Sunday, October 25, 2009


Gathering around the kitchen at a party seems to be a modern day way of entertaining and enjoying ourselves for a lot of us. At some point of the evening, we all end up in the kitchen, around it's bar or a kitchen extension of sorts. Dinner parties are a lot more casual, even when there's a Chef involved. Well, imagine dining with 11 of your friends, eating delicious food by a world renown chef, inside of a glowing glass and steel box work of art on top of a contemporary museum's roof with unobstructed views of the Siene and the Eiffel Tower… sounds dreamlike, but one can actually do this in Paris at Nomiya.

Nomiya is the temporary and transportable vision of Parisian brothers, architect
Pascal Grasso and artist Laurent Grasso. It sits on the rooftop of Le Palais de Tokyo in Paris and offers incredible panoramic views of the city.

Architecturally it's very simple and super interesting, specially when it's dark out. It's a glass structure with a perforated steel portion covering the kitchen area. The perforations are based on an image of the aurora borealis. When its dark the glass box lights up and glows. There are LED lights between the glass and steel which really bring it to life, changing colors and glowing like real aurora borealis. In the daylight I think that Nomiya, as cool as it is - and it really is amazing, does look a little bit like a fancy shipping container. In the evening however sitting in that dining room must be a magical experience, surrounded by a glowing changing colored light with full views of the Eiffel tower sparkling up in full glamour. The interior, being mostly white corian furniture with grey floors becomes a functional compliment to the LED lights. While there's daylight the interior finishings appear crisp, clean and tailored as any cooking area should be and in the evening this ethereal crisp box takes on an entire new life drowning in the color of the colored lights.

The fact that it's transportable alone makes me so excited, re-using of resources is something we all have to become more and more increasingly aware before we end up in a total ecological disaster. Nomiya is a re-usable concept combining art, culinary art, architecture and the opportunity of re-invension through location… perhaps it's next temporary location will include the views of a waterfall, the Golden Gate bridge, ski slopes or the Bird's Nest. I really hope this highly creative and unique structure's journey doesn't start and atop the same rooftop in Paris. Being the an Interior Designer I sometimes geek out on construction details or processes. Click on this text for videos I found of
how Nomiya was put together on site and another of a typical day/night there.

Most of the photos in this posting are by Nicolas Dorval Bory

Saturday, October 24, 2009


What do Zaha Hadid, Richard Meier, Shigeru Ban, Hariri & Hariri and Richard Rogers have in common other than being remarkable architects? Sagaponac, an enclave of 30 architectural treasures near the Hamptons in Long Island… the vision of Harry J. Brown, which is slowly coming to fruition. What a brilliant concept, to subdivide land and create a non-cookie cutter development. Surely, if the development of all the lots was given to any of the architects involved it would be a great success, but to have all these architects indirectly cooperating on one project is magic. I’m looking forward to the progress of this development and it’s final outcomes as well as seeing a development model such as this one carried through in different scales to many places. “Brown encouraged the architects to achieve design excellence within a modest budget and scale, leading to a community by and for thinking people. The houses represent an appreciation of artistic vision and sensibility, challenging the current standards of grandiosity and repetition.”
Lot #38 led me to Sagaponac, a collaboration between Shigeru Ban and Dean Maltz reminiscent of Mies van der Rohe’s unbuilt Brick Country house. The collaboration was coined “Furniture House”, where cabinets became a modular system, much like building blocks - both structural as walls and functional as furniture. This system divides public and private spaces as well as the interior and exterior. There are so many things that I love about this house, I could probably fill an entire book. The awesome and genius space planning, all the bedrooms having a view of the serene woods, the simplicity in choice of very few materials and colors, the living room glass doors opening up completely into the woods. This detail totally blurs the boundary between interior and exterior, and its accentuated by the fireplace color mimicking the floor and the same material flooring extending from the interior outside, it all adds up to super elongating effect and subtle drama. The continuity of the ‘building blocks’ also carries through to the exterior, there is a constant and perfectly balanced push and pull between the outside and inside. This house is a perfect retreat for anybody living a modern life. Asides from the setting and views being breathtaking, all the interior and exterior areas have a purpose, they’re functional and beautiful, Everything, including art, has a place in this home, without any unnecessary fluff. Entertaining must have definitely been on Ban & Maltz’s minds while planning this home, the roof extending over the poolside exterior kitchen is fantastic, could there be a more perfect place for outdoor entertaining? I’m a firm believer that well planned and executed houses have personalities and I’d say this one has a lot of it. It’s subtle in its ways, beautiful, mature, simple, elegant, it loves the outdoors, knows how to be the center of attention while remaining modest and its highly intelligent.