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:
Located in Paju Book City, Republic of Korea, Mimesis Museum (2009) by Castanheira & Bastai Associated Architects + Jun Sung Kim + Álvaro Siza Vieira | The Hardt
Located in Paju Book City, Republic of Korea, Mimesis Museum (2009) by Castanheira & Bastai Associated Architects + Jun Sung Kim + Álvaro Siza Vieira. There once was a Chinese emperor who liked cats a lot, and one day he called upon the most famous painter in the Empire and asked him to paint him a cat. The artist liked the idea and promised that he would work on it. A year passed and the Emperor remembered that the painter still had not given him the painting of the cat. He called him: What of the cat? It is nearly ready, answered the artist. Another year went by, and another and another. The scene kept repeating itself. After seven years, the Emperor’s patience came to an end and he sent for the painter. What of the cat? Seven years have gone by. You have promised and promised but I still haven’t seen one! The painter grabs a sheet of rice paper, an ink well, one of those brushes like you can only get in the East and… in an elegant and sublime gesture he draws a cat, which was not just a cat but only the most beautiful cat ever seen. The Emperor was ecstatic, overwhelmed with such beauty. He did not neglect (which is no longer the case nowadays) to ask the artist how much he would charge for such beautiful drawing. The painter asked for a sum which surprised the Emperor. So much money for a drawing that you did in two seconds, in front of me? said the Emperor. Yes Excellency, that is true, but I have been drawing cats for seven years now, replied the poor painter.
The project for the Museum Mimesis, in the new town of Paju Book City in South Korea, is a cat. The client didn’t have to wait for seven years for his drawing of a cat, but Álvaro Siza has been drawing cats for over seven years now. He has never seen a Korean cat because he has never been there. In one day I briefed him on the site, and brought along a small site model, showing the boundaries and the immediate context. In one single gesture, a cat was drawn. The Mimesis is a cat. A cat all curled up and also open, that stretches and yawns. It’s all there. All you need to do is look and look again. At first, the design team members could not understand how that sketch of a cat could be a building. I have in my days seen many sketches of cats, and am always overwhelmed by them, can’t get tired of them. I want to see more cats, more sketches of cats, for several seven years have gone by.
In architecture, after an initial sketch comes the torment. The initial design, models, drawings, corrections to these, doubts, new drawings, new models, a presentation to the client, who had already seen other projects but could not conceal his surprise at this one. Once approved, we progressed the project on through the usual steps, which in Korea are shorter and less bureaucratic. The brief has not been altered, but it is necessary to make some adjustments as part of the evolution process. To think of materials, techniques, infrastructure, representational conventions, so that everyone understands, in an attempt to make everything work out. In the basement, we will have the archives, the service area, maybe an extension to the exhibition area, as is becoming a habit in museums designed by Álvaro Siza. The ground floor is a space for arrival and distribution, areas for temporary exhibitions and a café/restaurant with all necessary back up. Administration areas, staff circulation, area for the administrative archive and staff toilets are located in the mezzanines. The top floor is for exhibition space.
Light, always light, so carefully studied. Both natural and artificial is seen as essential. Allowing to see without being seen. Models and more models were constructed, some of which you could enter into. Also 3D images. The form will be given by cast concrete, light grey, the color of a cat. Inside, the white of the walls and ceilings, of the marble, which we hope will be from Estremoz and also the honey color of Oak. Timber for the internal frames, and glass. As for the external windows, timber, painted steel and crystalline glass. The building progresses, so do we, as it is in Korea. It is a technically difficult job; we were concerned at the quality of the contractor and sub-contractors involved. Our friends and partners are enthusiastic and reassure us.
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.
Soulages Museum by RCR Arquitectes with Passelac & Roques located in Rodez, France | The Hardt
The Soulages Museum located in Rodez, France was completed in 2014 by RCR Arquitectes – the winner of the 2017 Pritzker Prize, architecture’s equivalent of the Nobel – in collaboration with architect G Trégouët. In 2008, RCR Arquitectes teamed up with the firm Passelac & Roques architects to take part in the Greater Rodez Authority’s design competition for the Soulages Museum. Chosen among 98 applicants, their project placed the museum on the north side of the entirely renovated Foirail garden. They grasped the significance of the site, considering it as a link between the historic center and the new quarters.
