These high-end, luxe speakers and audio consoles specifically for music lovers and audiophiles will make you feel like you’re listening to your favorite band rockin’ out at an ampitheater live, or let you experience your classic vinyls with authentic, high-performance sound. It’s time to hear what exceptionally engineered design and and audio quality can do for your home music listening experience.
Renaissance ESL 15A by MartinLogan, $25,000 a pair
The flagship model in MartinLogan’s Masterpiece Series of high-end electrostatic (ESL) speakers, the Renaissance ESL 15A, is a revolutionary step forward in terms of performance, technology and design. Since 1983, MartinLogan has handcrafted speakers featuring electrostatic and thin-film technologies, achieving the ultimate in audio realism. Renaissance’s 15-inch-wide and 46-inch-tall electrostatic panel reproduces sound with unfl inching accuracy and is married to a pair of amplified high performance 1,000-Watt powered woofers which can deliver powerful bass sound. “The experience of listening to an electrostatic speaker for the first time is often described as transformative,” says Devin Zell, Martin Logan Marketing Manager. “If you set aside all of the evocative technology, close your eyes, and listen, these speakers disappear and transport a listener deep into the heart of music — accessing a shockingly intimate and emotional connection to the music and performers.”
Sonos Edition Console by Wrensilva, $5,000
“We wanted to design something specifically for smaller urban spaces,” says Debra Sayler, Chief Design Officer of Wrensilva of the Sonos Edition Stereo Console. “Something that combined natural elements, such as gnarled wood grain, and the clean, urban lines in the welded steel legs and crisp white outer finish.” Based in San Diego, California, Wrensilva was founded in 2016 by Sayler and her husband Scott. Together, they create modern stereo consoles dedicated to “reawakening the spirit of hifi.” Their mission of time-honored design combined with advanced audio technologies materialized in their collaboration with Sonos for this custom piece. In this console, Sonos speakers are incorporated into curved walnut enclosures. “We wanted to highlight the speakers’ curves, not disguise them. On the technology side, we incorporated a wirelessly synced volume knob that communicates directly with the Sonos app. This is a neat feature for Sonos users that are craving a more traditional analog experience.”
Persona 9H by Paradigm, $35,000 a pair
Persona 9H, Paradigm’s most ambitious design to date, leverages the company’s 34 years of acoustical development and innovative design. The speakers were developed out of research to explore the limits of audio engineering, and the results were staggering — an entire line of high-end loudspeakers utilizing cutting-edge concepts. The flagship line showcases vanguard materials such as the utilization of Truextent® Pure Beryllium, a rare chemical element, in the drivers to deliver high-resolution detail, depth and dynamics. While the use of Beryllium in the construction of the tweeters is not unheard (it has a “cult” status for the most expensive of audio equipment), the use of it in both the tweeters and mid-range divers is unique to Persona. The Persona 9H is not only the perfect speaker for audiophiles craving exceptional performance, but also for those seeking luxurious levels of fit and finish — available in 23 premium automotive finishes.
Modern Record Console by Symbol Audio
The Modern Record Console by Symbol Audio pays homage to the “all-in-one” HiFi consoles of the 1950s, integrating “old school” electronics with modern wireless capabilities. Since 2012, the company has been creating products for music lovers who value thoughtful craftsmanship in their audio home furnishings. With a mission to enrich the connection between the listener and their music, the Modern Record Console combines technology with traditional analog electrics into a beautiful piece of handmade furniture crafted from solid American Walnut wood. The sleek design makes this piece a focal point of any space. Lift the lid to expose a hand-built tube amplifier and turntable set into patinated steel plates that delivers a warm, pure signal to two 6.5” full-range speakers. Tucked out of view in the metal base is a second amplifier and subwoofer made to extend low-end frequency and add richness to any sound. Switch the selector from turntable to WiFi to stream from any digital source to control music selections.
Manhattan’s newest luxury rental building, Summit New York, just unveiled The Summit, its own sky lounge overlooking all of Midtown East.
Walk into the luxury residential building and find yourself in a three-story high lobby, greeted by the concierge, doorman and staff.
Take the elevator to the 42nd floor to enjoy the brand new sky lounge, exclusive to Summit residents. The luxury, exclusivity, and sheer height of the sky lounge itself creates a “Live Above It All” atmosphere for residents to enjoy.
