Editorial Archives - Novell Design Build
- By novelladmin
Creating meaningful space through thoughtful design gets us excited.
As humans, we are complex organisms with creature needs, habits, cultural behaviours, and social requirements.
Our homes are personally reflective of these complexities. Whether intentional or not, they are an extension of ourselves, becoming intricately intertwined with our daily experiences.
Our home physiologically influences our behaviour, emotions, and overall mental health. The question then becomes: How does one insert intention and meaning into that equation?
As designers, we plan a home around universal needs such as gathering, and relaxing. We employ our technical expertise in building science, vet our work through constructability reviews, and we follow laws of good proportion, balance and rhythm through our aesthetic approach. We continually learn and look for better ways to build and better ways to create.
But that isn’t enough. We feel that in order to design well, we must go further and find out how to make space matter and how to make it matter to you. Creating meaningful space that is intended for your desired experiences is what gets us excited. We became designers out of an interest in the psychology of space.
Any one of a thousand variables in a space can affect one’s psychology. The volume, light, material, smells, views, connections, and number of steps between experiences all shape whether a space will decompress you, excite you, relax you, facilitate gathering, facilitate retreat, or facilitate memories.
An event is a continual set of exchanges between you and your surroundings. The rooms and buildings we occupy shape us as much as we shape them.
It is incredibly rewarding to combine thoughtful and responsive attention to human needs while creatively shaping space for optimal living experiences that are important to you.
So what’s important to you?
- By Tudor
We’re already into a new school year and with back-to-school on the brain, we’re taking a quick look at a design trend that’s become wildly popular with one of society’s most important institutions. Thoughtful minimalism with surprises of bold colour characterize a recent wave of school design coming out of countries like Thailand, France and Germany.
Colour blocking has fluctuated in popularity over the years. Recently we’ve seen its influence in many areas of design including fashion, graphics, interior design and architecture with a fresh whimsy. We often think of these professions as being very segregated, when in reality, they’re interconnected by trends and disciplines at work in the design world at large.
The direct juxtaposition of austere and vibrancy creates a fun immediate contrast and visual interest.
In building design, perhaps surprisingly, it also has practical uses.
Psychology plays a big role in making sure that these are effective environments for learning, wellness and growth. The image we often have when we think of traditional school design is the oppressive massing and lifeless utilitarian interiors that were prevalent two or three decades ago. Architects and designers have jumped on the bandwagon to breathe life back into schools, redefining the image of institutionalized learning. We’ve seen this revitalization branch out to other areas of design as well. Decor, furniture and visual art have undergone a kind of renaissance whereby classical aesthetics and influences are re-energized – even with a touch of whimsy.
Colours have been shown to aid learning and can promote activity. Calming colours like greens, blues and purples help to facilitate quiet study. An energetic colour like red is effective in gymnasiums, where it promotes activity.
Other colours like yellow and orange are better suited for hallways because they encourage movement and make sure students don’t loiter between classes. There is more than randomness going on here. Walking these halls, the colours serve as visual cues and prompts, helping with orientation. Colour-coding different floors or hallways makes navigating through a building, known as ‘wayfinding’, more visceral and obvious.
Fun to think of this sensory shift, especially when unexpected textures add a new dimension to the equation. Textures give schools a tactile quality that aid in learning and orientation. There’s just something comfy about a fuzzy burgundy learning space.
Hard to think of these schools as stuffy institutions. We see new life and light in learning!
- By Tudor
Living Small and Design for Small Spaces
Living small can be a challenge in Metro Vancouver. Here are some tips and tricks.
As part of the GVHBA Spring Home Renovation Seminar, Laurel, director and principal designer at Novell, conducted a presentation on living small and how to thoughtfully design a small space. We’ve dissected our presentation and compiled some of the juicy details for your perusing pleasure. You can view the entire Prezi presentation here. For more information on the projects featured, click on the thumbnails.
Create a beautiful path to a beautiful home
Organize your desired experiences
Design with flexibility
Be clever with storage
Hide what you don’t want to see
Use height for more storage solutions
Go big or go home
- By Tudor
With spring in full bloom, Vancouver residents are ready and eager to put their green thumbs to work. But because the city isn’t known for its sprawling backyards and enormous lots, amateur horticulturists may be left wanting.
Vancouverites are in luck!
The City of Vancouver has over 70 community gardens that allow residents to grow, tend, and harvest their own crops. Some of them include Sole Food Street Farms, which operates four urban farms, with three located in East Vancouver. Their fourth farm is probably the most well known as it sits on land donated by Concord Pacific and is located just steps from BC Place. Another notable urban farm that caught our eye is Hastings Urban Farm (HUF), located in the Downtown Eastside (DTES). In addition to veggies and fruits, this farm also produces honey! By bringing together residents of the DTES, the HUF also does its part in reducing poverty and crime. The Village on False Creek Community Garden is an urban garden that provides space to a community of residents that otherwise wouldn’t have an opportunity to grow produce and plant flowers. If you’re interested in joining an urban garden, My Garden Footprint is a great resource for garden locations and other fun information.
It may or may not surprise you, but urban gardens have flourished all over the world—not just in Vancouver!
An urban garden reclaims spaces that are either disused or repurposed. London’s WWII bomb shelters are a great example as the gardens make use of existing space that serves no other contemporary purpose. Detroit, a city that’s often in the spotlight for the state of its urban infrastructure, is trying to revive a deserted neighbourhood with what it’s claiming is the world’s largest urban farm . In Tokyo, a recruitment firm (pictured above) converted a bunch of space into a farm so that its employees can do some gardening on their free time. The food grown is also used at the company’s cafeterias to provide workers with locally grown and fresh ingredients. And while it’s not an urban farm in the way we normally think, a Bangkok skyscraper is home to a symmetrical setup of barrels that are slowly growing edible algae .
Inspired yet? Grab a spade and get out there and enjoy the sun (while it lasts)!
Photo credits: Kono Designs