Threefold Architects divides up London office with forty-metre long “inhabited wall”

A forty-metre long wall made from plywood and steel partitions the public from private spaces within this London office by Threefold Architects.


Interiors of Pocket Living office, designed by Threefold Architects

The 6,900 square-foot-space in London’s Covent Garden area is occupied by housing developers Pocket Living.

Laid out across the building’s unusually long floor plate, the office is split in two by a partition wall made up of Nordic white-stained spruce plywood panels fitted into a light grey steel structural framework.

Interiors of Pocket Living office, designed by Threefold Architects

Referred to as an “inhabited wall” and designed to split the office’s front and back of house activities, the partition incorporates various openings, meeting rooms, wellness rooms, break out spaces and a canteen along its length.

While some openings function as doorways, others are windows that frame views through the office and out across the cityscape beyond.

Interiors of Pocket Living office, designed by Threefold Architects

“The function of the wall varies,” explained Threefold Architects.

“It begins with banquet seating in a private meeting room at its very apex, in the main the workspace it contains extensive storage and display cabinetry along with spaces for discrete informal team meetings and solo working, and terminates by forming a fully equipped kitchen, dining space, and wellness room.”

Interiors of Pocket Living office, designed by Threefold Architects

The architecture studio chose to use modest and cost-effective materials such as plywood to reflect the company’s design-focused and affordable approach.

As well as plywood and light grey steel, Threefold used a matt midnight blue laminate on alcoves, display tops and kitchen counters.

Interiors of Pocket Living office, designed by Threefold Architects

The wall helps to create a flexible workspace that offers a mixture of open collaborative and studious private spaces, which the client reports has had a positive impact on the culture and working practices of the team.

“The simple architectural intervention successfully organises the space and has become the backbone of the office,” commented Angharad Palmer, head of design at Poket Living. “It’s created a calm and studious atmosphere giving us the perfect balance of lively collaboration and quiet concentration.”

Interiors of Pocket Living office, designed by Threefold Architects

Founded in 2004 by architects Matt Driscoll, Jack Hosea and Renée Searle, Threefold has previously completed a shared office building in south-east London, which features a 64-metre-long wooden structure that creates secluded workspaces, staircases and informal meeting areas.

Photography is by Charles Hosea Photography.


Project credits:

Architect: Threefold Architects
Contractor: Parkeray Ltd.
Fabricator: Aldworth James and Bond
Building control: Assent Buidling Control
Acoustic consultant: Auricl
Planning contractor: Gerald eve
Services engineer: CES Engineering
CDM: 3C Risk

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London’s first 3D zebra crossing encourages drivers to slow down

The first 3D zebra crossing in the UK has been painted on a road in north-west London in an effort to improve road safety in the area. 


The striped crossing appears to be floating above the road, creating an optical illusion that is visible to oncoming drivers from both directions.

The aim is for the crossing to appear more clearly to motorists so that they slow down when approaching it.

Year-long trial before possible rollout

Located on St John’s Wood High Street in Westminster, the crossing is part of a 12-month trial to decrease the number of road-related accidents.

If the trial is successful, the crossing will be implemented across the Westminster borough.

“Our 3D zebra crossing could be the future of road safety across the country,” said Westminster Council cabinet member Tim Mitchell.

“Far from being simply a brilliant innovation that makes the ordinary look eye-grabbing and modern – the 3D effect helps drivers to see the crossing easier,” he explained.

Crossing located near iconic Abbey Road site

Westminster City Council adopted the optical trick after local residents and teachers at the neighbouring Barrow Hill Junior School raised concerns around road safety.

The crossing is also located near to Abbey Road, the site of The Beatles’ iconic album cover of the same name.

“It’s also wonderful that tourists who flock to St John’s Wood to pay homage to The Beatles at Abbey Road studios and walk the famous zebra crossing will now have another world-famous crossing to visit,” said Westminster ward councillor Robert Rigby.

Successfully implemented in New Delhi

Although this is the first time a 3D zebra crossing has been trialled in Britain, a number of similar road crossings have been tested in Iceland, India, New Zealand and the US.

According to the council, optical illusion crossings have “been proven” to improve road safety.

“Trials of a similar scheme in New Delhi, India, are reported to show that average speeds where it was employed had dropped by as much as 40 per cent, from 30mph to 20mph,” reported Westminster Council.

