New York’s “beloved” Chrysler Building is for sale

The art-deco Chrysler Building in New York City, one of the world’s most recognisable skyscrapers, has gone up for sale for an undisclosed price.

Designed by American architect William Van Alen, the Chrysler Building is being sold by current owners Abu Dhabi Investment Council, which purchased the tower in 2008 for $800 million.

The sovereign wealth fund of the United Arab Emirates‘ government is selling the Midtown Manhattan office building alongside real-estate company Tishman Speyer, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Asking price currently unknown

The sale of the historic building will be marketed by commercial real-estate services and investment firm CBRE, which has declined to make the asking price public.

The total figure will be tied to the lease of the land it sits on, at the corner of 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue, which is owned by the Cooper Union. The school raised the annual fee for the site from $7.75 million to $32.5 million in 2017, according to Bloomberg.

Chrysler building

The Chrysler Building’s future use is currently uncertain. Recent reports suggest that Amazon is nearing a deal to lease a portion of the space, while architecture critic Paul Goldberger suggested that it could be ripe for conversion into residential units.

This approach, he said on Twitter, would be similar to that used at the Woolworth Building in the Financial District, which the Chrysler Building surpassed in height to become the world’s tallest (a title it lost shortly afterwards to the Empire State Building).

Goldberger also described the tower as “one of the most glorious pieces of architecture ever created – and still the most beloved skyscraper in New York”.

A famous example of art deco architecture

Built between 1928 and 1930 for US car manufacturer Chrysler, the building is most recognisable for its crown, which is clad in Nirosta steel and interspersed with triangular windows.

The tower served as Chrysler’s corporate headquarters from 1930 until the mid-1950s, and has many features that hint at this past. These include the bird-shaped gargoyles resembling Chrysler hood ornaments that extend from its corners.

The skyscraper is one of the most famous examples of the art deco architecture style – recognised by combinations of geometric shapes and overall visual drama. The term is an abbreviation of arts décoratifs, and emerged from the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts in Paris in 1925.

An art deco feature found on the Chrysler Building includes its top portion, with seven radiating arches on its four sides laid out in a sunburst pattern.

The tower features a tiered construction in compliance with 1916 zoning laws in New York City, which restricted the height of street-side exterior walls. As a result, the building has a silhouette based on groupings of different-height columns, with setbacks on floors 16, 18, 23, 28 and 31.

Skyscraper remains world’s tallest steel-framed brick building

Built from a steel frame in-filled with masonry, the Chrysler Building is still the tallest in the world of its construction type, at 1,046 feet (319 metres) and 77 storeys.

It also features a tall spire, added at the last minute to increase the tower’s height in a “race to the sky” with 40 Wall Street.

At its lower levels, the tower is clad in polished black granite and white marble. Other portions have white and black patterns, created in either marble or brick. Windows are arranged in grids across the exterior, designed without sills and positioned flush with the facades.

Inside, the art deco style continues in a dimly lit, golden lobby with high ceilings, walls clad in African red granite and travertine floors, as well as ornate fixtures and designs from the time period.

Photography is courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Frank Gehry granted restraining order against harasser

A judge has awarded Frank Gehry a restraining order against a man who sent the architect death threats by email and repeatedly asked for employment.

Gehry was granted the restraining order at a court hearing held on 11 January 2019, the Blast reported.

According to the news outlet, which obtained documents about the case in December 2018, the architect filed for the order after receiving aggressive emails that threatened his safety.

The harasser, whose identity has been withheld, also travelled to Gehry’s Los Angeles office on several occasions to ask for a job at the firm. While Gehry never met the man, a number of his employees signed written statements for the case, describing his unstable demeanour and “dishevelled” appearance on the visits.

Gehry, 89, is said to have become particularly concerned after being “made aware that the man may be off his medications and headed to Los Angeles for a confrontation”.

Harasser ordered to keep 100 yards away from Gehry and wife

Described as “from the midwest and in his 20s”, the man must now stay at least 100 yards (91 metres) away from Gehry and his wife Berta for the next five years.

Dezeen has contacted Gehry’s office for comment, but has not yet received a response.

