A dark green walkway to a bar overlooking the Freedom Tower in New York
A dark green walkway to a bar overlooking the Freedom Tower in New York

Nubeluz at the Ritz-Carlton New York, Nomad by Martin Brudnizki bring guests to the skies of New York

Martin Brudnizki and Bruno Moinard are two of the most celebrated names in interior architecture and design today. Here, Brudnizki takes LUX on a grand tour of Martin Brudnizki Design Studio’s most recent projects, while Moinard shares his design inspiration and creative process

Martin Brudnizki

Nubeluz at the Ritz-Carlton new York, Nomad
With Nubeluz located on the 50th floor of the Ritz-Carlton, our concept for its interior was to create a star in the New York sky. The project’s core is a central backlit onyx bar, and the surfaces are designed to reflect its lighting. A high-gloss lacquer ceiling, a marble floor, mirrored and onyx tables, plus six statement brass saucer chandeliers ensure that light bounces around the room in a magical way.

A man sitting with this hands to his chin at a bar

Martin Brudnizki

The colour scheme takes the project from lightbox to jewel box with a teal envelope to the walls, floor and ceiling, highlighting the coral seating in its luxurious mohair and flame stitch-patterned fabrics. We didn’t want to disrupt the views, so sheer teal-trimmed roman blinds hang across the windows. Our interior is a celebration of light and the city, referencing the classic hotel bar and saluting the views over an iconic skyline. It is modern and quintessentially New York.


Hôtel Barrière Fouquet’s New York
This is the illustrious French five-star hotel brand’s first foray into the US. In Paris it is located on the Champs-Élysées, so you might think its natural New York home would be the Upper East Side, but its team chose Tribeca – a decision I love. Our design challenge was to combine a distinctly Parisian ambience with a downtown location.

A brown and red bar with velvets and wood

Hôtel Barrièrre Fouquet’s New York by Martin Brudnizki brings the iconic Parisian hotel to Paris

We have brought together high glamour and elegance in a modern, timeless design, while leaning on the building’s loft-style architecture that blends seamlessly into the Tribeca landscape. Parisian design accents can be found in the rich materiality and colour palettes, while a carefully curated art collection, featuring many local artists, has a gritty urban appeal.


Vesper Bar at The Dorchester, London
With this project, it was important to respect the past while bringing it to a new era. We were inspired by celebrated Roaring Twenties creatives, such as Cecil Beaton and Oliver Messel, who each had a history with The Dorchester.

Two green chairs next to a wooden table and wooden wall

Vesper Bar at the Dorchester by Martin Brudnizki

Their inspiration was integral to the spirit of this landmark bar. We also nodded to designer Syrie Maugham in our use of the mirrored columns. The hope is that the Vesper Bar inspires another Roaring Twenties.


Mother Wolf, LA
Situated off Sunset Boulevard, Mother Wolf is a playful Italian restaurant that has become a magnet for LA celebrities since its opening in 2022. Working with chef Evan Funke and Ten Five Hospitality, we created a homage to the glamour and elegance of Italian design.

A room with green plants and red leather furniture and mirrored walls

Mother Wolf, LA by Martin Brudnizki

References to architects Gio Ponti and Carlo Scarpa can be found in the dining chairs and central bar, while a trompe-l’oeil scene depicts lemons and pomegranates – an ode to Italy’s chic riviera. With its Murano-glass lighting, antique mirrors and Siena-marble table tops, every aspect of the restaurant’s interiors connects to the design heritage of Italy.


Bruno Moinard

I am guided by lines, materials, light, energy and movement: whether in my work as an architect – in our projects around the world with Claire Bétaille for famous brands and high-profile clients – or in my more intimate work as a designer and painter.

A man standing amongst blue paintings in a studio

Bruno Moinard in his studio amongst his paintings

When I began to appreciate beautiful old cars – and I have three mythical English models – I saw their design is a distillation of everything that makes me vibrate in my creative process. I see these qualities in the bodywork, the leather, wood and chrome, the colours, the interplay between interior and exterior, the vision of the future in front of me and of the road travelled behind.

A red and white lobby with flowers hanging on pillars a large chandelier hanging over a rug

Interiors of Hôtel Plaza Athénee lobby, Paris by Bruno Moinard

So the challenge I set myself is to work with authenticity to evoke an emotion, to give a simple pleasure and generate unique sensations. This is luxury. It has nothing to do with glitz or so-called rarity.

A hallway with a marble floor and staircase

Hôtel du Marc lobby, Reims by Bruno Moinard

So in the cellars of Clos de Tart, a 1,000-year-old Burgundy vineyard with a Cistercian history, we built on the exceptional quality of the historic building, bringing light into the space, giving it life, to place it in harmony with the pure elegance of the wines.

A dark dining room with a chandelier hanging over the table

Hôtel du Marc dining room by Bruno Moinard

In “Résonance”, my recent exhibition in Paris, we made each painting an experiential space that I invited people to enter. My recent furniture collections also seek this sense, which has a direct impact on quality of life and on the welcoming nature of a space.

A living room with cream and grey furniture and a blue painting on the wall

One Monte-Carlo living room, Monaco by Bruno Moinard

My lights, furniture, carpets and objects bring freshness and softness with natural forms and materials. I am privileged to work in complementary fields and my inspiration in both is based on the same triptych of emotion, continuity and sustainability, while promoting the finest workmanship and expertise.




