We return to the creative work of Supermachine Studio, the multidisciplinary design firm that architect Pitupong (Jack) Chaowakul established in 2009 in Bangkok.
Last year, we covered Supermachine's design of Bangkok University Creative Center.
This time, our attention was piqued immediately by the first images we saw of Supermachine's ideas for the rebirth of Saatchi & Saatchi Thailand's office.
Supermachine was the team of choice for Saatchi & Saatchi's regional creative director, Joel Clement, because he was looking for playful and unexpected design solutions. Clement wanted a space "that inspires, is genuinely fun to come to everyday, and that didn't take itself too seriously."
The agency's move to the Sindhorn Tower, on Wireless Road in Bangkok, was part of parent firm Publicis's goal to gather its affiliated companies in one building for shared resources.
The somewhat dated building, tight space (400 m2, about 4305 ft²) and the tight budget posed challenges that Chaowakul and team solved with bold ideas that leave much of the space open but accented by strong visual elements. This openness was also part of Clement's brief to Supermachine, as the previously scattered teams had to learn to work together and become one functioning family.
We love Supermachine's happy nods to motion and mobility. The reception desk is on wheels and resembles a big white bus. Bicycles work as the legs of a large glass-top conference table that is fully mobile. The meeting cabins that feel like train compartments. There is also the reoccurring visual theme in the shape of a racetrack, hockey rink or stadium.
A large outer wall is covered with small, white "wood pixels" that are made of wood recycled from the agency's previous office. With this wall, Supermachine achieved not just practical goals -- to cover the ugly red marble wall and to save costs by recycling materials from the existing office -- they also created a visual link to the organization's past.
Perhaps in a nod to even further into humanity's past, there is the "monster wall." Its main feature is a 20 meter-long (65 feet), lizard whose skin is constantly redecorated with current work and inspirational items. Its jaws work as a bookshelf. The monster has already become the agency's new mascot and will appear on a T-shirt soon.
In addition to Pitupong (Jack) Chaowakul, the Supermachine project team included Suchart Ouypornchaisakul, Peechaya Mekasuvanroj, Santi Sarasuphab, Kasidis Puaktes, Jetsada Phongwasin and Korthong Thongtham Na Ayutthaya. - Tuija Seipell
Ever since we posted our first idea featuring Mini Inflatables, other blogs immediately featured them
And we were immediately inundated with orders. Individuals, agencies, Mini dealers, other brands, retailers, hotels, art & design festivals are crazy about them.
We now have more than 13,000 orders but we have no product yet! So we are super excited that we are now negotiating with Mini Germany to make it all happen!
This is a perfect example of a win-win for all concerned. Mini gets its brand out there in an unexpected space and in a fun and active environment. It is interacting with consumers who love to show off their Mini inflatable on the beach because compared to other boring inflatables, this is just too much fun. It's big, it’s bouncy, it’s fun.
People react to it with “I want one!” and “I want to try that!” Perfect reaction and brand atmosphere for an active, fun brand.
We even designed a fun Xmas installation using the Mini inflatables as reindeers.
Stay tuned for the announcement of the Mini Inflatables. We expect it to be all ready by Summer 2012!
Much architectural jargon has been lavished on this Tribeca warehouse loft renovation but we just like the look of the cool, dynamic, elongated space.
This is not exactly a cozy home but its brutalist strength fits an old Manhattan warehouse well.
The Inverted Warehouse Townhouse has received numerous U.S. awards. It is the creation of Dean-Wolf Architects of New York, where architect Charles Wolf and designer Eunjeong Seong were in charge of the project.
We like the visible stairs that create a sense of lift and movement upward. We like the large surfaces of brick, steel and glass. We like the visibility between floors and from space to space that solves the potential problem of dark boxy rooms inside a windowless warehouse.
It is an impressive conversion of a loft (of 10,500 square feet) within a vast warehouse that covers the entire lot, leaving no room for outside space, garden or patio.
