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Puro Lodz Hotel by ASW Architekci and Superfutures Honors a Polish City’s Rich Artistic Heritage

PROJECT NAME Puro Lodz Hotel
LOCATION Poland
FIRMS ASW Architekci, Superfutures
SQ. FT. 75,000 SQF

Puro Lodz in Poland was far from an easy commission for Superfutures founder Andy Martin and ASW Architekci partners Michal Ankiersztajn, Dariusz Stankiewicz, and Jaroslaw Wronski. It had taken Martin several years to persuade the owner of Puro Hotels to let him craft the 75,000-square-foot interior of the brand’s sixth property. “We had to convince him that we could offer something different,” Martin begins.

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The snack bar’s communal table is custom. Photography by Anna Stathaki.

Once they finally got the gig, the team found itself struggling with all sorts of spatial challenges in what Martin calls an “awkward site.” Puro Lodz had a few differences of its own to offer. It stands between the neo-baroque Poznanski Palace from 1903 and a renovated late 19th-century red-brick factory now a mixed-use complex. But the hotel is also a ground-up, five-story construction, so it’s both metaphorically and spatially lodged between the city’s industrial past and its future as a hip urban playground.

That meant the building took the alinear form of a long, narrow rectangle, which, Martin says, “became one of the project’s unique qualities.” But, “It was extremely challenging from a design perspective. The common areas could be rearranged, but we were basically stuck with the footprint.” It wasn’t what he’d expected, but Superfutures made it work.

Glass pendant fixtures and ‘60’s-inspired carpet, all custom, join Verner Panton seating in the cinema bar at Poland’s Puro Rodz hotel by ASW Architekci and Superfutures. Photography by Anna Stathaki.

Martin has been running a London firm called AMA for two decades. He launched Superfutures when companies began submitting requests for pro­posals that required him to oversee the art direction of projects, and, as he puts it, “employing the necessary creatives.”

> Browse through more hospitality projects featured in Interior Design

And Puro Lodz is loaded with the work of creatives. Superfutures utilized the local artistic resources to design the hotel. Poland’s third largest city, it boasts several excellent art museums, the Herbst Palace Museum and Muzeum Sztuki among them, plus the renowned National Film School in Lodz, and the in­teriors reflect that heritage. The firm worked with Puro Hotels art advisor, Zuzanna Zakaryan, who consults on all properties, to help select the modern art. She sought out the best students and graduates from the photography department of the film school as well as area craftspeople and illustrators. “Our collection is based on a young generation of emerging artists that not only fit with the spirit of the interiors and the city but are also a good investment,” she says.

A custom concrete screen separates the lobby from the lounge. Photography by Anna Stathaki.

The seven suites feature original wall hangings by hometown weaving studio Tartaruga. Some of the 130 guest rooms feature original illustrations inspired by Lodz’s famous interwar pioneers of avant-garde art, Katarzyna Kobro and Wladyslaw Strzeminski. The lobby staircase descends alongside a cinematic mural from local illustrators Ilcat and Maciej Polak. And contemporary painting and photography, as well as vintage film posters, populate the remainder of the project.

That includes its crowning glory, Cinema Paradiso, an in-house movie theater that pays homage to Lodz’s filmmaking culture. “We pushed to get a cinema into the scheme somewhere,” Martin says. “We tried the underground garage, an external one in the forecourt, but we finally decided it would get more use inside the hotel.” The second-floor space can also function as a meeting room, with the adjoining bar area great for break-out sessions. (There’s an official conference room on the same floor.) “Hotel guests often sit in their rooms to watch TV,” the architect continues, “so the cinema is an attempt at providing social activity.”

Vintage movie posters hang in the conference room. Photography by Anna Stathaki.

Martin, who worked on the furniture selection closely with the owner, settled on a European-centric “dusting of new creative designs,” he says, to combine with his custom pieces throughout, including the chromatic 1960s-inspired carpet in the cinema and conference room. Other pieces are what he calls “visual classics” with an eye toward comfort, such as the Verner Panton bar chairs and stools upholstered in plush turquoise or blush velvet. That palette extends to some walls, coated in saturated salmon, indigo, or teal paint. Guest rooms, however, are more restrained, with furnishings by the likes of Hans Wegner and millwork in pale tones; white ceramic tile lines guest bathrooms. And reception, with its desk that morphs into a stair, is outfitted almost entirely in gray concrete.

> Check out our projects page for more design inspiration

While the hotel may honor classic elements of Polish life, it also features two restaurant concepts of today: a healthy snack bar serving smoothies and wholesome breakfasts at a long communal table and an organic bistro with a Thai vibe. There’s also a state-of-the-art spa with a view of Poznanski Palace that Martin says shouldn’t be missed. In all, it’s an interior born from substantial artistic tension and original ideas. The project’s wealth of creative talent, Martin says, “adds another layer and complexity to the experience. It put us off balance a bit—and the guests benefit.”