This article first appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2023/24 issue of LUX

Reading time: 5 min
A woman sitting with a pug in a pink stone terrace house
A woman sitting with a pug in a pink stone terrace house

“This is one of my favourite areas of the house, as we often have meals or work together at this table. In the mornings, the sunlight as it hits the pool is reflected on the walls and ceilings. It’s quite magical” – Sophie

In the 1980s, Hans and Caroline Neuendorf had a dream. The German art entrepreneurs wanted to build a house in Mallorca unlike any other. Pioneering and minimalist, the house would go on to redefine luxury living. More than 30 years on, Caroline and her daughter Sophie reflect on life at one of the world’s most distinctive homes, Neuendorf House

 “In 1984 we accidentally met John Pawson on a holiday in Porto Ercole, Italy. He was a young architect working with Claudio Silvestrin at the time. Neither had so far ever built a house. They transformed some flats in London into divine empty spaces with little furniture. We immediately fell in love with their concept – it was long before ‘minimalism’ was coined. We had bought a big piece of land in the Mallorcan countryside and we gave both architects carte blanche. We wanted a holiday house for our growing family. It was an adventure for the architects and us. At the time, Mallorca was largely undiscovered, and we were lucky to find a builder who was at the same time mayor of the little village nearby. With his help we were able to build this amazing structure. Little did we know that this house would become famous some day – on the contrary, most of our friends made endless jokes about us. Who would excavate a huge piece of land to build a sunken tennis court? Who would build a 110m wall with the sole purpose of defining the space between house and countryside? We would.”

A pool with umbrellas and a tree and pink stone house

You take it all in from there: what a view!” – Caroline

Neuendorf House was built when I was just born, so my brothers and I spent nearly all our childhoods there and most summers since. We moved around a lot, from New York to Berlin and London, so the house represents for me a place of constancy, peace and happiness. I travel there both to spend wild holidays and special occasions with family and friends or to disconnect. For years, we had no phone, TV or internet there, and my parents encouraged us to read if we were bored. There is a soft wind, the smell of wild lavender, thyme, almond trees and sea air, which is intoxicating. Time moves slowly – we’ve had many long languid lunches and dinners at the house. It’s important for us to come together there every summer, as I live in Madrid, my brothers in New York, Paris and London, and my parents are in Berlin. For me, the house was always protective, yet many friends didn’t understand how we could feel comfortable in a house that’s so empty. It’s the emptiness that gives room for laughter and creativity, that lets the mind wander. One is stripped down to nature and togetherness without distraction. I’ve spent the happiest days of my life at the house, notably my 30th birthday. And now my wedding, one of the most important moments in one’s life.” 

trees in a garden

“These trees were always on the property and as there is so little distraction they almost become sculptures” – Caroline


Two deckchairs in front of a pink wall and a cactus between them

“These deckchairs stand in the courtyard, from which you can contemplate a piece of private sky – and that happens a lot! The cactus was left by Cartier, when they shot the famous Cactus Collection” – Caroline


green grass on either side of a path

“The long view – the runway, as we call it” – Caroline


A woman leaning against two large pink walls

“The light coming from the ‘door’ is like a sundial. Depending on where the light and shadows fall, one can roughly tell the time of day. I’ve always used it as a good reference to see if I’ve overslept!” – Sophie


A pink stone house

“A view of the house from the north. The little windows give a postcard view of the landscape” – Caroline


A swimming pool

“A view of the smaller saltwater pool. In the winter it is heated; I have spent such wonderful moments there in the winter months, turning on the Jacuzzi and enjoying my first coffee” – Caroline


A tennis court

“The clay tennis court, a dream for any tennis aficionado” – Caroline


stairs in a garden leading to a basement

“The stairs to the sunken tennis court – the Tennis Temple” – Caroline

Sophie Neuendorf is Vice President at Artnet


Reading time: 4 min
white chairs on the grass by a pond
white lounge chairs by a swimming pool under a willow tree

LUX stopped off for an al fresco lunch with Fiona Barratt Campbell, founder of her eponymous interior design studio, FBC London and Sol Campbell, English professional football manager and former player. Sitting in their sequestered country home, in a lee of the Wessex downs the couple’s vision is clearly focused on the restoration of landscape, terraces and gardens, and the repurposing of original outbuildings

We sipped aperitifs amid darting blue dragonflies on the jetty lounge and adjourned poolside for a locally-sourced meal. Conversation ranged widely to include Fiona’s most innovative business development yet. Fiona’s bespoke FBC furniture blends with her personally-discovered antiques. We inspected the couple’s artwork in the pool house, the gardener’s cottage, walled kitchen garden, self-seeding wild flower margins, and listened to plans to re-wild the downland pastures. The second phase of restoration to their home is the refurbishment of the main house, predominantly of Georgian origin. Behind the scenes, effective estate management and skilled groundsmen underpin immaculate presentation, there are no short cuts… if necessary even Sol will get on his tractor!

a deck on a lake with a fire and sofas in a circle at the end
white deckchairs in front of a hut and grass

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

white chairs on the grass by a pond
white tables and chairs in front of a swimming pool with a hut in the background
white chairs in front of an olive tree and a hut on the grass
white chairs by a pool with a dining room in the background
white tables and chairs in front of a swimming pool

Find out more: fbc-london.com

Reading time: 4 min

In a few months, Fort Canning in the heart of Singapore will be transformed into the first Asian outpost of the Pinacothèque de Paris. But the heritage site has been a cultural hotspot before, discovers Koh Yuen Lin

