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    Partisans sculpts limestone facade for Rolex boutique in Toronto

    Toronto architecture studio Partisans has used parametric modelling to create an undulating stone storefront for luxury watch brand Rolex.

    Partisans’ latest application of its digital modelling and fabrication technique resulted in a sculptural facade that wraps the ground floor of a high-rise on Bloor Street in Downtown Toronto.
    The flowing lines of the Rolex store’s limestone facade emanate from the building’s existing architectural featuresThe studio worked with Italian architect Arturo Tedeschi on the project, which is intended to give the store presence and allow it to stand out from others in the busy shopping district, as well as reflect the high-precision of Rolex timepieces.
    Limestone panels affixed to the building’s exterior are shaped to echo the forms and textures of the brand’s watches.
    The stone panels are shaped to curve around windows and emulate the brand’s watch designsThe material was chosen for its luxurious appearance and longevity, according to Partisans founder Josephson, who said: “Stone is future heritage, it’s having a renaissance.”

    The panels continue the geometry of the existing building features, such as the rigid vertical mullions, but flow into softer shapes that curve around large windows and over the entrance awning.
    More stone appears in the boutique’s interior. Photo by Robert Lowdon Photography”Each stone bay was cut according to measurements found through 3D scans of the existing building,” said Partisans designer Ian Pica-Limbaseanu.
    Niches are integrated into the stonework to house cove lighting that washes over the curvaceous forms at night, yet the junctions between the stone and the glass were trickiest to detail, according to Pica-Limbaseanu.
    Dark green seating matches a glass artwork, while walnut panelling and furniture contrast the paler stone. Photo by Robert Lowdon Photography”The window detailing, specifically, had a tall order of requirements to satisfy,” he said.
    “Not only did it need to meet the exterior stonework at exact locations accurate to within a quarter of an inch, but it also needed to allow for easy maintenance and proper energy performance for what was otherwise an utterly unprecedented look to glazing on Bloor Street.”

    Partisans creates pixelated brick facade for Toronto house

    Tedeschi applied his computational design skills to create an algorithm for the parametric compositions etched into the limestone across the east facade.
    These forms follow the geometries of engravings seen on watch-face dials while also responding to the unique qualities of the structure’s elevation.
    Niches in the limestone facade house cove lights that wash over the facade at nightThe store interiors feature plenty more stone, whose creamy tone is contrasted with dark walnut panelling and furniture.
    Dark green seating matches a glass wall artwork that bears the Rolex logo, which separates the main shop floor with a more intimate lounge area tucked behind.
    The facade was designed to reflect the high-precision of Rolex timepieces and to stand out on Toronto’s high-end Bloor StreetPartisans has previously used parametric design tools to create a rolling, pixellated brick facade for a single-family home, and a high-rise informed by architectural “revision clouds” – both in Toronto.
    The firm was founded by Josephson in 2012, and has since completed a pool house in Ontario with an undulating timber roof and a lakeside sauna designed as a cavernous wooden grotto.
    The photography is by Doublespace Photography, unless stated otherwise.

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    “Less is more is back” says panel during Gaggenau talk at Milan design week

    Dezeen teamed up with kitchen appliances brand Gaggenau to host and film a talk about reduction in design with representatives from Zaha Hadid Architects, SOM and Industrial Facility during Milan design week 2024.

    Moderated by Dezeen’s editorial director Max Fraser, the talk explored how principles of reduction and essentialism in architecture and design can be employed to improve our lives.
    Titled Design by Reduction, the panel gathered contributors from different industries, with Zaha Hadid Architects associate director Johannes Schafelner representing architecture, Industrial Facility founder Kim Colin discussing industrial and product design, and SOM interiors lead Francesca Portesine representing interior design.
    Dezeen teamed up with Gaggenau to host a talk about reduction in design during Milan design week 2024Amongst the topics discussed by the panel was how the process and aesthetics of reduction in design can improve well-being through fostering simplicity in people’s day-to-day lives.
    Explaining the role of reduction in interior design, Portesine stated: “Generally, it is a very good thing that there is less rather than more to look at, to feel, to concentrate, to give importance to one element at a time.”

    “The balance of a space is created by simplicity, by reduction of materials,” she continued.