The main achievements of Dean-Wolf's work are cutting the roof open to let the natural light in and then using glass panels to let it shine into the dark centre of the expansive structure.
By doing this, they also created "outdoor" space inside, making the residence feel like it has a courtyard. They also created a large garden deck off the main living room.
To open up the key areas of the residence to this natural light, the main entry, via an elevator, is now on the fifth floor where public spaces and the bedrooms, playrooms and study are located. In a more typical townhouse, this "parlor" floor would be accessed through the front steps of the building. - Tuija Seipell
Aaaahhhhhh… Relaxing and breathing deeply. It may not come as a surprise to anyone that this would be our reaction this exquisitely refurbished residence, located in one of Rio de Janeiro’s most exclusive neighborhoods.
It has so many of the features we love. The structure seems to belong to the site. The indoor spaces connect with the outdoors, and the subtle surface textures and materials showcase the art and the mid-century modernist vibe of the furnishings.
There is visual room to breathe, to see. There’s space to enjoy the art, distance to appreciate the gardens.
It lacks all of the typical design-magazine photo-session set-ups; the painfully over-staged vignettes, the overly sterile designer look. There is no ego or bravado, just ease and style. This is cool without trying to be cool; dramatic without all the drama.
This is that confident, mature style that is so difficult to achieve and impossible to fake.
The white, colonial-style house has good bones to start with: unobtrusive scale and proportions, spectacular site with access to views, natural building materials.
It is also surrounded by sublime mature gardens originally designed by the late Roberto Burle Marx, the designer of the Copacabana Beach Promenade with its distinctive, black-and-white Portuguese geometric wave pattern.
But the already great structure of this house was improved by a recent, complete overhaul by Brazilian architect Gisele Taranto.
The 1,500 square-meter (about 16145 square feet) house consists of two blocks. The larger block is the main family residence, the smaller one accommodates staff rooms, laundry, garage, home theater and the spa that is directly connected with the outside pool and patio area.
Taranto retained this division of functions, but rearranged most of the rooms and built two additional spaces on top of the existing ones: a home office with a roof-top garden on top of the residence, and an additional two-bedroom apartment for staff on top of the other block.
To provide better access to the outside, new, much larger windows and sliding glass doors were created. Wooden exterior slat screens and a wide canopy all around the house were built to provide protection from the extreme sunlight and heavy rains of the area.
High-quality natural materials, such as corten steel, limestone, marble and peroba do campo wood are used throughout, but they remain as a subtle background for the art and furnishings.
In this project, Taranto collaborated once again with Brazilian lighting designer Maneco Quinderé and landscape designer Gilberto Elkins. Tuija Seipell
After several months of construction, Red Bull’s Dutch subsidiary, Red Bull Netherlands, has settled into its new headquarters on the North side of Amsterdam’s Port area. The almost 1000 square-meter (about 10,763 square feet) office is part of the 7800 square-meter (83,958 square feet) Media Wharf complex at the NDSM Wharf, on the shores of the river IJ.
The office was designed by Sid Lee Architecture of Montreal and Amsterdam. The theme of the space is duality and polarity -- reason and intuition, light and dark, art and business, public and private.
Much of the space is undefined, seemingly unfinished, with a feel of street culture and the rough edges of the shipyard’s past echoed in the design.
Red Bull Netherlands’s director Jan Smilde was quoted as saying that the company wanted a location with an entrepreneurial spirit where they would have the freedom to develop innovative ideas and events.
Established before WWII, NDSM (Nederlandsche Dok en Scheepsbouw Maatschappij – Dutch Dock and Shipbuilding Company) was one of the world’s largest shipbuilders. It continued to operate until the mid-1980s, after which the shipyards were deserted except for squatters and artists who established a “breeding ground” of emerging artist there.
This area, the size of 10 football fields, has now been developed into an artistic and media hub, with studios and workshops, offices, open spaces, student housing, festival venues and restaurants. More here in English.
