Casa Lola by interior designer Jan Eleni Lemonedes and Ronnie Stam

Casa Lola by interior designer Jan Eleni Lemonedes and Ronnie Stam

Casa Lola by interior designer Jan Eleni Lemonedes and Ronnie Stam located in Porto Seguro, Bahia, Brazil | The Hardt


Casa Lola by interior designer Jan Eleni Lemonedes and Ronnie Stam located in Porto Seguro, Bahia, Brazil. Bahia, municipality of Porto Seguro, the town of Trancoso. There is, among other simple constructions, an abode of disconcerting simplicity. The light walls, the white cement, the wood of doors and doorways, the surrounding woods and the fringe flowers on the facade are part of a kind of samba played by a symphony orchestra, a Candeia for four pianos and a violin.


All right, Candeia was not from Bahia, but from Rio. And this beautiful Bahia house is not the result of local creativity, but the head of a New Yorker: Jan Eleni Lemonedes, interior designer, which explains the trained look to trace beauties anywhere. Her initial contact with her husband, Ronnie Stam, the creative director, and her daughter, Lola, with Trancoso, took place in 2010 when the family spent ten days in the village and was captured by the beach, food, music and the Square. Soon the searches began for a refuge nearby. 


When finding this little house with areas of fisherman’s nook, closed the deal and Jan started the reform project. Of the original construction, only half of the existing area remained, 45 m², where a studio type, a charming cottage works. With an eye on more space, the couple raised, on the same ground, the second residence, with 125 m² and rustic atmosphere similar to the first. Inside the old space, the wooden bench of Trancoso makes a beautiful composition with the round breadboard hanging on the wall – with Brazilian face, the piece came from New York. “We have created an internal patio with a swimming pool that promotes the connection between the two”, says Jan. In every corner of Casa Lola, as the architectural group was baptized, one sees the Dati brand, a local artisan who used eucalyptus for to compose banks, chaises, beds and other pieces that contributed to the RG Bahia of the dwelling. 




The pleasure of taking care of each item, she says, is what gives personality to the setting. “All the decisions, from the choice of the floor to the walls, were well thought out,” he says, indicating how he appropriated space already during the process of building the houses. And making is no way to say, because the inspiration that gave rise to the proposal came from Trancoso’s loom sheets , with that elegant rusticity of hand-made.  While residing in aloft in Manhattan and consider herself a typical new yorker, Jan believes that the seasons in Bahia, which can last for up to two months and happen about three times a year, have made her a more patient person. “New Yorkers have a fast pace. In Trancoso, things are much slower, “he says. 


But this only improves the place where, for her, “even the imperfections become perfect in our eyes.” And if the identification with this land is so great, living permanently in the village would be in the plans of the family? Jan says that he sees this possibility on the horizon: “Yes, in an ideal scenario …”. 



Aesthetically and Geographically Related Projects:




Church of San Giovanni Battista (1996) by Mario Botta

Church of San Giovanni Battista (1996) by Mario Botta


Mario Botta -The Space Beyond (Official Trailer – English) from Michael Glowacki on Vimeo.



Located in Mogno, Switzerland, Church of San Giovanni Battista (1996) by Mario Botta | The Hardt


The Church of San Giovanni Battista (Italian: Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista; German: Kirche San Giovanni Battista) is located in the alpine village of Mogno in the Swiss canton of Ticino. Mario Botta describes his mountainous architecture as influenced by “two points of interaction: the exterior with the landscape; the interior with the domestic.” In this study I examine how his design of two churches in Ticino, Switzerland addresses the dissonance between the stoic exterior of the mountains and the touch of human scale inviting worshipers to solitude. I analyze Botta’s mountainous churches of the Chapel of St. Mary of the Angels, built in Monte Tamaro, 1990-1996 and the San Giovanni Battista Church, built in Mogno, 1992-1998  

The two churches exemplify the challenges of designing a house of worship for small parishes within breathtaking nature. The first challenge addresses the design solutions in the context of remote areas in the Alps. These locations evoke in themselves a spiritual experience, and the issue is how architecture contributes to the desired spiritual solitude. Second, both buildings were built from local stones linking them to their specific sites, expressing monumental qualities, and adhering to the spiritual qualities of the space: “Although the landscape is immense, the insertion of even a small object changes the scenery.” This solution brings with it the idea of architecture transforming the landscape, which in turn stimulates the spirit of man. Third, in each of the churches light is treated to enhance spiritual transcendence and to illustrate divine presence. Furthermore, these churches may be perceived as part of the continuous attempt of humans to build pillars from stone as a sacred link between earth and heaven, and as an expression of possessing the mountain. 





