TAG: Design

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Design

June 2 2009




You must feel comfortable being surrounded by really bright colours if you plan on studying at Tokyo's famous Senzoku Kaguen College of Music's latest addition. It is called Black Hole on the school's site, but Black Hall on the site of Terada design & Architects, the Tokyo-based architecture firm that designed it. We want to believe the school, especially when we know that one of the large studios is called Big Mouth. The Black Hole has recording studios, multimedia studios, electronic organ classrooms, PC labs, and practice studios for jazz, jazz vocal, pop and rock. In the otherwise basic hallways, intense wall and ceiling colours have become the main design element, and the way finding ' large-scale painted signage on the walls ' is the main artwork. Terada is an architecture and design studio established by the Osaka-born, 42-year-old Naoki Terada in 2003. - Tuija Seipell


 

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



Design

May 23 2010

Great, aesthetically pleasing design needn't be limited to traditional architectural forms such as houses and public buildings.



Utilitarian spaces, such as car parks, present architects and designers with a unique opportunity to bring beauty and harmony to the everyday functional spaces that are normally ignored by great design minds.

We're excited to report that the tide is changing, evidenced by these good-looking car parks.



Modern design is all about "experience" and these car parks pictured acknowledge that one's experience of a private or public place begins the minute they pull up in their car. Innovative developers and designers are recognising just how crucial this is - it's almost too late by the time the consumer arrives at the front door. The "experience" of good design starts well before that.

Our agency ACCESS is currently working with a few developers/city councils globally in creating the ultimate public car park and we're on the hunt for architects/designers who already have created in this space. In the know? Get in touch. Seen any other interesting car parks we should know about - send us tips - Bill Tikos

Design

September 24 2008



In most cities, strategic downtown street corners are flanked by enormous, old banks, the ornate cathedrals of capital designed to impress and intimidate. With the massive changes in real estate values and consumer banking habits, such monuments to Mammon are no longer smart or necessary. But what amazing opportunities such massive commissions must have been for the architects of the day! And what depressing alternatives we’ve experienced since! Luckily, online banking has made a bank visit almost obsolete, but when you must visit, most of the time you’ll find a boring, convenience-store-type standardized box – retail banking in the worst meaning of both words.


 
But we are starting to see a change. Several new bank design concepts are in the works, and some have been launched recently, including CheBanca! in Milan by Crea International. The concept for CheBanca! (translation: What a bank!) reflects the brand’s simplicity, transparency and innovation. When Crea International co-founder Massimo Fabbro will speak at POPAI Italia in November on the power of physical brand design to bring to life a brand's language, spirit and values, he will no doubt mention CheBanca!


 
And now that we have seen a few examples of fabulous bank design, we want more! If you’ve seen, designed or commissioned one, let us know. — Tuija Seipell



Design

September 29 2008



Great surroundings will not camouflage poor programming in movie theatres. No matter how swanky the theatre, if it shows poor movies, we just won’t go. Which isn’t to say that we have given up on movie-theatre design. We still wish that one day, somewhere, someone is going to design a decidedly different, interesting and exciting movie theatre.


 
Glimpses of brilliance are visible in the new Light House Cinema at Smithfield in Dublin, Ireland designed by Dublin’s award-winning DTA Architects Of course, you really need to design – and judge – a movie theatre so that it looks and functions best when people are using it. So, having not paid personal visits to the new Light House, we cannot say for sure, but the images we have received of the empty space indicate that the play of light, colour and height works exceptionally well here.
 


Light House cinema has been a bit of an institution in Dublin. It started showing Irish, independent, foreign-language, art house and classic cinema 20 years ago, closed in 1966, and re-opened this summer in its new, customized space. The four-screen, intimate art-house cinema includes a wonderful, inviting and open cafe that looks like something you’d see at an art museum, not a movie theatre. The leader of the Light House project at DTA was Derek Tynan and the project architect was Colin Mackay.


 
The new cinema benefited from the financial assistance of The Arts Council, the Irish Film Board, and the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism. For Dublin’s city planners, this was to be a cultural magnet and a focal point for the largest mixed-use development ever in Dublin’s inner city, the massive rejuvenation plan for the historical Smithfield Market area.


 
And if you’d like to make our wishes come true, please let us know of any supreme movie-theatre design concepts you’ve seen, designed or commissioned. We are all eyes and ears. - Tuija Seipell

See also Home Theatre and AMC Pacific Place Cinema in Hong Kong.

