Welcome to the Impact of Design Series. This section of the website is dedicated to highlighting projects that use evidence-based design to improve the quality of the human experience. The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) believes that design impacts lives, and collaborates with others to promote the value of interior design. These select projects support this mission and have gone through pre- and post-occupancy research to educate designers and clients on the power of design.
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. SCHOOL (CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS)
The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School houses three schools on one campus: the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Preschool, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School, and the Putnam Avenue Upper School (PAUS). The project was complicated by its small and irregular site; the large and complex program accommodating 840 children from preschool to 8th grade; robust after school programs; and an array of engaged stakeholders. EXPLORE THE PROJECT
PREVIOUSLY FEATURED PROJECTS
American Society of Interior Designers Headquarters (Washington, D.C.)
In May 2016, ASID moved in to their new association headquarters in downtown Washington, D.C. The primary goal was to create a space that supported health, wellness, and the well-being of employees, which would improve the organization’s productivity, engagement, and retention. ASID represents the design industry through cross-functional and interdisciplinary relationships among designers of all specialties, and among design practitioners, students, manufacturers, and suppliers.
Contract signings to purchase previously owned U.S. homes unexpectedly declined in April, underscoring the housing market’s challenge centered around a persistent inventory shortage, according to data released Thursday from the National Association of Realtors in Washington.
HIGHLIGHTS OF PENDING HOME SALES (APRIL)
Index fell 1.3% m/m (est. 0.4% gain) after an upwardly revised 0.6% increase (prev. 0.4%)
Gauge rose 0.4% y/y on an unadjusted basis after a 4.3% decllne
The latest results show home sales may struggle to gain much traction in coming months. A limited number of for-sale properties is keeping prices elevated at a time when mortgage rates have climbed to an almost seven-year high. Such headwinds make home ownership more difficult for some prospective buyers. Nonetheless, a healthy job market and lower taxes are expected to underpin housing demand. Data released last week showed existing-home sales fell in April to a three-month low.
“The unfortunate reality for many home shoppers is that reaching the market will remain challenging if supply stays at these dire levels,” Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said in a statement.
At the same time, “demand for buying a home is very robust,” Yun said. “Listings are typically going under contract in under a month, and instances of multiple offers are increasingly common and pushing prices higher.”
Signings dropped in three of four regions, led by a 3.2 percent decline in the Midwest; fell 1 percent in the South and 0.4 percent in the West, while sales agreements were unchanged in the Northeast
Pending home sales index for West was lowest since June 2014
Economists consider pending sales a leading indicator because they track contract signings. Purchases of existing homes are tabulated when a deal closes, typically a month or two later
Primo Orpilla, FIIDA, Principal and Co-founder of Studio O+A
I’m often asked for my definition of “good design.” Like design itself, the answer to that question changes constantly. When I first started in this industry 30 years ago, good design was all about efficiency—getting function out of a space by arranging its occupants in tidy, reproducible patterns. When tech came along with its “question everything” culture, good design became more focused on meeting individual needs—the need for comfort, for self-expression, for really good coffee somewhere nearby.
GOOD DESIGN EQUALS COMMUNITY
Today, I think good design has evolved into a broader concept of community, an environment that functions as a healthy and meaningful ecosystem. Through all these definitions one thing has remained constant: good design is authentic. If that sounds like Dieter Rams’ 11th principle, it’s probably because it grows from the same roots that sprouted Dieter’s other 10—humility and integrity. Everyone recognizes and responds to quality. You don’t have to have a maker’s temperament to feel the value in something that was lovingly crafted and put together with pride.
As a designer of workplaces and, more recently, of workplace furniture, I have come to understand the impact subtle interactions with texture have on the way we feel about our day—the sound a knuckle rapped on solid wood makes, the depth of color in a true ceramic tile, the subtle message of reassurance we get from settling onto real leather. These are pleasures available only in the original.
For that reason, I always encourage clients to use authentic Herman Miller or Knoll products. These iconic designs are timeless because the tradition of quality they represent never expires. That quality should not be undermined with fakes. I am also on the lookout for new artisans and authentic manufacturers—the Charles and Ray Eames of the future. The design industry has created a highly receptive market for companies and individuals dedicated to creating and distributing original work.
O+A is always happy when we can specify products from MASH Studios or Dsegnare. Even happier when we can work with those fine craftsmen and women to make custom items for our custom interiors. When I was partnering with Kimball Office on the design for my multi-functional workstation, Canopy, I realized a truly successful product encompassed all of the definitions of good design—it was efficient, it met the user’s individual needs, it contributed to the healthy ecosystem of the workplace. To touch all those bases, to make something that will evolve alongside the changing values of accelerating times, it is necessary to slow down and do the careful, attentive work that only comes from original effort.
You can’t knock off quality. Knock your knuckles on a table to hear why.
Primo Orpilla is the co?founder of Studio O+A, a multi-disciplinary San Francisco design firm that has changed the way we think about work and workplace. Recently named Global Chair for Student Experience at the International Interior Design Association, Primo’s new focus is empowering the next generation of designers. In 2016, O+A won the Cooper Hewitt Design Award for Interior Design. In 2017, FRAME Publishers released a comprehensive retrospective of the firm’s work: “Studio O+A: Twelve True Tales of Workplace Design.”
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There are certain attributes of a profession and one has to catch hold of them in order to work efficiently and grow in that business.I share my experience as an interior designer, a profession of great esthetic value and charm.
1- The Art of Listening
I start my work by listening. Interior design is about expressing ideas in a visual and experiential way. At the beginning, before any proposal or suggestion, I firstly listen carefully to find out what the client’s vision is. Sometimes, it is not clearly defined, but through discussion and getting to know a little more about them, their way of life, it is easier to craft a framework for a narrative.