Keep scrolling to view more images of the project >

Cast-in-place concrete forms flooring in reception and treads on the stair, which leads up to the cinema and conference room. Photography by Anna Stathaki.
The coffered ceiling is also cast-in-place concrete. Photography by Anna Stathaki.
The bar’s plaster ceiling morphs into light fixtures. Photography by Anna Stathaki.
The cinema’s 26 seats were inspired by the Eames lounge chair. Photography by Anna Stathaki.
Local illustrators Ilcat and Maciej Polak spray-painted the lobby’s site-specific mural. Photography by Anna Stathaki.
ArrmetLab designed the stools and chairs in the bistro. Photography by Anna Stathaki.
The suite’s lounge chair is also by Wegner. Photography by Anna Stathaki.
A Hans Wegner chair pulls up to a suite’s custom desk. Photography by Anna Stathaki.
Leather straps secure a guest room’s cushioned headboard. Photography by Anna Stathaki.
Bathroom tile is ceramic. Photography by Anna Stathaki.
The spa’s sauna is clad in custom wooden planks. Photography by Anna Stathaki.

Project Team: Martyna Antczak-Galant; Michal Karykowski; Hanna Sawicka; Maria Swarowska:ASW Architekci. Nadia Sousa; Ben Webb; Mitch James; Kathrine H. Børresen; Adrian Jönsson: Superfutures. Atrium: Lighting Consultant. Bud-Ekspert: Structural Engineer. Elsa Projekt: Electrical Engineer. Wiso: Plumbing Engineer. Hotel Inwest Ireneusz Dudek: General Contractor.

Product Sources: From Top: Verplan: Chairs, Stools (Cinema Bar). Wenart: Custom Table (Conference Room), Side Table (Suite). Vibia: Pendant Fixtures (Reception). Arrmet: Stools (Bar), Chairs, Stools (Bistro). Caloi: Custom Chairs (Cinema). Gubi: Lamps (Suite). Carl Hansen & Søn: Chairs (Suite). Chelsom: Custom Sconce (Guest Room). Hansgrohe: Shower Fittings (Bathroom). Kvadrat: Cur­tain Material (Suite). Muuto: Cocktail Table. Moroso: Sofa. Throughout:Ege Carpets: Custom Carpet. Kasthall: Custom Rugs. ITNYS: Flooring.

> See more from the July 2019 issue of Interior Design

Continue reading Puro Lodz Hotel by ASW Architekci and Superfutures Honors a Polish City’s Rich Artistic Heritage

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10 Questions With… Matteo Thun

Cala Beach Club at Hotel Cala di Volpe in Porto Cervo on Sardinia. Photography courtesy of Matteo Thun & Partners.

A holistic approach to nature and wellness drives Matteo Thun’s built projects. The award-winning Italian architect and Interior Design Hall of Fame member co-founded the iconic Italian design and architecture collective the Memphis Group with Ettore Sottsass in 1981, before striking out on his own, forming Matteo Thun & Partners in 2001. Thun’s happiest designing something new, he admits, and his firm’s creative eye, honed out of a headquarters in Milan and an office in Shanghai, is behind a long list of high-profile hospitality and healthcare projects spanning the globe.

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Most recently, summer saw the reassembly of Thun’s temporary beach structure, Cala Beach Club on the breathtaking Emerald Coast of the Italian island of Sardinia. Situated at Hotel Cala di Volpe in Costa Smeralda, a playground for the rich and, at times, famous—many of them yachting enthusiasts—Cala Beach Club is an environmentally sensitive structure only accessible by foot or boat. In summer it hums with private parties, with clientele seduced by the stunning natural landscape. Interior Design sat down with Thun to hear more about the Cala Beach Club, what toy kicked off his imagination at a young age, and which project reachable solely by cable car he considers a career turning point.

Interior Design: What was your overall design goal for Cala Beach Club?

Matteo Thun: Cala di Volpe is a beautiful beach in Sardinia. We wanted to create a shady oasis just between the woods and the sea. Restaurant, bar, and treatment rooms have been designed to melt within the landscape, to respect the charm of this special place.

ID: What was particularly challenging about this project?

MT: This property is reachable only by boat or on a path through nature. Since it serves only for the season, we designed a removable structure that is easily to assemble and dismantle.

Cala Beach Club at Hotel Cala di Volpe in Porto Cervo on Sardinia. Photography courtesy of Matteo Thun & Partners.

ID: What materials did you use and why?

MT: The structure unites with the beach vegetation, terraces value the inclination of the land, and views are open to the sea. We only used natural materials that integrate with the surroundings, such as chestnut wood and bamboo. All colors are natural and warm.

ID: What else have you completed recently?

MT: We like to bring nature inside and believe in concepts that emphasize an overall healthy lifestyle as a main approach. Healthy architecture and interior design guarantees physical and mental well being, allowing a relationship between humans and the environment. In Obbürgen, Switzerland, the Waldhotel at Bürgenstock Hotels & Resort, which opened at the end of last year, is a space for wellness and medical services. It’s made from local stone and wood, and nature will take over in a few years so that the building will melt with the mountain. As with most of our projects, we also designed the entire interior.

Another recent project is the new headquarters for Davines, an Italian beauty company dedicated to sustainability and based in Parma, Italy. Here, we grouped traditional rural shapes and innovative volumes around a greenhouse that serves as a restaurant for the employees. Maximum architectural transparency with a minimum amount of masonry elements provides every working station with a view of the green areas.

The Waldhotel at Bürgenstock Hotels & Resort in Obbürgen, Switzerland by Matteo Thun & Partners. Photography by Andrea Garuti, courtesy of Matteo Thun & Partners.

ID: What’s upcoming for you?