Vantage Point - Sir Stamford Raffles saw a safe and strategic location in Fort Canning Hill

Vantage Point – Sir Stamford Raffles saw a safe and strategic location in Fort Canning Hill – Courtesy of the National  Museum of Singapore,National Heritage Board

It can hardly be called majestic, with an elevation of a meagre 60 metres. Yet it has been the favoured seat of power for sultans and governors alike. When prince of Palembang Sang Nila Utama sailed across the stormy seas in the 1300s, he chose the hill – with its freshwater spring and view of the river mouth – as a safe place to house his entourage as he built the new Kingdom of Singapura. And though Bukit Larangan – or the Forbidden Mountain – would be a deserted place covered in dense hardwood jungle and shrouded in myths about ghosts of sultans past, Sir Stamford Raffles arriving in 1819 saw in the hill what previous rulers had recognised: a safe haven, a strategic vantage point, and the nucleus of a city’s growth in more ways than one.

With 11 mature trees on its premises protected under National Park’s Heritage Tree Scheme, and a forest of flora and fauna, Fort Canning is home to a rich ecosystem. Yet few realise that what we see within this city-centre green lung is not just a product of nature, but also human nurturing.

Singapore Pinacothèque de Paris - The upcoming museum will be housed within the historic Fort Canning Centre

Singapore Pinacothèque de Paris – The upcoming museum will be housed within the historic Fort Canning Centre

Cleared extensively in the 1800s for development, the hill was given back its green coat when Raffles – a passionate botanist and also founder of the London Zoo – set out to create a modern botanic gardens on its ground. This would become a 19-hectare Botanic & Experimental Garden established in 1822. Mimicking styles of Europe’s most important botanic gardens, it was a medicinal plant gardens first, then a showcase for the exotic plants introduced during the age of exploration, and a nursery for potential cash crop – a place where the relationship between nature and culture was explored. Though all that remains of it today is a 2,300 sqm Spice Garden created in 1994 and planted with some of the plant species in the original garden, together with many plants featured prominently in local cuisine, it remains a reflection of Singapore’s blend of East and West cultures.

Another major tree-planting effort the hill witnessed was the development of the southwestern section of the hill, bounded by Clemenceau Avenue and River Valley Road, into King George V Jubilee Park. This would later be expanded and rechristened Central Park in the 1970s, and then enlarged once again and renamed Fort Canning Hill in 1981, officiated with the planting of a fruit tree by then prime minister Lee Kuan Yew – whose vision of Singapore as a garden city has shaped not just the country’s landscape, but also contributed to the economy in intrinsic ways.

Indeed, Fort Canning is more than just a green space. It is a historical site that has stood witness to the changing face of Singapore over the course of centuries. Yet it doesn’t stand still in history – it adapts along with it.

Archaeological finds from excavation sites on the hill continue to fascinate historians with artefacts from when the place was palace grounds for Malay royalty. From delicate Jing De Zhen ceramic dating back to the Yuan dynasty (1271–1368) to 14th century gold jewellery carved with intricate Hindu motifs, each is a clue to the island’s ancient past as a prosperous ancient kingdom.

Fort Canning Gate - Constructed in 1846, the Gothic Gates still stand today as the entrance

Fort Canning Gate – Constructed in 1846, the Gothic Gates still stand today as the entrance – Credit: Liisa Wihman

Historical landmarks oft overlooked by visitors whisper of a time when the site played the role of a strategic communications centre for the port city. On Raffles Terrace stands a replica of the original Time Ball: a device that was raised at exactly 1255hr and dropped at precisely 1300hr as a means for businesses, government offices and the larger community of the downtown area to set their clocks to a common time during the early colonial days. In front of the humble Raffles House, a flagstaff stands where a taller wood flagstaff was erected in the mid 1800s. Different ensigns raised communicated to the township the identity, location and status of the ships entering and leaving the harbour, and even the type of cargo being carried and the ship’s last port of call. This told the people when to post their mail and packages sailing for Australia, China, India and Europe, and also indicated to merchants when to head down to the docks for some early bird bargaining. For this reason, the hill was also known locally as Bukit Bendera (Flag Hill) in the latter part of the 19th century.

The many colonial structures – from the Fort Canning Gothic Gates designed in 1846 by superintendent engineer captain Charles Edward Faber, the three-storey neoclassical style building previously used as a military administration building in 1926 and now repurposed as Fort Canning Hotel, to the British Army Barracks that have been restored as Fort Canning Centre – further speak volumes of its past as a fort and military base during times of uncertainty. In the words of Melissa Diagana and Jyoti Angresh, authors of Fort Canning Hill: Exploring Singapore’s Heritage and Nature: “Fort Canning Hill has always played a central role in all aspects of Singapore’s heritage. Whether one is looking for Singapore’s tangible cultural elements (such as buildings, ruins, art works, or landscape) or its intangible elements (such as folklore, historical knowledge, fleeting biodiversity, or inspirations), one’s path inevitably leads to this hill.”

National Theatre@50 - The Singapore Biennale 2013 artwork sits at the foot of the hill, as an homage to the original site

National Theatre@50 – The Singapore Biennale 2013 artwork sits at the foot of the hill, as an homage to the original site

Today, Fort Canning Hill stands in the heart of the Museum Planning Area. Surrounded by the National Museum Of Singapore, Singapore Philatelic Museum and The Peranakan Museum, it is a city-centre location with a heart – and art – beat of its own.

