Not all design inspiration comes from private homes and apartments. Public spaces, which are often created by top architects and designers, offer a wealth of stylish décor and design ideas for your own home. HomeDSGN brings you an array of hotels, office buildings and other public environments that feature stunning interior design elements, alluring ambiance and innovative lighting. With a little imagination, these elements can be incorporated into any home interior design.
By Courtney • Feb 20, 2019
In the Chinese streets of Tangshan City, the Greentown Tangsham Blue Bay Town Life Experience Hall was created by GOA to blend luxury living areas with access to upscale commercial settings and fresh, new community settings and spaces.
Beside what the Hall actually has to offer, part of its draw comes from its architectural design and exterior decor schemes. Between the swooping arches and the wonderfully reflective water features out front, the building has a lot of draw and appeal before you even get inside. Triangles are a huge theme over all, both in the plot of land the hall sits on and in the shape of the hall and some of its peaked corners.
When designers first started considering how the building should look and be constructed, they decided they wanted to combine the concept of building a unique city landmark with the idea of following neo-Chinese styles. That’s where the eye catching multi-layered structural concept you see in the final product came from; it was the perfect shape and concept to combine accessible public space and contemporary urban life.
Besides simply looking pretty, the reflecting pool out front actually serves a spatial purpose in terms of space division. It is placed to create a sort of frontal courtyard space that is also a buffer between the regular city streets and the more elegant experience inside. The water is like a transitional area guiding visitors into the quieter zone inside.
Within its awesome structure, the building is split into three main “volumes” according to function. The largest of the three spaces, which faces the main city road, features a living space where units may be rented temporarily for different long or short term lengths. Perks of renting here include access to a specialty catering service and an activity centre that where several different community events take place per week.
The second volume, closer to the main entrance of the overall hall, feature the life experience hall. This space is used as a sales department. Even today it is still in its early stages of functioning and will eventually feature luxury shops, giving those who rent in the hall and those who visit right off the street outside an upscale shopping experience.
Finally, a third volume features services surrounding resources for more active living requirements. These include a supermarket, a restaurant, a fitness room, and a physical examination centre, among other services. The goal in this volume was to provide things that might be essential services for people living in the area but that also might be conveniently placed for those walking by not expecting to find such full service shops in that area of town.
From the entrance to the back end of the hall, lovely transitional spaces are situated between shops, activity spaces, and services. These spaces are designed to give visitors a break from their usual urban surroundings, letting them relax in courtyards that are lush with greenery between fantastic umbrella shaped arches that swoop over lovely social benches.
Photos by Yilong Zhao
By Courtney • Feb 19, 2019
Thanks to creative design and architectural teams at Suppose Design Office, Airbnb Tokyo’s head office officially has a new home on one of the busiest streets in Shinjuku, Japan. With its combined goals of created productive and functional workspaces that are also enjoyable, and tying in the company’s philosophy of being able to “belong anywhere”, the team really established a space with distinct personality.
In conceptualizing their space, even before they began building, designers decided to aim for making a space that feels a bit like a neighbourhood. From the friendly reception area that greets both guests and employees every day, to the break areas that are inspired by cheerful outdoor cafes, to the wooden paths that lead from meeting room to meeting room, the entire atmosphere is simple, fluid, and comfortable to be in.
Rather than simply establishing the floor plan and layout themselves as a design company, this team actually decided to get employees of their client company actively involved. To do this, they interviewed actual Airbnb Tokyo employees to get their take. From here, they chose what kinds of communal work tables, adjustable desks, project tables, and private or semi-private phone booths would be included. This makes for a space that the people working there feel truly comfortable in.
In terms of the actual productivity spaces, one of the primary features of the office is the Engawa, or the elevated platform in the centre of the office. This features tatami mats that are inspired by traditional Japanese culture, once again working on that theme of belonging wherever you are. In this space, employees are encouraged to remove their shoes, sit cross legged on their cushion, and face the spectacular view the platform affords them.
In adapting an already existing building to an office group that wanted a more diverse space, one of the biggest challenges was dealing with the very low ceiling that’s typical of Japanese architecture in that area. Rather than trying to build an entire new ceiling, which wasn’t possible, designers created the illusion of a higher ceiling by painting it black and dropping the lights a little lower, as though the space behind and above the lights extends much higher up.
As with all Airbnb offices, certain elements are inspired by different iconic cities that the company has well known listings in. In the case of the Tokyo office, several meeting rooms were actually themed after different cities, including Barcelona, Prague, and Tiajuana. This truly harnesses the sense of traveling the world but finding yourself able to work in any “city”.
Photos by Studio Periphery
By Courtney • Feb 18, 2019
In renovating the stunning Restaurante Teide, a staple in its neighbourhood in Valencia, Spain, design teams at Horma had one primary goal; they aimed to renew an old family tradition in order to give it a modern new feel that will help it last.
The Teide restaurant is the kind of family business that has been passed down from generation to generation. Throughout all that time, they never lost the sense of the core values they’ve always operated the business according to: well-being, proximity to the community, tradition, and quality. The only thing left that needed a little bit of rejuvenation was the pace itself.