The Canadian-born, Los Angeles-based architect is famous for his sculptural structures like the Walt Disney Concert Hall – which was recently illuminated with dream-like visuals – the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, and Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris.

This signature aesthetic can also be seen in his projects that are currently underway, like the aluminium-clad Luma Arles tower in France and a complex in Santa Monica.

In 2017, the architect told Dezeen that he is just as comfortable working on quieter designs. Examples include Facebook‘s Silicon Valley headquarters, which he extended last year, and this renovation of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which is still ongoing.

Portrait of Frank Gehry is by Alexandra Cabri, courtesy of Gehry Partners.

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Social Balconies connect existing balconies to encourage social interaction

The next instalment of our Dezeen x MINI Living series features a concept for a modular balcony system designed to encourage good relations between neighbours.

Entitled Social Balconies, the project was designed by product designer and recent Design Academy Eindhoven graduate, Edwin Van Capelleveen.

The concept consists of a pair of modular components that connect pre-existing balconies, creating shared spaces between neighbours for communal activity.

Social Balconies concept by Edwin Van Capelleveen
Van Capelleveen’s proposal aims to encourage social interaction by connecting balconies with staircases and bridges

Modules come in the form of a staircase to connect apartments on various levels of a building, and a bridge to connect apartments next to each other.

The system also comes with planters that can be attached to the railings of the staircases and bridges.

“Planters can be incorporated to make the building come alive, and to spark interaction between residents,” Van Capelleveen said.

Social Balconies concept by Edwin Van Capelleveen
The system comes with attachable planters providing a potential point of interaction for neighbours

Van Capelleveen told Dezeen the concept was designed to encourage “social cohesion” for people living in apartment blocks in urban areas.

“This living concept places itself between co-housing and a private way of living,” he said. “It offers a more delicate way of implementing social cohesion for the masses.”

The designer told Dezeen that he was interested in balconies as a vehicle for innovation within the living space.

“Balconies caught my eye because even when the weather is good, they’re rarely used for anything other than hanging laundry,” he said.

“This made me think about how they could be used to tackle the issue of social isolation in cities.”

Van Capelleveen believes that design can help people to create communities, thereby tackling social isolation and loneliness.

Social Balconies concept by Edwin Van Capelleveen
Van Capelleveen’s project provides a link between co-housing and private residencies

“We have to explore how we can live alongside each other, and not just next to each other,” Van Capelleveen stated.

“My design creates a space to make connections and minimises social boundaries by connecting the apartments. The added space is intended to create a sense of belonging in a small community.”

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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Nendo lets gravity shape its latest Melt furniture collection for WonderGlass

Nendo‘s Oki Sato has designed a series of cast glass chairs for Venetian brand WonderGlass, which feature a U-shaped base formed by the effects of gravity on molten glass.

Designed by Nendo founder Oki Sato, the Melt collection features a chair that is comprised of an inverted arched base topped with a contrasting, flat pane of glass, and backed with a larger rectangle of glass.

As well as the chair, the collection comprises a dozen pieces of furniture all formed by gravity over a pipe or mould. These include an armchair, chaise longue, dining table, side table, partition and vase.

Nendo lets gravity shape its latest Melt furniture collection for WonderGlass

Drawn to working with WonderGlass for their highly-skilled craftsmen, the Nendo founder was inspired to design the Melt collection after watching the traditional way that these artisans worked with molten glass in the brand’s workshops.

Sato told Dezeen that he was surprised to see the highly-skilled craftsmen shaping glass freely, “like a child moulding a piece of clay.”

According to the designer, the idea was to allow the glass to control the design process, letting it flow by way of gravity and the weight of the material itself. “In a way, doing less and achieving more is the most complicated thing to do,” he said.

Nendo lets gravity shape its latest Melt furniture collection for WonderGlass

For example, to create the chair, first molten glass was poured into a square frame while several craftsmen simultaneously evened out the surface using iron trowels.

The glass gradually cooled and, once it reached a certain pliancy, was moved and placed onto a U-shaped mould, allowing the glass to slowly sink or stretch around the mould to form an arch.

