In Tokyo, Japan, where the houses are crammed cheek by jowl, two old friends from architecture school created a 793-square-foot home out of canted concrete boxes. Resident Tamotsu Nakada works from an Alvar Aalto table in the living and dining area, adjacent to the kitchen. He saved on some elements, such as the plywood cabinetry, and splurged on others, such as the Finn Juhl chairs and Vilhelm Lauritzen lamp. A skylight beneath the angled roof allows in a sliver of constantly changing light.
In designing his home, Seoul-based architect Byung-soo Cho settled on the idea of arranging four two-story, rectangular concrete boxes around a central courtyard, giving the home a layout resembling a cardboard box with all its flaps open. Because the boxes only overlap partially, each box can have windows on all sides, allowing fresh air and sunshine to flood inside. Cho relaxes in the first-floor living room, where paintings by up-and-coming Germany-based Chinese artist Ruo Bing Chen play off a sofa and coffee table designed by the architect himself.
A panoramic, 50-foot-wide expanse of sloping glass punctuates the living area of this home designed by Barcelona firm Cloud9. On the ceiling, a Sivra fixture by iGuzzini modulates its output based on the amount of available daylight. The sofa is Wall by Piero Lissoni for Living Divani.
“My apartment in Brussels is the most architect-like, with its concrete feel,” architect Julien De Smedt says of his rather brutalist interior. “It puzzles me why more people aren’t into concrete—it’s the most practical material. It’s warm, if you do it right. And you can clean it in about two seconds.”
Built for a young family of Spartan-minded clients, architect Felix Oesch's spare, concrete prefab outside of Zurich is a marvel of clean living. Christof Meilimakes tea in the kitchen; the Living Tower by Vernon Panton is in the background.
A concrete fireplace sits in the living room of this Sea Ranch home, furnished with vintage items, including a leather-and-chrome chair by Suekichi Uchida and a stacking stool by Florence Knoll.