Beautiful London Architecture

Open House London has officially released the list of over 800 buildings open to the public this fall. This year, a range of exciting architecture is featured, including the new US Embassy by KieranTimberlake, Maggie’s Barts by Steven Holl Architects, and Bloomberg European Headquarters by Foster + Partners, the world’s most sustainable office building. Here is a must-see list of buildings to discover.

MaggiesMAGGIE BARTS
Maggie’s Centers are unique, welcoming and uplifting places with qualified staff on hand to provide free practical, emotional and social support for people with cancer, their families and friends. Maggie’s Centers are designed to feel more like a home than a hospital, with no reception desk, no signs on the wall, no name badges and a big kitchen table at their heart. This approach supports the informal relationships between staff and visitors, and is an important part of the unique support they offer.

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U.S. EMBASSY
The new U.S. Embassy, by KieranTimberlake, in Nine Elms reflects the best of modern design, incorporates the latest in energy-efficient building techniques, and celebrates the values of freedom and democracy. The Nine Elms district, a South Bank industrial zone under intense redevelopment, is a unique setting for the new Embassy. The Embassy stands at the center of this burgeoning area of London, with a public park containing a pond, walkways, seating, and landscape along its edges. Curving walkways continue into the interior of the building with gardens on each floor that extend the spiraling movement upward.

Kieran TimberlakeKieran TimberlakeKieran Timberlake has completed work on the US Embassy in London, a glass cube swathed in shimmering sails of plastic that is set on a plinth and surrounded by a moat-like pond on the edge of the River Thames.

The building, which replaces the previous Eero Saarinen-designed address in Mayfair, has been engineered to balance impenetrable security standards with a visual language of openness. The 12-story cube has a facade of laminated glazing enveloped on two sides with a transparent film of ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE), the same type of plastic use for the bio-domes in the UK’s Eden Project.

american-embassy--timberlake-col_16american-embassy-imberlake-hero_b-1704x959The “transparent crystalline cube” is intended to symbolize “transparency, openness, and equality”. The unusual form of the building’s facade is designed to minimize solar gain and glare while still allowing natural light in. The reflective facade shifts in color according to the weather and the position of the sun.

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ROYAL ACADEMY OF MUSIC – THEATER AND RECITAL HALL
The Royal Academy of Music’s Theatre and new Recital Hall project has created two distinct, outstanding performance spaces for Britain’s oldest conservatory. Designed for both opera and musical theatre productions, The Susie Sainsbury Theater sits at the heart of the Academy. Inspired by the curved shapes of string instruments, the 309-seat cherry-lined Theater has been acoustically refined to deliver excellent sound qualities. Within the old concrete walls, the Theater incorporates 40% more seating than previously through the addition of a balcony, as well as a larger orchestra pit, a stage wing and a fly tower. All seats have unimpeded views of the stage, while the larger orchestra pit allows for an expanded repertoire choice, from early to modern opera and musical theatre.

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BLOOMBERG EUROPEAN HEADQUARTERS
Bloomberg’s European Headquarters is the world’s most sustainable office building. Home to the financial technology and information company’s 4,000 London-based employees, its unique design promotes collaboration and innovation. In its form, massing and materials, the building’s exterior is respectful of its historic setting – a natural extension of the City that will endure and improve the surrounding public realm. Inside, its dynamic, contemporary interior is a highly specific response to the global financial information and technology company’s needs and embodies the organizations core values of transparency, openness and collaboration. Above all, the building sets a new standard in sustainable office design, with a BREEAM Outstanding rating of 98.5% – the highest design-stage score ever achieved by any major office development. The development uses 70% less water and 35% less energy than a typical office building.

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Beautiful Space Needle

See Seattle from 500 feet through the Space Needle’s rotating glass floor

The 605-foot Space Needle is the most iconic structure in Seattle. Built in 1962, and reportedly purchased by investors for $75,000, the landmark has an observation deck and revolving restaurant at 500 feet, where hundreds of daily visitors hunker down for 360-degree views of Seattle. Now, 56 years later, the Space Needle is unveiling a massive renovation, with many of the new spaces now open to visitors. Guests can also now “float” over Seattle 520 feet up via new Skyrisers by leaning into the tilting glass walls on the open-air deck for an angled vantage point.

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Those who have a fear of heights might not want to look down next time you go up to the Space Needle. One of the centerpieces of the landmark’s massive remodel, designed by Olson Kundig, is now complete: a rotating glass floor, allowing visitors to look down at the 500 feet between them and the ground.

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Called the Loupe, the Space Needle’s new floor gives a view not just of the people milling about below, but the inner workings of the building, giving the viewer a sense of what makes the Needle tick. Counter-weights and the insides of the elevator are both revealed.

The glass floor goes along with newly-open glass walls, doing away with a more closed-off design and adding glass benches that help give the illusion of floating above the city. All together, more than 176 tons of glass were used in the renovation.