    Gaggenau launches nearly invisible cooktop that “allows the architecture to breathe”

    These comments were mirrored by Colin, who suggested that the role of the designer is to counter the complexity of the world by making a complicated world simple.
    “I don’t think we need to build in complexity – complexity is there in everything,” she said. “We really try hard to simplify things and make things easier. We deserve for things to be made more easily and more easily accessible.”
    She went on to describe how, in the field of industrial design, reduction can be used as a means to create products that fit holistically into the lives of users.
    “Often we try to quiet the noise. You can imagine a room full of products that are in the marketplace, shouting for your attention for you to buy them,” she explained.
    “They want you to buy them,” she continued. “But then what happens when you live with them? You’re living with a bunch of things that are shouting at you.”
    The talk coincided with the launch of Gaggenau’s new Essential Induction cooktopSchafelner described how reduction in architecture allows architects to design and build more efficiently, mitigating both the cost and environmental impact of buildings.
    “When we talk about reduction, it’s all about efficiency,” he said. “It’s really minimising the design, minimising the structure to have a better product.”
    He went on to describe how artificial intelligence (AI) can assist the architect in working more efficiently.
    “AI will also help us,” he stated. “There are now new tools which automatically give you realistic images in one second.”
    “It’s a much more intuitive workflow. And in the future, this will definitely help us to be more efficient.”
    Gaggenau exhibited new products in an installation at Milan’s historic Villa Necchi CampiglioAddressing the question of how principles of reduction can help to build a more sustainable future, Colin posited the return of the principle of “less is more.”
    “Using less material, less time, less effort, less shipping – less is more is back,” she claimed.
    “It should be easy to make as well as easy to live with. They should go hand in hand.”
    The talk took place in the conservatory of Milan’s historic Villa Necchi Campiglio, where the brand created an immersive installation called Elevation of Gravity to showcase its appliances.
    The panel featured representatives from Zaha Hadid Architects, SOM and Industrial FacilityAmongst the brand’s new launches was the Essential Induction cooktop, which has been designed to integrate into a kitchen worktop seamlessly.
    Covertly integrated induction hobs are integrated into a conductive Dekton stone countertop, indicated by a small LED light. The only other visible element of the cooktop is a performance dial located on the side of the countertop.
    The Essential Induction cooktop was designed to break down barriers between spaces used for cooking and living in the kitchen, and the principle of reduction at play in its design informed the topic of Dezeen’s talk.
    The photography is by Giovanni Franchellucci.
    Partnership content
    This video was produced by Dezeen as part of a partnership with Bentley. Find out more about Dezeen partnership content here.

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    Dezeen Events Guide launches digital guide to NYCxDesign 2024

    Dezeen Events Guide has launched its guide to NYCxDesign 2024, highlighting the key events in New York City from 16 to 23 May.

    The festival celebrates its 12th anniversary with a programme of exhibitions, open showrooms, tours, talks, design fairs and product launches.
    Located across neighbourhoods in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, around 200 events are taking place across eight days, spanning architecture, design, art, fashion and technology.
    Use our interactive map
    This year’s guide also features a curated map with the key events of the festival, helping you navigate your way around the city.

    Click to use Dezeen’s map for NYCxDesign 2024There is still the opportunity to feature in the guide
    There are three types of listings still available:
    Standard listings cost £125 ($160) and include the event name, date and location details plus a website link. These listings will feature up to 50 words of text about the event.
    Enhanced listings cost £175 ($225) and include all of the above, plus an image at the top of the listing’s page and a preview image on the Dezeen Events Guide homepage. These listings will also feature up to 100 words of text about the event.
    Featured listings cost £350 ($450) and include the elements of an enhanced listing plus a post on Dezeen’s Threads channel, inclusion in the featured events carousel on the right hand of the homepage for up to two weeks and 150 words of text about the event. This text can include commercial information such as ticket prices and offers and can feature additional links to website pages such as ticket sales and newsletter signups.
    For more details about partnering with us to help amplify your event, contact the team at [email protected].
    About Dezeen Events Guide
    Dezeen Events Guide is our guide to the best architecture and design events taking place across the world each year.
    The guide is updated weekly and includes events, conferences, trade fairs, major exhibitions and design weeks.
    The illustration is by Justyna Green.

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    Eero Saarinen’s Black Rock skyscraper refurbished in New York

    The first and only skyscraper designed by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen in New York City has undergone a renovation by Vocon Architects and MdeAS Architects to help it “meet the expectations of today”.

