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16 GREEN LUXE DESIGNS
The Best in Eco-Extravagance
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All Eyes on Fernando Stepping out from behind Carlos Slim’s shadow, Fernando Romero is securing his position as one of the power players of architecture
CONTENTS ISSUE 08 FEATURES
48 2011 Gift Guide A handpicked selection of well-designed goods for everyone in your life
58 Bureau Experts: Epstein Joslin The married design team explains where in the world it gets its inspiration
86 Open House Four architects give us a tour of their favorite hometown projects
62 Fill in the Blank: John Senhauser See what this award-winning designer thinks every home needs
104 Weird City Rising Austin, Texas joins the architectural big leagues
66 The Great American Garage Ever wonder why game-changing ideas often take shape in the garage?
110 Renegade Architecture Young designers forging their own paths
68 At Home and Work with Tony Chi Take a trip around the world with one of interior design's biggest stars
124 Green Luxe People, places, and products on the cutting edge of eco-chic design 148 Inside Out Five photographers tackle a classic concept with two contrasting images
74 Constructive Criticism: Olson Kundig Once a week, this Seattle-based firm gathers together to bounce ideas and drink beer 78 A Feast for the Eyes Valerio Architects proves fast food doesn’t have to be synonymous with bad design 80 From Dreary to Dreamy Architect Robert Young crafts the perfect lake house in New York
INFORMER 14 16 20 22 24 29 30 31 34 36 38 40 44
Winter Gear Firewood How-To Black Hole Design Haircut Photo Essay Packaging Redesign Tactical Backpacks Toys by Design Debra Baxter Studio Tour Design in Weird Places Design Dialogue Mark Elster René Desjardins
PLUS 08 10 12 160 161 162
Contributors Letter from the Editor Letters Comic Strip This Issue’s Best Albums For Hire
Photo of Fernando Romero’s studio by Carlos Alvarez Montero
INSIDE ISSUE 08 Green Luxe A roundup of eco-conscious design that will have you thinking “upgrade” instead of “compromise” Page 124
Weird City Rising: Austin See why the liberal capital of the Lone Star State has officially arrived in the world of contemporary architecture Page 104
Top: Amagansett House by Alex Scott Porter Design, photo by Tim Street-Porter; Bottom: Mohle Drive Residence by Baldridge Architects, photo by Casey Dunn
At Home and Work with Tony Chi An exclusive look at the personal style of one of the world’s leading interior designers Page 68
Renegade Architecture Young designers are shaping skylines across the country, yet they can’t technically call themselves architects. When the work is this good, what’s in a title, anyway? Page 110
2011 Gift Guide! Freak, geek, or chic—you’ll find something for everyone in our comprehensive collection of gift ideas Page 48
Clockwise from top: Tony Chi of Tonychi and Associates, photo by Jacob Pritchard; Matthew Grzywinski of Grzywinski+Pons, photo by Eric Luc; Gift guide items from Lomography, Uniform Wares, and Blu Dot
Letters & Contributors
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Saundra Marcel is a writer, graphic designer, and recent grad of the MFA Design Criticism program at the School of Visual Arts. She often finds herself surrounded by water, having hailed from a little-known island in the North American snowbelt, near Buffalo. She now lives in Manhattan, a better-known island that she loves just as much. www.saundramarcel.com
Carlos Alvarez Montero is a native of Mexico City. His work focuses on the relationship between appearance and the creation of identity. After 12 years of working in Mexico City for editorial clients, ad agencies, and record labels, he moved to New York City to complete an MFA program in photography, video, and related media at SVA. Carlos is now back in Mexico City working on commercial and personal projects. www.alvarezmontero.com
Doug Human, a Chicago native and photographer, is an avid cyclist who loves riding Chicago’s lakefront. “The shoreline ride is a vitalization like none other, among the architecture and water.” Doug has created images for American Express, DRAFTFCB, Crate & Barrel, and Chicago Portfolio School. When not shooting or cycling, he is catching fireflies or chasing frisbees with his daughters Emily and Audrey. www.doughuman.com
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cover image: Matthew Grzywinski in New York City, photo by Eric Luc
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Letters & Contributors
LETTERS TO DESIGN BUREAU November/December 2011
DESIGN BUREAU // Design Thinking
DESIGN BUREAU // Design Thinking
Hip lifestyle brand Urban Outfitters revamped a historical site for its industrial office headquarters
By Christopher Moraff Photos by Lara Swimmer, courtesy MS&R