Similarly, London software company Umbrellium developed an interactive road crossing in 2017 that only appears when it’s needed.

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This week, Snøhetta opened an underwater restaurant

This week on Dezeen, Snøhetta completed the “world’s largest underwater restaurant” in Norway, while the Vessel at Hudson Yards in New York sparked censure over its ownership of visitors’ photography.


Snøhetta opened its aptly named Under restaurant on Tuesday, which plunges into the sea from the craggy shoreline in the remote village of Båly in Norway.

Fronted by a huge panoramic window to offer visitors a “unique view” of marine life, Under is Europe’s first underwater restaurant, and will also serve as a marine research centre.

Heatherwick’s Vessel at Hudson Yards claims ownership of visitors’ photography

Thomas Heatherwick’s giant honeycomb-like sculpture, which has just opened at New York’s Hudson Yards, caught people’s attention this week as plans to maintain the rights to any photography taken of the structure came to light.

The decision sparked debate on social media, as people claimed that it questioned the nature of public spaces.

Mjøstårnet in Norway becomes world’s tallest timber tower

Less controversially, this week the 85.4-metre-high Mjøstårnet tower in Norway was verified as the world’s tallest building to be constructed using cross-laminated timber (CLT).

At the opposite end of the size spectrum, micro homes were also popular with viewers, as we rounded up 10 floor plans of small living-spaces in cities.

The Airbus A380 was a “dream project” that changed aircraft interior design, says Paul Priestman

In transport news, we interviewed designer Paul Priestman about his involvement in creating the interiors of the Airbus A380, following the news that production of the aircraft will be coming to an end.

He described the task as “a dream project for a designer” and credits the plane as having shaped the future of aircraft design, claiming that we wouldn’t be where we are today if it weren’t for the A380.

Seymourpowell’s Élever makeup printer replicates looks straight from the internet

Over in the design sphere, Central Saint Martins product design graduate Marie-Claire Springham invented a “chestfeeding” hormone kit that enables fathers to lactate so that they can help to breastfeed their babies.

Design studio Seymourpowell developed the concept for a gadget called Élever that downloads makeup looks seen online and directly prints them onto the user’s face using 3D-fabrication, facial recognition technology and AI-powered image analysis.

Japanese cherry blossoms inform Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch design

More news of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games began to emerge this week, as a set of 50 retro-style sport pictograms were unveiled that pay homage to those from the 1964 Tokyo Games, and the Olympic torch was revealed ahead of next year’s Games.

Designed by Tokujin Yoshioka, the rose-gold Olympic torch features five fluted sections that form the motif of a traditional Japanese cherry blossom flower when viewed from above.

Will Alsop’s Neuron Pod education centre opens at Centre of the Cell

Other popular projects this week included IKEA’s colourful Wildhomes for Wildlife, an education centre shaped like a giant neuron cell designed by the late Will Alsop, and a new technique pioneered at Australia’s RMIT University to turn carbon dioxide back into coal.

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Markzeff channels desert modernism at Mountain Shadows resort

New York City designer Mark Zeff has looked to 1960s desert-modern trends for the interiors of the rebuilt Mountain Shadows resort in Arizona.


Mountain Shadows by MARKZEFF

The boutique hotel is located in Paradise Valley – a desirable alternative to Las Vegas for the 1950s Hollywood elite, which is still home to copious luxury resorts, spas and golf destinations.

Mountain Shadows owners commissioned Zeff’s eponymous design firm to complete the interior of the two-storey property, after it was entirely rebuilt to its original mid-century plans.

Mountain Shadows by MARKZEFF

Zeff used his personal affinity for this era and penchant for monochrome spaces to come up with an aesthetic that puts a contemporary spin on modernism.

“We really wanted the resort to blend into the environment,” the designer told Dezeen. “With desert modern style, the landscape is part of the experience and architecture is almost secondary. That also applies to the interiors.”

Mountain Shadows by MARKZEFF

The layout of the resort comprises a linear volume containing the public spaces, and perpendicular wings containing guest rooms that extend back towards the rising topography.

A swimming pool and sunbathing area sits between two accommodation blocks, capped by the fitness suite. Grassy outdoor spaces around the property can be used for events like corporate parties and weddings.

