Monday, April 14, 2014

The fun of function, Stacked House by Naturehumaine

Nest of Pearls - Australian Design Blog - Stacked House by Naturehumaine

Completed in 2013, this sophisticated and sleek house design is located in a back alley of Montréal’s Plateau neighbourhood. Appropriately named Stacked House, this single family home is the creation of the award winning architectural practice Naturehumaine. Based in Canada, Naturehumaine design to a simple yet strong philosophy 'Not just pretty pictures in a magazine. Real spaces for real people'. And Stacked House is definitely true to this claim. 

While jumping out at me from these sharp, clean, light-filled photos, the house design is nevertheless so much more than just sheer beauty in a series of dazzlingly photographed moments. Faced with the challenge of needing to build upwards rather than outwards, the architects have created a stack of four boxes, each clad in a different material. From street view, each stack has its own character and visual personality. The facade sports tight horizontal patterns meeting with wide vertical ones, which in turn are broken by the relief of wooden louvres and modern window frames. There is a true play on juxtaposition, all while a visual rhythm is seamlessly achieved.   

Behind the facade, rooms and spaces are drenched with light, thanks to a void curved out of the centre of the house. Not only does this provide daylight but also ventilation and the opportunity of a private outdoor space. My favourite aspect I think would have to be the numerous 'viewing' moments created as a result of this void. When occupying any one space, the void let's the user view across to spaces on the other side of the house, as well as above, behind, and even directly below. Essentially, with very limited space and light Naturehumaine have very creatively solved for quite a tricky problem in urban dwelling.   

Nest of Pearls - Australian Design Blog - Stacked House by Naturehumaine

Nest of Pearls - Australian Design Blog - Stacked House by Naturehumaine


Nest of Pearls - Australian Design Blog - Stacked House by Naturehumaine

Nest of Pearls - Australian Design Blog - Stacked House by Naturehumaine

Nest of Pearls - Australian Design Blog - Stacked House by Naturehumaine

Nest of Pearls - Australian Design Blog - Stacked House by Naturehumaine

Nest of Pearls - Australian Design Blog - Stacked House by Naturehumaine

Nest of Pearls - Australian Design Blog - Stacked House by Naturehumaine

Source - naturehumaine.com
Images courtesy of - Source - naturehumaine.com

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Analia Saban's orchestra of beauty & simplicity

Nest of Pearls - Australian Design Blog - Analia Saban

Best known for using laser cutters, silicon moulds, and erosive techniques, Analia Saban is an Argentinian artist who works out of the States. Her work abruptly stopped me in my scrolling Pinterest tracks. With its refreshingly reductive approach, it carries a depth that keeps me searching for meaning in every textural contour, in every subtle line, in every hint of relationship between medium and artist.

Analia Saban describes her own process as both artistic and scientific, an approach inspired by a former instructor. This lens sees the artist dissect not only the painting process, but rather her works in themselves. There is a notion of layering whereby she leaves us feeling as thought there is at least one more step of dissection that could have been applied, however this is ours to play with. And so this is the blurred line that I love, whereby we're pulled into the artwork itself and challenged to imagine what the next step would be... allowing a different ending to the story for each individual viewer.  

There is something quite rugged and unashamedly bold in Saban's work. It has a firm presence, it breathes and jumps out at me from the photos. I can only imagine what it must feel like to see such works lost within a large gallery space. I see large, towering white walls, soft lighting, no one else but me, and Saban's orchestra playing its soft music around me.

Nest of Pearls - Australian Design Blog - Analia Saban

Nest of Pearls - Australian Design Blog - Analia Saban

Nest of Pearls - Australian Design Blog - Analia Saban

Nest of Pearls - Australian Design Blog - Analia Saban

Nest of Pearls - Australian Design Blog - Analia Saban

Nest of Pearls - Australian Design Blog - Analia Saban

Nest of Pearls - Australian Design Blog - Analia Saban

Nest of Pearls - Australian Design Blog - Analia Saban

Nest of Pearls - Australian Design Blog - Analia Saban

Nest of Pearls - Australian Design Blog - Analia Saban

Nest of Pearls - Australian Design Blog - Analia Saban

Nest of Pearls - Australian Design Blog - Analia Saban

Nest of Pearls - Australian Design Blog - Analia Saban

Nest of Pearls - Australian Design Blog - Analia Saban

Images courtesy of - analiasabanstudio.com and artsy.net

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Wonderland in the sky, by Steven Harris Architects

Nest of Pearls - Tribeca apartment by Stephen Harris Architects

I absolutely love New York. To date, I've only had the pleasure of visiting this amazing city as a tourist, but I just know that one day I'll need to live there, even if it's for a short period of time. Maybe the calling will come one day when I'm a full-time design blogger and I'll be required to live in New York to rub shoulders and interview local design talent... yes, I'm sure that that's what it'll have to be...