As a result, design teams decided to try and develop a concept that feels more contemporary but also a little more timeless and fresh, without losing the elegance the restaurant has always maintained. Like many businesses in Spain, the restaurant features a cafe up front, but for many years the cafe space actually kind of masked the restaurant, which lies to the back. One of the biggest changes was that designers decided to bring a clear sense of the restaurant right up to the main entrance so it doesn’t get missed.
Even though designers wanted to bring the restaurant to the front of the visual space a little more, they still used colours, materials, and visuals to create some kind of separation of space and mood at the same time. The idea of was to make the two parts of the business communicate in a cohesive way while still provided a little bit of differentiation, since a cafe and a restaurant have very different moods.
In the restaurant space, which received a bit more of a transformation than the cafe, an emphasis was put on natural elements that might make the space feel comfortable and welcoming. This was achieved through the inclusion of stone flooring, and polished walnut furnishings. Teams added colour by setting everything against a backdrop of sea blue walls, helping to establish and elegant environment that’s a little more timeless than the previous look.
Within the update, designers aimed to tie the sense of local community into the look of the restaurant a little more. For that reason, they opted to source all of their stone and wood locally, feeding back into their local economy in a great way. These materials are evident all over, but particularly in the low separation wall that still provides some division between the cafe and restaurant spaces.
Outside, a series of locally styled luminaries provide a little light in the evenings for the patio area. There’s also a huge emphasis on vegetation and the inclusion of local greenery, creating a sense of tranquility and social calm. Because these plants are dotted throughout the cafe and restaurant spaces as well, a lovely atmosphere or harmony business-wide.
Photos by Mariela Apollonio
AXEL Hotel designed by El Equipo Creativo in Madrid to give guests a different visual experience in every room
By Courtney • Feb 15, 2019
Perched amidst the busy streets of Madrid, Spain, sits a new hotel that’s specifically designed to give its guests even more of an awesome escape than usual. That’s all thanks to the way unique thinkers at El Equipo Creativo chose layouts, themes, and decor schemes that differ in every room, making each space you enter feel like a complete transformation!
AXEL Hotel sits in the heart of a trending area called El Barrio de las Letras. Here, it pulls from various cultural and style references with the aim of giving its visitors a visual experience that’s nothing short of “explosive”. Originally, the goal of drastically swapping aesthetics between rooms was to create an overnight spot where guests can breathe out, feel free, and simply have fun in a way that is tactile and attracts all different kinds of people with varying tastes. Designers wanted to make sure people could enjoy their private rooms and the public spaces in the hotel alike!
A lot of the fun textures, patterns, and colours combinations one encounters in the AXEL hotel are actually a lot more than just fun; they’re really also historical references! This is evident in the way the rooms’ decor schemes, furnishings, and features display styles typical of all different eras in time from across the world. This emphasis on history contrasts fantastically with the fact that the hotel sits in one of the most cosmopolitan areas of the country.
The building itself is also a historical piece. The hotel was build in a renovated 19th century building that has long been a part of the street’s architectural fabric, so designers aimed to conserve many of the most interesting original elements. These things include the already lavishly decorated ceilings, some of the intensely coloured walls (as was fashionable at the time the building was first built), and most of the clearly baroque details.
At the same time as they wanted to preserve historical architectural details, designers were intent on weaving in a sense of Madrid’s social and customary culture into the new hotel’s aesthetic as well. This desire accounts for the presence of details clearly influence by or depicting bull fighting, and the mantilla garment typically worn by local women who lived a gypsy lifestyle.
As if a fiery aesthetic that’s rich in culture and history wasn’t enough, the hotel actually has a message and positive social impact as an undercurrent for its business as well. This lies in the fact that the AXEL hotel chain was originally designed specifically with LGBTQIA communities in mind. The intention in creating a space with the queer community in mind was to establish positive venues based on freedom, welcoming of sexual diversity, and prioritizing of love and acceptance.
As one travels through a hotel, they experience a sort of diversion and dialogue all at once. There is, of course, cohesiveness in the overarching sense of wild acceptance, but there’s also a communication establish in the way moving from room to room tells a sort of stylistically historical story. At the same time, the aesthetics of each space are so wildly different that moving from one place to another feels like a completely different place than where you’ve just been. This is achieved primarily by the use of eclectic colours, materials, and textures all in unique combinations.
At the same time as the hotel’s decor references history and culture, it also weaves some elements of popular culture into its fabric! This can be seen on the walls of various common areas, which boast pop art and cinematographic or musical posters. The goal here was to create a festive and carefree atmosphere for guests immediately upon walking through the doors. Guests will also encounter neon lights, eclectic word art, literary references, and nods or winks to various plays.
In the interest of building communication between vastly varied spaces and telling a story even as styles diverge, guests might notice a common detail between all of the different rooms and atmospheres if they look very carefully. That’s because designers actually chose to include some kind of small gold detail that’s only just noticeable in every single room, no matter its theme or scheme. This cohesive detail is small, but it creates a sense of blending rather than things just appearing random or haphazard.
Besides its fancy social lobbies and common rooms and its thoroughly energetic looking suites, the AXEL Hotel also boasts several carefree and cheerful feeling restaurants, as well as its own club. Each of these spaces follows the same philosophy of acceptance and diversity as the rest of the hotel, making them playful and friendly to spend time in.
Photos by the architect.
