Openhouse Magazine – Issue 18 – Stepping back to a simpler life


“Inspired by the poem of Octavio Paz, La Vida Sencilla [TheSimple Life], in this issue we dive into the stories of people who have taken a step back into their lives and practices with sterling results. Jaume Roig applies this idea to his art in pottering and painting. Iker Ochotorena homage to the vacuum in architecture. Chef Kobus van der Merwe cooks just with the local ingredients he finds in the fisher town of Paternoster, in South Africa, where his restaurant Wolfgat is located. Meanwhile, Casa Josephine Studio work-process leads Pablo and Iñigo to find the unpretentious perfection in design.”

Issue #18 comes with two different cover motives, please specify your favorite at checkout, we will do our best, but first come…

Printed in Lleida, 144 pages
Manufactured in Spain
Dimensions 32cm × 24cm × 5cm

“Editor’s letter by Linda Swanson

The Simplicity

When I read the two stories of clay artists (ceramist Landy Rakoto and artist Jaume Roig) it simplified everything, or at least this editor’s letter. The wheel, earth, hands—holding interior and exterior in balance. As I imagined each sitting at their potter’s wheel, in Anjou and Mallorca respectively, I started to see everywhere in this issue, projects that were at once intentional and responsive—sometimes with wobbly beginnings but always creating quietly thoughtful spaces. Throughout was the hand-made, craftsmanship that leaned in toward simplicity and centered a basic architectural gesture: family home, artist retreat, personal refuge, or fully-integrated design space.

Even the most potentially resistant container—a château-folie anchored in the 17th century—was made pliable with patience and focus. Céline Barrère, Cécile Simon and Violette Plateau engaged local craftsmen to “magnify the volume and restore the interior to its former glory.” At the same time, they understood that the “volume” had to be welcoming, open and flexible enough to hold the individualities of ever-changing resident artists. [The Château de la Haute Borde: An artistic haven in the Loire Valley] Farther afoot, at Gairnshiel Lodge, in the Scottish Highlands, the not-quite-wild (“untouched…pure… brutal”) is at the door, so to speak, invited in through the color and texture of the décor. These considerations activate a calm and quiet in the “pure spaces”of the manor house, now furnished only with “the objects it requires, but not a lot of extras.” [Gai  rnshiel Lodge Pure and Simple

Perhaps nowhere is the sense of vessel more essentially articulated than in the architectural work of Iker Ochotorena, whose houses provide protection from the outside and also hold open a spaciousness for calm. Writer Inma Buendia traces the “simple—but not banal” look of his work to his Basque character and artistic heritage and Mari Luz Vidal’s photographs frame the shape and value of an “elemental, restrained, and simple style.”[Iker Ochotorena: Perfect Emptiness]

And then there is the uncontained refreshment, on every level, of Wolfgat, a restaurant open to South Africa’s coastal breezes and ambient music—where Chef Kobus van der Merwe’s innovative courses translate the local to the palate. Neither container nor volume, what is shaped by hand— a meal with friends—remains deliciously ephemeral. [The Accidental Perfectionism of Wolfgat]”

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