So I guess, until then, I'm left to dream and plan... and what better way to dream about the perfect NY abode than this whizz-bang snazzy penthouse!! What a space, what a view, what grandeur!! Designed by the award-winning Steven Harris Architects, this incredible jewel of an apartment hangs in the heights of the 27 and 28th floor of a converted 1930's office building NY's TriBeCa.

The 743 square-metre home is rich with breathtaking design solutions, an abundant allowance made that much more attainable by the clients' very accommodating and generous budget. One of my favourite aspects are the simple and elegant floating stairs. Made out of stainless steel plates, each step is then wrapped in leather. What a unique and unlikely mix of material!! I can only imagine how comfortable it must be to sink one's foot in these immaculate stairs.

Where I think this apartment design really tugs at my heart-strings, though, is the large windows, impeccable views, and rich light streaming in at every possible opportunity. It is an absolutely perfect wonderland for lovers of rich, plush, boundary-less comfort, quietly looking down on the mesmerising lights of one one of the most magnificent cities of the world.

Nest of Pearls - Tribeca apartment by Stephen Harris Architects

Nest of Pearls - Tribeca apartment by Stephen Harris Architects

Nest of Pearls - Tribeca apartment by Stephen Harris Architects

Nest of Pearls - Tribeca apartment by Stephen Harris Architects

Nest of Pearls - Tribeca apartment by Stephen Harris Architects

Nest of Pearls - Tribeca apartment by Stephen Harris Architects

Nest of Pearls - Tribeca apartment by Stephen Harris Architects

Nest of Pearls - Tribeca apartment by Stephen Harris Architects

Nest of Pearls - Tribeca apartment by Stephen Harris Architects

Nest of Pearls - Tribeca apartment by Stephen Harris Architects

Nest of Pearls - Tribeca apartment by Stephen Harris Architects

Images courtesy of - steven harris architects

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Rainy Sunday colour whiz-bang fun, by André Britz

Nest of Pearls - Colour Morphology by André Britz

André Britz is one third of the trio comprising the multimedia design studio Britzpetermann. Based in Germany, the company positions itself as a Studio for Design & Code, where "Childlike curiosity meets sophisticated multimedia".

Working on projects ranging from digital installations, graphic executions, social media strategies and website design, André Britz's work caught my eye through these flamboyantly loud, fun and simple graphic executions. Named the 'Colour Morphology', this series was created for a small installation project that explored how our viewing habits and perception are affected when we see everyday objects that have had basic changes made to their appearance.

These shots are bold, quirky, simple and make me smile. Perfect for a fun Sunday post, particularly a rainy Sunday, such as what we have here today in Sydney! And I'm just loving André Britz's choice of fluorescent colours, it gives me an uncanny desire to grab the fruits and juggle them!

Nest of Pearls - Colour Morphology by André Britz

Nest of Pearls - Colour Morphology by André Britz

Nest of Pearls - Colour Morphology by André Britz

Nest of Pearls - Colour Morphology by André Britz

Nest of Pearls - Colour Morphology by André Britz

Nest of Pearls - Colour Morphology by André Britz

Nest of Pearls - Colour Morphology by André Britz

Nest of Pearls - Colour Morphology by André Britz

Nest of Pearls - Colour Morphology by André Britz

Source - andré britz via britzpetermann
Images courtesy of - andré britz via britzpetermann

Saturday, November 9, 2013

When architecture defines an era - Skopje, Macedonia

Nest of Pearls - 60's-70's Architecture Skopje, Macedonia

I fell upon this extremely interesting article some months ago and made a little side note that I wanted to explore it further. Since then, I've moved countries, changed jobs, and had a ligament reconstruction, busy activities that can sometimes get in the way of blogging. So as I'm slightly couch-ridden and recovering with an ice-pack on my knee (that would be the ligament scenario), I've revived some dormant blog side-notes, one of them being this bitter-sweet article on the 60's & 70's architecture in Skopje, Macedonia.

The original article that I came across is called "Communist Architecture of Skopje, Macedonia – A Brutal, Modern, Cosmic, Era", and is written and photographed by world-travelling photographer and blogger Nate Robert. It's a very interesting article, and certainly worth a read. It talks about the architectural style that defined Skopje following the tragedy of the 1963 earthquake, an event which saw the city in total ruin, which saw thousands lose their lives, and many more thousands pull together to save their neighbours. It was an event that literally stopped time for that generation. People who lived through the earthquake speak of life 'before the earthquake' and 'after the earthquake'. I know this because I was born in Skopje and have heard many a story from parents and relatives alike.

