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‘Architecture has to sit lightly on the land, yet also become a part of it.’ This quote by the Newfoundland-born and Norwegian-based architect Todd Saunders, from the book ‘Architecture in Northern Landscapes’ (published by Birkhäuser), encapsulates an approach to architecture that tests its application in natural environments. Increasingly, there is a recognition—by planners, developers, architects and designers—of nature’s role in improving and maintaining health, happiness and well-being. Indeed, architecture and design can act as an important bridge between the natural world and people, bolstering everything from creativity to sociability, from how we work to how we interact.
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Arqzyme is a Spanish architectural studio whose philosophy is one that considers ‘the act of inhabiting’. Its work examines nature’s role as a provider of resources and concepts, and the studio develops architecture that responds to people’s needs. Key considerations include: the choice of location; the relationship between the building and nature; spatial factors, such as warmth and privacy; craftsmanship and the use of natural materials.
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In one project, Restaurant La Boscana, Arqzyme created a place where diners are surrounded by nature, seated in an environment that is organic and animated. Intimate tables are separated by sculptural screens made of steel and treated wicker. Placed by each screen, handsome Link floor lights, designed by Ray Power for LZF, add a sense of drama to the occasion. In addition, an Air table lamp designed by Ray Power, offers a natural welcome to La Boscana’s reception.
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In a world where the immoderate consumption of fast design is no longer sustainable, we are seeing a mindful movement—among many architects, designers, manufacturers and consumers—towards design that is honest, unobtrusive and environmentally-friendly. The growing acceptance that nature’s resources are not limitless has spurred architects and designers to think more creatively, to take a step back and re-evaluate their relationship with nature. Today, we find a renewed vigour in crafts using natural materials: in woodworking, bark and vegetable tanning, metalworking, weaving and glass-blowing. This results in objects and places whose qualities are restorative, valuable, aesthetic and purposeful.
Link lamps at Restaurante La Boscana
Restaurant La Boscana is a striking example of the interaction between nature, architecture and design. With its glass walls laying bare the view outside, it was important to think about the interior’s ambience and lighting. Ergo, the handmade wood veneer Link floor lights contribute to a warm and relaxed conversational ambience, and facilitate a harmonious ‘link’ with the outdoors.
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Written by Gerard McGuickin

Photography by Jordi Font Arquitectura

Designed by Arqzyme

Venue: Restaurante La Boscana (Lérida, Spain)

Lamp model:  Link floor lights, designed by Ray Power for LZF. Details here.