Cabanas no Rio, another paradisiac retreat by Aires Mateus

From the same owners of Casas na Areia, this second, equally gorgeous Portuguese getaway, Cabanas no Rio doesn’t fall short neither on natural nor architectural beauty.

DesignJoyBlog // Cabanas no Rio by Mateus Aires

This project, also by Portuguese architect Manuel Aires Mateus, is located in the natural reserve of the River Sado, only one hour south of Lisbon in the village of Comporta – Portugal. Away from the riffraff, this region is well known for its beautiful white sandy beaches, green immensity of the rice fields, the typical fishermen’s houses and, being in Portugal, unique food and wine. My kind of paradise!

This project was based in the «use/reuse and recycle» of two old huts, once used by local fishermen’s. The two new ones, with 14 square meters each, were both built off-site and transported to Comporta by truck.

The living areas are divided between the two cabins, on the first one there is a a small kitchen equipped to prepare simple meals, and on the second one is the bedroom and en-suite bathroom and shower, that can be used both outdoors and indoors. How great is that?

From the architects:

The wharf is medieval and assembled with wood. Its identity is kept long beyond the material’s resistance, an identity that allows it to change, to replace, keeping all the values. The construction is entirely finished in “costaneiros” wood, a first and last boards sawn from a log. The structures are then submitted to the climate vulnerability, assigning them a unique personality.

All photographs by Nelson Garrido.

Courtesy of Cabanas no Rio.

Link with love xx

The Lloyd Hotel and Cultural Embassy, Amsterdam’s coolest hangout

If you’re looking for a cultural and historical experience as well as a comfortable place to stay in Amsterdam the Lloyd Hotel & Cultural Embassy is definitely the place for you. However strange it is to know that your room may have been occupied by prisoners, this building’s history is as appealing as its wonderfully creative interior design.

DesignJoyBlog // Lloyd Hotel Amsterdam 5 star room

Since its construction in the 1920s as a hotel for migrants waiting to board the ships of the Royal Dutch Lloyd, the Lloyd ‘lived’ the history of the 20th century. It served as a refugee camp for Jewish people in the late 30s, a German occupied detention center in the 40s and a youth prison for nearly 30 years from the 60s onwards and until 2001 it was a living and working space for local artists. Lucky for us, the brushstrokes of these artists have left as many marks in the interior of the building as the decades of being used as a prison.

DesignJoyBlog // Lloyd Hotel Amsterdam Facade Voorkant- door Allard van der Hoek

In order to restore the building to its original purpose as a hotel, the dutch architectural firm MVRDV was commissioned and in 2004, after major renovations, the Lloyd Hotel was successfully mutated from a youth prison to a ‘one to five star’ hotel and Cultural Embassy. The interior design of the common areas and suites was a collaborative effort of over 40 interior designers and artists, among others, Claudy Jongstra, Atelier van Lieshout, Christoph Seyferth, Ineke Hans, and Richard Hutten.

The Lloyd Hotel & Cultural Embassy was the first one-to-five star design hotel in the world offering a home to travellers of all classes. The rooms are rated according to design, size and comfort but the common areas are shared amongst all guests fostering a rich cultural experience.

In addition to being beautifully designed (they have Richard Hutten to blame for that), the Cafè-Restaurant has a great menu with simple, yet very well executed, french and southern european dishes. With friendly staff, affordable prices and a lovely Terrace during the summer this is one of Amsterdam’s nicest spots.

The Cultural Embassy promotes exhibitions, conferences and other events which are open to all guests and the local community. There is even a permanent exhibition ‘Lloyd History’ tells the story of past through old photographs, a 1928 video, documents and other objects. Even if you’re not a guest at the hotel, this place is definitely worth a visit!

All images courtesy of the Lloyd Hotel & Cultural Embassy. Link with love.

Luxury and Northern Lights in Iceland : The Ion Hotel by Minarc

Ever since I watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty a couple of weeks ago, for some reason I’ve been very interested in Iceland. In the film the main character, Walter Mitty, embarks on an amazing adventure that includes a tour of Iceland. While the script is nothing out of the ordinary, the photography is something else entirely… the stunning views of the Icelandic countryside leave you wondering if a place can really be that beautiful. Ok, Stuart Dryburgh is certainly a very talented cinematographer, no doubt, but surely the natural allure of the place plays an important part as well. DesignJoyBlog The Ion Hotel by Minarc main Apart from a live volcano with a name that no one non-Icelandic can pronounce, Eyjafjallajökull, and freezing cold weather for most of the year, Iceland is a culturally rich and incredibly beautiful country making it a wonderful place to travel to. As I was looking up hotels, I stumbled upon the new Ion Hotel and, at first, I found it remarkably similar do another hotel I wrote about a while back The Fogo Island Inn. Although I’m still not sure if it’s just the pillars or the stunningly rough surroundings that make these two hotels look alike… But they do look similar, don’t they?