    At the behest of developer HGI, local architecture studios Vocon Architects and MdeAS Architects renovated and restored the 51W52 skyscraper, also known as Black Rock, which was completed as a headquarters for American media giant CBS in 1964.
    CBS moved all of its facilities out in late 2023 and Black Rock now contains offices for a variety of companies, including HGI itself.
    Eero Saarinen’s first and only skyscraper has been renovatedDesigned by modernist architect Saarinen as his first and only skyscraper, 51W52’s original symmetrical facade of granite, bronze and travertine has survived, with the bronze fins updated by the renovation team.
    At the time, Saarinen called it the “simplest skyscraper statement in New York”.

    The original design was mostly maintained, and the developer, which purchased the landmarked building in 2021, said that the relatively column-less floor plans made it a perfect candidate for a contemporary office, though the interiors needed an update.
    The building’s facade is made of granite, bronze and travertine”From the beginning, we understood the immense potential of 51W52 given its architectural significance, desirable floor plans, and central location in Midtown,” said HGI president T Richard Litton Jr.
    “The structure of the building was optimal, we just needed to make subtle enhancements to reflect and appreciate its original design.”
    Most of the structural elements in the building were left intact. The architectural team completely renovated two lobbies on the ground floor, including a revamp of the finishes and the elevators. They also redid the building’s rooftop garden.
    Contemporary details and furnishings were added to the lobbyThe project also included the renovation of key amenities spaces including a lounge, fitness centre and a private cafe.
    The studios said that instead of completely rethinking the aesthetics of the 900,000-square-foot (83,600 square-metre) building, they aimed to “let the significant architecture speak for itself”.
    The wide, long walls of the lobby were finished in detailing that echoes those used for the original facade. Some of the walls were covered in brass-tipped wooden slats, while others feature monolithic granite slabs.
    The elevator bay was clad in light-coloured stoneBack-lit stone clads the reception desk, above which was placed a modernist fresco that incorporates the CBS logo to call attention to the history of the building.
    This artwork, by artist Vincent Ashbahian, was originally displayed in the building in the 1970s and willed back to the building after his death.
    Toronto outfit Viso created a massive lighting fixture made of dangling lights on strands to cover a large swath of the lobby.

    Oyler Wu Collaborative repurposes Eero Saarinen bank teller canopies for installation

    “By conceptualizing the experience from the outside in, we were able to restore the fundamental beauty of his design and apply the principles of form, light, and even water to new elements such as the feature stair and water feature that meet the preferences of contemporary office users,” said MdeAS Architects managing partner Dan Shannon.
    From the lobby, a glass-lined stairwell leads down to lounge areas. The stairwell shaft is clad in stainless steel rendered in an undulating pattern.
    Models of furniture originally designed by Saarinen and architect Florence Knoll were placed throughout the renovated spaces.
    A water feature was placed underneath the staircase leading to the below-lobby loungeAs it leads to lounge areas below, it passes over a small, still water feature: a small pool of water retained by black-painted metal.
    “The creation of private lounges, a conference center, and fitness studios help the building meet the expectations of today’s best corporate talent, while their designs maintain the integrity of Saarinen’s original architecture,” said Vocon Architects principal Tom Vecchione.
    Saarinen is known for his modernist architecture, with built work across the United States and Europe. Recently, a number of his buildings have been undergoing renovation, including his TWA terminal at JFK, which was repurposed into a hotel.
    Other modernist skyscrapers that have undergone restorations and renovations in New York City include the famous Lever House skyscraper, which was restored by SOM, its original architects.
    The photography is by Colin Miller.

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    CitizenM aims for “differentiation through massing” at Downtown Austin location

    Architecture studio Concrete has designed a hotel block for Dutch chain CitizenM in Downtown Austin, which is the brand’s first Texas location and features artwork created in partnership with locals.

    CitizenM worked with long-time collaborator architecture studio Concrete to purpose-build a 16-storey structure at the top of a slope in the city’s downtown.
    CitizenM has opened a location in AustinWorking with US architecture studio Baskervill to create the symmetric facade, which features wide spans of black steel interspersed with wide windows, with a stretch of aluminium panelling above the entrance.
    The brand said that the modern form was meant to stand out from the surrounding buildings – a mix of historical stone buildings and contemporary glass-clad skyscrapers.
    It is housed in a 16-storey building”Downtown Austin is quite a dynamic urban environment with many new constructions gradually changing the character of this part of the city,” CitizenM told Dezeen.