Mountain Shadows by MARKZEFF

In the lobby, the focal point is an expansive four-by-six-metre window – which Zeff describes as a “movie screen” – that looks out to Camelback Mountain.

The interiors are intended to disappear into the background with an uncomplicated composition. Floors are stencilled concrete and walls are whitewashed, with notes of white lacquer and anodised bronze throughout.

Mountain Shadows by MARKZEFF

Custom furniture was created for the public areas, paired with lighting from New York brand Apparatus.

A sunken living room off the lobby features a bronze hanging fireplace, upholstered banquette seating, and leather armchairs.

Mountain Shadows by MARKZEFF

“This space really reminds me of the last scene of Diamonds Are Forever with James Bond,” said Zeff, referring to the 1971 movie’s filming location in Palm Springs’ modernist Elrod House.

A similar simplicity extends to the guest rooms, which have concrete floors and ceilings, large windows, and grey walls.

Beds frames made of whitewashed ash wood were custom-designed to give a “1950s California vibe”. Some suites have grey textured wood panelling on the walls.

Mountain Shadows by MARKZEFF

Markzeff also designed the on-site restaurant, Hearth ’61, which has an exhibition counter and two rooms: one for all-day dining and another for more formal sit-down service.

“It has carpeting, which we don’t normally do, but there was so much concrete already that it just worked,” Zeff said.

Mountain Shadows by MARKZEFF

When the weather is pleasant, the restaurant’s walls open up onto the pool deck, creating a fluid indoor-outdoor space.

Paradise Valley and surrounding resort towns in the Phoenix metropolitan area are enjoyed as year-round vacation destinations thanks to the desert climate. In nearby Scottsdale, another mid-century property Hotel Valley Ho was recently given an interior makeover, signalling a resurgence in the region’s popularity with tourists.

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Batay-Csorba designs Milky’s coffee bar in Toronto without furniture

Interlocking wooden panels form a geometric pattern across the walls of this small, grab-and-go Toronto coffee shop, designed by Ontario studio Batay-Csorba Architecture.


Milky's coffee bar by Batay-Csorba

Located on historic arterial road Dundas Street in Toronto, the tiny coffee bar is aimed at customers in a hurry – either on their way to work or during a lunch break.

Because of this, it intentionally features no furniture.

Milky's coffee bar by Batay-Csorba

Instead, Batay-Csorba Architecture focused the design on bringing life though other aspects of the small space.

Geometric cuts of white-washed and plain wood panels are arranged in patterns across the walls. Slender shelves are slotted into a small nook, providing the only surfaces inside Milky’s.

Milky's coffee bar by Batay-Csorba

“In Milky’s the modular logic of this system is instead used as a framework for disrupting such static patterning, with interlocking pieces of light and dark wood producing a high-contrast tessellation which expands and contracts, shifts and realigns in a series of strata, enveloping the customer in a sort of “caffeinated” space,” said studio co-founder Andrew Batay-Csorba in a project description.

The warm wood, along with other design features, were influenced by the owner’s desire to create a space that exudes warmth and puts people in a good mood.

Milky's coffee bar by Batay-Csorba

“We want to be the most reliable place to compensate for things that might be missing from someone’s day: bright lights to counteract our long, grey winter days, a pop of bright colour to alleviate our mainly concrete streetscape,” said Milky’s owner, Fraser Greenberg.

With the aim of energising guests, the architecture studio selected lighting that mimics the sun’s cycles.

Milky's coffee bar by Batay-Csorba

A sleek white countertop, cabinetry, and coffee machines add additional bright accents to the coffee bar, with the aim to distinguish it from other cafes.

“Rather than the dim and muted interiors which characterise the typical cafe, which have adopted many of the behaviours and functions of a public study space, Milky’s reconceives of the neighbourhood coffee shop as a distinctive experience able to define the course of the visitor’s day in a few moments,” Batay-Csorba added.

Milky's coffee bar by Batay-Csorba

On Sundays, the cafe is transformed into a reservation-only tasting room where patrons can try rare coffee beans.

The coffee bar is a new type of creative endeavor for Batay-Csorba Architecture, which was founded in 2010 by Andrew Batay-Csorba and Jodi Batay-Csorba.

Previously, the studio has completed several residential projects including an urban townhouse with brick and wooden screens, and a triple duplex intended as an alternative to the single-family home – both in Toronto.