Design

November 7 2013



Wood is both universal and unique. No other material is as deeply embedded in the history, culture and life of humans worldwide as wood, yet every single piece of wood is unique.



The color tone, texture, durability, flexibility and even sound qualities of different tree species have puzzled and challenged artists, architects, designers, builders and artisans for thousands of years.

Still today, nothing matches wood in versatility or beauty, so it is great to see how today’s designers and architects continue to face the challenge of wood, and use it creatively to interpret sleek, modern designs.



They use wood to meet their current needs and desires for which wood is ideally suited. People seek calm surroundings, simplicity and minimalism to soothe their frayed nerves and to counter the constant visual overload they face. Wood’s warmth and natural beauty works wonders for creating a sense of balance and calm.



People also look for sustainable alternatives, eco-friendly options, greener solutions. When harvested, managed and used sustainably, forests are still the source of the greatest material on earth.



We especially love the influence of Scandinavian and Japanese traditions that we can detect in today’s wood architecture and design. Minimalist, functional, beautiful, and light in both color and weight.



Scandinavian building and design traditions are based solidly on the use of wood. Finnish modernist master, architect Alvar Aalto, stunned the world with Living Wood, his design for the Finnish Pavilion for the Paris World Exposition in 1937. In the pavilion, he combined both traditional and modern architecture and showcased his functionalist design sensibilities. It was considered one of the boldest and most innovative pavilions of the Expo.



Earlier, Aalto’s exploration of the limits of bent wood and mass production had resulted in the  Paimio chair (1931) and other furniture classics, and had a permanent impact on how furniture looks even today. Aalto’s work influenced many other modernist masters including Charles and Ray Eames and Eero Saarinen.



The use of wood in Japanese architecture and design is characterized by austere construction methods, the lightness of materials, the connectedness between indoors and outdoors, and the way in which buildings merge with their surroundings.



With hardly any furniture used inside, Japanese master craftsmen were able to focus their skills on the buildings themselves, on skilful joining of sections without nails, and on revealing, rather than covering or adorning, the original texture and tone of the wood.







Wood as a material has held a charmed place in architecture and design for both its simplicity and complexity. It lends itself to imposing, bulky structures, yet also yields to delicate, undulating forms that seem lacy and transparent.

We love this lightness and elegance, the play of light and shadow, the countless tones of color that can be achieved with skilful use of wood both structurally and decoratively.



In more and more residential projects, both big and small, architects and designers are finding new, creative ways to reveal and highlight the beauty and versatility of wood. They manage to create structures that appear current and cool, yet also exude a classic, timeless elegance.





Every day, we come across images of fantastic single-use residences, recreational cottages, furniture, decks and patios, where the qualities of wood are perfectly matched with the users’ needs and the requirements of the surroundings as well.



In retail and hospitality, wood is also making an impact. We love the blocky, clean look of the Aesop stores. At the other end of the spectrum a good example is the lightness and playfulness achieved in RDAI Architects’ use of wood-slat “huts” as departments in the Paris Hermès store built inside an old hotel swimming pool.



In not just eco-lodges, but also in luxury resorts, spas and hotels, wood is becoming the material of choice. As guests are looking for a retreat, a sense of being back in nature, a quilt-free, tranquil vacation, resorts are responding with wood-frame structures, wood interiors and sustainable solutions that also look fabulous.



Wood is not trendy yet it is incredibly cool. It is a demanding, noble, ancient, living material that we have the privilege to use and enjoy. In wood, the architect, designer and builder face the exhilarating challenge of the sculptor — to reveal the character of the specific species, the individual tree. And we, the viewers and users of their work, have the opportunity to discover it for ourselves. We are looking forward to more. - Tuija Seipell.

At TCH, we are so obsessed with wood that we even created Treelife, an event to showcase the most innovate work using wood in the design of Treehouses.

Design

September 1 2009




We love a fine wine, especially when it can be ingested in as thoughtful an environment as this one. Welcome to Merus, a "designer" winery like no other. Located in the Napa Valley in California, Merus looks more like a Michelin-starred restaurant than your average cellar-door retail outlet. Exposed beams are the only nod to the past in this interior design strategy, which is thoroughly modern with a hint of Californian warmth.



Amsterdam-based Uxus Design is the architecture and design firm behind the winery. With more than a few inspiring, high profile projects under its belt, Uxus is one of the Netherlands' hottest design studios - with an office to match.



