diarioDESIGN Global

Egue & Seta studio turns a retail space into a luminous loft with an indoors garden in Terrassa.

The trick has not been to take advantage of the building’s well and turning it into a garden, since it is actually an artificial garden in which the light comes from a fake skylight in the roof. This and other artifices have been used by the catalan studio Egue & Seta to transform this ground floor retail space in Terrassa (Barcelona) into a house with the soul of a loft, a green heart and lots of smart design details.

Read more about Egue & Seta in diarioDESIGN.

Another challenging point was to divide the public spaces from the private ones with only ten meters of wall, in a space of almost two hundred. How? By using plants and transparencies -like soft dividers- and also by playing with colors, materials and different levels.

The plan is fully arranged around the false garden of bushes in different heights placed on a layer of pine bark. From there, the space is distributed in different areas.

On one side there is a living room, located on a lower level excavated on the foundations of the building. Such design feature gives a sensation of height and spaciousness, and helps, indeed, to achieve the loft atmosphere.

A feeling to which the built-in sofa, an oversized staircase and the eclectic mix of fabrics also contribute.

The close dining room and kitchen are placed at ground level. A few highlights of both spaces, in which grey hues predominate, are the Bedrock Plan A table by Riva 1920, armless Eames chairs, the metallic beams of the ceiling and a vintage motorcycle.

The kitchen also recreates a loft-like aesthetics combining large stainless steel surfaces, state-of-the-art appliances, directional track-mounted lighting, wooden countertops and see-through cupboards. Furnishing includes Lindse lamps and Bofinger metallic stools by Francisco Segarra.

A polished concrete walkway with a brick wall leads to the more intimate rooms. In the bedroom the headboard is a partition wall too, playing at the same time the role of the bedside tables, storage and even shoe closet on its rear face. This piece is bespoke made in oak wood and metal grill.

Wool blankets and textile reindeer heads provide a sense of comfort to the space and the dressing area itself also stands out for its large backstage mirror.

The main bathroom is however naturally illuminated and here again furniture is multifunctional, like the concrete formwork bench that contains the bathroom fittings. It goes across two glass panels to become, on either side of the shower, a countertop for the wash basins.

The house has also a guest bathroom, built in handcrafted clay and with a free standing washbasin that faces the interior garden through a glass wall. Both, the main and guest bathrooms, with its green hues, are the true paradises of this house.


Photo credits: Vicugo Foto + Mauricio Fuertes


PS 2014: the boldest Ikea collection so far, comprising up to 50 limited-edition design objects.

Ikea has recently launched its most ambitious PS collection ever, a compilation based on the fact that currently, and for the first time in history, people are living more in the city than in the countryside, moving more often and occupying smaller places to live. And such a fact doesn’t mean of course that we don’t want a beautiful and functional home that suits our needs. In particular, as far as it doesn’t represent a huge expense.

For PS 2014, Ikea has involved a team of designers from all over the world to create 150 global home proposals. These ideas were submitted to judgement by a group of 15 design students from Copenhagen, who selected the 50 objects that best suited their needs. This is how Ikea PS 2014 was born: as an answer to modern lifestyle.

Among the designers of this new collection, there are also first-line international figures like Tomás Alonso, Matali Crasset or Mathias Hahn.

Available in stores since 1st April, under these premises the Ikea PS 2014 collection doesn’t include core functional products such as sofas or beds. It rather consists of well-designed objects that fit in any lifestyle or space, however small it might be.

In the words of Peter Klinkert, IKEA® PS collections’ Project Manager, “these are multifunctional designer objects that involve us in the design conversation, depending on where we place them and how we use them”.


Three of the designers chosen by Ikea should be very well-known for diarioDESIGN readers: Mathias HahnTomás Alonso and Matali Crasset. Their products stand out from the rich international selection of creative people that have participated in the collection.

German-born London-based Mathias Hahn has created for Ikea a table and a bench that fold -rather than folding- that fit both in indoors and outdoors. He is also the designer behind Marset’s Scantling lamp, among other objects.

Read more about Mathias Hahn on diarioDESIGN.

Also London-based but originally from Vigo, the Spanish designer Tomás Alonso has redefined the concept of a box just as a storage element, getting rid of any part that is not strictly necessary, thus achieving maximum functionality with minimum resources.

Read more about Tomás Alonso on diarioDESIGN.

Matali Crasset, once a disciple of Philippe Starck, is a designer with a special sensitivity and an own design language. She is behind two pieces that she has described as “open”. One is an unusual closet that perfectly suits to every room, a wardrobe free from codes that can be placed anywhere. It adapts itself to any kind of home furnishing due to a camouflage kit. “It plays with what ́s hidden and what ́s revealed and it allows you to create your own design”, says Crasset. The other object is of a tray with handles that celebrates the diversity of cultures and traditions.