MT: The Evangelisches Waldkrankenhaus Spandau in Berlin at the largest university orthopedic center in Europe. Waldkrankenhaus means ‘hospital in the forest’ in German, and the new hospital building and rehab building connected to it will transform the hospital campus into a health center with a hotel character. This project represents our idea of a healing environment, an architectural and organizational structure that helps the patient and his relatives endure stressful situations caused by illness, operations, treatments, and sometimes pain.

Another hospitality project, a health bathing spa with medical treatments and maximum comfort, is underway in Bavaria, at Tegernsee, a resort town on the banks of Germany’s Tegernsee Lake. Nature is also the point of departure here and was key to the project. The landscape design integrates the existing flora and references the natural presence of water, allowing a direct communication with nature without interfering with the privacy of the patients.

The Evangelisches Waldkrankenhaus Spandau in Berlin by Matteo Thun & Partners. Photography courtesy of Matteo Thun & Partners.

ID: Is there a project in your history that you feel was particularly significant to your career?

MT: I designed the Vigilius Mountain Resort in South Tirol more than 15 years ago. It was one of the first design hotels, made from local larch wood and reachable only by cable car. The owner and I shared the same vision: to create a hotel that fuses with its surroundings, a place where you can breathe and relax instantly. Now, after all these years, the wood has a beautiful patina and the hotel a constant influx of international clientele.

ID: What are you reading?

MT: I very much like to read books in parallel: such as German philosopher Martin Heidegger with a novel or short story by Italian journalist and writer Italo Calvino

The Vigilius Mountain Resort by Matteo Thun & Partners. Photography by Serge Brison, courtesy of Matteo Thun & Partners.

ID: How do you think your childhood influenced your design thinking?

MT: My parents took me regularly to the Venice Biennale, so I became familiar with art and architecture at quite a young age. I grew up in nature, in the mountains near Bolzano, Italy, where my mother worked with pottery. She gave me clay to play with—so I had to use my imagination to have fun with it. I was always very close to material and materiality.

ID: How do think the Italian design culture influences your overall approach?

MT: In Italy, architecture is approached holistically. Let me quote Italian architect and writer Ernesto Rogers: ‘From spoon to city.’ This means working on a chair, on a lighting product, and on a house at the same time. We’ve worked like this in my office since the beginning, and the different teams of architects, interior designers, and product designers perform across disciplines.

Another big strength is Italian craftsmanship. At Salone del Mobile 2019, we launched a wood chair collection produced by F.lli Levaggi, a small manufacturer in Liguria, Italy, and work regularly with the glassblowers from Murano, such as Venini, Barovier & Toso, and Seguso. We very much believe in ‘Made in Italy.’

The Vigilius Mountain Resort by Matteo Thun & Partners. Photography by Vigilius Mountain Resort, courtesy of Matteo Thun & Partners.

ID: Is there a person in the industry that you particularly admire?

MT: Ettore Sottsass, chief designer of Olivetti. I first worked for him as an assistant, then we formed Sottsass Associati and in 1981 we co-founded Italian design and architecture collective Memphis Group. Memphis had an important formative influence on my career, and provided a platform to experiment with the challenges of constant innovation. Ettore designed the first Italian computer—in the late 1950s.

Keep scrolling for more images of projects by Matteo Thun >

The Vigilius Mountain Resort by Matteo Thun & Partners. Photography by Florian Andergassen, courtesy of Matteo Thun & Partners.
The Waldhotel at Bürgenstock Hotels & Resort in Obbürgen, Switzerland by Matteo Thun & Partners. Photography by Andrea Garuti, courtesy of Matteo Thun & Partners.
The alpine suite at the Waldhotel at Bürgenstock Hotels & Resort in Obbürgen, Switzerland by Matteo Thun & Partners. Photography by Waldhotel, courtesy of Matteo Thun & Partners.
The pool at the Waldhotel at Bürgenstock Hotels & Resort in Obbürgen, Switzerland by Matteo Thun & Partners. Photography by Waldhotel, courtesy of Matteo Thun & Partners
The Davines headquarters in Parma, Italy by Matteo Thun & Partners. Photography by Andrea Garuti, courtesy of Matteo Thun & Partners.
The Nudes seating collection by Matteo Thun, launched at Salone del Mobile 2019. Photography by Marco Bertolini, courtesy of Matteo Thun & Partners.

Read more: 10 Questions With… Gert Wingardh

Continue reading 10 Questions With… Matteo Thun

Universität Stuttgart Uses Robotics and Biomimicry to Create an Outdoor Event Pavillion

Researchers from Universität Stuttgart in Germany look to a sea creature and advanced digital timber-fabrication methods to construct an event pavilion called Buga Wood Pavilion for a horticultural show.

A group of 18 researchers and craftsmen led by Universität Stuttgart professors Jan Knippers, a structural engineer, and Achim Menges, an architect contributed to the project. “A biomimetic approach to architecture enables interdisciplinary thinking,” says Menges.

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Buga Wood Pavilion took 13 months to develop, and 17,000 robotically milled finger joints and 2 million lines of custom robotic code to build.

Photography courtesy of Universität Stuttgart.

To create the Buga Wood Pavilion for a horticultural show in nearby Heilbronn, Germany, researchers at Universität Stuttgart’s Institute for Computational Design and Construction and its Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design developed a robotic-manufacturing platform to CNC-cut geometric panels and form a segmented timber shell.

