We may live in big cities with tall buildings and wide roads, yet we still feel the need for a connection with nature. Architects and interior designers have responded to this desire for a more natural living space with creative concepts and a number of outstanding ideas have won an iF DESIGN AWARD 2021.
Architects and interior designers around the world are increasingly developing buildings with green components in order to do justice to ecological challenges in the city. But today’s city dwellers need more than green facades and brightly colored flowerpots. They need space that creates a link between their urban life and their natural needs. It is not just a matter of more green; it is about nothing less than harmonizing ecology, recreation, and design, than a symbiosis with our natural surroundings. In short, green oases to enjoy and to discover.
Existing Space Reinterpreted
Be it public or private space, historic farmland, or an urban center, the world’s architects and interior designers can’t and don’t want to turn everything that exists upside down. They make use of existing space, take it over and reinterpret it. It can be acres of garden that become a refuge for nature lovers. It can also be a tiny transitional zone between public and private areas in which a green oasis takes shape. Be it an urban living room downtown or an urban recreational area near the railroad, there is space everywhere that is just waiting to be filled with new life and eco-friendly design.
In a Dialog with Nature
Where does this inner desire for green oases come from? In the hue and cry of modern life, we are quick to forget that we are not observers of nature but a part of nature. So if the architects and interior designers succeed in creating a link between indoors and outdoors, between the city and its surroundings, they are doing nothing less than serving a basic human need. The internationally renowned iF DESIGN AWARD 2021 presents in its “The CreatiFe Power of Design” campaign winners who promote dialog between humans and nature across categories and kinds of building. You will find all the iF DESIGN AWARD 2021 Winners here or on the iF Design app.
Architecture: These 6 Projects Have Won!
The following iF DESIGN AWARD 2021 winners are textbook examples of how forward-looking architecture can connect humankind and nature while doing justice to the highest expectations of modern design:
A dialog with nature: The iF award-winning pavilion located in Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay follows the grand tradition of architectural structures that blends an intricate perforated skin form fluidly with the adjacent environment. For visitors, it offers a climatically comfortable outdoor environment and a stunning visual experience akin to walking under the foliage of lush tropical trees. The Future of Us was designed by Advanced Architecture Laboratory SUTD for the Ministry of National Development on the occasion of Singapore’s 50th Anniversary capstone event.
A three-dimensional experience: Seoul Botanic Park was built in Magok to create an urban public space that can introduce the flora and cultures of 12 global cities and enhance ecological sensitivity. It was designed by Samoo Architects & Engineers and THE SYSTEM LAB for Seoul Housing & Communities Corp. Its shape is that of a concave dish 100 m in diameter. The greenhouse rim is higher than the central part, making it resemble a flower, thereby allowing visitors to engage in the exhibition space along the circulation path.
A new identity: As part of the new urbanization plan, Tongan municipal government commissioned designers Xiamen Urban Environment Design Engineering Co., Ltd. to give an 8-hectare area of farmland of significant cultural and historical importance a new identity as a cultural park that matches the lifestyles of local residents. Working with agriculturalists and historians, they restored the local ecosystem and cultural heritage and then used the existing infrastructure for the cultural and educational life of the city.
An urban oasis: In the midst of a newly designed building ensemble boasting bright facades and ultramodern workspaces, the German architecture firm 3deluxe created a visionary plaza for the SBA Group that is a celebration of contemporary mobility. Cyclists and scooters cruise along organically curved levels, between them oases of tranquility, water features, cafés, and restaurants. V-Plaza is a hybrid of skatepark, playground, and urban living room, and, now opened, is the perfect venue for young, dynamic Lithuania!
A sustainable way: This urban development strategy, as a crucial municipal construction based on public participation, was initiated by people advocating preservation of the old railway as a paragon of landscape urbanism. The Eco-Museum composed of the century-old heritage railway refurbished the railroad facilities as an urban recreational area with diverse features of ecology, culture, etc. The area was designed by G DESIGN S.D. Atelier design & planning for the Urban Development Bureau of Taichung City Government.
A circle of creativity: DISC was designed by cre-te. Among numerous elements, the track and the courtyard are the most significant part of the CIRCLE. The spiral that rises with infinite green is a large part of this organic mass. With this element, the CIRCLE, a sports R&D lab, becomes pottery that finds a dynamic identity. Through this winding artificial hill, DISC achieves harmony with the urban context while maintaining an eco-friendly design. The courtyard is the heart of the architecture. This open space is for creative communication.
