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Eighth Annual Design is… Award Global Winners Announced

Eighth Annual Design is… Award Global Winners Announced
Firms celebrated for design excellence around the world

CARTERSVILLE, Ga. – September 6, 2013 – In its eighth year, the Shaw Contract Group Design is… Award program honors architecture and design firms that are changing the very idea of what design is. Six projects out of 369 entries from 26 countries were selected as winners. Through these winning projects, selected from commercial spaces from around the globe, we see how design is redefining our lives and improving it for the better.

“After eight years and more than 1,700 entries from 31 countries, the Design Is… Award continues to champion design excellence across market segments and around the world,” says John Stephens, vice president of marketing for Shaw Contract Group. “The Design is… Award program celebrates more than just beautiful spaces. These projects surmount simple beauty to deliver innovative solutions, impacting the people who encounter the space and the functions that take place within.”

Firm: AECOM | Los Angeles, CA
Project: Velti Headquarters | San Francisco, CA
The design redefines the dynamics of the modern workplace with a creative workspace that actually feels like a social network. Carefully attuned circulation, retractable walls, natural light and formal and informal workspaces create a “neighborhood” vibe. Spaces are linked by exposed concrete floors, layered open ceilings, as well as bold graphics and textures.

Firm: ITOKI Corporation | Tokyo, Japan
Project: SYNQA ITOKI Innovation Center | Tokyo, Japan
With the concept of “co-creation, open innovation,” the design encourages a lively flow of ideas spread over three floors. The first floor represents the influx of ideas, the second floor expresses the interaction of external wisdom and the third floor reflects the fruition of internal knowledge. The result is a space that communicates the idea that human activities come first.

Firm: HDR Architecture | Omaha, NE
Project: Bellevue Medical Center | Bellevue, NE
Informed by nature and hospitality, the interior is designed to soothe and relax. Carpet patterns are abstracted from the natural environment. Glass along the patient room corridors is etched with a grass motif. Abundant daylight, hotel-like furniture and finishes, textiles with floral motifs, along with soft lighting, make for a comfortable environment designed to meet LEED certification.

Firm: HGA Architects and Engineers | Minneapolis, MN
Project: Macalester College – Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center | St. Paul, MN
Inspired by village squares, the design uses warm materials, accent lighting and comfortable furniture to invite community. Connected to the Arts Commons, the Concert Hall is surrounded by Red Oak slats in a pattern inspired by polyrhythm and staccato textures. The idea is echoed in the floor finishes, pendant
lighting, signage and exterior façade.

Firm: HNTB Architecture | Kansas City, MO
Project: NNSA National Security Campus | Kansas City, MO
The design team created a workplace to replace the National Nuclear Security Administration’s outmoded office space and to celebrate collective genius. The project, which anticipates LEED Gold Certification, includes a walking trail, courtyard, fitness center and cafeteria. A white-box aesthetic is accented by walnut paneling and strategically placed color. Interiors also draw inspiration from graphic models used by scientists to visualize their work.

Firm: Avola-Llaber Arquitectos | Buenos Aires, Argentina
Project: Red Bull Argentina | San Isidro, Argentina
The design was inspired by the brand mantra: “Red Bull give you wings.” The space focuses on charged creativity, while encouraging social butterflies – from reception to workstations. A semi-open gallery with sliding doors features brand imagery. Customers can linger in the dining bar or choose to view one of the brand’s own Red Bull Media House films. Avola-Llaber Arquitectos won the People’s Choice Award, which brought in over 900,000 votes.

Five distinguished members of the design community evaluated each project based on its design solutions beyond aesthetic quality.

The judging panel included:
John Nelson – Founder and Principal of Design, NELSON
Rachel Gutter – Director, Center for Green Schools at U.S. Green Building Council
Erica Steenstra – Interior Design Manager, The Walt Disney Company
Kathy Woo – Director, Hopping Kovach Grinnell
Mark Harbick (moderator)  – Design Principal, NBBJ

Winning firms will be recognized in an upcoming advertising campaign in leading industry publications and receive an original award sculpture. A $2,000 charitable donation in the name of each winning firm will be awarded to the program or organization of the firm’s choosing. Shaw Contract Group will also promote its winners through promotional and marketing materials. Winner videos can be found on Shaw Contract Group’s Vimeo channel. Click here to watch a video profiling the 2013 winners.

