Tag Archives: Patricia Urquiola

Patricia Urquiola and BMW Look to the Skies for Showroom Inspiration

Patricia Urquiola with BMW’s Adrian van Hooydonk. Photography courtesy of BMW.

BMW Group tapped Interior Design Hall of Fame member Patricia Urquiola to collaborate with Senior Vice President Adrian van Hooydonk on a showroom for the company’s latest flagship cars at the BMW Welt in Munich. The cars are displayed at the combined exhibition, museum, and event venue on 3,466 square feet of flooring made from terrazzo using cutting-edge 3D-printing technology.

Photography courtesy of BMW.

Inspiration for the design was taken from photographs of the BMW Concept M8 Gran Coupe—which was painted in an exclusive shimmering green shade that evokes the northern lights—on a frozen lake. That imagery was translated into a sparkling terrazzo with swirling lines that represent both the cracks in the lake’s surface and the iconic shape of the aurora.

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Photography courtesy of BMW.

The relationship between Urquiola and van Hooydonk dates back many years, driven by a shared interpretation of luxury and performance. The showroom also has a lounge area featuring original works from Urquiola.

Photography courtesy of BMW.

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25 Sustainable Projects to Celebrate Earth Day


Happy Earth Day! Sustainability is becoming a standard in architecture, and LEED certification is only the beginning. These projects prove that green design is the new frontier.

1. Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos Strikes All the Right Notes With Arvo Pärt Centre in Estonia

Spanish firm Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos won a two-phase competition to design this center with their thesis that links music and architecture. Considering the ratio of glass to metal also became essential because of the layers of thermal insulation needed to create a sustainable and easily heated structure. But first Nieto Sobejano decided what the project shouldn’t have: right angles, a main facade, and a discernable front or back. Instead, what emerged was a pattern of “continuous links echoing the trees,” Sobejano says. Read more

2. Sustainably Designed and Architecturally Significant Buildings in Singapore

Not only is the entire 27-floor external facade wrapped in a natural vine covered sunscreen, but the Oasia Hotel Downtown also has four lush sky terraces, 1,793 large planter boxes, and four large structural cores that allow for good cross ventilation reducing the overall energy cost. Designed by WOHA and completed in 2016, the hotel is home to over 33 species of plants and 21 species of creepers. In addition, the 314-room property is notable for its striking interior design by Patricia UrquiolaRead about 7 more sustainable buildings in Singapore

3. Warmth and Modernism Are at the Heart of 3XN’s Design for Olympic House

Two of the most poignant concepts International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach wanted the design to articulate were sustainability and transparency. 3XN certainly delivered; the build is LEED platinum-certified, and has reused 90 percent of the concrete from the previous headquarters that was demolished to make way for the new build. Read more

4. ACDF Architecture Partners With Architecture49 for Mega Project Parq Vancouver

Six stories high, capped with a 30,000-square-foot roof garden, this contemporary structure “is an urban oasis,”ACDF Architecture CEO Maxime-Alexis Frappier says. ACDF partnered with Architecture49 and their response was not a looming hulk but rather a curving, low-rise presence wrapped in a mirrored facade that reflects its surroundings. Aluminum louvers, capturing sunlight, reflect pixelated images of the Rocky Mountains in the distance. The daylight resulting from abundant glazing contributes to the project’s LEED Gold status, proving Parq fits into the global environment, too. Read more

5. Annapolis Residence by Bates Masi + Architects Wins 2018 Best of Year Award for Waterfront House

When a prospective client in Annapolis, Maryland, told Bates Masi + Architects‘ principal Paul Masi that he and his wife had recently purchased a house on the water, he really meant it: The residence’s second-floor deck literally hung right over a cove in the Chesapeake Bay. However, the 1970s structure was sorely outdated, located in the flood plain, and didn’t meet current energy codes. Masi’s solution yielded a new, flat-roofed house, raised three feet higher than its predecessor—and LEED-certified to boot. Read more

