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    Eight chocolate-brown interiors that look good enough to eat

    In memoriam of the many chocolate eggs that will be consumed this Easter, our latest lookbook rounds up eight homes with tasteful cocoa-coloured interiors.

    Chocolatey brown might be the unofficial colour of Easter as the biggest driver of chocolate sales – second only to Christmas.
    But the rich, earthy hue is also proving increasingly popular among interior designers for its unique function as both a colour and a natural, able to bring a sense of warmth to otherwise minimalist spaces.
    Below are eight mouth-watering examples to feast your eyes on, including a rammed-earth house in Brazil and the renovation of a Shigeru Ban loft conversion in New York.
    This is the latest in our lookbooks series, which provides visual inspiration from Dezeen’s archive. For more inspiration, see previous lookbooks featuring minimalist bathrooms, breakfast nooks and compact garden studios with neat storage solutions.

    Photo by Jack LovelShadow House, Australia, by Grotto Studio
    Almost all of the surfaces in this Perth cottage extension by Grotto Studio are lined in sumptuous brown timber, from the walls and floors in the bedroom to the entire bathroom counter.
    “The choice of dark timber for the interior was motivated by a desire to create a rich, intimate and immersive atmosphere,” studio founder Craig Nener told Dezeen.
    “The dark tones add depth and character to the spaces, creating a warm and inviting ambience.”
    Find out more about Shadow House ›
    Photo by Syam SreesylamChuzhi house, India, by Wallmakers
    Soil, waste and debris were used to form the spiralling walls of Chuzhi house in Shoolagiri, India, giving the interiors a rustic, earthy feeling.
    To keep the focus on the architecture, the rooms themselves are finished in matching colours with reclaimed timber floors complemented by woven and wooden furniture.
    Find out more about Chuzhi house ›
    Photo by Fabian MartinezColonia Condesa house, Mexico, by Chloé Mason Gray
    Interior designer Chloé Mason Gray sought to embrace the lack of natural light in this bachelor pad in Mexico City’s Condesa neighbourhood, shaded by large trees from the avenue outside.
    Embracing the dark and moody atmosphere, the designer chose colours and textures that would make the spaces feel “masculine, rich, and interesting” including leather, linen and textured chocolate-brown plaster.
    Find out more about Colonia Condesa house ›
    Photo by Felix SpellerMayfair pied-à-terre, UK, by Child Studio
    Adolf Loos’s modernist Villa Muller informed the dining area in this London mews house, where mahogany joinery is backed by veiny dark red marble.
    Soft light filters into the space from a glass-brick partition, blocking out the kitchen and rounding off the intimate atmosphere created by Child Studio.
    Find out more about this Mayfair pied-à-terre ›
    Photo by Gareth HackerHighbury House, UK, by Daytrip
    A more pared-back take on the theme comes in the form of this vintage 1970s Gilda sofa by Michel Ducaroy, composed of multiple segments reminiscent of a Chocolate Orange.
    It serves as a focal point in the otherwise muted living room of London’s Highbury House, paired with a blackened oak armchair by EBBA Architects founder Benni Allan and one of David Horan’s delicate Paper lights.
    Find out more about Highbury House ›
    Photo by Federico CairoliCasa em Cunha, Brazil, by Arquipélago Arquitetos
    The rammed-earth construction of this house in Brazil’s mountainous Cunha region is left exposed on the interior, creating an organic striped finish across the walls.
    Matching brown finishes feature heavily throughout the rest of the home, where ceilings are covered in wooden slats while the bathroom is defined by coppery hardware and tiles the colour of bitter chocolate.
    Find out more about Casa em Cunha ›
    Photo by César Béjar StudioCasa Los Tigres, Mexico, by César Béjar Studio and Fernando Sánchez Zepeda
    Dark wood panelling helps to hide doors and storage inside the Casa Los Tigres beach house on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, designed by César Béjar Studio and Fernando Sánchez Zepeda.
    It encircles the lower portion of the living spaces and develops the bedrooms almost entirely, paired with pale stone flooring and pared-back accessories to create a calm refuge.
    Find out more about Casa Los Tigres ›
    Photo by David MitchellTribeca loft renovation, USA, by Timothy Godbold
    New York interior designer Timothy Godbold was responsible for renovating this loft in a historic Tribeca textile factory, originally converted by Pritzker Architecture Prize-winning Japanese architect Shigeru Ban in 2019.
    The former TV room now functions as a home office and bar, with a low-slung chestnut-brown sofa helping to warm up the otherwise neutral colour palette while wall reliefs informed by 1970s sci-fi spice up the walls.
    Find out more about this Tribeca loft renovation ›
    This is the latest in our lookbooks series, which provides visual inspiration from Dezeen’s archive. For more inspiration, see previous lookbooks featuring minimalist bathrooms, breakfast nooks and compact garden studios with neat storage solutions.

