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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2014 Market Winner: Ludia by For. Design planning

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.

Andre Davingnon, APDIQ® – President and Artistic Director, talked with us about creating a place to not just work – but live, minimal design, and Mary Poppins’ favorite word!

Describe this project in one word.
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

For design planning_Ludia_©Stephane Brügger_01

How does this project demonstrate the power of design to impact users in a space?
The Ludia project proposes a new vision of profitability based on the latest corporate ideologies. Offering smaller work stations, all close together, to facilitate team interaction. Then using the saved square footage to conceive gathering spaces to create the sense of belonging to its employees. By this new approach in design, the Ludia spaces went from simple offices to a place to live. As well as a better organisation and the increase of effectiveness, the biggest success of this design was to assemble all the right conditions to allow the implementation of the game culture and socialization in the workplace: From the serious production meeting… to the next hockey game!

For design planning_Ludia_©Stephane Brügger_04

Design is a process. Explain your journey.
The mandate was to develop a workshop for 84 artists, collaborative spaces, a multipurpose lounge, IT lab, a server room, a cloakroom for 100 people and washrooms, in a new 9600 square feet space, with a construction budget of 400,000$. An increased challenge appeared after demolition started forcing a reevaluation of the structural condition of the historic building. With this major necessary architectural work, the initial budget was amputated and a new strategy in design was required.

To obtain optimum results and impact, while taking into account budgetary constraints, the development of the design was based on three considerations:

  • Can we design, construct and manufacture with different means?
  • Can we achieve the same result by using less expensive materials?
  • Can we save money while creating custom product?

For design planning_Ludia_©Stephane Brügger_07

One strategy used was to create a minimal design with the use of one or more vibrant color for a dramatic effect at a low cost. Following this principle, the new staircase and handrail were build according to industrial standard. The highly saturated orange color, used for this new area of vertical circulation, produces a grandiose effect. The lounge was fully painted black with the intention of harmonizing all of the existing architectural details from different historical periods.

This use of black paint acted as a canvas and enhanced all the colors and textures of the various furniture pieces and fun design elements. The monetary savings from the installation of commercial products such as vinyl tiles and baseboards, commercial type paint, standard doors and frames helped to put more emphasis on the lounge’s key items. More expensive products such as recycled wood, grass carpet, floral pattern carpet, mosaic backsplash, a mural by Montreal artists, printed mural and glass partitions were used in smaller quantities, creating a more dramatic effect while still maintaining a sense of unity.

For design planning_Ludia_©Stephane Brügger_05

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned through this project that you’d want to share with the designers of tomorrow?

  • Using the physical and budgetary constraints as an incentive to create
  • Listening and a good analysis of the client’s need are a great formula for a tailored design
  • Dare to mix styles and approaches to create a unique design
  • Make it a priority to safeguard the architectural Heritage of a space and develop a new concept in keeping with the history of the place.
  • Crazy ideas exchanged while brainstorming (those we barely mention) sometimes make the best design
  • Color is your best ally – use it!
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Open House Creates a Creative Community Area in Alabama Town

Artist Matthew Mazzotta, the Coleman Center for the Arts, and the people of York, Alabama have teamed up to transform one of York’s most iconic blighted properties into a new public space. Open House is a house with a secret, it physically transforms from the shape of a house into an open air theater that seats one hundred people by having its walls and roof fold down.

OPEN HOUSE – Matthew Mazzotta 2013 from matthew mazzotta on Vimeo.

The metamorphosis of Open House is designed to require cooperation. It takes four people one and a half hours to unfold the structure. The foundation is made of used railroad ties which anchor the custom fabricated industrial hinges to five rows of stadium seating. The rows of seats fold down with the aid of a hand winch and enough manpower to counter balance the hefty, but agile structure.

open house 2

Through the project, the artist hopes to directly address the lack of public space in York, AL by providing a physical location that becomes a common ground for community dialogue and activities. The new structure carries the weight of the past through the materials that were salvaged and repurposed from the old structure, most visibly the original pink siding. When Open House is fully unfolded, it provides an opportunity for people to come together and experience the community from a new perspective. When it folds back up, it resembles the original abandoned house, reminding people of the history of what was there before.

open house 3

 

Images: http://matthewmazzotta.com/

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