Santa Monica, CA’s Minarc design firm was founded by Icelanders Erla Dögg and Tryggvi in 1999. Over the past two decades, the duo have established themselves as leading lights in holistic, environmentally aware design. Their residential and commercial projects employ a creative minimalism that is stunning, livable, and a unique hybrid of the design environments of their native land and their chosen home.
They recently used Infratech heaters in the Drexel home, a playfully minimalist, decidedly Southern California design. We spoke with Minarc to learn more about their creative process, how nature informs their work, and why they choose our heaters for their spectacular spaces.
Minarc aims to blur the distinction between interior and exterior spaces through the creation of outdoor living rooms. What influenced this approach to design? How do you think this “inside-out, outside-in” philosophy influences resident(s)?
Coming from Iceland and moving to California gives us a deep respect for the mild weather and the possibilities it offers to extend the house indoor-out and the usage of space that is created by the design. We believe it makes you happier, healthier and in touch with nature. We want you to experience the outside world while inside and vice versa.
The Drexel home embodies the minimalist aesthetic and California feeling of the Light and Space movement of the 1960s. How much of a role does Southern California and specifically LA play into your architectural style and design?
The opportunities for inside/outside spaces are endless in Southern California and Los Angeles. The blurring distinction between interior and exterior spaces, creation of outdoor living rooms and highly functional outdoor areas in our designs are definitely a role Southern California plays a big part in.
What would you say is the largest influence on your overall design process?
Iceland, where we come from, and Icelandic nature are definitely large factors in the influence of our design and material use. Location of the project and the client in each case also gives us different influences for the possibilities of each project. Overall though, nature and natural materials in their original form influence us the most.
The hallmark of your firm’s work is sustainable, holistic and environmentally aware design. How much of your overall home designs are eco-conscious? Does this approach play into every aspect and material used?
Our designs are eco-conscious in all aspects. We carefully research and choose materials that are eco-conscious and thoughtfully consider if they are recycled and/or recyclable. Environmental awareness of materials also leads us to avoid paint, tiles, and carpet. Energy-conscious use of natural cross-ventilation as well as a sustainable building technique that eliminates its footprint and waste like mnmMOD does is highly important to us.
In what homes did you implement Infratech Comfort heaters? Why did you choose Infratech and what purpose do these heaters hold within your eco-conscious design aesthetic?
We have used them for almost all of the homes we design. They are located in our Drexel Residence, Sherbourne Residence, Dawnsknoll House, Appleton House, Greenfield Residence, and many more of our projects. We prefer to use Infratech Comfort heaters as they help with the interior/exterior spaces that we like to create within each of the living spaces.
Lastly, what current trends do you see burgeoning in Southern California architecture and how do you see these trends influencing design throughout the next decade?
We see more environmentally friendly awareness and people becoming more conscious about the materials they use and the waste they create by using certain materials and building techniques. We think that waste-free or minimal waste in construction as well as building pre-fab will become more popular —like the building technique we prefer to use, mnmMOD, which is a net-zero, waste free construction method created from recycled materials which are, in turn, recyclable.