Mountains are perceived as God’s dwelling and as a spot where the sacred manifests itself: “Now Mount Sinai was altogether in smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire; and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly” (Exodus 19:18). Moreover, the echoes of the surrounding mountains are perceived as the voices of spirits.4 These spiritual experiences inspire humans to erect their own ‘sacred mountains’. See for example the story of Jacob who set the stone up as a pillar and poured oil on its top to establish a sacred vertical axis (Genesis 28:18). These sacred structures often imitate in stone the form of mountains or are built on top of a mountain.  

Botta’s two churches are good examples for both of these approaches. The chapel in Monte Tamaro stands on top of the mountain and “’detaches’ itself from the mountain to form a new horizon, the starting point of an ideal viaduct.”5 The external horizontal axis of this chapel creates a sacred path offering a new glimpse of the mountains as a continuation of the worshiper-pilgrim’s infinite path for meditation and thought. Botta claims that building the chapel was a sign of a man in the landscape encompassing “the tension between man and nature.” The Church in Mogno was constructed as a vertical “pillar” becoming the focal point of the valley’s skyline, where two points in the valley are bridged to transform the landscape. This vertical axis expresses the spiritual axis mundi of the village, standing “as a bulwark for the village, in defiance of the mountain.” Indeed the church in Mogno was built in a place of an avalanche that caused death and loss. The location was requested by the residents of the village who said, “We want to construct a new church because there used to be a church here.” Thus the driving force underlying the project was maintaining the collective memory of the community. Botta’s design “brings with it not only the geography but also the memory, the culture, the history of that very place.” 





The use of locally quarried stones in the design of these churches expresses the specificity of the place as well as permanence and human longings for eternity. Stone is part of the layers and colors of the earth as shaped by winds and water and reveals the sacredness of the earth. In a poetic way stone is a gift of nature that illustrates the soul of the earth. Botta believes that putting a stone on earth is a sacred act of architecture and signifies the possession of the earth. This act “strives to evoke the deepest values suggested by the language of stones. Their symbolic and metaphoric meaning becomes an extraordinarily current message that involves the architect beyond the religious sphere.”

The chapel in Monte Tamaro is constructed from reinforced concrete faced with rusticated porphyry. This stone façade makes the chapel blend into the rocks of the mountain and transforms the mountain’s peak into a new height. Botta introduces us to a temporal visual experience with an outdoor procession on top of the chapel/the mountain. The stone of this chapel is facing the exterior only; the interior concrete is painted black and white to enhance the interplay of light and shadow and to create an intimate place to showcase contemporary liturgical art. Plastering the walls for displaying art resembles the fresco chapels in history.

In contrast, the church in Mogno is built of alternating courses of gray Riveo granite and white Peccia marble outside and inside, reminding us of some of the Tuscan Romanesque cathedrals. As such it continues a long history of church construction and creates a statement of permanence. The stone in this church demonstrates Botta’s mass architecture and enhances the transformation of the geometry of the building from a square plan to an ellipse and then to a circle. 


While stone construction is a sacred act of architecture representing earth and permanence, the light becomes the soul of this act by introducing heaven. Eliade stated: “Even before any religious values have been set upon the sky it reveals its transcendence. The sky symbolizes transcendence, power, and changelessness simply by being there. It exists because it is high, infinite, immovable, powerful.”15 Light enhances the meaning of materials, forms, lines, and colors and beautifies the building. The visual experience in sacred settings contributes to the connection of the human with a higher order of things, with the essential and the immutable truth. The heavenly light in sacred settings illustrates the divine presence and is perceived as an attempt to enrich the inner spiritual experience of Lord as Light.17 This, in turn, fulfills human striving to be closer to the Divine. Moreover, light creates the temporal ambiance of the sacred since it is “the visual sign of the relationship that exists between the architectural work and the cosmic values of the surroundings.” Interestingly Botta treated this relation of light to the cosmos differently in the two churches. The chapel at Monte Tamaro, which is located below the outdoor crucifix, under the walkway on top of the mountain, is dimly lit like a grotto. Natural light penetrates through very small windows in the bottom of the circular sidewalls and through slits from a skylight. This light effect and the space’s strong linear path draw our attention to the artwork at the apes and diminish the invitation to meditation inside a protective ‘cave’ in the mountains. 

