The highest of heights: Design round-up

Design trends and decorating ideas are constantly morphing, with those making the key decisions drawing influence from a range of sources.

It appears that some of the latest innovations coming out of the design and development industry are all about height. From multi-purpose skylights to sloped roofs and even a multi-storey creative hub, designers and city planners are looking upwards for inspiration.

As a specifier, it's essential to keep on top of what's occurring in the industry, so you can respond to client requests accordingly. Having a finger on the pulse, so to speak, is a must. 

Here's a round-up of the latest design trends both sides of the ditch, which will provide a wealth of inspiration for your next project or client consultation.

Skylights create usable space

For many homeowners, skylights are a popular choice to maximise natural light in the home.

However, that's not the sole reason for their popularity. Skylights that open – whether manually or electronically – are a must for otherwise stuffy spaces.

The latest innovation from Fakro might not work in a bathroom, but in roof spaces, it can add plenty of value to a home. The balcony window-skylight hybrid is a masterful piece of design. 

The skylight is split horizontally into two sashes. The upper sash opens upwards to a 45 degree angle, while the lower sash opens outwards into a vertical position. The effect is an open space that functions like a miniature balcony, providing the perfect respite for homeowners young and old.

Sloped roofs add charm

Architect studios Glamuzina Patterson and Monk Mackenzie paired up to create a new giraffe breeding shelter for Auckland Zoo – and the result was sky-high in impact!

It's not your classic residential property as such, although the new space certainly provides a welcome home for the expanding herd of the zoo's long-necked creatures.

The two dens have intersecting roofs, rising from three metres at their lowest points to 10 metres at their heights. One den rests in front of the other, with contrasting sloped roofs creating an "M" shape.

While most of the shelter is a deep black, the front door for the zoo keepers is an unashamedly bright yellow. Get the look with Resene Golden Fizz.

The slant of the dens' roofs provokes people to consider the different scales of both giraffes and humans. With sliding doors a feature of the interior design as well as a viewing platform, there's no doubt this cleverly created building will be useful for years to come. 

As a specifier, you might take some lessons from this project. For Glamuzina Patterson and Monk Mackenzie, there was an obvious need to respond to the client's brief in a practical way. However, the genius lies in the ability to draw attention to the graceful height of the dens' key tenants in a way which is not just practical, but also visually stunning.

Sloped roofs can look fantastic in large, open living spaces, so keep this trend in mind when fielding client requests.

Creative reaches for the stars in Sydney

Across the Tasman, the City of Sydney is gearing up for a $25 million creative hub that will provide workspaces to dancers, designers, musicians and other creative artists. 

The 67-storey development will feature residential apartments and ground-floor retail areas in addition to the creative workshop, according to a June 10 statement from the council.

It's thought the the development of this sky-reaching tower will provide a creative haven for locals, as well as adding much-needed residential space when it opens near the end of 2017.

"The project will support growth in central Sydney and provide housing and important cultural facilities for our community. The creative hub also sets an exciting precedent for the inclusion of world-class cultural facilities in private developments," explained Lord Mayor Clover Moore.

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