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modern living + innovative design + inspiring ideas

  • Villa Armanzi In Phuket, Thailand Is Living In Harmony


    Villa Amanzi Aerial View Modern Architecture Cliffside

    Villa Amanzi in Phuket, Thailand, takes the term "bringing the outdoors in" to an entirely different level!  This home, nestled in a ravine with a dramatic slab of rock on the northern edge, overlooking the Andaman Sea on the South is at one with nature. This exciting challenge for Original Vision Architecture turned into a masterpiece. The villas layers of levels and cantilevered structures slightly resemble the work of Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water. 

     Modern Architecture Cantilevered Pool Indoor Ourdoor Living

    The view and the rock define every element of this house. They dominate the environment and their presence is sure to be noticed and respected throughout.

    Villa Amanzi

    Modern Architecture Infinity Pool Glass Balcony 

     Outdoor design and modern home in Thailand

    Modern beach house and Phuket, Thailand

    Fresh air flows through this open living plan with sliding pocket doors at the front and back of the house and modern ceiling fans throughout. The furniture is low with clean lines mimicking the architecture of the house. The modern side tables are a perfect element that can be used as seating or tables both indoors and out.

    Modern beach house and outdoor living  

    The strength of nature is evident, as if the rock came rolling down and penetrated through the home. It's a perfect example of living in harmony with nature. 

    Modern house in Thailand and Infinity Pool

    Don't mind if I do go have a swim in this salt water pool cantilevering out over the sea. This is a coastal living dream that one day I would love to see.  

    Images: ArchDaily

  • Urban Design: Look at Des Moines, Iowa Grow


    Des Moines is the Capital of Iowa by Garrett Cornelison

    Urban design is a key to making places that are successful both socially and economically, good to live in, and attractive to visit. Urban design is essential in creating community identity. It is effective planning in the widest sense, and it can help to deliver better public services. It also helps to achieve value for money in new developments, and to make good use of scarce resources. I recently took a trip back to my hometown Des Moines, Iowa, and I must tell you I was truly impressed and inspired by what is happening there. When I left Des Moines in 2004 there really wasn't much, but I could see it's potential. I would take photos of the buildings and superimpose photos over the top to create my dream interior design boutique. I would change the facades, the windows, the colors, the landscapes. I had a dream and I had a vision, but I would get discouraged though during my interior design critiques at college. I would be docked points because "my designs didn't fit in Des Moines;" I wanted the amenities of a big city. I wanted live/work lofts. I wanted more cultural events. I wanted a sense of community. I wanted to modernize the city. I saw it's beauty and it's potential. But rather than waiting for it to happen or do anything about it, I went out and found what I wanted in Venice, California. Why didn't I stay and find a way for my voice to be heard and my vision to be created? I don't know. Would I enjoy being part of the Des Moines community now? Yes.

    Here are the TOP 8 things that have contributed to the urban growth in Des Moines, Iowa...

    1.  CONNECT

    Center Street Bridge

    Principal Riverwalk: This project was presented to Des Moines as a gift in 2004 in honor of Principal Financial Group’s 125th anniversary. This project connects the East and West side of Downtown via two new pedestrian bridges. The Meredith Trail connects downtown to Gray’s Lake as well as over 300 miles of trails throughout Iowa. This project was completed in 2011 and includes a landscaped promenade path connecting the riverfront amphitheater and plazas to the Brenton Skating Rink and summertime fountain.


    Benefits of a Bicycle

    Downtown Des Moines Free Trolley D-Line

    B-Cycle:  When the weather is nice you can take advantage of the bicycle sharing system and get around with ease. There when you want it and gone when you don't. 

    D-Line Shuttle: This new, old-time trolley is the best way to get around downtown. And the best's free! Expect a shuttle every 10 minutes and you'll be on your way to work, eat, and play!

    Public and community transportation is very crucial in finding the solution to our nation's economic, energy, and environmental challenges. These two things are a great start to this solution and Des Moines is not stopping there. Look for even more transit improvement in the upcoming years with the Walnut Street Transformation.


    Downtown Des Moines Historic Preservation

    Hatch Development East Village Square Downtown Des Moines 

    Strategic development in downtown Des Moines has provided the community with large economic growth.  Renovation of historic buildings has created new life, excitement, and expansion of these urban neighborhoods. Hatch Development Group has played a crucial role in the ever expanding growth and change. Since focusing on housing development, Senator Hatch has become a forceful proponent of blending historical rehabilitation with new construction to revitalize inner city neighborhoods. Prime retail, restaurant, and office space has been created through the restoration of the Historic Chamberlain Building (top image). While the East Village Square (bottom image) on the opposite side of downtown has provided the city with 115 mixed-income residences for modern living. There's so much happening everyday and you can follow all the latest in developments right here at Absolute DSM.