6. TPG Architecture Makes Headlines With Its Office for the Associated Press in New York

The AP staffers have had a chance to settle into their new digs by TPG Architecture, which have since been awarded LEED Gold certification. As you might expect, good news travels fast. As Carmel says, the office “compliments who we are as an organization.” That includes a bit of spirit, as seen at the perimeter of the café. There the white floor tile bursts into a confetti of colors, as if celebrating the much-decorated news agency. Read more

7. Tsingpu Yangzhou Retreat by Neri & Hu Design and Research Office Wins 2018 Best of Year Award for Green

For Neri & Hu, this project entailed repurposing and renovating existing structures—including a former warehouse that now hosts a restaurant, a theater, and an exhibition space—as well as erecting new ones, among them a lakeside pavilion containing four of the 20 suites. “The rustic materiality and layered spaces redefine tradition via a modern architectural language,” says Neri. Read more

8. Studio Rianknop Creates Flexible, Sustainable Space for Amsterdam Tech Company

When an Amsterdam company that manages a file-sharing platform decided to move from the city center to a warehouse near the city limits, it shared a few tasks with local design firm Studio Rianknop: Create a flexible space for the company’s staff; make it sustainable; and take advantage of the industrial space in a relaxing, inviting way. In a clever nod to the wires funneling data across the globe, a “cable tree” grows from the lower level with branches powering first-floor public spaces and a tubular chandelier. Read more

9. The Center for Fiction by BKSK Architects Brings Books and Sustainability to Brooklyn

The Center for Fiction started out as the Mercantile Library in 1821 and moved locations throughout Manhattan over the years. In 2008, it was rebranded, and more than 10 years later, the Center has a permanent home in a LEED Silver-certified building in downtown Brooklyn by BKSK Architects. In the writers’ studio, locally-made custom wool felt panels are perforated with the Center’s logo, an open book. Read more

10. ASID Headquarters Becomes World’s First Space to Earn LEED and WELL Platinum Certification

The Washington, DC office, designed by Perkins + Will, is brimming with features that support health and wellness. One is a circadian lighting system that mimics natural daylight, paired with automated shades that follow the sun’s movement to help eliminate eye strain. The design team also implemented biophilic design strategies, for instance by using a range of natural materials and patterns. Read more

11. Mohawk Group’s New NYC Showroom Embraces Wellness

Located in a former textile factory in historic Chelsea, Mohawk Group‘s 13,000-square-foot showroom was designed by Gensler and incorporates LEED and WELL Building Standard qualifications, fully expressing Mohawk’s company ethos: Believe in better. Read more

12. Huntsman Architectural Group Downsizes McKesson for Maximum Efficiency

For McKesson’s San Francisco office, Huntsman Architectural Group went with undeniably contemporary furnishings. Sui generis, however, is a break room’s custom bench, a repurposed conveyor belt hinting at McKesson’s core business. Which brings us to the fact that the premises are going for Well Building certification as well as LEED Gold. Read more

13. Perkins + Will Creates a Contemporary Office for Nixon Peabody in New York

Perkins + Will designed this space to be easily reconfigured as needs change. A feature stair connects the office’s three levels with show-stopping views of the city, and floor-to-ceiling glass walls help foster synergy between practice areas. It was also awarded LEED Gold certification. In all, the office is a balance of functionality and design statement. Read more

14. Five Global Green Projects Pay it Forward

For Park + Associates‘s own office, minimal intervention transformed a 1960’s former school into a showcase of clean-lined design, thanks to vintage furnishings, a black-and-white palette, and painted-steel arches highlighting the reinforced-concrete barrel vaults. Read about all 5 global green projects

15. SKB Architects Creates Lively Lobby for Key Center Office Tower

No longer merely pass-through places, lobbies have become hotel-esque settings. They entice potential tenants to lease, and existing tenants get a perk that might entice them to stay. Such is the case at the Key Center office tower across the water from Seattle. After purchasing the 23-story building, Kilroy Realty Corporation opted to implement changes resulting in LEED Platinum certification and to transform the immense lobby into a “people place,” SKB Architects senior principal Shannon Gaffney recounts. “That’s our thing.” Read more