Diversely structured Girassol Building built by Reinach Mendonça Arquitetos Associados to provide fluid, changeable workspaces
By Courtney • Feb 14, 2019
The city of Sao Paulo in Brazil, in the area of Pinheiros, has recently become home to an innovative new office building that practically defies physics. Thanks to Reinach Mendonça Arquitetos Associados, the stunning Girassol Building, a commercial and office space with a very unique layout indeed, is one of the first of its kind in the country!
This building is located on a steeply hilled stretch of land in the Vila Madalena neighbourhood. The goal of the building was to provide a versatile work and collaboration space that would not only suit but could also actively adapt to the needs of a company’s employees. Designers achieved this by building office that might be divided into smaller areas one moment and then opened and merged into larger, more fluid spaces the next.
One the outside, the building looks just as interesting as its functions on the inside. This is thanks to visible large slabs that are supported on each side by impressive pillars, almost like an old temple but more cubic. Visitors enter the building into a central area that acts as a sort of “nucleus” from which different rooms can be accessed, giving the whole place a sense of free flowing movement or circulation.
Throughout the three floors of the building, workspaces can be not only changed in their size but also easily rotated in the furnishing layouts and decorum to face different ways. This helps improve ventilation and maximize sunlight in each room. If a working group would be better served seated facing towards or away from the large, sunny windows, they can easily shift how they please!
In keeping with the concept of being fluid and open, the entire frame of the building is composed of pristine, crystal clear floor to ceiling glass. Employees and visitors also have access to a small balcony to enjoy some fresh air on breaks. On the outside of this balcony, a special set of shade-like doors as fastened to make sure that those inside have the option of less sun and increased privacy when necessary. These doors feature perforated plates that establish a screen effect without making the office inside feel closed off.
On the very top floor, another feature makes the building even more unique. Here, the roof is constructed with thermo-acoustic tiles which help illuminate the core of the building. This happens when light enters the glass covered wood, brightening not only the rooms below it, but also the centre of each floor and a lovely garden that separates the front and back of the top floor itself.
This upper garden isn’t the only lovely green space within the Girassol building. At the very bottom, way down in the basement, another uncovered garden is rooted, covered by an artistic looking glass panel that lets the lush, stunning greenery down below stay visible to floors above. It’s like a perfect finishing touch!
Photos by Tony Chen
Outdoor Care Retreat designed by Norwegian group Snøhetta provides visitors with natural, peaceful healing space
By Courtney • Feb 12, 2019
In the lush forests of Norway, outside the city of Oslo, design and building teams at the prestigious Snøhetta group have built the stunning Outdoor Care Retreat in order to provide those who visit its location with a natural and calming experience where they fully relax and heal from the stresses of daily city life. The structure itself appears to lean towards not just the beautiful trees, but also the bubbling sound of the Sognsvann creek. This bolsters the peaceful aesthetic of the entire space, both inside and out of the retreat itself.
Despite its apparently remote location, this retreat itself actually sits only a hundred meters down the road from Norway’s largest hospital, Rikshospitalet, which is the Oslo University Hospital. The retreat was originally built as part of a collaboration between two of the hospital’s important branches; the Department of Psychomatics and CL-Child Psychiatry.
The space is most often used in two primary ways. Firstly, many patients stay there as a quiet, semi-private place to enjoy low pressure treatment and quiet contemplation of different kinds. Secondly, many patients use the retreat as a welcoming, comfortable place to spend time with friends and relatives away from more intimidating hospital settings.
The retreats cabins are actually open to any patient connected to the hospital for their treatments or care. The retreat is not, for example, reserved for individuals who fall only into certain disease groups (even though reservations for the rooms are managed through a booking system, similarly to a leisure retreat).
In contrast to the monumental size of the main hospital, this affiliated retreat is a mere 35 square metres of space made primarily of natural materials. The buildings of the retreat itself were purposely built by designs to mimic the playfully haphazard construction of wooden stick cabins that children might make during an afternoon playing in the woods.
The purposely asymmetrically designed buildings that make up the retreat are formed as though they’re made of skewed building blocks. This includes the much larger main structure, which is expected to turn grey with time and weathering. This was purposeful too, designed to help the building begin to blend in with its beautifully natural surroundings as though it’s part of the landscape itself as well.
Because Snohetta has long made an overt commitment to creating only socially sustainable designs, particularly when building public spaces, the retreat’s cabins are entirely accessibly for users of wheelchairs and other kinds of mobility devices. The angled entrance, which is made of black zinc, is even large enough to fit whole hospital beds if necessary!
Inside, the cabin features a main room, a slightly smaller room that is most commonly used for treatment and conversation time, and a sizeable bathroom. The interiors are clad entirely in stained oak which gives a comfortable sense that the outdoors have been brought right inside. Natural colours and materials aren’t the only feature, though. In the empty movement space, colourful and uniquely shaped pillows are available to be stacked and moved around freely. This is intended to give children the chance to build forts, climb stacks, or simply lie down and enjoy a view of the trees and sky through the main room’s circular ceiling window.
Should visitors wish to actually physically open the space to nature even more than large glass windows, natural materials, and skylights already do, those windows can slide open fully. This allows damp, calming forest smells and the sounds of trickling water to wander right into the cabin, which is particularly refreshing on warm days that feature a breeze.
