Canberra’s new public installation and Nolan Giles on the joy of low-impact second homes.
Thirty-six concrete columns are the core of an ambitious new project from Chilean art and architecture studio Pezo von Ellrichshausen. Commissioned by property developer Molonglo to attract visitors to Canberra’s rapidly evolving Dairy Road neighbourhood and titled “Less”, it borders the Australian capital’s Jerrabomberra Wetlands Nature Reserve and extends beyond a brutalist architectural form into its surroundings with an ambitious greening scheme, featuring 6,000 plants of 50 different species.
The contemplative effect is achieved by the enveloping nature of the towering columns across a symmetrical grid, as well as the design’s deliberate interaction with nature and is bolstered by recycled water gently trickling through and down the work’s columns. It has a liveliness and warmth that will surely make it popular.
The beautiful textiles that Belgian fashion designer Raf Simons has created over the years with Denmark’s Kvadrat enjoy a cult following among furniture aficionados. Now this partnership has expanded further into the home via a clever new storage solution.
The Shaker System works using a minimalist, leather-bound bar attached to a wall from which a variety of items can be hung. It’s a simple modular system that can be expanded without overwhelming the interior of a home or office. Our favourite elements include the smart magazine and newspaper holders that can accommodate either rolled-up broadsheets or flat-printed tomes in leather pouches. Available through a limited selection of retailers, the first furniture piece from Simons for the Danish firm is sure to become a collectable; snap it up now.
A sweaty summer in the big city has left many urbanites dreaming of a rural retreat – somewhere to cool down and soak up a more serene style of living during sunnier seasons. Climate change is not going away and, while efforts are being made in many metropolises to improve urban cooling, it seems that it’s in the countryside where serious ground is being gained in sustainable domestic design. This makes investing in a pastoral patch of one’s own, or building that dream second home, a pleasurable and guilt-free experience.
For those looking to commission cosier digs, start by surveying the work of Nordic firms practising in the land of the summer cabin (and top-shelf architecture). Finland’s Studio Puisto produces one of my favourite options: a modular cabin made from cross-laminated timber and titled Space Of Mind (something that I think you’ll agree, we all need). The units can be purchased and then placed by a lake or in a forest with relative ease. Rig up a solar-panelled power system and you’re (literally) cooking. Another brand worth investigating is Norwegian cabin-maker Nature Compact Living, which offers small, window-laden, prefabricated micro-homes that are easy to install.
Those with a more premium plan in mind might want to look in the direction of a bespoke villa in Ibiza’s Sabina development. Here an A-list cast of architects, including John Pawson, Marcio Kogan and David Chipperfield, has been commissioned to create homes which harness the land’s natural properties to form low-impact holiday living for affluent investors. The selling point for these properties is their high levels of certification for using local materials, managing waste effectively and cutting carbon emissions. But get in quickly: only a few of the estate’s remaining 50 properties will be made available over the next few years, with price points between €4m and €20m.
PHOTOGRAPHER: Rory Gardiner