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  • New Porcelanosa Showroom and Dwell Architects

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     chrome tile

    Porcelanosa's beautiful West Hollywood showroom opened last week and it was the perfect place to kick-off Dwell on Design and Meet the Architects. I spent the first hour or more wandering around the showroom drooling over the beautiful displays and the latest materials. As a designer I've been working with Porcelanosa for over 5 years and through these years they've never missed a beat. They are always introducing the most beautiful tiles with the most advanced technology, at reasonable prices. And the best part is that they almost always have everything in stock.

    The chrome plated Madison Plata porcelain tile (above)is sure to add drama to any space. It's elegant, sophisticated, and just jaw dropping. Pairing it with a porcelain wood floor is great way to mix the organic and the glitz. The bathtubs and sinks are made of Krion, a matte solid-surface material, and the simplicity is stunning.

     black bathroom

    This natural stone wall tile paired with Urbatek's Max Black Nature floor tile (above) is a great combination of porcelain and natural stone. Layering natural elements with glamorous elements is the perfect way to create depth and interest in any space.  Ornate and modern decorative mirrors will really define the style in your bathroom.

    patterned tile

    The subtle pattern on the mosaic tile behind the vanity gives you the look of wallpaper, but with the durability of porcelain.  

    calacatta gold tile

    Can you believe this Calacata Gold wall and floor tile is not the real thing? This is one of the best Calacata Porcelain tiles on the market! Wood and marble is always a classic comibination and the only thing that's missing here is the modern bathroom lighting.

    porcelain mosaic

    These porcelain mosaic tiles are brilliant! Choose a light or dark grout color and watch these mosaics change faces in an instant!

    meet the architects 

    After wandering around the showroom I did get a chance to listen to a few of the Architects speak about their projects in this year's Dwell Home Tour. Shawn Bleet of OKB Architects spoke about the all the huffing and puffing the city did in regards to the exterior color and finish selections of the Avon Residence addition in Pasadena. While one of my favorite architects, Whitney Sander of Sander Architects spoke about the Green House (below) and light-gauge metal building and it's effect on the environment and your pocket!  

    modern green architecture

    We'll tell you all about Dwell on Design and the Dwell Home Tours next week!  Hope you get a chance to enjoy both of them this weekend!  And if you don't, be sure to stay tuned for our full coverage of the events!


    Images: Annie May, Sander Architects

  • Urban Gatherings: L.A. Art Walk

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    black and white photography

    People often complain that Los Angeles is so spread out and impersonal. Arguably, it might be and there is no denying it. However, there are certain events that occur throughout the city in an effort to distance itself from such an apathetic reputation. Rather than condemning the vastness of our overpopulated city, we should embrace its variety.

    The Downtown Art Walk is a free, self-guided public community event bringing together art lovers and community friends. It takes place on the second Thursday of every month. Activities occur mostly in and around the galleries located on Spring and Main streets between 2nd and 9th streets. However, there are several art related events and openings, activities, and special programming that take place all over downtown.

    The small groups that form and the conversation that occurs outside each gallery, restaurant or bar, discussing a range of art and artists, is enough to make a large city seem small.

    modern art using watercolors

    Road Trip / Watercolor, ink, gouache on paper

    The art depicted above and below are from Ching Ching Cheng, a Taiwanese born, Los Angeles based artist who works mostly in sculptural mixed media and paintings. If you like what you see, you can find her work in the DAC Gallery, located on Main Street.

    modern art using gouache

    Tenement / Gouache, pen on paper

    modern art using ink

    Invisible / Watercolor, ink, pencil on paper

    modern art using acrylic

    Cell / Watercolor, ink, acrylic on paper

    As Brent discussed recently in his post Commercial Design - Earmarking Public Art, art makes an impact not only on city urban planning and development, but it also makes a positive impact on the inhabitants of that city. Whether they're arriving at the airport and taking in the beauty of structural art or conversing with friends outside a gallery just before entering a local pub for more conversation over a drink....

    Images: LAist, Ching Ching Cheng

  • Chad Oppenheim Takes Sustainable Architecture to Wadi Rum

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    modern picture window

    I had the incredible opportunity to listen the magnificent architect Chad Oppenheim speak at Sustainability Stage at Dwell on Design this past weekend. I was completely blown away by him and could not get the images of his upcoming project in Wadi Rum out of my head so I had to share it with you!  Is this not one of the most gorgeous experiences you could ever imagine? Chad Oppenheim's competition-winning plan for a new Desert Lodge in Wadi Rum Jordan uses sustainable architecture to give travelers the luxurious opportunity to really be at one with nature. Architecture merges with the pristine setting and sweeping views of the sandstone valley to create accommodations that are both luxurious and elemental.  

    modern architecture

    The lodges are carved directly into the sandstone cliff face, using the existing geometry to create the form. The others structures are comprised of rammed earth and cement, mixed with red sand.  

