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Mid-year economic outlook for nonresidential construction: Expansion continues, but vulnerabilities pile up

Emerging weakness in business investment has been hinting at softening outlays.

AUGUST 12, 2019 |

Courtesy Pixabay

More than 10 years after the end of the most severe financial crisis since the Great Depression, the U.S. economy is again making history by continuing its longest-ever expansion. Nevertheless, emerging weakness in business investment has been hinting at softening outlays, giving commercial and industrial construction contractors cause for concern, according to a mid-year economic outlook by Anirban Basu, chief economist of Associated Builders and Contractors.

“Given that every expansion in U.S. history has ended in recession, leaders of construction firms are rightly wondering when the record-setting expansion will end,” said Basu. “Looking at conditions on the ground, it likely won’t be in 2019, but 2020 could be problematic for the broader economy and 2021 for a significant number of contractors.”

Basu cites numerous vulnerabilities that could trigger a recession in 2020, including:

— Trade wars

— Softening corporate earnings

— Slowing job growth

— Elevated levels of household, corporate and government debt

— Election 2020

But there are plenty of reasons to remain optimistic. “For the most part, the economy has held up better than anticipated,” said Basu. “During the first quarter of 2019, gross domestic product expanded at a smart 3.1% annualized rate. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis’ initial estimate suggests that the economy slowed to 2.1% growth during the second quarter, but that neatly beat economists’ expectation that that growth had fallen below 2%.”

“The economy could continue to prove resilient,” says Basu. “To date, the economy has navigated ongoing trade disputes and associated tariffs with aplomb. It has also withstood serial interest rate hikes, the longest federal government shutdown in history, extreme weather, shifting immigration policy, ongoing labor market shortages and a lengthy investigation regarding foreign influence in U.S. elections.”

To read the full economic outlook story, visit ConstructionExec.com.

Continue reading Mid-year economic outlook for nonresidential construction: Expansion continues, but vulnerabilities pile up

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Join The Fight For Positive Design Public Policy

Government affairs successes take an abundance of time and funding to establish and execute. ASID GPA has an ambitious policy agenda to advance the profession. To achieve our goals we need additional resources devoted specifically to advocacy. ASID has been fighting for practice rights and other positive interior design policy for 50 years and now is the time to double down on eliminating harmful laws and creating constructive ones that will benefit the nation, consumers, industry partners, firms, practitioners, and all ASID members.

ASID has established the Advocate by Design (AxD) Fund, a political education fund (PEF) that helps educate the public and policymakers on the impact of interior design work and the policy issues important to the interior design profession. It is not a PAC and no money will be directed to any individual candidate for office. The AxD Fund enhances the work of ASID GPA and enables ASID to be consistently represented in national, state, and local policy debates and discussions. With your support, we can elevate the interior design profession on the government and public policy stages to new heights.

The national chair of the Advocate by Design Fundraising Committee is Janet Roche, Allied ASID, MDS, CAPS

WHY DONATE

Address the Unexpected

Despite planning and preparation, helpful and harmful legislation can be introduced out of nowhere and without warning. The AxD Fund will ensure that ASID can mount a defensive or offensive advocacy effort whenever, wherever, and however needed.

Expand the Reach

We can engage more supporters by creating interactive materials, covering member travel costs to government affairs-related events, hosting events, and providing more money for state-level advocacy initiatives.

Change the Narrative

The public and policymakers need to understand the value interior designers bring to the world. ASID can lead that charge through consistent messaging, sponsorship, and physical presence, all of which require substantial time, effort, and funding.

Consistently engaging in advocacy is a resource-intensive, but necessary task. Ensure that interior designers are at the table for the conversations that matter most.

Continue reading Join The Fight For Positive Design Public Policy

Coaching pays off for new managers

Study finds increased engagement and readiness for new roles.

AUGUST 13, 2019 |

Courtesy Pixabay

Those in the engineering and construction industries that undergo a coaching program are more engaged and better able to perform in new management roles, according to a new white paper by FMI.

“Executive Coaching: Driving Real Results for Leaders in the Built Environment” is based on interviews and a quantitative survey conducted with executives who were coached.

The survey found that:

— 91% of participants said that coaching increased their readiness for a new leadership role

— Nearly 88% of participants suggested that coaching increased their overall engagement in their roles

— 87% of respondents said that executive coaching has a high return on investment

— 77% of survey respondents stated that their coaching experience exceeded their expectations

Coaching made a significant impact to leaders in four main areas: serving as a sounding board for thoughts and ideas, a platform for effective leader transitions, a catalyst for engagement, and a driver of commitment and real ROI.

