Single Person Gallery in Shanghai by Offhand Practice | Yellowtrace
Single Person Gallery in Shanghai designed by Offhand Practice to evoke the feeling of being inside a cave.

Single Person Gallery in Shanghai by Offhand Practice | Yellowtrace
Single Person Gallery in Shanghai.

Single Person Gallery in Shanghai by Offhand Practice | Yellowtrace
Single Person Gallery in Shanghai.

Single Person Gallery in Shanghai by Offhand Practice | Yellowtrace
Single Person Gallery in Shanghai.

Casa Calmoso in Seoul by Labotory for Ready2wear | Yellowtrace
Casa Calmoso in Seoul by Labotory for fashion brand Ready2Wea. Taking its name from ‘tranquil and calm house’ the store features spatial elements and rough textures that create a harmonized cave-like mood.

Casa Calmoso in Seoul by Labotory for Ready2wear | Yellowtrace
Casa Calmoso in Seoul.

Casa Calmoso in Seoul by Labotory for Ready2wear | Yellowtrace
Casa Calmoso in Seoul.

Glossier Flagship Store New York by Gachot Studios Pro | Yellowtrace
Glossier Flagship Store New York by Gachot Studios Pro. Photo by Jason Schmidt. See more about this project here.

Moustache Paris Store by En Bande Organisée & Julien Dufresne Architecte | Yellowtrace
Cave-like Moustache Paris store by En Bande Organisée and Julien Dufresne Architecte. Photo Mario Simon Lafleur.

Moustache Paris Store by En Bande Organisée & Julien Dufresne Architecte | Yellowtrace
Moustache Paris store by En Bande Organisée and Julien Dufresne Architecte. Photo Mario Simon Lafleur.

 

My daily existence is saturated in slick technology. I have two laptops (excessive much?), a tablet, a smartphone and a smartwatch. All of them essential to my daily work. There are also the all-important wireless speakers that ensure there’s music playing in each room of our home and studio space. Pristine, perfectly engineered objects with smooth surfaces and micro-scale attention to detail, playlists, cloud-based systems, touchscreen technology – you get the idea. Perhaps I am a little more extreme than most people – after all, I do run a digital business, which sees me routinely bathing in high octane Wi-Fi and the dreaded blue light.

So, it’s not all that surprising that I, like many others, am increasingly drawn to materials, objects and spaces that bring a sense of balance and sanity to my daily life. Objects with supreme tactility, pieces that celebrate the crude essence of rocks and stones, and spaces that place natural, rough materials as a central theme in their thinking.

I often think of this movement as a design version of the Flintstones – an evolution of the romanticised Stone Age aesthetic. Settings and objects that rely heavily on their juxtaposition with modern life.

 

Max Lamb Tonalitle Boulder Chair #1 2017 | Yellowtrace
Max Lamb Tonalitle Boulder Chair #1 2017.

Max Lamb Boulders at Salon | Yellowtrace
Max Lamb Boulders at Salon.

Max Lamb Pieces Inside Acne Studios New Hq in Stockholm | Yellowtrace
Max Lamb Pieces Inside Acne Studios New HQ in Stockholm. See more about this project here.

Max Lamb Campione Granite Chair for Pedretti Graniti launched at LDF 2016 | Yellowtrace
Max Lamb Campione granite chair for Pedretti Graniti launched at London Design Fair 2016.

 

One needn’t look any further than Max Lamb’s Boulders as a brilliant example of such thinking. Created for Salon 94 Design, the twenty-piece collection of chairs and stools tells the story of the Adamello-Presanella Alps in Italy – their geology, and the force of the river that continues to mould the local Tonalite granite into smooth boulders.

As an homage to this natural process, Lamb lifted the rocks from the riverbed and carved them into furniture. The majority of the granite’s outside appearance was preserved, with the British designer slicing out the middle in a single action to create a unique seat from each crude piece of stone.

 

Grotto Kim Haddou Florent Dufourcq Design Parade Toulon 2018 | Yellowtrace
Grotto Kim haddou florent dufourcq Design Parade Toulon 2018. Photo by Luc Bertrand.

Grotto Kim Haddou Florent Dufourcq Design Parade Toulon 2018 | Yellowtrace
Grotto Kim haddou florent dufourcq Design Parade Toulon 2018. Photo by Luc Bertrand.

