The SOL Dome by Loop.pH

Loop.pH have designed the SOL Dome as part of the Fall In…Art & Sol Festival that is currently on throughout Michigan’s Great Lakes Bay Region.



Fall In…Art & Sol is a celebration of art, culture and science throughout Michigan’s Great Lakes Bay Region featuring the world’s first major solar art exhibition with International artists in October 2013.

Loop.pH constructed the first ever SOL Dome together with a group of local volunteers for the Fall In..Art and Sol Festival.

The SOL Dome is a lightweight dome structure, 8 metre in diameter, 4 metre high and weighing only 40 kg. Its fabricated onsite over 3 days from thousands of individually woven circles of composite fibre. The structure is animated and part of a responsive lighting system, lit by a circular matrix of solar powered LED floodlights. The rotary breathing rhythm of the light is driven by an onsite CO2 sensor and is part of ongoing research into creating environments that allow people to experience environmental data in public space.

Our work at Loop.pH speculates on what the future of renewable energy could be and how it may alter both the urban and rural landscapes. We create environments that question what new behaviours, work forces and activity might emerge in an abundant renewable energy world.

The underlying geometry and construction technique is based on chemical, molecular bonds between carbon atoms. The taut structure of the SOL Dome embodies a kinetic energy whereby each fibre bent into a circle is like charging a battery.

Ultimately, we have a vision for an entirely new type of architecture that responds and adapts to its environment, similarly to a plant and its surrounding ecosystem. We dream of a living architecture that photosynthesises, moves and orientates in accordance to the sun. It is an architecture whereby the inhabitants can actively participate in its shape, form and function.

You can watch a video of the SOL Dome – here

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Design: Loop.pH

Center for Manufacturing Innovation by Brooks + Scarpa

Brooks + Scarpa have designed the Center for Manufacturing Innovation in Monterrey, Mexico.



Located in Mexico’s Research Park for Technical Innovation (PIIT), a science and technology park, which is a partnership between government, universities and the private sector to seek economic growth through technical innovation. The 1000 hectare campus is host to more than 50 research centers devoted to R&D as well as the development of technology innovation in nanotechnology, biotechnology, mechatronics and advanced manufacturing, information technology, clean energy and advanced materials development.

Metalsa SA began as a family-owned company, founded by Guillermo Zambrano Gutierrez in 1956 that manufactures chassis and structural body components worldwide for a variety of heavy trucks and pickups in facilities located in the USA, China, Japan and India. Today the company has manufacturing facilities located around the world and boasts several major automotive corporations as their clients, including Ford and Toyota.

Industrial buildings of this type are rarely a model for workplace innovation. They are typically a direct, and often nefarious programmatic response to the function inside with little consideration for the occupants needs. The approach to this project was to preserve the integrity of a high bay industrial facility and program, while providing a model environment for the users and visitors.

A saw-toothed roof draws from the geometry of old factories and the surrounding Monterrey Mountains. The angled elements of the roof provide abundant natural daylight to the spaces below at the building’s northernmost elevations. By modulating space and light thru a fractured roof geometry, the building is able to maintain a rational plan to meet the rigorous requirements of the program, while providing a strong connection to the landscape both visually and

The second major feature of the building is the perforated metal skin that clads the entire façade. The custom aluminum skin is both perforated and etched. It incorporates interplay of solid and void, orchestrating areas of both light and shadow, while limiting views into the research areas, necessary to protect proprietary trade secrets. Thus, the industrial program has been transformed from a black box environment to a light filled space with a strong visual connection to the
outside. Each of these strategies and materials, exploit the potential for performance and sensibility while achieving a rich and interesting sensory and aesthetic experience.

Programmatically, the building is divided into two volumes – warehouse/labs and offices functions. The upper story of the offices cantilever over the lower story to the west and is clad in a highly perforated metal skin and is the main entry facade. The lower story is mainly glazed and open to reveal portions of the research laboratory, machine room and other industrial functions not requiring visually security. From the exterior, the warehouse appears to float lightly over the
mechanical and intellectual heart of the program, reversing the notion that an industrial building should be solid and protected. Rather, the building seems very open and is intended to feel vulnerable revealing parts of its inner program to public view.

