Wirra Willa is a tiny, tranquil pavilion located in Somersby, NSW, Australia, on an 80-acre property that formerly operated as a citrus fruit orchard.
Designed by architect Matthew Woodward for his father, the pavilion is only 72 square meters (775 sq.ft) in size and it is surrounded by a 36 square meter (387 sq.ft) courtyard.
The villa complements the existing larger residence on the remote property and provides a special, separate place for reflection and rest. It can also be used as a self-contained guest house.
The architect’s inspiration was the Fansworth House designed by Mies van der Rohe in 1951. Just as Mies’s famous dwelling appears to be floating above the landscape, Woodward’s pavilion seems to float on the lily pond, creating a scene straight from a Monet painting.
Achieving the appearance of effortless floating became a particularly challenging aspect of this project. To gain the approvals of the local council, the building had to be raised twice during the building process.
The area is flood-prone and the finished floor level had to be half-a-meter above the “1 in 100 year” flood level although there is a dam with two overflow spill ways. In spite of the two forced raises, the structure has retained its feel of floating and the residents can still enjoy the sensation of walking on water.
Our eyes were drawn initially to the clean lines and basic materials - steel, concrete, glass, sandstone – with wood the dominant feature. Complexity is easy, but elegant, functional minimalism requires restraint and tact, both evident in this lovely villa.
We can imagine – and envy – the guests loving the relaxed, cool feeling of waking up in this pavilion, with the warm morning breeze gently shifting the white drapes. - Tuija Seipell
Opening this week in Antwerp, Belgium, The Jane restaurant designed by Piet Boon has all the building blocks of a success. An intriguing building: A chapel of a former military hospital that gives the restaurant the aura of a sacred place mixed with a certain darkness. An interesting location: Antwerp’s ’t Groen Kwartier that with its lofts in restored buildings and green areas designed by famous architects is developing into a trendy area.
A famous chef-owner: Sergio Herman with his young right-hand man Nick Bril running the establishment. A renowned designer: Dutch Piet Boon restaurant who used fantastic collaborators to add customized spunk. The massive lighting fixture (weighing 800 kg) in the middle of the main dining room was created by Beirut, Lebanon-based PSlab and the stained-glass windows by the Antwerp-based Studio Job led by Job Smeets and Nynke Tynagel.
Our favourite aspects of The Jane are the scale of the space - its height, massive arches and large windows, the lovely decaying celling, and the almost complete lack of colour. We like how the interior touches respect the building and echo its history.
In a media release, Nick Bril explains why they named the restaurant The Jane “…Jane is the name of a fictional woman with the same qualities as our restaurant. The Jane will be sensual, exciting and chic. It will have an attractive international air, but also a hint of darkness. It will be tasteful and sophisticated, but also rock-’n’-roll. Like our perfect woman.” - Tuija Seipell
We discovered Australian artist CJ Hendry through her Instagram account and were immediately blown away by her work. Armed with only paper and pen, she creates magnificent, photorealistic black-and-white images in large format. Her subjects are generally high-end fashion objects, such as a Hermes scarf or a Louis Vuitton horse head, but they can also be other inanimate objects including sculls and guns.
The pieces are mesmerizing visual objects in their own right, but once you realize they are created by just pen and ink, you really start to appreciate the skill and patience involved.
We are very happy to be the first to introduce her work to the world at large. We are usually pretty good at knowing when we have found a winner, and we know she’s one.
All six of her pieces were sold prior to the opening of The Art Hunter in Sydney and all via Instagram.
CJ Hendry’s creative process starts with selecting an object, or in some cases the objects selects her and she becomes obsessed with it to the point of having to create an image of it in ink. She then photographs the object in different positions and lighting, sometimes taking more than 100 images. She looks for a strong contrast with negative space that then draws the focus onto the object itself.
She selects the image that evokes a sense of simplicity and balance, or that in her words “shows off” the item the best. She then prints a black-and-white image and creates a grid on a large sheet of Arches paper. She spends sometimes more than 200 hours painstakingly creating the final piece using only black UniPin pens
Having dropped out of two university programs, the former almost-Olympic-level swimmer (she just missed the Athens Olympics and left full-time swimming after that) has now found a satisfying life to channel her creativity, mental endurance and obsession with fashion.