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Atelier Oslo wraps House on an Island with gridded timber facade

A prefabricated timber facade envelops the concrete split-level interiors of this cabin, which Atelier Oslo has slotted onto an outcrop in Skåtøy, Norway.


Norwegian studio Atelier Oslo designed the dwelling for a pair of artists who wanted a retreat for contemplation and working on the coast of the Scandinavian island.

The cabin, named House on an Island, features large glazed walls wrapped by a gridded facade that is intended to create a “calm atmosphere” by filtering light like the leaves of a tree.

House on an Island by Atelier Oslo

“The inspiration came from the feeling you have when sitting under a tree. Getting the rays of sun filtering through the branches,” founding partner at Atelier Oslo Nils Ole Brandtzæg told Dezeen.

“Since the house is fully glazed the wooden structure also works as sun-shading and framing of the views. Towards the neighbours and south it is more closed while it opens up towards the sea and the horizon.”

House on an Island by Atelier Oslo

House on an Island’s facade slots onto the cabin’s timber frame. Both are made from heat-treated wood that will turn grey over time.

The frame is embedded into a concrete base, which Atelier Oslo adapted to the topography of the site, forming a series of split-levels.

House on an Island by Atelier Oslo

“The topography of the site was carefully measured to integrate the rocks into the project,” explained the architecture studio.

“The interior becomes part of the landscape and walking in and around the cabin gives a unique experience, where the different qualities from the site becomes part of the architecture.”

House on an Island by Atelier Oslo

Inside, the cabin comprises an open-plan living room and kitchen, alongside a bathroom, two bedrooms and an office space.

In the living room, Atelier Oslo has also used concrete to create a ruin-like structure that grows out from the building’s concrete floor. It incorporates a bench, fireplace, and a day bed that is elevated on a micro-mezzanine level.

House on an Island by Atelier Oslo

To help the house blend with its surroundings, the concrete extends outside and around the dwelling, creating a variety of different outdoor spaces for the house.

House on an Island is complete with a staircase that leads down to the entrance, puncturing the roof line of the cabin. Here Atelier Oslo has incorporated a small bench, forming “the perfect spot to sit down and catch the last rays of the sunset.”

House on an Island by Atelier Oslo

Atelier Oslo is an architecture studio founded in 2006 by Nils Ole Bae Brandtzæg, Thomas Liu, Marius Mowe and Jonas Norsted.

In 2014 it perched a basalt-clad cabin with a curvaceous wood interior on a slope in Norwegian forest.

House on an Island by Atelier Oslo

Architecture studio Sanden+Hodnekvam Arkitekter also recently completed a concrete retreat in Norway, which sits beside an outcrop beside the Beitstadfjorden.

Named Cabin at Rones, the dwelling was commissioned by a couple who wanted a simple space to relax and enjoy views of the fjord.

Photography is by Ivar Kvaal.


Project credits:

Architect: Atelier Oslo
Consultants: Bohlinger + Grohman Ingenieure, Norconsult
Contractor: Admar AS

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10 young designers to watch from Collectible 2019

Young designers were among the standout exhibitors at the second edition of Collectible, the Brussels fair dedicated to contemporary collectible design. Dezeen’s Anna Winston selects her highlights.


Collectible 2019 took place last week at the Vanderborght Building in central Brussels, with an expanded roster of exhibitors including a rash of new galleries like Belgium’s Alfa.Brussels, MDR Gallery from London and Berlin-based Functional Art Gallery.

Many presented work by designers who are at the beginning of their careers, including a number of recent graduates from schools like Design Academy Eindhoven and Belgium’s Luca School of Arts and La Cambre.

This year Collectible founders Liv Vaisberg and Clélie Debehault also launched initiatives to showcase works by younger designers who might not otherwise afford to be part of the design fair.

Designers submitted work for showcase

These included a Young Designers showcase, a number of special project presentations and an exhibition that occupied the windows of the building.

Designers were invited to submit their work for the Young Designers and Design Studios showcase, with the final selection made by a group that included curator Alice Stori Liechtenstein and Dezeen editor-in-chief Marcus Fairs.

“We try to really represent the whole spectrum of contemporary collectible design, and I was wondering how we can best represent the youngest artists,” explained Vaisberg. “It’s quite difficult for young designers to sell themselves.”

