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
Today’s demanding consumers expect even their beloved, favorite brands to step up their game. Many run-away online successes of offline brand “stunts” attest that consumers expect, and get really excited about, experiences that are unusual, fun, thought-provoking and emotionally engaging. With the power and immediacy of social media, surprising offline events and stunts have now turned into truly powerful promotional tools.
In 2010, TCH will launch Access Agency. It is a dedicated entity that will continue our work of creating highly original, transformational, yet eminently practical and results-oriented strategies for companies to stage the kinds of offline brand experiences that will increase the economic value of their offering.
Access specializes in helping brands and businesses see the world differently. We add substantial value by creating customized experiences that change the consumers’ thinking in some way. The surprise element changes the thinking patterns, and the change makes the experience memorable. People want to talk about it, tell everybody about it. And that, in turn, translates into added brand awareness and ultimately sales.
Access is hard at work creating ideas and concepts for some high profile brands. For McDonald’s, we envision a cool, surprising and fun mix of concepts. First is McFancy, an upmarket temporary McDonald’s store that launches at Fashion Weeks around the globe — London, New York, Paris, Milan, Sydney, Hong Kong. McFancy is part art installation, gathering spot and, of course, a restaurant that offers a traditional McDonald’s menu but packaged in a way that makes a playful yet stylish nod to the lifestyle of the highly desirable, influential consumers that attend Fashion Weeks.
Waiters in tuxedos, silver service, private dining areas, and packaging co-created with the fashion brands that present at Fashion Week — Burberry burgers, Chanel fries on black packaging, Paul Smith Sundaes…A bit of fun among the serious business of fashion. A bite of comfort food among all the elaborate cocktail fare, Private dining rooms, a raised catwalk that winds around the perimeter of the space, and with a central bar area providing a dramatic focal point. The ceiling is constructed from stretched fabric, ribbed to provide articulation and define zones. The form of the ceiling is accentuated through the use of LED lighting
We believe that McDonald’s can have major presence at events like NY Fashion Week, movie premiers and other high-profile events by creating a space to fit that environment.
This is just one of many concepts that Access Agency will be launching in 2010. Brands wanting to create something innovative and extraordinary should contact [email protected]
See also McMobile McDonald's (below)
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
It seems that quite a few things will benefit from a Scandinavian touch. Munchausen, a duo formed by Parisian designers Simon Pillard and Philippe Rosetti, took a bold approach with their own kitchen by venturing to IKEA for the basic kitchen island and then spending the next week covering it with more than 20,000 pieces by another Scandinavian brand, Lego
The result is a one-of-a-kind creation that serves as an artistic centerpiece for the space, in addition to functioning as a kitchen counter. Pillard, who works with fashion house JC de Castelbajac, and Rosetti who works with Hugo Boss France Identity, formed Munchhausen in 2004.
The two have recently contributed a collection of T-shirts, cushions, wallpaper and accessories for the new French label Commune de Paris, 1871. Munchhausen was one of three initial contributors for Commune de Paris, 187. The other two were Julien Langendorff and David Herman Dune. - Tuija Seipell.
See also the Lego office table
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
It doesn’t take much imagination to understand that toys and childhood play were the guiding inspirations for the recently completed children’s sports and recreation center in Saint-Cloud, a wealthy community located in the metropolitan area of Paris, about six miles from the city center.
Designed by Paris-based KOZ Architects, and coexisting with several older educational buildings and a residential development, the 1,600 square-meter facility is unexpected and bold in its riotous use of colors both inside and out. A more typical an approach for this type of neighborhood would have been a structure that vanishes into its surroundings.
The funhouse by KOZ has turned into a favorite of kids, parents and teachers, as the facility was planned and its wild colors used in specific ways that fosters the intended functions -- play and sports – and not just to shock or delight.
Joining cube-shaped, basic concrete structures with an overlay and creating a sports court on top of the building have not only increased the building’s usability and maximized the use of the site, but also accommodated the complex’s surprisingly easy fit into the site. A monolithic, monotonic approach would have created a mass much more imposing and seemingly unfriendly than the varying-height structure with its pixelated glass facade that now draws children in through color and an abundance of natural light.
KOZ was established in 1999 Christophe Ouhayoun and Nicholas Ziesel, graduates of the Paris-Belleville School of Architecture who both spent part of their childhoods in the USA. With three other architectural firms, KOZ established a collaborative collective, Plan01 in 2001. - Tuija Seipell
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
While the airline industry remains fiercely competitive through price wars, company's real ammunition should be found in the point of difference offered in their inflight experience. Oddly however this leverage is never taken advantage to its full potential as in-flight-experiences rarely stray away from offering a stock-standard service to their customers.
An airplane is of course transportation, and not a hotel, spa or restaurant, but we have been waiting for a long time for the first airline that is willing to embark on true differentiation. Taking cues from cool architecture, leading-edge design and the vibes we see ahead of, and outside of, trends, The Coolhunter is now working on creating truly cool airline experiences, giving premium-class passengers a real reason to select one airline over another.
Bred from the very culture that has made The Cool Hunter an international success, TCH is offering its insight in the world of trend forecasting to the airline industry to create a truly unique and progressive in-flight experience. The Cool Hunter will curate the design, aesthetics and functionality across on-board entertainment, furnishings and decor right through to re-inventing on-board shopping, all with the signature style that has placed The Cool Hunter in the forefront of style.
Airline Marketing Managers should contact [email protected] for more details.
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
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