    “We are surrounded by lower, older buildings as well as some of the new office towers. While CitizenM is standing out as one of the new additions to the neighborhood we try to add character and interest to our buildings by creating differentiation through massing, materials and facade design.”
    It features a mix of local and international artThe double-height entrance space features a floor-to-ceiling glass wall that wraps the corner of the block. It has been set back from the street with an overhang created by a cantilever on the lobby level.
    CitizenM placed its signature red staircase at the entrance. It leads up to the lobby floor past built-in shelving cluttered with Pop Art pieces, many of which were gathered from local artists and sources.
    The eclectic collection of art continues in the lobby and the 344 guest rooms, which have works selected with the help of Austin Contemporary Museum.
    Large windows characterise the facadeThe lobby was divided into a variety of spaces separated by built-in shelving and furnished with brightly coloured editions of modern furniture, most of which was supplied by Vitra.
    The bar and social area feature banquette seating placed under the glass walls.

    CitizenM to become “first hospitality company to build in the metaverse”

    In the hallways of the upper floors, the mix of standardisation and localisation continues. Red carpets have been printed with the black outline of an aerial view of the Austin city grid.
    Each room has a large king bed wedged under a window with blinds remote-controlled from a bedside iPad, which also controls the lights. A wrapped polycarbonate pane separates the shower from the rest of the room and a small sink sits opposite.
    It sits among a mix of historical and modern buildingsAmenities include a workout room that includes an AI fitness instructor that operates through video feedback and a rooftop pool adorned with a mural by Mexican artist Hilda Palafox.
    CitizenM was founded to give contemporary travellers a sense of “affordable luxury”, according to the brand, and has recently opened in Miami.
    The photography is courtesy of CitizenM.

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    Christian de Portzamparc wraps Dior flagship store with “resin shells” in Geneva

    Six interweaving “petals” encase the facade of Dior’s store in Geneva, Switzerland, which has been designed by Pritzker Architecture Prize-winner Christian de Portzamparc.

    The Dior store’s expressive facade elements echo those of its Seoul flagship store – also designed by French architect De Portzamparc – that similarly draws on fabrics used for Dior’s creations.
    Six interweaving “petals” wrap around the store’s facade”Between these veils, the glass walls let the sun’s rays penetrate in a captivating interplay of light and shade, a poetic dialogue between the inside and outside,” Dior said.
    “At night, the lighting appears to filter – through the elegant resin shells – transforming the building into a majestic urban lantern.”
    Display cases line the facade at street level. Photo by Serge de PortzamparcThe facade elements rise up from the building’s base widening at their centres before tapering towards the building’s roof.

    Behind them, floor to ceiling openings wrap around the building – revealing the building’s six floors and providing views into the interiors. Additionally, a series of display cases decorate the facade at street level.

    ArandaLasch creates glowing facade with undulating fins for Dior in Qatar

    Inside, the spaces were finished with neutral-toned surfaces and wood panelling, which is set off by the colours and patterns of Dior’s spring-summer 2024 collection.
    Built in display cases fitted with sleek shelves and glass cabinets line the interior spaces and are illuminated by gallery-style lighting fixtures.
    Plush seating decorates the boutique’s interior and is coupled with consoles made by Berlin-based Stefan Leo Atelier and tables by Anglo-Brazilian designer Hamrei.
    Neutral-toned surfaces and wood panelling feature on the interior”The rooms combine airy dimensions with the intimacy of hushed cocoons and reveal artisanal finishes,” said the brand.
    “Adorned in touches of ivory and gold, with hints of white and blue enhanced by the naturalness of the wood.”
    Floor to ceiling openings wrap around the buildingDe Portzamparc was awarded the Pritzker Prize in 1994 and became the first French architect to receive the prestigious architecture award.
    Other recently completed flagship stores include a marble “immersive experience” for APL’s flagship store in New York City and Huawei’s store in Shanghai with a “petal-like” facade.
    Other fashion brand stores that have recently opened include a “sensual” boutique in Milan designed by Vincent Van Duysen for fashion house Ferragamo and a boutique decorated with hand-painted murals by Cúpla for fashion brand Rixo in central London.
    The photography is by Jonathan Taylor unless otherwise stated.

