ColorSense color + trend forecast

ColorSense, our most recent color and trend forecast, is now available online.  CEU credit will be given to those who Watch the full film and complete the online assessment. Here’s a glimpse:

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SND + 3Gatti: Computerized Carvings Create Retail Landscape

Check out this space!  3Gatti’s design for fashion label SND’s storefront in Chongqing, China yields an ethereal, dreamlike landscape that exudes movement and a new type of experience within the retail environment. By pairing computerized carvings coupled with mirrored spaces and thin, translucent materials, the design team was able to mimic the natural landscape. Design elements and creative direction in this project are in keeping with the insights of ColorSense, Shaw Contract Group’s recently launched color and trend forecast – due to launch online on November 15.

SND retail space offers an ethereal experience for visitors

SND retail space offers an ethereal experience for visitors

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2014 Market Winner: Hotel Tobaco by EC-5

As the winners of the 2014 Design is … Award Market Award, Shaw Contract Group winning firms interviewed as part of a section of Shaw Contract Group blog which will last a year. Throughout the year, readers can learn more about the 40 winning projects and the individuals who perform them. These are their stories.

The EC-5 team (Luiza Jodłowska, Martyna Nowak, Hanna Pietras, Piotr Płóciennik, and Dorota Szafrańska) spoke with us about revival, mixing old with new, and going back to the 1950s.

Describe this project in one word.
Revival.

The hotel is part of a historic factory building complex. Since 1895, Karol Kretschmer had operated a cotton and wool textile factory there. The factory functioned until the beginning of World War I. Despite the devastation and destroyed by fire, in 1932 the factory changed the profile and resumed production as the National Tobacco Monopoly. Before the outbreak of the Second World War the factory produced several brands of cigarettes. Until the late XX century (during communism period) the factory was known as “Lodz Tobacco Monopoly”. This project converted existing, devastated building into modern hotel.

EC-5_Tobaco Hotel_reception_2

How does this project demonstrate the power of design to impact users in a space?
Tobaco Hotel’s guest enters into modern space, but he never forgets that he stays inside XIX century textile factory. He can see bare concrete, red brick, wiring and pipes exposed in all spaces. There are factory safety signs and posters used as decoration in restaurant.

Interior design has been done according to the newest trends. In lobby there can be found vibrant and joyful colors with energizing connection between blue, violet and green. Yellow used as the leading colour here is also appearing in the rest of the hotel’s interior. Furniture, lighting and accessories have been chosen from recognized designers.

Violet color dominates in single rooms, white and light gray has been used as a background. Colorful accents like a landscape graphics over a bed, chairs and bedspread enliven the whole interior. Furniture made of hazel timber finished with high gloss have been designed especially for Hotel Tobaco with a style of the 50′s.

EC-5_Tobaco Hotel_room2_1

Design is a process. Explain your journey.
First, we spent a lot of time on getting familiar with the building history and it’s industrial character. The main design assumption was to expose the factory background of the complex and to emphasize industrial and rough character. These were the most important for us in every stage of the project – during conception, computer visualisation and technical project. We wanted to create a connection between old and new.

EC-5_Tobaco Hotel_corridor_2

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned through this project that you’d want to share with the designers of tomorrow?
We have learnt how important is to keep original character of historical building and how difficult is to design modern architecture without destroying what is the most valuable from the past.

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2014 Market Winner: Cedar Rapids Public Library by OPN Architects

As the winners of the 2014 Design is … Award Market Award, Shaw Contract Group winning firms interviewed as part of a section of Shaw Contract Group blog which will last a year. Throughout the year, readers can learn more about the 40 winning projects and the individuals who perform them. These are their stories.

Mindy Sorg, Interior Designer, talked with us about rebuilding a city, engaging with the community, and creating something more than just a library.

Describe this project in one word.
Transformational.

04_Atrium Light Wall

How does this project demonstrate the power of design to impact users in a space?
In June 2008, the City of Cedar Rapids was hit by a huge flood. The city lost hundreds of homes, businesses and public structures including their public library. As the city looked to rebuild, restoring library services was a top concern and the city hired us to help the community develop a vision for library services in the community.