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    Collcoll hides stairs and seats in pixellated wooden structure at Pricefx office

    Thousands of wooden cubes inspired by the computer game Minecraft conceal utilities and create casual seating areas at this office in Prague designed by architecture studio Collcoll.

    Having previously designed one floor in the Meteor Centre Office Park for pricing software company Pricefx, Collcoll was tasked with outfitting the floor below as part of the client’s commitment to flexible and creative working practices.
    Collcoll has added a pixellated wooden structure to the Pricefx office in Prague”The management and employees of Pricefx use their offices primarily for meetings that stimulate creative dialogue,” said Collcoll.
    “By their very nature, they are an open space for variable use, not subject to the stereotypes of work cubicles or traditional open space.”
    The wooden feature was informed by the computer game MinecraftThe need to link the two levels presented an opportunity to do something interesting with the circulation and service core at the centre of the floor plan.

    Collcoll chose to enclose the staircase with a wooden structure that conceals staff lockers, changing rooms and utility spaces. It also contains a slide that can be used as an alternative to the stairs.
    Collcoll concealed utilities behind the “pixels” and created casual seating areas”Vertically connecting two floors tends to be problematic if the natural flow of the space is to be maintained,” Collcoll explained.
    “The two floors are tectonically connected by a structure composed of thousands of wooden pixels, which modulates the space around it and becomes its internal landmark.”
    A slide can be used instead of the stairsThe composition of 40-centimetre-wide cubes references the blocky, pixellated world of the video game Minecraft. Its external surfaces form semi-enclosed alcoves and amphitheatres that can be used for informal work and presentations.
    The cubes are wrapped in wood veneer that intentionally does not align so the pixels can be arranged in a completely random configuration.

    Kin designs Dentons law firm office interior for more than “just a business meeting”

    The pixel motif is continued by a lighting grid that covers the entire office ceiling and by a projection screen incorporated into a bar counter that also functions as a reception desk.
    The LED light fixtures, which are clearly visible from the street, can be dynamically adjusted to provide optimal lighting during working hours or create a party atmosphere for events.
    The pixel motif continues into the office’s lighting gridThe entire office floor can operate like an open conference hall containing pockets of dedicated functional space such as the cafe with its professional kitchen, bar counter and informal seating.
    A large conference room at one end of the space is equipped with a long table that can seat up to 50 people. The table and the room itself can be divided to form smaller hot-desking spaces or meeting rooms.
    Lighting can be adjusted to create a party atmosphere for eventsA sliding acoustic partition enables the space to function as a recording studio, while transparent walls along one side can be turned opaque to provide privacy.
    The office has no corridors and instead includes various unprescribed zones and circulation areas containing casual seating or lounges with amenities such as a pool table and a punchbag.
    A large conference room integrates with a table for up to 50 peopleA range of presentation spaces are scattered throughout the floorplan. These include dedicated conference rooms and tiered amphitheatres with retractable screens.
    Collcoll chose a neutral material palette comprising concrete, grey carpet tiles, light-grey plasterboard and black-painted ceilings to lend the office a modern, industrial aesthetic.
    Collcoll chose a neutral material palette for a modern and industrial aesthetic”The heavy black-metal tubular furniture corresponds with the concept of technological wiring,” Collcoll suggested.
    “In contrast, the ephemeral changing grid of light chips and sensor systems embodies the direction of industrialism towards the world of software and information.”
    The studio added amenities such as a pool table and a punchbagCollcoll’s name stands for “collaborative collective” and reflects the collaborative approach of its team of architects, designers and researchers.
    Other recently completed office interiors featuring wooden structures include a workspace in Edinburgh by Kin and a design office in Melbourne that aims to be zero-waste by using recycled materials.
    The photography is by BoysPlayNice.