Nest of Pearls - 60's-70's Architecture Skopje, Macedonia

Nest of Pearls - 60's-70's Architecture Skopje, Macedonia

In my first paragraph above I refer to Robert's article as bitter-sweet because I tend to share Robert's point of view with regard to the sad fact that the architecture that defined Skopje in the 60's and 70's is left to fall to ruins, all while the city is being renewed left, right and centre with a style of architecture which is in desperate search of defining a country which has for years struggled with both its name and, hence, identity.

But I'm not here to delve into what is happening in Skopje now, nor bore myself with the depth of the political mayhem that surrounds the city today. What I want to shamelessly do, through Robert's article and photography, is enjoy the crazy and beautiful architecture that defined this hidden little gem of a city during the years following 1963, and actually, still continues to define the city today.

Nest of Pearls - 60's-70's Architecture Skopje, Macedonia


Nest of Pearls - 60's-70's Architecture Skopje, Macedonia

Nest of Pearls - 60's-70's Architecture Skopje, Macedonia

Born in Skopje, I lived there until I was eight years old, after which I moved to the sun-kissed shores of Sydney, Australia. Contrast, much?... My family and I had left, what was then Yugoslavia, before any unrest came to wake, so I fluttered off to my new home country with nothing but warm fuzzy thoughts about the wonderful city I had just left.

In later years, now well and truly a Sydney-sider, I studied interior architecture at UNSW where I came across Kenzo Tange's work, and immediately knew that his was the distinct signature behind the architecture that adorned the Skopje that I knew. Through my studies I quickly learned that I was quite a fan of minimalist, true function, and so can easily turn to despise useless decoration on architecture that serves no function and often comes across as cheap and kitsch. So as I return to Skopje to visit family and friends year upon year, the architecture that speaks to me, that brings my emotions to life, and that defines the city for me on a personal level, is that which is left from the Tange years.

Nest of Pearls - 60's-70's Architecture Skopje, Macedonia


Nest of Pearls - 60's-70's Architecture Skopje, Macedonia

Thus, I look at the photos in Robert's article and I'm truly taken aback to another era, one that is very familiar to me, and one that I'm deeply and emotionally connected to... or in Robert's words, "A Brutal, Modern, Cosmic, Era". What a great name for an article!! Buildings that floated around me every day during my childhood years now feel as though they're out of a world likened to that of The Clockwork Orange, or better yet, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. But just very simply, how refreshing to read an article on Skopje that looks at the city as a platform for art form rather than a stage for tense, political turmoil. 

I can certainly appreciate how the architecture in these photos can appear to some as cold, imposing, and maybe even ugly. What I see and love, though, is the shameless play on heavy shapes, the absolute devotion to geometry and straight lines, a sense of rhythmic repetition that sees identical windows follow each other up to nose-bleeding heights... or better still, vast facades that are purely concrete adorned with no window in sight!!! So simple...

Maybe it's the wonderful, faded, slightly 70's and hipster-y type photography style of the eye behind the camera of these photos that gets a reaction out of me, or the fact that I know the outside of these buildings, and the inside of some, like the back of my hand. But whatever it is, I'm taken aback to a remarkable city where the buildings that seem quite static in these photos, are alive with the buzz of people studying, working and living in their walls. To set the mood further, I remember that in the 80's everyone wore flares, and thick moustaches were top of list in the fashion stakes... 

Nest of Pearls - 60's-70's Architecture Skopje, Macedonia

Nest of Pearls - 60's-70's Architecture Skopje, Macedonia

Nest of Pearls - 60's-70's Architecture Skopje, Macedonia

Nest of Pearls - 60's-70's Architecture Skopje, Macedonia

Nest of Pearls - 60's-70's Architecture Skopje, Macedonia

Nest of Pearls - 60's-70's Architecture Skopje, Macedonia

Nest of Pearls - 60's-70's Architecture Skopje, Macedonia

Nest of Pearls - 60's-70's Architecture Skopje, Macedonia

Nest of Pearls - 60's-70's Architecture Skopje, Macedonia

Nest of Pearls - 60's-70's Architecture Skopje, Macedonia

Nest of Pearls - 60's-70's Architecture Skopje, Macedonia

Nest of Pearls - 60's-70's Architecture Skopje, Macedonia

Nest of Pearls - 60's-70's Architecture Skopje, Macedonia

Nest of Pearls - 60's-70's Architecture Skopje, Macedonia

Source - nate robert via yomadic
Images courtesy of - nate robert via yomadic