Design Diary

A personal review of design creations.

A Dunescape Golf Academy

Jordan17_1000_400.jpg

Part of a 44-square-kilometer leisure development, the Ayla Golf Academy and Clubhouse in Aqaba (Jordan) is inspired by its direct natural environment.


I am not keen on golf in general. Not the sport but more the resources needed to sustain the golf course. Here in the Middle East, it requires a massive work to provide the club members the best for their leisure.

Jordan5_1000_400.jpg

Recently, Oppenheim Architecture has completed the Ayla Golf Academy and Clubhouse in Aqaba for Ayla Oasis Development Company. Not sure it is a surprise to people in the region but the architectural firm took inspiration from the natural dunescapes and mountains of the surrounding desert as well as the architectural heritage of the ancient Bedouin.

Jordan7_1000_400.jpg

The 1,200-square-meter building forms part of a 44-square-kilometer leisure development, containing residential, commercial, and hotel space centered on the 18-hole golf course. The golf consultant for this project was Greg Norman.

Jordan8_1000_400.jpg

The distinct architectural form of the clubhouse establishes a connection with nature by capturing the beauty of the rolling desert landscape. A massive concrete shell drapes over the programme areas, enveloping the walls of each volume. The volume’s curved shotcrete shell blends with the surrounding sand dunes, while openings in the shell offer views towards the Aqaba Mountains.

Across the openings, corten steel perforated screens filter the light, similar to the traditional Arabic “Mashrabiya.” The triangular pattern of the openings is inspired by traditional Jordanian patterns, while the tones of the surrounding mountains are echoed in the colours of the shotcrete and metals.

The scheme’s construction was the result of a knowledge exchange program between the European office of Oppenheim Architecture and local workforce. Shotcrete pouring techniques were taught to workers in the first phases so that they could take ownership of the construction and obtain specialized skills.

A local artist (name sadly not shared in the press pack) also helped shape the building by applying a traditional pigmentation technique to the interior surfaces, granting a raw, unadorned look that stays true to its context and inspiration.

 

Pictures by Rory Gardiner

Design Auctions at Phillips

Lot 2 - Set of six armchairs and two stolls by Carlo Mollino (ca. 1959). Est. USD 20-30,000

Lot 2 - Set of six armchairs and two stolls by Carlo Mollino (ca. 1959). Est. USD 20-30,000


On June 6th in New York, Phillips is presenting 150 lots from great design masters of the 20th century for its last auction of the season.


With a prestigious list of designers, this auction sale is giving collectors a great opportunity to acquire some stunning pieces.

Here is a very personal selection of 12 creations (including the hero picture):

Lot 6_Gio Ponti_1000.jpg

Lot 6 - Wall Unit by Gio Ponti (ca. 1950).

Estimate USD 15-20,000. Spell-veneered wood, painted steel.


Lot 7_Gino Sarfati_600.jpg

Lot 7 - Adjustable floor lamp (model #1045) by Gino Sarfatti (ca. 1948).

Estimate USD 5-7,000.

Painted aluminum, brass.



Lot 10_Franco Albini_1000.jpg

Lot 10 - Rocking Chaise (model #PS 16) by Franco Albini (ca. 1959).

Estimate USD 8-12,000. Walnut, fabric, cord.


Lot 19_Venini_600_2.jpg

Lot 19 - Wall light by Venini (ca. 1950).

Estimate USD 3-5,000.

Glass, painted steel.


Lot 25_Fanco Buzzi_600.jpg

Lot 25 - Pair of wall lights by Franco Buzzi (ca. 1952).

Estimate USD 4-6,000.

Polished and painted brass.


Lot 36_Gio Ponti_600.jpg

Lot 36 - Illuminated bar cabinet by Giovanni Gariboldo (ca. 1949).

Estimate USD 7-9,000.

Maple-veneered wood, brass, glass.


Lot 48_Jorge Zalszupin_1000.jpg

Lot 48 - “Banco Onda” by Jorge Zalszupin (ca. 1960).

Estimate USD 12-18,000. Stained wood-veneered plywood, chromium-plated metal, leather.


Lot 51_Vladimir Kagan_600.jpg

Lot 51 - Console table by Vladimir Kagan (ca. 1952).

Estimate USD 8-12,000.

Walnut-veneered wood, walnut.


Lot 62_John Ward_600.jpg

Lot 62 - “Black and White Oval Pot” by John Ward (ca. 1996).

