BY RITA GOLDBERG
Horst Noppenberger recalls visiting Laguna Beach for the first time when he was ten years old. “We had just moved to California and my father wanted to show me the city he described as the most beautiful place he had ever seen,” tells Horst during an interview meeting in his second story Laguna Beach office, overlooking the vibrant town he has called home for more than 35 years. Back then, he didn’t foresee that Laguna Beach would become the muse and homestead for his long-standing, award-winning career as one of this region’s most significant and sought after architects.
Although Horst graduated with a degree in Architecture, his initial path led him to Europe as an aspiring musician. “I was playing gigs and pursuing my dream, when I caught sight of an image of a house in this book on architecture. It was a random sighting but everything about this home resonated. This was an example of the exact kind of architecture I wanted to do,” tells Horst, who reached out to Fred Briggs, the highly acclaimed architect who designed the home in the book, and landed a job offer. Horst made his way back to Southern California where he worked under the tutelage of his esteemed mentor, who introduced him to the concept of architecture as an art form and sparked his passion for creating his highly touted signature style of modern homes that are in harmony with their environments.
“It’s all about the harmony,” explains Horst, in reference to the homes he designs. My homes are always designed with consideration of two very important factors: the natural environment enveloping the home and the client who will inhabit the home. Horst understands the importance of creating a home that is in synergy with its external surroundings and also contains the spaces and amenities within that pair with the resident’s lifestyle. It is this commitment to infusing his structures with relevance to what lies within and without that results in the creation of homes with inviting and serene liveability, while Horst’s artistic eye ensures the dramatic elegance that is the hallmark of each finished product.
Horst’s prefered homes are simple and seamless to their environments, flooded with natural sunlight and framed by sky, ocean or sparkling city lights - whatever is at hand to capture. He uses features such as modulating wooden louvers and descending glass walls to transition the feel of spaces. The effect of his modern mid-century minimalism is often a home designed with a sensation of floating, evocative of the coastal landscape that defines this locale.
During the course of his career, Horst has built over 150 spectacular homes. Typically, his homes take over two years to complete and are always passion projects with unique and striking features.
“Architecture is most interesting when the right combination of different design elements are brought together, much like a cocktail party populated by different but well mingled personalities,” shares Horst.
Elevated Outdoor Spaces- Rooftop pools and gardens are showing up in latest look homes.
Car Galleries - Automobile aficionados are requesting showrooms in lieu of garages to house and display their coveted collections.
Organic Materials - Stone, wood and materials that come from nature are the preferred finishes.
Flexible Spaces - The use of retractable walls and floor plans that allow large open spaces suited for communal gathering to convert to private space options when preferred.
Courtyards - Cozy outdoor spaces that can be open to enjoy the vista or sealed off for complete privacy are showing up in new construction.
Selfcare Spaces - Cryotherapy rooms and Hammams are among the latest craze options for self care ritualists.
Floating Stairs - The staircase is no longer an elaborate design focal point but a minimalistic element that appears to hover in its surrounding space.
High Ceilings - The luxury of space extends upwards for enhanced open feel.
Living Rooms - Formal, look-but-don’t-touch spaces that defined a previous generation’s must-have are no longer in vogue.
Sloped Roofs - Roofs are no longer merely a visually insignificant protective layer but an essential design element.
Wine Cellars - Yesterday’s household staple is no longer an oft requested feature of newer construction.
Media Rooms - The windowless screening room craze has lost top billing to a centrally situated comfy couch, preferred by today’s binge-watching audience.
Elaborate Foliage - English rose gardens and other lushly landscaped grounds are being replaced by simple, environmentally correct gravel gardens, herb gardens and other no maintenance or useful plantings.
Mediterranean Architecture - Too much of any good thing makes for ordinary.