Offices

August 25 2008



If you are reading TCH while working, stop for a moment and consider your surroundings? What is your environment like? Are your surroundings in tune with what you should accomplish? Some of us work in our homes while others stare at their computer monitors all day in a multitude of places referred to as “work.”



Our environment has a direct impact on our work and on how we feel about our work. From the time you sit down with your Monday-morning latte to the moment you make the mad dash to the elevator late on Friday afternoon, innumerable stimuli affect your every action and reaction.

Can you gaze out, or better yet, open a window to let in fresh air? Is your concentration broken each time a nearby coworker turns on the external speaker when he answers the phone? Do you spend most of your day away from your workstation? Are the meeting rooms and common areas in your office inviting and inspiring?



Fortunately, designers have become increasingly ingenious when designing office space, but the ones making the decisions at the top deserve praise as well. We’re noticing more and more collaborations between designers and organizations that unquestionably result in satisfaction throughout the staff.



The focus of attention has started to shift. As leaders, we expect employees to produce more, better, faster, cooler. But we often spend all our time and energy ‘evolving our brand,’ and don’t pay much attention to work environments. If we changed the workspace, we’d probably start seeing more of what we want. Creative environments foster and attract creative minds.



Designers have figured it out — change the cube, evolve the thinking. Designers collaborate with interior architects and now the focus is on the entire space. How can we use space better? How do we create an interesting working environment? What if we did something really unusual? Like creating workspace inside a giant pipe — or a series of pipes?

Designers have now also been paying attention to elevators, stairwells, bathrooms, meeting rooms and other social spaces. These previously ignored and undervalued spaces are becoming an integral part of design strategies — and not just to look good, but also to function well. By adding colour, neon, digital interiors, irregular shapes and patterns — cool stuff to look at, to touch, or to sit in or on — we’ll heighten the senses and draw out creative thinking.



We know at least some of you have benefited from our previous take on innovative workspaces, aso now we're now on the hunt for more of the best creative offices for our third book - "World's Most Creative Office Environments.”  Email us at [email protected]This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or nominate yourself if you think you’ve got what we want. - Andrew J Wiener

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Stores

August 21 2008



Aesop continue to deliver outstanding, intelligent and considered design in not only their product but with their individual approach to each retail concept store they launch. Their latest offering in Zurich embodies this philosophy perfectly. Utilising a long, narrow space to advantage, the focal point of the store is located in the centre of the space allowing consumers to walk around and interact with the products which are located on a series of suspended shelves.  There’s a sense of weightlessness and room to breathe due to the fact that the shelves don’t make contact with the ground and only the necessary products and shelving is featured.  The repetition of the shelves seem to co-exist with ease but not at the peril of functionality. Using Aesop’s signature store sensibilities of incorporating water, merging modernity and recycled materials and not “over-designing” or adding unnecessary objects, this Zurich store is no exception.  — Kate Vandermeer.



 

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Ads

August 19 2008

 

 



Thanks to Apple and its superior design, marketing, advertising and, well, anything else to do with creating and selling a product, most other global communications brands have languished in a kind of brand-image purgatory. Sony is fighting back with this great campaign created by Saatchi & Saatchi Sydney, helmed by art director Eron Broughton. The agency took Sony's earphones and literally mapped out the New York subway system, mimicking a traditional subway map. It's a simple idea but powerful in its execution, giving Sony a much-need dose of coolness. At last, other brands are thinking outside of the square. Now all Sony needs to do is apply that principle to its actual products. Innovate or die, guys. - Laura Demasi

 

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Events

August 15 2008




Forget the sport..some of the most interesting things happening at the Beijing Olympics are coming from clever sponsors who have dreamt up creative ways to promote their brands at the mega global event. We're loving the offering from Mini Cooper, who have dragged traditional Chinese street transport into the 21st century with these great bike-powered Minis. Samsung has been equally creative, giving Olympics' fans a chance to view all of the action from their own "private" alien-like pods. Both of these offerings are a lesson to global brands: get creative and innovative in your marketing or risk being drowned out by the noise. - Laura Demasi

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Design

August 4 2008




Let's face it, most conventional medical interiors aren't exactly attractive. In fact, it wouldn't be surprising to discover that most people are allergic to the blandness and sterility of clinic interiors. Well the new Allied Health clinic in Melbourne, proves that it IS possible for health and design (and a bit of fun) to go hand in hand.