Its grounds play host to a full calendar of cultural events ranging from WOMAD, which has been bringing world music, arts and dance to Singapore since 1998, perennial favourites such as Shakespeare in the Park and Ballet Under the Stars staged by the Singapore Dance Theatre since the early 1990s as a means of reaching out to families, to the multitude of musical performances ranging from punk to pop.

What most do not realise is that the hill was a venue for the arts as early as the 19th century.

When hotelier, entrepreneur, photographer, treasure hunter, and larger-than-life man about town Gaston Dutronquoy took over George Coleman’s two-storey residence sited at the foot of the hill, he also set up a private dinner theatre of sorts. The dining room was transformed into what was quite ostentatiously named Theatre Royal, and it was the stage for the settlement’s amateur actors, including some very high profile members of society such as Singapore’s first lawyer William Napier, prominent merchant Charles Spottiswoode and businessman and magistrate William Read who was, in certain circles, known for his cross-dressing roles.

In 1845, Theatre Royal, this time complete with an orchestra pit, found a new home in the Assembly Rooms built at the foot of the hill where the Old Hill Street Police Station now stands. The building however fell into a dilapidated state within a decade. Post-demolition after 1856, a temporary theatre was erected at the same spot, where fundraising performances for what would later become the Victoria Theatre continued until 1861.

In more recent history, the hill was home to the Drama Centre on Canning Rise, inaugurated as the Cultural Centre in 1955. It was in this 326-seat theatre that many landmark local stage productions – such as Lao Jiu and Army Daze – made its debut until its demolition in 2002 to make way for the rear extension of the National Museum of Singapore. Then there was the iconic National Theatre with its fivepointed façade, 150-tonne cantilevered steel roof stretching up the slopes of the hill, and no side or rear walls. For the 23 years that it stood, the multi-million structure – opened on 8 August 1963 to commemorate Singapore’s self-government – with its 3420-seat hall complete with a revolving stage, was the venue for international performances ranging from the Bolshoi Ballet to the Bee Gees.

Its lush environment a source of artistic inspiration, Fort Canning Hill has also become a natural venue of choice for exhibiting tangible art. At the inaugural 1981 ASEAN Sculptural Symposium, six art installations were donated by member countries and are now displayed throughout the hill’s green spaces. Today, the park remains a creative space spruced with public art installations, such as site-specific works by The Sculpture Society of Singapore.

And just as its role has changed through the centuries with the country, the evolution of Fort Canning Hill as a venue for the arts continues. In 2015 it will welcome a new crowning jewel in the form of the Singapore Pinacothèque de Paris housed within the Fort Canning Centre – the first sign of its metamorphosis into an arts venue of international standards as the Singaporean art scene matures.

So even though it is indeed as Raffles once wrote of Fort Canning Hill, that “nothing can be more interesting and beautiful than the view from this spot,” those who look close enough, and allow the hill to whisper its story, will discover that true wonderment lies right here within this green sanctuary, on the grounds of the living hill itself.


Reading time: 8 min
Glassblower - Meticulously shapes glass using heat and air

Glassblower – Meticulously shapes glass using heat and air

How do you lend form to light? With glass, as glassmakers and bespoke light fittings expert Lasvit demonstrates. Yuen Lin Koh investigates

The gentle vibrancy of the day’s first light, seen on the sparkle of a morning dew. The liveliness of sunrays scattered into a dance by the ripples of a stream. The calm of a shaft of luminosity, soundlessly pouring through the oculus of the Pantheon.

For what is essentially electromagnetic radiation — if we are to break it down by physical science — light possesses magic. It’s magic that can be seen, and certainly can be felt, yet has no form. Or does it have to be that way?

Translating to “Love and Light” in Czech, Czech Republic-based glassmaker the Lasvit Group lends physical form to light with every piece created. The medium is perfect in the dualities it presents. Crystalline clear, it is visible — yet invisible in its see-through quality. An amorphous substance, its atomic structure resembles that of supercooled liquid, yet displays all the mechanical properties of a solid — like fluidity frozen in time.

The company founded in 2007 might be young, but the craft is one that has been perfected through centuries. By combining the traditional artistry of North Bohemian glassmaking with the innovative creativity of world class designers, architects, engineers and lighting technology, Lasvit brings Bohemian glassmaking and designing to a new level. Well-known for its high profile collaborations with cutting-edge design leaders including the likes of Ross Lovegrove, Oki Sato of Nendo and Michael Young, and well-loved by consumers for their iconic collections such as ‘Bubbles in Space’, Lasvit is also revered for its bespoke services that have lit many private and public spaces around the world with their magic.

The shimmering lattice of 250,000 crystal pieces and 12,800 artistic hand-blown glass components, stretching like a web across a diameter of 16 metres on the ceilings of the Jumeirah hotel at Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi. Giant textured bent glass structures connected to a cascade of hand-blown, hollow glass drops, lit by LED and optical fibre to become whimsical “jelly fish” that float atop the futuristic Dubai Metro Stations. The “Diamond Sea” of handblown glass — some dazzling clear, some in amber tones, some twisted, some curved — creating waves that shimmer above the patrons of The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong.

The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong Lasvit created six pieces for the hotel, including the ‘Diamond Sea’

The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong
Lasvit created six pieces for the hotel, including the ‘Diamond Sea’

Majestic in proportions and intricate in detail, each is a shining example of excellence in craftsmanship. Yet each is also an artistic expression — not just of Lasvit’s designers, but also their patrons. Certainly, given carte blanche, their stable of 14 in-house designers can dream up the perfect piece for any space — be it the lobby of a hotel or the dining room of a private home; but more importantly, they have the ability to translate your desires into designs that articulate your message.