The main entry of the building is located at the northwest corner under the cantilevered volume. It is flanked by a sunken garden to the north, which is overlooked by the surrounding offices. The garden connects to the adjacent water reclamation wetland for the entire PITT campus. A large operable door located off the entry in the main public space opens to the garden outside.

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Architect: Brooks+Scarpa

Soft Lights by Rainer Mutsch

Austrian designer Rainer Mutsch has created a series of lights made from fiber cement for manufacturer Molto Luce.



Each individual luminaire shade is moulded manually from soft fibre cement: the shades get their stability through their slightly rippled geometry which eventually leads to a minimum of material thickness.

Fibre cement, originally developed by Eternit, is produced eco-friendly from natural resources like water and cellulose fibers. The material is highly durable and non-flammable.

The Soft series consists of a wall light, a bar pendant light and a large pendant light.

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Designer: Rainer Mutsch
Manufacturer: Molto Luce

Winners Named in 2013 Marvin Architect’s Challenge

Marvin Windows and Doors unveiled ten stellar winners of the Marvin Architect’s Challenge this month, representing the best examples of solution-driven design, innovation, classic beauty and sustainability.

The entries reflected amazing talent and diverse aesthetics, ranging from a “house in the trees” with organic architecture and one-of-a-kind curved windows to a “patchwork-style barn home” with modern touches.

Casey Key Bay House


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The Casey Key Bay House, or “House in the Trees” designed by Sweet Sparkman Architects evokes organic architecture punctuated by one-of-a-kind Marvin windows curved with the wall and ceiling.


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The large custom windows create a seamless transition from nature to the inside of the home, adding to the treehouse-esque concept.


Bragg Hill House


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Bragg Hill house by Moger Mehrhof Architects embodies the true farmhouse style and was built to incorporate sustainability while taking advantage of the natural terrain.


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Moger Mehrhof Architects believes that buildings should retain connections to nature, and they achieved this with custom windows that bring in light while maximizing energy efficiency.


Folly Farm

Folly Farm, a contemporary farmhouse-style home was voted best in show by the panel of judges, comprised of experienced architects and designers. A unique mix of rugged and contemporary, Folly Farm by Dale Hubbard of Surround Architecture combines old and new to achieve a clean look that’s still full of character. As the judges’ choice winner, Folly Farm architects will enjoy an interview and two-page spread feature in the October 2013 issue of Dwell magazine.


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The mixture of forms and styles exhibited in Folly Farm create a fantastic variety of spaces, and the windows pull together the unique architecture.


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Custom mullions, extra large transoms and specially ganged units offered by Marvin helped match the balance of modern and antique styles.


Rose Cottage Project

For the first time this year, the Architect’s Challenge also featured a Showdown component where the public voted for a people’s choice winner to attend the 2013 Reinvention Symposium in San Francisco. Rose Cottage Project by The HL Turner Group Inc. won this year’s honor. The residence is a zero net energy, sustainable home built within a reasonable budget to incorporate multiple themes of long life-cycle value.


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The Rose Cottage Project by The HL Turner Group INC is located in a rural neighborhood in the capital city of Concord, New Hampshire.


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One of the first net zero homes in northern New England, the house occupies a 2.12-acre buildable-land footprint surrounded by 6.74 acres of conservation easement land.


For a slideshow of all winning entries, please click on the photos or visit the Marvin Architect’s Challenge for more information on a particular project.


Batts Hall.


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Batts Hall by Janes Architectural and Adam Architecture is a fantastic interpretation of centuries-old architecture without just mimicking it. This home is influenced by the Arts & Crafts style homes of the early 1900s, and the Clad Ultimate Push-Out Casement system is used to maintain the style with custom windows while also providing practicality and efficiency.


Highland View Residence


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Highland View Residence by Carlton Architecture + Designbuild is a great modern house located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The windows provide large expanses of glass walls, essential to connecting with the surrounding landscape.


The LenFest Management and Preserve Center


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The LenFest Management and Preserve Center by Archer & Buchanan Architecture, LTD. is a 10,000 square-foot facility designed to promote the preservation and maintenance of natural resources. The overall beauty, sustainability and long-term quality were the primary concerns of the build, and Marvin windows met the architect’s requirements for extensive daylight, beautiful views and profiles contributing to the traditional and agrarian design aesthetic.