    framed views

    The architecture is powerful yet minimal and really creates a sense of harmony and balance as it frames the gorgeous views. The power of nature is evident no matter which way you look. Elements of natural stone incorporated into modern landscape lighting or home decor can bring balance and harmony into your home.

    infinity pool

    “We have trained and heightened our senses to see, smell, taste, hear, and touch the mystical beauty of Wadi Rum. We tapped the inherent power of the desert through primal and instinctual design moves, informed by the forces, rhythms and patterns of nature— past, present, and future,” says Oppenheim about his creative process for the project.

    underground house

    Due to the use of natural thermal mass, artificial heating and cooling should be minimized. Utilizing local materials is a key element in sustainable architecture as well as water conservation and harvesting. In this project both of these have been given very special attention.

    cliffside home

    Water conservation and harvesting will be completely integrated into the design.

    geometric architecture

    Completion of the 47 Desert Lodges in Wadi Rum, Jordan is not scheduled until 2014. This project will forever enhance the natural beauty of the pristine landscape. Outdoor lighting is a key element in guiding you through these paths to luxurious harmony.  

    Dwell on Design was an incredible event. Listening to Chad Oppenheim speak was one of my highlights, but we will be sharing many more highlights with you throughout the week!

    Images: Oppenheim Office

      

  • Poteet Architects: Collector's Loft

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    industrial loft

    Poteet Archtects, an award winning firm based in San Antonio, turned the top of this industrial building into a modern oasis. Jim Poteet opened the office with the hope that the firm could further the sustainable revitalization of downtown San Antonio. As you can see, they are best known for the sensitive adaptive reuse of existing buildings and rigorous approach to modern interior design.

    modern white living room

    The combination of smooth surfaces with the old, industrial materials left behind from the pre-existing structure give this interior depth and character. While the sleek contemporary furniture adds modern elegance. This floor lamp would be the perfect selection to get this look.

    Basque Steel and Brushed Nickel Arc Floor Lamp

    colorful modern furniture

    Among all the clean white surfaces, you will also find lots of fun color. Adding colorful furniture or home decor is a great way to add personality to a minimalist modern space.

    modern kitchen

    Check out this perfect pendant chandelier (below) for achieving the clean and elegant look of this modern kitchen. Between the artwork, lighting and playful accents, this kitchen design is perfectly balanced.

    Dolce Capiz Shell Pendant Chandelier

    modern dining furniture

    There's no arguing that this team of architects designed this space which sits atop an industrial building, into a stylish modern loft.

    Images: Poteet Archtects

  • Modern Cabins - Small Space Summer Homes

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    Miniature Modern Cabins

    Vacation homes were once only for the rich, but modern cabins are packing big design into small footprints...and small price tags.

    As originally reported in the Los Angeles Times, students at the Woodbury University School of Architecture have proven that - with a simple storage shed, a $1,500 build-out budget, and some creative thinking - mini-cabins can achieve high design that's actually within reach. Land not included, of course.

    Under the guidance of professors Sonny Ward and Jeanine Centuori, the students were tasked with transforming 10' x 10' "over-the-counter" tool sheds into hospitable mini-cabins, affordable summer homes with light, insulation and sleeping space for two. For kicks (and added educational benefit), the professors added a wrinkle to the project: each of the three design teams were charged with incorporating a material - either wood, paper or plastic - throughout the design.

    Mini cabin interior designs

    Cabin interiors were kept understandably rustic, and with a 100 square foot footprint, space was utilized to the fullest.

    While these cabins were clearly more case study than residential solution, the project raised an interesting point. There are tons of ideas circulating for prefab vacation homes that are affordable, design savvy, and can handily withstand the rigor of part-time use.

    Check out this shipping container solution by Texas-based Poteet Architects, utilizing a durable steel shipping container as it's structure: 

    Shipping container architecture

    Clean and unobtrusive, use modern close to ceiling lights to open up the constrained feeling of a small space. 

    Affordable shipping container home

    Modern prefab homes have been a boom industry for a few years now, because they're relatively easy to deploy. This Sommerhaus Piu Prefab Vacation Home by German industrial designers Patrick Frey and Björn Götte is billed simply as "affordable." We might add stunning to that description.

    modern prefab homes

    The use of wall lights and small contemporary sconces keep limited airspace clean and clutter-free while stowing away neatly in the kitchen.

    Modern prefab vacation homes

    And for those who are looking for the turn-key approach, there's this contemporary loft design by Zenkaya:

    Prefab modern cabin

    Summer is just around the corner. When your wanderlust kicks in, consider surveying the landscape for a location that's amenable to housing modern cabins. Look for level ground and affordable property prices in areas within a days drive or train ride from home. Drop a design-savvy structure on top and you're ready to vacation in style. And should you ever need a house sitter, you know where to find us.

     Images: Los Angeles Times, Home Dsgn, the Coolist, Zenkaya

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