It's been a busy year for Uxus, who have unveiled a number of other great retail design projects recently including the new Heineken 'concept' bars which will open in airports across the globe and one of Europe's coolest McDonald's play areas in Amsterdam. - Bill Tikos



See also Design Wine

Design

January 6 2009




Bold use of colour has never frightened the 40-year-old, Lisbon-based architect Pedro Gadanho. The colour extravagance of the recently completed single-family residence in Oporto, Portugal, follows Gadanho’s established modus operandi of using white and bright colours as key elements of a space. The petrol-blue kitchen and sanguine stairway draw the attention while at the same time punching up the power of snowy white.



Colour played an important part also in the widely reviewed and admired Orange house he designed with Nuno Grande. The private residence was completed in 2005 in Carreço, Portugal.
 
Another example of Gadanho’s use of color is the high-profile Ellipse Foundation Art Centre in Estoril/Alcoitão, Portugal. He designed the 20,000 square-foot converted warehouse with Atelier de Santos. It was completed in 2006.



Gadanho’s thought-provoking architecture matches his overall attempt to provoke critical thinking about the relationship between architecture and current culture. He is known not only as an architect but also as a free-lance critic, curator and teacher. He’s taught architecture theory and history at Faculdade de Arquitectura da Universidade do Porto and curated the Portuguese presence at the 2004 Venice Biennale. And for those of us who like lovely names, his full name is Pedro César Clara do Carmo Gadanho. Tuija Seipell



Images/Fernando Guera


Design

January 13 2009



Many of the brutalist forms of architecture constructed under the watchful eyes of the Soviet regime in the latter half of the twentieth century sit unused or abandoned throughout various eastern European cities.  The ‘Danube Flower,’ a Belgrade landmark sited along the river’s foreshore was no exception.  Originally opened as a restaurant in the 1970s, the triangular structure built 15 metres above the river sat empty for fifteen years after the fall of Communism and during the civil war in what was then Yugoslavia and now is Serbia. 

 

The Belgrade design studio, 4of7 partnered with London-based Superfusionlab to adaptively reuse the space as a high-end gym and spa in city’s centre.  From the ground-level pedestrian esplanade, visitors enter the Wellness Sky through the central core, the sole support for the entire structure, which contains two lift shafts and a double spiral staircase.



Once inside the facilities, its namesake genuinely takes meaning.  Fitness gurus and gym junkies are immediately awash with sweeping city and river views from the uninterrupted ribbon window, which wraps entirely around the building.  During the day, light glows through the widows onto the reflective resin floor.  The faceted ceiling comprised of backlit semi translucent triangular panels allows visitors to feel as if they are exercising within a cloud.  The openness and loftiness of the design of the Wellness Sky allows members to feel nearly weightless in the very environment where burning away the excess is the ultimate achievement. - Andrew J Wiener.

Design

February 12 2009



Peter Masters of Burned Toast Design is known for his elegant bent-wood and curved-acrylic tables and chairs, but the Manchester, UK-based furniture designer can be big, bold and public, if required. A recent re-vamp of the funky Reuben Wood Hair Salon in Manchester’s city centre shows that Masters has the talent to create an entire environment that is eclectic, electric and elegant.


 
Using simple curved mirrors, he created the storage units necessary to hide the day-to-day paraphernalia of a busy hair salon. The creation of the large mirrored surfaces dictated that everything else needed to be streamlined and toned-down so that the space would not appear too busy or scattered when clients and staff would populate it.


 
The long blue table in the middle of the salon is an industrialized version of Masters’ Horse design. The mirrors in this station are removable which makes it easy to change the look of the space without destroying the overall feel. Dashes of pink, green and blue play off the larger surfaces of black and white, and create focal points in the mirrored environment.


 
When making and designing furniture, Masters plays with a large variety of materials, methods and technologies. Laminating plywood, casting resins and metals, fabricating plastics and upholstery are all familiar to Masters, as are using a machine created for violin manufacture or hand-crafting custom pieces from sustainable materials. - Tuija Seipell



Related articles - Pimps & Pinups - London & Fur Hairdressing - Melbourne

Architecture

March 24 2009




From the street, this Edwardian house might seem unassuming, undeserving of a second glance. From the back, however, the addition to the Trojan House by Jackson Clements Burrows, where three children’s bedrooms are cantilevered above a large living space, is anything but ordinary.



