Luxurious details and faux finishes that allude to a grander image do not hold up to the true material expression, whether it be organic elements taken straight from nature or even unfinished, manufactured building materials like plywood. Not to get all philosophical or however you may characterize this statement, but to me honest design and material expression displays a sense of confidence that I don’t often see in designs that view materials as ornament rather than as tools whose properties can aid in informing the final form.
Furniture that isn’t furniture. A raw, industrial aesthetic befitting of the resourcefulness.
Doors as delineators of spaces have greater design potential beyond their traditional role as objects that define this room versus that room, indoors versus outdoors, your space versus my space. (Ha, Myspace. Millennials will get it! But I digress.) Using materials that continue from the fixed wall to the door - in a sense almost disguising it, designing an entire plane to be a movable element (like the swiveling glass door above), using a screen to denote a transition between spaces while maintaining visual permeability; these are all ways of using a three-dimensional object to create a fourth dimensional element to a design, an experience that evokes or enhances the particular feeling for the space on the other side.
Think about the use of a single material from wall to door like the wardrobe in the Chronicles of Narnia. (Stay with me here! I swear this comparison makes sense.) The visual downplaying of a door can evoke the sense that whatever is on the other side is mysterious, forbidden, (magical?), and only for those in the know. This can be especially powerful in dense urban settings where there’s simply not enough space to create a large physical barrier between the public and private realm, or for minimizing visual clutter in small spaces - apartments or a commercial office, for example – where visual and aural barriers may be desired.
Theoretical renovation of the Holmberg household || Angela Holmberg
Converting the largely unused sun room & extra bedrooms into a studio apartment
Process sketches, Fall 2011
To do: finish this design
There are clear advantages to having a garage - a secure and weatherproof place to store vehicles, storage for things only used seasonally, etc. - but it is all too easy for them to become dumping grounds for stuff that is rarely or never use and then forgotten about. (Out of sight, out of mind… right?) This idea goes against my ongoing mission to find ways to live with less ‘stuff’ and although the expelling of car exhaust into my home (even just a little bit when starting the car) is not ideal, the concept of the living space and garage becoming one is an interesting solution to the clutter issue.
For one, you simply don’t have garage storage! Depending on how much other storage space is available, one is forced to think about how much ‘stuff’ they have and pare down to what’s important. Two, having your car in plain sight all the time can encourage a regular car washing regimen. My guess is that most people do not like mud and dirt inside their homes and hey, it’s good for the life of a car to keep it clean. Win win. Lastly, for those who admire and appreciate the design and aesthetics of automobiles, it’s like having a piece of artwork displayed in your living room. Especially if you own a Porsche.
There are concerns to address with a design like this in regards to health, safety and building code (yea… those are biggies), but at the very least and strictly theoretically speaking, I like this design concept.
To me, there’s no question that this space, with its vaulted ceiling and exposed brick, is beautiful. The minimal decor does bring the focus to the architecture, which I appreciate, but I just can’t help but get a cold, ominous vibe from the scale of the space versus the light furnishing. Quite the feat considering the abundance of rich textures and materials. It seems like a suitable space for an upscale social gathering, but as a living space it feels sterile.
Architectural photography has a way of making spaces appear much starker than they may be in actuality. The lack of people in the photo definitely contributes to that feeling. Granted, the main focus of architectural photography (from what I can tell) is to document a three-dimensional space as fully and objectively as possible rather than convey the mood and feeling of the setting. If I’m wrong and the purpose is in fact the latter, then can we please get some people in these photos?
But how can you stage a photo with people in the space without it looking contrived and campy?… you may be asking. Or at least that’s what I just asked… aloud… to myself. Well I have never done architectural photography before, so if there are tricks to the trade then I don’t know them. I have seen photos where it appears that a long exposure is used and a person moving in the photo is blurred. Strictly graphically speaking, I think this is a good middle ground because there is a sense of scale given with less of the staged, campy, stock photo type look. In other words, it looks cool.
I know - documenting a space as it is (objective) and making it look “cool” (subjective) are contradictory, but I still plan on being on the lookout for architecture photos that come close!