More stories

  • in

    Gubi opens first UK showroom in London townhouse takeover

    A Georgian townhouse filled with period details is now Gubi House London, the first dedicated showroom that the furniture brand has opened outside Denmark.

    Gubi partnered with Danish surface design studio File Under Pop to reimagine the listed building as a showspace for its collection, which includes furniture by designers such as GamFratesi and Space Copenhagen.
    Gubi House London occupies a listed Georgian townhouseA curated colour palette combines with material finishes including Spanish clay tiles and Italian lava stone to create four floors of rooms with a contemporary feel.
    “To be in a townhouse is a unique opportunity,” explained Marie Kristine Schmidt, chief brand officer for Gubi.
    Furniture is on display across four different floors”We could create something very domestic in feel. We have smaller rooms where we can create different experiences and we can tell different stories on each floor,” she told Dezeen.

    The showroom is located on Charterhouse Square, a garden square framed by cobbled streets, and will be open by appointment.
    Danish surface design studio File Under Pop oversaw the colour and material paletteGubi was founded in 1967 by furniture designers Lisbeth and Gubi Olsen, who later handed it down to their sons, Jacob and Sebastian Gubi Olsen. Jacob is still a shareholder and a member of the board.
    The London expansion was first mooted in 2020, not long after the once family-owned company was acquired by Nordic private equity group Axcel and the Augustinus Foundation.
    Furniture on show includes the Croissant Sofa designed by Ilum Wikkelsø in 1962Schmidt said the UK is a key market for the brand as it looks to expand its intentional profile.
    “London is a melting pot right now, particularly in the hotel and restaurant scene, so for us, it is a really important city to be in,” she said during a tour of the building.
    “I think there is a lot of untapped potential for us here.”
    A ground-floor dining room features hand-painted forest-green wallpaperEach floor of Gubi House London has its own character, drawing on different influences reflected in the materials and fabrics that feature in across the product collection.
    The ground floor, described as “boutique chic”, features a trio of spaces designed to emulate the sense of comfort and luxury of a boutique hotel.
    Also on the ground floor, a blue fireplace sits behind the Moon dining tableKey details include a fireplace colour-blocked in a deep inky shade of blue, which serves as a backdrop to the brand’s Moon dining table and Bat dining chairs.
    Also on display here are several reissued 20th-century lamps, including designs by Finnish designer Paavo Tynell, Danish architect Louis Weisdorf and Swedish designer Greta M Grossman.
    The first-floor rooms take cues from the 1970sTowards the rear, a room with hand-painted forest-green wallpaper serves as a dining space.
    The first floor takes cues from the 1970s, with an earthy colour palette.

    &Tradition designs entire apartment in takeover of Copenhagen townhouse

    Key pieces here include the Pacha lounge chair, a 1975 design by the late French designer Pierre Paulin, upholstered in a striped fabric and a cascading arrangement of the Semi Pendant lamps, designed in 1968 by Danish design duo Claus Bonderup and Torsten Thorup.
    This floor also includes a bar, which serves as a centrepiece in the smaller of the two rooms.
    The second floor was envisioned as a co-working environmentThe second floor was envisioned as a co-working environment, with furniture that emulates a contemporary bistro, while the uppermost level offers a more bohemian feel.
    “We wanted to create a space that is inspiring,” said Schmidt. “It wouldn’t be right for our brand to go into a commercial space.”
    Gubi House London is located at 12 Charterhouse SquareThe experience is different from the warehouse feel of Gubi’s Copenhagen headquarters, which occupies a former tobacco factory in the waterside Nordhavn area.
    “This is how we see Gubi in the context of the UK,” added Schmidt.
    “It was fun to play with a building that is so pleasant and give it a very fresh, modern, contemporary look.”
    In Copenhagen, Danish brand &Tradition took over a townhouse during design festival 3 Days of Design, while fellow Danish brand Hay unveiled its renovated Copenhagen townhouse in 2021.
    The photography is by Michael Sinclair.