Read more about Matali Crasset on diarioDESIGN.

Read more about Ikea on diarioDESIGN.


Cugat Natura Residential, an old people’s home featuring apartments for ‘cool’ spirited elderly.

‘Like being at home, but with the comfort of included amenities’, reads the presentation of Cugat Natura Residential, a 32 apartment complex for the elderly in Sant Cugat del Vallés (Barcelona). What they don’t mention is that the apartments are also a well-being design environment, featuring a modern, clean interiors with a careful selection of the pieces of furniture.

Interior designers Miriam Castells and Marta Bartolomé were in charge of leading the team that was able to provide with character a space in which functionality comes first.

Cugat Natura Residential is a 18.000 square meter center divided into two areas: the apartments and the common spaces. The former have kitchen, living-dining area, a double bedroom, bathroom and a terrace. The latter comprises the screening, reading and internet rooms, a bar and a restaurant, among others facilities.

Layout, furniture and lighting pursue to making their residents’ everyday life easier, also looking for their maximum comfort.

The result is a very luminous space, which in this case was achieved by using light tones for the walls and a master design of the artificial lighting.

The whole aesthetics is clean and simple. Walls have been left almost untouched, only occasionally lined with materials such as concrete or wood in shared areas or tile flooring in other common spaces. The final result is a clearly neutral space which, in the case of the apartments, allow every resident enough room for own equipment.

The choice of colours continues on the same neutral line. Grey and brown for most of the furniture, white in the kitchens, bathrooms and transit areas, and light-toned wood. To avoid the dullness some splashes of colour have been introduced mostly through blue, green and yellow textiles. A palette that extends to the common areas, in which the green of the plants decorating shelves and walls also stands out.

The pieces of furniture follow the same simple lines, mixing modern style with a few other of a more traditional design, but all of them with a current taste.

The common area is an open space that is articulated through different scenarios: the reading, screening and internet rooms. The transitions are noticed by light and texture. Lighting has been applied using a great variety of lamps, making special emphasis on the lights in the ceiling of the common spaces.

The center is right across the Sant Cugat golf club and has a gym, a wellness center and a minimarket. Services like wi-fi, parking, storage-room and specially adapted bathroom are included in every apartment, as well as cleaning, laundry, social club and medical and therapeutical assistance.

Photo credits: Olga Planas

Residencial Cugat Natura: Sant Cugat del Vallés Barcelona es.cugatnatura.com


Petit Comitè, the new restaurant by Lagranja for Michelin-starred chef Nandu Jubany.

Lagranja design studio has created a contemporary and laid-back space for Petit Comitè, the newest restaurant of chef Nandu Jubany located right in the heart of Barcelona.

Read more about Nandu Jubany on diarioDESIGN

Read more about lagranja on diarioDESIGN

The cuisine and the interior share a same language: an appealing menu based on classic Catalan gastronomy but with an avant-garde twist plus an interior design in the same line full of unexpected details.

The entrance of Petit Comité has a tasting bar in which two geese hanging from the ceiling -the chef’s new pets- welcome customers. They are two irreverent sculptures made of metallic mesh, giving the space an amusing touch.

In this project Lagranja also paid a hommage to one of their teachers, the recently deceased Rafael Marquina, transforming his iconic oil bottle into a lamp.

A huge wooden plate rack has been used as a screen, an original way to provide the main dining room with some privacy.

The dining room’s concept makes reference to the name of the restaurant -property of the Majestic Hotel Group-, and so it is divided into small “islands” that allow to enjoy food in the privacy of your group by using the different areas as independent rooms.

The space also has a more informal dining room outdoors as well as a more classic one on the inside. There are color splashes over the otherwise neutral range of colors like the Sargadelos crockery, tha lamps and the wooden mortars carefully placed along the bookshelves.

Photo credits: Miquel Coll


Petit Comitè Passatge de la Concepció, nº 13 08008 Barcelona

Online smartphones hospital Doctor Manzana opens a retail space designed by Masquespacio.

After the great success of their online mending service for smartphones and tablets, Doctor Manzana has just opened its first retail spot in Spain where not only fixing service but also design gadgets for mobile devices are both available. You can find it in Valencia and the studio from the same city Masquespacio was as well chosen to develop the project. Rather than opting for clichés, they created a space full of little references to the hospital universe but with a twist -as usual in them- in which identity and branding comes before the interior design.

Read more about Masquespacio in diarioDESIGN

Masquespacio often approaches the beginning of a project in the same way, by strengthening the brand’s identity before moving on to the interior design. In the case of this space for Doctor Manzana, they started with the logo which is based on an electronic component that is part of the main company business: a touchscreen display. The words Doctor Manzana feature also a dual tone with a 54 degree angle pretending a sort of glint.

This same 54 degree angle has been applied throughout the whole project, deconstructing itself into an infinity of forms used both in the graphic design as in the retail space look.