RESPECTFUL OF ITS SURROUNDINGS
Respectful of its surroundings, the building is organized in a succession of cubes. The intervals remind the passerby of the ”fenestras” in the Aveyron and give way to contemplation. Orientated towards the garden, the southern wall does not exceed three meters whilst on the northern side of the site, the ‘’boxes’’ overlook a pathway.
THE STEEL REFLECTS PIERRE SOULAGES’ WORK
The cladding is made of Corten steel also known as weathering steel. When exposed to bad weather (i.e. to corrosion), this material creates a protective layer of rust. ”The Corten steel ages with time and perfectly suits the park’s natural surroundings. It is not a lifeless and sanitized material. Furthermore, its color-range echoes Rodez’s pink – grey colors.” (RCR Arquitectes). The shades of this steel also reflect Pierre Soulages’ work.
A UNIQUE PLACE
The Soulages Museum is located in the heart of Rodez town, in Foirail Garden, a stone’s thrown from the cathedral. Designed and conceived by Catalan RCR Arquitectes– Passelac & Roques Architects, the museum is spread on the north side of the entirely renovated Foirail garden. It fits its surroundings perfectly. Well-known for the attention they pay to the geographical location and surrounding scenery, Ramon Vilalta, Carme Pigem et Rafael Aranda immediately understood the value of that unique place.
The museum will take the fragility of the collections into account. Arranged in practical volumes around a monitored light, it will provide obscured and protected areas for papers (Walnut Stains, printed works), whereas the five high ”boxes”
will harbor the paintings and the cardboards of Conques’ stained-glass windows under a zenithal light.
Four levels. From top to 1st floor:
-The storehouses (safety standard)
-The documentary center and a workshop for children
– The permanent exhibitions’ rooms with the works from Soulages’ donations
– The temporary exhibition room dedicated to contemporary artists
– ‘Musee Soulages’ – Chief Curator & Director of the Greater Rodez museums. Photos by Musee Soulages and photographer Vincent Boutin.
Neither a mausoleum nor a monographic chore, the Soulages Museum will be a place for meetings and new experiences. While being a genuinely modern and contemporary art museum, it will favor exchanges with similar institutions or foundations, with great freedom in its choices from promising to seasoned artists, through different themes and links from one historical era to another (the Middle Ages, for instance, whom Soulages holds dear). The museum fits into the European gathering of museums. The Soulages Museum will be ‘’ unusual ‘ according to the painter’s words,: ” It will highlight the process of artistic creation, the role of the unexpected that lies in it, and without using banal teaching methods, I hope it will open the eyes of the public and awake their spirit to understand what art stands for. ”
Espace de circulation et d’exposition : Musée Soulages, RCR Arquitectes, Rodez
Visitor services will particularly strive to explain the meaning of the artist’s know-how and gestures. The audience will explore Pierre Soulages’ works in the museum by following an itinerary that combines the painter’s history– his biography–with other expressions of his creativity, such as oil paintings, paintings on paper, printed works or stained-glass windows. The bright rooms with high ceilings will alternate with the darkened rooms with low ceilings to tackle specific topics, including the very first figurative works Soulages made in Rodez, the inspiration he found in the Aveyron, the hanging of artworks, the Walnut Stains, the different techniques of engraving, or the works he did at Conques. Each aspect of the donation will be associated with its constituent technique. That is why Conques stained-glass windows are a link between monumental medieval heritage and contemporary creation and act as a catharsis: they are the accurate portrait of the artist. In Conques Abbey, Soulages thought of a new light. In Rodez, we must show clearly how we can approach that form of light thanks to experimental witnesses. From matter to thought, with tools and hands.
– Benoît Decron, Chief Curator & Director of the Greater Rodez museums