CJ explains: “The main reason I am so obsessed with expansive white backgrounds and highly detailed objects was through my early years of studying architecture. I was completely obsessed with the large plans with perfect lines, and this is where I was introduced to the black UniPin pens. I was not very good on the computer so I drew all my plans for all the assignments and drew detailed renderings of the buildings. The lecturers were not happy with me because I wasn’t using CAD and said I better learn, so I dropped out.”
CJ Hendry does not do private commissions and is exclusively represented by TCH. We will be having 4 shows a year of CJ Hendry's work in the coming next 12 months. Subscribe to our newsletetter to be updated.
More than 400 invited guests attended the opening event of The Art Hunter in Sydney on Tuesday night.
The Art Hunter launch is a collaboration between The Cool Hunter and Jaguar, and the opening night was also the Australian debut of the spectacular Jaguar C-X17 concept car.
To present The Art Hunter, we engaged our dream team of collaborators, led by the incomparable Natalie Longeon, Peter Pengly and Phil Barker from The Artistry (they designed and executed our Summer Lovers store as well), to transform a 500 m2 warehouse in Alexandria into a genuinely exciting, temporary three-week art exhibition experience.
The Art Hunter is not a white-walled space where you quietly walk past pieces of art. Instead, it is an eclectic and vibrant environment where every wall is a different colour (by our paint sponsor Taubmans), where there is no natural light and where the work of more than 40 artists, curated by us, is not only on display but also for sale.
Every one of the seven exhibit spaces has its own unique theme in addition to having its own wall and floor texture and colour.
In this corner, more CJ Hendry art with Oliver Tanner sculpture and floor designed by Hollie Martin.
The incredible artwork of CJ Hendry -all hand drawn by pen – drew much attention via Instagram even before her public debut at The Art Hunter. Five of the six works shown, were pre-sold before the opening night. (CJ Hendry is now exlusively represented by TCH)
At every turn, The Art Hunter surprises by serving up powerful, stunning art, capable of turning heads in any environment, from private residences to public spaces.
And to further prove the point that art does not need to presented in a boring, bland environment, we engaged Joe Crossley to create an incredible pattern with tape on the concrete floor.
The video room at The Art Hunter has a continuous show of five videos by different artists but you need to visit The Art Hunter to find out who they are!
The visual artists represented at The Art Hunter include both well-established masters and startling new discoveries, such as CJ Hendry. Other artists involved include Stephen Oramndy, Dorryce Rock, Daniel Hollier, Phil James, Friends With You, Paul Ryan and Jasper Knight to name a few.
I would like to thank Jaguar & Black Communications for making this all possible. It is incredibly rewarding to work with an iconic brand like Jaguar and to create an environment that is truly worth experiencing. And, of course, the Jaguar C-X17 is beyond incredible.
Matthew Beaven, Jaguar’s Chief Designer, Exteriors, Advanced Design, flew in from London to host the evening with us.
At The Art Hunter, the Jaguar C-X17 concept car and brand positioning – How Alive Are You? was brought to life by The Creative Shop through the use of both audio and visual stimulus. Entering the room to hear a solid heartbeat that increased in speed and tempo, all the while visualising this through red pulse graphics on the walls, helped to create an immersive experience that demonstrated that the Jaguar C-X17 is a living and breathing machine.
I also want to thank our creative producers The Artistry specifically. I have never worked with a team of people who so enthusiastically showed so much interest and care in everything they do. The attention to detail, the design and execution, the construction of our enormous set, the managing of the food and drinks of the launch evening - every single detail was executed to an extraordinary level of professionalism. I am so lucky to be working with them.
In this space, the floor was created by Tania De Bono of #thewritings and the photograph is by Nick Samartis.
The confession room designed by Hendrik Gericke where people walk into a neon-lit room to write a confession and share it on the wall.
Neon art in this space is paired with the Rainbow Trooper by Super Future Kid.
At the opening, we also had incredible edible food art provided by the talented team of Studio Neon with Andy Warhol soup cans for serving fermentad tomato gazpacho with prawns. Large terracotta pots with zucchini flowers, goats cheese hazelenut and honey and vegetable puree served as edible paint. And of course, we had the best mobile bar staff in Sydney with the Trolleyd boys along with our partners, Peroni, Nakd Water from NZ, Grey Goose, Karma Kola, Bombay Sapphire, Milagro Tequila.
