Stefan Diez for HAY | An office like a jungle

If I had to imagine my ideal studio, surely it will look very similar to this one: an open space probably with an warehouse past,  filled with light to create the perfect indoor environment to host an urban jungle.
The studio belongs to one of the most interesting German designers, Stefan Diez, based in Munich. His name is well known within the Scandinavian design world for Diez's collaboration with Danish brand HAY for the creation of a new generation of shelving system: the images pictured here actually belongs to HAY catalogue for Diez's New Order.

I find very interesting how HAY decided to make so visible the strong connection between the product and its designer by shooting part of the catalogue in Diez's studio. In a way, it becomes a manifesto of the importance of craft as an essential part of the design process. It also mirrors HAY's desire to reconnect to the glorious innovative craftmanship that made Danish design so famous during the 50's and 60's; also, it is a declaration of Diez's approach to design through an intense work with materials and technology.

However, New Order is a "100% industrial choice, [...], a high-precision product" that speaks our contemporary language: in a digital world where everything is stored online, the traditional office material is disappearing from our shelves, leaving space to display more objects and memories. Therefore, here it is the choice of many brands to re-think the traditional shelving unit; to make it versatile and flexible, able to both divide space and to create it. Just take a look at the image above: the group of two could actually be easily repeated at home, almost like an overlapping scenography populated by our favourite pictures, photographs, objects and curiosities. A wall-less room that could grow in height and length according to the movement of our life. Design has never been so human.

New Order is the shelving system for a new type of space, one that adapts to contemporary life and its needs of flexibility and, at the same time, is also a cocoon inhabited equally by plants and human beings in harmony.

Summer minimal style

Would you like to spend your holidays in this beautiful minimal summer home? Barcelona based studio Intsight last work and treat for us before the holidays is the founder's summer retreat in Begur: a balance between soft minimalism and tradition in the Catalan coast.

Unlike "normal homes", the summer one is the perfect place for people who prefer an essential approach to the domestic space:  the things we need are reduced to a minimum. Also, we don't want to spend long hours cleaning and getting everything in order and easy, therefore simple, functional solutions are the best. I love the light that floods through the windows, warm and echo of a close seaside. 


All images via Intsight

FOCUS ON | Bathroom design in Oslo

Located on the top floor of a 19th century apartment in Oslo, this bathroom design manages to incorporate changes in level with a modern and minimal look. The room actually seems carved out of stone thanks to the visual effect produced by the use of 100cmx300cm tiles. The reduced number of materials and the preference for neutral colours lighten the spatial drama effect created by the different levels and help to create an embracing environment.

Via Haptic Architects

URBAN JUNGLE BLOGGERS | Watering your plants

We are at the end of July and this means one thing for most of us in Southern Europe: August is almost there and summer holidays will start eventually! I really cannot wait for this year as we have arranged a pretty busy schedule of travelling to see families, dispersed in three different nations.

Though we have arranged a stop in Barcelona on the way down South, this is quite a lot of time away from home and a great challenge for any plant lover, surely for my fellow Urban Jungle Bloggers. In these years, I have tried several tricks to manage to keep my plants alive in the hot Barcelona summers and I have to confess some of them resulted in a massive botanic hecatomb. I learned the hard way to accept I must select drought tolerant plants for the outdoor but I find difficult to compromise with my indoor plants. Moreover, unlike the crazy plant collectors of my friends who actually choose not to go on holidays to avoid any risk, I strongly believe in the "holy days" of relaxation. 

So, I want to share with you two tricks that seem to work quite well for houseplants. A good option is watering your plants by emerging them until all the air bubbles have come out, let the excess water dry out and then placed them above the bath tube filled with a bit of water to grant a consistent humid environment.  This works well in case your trip is just a few days long but, if you are planning a longer one, I strongly suggest you to rely on science.

How? Have you ever heard the word terrarium? You probably have because they are a must-have green trend. The use of keeping plants under a glass dome dates back to 500 BC but it was in 1827 when the modern version we know was accidentally discovered by Sir Ward in London (check the history of terrarium here). The principle is simple: the sealed environment recreates the rain cycle through the process of evaporation and transpiration and allows plants to flourish inside for a long time (even 60 years). 
During summertime, we can take advantage of the water-recycling principle of a terrarium recreating it with a simple DIY: 

1 - get as many clear bags as you can;
2 - divide your plants into groups that can fit inside each bag;
3 - place a moist towel in each bag and then the well-watered plants on top of it;
4 - tear the bag while blowing air inside to make the bag puff out ( you are adding carbon dioxine) and sealed it quickly with a rubber band. You can place it in another clear bag sealed with a second rubber band to make sure air won't go out.

The temporary terrarium will work just fine for a few weeks, only remember you must placed it in a room outside direct sunlight (but with light). The water will be released through the leaves as a result of the natural process and its excess will drip back down onto the leaves and the soil for the roots again.

I love terraria  a lot for their perfect fusion of science and beauty and there are some very nice modern versions now available on the market, like this Small Terrarium by Danish Pop Deluxe. In case you do it, please let me know how it worked out!

Our home #5 | New things in

New shots from home with some of the last things that have just arrived. 

I love the double reflection of the Vase Vase designed by Norm Architects for Menu and I think it is perfect for the white flowers I picked up at the beach last weekend: they are sand daffodils and smell deliciously at night-time. On the background, a long-wished item: the HAY paper designed by All The Way To Paris. It took so much to find out where I could get it and I am happy to share with you that German website Connox has the full range and a very good Scandinavian design selection, too.

  All pictures © facing north with gracia

GIVEAWAY | Last day!


Enter the giveaway to welcome summer holidays and get a copy of newly published OPENHOUSE Magazine, discover the story of creative people around the globe that open their homes to host anything from a gallery, performance space, or even sometimes a camp site, and makes the best food parties around. The first issue is already part of the selction of some of the best bookshops wrldwide, from the Tate Modern in London to the iconic Do You Read Me in Berlin. 

The giveaway includes the very first issue of OPENHOUSE Magazine from the launch party in Barcelona, a special postcard and poster and a tote bag.

Just follow these two steps:
2. Tell me in the comments here why you would like to win a copy of the magazine.
For an extra chance to win:
1. Share the giveaway on your Facebook 
2. Like and comment on the giveaway picture on my Instagram account, and share it with the tag #FNWGgiveaway.
Each entry is an extra chance!
This competition is open worldwide for two weeks, until today at midnight. The winner will be announced on Facing north with gracia Facebook Page

The giveaway is now closed. The winner will be announced shortly on Facing north with gracia Facebook Page.

WEEKEND SPECIAL | Linn Johansson

Few weeks ago I found the picture on Linn Johansson's black and white home office on Instagram: I immediately like her monochrome home and how could it be otherwise? So I selected for you some picture from her instagram feeds to share with you on the blog, sure you will enjoy as much as I do.  

I like Linn's home because it really feels "real": styled but no to excess, essentially Scandinavian with a personal touch. Among all the ideas, I find the hallways wardrobe wall quite interesting and very functional: the metal structure works very well as a room divider while providing necessary extra space to hang things or It could stand also as an element on its own, like it does here. It is an idea to bare in mind especially for reduces spaces that are always in need of some more storage space.

You can check here and here for more interior inspiration.