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  • Starchitect Modernist Service Stations

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    Foster & Partners modernist gas station

    When one thinks of the quintessential examples of Modernist design, one doesn't usually think of the roadside service station. And yet, look at the gas stations in almost any flyover town and you'll see the undeniable signature of modernist design philosophy: an emphasis on function, a simplification of form and a reduction of extraneous ornamentation. This philosophy is particularly well-suited to the gas station, a venue that ostensibly provides two services to the road-weary traveler: automobile re-fueling and restrooms.

    You'll see something else too: the insertion of brand identity directly into the architecture itself. Case in point: white, orange and red canopies serve as the focal point of Norman Foster's Repsol service stations throughout Spain. The design is directly in line with the brand's tri-color scheme. From a roadside standpoint, it is strikingly bold, broken up only slightly by the need for lighting fixtures overhead. In a case like this, recessed lighting does the trick discreetly and elegantly.

    Eliot Noyes Mobil stations

    Don't credit Foster with the canopy-as-branding concept however. The idea of branding a company through its physical touchpoints, especially in the case of the service station, goes back to industrial designer Eliot Noyes. Noyes began his career as a curator of industrial design at MoMA in New York, but later worked in the 1960s as a design consultant with IBM and Exxon Mobil. He is credited for creating Exxon Mobil's iconic round gas station canopies (below), providing a memorable modernist touch to distinguish Exxon Mobil from the more traditional gas station designs scattered across the United States. 

    Aside from the company-wide design campaigns above, the last 60 years have also seen a handful of one-off service stations designed by some of the biggest names in architecture, including Mies van der Rohe, Albert Frey and Arne Jacobsen. Perhaps it's no coincidence that the gas station has attracted such starchitects. Modernism and the automobile shared a golden age for nearly 25 years from the late 1940s through the 1960s. 

    Los Angeles googie architecture

    Jack Colker's Beverly Hills Union 76 station (above) is an example of the space-age branch of Modernism common during this period known as Googie architecture. His design is a star in a city full of them.

    When the stars head east to Palm Springs for a winter getaway, they're greeted by a similar triangular themed Modernist design by Albert Frey (below).

    Albert Frey Palm Springs architecture

    No discussion of Modernism is complete however without mention of the great European designers. Mies van der Rohe's Nun's Island gas station (below) in Canada is a perfect example of his stark design style, unabashedly reminiscent of his iconic Seagram Building in Manhattan.

    Mies van der Rohe architecture

    Looking through these designs, you may have noticed that most architects have worked with simple fluorescent lighting fixtures. They're energy efficient and throw out plenty of light. But they're not the only option out there. This Texaco gas station (below) by celebrated Danish architect Arne Jacobsen in Skovshoved, Denmark, breaks the pattern with some beautiful streamline uplight wall sconces. Today, there are plenty of modern outdoor lighting products available to help you break the fluorescent tube trend. 

    Danish modern architecture

    The designs above span over half a century of Modernism. Looking to the future of gas station design, we return to Southern California, the center of global car culture to discover that visionary gas station design, and the belief that it can have a positive impact on brand identity, is still in full effect. The eco-friendly BP Helios House is doing its share to reverse much of the damage fossil fuels have caused in recent decades.

    The Helios House station is a model of sustainable design. It collects, filters and reuses water runoff; collects solar energy with 90 solar panels spread throughout the property; it's built from recycled and renewable materials; and it's designed with carefully planned angles and a rooftop drought tolerant garden to minimize urban heat island impact.

    Clearly there is reason to hope that, as cars look to be cleaner in the future, the stations that service them will too.

    Images: Foster & Partners, Flavorwire, Matchstic, Los Angeles Times, Architizer, We Are Private, Azure Magazine

  • Contemporary Office Design: Magazine Wall

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    Yellow conference room chairs

    Innovative design is what we here at Euro Style Lighting Home Blog keep our ears and eyes out for. Swedish architect Elding Oscarson was given the task of designing the interior office space and design identity for graphic design firm, Oktavilla which is also located in Sweden. Identidy and innovation go hand in hand. That being said, Oscarson decided to create a unique focal point that created both design interest within the office space, but also a design identity for the firm.

    Wall made out of magazines

    One wall in the office, the wall between the meeting room and open plan workstations, was built out of old magazines. Bound into small stacks, the colorful magazines perform in much the same way as bricks, creating a functional sound-barrer wall. The colorful chairs help pull out some of the color from the magazine spines. Colorful modern furniture is always a fun way to add interest to any space. Keeping the lighting design simple by using track lighting will help keep a space open.

    Bound groups of old magazines

    The colourful magazine spines create a unique textural, patterned wall that acts as a centerpiece of the office. In our opinion, Oscarson went above and beyond the task of creating both stylish interiors and a design identity for this smart graphic design firm.

    Images: Elding Oscarson

  • BaseCamp: rustic modern boutique hotel

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    Gray and Orange hotel room

    BaseCamp Hotel is a boutique hotel located in Lake Tahoe. It reflects exactly what you might think from its name, the ideals and adventures of a base camp. A comfortable place where travelers can share stories and tips in communal spaces, rest up, and prepare for a day of exploration. Walk out the door and you're in the heart of South Lake Tahoe, just a five minute walk from exploring until your hearts content. The location is perfect, the price is affordable, and the design is a winner!

