Tuesday, December 3, 2013


On another note, I just came across this artist, a member of 5.5 Design Studio. Being South African, I naturally clicked on the 'boerie' in his collection of works, which led me to the 'L'union fait la farce'. I can't say I quite even know what it is, but it's weird and I like it.

His work seems broad, to say the least! I actually came across his name when I found this quirky paper chandelier. It casts interesting shadows and the options are endless - for a weekend of DIY fun!?

Sugar for my honey

Beautiful lamp design by Polish designer Justyna Poplawska. I found it while looking for different material options for our latest uni project. The sugary appearance, a combination of recycled glass and bio-resin, glows like a treasure.

You can see more of her work here. I also really like Double Cup and Okto.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

"Dear intercourse participants..."

At first I thought this was a rather amusing translation botch by German architecture publication, AIT magazine. But on closer inspection, I realised that they actually mean exactly what they say.

Zurich, in a goal to make its city more beautiful, applies the strategy of basically setting up a camping ground or rather, as they describe it, a system 'similar to a drive-in restaurant', to move paid-for intercourse to strict zones in the city.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

ella ella ay ay

A new way to (fix and) use all of those discarded umbrella carcasses - construct beautiful floating sculptures. Like this example by SLO Architecture.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

pretty passivity

Uni has already managed to keep me very busy with the start of my final BA year.

However, it was during the last few weeks that I had an email waiting patiently in my inbox, subject line reading: 'something for redcacao?' So I can't really take the credit for this one, but rather an interesting article and some awesome and very different passive design examples.

My partner expressed a fondness for the archways and overall feel of the Hudson house (option 1), while I am inspired by the Fablab take on things in Madrid (option 3).

Crossways is a house we followed the building of on the Grand Designs series a couple of years back. It really is unique and seems to be a rather good performer - according to passive house energy conservation.

The final candidate surprised me, as the setting really didn't seem like Canada - but having never actually been there - who am I to say...
I really love the simple feel and clean lines of this design, to me it exudes a sense of calm and I could certainly imagine myself on that pier in those sprawling surroundings.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Two tiny twins

Here are two excellent examples of small living spaces. In both designs, I think that 'treading lightly, with a low impact on the earth' is apparent as a central theme.

1) Meka is a converted shipping container. Modern and sophisticated in design, it covers just 30 square metres. The interior features bamboo, the bathroom in slate, the outside is clad in attractive cedar and 70% of its materials are recycled.

Living in a modest apartment just over this size in Norway, means that my fiancé and I certainly understand small spaces - but this clever and chic design would be a welcome treat. Currently sitting on a New York corner, you can order the cosy abode to your own specifications, with the option to integrate solar power for those wanting to go off-grid.

2) Abé, is an off-grid 'build it yourself' 14 square metre portable unit. Designed using 3D software, the houses are completely customizable, come flat packed and can apparently be assembled in just 2 days! 

While this option doesn't include the necessary functions for long-term living, it's certainly a fun short-term option for a festival, camping or little garden retreat. I think the materials and size contribute to it's romantic and earthy feel. A very clever idea - I think we can expect to see more from this design group.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

In your home and on the street...

David Mellor, a specialist in cutlery design spread his talent to the street - here's an interesting article and interview with his son on Dezeen.com.

I particularly like his street bollards resembling salt and pepper mills, and his cheese accessories (which I think relate somewhat to Starck tableware) look to make many a dish more fun.

DM believed that well-designed equipment can improve your life - I totally agree with that notion. You can find out more and view further products here.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

back to the books

I recently came across this article on inhabitat.com; offering a course in passive solar design. It could have something to do with the summer holiday nearing an end, my interest in sustainable design, or merely the rainy and cold weather in Bergen right now - but I clicked through enthusiastically, interested in the opportunity. That enthusiasm waned once I realised the fees involved and I moved on.

Then, just today, I read about different (and more low-tech) sustainable building workshops being run across the US... and I thought, since I can't get involved over there - there must be some good online options to keep abreast of avant garde techniques and methods that can also contribute to my studies in Scandinavia. I didn't have to search very hard before coming across this site, listing various institutes that offer downloadable course material (called OpenCourseWare or OCW).

While my semesters are pretty jam-packed and we do have our own recommended reading, it's always interesting to see what other leading institutes (such as MIT) have to say and to have access to material from subjects that might not be offered at your own school.

I've done an advanced search to find courses that link to my own specific interests. You can do the same here.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

La Dolce Vita

Two weeks ago, I was packed and ready at the airport for a camping trip in southern Norway. My hairier half was supposedly presenting a paper at an economics conference (similar to one that we had attended the year before). He also suggested that we could pitch our tent for a few nights thereafter at what has been described as '"Norway's answer to the Mediterranean". Bergen hadn't been too generous with summer weather so far, so naturally, I was pretty excited.

However, upon check-in, I realised that my bf's answer to the Mediterranean was, in fact, a 9 day trip exploring the Veneto region in Italy! I hadn't suspected a thing, and after trying to scan the 'fabricated Kristiansand flight document' at check-in and being told our actual destination, was filled in on many a back-story and realised my beau's capability of deception... the increased no. of grey hairs over the past few months now fell into place.

I was bowled over and maintained a smug grin for the entire journey. Needless to say, Italy enchanted us. We started in Venice, before moving to Verona (with a lunch stop in Vicenza), from there to Lake Garda and finally to the hills surrounding Verona before returning to Marco Polo airport.

Venice features on many a person's bucket list and is definitely worth a vist, however, it is riddled with tourists during the peak summer, so we would suggest going in spring or autumn to enjoy it with less crowds. That said, we had a lovely start to the holiday, with caprese salads, pizza and prosecco for lunch.