The new Cedar Rapids Public Library opened in August of 2013. The space truly embodies the ‘Big Idea’ behind the design, which was to create a library that in the words of library director Bob Pasicznyuk was “more like an Apple Store than the DMV.” That comment was more about the patron experience than the design, but it really helped drive the decisions to make the library a multipurpose destination and a space for the community to gather, collaborate and celebrate. As a team we embraced the themes of openness, transparency and public engagement.

06_Adult Fiction

From my perspective, the design for Cedar Rapids Public Library pushed the boundaries of what a library can do for a community, and the results have been astonishing. In the first three months alone, the library welcomed 108,900 visitors, issued 6,200 new library cards, provided space for 605 organizations to host events and booked more than 50 weddings, parties and special events. This is in a city of just 128,000 people. After five years with limited library services, it’s incredible to see the ways in which the library is serving as an economic catalyst, a community hub, and haven for users.

01_Exterior Night

Design is a process. Explain your journey.
When the flood hit we donated our services to design a temporary facility in an empty mall storefront. We contacted vendors and industry experts to donate furnishings, made a run to IKEA for lights and fixtures, and had the space up and running in a matter of weeks. We knew the space was temporary, so we selected materials that could be recycled and decided to use the library as a learning lab. Over the next few years, we tested new furniture and materials so that we could make the best choices for the new library that was under design. This part of the process helped us make informed decisions and allowed the staff and library leadership to try out some innovative ideas that made their way into the final design for the new library.

I think it’s so important to remember that a new library represents a tremendous investment of public resources. For us it was critical that we engage our client and the community in the design process. We developed a highly-interactive process that engaged the client in design decisions from kick-off through opening day and we ran focus groups regularly to make sure that our designs were aligning with the community needs. This helped us stay focused on the ‘Big Idea’ behind the design. We worked closely as a team to bring the building materials, lighting and programmatic spaces into harmony creating a simple, clean and highly-functional design. We love the results – this library is truly a welcoming and works incredibly well for patrons and staff.

08_Children's Area

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned through this project that you’d want to share with the designers of tomorrow?
Never underestimate the ability or willingness of your client to allow you as a designer, to take the design to a level that exceeds even your own expectations.

Always educate the client to make educated decisions on design. Decisions that are purposeful and reflect the conceptual foundation of the design are easy to sell, and in the end are the ones the client is most excited to see as successful solutions.

Question the programmatic status quo. In order to give the client something they didn’t even know they wanted, you need to take them outside their comfort zone. Raise and ask the hard questions about how things are done and why. That lets you get to the next level and create a design that is truly transformational.

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2014 Market Winner: The Schusterman Foundation by Millar+Associates

As the winners of the 2014 Design is … Award Market Award, Shaw Contract Group winning firms interviewed as part of a section of Shaw Contract Group blog which will last a year. Throughout the year, readers can learn more about the 40 winning projects and the individuals who perform them. These are their stories.

Olivia Millar, IIDA, LEED AP – Principal, spoke with us about inspiration from new generations, incorporating nature, and engaging youth.

Describe this project in one word.
Crisp

TSF_02

How does this project demonstrate the power of design to impact users in a space?
The design of this space impacts, and is inspired by, the way younger generations work. The design supports more casual environments as well as more traditional meeting styles. In addition the daylight penetration and ergonomic height adjustable desks support health lifestyles. Lastly, the space is very flexible which allows the occupants to customize it to suit their changing needs.

TSF_04

Design is a process. Explain your journey.
Our process always begins by learning the client’s mission and vision, how they work, and what their goals are for the project. In this case we learnt that TSF’s mission is to engage youth. That inspired the design functionally and aesthetically. The symbolism they employed in many campaigns included the Tree of Life. This, combined with the tree tops outside the space, drove the design to focus on the trees, incorporate wood, and use the bright colors found in nature.

TSF_03

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned through this project that you’d want to share with the designers of tomorrow?
While individual workspaces are shrinking, amenity spaces are increasing and becoming more diverse. The youngest members of the workforce want casual, comfortable, and collaborative spaces.

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