Up Stairs / by Michelle Linden

I quite like the images of this Sfera Building project by Claesson Koivisto Rune. The facade has a delicate texture, not unlike projects by Delugan, H&dM and others. But more than the facade, I really like the verticality and the attention to light in this design. Known for horizontal lines, Japanese infill projects have been embracing the vertical nature of their given sites. This culture house in Kyoto is no exception. The exterior skin which illuminates the entire block while still providing light to the entire spaces even manages to enhance the vertical with the brightest lights at street level drawing your eye upward to the black evening sky.

This second project No Picnic, an industrial design agency in Stockholm, Sweden is another fun project... One that reminds me of a studio project (especially the study models). The space created by the cuts and subtractions offer distinct vignettes and creates spectacular light and shadows. Still, the energetic interior seems quite appropriate for an industrial design firm. In fact, its not surprising to me at all that a firm specializing in industrial design would select a multi-disciplinary (architecture, interiors, products) like CKR.

I also wanted to bring your attention to the two staircases. These two projects are very different and yet the solutions for their vertical circulation are very similar. The narrow and tall stairwells create a sense of being in a deep chasm, but because they are filled with varying degrees of light and shadow and offer glimpses of spaces beyond, these chasms feel warm and inviting rather than oppressive and intimidating. I actually want to climb these stairs.