“In the window display, we invited designers that work around recycled or sustainable materials: jeans, plastic, nylon, different materials that go to waste, and even salt, so also the use of a more natural and sustainable material. We wanted to show that the new generation is really concerned with those things,” Vaisberg continued.

The Zaventem Ateliers Special Project space highlighted works by young makers with studios in the new communal workshop building in Zaventem, an emerging design hub outside the centre of Brussels.

Here, Dezeen contributor Anna Winston shares her highlights of the best new talent from Collectible 2019:


10 young designers to watch from Collectible 2019

Linde Freya Tangelder

Founder of Brussels design studio Destroyers/Builders and a member of the Belgian design collective Brut, Linde Freya Tangelder is a product and interior designer. Using architectural volumes to create sculptural furniture, she describes her approach as being “on the edge of contemporary material use and traditional craft”.

On show at Collectible, her Bolder Chair is a reinterpretation of architectural columns, using the chunky, round shapes to create different tonal effects across the white surface of the piece. The original chair is made from chipboard and a pressed textile-fibre from Kvadrat‘s sustainable material arm Really, while Bolder II is made from limestone and brass.


10 young designers to watch from Collectible 2019

Studio Raw Material

Founded by Dushyant Bansal and Priyanka Sharma – recent graduates from London’s Royal College of Art – Studio Raw Material works between London and Jaipur, with a focus on materials that have a strong cultural or geographic and historic story.

At Collectible, the studio showed Offcut 05, a table from its most recent series of limited-edition furniture and architectural spaces created using waste offcuts from marble mining in India.

“We delved into refining wasted forms of stone to make sculptural studies,” explained the studio. “Our work attempts to explore alternate aspects of Indian craftsmanship – the structure and mathematics of balance, vernacular building techniques and importance of weight in relation to gravity.”


10 young designers to watch from Collectible 2019

Nicolas Erauw

Based in Sint-Niklaas, Belgium, Nicolas Erauw graduated from The Royal School of Arts in Ghent with a specialisation in furniture design in 2017. His focus is on finding new ways to combine industrial manufacturing processes and raw materials to create unexpected results.

His cast-aluminium Chair T-006 was part of the Young Designers showcase at Collectible 2019 and is from the ongoing Wax On Wax Off series, which features the results of experiments with lost-wax casting and wax-dipping processes. He has built his own machine, called TONK, which allows him to create large objects in a process similar to candle dipping.


Collectible design fair highlights

Schimmel & Schweikle

Design Academy Eindhoven graduates Moreno Schweikle and Janne Schimmel of Schimmel & Schweikle first came to attention with their Return To Default office chair series at last year’s graduate show. The duo share a fascination with distorting and combining archetypal objects using 3D software and then trying to realise the results.

Alfa.Brussels – a new gallery that invites designers to create unique pieces during a residency program – hosted their first solo-show at Collectible, which included a new collection of furniture titled CrossFit that mashes together classic, boxy forms with smooth surfaces and blob-like furry upholstery in bright colours.


10 young designers to watch from Collectible 2019

OrtaMiklos

Leo Orta and Victor Miklos are another duo who started working together during their studies at Design Academy Eindhoven. Originally from France and Denmark respectively, the designers now run their studio across two locations in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, and Les Moulins, France. They describe their approach as “ignorant design”, trying to create playful objects that do not necessarily have an explicit purpose and do not respond to trends in material or colour.

OrtaMiklos took over the Functional Art Gallery booth at Collectible to create The Study Room, a total environment featuring The White Ladies, a pair of lamp/seat hybrids made from concrete cast in women’s tights and electrical cables, and benches and bookshelves from their Iceberg series, made from carved foam and resin.


10 young designers to watch from Collectible 2019

Emma Cogné

A 2018 graduate of the masters in textile design at La Cambre, Emma Cogné has previously worked with Dutch studios Buro Belén and Studio Nienke Hoogvliet, and share some of their sideways, experimental approach to textiles. Her work has already been featured in exhibitions in Brussels and New York.

At Collectible she presented Turborama – a large, partition-like curtain made from colourful ICTA Sheaths, tubes of recycleable polypropylene more commonly used by electricians to protect wiring and hidden from sight in the walls and ceilings of buildings. The tubes are combined using hand-knotted fibre in sections of different colours to create a patterned, semi-transparent, indoor/outdoor curtain.


