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In Architecture, Lookbook, Reviews on
25th April 2017

Top 5 Architectural Designs for April.

Now I know what you’ll be thinking, I’m a little late to the April party, 25 days to be exact. But has anyone else felt like this month has run away from them? Maybe some of it was spent in a chocolate induced coma…

Back to the point, here I have put to gather 5 designs that have really caught my eye during this month on Dezeen. There have been some amazing designs lately it was hard to narrow it down. Now if your like me and look at Dezeen maybe 180927 times a day, these won’t be new stories to you, but just incase you haven’t got the time to catch up, here are the very worthwhile stories.

1. Micro Hostel by Zhang Ke.

This is an awesome design, the way the buildings design responds to the awkward space is inspiring. By projecting the rooms with chaotic angular faces, the tiny space feels larger and more dense.

Micro hostel with tiny concrete rooms installed by Zhang Ke in old Beijing hutong

This is an awesome design, the way the buildings design responds to the awkward space is inspiring. By projecting the rooms with chaotic angular faces, the tiny space feels larger and more dense.

2. Green Roof and Living wall in Vancouver Residence.

Now if you’ve read any of my other blogs, it’s obvious I am a fan of a living roof… and this project by Measured Architecture does this very well. I am also a fan of the design of the staircase in this house as well.

Measured Architecture incorporates green roofs and living wall into slender Vancouver residence

3. Vo Trong Nghia’s House

The combination of the industrial concrete and natural foliage in this is beautiful. The aim was to bring life from the outside to in, whilst also creating privacy.

Planted terraces are interspersed among living spaces at Vo Trong Nghia’s Binh House

4. StudioAC’s White box.

This is a truly beautiful design. I love the diversity of the industrial apartment mixed with the ‘White-Out’ sleeping nook. This is a place I could see myself living in, especially because of the black out kitchen wall.

White box forms sleeping nook in Toronto loft by StudioAC

5. Batay-Csorba’s Urban Towerhouses.

And last but definitely not least, this beautiful facade on these townhouses. I am a huge fan of the brick cladding here, it not only creates an interesting look for the structure, it also creates more depth by casting of amazing shadows that change at different points in the day. Everything about this design is unique, right down to the massive graffiti walls covering the courtyards.

Batay-Csorba creates urban townhouses in Toronto faced with brick and wooden screens

The Sustainable Trend Of Cork.

Cork has been everywhere nowadays, with its lightweight and flexibility, its becoming a strong material within design. Not to mention the overall soft and lovely look. This is brilliant news for our society, because Cork is cheap to manufacture, easy to recycle and is completely sustainable.

So what makes Cork so sustainable?

It all starts where its grown. Cork grows on trees in mediterranean climates (such as Spain, Portugal, Algeria, Morocco, Italy, Tunisia and France) and the trees grow without any extra pesticides, pruning or irrigation. Instead of the whole tree being cut, the bark is harvested. This lets the tree live on to a ripe age of 250. During the Harvesting, trained workers who are paid a good living wage, strip the outer layer that does not harm the tree in any way. A good thing to know is that, even with the demand for cork nowadays, we are still very far from exceeded the amount of cork trees available.

After Harvesting, the Cork is taken to factories, where it will be dried, boiled and turned into different products. An amazing fact about these factories is that 90% of the energy used in processing cork is made from burning cork dust, absolutely nothing gets wasted from the bark from the tree.


The Benefits of Cork as a Material

Corks antistatic surface makes it a great resister to toxins and dust, making this perfect for people with allergies.

It’s soft cushion touch, creates a great floor or decor and it’s antimicrobial and water-resistant abilities also help combat mildew and old.

Cork is also a great material at blocking noise. Because of this, its very popular within commercial spaces or exterior walls to diminish outside noise. It’s also a great material to retain heat, making it an easy solution for homes to cut down gas prices.

It’s being used in day to day lives, from small decor details, to full on cladding. But below are a few ways it has been used in a truly magnificent way:

Surman Westman Cork Covered Studio.

This cork covered studio, provides a workspace for sewing and music-making in the back garden of a client. The cork cladding provides weather resistance to the structure, as well as acoustic and thermal insulation.

The Architects Tom Surman and Percy Weston described “The natural earthy quality of the thick cork, combined with the wild-flows rood, helps nestle the building into its organic green surroundings. ”

It’s easy to see how this was achieved, with this cork outhouse, providing the perfect space for an at home work environment.


