February 26, 2021
Modern houses are mainly rectilinear for good reasons. Straight lines and right angles are practical: fitting furniture and hanging pictures is a cinch with straight walls. Nature, on the other hand, is dominated by curves. This is why curvy designs have such enduring appeal. They provide a sense of natural cosiness which rectilinear designs find hard to beat. But how do you square the circle of practical, rectangular spaces with emotive, curvy designs? San Francisco based OPA Architects shows what's possible with the interior refurbishment of a modern house in Mill Valley, California.
From the outside, this substantial family house looks sleek and understated - a series of stacked rectangular volumes cladded in wood strips, punctuated by expansive windows.
Inside, the space is softened by a series of cloud-like structures which pop up at seemingly random spots. A pink column is wrapped in the tender embrace of bulbous forms, an armchair in the entrance hallway is ensconced in a cavern-like niche, whilst the round bath in the master bathroom sits in corner seemingly carved out of a fluffy cloud.
The cloud metaphor reaches its apogee in the terrace canopy, a lattice structure shaped just like a cumulonimbus. Details such as the puddle-shaped front steps and the delightfully twisted staircase handle rails add to the sense of wonder. It is as if a giant pot of molten marshmallow had spilt inside the house, leaving globs of puffiness dripping everywhere. The effect is fun, friendly and imaginative, all within the confines of a rational and pragmatic space. These clouds definitely bring an abundance of silver linings.
Lighten the mood with nature inspired lights such as the Fil de Fer Nuvola pendant light from Catellani & Smith, the Scraplight Alki suspension light from Graypants and the Raindrop suspension light from LZF.
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