Perhaps we are overly practical here at TCH, but we could not help but wonder what Red Bull’s heating bill for this space is in the cold Dutch winter months. - Tuija Seipell
OUKAN 71 is an intriguing addition to the sophisticated shopping area around Friedrichstrasse in Berlin. OUKAN 71 combines a fashion and art showroom/shop with a tea room and restaurant. Located on Kronenstrasse 71 (Kronen Strasse means Crown Street in German, and Oukan is Japanese for crown), the boutique has a fascinating background.
When the earthquake and tsunami cancelled the Tokyo Fashion Week in March last year, a group of Japanese designers were looking for a place to showcase their work. Berlin answered, and a charity project, Tokyo Gakudan (Tokyo Orchestra), was presented at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin in July 2011, with 40 Japanese designers showing their collections.
Natalie Viaux and Huy Thong Tran Mai were responsible of the Tokyo Gakudan Runway Show at Mercedes-Benz Studio. They are also the masterminds behind OUKAN 71, inspired by the fashion show.
On two open-concept floors, OUKAN 71 offers a constantly changing selection of fashion, accessories and design, much of it currently Scandinavian, but all with a Japanese feel. The Tea Bar Restaurant serves raw, vegan, vegetarian and fish breakfast and lunch dishes by chef-patissier Eriko Ohsawa, formerly of Tim Raue’s MA and UMA restaurants. - Tuija Seipell
FieldCandy tents do not give you camouflage protection in the natural setting, nor do they help you blend in with the rest of the crowd at the campsite. FieldCandy tents are designed to stand out.
When we saw the first images of these limited-edition designer tents with their cool flysheets, we had to really stop and think. Is it true that no-one else has manufactured these types of tents for sale before? We have seen individual pieces displayed as art, but we had not seen anything quite like this.
It was one of those moments when you think: Why have all tents always looked pretty much the same? We customise everything else, why not tents? And even more remarkably: Why have we been satisfied with those boring, standard tent colours for so long?
So, through a two-year development process, Jersey, UK-based FieldCandy has created what we did not know we needed. Until now. They selected a group of 20 or so artists and designers – photographers, graphic designers, illustrators, branding and advertising designers – to create designs that were then transferred to the ultra-light, waterproof flysheet that covers the two-person tent.
They now offer more than 40 different designs by 18 artists. The designs are grouped in several collections. In The Legend Collection, for example, includes Terry Pastor’s black design with psychedelic guns and Philip Gatward’s blue and yellow parrots on a grey hued background.
On the FieldCandy website, a counter next to each design indicates how many of that design are still left. Each tent comes with a label that shows the edition number and the design name. Prices range from $430 for the black FieldCandy signature tent to over $1,000. FieldCandy ships around the world The tents are available exclusively through the website. - Tuija Seipell
It would seem a shame to take one of these black retro beauties out into the unforgiving streets of a Detroit winter. It might be best to display the hand-crafted Madison Street bike indoors, perhaps in the living room, nicely leaning against the mantel. It certainly deserves a place next to other pieces of art.
Detroit Bicycle Company founder, Steven Bock, builds each bike to order from the finest parts. For those who appreciate high-quality bike parts, all frames are made with Columbus SL CRO-Mo tubing and Nova lugs. The Madison Street's main attractions are the beautiful copper-plating of the Campagnolo and Cinelli parts, track rims with Vittoria Zaffiro tires and the inimitable Books leather saddle.
Each bike is customised, so prices vary, but we've seen complete bikes priced at $3,200 and up. - Bill Tikos
THANK YOU to our first half-a-million Facebook fans! We are excited about and challenged by your interest in what we do, your comments and your feedback!
With over 2.5 million page views per month on our site, the most popular articles generating more than 8 million views, 168,000 newsletter subscribers and 123,500 followers on Twitter, what else can we do but work even harder, and to say Thank You, Thank You, Thank You! - Bill TIkos
Illustration by Fernando Volken Togni.