Tag Archives: technology

Microsoft Conference Centre named 2015 Design Is…Award People’s Choice Winner

Shaw Contract Group conducted interviews with all firms of winning projects from the 2015 Design Is…Award program. As part of this process, we share a portion of the response on our blog for readers to learn more about the winning projects. These are their stories.

Marjorie Marshall from Metaphore Design spoke with us about the design approach for the Microsoft Conference Centre project.

Describe this project in one word.


The Microsoft Conference Centre keywords required the environment to be a fun and casual place to exchange, learn and inspire innovation.

In what way does this project demonstrate how design can impact users in a space?

Although the Microsoft Conference Centre (serving visitors and employees alike) offers varied options for conventional meetings and training sessions-  the common areas are infused with enticing opportunities for spontaneous collaboration and quiet reflection. Whether the visitor is sipping a cappuccino at the bar, enjoying the view at the window seat, playing a lively game of XBox , or sharing a private exchange in the banquette nook – the process of  shared learning and creativity is reinforced by the stimulating environment.


Design is a process. Explain your journey.

Of course every project begins with a thorough exploration of our clients’ company. By understanding the Microsoft management objectives and challenges for this project, we could direct our design solutions to re-enforce their corporate goals.  The Metaphore Design creative process ensures that there is a direct link between the project Design Concept and our clients Corporate Soul. Beginning with client -directed KEYWORDS, we select images relating to the essence of these words. The next layer is architectural images inspired by the keyword images. From there, we develop the Design Concept connecting to the layout and clients functional needs. At every stage, we connected back with the Microsoft project team to ensure we were on the same wavelength. This way, they felt empowered to be part of our process and were very enthusiastic at the presentation of our ideas for the Conference Centre…

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

This project was an exciting one for our design team. It had to be great! Microsoft believed in Metaphore Design to create a space that would encourage collaboration and innovation.  We were so pumped to meet the challenge. The success of the Microsoft project was truly due to our ability to work together as a united team. By fully utilizing our individual strengths, and collaborating as a united force, we were stronger than the sum of our parts, and we became a better team in the process.

I would say to young designers – don’t be afraid to co-operate FULLY in a team… You won’t lose anything, and everyone will gain.

Posted in Corporate, Design, Design Award, General, Workplace Design | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

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!


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.


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.

NASA_Trends in Society

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

Posted in Design | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Technology’s Impact on Workplace Design

Technology has a way of changing things, doesn’t it? Remember when a fax machine was cutting-edge? Or, try to think about life before email. It boggles my mind at the thought of communicating without all of the digital tools we employ today.

In this article, architect Bill Halter with Cooper Cary makes a strong case that iPads and other new technologies are going to radically transform the workplace of the future. So much so that the historically prestigious “corner office” may simply become a seat at your favorite coffee shop.

His observations are ones that we’ve blogged about previously – here and here– so our question for you is “are iPads, mobile technology and other portable electronics changing the way you work and design?” We’d love to hear how you are incorporating hoteling stations, collaboration zones and fewer square feet per associate into your designs.

Posted in Corporate, Workplace Design | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Design Gone Digital

With the latest mobile technology getting more advanced every minute, people have to stay up to date with the newest trends. We are seeing more and more digitally-based design tools with each new smart phone, tablet and other Internet accessing device. Check out some of these 21st Century ideas that are changing design:

QR Codes

This year at NeoCon, QR (Quick Response) Codes were popping up in multiple showrooms, giving onlookers a fast way to scan the code and be brought to a website for more information.

FurnitureLab was showcasing their chair (left) with a large QR code printed on the back. The concept behind the chair is that a person can scan their seat before taking it and receive information from the place it’s located (i.e. school or hotel). Some showrooms were even using QR Codes as art, with a small QR Code at the bottom to scan, of course.


(Clockwise from left)

  • Moodboard – Add photos, text, color swatches, and special elements to your mood or inspiration boards, then share them with friends and colleagues, anywhere, anytime. Compatible with iPad ($9.99)
  • Color RGB – Helps you find the color you need by giving you the Hex Code, RGB, or Hue values for the color. Compatible with iPad ($0.99)
  • Palettes Pro – A powerful productivity tool for creating and maintaining unlimited color palettes and schemes. Compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch & iPad ($5.99)
  • Think Ink: Color Unleashed – Create palettes based on colors captured in your photos and your creation of CMYK or RBG values. Compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad (Free)
  • cliqcliq Colors – Create palettes based on colors you like best and quickly convert between RGB, HSB, and CMYK as well as integer and floating point scales. Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch & iPad (Free)
  • Loupe – Capture color inspirations and create color swatches from your photo library or using the camera to save colors as you find them. Compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch & iPad ($0.99)
Posted in Design, General | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment