As 2017 draws to a close, we would like to share a few final thoughts and memories with you.
December is here…the time when spending days and nights in shopping malls is standard practice, when every family member wants to be remembered, and where our tables are filled with home-cooked meals. A time when we celebrate friendships and the loving bonds between families.
On a fundamental and personal level, as Architects and Interior Designers, we share in laying the foundations (almost literally speaking) for these familial bonds. Our homes become the vessels for harbouring and transmitting the joys of the festive season and the fellowship associated with giving and receiving. It brings us great joy to be able to play a part in creating the environments that allow for life to happen, families to grow and for memories to be made and shared.
My name is Justin Coetzee, and as a Professional Architect and Interior Designer at Nico van der Meulen Architects, I would like to close out an exciting 2017 by providing you with some insights into how we are making an effort in MOVING HORIZONS
A YEAR IN REVIEW
The year 2017 brought about a number of opportunities to shift boundaries and challenge our approach to the creative process. Internally the focus has shifted somewhat from a ‘two-team’ structure, to a more integrated approach between Nico van der Meulen Architects and M Square Lifestyle Design.
We are working in defined teams on certain projects which aids in relaxing a few boundaries, and opening new opportunities for coordination on projects.
During the year we aimed to keep you abreast with our Newsletters of projects, changes, achievements and various company processes. In reflecting on the many web and print publications this year, and the completion of projects, we would like to thank you for your loyal support and continued engagement throughout this creative process.
We shared a few ideas and thoughts on the workings of our office, introduced you to a few seniors on the professional team, as well as provided advice on the careful consideration required in selecting a stand for your new home. We provided insight into how we approach the 3D design process and its eventual development into the documentation phase and the importance of design quality and client experience.
We look forward to continuing these efforts and developing this ethos of enlightenment in the year 2018.
In the spirit of shifting horizons and renewed change, we were privileged to be part of a few notable international projects throughout the year, adding Portugal and Australia to our portfolio.
Each of these projects required an individual response to a context unknown to us, and in developing an understanding of a place, we were able to incorporate our approach of functional and beautiful architecture effectively.
One of these being the Algarve Coastal Home, which is located on a large uninhabited piece of land that is scattered with ruins. Designed by Nico and Werner van der Meulen, the aim was to root this house firmly to the coastal edge; allowing the natural landscape to engage with the public zones of the home.
The dominance of a monochromatic material simplifies the palette, affording the harmony and theatre of light and shadow to add to the spatiality, and in this way adding a layered dimension to the house.
On the other side of the world, the Melbourne Residence builds on an aesthetic and architectural language developed at Kloof Road House. Designed by Nico, Werner and David Homer, the fundamental approach deployed was to treat the house as two contradictory entities, yet in this contradiction lies a unique marriage of texture, light, spatiality and beauty. Conceptually the house is rooted within its context with a solid Ground Floor base, with a more lightweight First Floor.
From this architectural base grows a unique deconstructed skin, morphing the spatial envelopes in order to filter light in unique ways and providing privacy where required. The rawness and solidity of the chosen materials is contrasted by its relative plasticity and seemingly malleable facade.
Another beautifully designed project completed in 2017 is House Cicaletto in Italy. A seemingly simple alteration and refurbishment of an Aged Farmhouse and Lookout Tower, resulted in a well-crafted and well thought-out house.
The undertaking was reserved yet luxurious, with a focus on restoring and retaining as much of the original historic structure as possible, and providing the house with a luxurious warmth in the interior. Spaces were primed to maximise the views of the rolling green hills. This house exemplifies a measured approach to designing homes for living, where the context provides a meaningful backdrop to the trivialities of life.
A few others to mention that are well within the design development and documentation phases are houses Culross 3 and CoCo. Culross 3 is located in Johannesburg (designed by Werner), and is notable due to the adventurous nature of materials that we aim to deploy, while OUT is located in Ivory Coast (designed by Michael Zietsman).
MAH Lodge in Welgevonden has also recently undergone the documentation phase and is nearing implementation in the new year and is something to look forward to.
Noting projects on site, Residence MCG is nearing completion in the new year, a project I started with Nico nearly three years ago, along with a Residence in Buffalo bay, Knysna.
Over the course of the year we had the opportunity to engage with clients from an architectural vantage point, as well as an interior level. This process afforded us the opportunity to understand the requirements you, our valued clients, have from both companies and the outcomes we are required to meet.
The past few years has seen MSLD develop into a well-structured brand that offers clients the platform and expertise to orchestrate and implement various designs for the interior of their homes. This process was always treated as an isolated endeavour, however, with the benefit of experience, we have come to understand that Architecture and Interior Design services cannot be employed in isolation.
On recent projects we shifted our approach to integrate the services provided by other professionals required on a project, are on board during the early planning phases. Incorporating the services of Energy Consultants, Engineers, Specialist Professionals, Project Managers, as well as Quantity Surveyors during the planning phases, the projects benefit greatly from this rehearsed and thorough approach. These professionals are essential to laying the foundations in good planning before construction.
Once on site, the one professional becoming part of the team rather late is the MSLD Interior Designers. As there is a shift to a more integrated design approach, we aim to involve MSLD earlier in the process, which should ultimately lead to a more integrated understanding and development of projects. This approach seems natural in developing our philosophy of a cohesive complete approach in order to further streamline work on site
Our aim remains to provide a holistically flowing service between NVDM and MSLD throughout the design and construction phase. We want to continue to expand on this philosophy during the course of the new year.
Thank you for taking the time to share in our news throughout 2017.
Nico van der Meulen, the NVDM and MSLD teams and I, wish to extend our best wishes for a joyous festive season, and happy holidays.