has Really Come Into Its Own As A Central Hub For A Flourishing Creative Art Scene.” – Asher Hardt
Earthy Meets Modern
King and Lisa Grossman purchased this century-old adobe building from Barbara Hill; she used it as a weekend retreat but it was once a lawyer’s office and later, a beauty parlor. Two delicate-looking steel rods stretch across both edges of the room’s width—these necessary structural elements are much stronger than they look and give the adobe lateral support. The hay bale coffee table is by The Art Guys, and a pair of Charles and Ray Eames sofas flank the table.
A long French work table, designed by Barbara Hill, now makes an inviting dining table. Blackened steel cabinets are a dramatic counterpoint to the luminous white plaster walls throughout.
2.0 Sliding Doors
“The chairs at the dining table were made as part of a Works Progress Administration project in the 1930s,” says Helen. “The green hand-built chair belonged to Martinez’s great-grandmother.”
The 80-degree angle floor plan of the home is a nod to Jim Martinez’s grandmother whose New Mexico home had the same east-facing floor plan.
“The chairs at the dining table were made as part of a Works Progress Administration project in the 1930s,” says Helen. “The green hand-built chair belonged to Martinez’s great-grandmother.
Color That Pops
When Houston interior designer Marlys Tokerud made the decision to purchase a 1904 adobe house in 1999, she planned to tear down the 550-square-foot pink stucco frame house also on the lot. But Tokerud soon realized she could renovate the little house to live in while she remodeled the main house and soon found oak flooring and a perfectly preserved longleaf pine ceiling that had been the underside of the original roof. A horse trough serves as a tub in the master bath, where vintage blue bottles line a concrete shelf lit by a slit window in the plaster walls.
In the main house, elements such as the 10-foot-high ceilings, 14-inch walls, and painted wood doors were kept intact. Longleaf pine floors were used elsewhere in the house. Not long after Tokerud and her partner, Rick Houser, finished renovating, however, another fire broke out in the kitchen. The repairs offered an opportunity for upgrades, such as plaster walls, discreetly recessed track lighting, and multiple coats of a glossy paint on the ceiling. Houser built a kitchen island out of half a bowling lane imported from El Paso and brought in industrial lighting form his Houston woodworking shop. In the living room, a Christian Liaigre chaise serves as an antidote to the circa 1904 house’s rustic underpinnings. Metal artist George Sacaris built the base for the pine dining table, which was formerly a Mexican door.
On the site of a former Volkswagen repair shop known as George’s Garage, Vilis Inde, a lawyer turned art collector and gallery owner, and his partner, Tom Jacobs, decided to build a gallery and residence. Pard Morrison’s fired-pigment-on-aluminum sculpture Schneewittchen, 2013, stands tall in a courtyard between the gallery side of the building and the residence. An orange chair by Donald Judd is just visible beyond, in the gallery. A grid pattern inlaid in the interior courtyard defines the space.
This is a house built for living, but also for art. The all-white residence and gallery are designed to help it recede in an unobtrusive way—both from the perspective of the viewer in the street as well as from a visitor stepping inside. Box shapes play a dominant role in the gallery’s design, and squares appear as a recurring motif throughout the bedroom, as with the bookshelves and the chair.
On a lot next to a gas station, on a highway a few blocks West of downtown, Jamey Garza, of Garza Marfa, built a 1200-square-foot cinder-block house covered in gray stucco for a Los Angeles-based couple looking to make a design connection in Marfa. Initially, the couple had wanted a roadhouse but decided on a private getaway after logistics and reality set in. Concrete floors, which were part of the original plan remained and exposed steel trusses and cypress ceilings cover the main room, which includes living, dining, sleeping, and cooking spaces. The casement windows wrap three sides of the room and were painted in a rich orange hue of auto body lacquer. White hard-plaster walls provide a luminous contrast to the velvety gray stucco on the facade. A screened porch on the Westside offers both protection from the sun and a destination for perfect breeze-catching.
This home was painstakingly remodeled over the course of eight years by Austin-based chef Terry Nowell. He added a bathroom and upstairs sleeping loft and modernized the kitchen. Nowell painted the portrait that hangs above the sofa and the red ladder he built that leads to a sleeping loft.
A dried agave plant in a corner of the downstairs bedroom emphasizes the ceiling height (which Nowell raised from seven to ten feet). A “truth window” above the pairs of windows exposes the original adobe brick. Both inside and out, the adobe blocks are covered in cement. Nowell made the white pine bed, woodblock table, the desk, and the floor lamp. He also built the wood side table.