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    Multipurpose rooms optimise space at Ulli Heckmann’s Rotterdam apartment

    A bedroom incorporating a bathtub and a window bench is one of several versatile spaces architect Ulli Heckmann created when renovating this compact apartment in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

    Heckmann and his partner, the designer Nienke Bongers, bought the apartment in the Delfshaven neighbourhood in 2020 with the aim of refurbishing it to suit their personal tastes.
    Multipurpose rooms were used to optimise space at Ulli Heckmann’s Rotterdam apartmentThe 100-square-metre property is spread across the ground floor and basement of a brick apartment building dating from 1935 that stretches along a dike on the river Schie.
    Previous renovations in the 1980s had stripped away all of the interior’s original features, so the couple decided to completely gut the spaces and rebuild them using a modern and affordable material palette.
    The open-plan kitchen and living area receive daylight from the gardenThe existing layout did not make the best use of the garden access, so Heckmann moved the bedrooms upstairs and created a large living space below with direct access to the outdoors.

    “The original downstairs plan showed one room facing the garden and one towards the street, which was quite gloomy and dark,” the architect told Dezeen.
    “Since the new downstairs is basically mono-orientated, an open layout with the kitchen cupboard as a room divider seemed the best solution in terms of space with an option for privacy.”
    Heckmann completely rebuilt the interior spaces using affordable materials. Photo is by Yuta SawamuraThe largely open-plan configuration creates a space for cooking, eating and socialising that receives plenty of daylight from the large windows at one end.
    Freestanding cupboards screen a small private space that Heckmann explained can be used for “reading a book, inviting friends to stay over or simply drying the laundry without putting it in the middle of the living room.”
    The kitchen is divided by a wooden cupboard unit for privacy. Photo is by Yuta SawamuraThroughout the property, built-in storage helps to optimise and organise space, allowing the interior to be used in different ways at different times. Examples include a hidden desk in the children’s bedroom and a window bench in the main bedroom.
    “Most of the rooms are not limited to only one purpose throughout the day and night,” said Heckmann, “which helps tremendously for the use of the space – especially as a family.”

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    The layout of the upper floor is more compartmentalised than the basement level; however, a full-height mirrored door at the end of the hall can be left open to ensure the spaces feel connected.
    The two bedrooms at either end of the plan are separated by a walk-in wardrobe and a shower room hidden behind cupboard-like doors.
    The main bedroom integrates a bathtub that can be hidden behind a curtainIn addition to the bed and window bench, the main bedroom contains a bathtub set on wooden blocks that can be screened off using a curtain.
    “The need to create multifunctional spaces is one of the reasons why we decided to have the bathtub in the bedroom,” Heckmann explained. “Also, we quite like that it becomes an object in our daily life instead of hiding it away.”
    Most of the furniture was built by Heckmann and Bongers with stained or dyed plywood and MDFThe couple had wanted to use natural materials where possible to completely revamp the interior, but the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic caused prices to soar and subsequent lockdowns made commissioning specialist trades much more difficult.
    Heckmann and Bongers therefore designed and built most of the furniture themselves, using plywood or MDF that they stained or dyed to give the materials a more unique finish.
    The bedroom shelf and the hall cupboards are made from eucalyptus plywood tinted with an earl-grey mixture, while the bedhead is MDF with a hardwax finish.
    The bedhead unit is made from MDF with a warm-toned hardwax finishLime plaster was used on the walls throughout the apartment. The downstairs spaces were left raw and natural, while the bedroom has green pigment added to give it a subtle hint of colour.
    For the kitchen, Heckmann used MDF boards with oak veneer and a countertop with a dark Forbo linoleum surface. The cupboard under the stairs features an oak frame surrounding polycarbonate panels, while the staircase podium is made from painted MDF.
    A hidden desk in the children’s bedroom helps to optimise space usageUlli Heckmann completed his Diploma studies at the Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany, in 2006 and worked for several years for agencies in Germany and France, including Maison Edouard François.
    He founded his architecture and design studio in Paris in 2013 and now works on projects across Europe, ranging from object and interior design to private housing and architectural competitions.
    Other recent Rotterdam projects featured on Dezeen include a floating cross-laminated timber office and a multi-faceted auditorium designed using computer modelling.
    The photography is by Ulli Heckmann unless otherwise stated.

