Good architecture builds windows instead of walls and makes poetry out of practical decisions. Take the cabin at Halfmoon Bay designed by, and for, a partner at Frits de Vries Architects + Associates. Where woods meet water, it’s a retreat for him, his partner, and their yellow lab, Taavi.

Octothorpe House is as versatile as the # symbol for which it is named. Built to be sustainable, support flexible living, and draw the outdoors in, the house has an easygoing efficiency and is filled with light and changing perspectives.

There are few architects whose work makes one wonder at the wild beauty of dirt. McLean Quinlan is a British firm that reminds us—in a way that should be redundant but is not—that the Earth is made up of animals, vegetables, and minerals animated by light, and it is by weaving these miracles together that we build a home.

Interior designer Sheila Bridges’s Reykjavik apartment amplifies her creative strengths of wit, eclecticism, and synthesis.

Mounted by San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s Architecture and Design department, Far Out demonstrates how applied and theoretical design has long imagined new ways for us to stake out a space for ourselves on the final frontier.

The Atoma collection of 3-D printed flavour molecules suggests a future in which we could make a salad that would satisfy us the way a burger does.

James Whitaker’s prefabricated residential concept, the Anywhere House, is a unique configuration of individual modules stacked side-by-side proving to be a gamechanger for how we build our homes.

Following a gradual return to creating furniture over the past four years, the famed jewellery designer launched her first seating collection this year.

The poetic and the anatomical, the sublime and the mineral meet with perfect clarity in these artful fixtures.

Two farmhouses get a new lease on life thanks to Roman architecture firm, Alvisi Kirimoto.

New York–based designer and architect Rafael de Cárdenas designs outside the lines. His multidisciplinary practice Architecture at Large has a portfolio of bold and eye-popping projects.

In this five-storey Georgian house in Bloomsbury, London, architect Gianni Botsford has created a visual tension between abundant and minimal lighting.

The poetic first furniture collection by Montreal design studio Claste floats the weight and solidity of onyx in transparent and fragile glass.

At Empreintes, visitors can find more than 1,000 unique or limited-edition contemporary objects at any given time.

A restaurant and lifestyle concept store offers one-of-a-kind luxury in industrial Istanbul.

Interior designer Celerie Kemble doesn’t need to call a colour by its name to name it. Her descriptions of hue are, instead, evocations of an emotional fragment.

Husband and wife Nick and Rachel Cope create wallpapers that synthesize antique handmade techniques with digital technology, tap esoteric inspirations, and feature irregular patterns and colours.

Built by AGi Architects, the Wall House on the edge of Kuwait City masks a concealed world where its inhabitants live free from prying eyes.

Applying industrial materials precisely with minimal detailing, the Jonathan Tuckey design team created what they call “a noble shed”.

FROM THE ARCHIVE:This year’s Interior Design Show Vancouver sees Barbara Barry—who has been inducted into Interior Design’s Hall of Fame, ranked by Architectural Digest among the World’s 100 Best Designers, and named one of House Beautiful’s Giants of Design—as the keynote speaker. Here, our archival interview with Barry from autumn 2013.

FROM THE ARCHIVE: Tel Aviv-based designer Ron Gilad carves his place within the world of industrial design by questioning and challenging convention.

Cameron Sinclair wants to be an urban acupuncturist, treating a community with a light, precise touch instead of driving a giant spike into it.

Suffering through a resolution to quit smoking? You may have to give it up—the giving it up, that is.

The Nina Yashar universe is as big in scale as her new design proscenium.

Recent films such as Gravity, Interstellar, and The Martian might have you hyperventilating at the thought of reaching for the stars, much less living there, but don’t panic.

The design work of fraternal twins Simon and Nikolai Haas is manifestly erotic, so as to draw people in, and to instigate a dialogue about the human condition.

Swedish brand Hästens has been “crafting sleep”—and artisanal beds—since 1852, a time when my ancestors were still sleeping on straw or in hammocks below-decks on a whaling ship.

A first for Italian handbag house Valextra, the company tasked an outside designer—London-based Martino Gamper—with redesigning its Milan shop, and also emblazoning new graphic patterns upon one of the brand’s bag collections.

Joseph Walsh is a self-taught woodworker who combines art and craftsmanship to create functional sculpture with sweeping curvilinear forms.

In the landmarked Brewster Carriage House, a 19th-century coach makers’ building in Manhattan, the hush of exclusivity surrounds tabletop and art objects, furniture, textiles, carpets, and lighting culled from workshops the world over, some with pedigrees reaching back to the 17th century.

Two hours from Prague, floating amidst the swells of the Czech countryside, is the landlocked village of Jenštejn, which locals call “the Island”. It is 5ºC outside, but inside the 200-year-old Jenštejn Glassworks, it is not unreasonable to fear that one’s clothing may spontaneously ignite.

