César Pelli: The Skyscrapers and the New Milan

César Pelli passed away aged 92. The Argentine architect was known for designing some of the world’s most famous skyscrapers, including the Unicredit Tower in the Porta Nuova district in Milan

The Unicredit Tower, Porta Nuova district, Milan

Born in Tucumán (1926), northern Argentina, César Pelli studied architecture in Argentina and at the University of Illinois, where he was granted a scholarship in 1952. From 1954 to 1964 he joined Eero Saarinen’studio, where he designed the TWA Terminal at JFK airport, which reopened as a hotel in 2019.

The master plan of Porta Nuova, Milan, by César Pelli

Between the Sixties and the Seventies he alternated periods of work in Argentina with others in the USA, with different architecture firms, until 1977, when he founded Cesar Pelli and Associates, now Pelli Clarke and Associates, with architect Fred W. Clarke and his wife Diana Balmori, married at the end of the Forties.

César Pelli was a former dean of the Yale School of Architecture and in 1995 was awarded the AIA (American Institute of Architects) Gold Medal.

Salesforce Tower, San Francisco

Among César Pelli’s most renowned projects are the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, inaugurated in 1998, two landmarks of the Malaysian city-state, featuring in movies, and among the first examples of sustainable buildings thanks to the studies on ventilation and reuse of energy. Being 452 m tall (+ a 73 m pinnacle), they were the world’s tallest towers until 2004.

Petronas Twin Towers, a landmark of Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia

César Pelli’s works include many local “tallest” buildings, such as One Canada Square in London, the UK’s tallest building until 2012, the Iberdrola Tower in Bilbao (the tallest building in the Basque Country), Gran Torre Santiago in Santiago del Chile (2010), the country’s tallest building, and the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco, the tallest building in San Francisco, just to name a few.

One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London

A tribute to Milan

César Pelli left his mark also on Milan: he is the author of the master plan of the new Porta Nuova district, including the Unicredit Tower, inaugurated in 2014. The Unicredit Tower, 231 m, including the pinnacle, is the tallest building in Italy and a symbol of Milan’s new skyline. [Roberta Mutti]

Unicredit Tower, Porta Nuova, Milan


Blu di te House: In Santa Margherita, a Boutique Hotel with Vintage Furnishings

A tribute to design in one of Italy’s most beautiful seaside resorts: Blu di te House is a boutique hotel in Santa Margherita Ligure, in the Gulf of Tigullio, where all the furnishings are for sale

Hotel Blu di te, Santa Margherita Ligure.

The guest house, curated by Michele Concina, designer, president of Fondazione Fernanda Pivano, Enzo Sanfilippo, fashion art stylist, his wife, Cinzia Berta, and Christel Chabrol, interior designer and buyer, is located in a house spread across 1,500 square meters, and is a highly refined hospitality project including bedrooms, a spa, a restaurant offering local food, a terrace with swimming pool and an exclusive hair stylist.

Hotel Blu di te, Santa Margherita Ligure.

Each of the 20 rooms is different and is furnished with vintage design pieces such as unique pieces by Ettore Sottsass, Arne Jacobsen, de Sede, Braakman, Robin Day, and a couple of pieces from the 1958 Exposition Universelle. Even the ceramics for the table are unique pieces by Richard Ginori.

Hotel Blu di te, Santa Margherita Ligure.

The renovation took about two years and has uncovered the original finishes, where possible, or selected new materials in line with the spirit of the place. Floors are made of turquoise and pale pink concrete tiles contrasting with grey and black marble aggregate; brick walls and woods complete the marine atmosphere.

Hotel Blu di te, Santa Margherita Ligure.

The furnishings are for sale, therefore the rooms are constantly changing, while the atmosphere and service remain the same. In addition to local gastronomic products for meals, Blu di te House offers a spa with hair stylist and, upon request, a 10-meter fishing boat where you can have lunch or dinner during cruises, even at night. [Roberta Mutti]

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Lunar by Royal Botania Celebrates Moon Landing

A marble lamp inspired by the moon celebrates the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11

July 20th, 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the moon landing as part of the Apollo 11 space mission. To celebrate this event, Belgian company Royal Botania, specializing in outdoor furnishings, has created the Lunar lamp.

Lunar lamp, by Royal Botania

Lunar consists of a LED strip integrated into a translucent disc of Arabescato Carrara marble  that enhances the natural veins of marble, creating a lunar effect. The lamp has a diameter of 22 cm and is 5.7 cm thick. [Text Anguilla Segura]

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UCCA Dune Art Museum, The Museum Among the Dunes

The UCCA Art Museum, designed by OPEN Architecture, is located along the coast of Bohai Bay, in northern China, and is inspired by children’s excavations on the beach

In perfect harmony with the surroundings, the UCCA Dune Art Museum in Bohai Bay  covers an area of 930 sq m, under a large sand dune that has been formed over thousands of years, thanks to the wind blowing from the sea. This organic project was developed by Chinese firm OPEN Architecture, whose aim was to preserve the vulnerable ecosystem of the dunes.

Winner of the AZ Awards in the ‘Best in Architecture: Buildings Under 1,000 Square Metres’ category, its interior space develops like a system of interconnected caves. Crossing the threshold of the museum, after a small reception area and a dark tunnel, the space opens onto a larger multifunctional room lit from above by the large skylight on the ceiling. From here, a series of contiguous cell-like spaces branch off, housing the rich and varied programs of the Dune Art Museum. There are galleries of different sizes and a café where you can relax while watching the sea.


Through the several openings in the walls and ceilings, visitors can admire the changes in the sky and sea throughout the day. From the dark recesses, a spiral staircase leads to a viewpoint on the sand dune, an ideal place for meditation.

The complex three-dimensional geometry of the concrete shell of the UCCA Dune Art Museum was hand-modeled by local workers in Qinhuangdao, using formwork made from small linear strips of wood and other materials. The architect decided to keep the irregular and imperfect structure and consequently everything is custom-made: doors and windows, the reception desk, the bar counter, the bathroom sinks.

For the surfaces the choice fell on three solutions by Ideal Work®, a Treviso-based company specializing in innovative floors and surfaces. Microtopping is the surface used in the restrooms for walls, ceiling and washbasins, the external balcony, coffee tables, stairs and outdoor tables; the Lixio Venetian-style floor was chosen for the gallery, reception and café; and Nuvolato Architop, with its industrial style, was chosen to cover the internal balcony. [Text Paola Molteni - Photo WU Qingshan]

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Horizon Soft, Marc Newson’s Rolling Luggage Collection for Louis Vuitton

Australian designer Marc Newson designs a new collection of technological and lightweight luggage for Louis Vuitton

The new Horizon Soft collection, designed by Marc Newson for Louis Vuitton, includes soft rolling luggage covered in a thermoformed 3D knit with the Louis Vuitton’s signature Monogram. The knit is fully fashioned in a custom-made technical yarn that includes elastic and thermo-fusible threads, using seamless knitting technology.

Prior to the thermoforming process, the knit undergoes a water repellent treatment. On bags and suitcases seams are replaced with tape fused through heat setting; pocket cuts and zippers are made with ultrasound cutting technique.

The new rolling suitcases, available in different colors, have compact wheels, a double zipper and a “U” opening system, guaranteeing practicality. The Horizon Soft bags, designed by Marc Newson for Louis Vuitton, weigh only 1.7 kg, helping you move more easily and making your journey less tiring. Water and oil repellent finishes are in cowhide and plastic. [Text Isabelle Fournier]

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