    Read more: More

  • in

    Airbnb creates rentals based on famous places and movies for guests

    Rental platform Airbnb has announced the addition of its Icons program, a category that provides a range of international experiences including a stay in the house from Pixar’s Up and an overnight in the Musee D’ Orsay in Paris.

    The first 11 Icons experiences include recreations of houses from popular culture, such as the floating house from Pixar’s film Up, and visits with celebrities, such as a night out with comic Kevin Hart.
    Airbnb has created 11 “extraordinary” experiences for its new Icons category. This photo and top photo by Ryan LowryOf the 11 Icons, house rentals include a full-scale model of the house from Pixar’s Up, which is suspended by a crane during a breakfast picnic, to a stay in the clock tower of Paris’s Musee D’ Orsay, which was transformed into a bedrom by French designer Mathieu Lehanneur and will be available for the opening of the upcoming summer Olympics.
    The experiences will be awarded to guests through a selection process, with approximately eight additional Icon experiences being rolled out throughout the year to join the first batch. Each Icon is free or under $100 (£80).
    The category includes recreations of houses from popular culture and experiences with celebrities. Photo by Ryan Lowry”Icons take you inside worlds that only existed in your imagination – until now,” said Airbnb co-founder Brian Chesky. “As life becomes increasingly digital, we’re focused on bringing more magic into the real world. With Icons, we’ve created the most extraordinary experiences on Earth.”

    The launch follows the platform’s release of recreations of Barbie’s Malibu Dreamhouse and Shrek’s swampland cottage, as well as previous overnight experiences in an Ikea showroom and the last remaining Blockbuster.
    Rentals include an overnight stay at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. Photo by Frederik Vercruysse”These experiences captured people’s imagination and they allowed people to step into someone else’s world,” said Chesky. “And at its best, this is what Airbnb does. And what it’s always been about.”
    To create the spaces, the brand employed a variety of strategies. In the case of the Up house, it was built from scratch, while other properties were renovated or outfitted with a particular theme such as the X-Mansion from the X-Men movie series or Prince’s Purple Rain house.
    The rental was designed by Mathieu Lehanneur and will be available during the opening of the summer Olympic Games. Photo by Frederik Vercruysse”The Up house is one of the most iconic homes in any film ever,” said Chesky. “You’re gonna be able to stay in Carl and Ellie’s home and it will feel like you’re stepping inside the movie.”
    “This is a real house we built from scratch. We had to literally paint every detail in the home to match the exact Pantone colours used in the film, from the roof tiles to the siding,” he continued.
    The rentals include houses built from scratch or outfitted in a particular style. Photo by Max MiechowskiFor the X-Mansion, the team searched for a home in Upstate New York that looked like an approximation of the house from the movie series and then covered the interior in comic-strip style illustrations by artist Joshua Vides.
    According to Airbnb VP of design Teo Connor, it took approximately two weeks for Vides and his team to hand-paint each room.
    For the X-Mansion from the X-Men movie series, the interior was painted with comic-style illustrations. Photo by Holly Andres”Each Icon has a different timeline because they’re all so unique, so different,” Connor told Dezeen. “[There was] a huge amount of effort to bring these things to life and I think it really shows.”
    “With these types of things, we’re really wanting to immerse you in a world and for it to feel authentic,” she continued.

    If designers don’t embrace AI the world “will be designed without them” says AirBnb founder

    Other Icons include a stay at the Ferrari museum in a custom-made circular bed that is surrounded by various Ferrari models and a visit to Bollywood star Janhvi Kapoor’s “childhood oasis” in India.
    To visit the various experiences, travellers must submit a written entry through Airbnb during a timed submission period. 4,000 guests will be selected and awarded a “golden ticket” to attend the experiences over the coming year.
    Other experiences include a stay in Prince’s house from the movie Purple Rain. Photo by Eric OgdenThe brand also released several updates in order to make booking and organizing group trips easier for travellers, including multiple users being able to message the host and a ranking system when selecting a rental together.
    Last year, Airbnb co-founder Brian Chesky warned against designers failing to embrace AI and announced a program that called to designers and creatives to rent out their spaces for supplemental income.
    The photography is courtesy of Airbnb.