In a comfortable home, at a modern café, an office, or in a trendsetting showroom, a link with nature creates space for wellbeing—as demonstrated by the following iF DESIGN AWARD 2021 winners:
A place of harmony: This is a home that harmonizes work and life through the elements of health, nature, wood, and art. The design was guided by the life and activities of the owner. The designer prepared four main concepts: to maximize natural illumination and ventilation in every crucial space; to open the spaces to plants; to introduce natural wood and metal materials, and to create a series of exhibition areas for the owners to illustrate their life. Mori’s home was designed and manufactured by TYarchitects.
A natural beauty: This interior design uses natural materials, with plain white and wood colors as its keynotes. Exuding natural comfort, they match perfectly the warm-toned living space. In addition, the use of rough materials exquisitely handcrafted reveals a simplistic beauty and creates a fascinating visual experience. When the sun is shining through, it seems to tell an adventurous tale of exploratory journeys through life. This interior was designed by Henan Jiudu Space Decoration Art Co., Ltd. for Da Zheng.
A symbiosis with the natural environment: The cabin lights up in the evening, like a kerosene lamp in the dappled shade of the trees, coated with a layer of offline coziness. The core spirit of the design by doT & associates for Hide Lin is to allow the quality of the house to reopen perceptions that have been clouded by busy urban life. Furniture that pulls out into the outdoors, a barbecue grill that becomes a kitchen, camping chairs that become living room chairs – these all represent the extension of offline living to the exterior.
A home of nature: The cabin by Corange Design is located in the midst of a cloudy hillside and enjoys a magnificent view of the forests. At night, it embraces a view of stars. With the idea of a vacation home, the cabin emphasizes the symbiosis with the environment and draws elements from the forest to create a humanistic residence with an oriental Zen touch. From the wooden structure on the outside, the interior of the house is made of solid wood. The large floor-to-ceiling windows bring natural greenery into the house.
A tribute to nature: Jeju is a volcanic island of great natural beauty located in the Korea Strait, below the Korean Peninsula. By listening to the language of nature the architects of nonespace deeply considered the feel of Jeju wind, the physical properties of the rocks, and the structure of the light, and sought to humbly create upon the land an architecture of new poetic language. They wanted to create a space where Cafe OOO facility users can interact with nature while also experiencing traditional regional sentiments.
A space to explore: This project by ART Interior design is located in Minsheng community, the first urban planning model community in 1960s Taipei. A shared garden was designed as a transitional zone between public and private areas. However, because of the traditional mindset of Taiwanese people, this “transition zone” became a parking and private area. For this project, the architects have broken these private courtyards as a way to provide multifunctional public space for the communities and a dream base for office users.
A bridge between past and future: The project was originally the site of the Guiyang Bearing Plant. As an industrial site, it carries precious urban imprints and collective memories. Designed by C&C DESIGN CO., LTD. for Midea Group, the project selected five industrial factory sites to preserve and renew. The renovated plant integrates real estate sales, bookstores, a café, a children’s entertainment zone, and model room displays. It can provide a public living space for the community and introduce new ideas to revitalize it.
Built in a traditional Tuscan style: The iF Gold awarded holiday house was restored and extended with an outside area, and complemented by a modern interior. The terrace extends around the valley side of the house and is equipped with pergolas, an outdoor kitchen and seating options. The interior is deliberately dark: cotto bricks, colored interior plaster and bog oak fixtures determine the color spectrum. Looking towards a reduced material palette, cotto was used throughout the house – on floors, the fireplace and the kitchens. Perfectly crafted architectural furniture completes the project in contrast to the natural architecture of the house.
A place for humanity and nature: The JiangShanYue Sales Center was designed by Huge Rock Design Co., Ltd. for the C&D Group. It is located in Changsha, adjacent to the Xiangjiang River, the largest river in Hunan Province. The overall project covers an area of 2,800 square meters. The design of the JiangShanYue Sales Center Interior inspiration comes from the designer’s love of nature since childhood. The interior expresses the desire for a harmonious symbiosis of humanity and nature.