Feature

Playful living

With seven children, architect Alex Michaelis and his partner knew they wanted their home to be as playful as possible. A slide, swimming pool, cinema room and firefighter’s pole help to keep the family active, connected and happy, as he explains


Read on turning pages | Download PDF | sign up to CLAD

Has living in the house changed your lives in terms of the family’s wellbeing?
The house is incredibly calm and I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that it’s a home where you can find space either to be alone or with other people. We have two roof terraces which are quiet, contemplative spaces at the top of the house, and we also have large communal areas such as the kitchen, living room and the swimming pool courtyard, which are always hives of activity and fun.

Was the whole family involved in making design decisions?
Thankfully not! With seven children, there would have been no decisions made at all. However, the house was designed with them fully in mind, making sure that fun elements such as a fireman’s pole, a slide and a cinema room would be key parts of the house, while also ensuring they each had individual bedrooms for privacy.

Do you think family houses need to have more playful elements and how do these change family culture?
I firmly believe that homes are for children as much as they are for adults.

Having playful elements incorporated into the family home helps children to be creative and physical, which is important in today’s iPad-centric world. Communal spaces encourage interactions and conversation, which is so important to family culture.

How much do you use the pool?
The pool is used most days, especially by the younger children. It’s super insulated and heated to 30 degrees, so that even in the depths of winter we still come out and swim lengths – the only problem is keeping our labrador, Seal, out!

Has having the pool led to you being fitter?
I hope so. I look forward to swimming in the mornings – it helps both body and mind. I spend a lot of time on planes, so I try and take the opportunity whenever I can to be as active as possible.

How have the children responded to the house?
The children love the house, it’s great to see them being active and using the swimming pool and the slide, and climbing up the stairs and then sliding down the pole. It’s great exercise. Even the grown-ups can’t resist a go....

About Michaelis Boyd

Michaelis Boyd is an international architecture studio with offices in London and New York.

Founded in 1995 by Alex Michaelis and Tim Boyd, their portfolio encompasses high-end residential and commercial projects ranging from new-build urban sites and the renovation of heritage buildings, to luxury hotels, resorts, private members’ clubs, restaurants and bars.

Residential
New-build residential projects include La Croix Val Mer, an expansive family home with views spanning Cap Lardier National Park in France and Arijiju, a private residence in the Borana Conservancy in Kenya.
Other larger-scale residential developments include the luxury Otium resort in Thailand and the interior design of 254 luxury loft apartments within Battersea Power Station in London.

Most recently, Michaelis Boyd have designed five new residences at the Sugar Beach Resort in St Lucia; Clubhouse by ZO – a co-working, wellness and lifestyle concept in the Rockefeller Center, New York; and the RYSE Hotel in Hongdae, Seoul.

Other recent hotel projects include The Williamsburg Hotel in Brooklyn, New York; the Kimpton De Witt Hotel in the heart of Amsterdam; work for Soho House and Sandibe, a sustainable safari lodge in the Okavango Delta, Botswana.

Recent restaurants by the practice include an outpost of the Michelin-starred Hong Kong restaurant Duddell’s, set within the historic St Thomas Church, London; and Sabor, a new Spanish restaurant for chef Nieves Barragán Mohacho.

Gallery
Click on an image to open the image gallery
company profile
Company profile: SPARCSTUDIO
Sparcstudio offers a bespoke and comprehensive design service with real attention to detail. Logical and inspiring space planning forms the bedrock of all Sparcstudio projects.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
The bedrooms have been designed as sanctuaries, with lots of natural light
"Even brushing your teeth in the right space can elevate a daily routine into a ritual"

With a lap pool at the heart of the home, this property is a sanctuary for Rene Gonzalez

The slanted wall of the main building allows 150 mile-an-hour winds to glide over it
"We’re not built for constant comfort. When we live in spaces that connect us to our surroundings, we feel better, stronger and happier – and that is the very definition of being well"

Early-onset MS inspired Adria Lake to explore resilience as both a healing modality and an approach to design in the creation of her new home and company headquarters in Colorado

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
features
Elmsbrook Healthy New Town in Bicester, Oxfordshire has extensive wellness 
offerings and is also a UK government Eco Town, promoting sustainability
"The Healthy New Towns initiative aims to design out ‘obesogenic environments’ and design in health and wellbeing"