The entire addition is wrapped in a seamless timber skin that conceals any obvious openings. Windows, covered by shutters that follow the pattern of the façade, reveal nothing of the interior space. 



Incidentally the inside is just as remarkable as the outside. A thermal chimney and a breezeway corridor allow for passive cooling in the warmer months as each room was designed to allow for cross ventilation.  Additionally a rain screen provides extra shade from the hot summer sun, and also insulates the inside in the winter by forming a space for warm air. - Andrew J Wiener





 

Ads

March 30 2009



Call it buzz, guerrilla, viral, word-of-mouth, whatever – marketing and advertising stunts and ideas that achieve free attention are working now perhaps better than ever before. Of course, they are much less expensive than TV or print ads so they are a good alternative in this economic climate. And even if the marketer had the money to spend on lavish conventional media campaigns, using guerrilla tactics appears frugal and smart and appeals to an audience that appreciates such attitudes.

If the guerrilla stunt works and gains news media coverage and serious online buzz, then it has also achieved the coveted third-party endorsement and peer-reviews  that are so important to today’s consumers.

We’ve recently highlighted a few simple and clever examples of this in our advertising section. The most recent was the People as Fleas idea.

A similar large-scale floor sticker was used in January by a Swiss skydiving school. Their agency, Wirz/BBDO Switzerland, managed to execute a simple idea that achieved media coverage and is still making the online rounds. The images of the city skyline make it extremely clear what Swiss Skydive.org can do for you. - Tuija Seipell

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Art

April 1 2009



Never before has your brand's visual language been so crucial to your business. In the age of "blink and you'll miss it" attention spans, your visual identity acts as a shorthand, expressing your brand's personality and values literally at a glance.



Brands are like us, they don't just want to be heard, they want to be understood and embraced, they want meaningful connection. Our global team of innovative creatives will bring your brand to life. The Cool Hunter Design represents a paradigm shift in the creative process.



Why use one studio when you can draw upon a global community of creatives - the international roster of collaborators who inspire hundreds of thousands of The Cool Hunter readers every day.     Click here for more info



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Design

November 27 2009

Opened this spring in Poland’s second-largest city of Lodz, the Andels Hotel has one of the most stunning entrance foyers we have seen in a while. The restored, stoic, red-brick facade hides the entrance so well that the initial impression is very strong.If you need to host a large event and impress your guests in this city, this is the place to do it. Andels has a large conference space plus the city’s largest ballroom at 1,300 square meters, and it shares its expansive red-brick domain with the best in the city’s cultural and shopping offerings.

The hotel structure is Manufaktura, Polish textile magnate Izrael Poznans’s former textile mill, now meticulously restored under strict official guidelines for building preservation. We love the interplay of old and new, square and rounded, natural and artificial, intimacy and open space.



The design concept of Andels comes from Jestico + Whiles, an award-winning design and architecture firm with offices in London and Prague, and a long relationship with the Andels hotels. This month, Andels Hotel Lodz won the Best Conversion of an Existing Building in the 12th European Hotel Design Awards.



Andels Hotel Lodz is the first four-star hotel in Lodz and the latest addition to the Andels Hotels group, which in turn is part of the Vienna International Hotels & Resorts that has more than 40 hotels in Eastern European countries. - Tuija Seipell

Design

June 8 2009

Mecanoo Architects is designing the city hall and central train station for its home town of Delft, in the Netherlands. The top level will be glass-ceilinged, and even the underground levels will have a feel of transparency and light. Vaulted ceilings, archways and a strong use of white and blue will lighten the visual weight of the complex that will include a 30,000 square-meter public hall. The four-year construction will begin next year.

The Dutch-born and educated architect Francine Houben established Mecanoo Architects in the mid-80s. Mecanoo has since completed an incredible variety of public and private projects, including retail stores, theaters, hotels, libraries, museums, chapels, residential neighborhoods and parks. Houben’s focus on ”sensory beauty,“ color and light has produced many spectacular buildings in Europe and around the world. Most recently, Mecanoo won the competition to design the new master plan for a central business district in Shenzhen, China. The district will include 8,000 houses and 400,000 square-meters of commercial and cultural facilities. - Tuija Seipell

Kids

May 1 2010

Kids have boundless imaginations. No matter how poor, colorless and toyless their environment, they’ll find a way to play. They will play with stones, twigs, grass and water, and they will play with each other. They’ll think up ways of turning mundane items into creations that have all the life of the latest computer game.