Listening is also about having all our senses open and being receptive to inspiration around us.
Recently I was on the Adriatic Riviera, for a hotel renovation that is on the water. While walking with the client to get a feel for the upcoming project, I paused and listened to the sounds of the gentle waves against the rocks. It was the lulling, dreamy and calming sound of the sea, that I have taken with me as a memory to recreate on the mood board.
2- The Ability to Observe
Next step is looking, seeing beauty, identifying key elements that become part of the design story. The world around us is rich with examples of good design, showcases of craftsmanship, and moments of exquisite inspiration. Extracting details and inspiration from our surroundings, like choosing an antique piece and updating it for a contemporary use is something I find as the most enjoyable part of the interior design process.
3- The Interface with Architecture
A sense of place and respect for the architectural envelope is a pillar of interior design. Interior design embraces location, and should be a natural progression of the architecture it is set within. The best projects I have worked on are the ones where interior design and architecture have overlapped seamlessly, from floor transition to harmonious material palettes, all the way to a great result, where people don’t talk about it as a space but more like an experience that has left a memory.
I am a believer of ‘If it doesn’t work, don’t do it’. Function comes before form, so for an interior design that stands the test of time, it should have purpose. …to paraphrase Adolf Loos’s ‘ornament is crime’ thesis on design, I believe that beauty for the sake of superficial decoration is harmful and waters down a strong concept.
5- A Question of Scale
Studying scale and seeking the right proportions is fundamental to interior design. Grandeur, luxury, intimacy are abstract notions that take form by how we apply scale or with which materials we choose to work with. High ceilings give a sense of space and airiness to a room. Human scale is important to make us feel comfortable and cosy. Large floorboards from mature oak trees, where you can ‘read’ grain are more luxurious than thin strips of wood on a floor for example. A wall of large bookmatched slabs of a veiny stone is always more grand than regular tiles. The choices we make, when it comes to scale, are imperative for the end result.
6-Balance and Contrast
A sense of balance and harmony is my ultimate quest when designing a space. I use layering to achieve balance and harmony. The could be a ‘tone on tone’ scheme with one accent strong colour or a material palette that combines smooth , polished textures with more natural, stripped down surfaces.
Natural materials are always best and at the top of my preferences list. Knowing the properties of each material is essential. Wool is naturally fire retardant, a very important property for commercial spaces. Silk breathes and is cool in the summer as well as warm in winter. Colour may fade however if used in a room with direct sunlight. Ceramics are so versatile. I personally love the relief ceramic tiles, and like using them in unexpected ways, like on table tops in a restaurant or to add ‘ movement’ and interest on the front of a cocktail bar counter. Contrast adds drama. Playing with light and dark adds interest. Sometimes it is about creating a sequence and transition from a dark space to a lighter one.
You can apply this rule in many things in life. In interior design it means making the most of what you have. Planning a bathroom to be as efficient as possible, or creating flexibility in a hotel lobby to be used by different people in many ways. In small bedrooms, using a writing table by the bed, means a bedside surface doubles up as a desk, bringing down the number of furniture in the room and making it feel spacious without compromising function. If there is a window with great views, it is about choosing to have a comfortable armchair there and creating a ‘relaxation’ moment. The art of interior design combines knowledge from different fields, the ability to discover opportunities and convert a given space into a truly memorable experience. Ultimately, interior design is a step towards creating a better world, starting from our surroundings.
Choosing the right television for your home isn’t just about budget – it’s more about proportions, placement and psychology
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, 20 April 2018 – Interior design isn’t just about placing a few pieces of furniture in a room – there needs to be enough space to move around comfortably. The proportions of a room in relation to the pieces in it make a person feel either comfortable or unsettled. According to Gestalt Psychology[i], although the human eyes take in separate pieces of information, the brain merges those pieces into a singular, simpler pattern that’s recognisable. This means that a room is seen as a whole before details begin to emerge. Balanced or symmetrical designs are easier for the brain to recognise and are therefore perceived to be more comfortable.
The future is bright for The Alpha Workshops following last night’s Alpha Awards benefit, hosted by the nonprofit at West Edge NYC. The event raised an estimated $250,000 in sponsorships for the organization, which provides industry training to HIV-positive individuals in the decorative arts. One of the night’s honorees wasAdam Sandow, the founder, chairman, and CEO of Sandow.
“I am deeply humbled to receive this award from such an incredible organization and for all of the support the of the industry,” Sandow said. “Design is such an important part of my business and has always been a passion of mine since I was a kid. It is an amazing industry to be in and I am truly honored.”
Interior Design editor in chief Cindy Allen took to the stage to speak on Sandow’s behalf. “We went from corporate to ‘anything but’ at Sandow,” she said. “With Adam the responsibility and the commitment is completely different. He’s a protagonist, not an absentee landlord. Someone who has real skin in the game, and that proved the perfect solution to what’s happening in media today. So while others are closing shop or losing their way, cheapening their quality, unable to manage the times, Adam is doing what he does best—innovating, buying, investing, and creating new opportunities.”
Also honored was designer, decorator, and author Alexa Hampton, the owner and president of Mark Hampton. Along with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, the event included silent and live auctions featuring artwork and design products by students of The Alpha Workshops.
Thea for SketchUp is a combination of powerful rendering engines of Thea with the simplicity of SketchUp. Having biased, unbiased and interactive render modes including GPU support at your fingertips, inside SketchUp view, is a joyful experience. The plugin lets you enrich your models with highly detailed three dimensional content, breaking old limitations related to handled model complexity.