    4. ART

    Yoshitomo Ghost Sculpture Pappajohn Sculpture Park Des Moines

    PappaJohn Sculpture Park: This incredible Sculpture Garden, featuring 24 sculptures by 21 artists, has been given as a gift to Des Moines by art collectors John and Mary PappaJohn to beautify Des Moines’ Downtown. Each of the sculptures in this garden are works from world-renowned sculptors, “the best of the best." This donation is likely to put Iowa on the map for having one of the best sculpture gardens in the world! 


    Thinc Iowa Convention Downtown Des Moines   

    Thinc Iowa: Last October this conference brought together the innovative entreprenuers of today and some key powerhouse players to inspire, collaborate, and generate during this 3-day conference. The goal is to motivate people to explore new ways of doing business, challenge them to think differently, and give them a place to network outside their normal circle. Ben Silbermann, founder of Pinterest and a native Iowan, was one of the top talents to share his story.

    The Des Moines Social Club: a non-profit organization, uses the arts as a catalyst to create unprecedented community engagement. Their vision is to build premier art institutions that foster social change and revitalize cities throughout the world.


    Eden Iowa Retail Boutique

    Chamberlain Building Graphic Design Modern Pizza Shop Flour

    Many amazing bars, restaurants, and retail establishments have opened their doors in downtown in the past 8 years. The growth of the community is dependent upon this retail development. Young entrepreneurs have been able to follow their dreams and open business that are thriving and expanding. A city that once had a challenge keeping college grads in the state has developed into a place that cannot only keep them, but also get the ones that left to return and new ones to join.  


    87 Central Website Design Flour Pizza Shop

     87 Central Branding Photography and Design Proof Restaurant

    Design is everywhere and many people don't even realize the impact it has on them. But the ones that do know how to do it right. The talented team at 87 Central has played a huge role in the resurgence of the creative community in Des Moines. They've helped develop their clients' ideas into a visual medium that is attractive to many. They are really on the cutting edge of design and have helped many small business move forward, get noticed, and look beautiful through the use of graphics, logos, website, print, and photography. This plays a huge role in creating a desirable urban community that is on pace with the modern world.

    Images: IDIWAP, Principal Center Street Bridge, Des Moines Commuter, D-Line Trolley, Hatch Development, Pappajohn Sculpture Park, Thinc Iowa, Eden, Eight Seven Central

  • Loft Lighting: Stylish Lighting for Urban Living


    Close to ceiling light fixtures

    Lighting is one of the most important stages in any design project. Different designers approach it in their own way, but it should be considered toward the beginning of the project. If you are making selections for your own home, first try to think about how much light you will need. After evaluating your lighting needs, then you are able to decide how many fixtures you will want, the scale and what style you prefer. You want the lights to be effective, look good, but you also want them to coordinate with the rest of your decor.

    Flush pendant lighting

    Left: George Kovacs Copper Bronze Ceiling Light 

    Right: Holtkoetter Old Bronze White Halogen Ceiling Light Fixture

    When it comes to loft living, which is quickly gaining in popularity, lighting is very important. Lofts are typically designed with a modern aesthetic, which means minimal furniture and the less furnishings you have, the more important each item becomes. Typically lofts have lots of big windows and natural light, but the functionality of light fixtures are still important. The gorgeous loft pictured above demonstrates a warehouse-style approach to their lighting solutions. The fixtures are installed in a grid pattern, however the fixtures themselves are modern flush pendants rather than track lighting. The scale of a fixture is also very important. Considering the large wood beams and open space in this loft, the fixtures could not be too small.

    Floor lamps

    This white and gray loft features light fixtures that contribute to the clean decor without distracting from it. This lighting design also demonstrates a fun alternative to ceiling fixtures such as chandeliers and pendants.

    Wall lights

    Left:  Holtkoetter Bernie Turbo Chrome LED Swing Arm Wall Lamp

    Right: Holtkoetter Bernie Turbo Nickel LED Swing Arm Wall Lamp

    The task-style wall lights are a very cool way to light the dining area since the ceiling is so high, which is often the case in lofts.


    Floor lamps with shade

    Left: Nova Arcing Linen Shade Floor Lamp, Right: Kichler Cantilever Brushed Nickel Finish Floor Lamp

    The floor lamp has a long reaching arm to cover all of the seating area as an alternative to hanging a ceiling fixture. From a design perspective, it's perfectly acceptable to hang chandeliers or pendants from high ceilings, but there are other cool options as seen here.

