Tag Archives: arts

Sheraton Huzhou Hot Spring Resort — The Fun Never Stops For China’s Architectural Growth


China has added another spectacle to their already impressive list of amazingly unique structures. In August, the Sheraton Huzhou Hot Spring Resort joined the likes of the world’s largest building (complete with an artificial sun), the New Century Global Center.

This 27-story structure that lies on Taihu Lake between Nanjing and Shanghai was conceived by the architect Ma Yansong. The resort is lavishly designed — covered in all different types of jade and the lobby ceiling is decorated with 20,000 Swarovski and European natural crystal lamps that create a wave-like formation.

The hotel is actually a full oval — two levels underground connect the visible horseshoe shape. According to the resort’s website, it offers 321 guest rooms, including 44 suites and 39 villas, all with private balconies.

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Wall House By FARM Architects

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Architects: FARM
Location: Singapore
Team: Tiah Nan Chyuan, Lee Hui Lian (), Kurjanto Slamet (KD Architects)
Collaborators: KD Architects, Locus Associates with Base6 and Terre Pte Ltd
Area: 1,116 sqm
Year: 2013

This project is actually two houses in one – similar looking, yet independent and coming together to form a coherent whole. The two blocks sit on a sprawling piece of land, belonging to the retired parents and one of their children.

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Reflections at Keppel Bay — Another Stunner By Studio Daniel Libeskind


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Daniel Libeskind is noted for his dramatic and often angular designs for cultural institutions and museums. Like many starchitects, his next opportunity is the design of high-rise luxury residential towers in Asia. His firm, Studio Daniel Libeskind, was tapped to design Reflections at Keppel Bay, a two million square foot residential development at the entrance to Singapore’s harbor.

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The site serves as a gateway to the island nation and is steeped in the maritime heritage of the area, which was formerly occupied by shipyards. Reflections at Keppel Bay, completed in late 2011, is comprised of six high-rise towers ranging between 24 and 41 stories, as well as 11 low-rise villa apartment blocks that rise six to eight stories. The 1,129-unit Reflections at Keppel Bay luxury condominium contains a mix of two- to four-bedroom units. It’s located close to Keppel Club, the Keppel Marina, and is also near VivoCity shopping mall and Sentosa Island.

Although Libeskind faced the challenge of packing in as many units as possible to offset the high cost of real estate, he aimed to infuse this residential development with the liveliness and richness of a cultural center. He designed towers that undulate, clad in insulated glass curtain walls with anodized aluminum frames. Their curves capture views of the waterfront, an adjacent golf course, and the nearby island resort of Sentosa, as well as the rolling hills of Mount Faber in the distance. The towers are crowned with a latticework of steel that conceals open-air gardens, and nine asymmetric sky bridges connect the towers while providing additional outdoor park-like space for residents.


The towers’ shifting forms ensure uniqueness at very level, and no two units are exactly alike. Libeskind drew inspiration from nature; the towers literally reflect the surrounding sea and call to mind bamboo stalks swaying in the wind. However, preventing the complex double-curved forms from literally swaying involved some deft structural engineering. Because each floor is off-set, the towers’ centers of gravity tend to shift. To resist these forces, each tower required a strong lift-core wall to serve as a solid spine. The engineers created unique structural plans for each floor, requiring much greater effort on their part than a conventional condominium project would require.

The spaces are efficiently planned and feature high-quality finishes. The remainder of the site was designed to complement the towers and create a coherent composition. Like the towers, the facades of the villas also curve and are clad in aluminum. The design of the clubhouse/gym injects variety into the site plan; its sculptural form is that of three cylinders converging as one. Residents also enjoy amenities such as lush landscaping, a swimming pool, and access to the marina and waterfront promenade.

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The project has been so successful that nearly all the units are occupied, even at a cost of more than $2,200 per square foot. Libeskind has several other similar projects in Asia on the boards, including a mixed-use development in Busan, South Korea, and a master plan for Archipelago 21 in Seoul.