During this time, the craftsmen used tools to shape the arch, to ensure that there are no bends or cracks.

This process gives the Melt collection its name, as the objects’ draped forms occur as a result of the molten liquid nature of the glass.

“I think flat surface glass stretched by the hands of craftsmen is beautiful,” said Sato. “I discovered the beauty of glass when I saw that the plate-like glass created a beautiful arch by its own weight, when lifted by a number of craftsmen.”

“I wanted to combine those beautiful flat surfaces with curves to design this collection,” he continued.

Nendo lets gravity shape its latest Melt furniture collection for WonderGlass

The use of glass in furniture design is unusual given its propensity to break, but WonderGlass founders Maurizio and Christian Mussati hoped to “push the boundaries and capabilities of cast glass”.

“Glass is rarely used as the main material of furniture. However, a special moulding technology developed by WonderGlass is capable of making big and thick products without using large-scale moulds,” Sato told Dezeen.

“In this case I think a furniture collection is better suited for this technique than small cups or dishes,” he added.

Nendo lets gravity shape its latest Melt furniture collection for WonderGlass

The Melt collection will be presented for the first time at this year’s IMM Cologne trade show, which takes place in the German city from 14 till 20 January. It will be shown as part of an exhibition, accompanied by a photographic show.

This exhibit will offer a preview of what visitors can expect from WonderGlass at this year’s upcoming Milan Design Week in April. At last year’s festival, the brand created an installation of 30 spinning glass lamps inspired by a traditional Israeli dance.

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Eastabrook Architects adds corrugated metal extension to Cotswolds cottage

Gloucestershire-based Eastabrook Architects has completed an extension to a 19th century stone cottage in Upper Swell, a village in the Cotswolds, UK.

Built for a director of the practice who has lived in the cottage for 20 years, the extension provides much-needed additional space for a larger kitchen and dining area, as well as an additional bedroom and shower room on a mezzanine above.

Corrugated metal extension by Eastabrook Architects

Clad entirely in corrugated metal panels, the extension was designed to reference the agricultural character typical of buildings in the area – in particular sheds.

The extension matches the original cottage’s orientation, but sits slightly back, deferring to the stone building. Its grey colour was also chosen as a means of minimising the visual impact of the building on the surrounding countryside.

Corrugated metal extension by Eastabrook Architects

Large openings make the most of views out onto an adjacent paddock, purchased by the owners some years ago but difficult to see through the original cottage’s small windows.

“The concept was to give the impression of a free-standing agricultural building,” Andy Lucas, director at Eastabrook and owner of the cottage told Dezeen.

Interiors of Eastabrook Architects's corrugated metal house extension

The corrugated material had the added benefit of helping the project achieve planning consent quickly without any changes. A simple, glazed flat roof link connects the new structure to the original cottage, providing views through to the garden at the rear of the house.

Internally, the extension is a simple double-height volume with a small mezzanine above. Finishes have been designed to again reflect an agricultural character, using epoxy floor paint, corrugated metal on the mezzanine balcony and industrial pendant light fittings.

Interiors of Eastabrook Architects's corrugated metal house extension

“The interior of the building was deliberately left minimal to reflect the simple appearance of a barn,” said Lucas. “We wanted to provide a contrast to the 19th century stone farm workers cottage.”

The structure uses timber structural insulated panels (SIPS), with a single steel beam used to support the mezzanine level, which has also been left exposed.

Interiors of Eastabrook Architects's corrugated metal house extension

The corrugated cladding has a life span of at least 30 years without needing to be repainted, and can be recycled if the structure is dismantled in future.

“The whole structure was erected in two days, resulting in substantial cost savings,” said Lucas. “The building is also highly insulated, resulting in lower heating costs.”

Eastabrook Architects has completed several contemporary extensions to historic buildings including an extension to a Grade II listed house completed with Jonathan Tuckey Design.

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Simone Bonnani creates “gently imperfect” terracotta Obon tables for Moooi

Italian designer Simone Bonnani has designed a series of terracotta coffee tables for Moooi, which are made to appear handmade, natural and “gently imperfect”.