Lyme Guesthouse


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Lyme Guesthouse by David Mansfield Architecture & Design PC is a pool house for guests that morphed into a “modern barn” retreat using natural materials, flexible interior spaces and simple, honest design elements influenced by Japanese culture. The Marvin windows and doors created a focal point by mimicking classic barn features with a modern twist.


The Marquette Park Pavilion


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The Marquette Park Pavilion by BauerLatoza Studio is a Prairie style park structure restoration of an original design by George Maher & Son in 1926. Custom Marvin windows helped honor the historic style and configuration of the iconic building on the beaches of Lake Michigan.


Santa Rita Cottage


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Santa Rita Cottage by Fergus Garber Young Architects is a charming guest cottage with an indoor/outdoor design that creates seamless transitions between the interior and exterior. Durability and scale was important for window choice, and the customizable options allowed for fluidity and openness.


Vermont Mountain House


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Vermont Mountain House by MGA | Marcus Gleysteen Architects is a lodge-like residence designed to take full advantage of its mountainous surroundings. The design, including the windows and doors, embraces materials, methods and forms of traditional northeastern rural building, but with a clean, definitive twist.


This post has been sponsored by Marvin Windows & Doors.

Jasper Place Branch Library by Hughes Condon Marler and Dub Architects

Hughes Condon Marler together with Dub Architects have designed the Jasper Place Branch Library in Edmonton, Canada.



A shortlisted project for the World Building of the Year 2013, Jasper Place Library is a joint-venture between HCMA and Dub Architects.

The City of Edmonton aspired to create an open and memorable presence in the community with the replacement Jasper Place Library. The City required a sustainable design to fulfill present and future library needs and uses, to welcome all demographics and to accommodate future reorganizations of the collection and reading areas.

What is a Library that has no books?

This is the central question that informed the design of the Jasper Place Branch Library. This project, one of many branch libraries within the Edmonton Public Library’s system, replaced an earlier small library which was located on the same site. The client’s goals focused upon providing a new social heart within an older suburban neighbourhood while providing a flexible building that responds to the dramatic changes currently taking place within the delivery of library services. While it is debatable whether or not books will completely disappear from our libraries it is clear that the size and nature of the collections they house is changing and that within the life span of this building the needs of the collection will be much different than it is today. In fact due to a variety of factors including e-books and the access to online information, the collection has already reduced significantly. While the new library is twice in area to the library it replaced the number of items in the collection has in fact reduced. This highlights the change in focus from the imperatives of the collection to maximizing the potential for social space. It is our view that in order to respond to changing needs the Library of the Future needs to be designed to maximize its social potential. This was what drove the design of this project.

The library is organized by a large flexible social space that is sheltered by a column-free undulating roof form. This space incorporates a continuous raised floor that allows for flexibility over time and eliminated the need for services at the roof level. The social space in turn folds up from the ground place allowing for the insertion of “back of house” functions beneath a raised portion of the social space. Stairs (one of which also acts as both social space and informal amphitheatre) are located at each end of the upper level and form a continuous circulation loop. An outdoor terrace extends the public space at the south side of the upper level. The needs of the social spaces were given priority in the planning with the collections being used to define and enhance the social needs. The movement of the roof form creates differing characters and spatial conditions that help to define use. The overall result is an open, inviting and memorable public space that provides a strong public presence in a neighbourhood that has lacked meaningful indoor public space.

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Design: Hughes Condon Marlet and Dub Architects
Photography: Hubert Kang

Pure White by Susanna Cots

Barcelona-based Susanna Cots has designed the interiors of a house in Almuñecar, Granada.



Pure white. This is how this project was named where white is the star. White as the sum of all the colours of the light is the starting point of this amazing project: a house by the sea on the top of a cliff blessed with natural light. The owners wished for white and comfort to reign throughout the entire house.

The house is divided into five areas. The service area is projected to house up to five people and the decoration and furniture are all designed in white. The kids wing that includes the childrens rooms and a sitting room is the only part of the house with brushestrokes of colour.

The daytime zone that includes the dining room and living room areas was projected in a way that the exterior seems to spill into the house so when relaxing on the sofa one is invaded by the intense blue of the sea, which embraces the whole living area as well as the kitchen.

