Design Dose: 3 Living Rooms That Caught Our Eye This Week (6 photos)

The kitchen might be the hub of most homes, but when it comes time to slow down, kick back and relax, most of us head straight for the comfort of our living rooms. It’s where we put our feet up, chat with friends, turn on the TV, power up a laptop, open a book or laugh with our spouse about something...


This Modest Japanese Home is a Surfer's Paradise

Wave House Exterior Facade, Fujisawa, Japan

The façade designed by Apollo Architects and Associates features an overhanging upper level, which ensures that the entrance is pleasantly shaded and demarcates the property’s two parking spaces. The home’s wooden structure is clad in a bright white exposed concrete.

How to create a home for a client who would rather be outdoors? In Fujisawa, Japan, Apollo Architects and Associates did just that, designing a home for a client who loves to surf. Located near the beach, the home includes a bathroom that can be accessed from outside, making it easy for the owner to clean up following a session. The house’s interior is replete with reminders of the great outdoors. Its U-shaped layout centers on a courtyard and a memorial tree. Generous windows provide the family with views outside the house and across the courtyard. These views are an ever present reminder that nature sits between where one is and where one wants to go.


Made in America: Simple and Functional Products from Philadelphia

Industrial table comprised of oak and steel

The Brandywine furniture series marries simple, functional silhouettes with a thoughtful play of materials. This coffee table features a solid oak top that is available with a light or dark finish. A simple rectangle, the tabletop rests on a steel frame, adding stability to the table along with a distinctive look. The steel frame captures an industrial feel, which is apparent in the trestle-like flared legs. The steel legs are finished with oak feet, giving the table an unexpected, sophisticated detail.

Also available in the series: a desk and bench.


plazma envisions shoe store in lithuania as contemporary art gallery

the retail space has been envisioned as contemporary art gallery, that utilizes concrete, brass, mirrors to express an industrial, urban mood.

The post plazma envisions shoe store in lithuania as contemporary art gallery appeared first on designboom | architecture & design magazine.


D.C. National Parks Need Some Serious Care

Cherry blossoms trees are near blooming along the Tidal Basin near the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Springtime tourists to D.C. may be in for some unsightly attractions. The Jefferson Memorial is falling apart and could even be a hazard to visitors.

“If you look up you can see the portion of the ceiling of the portico has fallen,” Sean Kenneally, acting deputy superintendent for the National Mall & Memorial Parks told radio’s Marketplace. “Fortunately, no one was injured.”

According to Marketplace:

The National Park Service, which administers the Jefferson Memorial and Tidal Basin as part of its National Mall and Memorial Parks (NMMP) zone, has $11.5 billion on its backlog of deferred maintenance costs. Of that figure, $850 million is slated for the NMMP. So while the Jefferson Memorial may look good from afar, when you get closer you can see that it’s falling apart.

The problems with funding have gotten worse in the past 30 years, according to Craig Obey, the senior vice president of the National Parks Conservation Association, who says it is a bipartisan issue.

“The Park Service gets about between $200 [million] and $300 million less than they need each year just to keep it even, not even to begin reducing it,” Obey told Marketplace.

National parks generate about $37 billion in revenue each year. While most people think of them as natural wonders and sprawling forestland, many of of them are in urban areas and provide critical economic boosts to those regions.


This week on Dezeen


This week we reported on Jacques Herzog's attack on the Milan ExpoTadao Ando's first project in New York and a Swedish woodland home (pictured). Read on to catch up with the latest architecture and design news, plus our track of the week. (more…)


۵۰ Reasons to Love Design Made in America

Felix Glenn wooden spoon made in Alabama

Alabama. Handmade in Birmingham, Felix Glenn makes wooden kitchen tools, including charming sugar scoops, tasting spoons, and more.

Image courtesy of Felix Glenn.

۵ Gravity-Defying Cantilevers


۵ Gravity-Defying Cantilevers


Designers Envision Philly Island With Sky Farm, Marina and More

A winning design proposal envisions a thriving future for an uninhabited Philly island.