But only if they are lucky enough to have the free time to play, are not too hungry to move about, or have water to play with.



In this light, what our urban kids have available to them, is excessively abundant. They have daycare and play spaces, parks, playgrounds, even yards. Yet, when we look at the basic play environments in our communities, there’s no denying that they are sadly short of what they could be. With some color, imagination, labor and resources, they could all be so much better.



There are wonderful examples of this, such as the recent “accidental” kids’ park at Madison Square Park in New York. It is an art installation by artist Jessica Stockholder, commissioned by the Madison Square Park Conservancy.

The installation includes a multicolored triangular platform, a sandbox of bright-blue rubber mulch, multicolored bleachers and painted pavement. It was not intended originally as a children’s play space, but kids have taken to it like crazy, surprising both the artist and the Conservancy. The lesson we can learn from this is that if we point our resources in the right direction, the result can be infinitely fun and rewarding for everyone involved.



We spend millions annually on "adult playgrounds" — stadiums, concert halls, bars, restaurants. We spend billions advertising and promoting them. Why is it that we do not seem to want to dedicate the necessary resources to give our children the best we can offer?



Every dedicated kids’ arts organization will be able to point you to reams of research reports that show that early access to arts and arts education aids children in all aspects of their lives later on.

They will build self-confidence; discover their abilities, skills and talents; and in the best of circumstances, they will grow to be fantastic contributors in their communities. Yet another reason to make sure our kids live and play in environments that are rich in creativity, arts and inspiration.



If this generation of children is going to be responsible for solving the problems of a world where children are still too hungry to play at all, then we should be paying closer attention. We should be giving our kids — regardless of their resources — all the support and inspiration we can.

Anyone with creative ideas, energy, staff and money, can give to kids in his or her neighborhood. Who knows what could happen, if we as individuals, companies and cities paid as much attention to our kids’ play environments as we do to our own? - Tuija Seipell

Developers, city councils wanting to see ideas and concepts in how to design super cool educational environments and playgrounds effectively, contact our marketing agency, ACCESS AGENCY.

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Design

October 8 2009

Paleoanthropologist Erik Trinkaus purports that man started wearing shoes between 26,000 and 40,000 years ago. The average American woman today is said to own 27 pairs of shoes. This is all interesting stuff if shoes are your passion — as they are for Maecenas Dirk Vanderschueren, owner of Cortina, one of the world’s largest shoe manufacturers.

To share his passion Vanderschueren created a “shoe experience” SONS – Shoes Or No Shoes in Kruishoutem (Cruyshautem), in East Flanders, Belgium, about 70 kilometers (40 miles) from Antwerp and Brussels, and close to Cortina’s hometown of Oudenaarde.



SONS consists of three collections. The Ethnographic Collection, amassed by former shoe distributor William (Boy) Habraken, includes 2,700 pairs from 155 countries and is acknowledged by the Guinness World Records as the largest collection of tribal and ethnological shoes.
 
Antwerp-based shoemaker couple Veerle Swenters and Pierre Bogaerts contributed the Modern Collection -- some 1,200 pairs acquired from artists, many of whom customized the shoes, evoking the question: Are they art or shoes? Shoes or no shoes?
 
The Designer Collection, also accumulated by Habraken, showcases unique footwear form 20th-century and contemporary designers including Salvatore Ferragamo, Christian Louboutin and Manolo Blahnik.
 
SONS is housed in a building designed and built by gallery owner Emile Veranneman and architect Christiaan Vander Plaetse in 1973. Architects Lode Uytterschaut and Johan Ketele revamped the structure for the constantly growing shoe collections. Outside, they covered the building with lead and inside, they created an unpretentious warehouse look using industrial shelving systems and almost no color. - Tuija Seipell

Design

May 26 2011

Shanghai’s shiny new Museum of Glass opened last week as part of Shanghai’s campaign of becoming a globally important cultural and creative centre by launching 100 museums in a decade.

Shanghai-based German architectural firm Logon handled the architecture and exterior of the museum. Germany’s Glashütte Lambets supplied the enameled glass used for the museum’s façade inscribed with glass-industry terms in ten languages.

COORDINATION ASIA, also based in Shanghai, was in charge of the overall museum concept, art direction, design and  supervision of the museum interior. It was also the chief consultant for curation, marketing and operation, as well as coordination of an international team of architects, artists, designers, filmmakers and multimedia specialists.