Called Obon, the minimalist furniture collection features three tables with irregular, slab-like surfaces and cylindrical bases. They are an orange-brown colour, the shade of natural terracotta.

Obon table for Moooi terracotta

The Milan-based designer wanted to combine streamlined, geometric shapes with the aged appearance and texture of terracotta to create furniture items that appear both new and old.

The aim was to create a series of rustic tables that seem to be handmade rather than set using a mould.

Obon Table for Obon table for Moooi terracotta

“I immediately thought that these products should be very simple in shape but rich in material, devoid of visible technical details, soft and defined by reassuring contours,” said Bonnani.

“The idea was to introduce a series of objects which appeared to be handmade and that could create a natural and gently imperfect tone. I wanted to make the object look beautiful for its spontaneity and genuineness, not for its complexity,” he explained.

He began by sketching three “pure, irregular and graphic” shapes onto a canvas before building moulds and injecting them with terracotta clay.

Together with a ceramicist from Veneto, Italy, Bonnani experimented with a selection of glazes to give the table surfaces a more tactile appearance.

Obon table for Moooi terracotta

They tried various thicknesses of chamotte, a ceramic raw material with a high percentage of silica and alumina, to create layers of glazing on the table’s surface and create an antiqued finish.

“We worked on its tactile aspect with the inclusion of various thicknesses of chamotte, aiming to generate a perfect mix between the present and the past.”

Obon table for Moooi terracotta

Last year, Moooi announced the launch of a new strategy called More Moooi Moments, which sees the furniture and lighting company act more like a streetwear brand than a traditional design brand by dropping ready-to-ship collections throughout the year.

Recent projects by the brand include a series of lighting titled Party Lights and a set of wallpaper inspired by fictional extinct animals.

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Mayan legend informs Di Frenna Arquitectos’ Casa Nicté-Ha in Mexico

Linear volumes featuring board-marked concrete, masonry and wood make up this angular house, designed by Mexican firm Di Frenna Arquitectos.

Casa Nicté-Ha is located in Colima City in central-western Mexico, near a small lake and the Colima volcano.

Casa Nicte Ha by Di Frenna Arquitectos

Di Frenna Arquitectos, which is also based in Colima, designed the 5,576-square-foot (518-square-metre) house as a stack of volumes constructed from a mix of materials – including beige concrete, local stone, steel beams, glass and wood.

These earthy tones suit the natural setting and were informed by the landscapes of Casa Nicté-Ha – a Mayan legend that gives its name to the residence.

Casa Nicte Ha by Di Frenna Arquitectos

In the tragic love story, a royal warrior falls in love with Nicté-Ha – the daughter of the guardian of cenotes. The girl dies and is transformed into a water lily, while the heart of the prince into a red bird.

In Casa Nicté-Ha, a dark rendered two-storey volume is slotted into the middle of the house. Cobbled stone walls flank either side to make up the rest of the ground floor level, as well as lift the board-marked concrete volumes that complete the floor above.

Casa Nicte Ha by Di Frenna Arquitectos

A cantilever juts out from the street-facing facade, to create an overhang above the front door and a covered two-car garage.

Wood slats cover windows around the house, adding privacy and blocking sunlight from entering. A flat roof topping the residence enhances its angular construction.

Casa Nicte Ha by Di Frenna Arquitectos

Each of the interlocking volumes is designed to host a different function. At the rear of the residence is a covered outdoor dining room and bar, accessed from a sliding glass door. A series of steel pillars on the left side support the volume upstairs.

Inside, a balanced materiality of dark and light characterises the decor, including white-painted walls, warm wood and concrete floors, exposed steel beams, and other black and brown accents.

Casa Nicte Ha by Di Frenna Arquitectos

A double-height kitchen and dining area is located in the main middle volume, a step above an adjoining sitting area. This change in level is signified by a dark wood floor and under lighting, which adjoins the concrete.

Casa Nicte Ha by Di Frenna Arquitectos

The large kitchen island is made of granite and joined by a lower, wooden counter to form an L-shape. A suspended staircase with dark steps runs along a concrete wall up to the first-floor hallway, which overlooks the kitchen below.