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18.36.54 House by Daniel Libeskind — Revisited (Again)

If an apology is due for repetition, then so be it…I apologize. But, I cannot get enough of “18.36.54 House” by Daniel Libeskind — Modern Work Of Art Set In Nature. This design successfully challenges all our traditional notions of shape, angularity, and perspective while offering a fully functional residence in a complimentary juxtaposition of manufactured forms and materials against organic form and nature. So, herewith is a third visit to Mr. Libeskind’s residential work of art, with additional images and documentation.

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As I said previously, “Challenging both traditional and modern concepts of ‘the house in the landscape,’ this design gives nothing of itself up to its natural setting, but selectively incorporates the elements thereof for the enhancement of both house and landscape.”

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Bob Hope Residence, Palm Springs — A John Lautner Massive Masterpiece

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Bob Hope’s huge and famous hill-top house is located in Palm Springs Southridge mountain area, overlooking Palm Springs. The nearly 18,000 sq ft (add nearly 5k more sq ft for terraces and outdoor living space) John Lautner-designed Bob and Dolores Hope Residence (1973) — situated close to the also Lautner-designed Elrod Residence in Palm Springs — features a massive undulating triangular roof, pierced by a large circular central light shaft, six bedrooms and 12 bathrooms.

See interior photos here.


Mr. Hope died in 2003 at the age of 100; Mrs. Hope died in 2011 at 102. Thus, Hope’s architectural treasure was placed on the market in late February 2013 for $50 million.

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In addition to the bedrooms and numerous bathrooms, plus the spacious living and dining rooms, the massive residence also features a spa, which houses a pool, a hot tub and an exercise area. Outdoor spaces include a pool, pond, tennis court, putting green, and outdoor terrace with massive fireplace. The modernist structure is built of concrete and glass, with an undulating copper roof that rises to an open circle at its center.

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The original ’73 house was destroyed by fire during construction. Bob and Dolores Hope interfered extensively in the second design, with the result that Lautner eventually distanced himself from the project. Although not well-known and rarely available for public viewing (this modern masterpiece is located within a gated community) it is one of the largest and most visually striking of Lautner’s domestic designs. The estate dominates a corner lot with sweeping views of the entire Coachella Valley. No pictures of the home’s interior have ever been published since the Hopes moved in (1979).

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The home was used primarily as a second residence for the Hope family and was the place where they entertained most often, inviting friends such as Tony Bennett and Glen Campbell to enjoy the views from the house. It can accommodate as many as 300 guests for dinner under an enormous covered terrace.

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Each January for many years, the family threw a huge dinner party to mark the end of the Bob Hope Classic golf tournament, now called the Humana Challenge. “That was sort of a highlight of the desert social calendar,” said Linda Hope, a daughter of the couple.

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A big buffet would be laid out on the terraced patio, including Mrs. Hope’s famous antipasto salad, which she insisted on mixing herself, adding the vinegar and oil by eye. A clear tent was put up on part of the terrace to keep out the cold while still allowing guests to take in the spectacular nighttime view. “The whole desert was at your feet,” Linda Hope said.

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Lautner’s Architectural Plan For The Hope Residence

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Stunning Black & White Architectural Highlights

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The Hope Estate – Toluca Lake

In addition to their desert getaway the Hope’s also maintained a five-plus acre spread in the Toluca Lake area of Los Angeles with a 14,876 square foot main house and several additional outbuildings joined by various driveways and parking areas.

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“Crayons” Mural: A Sandy Hook School Shooting Mural

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“Crayons” — a 6′ × 24′ graffiti mural by Gamma Acosta, Longmont, Colorado — has attracted “viral” internet attention as an artist’s statement about the Sandy Hook school massacre.

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The murals that artist Gamma Acosta paints on his uncle’s vacant building are usually temporary. At some point, a fresh coat of paint turns the wall back into a blank canvas. This time, after the mural went up — one day following the Connecticut shooting — an anonymous art collector contacted Acosta about preserving the piece. In the five and a half years that Acosta has painted murals on his uncle’s building, this is the first time he’s cut out a piece, rather than painting over it.

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“Crayons” is powerful… a kick in the gut… heart-wrenching… a single image capturing the horror of that day… an unforgettable expression about something we must never forget.