10 young designers to watch from Collectible 2019

Bram Van Breda

Antwerp-based Bram Van Breda studied graphic design at the Luca School of Arts in Brussels and Gent. He combines his knowledge of graphics with textile design to create one-off objects from a wide variety of tactile materials in blocks of subtle colour combinations.

The Resonance rug shown at Collectible is part of his Gathering series created by focusing on a specific part in the weaving process where the fibres are knotted together by hand to switch between colours or patterns. They are made using waste materials from Belgian carpet manufacturer Tasibel. Because of this process, which involves combining, repairing and finishing different pieces of textile, each of the pieces is unique and cannot be reproduced.


10 young designers to watch from Collectible 2019

Touche-Touche

Touche-Touche is a new studio founded by Théo Demans and Caroline Giessner, who have previously worked on a number of site-specific installations for galleries and art events, including the staging for a recent exhibition by the artist Melanie Bonajo at Haus der Kunst in Munich.

They showed their first trio of furniture designs as part of the Zavantem Ateliers show. Using foam, the duo apply a wide range of hand-cutting, shaping, coating and colouring processes to create chairs and mirrors that look like they have been hewn from impossibly-pigmented rocks.

Part of the Alfa.Brussels family, Touche-Touche also host the designers in residence at the gallery’s apartment in Brussels, which housed the offsite Palace of Play installation designed by Morph Collective during Collectible.


10 young designers to watch from Collectible 2019

Stine Mikkelsen

Danish designer and materials researcher Stine Mikkelsen has already featured in exhibitions including last year’s Dutch Invertuals show, where she presented her Guilt.less lamps made from unwanted clothes, and The Art of Seating at Tools Galerie in Paris. A graduate of Design Academy Eindhoven and the Kolding School of Design, Mikkelsen combines a background in textiles with an interest in experimental product design.

The two lighting objects featured at Collectible were made from a composite material developed by Mikkelsen using crushed granite and fishglue, and are part of her Luminous Shapes project, which explores attitudes towards more radical approaches to design by blurring the boundaries between function and sculpture.


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Xandra Van der Eijk

Dutch designer Xandra Van der Eijk has already garnered significant attention with her installations and objects, each of which deals with a key issue of the anthropocene era and how this is exposed by the passing of time. A recent project called Retreat explored the notion of ecological grief, replicating the surface of a glacier in the Swiss Alps in sheets of bioplastic to create a visual reminder of the impact of climate change on the country’s landscape.

For Collectible, she exhibited the Future Remnants project, which aims to demonstrate and explore the impact of chemical waste dumping through a series of metal objects that have been exposed to the relatively low-doses of chemicals found in household products.



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Pets Playground apartment by Sim-Plex Design Studio is designed for couple, a parrot and a cat

Sim-Plex Design Studio has created an apartment in Hong Kong for a couple that lives with their parrot, an elderly parent and her pet cat.


Located in Yuen Long, Hong Kong, the 42-square-metre Pets Playground apartment belongs to a young couple, Ken and Teri, who own a parrot. The apartment is shared with Teri’s mother, who owns a pet cat.

Hong Kong-based Sim-Plex Design Studio designed the apartment so that the couple, mother and pets could all enjoy both private and communal spaces, while preventing direct contact between the parrot and the cat.

Pets Playground apartment in Hong Kong by Sim-Plex Design Studio

“We created a flexible layout for the young couple, so that not only the pets could have their own space for activities, but could also fulfill the different living requirements of the two generations of people,” said Sim-Plex Design Studio director Patrick Lam.

“We hope that the flexibility of the layout of this apartment will enable the homeowners and their mother to have both private and communal living spaces which would stop creating the same problem.”

Pets Playground apartment in Hong Kong by Sim-Plex Design Studio

Addressing the needs of the pets, Lam explained that the parrot required a large cage, preferably placed somewhere where it could enjoy the sunshine, while the cat needed a litter tray and a space to play and move around.

After consultations with the owners, Simplex Design Studio decided to place the parrot cage on a low cabinet in front of the large west-facing window in the living room.

Close to the master bedroom where the couple sleep, the cage is positioned in the centre of the window in order to capture the afternoon sun.

