Small is beautiful: Renzo Piano's Diogene house prototype at the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein, Germany

Honey, I Shrunk the House

He may have beaten records with his 310-metre-high Shard in London, the EU's tallest skyscraper, but celebrated architect Renzo Piano's diminutive Diogene house testifies to the merits of micro-architecture: space-saving, cost-efficient and sustainable. Find out more in our latest feature on pocket-sized architecture...

This newsletter's contents in brief:

  • Architonic Photo Tours: Brooklyn Brands
  • Less is More: bigging up micro-architecture

  • Further Articles from Architonic’s ‘News & Trends’
  • Architonic Trend Analysis: Material Tendencies: Ross Lovegrove
Inspiring Search Results No. 42: Shoe cabinets/racks
Inspiring Spaces No. 34: Design of outside space
Architecture and Design Projects on Architonic

Be inspired!

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There was an additional reason for us to celebrate during this year's NYCxDesign Week 2015: the founding of our subsidiary company, Architonic Media LLC. That said, we were taken aback by the major turn-out at our Architonic Party in Chinatown's Club Apothéke, and would like to thank everyone for a great evening, full of great conversation. 

Architonic Photo Tours: Brooklyn Brands

Architonic was in New York for the 2015 edition of NYCxDesign Week, North America's largest design fair. Following Architonic's Brooklyn selection, it was on to Manhattan and ICFF, Wanted Design, Sight Unseen OFFSITE, and TriBeCa Design District.

Zimmer + Rohde interior contract award – for textile spaces

The interior contract award – for textile spaces, which the textile firm Zimmer + Rohde set up in 2013, is now entering its second year. The multi-stage nomination competition will once again be awarded to projects that exemplify an innovative and captivating use of textiles in interiors.

The seven-person jury consisting of Werner Aisslinger, Jasmin Grego, Sebastian Herkner, Peter Ippolito, Jan Kleihues, Petra Stephan and Andreas Zimmer will select this year’s award winner from among the submitted projects.


Less is More: bigging up micro-architecture

Text: Dominic Lutyens

Sustainability, cost-efficiency and space are just some of the factors driving an international renaissance in pocket-sized architecture that’s big on expression and style.

The Window House creates a sense of more space thanks to the dramatic connection it makes with the natural world outside. Its huge windows afford panoramic views of Sagami Bay and Mount Fuji; photo: Yasutaka Yoshimura

Renzo Piano might be famous for designing the EU’s tallest building – the 310-metre-high Shard – yet he has long harboured a personal obsession with micro-architecture.

In 2010, Rolf Fehlbaum, Vitra’s chairman, offered to develop a final prototype of Renzo Piano’s pet project, his Diogene house, which was exhibited for the first time at the Vitra Campus during Art Basel in 2013

In the 1960s, while teaching at London’s Architectural Association, Piano joined forces with students to build mini-houses. About 10 years ago, he began developing a minimalist house called Diogene, which was featured in a booklet about him published by ‘Abitare’ magazine in 2009. Now installed at the Vitra Campus in Germany, this experimental house, with a surface area of just 2.4 by 2.4 metres, is named after ancient Greek philosopher Diogenes, who reputedly lived in a barrel since he deemed worldly luxuries extraneous. 

Material Tendencies Part 1: Ross Lovegrove

If you had to pick one material to work with for the next three years, what would it be? Architonic posed this very question to a number of renowned designers at this year's Milan Design Week. Their responses and reflections provide the basis of our new 'Materials Tendencies' series, which we'd like to share with you. 


Architonic caught up with Ross Lovegrove to discuss his material preferences. His work marries technology and material science with intelligent organic forms and structures, often exploring the limits of fast-developing technologies. His passion for form in motion and the impression of levity are reflected in his visionary designs. 

'It would be like a bi-sex material: natural silk combined with a man-made, really advanced composite... anything that goes from soft to semi-soft to semi-rigid to rigid.' Ross Lovegrove

Competition to redesign German military's accommodation

Attention! In all senses of the word. The German military has launched a competition to redesign its service accommodation. Its large, EU-wide tender – called ‘BUNDESWEHR IN FÜHRUNG – Aktiv. Attraktiv. Anders’ and running until 30 June 2015 – is being accompanied by the German Design Council and invites submissions to deliver a thorough modernisation of serving personnel’s living quarters by raising their standard and level of comfort, thereby increasing wellbeing. The plan is to implement the new furnishings across the board from 2018.

The jury consists of, among others, Susanne Brandherm of Brandherm Krumrey Architekten, Anke Bernotat, Professor of Industrial Design at the Universität der Künste in Folkwang, and Professor Carsten Wiewiorra of wiewiorra hopp schwark Gesellschaft von Architekten mbH. 

Further Articles from Architonic’s ‘News & Trends’

Tapping innovation: Axor’s WaterDream 2015

Text: Alyn Griffiths

A collaboration between German bathroom brand Axor, Swiss university ECAL and glassblower Matteo Gonet has resulted in a series of prototypal taps that show how future bathrooms could incorporate bespoke interchangeable fittings.

Made in Pedrali: manufacturing tradition meets material innovation

Text: Alyn Griffiths

Aluminium, concrete, wood and plastic were among a multiplicity of materials seen on the stand of premium Italian furniture brand Pedrali at this year’s Salone del Mobile. The company’s CEO, Giuseppe Pedrali, tells Architonic how decades of manufacturing experience have informed the methods used to produce its new collection. 

Le Corbusier Reloaded: LC2 at designfunktion

Text: Johannes Hünig 

Angular, cubic, clear – and surprisingly comfortable: like no other piece of furniture, Le Corbusier's chair LC2 represents the furniture design of early modernism. The manufacturer Cassina has now clad the classic, designed in 1928, in new materials and colours that pick up on the original design of the 1920s.

Ideas in Motion: Wilkhahn's innovative IN chair brings perfect 3D articulation to office seating

Text: Alyn Griffiths

Six years ago, German office-furniture brand Wilkhahn launched its revolutionary ON chair, which applied kinematic principles to stimulate the body's core muscle groups and joints while seated at a desk. The company's new IN chair offers a more compact and affordable alternative that uses technologies pioneered by the automotive and sportswear industries to intuitively integrate regular motion into the working day.

Inspiring Search Results No. 42

Home furniture > Hallway > Shoe cabinets / racks

Inspiring Spaces No. 34

Design of outside space

Architecture and Design Projects on Architonic

bureau SLA

Noorderparkbar, Amsterdam
Amsterdam | Netherlands | Completed March 2012
Photographer: Jeroen Musch

HŠH architekti

Villa Hermína
Černín, region Beroun | Czech Republic | Completed 2009
Photographer: Ester Havlová

Marte.Marte Architekten ZT GmbH

Mountain Cabin
Laterns-Vorarlberg | Austria | Completed December 2011
Photographer: Marc Lins Photography

Takeshi Hosaka Architects

Itabashi-ku, Tokyo | Japan | Completed 2010
Photographer: Koji Fujii | Nacasa&Pertners Inc.