The House of Light
James Turrell, Tokamachi, Japan
American artist James Turrell has a long history of working with light and space to create his art, and in the aptly named House of Light has merged tradition and modernism, East and West, and manifested this all in physical form. In this “meditation house” set in the Echigo-Tsumari region of Japan, Turrell uses traditional Japanese interior staples such as alcoves and shoji (paper sliding doors) alongside his iconic ‘Skyspaces’, through which viewers can observe the sky. Other features include the Light Bath, lit by fibre-optic tubes. Throughout the property, Turrell’s presence is perfectly married with Japanese tradition. Originally created for three small groups to share the space for a night and share ideas and stories, the House can now be rented outright by larger groups, and so embodies the perfect place to retreat from daily life.
Approx £203 for two guests per night; hikarinoyakata.com
A House for Essex
Grayson Perry & Charles Holland (FAT), Wrabness, Essex, England
Designed as a collaboration between English contemporary artist Grayson Perry and Charles Holland of the award-winning FAT Architecture, A House for Essex was born of Perry’s wish to create a chapel dedicated to the history of his home county. Drawing on the artist’s eclectic, colourful style, the House is clad in two thousand handmade tiles, created from originals by Grayson himself, and merges the style of Russian Stave churches and traditional pilgrimage chapels. Its interior features rich tapestries, decorative panelling and commissioned artworks to commemorate the story of Perry’s fictional character, Julie Cope. The two-bedroom habitable art piece is located only an hour away from London and while it is available to rent, due to high interest in short-term rental, the two-three night breaks are only available through ballot.
From £119pp per night; living-architecture.co.uk
John Pawson, Santanyi, Mallorca
Created in partnership with Claudio Silvestrin, Neuendorf House was born by chance in the late 1980s, when a German couple was invited back to John Pawson’s property in Tuscany and then commissioned him to build their holiday home upon finding the perfect spot in Santanyi, Mallorca. The property incorporates the island’s red sand in the plaster to give the exterior a warm, pink hue, while the inside boasts stark white spaces with windows, slits and skylights bringing light indoors. John Pawson’s work has always been closely aligned with minimalism, and Neuendorf House is no exception. Just five minutes from the beach and with plenty of direct flights from London to Palma de Mallorca airport, this spring escape is more accessible than you think.
From €570 per night (sleeps 11); neuendorfhouse.com
Room 3201, Edificio Copan
Oscar Niemeyer, São Paulo, Brazil
Niemeyer, not to be confused with football legend Neymar, is a name you’ll hear echoing throughout São Paulo. Although he helped design Brasilia in the late 50s, Oscar Niemeyer’s influence on the megacity of São Paulo is unmistakable. Located in Centro, the 38-storey Edificio Copan is one of the largest buildings in Brazil and claims to have the largest floor area of any residential building in the world. A city within a city, this building is so large that it was given its own postcode upon being designed in 1951, and although the area is no longer booming like it was in its heyday, regeneration is coming back to Centro. Room 3201 is situated on the 32nd floor of the building, and thus offers unmatched views of the sprawling metropolis of São Paulo.
From £57 per night; airbnb.co.uk
Frank Lloyd Wright, Galesburg, Michigan, USA
Built in 1953 and one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian designs, The Eppstein House was originally created as part of a community composed of 21 homes for a group of research scientists working nearby. The homes were to be built on an area of approximately 70 acres of land, leaving 50 acres of shared open space, however only four were ultimately built. The Eppstein House is highly reminiscent of previous Frank Lloyd Wright projects, and in 1953 was the first of the four houses to be completed. The original three-bedroom home used lots of natural materials and boasted an open-plan living concept and plenty of natural light. The newest owners of the Eppstein House renovated it in 2016/17 and filled it with original Frank Lloyd Wright furniture. This home really is a step back in time.
From £228 per night; airbnb.co.uk
Praa Sands, Cornwall
Rather than being built by a renowned architect, the Little Cottage in Praa Sands is owned by one – Alex Michaelis of Michaelis Boyd. Well-known not just in the UK but around the world, Michaelis’ projects have gained masses of recognition by the industry, in particular for his recent housing projects at Battersea Power Station and work on various Soho House locations. His seaside four-bedroom holiday home, nestled in the cliffs of Praa Sands, features large bedrooms, direct ocean access, a games room and an outdoor hot tub. This sleek property is the perfect retreat in which to spend some quality time with family or friends.
From £281 per night; beachspoke.com
Wladimir Alves de Souza, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Although Wladimir Alves de Souza often worked in restoration, when viewing his work it is easy to see why he is seen as one of the key architects of Brazilian modernism. In a perfect melange of brutalism and modernism, Chez Georges villa was built in the 1970s and boasts a spectacular location, with views of Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain), Guanabara Bay and the rooftops of Rio de Janeiro. The property has most recently been renovated into a Design Hotel, which offers seven suites and a full sound-recording studio, a pool and an unbeatable 360-degree view from the roof. In typical Brazilian fashion, the concrete, tile and timber villa is surrounded by lush vegetation. You’ll find no better place from which to explore the lively, musical city of Rio de Janeiro.
From £175 per night; designhotels.com