Commercial Design and Architecture Inspiration – Shaw Contract Design 2012 Award Winners

Earlier this month, Shaw Contract Group announced the winners of the 2012 ‘design is…’ Contest. Shaw Contract Group “produces carpet, hardwood, laminate, ceramic tile, area rugs and synthetic turf for residential and commercial applications” and is the leader in post consumer recycling.

“Design is merged”

B/S/H/ HUISHOUDAPPARATEN in the Netherlands was designed by D/Dock in a cradle to cradle building. If you are unfamiliar with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), the term cradle to cradle is a “biomimetic approach to the design of products and systems…based on a system of lifecycle development”1. The term was first coined by Walter H. Staedel in the 1970s. The clients’s goal was to house their five main product lines in one building: “one culture, one brand and one vision”. Sustainable elements include a Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) roof and a living green wall in the main atrium which recycles grey water (water that comes from laundry, dishes or bathing).

Gensler designed the Shore Hotel in Santa Monica CA, a LEED Gold project. Working closely with the client (a family), the “vision was to use the natural landscape and vibrant urban life to blend the two while taking in the beauty of the sea and embracing the pedestrian activities of the area”. The U shape of one of the buildings beckons pedestrians in.

“Design is a Revival”

Shimoda Design Group created the new Steelcase WorkCafe in the global headquarters in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “The first challenge of the project was to connect the space with the rest of the building.” They created a grand staircase to accomplish this. They provided a variety of seating choices with different levels of interaction, allowing Steelcase to “test ideas about nomadic workers.”

“Design is Nourishing”

The grand stair was built by a local boat builder.

The client’s design goal for the Nanaimo Cruise Ship Terminal in British Columbia was “to reflect the values and attributes of the region for cruise ship passengers”. Designed by Checkwith Poiron Architects, the building was finished in just twelve months in time for the first cruise ship to dock.

“Design is Striking”

Built on relaimed land, this First Nations (aboriginal peoples of Canada) screen tells the story of the site.

Colacion Studio designed a new corporate headquarters for Tamdeen Group in Kuwait. The goal was to create a “dynamic and forward-thinking interior to reinforce Tamdeen’s brand and mission statement, “Deliver the Promise,” and to celebrate the firm’s cultural heritage and diversity.” The office needed to reflect multi-cutural workforce as well as accomodate a variety of workstyles.

“Design is Agile”

With a large skylight and a vertical garden in the reception area, the building is flooded with natural light.

Love to hear from you – what inspires you? How can we help you have a more inspiring office?

Have a productive week!

All photos from Shaw Contract Group. Click the link to see more…



How to Wake Up Your Office – Update the Flooring

Have you looked at the floor in your office lately? Even if you haven’t, your clients have. Is it worn and threadbare and in need of a change? What is your office flooring saying about your company’s brand?

Think of your standard office and you think of that multi-color bland carpet that is there solely to hide the dirt. And hiding the dirt is not a bad thing if the dirt isn’t twenty years old. Different companies have different needs for office flooring. Below are just a few…

Retail stores need floors that are easy to clean and maintain that will stand up to a lot of foot traffic. Their floors must convey the image of their brand – your more upscale stores are likely to sport wood or marble flooring while your budget houses will most likely have easy to maintain and inexpensive linoleum or poured concrete. Keep in mind your employees who will be standing on their feet all day – how would your calves feel after eight hours on concrete?

This Spa at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas has a cork floor – durable, sustainable and fairly easy to clean – cork helps aborb sound and is easier on the legs, feet and back. Imagine giving massages all day and you can guess that the cork floor is a real blessing for their employees.

Rubber acoustic flooring for gyms is a great solution. Easy to clean, easy on the knees and being acoustic it helps to muffle the noise in the very busy gym.

Someone has a great sense of humor! And at a law firm to boot. I want these folks to represent me. “Stacks” of legal books make up the pattern on this carpeting.

One can’t discuss commercial grade carpeting without showing an example of Flor carpet tiles. You can make your own pattern and designs. They are easier to install and if one gets a bad stain, you can replace one without taking up the entire carpet.

Music and theatre flooring is an entire science (and art) unto itself. Suffice it to say as a music aficianado, I bet the acoustics in here are divine with that expanse of wood floor.

A dentist’s or medical office has hygiene as the primary need. A floor that is easy to keep clean is a must. But why should it look boring when there are so many great vinyl options out there. In the dental office project that I recently worked on, we used wood look vinyl flooring. This flooring was so high end that if you touched it, it had grain. It looks phenomenal too and effectively communicates the message to the clientele – we know you want to visit the best dentist and you want an environment that feels homey (and not too clinical) but professional.

Love to hear from you – which flooring do you like the best for your office?

Have a productive week!

(photo credits:,,,,,,

Travel Inspiration – Hotel Xeriscaping in Phoenix, AZ

Last week, our family took a once in a lifetime trip to the national parks of the West with a Tauck Bridges tour. One of the best parts of travel is the opportunity to see different types of design. I particularly enjoy design that reflects the local landscape and culture.

Our first stop was the Four Seasons in North Scottsdale. While my husband played eighteen holes at Troon, I snapped these shots around the hotel. I particularly loved how the pots were incorporated into the landscaping. This is xeriscaping from the greek word, xeros, which means dry. The primary purpose of xeriscaping is water conservation. I love its subtlety of texture and color.





Photos taken by and property of Catherine Avery of Avery Design Interiors at the Four Seasons Hotel Scottsdale, AZ

How to Wake up Your Office – a New Desk

Last week, I gave several pointers for keeping your desk clean. This week, now that your desk is clean how about some great new desk ideas for your office?

This floating desk from Rotsen is one of my all time favorites – both modern and masculine with a bit of a rustic edge.

Whenever I see this desk from The New Traditionalists, I think of a sunset. It seems perfect for a beach office to me.

I was in the New York Design Center last week and fell in love with the Ceniza desk from Dennis Miller. With leather on the front and reclaimed wood on the back, it marries two gorgeous textures.

Irwin Feld Design does not disappoint when it comes to wonderful mid-century modern. Imagine this showstopper of a desk in your office. Aptly named the Cosmopolitan, I imagine drinking a Cosmo or two, after hours, in this office –  my Mad Men meets modern moment. Of course I only ask that you please don’t set your drink on my new desk!

Whenever I see the Soho Desk at Profiles I am reminded of my client who wanted a grey office with a bright white desk and orange accents. And yes her office looked great! I would love to warm her space up with the wood in this desk and of course, the big sell would be those orange lacquer drawers.

Which is your favorite? I love to hear from you – please feel free to post a comment below!

Have a productive week!

%d bloggers like this: