Author Archives: Katie

2013 Market Winner: Red Bull Argentina by Avola-Llaber Arquitectos

As the winners of the 2013 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 48 winning projects and the individuals who perform them. These are their stories.

Daniel Avola and Liliana Llaber, Architects, talked to us about proud employees, making a flexible space and “Giving Wings” to ideas.

What about this project represents why you choose to be a designer?
The company motto in itself is an inspiration. “Give wings” to ideas, to projects, to people; enable creativity and in this way create a space where ideas can come true. It could not be a better starting point and an inviting project for us designers and architects that are always seeking to look beyond structures to create new spaces, flexible, functional and fun.

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What was the happiest moment of the project?
The whole project was a gift. But definitely the happiest moment was the very last night when we completed the project. Before leaving the new office, we stopped by the entrance door with the team and some Red Bull counterparts working with us on the project to give a final look. The next morning is when ideas will begin to come to life in that space.

What are you most proud of?
The morning when all employees came for the first time to the new offices was also unforgettable. It was more than proud – a kind of thanks-giving and gratefulness – what we fell when watching the faces of everyone. Enjoying what we will be a new way of working. They were more happy and proud than us. That was the best gift and recognition we could get.

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Tell me about your client.
Red Bull is a one-of-a-kind company. The working culture, the vision, the idea and most important of all, the people are altogether unique and outstanding. You work together and they let you grow and create.

While we were giving around the rest of the offices around the world, the challenge became even bigger. But at the same time, loyal to what Red Bull is, the team gave to us full freedom to create our own project. This was the starting point and as the days went by it became the cornerstone of unforgettable teamwork.

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What were some of the challenges in designing this space?
The challenge was to create from two existing and conventional “L” shaped offices create a different – as from scratch – space. To make it interactive, as if no “L” shape was there, maximizing the sunlight intrusion and the green context from the outside.
In this way we designed glassed and sunlight-friendly meeting rooms on the sides and a flexible meeting room at the center, to break linear spaces and make it feel as if it was designed and created with no limitations.

Functionality and spaces interaction was our technical motivation throughout the project. To believe that we could create a new space as if nothing was there, to make it ideal and free forgetting that there was something there before. Simply, to go beyond it.

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Help NASA Pick the New Z-2 Space Suit Design

NASA’s Z-2 Suit is the newest prototype in its next-generation spacesuit platform, the Z-series. As a follow-up to the previous Z-1 suit, which was named one of Time Magazine’s Best Inventions of 2012, the Z-2 takes the next step in fidelity approaching a final flight-capable design. Most exciting, the Z-2 marks several milestones for NASA, including the first use of 3D human laser scans and 3D-printed hardware for suit development and sizing and the most conformal and re-sizeable hard upper torso suit built to date.

After the positive response to the Z-1 suit’s visual design, the designers wanted to take the opportunity to provide this new suit with an equally memorable appearance. To take it a step further, they are leaving it up to the public to choose which of three candidates will be built. Check out the options below and cast your vote HERE!

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Option A: “Biomimicry”
The “Biomimicry” design draws from an environment with many parallels to the harshness of space: the world’s oceans. Mirroring the bioluminescent qualities of aquatic creatures found at incredible depths, and the scaly skin of fish and reptiles found across the globe, this design reflects the qualities that protect some of Earth’s toughest creatures.

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Option B: “Technology”
“Technology” pays homage to spacesuit achievements of the past while incorporating subtle elements of the future. By using Luminex wire and light-emitting patches, this design puts a new spin on spacewalking standards such as ways to identify crew members.

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Option C: “Trends in Society”
“Trends in Society” is based off of just that: being reflective of what every day clothes may look like in the not too distant future. This suit uses electroluminescent wire and a bright color scheme to mimic the appearance of sportswear and the emerging world of wearable technologies.

VOTE for your favorite!

Images: NASA

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Fabergé Hides Artist-Designed Eggs around New York City

New Yorkers are used to having new things appear seemingly out of nowhere: skyscrapers, bike lanes, the Cronut. On April 1, more than 200 three-foot-tall eggs were added to the mix – each designed by an artist, designer, or architect and mounted in a public space somewhere in the five boroughs.

