Architecture/Design | Monocle

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Good sports

A better class of Swiss gymnasium

PE lessons are more fun since the arrival of this sophisticated new gymnasium at a primary school in Elsau, Switzerland. The wood-frame technologists Erne collaborated with design firm Hornberger Architekten to produce an indulgent, beautifully crafted child-friendly space. The gym opened last year at Primarschule Elsau. School authorities everywhere should take note.

Train of thought

Novel solutions to noise pollution

Sandwiched between a major road and a railway line, this family residence in Allgäu, southern Germany, overcomes noise pollution with its smart planning. Designed by Kehrbaum Architekten, the building has a cubist form and the southern façade, which faces the railway, is closed off on the first floor, with all bedrooms orientated towards the quieter north-east. It is aptly named House at the Railways.

Lessons in living

Fresh start for a Swedish school

From ABC to urban suite; these former classrooms in Stockholm have been re-imagined as 21 loft apartments by Swedish architects Love Arbén and Andreas Martin-Löf. The schoolhouse, built by Johan Fredrik Åbom in the 19th century, was badly damaged in a fire. This sensitive restoration, finished in February, blends Tom Dixon lighting with original features to create an understated, classic interior.

Ginza palace

Bals Tokyo’s glamorous new branch is a one-stop design destination

We love a one-stop shop, so we’re pleased to see that the designer-retailer Bals Tokyo is continuing to expand its empire with its latest store launch in Ginza. With an airy interior by designer Yasumichi Morita, this two-storey outlet stocks must-haves such as G Lorenzi grooming kits through to Bill Amberg leatherware accessories. Throw in the latest furniture from MDF Italia, Magis and Established & Sons, as well as Bals Tokyo’s own-design products, and the stock mix is complete.

Morita – one of the most famous and distinctive retail designers currently working in Japan – who also designed the Bals Tokyo store in Fukuoka, uses copper details to create an unusual environment that’s both luxurious and easy to navigate.

Hinting at a fresh direction, Bals Tokyo is also collaborating with UK gallery Apart to sell its one-off art pieces in-store. With up to 40 staff, expect impeccable service.

“This shop is an appropriate location for us to represent Tokyo culture and disseminate our brand concept,” says Bals Tokyo group manager, Yukihiko Nagaya. With an international roll out imminent, this brand is set to explode on to the world stage.

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