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    Joanna Laajisto creates “dark and woody” interior for Pyhä Ski Resort pizzeria

    Helsinki-based designer Joanna Laajisto has completed Popolo, a ski resort restaurant designed to be both cosy and practical for guests walking in from the slopes.

    The Studio Joanna Laajisto founder designed the pizzeria as part of Kultakero, a new hotel at the Pyhä Ski Resort in northern Finland.
    The interior pairs slate flooring with patterned timber wall panellingHer scheme features a floor made from irregularly shaped slabs of slate and wall panelling with distinct feather-like grain patterns.
    Other key details at Popolo include leather seating and copper lamps and candleholders, which offer a sense of warmth.
    Snowy scenes outside the window allowed for a darker material palette”The restaurant is designed to fit into the unique landscape of Pyhä; easily approachable yet atmospheric, suitable for both skiing directly from the slope and an atmospheric multi-course dinner,” Laajisto said.

    The designer based the design on her own experiences of the area. She has a vacation home in Pyhä and spends much of her time snowboarding and mountain biking here.
    “I have spent most of my winter holidays in this place with family and friends, so I just imagined a space we would all love to spend time in,” she told Dezeen.
    Copper lamps and candleholders bring a sense of visual warmthThe large windows, offering views of the snow-covered slopes, led her to explore materials that might otherwise have felt inappropriate.
    “Those elements allowed us to create a dark and woody interior without it becoming too heavy or classical for a Finnish ski resort,” she said.

    Space Copenhagen pays homage to historic features in Mammertsberg renovation

    The slate floor, made with stone sourced from northern Norway, takes cues from the floor in Pyhä’s original hotel.
    Laajisto explained how this stone floor, which has been in place since 1966, has remained in “mint condition” despite 60 years of being walked over in ski boots.
    “That’s why I knew it would be a durable and lasting choice,” she said.
    A pizza oven is a focal point in the spaceFor the wood panelling, which also features on Popolo’s tabletops, Laajisto chose a birch plywood with a veneer that was pad-dyed to give it a rich dark tone.
    The striking grain patterns come from cutting the logs at an angle.
    Finnish artist Johanna Lumme is responsible for the oil paintings that hang on the wallsFocal points include a large pizza oven and a series of oil paintings by Finnish artist Johanna Lumme, who was specially commissioned to paint the landscape of the Pyhä-Luosto National Park.
    Furniture and fittings include wooden chairs and stools from Czech brand TON, pendant lamps from British brand Mullan and a chequered wool textile, which forms upholstered backrests for the leather seating banquettes.
    Dining tables feature the same timber grain patterns as the wall panellingLaajisto has also designed interiors for various restaurants and bars in Helsinki, including wine bar and bakery, The Way, and French bistro, Cafe Savoy.
    Other recent projects include the logistics centre for Finnish Design Shop.
    The photography is by Mikko Ryhänen.

