Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion, Norway

When I first came across photos of the Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion in Norway, the images took my breath away.

When I first came across photos of the Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion in Norway, the images took my breath away.  It is such a visually amazing place, just a rectangular box within this vast, gorgeous land.  The scene is almost too far-fetched to be believed, like nothing I’ve ever seen.

The pavilion is used by the Wild Reindeer Foundation, a charity which acts to protect Europe’s last wild reindeer herd.  Set against the backdrop of the Dovre Mountains in Norway, the Wild Reindeer Centre was designed by architectural firm Snohetta.  The exterior is constructed of a rectangular steel frame with one wall of glazed glass forming an observation point from which the entire sweeping landscape can be viewed.  The pavilion’s interior is dominated by an organic wood core built from pine beams by Norwegian ship builders.  Visitors reach the pavilion by way of a mile-long nature path.  Once they arrive, they can sit on the wooden form and be warmed by a hanging furnace.

When discussing the building’s formation, the architects state, “This unique natural, cultural and mythical landscape has formed the basis of the architectural idea. The building design is based on a rigid outer shell and an organic inner core. The south facing exterior wall and the interior create a protected and warm gathering place, while still preserving the visitor’s view of the spectacular panorama.”  I find it fascinating how the pavilion’s shape exudes a sense of permanence while the sweeping curves of the interior reflect the mountainous lines of the distant Dovre.  What an incredible place this must be to visit in person!

Cover image by Klass Van Ommerman.  Other images by Ketil Jacobsen and Diephotodesigner

Uruguay

I think most people have a bucket list of places around the world they dream of exploring. I’ve been so fortunate to visit some beautiful places, but there are still many sights I’d love to see in person. Once such place is Uruguay.

I think most people have a bucket list of places around the world they dream of exploring.  I’ve been so fortunate to visit some beautiful places, but there are still many sights I’d love to see in person.  Once such place is Uruguay.

Uruguay may not be an obvious choice, or even a spot on the map most people can immediately point out.  When you think of South American destinations, it’s probably not the first place that comes to mind.  However, for me Uruguay seems like such  an interesting combination of development and wildness.  Its rolling plains and low hill ranges form a striking geography completely independent of the beautiful coastline.

The appeal of Uruguay for me lies in the contrast between the wild beauty of the landscape and the architectural lines of places like Fasano Las Piedras in Punta Del Este.  This is an experience I would love to have, walking up through this dramatic greenery with the clean lines of the modern buildings that still manage to look like an organic part of the area.  There’s no commercialized clutter, just this stunning architecture among a rugged landscape.

Fasano Las Piedras is a luxurious estate comprised of 32 bungalows designed by renowned Brazilian architect Isay Weinfeld.  Weinfeld combines natural materials and sophisticated textures, weaving together the sensual and the severe.  His modern style has produced an artistically beautiful environment at Fasano Las Piedras.  Almost all of the color comes from the surrounding plants, a perfectly landscaped area that still feels casual and true Uruguay’s unique beauty.  It seems perfectly fitting that this resort is comprised of private bungalows instead of traditional hotel suites. The privacy and isolation of the bungalows simply reinforces the dwarfing effect of Uruguay’s sweeping skies.

What’s the most unusual travel destination on your bucket list?

Viceroy Anguilla, Caribbean Beach Resort

With its white sand beaches, lush landscape, and luxury accommodations, it’s difficult to imagine a more sumptuous and relaxing destination than the Viceroy Resort at Anguilla.

With its white sand beaches, lush landscape, and luxury accommodations, it’s difficult to imagine a more sumptuous and relaxing destination than the Viceroy Resort at Anguilla.  The most stressful part of a vacation here could be deciding how to spoil yourself rotten.  Snorkeling, swimming in picture-perfect pools, treating yourself to an incredible spa day, enjoying drinks at the cliff side beach bar, experiencing authentic local culture, or playing at water sports are just some of the ways guests can while away their tropical days.

But what makes the Viceroy Resort so stunning is the  incredible design of the resort and its guest accommodations.  The 116 guest spaces, from private villas to bluff top guest rooms, showcase amazing design by Kelly Wearstler.  The resort’s modern architecture interacts seamlessly with the surrounding nature, while the interiors feature organic, locally-inspired palettes, and textures.  Sophisticated and contemporary, with natural, complex textures, everything about the decor immerses guests in luxury.

 

Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao Spain

The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, designed by architect Frank Gehry, is widely considered one of the most important and admired works of contemporary architecture.

Imagine walking through the old city of Bilbao, Spain, with ancient cobblestones under your feet, surrounded by buildings adorned with lively colors.  The shape of the alley naturally brings your eye up where, at the end, sits a massive modern structure that seems to undulate in the sun.  This is the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, designed by architect Frank Gehry and widely considered one of the most important and admired works of contemporary architecture.

Image: Damian Corrigan

I find the idea of this modern masterpiece in the heart of an old Spanish city so conceptually cool; I’d love to experience this!  Gehry designed the building to have an organic feel, with seemingly random curves.  Sitting along the Nervion River, the building looks like a ship about to head out to the Atlantic.  At the same time, the titanium panels covering those dramatic curves bring to mind schools of shiny fish cutting through the nearby waters.  It’s incredible how one structure expresses different aspects from varying angles.

Image by Pignatelli Massimo
Image courtesy of 2008 Gehry Partners LLP
Image courtesy of guggenheim.org

 

 

 

Farmhouses and Barns

I started looking at other examples of farmhouses and converted barns and found amazing examples of both. This style is at once welcoming and luxurious.

I recently saw a piece in Veranda about an incredible farmhouse in Wyoming.   The work of designer Barbara Barry and architect Peter Block, this home showcases the best of the farmhouse style.

Farmhouse in Jackson Hole Valley

It certainly meets the designer’s vision for “a pure and simple country home.”  Every line of the exterior is perfectly suited to the farmhouse look, including the appearance of an attached barn.

Inside the home, Barry worked with natural light and a palette taken from the great outdoors to create a comfortable atmosphere.  Traditional elements throughout the interior are consistent with the farmhouse concept but are well balanced by modern touches.

Kitchen with fireplace.
Dining room.

I started looking at other examples of farmhouses and converted barns and found amazing examples of both.  This style is at once welcoming and luxurious.

Converted barn in Roxbury, CT
Sheffield, MA converted barn from old mill

 

Modern Barn, photographer Simon Upton for Elle Decor
Modern barn interior designed by Russel Groves
Barn with conservatory
from Archtectural Digest
Beautiful converted barn by David Kleinberg

One site I love for referencing barns is Heritage Restorations.  Very cool photos and ideas!