    Read more: More

  • in

    Interior designer Iris Apfel dies aged 102

    American interior designer, fashion influencer and “geriatric starlet” Iris Apfel has passed away at the age of 102.

    The death of the multidisciplinary creative, who was recognised for her flamboyant personal style, was announced on her Instagram account with an image of Apfel in her trademark oversized glasses.
    Apfel, who worked in the interiors and fashion industries throughout her career, shot to international fame in her 80s and 90s after New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibited a show of her eclectic clothes and accessories in 2005.
    Titled Rara Avis: Selections From the Iris Apfel Collection, it was the first time the museum had dedicated an exhibition to someone’s wardrobe.
    Born Iris Barrel in 1921 in Queens, Apfel studied art history at New York University and art at the University of Wisconsin.

    After graduating, she worked for fashion magazine Women’s Wear Daily before interning for interior designer Elinor Johnson.
    Together with her late husband Carl Apfel, whom she married in 1948, she set up the brand Old World Weavers – a company that specialised in striking textiles informed by things found on the Apfels’ travels.
    Under Old World Weavers, the duo completed high-profile projects such as restoring the White House interiors for nine presidents including Harry Truman and Bill Clinton.

    Remembering the architects and designers we lost in 2023

    The designer became a visiting lecturer at the University of Texas in 2011, where she taught fashion students about textiles and crafts.
    In later life, Apfel became a staple of the fashion industry.  In 2018, toy manufacturer Mattel created a Barbie doll in the designer’s image, although it was not for sale. At the age of 97, she signed a modelling contract with IMG Models.
    Apfel playfully called herself a “geriatric starlet” and described the prospect of retirement as “a fate worse than death” shortly after turning 100.
    Following the news of her passing, designers around the world paid tribute to Apfel’s legacy. “Iris Apfel has become a world-famous fashion icon because of her incredible talent not only as an artist but as an influencer,” said fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger.
    The photography is by Ron Adar courtesy of Shutterstock.

    Read more: More

  • in

    AHMM to transform office into co-living space next to London’s Barbican estate

    Developer HUB and investor Bridges Fund Management have revealed plans to convert a 1950s office building in London into Cornerstone, a co-living residential scheme designed by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris.

    Located on the edge of the Barbican estate, the Cornerstone project will draw from the iconic Barbican architecture to transform 45 Beech Street into 174 co-living residences along with street-level commercial spaces and amenities.
    “Building on the success of our previous London projects with HUB, we are joining forces again to transform an underloved office building in the heart of the city,” Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM) director Hazel Joseph said.
    AHMM has revealed plans for a co-living retrofit next to London’s Barbican estateAHMM’s proposal aims to re-use as much of the building’s existing structure and facade as possible, taking a “retrofit-first approach” to minimise the need for new building works.
    The studio will also primarily work within the geometric parameters defined by the original envelope, while updating the rectilinear language to create uniform apertures for each co-living apartment.

    Referencing the Barbican estate, a series of arched, double-height extrusions will be introduced across the crown of the building to house additional co-living apartments.
    The design will adapt the existing building’s form and insert a series of arched spaces at the top”The architectural approach has been carefully considered, responding sensitively to the much-loved Barbican context, completing the northern frontage of the estate,” Joseph said.
    The arches will be partially set back from the building’s facade and lined with an asymmetric patchwork of glazed and tile panels underneath the curved overhangs.