Selencky Parsons Cork Lined Pod within it’s office.

In it’s own studio, Selencky Parsons has added a cork pod into its working office. The use of the cork pod, was to create a warmer atmosphere within the space, as well as creating more storage and use.

The Architects said “We wanted to create a comfortable working zone within the space, while maximising the benefits afforded by the highly visible site”. As you can see this was well achieved, as the cork pod offers so many more uses for the office, as well as bringing an edgy charm to the place.

Ikea’s Cork Furniture Collection

Ikea collaborated with London Designer Ilse Crawford, a launch of cork and natural homeware products. The Sinnerlig collection mainly features natural materials and neutral colours that would fit into any home.

The overall shapes, focus mainly on material combinations rather than statement shapes, which makes these pieces truly adaptable.

The predominant material is Cork, used in thin layers to cover table tops, to creating lampshades. Crawford explained that “Cork is very much a part of our range, because of its acoustic properties and it works great with glass”, she believes that it is an important repurposing for the material because “no one wants wine corks any more!”

There are so many new and innovative ways coming out for using cork, I hope we can carry on using this amazing product. We’ll be able to limit damages to the rainforest as well as keeping up with the new trends.

In Interior Design, Lookbook on
1st April 2017

New Trend: Statement Flooring

Until recently, the fashionable way to design would be to use a simple backdrop with statement pieces. But this year, statement floors are becoming a new trend. This way creates so many more possibilities for design, it creates more dynamic and adventurous designs.

The Image above represents this in the best way, the designer has based most of the design on this statement floorboards, adding little detail to the rest of the design. This is successful because, the lack of business in the rest of the room stops this design from becoming cluttered.

Here are a few other ways to create a statement in your home, using only the floor…

Chevron Floors:

Chevron has come back in to style and will definitely stay around longer. So it seems right too add this into our home design as well. This design suits the natural marking of these wooden floorboards, it adds even more texture and depth.

Ceramic Tiles:

Tiled Floor is a trend that has hit back again, especially with the use of marbled tiles popping up.

Brushed Finishes:

Brushed Floorboards are a great way to add depth to a period property, it brings out a natural look and texture.


Cork Flooring is become very popular, mainly because of its economical values and design flexibility. Cork Floors will not absorb dust or bacteria, swell as being able to reduce noise within the home.

Chip Board:

Chipboard is durable and very easy too clean. It’s becoming to be seen as a stylish and easy way to update your home.

In Interior Design, Lookbook on
10th March 2017

Tiled accents

Apologies in advance, this post is slightly going off the sustainability topic… But I’ve recently had an obsession with Zellige tiles in interiors and wanted to share it with you guys. (Maybe I can argue that the tiles could be recycled from Grecian buildings but I think that might be a bit of a stretch…)

Zellige (or more known nowadays as mosaic) is tile work made from individual small tiles that form a geometric pattern. They generally come in vibrant colours and are incredibly eye-catching. This type of tile is being seen as a popular design trend right now within the home.

A room full of these tiles can be absolutely breathtaking, but i would definitely say I’m more of a minimalist in preference so I sway more towards having accents of these within a space. What I mean by this is by having a stripped back, simplistic room, and having these tiles popping out of hidden spaces.

If your like me and you don’t like to over indulge in colours or patterns normally, this is the perfect way to add a bit of colour into our lives while still keeping it to a minimum.

The images below are examples that are a personal favourite of mine. I love the blue toned mosaic tiles but my favourite is the tiles popping out beneath the stairs, Its such a simple way to get creative with apart of the house thats usually left bare!


In Interior Design, Lookbook on
7th March 2017

Industrial Home Design Ideas.

Instead of new builds, new designs and brand new furniture, incorporating old within the new is becoming a top design choice. This benefits our environment as that means less products are becoming land fill, instead they are being renovated and incorporated into edgy styles of today.

Thats where sustainable design steps in… The basis of this design is stripping back and maximising the raw materials of a building, reusing and recycling furniture and putting this together in a chaotic creation.

I’ve put together a few designs that I believe represent this well. Personally I find Industrial Design in the bedroom to be the best, I love the raw materials combined with the soft furnishings.


Emily Wren Photography