In the Mogno church, Botta introduced the ever-changing patterns of light and the relation to the cosmos through a circular glass roof. The sky opens up beyond the glass roof and brings the worshiper closer to the Divine. Two granite buttresses pierce the envelope of the building, arch over the interior and create an axis that aligns with the nave’s axis of the destroyed historic church. The light coming from above highlights this connection to the past and eternity. It also demonstrates Botta’s transformational geometry in stone. This, in turn, creates an interplay of stone layout, natural light, and shadows. In this church, Botta used light to capture the passage of time and establish our relationship with the solar, seasonal cycles and the eternal.  

Intense Text via ArtWay

Today marks 2 years since I started TheHardt Instagram account. I had no clue that I would end up embracing my creativity to such an extent that an excitingly beautiful website would be born. Thanks for joing me on this adventure and I promise to continue curating fire content for you plus lots more. 


Check out more on Mario Botta below



MARIO BOTTA, Mountain Church, Ticino, Switzerland from Ivan Maria Friedman on Vimeo.



Aesthetically and Geographically Related Projects:





Tao Hua Yuan Tea House by CL3 Architects

Tao Hua Yuan Tea House by CL3 Architects

Tao Hua Yuan Tea House by CL3 Architects located in Nanjing, China | The Hardt


Tao Hua Yuan Tea House by CL3 Architects located in Nanjing, China. A home by that name in Souzhou, west of Shanghai, was the most expensive ever to hit the market in mainland China (one billion Chinese yuan, the equivalent of $154 million) when it was completed in 2016. CL3 Architect’s view of utopia is considerably more simplified. The Hong Kong-based design firm has created an homage to the tea culture of China with the Tao Hua Yuan tea house in Nanjing, using a quiet Zen aesthetic and a simple style to bring tranquility in a bustling urban and resort area.
The architecture tells much of the story: a contemporary structure using flat planes, right angles, lots of glass and open areas. “The architecture is inspired by a Chinese courtyard house, with a series of enclosed spaces formed around open spaces and connected by covered walkways,” says William Lim, managing director of the firm. “The building is in a clear outline of single rectangles, tucked away in the forest like a masterpiece of nature.”

But if the architecture is contemporary, it’s the materials – marble and glass, but also wood and bamboo – that tell the Zen story, a harmonious combination of hard and soft.
“The marble is strong and steady, the glass is clear and pure,” says Lim. “The interior becomes the extension of the architecture – simple materials and concise lines to create Zen tranquility.”
Inside, lanterns, paintings, and works of art express the “one-with-nature” story, along with what Lim calls “scholar rocks.”



“Scholar rocks are massive rocks recovered from river beds with naturally eroded holes and wrinkles,” he explains. “Six massive rocks sit on a platform of black mirror, simulating water reflection. This serves as a piece of art installation, as well as dividing the teahouse into semi-private zones. The verticality of the young forest is reinforced by the vertical lines in the interior design in the background of black glass.”

Symbolic Chinese culture is never far from the designers’ thinking. For example, custom-designed furniture and lighting reflect the importance of balance in Chinese style. Low-rise furniture – the kinds that prevailed in ancient times when people tended to sit on the floor – is matched with modern high-type furniture. “They are mainly made of wood and are in simple colors,” Lim says, “containing both classical charm and fresh ideas, giving a contemporary interpretation to the Chinese cultural heritage.” Creating the appropriate tea house is not a casual endeavor in a culture where tea commands such an important position. “Tea absorbs the spirit of the universe,” says Lim, “appealing to men of letters throughout the ages.”

By Steve Kaufman
Photography: Nirut Benjabanpot, Hong Kong



Aesthetically and Geographically Related Projects:



Santa Clara 1728 by Aires Mateus

Santa Clara 1728 by Aires Mateus

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:



The 7 Most Fire Modern To Rustic Houses You’ll See In Marfa, Texas

The 7 Most Fire Modern To Rustic Houses You’ll See In Marfa, Texas


The 7 Most Fire Houses In Marfa, Texas

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.
Image of Marfa Texas Architecture
Image of SB SE Marfa Texas 115 735x900
Image of Marfa Texas Architecture1

“Trendsetting Austin hotelier Liz Lambert renovated Marfa’s 1950s-era Thunderbird Hotel into a boutique hotel.”