    Plans for Barbican concert hall by Diller Scofidio & Renfro axed

    At street level, warm red panel accents will contrast against the building’s neutral concrete finishes to highlight commercial and collective functions.
    The scheme will integrate a public cafe, a co-working space and community-focused amenities at its lower levels to improve the public realm for those who live and work in the area.
    “The existing structure of 45 Beech Street will be re-used and extended, creating a new residential community with shared amenities and breathing new life into the local streetscape,” Joseph explained.
    At street level, new commercial and public amenities will seek to activate the ground planeAccording to HUB and Bridges Fund Management, AHMM’s proposal was developed in collaboration with the community – including Barbican residents – who were consulted through a series of workshops and events.
    A website was also established to solicit viewpoints about the redevelopment, reiterating the design vision to establish a “vibrant community” that will adapt the original building and holistically contribute to the neighbourhood.
    AHMM was established in 1989 by Simon Allford, Jonathan Hall, Paul Monaghan and Peter Morris in London. The studio has previously converted a 1930s block into New Scotland Yard’s headquarters in London and completed a mixed-use building in Southwark with interlocking flats.
    Also adjacent to the Barbican estate, Diller Scofidio & Renfro’s proposal for a pyramidal music centre was recently scrapped when the City of London Corporation revealed its plans for a “major renewal” of the Barbican.
    The images are courtesy of HUB and Bridges Fund Management.

    Read more: More

  • in

    IKEA unveils “powerful” first photos by artist-in-residence Annie Leibovitz

    Swedish furniture brand IKEA has released two images from a series of photographs taken by Annie Leibovitz, its first-ever artist-in-residence, showing people in their homes across the world.

    The American photographer, who is best known for her portraits, travelled to twenty-five homes around the globe to take photos of people in their residences. She visited houses and apartments in Sweden, India, Italy, Japan, Germany, England and the US.
    “The home has always been important in my work,” Leibovitz said when appointed artist-in-residence in 2023.
    “I’ve been photographing people in their homes since I began,” she added. “It’s a way to understand who a person is. The advice I give to young photographers is to photograph their families. It’s one of the best ways to start.”
    Annie Leibovitz photographed 25 homes for IKEA, including this one in GermanyLeibovitz’s photos for IKEA show a variety of different interiors in seven different countries.

    “The result is a powerful photographic document that illuminates the nuances of life at home – across borders, ethnicities and professions,” the furniture brand said of the project.
    The series, which comprises 25 photos in total, was commissioned by IKEA after its IKEA Life at Home Report showed that 48 per cent of people globally don’t feel the media represents their home.
    The first two images released by IKEA, show the homes of Yusuke Onimaru in Japan and Maria Arrechea in Germany – specifically Onimaru’s ceramic workshop and Arrechea’s living space filled with friends.

    IKEA and H&M’s design incubator unveils products by 22 emerging London studios

    Leibovitz’s photos will be shown as part of the IKEA+ exhibition in Paris, which will take place during Paris Fashion Week.
    It will also feature a collaboration with online radio station Rinse and showcase the Tesammans collection made by IKEA together with Eindhoven-basd design duo Raw Color.
    Six emerging designers from the Casa93 fashion education program are also taking part in the IKEA+ showcase. They worked with “home furnishing mentors” from IKEA to create designs that focus on upcycling and sustainable design.
    The photography is by Annie Leibovitz for IKEA.
    IKEA+ will take place on 28 Rue de Lappe, Paris, from 29 February to 3 March. For more worldwide events, exhibitions and talks in architecture and design, visit Dezeen Events Guide. 

    Read more: More

  • in

    Australia bans engineered stone due to silicosis risk

    Australia has become the first country in the world to ban engineered stone, following rising cases of silicosis among workers who handle the material.

    The ban was agreed at a meeting of Australian federal and state workplace ministers on Wednesday, and will come into place across the country from 1 July 2024.
    The ban targets engineered stone, also known as agglomerated stone – a type of material made by mixing crushed stone with a resin binder.
    “This is a dangerous product”
    While it is valued as a durable and affordable alternative to natural stone for kitchen benchtops, the material can be dangerous while being cut because it releases a fine silica dust into the air.