Photography courtesy of Universität Stuttgart.

Composed of spruce laminate, a rubber waterproofing layer, and a larch plywood exterior, the individual segments were fabricated at Müllerblaustein Holzbauwerke, a local workshop. 

Photography courtesy of Universität Stuttgart.

Working on boom lifts, craftsmen assembled the structure on-site over 10 days. 

Photography courtesy of Universität Stuttgart.

The 376 segments were joined via steel bolts. 

Photography courtesy of Universität Stuttgart.

The pavilion’s form is based on the exoskeleton of the sea urchin. 

Photography by Roland Halbe.

Buga’s form echoes the surrounding land­scape of  Sommerinsel, one of the 15 sites that the biennial Bundesgarten­schau takes place this year. 

Photography by Roland Halbe.

The combination of spruce, rubber, and larch plywood make the installation acoustically sound. 

Photography by Roland Halbe.

Fully assembled, the pavilion spans 104 feet and reaches 23 high.

Photography by Roland Halbe.

It is hosting concerts, lectures, and workshops through October 6, when it will be disassembled for future use. 

Photography by Roland Halbe.

LEDs illuminate the shell at night. 

> See more from the July 2019 issue of Interior Design

Asthetique Group’s The Y in Moscow is Ready Made for Millennials

Custom wallpaper defines the second floor’s main dining room, with gray chairs by Saba and peach chairs by Kristalia. Photography by Mikhail Loskutov.

Millennials aren’t just about avocado toast, although the distinctive green, often mixed with peach, is a clear menu favorite around the world. The Y—a new 6,000-square-foot eatery in Moscow featuring a first floor with two open kitchens and 200 seats divided between a casual dining area and coffee shop and formal areas up above—is a textbook example of that generation’s preferred flavor.

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“We took inspiration from how the ‘70s vibe touched on this generation,” a look that’s prevalent throughout the city’s up-and-coming Hamovniki neighborhood, says designer Alina Pimkina of New York City-based Asthetíque Group, who headed up the project with partner Julien Albertini.

The floors of the large private dining room are a checkerboard of white and brown marble and oak; chairs are by ABC and the tables and velvet-covered banquettes are custom. Photography by Mikhail Loskutov.

The pair also name-checked film director Wes Anderson as a muse; his love of ornament and obsessive symmetry clearly inspired the brass birdcage-like lighting above neat rows of custom chairs in the first-floor dining area. “We pay extreme attention to detail,” says Albertini, “and that makes the place feel very unique, modern, and luxurious.” Rather like the restaurant’s clientele itself.

Keep scrolling for more images from this project >

In the first-floor dining area, custom brass sconces hang over custom oak tables; the gray-teal chairs are by Poiat. Photography by Mikhail Loskutov.
A white marble countertop with a brass sheet metal face defines the open kitchen’s bar, featuring a brass and fluted glass overhang. Photography by Mikhail Loskutov. 
Near the entrance, a cafe layers a custom marble-topped oak counter with a column covered in Midas’s liquid brass and chairs by &tradition. Photography by Mikhail Loskutov.
Bahia chairs gather in the small private dining room on the second floor, which also features custom lighting, tables, and curtains. Photography by Mikhail Loskutov.
The men’s bathroom on the second floor features a perforated metal and concrete cabinet with custom bronze mirrors and Dornbracht faucets. Photography by Mikhail Loskutov. 
The walls of the women’s bathroom on the first floor are oak or stainless steel, the latter with a gradated polish from opaque to mirror. Photography by Mikhail Loskutov.

Read more: Birch by DA Architecture Bureau: 2018 Best of Year Winner for Casual Dining

Continue reading Asthetique Group’s The Y in Moscow is Ready Made for Millennials

Six Industry Innovators Share Their Inspirations from the Lunar Landing

When the Apollo 11 came to rest in the lunar Sea of Tranquility on July 20th, 1969 and began transmitting back to Earth grainy black-and-white images of a spider-legged ship, pale figures within shiny helmets, and, a bit later, magisterial photographs of Earth itself against the black void of space, the human race’s conception of itself changed forever. The voyage inspired political realignments and countless scientific breakthroughs; it also inspired the look and feel of a number of cultural masterpieces, from Brian Eno’s 1983 ambient classic Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks to Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1971 stark sci-fi epic Solaris.

Architecture and design took that giant leap for mankind along with Neil Armstrong. In celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the moon landing, we spoke to innovators in the industry about their own lunar inspirations.

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Perilune by Suzanne Tick for Luum Textiles. Photography courtesy of Luum Textiles.

Suzanne Tick, creative director, Luum Textiles

As a child, the textile designer Suzanne Tick watched the landing from her home in Bloomington, Illinois. “What was riveting to me was the sound of someone on the moon and his buoyancy,” Tick says. “I had this realization that a person can be on the moon while I’m sitting at home and he could also be floating!” Since then, the moon has been an important force in her life. “I’ve lived by the MoMA Moon Charts and they have played a large part in my consciousness. A poignant time in my life was 2009, 2010, and 2011 which coincided with the last three years of my father’s life, my marriage, and my son living with me. For this reason, I wove a triptych of each of these years and sewed them together as a reminder of that shift in my life.” This design became Perilune, a printed polyurethane which was introduced through Luum.