This cabin retreat might be a fully integrated space that operates as part of the main hospital’s campus, but its slightly more remote location allows it to feel like a place all its own. The natural aesthetics and open air spaces feel almost magical and give visitors of all ages and experiences a safe, calm place to simply breathe.
Photos by Ivar Kvaal
New learning centre of youth course providers Coding March completed by XuTai Design And Research to reflect the company’s values
By Courtney • Feb 4, 2019
In the bustling city centre of Shanghai in China, a company called Coding March, which provides young people with extensive coding courses, recently opened the doors on their new learning workspace courtesy of innovative designers at XuTai Design And Research.
Amongst their topic repertoire, Coding March provides lessons in basic programming language, scientific research, competition counselling, and even robotics! Designers wanted to ensure that the theme, atmosphere, and style of this newest workspace provided students with everything they could need to succeed in these fields while also meshing with other buildings on the Pudong campus, like the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum.
This particular learning centre in a two storey, rectangular building that features a Japanese barber shop on the ground floor. The entire second floor, however, belongs to Coding March. The goal was to create a flexible and fully equipped space in which students will experience the best possible learning conditions. Designers created spaces that could transform their function depending on the needs of students, making several multi-purpose rooms that might be lecture rooms one hour and then student exhibition rooms, reading and study rooms, or staff offices later in the day.
In terms of aesthetic, head designers felt inspired by stars and the way you can trace patterns in the stars when you look at the sky, but they sky is still always changing, evolving, and interesting to look at from different angles. They decided to make a space that, while familiar and easy to use enough to be comfortable, was also adaptable and exciting, with plenty of visual interest. That’s why they chose to use mixed materials, glass, and light with pops of bright colour.
One of the best parts about the space is that the use of shape feels almost more experiential than it does purely visual. These pods, hallways, paths, and criss-crossing spaces aren’t just designed to look cool; they’re actually meant to change how you feel and what you use your space like when you encounter new, differing areas throughout the building. The use of contrasting materials and bright shades keeps things fun and lively, helping people feel productive in their learning.
Because designers wanted to incorporate the outside facade of the building into their overall experiential vision, the barber shop has actually been included in the recent update as well. The first floor of the learning centre besides that includes a reception desk, a waiting area for parents of students, and some storage. It also features an impressive looking staircase that leads you upwards to the classrooms. The shape of the grandiose stairs greets you when you enter past the interesting pattern of the building’s exterior.
The children targets by the programs at Coding March are quite young; grades one to six, in fact. It is the hope of the designers that they visual stimulation and the immersive feel of the adaptable classrooms, as well as the way the bright green scheme mimics the lush spaces outside and other pops of colour grab attention, will encourage the kids to use all of their sense while learning. If nothing else, they’ll experience the beauty of design in their breaks between studies!
Photos by Hao Chen
Arquitectonica designs a stunning example of architectural genius for the University of Miami in the Thomas P Murphy Design Studio Building
By Courtney • Jan 23, 2019
There’s something so satisfying about a prestigious school’s design building existing as a stunning example of architectural ability itself, which is exactly the cases at the University of Miami! Located in Coral Gables, Florida, the breathtaking Thomas P Murphy Design Studio Building by Arquitectonica serves to enable and inspire students to learn and work hard in their field in order to make their grandest visions a reality.
Designed by a local firm for the University’s school of architecture, the Thomas P Murphy building was built in tribute to the father of a notable local construction company’s founder. Coastal Construction, Arquitectonica, and the architecture school at the University of Miami are no stranger to working together, so it only makes sense that the partnership resulted in something so beautiful. For example, the Arquitectonica partner in charnge of the project was also faculty at the University once upon a time, as were his parents who also originally founded his firm. The personal touch and level of care that went into this building is evident.
The first thing you’ll notice walking towards the building, before you’ve ever even taken a step inside, is the roof. Here, a massive, wonderfully curved slab of concrete covers the study spaces and their occupants. The look of the piece seems to flow in a way that’s surprising for such a large piece of such heavy material.
On one side, the edge of the lovely concrete wave extends past the edge of the building in order to provide shade for students studying and enjoying a break outside. It creates a covered patio area that runs alongside the floor to ceiling windows set into the walls for maximum natural light and sunshine where the students inside work.
The apparently raw and rather minimalist appearance of the structure itself is not unintentional. Besides the way it looks rather industrially stylish instead of unfinished, the building’s unique combination of visible glass, metal, and concrete serves as a teaching tool! Professors are able to point out some basic examples of modern architectural techniques, as well as examples of solid construction and sustainability strategies, right there in the building surrounding them.
The building itself is nestled in the centre of campus, right at an intersection where a pathway connects students to the Metrorail. Despite its quite busy location, it doesn’t appear crowded or unwelcoming; instead, it provides some sunny outdoor seating on its grassy plot on nice days.
Inside, a lobby extends right into an open concept student area intended for work, study, and group meetings. Uniquely shaped tables and chairs provide differently structured but comfortable spaces that serve all kinds of purposes, depending on the students’ needs. Throughout the rest of the space, red curtains hang from the high ceiling, letting students and profs create more private group spaces for learning and discussion.
For more formal but also hands-on projects, a square module provides students with a studio space that’s wide enough to accommodate a large variety of desk configurations. This means students can break the tables up into individualized work stations or bring them together for tasks that require more group-based seating.