Firms can currently enter the 2014 Design is…Award competition at www.shawcontractgroup.com.

About Shaw Contract Group
A leading global floor covering brand, Shaw Contract Group defines design through not only by great appearance, but also performance and sustainability. Its Cradle to Cradle CertifiedCM products perform in commercial spaces around the world, and can be endlessly reclaimed and recycled into new high-performance product. Shaw Contract Group has received Best of NeoCon awards for its carpet collections every year since 2002; was rated “best overall business experience” by facility managers and designers; and was recognized among Contract magazine’s top ten “Brands that Inspire.” A brand of Shaw Industries, Shaw Contract Group combines the expertise of the world’s largest carpet manufacturer with the financial stability of a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary. For more information, visit shawcontractgroup.com.

Katie Holcomb

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Here are the 2013 Design is…Award Global Winners. These are Their Stories.

In its eighth year, the Shaw Contract Group Design is… Award program honors architecture and design firms that are changing the very idea of what design is. Six projects out of 369 entries from 26 countries were selected as winners. Through these winning projects, selected from commercial spaces from around the globe, we see how design is redefining our lives and improving it for the better.

Visit our website to learn more about the winners and view the 2013 winner’s videos.

2013 Design is…Award Global Winners – Intro from Shaw Contract Group on Vimeo.


AECOM – Velti Headquarters

SYNQA ITOKI Innovation Center by ITOKI Corporation

ITOKI Corporation – SYNQA ITOKI Innovation Center

HGA Architects and Engineers - Macalester College - Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center

HGA Architects and Engineers – Macalester College – Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center


HDR Architecture – Bellevue Medical Center


HNTB Architecture – NNSA National Security Campus

MAIN_red bull

People’s Choice: Avola-Llaber Arquitectos – Red Bull Argentina

Visit our website to find out more about the program and to enter your project in our 2014 Design is…Award.

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2013 Market Winner: Macalester College – Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center by HGA Architects and Engineers

As a 2013 Design is…Award Market Winner, the winning firms were interviewed by Shaw Contract Group as part of a year-long feature on the Shaw Contract Group blog. Throughout the year, readers will learn more about the 48 winning projects and the individuals behind them. These are their stories.

Amy Tasch, interior designer on the project, talks to us about Motor City inspiration, the African Drumming Ensemble and bringing people together through design.

When did you decide to pursue a profession in design?
Growing up in Detroit, I was inspired by the stunning architecture that had been abandoned and left for decay. I spent my time exploring and photographing the discarded buildings, dreaming about renovating and giving life back to these hauntingly beautiful spaces. This made a big impression on me and eventually led me to a career in interior design.


Tell me about your client.
Macalester College is a liberal arts college that believes exposure to the arts is important not only for arts majors, but for all its undergraduate students. From the beginning, the client was dedicated to creating a space that celebrated the arts, music, their students and faculty and the surrounding community. This became the focus from the inception of the project all the way through furniture and finish selection. The staff and faculty from Macalester were directly involved with every decision.


Tell me more about the Concert Hall inspiration coming from rhythmic patterns.
The Concert Hall is surrounded by undulating red-oak wood slats inspired by the idea of polyrhythm, which is the simultaneous combination of contrasting rhythms in musical compositions and also essential to the work of the College’s popular African Drumming Ensemble. This whimsical patterning was then continued throughout the building in the choices of finishes, lighting and signage.

What about this project represents why you choose to be a designer?
In all my projects I strive to create holistic and user-friendly environments that connect people to their space. Projects are always more successful when working with a strong design team with a shared vision, and this project exemplified that philosophy. The existing music building was in dire need of renovation, with outdated finishes, dark corridors and limited space, but rather than just updating finishes, the client and design team re-imagined the center as a cultural hub linking all students, campus-wide, to the Arts. This united vision became the guiding principle throughout the entire design process.


What was the happiest moment of the project?
After the building was complete, walking in and seeing the space filled with students studying, laughing, engaged in art critiques and holding impromptu acappella rehearsals in the commons was priceless. Moments like that make me realize how much I love my job!


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