At the unveiling held on June 5, attendees enjoyed a private viewing with food and wine specially prepared by the luxury appliance company Gaggenau. Including a marble fireplace and a wine cellar, The Summit was a collaboration between Handel Architects and Escobar Design by Lemay, while being developed by the BLDG Management. Real estate agents and residents alike joined in on the celebration overlooking the city.
Photos courtesy of QuallsBenson
Based in Milan, Spagnulo & Partners has been one of the forerunners of architecture and luxury interior design not only in Italy but throughout the world. Federico Spagnulo, the founder and senior partner of the firm, shared his insights on the recent trends in design and his experience in the industry.
Where are you from and where did you learn design?
I was born in Milan where I studied by the Politecnico, University of Architecture. I also lived in Berlin in the 90s and worked by the architectural office Steinebach & Weber.
What is your style, and what makes you stand out among other designers?
We have a tailored approach to the Interior Design Project. In our mind, every project should be different depending on the aim of the place, the cultural context and the client’s needs. Like a tailor, I love to customize our projects and to face them as it was the first time. Thanks to this approach, the style is shared on each new project, changing every time to create a unique and custom-made experience.
When did you first know that you wanted to be a designer?
My father was an artist. He taught me and my brother, our art director, that the only way to be really free is simply to love our job. To be an architect is fantastic.
What are some recurring trends that you are seeing in 2019?
The most important new trends are some subject matters which are not strictly referred to the architectural and design world. A lot of influence is, for instance, coming from the contemporary art experience and from the cultural aspects related to India, China, Russia etc. That’s why I consider the real new trend in our job as the capacity to hear and to watch what’s coming from the outside world.
The real new trend in our job as the capacity to hear and to watch what’s coming from the outside world.
— Federico Spagnulo
What 2019 trends surprise you the most and why?
The last exhibition of Marina Abramovic in Florence. The courage to provoke a new way of thinking is always a generator of a concept. It doesn’t matter if positive or negative, but it’s always in the direction of a new beginning.
What are you working on right now?
We are involved in two new 5-star hotel projects in Dubai with 200 rooms and Doha with 300 rooms. We are also involved in the restoration of one of the most important antique palaces in Florence, Palazzo Portinari Salviati, which will be completely transformed into a luxury residence with about 40 flats. We are involved in a new architectural project of 110,000 square meters for a co-living house, offices, 3 theaters and vertical farms in Taipei, Taiwan; two new fine dining restaurants in London; two Villas on the Como Lake, and in Tuscany.
What is the most challenging part of your job and why?
To respect the client’s needs and expectations within the cultural and styling choices coming from the aim of the place where the project is located. I don’t like to continually propose the same approach to our projects, as we always work in different places and situations. This means that every time we start from scratch to invent a new story.
What does Italian design mean to you?
Just three important elements: hundreds of years of history; an incredible capacity of workers, artisans and small companies; and good architects able to talk with the first two elements and understanding that that alone it is not possible to reach good results.
Explain your process when beginning a new project.
We always start from the place and from the cultural aspects of where we are working. This analysis is combined with the client’s requests and becomes a concept that contains the strategic, cultural styling and practical elements that are the main pillars of the entire project. We spend a lot of time and effort on this phase, providing sketches, stories, videos, materials, music, samples and all that is necessary to create the right starting point for all the rest.
What inspires you?
If you are able to hear and watch what is outside from your usual context, it will be possible to catch real unexpected suggestions. The real inspiration, for me, is the surprise.
Photos courtesy of Spagnulo & Partners
Libraries have always been a timeless space open for unique design. Whether the library is modern or historical, small or large, or used for reading or working, the library is possibly one of the rooms that invites the most creativity in its architecture and design.
Mansion Global interviewed Jeffrey Forrest, the founder of STACKLAB, a design studio based in Toronto, Canada, to ask about his advice in designing libraries.
“Your library is a record of who you are,” Forrest told Mansion Global. “Design decisions should be deliberate and very personal — with equal focus on celebrating your history, but also on the joy of reading.”
With that being said, here are a few tips on designing the perfect private library.