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Design by (from left): Ralph Lauren, Zaha Hadid and Waris Ahluwalia

The Fabergé Big Egg Hunt, a charitable event that runs for three-and-a-half weeks and features an auction of the eggs at Sotheby’s on April 22, benefits Studio in a School, which brings arts programs to New York City public schools, and Elephant Family, a conservation organization working to save the endangered Asian elephant. Members of the public can download a free smartphone app that helps locate the eggs and makes users eligible to win one of three bejeweled miniature eggs donated by Fabergé. All of the eggs will be on display in Rockefeller Center from April 18 through 26.

The eggs range in design from simple painting to elaborate sculpture. Click here for a preview!

Images: Architectural Digest

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2013 Market Winner: W.L. GORE Associates by Francis Cauffman

As the winners of the 2013 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 48 winning projects and the individuals who perform them. These are their stories.

John Campbell, Principal at Francis Cauffman, spoke to us about his family’s design influence, engaging the client and strengthening people through good design.

How did you find your love for design?  Is there anyone who played a major role in that?
From an early age I have always enjoyed drawing and exploring new places. While I did not realize it at the time, my grandmother, who was the first female architect in the United Kingdom, occasionally took me on site visits of her projects, which were always interesting. I was fortunate in my youth to spend time in the south of France, where we had the opportunity to see a mixture of architecture from Roman times to current. My uncle saw my love of sketching and exploring places and suggested that I should consider studying architecture. This love of sketching, photography and traveling to experience different places and cultures remains just as important to me today.

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What about this project represents why you choose to be a designer?
WL Gore is a very successful company and the strength of its people, culture and values are what drive this success. At the end of the day, architects and interior designers are in the “people” business, with the design of great spaces being our medium. At the beginning of a project, many clients do not understand the full benefits good design can bring to their workplace.

For this project we were hired to lead the employees of WL Gore on a journey to explore a new workplace that would align with their business needs, culture and values. We helped them challenge the norm of cubicles and perimeter offices. It was a great feeling at the end of the “journey” when the Gore employees experienced the significant benefits that the new workplace design had on their effectiveness and well-being.

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What are the most important lessons you’ve learned during this process?
The most critical lesson is the importance of user engagement at all stages in the design process, from the initial development and planning to the final implementation and post-occupancy feedback. In addition, asking probing questions is key to helping clients challenge the norm and inspire smart design.

In the case of WL Gore, employees explored new possibilities and Francis Cauffman created an array of different work settings that allow employees to select the appropriate space for a particular task. WL Gore embraced alternative workplace design to the extent that the leadership decided to leave individual offices and assigned spaces in the past and become completely mobile within their space.

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Shaw Contract Group Partners with WorldGBC for Global Green Building Awards

WGBC awards

Shaw Contract Group, a leading sustainable manufacturer, has committed to partner with the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) to sponsor the inaugural Asia Pacific Regional Network Leadership Awards in Green Building.

“Shaw Contract Group is honored to partner with the WorldGBC to recognize true leadership and achievement in green building,” says Shaw’s Director of Global Marketing, Todd Jarvis.

The biennial awards program will honor outstanding organizations for their commitment to sustainability, and will celebrate innovative green building projects that are reducing carbon emissions and other environmental impacts, cutting costs and driving higher levels of health and productivity for building occupants.

“We are excited to be collaborating with Shaw to host the Asia Pacific Regional Network Leadership Awards in Green Building. The partnership is a natural fit, as Shaw is a leader in post-consumer recycling, having recycled more carpet than its competitors combined,” says Jane Henley, Chief Executive Officer of the WorldGBC.

Appropriately, the announcement of the awards on September 2, 2014 will coincide with the anniversary of Shaw’s grand opening of the first manufacturing facility in the Asia Pacific to produce globally-consistent, cradle-to-cradle certified carpet tile.

Two high-profile architects, Ken Yeang and Karan Grover, have also been announced as judges, joining Hans Shrader from the International Finance Corporation, Constant Van Aerschot from the Business Council for Sustainable Development Singapore, and Stefanos Fotiou from the United Nations Development Programme.

The awards honor leaders, innovators and champions in sustainability and green building. The program is open to companies large and small, as well as to projects across the region. Nominations must be submitted through recognized green building councils in Asia Pacific countries. Nominations close on Friday, June 20. Nomination forms are available online: www.worldgbc.org/apnawards. Winners will be announced at a gala dinner and awards night in Singapore on Tuesday, September 2.

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