Long Dock Park in Beacon, New York by Gary R. Hilderbrand. Photography by James Ewing.

Gary R. Hilderbrand, FASLA FAAR; principal, Reed Hilderbrand; Peter Louis Hornbeck Professor in Practice, Harvard Graduate School of Design

“Because my Aunt and grandmother had a large color TV, anything momentous like this we watched in their living room,” says Gary Hilderbrand. “All gathered ‘round for the moon landing. It’s singed on my brain.” The landscape architect would go on to transform a brownfield in Beacon, New York, into a waterfront parkland with site-specific work by artist George Trakas and two buildings by ARO. “Apollo amplified my instincts about knowing our place in the world and a sense that we somehow had technological knowledge to improve it,” he says. “Seeing these missions orbiting around the other side of the moon, and then exploring its surface, gave me hope that we could right our own environmental mess and craft a smarter, saner landscape. That way of seeing the Earth descended directly from the Apollo 8 ‘earthrise’ photograph. Who would not be affected by that image?!”

SiriusXM’s New York Headquarters and Broadcast Center by Michael Kostow. Photography by Adrian Wilson.

Michael Kostow, founding principal, Kostow Greenwood Architects

Satellite radio wouldn’t exist without the technological breakthroughs of the Apollo mission, so it made perfect sense to have a space fan design the headquarters for one of its largest players, SiriusXM. “I watched the moon landing as a youngster and even had early aspirations of becoming an astronaut,” says Michael Kostow. “I later wanted to design space vehicles for NASA, would build and fly multi-stage model rockets, and even as an architecture graduate student had an early morning ‘party’ to drink Tang and watch the first launch of the space station with my classmates.” The compact efficiency of the capsules influenced his plan for the satellite broadcasting company: “We wanted to invoke simplicity and timelessness,” he says, “and allow the empty space to be an active player in setting the mood.” Mission accomplished.

Aerial and Half-Moon by Kelly Harris Smith for Skyline Design. Photography courtesy of Skyline Design.

Kelly Harris Smith, designer and creative director, Kelly Harris Smith

“I’ve never been on a rocket ship,” says designer Kelly Harris Smith, “but I have flown on an airplane and to this day I always request a window seat so I can peek out over the landscape.” The designer was born after the moon landing but carries the legacy of an aerial point of view into a collection for Chicago’s Skyline Design of glass panels with systems of micro-patterns within shapes and gradations of color over larger repeats. “It’s rooted in looking at the familiar in a new way,” she says, “which I have to imagine is what all astronauts experience looking back at Earth.”

Draper, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Photography by Mark Flannery.

Elizabeth Lowrey, principal, Elkus Manfredi Architects

“Watching the moon landing, even at such a young age, I was awed by the realization that anything is possible,” says Elizabeth Lowrey—even growing up to design a new home for Draper, a not-for-profit engineering firm that created software for Apollo 11. “I remember, as we stepped into Draper’s lobby, the first thing we saw was a space shuttle model.  Even more thrilling was the opportunity to meet Margaret Hamilton, the pioneering software engineer who had made the moon landing possible!” A glass and steel structure forms the roof of the Draper atrium, which is rung with seven floors of offices and laboratories connected by blue glass vertical and horizontal stairways, green walls, and “the Cloud,” a polished steel polyhedron that is truly out of this world.

On the Water/Palisade Bay, New York City. Photography courtesy of ARO.

Adam Yarinsky, FAIA LEED AP, principal, Architecture Research Office

“I was seven, I remember watching the feed of the moonwalk,” says ARO co-founder Adam Yarinksy. “And if you were a kid that was into building models, you had the plastic model kit that was black and white with USA in red on the side. I built a model of the Saturn V and the lunar and command and service modules. The purposefulness of the vehicle had a kind of directness when you compare it to technology today. The control panels were just rows and rows of switches that all looked the same. There was a kind of Dieter Rams quality to it.” But it was politics, not aesthetics, that really inspired Yarinsky’s work with ARO, including this vision of the upper harbor of New York and New Jersey which proposes archipelago and wetlands to mitigate rising sea levels and storm surges. “The finite nature of the planet we’re on reinforces the notion that architecture is part of this web of relationships,” he says. “The best architecture tries to modify and transform, but it’s not an autonomous thing. It’s linked. That sense of connection is the legacy.”

Continue reading Six Industry Innovators Share Their Inspirations from the Lunar Landing

Six Industry Innovators Share Their Inspirations from the Lunar Landing

When the Apollo 11 came to rest in the lunar Sea of Tranquility on July 20th, 1969 and began transmitting back to Earth grainy black-and-white images of a spider-legged ship, pale figures within shiny helmets, and, a bit later, magisterial photographs of Earth itself against the black void of space, the human race’s conception of itself changed forever. The voyage inspired political realignments and countless scientific breakthroughs; it also inspired the look and feel of a number of cultural masterpieces, from Brian Eno’s 1983 ambient classic Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks to Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1971 stark sci-fi epic Solaris.

Architecture and design took that giant leap for mankind along with Neil Armstrong. In celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the moon landing, we spoke to innovators in the industry about their own lunar inspirations.

Enter the Best of Year Awards by September 20
Perilune by Suzanne Tick for Luum Textiles. Photography courtesy of Luum Textiles.

