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A Serene Path to Oneness, When We Have to Be Alone

Due to the precautions countries across the world are taking to curb exposure to the coronavirus, famous parks in Vienna have all been closed for the duration. Because of this sudden lack of outdoor space within which to roam and feel at ease, Studio Precht designed a way for local residents to get access to nature while remaining appropriately distant from one another. Parc de la Distance is the name of the project proposed by the green architectural firm for a vacant lot in Vienna. Reminiscent of both Baroque and Zen gardens of the past, it will feature multiple spaced-out pathways for individuals to enjoy on foot. “Although our ‘Park de la Distance’ encourages physical distance,” the architects explain, “…it is shaped by the human touch: a fingerprint.”

While it is currently mandatory to remain at a distance from fellow residents as a means of mutual protection, the designers envision the park to remain an important respite from the noise and commotion of a bustling city once the pandemic has receded, and life returns to “normal.” the use of a fingerprint as the guiding shape reminds us how human we all are, whether battling an unseen scourge or seeking a little solitude amid the tumult of ordinary times.

How Will We Work?

We have all had to adjust, and swiftly, to a shifting social environment — one in which we have been forced to adopt brand new ways to navigate, literally, around the safety and protection of ourselves and other members of our communities. What will our workplaces look like when we are finally allowed to return? Our gathering places, museums, arenas, markets? Our playgrounds and theaters and other sites of recreation and learning?

The threat of Covid-19 has exerted an enormous shift in our habitual protocols of movement and communication. We need to closely consider how the spaces we have traditionally occupied with little concern for their dimensions, density, and design can be the starting point for innovations in architecture.

Post-pandemic, when governments begin to focus on strengthening the economy, they must pay special attention to sponsoring and encouraging the development of buildings that promote the safety and health of its occupants. We need to look at how, why, and where we work, and create indoor and outdoor areas that are shaped to comply with our changing values and needs.
The “new normal” offers architecture the opportunity to provide spaces that assure our well-being. For instance, models that engage environmental science with green design can successfully create healthy places that adhere to the new standards. Another imperative will be employing technology that can alert us about air quality and airborne hazards, and respond to the information by adjusting floorplans and layouts based upon social-distancing objectives. This will be a tremendous test of how well we can all readjust to a changed landscape — with safety, efficiency, and communal prosperity as our primary goals.

The Overlooked Beauty of the Unwanted

You’ve almost certainly heard the expression, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” In the case of Berlin-based visual artist Henry Baumann, what one person discards can become an art installation that appeals to more than just your eyes. In his latest work, Baumann used abandoned material he found at a building site (his usual foraging ground) to create audiovisual sculptures that invite you to touch it, climb into it, to speak and listen from inside it, becoming a catalyst for discussion, connection and exchange.

These elements shift based on the artist’s choice of shape. Baumann has built sculptural forms reminiscent of sea shells, croissants, and strangely organic tubes and tunnels. The emphasis is not only on the aesthetic allure and the involvement of your senses to truly experience the work, it is also a masterful reminder that there is beauty to behold and uncover in what others have renounced. It is a sublime kind of recycling, and allows us to envision the transformation of ordinary things into extraordinary pieces for reflection and admiration.

Green Instinct

For most of us, there is an innate longing to be surrounded by other living things. Some believe biophilia is coded into our very genes. While a deep and sustained communion with nature and wildlife isn’t possible for everyone, perhaps these ideas for bringing the outdoors in can to help promote this connection.

Infusing the outdoor spaces of your home with calm, comfort, and greenery is one such way. Areas like the balcony, the front porch — even the underside of a deck, a space largely underutilized in many homes — become ideal canvases for blurring the boundary between outside and in.

Water is a primally soothing element. Creating a water source in your garden or within your home is a fabulous way to welcome the presence of nature into your immediate space.

Open your windows! The more light and air we invite, the more closely we can observe and relish the simple things around us — the wind in the trees, the birdsong, the sun — and greatly elevate our spirits, especially when the human world has left us weary.

Feeling Blue–It’s all about Blue, Now and Then

Although the new Pantone color of 2020 is Blue, many years back Yves Klein the artist declared a most vibrant blue.

The French artist Yves Klein was renowned for his dedication to color in his work, and blue was his signature shade. According to him, blue was infinite and untethered to any concrete ideas, mirroring the sea and the sky in all its vastness and mystery.

Ressource, a French design laboratory and paint manufacturing company, has partnered with the Yves Klein Archives to reproduce this gorgeous color in an homage to both the artist’s work and vision. They have perfected the technique that yields the richest, most radiant blue, informed by the famous International Klein Blue, utilizing the original craftsmanship that Klein so masterfully refined.

Ultramarine Blue, in Klein’s words, “goes beyond proportion,” symbolizing freedom and majesty, and a boundlessness of spirit. Ressource’s paint will certainly transport you there.

Yves Klein

Blue Monochrome


Klein famously declared the blue sky to be his first artwork and from there continued finding radical new ways to represent the infinite and immaterial in his works. One such strategy was monochrome abstraction—the use of one color over an entire canvas. Klein saw monochrome painting as an “open window to freedom, as the possibility of being immersed in the immeasurable existence of color.” Although he used a range of colors, his most iconic works often featured International Klein Blue.

New Year, New Blue

Identifying a “color of the year,” a tradition Pantone started 20 years ago, has become a revered practice that many industries rely upon. The year 2000 was designated the year of Cerulean Blue, and two decades later Pantone has once more embraced the familiar, comforting hue. The company announced that the year 2020 belongs to Classic Blue.

