For the fifth straight month the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has posted negative figures, with the only positive number on the chart coming from billing inquiries.
The overall number dropped from 46.3 in June to 45.1 in July (any ABI number below 50 is considered negative). AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker once again pointed to the larger economy as the source of industry woes. “The stuff that’s going on with the national level is consistent with what we’re experiencing,” said Baker, adding that given the current political situation he didn’t think another stimulus package would make it through Congress. “The politics of that is going to be tough; there’s a problem with increased spending,” he said. Even if it did, the last package didn’t really trickle down to the industry. “I have a hunch if there’s a chance it would go through, it would look a lot like the last stimulus and architects didn’t get a lot from that,” he said.
It might be the latest trend in creative modern eco-office design or, more likely, it’s a tongue-in-cheek reminder to avoid letting work take over your life. In the typical modern office with row upon row of geometric cubicles, the closest a worker might get to nature is a small potted plant, a faraway glimpse out a window, or a rainforest background on his or her computer. But a new installation in downtown Denver quite literally breaks down this man-made environment in an effort to promote outdoor activity and a connection to nature during the workday.
In case you missed the news, Dwell magazine editor-in-chief Sam Grawe (pictured) is stepping down. He had been EIC for five years and with the magazine for eleven. No word yet on why he decided to leave, but we did get this (below) statement from Dwell marketing director Nancy Alonzo, which mentions that Grawe turned down an offer to stay with the magazine as editor at large.
Since Avatar’s release in 2009 architects have coveted the lush vegetation of the habitable moon Pandora for their own digital models, and today their calls have been answered. Interactive Data Visualization, the South Carolina-based developer of SpeedTree Cinema and SpeedTree for Games—used to create Avatar’s abundant flora as well as landscaping in your kids’ favorite video games—has released a new architect-friendly format.
Sooner or later, aerodynamic trains will be zipping across the farm fields of the heartland and the Van Alen Institute wondered what cultural, environmental, and economic implications such a novel technology would bring. After revealing ten winners of its Life at the Speed of Rail ideas competition, it appears that high speed rail could one day mean larger-than-life mechanical farm animals roaming around the countryside. At least that’s the vision of Stewart Hicks and Allison Newmeyer of Urbana, IL whose project, Animal Farmatures, reimagines farm implements as entertainment for passing riders.
Winners were announced today at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. and soon, the Van Alen will be taking Life at the Speed of Rail on the road (although unfortunately not yet by train). Stops include St. Louis’ Museum of Contemporary Art at 7:00p.m. on June 28, Houston’s James Baker III Institute at Rice University at 6:00p.m. on July 7, and Los Angeles’ Caltrans District 7 Headquarters at 4:00p.m. on July 12.
Vitra’s new ID Chair Concept by Antonio Citterio will include a mesh backrest option called Diamond Mesh, a 3-D pleated textile that allows for the air circulation of a standard mesh seat but with the comfort of an upholstered chair. Backrests are available in several heights, with optional head or lumbar supports. A complementary Silk Mesh seat upholstery is also available.
KnollTextiles recently introduced its new Ink collection, a collaboration with Pentagram partner Abbott Miller. The collection is a study in ink on paper and features three patterns: Drip, a series of interconnected letters; Drop (pictured), a striped ink-dot pattern; and Run, a “modern toile” created by guiding small ink drops across a page. All three patterns are 52 inches wide and made with 70 percent vinyl and 30 percent recycled polyester (backing).
Red Carpet Collection
InterfaceFLOR’s new Red Carpet Collection includes three floor patterns designed for a range of corporate interiors. The Reduce pattern (pictured) is a linear design, while the Redesign and Redeliver have sheared and carved motifs that add dimension. Each is available in 32 neutrals in addition to bold red. Tiles contain up to 38 percent post-consumer recycled content and are installed with glue-less TacTile connectors, which prevent tile movement and curling.
New Meteor Colors
To celebrate its 30-year anniversary, Carnegie is rolling out 71 new colors to diversify its classic Meteor fabric panels, which are also suitable for upholstery and wall coverings. Panels are woven of inherently flame retardant yarns and are Cradle-to-Cradle Silver certified. The new color options are grouped into four categories: primary brights (pictured), dusty hues, deep darks, and new neutrals.
Clodagh’s Natural State
Bentley Prince Street
In collaboration with design partner Clodagh, Bentley Prince Street will introduce a new version of its 80 percent wool flat weave carpet. Called Natural State, the basket-weave pattern incorporates Protekt soil and stain protection and is available in ten colors. All of the company’s standard broadloom products are certified to the NSF 140-2008 Sustainable Carpet Assessment Standard at the Platinum level.
Kravet has added its eco-friendly high-performance Crypton line to its new Guaranteed in Stock program. More than 145 fabrics will be shipped within 24 hours of an order, ensuring project timelines stay on track. Made with 50 to 100 percent recycled fiber content, all fabrics pass a 50,000 double-rub durability rating and are engineered to resist stain, moisture, mildew, bacteria, and odor.