Photo courtesy of Binyan by IF STUDIO
Photo courtesy of Selwyn Tungol
Using your space
For book-lovers who need an ample amount of shelving space, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves are functional and add a great design to the walls of the room. When all the books are placed on the shelves, it creates a beautiful assortment and makes the walls burst with color from top to bottom. Whether it’s designed with a more modern or classical touch, the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves are sure to be the centerpiece of the room.
The double-height library located in the lobby of 277 Fifth Avenue in New York City utilizes this concept, creating a beautiful centerpiece for all visitors and residents to see and use.
Bold Colors and Fabrics
Feel free to bring vibrant colors out from the shelves and into the room through the furniture, curtains, walls or rugs. Whether you’re going for a more modern or historical design, bold colors can create a more interesting and unique space. In Washington, D.C., the Jefferson hosts a book room sure to attract book-lovers from all over. Its velvet green couch adds the perfect pop of color, creating the perfect balance in the space between neutral and vibrant colors.
The bold colors can be used not only in historical designs, but in modern designs as well. Adding a statement rug or sofa can bring a room’s colors together.
Photo courtesy of The Jefferson
1000M, Photo courtesy of Miller Hare
Laying it Out
A library is the perfect opportunity for designers to get creative with the layout of the space they have. Whether the center of the room is a desk, four chairs around a coffee table or an assortment of seating, there are endless possibilities for the designer to create the perfect space to fit the needs of the homeowner. At 1000M, the layout is comfortable yet elegant, with ample seating for readers to use.
If the option for multiple levels is available, create a unique look by adding a spiral staircase to get from one level to the other or ladders on the shelves for the reader to grab whatever book they’d like. Make sure, however, that whatever the layout is, there is plenty of comfort for the reader to use the space often. Adding comfortable seating and plush rugs can do just the trick for this.
Whether designing the space or simply looking for inspiration, libraries are arguably one of the best rooms to have the most creativity in its design. So remember — regardless of what look or layout, make sure to use this unique opportunity!
One of the biggest debates in kitchen and home design is this: should granite be replaced by marble, or quartz? While more developers are looking toward quartz as an alternative to marble, neither one clearly outweighs the other. But there are four different categories that compare the two materials, and can help both developers and homeowners decide which one best suits them. Their appearance, durability, maintenance and overall cost can play a part in choosing which one is better to replace granite.
For appearance, it is largely a matter of preference. According to MSI Surfaces, while Quartz is more uniform in its design and color, it can also mimic the look of natural stone as well. Meanwhile, with marble, each slab is one-of-a-kind. If you have marble as your kitchen countertop, no other counter will be the same as that one. The uniqueness adds a classic beauty to any room.
Renderings courtesy of KAR Properties (Marble)
- Natural stone rather than man-made
- Uniform in design and color
- Man-made, but mimics natural stone
- Can get stained or discolored more easily
- Overall, durable and dependable
- Direct sunlight or UV rays can cause irreparable discoloring
- Overall, durable and dependable
- Sitting water can cause discoloration or stains
- Overall, more maintenance is required
- Hot pots or pans sitting on it can scorch the stone
- Overall, less maintenance is required
- More expensive per square foot
- $50-150 per square foot
- Less expensive per square foot
- $40-100 per square foot
In terms of durability, both are great options. Quartz is man-made, but is increasing in popularity because of the material’s durability. Marble is from many different countries around the world, and is also a durable but natural material as well. With quartz, however, any direct sunlight or high UV rays can cause irreparable discoloring, according to Polycor. Although both can gain chips on their edges and other minor damages, neither are fragile or impractical for everyday use. For durability, both quartz and marble are great options.
Marble requires more maintenance since it is natural stone. Sitting water on a marble countertop can cause discoloration and stains. For individuals with a busy lifestyle, quartz would be much easier to manage. But with quartz, make sure not to place any hot pots or pans on the counter — doing so could scorch the material. In terms of overall maintenance, however, quartz is generally a better fit.
Rendering courtesy of RIVA Residences (Quartz)
Rendering courtesy of Akoya Boca West (Quartz)
Rendering courtesy of RIVA Residences (Quartz)
Lastly, marble is usually more expensive than quartz. MSI Surfaces explains that while each square foot of marble is only slightly more expensive than quartz, that price tag can quickly add up when designing a whole room. Despite the overall added price, however, marble can add to a home’s value, so it might be worth it in the long run for some homeowners and designers.