The upper part of the building houses a cube that locates the main suite. The room is decorated totally in white except for the bathroom, which is designed in deep dark basalt stone, and a black carpet that crosses the room. Several objects in distressed silver such as a mannequin and decorative frames on top of the boudoir also provide minimal touches of colour to the space.

Finally, the guest area on the ground floor next to the swimming pool is floored with the same material as the outdoor to integrate both areas even more, so that fuse in one essence.

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Design: Susanna Cots
Photography: Mauricio Fuertes

Recycled Silk Chair, Ottoman & Stool by Meb Rure

Istanbul-based designer Meb Rure has created a recycled silk chair, ottoman and stool.



Fabric waste into the end material… This ecological furniture family consist of chair, ottoman and stool which are made of American white oak and recycled silk yarns from Nepal.

The ethnic-inspired design aims to bring warm and cheerful atmosphere to spaces. Colorful silk balls filled with sponge inside also provide a comfortable sitting experience. To decrease the carbon footprint while transporting legs are designed to easily assemble and disassemble even by one hand.

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Designer: Meb Rure

National Library of Sejong City by Samoo Architects & Engineers

Samoo Architects & Engineers have designed the National Library of Sejong City, Korea.



The branch library of the National Library of Korea and the first of its regional library will be built in the Sejong City. The ‘E-BRARY’, a compound word of Emotion and Library, implies a library that accommodates digital in the analog form while reflecting the human touches. Grounded on three strategy concepts of the ‘emotional shape, emotional space and emotional experience’, the National Library of Sejong City aims to be not only a research-oriented library but also an open library to the inhabitants.

Off to the north of the land connected from the central office building to the central park lies the main entrance and exit for the pedestrian access. The central square and the pedestrian plaza in the west forms an open space centered on pedestrians in connection with the cultural facilities in the surroundings. The water park in the east and the neighborhood park in the south are connected with a circulation type green area.

In the outside space stands the book theme park and the sculpture park in consideration of the wedge type green axis directed to the city from the central park. Its shape sitting softly on the pine tree hills and a pond if the first page is being turned exudes the sensitivity feel. Such design has stemmed from the image that the information is being transferred to become the icon that signifies the dynamic city.

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Architect: Samoo Architects & Engineers
Photography: Young Chae Park

Albizia House by Metropole Architects

Metropole Architects have designed the Albizia House in Simbithi Eco-Estate in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.



We were commissioned to design a contemporary family home on a one acre site, situated at the end of a spur, in Simbithi Eco-Estate. The client’s brief called for a home with an overriding sense of simplicity but with a high degree of sophistication.

All the living areas and bedroom suites face onto a panoramic vista, which includes a dense forest down-slope from the house.

The palette of natural materials including timber screens, decking and cladding, off-shutter concrete and stone cladding juxtapose with the aggressive architectural form making, creating a home that is not only visually and spatially exciting, but also comfortable and intimate.

The extensive use of water in the design of the home includes a 25 metre lap pool with a glass panel between the water and the basement cinema room, and a shallow but expansive reflective pond on the approach side, which mirrors the building day and night, and evokes a sense of tranquility.

The architectural style of the home is heavily influenced by the ‘Googie’ architecture of the American architect John Lautner. The origin of the name ‘Googie’ dates to 1949, when architect John Lautner designed the West Hollywood coffee shop, ‘Googies’, which had distinct architectural characteristics.

‘Googie’ architecture is a form of modern architecture and a subdivision of futurist architecture with stylistic conventions influenced by, and representing 50’s American society’s fascination and marketing emphasis on futuristic design, car culture, jets, the Space Age, and the Atomic Age.

‘Googie’ was also characterized by design forms symbolic of motion, including upswept roofs, curvaceous geometric shapes, and the bold use of glass, steel and neon, the spirit of which is embodied in Albizia House.

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Architect: Metropole Architects
Interiors: Union 3
Contractor: East Coast Construction
Photography: Grant Pitcher

Front to Back Infill by Colizza Bruni Architecture

Colizza Bruni Architecture have designed a semi-detached house in Ottawa, Canada.



