Reiulf Ramstad Architects have designed a unique trail, high in the majestic Norwegian mountains, known as the ‘Trollstigen Tourist Route‘. These well paved routes cross over gushing rivers, rocky terrain and lead hikers to numerous exhilarating scenic viewing platforms. The project construction took 7 years to complete, starting in 2005 and finally opening to the public in 2012.
Trollstigen, also known as “Trolls ladder”, is currently one of Norway’s most visited tourist attractions and is situated in the most beautiful location. The winding routes lead visitors to spectacular panoramic viewing terraces where they can take a deep breath and simply indulge in the scenery.
Despite the trail being in such an isolated area, it’s sculpted to be visitor friendly. Reiulf Ramstad Architects have designed an environment completely for the visitor, from safety barriers throughout the entire trail, outdoor furniture, a mountain lodge, restaurant, gallery, information points as well as other well adapted facilities.
The restaurant is designed to camouflage into the surrounding area. It is constructed mainly of glass, steel and concrete to withstand the ever-changing and sometimes violent mountain climate. The restaurant’s shape mimics the landscapes rugged rockery and the glass reflects the striking panoramic views of the breath taking Norwegian mountains.
The other prominent structure, a souvenir store with other attached facilities, is designed to act like a defensive flood barrier during Spring when the ice starts to melt away and joins the existing rivers.
Reiulf Ramstad Architects were assisted by limnologists who specialize in the chemistry and biology of inland waters to ensure that they were not harming the environment. They worked with nature during the design of the Trollstigen tourist route in order to preserve the beauty of the ancient Norwegian mountains.
For more information please go to www.reiulframstadarchitects.com
‘The earth has music for those who listen’ – George Santayana
The luxurious Sahara Palace Marrakech is an Indian and Venetian styled hotel which sits on 54 hectares of gardens and is surrounded by exotic flowers and palm trees. The 5-star hotel is located in the Palmeraie region with views of the Atlas mountains.
The property was designed by the very talented American architect and designer Stuart Church. Stuart traveled the world for new inspiration from a mix of cultural back grounds especially from China, India, the south of Europe and Morocco.
There are 89 guest rooms and 15 suites in the main Sahara Palace. The riads (traditional Moroccan houses) are separate accommodation within the Sahara hotel and were designed in true Moroccan style. Each riad has 36 rooms, 4 luxury suites as well as 1 large accommodating family suite. Each suite over looks either the spectacular Atlas mountains, the Palmeraie desert or the pool & lush floral gardens.
The hotel’s large open lobby lounge has an amazing three-level-high ceilings and it’s color scheme ranges from a jade green stone, gold and garnet pink. A 19-metre long chandelier dangles from a jeweled cupola above the enormous lobby.
The impressive high ceilings, fire places, the jade room, landscape, interior, delicacy, all offer the perfect setting for a one of a kind hotel experience. The Sahara Palace client list consists of fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and Kuwaiti royalty.
For more information please go to www.saharapalacemarrakech.com
“It’s better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times” – Asian proverb
Welcome to the 27th edition of | Focus |, a photographic journal of innovative designs, combining wood with an emphasis on architecture, interior design and fashion.
This month | Focus | features “The Opera House”
In 2010, MAD Architects unveiled the completed Harbin Opera House, which is located in the Northern Chinese city, Harbin. MAD Architects won the international competition for Harbin Cultural Island, a master plan for an opera house and cultural center surrounded by wilderness and wetland landscape located next to the Songhua River.
On the exterior, the architecture mimics the beautiful landscape of the surrounding area with it’s twists and turns like the nearby river. The Harbin Opera House is shaped to blend in with the encircling nature with its smooth weaving layers.
The opera house is one of the central social points of the Cultural Chinese Island in Harbin, which is spread out over an enormous area of approximately 850,000 square feet of the site’s 444 acres total area. It features a grand theater that can hold over 1,600 people and the smaller theater can accommodate a smaller audience of 400 people.
“We envision Harbin Opera House as a cultural center of the future – a tremendous performance venue, as well as a dramatic public space that embodies the integration of human, art and the city identity, while synergistically blending with the surrounding nature,” said the talented founding principal of MAD Architects, Ma Yansong.
Once visitor’s enter this magnificent building they are greeted by wide window walls which let it an enormous amount of natural light. Within the building is another striking structure. This structure encases the auditorium and is made almost entirely of rich wood. The brown subtle color of the wood gives off a warm feel to the social hot spot.
It is made from Manchurian Ash and is very easy on the eye. Along the sides of the auditorium the wooden walls gently flow towards the main stage and theater seating, giving it an enclosed feeling. The use of wood gives back breath taking acoustic sounds when music is played by the orchestra or singer. Not only is the theater filled with beautiful sounds but is lit by skylight that can be dimmed when the show begins.
Ignoring the stereotypical opera house look, MAD architects were inspired by nature and local culture. The architecture is theatrically accommodating to performers in both its performance of necessary spaces and its settlement within the landscape.
For more information go to www.i-mad.com
Good architecture lets nature in – Mario Pei
Welcome to the 25th edition of | Focus |, a photographic journal of innovative designs, combining wood with an emphasis on architecture, interior design and fashion.
This month | Focus | features “Ancient Trees”
For the past 14 years Beth Moon, a photographer based in San Francisco, has been searching for the world’s largest and oldest trees. She has traveled far and wide to capture amazing visual content of ancient historical trees in remote, undisturbed areas.
60 of Beth’s photos are published in a book titled “Ancient Trees: Portraits Of Time”. She says in her artist statement; “Standing as the earth’s largest and oldest living monuments, I believe these symbolic trees will take on a greater significance, especially at a time when our focus is directed at finding better ways to live with the environment”.
Until 2013, a Basin Bristlecone pine, known by the name Methuselah, was the eldest tree on the planet at 4,845 years of age. Methuselah stands in the White Mountains of California, but is no longer the oldest tree in the world. In the same year researchers discovered a different tree, which was also growing in the White Mountains, dating back even older at 5,062 years.
Another ancient tree is located in Abarkuh, Yazd Province, Iran and is a national monument. This tree is an Mediterranean cypress and is known as the Zoroastrian Sarv. It is younger than the two other trees mentioned but is an astonishing 4,000 years of age.
For more information go to earthables.com
“Though a tree grows so high, the falling leaves return to the root.” – Malay proverb