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…

1. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cradle-to-cradle_design

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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.

Enjoy!

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

Interior Design or Graphic Design? You Choose

I was searching the internet when I landed on this incredible post by home-designing.com.

Clever, isn’t it?

(photo credits: behance.net , home-designing.com)

Restaurant Inspiration

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Love the mirror for the never ending bar effect at Molto. Seeing the restaurant through the eyes of gimletstyle of The Entertaining House http://theentertaininghouse.com.

DH would love this design for his man cave. Some of my best inspiration comes from restaurants.

So you Design, Blog and Want to Travel? BlogTour 2012

Well I know I do!

If you are a design blogger and have not yet signed up, Modenus and the sponsors of BlogTour 2012 are offering an opportunity of a lifetime. Click on the BlogTour logo above and brag about why you should be considered for BlogTour 2012. It’s that easy.

BlogTour 2012 will kick off in New York City in March around the time of the Architectural Digest Show. It will then be making stops in Milan in April and London and Paris in September. Can you imagine any better opportunity, as a lover of all things design, than to go to one of these design capitals and see firsthand the latest and greatest and then to tell all of your social media friends, colleagues and clients about it?

While you are there, if you haven’t already, check out Modenus, the brilliant brainchild of the ever dazzling Veronika Miller. Modenus is an amazing resource of endless interior design inspiration. Enjoy!

As seen on the Modenus site:

Modenus is a networking platform and resource catalog for the interior design community.  Design professionals and anyone else passionate about interior design can connect in our forums, find inspiration in our daily blogs, Before & After submissions and live event coverage.  Modenus is free to users and very easy to use.

Sixty Days in Real Estate

Sixty Days. Seems like a long time doesn’t it? We sold our house and had 60 days to find a new one. 60 days flew.

So wondering where I have been? Let’s catch up.

We sold our house in Norwalk in late July and had exactly 60 days to clean out, organize, pack, find a mover, find a new home, find an apartment in case we couldn’t find a new home…well you get the idea. Something had to give and it could not be my family or clients.

First task, find a real estate agent. We chose Phoebe Leask, of Emmy & Co. from Higgins Group to help us in the search for a new home. She and her team are incredibly knowledgeable about and connected in Fairfield and I didn’t have a minute to waste. I met Phoebe through my BNI Merritt Madness group and really liked her balance of warmth but ‘get it done’ business sense. Selling a home and then buying a new one is a highly emotional decision. I needed someone who understood what I was going through while simultaneously acknowledging that I had a long list of needs and wants for our new home and had to move fast.

Phoebe insisted that we have a needs list and a wants list. Our top three on the needs list were an open floor plan (something similar to the one above), master bath and back yard. Our daughter still has a playground and we love to entertain outdoors. Oh and it had to be close to our daughter’s school – that was non-negotiable. Ok, so we got down to four absolute musts. On the wants list were a 2 car garage, finished (or finishable) basement and a place to “live” during the renovation.

Phoebe and I looked at 40 different houses in two weeks – not the above 40 – but now I think I want this book. My husband saw only the ones we really liked. I knew what he wanted – a man cave – we are a good team that way.

We went round and round on negotiations for three houses over the course of five weeks. I was just amazed at dealing with sellers who didn’t really want to sell their homes. Really? All of those people tromping in and out. I couldn’t wait to be done! I was ready to throw in the towel and just rent a beautiful Avalon apartment for six months. The process was so stressful that I signed up for an exam prep course for the LEED Green Associate with Bill Janhonen. I plan on taking the exam in the next month. It was wonderful to go to class and think about something other than the move. But that’s another post.

With Hurricane Irene’s imminent arrival, we rushed to batten down instead of heading off to our much-needed vacation. Knowing that we were moving out mid-September, we did not have many groceries and the batteries and flashlights were already packed, but our generator was ready. By candlelight, I continued to organize and pack boxes. We were very fortunate to only have one downed large tree branch. You can imagine how concerned we were with a contract for sale.

Monday dawned bright and sunny. We packed the car and hit the road for Fenwick Island, DE.  While on the road, we received word from a lovely family at our church that we could rent their apartment close to school while we continued to look for our home. I breathed a momentary sigh of relief and then my husband said “I just want to move straight to our new home.” I realized that at that point it no longer mattered what the home was like, my husband was not willing to move twice.