The Art Hunter – open for three weeks only at
90-96 Bourke Road
Alexandria (directly opposite the Grounds)
Mondays - CLOSED
Tue-Fri - Midday until 8pm
Sat & Sun - 10am - 5pm
Closes Sunday 30 March
Want to see more? Use the hashtag #thearthunter on instagram to see everyone’s images.
The Art Hunter is The Cool Hunter’s latest, and so far the largest, offline experiential endeavour. It started with two The Cool House wildly successful temporary boutiques in Sydney and Melbourne in 2012, followed by The Cool Hunter ‘Rotate” Summer Lovers store in Sydney in 2013, and now in 2014, The Art Hunter
We can do much more with this fabulous warehouse space, the sky is not the limit! If you have a corporate event, product launch, fashion show, or other happening in mind in Sydney the near future, let us know. We have not only the ideas, but also the teams to make your next event a stunner.
The Art Hunter – open for three weeks only at
90-96 Bourke Road
Alexandria (directly opposite the Grounds)
Blame us, Norwegian designers and/or their possible dislike of communication, or a slight language barrier, but Norwegian design is not often seen in design media.
We would love to change that and we are currently liking the award-winning work of Oslo-based Inne Design’s Interior Architect Vigdis A. Bergh.
We noticed her work with hair salon and spa INCH whose owner Kirstin Arnesen is clearly onto something. Her little unisex emporium for the balance of body and mind has been gradually growing in Oslo.
We love the design features Inne Design brought to the first store. The eclectic mix of custom-furnishings and individual finds from flea markets and antique stores creates a fun and interesting environment. Also worthy of mention is the ocreative repurposing of such simple pieces as the retro round tables fitted with mirrors that can be removed should they be needed for serving drinks or buffet food at events held in the space.
We like the flexibility, the balance between the feminine and the masculine, and the raw and funky concrete flooring and street art contrasted with velvety plush seating and classic pieces.
Another project worth a note by the same design team is Melkerampa.- Tuija Seipell.
Pristine snow-covered scenery of Courchevel in Les Trois Vallées area of the French Alps, one of the world’s oldest and largest ski areas with all the amenities and options imaginable. Not a bad set-up to build an exclusive luxury ski resort.
L’Apogée Courchevel (the summit, zenith, pinnacle of Courchevel) is a new resort located on the same peak where the former Olympic ski jump was located.
With slabs of stone, peaked rooflines and massive timbers, the hotel exterior speaks the tried-and-true language of resort that reminds us of many ski resorts around the world but also of the National Parks “Parkitecture” in North America. Nothing strikingly different here.
Inside, timbers, fur, leather, suede, wool fabrics with plaid patterns and velvet in rich textures, all confirm that we are, indeed, in an opulent, Tyrolean ski resort.
But the hotel’s 55 rooms and suites involve real modern luxury with customized furniture, bathrooms of Fior di Bosco marble and designer showers and deep soaking tubs. Underfloor heating throughout – including on the balconies. And the scenery from each suite is breathtaking.
If that is not enough, you can stay at the penthouse suite. It has four bedrooms, and a rooftop terrace with a hot tub that is literally a large wooden tub.
And for those with even deeper pockets, there is the private, five-bedroom chalet. The resort’s own spa, restaurant and other amenities may also mean that you never get to the slopes.
The hotel’s owner is French technology entrepreneur Xavier Niel who owns the Internet service provider, Free. L’Apogée Courchevel is managed by Oetker Collection www.oetkercollection.com that manages resort properties around the world. - Tuija Seipell.
We have yet to experience anything even closely equal to our incredible six days at Castello di Reschio in Umbria.
So it should not have come as a surprise to us that their office building would turn out to be stunning as well.
But it just feels somehow unfair that some people really do get to call this restored 1940s tobacco processing factory as their everyday office.
Late last summer, Count Benedikt Bolza, the talented managing director and chief architect of the Castello di Reschio estate, and his team finished the restoration of the estate’s tobacco factory building so that the estate offices, design studio, workshops and exhibitions could move in.
Heritage and history are exquisitely balanced with contemporary style and cool elegance, yet the space does not feel pretentious or contrived. It feels completely natural; there is a sense of ease, as if it had always been like this.