Reaction to the piece has been mixed. Internet discussions indicate that a great many people feel it’s shocking, vile, repulsive, inappropriate and too soon. Perhaps this is true, but that’s the point… to make sure we never forget.

The mural is a reaction to Sandy Hook, not a memorial to the victims. Inciting one to thought is its purpose, and on this it succeeds magnificently.

“The intent was to get people to think about it, and not from a political standpoint, gun control or anything like that… We can’t become complacent about this stuff or it’s not gonna stop,” the artist offered.

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Bořek Šípek: Bohemian Post-Modern Baroque Design

Bořek Šípek is a world-renown architect, designer, and visionary who defies easy, simplistic categorization. His creativity is rooted in Czech-Bohemian, historic Baroque, and Post-Modernist design. His work is equally at home in the most contemporary building and the medieval Prague Castle.

Bořek Šípek (b. 1949 in Prague), is renowned for his singular, unique, vibrant and opulent style. He approaches design with unexpected and often lavish shapes, and is referred to as the progenitor of “neo-baroque” style. He maintains offices in Amsterdam, Prague, and Shanghai, was the architect of Prague Castle under the presidency of Václav Havel, and is a knight of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

The life of Bořek Šípek is a Cinderella story about a boy subjected to the harsh realities of life who grows into a determined and successful adult. At the age of fifteen, he was orphaned (both mother and father died of cancer). At nineteen, Šípek graduated from an applied arts secondary school in Prague after studying furniture construction. Having nothing, he emigrated to Germany, where he made use of his studies working as a cabinetmaker. Šípek entered university in Germany and graduated from architecture school in Hamburg and a school of philosophy in Stuttgart. After teaching design at universities in Hannover, Essen and Prague for many years, in 2005 he earned the position of Dean of the Faculty of Architecture at the Technical University in Liberec, Czech Republic.

Šípek’s first significant success was a glass house he built for his sister, for which he was awarded the German Architecture Prize in 1984. Opportunities thereafter opened for Šípek, and he moved to Amsterdam for the liberal atmosphere of this city. Mid-1980’s, he was contacted by the noted Italian design company, Driade. Cooperation with Driade was the beginning of a skyrocketing career of “the most distinguished contemporary designer” who “evokes the longing for magic in this horrid realistic world.”

Driade published a new catalogue featuring only Šípek’s work and proved his importance to the company. At that time, only four people had their own catalogue – French Philippe Starck, Spanish Oscar Tusquets, Italian Antonia Astori, and Czech Bořek Šípek. He especially liked to design chairs, furniture, cutlery, glass, china, vases, lamps and home accessories.

Bořek Šípek has worked with the most prestigious design companies: Alessi, Cleto Munari, Driade, Maletti, Sawaya & Moroni in Italy; Vitra and Milus in Switzerland; Sévres and Daum in France; Rosenthal, Anthologie Quartett and Süssmuth in Germany; Leitner and Wittmann in Austria…

Bořek Šípek had more than 70 single exhibitions and his work is included in the collections of the most reputable world museums: Museum of Arts and Design in New York, Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris, Design Museum London, The Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Kunstmuseum in Düsseldorf, National Museum in Prague, Denver Art Museum…

More than thirty books and catalogues presenting Šípek’s work and life have been published, so far…

How is it that Šípek resolves the seeming conflict of Bohemian Post-Modern Baroque design? I think he answered the question well when he said, “I try to interpret new contexts in a new way. It is much closer to me to newly explain something that has roots than to experiment. Tradition has always been a greater inspiration for me than experimentation.”

Architecture & Architectural Elements

Arzenal, Šípek’s personal design shop in Prague

Ajeto, the Czech glassworks established by Šípek

Prague Castle, where Šípek served as Architect of Record during the Vaclav Havel presidency.

President Vaclav Havel’s Official State Office

President Vaclav Havel’s personal office at Prague Castle

Townhouses in Netherlands

Glashause Šípek designed for his sister in Netherlands

Apartments in Prague

Šípek’s kitchen in his own home


Believe it or not, this is a coat tree!

A beautiful wool rug for Driade

Blown Glassware



Metal Accessories