16. Mosa Tiles Enliven Venetian Villa by JM Architecture

Italian studio JM Architecture outlined a sustainable agenda to maximize the home’s energy-efficiency. Mosa’s LEED-contributing ceramic tiles, which received Cradle-to-Cradle® Silver certification, join the multitude of eco-friendly features that distinguish the villa, including inlaid photovoltaic panels and radiant floor heating. Read more

17. Venable by Alliance Architecture Wins 2017 Best of Year Award for Large Law Office

Moving to a gleaming LEED Platinum palace in the booming East End, this 117-year-old law firm left behind the endless dreary silos of its former headquarters and embraced a cultural shift toward wellness and ergonomics. Thanks to Alliance Architecture, sunlight penetrates offices with clear glass enclosures, every employee has a motorized standing desk, and the café opens onto a terrace complete with barbecue grills, a fire pit, a bar, and a bocce court. Read more

18. 1 Hotel’s Miami Beach Debut by Meyer Davis Studio

Meyer Davis Studio was charged with transforming the lower eight stories of a 1968 building into 1 Hotel Miami. “We paid homage to the natural landscape of south Florida,” Meyer notes—versus the art deco razzle-dazzle typically associated with the area. Moves large and small rack up points in the quest for LEED Silver certification. Uses of reclaimed wood represent a virtual forest preserved. Dialing down to details, Meyer andDavis specified organic bed linens, hemp mattresses, and clothes hangers molded from recycled paper, while bedside note pads have disappeared in favor of chalkboards. Read more

19. Lotus Square Art Center by Shenzhen Dae Wins 2018 Best of Year Award for Outdoor

It’s basically common knowledge these days that installing a green roof on a building helps reduce its energy use, absorb stormwater, and combat air pollution. This practice has become increasingly mainstream in hotter developed land masses known as urban heat islands. One such is Hengqin island, overlooking Macau. That’s where this sculptural verdant roof tops an art exhibition hall. Read more

20. Six Futuristic Projects Sprouting Green Roofs

From reducing storm water runoff and city dust to energy-efficient cooling, the benefits of green roofing go beyond beautification. As costs lower and technology makes installation easier, this environmentally conscious trend is increasingly defining the facades of both existing and new buildings. A 660-foot-long undulating wave of verdant green grass forms a rooftop park at Université Paris-Est’s technology and science center, the Espace Bienvenüe designed by Jean-Philippe Pargade. Read about all six green roofs

21. Kimpton Travels to the Caribbean

Amid the sea blues and sandy whites of this resort, there’s a good amount of green, too: A solar array generates electricity, rainwater is harvested for maintaining the landscape, and air-conditioning is geothermal. Read more

22. Mortenhals House by Stinessen Arkitektur Wins 2017 Best of Year Award for Green

The unusual configuration of this family compound by Snorre Stinessen, comprising multiple cabins, plays with the way that the visitor slowly discovers what’s hidden behind the wooden doors. Even the outdoor areas remain private, with only waterscapes or trees as neighbors. In addition to the aesthetic appeal of the design, it checks off all the eco-conscious boxes: The forest was protected during the building process, all wood was sourced locally, water is used with restraint, and electricity is primarily hydropower. Read more

23. HKS’s Loretta Fulvio Decodes U.S. Bank Stadium, Site of Super Bowl LII

When designing for a Super Bowl–sized audience, there’s no greater expert than Loretta Fulvio, lead interior designer for architecture firm HKS’s Sports sector. When tasked with designing the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Fulvio and her team sought to create experiences that extend far beyond Super Bowl Sunday. In the stands, visitors can feel good about making a positive impact: 91 percent of waste is recycled, composted, or donated, due to the concession stands using compostable packaging. And the entire venue is run on wind power. Read more

24. San Vicente 935 by Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects Wins 2018 Best of Year Award for Rental Apartment Building

All apartments in this building have balconies overlooking the central courtyard. Its accessibility eliminates the need for interior, climate-controlled hallways, saving on energy consumption. For the solid faces, Lorcan O’Herlihy employed two materials that contrast each other for visual interest and also help to reduce scale. Siding is fiber cement made of recycled content. Screens, which act as a rain-shield system, are slats of ipe harvested from a local, sustainably managed forest. Read more

25. A Bamboo Kitchen Dominates This Super-Green House by Minarc

Built with prefab panels, this 2,500-square-foot structure by Minarc is sustainable to the max. Bathrooms overflow with eco consciousness. In the powder room, wood scraps stack up to form a vanity supporting a sink in recycled rubber. For a truly back-to-nature experience, right next to the soaking tub in the master bathroom, there’s a lush plant wall. Read more

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Milan Design Week’s Most Impactful Installations

As Milan Design Week 2018 draws to a close, we revisit the installations that made an impact.