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    Eight interiors where burl wood provides natural texture

    This week’s lookbook rounds up eight interiors with furnishings and surfaces finished in burl-wood veneer, allowing its swirly, psychedelic graining to serve a decorative function.

    Burl wood is a rare and expensive wood, often only available in thin sheets of veneer. That’s because it is derived from the knobbly outgrowths of tree trunks and branches – also known as burls.
    Like the botanical equivalent of a callous, these outgrowths form in response to different stress factors and grow unpredictably, creating complex unexpected grain patterns behind their gnarled bark.
    Burl wood has been experiencing a renaissance over the last few years, with interior designers including Kelly Wearstler using it to evoke the bohemian flair of its 1970s heyday.
    Mixed and matched with other patterns, the material is now used to communicate a kind of organic understated luxury, much like natural stone.

    From a Michelin-starred restaurant to a home that was designed to resemble a boutique hotel, read on for eight examples of how burl wood can provide textural richness to a modern interior.
    This is the latest in our lookbook series, which provides visual inspiration from Dezeen’s archive. For more inspiration see previous lookbooks featuring rooms with net floors, interiors with furry walls and homes with mid-century modern furniture.
    Photo by Pion StudioBotaniczna Apartment, Poland, by Agnieszka Owsiany Studio
    This tranquil apartment in Poznań was designed by local firm Agnieszka Owsiany Studio to give the owners a reprise from their high-pressure medical jobs.
    The interior combines a calming mix of pale marble and various kinds of wood, including oak cabinetry, chevron parquet flooring and a console and vanity, both finished in speckled burl.
    “My clients asked for a high quality, almost hotel-like space, as they were in need of everyday comfort,” founder Agnieszka Owsiany told Dezeen.
    Find out more about Botaniczna Apartment ›
    Photo by Adrian GautUlla Johnson flagship, USA, by Kelly Wearstler
    Burlwood brings “a touch of 1970s California nostalgia” to the Ulla Johnson flagship store in Los Angeles, courtesy of local designer Kelly Wearstler.
    The unusual veneer was used liberally to cover walls, ceilings and shelves, as well as forming a statement display cabinet where the material’s natural wavy surface texture provides an added element of tactility (top image).
    Find out more about the Ulla Johnson flagship ›
    Photo by Prue RuscoeKoda hair salon, Australia, by Arent & Pyke
    This hair salon in Sydney’s Queen Victoria Building was designed by Australian studio Arent & Pyke to be “best appreciated from seated height”.
    Drawing attention away from the building’s extra-tall ceilings, freestanding quartzite-rimmed mirrors are placed at angles in front of the styling chairs, framing a vintage hanging cabinet made from pale burl.
    Find out more about the Koda hair salon ›
    Photo by Pion StudioOpasly Tom restaurant, Poland, by Buck Studio
    Buck Studio employed a limited palette of colours and materials to create visual continuity throughout Warsaw restaurant Opasly Tom, which occupies a split-level building that was broken up into a series of rooms of different sizes.
    Coral-orange chair cushions mirror the hardware of the totem-like pendant lights, and several burl-clad cabinets are dotted throughout the eatery. These match the kaleidoscopically patterned panelling in the hallway and the private dining rooms.
    “This contemporary, minimalistic design approach produces the impression of coherence while creating a powerful aesthetic impact,” explained the Polish studio, which is headed up by Dominika Buck and Pawel Buck.
    Find out more about the Opasly Tom restaurant ›
    Photo by Oni StudioWarsaw apartment, Poland, by Mistovia
    Elsewhere in Warsaw, Polish studio Mistovia designed an apartment for an art director and her pet dachshund to resemble an “elaborate puzzle” of contrasting patterns.
    Walnut-burl cabinets dominate the kitchen, with their trippy swirling pattern offset against monochrome tiles, brushed-metal drawers and a terrazzo-legged breakfast bar.
    Find out more about the Warsaw apartment ›
    Photo by Jennifer Chase and Yorgos EfthymiadisImperfecto, USA, by OOAK Architects
    Upon entering Michelin-starred restaurant Imperfecto in Washington DC, diners are greeted by a custom-made maître-d stand clad in panels of burl-wood veneer, creating a mirrored tortoiseshell pattern across its surface.
    The interior, designed by Greek-Swedish studio OOAK Architects, sees neutral tones paired with splashes of blue and white that nod to the restaurant’s Mediterranean menu.
    “OOAK Architects has used varied, high-quality finishes and authentic materials including Greek and Italian marbles, as well as brass and wood from different parts of the world, creating contrasting textures across the space,” the team said.
    Find out more about Imperfecto ›
    Photo by Anson SmartBlack Diamond house, Australia, by YSG
    Australian interiors studio YSG introduced a sumptuous mix of materials to this house in Sydney’s Mosman suburb to evoke the feeling of staying in a luxury hotel.
    This approach is evidenced by a number of custom furniture pieces dotted throughout the home, including a Tiberio marble vanity in the downstairs powder room and a poplar-burl cabinet with a bronzed mirror that looms over the nearby living room.
    Find out more about Black Diamond house ›
    Photo by Åsa LiffnerStudio Frantzén, UK, by Joyn Studio
    Restaurant Studio Frantzén in London’s Harrods department store serves a fusion of Nordic and Asian food that is also reflected in its Japandi interiors – taking cues from both Scandinavian and Japanese design.
    Interiors practice Joyn Studio leaned heavily on both cultures’ penchant for wood, combining seating banquettes made from blocks of end-grain pine wood with gridded timber ceilings and seating booths framed by burl-wood wall panelling.
    Find out more about Studio Frantzén ›
    This is the latest in our lookbook series, which provides visual inspiration from Dezeen’s archive. For more inspiration see previous lookbooks featuring rooms with net floors, interiors with furry walls and homes with mid-century modern furniture.