While quartz is more practical in terms of durability and maintenance, nothing is like the one-of-a-kind material found with marble. In the end, knowing both materials’ advantages and setbacks can help determine which one works best.
Rendering courtesy of RIVA Residences (Quartz) Rendering courtesy of Akoya Boca West (Quartz)
New York designer Aimée Wilder explores Eudaimonia, a Greek word commonly translated as happiness or “human flourishing,” in her collection of wallpapers, fabrics, rug and accessories. From the effects of the moon on the evolution of the natural world to the impact of astrological phenomenon, Wilder captures the many ways surroundings can influence our psychological state, and contribute to overall wellness.
“This collection was born through finding balance and stability in my own life,” says Wilder. “Once I learned that living to work instead of working to live, along with incorporating methods like Vedic meditation and natural healing into my daily routine, was able to create a peaceful environment around me, I hoped to thoughtfully reflect that feeling in each design.”
Eudaimonia consists of two wallpaper and fabric patterns, Pyramide du Soleil and Earthlight, with an additional rug pattern, Eclipse. All three patterns reflect the natural balance between the Earth, the Sun, and the Moon, evoking the beauty of cosmic balance. With this collection, Wilder introduces a new construction for commercial fabrics, tested for 50,000 double rubs and available with a range of protective coatings including anti-microbial and stain coating. In addition, for the first time, Wilder will offer wallpaper printed in Brooklyn, New York, where she resides and operates her design studio.
Pyramide du Soleil is a subtly optical pattern manifesting the ancient Sun’s shadow and its balance with the earth, Pyramide du Soleil features pyramid and Sun as they represent the illusive quality of time. It integrates pyramids and circles with sophisticated diagonals and horizontal stripes, inspired by the continuous synchronicity that exists between the earth and the Moon.
Earthlight focuses on the waxing and waning cycles of the Moon’s phases in an eye-catching, geometric pattern across wallpaper and fabric design. Named for the scientific phenomenon in which sunlight reflected from Earth’s surface indirectly illuminates the otherwise dark side of the Moon, Earthlight is sure to brighten any space.
Eclipse showcases the inversion of colors in this rug design suggests the effects of an Eclipse, a harbinger of change in the daily life that acts as a guiding hand when questioning one’s path. With a boldness that invokes a new take on a vintage aesthetic, the Eclipse rug comes in a range of warm tones that will add a welcoming touch to a room.
Pyramide du Soleil
Photos courtesy Aimee Wilder.
Photo by ©Dylan Chandler 2018.
Photos courtesy Aimee Wilder.
Thermador, the iconic luxury home and kitchen appliance brand, is kicking off its fourth Kitchen Design Challenge, with new categories and prizes, allowing professional designers, builders, architects, remodelers, kitchen dealers and — for the first time in Thermador contest history — students to get involved.
All 44 of the regional winners will also win a trip for two to the exclusive gala in Southern California in 2020, where the national winners will be announced.
Image courtesy of Marc Thee
Image courtesy of Ili Hidalgo
“When it comes to marrying groundbreaking innovation and stunning design, Thermador leads the industry — empowering consumers and trade professionals to make bold statements throughout the home,” said Beatriz Sandoval, director of brand marketing for Thermador.
Encouraging the established and flourishing design-build communities to showcase their creativity in any design style, this year’s Kitchen Design Challenge aims to attract the most innovative projects yet, with four all-new categories for submission: Exceptional Kitchen, Compact Kitchen Suite, Original Innovator/Out of the Box Space and the Student Concept Kitchen.
For Exceptional Kitchen, one national winner will receive a $25,000 grand prize, one second-place winner will receive a $15,000 prize, and one third-place winner will receive a $10,000 prize.
In the Compact Kitchen Suite category, the national winner will receive a grand prize of $5,000 for crafting a culinary space within 200 square feet and containing at least three primary Thermador products.
Image courtesy of Constance Riik
Image courtesy of Marc Thee
The national winner of the Original Innovator/Out of the Box Space will receive a $5,000 prize for designing a space outside of the kitchen such as a wet bar, personal gym, wine cellar or game room. The space must have at least two Thermador products.
And for the first time, the Thermador Kitchen Design challenge is including students in the competition. In the Student Concept Kitchen category, one national winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize for designing an exceptional kitchen for a hypothetical client. The space must be a minimum of 200 square feet, include at least three primary Thermador products and cost a maximum of $250,000.