“Beyond the Deep” by Lindsey Adelman x Calico Wallpaper

Beyond the Deep by Lindsey Adelman x Calico Wallpaper. Photography by Lauren Coleman.

Lighting doyenne Lindsey Adelman joined forces with Calico Wallpaper to present “Beyond the Deep,” an immersive undersea installation at Via Pietro Maroncelli 7. It marks the launch of Adelman’s Drop System, a De Stijl–inspired lighting series that features hand-blown mini globes affixed to verdigris-finished brass tubes. Backdropping Adelman’s fixtures are Calico Wallpaper’s brand-new Oceania collection in three shades and fluid-like Sumi collection in a custom colorway.

“ACT III” by Apparatus

“ACT III” by Apparatus. Photography by Paola Pansini.

After creative director Gabriel Hendifar mined his personal cultural history as a first-generation Iranian-American to conceive Apparatus’s latest product introductions, he transformed the studio’s Milan showroom (Via Santa Marta 14) into a snapshot of bygone memories that simultaneously looks to the future. Hendifar infused each piece with Persian history—the brass-tubed Talisman sconce replicates details found on statues in Persepolis, while the gently curved Drum table evokes the Tombak, a foundational instrument in Persian music.

“Le Roi” by Marc Ange

“Le Roi” by Marc Ange. Photography by Éclat Public Relations.

After his installation Le Refuge took home top honors as the most Instagrammed piece of Milan Design Week 2017, Marc Ange returns both bigger and bolder. His signature leaf lamps, this time in a shimmering gold, beckon visitors inside a throne-like room where a giant bear lounge chair—illuminated by two Refuge lamps—presides over a duo of Les Araignées chairs, each upholstered in royal blue Sunbrella® fabric. Le Roi displays at Wallpaper*’s Mediateca di Brera space (Via Moscova 28) until April 22.

“Open Sky” by COS x Phillip K. Smith III

“Open Sky” by COS x Phillip K. Smith III. Photography courtesy of COS.

Phillip K. Smith III’s work challenges perceptions of light and space, particularly in California’s Palm Desert, where he’s based. So when Swedish fashion brand COS approached him to devise a site-specific installation during Salone del Mobile, he took on a new medium: 16th-century Italian architecture. Nestled inside Palazzo Isimbardi, Open Sky’s faceted mirrors reconfigure the surrounding colonnade into a geometric abstraction. The buildings dramatically pull away as one moves toward the center, until fully encircled by vast sky’s languorous drift and color changes. “Each participant is in control of how the sky and architecture merge across the nearly 14-meter-diameter surface,” Smith notes, making each experience unique.

“For You Everyone” by Herman Miller

“For You Everyone” by Herman Miller. Photography by Ben Anders.

To celebrate the launch of Cosm, Herman Miller’s first auto-tilt chair designed by Studio 7.5, the storied office furniture company transformed their Brera Design District digs into a veritable high-design automobile showroom called “For You Everyone.” Neon signage invites visitors inside, where Cosm’s size and color variations preside on clusters of pedestals. Visitors can then test drive the task chair’s Auto-Harmonic Tilt, experiencing how adaptable the workplace of the future is—and how Herman Miller is responding to the ever-changing office landscape.

“Into Marble” by Nendo and Marsotto edizioni

“Into Marble” by Nendo and Marsotto edizioni. Photography by Takumi Ota.

Prolific design firm Nendo teamed with Marsotto edizioni to devise “Into Marble,” a poetic exhibition where clean-lined marble furniture melts into liquid. Each piece sits askew on puddle-like pedestals, to which Nendo manually surfaced with gentle ripples. Pieces by Claesson Koivisto Rune, Jasper Morrison, Philippe Malouin, and Konstantin Grcic all make an appearance. “Into Marble” runs until April 22 at Spazio Bigli (Via Bigli 11/A).