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    Wooden elements “take centre stage” in Japandi-style Studio Frantzén restaurant

    Scandinavian and Japanese influences come together at Studio Frantzén, a restaurant in London’s Harrods department store designed by Joyn Studio.

    Stockholm-based Joyn Studio created the sleek interiors for Studio Frantzén – the latest restaurant opened by chef Björn Frantzén.
    Top: visitors enter via a domed reception area. Above: the bar is characterised by back-lit glass bricksThe two-storey eatery is arranged across a main restaurant and bar on the fifth floor, as well as on an additional mezzanine and rooftop terrace on the sixth floor of Harrods.
    In stark contrast to the department store’s famed Edwardian baroque terracotta facade, Studio Frantzén features a contemporary palette that takes cues from both Scandinavian and Japanese design – a trend known as Japandi.
    Studio Frantzén is located across two levels at HarrodsVisitors enter the restaurant at a domed reception area, which references Scandinavian churches and forest chapels, according to the studio.

    The curved walls were clad with blocky cherry wood while illustrations of Nordic animals by Ragnar Persson decorate the ceiling and a Swedish wooden Dala horse was perched on the welcome desk.
    “Undoubtedly, wood takes centre stage in this restaurant,” Joyn Studio founding partner Ida Wanler told Dezeen.
    The main restaurant is composed of two dining hallsThe reception area gives way to a “glowing” bar composed of stacks of glass bricks bathed in amber light, which is mirrored by a ceiling of gridded copper.
    Informed by traditional Japanese izakaya – a type of casual watering hole serving snacks – the large main restaurant is composed of two dining halls with bespoke geometric terrazzo and marble flooring.
    One features bespoke timber seatingOne hall features an open kitchen and Joyn Studio-designed chunky seating booths and sofas carved out of end-grain wood. This was sourced from a large Hungarian pine tree, cut into cubes and then glued together piece by piece.
    This double-height space is illuminated by a spindly oversized chandelier by Swedish studio Front.
    The other follows the same gridded geometry as the barThe other dining hall, tucked around the corner and connected to a wine cellar, follows the same geometry as the bar.
    Sliding timber doors and a gridded wooden ceiling are interrupted by ultramarine benches in booths and delicate, ribbed paper lampshades.