Part of the reason for this is that Bolza left several key elements of the industrial building intact. For example, the stairs that lead to the offices where 13 team members now work are exactly as they were when more than 50 factory workers sorted tobacco here on long wooden tables – many of which are now in the estate’s private restaurant, Osteria.
Reclaimed and repurposed steel, wood, stone and other elements are prominent throughout the estate and in the Tabaccaia as well. Our favourites are the large floor lamps made of reclaimed heaters Bolza found at the Tabaccaia, and topped with perforated stainless steel sheet shades. Another favourite are the large sculptural rings hanging from the ceiling. They are repurposed wine barrel rings from the castle’s wine cellars.
Bolza says that although sound proofing was initially a concern in this hard-surfaced space, it has actually been a blessing in disguise. Repurposed wide wooden planks help muffle sound throughout the open space but no additional sound-proofing was needed “because the magic is that everybody talks at low level creating a sort of spiritual working environment. It is quite amazing and all are in such good working mode because of it,” he says.
And while it may seem that the team is roughing it in this rustic environment, under-floor heating and LED lighting throughout bring the comfort level well beyond that of most ordinary offices. - Tuija Seipell.
At first glance, the K House designed by Sydney-based Chenchow Little appears slightly dark and brooding. No windows or inviting embellishments, only angular planes of concrete and wooden slats.
But as soon as we see the view from the garden, the dwelling starts to appear like a protective burrow, a safe hideaway, an intriguing living space.
And when we later read about the clients’ brief, we knew the architects had achieved exactly what the client – a privacy-conscious family of two adults and two children – had wished for.
The house is located on the edge of Sydney Harbour (Vaucluse) overlooking the city skyline and the Harbour bridge. The northern edge – and the sun bathed side - of the site faces a public pedestrian walkway. To provide extreme privacy yet allow maximum sun exposure and openness to the views and the rear garden, the architects created a protective masonry shell and built an internal lining of untreated gum timber that will weather over time.
The internal views are light-filled and airy with none of the darkness or broodiness of the first-impression.
The total floor area of the residence (including decks) is 533 square meters (5.735 sq. ft). The site area is 788 square meters (8,250 sq.ft).
In their 10 years in business, Chenchow Little founders, Australians Tony Chenchow and Stephanie Little have become known for bold and distinctive residential projects. They are becoming one of our favourites, too. - Tuija Seipell
Entering the Hair Do hair salon in Chiba, Japan, is a surprising experience. No pink or frilly fake-spa softness, nor overly stark funky or shiny hair salon set-ups, just cool balance.
In this new, two-story building, with the upper-floor interior made to look like an old loft, there’s an overall sense of light and space and breathing room – our definite favourites.
Add to that the monochromatic wood-tone paneling and unpretentious furnishings, and we have a setting with real composure.
What makes this salon even more attractive, is the two-story glass wall that gives the clients something additional to look at than just themselves, and adds natural light as one of the main design components.
Located at the Chiba monorail station, the salon also adds some visual interest to the commuters’ daily routine.
The total area of the high-volume salon is 106 square meters (1,141 sq.ft). The architect and designer of the salon is the 36 year-old Ryo Matsui whose retail, office and residential work often includes wood paneling, monochromatic interiors and rounded edges. - Tuija Seipell
Photographs: Daici Ano
Balance. So difficult achieve as it requires the designer, architect and owner to know just where to stop – what is just enough but not too stark; what is just perfect for the building, for the space and most important, for the residents.
Andy Martin Architects has succeeded in balancing the angular and the circular forms beautifully in this large five-bedroom double-fronted mews residence, Mews 04, in London's Hyde Park.
The biggest alteration Martin competed for this residence was to replace the timber-framed faux Victorian-style conservator form the 80s with a beautiful three-waved, sine-curved glass structure.
The form language of this new conservatory was then elegantly repeated throughout the house allowing maximum natural light into each space and fitting the client’s existing furnishings in with the new and customized pieces.
Bronze, marble and oak are materials that fit perfectly with the classical styling of the residents’ original pieces.
From the rounded topiary at the entrance to the curved marble bath tub, the beautiful curved form brings sophisticated harmony to the entire residence. - Tuija Seipell.