Suzanne Tick, creative director, Luum Textiles

As a child, the textile designer Suzanne Tick watched the landing from her home in Bloomington, Illinois. “What was riveting to me was the sound of someone on the moon and his buoyancy,” Tick says. “I had this realization that a person can be on the moon while I’m sitting at home and he could also be floating!” Since then, the moon has been an important force in her life. “I’ve lived by the MoMA Moon Charts and they have played a large part in my consciousness. A poignant time in my life was 2009, 2010, and 2011 which coincided with the last three years of my father’s life, my marriage, and my son living with me. For this reason, I wove a triptych of each of these years and sewed them together as a reminder of that shift in my life.” This design became Perilune, a printed polyurethane which was introduced through Luum.

Long Dock Park in Beacon, New York by Gary R. Hilderbrand. Photography by James Ewing.

Gary R. Hilderbrand, FASLA FAAR; principal, Reed Hilderbrand; Peter Louis Hornbeck Professor in Practice, Harvard Graduate School of Design

“Because my Aunt and grandmother had a large color TV, anything momentous like this we watched in their living room,” says Gary Hilderbrand. “All gathered ‘round for the moon landing. It’s singed on my brain.” The landscape architect would go on to transform a brownfield in Beacon, New York, into a waterfront parkland with site-specific work by artist George Trakas and two buildings by ARO. “Apollo amplified my instincts about knowing our place in the world and a sense that we somehow had technological knowledge to improve it,” he says. “Seeing these missions orbiting around the other side of the moon, and then exploring its surface, gave me hope that we could right our own environmental mess and craft a smarter, saner landscape. That way of seeing the Earth descended directly from the Apollo 8 ‘earthrise’ photograph. Who would not be affected by that image?!”

SiriusXM’s New York Headquarters and Broadcast Center by Michael Kostow. Photography by Adrian Wilson.

Michael Kostow, founding principal, Kostow Greenwood Architects

Satellite radio wouldn’t exist without the technological breakthroughs of the Apollo mission, so it made perfect sense to have a space fan design the headquarters for one of its largest players, SiriusXM. “I watched the moon landing as a youngster and even had early aspirations of becoming an astronaut,” says Michael Kostow. “I later wanted to design space vehicles for NASA, would build and fly multi-stage model rockets, and even as an architecture graduate student had an early morning ‘party’ to drink Tang and watch the first launch of the space station with my classmates.” The compact efficiency of the capsules influenced his plan for the satellite broadcasting company: “We wanted to invoke simplicity and timelessness,” he says, “and allow the empty space to be an active player in setting the mood.” Mission accomplished.

Aerial and Half-Moon by Kelly Harris Smith for Skyline Design. Photography courtesy of Skyline Design.

Kelly Harris Smith, designer and creative director, Kelly Harris Smith

“I’ve never been on a rocket ship,” says designer Kelly Harris Smith, “but I have flown on an airplane and to this day I always request a window seat so I can peek out over the landscape.” The designer was born after the moon landing but carries the legacy of an aerial point of view into a collection for Chicago’s Skyline Design of glass panels with systems of micro-patterns within shapes and gradations of color over larger repeats. “It’s rooted in looking at the familiar in a new way,” she says, “which I have to imagine is what all astronauts experience looking back at Earth.”

Draper, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Photography by Mark Flannery.

Elizabeth Lowrey, principal, Elkus Manfredi Architects

“Watching the moon landing, even at such a young age, I was awed by the realization that anything is possible,” says Elizabeth Lowrey—even growing up to design a new home for Draper, a not-for-profit engineering firm that created software for Apollo 11. “I remember, as we stepped into Draper’s lobby, the first thing we saw was a space shuttle model.  Even more thrilling was the opportunity to meet Margaret Hamilton, the pioneering software engineer who had made the moon landing possible!” A glass and steel structure forms the roof of the Draper atrium, which is rung with seven floors of offices and laboratories connected by blue glass vertical and horizontal stairways, green walls, and “the Cloud,” a polished steel polyhedron that is truly out of this world.

On the Water/Palisade Bay, New York City. Photography courtesy of ARO.

Adam Yarinsky, FAIA LEED AP, principal, Architecture Research Office

“I was seven, I remember watching the feed of the moonwalk,” says ARO co-founder Adam Yarinksy. “And if you were a kid that was into building models, you had the plastic model kit that was black and white with USA in red on the side. I built a model of the Saturn V and the lunar and command and service modules. The purposefulness of the vehicle had a kind of directness when you compare it to technology today. The control panels were just rows and rows of switches that all looked the same. There was a kind of Dieter Rams quality to it.” But it was politics, not aesthetics, that really inspired Yarinsky’s work with ARO, including this vision of the upper harbor of New York and New Jersey which proposes archipelago and wetlands to mitigate rising sea levels and storm surges. “The finite nature of the planet we’re on reinforces the notion that architecture is part of this web of relationships,” he says. “The best architecture tries to modify and transform, but it’s not an autonomous thing. It’s linked. That sense of connection is the legacy.”