Designed by Icelandic Architects Tryggvi Thorsteinsson and Erla Dögg Ingjaldsdóttir from the California based Studio Minarc, this precious little hideaway is located an hour away from Reykjavik literally in the middle of nowhere. The Ion Luxury Adventure Hotel & Spa, as it’s called, provides luxurious accommodations for the most adventurous travelers who go to that regain for it’s incredible list of outdoors activities, from fly-fishing to touring a glacier. Not to mention the wonderful spectacle of the Northern Lights, well, if you’re lucky enough to be there at the right time of the year.

In addition, the Hotel has a Spa, a Bar and Restaurant providing guests an isle of comfort amidst the harsh, but beautiful, volcanic rocks surroundings. Coherent to its location near Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Ion is also eco-friendly and was recently granted the Boutique Hotel Awards in the sustainability category.

And here’s the description from Minarc:

The vision for the Ion Luxury Adventure Hotel was truly holistic, requiring a design that reflects the natural beauty of the region with clarity and simplicity, in a manner that is environmentally considerate, while appealing to the desire for luxury that attracts the upscale adventurer—a desire that has been redefined by expressions of luxury that are smaller, more personal and intimate, and eco-responsive. Knowing this, and understanding that a built environment often has a profound impact on the natural environment, our approach was to create a hotel experience as dramatic and otherworldly as the natural Icelandic surroundings, where the built and natural environments can coexist, integrate, even synergize. The hotel property features one of Iceland’s most breathtaking natural settings. Near Thingvellir National Park, it is beautifully situated on the multicolored slopes of Mt. Hengill, with a dramatic view of Lake Thingvallavatn and the mountains surrounding the lake. With respect for nature, the hotel incorporates innovative materials, sustainable practices, and the natural features of Iceland into its design—an understated design that allows the extraordinary landscape to take center stage. The Ion Hotel emerges from the moss covered mountain base like an enormous post pile wrapped in a sheath of hardened lava. The mnmMOD prefabricated, panelized building system used for both the new extension and original structure achieves both aesthetic and environmental objectives. Beneath its stark appearance, which could easily be mistaken for part of the evolving landscape, is a high-performance system that maximizes energy efficiency with a reduced carbon footprint. An abundance of natural hot springs surrounding the hotel provide guest rooms with clean, energy-efficient geothermal heating and hot water. The extensive use of oversized windows throughout the hotel captures the natural daylight, reducing the need for artificial lighting, while providing unobstructed views of the natural wonders beyond. An attention to details and finishing touches, inspired by the environmental surroundings, culture and traditions of Iceland, completes the picture. An extensive use of recycled and repurposed materials—driftwood, lava, recycled rubber—is felt throughout the hotel, reflecting the commitment to environmental simplicity. Adding to the overall ambiance are Icelandic references—glacial waterfalls, an arctic fox, the brown trout—adorning the walls. You can enjoy the undercurrent of contemporary and traditional Icelandic music throughout the property, or while enjoying a selection of Icelandic beer at the Northern Lights lounge. Fair Trade certified products, such as linens, blankets, towels, and bathrobes, are used when local Icelandic items are not available. The project has responded to a new era of luxury with a hotel for the affluent adventurer who has become increasingly less comfortable with conspicuous consumption, and more environmentally aware. A traveler who doesn’t want his creature comforts interrupting the experience of, in this case, Iceland’s otherworldly natural wonders: lava flows, drifting continental shelves, the Northern Lights, glaciers, waterfalls, and hot springs.

Architects: Minarc

Location: Iceland

Design Team: Tryggvi Thorsteinsson, Erla Dögg Ingjaldsdóttir

Year: 2013

Photographs: Art Gray, Ragnar Th. Sigurdsson, Torfi Agnarrson, Kristbjorg Sigurjonsdottir via ArchDaily