FROM THE ARCHIVE: “The main idea for the design of the house was to not have too many ideas,” says interior architect Yasemin Arpaç of Istanbul-based Ofist. With partner Sabahattin Emir, Arpaç formulated an eminently simple—and versatile—living space for a 45-year-old bachelor.

The architecture of any home is usually extroverted or introverted in equal measure, but the interior of the Sharifi-ha residence in Tehran can become its façade and its façade can become the interior.

Intersecting planes of unfinished plywood, fluorescent fixtures, and unsheetrocked walls define the new Feit footwear boutique.

When they met 13 years ago outside the Vancouver Art Gallery, the downtown hub of skateboarding, D Calen Knauf and Conrad Brown found they had similar tastes in both tricks and terrain. Today, the two Vancouver natives, both 31, are lauded for resourceful, minimal, thought-provoking, and handsome work.

Alberto Alessi discovered what would become the site of his pursuit—to put work, leisure, family, and a passion for wine into some magical proportion—40 years ago, when he first saw Cascina Eugenia, a 350-year-old farmstead overlooking the island of San Giulio on Lake Orta in northwestern Italy.

A San Francisco native who grew up in New Jersey, Joey Roth is also a long-distance skateboarder, barbecue enthusiast, and industrial designer who has created items ranging from ceramic speakers to self-watering planters. Last summer, Roth launched version 2.0 of his stainless steel and glass teapot, the Sorapot.

FROM THE ARCHIVE: For the well-travelled individual with a fondness for the good life, it’s hard to be far from a project by George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg, the creative pair behind Yabu Pushelberg. They have now been appointed to the Order of Canada for their contributions to design excellence internationally and for promoting the Canadian design industry.

Anticipating the design labels that have turned to old craft techniques to renew their products and brands, German carpet designer Jan Kath has mastered the art of looking simultaneously backward and forward in time.

In painter, sculptor, and audiophile Tyler Hays’s handcrafted BDDW design shops in New York and Milan, visitors may find wool tapestries made from yarn as thick as a wrist, and paper-thin ceramics beside vintage industrial wall-lamps.

Todd Saunders has made his mark by turning the middle of nowhere into somewhere. His architecture—bare, sculptural, conductive—amplifies place like a microphone set in the landscape, making both built space and the place it’s in palpably present. Designed by Saunders, the Fogo Island Inn opened last summer on a beautiful Newfoundland island.

There are several morals to the story of PH1, a residential project in the Preston Hollow neighbourhood of Dallas, Texas. First, it is a story about the vitality of modern design in Texas and a story about how successful design can be when architects and interior designers work closely together.

At 29, Los Angeles–based Nikolai and Simon Haas (fraternal twins) have made their shared name by doing custom creative construction. Their “Beast” series is on display at Design Miami until June 22, 2014.

Kenneth Cobonpue is a designer redefining an industry in his native Philippines and spreading the notion of sustainable design to a global audience.

Beneath all the light, colour, and exuberant personality of the interiors, passive energy mechanisms are at work, generating conspicuous energy savings.

London-based Andy Martin, architect of the bentwood Thonet bicycle, makes things simultaneously baroque and minimal. Last September, Martin presented three colourful polyester-resin furniture pieces aptly titled Blocks A/B/C.

The name the Rug Company, speaks volumes about the straightforward nature of its mission. Having collected rugs in the Middle East during the 1980s and ’90s, its husband and wife founders, CEO Christopher Sharp and creative director Suzanne Sharp, hung out their shingle in London’s Chelsea neighbourhood in 1997.

Founded in 1997 by Memphis Group movers and shakers, including Ettore Sottsass and Alberto Bianchi Albrici, Milan’s Galleria Post Design even today never fails to provide counterpoint to the dull dogmas of the design industry.

This May, creative director Russell Greenberg and his design firm, RUX Design, launched the Stickbulb lighting collection, which looks much as its name would suggest. Made from sustainably sourced or salvaged woods, all of the lights are crafted at RUX’s studio in Long Island City, New York.

At sunset, the entire apartment appears to be floating on a sea of light, gilded. Which is quite appropriate, since it was completed last summer for a Greek shipping magnate.

Imagine a Manhattan apartment as a jewellery box, with each room evoking a different mood. At some moments, it shouts; at others, it murmurs. Former fashion designer turned architect Rafael de Cárdenas, of New York studio Architecture at Large (AAL), worked with an eclectic array of furnishings, graphical surfaces, and brazen colour to remake the Goodman residence.

The best storytellers are those who understand the splintered origins of their tales, and are able to unite these fragments of meaning and connect them, viscerally, to their listeners’ lives. It is, epically, a storyteller’s era in design, and at 46, Stéphane Parmentier, former Lanvin, Léger, and Lagerfeld fashion designer turned interior architect, has polished this skill to a fine shine.