On a hot day in June, a jury convened to review nearly 400 entries to The Architect’s Newspaper‘s first Best of Products competition. Submissions, divided over eight categories, abounded in new materials and exciting technologies, provoking a lively dialogue during the evaluation process.
Colin Brice of Mapos, Barry Goralnick of Barry Goralnick Architects, Harshad Pillai of Fogarty Finger Architecture, and architect Alison Spear generously contributed their considerable expertise and insight to the judging.
While the complete roster of winners can be found in our just-published print edition, AN will be publishing the results daily over the next week. Today’s categories, Finishes + Surfaces and Interiors + Furnishings, evidenced a trend toward dramatic design.
Thanks to the increasingly sophisticated tastes of clients and consumers, it’s becoming harder to discern a distinct boundary between residential and commercial furnishings. These tables, chairs, benches, and stools attest to the success of such stylistic crossovers.
Hospitality design is all about visual impact and physical comfort. From pedigreed modernist classics to eye-popping contemporary works, these pieces will make any lobby or lounge area a memorable space.
At ICFF 2014, mature design reclaimed the stage. With other exhibit opportunities for up-and-coming designers—WantedDesign and Sight Unseen Offsite, along with the Industry City venue in Brooklyn—established manufacturers set the tenor of the show this year. Further cementing the show’s place near the top of the trade show hierarchy, many of the exhibitors that displayed their wares at Salone del Mobile in Milan a few short weeks ago were also present in New York. Here are six products that stood out to AN among the rows of exhibitors.
A split-level sliding top and drawer stretch the storage capacity of this neo-modern, white-ash desk. Legs in white or grey.
Canadian graphic designer, Thibaut Sld., has created an interactive wall that responds to human presence. The impressive installation—which is equal parts CGI and home design—is known as HEXI and is comprised of 60 mounted modules that work in-sync with motion detectors to track, and then mirror, a person’s movement along the wall. So, essentially, when a person near the wall moves, the wall moves with them. Brave new world.
For some, a portrait of Queen Elizabeth hearkens to days of “Long live the Queen!” but a recent design intervention could edit that phrase to “Long live Warhol!” Brooklyn-based Flavor Paper recently launched a collection of proprietary designs from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts‘ store of works in PVC-free, water-based ink formats that can be customized for a variety of applications.
If design is all about the details, Alessi has developed a successful formula for making thoughtful, fresh, and functional objects that delight design lovers worldwide. A new roster of architects and industrial designers have contributed sleek new accessories and decorative wares for the Autumn/Winter 2013 collection across the Alessi, Officina Alessi, and A di Alessi collections. AN got a first look at Toyo Ito‘s newest tablewares, Mario Trimarchi’s jewelry, and much more.
Alice by Odile Decq
This year marks the French architect and designer’s first collaboration with Alessi Officina. Her angular serving tray plays on tradition with a planar twist from corner to corner that appears to originate at varying perspectives. It’s available in black (shown) or mirror-polished stainless steel.
Frank Gehry, who is currently working on Facebook’s new Silicon Valley campus in Menlo Park, California, will design a new office for the company’s New York-based engineering team at 770 Broadway in Manhattan. The move will nearly double the company’s current workspace.
In a note from Serkan Piantino, Facebook New York’s engineering team site director, the new offices will share many of the same features of Facebook’s California headquarters, but with a twist that is uniquely New York. Approximately 100,000 square feet across two floors will be updated with open, collaborative spaces, conference rooms, cozy and casual work areas, writeable surfaces, and integrated video conferencing equipment. There are also plans to build out a full service kitchen for Facebook employees.
At 770 Broadway, Facebook will join tenants AOL/Huffington Post, Adweek, JCrew, and Structure Tone. The move from their current offices at 335 Madison Avenue is scheduled for early 2014 under a 10-year lease with building owners Vornado Realty Trust.
Berlin’s Museum der Dinge (Museum of Things) is home to the Werkbundarchiv, a collection of objects produced from 1907 up until the midcentury by the Deutsche Werkbund (German Work Federation), an association of artists, architects, designers, and industrialists. Even though the Werkbund is attributed with being the precursor of Modern architecture and industrial design and had a significant influence on the Bauhaus school, it wasn’t a creative movement, but a state-sponsored initiative to pair traditional crafts with mass production techniques to gain a competitive edge in manufacturing everything – as their motto states: Vom Sofakissen Zum Stadtbau (from sofa cushions to city building).
The collection is as fascinating as it is overwhelming, packed to the gills with objects that are rightfully described by the museum’s curators as “designed by very famous artists and anonymous designers, individual pieces and mass production, functional and puristic objects and so-called ‘error in taste’ or ‘Kitsch,’ substantial ‘honest’ things and material surrogates, branded articles and no-name products.”
At NeoCon this year, IIDA (International Interior Design Association) presented copies of What Clients Want, the first-ever study of the client/designer relationship told from the point of view of the client, written and edited by Melissa Feldman, IIDA’s executive vice president. IIDA CEO Cheryl Durst called it “a groundbreaking account of how some C-suite executives have been able to alter their companies’ destinations through design [by] firms who got inside their corporate DNA and pushed them to be better.”
Durst is referring to companies like Autodesk, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, the Cowboys Stadium, and Facebook, which enlisted the services of Primo Orpilla and Verda Alexander of Studio O+A, a husband and wife duo who have designed interiors for a roster of “techie brands” like Aol, eBay, Microsoft, and PayPal. In 2008, O+A was commissioned to consolidate Facebook’s spread of ten office buildings in Palo Alto, California, and merge them into Hewlett Packard’s former HQ. Studio O+A credits the extensive research they conduct on potential clients prior to any design work for landing the gig.