In its research, Pantone has noted the current ubiquity of blue across a wide array of business and commerce, including the art market, beauty industry, the technology sector, and vehicle manufacturing. Classic Blue appeals to many senses, and Pantone has joined with other companies to develop and explore the smell, sound and even taste of Classic Blue in a clear appreciation of the multiple ways we intrinsically experience color as human beings.

From a psychological vantage point, blue symbolizes loyalty and tranquility, restoring calm not just to the room it highlights, but also within the human psyche, encouraging feelings of stability, confidence, and patience. No one will argue that the prevailing state of affairs in much of the world has inspired the opposite of these emotions, and the reintroduction of blue as the guiding hue promises to do more than just enliven a room in your house or office. It may very well help restore our sense of trust and hope for the future in a climate of flux and anxiety.

Colors from Paris

Some glorious design trends were presented during Paris Design Week in January of this year, and one of the most thrilling was the focus on color. The freshest tones borrow from nature, as human beings have done for centuries, and the names assigned to these hues further illustrates this tribute.

Rust colors mimic the deep reddish-orange of a sunset or autumnal leaves. Mossy greens invoke the forests and a sense of calm. Pale purple was an interesting newcomer to the scene: rugs and rooms accented with this soft shade of grape exude an aura of gladness and allure.

Inspiration from the raw environment has influenced even designers of dinnerware. L’Objet’s creative director introduced a new collection of plates and bowls in a golden shade reminiscent of straw, both deep and warm. Citrus orange, with its bright and lively feel, has been embraced by fabric houses in joyful anticipation of spring.

The classical Parisian palette of cream and gray has returned to the forefront of contemporary upholstery and luxury paint, inspired by the muted peacefulness of mountain peaks or seashells weathered by time. Tortoise brown is being used to embellish carpets as well as interior walls. This stimulating fusion of deep reds, blacks and caramels evokes the color of natural minerals in the earth and is both bold and soothing.

Trends in Luxury

Last year we observed a shifting of preferences within the luxury segment of real estate that is predicted to continue throughout 2020. Here are 4 of the exciting new trends, according to the North American Luxury Market Report.


  1. There has been a notable geographical shift among luxury homebuyers in general from major cities to new markets in less populated, less expensive regions; from major cosmopolitan areas to destinations that have long been overlooked and undervalued, increasing the attention and, therefore, the desirability of purchasing or building homes in these communities.


  1. Affluent millennials across the country have been investing in luxury properties as a step toward expanding personal wealth. The trend among this demographic is also to embrace lesser-known communities outside central metropolitan areas, where new business blooms to accommodate them. At the same time, increased life expectancy means Baby Boomers are confidently selling suburban properties and moving to locations within city limits that offer greater choice and convenience.


  1. There is a burgeoning call among investors and artisans to approach architecture and design from a holistic standpoint, with a focus on constructing a home environment that is healthy, sustainable and versatile — and also, of course, luxurious. An increase in eco-sensitivity has fostered the trend toward creating harmony between outdoor and indoor environments and making choices that invite and involve natural elements into the architectural scheme of the home — for example, considering things like the placement of doors and windows so that natural light can be optimally utilized.


  1. Luxury home buyers have been eager to use paint colors in their home that strike a balance. Bold hues in tandem with neutral ones in the same room add dimension and charm. Geometric patterns on the wall beautifully conjure nature and organic life. Plants and other natural elements blend with man-made pieces to lend harmony to the landscape. Materials like wood, natural pigments and terra cotta combine to let the outside in and vice versa. A new attention to the balance between masculine and feminine elements and energies has also contributed to this trend — dark tones, striking patterns and heavy leather are mixed with light colors, clean lines and soft, subtle fixtures.

What Endures

Louis Kahn, renowned American architect, planned the construction of numerous civic structures. Among them was public housing, viaduct systems, and streets and roads in the city of Philadelphia. He did not arrive at his distinctive modernist style till he was in his fifties. His projects since this turning point include art museums, assembly halls and libraries; religious centers and parks; and the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California; and the National Assembly building in Dhaka, Bangladesh, considered the masterpiece of his career. His buildings are a concentration on space and material and weight, rejecting any overt loyalty to historical styles of architecture.

We can pursue details of Kahn’s early years, his years of education, his fonts of inspiration, his travels, his visions and his acclaim through biographies of the man and recorded interviews of his admirers and critics, but what more intimate and singular account can we find of a life than through the eyes of a person as profoundly affected and entwined as a family member? Kahn’s son, Nathaniel Kahn, spent several years assembling a narrative of his father after his death. “My Architect” provides a portrait of Louis Kahn that explores the underlying dimensions of a life popularly known but never thus witnessed.

Uncramp Your Style

What can you do to make a small space feel practical and comfortable, and most importantly — uncrowded? The ideas in this article come from Urban Outfitters’ team of directors and designers, and they are strikingly versatile. Even if your home is not the tiny staged space these artists and builders had to work with, the arrangements are inspiring, and thoroughly inviting.

Pieces of furniture (especially the more mobile ones) can have multiple uses. When is a stool not a stool? When it is also a side table. Doors can become tasteful palettes for storage with a sleek, minimalist rack hung over the top. This featured set makes excellent use of the kitchen area by creating an open cabinetry feel with hanging shelves and hooks for pots and pans. The designated living spaces are functional, and they flow.These 200 square feet are anything but square.