The way we create interior design

A large writing desk and a very comfortable chair was what K saw when she stood two meters in front of the open door and just glimpsed in. Nothing else. Curiosity invited her in. The room was empty for real but for the table and the chair.

Middle aged woman smoothly walked into the room with a cup of tea for K. “You wonder why there is no more than the desk and the table, right?”she asked, passing K the cup.  K nodded with a light smile.

“I am a writer. I sit and write here a whole day. That’s why I need the chair and the desk. And just that. When I moved in, the house was empty and the garden was overgrown. I liked the first impression of the place a lot and I would like to keep the simplicity of it by getting only things that I need for my everyday life. I got this table and this chair and that is how this room became a writing room.”

“There is a lot of free space in this room. Doesn’t it make you feel empty?” K asked.

“Emptiness is what I appreciate because I am best at filling it. I fill it with stories, with articles, with people. If I fill it with stuff there will be no space for all my creative expressions.” 

Simplicity, just as illustrated in this short story, is what builds the design that work best in long term. Based on activities that are being carried out in that space, the objects are added. As the bed makes the room into bedroom and the bath creates the bathroom (quite frankly the “showerroom” has not emerged in our home-describing terms yet, even though the shower is the more economical and environmental-friendly approach to keeping us clean).

I was wondering for some time now what is the aim of living rooms shown often in interior design magazines where there are two sofas and a big coffee table between them and a lot of shelfs/cupboards etc when the usual owner is a single professional who spends most of his time at his work and weekends in nature. Whose needs are these rooms meeting? Am I missing something here when I can think only of purpose of nice interior design magazines? (Sorry if you are an editor for interior design magazine.)

My own place is not minimalistic in a sense I would not keep any furniture but in a way that I keep only furniture that has a function for me. Beauty is a function, too. In my perception of the world the beauty got the second priority seat right after the function of usefulness. Small details and decoration come and go but the primary functional furniture keeps its presence for years.

 

 

 

 

Kitchen: Countertops

“Kitchen countertops are in the most cases the worst that can get destroyed in a kitchen. They are expensive and difficult to change and it can take long time to get the new one. That’s why it is so important to take care of them” says Joakim Lindberg, the head of selling department of Elgiganten, for local Swedish magazine Vi i Sundbyberg.

Heat, water, chemicals and heavy weight can take their toll on the countertops. With proper care, you can prolong its life for years. Different materials ask for different levels of maintenance. Here are the best tips so your counterboard is beautiful and serves you for many years.

PLASTIC LAMINATE

+ most popular, durable, hard-wearing material, can survive many years, made primarily of thick particleboard impregnated with resins, available in different colours, patterns, and textures, for countertops is used 1/16-in.-thick general-purpose laminate in matte or fine matte, cheap in comparison with other options

– easy to scratch by ceramic bowls and sharp objects, impossible to fix the damages, made out of thick particleboard gets damaged easily by humidity from under the countertop,


NATURAL STONES

1 GRANITE

+ the most durable working surface when polished

– expensive, heavy, needs to be well polished

2 MARBLE

+ looks prestigious

– does not have the same tight surface as granite (can get marks of e.g. vine, juice and fat),  the edge can split off easily when an object falls on it, can break if you climb on it to reach top shelf above

3 SOAPSTONE

+ at similar price range as polished granite, can be fabricated into sink to match the countertop,

– fewer colours: usually dark greenish-black or lighter green-tray, porous (must be sealed with mineral oil to reduce staining)

4 SLATE

+ extremely dense, can be fabricated into sinks to match the countertop, comes in green, red, gray, purple and black colour, less common are variegated purple and mottled purple slates, which have visible veins and shades of contrasting colours, nonporous and virtually maintenance free, scratches can be buffed out with steel wool

– relatively soft, soft, matte sheen, but you can create a wet look by rubbing the slate with lemon oil, slightly more expensive than soapstone


WOOD

+ the most usual are beech, oak and rock maple but teak, walnut, cherry are also used, often finished with mineral oil or some sort of varnish, price comparable with granite, oak, beech, ash and walnut are less sensitive to humidity than beech och birch, being a living material it can swell, settle ,and get cracks,

– needs oil care two or three times a year, cherry wood is more expensive than other wood, beech och birch are a bit more sensitive to humidity, it is possible to smooth the damages out


STAINLESS

+ easy maintenance, lower risk for damages compared with ceramic tiles, stone or wood, manages the heat, resists the humidity,


CERAMIC TILES

+ great for secondary work surfaces (such as islands, eat-at counters, peninsulas)