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    There’s still time to feature in Dezeen’s digital guide to NYCxDesign 2024

    There’s still time to get listed in Dezeen Events Guide’s digital guide to the 12th anniversary of NYCxDesign, the annual festival located in New York City.

    Running this year from 16 to 23 May 2024 and located across the city’s five boroughs, the festival hosts an eight-day programme of talks, exhibitions, installations, open studios, product launches and tours.
    Among the events are International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) and WantedDesign Manhattan, which take place from 19 to 21 May 2024 at the Javits Center.
    The interdisciplinary festival explores a range of mediums, including design, fashion, textiles, architecture, art and photography.
    Get listed in Dezeen’s digital NYCxDesign guide

    Get in touch with the Dezeen Events Guide team at [email protected] to book your listing or to discuss a wider partnership with Dezeen.
    There are three types of listing available:
    Standard listings cost £125 ($160) and include the event name, date and location details plus a website link. These listings will feature up to 50 words of text about the event.
    Enhanced listings cost £175 ($225) and include all of the above plus an image at the top of the listing’s page and a preview image on the Dezeen Events Guide homepage. These listings will also feature up to 100 words of text about the event.
    Featured listings cost £350 ($450) and include the elements of an enhanced listing plus a post on Dezeen’s Threads channel, inclusion in the featured events carousel on the right hand of the homepage for up to two weeks and 150 words of text about the event. This text can include commercial information such as ticket prices and offers and can feature additional links to website pages such as ticket sales and newsletter signups.
    For more details about partnering with us to help amplify your event, contact the team at [email protected].
    About Dezeen Events Guide
    Dezeen Events Guide is our guide to the best architecture and design events taking place across the world each year.
    The guide is updated weekly and includes events, conferences, trade fairs, major exhibitions and design weeks.
    The illustration is by Justyna Green.

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    Galerie Patrick Seguin blends VR with physical installation to recreate Jean Prouvé house

    An exhibition at Galerie Patrick Seguin in Paris allows visitors to experience the Jean Prouvé-designed Maison Les Jours Meilleurs in both real life and virtual reality.

    The gallery is exhibiting the most significant element of the demountable prefabricated house, its load-bearing service core, in a full-scale installation that doubles as a virtual reality (VR) experience.
    The load-bearing service core is key to the design of the original Maison Les Jours Meilleurs (above and top image)Prouvé, the French architect best known for applying mass-production principles to both buildings and furniture, developed the design for the 57-square-metre house in 1956.
    Known as Maison Les Jours Meilleurs, or “better days house”, the house was designed to tackle a homelessness crisis in the French capital.
    This core is the centrepiece of the exhibition at Galerie Patrick SeguinIn the winter of 1954, temperatures dropped so low that a woman and child died from the cold.

    After being denied a request for funding to provide emergency housing, Abbé Pierre – a Catholic priest who was the founder of the Emmaüs movement against poverty – put out a plea on the radio for aid.

    Jean Prouvé’s designs “more relevant today” says daughter Catherine Prouvé

    Prouvé responded immediately and, in a few weeks, had developed a design he felt could offer the solution.
    The design centres around the service core, a steel cylinder painted olive green. This provides all the kitchen and bathroom services and carries the weight of the building’s roof.
    It is installed on a full-scale sketch floor planProuvé first exhibited a prototype of the Maison Les Jours Meilleurs on Quai Alexandre-III in February 1956.
    This was described by fellow architect Le Corbusier as “the handsomest house I know of, the most perfect object for living in, the most sparkling thing ever constructed”.
    However, the model never made it to production and only a handful were ever built.
    A VR headset transforms the scene into a 3D visualisation of the houseGalerie Patrick Seguin owns the world’s largest collection of Prouvé houses, which it has installed in exhibitions around the world. In 2015, it commissioned architect Richard Rogers to put a new spin on one.
    This exhibition marks the first time the gallery has allowed a Prouvé house to be experienced in virtual reality.
    It shows the house installed on the banks of the Seine in ParisThe installation places the service core inside a full-scale sketch floor plan that reveals the house’s layout.
    A VR headset transforms the scene into a visualisation of the house, placing it back on the spot where it was installed in 1956, on the banks of the Seine.
    The photography is courtesy of Galerie Patrick Seguin.
    Jean Prouvé, Maison Les Jours Meilleurs is on show at Galerie Patrick Seguin from 14 March to 20 April 2024. See Dezeen Events Guide for more architecture and design events around the world.

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