From the beginning the studio was inspired by the idea of a hospital but during the conceptual process they decided to go a step further and combine it with a more fun and technological atmosphere.

Keeping a hospital as a reference, the studio used colours like green and blue, the word ‘doctor’ and some particular details as the curtain. Galvanized steel sheets give the space a more industrial touch, whilst white furniture provides the warmth that the ‘patients’ need. The pastel colour palette contributes to get that twist of fun that the project was asking for.

As an expert on trend-watching and in applying them almost without us noticing, Masquespacio’s creative director Ana Milena Hernández Palacios decided to add two more colours to the existing identity palette: “salmon for fashionistas and purple for geeks”, in the studio words.

The project stands out for its visual consistency. The reduced but rich set of colours and the reflection of the screen pretended in the logotype is continuously repeated, from the storefront to the interior and graphic design. Even the cube behind the counter is a replica of the packaging.

The 40 square meter retail space required a major renovation due to a bad state of deterioration. The studio has managed to be highly skillfull on incorporating innovative materials with highly attractive results at reduced prices, using for instance galvanized steel sheets for the walls as a resistant and low-cost alternative.


Photos: David Rodríguez of Cualiti Doctor Manzana: Reino de Valencia 18 46005 Valencia www.doctormanzana.com


Werner Aisslinger designs for 25hours hotels its first opening in Berlin, Hotel Bikini.

The hotel chain 25hours has just hit Berlin with Hotel Bikini, an exorbitant interior design project created by Werner Aisslinger Studio that fuses the still latent aesthetics of the post-war building hosting it, designed by Paul Schwebes and Hans Schoszberger in the 50s, plus an exuberant floral style decoration and a bright colour palette.

Read more about Werner Aisslinger on diarioDESIGN

Read more about 25hours Hotels on diarioDESIGN

German architect Werner Aisslinger wanted to recreate a urban jungle in this project, given the fact that the building is located in the surroundings of the Tiergarten park and the city zoo. In fact, half of the rooms have views to the zoo premises.

The hotel even calls them the Jungle Rooms and their design is a mix of natural wood with multiple tropical references, from the different shades of green in the bathroom tiles or walls to the generous styling based on plants.

The other typology of rooms is called Urban and, while maintaining a coherence in style with the others, their design has a more cosmopolitan atmosphere with views to the city. In these rooms some of the original elements of the building have been kept, giving the sensation as if the renovation were unfinished. Interiors in this part of the hotel are more austere and spartan.

25hours Bikini hotel, which takes its name from the architectural complex created by Schwebes and Schoszberger in which is located, counts a total of 149 rooms. It has spacious suites available and it also offers the possibility of booking twin rooms for friends, family or coworkers traveling together.

The reception area is completely atypical since it is located on the third floor, so in order to access it customers have to go through an atrium that merges the ground floor with the first and second levels. Once there, a counter lined with turquoise-coloured tiles -which originally covered the Alexanderplatz metro station- draws clients to check in. This loft-like floor works as a central hub including not only the reception but also a shop and newsstand with a variety of press and books selected by the german editorial Gestalten Verlag, a bakery with freshly made products, meeting rooms and all kind of informal lounges to relax even featuring two hammocks by German designers Bless.

Most of the shared zones of the hotel include furniture designed by Werner Aisslinger’s studio for brands such as Foscarini, Moroso, Vitra and Zanotta. The hotel also has a rooftop restaurant, NENI Berlin, specialised in eclectic oriental mediterranean food. On the tenth floor customers can enjoy a drink in a great summer terrace at the Monkey bar.


25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin Budapester Straße 40 10787 Berlín

Dray Martina: a shabby chic restaurant and bar in Las Salesas area of the Spanish capital.

The versatile interior design studio Madrid in Love is behind this luminous space located in the neighborhood of Las Salesas in Madrid. Dray Martina is a place to eat and drink within an informal and relaxed atmosphere, where white colour and raw wood are the leading features.

Dray Martina has two spacious rooms, where wood with different finishes and textures is the predominant material. Some walls are lined in recovered wood from demolitions whilst others and even the floor are covered in off-white wooden boards, creating this way a mix of warmth and coziness.

The pieces of furniture chosen by Madrid in Love provides a note of diversity and surprise to the project: chairs in leather, wicker or upholstered are mixed with tables from different styles and origins.

Same criteria has been used to solve artificial lighting. Sophisticated lamps of the most current design like Vertigo by Constance Guisset are combined with wicker baskets turned into lampshades or light fixtures from the 70s. They fit nicely with the generous natural lighting enhancing the venue together with the natural flowers and plants throughout the place.


Dray Martina Argensola, 7 Madrid Tel 910 810 056 www.draymartina.com    

How to live and work in a 20 square meter space? Climbing, almost, through the walls.