“My Dream Home” by Piero Lissoni, Elisabetta Illy, and Stefano Guindani

“My Dream Home” by Piero Lissoni, Elisabetta Illy, and Stefano Guindani. Photography by Saverio Lombardi Vallauri.

Photographers Elisabetta Illy and Stefano Guindani present “My Dream Home,” an exhibit that juxtaposes photographs of Haitian children alongside drawings of their “dream homes.” Interior Design Hall of Fame member Piero Lissoni collaborated with Dmeco Engineering to design the venue: twelve stacked shipping containers in the colors of Haitian houses. All proceeds from the show, open until April 28 at the Cortile d’Onore of Universita Statale, will be donated to Fondazione Francesca Rava to construct homes in Cite du Solei, Haiti.

“Swarovski Palazzo” by Swarovski

“Swarovski Palazzo” by Swarovski. Photography by Mark Cocksedge.

To mark the third phase of its home decor collection, Swarovski reveals four new product collaborations inside a grand greenhouse set within a hidden courtyard of a neoclassical Milanese palazzo (Corso Venezia 16). Objects by John Pawson, Nendo, Patricia Urquiola, and Peter Pilotto—who all push boundaries of crystal artistry—are featured, as are new lighting collections from Swarovski Crystal Palace by Tord Boontje and Marjan van Aubel.

Observatory by Lee Broom

“Observatory” by Lee Broom. Photography courtesy of Lee Broom.

Lee Broom’s stellar-inspired lighting fixtures, two years in the making, take center stage at “Observatory,” a traveling installation in a Grade II–listed building (Via Lovanio 6) in the heart of the Brera Design District. Eclipse, Orion, Aurora, and Tidal all glisten amid gallery-like environs, which Broom will show during NYCxDESIGN and the London Design Festival. “I wanted to create a celestial collection of sculptural lighting which is progressive and experimental using the latest LED technology,” says Broom.

“Altered States” by Snarkitecture x Caesarstone

“Altered States” by Snarkitecture x Caesarstone. Photography by David Zanardi.

To kick off Eurocucina, quartz manufacturer Caesarstonetapped Snarkitecture to explore the kitchen island at Fuorisalone. The New York–based collaborative practice then examined liquid as the kitchen’s most crucial element, channeling ice, water, and steam to create Altered States at Palazzo dell’Ufficio Elettorale di Porta Romana. Anchoring the amphitheatrical installation is a circular kitchen island surfaced in layers of Caesarstone White Attica, a nod to natural topography. Over 250 metal mesh pedestals in monochromatic gradients—emblematic of Snarkitecture’s oeuvre—gather around. 

“Perfettamente Imperfetto” by Dimorestudio

“Perfettamente Imperfetto” by Dimorestudio. Photography by Andrea Ferrari.

One of three installations by Dimorestudio, Perfettamente Imperfetto (Via Solferino 11) showcases the studio’s Progetto Non Finito and Oggetti collections. Decidedly neutral backdrops, such as a corridor lined with white parachute silk, highlight precious materials and artistic expression, as seen in spider-like floor lamps that nod to Louise Bourgeoise.

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Design Is Continuous Experimentation Says Patricia Urquiola

To Patricia Urquiola, design is more than just a piece of furniture — even if she’s designing a piece of furniture. She combines elements of the past, present and future in a process of continuous experimentation to create products, interiors, and architecture.

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Louis Vuitton’s Objets Nomades to Travel Across North America

Since 2012, Louis Vuitton’s Objets Nomades have been a Design Miami/ staple. Boasting highly sought-after home accessories and furnishings by design luminaries Barber & Osgerby, Maarten Baas, and Interior Design Hall of Fame member Patricia Urquiola, the collection will soon embark on a North American tour, hitting Houston (February), Los Angeles (May), Chicago (July), and Toronto (September). Among the pieces showcased are the Campana Brothers’s Cocoon and Bomboca Sofa, India Mahdavi‘s Talisman Table, and Tokujin Yoshioka‘s Blossom Stool, the latter two introduced at Salone del Mobile 2017. First stop? Louis Vuitton Houston Galleria, located at 5015 Westheimer Road, from February 21 until March 7.