There wasn’t a whole lot I could do – after all we were headed on vacation, so I simply put it out there to the universe “find me a new home that I actually want to live in.” The one we were negotiating on had so many problems – causing us too many sleepless nights before we even moved in.

It was the most relaxing vacation ever. Maybe it was just sheer exhaustion from the move, but I was in full vacation mode by Tuesday morning. We had important decisions to make each morning – beach? pool? boat? mini-golf? Every single day was absolutely glorious – it was hard to imagine that mother nature had just slammed us with a hurricane. I didn’t spend one minute thinking about where we would live when we got back home. I was much too busy having fun!

By Friday morning I had my answer. Phoebe sent me an email about a home that had just come on the market. It was the perfect size, the right price, a lovely little backyard and only a mile and a half from DD’s school. The catch? We wouldn’t see it until the following Wednesday because we were on vacation! We drove home that Tuesday in the after-effects of Hurricane Lee. With all of the rain here in CT, a tree fell across the Merritt Parkway so instead of seeing our new home we were left waiting some of us more patiently than others on the highway…

When we saw it Wednesday, we knew it was a perfect fit for us. From there, the entire process was so easy, we just knew it was right. We had a 10 night stint at a hotel in between closing dates, but it was fun and we had a kitchenette so we did not have to eat every meal out.

This was my view from our front door on the day we moved in. I didn’t ask for a sign, but I believe I received one anyway.

Now, we are negotiating piles of boxes, creating a rudimentary kitchen setup in the second kitchen downstairs (how great is that!) and interviewing contractors for the renovation. We are so happy in our new home. Sometimes, I can’t even believe it is true.

Stay tuned for posts on the renovation process…

Where Design Worlds Coincide

MMA, metropolitan museum, nyc, savage beauty, fashion, alexander mcqueen, inspiration, materials

“I don’t really get inspired by specific women. It’s not like you see a beautiful woman and she becomes your muse. It’s more in the minds of the great women of the past, Catherine the Great or Marie Antoinette. People who were doomed. Joan of Arc or Colette. Iconic women.” – Alexander McQueen

Over the weekend, our family viewed the ‘Savage Beauty’ exhibit at the Met. Our daughter at age 6 (going on 16) already has a collection of hand-drawn “fashion” designs. The crowds were thick and relative to grown-ups she is short, so she had to enjoy the exhibit from Dad’s arms – good thing he works out. I was completely blown away by Alexander McQueen’s creative talent and mastery of the most unusual materials.

A self-described Romantic Schizophrenic, in his short lifetime, Alexander McQueen wowed the fashion industry with unique statements in unusual materials.

Butterflies

alexander mcqueen, butterflies, color, metropolitan museum, nycVanessa, dining table, Bartoli, interior design, furnishing, furniture

I just love butterflies pretty much in any context and I’ve always been partial to red.

Lace and Embroidery

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lace, apartment therapy, furniture, interior design

charlotte lancelot, rug, embroidery, interior design

Lace and embroidery – these are all about the texture. Rest assured, I won’t be balancing a box (or antlers) on my head any time soon. The lace piece punctured by the antlers cost $2,000. My mother-in-law would have a heart attack if we did that to lace.

Black Feathers

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black, feathers, lighting, abyu, interior design

In a gown or a light fixture, black feathers are sleek and stunning.

Nature

alexander mcqueen, metropolitan museum, nyc, savage beauty, nature, shoesnature, chang architecture, kitchen, trees

The nature dresses were unbelievably detailed and the shoes… I could not ever wear the shoes (too high) but each pair is made by hand. Shoe.Love. One of the most interesting kitchens (and homes) I have ever read about is by Chang Architects. Note the uplighting of these trees. I have visions of our child skateboarding through these. Either that or me bumping into one while carrying the cheese tray and a bottle of wine.

Metal

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Whoa. Must say I am a bit more enamored of chain mail in lighting than in clothing.

Floral

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 I thought these tiles best captured the sculptural quality of the dress, even in the absence of vibrant color.

“His fashions were an outlet for his emotions, an expression of the deepest, often darkest, aspects of his imagination.  He was a true romantic in the Byronic sense of the word – he channeled the sublime.” – Andrew Bolton, Curator of The Costume Institute

Run, don’t walk, to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC to see this exhibit.

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