The architecture studio Mycc defines it as “a singular urban shelter”. And they are right. The solution they have provided for this 20 square meter apartment, but with one hundred cubic meter in longitudinal section, is at least original. They have taken full advantage of height to include the most number of rooms possible, to which one can access through wall staircases if necessary. “It reminds of old computer games”, says the studio.

And yes, in a way it also reminds of Japanese capsule hotels, but in this case as a Spanish house version since the apartment is located in Madrid. Naturally, there is only room for one person, two at the most. Nevertheless, its inhabitants must exude dynamism and creativity to get used to such a space significantly marked by the different levels.

The Madrid-based studio Mycc was inspired by those light frameworks at different levels which are accessed almost by jumping from one to another. In this case through different type of staircases and wall mounted ladders. As a result, rooms are fully defined between each other but at the same time they are visually connected, including the bathroom.

“Climbing up to the kitchen or going down to the bedroom gives a deep sensation of change and a different perception of the place, either of the individual spaces or of the house as a whole”, explains the studio.

Despite the tiny dimensions of the house, it seeks to be generous with each space and the amount of rooms it offers, they add.

However, none of the spaces has a clearly defined use. So, the kitchen is a step between the access to the house and the living room.

Which at the same time becomes a central room that works as a seat and has a storage space under the flooring.

From the living room, one can go down to the bedroom or climb to the studio/chillout/interior terrace using an industrial wall mounted ladder. The bathroom can also be accessed from here, located at an inferior level and provided with a bespoke bathtub.

White dominates the whole space, spreading luminosity and the feeling of roominess. Materials and finishing touches are simple, contributing to the lightness breathed in the atmosphere.

Fotografías: Elena Almagro


Masterful renovation of a classic mezzanine in the Eixample district of Barcelona by Gustau Gili.

Architect Gustau Gili Galfetti has carried out an important renovation of an apartment in an advanced state of deterioration located in the Eixample district of Barcelona, based on the classic typology of the neighborhood buildings: two clearly differentiated zones, in the front and the rear, the latter one being provided with an access to a small terrace which faces the interior block courtyard.

Read more about Gustau Gili on diarioDESIGN.

These different zones articulate the distribution chosen for the house. The main rooms have been located in the back part (living and dining room, kitchen, bedroom, etc.) while the front was set up as the study zone, library and a more independent guest room.

Main renovations took place in the living-dining area. Living space, rear gallery and patio have been connected to improve natural lighting and more fluidity, “merging limits”, in the words of the architect. To achieve this, doors have been eliminated and replaced, while the uniformity of the microcement flooring has been maintained, only to be occasionally interrupted by sections of recovered encaustic tiles. In the gallery and terrace, pinewood flooring has been kept without any distinction between interior and exterior.

Other eye-catching elements are those reused as construction materials. Original doors and metal fittings were restored and redistributed, like the old gallery doors, which didn’t assured air-tightness, were reused as panels in the living room, either as sliding doors to hide appliances (tv, bar, etc.) or as a swing door to access the bedroom.

According to Gili, “domestic space must offer comfort and wellbeing to its inhabitants, placing the spotlight into them and their belongings, the ones that shape their life, their home”. A few cozy pieces of furniture contribute to make this space even more homely and welcoming, turning this renovated apartment into a real home.

So for instance, the main entrance features the Hang it all coat rack by the Eames and Achille Castiglioni’s Parentesi lamp. For the gallery and living room, shelving from the Objects collection by Carme Pinós were chosen and the kitchen has Flowerpot lights by Verner Panton. Moreover the house features as well some Nordic design pieces: the AJ floor lamp by Arne Jacobsen and the PH 50 by Poul Henningsen, both for Louis Poulsen. And of course it includes some Spanish design outstanding pieces, besides the already mentioned shelving by Carme Pinós, a chair with upholstery by Nani Marquina, the Inside sink by Cosmic, and a lacquered wood shelving by Xavier Sabadell.

Photographs: José Hevia




The versatile Jomon bowls by Cookplay, a new brand devoted to creative cuisine.

Jomon is a set of bowls created by the designer Ana Roquero and chef Aitor Elizegi conceived to eat casually holding the plate in your hand. It is also the debut collection of the new food design products company, Cookplay, recently launched by the Basque industrial designer with the aim of providing creative or experimental pieces to the table.

Jomon combines references and inspiration from diverse cultures offering an experience very much in line with the current gastronomic culture, where fusion is almost a rule and eating with chopsticks or in “tapas” is not an exclusive, daily-basis exercise of the Asian or Spanish culture.

The Jomon collection includes bowls in different sizes allowing to serve from a small starter to a tapas menu or a slightly more generous main course. On the upper side of the bowl a round opening allows chopsticks to rest, even though it is an object that also invites you to eat directly from it with your hands.