The UK government is building 10 new towns based on health, with wellbeing incorporated from the ground up. Stu Robarts investigates

The home gets its name from the wildlife which lives on the doorstep
"If you look closely at the walls, they almost look like layers of the Grand Canyon. When you use rammed earth, you get wavy lines where the material has been compacted"

Well building guru Jason McLennan opens his home and shares his thoughts about environmental design with Well Home

The Bacots moved to Serenbe in 2014, attracted by the sense of community
"We love being surrounded by people who teach us and make us better. Serenbe has also really enhanced our thinking about the value of nature and being outside on a daily basis"

Eliza Bacot and her husband Benton talk about living at Serenbe with their family

features
"Come to Euphoria Retreat if you’re looking for a full health-boost, you’ll leave feeling completely rejuvenated"

Wellbeing Escapes and Well Home have partnered to bring you this special offer for the Euphoria Retreat in Greece

Architecture and mindfulness: Ben Channon
Ben Channon
"I hope architects gain a genuine understanding of how buildings and spaces affect our mental wellbeing and how their design can be tailored towards making people happier and healthier"

Ben Channon has written Happy by Design, a new book about how architecture affects our mental health. He explains how we can all be happier at home

River House, which is on the lower slopes, overlooking the rushing water
"We want people to feel there’s hope and possibility and magic in the world"

John and Elora Hardy live a wildlife in the jungles of Bali. Magali Robathan finds out more about their work

cladkit product news
Tredje Natur launches Climate Tile to bring green spaces to urban settings
Tredje Natur has installed the pilot system of its Climate Tile system in the Nørrebro area of Copenhagen
Lauren Heath-Jones
Danish company Tredje Natur (Third Nature) has recently installed the pilot system of its innovative street paving system in the ...
Bartok Design installs 'transformative' soaking tubs in SpaFusion at Pallazzo Varignana
Bartok Design creates traditional Japanese soaking tubs
Lauren Heath-Jones
Bartok Design, a Japan-based supplier of Ofuro (Japanese bathtubs), has completed a major installation at the newly opened SpaFusion at ...
Zaha Hadid Design partners with Royal Thai to create carpet collection celebrating Zaha Hadid's legacy
The carpets capture Hadid's notable use of layering and interweaving as well as her use of light and shadow
Lauren Heath-Jones
Zaha Hadid Design has partnered with carpet manufacturer Royal Thai to create a new carpet collection inspired by the work ...
cladkit product news
EAS PREVIEW: Bright Buildings to exhibit BrightOpen designs
Bright Buildings will be showcasing its range of BrightOpen buildings
At this year’s Euro Attractions Show (EAS), design and architecture firm Bright Buildings will be exhibiting its range of BrightOpen ...
Artemide excites with latest lighting collection
Designer Alejandro Aravena created O to 'reconcile the needs of the natural and the urban environment'
Lauren Heath-Jones
Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), Herzog and de Meuron, Neri & Hu, MAD Architects and Elemental, the firm of Pritzker winner ...
Dornbracht launches 'next generation' experience shower
Rainmoon is an innovative sensory shower experience designed for use in the home
Dornbracht is taking experience showers to the next level with its multi-sensory Rainmoon concept. “Rainmoon is a culmination of bliss ...
cladkit product news
Aotta launches sound panels made from hemp husks
The panels are designed to maintain 'healthy spaces' and consist of Hemp husks fashioned into a natural porous membrane that absorbs sound
Lauren Heath-Jones
Russian design studio Aotta has developed a range of eco-friendly, sound-absorbing panels made from the waste products of hemp seeds. ...
Carlo Ratti's 'wonder wall' robot could become reality with kickstarter campaign
Unveiled at Milan Design Week, as part of Ratti's Living Nature installation, the Scribit is the result of Ratti's ongoing investigation into and development of writing machines
Lauren Heath-Jones
Carlo Ratti Associatti has developed an intelligent robot capable of writing and drawing on vertical surfaces. Called Scribit, the device ...
Designworks launches new glow-in-the-dark tile collection
The tiles contain light-absorbing luminous pigments so they glow-in-the-dark
Lauren Heath-Jones
High-end tile supplier Designworks has created a range of illuminous mosaic tiles for commercial use. Designed to bring light into ...