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    “To create a distinctive Nordic dining experience with Asian influences within a historic London building, we delved into the architectural and design legacy of the early 20th century,” explained Wanler.
    “Inspired by the journeys of our predecessors to the far east, where they assimilated influences and pioneered a style known as Swedish Grace, we embraced the resonances between traditional Japanese and Nordic architecture and craftsmanship,” she continued.
    Mirrored artwork by Caia Leifsdotter was included in the mezzanineOn the upper floor, the mezzanine includes three intimate dining booths accentuated by a burnt orange carpet and a wall-mounted Psychedelic Mirror by designer Caia Leifsdotter.
    Characterised by marble, rattan and wooden accents, the rooftop terrace offers expansive city views.
    The rooftop terrace offers views of London”Aiming to infuse creativity into the traditional luxury context of Harrods, we envisioned a relaxed and comfortable ambiance with sparks of richness created in unexpected ways,” said Wanler.
    In 2022, Joyn Studio was longlisted for the title of emerging interior design studio of the year at the Dezeen Awards.
    Elsewhere at Harrods, fashion house Prada recently opened a green-hued pop-up cafe that referenced one of Milan’s oldest patisseries.
    The photography is by Åsa Liffner.

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    Medprostor stacks firewood for Ljubljana design biennial exhibition

    Firewood logs were used as modular stackable elements for the scenography of the BIO27 Super Vernaculars design biennial in Ljubljana, Slovenia, which has been shortlisted for a 2023 Dezeen Award.

    Curated by Jane Withers, the 27th edition of the city’s design biennial took place at the Museum of Architecture and Design (MAO) in the summer of 2022.
    Firewood was stacked in various ways to stage the BIO27 Super VernacularsThe four-month presentation explored how designers and architects are adapting vernacular traditions and value systems to respond to contemporary challenges like water scarcity, waste and declining biodiversity.
    Similarly, the brief for the exhibition design was to rethink classic parameters and consider sustainability in the context of a temporary show.
    The firewood bundles were used to display various design projects throughout MAOSlovenian architecture studio Medprostor chose to create the scenography from a readily available, locally sourced material that could be entirely reused at the end of the show.

    “Walls, planes, piles and lines of firewood are a part of the Slovenian visual landscape, as almost 59 per cent of the country is forested,” said Medprostor.
    “By only using the standard logs and non-invasive stacking and binding methods, all the material was returned to the supplier for further resale and use.”
    The logs were pre-cut to standard lengths so they could be reusedPre-cut to standard lengths, the logs were oriented vertically and bound together to create tables and platforms of varying heights and sizes throughout the exhibit areas.
    Some of the logs were notched in their tops to hold photographs and texts mounted on honeycomb cardboard sheets, which also formed flat horizontal surfaces for displaying items by participating designers.
    Photos mounted onto honeycomb cardboard were placed in notches on top of the logsBundles were also laid on their sides to act as low-lying display podiums for larger pieces.
    “The aim was to explore ways of stacking wood that are based in traditional techniques but can at the same time support new shapes and methods that evoke a sense of contemporaneity,” Medprostor said.
    Orange and grey straps recycled from the shipping industry were used to bind the logsThe grey and orange straps used to bind the wood and to hang cardboard panels from the ceiling were reused from the shipping industry.
    A few panels also incorporated video screens or served as a backdrop for projections, adding another medium through which the curated projects could be articulated.