‘liquidkristal’ - Developed in collaboration with Ross Lovegrove, the panels explore the innovative use of the material.

liquidkristal’ – Developed in collaboration with Ross Lovegrove, the panels explore the innovative use of the material.

Fine-tuned through rounds of revisions with the client, the designs are then detailed through construction drawings and crafting. Each piece of handmade glass is created at the Lasvit facilities in Novy Bor at the Northern part of the Czech Republic — a pine-forested region steeped in glassmaking traditions since the 13th century. There, master glassblowers from families who have been making glass for generations, and who have honed their personal skills over decades, create what is known as Bohemian glass, known best for its inimitable sparkle.

The creation of every handmade piece remains a very basic process. The glass is made as how grandmothers cook: by feel, rather than by following recipes or formulas. In six ovens roaring at 1600°C almost 365 days of the year, glass is kept at a molten state, waiting to be blown, fused, flameworked, sandblasted, engraved or even hand-painted on — waiting to be transformed into wondrous forms.

The craftsmen labour in the glass studios, sipping on beer — it is the supplied drink preferred for its nutritional value and cooling abilities given that the studios burn at about 40°C all the time. They might look a little rough on the edges, and seem a little brusque in their mannerisms, but they work with glass with the tenderness of fathers cradling their newborn. The organic nature of the medium gives it a temperament that is not to be learnt from books, but to be understood from interaction — just as a child is to be known.

Yet this human element is apparent even in technical glass — machine-made pieces ranging from dainty crystal-cut glass beads to Liquidkristal from Lasvit’s Glass Architecture Division — transparent, undulating crystal walls that lend a mesmerisingly dynamic dimension to still structures. The human expression manifests itself in the creativity and artistry of applying these pieces, of transforming cold, hard components into works of art. “Glass is one of the most interesting materials that a designer can work with,” shares Táňa Dvořáková — a veteran designer who has been with Lasvit for six years, and also the creative mind behind masterpieces showcased at the likes of The Ritz Carlton DIFC Dubai, Shangri-La Tokyo, and now The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Singapore. Even for the seasoned designer, every piece holds a new surprise. “There is always a certain excitement — because when I finally illuminate the sculpture and see it installed, a new and more beautiful surprise is always revealed to me, often one I didn’t even expect,” she enthuses. For the piece at The Ritz-Carlton Residences, she took her inspiration from flowers, “particularly poppies and wild flowers: their freely growing petals have always fascinated me”. With childlike wonder, she expressed the delicateness of the subject in the form of a light sculpture composed of petals formed from a lattice of crystal-cut glass beads — “as if, unable to deal with the ephemeral beauty of this wild flower, someone had transformed it into an eternal diamond”.

The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Singapore, Cairnhill A Lasvit piece hangs as the centrepiece in the dining area

The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Singapore, Cairnhill
A Lasvit piece hangs as the centrepiece in the dining area

Indeed the process is really as artistic as it is technical. The designers are often at the factories during the crafting of a piece, because it is one thing to follow technical specifications, and another to realise an artistic expression. Lasvit’s expertise is not just in the production of glass pieces — they also know exactly what it takes to mount an installation for safety and your peace of mind, and they even produce all the components, from metal structures to hanging materials. They also know just how to light a piece to bring it to life. Because when you love light as much as they do, you don’t just produce light — you capture the soul of it.

Reading time: 5 min
Kinetica Art Fair, Titia Ex The Walk 2

Kinetica Art Fair, Titia Ex The Walk 2

Technology fairs are not just about geeks comparing chips. A raft of collaborations between the art and science worlds means tech fairs can be as wild as a festival. Caroline Davies presents six of the best

Kinetica Art Fair Kinetica is the galleries’ tech art fair. Bright lights, a pulsating spiky suspended ball and an agressive looking, electronically operated boar’s skull all fought for attention at this year’s show with exhibitors from Singapore to the States, Russia to Indonesia. The fair encourages independent and student artists to exhibit alongside established galleries making it a good place to pick up unique art works.

London,UK, February/March 2014; kinetica-artfair.com

Ars Electronica’s exhibition centre

Ars Electronica’s exhibition centre

Ars Electronica First started in 1979, Ars Electronica is the techwhizz- kid grandfather of technology art festivals. 2013 is the year of ‘Total Recall: The Evolution of the Memory’, but AE is far more than just a fair. Its annual competition, Prix, spots the talent before the markets do: previous winners included Pixar, Wikipedia and Wikileaks. Their exhibition centre draws year round crowds with their interactive exhibits on everything from media art to prosthetics and the cinematic sounding ‘future lab’ supports experts in art, design, architecture and virtual reality that will change the way we interact with the world.

Linz, Austria, 5-9th September 2013; aec.at

The first place to see entertainment innovation. Originally held in Barcelona in 1990, Art Futura holds 13 festivals simultaneously across different Spanish speaking cities. If digital technology connects the world, it makes sense that a fair does too. Last year’s central event was held in Uruguay. Focusing on new media, interactive design, videogames and digital animation, previous participants include Brian Eno, MIT Media Lab and Pixar.