Can an obscure, uninhabited, 292-acre island that sits in the Delaware River between Philadelphia and Camden be knitted into the urban fabric of those cities? One team of designers recently concocted a long-term development plan that would take rural cues — and also considers challenges such as food insecurity and rising sea levels — to do just that. Their plan includes a sky farm, a farmers’ market and ag education facilities.

The group won the annual Better Philadelphia Challenge, which is presented by the Philadelphia Center for Architecture and open to university-level students. The competition looks for a solution to an actual urban-design issue in Philadelphia, with the hope that the resulting ideas could be applied to other cities. This year, applicants were asked to imagine ways to develop Petty Island, which most Philadelphians aren’t even aware exists but which claims a colorful history.

William Penn once owned it. Lore has Blackbeard docking his ship on it. During the second half of the19th century, an Irish immigrant managed a farm there and eventually declared himself king of the island. In 1902, promoters envisioned it as the site of an amusement park. In contrast, during the last century, Petty Island’s tale has featured mainly drab refineries, petroleum tanks and cargo containers, but in recent years, it’s been the object of several ambitious development plans. For example, a 2004 proposal would have seen the island host a hotel/resort complex and conference center, a golf course, retail space and 750 upscale homes. Environmentalists who fight such development have pointed to two bald eagles that call the island home. In 2009, current owner Citgo announced that it will donate the island to New Jersey’s Natural Lands Trust.

With a complex history at the baseline, the challenge even upped the level of difficulty by requiring entrants to project a full century into the future. Robert Hanifin, a member of the winning team from Cornell University, chuckled when he mentioned this requirement. “One-hundred year plans don’t exist,” he said wryly.

Nonetheless, Hanifin and his teammates Akshali Gandhi, Li-Yu Pan, Chen Sun and Lishutong Zhang — all master degree candidates in either landscape architecture or regional planning — came up with a thoughtful vision for both short-term and long-term development of the island and the facing Philadelphia waterfront, with a focus on addressing issues of food insecurity, urban farming and agricultural education. The Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger estimates that in 2013, 22 percent of city residents experienced food insecurity.

Sky farm design

The team’s winning multiphase proposal, dubbed “Delaware Valley Foodworx,” includes an agricultural college, seed bank, sky farm, discovery center and farmers’ market on the island. “The sky farm will be a lab but also the site of actual production,” Pan pointed out. “We looked at the vertical farming that already exists in the world,” but they also took into consideration future rising sea levels.

The Cornell-based team’s plan upgrades the Philadelphia riverfront with food distribution warehouses, a marina and recreational fields. “We’re making a general assumption that the urban core of Philadelphia is going to continue to grow,” Hanifin said. “That’s crucial for this plan. We’re going to be providing food to those people and the educational resources for those people to partake in urban agriculture.”

Barry Seymour, executive director of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission and a judge for the Better Philadelphia Challenge, said the Cornell team’s plan “resonated with the jury because they really tried to identify a specific need for the region and how Petty Island could fit in to that. They looked at the region and came up with solutions to address the problem of food insecurity.”

Seymour points out how many of the plan’s elements, like the farmers’ market, serve both Philadelphia and Camden, thereby turning Petty Island into a connector between the two cities.

The Cornell team was highly aware of the current movement to revitalize urban waterfronts. “A lot of times when you have waterfront development it’s only used for tourism or economic development purposes,” team member Gandhi said. “What we’re trying to get at is that you can have more. You can have tourism, you can have recreation, you can have economic development and workforce development, but also community development.”

In the real world, there won’t be a food-production center, or much of anything else, on Petty Island anytime soon. “Environmental cleanup has to happen before anything can go there,” said the DVRPC’s Seymour. But competitions such as this are exercises in dreaming big. Who wouldn’t want to see a 10-story sky farm on an island off of Philadelphia?


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Architect Mahmood Fallahian

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