    Pendant lighting

    This wide open space doesn't include a lot of lighting, but the fixtures that were selected provide a little color contrast to the rest of the space while pairing perfectly with the dining table. Forget having an issue with high ceilings at an angle, it's no problem here. This lighting design is perfect in both function and style.

    Pendant lights

    Left: Bangle Collection Pendant Chandelier, Right: Jamie Young St Charles Amber Glass Pendant Chandelier

    Whether you're designing a new space or just changing out the lighting in your home, be sure to make it a priority. Don't forget to consider function and scale first and then move on to style. Even though we all know selecting the prettiest fixture is always the most fun part!

    Images: Smilay Properties, TrendlandDesire to Inspire, Eurostyle Lighting

  • Beverly West Residences: Contemporary Urban Living At Its Best


    Beverly West Residences and Los Angeles Condos

    Perched above the Los Angeles Country Club at a prime location along the Wilshire corridor, Beverly West Residences is contemporary urban living at its best! A new twenty-one-story contemporary condo tower finished with elegant materials, detailing and modern forms, Beverly West Residences is ideal for urban, affluent individuals and couples looking for the utmost in luxury living. (Without all the hassle that comes with a single-family residence.)

    Lobby area at Beverly West Residences

    Upon entering the building from the valet-serviced motor court, the lobby’s soaring walls invite residents and guests to view an impressive collection of regional fine art. After ascending the private, dedicated elevator to your floor, you enter a wood-paneled foyer, which leads directly into an expansive great room with spectacular views.

    Great room with expansive views

    Designed by Irvine-based Robert Hidey Architects, this condo is one of thirty, 4,000-square-foot custom residences in the building. On the upper floors there are five levels of full-floor penthouse living, at up to 8,200 square feet each.

    Gorgeous powder room at Beverly West

    Beverly West gourmet contemporary kitchen

    Wood gallery walls, limestone floors, slab-marble baths, wall forms defined by cove lighting, contemporary light fixtures, and floor-to-ceiling glass define the character of this contemporary interior design. A gourmet kitchen features a high-gloss cabinetry system accented by a monolithic stone island and countertops.

    Contemporary bathroom with expansive views

    Beverly West master bedroom

    The 375-square-foot master bathroom boasts gorgeous marble walls and granite countertops, a free standing bathtub, steam shower, waterfall countertops, European mounted lavatories, and a capacious walk-in closet.

    In addition to developing floor plans and interior architecture for all unit types in the building, Robert Hidey Architects designed rich amenities for all of the tower’s public spaces, including an exercise gym, conference center, and large suites, which are available to owners who need a remote home office or guest room. 

    Images: Michael Arden Photography, Beverly West Residences

  • Portland, You're so 1890's.


    Olympic Provisions restaurant design brick wall

    As I'm walking around Portland this past weekend I'm asking myself..."Are you really so 1890's?" Whether the 1890's are a fad or lifestyle, I think there are some amazing things that going back to your roots can bring to this modern world. And that's about when I saw the sign Hammer & Hand and had to inquire within. Bright designlab has collaborated with Hammer & Hand to create this amazing retail space and design studio.

    Industrial Building Modern Kitchen Hammer & Hands design studio

    Hammer & Hand is a Portland based design build firm that is very 1890's in their name and their philosophy, but very modern in their aesthetic. They have partnered with the interior design firm bright designlab on many projects including the creation of a modern custom cabinetry line called Imbue, that is on display in their Pearl District showroom. The fine craftsmanship and artistry is evident in every detail.

    Industrial Building Modern Kitchen Hammer & Hands design studio

    The gorgeous exposed architectural elements and reclaimed flooring contrast so perfectly with the modern metal pendant lighting and furniture in the studio. It's these layers of materials, details, and craft that create timeless design.  

    Industrial Building Modern Kitchen Hammer & Hands design studio

    You walk in and you feel at home. You want to stay and play and create. It feels very hands on inside this space and the work created in this lab is gorgeous!

    French modern restaurant and exposed brick reclaimed wood yellow cafe chairs

    The team paired up to create the quaint Nuvrei Patisserie next door. It's a true charmer! Something about it dragged me off the street and made me walk inside. I noticed the brightly colored cafe chairs, then the marble tabletops and beautiful table bases, mixed with the reclaimed wood, iron and glass, exposed brick and beams, and when I saw that yellow string on those lights....I thought to myself I have to go in and see!  

     French modern restaurant

    Modern seating, such as the bright colored chairs, make such a statement against all the natural elements.

    French modern restaurant and exposed brick

    So very 1890's mixed with something that is so very today! I like what the 1890's brings: integrity, fine artistry, and craftsmanship. Things that will stand the test of time and that is what sustainability is all about! Portland, thanks for bringing the 1890's back!

    Images: Olympic Provisions,  bright designlab

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