Pets Playground apartment in Hong Kong by Sim-Plex Design Studio

As the parrot sometimes comes out of its cage, the designers installed three fritted glass sliding doors that close the living room space off so that the parrot can enjoy time outside of its cage without crossing paths with the cat.

The living room is located on a raised wooden platform that also helps reduce the chance of the cat from moving quickly towards the parrot’s area.

Pets Playground apartment in Hong Kong by Sim-Plex Design Studio

The fritted glass doors that section off the living room also serve to create privacy for the apartment’s human occupants.

When closed, the master bedroom and living room, and Teri’s mother’s bedroom and dining room become two different zones.

“When the couple needs privacy or the parrot comes out, they can close the sliding doors,” explained Lam. “During dining or family gathering, the sliding doors could be opened to form a large space.”

Pets Playground apartment in Hong Kong by Sim-Plex Design Studio

In the dining space the table slides away into a cabinet where it remains hidden most of the time in order to create more space for the cat, which has lived with Teri’s mother for many years.

Meanwhile, the central part of dining room cabinets has round cat-sized holes and walkways. A cat toilet is located next to the apartment’s entrance, where it doubles as a seat for changing shoes before going out.

Teri’s mother’s bedroom wardrobe has an integrated cat house, while on the opposite side of the room, a series of built-in shelves are designed for the cat to use as platforms to jump between in order to reach the top of the cabinets that surround the bed.

Pets Playground apartment in Hong Kong by Sim-Plex Design Studio

The raised wooden platform on which the living room is located is used as underfloor storage. Lam explained that the original intention had been to use wooden platforms throughout the space to maximise storage space but after considering the needs of Teri’s elderly mother, it was decided that this would be too hazardous.

By placing the platform only in the living room, Teri’s mother is able to easily move between her room, the dining room, bathroom and the kitchen.

“This design takes care of the safety of elderly and also makes it more difficult for the cats to enter the parrot’s area,” said Lam.

Pets Playground apartment in Hong Kong by Sim-Plex Design Studio

Other space saving features include the integration of four movable chairs within the low cabinet in the living room that can be used together when the dining table is pulled out.

The kitchen and bathroom doors are all topped with a pitched roof shape to fit in with the apartment’s pet-friendly theme.

Pets Playground apartment in Hong Kong by Sim-Plex Design Studio

The kitchen door is also fitted with a panel of fritted glass to help create a visual connection and allow daylight to filter though.

All of the wooden furniture is made from smooth ecological melamine-faced board to prevent the cat from scratching it, while also reducing the amount of formaldehyde in the space which can be harmful to both humans and pets.

Pets Playground apartment in Hong Kong by Sim-Plex Design Studio

Other pet-focused interiors featured on Dezeen include an extension to a former council house in Dublin designed by architecture studio TAKA, where a snapping turtle tank provides a view through to a palm tree garden. Another is the interior of this Taipei apartment, which was opened up by Taiwanese design practice ST Studio to create a flexible space for the owner and his two cats.

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White Arkitekter proposes building ribbon of housing around London estates

White Arkitekter has designed a hedge-like band of housing that could be built around existing London estates, to add homes without the need for demolition, in the latest instalment of our Dezeen x MINI Living series.


Swedish architecture firm White Arkitekter has proposed building the narrow apartment blocks to increase the density of London’s housing estates.

Named Hedge House, this system would allow development of estates without demolishing existing affordable housing.

Narrow House by White Arkitekter
Hedge House is designed to surround existing housing estates

“Hedge House allows existing affordable apartments and residents to stay,” White Arkitekter told Dezeen.

The modular system is designed to be assembled quickly using prefabricated units that can be adapted to suit the large variety of estates in London. The architecture studio claims this would significantly reduce the costs of the apartments.

“This solution leads to better affordability as there is a low site cost, no demolition and loss of existing affordable homes,” the studio told Dezeen.

Narrow House by White Arkitekter
With semi-transparent facades covered in plants, the building is designed to act like a hedge

The apartment blocks would feature semi-transparent facades covered with plants, that are designed to become a part of the green spaces they surround – like a hedge.

Available space on the ground floor of the apartment blocks could house small businesses such as cafes and shops in an effort to “activate the street” according to the architecture studio.

