Founded in 1985, the Farmani Group is a leading organization with a mission of promoting, discovering, and celebrating achievements in the world of design. One of the ways in which the Group highlights successes in the field is through the establishment of several prestigious and high-profile competitions. Farmani operates more than a dozen, honouring innovation and artistry across a range of disciplines. The International Design Awards (IDA); the Prix de la Photographie, Paris; and the European Product Design Awards are just a few of their initiatives.
One of Farmani’s most prestigious accolades is the Architecture Masterprize. Open to submissions globally, the awards extol achievements in architecture, landscape architecture, and interior design. An esteemed jury of leaders in the architectural world recently selected their favorite 2019 projects, firms, and products from over a thousand entries worldwide (from more than 60 countries!), and the winners were honoured at a sophisticated ceremony at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.
The top three awards represent a mere 0.1% of the projects entered — needless to say, competition was stiff. From a modern retreat in the heart of a UNESCO site to an optically dizzying basement redesign in Montreal, here were this year’s top winners.
Architectural Design Of The Year: The Retreat at the Blue Lagoon Iceland by Basalt Architects
With this project, Basalt Architects had the unique task of designing against the backdrop of a 751-year-old lava flow. Located in the Reyjanes UNESCO Global Geopark, the Blue Lagoon Retreat consists of a 62-suite hotel, subterranean spa, and — the centrepiece — a mineral-rich geothermal lagoon. The famous cyan waters of the Blue Lagoon, the colour a shocking revelation against the black volcanic rocks and centuries-old moss, was the focal point for every space that Basalt designed. Multitudes of windows offer direct views of the geothermal waters and blur the boundaries between architecture and nature, allowing guests to feel connected to the breathtaking Icelandic landscape.
Interior Design Of The Year: Infinite Buildings by Jean-Maxime Labrecque
Located in Montreal, Canada, this otherworldly space was created by the eponymous firm of Jean-Maxime Labrecque. The firm was also responsible for the exterior makeover of the home, but it’s the lower floor of the house’s interior that has garnered attention (and now a Masterprize). The clients, two art collectors, envisioned an installation for their basement. The challenge would be achieving this in a cramped space without altering the existing structure. Jean-Maxime Labrecque’s answer was a boundless optical illusion, a futuristic trip achieved with the use of mirrored panels, aluminum, and light.
Landscape Design of The Year: The Best of Youth by Unlimited Metropolis Studio
Unlimited Metropolis Design studio was tasked with creating an oasis in the middle of chaos; the project would be located on a plot of land located outside the very busy West 4th ring road in Beijing. They answered with a green island, creating a diverse space that stands in stark juxtaposition to the urban bustle beyond. Here visitors can leisurely walk on water, meditate by the spring, or seek shade beneath the lush trees that line the space like a protective curtain. A gentle waterfall is a focal point here thanks to a clever use of light and reflective building materials; from certain angles, this opening in the overhang almost looks like a pale, shimmering moon. The still waters of a shallow pond reflect the skies overhead, making the space seem larger and broadening the boundaries of the natural world.
Images via v2com.