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modern living + innovative design + inspiring ideas

  • Modern Spa Designs


    best spas in las vegas

    From the water temperature to the fruit in the bowl to the soothing modern light fixtures overhead, modern spa designs leave no stone unturned. Creating the perfect relaxing space requires an intuitive balance of color, texture and form. 

    Color theory dictates that blue is relaxing, while green is noted for its soothing and healing properties. Combine the two colors and you get aqua, or water, the inherent color and ingredient in the spa. The aqua hue looks stunning against the charcoal gray slate of Mandalay Bay’s Bathhouse in Las Vegas (pictured above) and it's of course a natural fit in the hot springs of Iceland’s Blue Lagoon spa (pictured below).

    modernist Icelandic spas

    Other colors work well too. The Hirsch Bedner designed EDITION Hotel ESPA was widely acclaimed upon opening for its generous use of natural stone walls and its signature sculpted mica wall and ceiling lights, inspired by traditional Turkish bath designs. Close to ceiling lights offer much needed illumination without crowding airspace. Organic colors add a sense of warmth and comfort, while the form itself adds the implication of provenance to the space.

    European spa designs

    Light, like color plays a vital role in the design of a spa space. While mica lights add warmth to EDITION's bath area, the chandeliers in the foyer at the Long Beach Hotel in Mauritius (below) offer a lighthearted entre to the relaxation that lies beyond. Contemporary chandeliers can be found in a ton of styles to fit any atmosphere. 

    Island spa resorts

    Lastly, simplicity of space is a key ingredient throughout successful spa designs, and the reason is simple: less visual clutter leads to less mental clutter. And less mental clutter leads to relaxation. Furniture is sparingly used. Palettes are surprisingly simple. These rules allow designers to create the illusion of space in even the tightest floorplans, such as the open Mizu Spa in  San Francisco.

    San Francisco spas

    Modern residential architecture

    For design lovers, the attention to design details is what draws them in to a spa in the first place. The relaxing after after-effect is usually a much needed side effect. And for a lucky few, such as the owners of the Spa House in Cape Town (pictured above), the simple elegance of a spa can be a year round love-affair.

    Images: Mandalay Bay, TravelPod, Brand Critique, Contemporist, Merdu, HomeDsgn

  • Unique Bathroom Designs


    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

  • The Modern Outdoor Bathroom


    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

  • HD Expo: Modern Tile Trends for 2012


    graphic tile patterns

    I made a quick trip to the HD Expo in Las Vegas last Thursday and even though I only had half a day there I sure did find some pretty amazing new products! I continue to be impressed by the innovative technology of Porcelain tiles. The patterns, textures, and finishes they are coming out with are just incredible. This iGattipardi Collection from Stone Source combines so many of my favorite elements. It looks like hand painted concrete tiles, but because they are made out of porcelain you won't ever have to seal them and you won't have to worry about maintenance. 

    graphic patterned porcelain tiles

    These bold graphic patterns (above) come in large format 24" x 24" tiles and when installed look more like a graphic art installation than tile!

    wallpaper patterned tile

    The Vera Rosa tile (above), from FAB Ceramiche looks like a precious vintage wallpaper, but with the durability of a ceramic tile. As you can see, if you still have pink tiles from the 60's, I would hold on to them becuase they're on their way back!

    Chrome Tiles

    Porcelanosa showcased their Sea Silver Tile (above), which is truly unique to the market. It's a porcelain tile with a soft undulating pattern that has been plated in Chrome. It's definitely a showpiece and would look great as an accent in so many applications. Sleek, modern bath lighting is a great accent against modern textured tiles.

    stone textured tile

    The Ona Beige tile (above) also from Porcelanosa looks and feels exactly like carved stone. Not only is it maintenance free, but a fraction of the price. You have to see this one in person to believe it!   

     textured black tiles

    Musicians merging into the design world seems to be the trend. Goccia by Lenny Kravitz for Lea Ceramiche (above) is a beautiful tile collection incorporating texture and movement into the living environment.