 
COORDINATION’s Tilman Thürmer tells TCH that they used black lacquered glass for the interior (cases, floor, furniture, walls), but left the existing structure untouched. The museum building is a former glassmaking workshop, one of 30 former bottling-plant structures that the Shanghai Glass Co. still owns.


 
The black, sleek glass of the interior reflects the LED lights and screens positioned throughout the space, creating a shiny and glittering multi-dimensional feel. This emphasizes the interaction, interdependence and influences of periods, continents, materials and peoples involved in the art, craft and industry of glass.


 
The design of the space and exhibits and the use of various media help create an interactive and participatory museum experience where the visitor is directed through the story of glass.


 
“Designwise, we wanted to create a piece of black crystal glass. Sparkling, reflecting, sleek and deep,” Thürmer says. - Tuija Seipell.

Design

July 26 2009

An existing subway or metro station does not give much room to creativity. Drassanes is a metro station in Barcelona’s Ciutat Vella district at the old docks of Port Vell.



The original station was built in 1968. Eduardo Gutiérrez Munné and Jordi Fernández Río, the 31-year-old partners of ON-A Arquitectura WWW.ON-A.ES, had no other option but to accept the limitations of the constricted space and make the best of it by covering the old station with new surfaces. They decided that a subway car already has everything a passenger needs and proceeded to create a station that emulates the feel of (a) subway cars. Light-weight, white glass-enforced concrete covers the vertical surfaces and a resin component helps make the white floors vibration-proof. 



The overall feel is clean and open, something that could not be said of the old station. Eduardo Gutiérrez and Jordi Fernández have completed several public and commercial projects, from hotels and bars to stadiums and zoos. They established ON-A in 2005. - Tuija Seipell

Design

February 10 2010

City of Utrecht in the Netherlands has developed a large complex, Cultuurcampus Vleuterweide, where half of the floor plan is taken up by a school and a sports facility, and the other half includes 55 residences, a church, cultural center, theater, and a library.

It is the internet “café” of the info centre/library that sparked our imagination with its bulky, woody mass and colorful, folkloric embellishments. Wouldn’t it be amazing if more internet cafes paid this much attention to design?



The architect of the complex is Vera Yanovshtchinsky Architecten based in The Hague. Interior design and furnishings are by Assen-based AEQUO BV Architects that is known for impressive school and library work.



Throughout the entire Vleuterweide facility, AEQUO has sprinkled fun embellishments, including lime-green, lemon-yellow and azure-blue walls, and pink carpets. Furnishings and lighting fixtures also draw attention: A prim, baroque chair covered in hot-pink fabric in one corner, a group of lumpy recliners upholstered in brown flour-sack material in another. - Tuija Seipell

Design

April 27 2010

Loft Hamburg, located in a restored building in Winterhude district of Hamburg, is a private 118 square-meter residence designed by Graft. The focal point of the high-ceilinged and otherwise white space is a large pod paneled with walnut. The pod contains the residence’s kitchen and bathroom, hides its central heating, cooling and plumbing, and even provides some cupboards and bookshelves. The owner was looking to use a wide variety of materials, and the walnut pod contrasts beautifully with the soft fabrics, leather and natural stone used elsewhere in the loft.



Graft is an architecture, urban planning and design company established in 1998 in Los Angeles by German architects (,) Lars Krückeberg, Wolfram Putz, Thomas Willemeit and Gregor Hoheisel, all now in their early forties. 



Their Berlin office opened in 2001, and Beijing office in 2004. Alejandra Lillo joined Graft as the fifth partner in Los Angeles in 2007. - Tuija Seipell.

Design

July 7 2009

West Hollywood, California-based Clive Wilkinson Architects has completed many projects for California’s Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. The private college offers two-year fashion, graphics, interior design and entertainment education at four campuses Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orange County and San Diego.
 
Clive Wilkinson’s latest undertaking with the Institute was the 31,000-square-foot Sand Diego facility located on the third floor of a new, unremarkable office tower overlooking the Petco baseball park. Bold use of color defines the various functional areas of the campus, and makes dividing walls unnecessary. Glass walls are present in almost every space, which allows light to flow freely. These are all effective ways of creating openness and visual interest while avoiding the claustrophobic, square-box feel that could result, especially in the areas located farthest from the perimeter walls with windows.


 
Sand-tone flooring and hard, angular lines link everything together, and establish an edgy, free-flowing sense of vibrancy. Visually light-weight furniture paired with heavier blocks of seating and desks bring variety without looking pretentious. Everything seems a bit temporary, in the positive sense of the word. Softer, rounded treatments in the lounge area invite relaxation and rest.