    Australia has recorded rising cases of the lung disease silicosis in stonemasons who have handled the product, leading it to be dubbed “the asbestos of the 2020s” by union leader Zach Smith.
    “This is a dangerous product that’s known to cause the potentially fatal disease silicosis, and it has no place in our workplaces,” said Queensland industrial relations minister Grace Grace in a statement following the meeting.
    “The rate of silicosis illness in Australia for those working with engineered stone is unacceptable,” said her Western Australian counterpart Simone McGurk. “This prohibition will ensure future generations of workers are protected from silicosis associated with working with engineered stone.”
    Ban follows report finding no safe level of silica in engineered stone
    The move comes nine months after an investigation by three Australian news outlets accused supplier Caesarstone of not doing enough to warn people of the dangers of working with the material and the country’s construction union launched a campaign calling for the ban.
    A subsequent report by the national policy body Safe Work Australia found that engineered stone workers were significantly over-represented in silicosis cases and were being diagnosed with the disease at much younger ages than workers from other industries, with most being under the age of 35.

    Australia moves to ban engineered stone due to silicosis danger

    It also found that the risk from engineered stone was distinct from that of natural stone due to the material’s physical and chemical composition, and that this was likely contributing to more rapid and severe disease.
    The report concluded that no level of silica was safe in engineered stone and that the material should be prohibited in its entirety.
    Silicosis is caused by tiny particles of silica becoming embedded in the lining of the lungs and manifests in symptoms such as shortness of breath, cough, weakness and fatigue.
    The condition is life-altering and potentially fatal, with many formerly healthy young sufferers describing being unable to work or play with their kids.
    Caesarstone commits to supplying Australia with “alternative products”
    In response to news of the ban, Caesarstone commented that while it disagreed with the decision, it is taking the necessary steps to ensure supply of alternative materials to Australian consumers.
    “The Caesarstone brand is well known in Australia and its products have earned tremendous success over the years,” said Caesarstone CEO Yos Shiran. “We are already taking steps to supply our Australian market with alternative products while maintaining our strong market presence.”
    It has previously argued that its material is safe if handled correctly and that the silicosis danger was the fault of employers and work safety bodies.
    Other companies including Ikea and Bunnings had already committed to phasing out the material in the Australian market.
    The ban will apply to the manufacturing, supplying, processing and installing of engineered stone but not its removal, repair, disposal or minor modifications.
    Australia’s workplace ministers will meet again in March 2024 to finalise details of the ban, including the transition period for contracts that have already been implemented and the precise definition of engineered stone.
    The country’s Model Work Health and Safety Regulations currently exclude concrete and cement products, bricks and pavers, porcelain, ceramic tiles, roof tiles, grout, mortar and render, and plasterboard from the definition of engineered stone, but ministers have indicated that additional products would be added to the exemptions.
    This may allow future engineered stone products to be exempted from the ban if there is “compelling evidence” that they can be used safely.

    Read more: More

  • in

    Shrek and Donkey invite guests to stay in mud-laden Shrek’s Swamp

    Rental website Airbnb has designed Shrek’s Swamp, a grass-and-mud-covered hut underneath a tree in the Scottish Highlands.

    The small house, which has a bare-earth floor, is described as “a stumpy, secluded haven fit for a solitude-seeking ogre”.
    The holiday home is located underneath a tree trunkIt is being hosted by Donkey, Shrek’s best friend, who is swamp-sitting while Shrek himself is away for Halloween, according to an Airbnb description written as if by Donkey himself.
    In it, he says: “I love everything about the swamp: the boulder out front, the modest interiors, the seclusion (ideal for singing karaoke late into the night), you get the picture”.
    It features rough-hewn wooden furnitureThe holiday home, which sleeps up to three guests, has an open-plan design, with a sturdy wooden bed leaning against one wall.

    A matching table and two wooden chairs sit in front of an open fire on the opposite side of the house, which is held up by large tree trunks.
    A fish-shaped lamp decorates the bedside tableShrek’s Swamp Airbnb also features decorative touches, including a green “earwax candle” – a nod to a scene in which Shrek pulls out a stick of earwax from his ear and lights it.
    It also has a bedside lamp that looks like a stuffed pufferfish.
    The dining table sits in front of an open fireVisitors can also make use of Shrek’s outhouse, a well-known location from multiple Shrek films, which is located about 20 metres away from the swamp itself.
    Located in a forest in the Scottish Highlands, the hut is surrounded by signs reading “Stay out”, “Beware Ogre” and “Danger!” though these are “probably for decoration”, according to Donkey.