Sonia Boyajian Jewellery Shop in LA by Studio Shamshiri | Yellowtrace
Sonia Boyajian jewellery shop in LA by Studio Shamshiri. Photo Stephen Busken.

Haight Fashion Store in Brazil by MNMA Studio | Yellowtrace
Haight Fashion Store in Brazil by MNMA Studio. Photo by Fran Parente. See more about this project here.

Noto Botanics Store in LA by Venn Studio | Yellowtrace
Noto Botanics Store in LA by Venn Studio features a curved display in pale green reminiscent of moss that grows on trees in the Pacific Northwest. The lime-based finish made by mixing crushed limestone and water.

Noto Botanics Store in LA by Venn Studio | Yellowtrace
Noto Botanics Store in LA by Venn Studio.

 

At the 2018 Design Parade Toulon contest hosted by Villa Noailles in Hyères, a small town on the French Riviera, Paris-based interior designers Kim Haddou and Florent Dufourcq transformed a tiny, dark reading room into a bright and airy retreat, dubbed ‘Grotto’. In its essence, this award-winning project echoed the centuries-old Mediterranean style of cave-like architecture. The small library featured an arresting wall with irregularly sized, organically shaped niches dug out of a textured, thick partition, complete with freeform ceramic wall lights in a complementary finish. Effortlessly elegant and très chic.

Similarly, Sonia Boyajian brand new jewellery store in LA by Studio Shamshiri features a peachy soft hue inspired by the work of the 20th-century architect Le Corbusier. Necklaces, earrings and ceramic pieces are displayed inside small niches cut into sculpturally built shelving.

MNMA Studio-designed Haight fashion store in Rio de Janeiro also features a prominent wall with irregular cut out shapes for display. MNMA worked in collaboration with Studio Passalacqua to develop organic, clay-based toned cement, paints, and coatings for the walls, floor, and ceiling, intended to resemble natural elements like sand.

 

La Belle Vue in South Africa by Bomax Architects & Okha Interiors | Yellowtrace
La Belle Vue in South Africa by Bomax Architects and OKHA Interiors. Photo by Mickey Hoyle.

 

Perhaps the most literal interpretation of the Stone Age aesthetic can be seen at La Belle Vue house, located in a small beachfront town in South Africa. Designed by Bomax Architects and OKHA Interiors as a sanctuary from the fast-paced life of an international executive, the home features spectacular views of both the mountain and the ocean, visible from every aspect of the house.

The existing structure was entirely remodelled, with a giant granite boulder found on site incorporated within the living room, adding to the dramatic integration of the indoor and outdoor environments.

 

Bosc d’en Pep Ferrer: House on Formentera Island, Spain by Marià Castelló Martínez | Yellowtrace
Bosc d’en Pep Ferrer by Marià Castelló Martínez. See more about this project here.

Bosc d’en Pep Ferrer: House on Formentera Island, Spain by Marià Castelló Martínez | Yellowtrace
Bosc d’en Pep Ferrer by Marià Castelló Martínez.

Bosc d’en Pep Ferrer: House on Formentera Island, Spain by Marià Castelló Martínez | Yellowtrace
Bosc d’en Pep Ferrer by Marià Castelló Martínez.

 

Over on Spain’s Formentera Island, Bosc d’en Pep Ferrer house takes the same concept to a whole new level. Designed by local architecture studio of Marià Castelló Martínez, the building intimately engages with Mother Nature as a pivotal element of design.

The three-level home emerges from the rugged landscape, opening up towards the dramatic coastline of the Mediterranean Sea. The base of the house is embraced by exposed rocky terrain with its warm, earthy tones, materialising as a single, monolithic piece, reminiscent of stone quarries. The rock is contained in some areas, while in others it runs completely wild.

Bosc d’en Pep Ferrer is a home where many dualities converge. Heaviness and lightness. Solidity and transparency. Order and chaos. Handycraft and technology. An outstanding example of what’s possible when the best of both worlds unite for an inspiring and unexpected outcome. A duet of nature and design.

 

Bosc d’en Pep Ferrer: House on Formentera Island, Spain by Marià Castelló Martínez | Yellowtrace
Bosc d’en Pep Ferrer by Marià Castelló Martínez.

 


[Images courtesy of the designers. Photography credits noted.]

 

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