    Lofted Bunk Beds

    The wood clad wall, plaid wool blankets, raw wood table, and that adorable orange lantern table lamp combine to create the perfect rustic modern cabin feel. Whether you're traveling with children, friends, or small groups the bright orange lofted bunks are such a great solution to accommodate six people and really make you feel like you're at summer camp!  

    Modern Orange Artwork

    The orange desk chair works like a piece of art against this modern walnut desk (above). The deep red orange is very sophisticated and brings a lot of energy to this neutral room. The use of orange accent furniture provides bursts of color in any space and creates a very lively and playful effect. 

    industrial bathroom lighting

    Industrial modern bathroom lighting fixtures is a great way to define style in any space.

     Graphic Shower Curtain

    The bathrooms are not overly designed, but very simple and elegant with playful pops of orange. I am completely in love with this graphic shower curtain! I wonder where I get one for my house?! The natural oak vanity, industrial bathroom lighting, and white brick patterned tile give you that classic rustic modern feel that works so perfectly in the setting of Lake Tahoe.

    Hotel Room with a view of Lake Tahoe

    Map of Lake Tahoe

    The hotel doesn't open until June 20th, 2012 but I'd book a room now if you want to enjoy your wonderful summer getaway at BaseCamp! I know I do! Just look at all the exploring that's waiting for you!

    Image Source: BaseCamp Hotels

  • Rustic Cottage Meets Modern Glass Home

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    Modern glass house

    Normally, when a home is purchased furniture is simply moved in, the house is renovated or the house is demolished and re-built. In this case, the scenario was none of the above. When the current owners, a banker and an antique book collector bought this land in Vilnius, Lithuania, all that existed was a little yellow brick cottage.

    Modern residential staircase

    They removed the yellow paint and were surprised to see the gorgeous, timeless Vilnius bricks. Not wanting to destroy the history of this one-time cannon foundry as well as needing much more space, they decided to restore the old structure and build a glass house around it to showcase the history.

    As you can see, situated behind the added staircase (above), the dining room is part of the new structure, but features a backdrop of the vintage brick with up-lighting. Large pendant lighting helps balance any space when you're dealing with a mix of large and small scales, like with this home. The dining area is small, but the overall structure is large.

    Mixed materials for a modern home

    There's nothing more artistic than combining materials in a cohesive manner, and this is especially true in architecture. This is a great shot into the belly of the added staircase, showing all the elements of this structure. With such a beautiful backdrop, a wide range of modern furniture can be used to design spectacular interiors in this amazing home.

    For more images of this home within a home, visit Trendir

    Images: Trendir

  • Unique Bathroom Designs

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    Modern bathroom with curved walls

    A modern bathroom design doesn't always have to fit within the box.When you approach the design with a clear and open mind you open up a whole new world of possibilities! This Flaming Lips bathroom takes things to a place deep within the imagination to a place Wayne Coyne describes as "... the drug damaged, artist element of our home". The soft curves wrapped in penny round tiles feel as if you're going on an adventure into some unknown territory. You can discover something new with each journey into this futuristic bathroom.

     White Brick Tile on Bathroom Walls

    This exquisite bathroom takes you to a different era. It's a mixture between Louis XVI classic French style and the modernist elements of Jonathon Adler. The bold orange, classic white tile, and gold gilded accents bring incredible amounts of style and life into this room. The use of contemporary gold accent furniture is an elegant touch in any bathroom.

      Graffiti walls in bathrooms

    From classic to street, this use of graffiti in a small powder room is a great way to infuse your true personality into a space. The words are written backwards, but can be read when looking in the mirror on the back of the door. Gold accents always look great when mixed with bold black and white pattern or graphics.

    Graphic Mosaic Walls in Bathroom

    Whoever is bathing in this yellow submarine sure is lucky. Have you ever seen more extensive tile work in the bathroom? "The Yellow Submarine Crash-Lands on Gaudi’s Beach House in “Brazil”, now imagine that while soaking in this tub. Close to ceiling lights are a key element in bringing these vibrant colors to life. The lighting looks as if the sun is shining into the sea. The tiles towards the bottom get less light and darker in color so it appears as if you're really floating around at the bottom of the sea.

    Clawfoot Bathtub

    If you want to bring life into a room, then it's as simple as incorporating a plantwall into your space. The freestanding tub with shower column and no curtain really give you the effect of an outdoor shower in a garden. The green mosaic tile mimics the plantwall and is able stay consistent with the aesthetic of the space. Sleek and modern bath lighting is a great way to to incorporate a bit of the unexpected into such a natural and organic environment.

    Porcelain wood tile in bathrooms

    The bathroom in this modern cabin designed by Fabio Galeazzo uses porcelain wood tiles on walls, floors, and ceiling. You may be inside, you may be outside, it's hard to tell!  

    Image Sources: Design Milk, Bjorns Randoms, The Goods Design, Jaina Bee, Brave Home DesignContemporist

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