Accommodating the rather unusual combination of podiatry, physiotherapy, pathology, dietetics and psychology, the clinic feels like '2001 Space Odyssey meets late nineteenth century Victorian'. Designed by the Melbourne-based studio Chameleon Architecture, the interior juxtaposes elements of heritage, science and future. Ornate period details like crystal chandeliers, cornices, skirting boards and ceiling roses provide a classical backdrop. Exploring the idea of the medical as molecular, large glossy white molecules or futuristic pods are planted throughout the clinic, serving as consultation suites. Once inside the suite/pod, the mood changes again. The interior of the pod, from the walls, ceiling, floors to joinery, is clad entirely in plywood stained with a clear lacquer which enriches and emphasises the grain of the wood. So instead of looking pale under the normally cold and harsh light of clinical spaces, visitors here are instantly bathed in a warm, healthy glow without any treatment having even begun. - Jeanne Tan

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House

July 31 2008


Even if the results of your early-morning culinary endeavors appear bland and beige, all is not lost. With the right accessories, even the humblest breakfast can look cheery and stylish.
 
To attempt the task of making muffins, you’d get a head start by using the non-slip, nesting set of measuring tools and bowls called, fittingly, Nest, and designed for josephjoseph.com by London-based Bill Holing and Ben Cox, known together as Morph.



You'll eventually be able to bake them in your Marc Newson-designed Smeg oven previewed at Milan and available at the end of 2008.


 
Later, to transform those poorly turned-out muffins into desirables, just serve them in the anodized aluminum bowls designed by Melbourne-based Nina Ellis and available exclusively at Pieces of Eight in Melbourne.


 
Serve the plain boiled egg in the smashingly retro egg cup from Menu designed by the young Danish designer Pernille Vea and adorned with the striking designs of the late Verner Panton, the Danish architect and designer whose mastery of vibrant colour was extraordinary. Use the thermocups from the same series for your coffee or tea.
 


And why not serve that boring orange juice in a Club martini glass, created by the Swedish DJ and designer Matz Borgström for Sagaform
 
We are not saying that every item in your kitchen should be madly cheery. We are only suggesting you add some color to your black-and-white life, just to wake you up in the morning. - Tuija Seipell

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Music

July 31 2008




Alan McGee, the man who gave the world Oasis and The Libertines, has found the latest diamond in the rough. Scottish band Glasvegas are a four-piece that manages to combine all that was good from the Ronettes-era with all that is bad from modern-day Glasgow to brilliant effect.

Despite their obvious influences that range from Phil Spector to Elvis, what they come up with is so remarkably unique that they sound like The Jesus & Mary Chain getting drunk and having a go at covering the Grease soundtrack.

They draw you in with euphoric and unbreakable walls of sound but there is something so unmistakably bleak - something so unmistakably Scottish - about their sound that, in 2008, they manage to say a hell of a lot more about the state of things than sweaty, prepubescent boys with guitars ever could.

Lead singer James Allan has done for a thick Glasweigan accent what Alex Turner did for Sheffield and what Mike Skinner did for Mockney.  And singing along in cod-Glaswegian is all part of the Glasvegas experience, as it is live where they excel. - Rob Facey

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Design

July 30 2008



The aquatic complex Les Bains des Docks  (animation here), designed by the 2008 Prtizker-prize winning architect Jean Nouvel has just opened in the historical Port of Le Havre. Inspired by the Roman thermal baths, the 5,000-square-metre complex offers an eerily beautiful atmosphere of tranquility with the fantastic play of natural light soothing the eyes, the masterful acoustics pleasing the ears, and the pools and treatment areas taking care of the rest of the body.



