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  • Alta Marea: Modern Bathroom Luxury

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    Modern wood vanity

    I was blown away by Alta Marea's modern bathroom luxury pieces with the introduction of the Must and Volo Green collections in Milan this year. I have been working with Alta Marea for many years and this not only far surpassed anything they had done in the past, but far surpassed anything I saw at the show this year! The materials, the details, the forms, the quality... it was all perfect in my eyes. The designers Perissinotto, Zanetti, and Dalto have definitely succeeded in creating "an emotion that has been transformed into lines and material."

    Modern vanity with marble countertop

    The most stunning materials in the Must Collection were the oxidized metal mixed with the gorgeous gray hue and warm copper veining of the Boschetto marble. 

    Modern metal vanity

    The countertop sits just beneath the doors to create a sunken effect. The 45 degree angle on the door is a beautiful detail that creates perfectly matched corners.

    Modern vanity, old architecture

    Is this a piece of furniture or a vanity? Where is the sink in this composition?

    Modern integrated sink

    Yet another stunning countertop detail! The rim of the sink sits flush with the door as the countertop rests just below. The use of vanity mirrors with integrated lighting create a beautiful even glow on the entire composition. Our Destiny Square Vanity Mirror is a great alternative to the one above.

    Modern laquer vanity

    And the details don't stop there! The interior, a beautiful orange, complements the marble and the matte lacquer with such bold confidence.

    Paperstone vanity

    The Volo Green line is founded on the strong desire of helping the environment. The cabinetry and countertop is made of Paperstone, an innovative material made from 100% recycled paper. It's truly genius! The simple mirrors paired with up and down wall sconces, similar to our Holtkoetter Sconce, are the perfect complement to this minimal composition. 

    Paperstone vanity, integrated sink

    A solid material, soft to the touch, that is fabricated like stone! As designer Paolo Zanetti says: “I have finally been able to do a radical, extreme project that makes no compromises, where modernity is at the service of nature. Nature doesn’t say thanks: it rejoices.”

    Images: Alta MareaAnnie May Design

  • The Modern Outdoor Bathroom

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    Modern outdoor shower

    Sure, selecting the right building materials is key when creating the look and feel that you want for your bath, or rather your personal oasis. Natural materials, such as wood and stone will give you the feeling of being at a spa or retreat. But, why not take it one step further and take your tub and shower outdoors?!

    Modern outdoor bath

    There's many ways to situate your bathtub or shower outside while still keeping it private. The stone wall (above) and wood planks enclose this bath, keeping tub time personal. Or, you could design it to be half indoors and half outdoors to give yourself a little more privacy while still soaking in the fresh air and sunlight. The exterior fence (below) keeps the space private while the wood plank flooring unites the two areas.

    Bathroom with outdoor patio

    Some of these designs require a lot of architectural planning, but if you just want to add a natural, outdoor feel to your bath without any major construction, then simply bring the outdoors in! Adding some simple greenery indoors is an easy way to lighten up your space and feel one with nature. The succulent wall art (below) is a great way to use wall space and a super trendy way to incorporate plants in your home.

    Succulent wall art indoors

    Effective home decor accessories for adding a little bit of nature can range from plants to artwork, but also the right lighting. Selecting modern lighting fixtures made of natural materials, such as our Cassandra Ceiling Light which features a natural grass cloth shade will give the feeling of nature without having to be outside.

    Whether you go big or small, adding a bit of nature to your bath or shower can give you the personal oasis you've always wanted.

    Images: Home the Lovely, Feau, Arch Daily, Flora Grubb

  • FASTViNIC Goes Green in Barcelona

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    Turquoise Window with red graphics

    After Milan I took a little trip over to Barcelona and although I only had a few days to wander through these amazing streets, my experience was incredible. The food was great, the people were so nice, the architecture was stunning, and the level of design was far above par. As I was wandering home on my last day there after visits to many gorgeous museums, the boqueria, and my favorite the Gothic Quarter, I stumbled upon this little gem of a restaurant. It was the bold red graphics and the turquoise window frame that made me peek in. FASTViNIC is a food haven in Barcelona with an interior as mouth-watering as the food!  

    Modern restaurant Design and Barcelona

    The restaurant is 100% organic in style and selection of materials, down to the organic utensils. Alfons Tost took this idea of creating an extremely functional design that is comfortable and organic and is sure to make everyone feel welcome and implemented it to the max. Fastvínic uses the finest local produce and wines and this is evidence to their strong commitment to sustainable development. Environmental sustainability is fundamental to Fastvínic.This unshakable principle is based on three pillars: the choice of food, the selection of wines, and the design and functioning of the premises.