Jomon bowls work very well to eat standing up, making them perfect for catering. They can also be used in an informal meal while lying down. For their use at the table, they are coupled with different sized and wavy trays, which valleys serve both for plating the food or placing the bowls.

Bowls are made of porcelain and trays are available in glass, thermoformed and sandblasted or in wood. They are handcrafted in Spain in two different workshops in Barcelona.

Ana Roquero attended Kingston University and, additionally to launching Cookplay, she is a homologated consultant in Crafts by the German government. She also collaborates as a designer with Arcos for their new line of professional knives.


Fotos: Kathrin Koschitzki



Oblix by Claudio Silvestrin, the restaurant on the 32nd floor of The Shard in London.

Designed by Renzo Piano, The Shard is the highest building in London and, at least for the moment, in Western Europe. Situated on the south bank of the Thames, near the Borough Market and Tower Bridge, it is an enormous glass skyscraper of 72 floors. On the 32nd floor sits the Oblix restaurant designed by the architecture studio of Claudio Silvestrin

More about The Shard in diarioDESIGN

Claudio Silvestrin has sought to bring warmth to the space in contrast to the sensation of being suspended in a building above the river and city, due to the glass facade.

In order to achieve this, Silvestrin’s studio opted for the use of natural materials such as leather and wood which have been employed in the furniture. But the real star material is stone, since it covers the entire space in tones of brown, ocre and red.

It has even been used to make certain elements for the interior such as a vigorous base for the bar high table -in the image above- and a very long table top in the lounge -in the picture below-.

The restaurant is divided into two areas: the dining room and the bar. They are connected by an intentionally dark passage that contrasts with the light-filled dining and bar rooms. This tunnel is also covered in natural stone.

Curiously, the kitchen has been entirely integrated into the dining area. In fact, restaurant clients have to pass though it in order to arrive at their tables, thus getting a first hand impression of the colors and aromas of what they will eat before taking their seat. That is a truly excellent move from the architect, taking into account the video below about the cooking.

Photos: James Morris

Oblix Edificio The Shard, planta 32. 31 St Thomas Street. Londres SE1 9RY www.oblixrestaurant.com  


Patios and porches drive this sensorial home in Barcelona area by architects Prous and Ribas.

The Barcelonese architects Jaime Prous and Damián Ribas are behind this family home situated in Igualada (Barcelona). The backstory of this project started with a small model made of ceramic and wood that the husband gave to wife and was built by their own children. Actually, this project is a story of love. The relationship between the couple was the driving force of the home’s conception, turning into the creators and not mere users.

© Aleix Bagué

The various members of the family are very close, but also maintain a sense of privacy and respect for each other’s space. For this reason, Prous and Ribas planned this home around three independent volumes for living and study, cooking and work, as well as three bedrooms distributed over three floors. The volumes are built of white stone and aim to create a sensation of protection and intimacy. The home becomes a refuge where even the windows look like they have been ‘burrowed in’.

© Eugeni Pons

Given that the family previously lived in an apartment, another must of the home was its relationship with the exterior. Patios and porches have been strategically placed in order to oblige users to live side by side with nature. The three volumes are positioned so that they create a relationship with the intersecting spaces, which are in turn occupied by the patios and porches that make up the home.

© Aleix Bagué

The home has no less than seven patios, all of a geometric character but each with a different sensory ambiance. The north patio is the most enclosed and has a blind facade whilst the central patio makes up the epicentre of the home via an empty space with a water feature. The kitchen patio is an extension of the kitchen itself to the exterior and there is another vertical one that lights up the stairwell. The basement patio allows access and light to the lower-floor from the exterior and the south patio is the living area in the summer months. Finally, the access patio generates an intimate and private entrance for the family. 

© Eugeni Pons

© Eugeni Pons

The porches is the second device used to extend the interior of the home to the outdoors and viceversa. Enclosed and empty spaces create a series of porches that protect users from the elements, including rain.

© Eugeni Pons

The access porch, situated in the northern patio, is the only composite element the space and adds character via a shadow at the entry point.

The central porch is behind the main door. Here it pulls together the void that occurs with the three volumes and the central patio. For its light, presence of water and reflections and walls, this is an exterior space with all the comfort of an interior one.

The enclosed porch creates an interior space in the exterior via a lattice, creating an agreeable, cool living area for hot Summer nights.

© Aleix Bagué

© Eugeni Pons

A sensorial experience also has its place in the project. Each patio brims with a different aromatic scent, whilst the sense of touch is heightened in the interior by the temperature and the materials. Stony and textured walls in the central porch are in contrast with the warmth and smooth wood of the bedrooms.

© Eugeni Pons

© Eugeni Pons

© Eugeni Pons

© Eugeni Pons

Sound is harnessed via the different water features that exist in the home: the pond in the central patio and the swimming pool in the south patio. Views are diverted from unsightly exterior vistas towards the south and the far horizon.