Continue reading Coaching pays off for new managers

L.A. Clippers unveil design for new Inglewood arena

Overview of Design Impact Awards

The ASID Design Impact Awards Program recognizes innovative products that put people and/or the environment at the center of design intent.

The winning products will be featured by exhibitors at one or more of the following trade shows owned by Emerald Expositions:

Trade Show Award Submission Deadline
Healthcare Design, November 2 – 5, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 (All submissions must be complete by 11:59 p.m. ET)
BDNY, November 9 – 11, 2019 Friday, October 25, 2019 (All submissions must be complete by 11:59 p.m. ET)

 

Enter Your Productat Healthcare Design (Deadline 10/18) Today!

Winners will be announced at the trade show in which the product is entered. The award winner will receive a certificate to display throughout that show and at other Emerald shows where the product will be featured within the calendar year.

At the end of the year (December 19, 2019), a press release will be issued announcing the overall winners from among all seven shows.

Meet the Winners

ASID is proud to recognize companies who are putting human health and wellness and a concern for the environment at the forefront of their innovative designs. Join us in honoring the winners of the ASID DESIGN IMPACT Awards at all 2019 Emerald design-related shows.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Product must currently be available in the marketplace and must be less than two years old.
  • Product must be on display in the exhibitor’s booth during the show for which the award was given.
  • Product must align to the awards intent and judging criteriaused in determining award winners.
  • Products may only be entered in one of the above shows even if featured at multiple shows. The entrant may choose which show to enter the product.

Rules and Regulations

  • The product entry must be submitted in accordance with the timeline and deadlines set for that particular show. No extensions will be provided.
  • A product is not considered entered until a full application is submitted and payment has been accepted by ASID.
  • There is no limit to the number of products a company may enter into the competition, however, you may only enter a product once per calendar year at one of the above listed shows.
  • At the end of the calendar year, there will be a series of Best in Show winners declared from all products entered within the calendar year.
  • Entries will be judged by a panel of design luminaries, including interior design editors, according to the judging criteria.
  • Awards will be judged in consideration of a category but will not be awarded by category.
  • Products will be awarded based on their final score and there will be no limit to the number of awards given at each show.
  • The cost per product entry is$200.
  • Award winners will be announced on the first day of each tradeshow. E-mails with confirmation of the award will be sent to both the Company Applicant and Onsite Contact no later than noon on the same day.
  • All award winners will receive an awards certificate for public display in their booth on the first day of the show (certificates will be hand-delivered to the booth).
  • Award winners are encouraged to issue their own press release about their award; a template press release will be included in the e-mail announcing the award.
  • Award winners may display their winning certificate at other Emerald trade shows throughout the year. The product that won the award must be present in the booth when the certificate is displayed.
  • Duplicate award certificates for display at future shows or in company showrooms can be provided for an additional fee of $25plus the full shipping/handling cost.

For More Information About This Blog Post, Click Here! 

ASID Interior Design Billings Index 2nd Quarter 2019 Results Webinar


Join the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) for a live webinar that will provide insight on the current business conditions for the interior design industry as determined by the ASID Interior Design Billings Index 2nd Quarter 2019 report. The IDBI is produced by ASID Research and Knowledge Management in partnership with Jack Kleinhenz, Ph.D., and Russ Smith, Ph.D., both of Kleinhenz &… More

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By clicking this button, you submit your information to the webinar organizer, who will use it to communicate with you regarding this event and their other services.

To Register, Click Here! 

ASID Invests in University Students Through Competition and Campus Events

07/30/2019 By American Society of Interior Designers (ASID)

As back-to-school season approaches, so do opportunities for design students to engage in individual career development; get hands-on experience; and learn from their peers, mentors and future employers.

SCALEX, a series of daylong events tailored to undergraduate design students, has gone live for 2019. Held in October at schools across the nation, SCALEX offers students and educators alike the chance to:

  • Hear from design experts on relevant topics (Photo Courtesy ASID)
  • Participate in innovative discussions with top panels
  • Explore real-life scenarios to better prepare undergrads for life as a professional designer

After attending, students are equipped with resources they can take with them throughout their professional career, and educators are able to augment and expand their curricula.

Developed as a local version of SCALE: The ASID National Student Summit, SCALEX is a full day event, designed to bring the same innovation and immersion directly to local communities.

Creating Trendy Lighting That Lasts

Read More


(Photo Courtesy ASID​: At the ASID National Student Summit, held in New York from March 1-3, ASID named the winners of the 2019 ASID Student Portfolio Competition. Five winners and seven finalists were announced.​ Front row left to right: Jieru Lin, Jessica Ma, Seyedehnastaran Hashemi, Jumana Almukhtar, Ara Kim, Crystal Martin, Yi-En Lee. Back row left to right: Jianfeng Ni, Haopeng Lin, Sloan Aulgur, Kelsey Muir, Xuan Dang.) 