Casa Nicte Ha by Di Frenna Arquitectos

Three bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms are accessed from here. Another bedroom and two bathrooms are located on the ground floor.

Outside, Casa Nicté-Ha is accompanied by a grassy yard complete with an outdoor patio, pool and lush plantings.

Casa Nicte Ha by Di Frenna Arquitectos

Other recent residential projects in Mexico include an expansive beach house in Cozumel by Sordo Madaleno Arquitectos, a black, Y-shaped house in a forest by Cadaval & Solà-Morales, and a residence on a wooded, sandy plot overlooking the Pacific by CDM.

Photography is by Onnis Luque.

Project credits:

Architects: Matia Di Frenna Muller, Mariana de la Mora
Engineers: Juan Gerardo Guardado Avila, Victor Romero

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Wooden boxes house bathroom facilities at Le Whit’s Pioneer Square Loft

A blackened-wood sauna is among the tiny wooden volumes that wrap around the open-plan living area of this apartment in Seattle, which was renovated by US studio Le Whit.

The overhauled 850-square-foot (79-square-foot), single-storey condominium is the second home of a technology entrepreneur, who grew up in Seattle but is now is primarily based in New York City.

Pioneer Square Loft renovation by Le Whit

Located in the Pioneer Square neighbourhood, the renovated loft is intended to be flexible for both working and spending time with his family.

Le Whit, which has studios in New York City and Seattle, gutted the space to create an open-plan space to suit this arrangement.

Pioneer Square Loft renovation by Le Whit

Stripped back to original features, the interiors include exposed existing brickwork walls – whitewashed on one side of the space – along with dark wooden ceiling beams and panels, and white-painted ductwork.

Pioneer Square Loft renovation by Le Whit

“There was very little that was maintained besides the demising walls of the condo,” Le Whit co-founder Corey Kingston told Dezeen. “We demolished the existing interiors, removed the sheet rock ceiling, and sand blasted the beams in order to start from the most historically original.”

The studio then created a custom-built, L-shaped volume made of white wood that fits neatly into one the corner of the space. It houses a series of smaller boxes that make up the bathroom facilities, include a washroom, a shower, a toilet and a sauna. A mezzanine level above, accessed by a built in ladder, is where the bedroom is located.

Pioneer Square Loft renovation by Le Whit

Frosted glass doors provide access to each of the units, which is lined inside with wood charred using the traditional Japanese technique known as Shou Sugi Ban – making the material resistant to rot and fire. The floors are covered in dark cement tiles, to contrast the pale tones of the rest of the home.

Pioneer Square Loft renovation by Le Whit

“To celebrate the open loft, the small rooms act as a contrast,” Kingston said. “To celebrate the lightness of the outer palette, the bathrooms are completely clad in charred Shou Sugi Ban, with a floor of black cement tiles.”

Other black finishes include the paperstone vanities, with stained-wood door handles. Pale curtains cover the glass doors are provided for added privacy, “but also for the auditory sound of moving fabric across a track”.

Pioneer Square Loft renovation by Le Whit

In order to exaggerate the entry into each of these spaces, Le Whit added a step and huge oak door handles to the front of each.

“The aim of the design is to contrast between the open space and the interior of the bathroom stack,” she continued. “This was achieved by layering light and dark materials of different tactile qualities.”

Pioneer Square Loft renovation by Le Whit

For the open-plan living area, the studio used paler and softer materials. White-painted doors run along the front of the kitchen cabinets, matching the white gypsum walls and subway tiles.

A portion of the counter features a reflective Rino Honed marble countertop with an inset hickory cutting board, which matches the wood for the custom dining table.

Pioneer Square Loft renovation by Le Whit

The lounge is placed in the corner, with low-level seating arranged to allow plenty of natural light to come in from the arched windows. Additional artificial light is provided by globe-shaped white pendant lights, which are dotted throughout the apartment.

Also in Seattle, SHED designed a sensitive renovation to mid-century modern home, while Wittman Estes added a studio building and a Chinese-inspired courtyard to an existing residence.

