Tag Archives: SYNQA ITOKI Innovation Center

2013 Market Winner: SYNQA ITOKI Innovation Center by ITOKI Corporation

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.

Sachiko Kayama, Interior Designer, spoke with us about “open innovation,” creating cohesion between the different spaces and designing for the subtleties of human nature.

Do you have any stories you want to share about project?
The basic concept of the facility Itoki pursues “open innovation” which no one has ever realized in the industry. SYNQA is the facility where the basic concept has taken shape.
It is quite different from conventional product show rooms. In the facility, all the stakeholders can feel free to join, share the space and generate new business opportunities together. In other words, SYNQA is a brand new business co-creation center on a basis of close cooperation.

The three layer construction expresses the business process. More specifically, you can promote various collaboration of business partners through the introduction of state-of-the-art products and equipment. SYNQ will encourage Japanese business to make a drastic change.

Each floor in the space feature different design elements. How did you pull these together to create one cohesive space?
The main concept of the facility is “co-creation and open innovation”.
Based upon the concept, the three layer construction is designed to make the interactive flow of knowledge come true. The first floor is ready to receive valuable knowledge coming from outside without restriction. The second floor is mainly used for exchange of knowledge. The third floor is anticipated to help shared knowledge grow. The three floors are designed to support each activity in the most efficient way. The purpose gives each floor different characters, but the unity of design in one creative space is ensured. The facility can contribute to developing innovation step by step.

Tell me something that was unusual about the project.
Each one of activities in the facility was thoroughly reviewed to decide its final design.
In the process, simple questions such as “Why is it necessary?” or “How can it be promoted?” were never omitted. It is just like resolved parts have been put together again to create a brand new shape. The dimension of every room is based upon the best combination of the sense of nearness among working people and the distance between the floor and the ceiling. The most appropriate lighting environment for activities in the place can be chosen. More precisely, presentation background, brightness, color temperature can be changed most smoothly and flexibly. Careful consideration is given to activities such as writing, projecting, displaying and exhibiting for visitors’ reference. For example, the white board function as well as library function is built in all over the wall. The surfaces of tables also have a white board function. All the design used in the space exists to help innovation grow and grow.

The space features a monochromatic color palette. Tell me more about the design process.
In the process of reflecting the basic concept of “open innovation” in the design, the top priority and the most consideration is given to human activities on the second floor because it is the space where knowledge of various people meet, communicate and grow together. The design concept is “the pulse of life”. We did not express the concept with vivid pop color and movement of pattern. On the contrary, we did our best to make the basic tone of the space as monochromatic as possible. We are quite sure that it exaggerates active and lively people working in the place. A glass box reflecting human activities floats in dynamic space beneath the 4800mm skeleton ceiling. It is light effect in a monochromatic space. The scene is anticipated to bring out activeness in viewers.

A lot of attention is paid to the subtleties of human nature when designing in Japan. Tell us more about that.
Designers prefer expressing the flavor soaking out of substance naturally by exaggerating the presence of material itself and using shading effect to depending upon appearance such as bold color and plain form. In a word, modest and delicate design captures Japanese creators. It inevitably makes Japanese designers particular about details of their works and materials selected for their designs. Continual efforts to satisfy their own pride and vocation are prerequisite to success.


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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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