Although the main “colour” of the complex is white, each section’s distinct atmosphere and hue is created by flowing water curtains, colour walls, and various textures and surface treatments. Each pool — lap-pool, children’s pool, whirlpools — is designed, shaped and lit to create a unique “private space” for its specific users. These seemingly enclosed areas help minimize echoing and sound carriage — an annoying aspect of most aquatic centres - as do the varying-height floors and ceilings, and the acoustic false ceilings. Saunas, a hammam, cold and hot baths, and a spa area with hydro-massage and aquagym areas complete the atmosphere of pampering and care. An external lagoon makes the summer use of the complex even more appealing.



The Docks in the south end of the ancient port city of Le Havre are the oldest docks in France. The area is under massive revitalization with the goal of making this a leisure, culture and shopping neighborhood. When completed, the area will include residences, a large park, a tropical greenhouse, cinemas, bowling alleys and a shopping center, plus a Nouvel-designed Sea and Sustainable Development Centre to be completed in 2011. The Sea Centre will be a showcase of shipping and sailing — exploring their economic and industrial significance as well as their environmental impact on coasts and estuaries. It will be a 120-meter-high metallic structure dominating the port and it will include exhibit areas, an aquarium, a meteorological station and a restaurant with panoramic, 360-degree views of Port of Le Havre.



Nouvel’s well-known public buildings literally span the world from New York to Reykjavik, Dubai, Soul and Tangiers. Recent interesting buildings include the bright-red research center for the maker of brakes for luxury cars, Brembo, in Italy. NouveI's masterpiece for La Philharmonie de Paris will open in 2012. - Tuija Seipell



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Bars

July 23 2008



Clubbers and night cats in Beijing not only shake their booties to the hottest beats at the new ChinaDoll club, they are also surrounded by work from some of China's best contemporary artists. Founded by award-winning Chinese actress/producer Ai Wan and club designer Wu Ying, ChinaDoll was conceived and designed via their studio E.P.I.C. Design where the original club first opened in Beijing at the end of 2006.



Relocated now to the main strip in Sanlitun, the new club is prominently located on the top floor of the '3.3' plaza building. The good news for party-goers is that this venue is three times bigger, comprising a lounge, dancefloor and eight VIP rooms. With their motto The Art of Play', the interior of ChinaDoll takes art out of the gallery and into the club. The overall theme of the interior revolves around 'The Kiss' with passion and sensuality taking centre stage.



The work of six contemporary chinese artists is integrated into the interior, custom made installations and furniture, depicting for example sexy female forms, Chinese dolls or modern Chinese love lives. A glossy backdrop of lightboxes adorned with abstracted fashion photography references the brush strokes and vivid colours of chinese water colours. When illuminated, it creates an electric atmosphere making ChinaDoll a lolly shop for the eyes and an amusement park for the senses. - Jeanne Tan



Seen a new club/bar we should know about? Then get in contact with us



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Architecture

July 22 2008



Norihiko Dan
– born in 1956 in the Kanagawa Prefecture in Japan – is the designer of the beautiful Munetsugu Hall, completed in 2007 in Naka Ward, Nagoya, Japan. It is a privately-funded concert hall that continues the age-old but almost-dead tradition of wealthy arts patrons initiating and financing the creation of art spaces. Fluid, white wall shapes are the distinctive feature of Munetsugu Hall’s main performance space. The walls bring to mind artistic sweep marks left by a gigantic builder who in his boredom doodled in his mortar tray with a massive trowel and then let the shapes solidify.

Norihiko Dan has won several architecture awards in Japan and Taiwan including the Distinguished Architect Award of the Japanese Institute of Architecture and the ARCADIA Award Gold Medal in 2007. His work has been part of exhibitions in Japan, Taiwan, USA, Canada, Germany, Austria, Italy and the UK. In addition to being a respected architect and educator, Norihiko Dan is also an architecture historian and writes novels and screenplays.

Munetsugu Hall’s generous benefactor is Tokuji Munetsugu who with his wife Naomi made a fortune in the restaurants business. Their company Ichibanya Co. Ltd. (based in Aichi, Japan) operates more than 1,000 curry and pasta restaurants under the names Curry House CoCo Ichibanya and Pasta de Coco. Munetsugu spent two billion yen to build the 310-seat concert hall. He has also set up a nonprofit organization to support welfare, sports and arts activities. - Tuija Seipell