Photography is by Charlie Schuck.

Project credits:

Design: Le Whit
Construction: Built By Plum

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Kaan Architecten completes Cube study centre at Tilburg University

A limited colour and material palette help the Cube Education and Self-Study Centre, designed by Kaan Architecten, to blend with existing buildings on the Tilburg University campus in The Netherlands.

Rotterdam based Kaan Architecten has added the new building to the northwest of the Dutch university campus, which also includes the protected 1960s Cobbenhagen building by architect Jos Bedaux, named a national monument in 2015.

Cube Education and Self-Study Centre at Tilburg University in The Netherlands by KAAN Architecten

The brief was to create a multi-functional building where students, faculty and academics could meet and collaborate.

The resulting building, called Cube, has similar proportions to the Cobbenhagen building and provides 11,000 square metres of space for up to 2,200 people a day.

Cube Education and Self-Study Centre at Tilburg University in The Netherlands by KAAN Architecten

“The great thing about the Tilburg campus is the setting beautifully surrounded by trees, with the northern part of the campus being referred to as ‘Het Bos’ (the forest),” said Kaan Architecten project architect Timo Cardol.

“It was very important for us to make a spacious building which has a free flow and many sight lines,” he told Dezeen. “Because of the many different users in the building, we wanted to create a very clear layout which is evident in the open plan and symmetry of the building.”

Cube Education and Self-Study Centre at Tilburg University in The Netherlands by KAAN Architecten

The structure is shaped like a squat cross, ensuring each of the facades has a unique view and appearance from the outside. The south facade, which faces the centre of the campus, is almost entirely glazed.

“We developed a new U-shaped wing profile together with Schuco for the south facade, bringing scale to the building by framing the 60-metre glass facade,” explained Cardol.

Cube Education and Self-Study Centre at Tilburg University in The Netherlands by KAAN Architecten
Photo by Simone Bossi

“The east and west facades gain the most sunlight, partially blocked by the deep vertical concrete lamellas,” he added.

“Due to the height of the rooms, the lamellas still allow lots of light and interesting views to the green outside. The northern facade is glazed and rather flat, emphasising symmetry between north and south.”

Cube Education and Self-Study Centre at Tilburg University in The Netherlands by KAAN Architecten

The ground floor is arranged around a large, open area, with two main entrances from the south side of the building. Two internal courtyards on either side of this space rise up through the entire height of the building and a glass-walled, 600-seat auditorium sits at one end.

Independent study spaces with lower ceilings provide spaces for quieter, more focused work, and a series of lecture and tutorial rooms are arranged against the edges to the west, north and east. The building also houses a cafe, exam rooms and a virtual reality laboratory.

Cube Education and Self-Study Centre at Tilburg University in The Netherlands by KAAN Architecten

A sculptural white staircase leads up to the first floor, with an additional three dark, metal staircases providing further access.

Upstairs, the central space is given over to banks of desks, while lecture spaces and meeting rooms are again arranged around the edges.

Cube Education and Self-Study Centre at Tilburg University in The Netherlands by KAAN Architecten

The architects chose to use a limited, predominantly grey and white colour palette for the interior, which is informed by the concrete and metal used for the structure. The aim was to make the most of the changing quality of the natural light provided by the extensive glazing of the facades throughout the day.

“The thin steel plate on the concrete columns has come out very well, as if a sheet of paper was put on top giving beautiful shadows,” said Cardol.

Cube Education and Self-Study Centre at Tilburg University in The Netherlands by KAAN Architecten

Based in Rotterdam, Kaan Architecten is led by architect Kees Kaan.

Its recently completed Utopia library and music school building in Aalst is among 21 Belgian projects nominated for this year’s Mies van der Rohe Award for the best building in Europe.

Main image is by Sebastian van Damme. All other photos are by Simone Bossi.

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Explore innovative examples of 3D-printing via our new Pinterest board

Find the latest examples of 3D printing on our new Pinterest board, including Elzelinde van Doleweerd’s 3D-printed snacks created from food waste and Wang & Söderström’s vases featuring mottled patterns. Follow Dezeen on Pinterest ›