Our lives play out to a backdrop of changing places – no two places are the same; each setting is a story on its own. The fact that fashion exists in seasons is a contradiction to the way we live. In a modern context, clothes are a means of expression, both of who we are and where we are going to.

The essence of this does not change four times a year. Rather than thinking in seasons, Francon is based on the notion of changing settings. They inform our intuition on what to wear; it is a dialogue between the visitor and the place. Being in a metropolitan city feels different from being in the countryside. When standing in a skyscraper in New York City, we behave differently than we would in a Florentine palazzo. These nuances in perception and behavior are the key themes in our design explorations.

The Lake House, Tower, Cabin, Palazzo, and the Chalet. Each of these buildings are defined by the lifestyle, behavior and culture associated with its namesake archetype. Francon aims to be a collection of permanence that evolves over time. 

the lake house

Existing between realities, the lake house typically manifests as a villa situated on private lakefront property. The expansiveness of both the lake and the plains around it contradicts the private spaces of the enclosed garden and the house itself. The tension between these seemingly opposing dichotomies dissipates as we stand at the lake’s edge, feeling its expansiveness as our own.

It is a place we can consider home, even as we remain guests to nature. A space of discovery and relaxation, both familiar and new. There is a sense of liberal comfort in the lake house, a place free from strict rules and etiquette. Here, friends and family come together, where lively social gatherings interweave with moments of quiet contemplation. The lake house signifies the good life, and one dresses accordingly. 

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the tower

The tower embodies a city lifestyle, offering a diverse range of contents, from private residential units to corporate offices, with its cores exuding quiet confidence. The tower has one address, presenting one front door to the countless units it houses, making a unified impression.

Life in the tower is anonymous – from the exterior, distinguishing between units is challenging, yet inside, is where personalities come alive. Though similar in size, the units serve as blank canvases. It is when you peel past the façade that the exuberant life hidden within become apparent.

From the streets, the facade acts as a veil, offering glimpses of the secrets within. Transitioning from the street into a skyscraper, our behavior shifts from being engaged to being the observer. With invisible boundaries altering our movement, actions and behavior, the tower unfolds as a story of thresholds. The tower doesn’t attract crowds in the literal sense; instead, it utilizes the  city as its living room, transitioning from day to night.

The tower provides a vantage point of the city, offering a different perspective on life. It is this constant shift that The Tower edition caters to, providing building blocks that layer and adapt to the context with ease. 

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the cabin

The cabin is a place where time seems to stand still. Often nestled in the depths of nature, it strives to integrate seamlessly with the landscape, maintaining a down-to-earth quality. The boundary between inside and outside is immediate; aside from a possible patio, there is no intermediate space. The cabin respects the territory of nature, and does not claim more ground than necessary.

Symbolizing humble origins, the cabin’s essence is revealed in its bare and sincere construction. The material reflects the locally abundant, free of any non-architectural flourishes in favor of a focus on texture and tone. 

Functioning as a place of intentional isolation, the cabin serves as a refuge from distraction and the bustling pace of city life. The cabin becomes a space to detach and recharge, allowing its inhabitants to observe time from a contemplative distance.

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the chalet

The chalet offers an escape from the routines of daily life. Originally serving as seasonal farms for dairy cattle in lowland pastures, the chalet has evolved to become closely associated with the tourism industry, particularly in the context of ski holidays, diverging from its original agricultural function.

The architecture of the chalet is discreet, as it is more often than not covered with a thick layer of snow. Its recognition arises more from the bustling crowds of families and smoke rising from chimneys than from its deep eaves and modest construction.

Frequently nestled into the ground, the chalet is grounded in the mountain, providing both private retreats and spaces for communal activities. Ironically, its essence is less about the winter sports and more about embracing a lifestyle of leisure.

The chalet offers an opportunity to be surrounded by the grandeur of the mountains, creating a chance to escape and indulge in the tranquility of the natural surroundings.

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the palazzo

The palazzo stands as a relic of times gone by. Originating from the Italian word for palace, today, it encompasses large private houses in the city, particularly those of the aristocracy.

As an archetype, the palazzo began as a symbol of immense wealth and power, a private property with public significance. It represents an era when opulence and grandeur were celebrated without restraint—a time of old-world glamour and wealth.

Today, these grand structures have opened their doors to the public, unveiling their inner extravagance to the masses. Once designed as opulent residences of power, these lavishly ornate buildings now serve as venues for public entertainment or exhibitions.

The palazzo acts as a portal, transporting us to a different moment in time, allowing us to glimpse the grandeur and splendor of bygone eras.

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