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The duplex apartments would be made from natural, sustainable materials

The buildings would feature duplex apartments made from natural materials such as wood.

The studio designed the concept with the aim of breaking the pattern of demolishing affordable housing for big private developments, a frequent occurrence in London.

Narrow House by White Arkitekter
The ground floor would be occupied by small businesses

The architecture studio claims that the developers that replace post-war social housing estates with high density developments often do so without offering replacement affordable housing.

“The Haygate Estate in Elephant and Castle removed 1,000 socially rented homes and replaced them with 2,000 private homes for sale and only 82 socially rented homes,” said White Arkitekter.

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Natural wood could be used for the interiors

The studio believes that densifying existing plots is a more socially sustainable way to create housing.

“Densification alone can lead to new build developments which move out existing tenants and replace affordable rented homes with unaffordable homes for sale,” said the studio.

“A more socially sustainable solution would be to retain existing affordable homes along with their residents and add more.”

Narrow House by White Arkitekter
Hedge House would become a part of the green space on the estate

White Arkitekter also believes that surrounding an estate with a barrier made of housing would improve the use of the green spaces around the existing buildings, for its residents.

“Borderless green spaces without a sense of ownership often become rundown and underused,” said White Arkitekter.

“They are spaces that separate the buildings from the city rather than acting as the green landscape they were intend for. Hedge House creates better spaces on both its sides: a calm park protected from street noise, and a lively city street.”

Narrow House by White Arkitekten
The scheme intends to save affordable housing from being demolished for private developments

The project won the BB-Green Award in the London Affordable Housing Challenge, an open call competition to come up with innovative designs to increase London’s housing stock.

This movie is part of Dezeen x MINI Living Initiative, a collaboration with MINI Living exploring how architecture and design can contribute to a brighter urban future through a series of videos and talks.

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Atlanta’s Lazy Betty restaurant pairs industrial details and pops of teal

Teal accents contrast roughly painted brickwork, exposed piping and cracked concrete in this restaurant in Atlanta designed by local studio Praxis3.


Lazy Betty is a tasting menu-style restaurant in Atlanta that opened in February 2019.

Lazy Betty by Praxis3

Designed by Praxis3, the eatery’s interiors comprise weathered-looking concrete floors and an exposed brick wall, which is also painted white with moments of the red brick left exposed.

The project is 2,500 square feet (232 square metres), and exposed ductwork overhead adds to the industrial aesthetic.

Lazy Betty by Praxis3

“We wanted to design a space that worked with our neighbourhood,” executive chef of Lazy Betty Ron Hsu told Dezeen, who worked with Praxis3 on the design.

“Dekalb Avenue is somewhat of an industrial area, with a brownie factory across the street from us and lumber and steel businesses nearby.”

Lazy Betty by Praxis3

Ample light inside is provided by a mix of natural sources, such as large rectangular windows that intersperse a rustic wall, as well as oversized and rounded lighting fixtures.

Some brickwork is also painted in a teal hue, which provides a signature colour of the space. Also in this tone, are subway tiles that cover an accent wall, with their sheen reflecting the light inside.

Lazy Betty by Praxis3

Warmer moments of dark wood dining chairs, and upholstered seats in a caramel hue, provide a contrast to this.

On one side of Lazy Betty is a dining nook anchored by an L-shaped couch and matching chairs.

“We also incorporated elements that encourage people to get lazy,” Hsu told Dezeen.

Lazy Betty by Praxis3

“We opted for large, comfortable seating with armrests, pillows everywhere and lush throws placed throughout the restaurant to emulate a cosy yet luxurious home feel,” Hsu continued.

Barstools located opposite also feature this pale brown tone, while the bar is painted grey to link together the white and teal moments.

Lazy Betty by Praxis3

Lazy Betty is decorated with art by local artists, including a wall installation comprising dozens of silvery bird-like shapes by Jenifer Thoem and a colourful print by Christina Kwan.

Completing the restaurant are numerous potted plants, adding a natural and relaxed feel to the space.

Lazy Betty by Praxis3

Lazy Betty is located in Atlanta’s Candler Park area. The city has recently experienced a host of new eateries, including Tom Dixon’s cocktail bar for Win and a French restaurant and wine bar designed by AI3.

Photography is by Andrew Thomas Lee.

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