Estimate USD 4-6,000.

Hand-built glazed stoneware.


Lot 85_Wendell Castle_1000.jpg

Lot 85 - Unique “Butterly Love Sear” by Wendell Castle (ca. 1967).

Estimate USD 60-80,000. Stack-laminated oak


Lot 125_Eckart Muthesius_1000.jpg

Lot 125 - Important sideboard from the Maharaja of Indore’s Banquet Hall, Manik Bagh Palace (Indore) by Eckart Muthesius (ca. 1931).

Estimate USD 200-300,000. Stained American walnut-veneered wood, stained American walnut, sycamore, nickel silver drawer handles, white metal inlays.

Perfect hideaway in Monsaraz

Monsaraz4_hero.jpg

Away from any clichés from typical Portuguese architecture, pure and almost naked as basic elements could be, here is a perfect hideaway by Manuel and Francisco Aires Mateus.


The architects are well established in Portugal with stunning houses in Lisbon (House in Estrela), in Coimbra, in Melides or even abroad in Tournai (Belgium).

casa_areia.jpg

In 2010, they presented Casa Areia (houses with sandy floors, picture above) at the Venice Architecture Biennale.

Monsaraz3_1000_600.jpg

The brothers love building dramatic spaces with a very simple interior, leaving the concrete dressing the interiors. Here is a new example in Monsaraz by the Alqueva Lake.

The house uses the terrain to cast a dome. All the social areas are covered and make the centre of the home.

Monsaraz2_1000_600.jpg

An inverted dome intersects it and creates an opening that lights the space, shaping its precise geometry and limits. The bedrooms open onto circular patios.

Monsaraz9_1000_600.jpg

Amid a wide natural landscape, the scale of the house is that of the patios and superior dome. They are the sole visible elements, painted in radiant white.

Somehow I feel a certain connection with Oscar Niemeyer in this structure.

Pictures by João Guimarães, Rui Cardoso, AMA – Aires Mateus

Saint George Hotel: Toronto’s untold story

49773_hero.jpg

In the heart of Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood, the Saint George Hotel mixes local heritage with a tasteful contemporary flavour.


The interior design of the Saint George Hotel communicates a narrative of local pride, diverse heritage and contemporary culture to create a hotel experience that celebrates Toronto’s layered history and sensibilities. The 14-story hotel integrates elements of Toronto’s culture and personality, giving guests a distinct sense of place. The experience of being a guest in their own well-appointed apartment. With 188 guest rooms and suites, a fitness centre, meeting and event space, the property provides unique guest accommodations within a neighbourhood setting.

49765_1000.jpg

Guests initial experience with the hotel comes via an exterior black wood awning at the main entry, giving the hotel street presence and welcoming guests for their stay. The lighting is a subtle nod to the iconic marquee signs that once occupied the neighbourhood.

The most visually striking element on the exterior is the 10-storey high hand-painted mural on the west-facing facade of the building. Mason Studio commissioned well-known street artist BirdO to create a surreal geometric bird that continues the narrative of the interior experience to the exterior.

Upon entry, the reception area features a marble desk framed with wooden arches, back dropped by a hand painted mural of a misty Toronto-inspired scene. Adjacent to reception is a guest lounge, designed to feel like a living room. The space is a collection of bespoke furniture, artwork, lighting and objects, many crafted by local makers that continue to tell the story of local culture and design.  

49771_1000.jpg

Arches are used throughout the hotel as a physical indicator of moving from one experience to another. They visually guide guests throughout the space while paying homage to Toronto’s diverse architectural style and eras.

49772_1000.jpg

A 40-sqm lounge situated on the main floor, just outside the meeting room is realised in darker, more saturated tones to convey a feeling of intimacy. A custom bar and beverage area offer the opportunity for guests to relax before entering the meeting room.

49781_1000.jpg

On the guestroom levels, a collection of original, small vintage black-and-white photographs from a couple’s vacation to Toronto appear at each guest entry. These images tell an intimate story of early post-war vacationers discovering the city.

The suites are a continuation of the nostalgic nod to the layered heritage of the neighbourhood. The rooms are designed with a residential approach by housing a collection of art and custom designed furniture and lighting that is seemingly collected over time.

Every element in the suites is carefully designed to provide guests with an experience parallel to a well-appointed apartment in the neighbourhood, offering guests with an alternative to more traditional hotel accommodations.

 

Photography: Naomi Finlay