Front to back infill is an animated, front to back semi-detached which boasts two small yet spacious light-filled homes. The design was a collaboration of two architects, each designing one of the homes, and working together to fuse the two designs seamlessly into one another. The approach was to situate the two homes front to back instead of the traditional side to side. One home would face the street and engage the public realm, while the other would inhabit the private realm of the rear yard. Each unit is designed to take advantage of its exclusive position on the site resulting in two unique homes with their own distinctive character and personality.

The challenge for this project was to design two small and affordable homes for two separate owners on a narrow 25’ x 80’ lot slotted between existing houses. The new front to back semi allowed each owner to maintain separate ownership and split the land cost to make the project affordable. The use of economical materials and simple details were essential to developing a contextual design as well as maintaining an economical budget.

The site is located on the edge of a working class neighbourhood and steps from the Parkdale Farmer’s Market in Ottawa’s community of Hintonburg. The neighbourhood is made up of modest 19th century worker’s houses interspersed with remnants of light industrial buildings which influenced the formal gestures and materiality inspiring a dialogue between the semi and its context.

Sustainability starts with the decision to design two small compact houses in lieu of one large home. The front to back semi allows for an increase in two new affordable residences in a sustainable community and promotes responsible growth in a compact walkable urban center.

The primary form of the building began as a simple 3 storey box at the rear of the lot (the back unit) with a second box grafted onto the front (the front unit). The front box was raised on stilts to allow for parking and a separate access to the back unit. It was then sculpted and fragmented to reflect the proportions of the existing houses. The two homes were wrapped with metal and plywood inspired by the site’s industrial context.

From the ground floor level of the front unit, stairs rise in front of a floor-to-ceiling window and takes you up to the primary living level raised 1 storey above the street. On the main living level, a fully glazed south wall opens onto a large cantilevered terrace providing an interstitial space between the private realm of the house and the public realm of the street. Sculptural cabinets wrap the living space, sinking down to act as a low commode as they pass the dining area, then morph seamlessly into the raised hearth of the minimalist fireplace box. Sheets of transparent glass separate the stairs (both entry and upper) allowing light from the third floor skylight to wash the walls and enliven the space.

The rear unit celebrates the integrity of its 3 storey box with a dramatic double volume space that connects the kitchen and dining area on the first floor with the living room mezzanine on the second floor to make one continuous and playful space with visual connections and multiple vantage points. Large windows fill the double volume space allowing substantial northwest light to animate the space with multiple shadows on the sculptural white walls. Simple cantilevered maple stairs connect the three levels of the home behind a metal veil that subtly screens the stair from the rest of the house. The room focusing minimalist firebox in the mezzanine rests on a raised concrete hearth maintaining the textures and materiality of the kitchen below.

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Architects: Colizza Bruni Architecture Inc. / James Colizza & Anthony Bruni
Photography: Peter Fritz

Midvale Courtyard House by Bruns Architecture

Bruns Architecture have designed the renovation of the Midvale Courtyard House in Madison, Wisconsin.



Balancing the introverted nature of a courtyard with the bold personality of an extrovert all while managing matters of privacy, this renovation builds on its solid mid-century roots. Located on a busy boulevard in the state’s capital, the 1,685 sf half-century old ranch home was confined and uninviting, leaving its spaces dark and disconnected from the site. The renovation and 840 sf addition of Midvale Courtyard House adds a proper entry, elevated master suite, and covered parking, but also pierces and stretches the solid forms to create connection between indoor and outdoor spaces.

Set back on its lot, the house is buffered from the busy street traffic. But the adjacent neighbors are closely spaced, challenging the notion of opening the interior to light and views. By creating a series of private outdoor rooms, the interior spaces visually extend beyond their original boundaries. As a result, the plan becomes a collection of independent wings each with a heightened focus on their unique programmatic requirements. Taller ceiling heights are created in the public living wing by affixing the new second floor above the original ceiling height, allowing light to penetrate deeper into the main level.