    Barbie and Ken unveil bright-pink lifesize dollhouse in Malibu

    The home will be available to book from 13 October for a two-night stay between 27 and 29 October and comes with an on-site concierge who will arrange meals for the guests – including morning waffles and parfaits.
    “This mud-laden, moss-covered, murky-watered oasis is a perfectly snug spot to escape from village life and embrace the beauty of nature,” Airbnb said.
    The home has a bare-earth floorThe company will make a one-time donation to the HopScotch Children’s Charity as part of the project.
    Airbnb also recently helped Ken rent out Barbie’s Malibu Dreamhouse and listed a 1970s wood cabin located in the iconic Sea Ranch development in California.
    The photography is courtesy of Alix McIntosh.

    Read more: More

  • in

    Barbie and Ken unveil bright-pink lifesize dollhouse in Malibu

    Rental website Airbnb has unveiled Barbie’s Malibu Dreamhouse, an all-pink California mansion with an outdoor disco, infinity pool and Western-themed bedroom.

    Located on the oceanfront in western Malibu, California, the lifesize dollhouse is being rented out by Barbie’s partner Ken via an Airbnb listing written as if by the doll himself.
    “Kendom Saloon” welcomes beach house guestsThe house, which was previously listed by Airbnb for Barbie’s 60th anniversary in 2019, has had a recent update to give it more “Kenergy” and mark Barbie making her live-action debut in the Barbie film starring Margot Robbie.
    “We all have dreams, and Barbie is lucky enough to have a house full of them,” Ken said. “But now, it’s my turn, and I can’t wait to host guests inside these one-of-a-kind – dare I say, one-of-a-Ken? – digs.”
    A cowboy-themed bedroom nods to Ken’s styleThe large oceanfront house features a pink bedroom decorated with cowhide rugs, cowboy hats and horse-printed throws as well as a closet from which guests can borrow Ken’s fringed cowboy shirts and his guitar.

    Some of Barbie’s clothing, including the iconic high-heeled pink shoe with a fluffy feather decoration from the movie, also hang in the closet.
    Barbie’s Malibu Dreamhouse is located by the beach in CaliforniaAt the centre of the building, on one of the house’s many terraces, guests can make use of an outside disco dance floor in pink, purple and yellow with its own DJ deck.
    “I’ve added a few touches to bring some much-needed Kenergy to the newly renovated and iconic Malibu DreamHouse,” Ken said.

    Barbie lists Malibu Dreamhouse on Airbnb

    The Dreamhouse also has a bright-pink outdoor lounging area, an outdoor gym – complete with a barrel filled with “beefy body brine” –  a pink outdoor kitchen with a barbecue and an infinity pool.
    Other details that nod to Ken’s takeover include a Western-style swing door, decorated with an image of a horse and the words “Kendom Saloon”, and a crossed-out “Barbie” sign above the outdoor kitchen that now reads “Ken”.
    Guests can disco outdoorsGuests can enjoy nearby activities such as shopping, surfing and roller blading on the boardwalk, and will also get to take home their own set of yellow-and-pink Impala skates and surfboard.
    Barbie’s Malibu Dreamhouse will be available to book for up to two guests each on July 21 and July 22, 2023, with bookings opening on 17 July.
    An outdoor gym features weightlifts and “body brine””All stays will be free of charge – because Ken couldn’t figure out how to put a price on Barbie’s Malibu DreamHouse – after all, Ken’s thing is beach, not math!” Airbnb said.
    The company will make a one-time donation to the charity Save the Children in celebration of the Barbie movie.
    The film was recently in the news as it made “the world run out of pink”, while a recent book explored Barbie’s Dreamhouse through the ages.
    The imagery is by Hogwash Studios.

    Read more: More