    Modern restaurant design and modern shelving

    The french linen pillows so cleverly suspended from the natural wood shelving above was one of the first things to catch my attention as I looked inside. However, the focal point of this design is the "perimetrical dexion racking," which as shown in this design is very flexibile in its usage. It works perfect for the seating, shelving, and as racks for the plants and pots, shelves and wine rack. The simple curves on the modern white dining charis are a very nice contrast to solid linear forms.

    Minimalist restaurant design in Barcelona

    Modern Restaurant and Barcelona

    The simple white metal pendant lighting is a perfect contrast to the wood cladding and turquoise walls. The repetition of the white pendant lighting balances and softens the white frames throughout the restaurant. It's a perfect combination!

    Modern Restaurant Design

    Go in, get cozy, and experience some fine dining while enjoying the beautiful surroundings! Good design has a huge impact!

    Images: Yatzer

  • Bread, Espresso &...Design

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    contemporary cafe designs

    When the idea struck to cover my favorite cafe designs across the globe, Tokyo's uber-chic bread and coffee hot spot Bread, Espresso & was a shoe-in to lead the story. This design savvy cafe typifies today's resurgence in artisanal bread and coffee and the increasing focus on design that seems to accompany the resurgence.

    Located just blocks away from Bread, Espresso & is Omotesando Koffee (pictured below). Housed in a traditional Japanese residence in Tokyo's Omotesando district, it originally opened as a pop-up space to showcase barista Eichii Kunitomo's skill (although the cafe recently announced a two year lease extension). The box-like kiosk design and a charming paper note chandelier nonetheless point to the cafe's temporary nature.

    mid-century modern chandeliers

    If paper notes and binder clips aren't your thing, the Possini Euro White Flower (pictured above right) offers a more permanent chandelier solution.

    In the Los Angeles neighborhood of Mar Vista, Earl's Gourmet Grub leaves no detail unturned, with a gently torqued ceiling design. Drop sky lights provide natural light, while recessed lighting illuminates the plywood fans down the length of the cafe.

    Contemporary Restaurant Designs

    Earl's architects, LA/NY based Freeland Buck, applied computational methods usually reserved for skyscraper construction to the restaurant's interior details, as in this alpine inspired design that runs along the wall of the space. 

    Computational Architecture Rendering

    Similar to Earl's Gourmet Grub, a torque motif defines the direction at a Starbucks back in Tokyo, yet again in the Omotesando neighborhood. Designed by Kengo Kuma & Associates, this design arranges timber into a cornucopia shape across the ceiling, resulting in contemporary yet naturally comfortable interior.

    A similar organic flow of materials could rightly be used to describe the cafe by designers B3 which debuted at the 2008 London Design Festival. Constructed entirely from carboard boxes, this truly is a pop-up cafe. Folded, it can be transported in a single car. As with Kengo Kuma's Starbucks, directional and track lighting help to expose the textured design without overpowering it.

    Pop up cafe designs

    At Munich's Das Neue Kubitscheck (by Designliga) rectangular motifs dominate as well, offset by charming pastels in this comfortable neighborhood cafe. 

    modern european cafes

    The above examples are my favorites. When it comes to good coffee and good design however, they're just the tip of the iceberg. I invite you to discover your own, and by all means, share them with us.

    Images: Cafe Snap, Spoon & Tamago, Tokyoblog, Freeland Buck, JapanOnline, designboom, Design Made in Germany

  • The Modern Dining Room

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    Loft style dining room

    Smooth and sophisticated, the modern dining room has clean lines, cool art and lots of style! This Mid-Century Modern dining room is designed with the "loft" aesthetic, making use of one large room divided into multiple spaces. Modern pendant lighting helps highlight the dining area.

    Colorful kitchen cabinets

    The loft look is popular, but so is color and when it comes to color, this kitchen does not disappoint! The colorful kitchen even doubles as art for this modern all-white dining room.

    Vicente Wolf dining room

    Mixing and matching modern dining chairs with a classic table is another hot dining trend. These stark white modern dining chairs paired with this heavy wood table, all set against Spanish tile floors makes for one perfect design collision.

    There are no rules to modern dining room design, whether its one room or one larger space. Mix materials, use lots of color or just keep it simple and clean... it all looks amazingly stylish and modern!

    Images: Tendir, Home Designing, House & Home

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