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    Medprostor collaborated with graphic designers Studio Kruh and AA to continue the low-impact approach to the exhibition graphics and signage, which were primarily printed on-site at the museum.
    Additionally, the firewood was able to extend its drying process for the duration of the biennial, making it more energy-efficient when finally used as fuel, according to the studio.
    Hanging panels incorporated video screens and were used as projector backdrops”The drier the wood, the higher heating value and better environmental footprint it has,” Medprostor said. “While in the museum, logs can dry additionally and be returned to the supplier for further resale with a better ecological footprint.”
    “The museum becomes a part of the process of curing the wood.”
    All of the firewood was returned to the supplier when the exhibition endedThe BIO27 Super Vernaculars scenography has been shortlisted in the exhibition design category of the 2023 Dezeen Awards, along with a shrink-wrapped exhibition design by Didier Faustino and a showcase of recycled steel chairs by Daisuke Yamamoto.
    The awards will be presented during a ceremony and party in London on Tuesday 28 November 2023, with creative direction by The Unlimited Dream Company.
    The photography is by Ana Skobe and Klemen Ilovar.
    BIO27 Super Vernaculars took place at the Museum of Architecture and Design (MAO), Ljubljana, Slovenia from 26 May to 29 September 2022. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.
    Project credits:
    Location: Museum of Architecture and Design (MAO), Ljubljana, SloveniaExhibition design: Medprostor: Rok Žnidaršič, Jerneja Fischer Knap, Katarina Čakš, Teja GorjupGraphic design: Studio Kruh + AACurator: Jane WithersAssistant curator: Ria HawthornBIO27 director: Anja Radović

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    RooMoo reuses distillery’s old whiskey barrels to decorate its bar

    Chinese interiors studio RooMoo has used nearly 6,000 pieces of oak from discarded distillery barrels to adorn this whiskey bar in Shanghai.

    Laizhou Bar is located in the city’s buzzy Xuhui District and is an offshoot of Laizhou Distillery, a Chinese whiskey producer based out of Sichuan province.
    Wood offcuts from Laizhou Distillery’s whiskey barrels feature across the bar’s facadeThe distillery prides itself on reducing its environmental impact by using low-temperature saccharification machinery and collecting wastewater so it can be converted into biogas energy.
    So Shanghai-based studio RooMoo placed a similar emphasis on sustainability when designing the bar, where almost 6,000 pieces of wood from the distillery’s discarded oak barrels were reused as decoration.
    The offcuts were then used to construct a ringed structure on the bar’s ceiling”The bar imports the materials used in the distillery’s production process, creating a symbiosis between the two spaces,” said the studio.

    “Each dismantled barrel piece was different in terms of width, length and grain, so we classified them and applied them to different positions.”
    RooMoo assessed and classified all of the offcuts before useBarrel pieces are first seen on the bar’s facade, where they have been placed horizontally to create a lattice-like effect.
    The facade is otherwise only punctuated by a wide-set door and an expansive window, where barrels printed with the distillery’s logo are displayed.
    The bar’s slatted partition walls are also made from barrel offcutsOnce inside, guests step into a whiskey sampling area with a green marble tasting counter. Suspended directly above the space is a dramatic double-ringed sculpture crafted from barrel offcuts.
    More wooden barrel pieces were used to construct a curving, slatted partition in front of the main bar.
    A long seating banquette bends around the back of the room, accompanied by a series of black tables and leather chairs. There is also a huge light-up wall where liquor bottles are put on display.
    Black leather furnishings were incorporated throughout the main bar areaOn the ceiling here are the beginnings of another ringed sculpture, which will be completed as soon as the distillery has used up more barrels for the studio to use.
    “We made the ceiling structure beautiful enough to open the bar first,” explained the studio. “We are not hurrying to finish it, but following the production process and waiting for the wasted materials to be produced.”
    Off to the side of the main bar is a more private VIP tasting room. At its centre hangs a bespoke light crafted from the circular metal bands, which once held together the distillery barrels.
    The ceiling sculpture will be completed once the studio receives more offcutsLai Zhou Bar has made it to the shortlist in the sustainable interior category of the 2023 Dezeen Awards.
    The project is up against Edit restaurant by Elly Ward and Joe Morris, which is clad with salvaged terracotta tiles, and the Big Beauty store by Nina + Co, which is decked out in biomaterials like mycelium.

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