The intention of creating such a diversely laid out and multi-purpose space was to create a sort of interconnected and yet specific space; a “campus within a campus”. Designers wanted to cater specifically to the needs and strengths of design and architectural students without making them feel segregated from the rest of the campus, hence the open concept spaces, outdoor social seating, and glass walls.
The Thomas P Murphy building might be pleasant to look at and functional to operate in, but its more than that as well. It’s actually a shockingly durable building for all its visual appeal! Besides the obvious strength of its concrete floor, frame, and ceiling, the building provides additional protection against Miami’s hot and wet climate in the form of hurricane-resistant panels built into its glass facade.
Additionally, this stunning building is also energy efficient! Despite the way the undulating roof wraps around one end in order to protect those inside from the heat of direct sunlight at certain points of the day, the rest of the glass facade ensures that no artificial light is actually required by those studying inside during daylight hours, making it a greener building than most.
Photographs by Robyn Hill
Stunning Hotel Hyatt Regency Andares created by Sordo Madaleno Arquitectos gives you angles and art all throughout
By Courtney • Jan 17, 2019
In Zapopan, in the lusha and gorgeous area of Jalisco in Mexico, the luxurious Hotel Hyatt Regency Andares was designed and built by Sordo Madaleno Arquitectos to provide guests with an experience that plays on the themes of high art and interesting angles all throughout the building’s structure and decor.
This “mixed-use” building is part of a visionary endeavour to reposition an area called the Peurta de Hierro zone as a new social hub and kind of urban centre in the city of Zapopan. The overall proposal, formally known as The Andares Master Plan, commenced officially in 2009 when an exciting shopping mall and an upscale residential high rise was built. Now, businesses and buildings like the beautifully structured Hotel Hyatt Regency Andares are being added as part of the plan’s initiative for expansion.
This hotel is a significant structure in the area, spanning 70,000 square metres and actually containing both a hotel and luxury apartments. The artistic looking building forms part of the new visual backdrop of the city at the same time as it forms a sort of backbone for Paseo Andares, a new road created in the city’s developing urban layout to serve several business and leisure purposes.
This building extends an impressive 41 stories upwards over the city streets. On the ground floor, a tree-lined plaza that is open to the public connects the new interior street to the world outside. Rising up from the ground like a graceful column, the hotel displays impressive facades to the north and south, enticing the gaze with expansive windows and frequent sunny terraces. Pure white concrete contrasts in a clean, beautiful way with shining black glass and aluminum from bottom to top.
Inside, the hotel occupies only 12 floors of the tower. The top 28 floors are occupied by stunning residential apartments and their respective luxury amenities. Floor 13, however, is reserved for transfer space, storage, and services used by both halves of the building. On the bottom, ground floor level, the building even features some retail space, several meeting rooms, and even a small ballroom! The hotel space additionally boasts a lounge, bar, restaurant, larger ballroom, pool, gym, and an exclusive members-only club.
In addition to the impressive art pieces scattered throughout the lobbies, retail, and social spaces, the pool is a primary visual feature on top of the way it provides entertainment. This sits on a double-height floor that is open concept, leading right into a stunning south facing terrace. Most of the art you’ll see throughout the building was created by Cesar Lopez-Negrete.
To add an extra element of special interest, the building that the Hyatt Regency Andares calls home is the second tallest hotel in the whole of Mexico, standing at 173 metres tall!
Photographs by Rafael Gamo
Hotel Monville impresses guests with sleek angles and space for art thanks to the innovations of ACDF Architecture
By Courtney • Jan 16, 2019
Amidst the urban but historical hustle and bustle of downtown Montreal, in Canada’s province of Quebec, stands the sleek and impressive Hotel Monville by ACDF Architecture.
When the architectural firm unveiled this recent project, sophistication was at the heart of their motivational tenets. The Hotel Monville is the first in a whole collection or proposed future properties, businesses, and buildings that have been planned in collaboration with the owners of Old Montreal’s Hotel Gault.
Hotel Monville opened its doors for good in March of 2018, exuding a sense of chic luxury immediately. The hotel’s lobby, rooms, and structure, feature a unique and well-balanced blend of contemporary style and historic charm that somehow also works cohesively with its urban surroundings. The aim of the hotel’s atmosphere was to harness the high-end experience offered by well known hotels like Hotel Gault but with a slightly stronger sense of the local character.
Because the hotel lies in the heart of historic Old Montreal, a stunning distinction is created the moment one sets eyes on its exterior. The building looms impressively over the smaller heritage style sites, its black and white patterned “tromp l’oeil” style facade adding depth to the skyline and giving it a striking presence. The sleekness of the buildings facade is broken halfway up by an exterior curtain that spans three storeys up like a wall, intriguing passersby and contributing to the hotel’s vibrant atmosphere both inside and out.
Inside the hotel, the entry foyer extends further into a high ceilinged lobby that is framed by beams made of warm oak and large white columns similar to those found in historic cathedrals. These columns, however, have lamp-lit bases that add a welcoming warm glow to the hotel’s inviting public spaces. To add character, large tartan sofas and leather banquets make the area one that people actually enjoy interacting in.