[Related topic: Cultural Competency a Top Priority for the Future of Interior Design]

Attend SCALEX near you:

  • Oct. 11: The New York School of Interior Design, New York
  • Oct. 18: Columbia College, Chicago
  • Oct. 30: Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona

2019 ASID Student Portfolio Competition

At the ASID National Student Summit, held in New York from March 1-3, ASID named the winners of the 2019 ASID Student Portfolio Competition.


(Photo Courtesy ASID)

This is an annual competition that generates the best collection of student design projects in the nation. The competition selects winners and finalists based on:

  • Conceptual thought
  • Content and quality of submitted work
  • The student’s ability to articulate their process

Winners receive a scholarship from Benjamin Moore and national recognition. The jury of esteemed judges selected five winners and seven finalists.

2019 ASID Student Portfolio Competition Winners:


(Photo Courtesy ASID)

2019 ASID Student Portfolio Competition Finalists:

  • Jumana Almukhtar, Savannah College of Art & Design
  • Sloan Aulgur, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
  • Seyedehnastaran Hashemi, Texas Tech University
  • Yi-En Lee, New York School of Interior Design
  • Haopeng-Lin, Pratt Institute
  • Crystal Martin, Savannah College of Art & Design
  • Kelsey Muir, Virginia Tech

Read this next: Ruckus Storage Offers Flexible Classrooms for Back-to-School

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For More Information About This Blog Post, Click Here! 

What to Do When Your Clients Don’t Want Their Space Photographed

For designers an image is worth more than1,000 words, but for some clients, so is their privacy

When Your Client Doesn't Want Interior Design Photography
Illustration by Christina Zimpel

An exceptional portfolio is key to business, allowing you to pique the interest of prospective clients or submit work to a publication for consideration. For some disciplines, this practice is straightforward: Fine artists, for instance, can typically digitize and circulate their images for portfolios with ease, as they often own the rights to their work. But interior designers and architects, who work on commissions, usually need to get their client’s approval to share images of those projects. That’s not always the easiest thing to do, especially if the project is a private residence.

Sometimes—in fact, oftentimes—you’ll end up working with clients who refuse to have their space photographed because they want to maintain their privacy. In those cases, it’s essential to arm yourself with some techniques to handle such situations, since, as New York–based designer and illustrator Jason Grimesnotes, “You’re only as good as a photograph of your last project, especially at the Instagram-sharing pace the world has adopted.”

Here are several strategies to keep in mind when trying to convince clients to have their space photographed.

Put photography in your contract from the start.

The best way to work around a no-photography situation is to avoid it completely. Lawyer Alex Ross, a partner at Ross & Katz, PLLC,who works closely with designers, highly recommends including a clause about photographing a space—both before and after the project—in your standard contract. “This way we’re able to manage expectations from the beginning, so the client knows that photography is important,” he says. Work closely with an attorney to hammer out the details—you want to be sure you’re getting the rights you need.

Negotiate. Suggest stricter terms, such as ensuring anonymity, or offer a first right of refusal.

Even if you have a clause about photography in your contract, the client may strike it out before signing. That’s the time for negotiation. If your original wording didn’t mention anonymity, it’s a great place to start. Offer your client complete privacy, ensuring that no identifying details about the home or its owners will be shared with publications, on your website, or on social channels. Work on finding a middle ground with your client that still allows you to add photographs of your project to your portfolio.

It sounds obvious, but sometimes long discussions can change your client’s mind. Again, having a lawyer in this situation would be advantageous, as he or she could help negotiate specific rights.

Ask to photograph details only.

Say that your client is standing his or her ground during negotiations. The next tactic to try is to give in, just a tiny bit. “Aside from slowly convincing the client over the course of the project, the best solution I’ve found is to focus on the details,” says Grimes. “All of my work is super-detailed and hyper-custom, so detail photos go a long way. These cropped photos may not make a publication, but they can at least be used in my portfolio.”

Go to court.

Or at least threaten to. “I haven’t any seen any designers who actually go to court about this issue, but we’ve certainly threatened it,” says Ross. Going to court is probably more expensive than it’s worth (and will also cost you a client relationship), so it’s not always advisable to do so, but the option is there.

Work with brokers if the property goes up for sale.

If you’ve lost out on negotiations and the client simply won’t budge—and you decide not to take the matter to court—it doesn’t mean all hope is lost. If the client decides to sell the home, there’s a chance the space will be photographed to woo prospective buyers. In some instances, you can negotiate a deal with the broker to retroactively add those images to your portfolio.

Read More

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For More Information About This Blog Post, Click Here! 

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

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.

Enter the Best of Year Awards by September 20

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.

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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

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