Sometimes the simplest things shout the loudest.
Ostentatious mansions are all well and good, but there comes a point when our aesthetic appetite tires of fuss and frills and longs to be sated by clean lines and simplistic, modest design. That doesn't mean that we're looking for boring, though—far from it. Often, hyper-minimal architectural designs contain wildly interesting concepts. You just have to look a little closer to spot them…
The team at Osaka-based Esprex architects has mastered this balance of subtle creativity. Their portfolio is a muted parade of strong geometric forms made of concrete and stone that still, inexplicably, seem weightless. The Ziegel house is one such example. Standing out from its surroundings without overpowering them, this towering concrete and brick home is a perfectly grounded minimalist dream that still seems to float up into the clouds…
The front facade of the home is unlike anything we've seen before. At first glance, it looks imposing and defensive—a suburban fortress. The front door and garage entrance are well hidden under the first floor roof, which almost conceals the entryway completely.
The roof then continues to run along the entire width of the house before kicking up and over to envelope the rest of the structure. This strong concrete wrap-around lends the house a protective air, as if the structure is literally cocooning the residents inside. The contrast between stark concrete and cool, trend-following brickwork, as well as the inclusion of a small roof garden, softens the overall tone.
Can you believe how much light pours into this home?! The front facade of Ziegel house has just one long vertical window, yet this refreshing minimal hallway is surprisingly bright and airy!
The combination of light timber flooring with crisp white walls is all that is needed to create a classy, modern vibe. Chunky wooden stairs ground the space, and a carefully-placed potted plant adds colour and life to an otherwise highly stylised space.
This dining room seems to go on forever! A suspended ceiling with recessed lighting adds quirky intrigue to this otherwise sparse space, and a single pendant light hangs over the dining table—perfect for creating a cosy, intimate atmosphere at dinner parties.
A one-wall kitchen and bar makes cooking and entertaining a breeze—what more could one want? To the left, this open plan space becomes a comfortable living room featuring soft neutral tones and even softer sofas!
This minimalist home is all about keeping it Zen, and nowhere is this more apparent than in this muted private space. A mixture of textures—concrete walls, carpet panels, a dark wooden walkway—build effortless intrigue. In this context, the single vase full of green shoots catches the eye just as much as a crystal chandelier.
This space could be used as a master bedroom, a kids playroom, or a second, quieter living space away from the hustle and bustle of the main open plan area. However, we like to think that the occupants are keeping it simple and using it as a place of relaxation and reflection, perhaps as a meditation room or a yoga space.
Returning to the open plan living space, we can see that the addition of exposed brick walls adds a homely industrial vibe to this expansive room. The suspended ceiling of the dining area gives way and opens the room up to a two-storey volume with floor-to-ceiling windows to match.
The furnishings are kept simple as the building itself does all the talking. The intersection of different styles and unexpected details are what makes this space so visually appealing—no extra clutter required.
We love exposed brick walls! If you do too, find out how you can make the most of them!