Extending from the designers’ goals to incorporate the building into local life, the lobby walls have been decorated with large, breathtaking black and white prints of local Montreal life throughout the years. These are part of a customized overall mural commissioned from a talented and notorious local artist named Valerie Jodoin Keating.
Because the hotel was designed to be an actual destination in itself, rather than solely a stop off in experiencing Montreal at large, it features more than just a welcoming lobby and luxury rooms. Hotel Monville also boasts several meeting rooms, an illustrious library, and a beautifully spacious rooftop terrace to be enjoyed in warm weather.
The mood and atmosphere for the hotel at large are established right from the moment guests walk through the door. This is due in part to a DJ booth built right into the oak motif in a smaller, adjoining lobby feating a bar and white terrazzo seating spaces accented with brass details. The music flows throughout the bar, a neighbouring cafe, and the main lobby itself, enticing people in from off the street and rounding out the experience while people order local cuisine at all hours.
Beyond the social spaces, guests can stay in any of the 269 rooms on the property. Here, bright floor to ceiling windows provide each suite with a stunning view of the old city surrounding them. These views have such reach that they can even be enjoyed before you’ve left the luxurious king-sized bed for the day. Ornate oak headboards, custom made furnishings, rain style showers, and Nespresso coffee machines in each room ensure comfort of the highest degree.
At the same times as it strives to integrate itself into Old Montreal life, design teams also aimed to keep things firmly in the 21st century in terms of connectivity. They made sure to incorporate all modern technological offerings and compatibilities they could think of that might enhance guests’ experiences. These include online and electronic kiosk check-in and Smart TVs that sync effortlessly with personal devices.
Hotel Monville is also the first hotel in Canada to offer autonomous robot room service delivery! These smart and efficient robots were designed by Savioke, a Californian firm. They carry food orders directly to guests’ rooms in record time. Otherwise, most products are locally produced. For example, the all natural bath products in each room were made by a Quebec company called Oneka, while staff uniforms were designed and created by a Canadian brand called Frank & Oak.
Photographs by Adrien Williams
By Courtney • Jan 15, 2019
Deep in the heart of Moscow, Russia, an innovative urban architectural firm has designed an expansive, industrial chic office space for Expert Electric Company.
The sophisticated, loft-style space comes complete with a metallic silver ceiling, some unique and cutting edge styled furnishing pieces, bright but comforting lighting, and an overall atmosphere that distinguishes the space in a huge way from your average traditional office space.
This brand new office space occupies 500 square metres in an equally new commercial building in downtown Moscow. The original vision was a loft-style office and that was undoubtedly fulfilled (and even stylistically surpassed in terms of satisfaction and expectation) by designers.
Designs started out by re-examining the concept of what a “loft” is in today’s architectural and spatial understandings. They also carefully considered how they might use texture and raw materials to create a truly unique loft space that won’t eventually feel average or banal to visit every single day for staff.
The beauty of working with industrial aesthetics in a brand new building is that the scene was already quite set. Challenges instead lay in choosing the right furnishings, decor, and accent pieces for the space to really create a cohesive visual story and give staff spaces that encourage motivation and productivity. Designs achieved this by carefully placing unique and interesting looking furniture pieces and continuing the silver theme you see on the ceiling throughout the entire space.
For good contrast and to create a focal point, designs did also challenge themselves by creating a brick wall statement piece. These materials were more difficult to come by and install specifically because the concept was such a deviation from the rest of the space’s style story. Even so, that overall impact of the finished project was worth it.
In order to bolster the installed lighting and keep the place feeling bright and cheerful, designers chose to complete the space with large windows and double-glass walls in certain spaces. Besides letting light travel effortlessly through the space, these walls also provide fantastic acoustics, making effective communication quite simple without rendering the offices loud or cluttered in an auditory sense.
Photographs by Evgeny Evgrafov
Mitsis Rinela Beach Resort & Spa, created by Elastic Architects, provides a sunset laden beach haven unlike any other
By Courtney • Jan 15, 2019
On the stunning rolling beaches of Creta, Greece, the Mitsis Rinela Beach Resort & Spa was designed and created by Elastic Architects to give guests a relaxing beachside experience that’s practically unparalleled in its beauty.
This project was actually a refurbishment endeavour. The goal of the new design was to was to bring a breath of fresh air to the front of house areas of the hotel, like the lobby, restaurant, and social spaces, as well as the beach, outdoor lounge and spa areas, and cafe. Continuous views of the gorgeous Aegean sea are paramount in every single space.
Rather than simply giving these areas a new look, designers aimed to actually elevate the hotel’s entire aesthetic and hospitality atmosphere to a whole new level. This was done in pretty, simple ways that keep elements of Greek culture, history, and style at the forefront while also concentrating on good functionality of space.
Outside, in the spaces where the view is prime and the breezes plays through the seating areas, designers played a bit of a game with light and shadow. They created lovely, relaxing lounge areas with unobstructed views of the landscape, letting natural sunlight wave and change throughout the day and also the time of year.
Natural, neutral, and local materials were purposely chosen as key elements all throughout the social spaces of the hotel. Because so much wicker is involved, in the pergola for example, beautifully textured shadows are created in a way that almost becomes part of the decorative appeal of the area. This is particularly lovely because it means the aesthetic of the space is ever-changing.