But without doubt the senses that are most heightened in this home are -as the love that inspired it- the most irrational ones: Not getting wet in the rain is irrational, as it is living in a jungle in the middle of an urban environment, or like listening to a water fall in a living room, letting natural light into a basement and even making a stairway ‘float’ like a magic carpet.

© Eugeni Pons
© Eugeni Pons

Drawings courtesy of the architects Jaime Prous and Damián Ribas.


Alexander Monro: A cozy and friendly hospital for breast cancer patients by Casper Schwarz-C4ID.

Nothing can ease the process of going through treatment for breast cancer but a hospital designed with deep empathy at least can make it a little more bearable for sure. That is what Casper Schwarz from the C4ID Interieurarchitecten studio thought when he projected the new interior for the Dutch hospital Alexander Monro which is specialised in these types of cancers.

Starting from the main entrance, Casper Schwarz devised a welcome zone that instead of being intimidating is warm and friendly, since the very first delicate moment of the process is when the patient definitely faces the illness the first day of treatment at hospital. The wide hall and cafe are presided over by a homely fireplace and decorated with domestic pieces of furniture, almost more like a home setting than a hospital.

Karim Rashid’s Float sofas from the Spanish firm Sancal are the star of the room. The funishing and lighting list also includes pieces from established firms such as Arper, mobles114, Globezero4, Arco, B&B Italia, Gervasoni and Foscarini.

The patients’s rooms seem more like the ones you would find in a hotel. They hold an abundance of details, and are intimate in their design, creating a private and agreeable stay for the patients. Without doubt the most important touch is the inclusion of a double bed so that their partners can stay overnight.

On top, the consulting rooms have been decorated with large graphic elements inspired by strong female figures famous for their courage, such as the scientist Marie Curie, the anthropologist Jane Goodall and the artist Frida Kahlo.


Photos: Han Nooijen


Etna by Woodendot, candleholders crafted in wood and inspired by the shape of a volcano.

The aim of designers María J. Vargas & Daniel García is to find the best way to lend a touch of light and colour to any ambiance through the pieces in wood they sell under the brand Woodendot. Previously to these candleholders, the Ka family of lamps, already seen in diarioDESIGN, explored this idea with harmony and honesty.

With Etna they are keeping the same clean, simple style in natural materials, using wood from the Tierra de Pinares forest in the region of Valladolid (Spain). The collaboration with artisans to make the pieces was a key factor in the creation of this young company.

Etna is a collection of giant candlesticks made of solid pine wood with painted curves on their upper body that evoke layers of lava sliding down the sides of a volcano (for example the Sicilian one that gives the collection its name). This splash of translucent colour lends personality to the piece and makes its grains stand out.

The pieces have been designed in order to create a variety of compositions, so Etna candlesticks are available in three different sizes (115 cm, 95 cm and 80 cm) and six colours.

Furthermore, there is an Etna Mini set that completes the family with smaller candleholders. Also made of solid pine, they imitate their big brothers in a more compact shape so that they can be used as a table centerpiece, in a shelf or wherever you like.

They are available in three sizes and six colours that can be combined.

Everything about Etna can be found on the Woodendot web. Visit it now to discover their new designs and get a 15% discount.


Elii Arquitectura designs a geometrical, modular and prefab home in Pedrezuela, Madrid.

The Madrid-based architects Uriel Fogué Herreros, Eva Gil Lopesino and Carlos Palacios Rodríguez (Elii Arquitectura) are behind this unusual home situated in Pedrezuela, a village in Madrid’s Sierra, 45 km north of the Spanish capital.

© Miguel de Guzmán

© Miguel de Guzmán

Recently awarded by COAM -the Madrid professional association of architects- Elii Arquitectura has principally endeavoured to bring happy memories of the past of their client into a new environment; memories related to different spaces like a shipping container in the middle of the forest, an alpine house and a special place surrounded by horses and other animals. Some of these experiences had taken place long ago and abroad. With this in mind, the architects have ‘edited’ these spacial memories and converted them into a home, a place of memories, experiences and wishes.

© Miguel de Guzmán

The project takes shape via seven wooden modules of the same geometry. When ordered and combined, they make up the principal volume of the home around a central patio. Each one has a different domestic function for modern living. This modular composition and scale have been designed for flexibility and future adaption. It allows to be fragmented into a smaller one, so there is no need to use the entire home at any given time. The architecture therefore becomes a sort of playing field.

© Miguel de Guzmán

The prefab constructive system and ‘dry’ assembly of the wooden panels made possible to build the home in just two weeks, since much of the work was done off site in workshop.

The plot had little vegetation near the street front, commanded wonderful views of the sierra madrileña and sat on a wide and verdant landscape. Taking into account the plot itself, different compositions were put forward. The final one adapts to the terrain in a stepped manner and in relation to various demands for privacy; the most private areas are hidden from street level and have the most direct contact with the land itself. The public spaces are closest to the street and little by little rise above it. Small bridges connect the various ambiances.

