Author Archives: Katie

Need a Standing Desk? Pull Up a Chair.

By now, I am sure you have heard that sitting for long periods of time is bad for you. Because of that, you are now interested in one of those standing desks – whether it be designer or DIY. Or you could try the StorkStand, which recently passed its fundraising goal on Kickstarter.

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While it may not have the accessories that some standing desks do, StorkStand does offer you portability – allowing you to create a desk anywhere. All you need is a chair. A little tabletop you strap in place, the StorkStand was invented by Mike Goldberg from San Francisco. He explains in the pitch video (below) that he was tired of sitting all day (preach!) and wanted something different.

Goldberg says it weighs 4.2 pounds, supports 50 pounds (which is enough for several laptops) and comes with a built-in holder for your phone. One perk is that you can adjust the height (assuming you use an office-type chair), which is obviously important. It is not 100% perfect (where do you put your papers? Etc.), but it beats sitting all day!

Now that Goldberg has the funds for full production, you can buy your StorkStand here for just $199.

Images: Fast Company

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Repurposing Brazil’s World Cup Stadiums

Now that the World Cup excitement is over, one question remains: what will Brazil do with the 12 stadiums built for the massive sport event? Architects Axel de Stampa and Sylvain Macaux of 1Week1Project created hypothetical designs entitled “Casa Futebol” that propose to insert affordable housing units into the existing structures.

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A large number of the buildings will have to be repurposed or demolished (otherwise they will end up sitting vacant). Some of the stadiums might be converted into public parks, but one of the most cost effective reuse plans is based on the idea of keeping them as event-based venues.

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Casa Futebol, on the other hand, proposes to transform the stadiums into much needed affordable housing structures. Modular housing units would be installed between concrete pylons and stacked around the stadiums’ perimeter, making use of most of the space which is otherwise not used. The architects plan to keep the original function of the stadiums active, with some of the ticket revenue used for maintenance of the residential units.

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While Casa Futebol seems to be the most socially conscious option (considering the great housing deficit), many questions will be raised about the structural stability and capacity of the existing stadiums to make this plan a reality. What do you think?

Images: 1week1project

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2014 Market Winner: Federal Building South 1202 by ZGF Architects LLP

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.

Kim Scott, IIDA, Associate Partner at ZGF Architects, talked with us about embracing performance, building a good team, and bringing the outside, in.

Describe this project in one word.
Outside-in

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How does this project demonstrate the power of design to impact users in a space?
Through complex and dynamic spatial richness it creates a multi-sensory environment.

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Design is a process. Explain your journey.
Build a good team. Think, design, work and work some more.

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What are the most important lessons you’ve learned through this project that you’d’ want to share with the designers of tomorrow?
Embrace performance and value as the core of all design decisions.

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Reesie Duncan Discusses Design Journey and its Inspiration

Design Journey: Novice & Master, this year’s Best of NeoCon Silver Award-winner for modular flooring, was inspired by our designers’ travels to Cambodia and Laos.

“Design Journey started out as a research project within our design group where our designers really have a passion for travel and craft. We explored the idea that different craft cultures in the world are really in danger of dying and being extinct,” says Reesie Duncan, Creative Director

The design team explored the differences between generations: the novice weaver who is learning the craft vs. the master weaver who has perfected it. The Novice part of the collection is inspired by the inconsistencies in the weaves while precise patterns and ornamental weavings were the inspiration behind Master.

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2014 Market Winner: Art’Otel Amsterdam by Digital Space

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.

Iris Rubinger of Design Space talked to us about the hotel’s artistic concept, Amsterdam’s city life inspiration and letting creativity run wild.

Describe the project in one word.
Art

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How does this project demonstrate the power of design to impact users in a space?
The Art’otel is designed to be an interactive project that offers the guests unique hospitality and an artistic experience. We wanted to give the guests a chance to take part in the art and the design and not just to view it from the side. One example is the interactive art feature that we located on the main floor. Two large silicone cord screens (13.5 x 6.5 meters each) were mounted on both sides of the main staircase that lead from the public floor to the gallery level, allowing the art to be seen from all the public areas. The content of the video-art that projected on the silicone cords curtains changes, in real-time, according to the movement of people around. This allows the guests to influence the art and the space.

The artistic environment in every corner of this hotel impacts the users and affects their senses. From the head shaped sculptured reception counters that you see when you first step into the hotel, until the manifesto that is printed on the carpets in the guest rooms.
We used custom designed elements in each space in order to stimulate the senses. A central open kitchen that faces both the restaurant and the bar expose the art of cooking. It gives the guests a chance to experience the cooking process before receiving the great dishes. The open kitchen and the fireplace wall, that define the restaurant area, were designed with the intention to feel like a laced light box. Its external walls are made from bronzed patterned steel plates and positioned between two lit glass surfaces. Both elements display flames or fire and create a warm environment.

The art gallery was designed to be a multi-purpose space that can fit various events such as, art expeditions, fashion shows, music and parties. Although it located in the lower level, while the other public spaces are located in the upper level, it is connected to it by the main staircase and the video-art feature. It invites the guests to participate in the events as part of their stay in the hotel or their visit is the restaurant- lounge.

(3)

Design is a process. Explain your journey.
The Art’otel is located in an existing historic building in the heart of Amsterdam. The interior was completely demolished. Just the pillars remained. So the first challenge was to create floors layouts that will maximize the rooms’ area within the existing situation.

The interiors of the rooms were made to fit the artistic concept of this hotel. The text on the carpets is the “Holstee Manifesto,” by the New-York based design team HOLSTEE. We made the graphics and adapted the colors to each space. The carpet itself is an art piece that was integrated with the general concept. In order to enlarge the space of the rooms, we planned the bathrooms with colored glass walls. Electric liquid films change the glass from transparent to opaque to ensure privacy and a ‘peekaboo’ feature.

The main floor and the gallery floor were full of structural pillars. We took this challenge and problematic space and used it to our advantage. Some of the pillars were hidden in the different functions, while others became design elements that divided and defined different areas.

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The main challenge of the public spaces was to create the main art feature that will be the central element that all the activities will surround it. The objective was to create a dynamic and large scale art that could be integrated with and be seen from all the public spaces in the adjoining 5&33 lifestyle restaurant, bar and gallery area as well as when looking in from outside. We chose the form of Video-Art and pushed the media and technology limits, while using guest’s interaction as a unique spin. The video-art projected on two large silicone cord screens that were mounted on both sides of the main staircase that lead from the public floor to the gallery level, thus creating a circular flow. Overall, 16 projectors with special lenses were integrated with special software to project the video art content onto the screens. Special kinetic sensors are placed around the space to review the movement of people near the screens. Together with the sensors, the computer system is able to change the content, in real-time, according to the movement. This creates the largest permanent interactive art feature in Europe, allowing people to take part in the art and not just view it.

Inspired by Amsterdam’s city life and street art, we used concrete flooring for the public areas and located an open kitchen between the restaurant and the bar area. Large backlit curtains and a patterned fireplace soften the atmosphere, while creating semi-transparent dividers between the different areas.

The design process of this project was a journey through the heart and the art of Amsterdam, an exploration of new definitions for hospitality experiences for visitors and guests.

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What are the most important lessons you’ve learned through this project that you’d want to share with the designers of tomorrow?
Follow your vision, look for creative ways to overcome challenges and always keep your mind open to new ideas.

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