The hotel has a beach that designers atmospherically split into five areas. These include comfortable day beds, luxurious loungers, group seating areas, and cozy, shady pergolas. The natural materials that all of these features are made from creates a cohesive visual story with the seaside environment surrounding the hotel.
In the cafe, this natural, shadow play aesthetic is continued. At the edge, a bar creates a sort of spatial division between active public spaces meant for dining and socializing and the more relaxation based spaces designed for seeking peace on the beach. The open air concept and continuation of concrete, wood, and wicker let the two spaces communicate visually despite their differing intentions, creating a sort of harmony.
Even the water spaces are harmonious between and around the natural material-clad seating areas. Just feet from the seaside, a stunning fountain was placed between the lobby and the main swimming pool, both of which are surrounded by gorgeous, clean looking marble.
Photographs by Pygmalion Karatzas
By Courtney • Jan 14, 2019
In the midst of the city centre in Gurugram, India, an innovative design company called Space Matrix has created a stunning office space for contemporary clothing company Superdry.
Fashion clothing brand Superdry chose to work with Space Matrix because they actually specialize in unique office design. Both companies decided that the central inspirations for Superdry’s high quality product- Japanese graphics, fine British tailoring, and vintage Americana styling- would also work very well as uplifting themes within an office space.
The way that the incorporation of these themes into the decor scheme reflects the actual clothing created by the brand is nothing short of intriguing. The brand’s clothes are often characterized by their unique fabrics and cloth prints, authentic vintage washes, and unique detailing or tailoring. These visual effects are reflected in wall art and structural shapes all around the new offices.
From the beginning, Superdry made it clear that they’d prefer a space that looks very raw, vintage, and industrial inspired, still with a dash of contemporary style. Beyond the work spaces, the office boasts an inviting lounge room to break up the monotony of desks and computers that you’d find in more traditional office spaces.
In order to achieve a look that puts the vintage element forward, designers created a mural of the brand logo from rusted metal sheeting with a backdrop of old sleeper wood. For contrast, another wall features graphics that centre around the company’s core values: passion, creativity, quality, family, individuality, and fun!
Because Superdry sees collaboration as being beneficial and productive, they worked with designers to ensure that several shared spaces that feel comfortable, inspiring, and spacious. The aim was to let staff work together in different combinations while also motivating them with art and visuals that reflect the look and feel of the brand’s product. Designers took those ideas to the next level by also making sure those spaces are easy to maintain! They did this by sticking to a beautifully raw, industrial inspired look with a modern, artistic twist.
The raw, industrial factor that makes the shared spaces so appealing continues throughout the rest of the offices as well. The reception area, for example, has a concrete finish for the walls and floors, which contrast well with the leatherite sofa seating and other furniture pieces made from sleeper wood. Black and white portraits fill entire walls throughout the office, displaying the product beautifully and adding a personal touch to the rooms, particularly in those where neon seating pieces are situated, popping against the murals.
Photographs courtesy of Space Matrix
By Courtney • Jan 14, 2019
Located in Stockholm, Sweden, the brand new Uber Offices, designed and created by Studio Stockholm, provide employees and clients with a sense of genuine comfort and a visual inspiration all at once within their walls.
The primary intent of this design was to explicitly harness a concept that was adaptable for a busy office, represented Swedish culture and design, and still provided everything an IT company would need to work with its global design philosophies.
Both of the company’s divisions- Uber and Uber Eats- have a set of demands on their staff that require a certain physical environment, even though they operate out of the same buildings and offices. This means that the Stockholm office needed not only space for educational classes and service hubs for their drivers, but also slightly more traditional office areas for their app and web service developers, as well as their logistics and administrations staff.
At Uber offices across the world, drivers, couriers, and office workers share the same space. This is why designers in Stockholm decided to create a central hub area with the natural atmosphere of a casual but productive meeting point. This is the space where people can easily do things like seek help with the app and its uses or socialize with their colleagues over coffee on their break.
Shape and interesting lines are key themes throughout the office. Seating options, desks, and wall art are chosen specifically for their visual appeal. Many furniture features and decor details are purposely created using raw materials, including the central eye catching prints on the walls. This gives the entire office a stylishly unpolished feel, like a small startup might have, even though it’s a well established company with offices located internationally.
Photographs by Per Kristiansen
Italian designers noa* network of architecture create Gloriette, an Art Nouveau masterpiece in a darling village
By Courtney • Jan 13, 2019
In order to fill the space left in the Italian village of Oberbozen by an older hotel that was demolished, noa* network of architecture built the absolutely stunning Gloriette.
The name of this new hotel was chosen for the way the building looks like an absolute gem extending from the landscape around it. Inspired by the timeless styles typical of Art Nouveau, this building was created with the intention of building an atmosphere that takes structures and details down to a state of simplicity without sacrificing beauty, luxury, or comfort.
Structurally, designers knew from the outset that they wanted to incorporate elements typical of the local area, like arches in the facade and a hipped roof. These details have a long tradition in Oberbozen. These can be found like a common thread throughout the whole building, which boasts a garage, 25 guest rooms, a park, seven garden suites, and private gardens for each of those.
The hotel also features fantastic public spaces. These include stunning reception and lobby areas, a restaurant, and a terrace that curves gracefully outward to overlook the garden and a view beyond the horizon. The facade is unique in its window shape and structure so that an enticing kind of teaser of the unique inside is afforded from the gardens without revealing the entire effect and giving away all its surprises.
