Zic Zac – For very small outdoor spaces, for picnics or open air day trips

Zic Zac is a practical balcony set which brightens the atmosphere with its fresh and cheerful vitality, its colours and its design. Zic Zac is ideal for small outdoor spaces.

One side of the Zic table can be attached to the wall and because of a simple mechanism, it can be easily closed and folded down. It is possible to store two Zac chairs inside. But it is also possible to use Zic table in a traditional way freestanding like a camping table. The whole set is available in seven different shades, form bright colours of fizzling orange, purple, red and lime green to the more subtle ones like anthracite, white and grey. Zic Zac is lightweight and easy to handle. It doesn´t require any end-of-season maintenance because the set is made of polypropylene fibre-glass, a material characterized by strong resistance to atmospheric pollutants.

Further information: nardigarden.com

3 questions to: Rick Mulligan

In Germany interior architect Rick Mulligan is well known from his TV appearances giving advice and suggestions for home improvements. He sees his role as being the interface between high-quality craftsmen, and his clients’ individual wishes. As an architect, he facilitates the design and installation of a high quality home interior, and advises the client from the initial design of the house, through to the garden layout.

Mr. Mulligan: increasingly, outside areas are coming to resemble the living room with comfortable sofas, armchairs and carpets. But the fact is that in our part of the world, the outdoor temperatures are not often warm enough to sit outside. What do you think?
People are simply happy to be outside as much as they can and be close to nature; it combines the feeling of freedom with relaxation. Now we can use the warmth from infrared light to extend the duration of outdoor comfort; in the past our time outside in the fresh air was usually limited to summer. Added to that, in the past few years we have had wonderful spring and autumn weather; we should take maximum advantage of this bonus.

What are the main considerations when planning outdoor areas?
It is important that outdoor and indoor areas should harmonise with each other; if possible, the architectural interior concept should extend to the outdoor area. In addition, the general design should blend with its surroundings. Cast iron grills or miniature Japanese Zen-style gardens don’t go very well with an urban environment. Of course, the materials used must be able to withstand all kinds of weather. For example, there is now a new kind of material consisting of pressed wood grains that is ideal for outdoor use. Modern outdoor fabrics are absolutely brilliant and no longer hard as nails, as used to be the case. I even use these fabrics indoors, because they undergo no solar degradation.

Which colours and what kind of products are currently in demand?
Mulligan: I
n my opinion outdoor colours should not be too bold. When all is said and done, the aim is to relax and enjoy the green of nature about us. I think subdued, natural colours in the Hampton style are best; a good deck chair symbolises all that is best in outdoor furniture, and is comfortable even without any upholstery. By contrast, expansive sofas are ideal where you want to be seated for an extended period, for example in a food service environment.

Further information: rickmulligan.de

Helsinki is World Design Capital in 2012

While there are many awards that recognise individual accomplishments in design, the World Design Capital (WDC) designation is unique as it aims to focus on the broader essence of design’s impact on urban spaces, economies and citizens.

The designation provides a distinctive opportunity for cities to feature their accomplishments in attracting and promoting innovative design, as well as highlight their successes in urban revitalisation strategies. The World Design Capital is an initiative of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID).

Finnish design has a long and distinguished history. It is no exaggeration to say that design is ever-present in the Finnish lifestyle. Traditions are respected and the past is cherished, but above all, design represents the future. Finland is not interested in having a 365-day fireworks show. It wants to  go deeper into the new role of sustainable design from a broad perspective and achieve things whose impact will reach far into the future.

For further information: wdchelsinki2012.fi

Aalto University for example has a strong presence in the World Design Capital 2012 year with around 30 projects. The projects featured here involve particularly strong co-operative elements with multiple private, public and third sector partners.  The projects vary from social innovation, sustainability and urban design to future concepts and innovation.

For further information: arts.aalto.fi/en



Resort Le Meridien Koh Samui: Water The Key Design Feature

Anyone entering these portals immediately abandons all thoughts of stress; for the Le Méridien Koh Samui Resort & Spa is next to the beautiful fine powdery sands of Lamai Beach at Koh Samui — Thailand’s third-largest island. The guest is now on an inspired journey of unmitigated relaxation.

The establishment combines traditional Asian elements with simple modernity, maximum comfort and convenience, creating an inspired atmosphere of relaxation, which draws all-comers in its wake. Many typical Thai elements are employed in the architecture and interior design of the 63 suites and 14 elegant villas, together with many hints of a culture rooted in Chinese history. The interior architecture is by designer Khun Jakarin from the well-known Begray Bangkok partnership. The resort has been laid out on the pattern of an Asian village with luxuriant vegetation, trees and flowers, based on the principles of Feng Shui. This places great emphasis on the use of natural materials such as wood, stone and water, together symbolising activity, happiness and wealth. A large, square decorative pool dominates the quadrangular open-air lobby while inside the villas and suites, water is a key feature of the generously-dimensioned bathing and shower facilities, small plunge- and paddling-pools. Pool villas have direct access to a generously-dimensioned pool area, while guests residing in the striking Ocean Front Pool Villas have a breathtaking view of the Gulf of Thailand.

By contrast, walls around the extensive health and spa areas are finished in natural stone, marble or granite, down which the refreshing water softly trickles. Just one glance is enough to bring on a severe case of deep relaxation. Given the warm climate, guests will wish to spend most of their time in the open air, so there is no barrier between Pool Villa inner and outer areas. The covered sleeping areas are located behind large open terraces, furnished with upholstered outdoor sofas and comfortable lounge couches. One of the resort highlights is the 224-metre swimming dock, extending from the beach into the open sea. This is a favourite place for guests to hold a cocktail party or, if desired, to celebrate a private candlelit dinner.

For furter information: starwoodhotels.com/lemeridien

The Selman Marrakech: A Dream from 1001 Nights

This establishment is a magical symbiosis of Moroccan tradition and modern Zeitgeist: the new five-star Selman Marrakech boutique resort uses authentic heavy local woven fabrics with bold colours and clear lines.

French architect Jacques Garcia has created a work of art within a Moorish Palace at the foot of the Atlas Mountains: elegant and sumptuous, yet without appearing in any way clumsy, either inside or out. The interior areas create a sense of intimacy, while providing views of the magnificent Andalusia-style courtyards and gardens. The public areas have secluded patios and fire-hearth niche zones.

At the heart of Jacques Garcia’s oasis design is an 80-metre swimming pool — surrounded by a rainbow of flowers, olive and palm trees. As part of the overall design, the hotel has two restaurants and three bars; furniture includes stylish basket and steel furniture. Whether relaxing under the open sky or shade of Le Pavillion, the guest not only has a view of the carefully manicured ornamental pool, but also a unique view of the hotel’s own stud farm.

In addition to the 56 bedrooms decorated in the Moorish style, guests can reserve one of five luxury Riad apartments, for whose living rooms Garcia selected rare works of art and antiques. The opulent bedroom curtains are reminiscent of Bedouin tents. Each Riad apartment surrounds its own private 400 square metre private garden with heated pool and lounge area. And true to Moroccan tradition, a private patio and fountain lead to the guest’s own private and personal rooms.

 Further information: selman-marrakech.com