    white glossy ceramic tiles

     This series is only available in black and white, but I'm totally into that! 

    metal tiles

    As I learned from my trip to Milan recently, oxidized metal is about to become very popular in the kitchen and bath world. The Oxy Collection by Mirage (above) takes the look of oxidized metal one step further and incorporates painted steel sheet and metal oxidation, which allows lived-in corroded matter to define a new aesthetic. concrete tiles

    The Nolita Collection by Mirage (above) is a gorgeous expression of sophisticated urban style. The look of raw concrete mixed with subtle patterns, like X and O shown here, or bold comic patterns add a lot of personality to contemporary bathroom design. Modern chrome accents always have a way of adding elegance to any urban style setting.

    Image Source: Porcelanosa, FAP Ceramiche, Stone SourceLea CeramicheMirage 

  • The Art of Contemporary Lighting


    Doug Wheeler lighting design

    Walk into any major contemporary art museum and you'll find that cross-pollination has long existed between art and furniture design, but the question arises: has contemporary lighting design seen that same infusion of creative energy? Creatives like Isamu Noguchi or Frank Gehry are recognizable international brands, artists who have branched into creating product designs for mass (albeit high end) consumption. But contemporary artists working specifically with light have not had such crossover luck.

    Nonetheless, the inspiration these artists have had on modern lighting design can't be underestimated. 

    Light and Space artists such as James Wheeler (pictured above), Eric Orr and James Turrell have been exploring the effects of light, space and perception since the 1960s. These artists have been groundbreaking in their use of media and their reductive end results have found footing in contemporary design practice.

    James Turrell installation

    Turrell's Meeting installation (above) has been on view at MOMA's PS1 gallery in New York since 1986. Turrell's technique is rather simple despite the dramatic effect it produces.

    By simply installing under cabinet lighting strategically, anyone can give their walls the "floating" appearance of Turrell's artwork. This floating look has become a predominant idiom in contemporary hospitality lighting design, as seen in this check-in desk at Hong Kong's Luxury East Hotel, designed by CL3 Architects.

    Hospitality lighting design

    Artist Dan Flavin is among some of the most influential artists of the last three decades. His use of raw fluorescent tubes and his emphasis on stark geometries has made it's impact on public spaces as well. Note the motor court entry at the bottom left of the Hotel Wilshire image below. 

    Dan Flavin Artwork

     Hotel Wilshire Los Angeles

    Recent works of art have a smaller scale, sculptural quality to them. Los Angeles artist David B. Jang created Correlation Cycles in 2010 as a sprawling fixture of circular fluorescent tubes.

    Contemporary light art

    A similar circular sculptural effect can be seen in this modern chandelier below by Possini Euro Design.

    Modern chandelier

    Possini White Cloud 15" Wide Pendant Chandelier

    Artist Lita Albuquerque's works not with light but rather its absence. Her Stellar Axis project,  was a 2006 site-specific piece that traced the stars of the nighttime sky onto the ground at the south pole. This was during the evening-less summer months when the midnight sun prevents any starlight from being seen.

    Stellar Axis by Lita Albuquerque

    Albuquerque's piece included 99 blue orbs that appeared as the negative image of stars on a white snow background. To apply this look to your home, the hand-crafted sphere-style fixture (below, right) light would do the trick.

    Study of contemporary lighting 

    Pictured on right: Besa Sphere Series 13 1/4" High Opal Matte Glass Accent Lamp

    As technologies evolve, artists will inevitably source these changing technologies as media, just as designers will inevitably continue looking to these artists for inspiration. Most of us may never transform an entire room completely into an art installation, but luckily there are plenty of sculptural contemporary chandeliers available to give the home an artistic look.  

    Images: MCASD, MOMA PS1, Luxe DB, Artcat, Vibrant Travel Solutions, Art-merge, Stellar Axis

May, 2012