Guest rooms are located on three floors about the public and social spaces. These feature stunning black glass detail, comfortable amenities, and beautifully arched windows that capture the landscape. At the very top of the building, in the centre of the top floor, the wellness area sits nestled among the suites, appearing to float like a building all its own.
This wellness area is designed for relaxation, meditation, shared moments, and an appreciation of the view. The arch shape continues its prevalence here and bronze is introduced into the scheme of materials. The rounded shell of the area breaks away from the primary roof structure and makes a statement of architectural language.
While everything else appears quite grandiose in its sleek simplicity, designers chose to add some interior decor elements that add a bit of local kitsch and curiosity to the scheme. Unique trinkets and pieces from local flea markets are dotted around the lobbies and social spaces, as well as little treasures saved from the old hotel that stood there previously. Golden lamps hanging from various ceilings add a glint of glamour that catches the eye.
The wellness area isn’t the only part of the hotel aimed at relaxation and rejuvenation. There is also a beautiful spa that features an extravagant cantilevered pool. This area also boasts various rest areas and retreat zones that range from cozy indoor spots to exterior nooks that give guests some fresh air in more privacy.
Photographs by Alex Filz
Norway’s Ydalir Hotel created by Lund+Slaatto Architects is the first university campus hotel in the country
By Courtney • Jan 13, 2019
In Norway’s city of Stavanger, Lund+Slaatto Architects has built Ydalir Hotel, the countries first fully functioning hotel located on an actual university campus.
On the edge of the land for The University of Stavanger, the building sits steady, made from visually pleasing but durable materials. Ydalir Hotel is made primarily from brick, concrete, copper, and oak. Besides contributing well to the campus aesthetically, the hotel gives it an added revenue stream as well, boosting its small local economy and creating jobs.
The hotel consists of 59 rooms in total, a few of which are larger suites with fully functioning kitchens that have been adapted for slightly more long term stays. On the ground floor, the space is more diversified because it also features a few public rooms intended for the university’s use, like the public thesis defence room meant for PhD students.
Rather than making it a statement building, designers actually wanted to make this unique hotel blend quite cohesively with its surrounding, so they split it into three “cubic volumes” or separately standing buildings. Each one is place at a different angle, creating a unique space between them that gives the hotel rooms inside each additional sunlight and better views.
Luckily, guests don’t have to actually walk outside to get from building to building, since Norway gets quite cold in the winter. Instead, they can use the high glass bridges that form part of why the hotel is so visually unique in addition to being fantastically functional. Because the bridges are glass, they’re afforded fantastic views of the campus and its surroundings as well!
An additional ambition of this guest project was to create a durable, high quality building that will age with dignity. Part of the process of achieving this goal was was paying attention to angles right down to the millimetre during building. The places where materials shift from brick to glass on the exterior, for example, are measured extremely precisely in order to create as subtle as possible a transition between inside and outside.
Inside the hotel, warm colours and materials are used to create a sense of comfort. These schemes have a clear connection to the hotel’s surroundings through the big windows featured in the building’s facades. The actual guest rooms are characterized through the extensive use of stunning wood pieces, combined with concrete and oak parquet floors to break things up visually while still keeping that rather natural aesthetic alive and well.
Photographs by Sindre Ellingsen
Bespoke Partners Offices created by obrARCHITECTURE to motivate, inspire, and refresh on a daily basis
By Courtney • Jan 10, 2019
In the busy downtown core of San Diego, California, obrARCHITECTURE has built a stunning, brightly lit office space for Bespoke Partners that feels more like a spa retreat than a place of work.
In an innovative collaboration, obrARCHITECTURE teamed up with Studio H Design Group to collaborate on an office design for this forward thinking Californian recruiting company. This space is the corporate headquarters for all branches of the company, so productivity, comfort, and style were equally important in the list of priorities.
This entirely woman-owned and operated business is a boutique executive recruiting firm located in the city’s Little Italy nieghbourhood. The offices occupy 5,400 square feet but that entire space was recently redesigned after its original purchasing in 2016. This facelift was, of course, much more drastic than just redecorating a little or giving the walls a new coat of paint.
The luxurious interior of these offices are now a unique blend of high end marble, industrial chic looking steel and brass accents, custom designed lighting fixtures, and sliding glass doors that provide delineation but also a sense of spaciousness and shared areas. This is important, since staff often collaborate and work in various team combinations.
These glass doors were inspired by more than just a desire for widespread natural light as well. The company’s central tenet in all of their policies and goals is “transparency”, so that’s precisely what designers aimed to harness here! By including so many glass walls in the space, a sort of sound efficient but apparently open-concept atmosphere was created. This makes offices and meeting rooms appear airy and calm, letting the bright colour schemes and natural sunlight spill through from room to room in a gorgeous, cheerful way.
Perhaps the most unique aspect of the Bespoke offices is the way the company actively strives and makes space to work against common “all work and no play” mentalities. That’s why they requested that designers build a game zone right there in the office! This is accompanied by luxurious lounge areas and, on any given day, a whole workplace family of dogs running freely and happily from room to room, with lots of space to greet clients and plenty of nooks to take naps in when staff work quietly.
Photographs by Studio Maha