International. November 2013; artfutura.org

Barcelona’s OFFF Festival highlights film, art, design and music

Barcelona’s OFFF Festival highlights film, art, design and music

As bohemian as tech gets, OFFF is all about the arts, not the funding. A post-digital culture festival, it showcases films, art, design and music and holds its own market, lounge, gallery and classroom. Independently curated, it is free of the big corporate atmosphere and has more of an extended family vibe. Conferences are so popular, guests sometimes sit on the floor to hear speakers.

Barcelona and international, 6-8th June 2013; offf.ws


Founded under the dramatic title ‘Manifestation for the Unstable Media’, DEAF – Dutch Electronic Art Festival – is the biennial art and media technology fair run by interdisciplinary art and media centre, V2_. Aimed at pulling in a new, diverse audience, the fair is another way of sparking debate for the group who also publish works by the great minds of technology today. Expect to hear the big questions, even if you don’t always find the answer.

Rotterdam, Holland, Next in 2014; deaf.nl

Festival de Arte Digital – FAD, the quirky art tech festival in Brazil was set up by Tadeus Mucelli, aka DJ Tee, and Henrique Roscow to encourage young creators to experiment with digital technology. A pioneering idea in their state, the fair began in 2007 as a way of informing the public and exciting artists. Today the fair is concerned with democratising information on new technologies so that everyone can make the best use of the new digital world.

Belo Horizonte, Brazil. October 2013; festivaldeartedigital.com.br

Reading time: 2 min


Studio Weave’s The Longest Bench

Studio Weave’s The Longest Bench


Despite only recently gaining their registrations as architects, duo Je Ahn and Maria Smith founded Studio Weave back in 2006 and completed a number of projects as humble students. With a fun and quirky style, they tend to concentrate on public space improvements; one of their more renowned projects is The Longest Bench in Littlehampton, West Sussex. Made from reclaimed timber interspersed with the odd colourful stainless steel bar, the wiggly bench can seat up to 300 people and was inspired by a charm bracelet.



Spatial experience and coherence between external and internal spaces is the design focus for German architecture practice Kraus Schoenberg, something they clearly demonstrate in the sustainable housing projects that they are best known for: Haus W and H27D. Clean and contemporary in design, Haus W is a prefabricated, low energy house in Hamburg designed as one big connected space created by rooms of various heights corresponding to their individual function. H27D, a five-storey apartment building in Constance, isn’t much to look at from the outside but was designed this way to match the look and feel of the historic city centre where it lies. The highly engineered building can be recycled to achieve zero waste.


BIG’s cultural arts centre in Bordeaux

BIG’s cultural arts centre in Bordeaux


Danish architects BIG have designed an enormous new cultural arts centre in Bordeaux alongside French studio, FREAKS freearchitects. Scheduled to open in 2015, MÉCA (Maison de l’Économie Créative et de la Culture en Aquitaine) will become the new combined home of arts organizations the FRAC, the OARA and the ECLA, situated on the Garonne waterfront. The striking design for the 12,000 sq m building features a central rectangular hollow which will be used as a huge stage and exhibition space.



An ambitious, shape-shifting, ‘transformer building’ has been designed by Californian architects, amphibianArc, for the headquarters of Zoomlion, a Chinese industrial vehicle manufacturer in Changsha, Hunan province. Each end of the proposed building will have a transforming façade made of hinged steel and glass plates designed to mimic the movement of eagles, butterflies and frogs. amphibianArc claim that their goal is to ‘create buildings that not only reshape the lived reality but also inspire minds that will invent the future’.


Polifactory’s Hous.E+ generates energy from a lake on its roof

Polifactory’s Hous.E+ generates energy from a lake on its roof


Shanghai-based architects Polifactory have designed Hous.E+, a self-sustaining rammed earth house designed for a rural site in Vancouver, Canada that generates energy from a lake on its roof. The concept house is designed to produce more energy than it consumes; turbines embedded in the walls produce electricity from water being pumped through a system of pipes and the walls would act like a breathing structure, allowing air exchange without significant heat loss.


Coca-Cola Beatbox, Asif Kahn

Coca-Cola Beatbox, Asif Kahn


Despite not technically being an architect (he never quite got round to sitting his final exams), Asif Khan has received impressive acclaim for his experimental work across architecture, products and design. He was awarded Designer of the Future award in 2011 after showing his unique Cloud installation at Art Basel Miami. More recently, Khan teamed up with Pernilla Ohrstedt for the London Olympics project, Coca-Cola Beatbox; a striking red and white sculpture doubling up as an enormous musical instrument.



Tel Aviv-born twosome Yael Mer and Shay Alkalay formed London-based design studio Raw Edges following their graduation from the Royal College of Art in 2006, where they met and teamed up. They have since won a string of highly respected awards for their innovative and striking products for the home which blur the line between art and furniture. Their work can be found within the permanent collection at MoMA in New York and Stella McCartney commissioned the duo to create the floor for her Rome store after spotting their installation at Art Basel.



Vienna-based design studio Mischer’Traxler is made up of partners in both their professional and personal lives, Katharina Mischer and Thomas Traxler. The pair design experimental products, furniture and installations, characterized by conceptual thinking and the use of unexpected materials. Their complex project ‘The Idea of a Tree’ combines natural input with a mechanical process, driven by solar energy, which translates the intensity of the sun into one object a day. The outcome is a unique product that reflects the various sunshine conditions that occur during that day and becomes a three-dimensional recording of its process and time of creation. This kind of innovative thinking won the duo the accolade of Designers of the Future at Design Miami/Basel in 2011.