As before, the rotating floor will be part of a restaurant—the exact concept is slated to be announced later this year—but for now, visitors can have a drink or a snack on that level at Atmos Wine Bar. Atmos Café is located on the second floor. Want a glass of water or wine with your meal? It’ll pair well with the glass tables, chairs, windows and rotating floor in the reimagined space. Dropping a fork in this place is going to be a newsworthy event!

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Beautiful Brownstone Interior Renovation

ST. JOHN’S PLACE TOWNHOUSE RENOVATION

I am drooling over this newly renovated Brooklyn townhouse. I can’t get over the beautiful millwork – The details are stunning!

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This Spring Hatchet Design Build completed an intricate your-long renovation of a stunning townhouse Brooklyn’s Prospect Heights neighborhood.  Seeking to capture the classic-meets-modern essence of the home, they teamed up with Coil + Drift to style the space.

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Working along side Brooklyn studio Cold Picnic, Sorensen-Jolink styled the bright home using furniture and lighting from Coil + Drift’s latest collection as well as vintage pieces from Williamsurg’s Home Union and rugs by Cold Picnic.  The result is an elegantly-edited space that feels inviting and fresh while showcasing the homes restored beauty.

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All photography by Nicholas Calcott.

Beautiful Photography

Mr Peter Lindbergh (1944) is the epitome of a rebellious spirit. He single-handedly changed the face of fashion photography, pushing boundaries and setting new standards along the way. The world-renowned German pioneer received his education in the early 1960’s at the Berlin Academy of Fine Arts, where he nurtured his admiration for Vincent van Gogh. Relocating to the French village of Arles for a year, he literally walked in the Dutch painters’ footsteps. A move that reveals not just mild affection but true passion.

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After moving to Düsseldorf in 1971, Mr Lindbergh switched his focus from painting to photography. He quickly made a name for himself, joining news magazine Stern along with fellow photography rebels Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin and Hans Feurer. It was around this time Mr Lindbergh developed an unusual sense of individuality, revolutionizing fashion photography with his timeless, cinematic images.

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In the glamorous universe of VOGUE, Vanity Fair and W, he became known for his humanist approach and the idealization of women. It is the responsibility of photographers, he said, “to free women, and finally everyone, from the terror of youth and perfection.” I assume that includes pink birds with bowler hats…

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Mr Lindbergh launched the careers of supermodels like Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista and Cindy Crawford, all beaming with youthful joy on his famous January 1990 VOGUE UK cover. To this very day, he continues to be a force of nature redefining the standards of beauty in the fashion world and beyond. A rebellious spirit with an unusual character, indeed.

Beautiful Interiors on a Budget

Ikea isn’t for everyone but if you are looking for a soft minimal look without spending a lot, Ikea gets the job done. Some inspiration from Ikea’s blog Livet Hemma (Live at Home) today, with two very different living room looks. The first is a soft minimalism style living room created by Susanne Swegen. Inspired by her love of mixing Japanese and Finnish aesthetics, the space features a soft color scheme and lots of warm wood. The two-toned walls provide a lovely framework for the room, while mirrors are used to play with light and reflections. I absolutely love the recessed desk area with vertical shelving. Such a great use of space!

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The soft pink Söderhamn sofa styled against the raw concrete creates a beautiful contrast of textures in this living room setting.

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Styling by Susanne Swegen  / Photography by Andrea Papini and Emily Layefor Ikea Livet Hemma

Beautiful Thoughts

Some days are easy going and good and somehow we arrive at the end of it a little wiser, happier, or maybe the same but unscathed.  Then there are days we question our very worth and sometimes we don’t even know or understand why we derailed off the happy train. It’s those days that we need the extra kindness of friends and strangers, a smile, an acknowledgement that you are seen and even valued. We need a beautiful sight, a flower, a tree, a child, a beautiful human, something funny, the water or the forest, or at least the memory of such.

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We need to give our smile to someone else because they may be feeling the same and need a little confirmation, a little love, too.  You can never know the complete affect your little act of kindness can have on the world. So today, as easy or as confusing as it may be, I choose to let the universe flow through me as a confirmation that life is beautiful. And,  I vow to let the people I love and the strangers I make eye contact with, feel valued and seen, and acknowledged. So I ask you to just smile at someone, make eye contact and say hi, you just never know!  Let’s be better humans!

Photo taken somewhere on Puget Sound between Kitsap and Seattle

Beautiful Fall Foliage

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Some consider Autumn to be the most incredible time of the year. Gorgeous colors vibrantly encoring the end of summer as the trees put themselves to bed for the long sleep of winter. The Great Smoky Mountains floods with thousands upon thousands of annual visitors all hoping to achieve a breath taking view of the beautiful renaissance of nature.

The Smoky Mountains team has once again released their foliage prediction map, updated for 2017. The complex algorithm uses historical and forecasted precipitation and temperatures, as well as historical leaf peak and observational trends to predict when the trees will be at their most colorful. As each year passes, there’s more historical data to consider, and therefore, the predictions get more accurate.

This 2017 Fall Foliage Map is the ultimate visual planning guide to the annual progressive changing of the leaves. While no tool can be 100% accurate, this tool is meant to help travelers better time their trips to have the best opportunity of catching peak color each year.