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How Patricia Urquiola Is Redesigning the Cassina Campus

In updating the Cassina headquarters, Patricia Urquiola honors the company’s Modernist legacy while investing in unexpected and revelatory design flourishes.

Patricia Urquiola Cassina Headquarters

“When you reach 90,” says architect Patricia Urquiola of Cassina, the Italian furniture company whose artistic direction she oversees, “you can enter a second youth.” It’s a poetic and counterintuitive thought—that with advanced age come “many possibilities for finding new solutions and new joys.”

Founded in 1927, the brand boasts 600 pieces in its archives from architects and designers such as Le Corbusier, Gio Ponti, and Franco Albini. Cassina’s back catalog is effulgent with the symbols of Modernist iconography, but this fact shouldn’t be confused with piety. Since she joined the company in 2015, at its Brianza headquarters, 15 miles north of Milan, Urquiola has made gentle incursions into the Cassina identity. Thus far, her influence has been felt in colorful reinterpretations of classics like the LC2—Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret, and Charlotte Perriand’s marvelously supple, down-cushioned ode to the machine-à-habiter. The design’s monochromatic purism has given way to pastels, eclectically combined in ways at first incongruous and then pleasant.

Urquiola says her directive is to reveal “the experimental side of the company in a modern way”: If it’s difficult to be a Modernist in today’s world, it’s easy at Cassina. Its headquarters are a mix of production and office spaces set within old, evocative factory buildings, which Urquiola has begun transforming in piecemeal fashion. A new entrance and a dramatic reception space, along with revitalized offices and even a gallery, opened in mid-2017, with additional upgrades—planned over the next few years.

The project is ambitious. Urquiola is set on reorganizing the meandering 215,000-square-foot campus in a way that will benefit both the 300 full-time employees who work on-site and the thousands of visitors who pass through annually. She began by clarifying the entry sequence, which she has invested with a quiet élan. A threshold of perforated metal screens opens onto a courtyard framed by a pair of single-story factory structures and a larger office block. The stony expanse lacks seating, but is pleasingly sparse, featuring two mature cedars of Lebanon in round, grassy pods. Wedged into the far left corner is a bright-red extrusion wrapped in more of that metal screen and bearing the company signage.

Patricia Urquiola Cassina Headquarters

A minimalist trellis emerges from the side of this monolith and draws the eye across the soft peaks of the low-slung shed toward an open corner of the courtyard. This gap extends into the new reception area, evenly lit by the arched glass ceiling and containing a curious tinny object at its center. Several LC2s, done up in lime-green and sky-blue fabrics, are arranged in two neat rows, while the back wall is textured with plants.

It turns out that the toylike sentinel is a reproduction of a modular living prototype designed by Jeanneret and Perriand in 1938. An obscure item, the Refuge Tonneau was handpicked from the archives by Urquiola and Cassina archivist Barbara Lehmann, who seem to have been attracted to its peculiar silhouette (it resembles a primitive spacecraft) and the way it anchors the room, not to mention its intriguing backstory. The capsule—deceptively roomy, with space for eight—was conceived as a portable shelter for use in extreme environments, or as Lehmann says, a “Spartan oasis complete with all the necessities.” Employees take their coffee breaks inside or pop in for a phone call.

The curatorial deployment of the Refuge Tonneau is prefigurative. “Patricia had the most original idea to have a campus of miniature architecture within a professional production site,” recalls brand director Gianluca Armento. “We are still looking to build our own museum, but in this way, we diffuse that museum across the campus. So in the cafeteria, at reception, in offices and training rooms, you will find surprisingly important and unique pieces that have a story to tell you about Cassina’s past.”

With the product refreshes and the new campus flourishes, Cassina appears to be loosening up. That’s what age will do to you, says Armento: “Cassina has a tendency to be aloof and distanced. We wanted the first impression the visitor gets to be a feeling of friendliness and embrace.”

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