 
The Cape Town and London-educated architect, Clive Wilkinson, established his office in Los Angeles in 1991. The company has since reaped awards in both interior design and architecture, completing commercial, residential and hospitality projects. One of the firm’s current assignments is the renovation of the 370,000-square-foot Nokia House in Helsinki, the headquarters of Nokia, due to be completed in 2010. - Tuija Seipell

Design

March 18 2010

In a world where people appreciate good design everywhere, cool mini hotel rooms are the latest ‘it’ trend. In Tokyo, the  Capsule Inn exemplifies the bare-essentials hotel rooms for brief use, and similar concepts are popping up at airports, train stations and downtowns around the world, replacing and mimicking the “day rooms” already existing at many airports.


 
Unlike Tokyo’s bed-only cabins where customers climb into a human equivalent of a honeycomb for a night’s rest, Yotel pods at Gatwick and Heathrow airports in London and Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam come in larger and more comfortable formats. These self-contained mini hotel rooms are equipped with a bed, table, HD TV and Wi-Fi.



The fourth Yotel is set to arrive in New York in 2011 with a location opening on 42nd and 10th street boasting 669 luxury rooms and the largest outside terrace in any hotel in New York

Also in Amsterdam, Citizen M has a hotel with 230 mini rooms at Schiphol Airport and a 215-room hotel in Amsterdam City. Citizen M plans to open similar hotels across Europe.

Qbic Hotels has opened two “cheap chic” hotels with mini rooms in the Netherlands: Qbic World Trade Centre Amsterdam and Qbic Maastricht, plus one in Antwerp, Belgium.

Taking the next step in rest and space efficiency, Russia’s Arch Group designed the SleepBox.



Along with an airport version of the rest pod, equipped with the usual, high-tech necessities offered by other companies, Arch Group has also designed an easy-to-relocate version fit for hostels. A small, mobile compartment, 2m (l) x 1.4m (w) x 2.3m (h), SleepBox is made of wood and MDF. SleepBox is meant to “allow very efficient use of available space and, if necessary, a quick change of layout”, making it perfect for hostels where demand and space available often come in conflict with each other. The hostel-specific SleepBox features bunk beds, flip-out tables and sockets for computers or phone chargers and not much else. Yuri Pushkin, Tuija Seipell.

Design

May 17 2011

Black and white are the safe choices in the design world. The color of luxury is elegant and subdued. Yet, at the same time, even top-tier designers, artists and luxury brands have always used bright colors as well. It is not about either or. It is not black-and-white or color.


 
Just try telling those who love Dale Chihuly’s art, Versace interiors, Karim Rashid’s Corian eco-house or Renzo Piano’s Central St Giles facades in London that the “designer look” is always predominantly black and white.

And although bright color is often associated with being a sort of primitive, wild, folk-art aesthetic, and therefore black and white would seem the serious and civilized alternative, color is not just wild, frivolous, and primitive.


 
Just think of your favorite brand’s logo and you will most likely visualize some color. Imagine a weekly market at a Peruvian mountain town, an Indian wedding party, a Norwegian fishing town, Marimekko fabrics, a Cirque du Soleil show or Avatar, and you cannot avoid feeling uplifted and happy because of the colors.


 
In fact, we are seeing a clear increase in the use of color in the broad design world.

We see more color in commercial and residential architecture, interior design, art and installations, events, retail and hospitality. We also see more color in products — from aircraft to fashion to everyday items — and in marketing and communications as well.

All you need to do is click through the various categories on this site – architecture, design, art, kids, Lifestyle, fashion etc. – and you’ll get a sense of how color is gaining ground.


 
The recent super-enthusiastic online reaction to the redesign of the logo of the City of Melbourne in Australia is a good example of this. People are interested and they do see the difference. When did people last get that excited about a city logo? Disneyland’s soon-to-open World of Color and the Dubai Fountain are also great examples of what technology and color are bringing to entertainment experiences.



We are hard-wired to notice and react to color, and marketers (and Pantone and the Color Marketing Group) and psychologists have long known this. Children generally love bright colors. Fast-food restaurants use bright colors because they want us to notice, grab and go. Red is stop, green is go. Colors affect and express our everyday lives, even when we don’t notice it.