© Miguel de Guzmán

© Miguel de Guzmán

The facades, roofs and canopies enjoy continuous ventilation. The ones that are visible from the street are made of wood whilst the interior facades of the patios are constructed of translucent polycarbonate that conducts the light from the patios to the interior of the modules.

© Miguel de Guzmán

The central patio is the home’s garden. The wooden roofs are placed in such as way that they collect rainwater and direct it to the garden.

© Miguel de Guzmán

Inside the home, wooden panels are combined with neutral elements that are designed to capture light and conduct it towards specific points, leaving others in shadow. In all rooms, the architects have combined the light and the different materials in order to highlight the geometric design.

© Miguel de Guzmán

The project is carried out with a minimum number of materials and few other elements, leaving the user to customise it as the time passes.


Homage to stone: Dom Arquitectura studio brings to life an ancient home in Noutigos, Galicia.

The Dom Arquitectura studio, founded by the architect Pablo Serrano Elorduy and the interior designer Blanca Elorduy, has carried out the renovation of this ancient home situated in the rural village of Noutigos in Carnota, a region in Galicia (Spain). Respect for old stone and existing elements, combined with an open plan, modern lighting and furnishings are the main features of its charming and contemporary ambiances.

The project by Dom Arquitectura respects the original volumes of the building and keeps the stone facade. The old window frames were replaced for ones made of chestnut wood and only two small openings were made in the south wall in strategic places in order to let the light in to specific points and enhance the views.

The new openings are formed by fixed glass and Corten steel frame, contrasted with the old ones. On top, the south-facing facade was whitewashed in order to eliminate damp caused by small stones. The larger stones surrounding the window frames have been kept and placed following the existing lines, so that almost the entire first and lower floors have a smooth finish.

The threshold garden functions as a ‘welcome room’, with large chunks of old stone that was salvaged, stone and wooden benches and plants such as lavender, albizia and vines, lending a simple, homely air.

The stone walls of the home are the real stars of the renovation and connect the exterior with the interior. The ground floor has areas with a finish in ochre and yellow cement that covers the spaces where the original stone was in very bad shape. It is also a mean to highlight the various heights within the floor.

This space was made open plan with a continuous floor treatment. It accommodates the kitchen, dining and living areas.

The first floor contains three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Structural supports have been made new with little ceramIc vaults finished with grey glaze.

The top floor was originally used as a drying area for laundry. It has now been converted into a totally open-plan space that serves as the masteer bedroom. It brims in natural light thanks to attic windows cut into the former roof. Besides, a small terrace allows lovely views of Finisterre and Carnota Bay.

Photography: Víctor Solís


Back to old style and more drama for McCann’s offices in NY renovated by Gensler and Tom Dixon.

The advertising agency McCann Erickson is one hundred years, and to celebrate they have completely renovated their HQ in New York, situated on the 23rd to 27th floors of 622 Third Avenue. They wanted more drama and personality; a design inspired by the classic world of advertising that they helped to build. And this is exactly what they got from the design studio Gensler and British designer Tom Dixon.

Gensler was mainly in charge of the re-design of floors 23 to 26, transforming them into a stylish yet versatile workplace with improved space efficiency. It accommodates a great variety of atmospheres including the team work and chill out areas as well as comfortable meeting rooms.

More about Gensler in diarioDESIGN.

The double-height ceilings of the old reception area were utilised to generate an open plan space inspired more in the trendiest hotel lobbies of the city as opposed to an advertising agency.

In addition, McCann sought a solution to bridge work and socialising time, not only by employees during the day at coffee and breakfast breaks but also for their clients. With this in mind, some of the spaces were designed to be used for small gatherings to entertain clients by night.

The icing on the cake is the 27th floor, designed entirely by the British Tom Dixon design studio, hence the prevalence of metallic materials ever so present in his work. Together with Gensler, Tom Dixon has converted the executive floor into a club-like ambiance.

More about Tom Dixon in diarioDESIGN.

The former cubicle layout has been replaced by an open environment, encouraging a modern and collaborative way of working. The space is now divided into various zones such as Central Park, a natural, informal and flexible area favoring communication and openness, and the Science Lab, an efficient, high-tech work zone. There is also an apartment, a lounge, a ballroom and a library, each providing unique and flexible ways of working.



Neri & Hu convert an old warehouse in Shanghai into the flagship store for Camper in China.

Camper has recently opened a new showroom In Shanghai designed by Neri & Hu. The prestigious chinese studio has achieved the perfect balance between tradition and modernity in this project for the Malllorcan brand’s flagship store in China, situated in the French Concession zone. They have done so by conceiving a building within a building, with a hutong-like passage that displays poetic hanging shoes.  

More projects of Neri & Hu in diarioDESIGN.