Hamilton Scotts, Singapore features ensuite sky garages

Hamilton Scotts, Singapore features ensuite sky garages


In Singapore, luxury high-rise residential building Hamilton Scotts, project of real estate developer KOP Properties, have come up with a novel alternative to underground parking: en suite sky garages. Residents need simply to drive their car into a designated spot outside the building and, after a quick biometric thumb scan, their car is whizzed straight up to their apartment via a special lift. By the time the owner reaches their apartment, the car is displayed behind a glass wall off the living room, ready to be admired.



Austrian architecture firm Coop Himmelb(l)au have completed work on the enormous Busan Cinema Centre in South Korea. The impressive building boasts a 4000-seat outdoor cinema covered by a seemingly gravity defying cantilevered roof (the world’s largest at 85 metres from end to end), the ceiling of which is illuminated by thousands of LED lights to create a kind of virtual sky. The building will be the new home of the Busan International Film Festival and is Coop Himmelb(l)au’s first project in Korea.


DCPP Arquitectos’ 20-storey building porposal for Lima, Peru

DCPP Arquitectos’ 20-storey building porposal for Lima, Peru


A luxury 20-storey apartment block featuring individual swimming pools that teeter out over the city like diving boards has been proposed by Mexican architects DCPP Arquitectos to be built in Lima, Peru. The building has been designed with a transparent façade for a location in the east of the city overlooking a golf course. DCPP say the idea behind the design is to ‘incorporate the exterior space to the interior life of the apartments and create a new relation between public and private areas’.



For her graduation proposal, Architectural Association student, Yvonne Weng, designed The 6th Layer: Explorative Canopy Trail, a non-invasive, airborne system that would allow scientists to live in the treetops of the Amazon rainforest whilst carrying out research, without the risk of damaging the forest’s fragile eco-system. The incredible design imagines a series of super strong webs made of synthetic fibres and suspended teardrop shaped pods where scientists could study and harvest medicinal plants. The concept won Weng acclaim from scientists and architects alike and the 2012 Foster + Partners Prize for excellence in sustainability and infrastructure.

Bamboo Courtyard from HWCD Associates

Bamboo Courtyard from HWCD Associates


The Bamboo Courtyard, a floating teahouse in Yangzhou, northwest of Shanghai, has been created by architects HWCD Associates. Organised in asymetric cubes on a lake, brick rooms are connected and encased by tall rows of bamboo arranged to create depth and interesting visual effects, further intensified by the atmospheric glow from lights inset into the door frames. The architects say ‘the simple form illustrates the harmonious blending of architecture with nature’.


Lee Sehoon’s Anitya range features a collection of all black funiture

Lee Sehoon’s Anitya range features a collection of all black funiture


Korean designer, Lee Sehoon uses the process of heating vinyl to create his dramatic, all black furniture range, Anitya.  The idea behind the collections is to create an illusion of perpetual and dynamic movement, achieved by the vinyl expanding when heated and contracting when cooled which results in unexpected and unique shapes. More recently, Sehoon designed Squaring, a clever bookcase design made up of hinged boxes that can be spun around to create numerous shapes and designs.



Chinese architect Wang Shu may run a practice called Amateur Architecture alongside his wife, Lu Wenyu, but don’t be fooled, his work is anything but. Shu, also a professor, recently won the extremely prestigious 2012 Pritzker Prize (generally regarded as the Nobel prize for architecture), for work representing consistent and significant contribution to humanity. Shu has completed five major projects in China including three college campuses and the Ningbo History Museum. His style typically combines modern design with traditional, often recycled, materials.

Additional research by Rebecca Stanczyk

Reading time: 7 min


We’d known about these buildings ever since they received Heritage status and I d admired them from the outside but had never been inside. The space was stifling, dark and closed. The previous owners had it very compartmentalized in order to maximize on rental. It was not at all compatible with SPACE.  From the onset we decided that we wanted to recapture the charm of the original building with as much authenticity as possible. At the same time we needed to create a voluminous interior. We also had to take into account the fact that the neighbouring buildings were at least 12 stories tall so we had to find a way to make the building stand out in its own way and, of course we had to do so within the confines of some very strict zoning laws that mandate how we could use the space.

Whenever you work with an existing structure you have to deal with the constraints of the building as well as with your budget constraints. Demolition is expensive and there are obvious disadvantages. It was our job to enhance rather than rebuild. One of the problems we faced was that there was not enough height between the floors. To make this work for SPACE we needed much higher ceilings, so we had to reconfigure the floors without interrupting the original structure too much.

Even the glass building in the centre of the project is built over the original building. We had to readjust and strip the internal floor plates and relocate them to new floors. It was a complex procedure. It also had to look right since the internal structure would be exposed by the use of glass.

The fact that it’s a sales site means that there are very specific requirements. The main challenge was designing the middle unit because although modern it had to get along with its neighbours, the two older buildings. We wanted to expose the showroom/furniture and we were trying to figure out how to best accomplish that. The law at the time stated that if a building had Conservation status then the exteriors must not be altered. We had to work with the authorities to change that rule to allow us to give it a more modern and urban look.  Inside, we needed to find the best way to design a showroom that would work well with lots of different brands, many of which are in competition with each other. They needed to be separate but at the same time there has to be a connection between them all. SPACE carried 13 major brands and each had a different design philosophy. In the end it was SPACE that determined the location of each brand and how much floor space to allocate to each and it was our job to make that possible.