One’s experience is choreographed through a sequence of private courtyards and interior zones. A series of site walls with varying levels of opacity organize pathways, linking the exterior rooms and providing access throughout the plan. Composed with its own courtyard, the new entry and vertical circulation component reorients the house’s façade while integrating the new motor court with the main structure. The geometry of the new entry is extruded into the main form to organize the kitchen on the first floor and master bath on the second floor. On the main level, the wood floor transforms into the ceiling surface. And in the master bath an exotic wood ribbon folds up and over itself, defining a spa-like wet zone. Sitting above the neighboring houses, the new master suite includes a private courtyard terrace. A partial height privacy wall creates intimacy while masking the adjacent rooftops, leaving only views to the mature tree canopies beyond.

The building’s envelope is upgraded with new insulation and roof assemblies. Energy efficient mechanical systems replace outdated infrastructure. The new insulated, low-e glazed fenestration naturally illuminates interior spaces, and all supplemental lighting is upgraded with energy efficient fixtures and lamps.

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Architecture: Bruns Architecture
Interior Designer: MANI & Company
Photography: Tricia Shay Photography

Naramata Cabin by Robert Bailey Interiors

Canadian interior designer Robert Bailey has sent us images of a house he has completed in Naramata, British Columbia, Canada.



Perched on the shores of beautiful Lake Okanagan, this Naramata vacation home is a family’s “dream-come-true.”

Inspired by client sketches and the surrounding geography, the project was designed from the ground up. The result is a modern home that remains true to the idea of “cabin,” being humble and unpretentious.

We used French oak on the ceiling and floors, the pre-distressed, fumed planking provided relaxed yet durable surfaces. Forgiving, not precious, it is the strongest design material in the home. Our goal for the furnishings was to achieve a sense
of simple luxurious comfort, that feels curated rather and designed.

Blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor living, the home is relaxing, durable, and rugged, with a defined purpose of summertime pleasure.

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Interior Design: Robert Bailey Interiors
Photography: Josh Dunford

Alaloum Board Game Cafe by Triopton Architects

Triopton Architects have designed the Alaloum Board Game Cafe located in a suburb near Athens, Greece.

You can watch a video walk-through of the cafe – here.



Alaloum Board Game Cafe is located in Nea Filadelfeia, a suburb in north east of Athens, and addresses board game lovers. According to Triopton ?rchitects, “the very specific function of board gaming inspires and determines the design concept.”

The café is developed in two levels of total space of 160 sq.m. The concept behind the café is mainly focusing on preserving and enhancing the strict geometries of the structure, thus creating a welcoming, yet submersive environment influenced by the creative imagination and variegation of a board game. “Our intention was to create a relaxing atmosphere by using both natural and building materials, adding colour to them, and using contrasts.”

One of the dominant features is the game-library, which is made of red steel and wooden boxes and rises prominently to 5.50 meters. Another significant feature is the red metal ladder made of tensile perforated steel grid. The handmade colorful metal lamps, which were designed by the architects for the light requirements, are hanging from bronze water pipes, also stand out. These lighting elements not only satisfy the basic lighting needs but highlight also the building elements and the intense colored decorations on both the walls and the ceilings.

Great emphasis was placed on reusing the pre-existing building materials, which resulted in white-painted brick walls coming in contrast with the raw metal colored lamps and the black-painted ceiling. The concept of the game is emphasized by representations of games on the walls, colorful details on the furniture and the checkerboard floor. The blackboard walls are decorated with vibrant color shapes and are painted in such ways that turn this café into a school classroom evoking childhood memories.

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Architectural Design: Triopton Architects
Photography: Dimitris Kleanthis

Chimenti Table by Alcarol

Italian design studio Alcarol have created Chimenti, a table made from old Oak pilings and resin.

You can watch a video about the table – here



Chimenti table is an emblematic work of this method: we reuse wood of Venetias poles named bricole, high quality oak and considerable sizes, timber which was sourced for its uniformity and then tempered by salt, by water and sun cycles, by cold and by warmth. This wood is sculpted by molluscs and become, with time, a totally unique wood, precious, romantic and noble thanks to its own intrinsic features and to its historical weight.

Chimenti is made of three oak planks obtained by a Venetian bricola plainsawn, undergo accurate and painstaking washing, cleaning, drying and disinfection procedures, and finally submerged in a special resin with an elaborate and patient craftsmanship.

The bricole’s external surface is left intentionally intact, in order for the markings left by tides and molluscs to act as reminders of the Venetian sojourn of this characteristic and precious recovered timber.

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Design: Alcarol