Architecture/Design | Monocle

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Levitating living

Japanese residence with a difference

On a new residential development on former farmland in Nagano, Japan, full of standard-looking homes, incoming neighbours will be astonished to find architect Hideyuki Nakayama’s creation, a striking new house that appears to hover above the gound.

A simple, white-box structure, skirted with a band of glass, disguises an intricate play of levels and living spaces inside. The lower-ground floor, dug deep, gives an eye-skimming view of the surrounding land. A mixture of gravel and planted clover edge the building, providing a low-maintenance garden.

The kitchen and bathroom are located on the first floor, and the bedroom and terrace – which is constructed from wood – are on the second floor. Unravelling this domestic space yet further, each floor has an open section, giving views of the floor below. The house is called 2004 (the date Nakayama embarked on the project).

Sound investment

Making music is a beautiful thing

We’ve long admired Graf, whose stylish showroom in Osaka is the perfect backdrop for its furniture and homeware. Its latest product is this tube amplifier that was designed with Komatsu Sound Lab. The idea was to make a good-looking, analogue-quality amp that was compatible with PC and MP3 players. There is the promise of speakers to come.

Bench test

Serpentine seating in Norway

In Norway the park bench is getting a new look thanks to the Via. Created by Hallvard Jakobsen and Arthur Wozniak at outdoor design specialist Vestre, the first benches will be placed in Oslo this spring. The Via is made up of separate pine units with curved and straight edges. Rearrange these and a myriad of forms can be created. “The design is special because the curves create movement,” says Vestre.

Teak a break

A Bauhaus-inspired sun-lounger

Since its introduction four years ago, the Bolero Liegesessel chair-cum-lounger, produced by German outdoor furniture specialists Garpa, has become one of the company’s bestsellers. Made from stainless steel and teak, with a Bauhaus-inspired design, the chair can be adjusted from an upright to a lying position. For gardens or terraces where space is at a premium, it’s a better alternative to the usual lie-flat versions.

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