Image of Marfa Texas Architecture6

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.
Image of Marfa Texas Architecture5
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.
Image of Marfa Texas Architecture7
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.
Image of Marfa Texas Architecture3
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.
Image of Marfa Texas Architecture1

“Marfa, Texas Has Really Come Into Its Own As A Central Hub For A Flourishing Creative Art Scene.” – Asher Hardt

Earthy Meets Modern

Image of Marfa Texas Architecture8
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.
Image of Marfa Texas Architecture9
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

Image of Marfa Texas Architecture 77

“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.”

Image of SB SE Marfa Texas 170 900x763

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.

Image of SB SE Marfa Texas 175 742x900

“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.

Image of Marfa Texas Architecture992

Color That Pops

Image of Marfa Texas Architecture
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.
Image of Marfa Texas Architecture 4
Image of Marfa Texas Architecture3894
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.

Gallery Living

Image of 2Marfa Texas Architecture04895
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.
Image of Marfa Texas Architecture00129
Image of Marfa Texas Architecture9928
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.

Texture Play

Image of Marfa Texas Architecture0021
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.
Image of Marfa Texas Architecture2324
Image of Marfa Texas Architecture124
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.
Witten by: LOUISE HART

Want new articles before they get published?
Subscribe to our Awesome Newsletter.

Le Cabanon (2017) by Rick Joy Architects

Le Cabanon (2017) by Rick Joy Architects

Le Cabanon (2017) by Rick Joy Architects located on Venetian Road Settlement, Turks and Caicos Islands | The Hardt


Le Cabanon (2017) by Rick Joy Architects located on Venetian Road Settlement, Turks and Caicos Islands. Near the southwest coast of the Providenciales, an island in the Turks and Caicos archipelago, Rick Joy Architects designed a family retreat whose privacy and quietness are cut through by the coastal breezes and long rays of the tropical sun. On approach from the adjacent road, the multipartite complex appears to organically grow out of the site’s natural coastline, its subtly textured eggshell concrete contrasting the bright turquoise water in the same way as the white sand that lines the shallow inlet. Taking visual cues from lush surroundings, which also include iron shore rock and verdant native vegetation, the architects produced tactile links between the building and its site: mahogany doors, windows, and ceilings capture the warmth of the surroundings, while small, precisely placed openings let just the right doses of greenery inside.




The plan of the house is deceptively simple: a generously sized terrace serves as the link between the private living areas to the west and a living-dining-kitchen pavilion to the east. This first volume, a long, slender bar, shields the rest of the house from the noise and movement on the adjacent street. The strategy works—from the interior, the spaces feel secluded and protected, and the ocean views from the kitchen pavilion seem entirely exclusive. This space sits quietly against the water, not quite indoors and not quite outdoors. Its asymmetric single-hip roof captures a generous interior space, and a single operable triangular window at its leeward tip creates gentle airflow, supplementing the deliberately designed cross-breezes that negate the need for air conditioning. Just outside, a shallow pool cuts a line between the sand and the adjoining terrace, bringing the expanse of ocean water ever closer to the living spaces.



The entire house is full of immersive moments like this one. From the corridors, the concrete walls create shallow view-angles that reveal glimpses of each subsequent space and simultaneously frame the sky above. Constructed by local builders trained by the construction team, the walls used locally sourced sand and aggregate, minimizing the need to import building materials. In a similar resource-conscious spirit, the architects placed a large cistern beneath the main terrace to harvest water and topped the flat sections of the roof with photovoltaic panels. In the bedrooms, pendant lights hang like flower buds from the ceiling and long fronds peek in from the adjacent rock-bottomed gardens. Natural linen curtains billow in the ocean breeze and let through just the right amount of sunlight. Sometimes, fishermen pull up to the Ipé docks, offering the day’s catch. The result is a home that seems to bloom out of its site.


Photos by © Joe Fletcher  

Check out more from Rick Joy


Aesthetically and Geographically Related Projects:




The Hardt

Pin It on Pinterest