Two more categories are also part of the challenge, including the Designer’s Choice, which will be chosen at the gala and receive a $5,000 cash prize, and the Fan Favorites category, in which five winners will be selected in a separate contest held in 2021 to receive a $1,000 cash prize each.
By breaking boundaries and the status quo in terms of kitchen design, vision and creativity, Thermador is allowing for others to do the same, creating bold ideas and bringing them to life.
Cocosan Villa, nestled high in the San San Estate in Portland Jamaica, forms part of the Geejam Collection. It offers a uniquely designed take on contemporary Jamaican living. This villa features six bedrooms with balconies overlooking scenes of the beautiful parish of Portland and eight bathrooms.
Cocosan’s upscale design is poised with elegance and modern day comfort, while engaging the tropical aesthetic of the Caribbean. The property, listed by Kaili McDonnough Scott of Coldwell Banker Jamaica Realty for $2.9 million, also boasts a gym, sauna, heated lap pool and Jacuzzi, and state-of-the-art kitchen.
Consistently ranked among the world’s top places to visit, Mexico City is a global capital welcoming more than 12.5 million visitors each year with its renowned cuisine, vibrant culture, rich history, unique neighborhoods and modern-day travel offerings.
Over the years, the city has become a sprawling metropolis bursting with a vibrant personality blending old and new. Each of the distinct neighborhoods, or “colonias,” attracts tourists from all over the world to experience their unique culture.
The Roma neighborhood is home to Mexico City’s trendy creative class. Bursting with colors, the streets are filled with restaurants, galleries, bars, foodies, artists and eclectic bed and breakfasts. The neighborhood is the namesake and filming location for Alfonso Cuaron’s internationally acclaimed movie, “Roma,” which won three Academy Awards in 2019.
Located just a few blocks from the house where “Roma” was filmed, Ignacia Guest House is an ideal bed and breakfast for the visitor who wants to embrace the art and culture of the city. Blending history, Mexican artisan tradition and the city’s contemporary culture, Ignacia Guest House opened its doors in February 2017. The name is derived from the housekeeper who looked after this 1913 casona for over 70 years, Ignacia.
The bed and breakfast allows visitors to immerse themselves in the city’s culture. Each morning, the guest house’s chefs make a trip to the local market to purchase organic, local ingredients for the day. The design of the house itself also proves to blend a contemporary design and a reflection of the city’s timeless culture. With its chromatic color palette and unique interior furniture, the bed and breakfast creates a contemporary living space without losing the charm of the city’s culture.
The Ignacia Guest House is a quintessential example of a spot where visitors can expose themselves to the beauty of Mexico City and all it has to offer to tourists from around the world.
Photos courtesy of Jaime Navarro
For years, the coastal town of Port Aransas, affectionately called “Port A” by its residents, has seen visitors from other areas of Texas and from all throughout the U.S. In fact, the amount of visitors so far in 2019 has exceeded last year’s numbers by 40 percent.
This influx of new visitors is only expected to rise with the new festivals Port A is involved in over the summer. The location has long been described as an ideal fishing destination, and the 84th Annual Deep Sea Roundup is a reflection of just that. As the oldest fishing competition on the Gulf Coast, the Deep Sea Roundup, taking place from July 11 to July 14, brings people from all over to enjoy fishing in this relaxed atmosphere. Also attracting fishers from across the nation is the Texas Legends Billfish Tournament, taking place from August 7 to August 11.
The Beachtoberfest is a seven week-long festival involving a 5K run, a music fest, fishing tournaments, chef competitions, craft beer tastings, an art walk and other events as well. Also located at Port Aransas, the festival is taking place from September 13 to October 27.
Port A’s underrated food scene will also be showcasing itself during the Texas Super Chef Throwdown Series, occurring from September 18 to October 21. Consisting of 30 chefs from all around the state, the event qualifies the winning chefs to the World Food Championships in Dallas, Texas, consisting of 450 chefs competing from around the world.
All these events, taking place in Port Aransas, are a reflection of the culture and lifestyle in this coastal town — one where breathtaking luxury meets a casual atmosphere and invites all families to join in on the festivities.
Photos courtesy of Cinnamon Shore