Continue reading Six Industry Innovators Share Their Inspirations from the Lunar Landing

7 Towering Designs By César Pelli, Who Died Friday At 92

July 22, 2019

Dees Stribling, Bisnow National Want to get a jump-start on upcoming deals? Meet the major players at one of our upcoming national events! Renowned architect César Pelli died Friday at 92. Pelli grew up in Argentina and came to the United States in the 1950s for graduate studies, working for a decade for architect Eero Saarinen in Michigan and then for firms on the West Coast. In 1977, he founded his own firm, currently known as Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, and also became dean of the Yale School of Architecture, a post he held until 1984.

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Here’s the nonprofit bringing good design to Columbus’ disadvantaged neighborhoods

Neighborhood Design Center is partnering with the city in revitalization efforts for Linden and the Hilltop.

As Columbus considers how to elevate its neighborhoods thoughtfully, it has a secret weapon you may not know about—the Neighborhood Design Center. The center’s job is to revitalize urban settings through creative planning and it has been quietly doing so since 1982.

In the beginning, the nonprofit center offered small business owners solutions for their storefronts and other store design aspects. Now, it has recently extended its scope to focus on entire communities and what they may need—everything from physical improvements to stabilizing housing, connecting residents with employment and efforts to support the success of neighborhood students.

Partnering with organizations has allowed the center to operate on a larger scale. Even though the areas the center touches have widened, there always has been a commitment to hearing what residents want and need, and translating them. For example, from March 17 to April 18, the center, in partnership with the city of Columbus Department of Neighborhoods, the United Way and Ohio State University, met with Linden residents more than 200 times to listen, assess needs and come up with an extensive revitalization plan called One Linden. The plan has a reach of 2.6 square miles and 18,000 residents. “We truly want to make the community feel that they have a voice to tell their stories and what they want,” says Isabela Gould, the center’s executive director. The One Linden plan offers “10 Big Ideas” that the director of the Department of Neighborhoods, Carla Williams-Scott, says the city plans to implement.

The work has grown the Neighborhood Design Center’s operations. “We went from two full-time people and four student interns to five full-time people and six interns,” says Gould. “That has allowed us to operate with greater capacity and at a greater scale overall. And I think, more importantly, in moving forward, it allows us to connect even more and increase our potential for partnerships and for truly making a stronger impact in the neighborhoods in the long term.”

The team includes architects, city planners, landscape architects and interior designers. Interns make up nearly half of the staff at any given time, and more than 30 students have had the opportunity to intern with the organization. “We’re also in the process of expanding our relationship with other colleges,” says Gould, such as OSU’s College of Social Work and Fisher College of Business.

As the city and the partners decide how to implement the One Linden plan, they are working on a new plan for the Hilltop. Each neighborhood is different, says Williams-Scott, so each plan needs to be tailored to the specific needs of that community. The Hilltop plan is scheduled for completion by the end of the year.

“At first I was concerned because I had never worked with [the center]. If I haven’t worked with you and I don’t know what I’m going into, you kind of walk in almost like tiptoeing,” says Williams-Scott. “But they’ve really helped us in terms of creativity and how we do our outreach in the communities and their knowledge of the planning process.”

In addition to neighborhood plans, the center’s Neighborhood Commercial Revitalization program, funded by city grant money, offers aesthetic improvements to ground-level commercial storefronts and commercial interiors of eligible businesses in certain corridors on Cleveland Avenue, East Main Street, Parsons Avenue, in Franklinton, the Hilltop and the King-Lincoln District. It has also transformed vacant land through its Parcels to Places program and revitalizes public spaces through art installations. “We want to really see projects come to reality, not stay just in a paper format,” says Gould. “We make it possible for them to be able to dream big.”

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Are You Crazy to Open a Brick-and-Mortar Shop?

Why would a designer decide to open a brick-and-mortar design shop selling product, given the nonstop chatter of a retail apocalypse? Is an online operation less complicated, or does e-commerce just present a different set of challenges? AD PRO asked four designers who currently have, or have had, shops of the brick-and-mortar or online variety to weigh in on their experiences, so you can make an informed decision.

“I am tactile. And I also strongly feel that design is about discovery,” designer Sarah Hamlin Hastings, owner of Fritz Porter Design Collective in Charleston, South Carolina, explains about the benefit of a brick-and-mortar versus an online-only shop. “The internet is great if you know what you are looking for. But what about the sense of discovery when perusing a quirky little antique shop or running your hands over a sumptuous new mohair or finding a woodworker who makes beautifully designed pieces in his garage workshop? That is the curated shopping experience I wanted to create.”

After moving to Charleston in 2010 only to discover a lack of nearby design resources, Hastings decided to launch her own hybrid business—a curated retail store, a textile showroom, and an interior design business—which opened in 2015. And while she felt the personal and financial risk of opening a successful brick-and-mortar store was higher than an online-only business (as far as investing in inventory, overhead costs, and dealing with slim profit margins when working with independent artisan vendors), she found great gratification in seeking out interesting pieces and being able to tell artisans’ stories and promote their craft.

Fritz Porter
Fritz Porter, Sarah Hamlin Hastings’s Charleston shop.

Julia Lynn

Similarly, interior designer Paloma Contreras, co-owner of Houston-based Paloma & Co., launched the brick-and-mortar concept store this year with business partner Devon Liedtke (the store also has a strong online component). The aim was to “showcase unique items that tell a story—whether they are antiques or found objects, original art from emerging American artists, or handmade pieces by artisans from around the globe.”