More about Camper in diarioDESIGN.

According to Neri & Hu, the building itself is inspired by its immediate urban context: “It reminds the hutong areas, with its vibrant labyrinth of alleys. The street entrance is inside the locale, creating a transversal cut-off point as if it were a section in the place”.

This element generates a welcome room that at the same time serves as space for presentations and conferences. The  presence of a mirror at the end of this hallway visually enlarges the transversal cut off point and accentuates the idea of a new building inside an old warehouse.

The structure of the new building has been carried out through re-used wood sourced locally, along with grey bricks as a filler. The wood comes from demolished houses and denotes its origin and past thanks to a remnants of old newspaper and wallpapers still stuck to the boards.

A large skylight gives off the sensation of being in an real outdoor laneway. Here, hanging shoes project linear shadows onto the walls throughout the day.

Many of the pieces of furniture have been purposely designed by Neri & Hu for the project; a shelving unit, a special red version of their ‘Sol’ chair and the ‘Lazy Susan’ table that has been placed in the reading room.  

More about the architects

Lyndon Neri (Philippines, 1965) and Rossana Hu (Taiwan, 1968) are the hottest design duo in China today. They studied at Harvard and Princeton (respectively) and met each other in the offices of Michael Graves, where Lyndon spent 10 years. In 2002, they moved to Shanghai to work on the project Three On The Bund together with the famous American architect. Two years later, they established their own, multidisciplinary studio NHDRO (Neri & Hu Design and Research Office). Currently, they are working on projects in Asia, Europe and the US. Neri & Hu are also introducing in China some of the most prestigious international design brands through their store Design Republic.


Neri & Hu Design and Research Office 88 yuqing road 200030 Shanghai China Ph: +8621 6082 3777 en.neriandhu.com


Images by Dirk Weiblen and portrait by Andrew Rowat, courtesy of Camper.



Siesta anytime, anywhere: the Ostrich Pillow family grows with Light and Junior.

The idea behind Ostrich Pillow was to provide with a means that would make possible to have a siesta anywhere. It was launched last year by the architecture and design studio based in Madrid Kawamura-Ganjavian and now comes in two new models; Ostrich Pillow Light and Ostrich Pillow Junior. Both facilitate relaxing moments anytime and anywhere.

More about Ostrich Pillow in diarioDESIGN.

The Ostrich Pillow is not just a pillow. Nor is it a mattress, or an accessory. It is a mixture of all these, a sort of microenvironment. Once again is being launched through crowdfunding on kickstarter.com. The new Light version is easy to carry around and especially designed for frequent travellers and holiday-ers.

Ostrich Pillow Light has been designed in order to have a comfortable nap on the road. It isolates the head area with lightweight micro-granuals covered in silicon that block sound. Its elastic, adjustable ‘ring’ allows users to adapt the size for greater comfort. The inside lining is extremely soft allowing comfort and rest whenever, wherever.

The overall object of this new version of Ostrich Pillow is to instil comfort, practically and portability in the product, besides contributing to take a nap in style.

This new sleeping partner comes in two colors; red and blue.

Kawamura Ganjavian hasn’t forgotten the smallest members of the household and the fact they need their afternoon nap.

The Ostrich Pillow Junior comes in a smaller size and in a red dotted fabric or blue with waves for sweet dreams.

More about Ostrich Pillow Junior in the web of Studio Banana.

More information on kickstarter.com.

More about Studio Banana in diarioDESIGN.


Fade-to-black: Enota turns a Dominican monastery into a cultural centre in Slovenia.

The architecture studio Enota has just finished renovating this cultural centre in Ptuj, a city situated in North-East Slovenia. The most unusual aspect is that it’s situated in an 800-year old Dominican monastery. The project won a competition in 2003 and stands out for harmoniously combining the architectural and artistic elements accumulated over the building’s long history, complimented with a contemporary feel by Enota.

In the main nave white dominates in the old architecture whilst black has been chosen for the seatings and new stage. This division of colours and styles complement each other perfectly and helps to distinguish between the old and added. Enota has employed the same principle elsewhere in the building.

The use of these two colours references the famous black and white habit of the Dominican Order, where the white is symbolic of innocence and black of modesty.

The access to the rows of seats is through an impressive staircase, also in black. This sharp staircase reveals the intricacies of the elevation of the row of seats, as well as allows to see vestiges from across the ages (medieval, gothic, baroque) and those of the monastery’s old functions.

After the monastery ceased functioning at the end of the 18th century, it was used as a barracks, hospital, museum and public housing before finally being converted into a cultural centre. Hence, the building’s interior walls had been quite altered over the last decades in order to accommodate all these different uses, whose remains have been left exposed as well.

It’s not only the main nave that serves as a stage for meetings, conferences, concerts and the like, but also other adjacent spaces have been treated in order to host smaller events.

Photos: Miran Kambič