 
Throughout history, color has expressed and represented status, religion, origin, feelings and many other things, and its use has been dependent on resources. To be able to afford clothing or other possessions in certain colors meant you were wealthier than most, as some ingredients to produce specific colors were not available everywhere.


 
As we have seen so vividly in the widely circulated “color wheel” by David McCandless and Always with Honor, different colors mean different things in various cultures. And apparently, people from warm climates respond favorably to warm colors while northerners like cooler colors.


 
Perhaps it was the recessionary economy that enticed designers to use more color, and attracted the rest of us to it. Whatever the underlying reasons, we see more color and we love it. - Tuija Seipell

Brands wanting to see ideas and concepts about how to use colour effectively, contact our marketing agency, ACCESS AGENCY.

Design

May 3 2012

It is time to save inflatables from death by boredom, and elevate them to must-have designer experiences! We are talking about enhancing the way adults enjoy playing in the water, although even kids will find a designer inflatable quite a refreshing experience!

What if a designer hotel or resort had amazing, on-brand  inflatables in the pool, or on the beach, available for guests to enjoy, take pictures of, share with their networks?

We are looking for architectural, playful, cool, imaginative, never-before-seen designer ideas for inflatables. Show us what you can do. Show us how far we can take this unexplored water experience and we'll manufacture them.



An entire new water surprise waiting for guests - what can we do to WOW them?



Please send us your design ideas including 3d renderings by the end of May, 2012.

What we are looking for specifically is an inflatable for one or two people. We are in search for the best design idea for a practical but awesomely cool water accessory that will make you want one as soon as you see it floating in a pool or on the beach.
 
The inflatable must fit into the vibe and atmosphere of a five-star resort – we are looking for something super-cool, sculptural, desirable.
 
The winning design, if and when manufactured, will earn the designer a royalty from each sale of the inflatable.

The design competition is open to all designers, industrial designers, graphic designers, illustrators, architects etc -

Design

September 11 2012

Whenever wood is used beautifully, we pay attention. Kengo Kuma-designed 15-room hotel, and especially the attached fruit market in the town of Yusuhara, in the Takaoka District of Kochi, Japan, is a project worth admiring.



We love the skilful, minimalist use of traditional methods, materials and symbolism in the creation of the market space that appears both ancient and completely modern at the same time – a uniquely Japanese skill, it seems.

The cool, thatched façade pays tribute to the town’s ancient tradition of providing travellers who took the main arterial Yusuhara route rest spaces called “Chad Do” that also functioned as venues for cultural exchange and interaction.



As always with this type of design, our eyes are drawn to everything that is NOT there, which allows us to see what IS there even more clearly. No clutter, no visual noise. Contemporary minimalism at its finest.  - Tuija Seipell.

Design

December 20 2011

Even those who are afraid of flying might enjoy the experience of piloting a Boeing 737 at the simmINN Flight Simulation Center in Stuttgart, Germany.



The reason for our confidence is two-fold. One: The aircraft does not leave the ground as the full-size replica of Boeing 737 with its Learjet 45x cockpit are firmly indoors. Two: The outside of the plane looks so cool that you will forget your phobias and just want to hop in and fly!

Frankfurt-based architect Boris Banozic is responsible for the concept, interior and graphic design of this center that is open to the general public. Yes, you, too can book a two-hour flight, piloted by Captain You and no crew! Now, if only an airline company picked up this concept as their head-office design, then we would be really impressed. - Tuija Seipell

Design

May 25 2012

The Capsule Lamp has captured our imagination. The intriguingly interactive lighting fixture gleans its idea from the plastic toy capsules of vending machines.



Initially, the Capsule was designed by Hong Kong-based Design Systems Ltd for the Actif children’s wear brand, but it has now taken on a life of its own giving tinkerers and creatives another reason to customize and make it their own.


 
The main structure of the ceiling pendant is made of stained oak, and either without the capsules, or with just the empty capsules, it looks rather coolly Scandinavian.
 
But the fun starts when you attach the little plastic capsules – in any combination and quantity you like with all sorts of little treasures in them.


 
While the fixture comes with a set number of toys, we can envision hiding our own little personal items in the capsules. Or customizing each fixture for each room, with specific themed contents for the capsules? Flowers for one room, office supplies for another, jewelry for the next, sewing items and buttons for yet another. And what about an office or any other work place where team members get to decorate their own fixture above their work areas?


 
We think we’ll just keep the Capsules for ourselves and never let kids near it. - Tuija Seipell

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