With my architecture studies, he knew that Vicenza would interest me, and our itinerary included a lunch stop en route to Verona. This is where one can find many works by the eminent Andrea Palladio (most famously, the villa 'La Rotonda' and 'Teatro Olimpico') and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Verona was magical, and for both of us, our favourite destination of the trip. For the first night, we checked into a lovely B&B situated just over the river, in a pleasant residential area. It was only a 10 minute walk to the old town, and we spent the early evening wandering along the Adige river, admiring the buildings and caught other tourists photographing what was supposedly Juliette's balcony. There was also an opera recital happening just down the street from our restaurant. This was a trattoria that our hostess had recommended, which overlooks the Adige and has a perfect view of the castle. Here, we had our first taste of local wine and truffle-infused polenta.

Our second night held even more in store, including a surprise upgrade to a luxury hotel on the other side of the city, a stone's throw from the Arena di Verona. An invitation to check my bf's suit pocket revealed 2 tickets to Verdi's Aida opera showing that evening. [Chandler voice from Friends: "Could this trip GET more romantic?!"] The whole experience holds such special memories and may even have included an engagement ring (oo la la!).

I don't want to ramble on for too long, but to mention the final few nights - Lake Garda is only an hour's drive from the city of Verona and really awed us with the contrasting landscape, mountains and clear waters. Here, we managed a bit more 'down time'. At this point I knew the rest of the itinerary and I think my bf -- sorry, now fiancé -- could finally exhale. We thoroughly enjoyed spending time in the quaint town of Malcesine, the very decadent Locanda San Vigilio restaurant near Garda and generally splashing about in the water. We took a drive further south towards Sirmione, but realised that we found the mid to northern parts to be much more beautiful and less busy.

We ended the journey in the hills north of Verona, where you can take in a bit more of the countryside and visit the Valpolicella wine region. We had sampled a couple of wines from this area while at the lake, but now had a chance to explore it ourselves. A friend had recommended a few of his favourite winemakers and we managed to part with more Euro's than intended at one of the vineyards. But for a once-in-a-lifetime trip, totally worth it!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

au naturel

Summer holidays with plenty of time to catch up on some reading, a recent cabin trip with family in the densely forested Kvamskogen area and beautiful use of the simplest of materials... are what inspired today's post.

I saw this article in the Independent some time ago - listing the ten best architecture books - but the end of study year meant that there was no time to give it my full attention. I've now gone back and chosen my favourite three... they're in my amazon basket as I type :).

One of them is no.4, entitled "Wood - Architecture now! Vol 2" by Philip Jodidio. Living in Norway and being surrounded by Scandinavian design means that wood is often on the cards as the design material of choice. After a brief peak at the pages in this book and a quick glance at Jodidio's other titles, I think I'm in for a treat.

I am often drawn to materials in their raw form and usually prefer the more rustic, natural look to super polished and glossy (although, often, a combination is even better!). I really enjoyed i29's use of regular plywood to shape and add character to this modern home in Holland.

They seem to prefer cleaner lines and a calm palette, but that only helps to accentuate other details like their lively take on this interior wall.

Friday, July 5, 2013

bright in blue

Summer might seem an odd time to be posting about this, but if you're on the west coast of Norway... not so much! It bucketed down just yesterday, but at last, things are looking up.

I came across a very cool 'rainy day project' and good use for all of those big blue Ikea bags we seem to stash away at the back of our cupboards: DIY raincoats!

Upcycled, durable, fun - and perfect for damp music festivals :).

Instructables.com provide the instructions and 'print-off' pattern.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

norwegian wood

One of the pro's of living in a small city with easy access to nature: a favourite way to start the day - hiking the hill behind our home.

Monday, July 1, 2013


“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” 

Friday, June 28, 2013

in your place

I have to thank my hairier half for finding this fun site - it's a collection of creative people in their spaces. Many are homes, others are restaurants, cafe's, or urban gardens etc.

It's a peek into spaces that people have made their own. I believe most request to be showcased, so they must be rather happy with their place and, therefore, to share it with us :).

There are very many to look at, but those I particularly like are:
Cheri and David's apartment in Soho, NY - earthy, raw brick, origami and the loose feel.
Eric and Mya's Hartwood Restaurant in Mexico - I'm a sucker for good food :), along with the bright colours and rustic outdoor space.
It might be my love of wood, but Lyndsay and Fitzhugh's home in Brooklyn is fresh and quirky with interesting pieces.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

rural retreats

I recently came across two very different but equally beautiful rural spaces. It will come as no surprise that both were found on 'inhabitat.com' - one of my favourite online haunts.

The first is a simple, rustic, open structure in rural Austria, while the second lies across the ocean in the north American Sonoran desert.

The clean lines and calming palette of the Austrian abode sit well in the surrounding landscape. I love the iconic A-frame shape and open space. 

The sprawling desert home and its earthy materials rest comfortably on the beige sand. The expansive windows reflect the alluring palette of the evening sky.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

a new housing palette

End of study year means that it's been some time since I've posted. Another two weeks and I'm nearly free for summer holidays!

I've got a bit of a breather this weekend since we've just been celebrating Norway's national day (17th May) and everything's basically shut down for the weekend.

A theme that's come up recently (since I had to write a text for my studies on my reasons for choosing this field and where I see myself professionally) has to do with forward-thinking design, news ways of using current materials and designing 'with' the other 90%.

This article / interview in 'inhabitat.com' includes some exciting and innovative thoughts with regards to housing designs with the future in mind. Choosing more relevant and environment based sustainable builds that are 'alive' and able to perform in varying conditions.

I particularly enjoy the lift house idea and the clever architecture and humour in the porchdog house. Then there's the simplicity and accessibility of the straw bale housing and pallet designs.

You can read more about porchdog here