SPACE was very adamant about creating an experience for their clients. They were very particular about the lighting and for the music they installed a Bang & Olufsen sound system. To complete the picture, they even customized their own scent for The . Every detail was taken into consideration to enhance the shopping experience in a homely setting, so that the customer can understand the pieces and the environment.


Reading time: 3 min
The second floor will house the permanent exhibition

The second floor will house the permanent exhibition


Terence Conran’s influence on design and culture is astonishing. An independent designer from the age of 21, in 60 years Conran and his work have affected the way we shop, decorate, eat and live, but he is still working to leave his mark.

Conran is as active as he has ever been during the past six decades, and his latest project is, he says, one of the most exciting yet. “This to me is really one of the most fantastic days of my rather long life,” he says. “We have the next three years to fulfil our ambition to make this the very best design museum in the world,” he says. “Every city wants a design museum it seems these days, but this is where creative Britain should lead.”

Sir Terrence Conracn

Sir Terrence Conracn

He is speaking at the groundbreaking of Britain’s spectacular new Design Museum, which will be an institution that showcases every type of design from around the world. It will be located on the site of the former Commonwealth Institute in one of London’s wealthiest areas, replacing the boutique site occupied by the current Design Museum.

There are few individuals better placed to lead the project. He is a “serial entrepreneur” whose career has seen him build and establish an architectural practice, a design company and a series of restaurants. Habitat, his furniture store that brought sharply designed furniture to the masses, was the first to introduce Britain to sharp contemporary design with wit and genuine creativity. Wondering how the average CEO’s office morphed from dark oak panels and antiques to minimalist whites, glass and an Alessandro Mendini chair? Conran’s influence influenced those who changed the world.

His first restaurant, “Soup Kitchen” was just the second spot in London to boast an espresso machine and his subsequent projects have been credited with popularising fine dining in the UK: his designs made him a restaurant king in the 1990s. And before that his designs for Mary Quant’s stores altered all expectations for the shop floor.  Although Conran’s main projects have been in the UK, his mission to deformalize design and make creativity available to every stratum of society have had a profound effect on every element of design around the world.  Spurred on by his belief that good design should be democratised and celebrated, he founded the Design Museum, firstly in the Victoria and Albert Museum then in its current location in Bermondsey, South London. Gaining credibility and more crucially funding for the project was not an easy process and Conran semi-affectionately refers to the period as their, “guerrilla time in the absolutely terrible old boiler house.”

The museum will be located in the former Commonwealth Instituteon Kensington High Street

The museum will be located in the former Commonwealth Institute
on Kensington High Street

“Getting this particular site was absolutely brilliant,” says Conran. “It is a very important symbol and marker.  Here we have this building from the 1960s an extraordinary structure, sadly sat here for the last 12 years unused.” Soon to be part of the museum hub of Kensington, joining the V&A and the Royal College and Imperial College, the museum is due for completion in 2014.  Despite his passion and ongoing energy for design, Conran does not seem quite as robust as he once was. In his usual blue suit with red cheeks, he moves slowly and rather gingerly, hunched over the microphone, carefully stating his message. His increasing years seem to make him even more determined that the public, and crucially the government, should listen.

The plan for London’s new Design Museum

The plan for London’s new Design Museum

“We must start to make things again,” he says determinedly. “If you can put designers together with entrepreneurs together with engineers we can make beautiful and useful things again in this country that the world will want. I think it just needs a push from government to make this new collaboration of entrepreneurs, designers, engineers to start another industrial revolution.”

The distant beep of an articulated lorry begins in the background.

“I hope government sees it and sees that construction is underway,” says Conran, smiling. “We are going to make a rather large hole.”

Reading time: 3 min

Tasmania may be an unlikely location for a cutting edge art show, in a state-of-the-art museum space. But that’s exactly what you’ll find if you make the spectacular journey to the Museum of Old and New Art this summer Darius Sanai

If ever there were a show that could be dubbed Adventure Art, it would be this. On an exposed tip of the island at the farthest corner of Australia sits the spectacular Museum of Old and New Art, a space that combines a microbrewery, chic wine bar, restaurant, arresting architecture, and, oh, one of the world’s greatest collections of global antiquities, combined with dramatic works by leading contemporary artists from around the globe.

It is into this space that Jean-Hubert Martin, former director of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, is guest curating a one-year show launching this June, entitled Theatre of the World. The show is a journey through the wildest recesses of Africa, South America, Australasia, and east London, with works by artists ranging from Chris Ofili to Sidney Nolan.

There are more than 300 works on in a show the museum describes as taking visitors “on an experiential voyage that moves them from the visceral to the symbolic, and the factual to the poetic.”

In an interview with LUX, Martin commented: “There is no reason to look at art only in terms of historical and geographical categories. An anthropological perspective allows for comparison between any creations of humankind. It provides a much broader scope.”

Those making the journey, he said, “should be free to interpret and play with their imagination, combining and playing with their knowledge, not mine, in front of items we have put together to excite their neurons.”

And if your neurons don’t get enough excitement from the 4000 year-span of the works on show, there’s always the rest of MONA, which includes a rather splendid winery and brewhouse. MONA itself is the creation of David Walsh, a brilliant, colourful, and eccentric Tasmanian multi-millionaire, and if his aim was to put Tasmania on the world map, one could say he is certainly succeeding. A visit to MONA is an adventure in itself; and getting there only adds to the fun.

Reading time: 1 min