“It is really nice to be able to showcase our style and point of view without any type of filter,” Contreras says. “We don’t want to offer things that are available at a dozen stores in town or hundreds of stores online. For us, the most important thing has been finding things to offer our customers that are not only signature to our style, but also have an interesting story to tell.”

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In the same vein as Hastings and Contreras, interior designer and author Kirsten Grove of Boise, Idaho–based We Three Design Studio and design blog Simply Grove, says, “When you’re a designer, you’re a natural curator. Having a shop of your own allows you to curate items that you really do believe in and find beautiful. It’s an easy partnership when done right and in the right market.”

Devon Liedtke and Paloma Contreras
Devon Liedtke and Paloma Contreras’s Houston shop, Paloma & Co.

Kerry Kirk

However, for Grove the challenges of running her own design shop ultimately took their toll on her design business, and she folded it in 2018 after just one year in operation. “I had always wanted to own my own shop that sold furniture and home goods. It was one of those things that I had to get out of my system,” she admits. “But there were a few tricky aspects, one being that Boise is a really hard place to have a successful home retail shop. It was hard to gain regular customers who weren’t just looking for sale items.”

In general Grove sees pluses and minuses to both brick-and-mortar and online shops. “A brick-and-mortar space allows your clients and customers to see and feel things in person, while having an online shop gets rid of the unexpected overhead costs,” she explains. “But a huge drawback for an online shop is shipping costs and angry customers who have received something damaged or an incorrect order.” But she adds, “If you’re able to create a team that only focuses on your shop, it’s totally doable!”

Michelle Adams, the former Domino magazine editor who ran online shop The Maryn for two and a half years, during which time she hosted four pop-ups, found that it’s a misconception to believe that an e-commerce business doesn’t require as many overhead costs. Her expenses turned out to be too high to make her business viable.

“Opening a shop represented the ultimate creative outlet for me, as it required editing the market for the coolest products, creating a brand identity, and developing the lifestyle imagery to support it,” Adams says. However, the cost of running a design shop included expenses that one might not think of up front, including employing a full team to help with order fulfillment, the website, customer service, accounting, photography, and so on. Then there were also warehouse costs, high-interest business loan payments, press outreach, marketing fees, and insurance. Additionally, Adams curated her product selections from artisans around the globe to keep her assortment fresh and unique. “But importing comes with a lot of hidden costs that eat away profit margins,” she says. Another financial burden was her inability as a small business owner to compete with the free shipping offered by larger e-commerce sites.

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The Maryn
Product from The Maryn, Michelle Adams’s online shop, which ceased operations this spring. Adams is former editor in chief of Domino and cofounder of Lonny.

Marta X. Perez

Once the financial challenges became too great, Adams decided to close up shop. Based on what she learned, she advises, “Be realistic about what you’re comfortable spending, and absolutely stick to it. I made the mistake of thinking that investing a little more here and there would help my shop get over a hump, but in the end it only put me into debt.”

Likewise, Grove urges, “Before you do anything, run your numbers and be very honest with yourself. If you don’t create a cushion for the first three months, things can get tricky.” Yet, she adds, “An online shop can be time-sucking but worth the work. And a brick-and-mortar can become a beautiful extension of your brand.”

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Call For Proposals: IDS Conference

Experts, designers, thought leaders, entrepreneurs, futurists – showcase your original approach and engaging ideas among the decision makers of design.

IDS is Canada’s largest design show bringing together the industry’s foremost minds and luminaries. Our Conference symposium is a unique opportunity to bring your case studies, teachings, predictions and never-before seen approaches to an engaged audience of over 14,000 professionals looking to learn, spend and be inspired.

We are examining design through a broad, multidisciplinary lens, and encourage sessions which bring new approaches to audience participation and knowledge sharing, from panel discussions and solo presentations to workshops, interactive design labs and more. In our second application cycle we will now be accepting content discussing The Future of Living and Technology.

AyA Kitchens in partnership with U31 Design and Cleaf addressed The Future of Canadian Living in 2018 through several pod-like treehouses that displayed innovative uses of texture, height, and space.

The Future of Living – How will our public and private spaces shape our future: personal, social and environmental? How do we design with empathy for both humanity and our fragile planet? Are modern needs forming or fracturing our communities? Are you designing for a world that no longer exists? This stream will uncover new ways of living and challenge the processes and policies we work within.

Powered by Microsoft HoloLens,Harrison Fae Design reimagined the idea of your inner child in 2019 their space PLAY.

Technology – Technology is evolving every industry, and designers must expertly navigate this world where change is a constant. How do you create client trust in technology? How do you seamlessly – and appropriately – integrate technology into a space? How, when and where is technology best utilized? And how do you sustainably leverage new techniques to future proof your business and career, no matter what new norms emerge?

Speakers, seminars, panels and workshops will be selected based on varying criteria including: relevancy, timeliness, originality, speaker experience and cohesion with the seminar program. We thank all applicants for their interest.


Take a look at some of the engaging speakers that inspired and educated visitors at IDS19. Join us as a speaker for IDS20. Applications close August 15th.

Apply Now.

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*Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation came into effect July 1st, 2014. As a result of this new law, we need your explicit consent to send you news, info and special offers about IDS Toronto. For more information on CASL and how Informa Canada is working to comply please contact us at info@interiordesignshow.com and 416 512 3869.

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