– high maintenance,


SOLID SURFACES  e.g. Avonite, Corian

+ highly resistant to stains and scratches, completely renewable and repairable, Scratches and burns can be sanded out, deep gouges can be filled, comes in literally hundreds of colors and patterns, many of which resemble natural stone, solid-surface sinks are also available

– made of 100% acrylic, 100% polyester, or a combination of acrylic and poly /minus if you are after natural materials/


CONCRETE

+ closely resemble slabs of natural stone, extremely flat and very smooth, as compared to hand-troweled finishes, a variety of colors can be achieved by adding pigments to the concrete during mixing,

– poured concrete needs several weeks of curing time before it can be adequately sealed, cracking is always a concern with concrete

 

Manifesto & Behind the Scenes

[Photo by Edison Illanes.]

Hi,

my name is Klara Kvicerova and I come from Czech republic. Right now I live in Stockholm and I study on-line course of Interior Design in London at KLC School of Design in Chelsea Harbour.

I love to do research on design and during my studies I do that a lot and it will make me happy if the results may be useful for you as well.

After taking my time to reshape my focus on the theme of this blog I decided for this manifesto:

To write true stories about architects, designers and artistic start-ups that I get my inspiration from. I plan to write articles about useful solutions and about products that simply brighten up my days.

I enjoy putting together information about lifestyle that grows from within us rather than the one that is shaped by the outside. I believe that nature is our precious source of energy, inspiration and relaxation and that is the reason why I want to write about natural products, materials and the way we can live more symbiotically with our natural resources.

I believe that being busy is an antonym to being creative and I will implement my minimalistic approach to writing –  focusing on one and the most important thing at the time.

Share your opinions! What do you want to read about?
How to implement fitness area into your apartment? What is the optimal wattage for reading? What is the optimal height of your kitchen countertops for your own height? What invented Mr. Thomas Campbell, that can be full of bacteria but still helps to make us clean? Whatever it is you are interested to read about, which is related to my manifesto, please, leave me your tips in comments.

Contribute
If you would like to write a guest article to Labyrinthofdesign or to network in another way,  you are welcome to leave your contact in comments and I will get in touch with you as soon as possible (if you do not wish to have your comment published, just add a note about it so I can act accordingly, respecting your privacy).

This version is in beta. I am going through the old posts, editing, updating and deleting what does not go along the manifesto and soon there will be new posts added.

Wishing you to have a thought-provoking stay here.

Klara

BELATCHEW ARKITEKTER

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Rahel Belatchew Lerdell

Rahel is a founder of Belatchew Arkitekter, architecture studio based in Stockholm, Sweden previously called RB Arkitektur. Belatchew Arkitekter´s are focused on incomporating sustainability into architecture and they have done a great job so far. Winning various architecture competitions and beside that also being included in the 101 most exciting new architects by magazine WALLPAPER.

At the moment, 2014, we in Stockholm hear a lot about their proposal of BUZZ BUILDING. This being a part of their larger project called InsectCity. The problem studio focuses on in this project is finding sustainable alternative to ever-increasing population of the planet and for locals it is enlarging population of Stockholm. By 2018 there is a prediction of number of Stockholm inhabitants being slightly under one million and the area required for meeting the meet-consumption requirements is getting into half million square kilometers. These requirements could be satisfied by creating 9 buildings where insect for consumption could be farmed.

These buildings are called BUZZ BUILDINGs and beside the insect farming area they would include restaurant and insect shop. Round as these buildings are, they fit perfectly to roundabouts – which are very much in popularity in Stockholm for their higher safety and trafic fluency than light crossroads. Here is how a BUZZ BUILDING could look like.

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To have a better picture how it looks in the city plan:

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To imagine how it would feel to be inside the building:

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This is a look to cut-through plan:

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Leaving aside probable issue about people´s refusal to insects diet, it looks like a brightly smart idea. Now I leave you to wonder if you could imagine yourself eating insects, and if your curiosity is not fed properly yet, you can have a look at another project of this studio: STRAWSCRAPER – A building covered with straws generating energy out of wind. Here it is:

StrawscraperSources:
http://belatchew.com/
Vi i Vasastan (local newspaper), no.24 , page 4 (in Swedish)

FRANK O. GEHRY – New building in Sydney, Australia


University of Technology in Sydney (UTS) is another outstanding project in Gehry´s creative career. The building will have 11 floors and its look is going to be dominated by “folded” look from one side and glass panels on the other one. The building process will begin in 2012 and should be completed in 2014.