When you first pass through the gates of the Philadelphia Navy Yard onto the campus headquarters of retail-clothing conglomerate Urban Outfitters, you know you’re on hallowed ground. The former shipyard encompasses more than 350 acres and has nearly 400 structures, five dry docks, and more than seven miles of waterfront. All around, dozens of timeless structures dot the landscape, their diverse façades speaking to more than a century of near continuous expansion that occurred, and continues to occur. The Navy began building ships on this site during the Civil War, and by World War II, more than 40,000 people were toiling here, working on the massive naval vessels. Today, a revival is again putting Philadelphians to work at the Navy Yard, with yet another expansion within the Urban Outfitters 330,000-square-foot headquarters. “We wanted a place that we could make a real physical space, that made a statement to really push creative
thinking,” says Dave Ziel, Urban Outfitters’ chief development officer. “It was about being genuine to the buildings and the architecture that existed.” Since moving to the shipyard in 2006, the company has doubled in size and now employs more than 1,200 people in its six (soon to be eight) operational buildings. Its most recent project, a new home for the group’s Free People brand, was completed last year, and the company is currently repurposing two more buildings that will add another 100,000 square feet to the campus. Minneapolis-based architecture firm Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, Ltd. has been called in to continue the project that it began five years ago with Jeffery Scherer at the helm. Scherer is a co-founder of MS&R and the project manager in charge of the retrofit. For the project, he put stake in his firm’s enlightened ethos. “Our primary responsibility was to develop a framework for relative meanings over time,” he says. “The authenticity of an old place just cannot be recreated through mimicry.”
DB shout-outs from the Twitterverse Join the conversation at twitter.com/DesignBureauMag
Cast-iron columns layered with peeling paint terminate at rusted steel beams and the crisscrossing truss-work of vaulted ceilings
design details The Urban Outfitters campus occupies some of the oldest and most unique buildings in the Yard: Building 10, which houses the Anthropologie brand, was built in 1903 in the Renaissance Revival style. It features a brick façade with high arches, 19 bay windows, and maple wood salvaged from a Chicago convent.
Building 543 houses production and IT, as well as a cafeteria, coffee shop, gym, and magazine store. It was constructed in 1939 as a pipe-bending facility. Building 15 is known as the “incubator,” as it’s where new concepts take shape. It features the familiar markings of blue and red athletic tape from a school gym. A salvaged diving decompression chamber sits on its side in front of the campus dog park
Christopher Moraff is a Philadelphia-based writer and photographer who covers many topics, from foreign affairs to design, for many publications. www.christophermoraff.com Above: Urban Outfitters retail stores; Urban Outfitters fabric swatch detail, photo by Christopher Moraff
I really respect the fact that Design Bureau generally focuses on the little guys making big waves. That said, I did not appreciate your recent coverage of Urban Outfitters’ campus. The design world thrives on the innovation and passion of its independent contigent—not huge corporations banking on trendiness.
The new website looks awesome...but not that different. If you’re going to overhaul, why change the look only slightly?
—P.T., via email
EDITOR’S NOTE: We agree with the basic
premise of your argument. Growth comes from fringe ideas challenging convention. That’s why UO’s willingness to reinvent the typical corporate campus is a breath of fresh air. Its extensive use of salvaged materials is commendable, and the revitalization of a defunct navy yard is a boon to the city of Philadelphia. So, fashion taste aside, you can’t deny an obvious example of great design.
—J.W., via web
EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks for your feedback, J.W.; we’ll take it as a compliment. The redesign of our website wasn’t as much about changing the visual style as it was about improving functionality. You’ll find it easier to sort through past issues, browse categories, and find related posts. We also simplified our navigation and more effectively integrated social media. So feel free to tweet us any time; we have operators standing by.
Got the latest issue of @DesignBureauMag. If you’re a designer, get this magazine, they are gorgeous! @SunSilvestri @ThomasOhhh Thanks for introducing me to @DesignBureauMag. It is now my bible. @RudifiedMedia You’re all reading @DesignBureauMag, right? What, you haven’t seen it yet? It will knock your designer socks off. @JoLocktov Busy week! Wow. Heading out to grab a coffee and dig into the new issue of @DesignBureauMag that came today. Life is good. @RandallCoy @DesignBureauMag, new website looks great, congrats! @MASContext
“We need to create incentives [for sustainability], rather than make it more difficult. At the highest political levels, we need to take a hard look at our long-term future and health.” Angela brooks, brooks + scarpa GREEN LUXE, PAGE 160
CORRECTION: In our article on Thirst Design in our September/October issue, we incorrectly attributed the custom scripts in the book Intelligent Design. These scripts were written by 3st collaborator Robb Irrgang. We regret the error.
Bureau Notes: Facts and information about what went on behind the scenes of this issue
Total number of office moves we've made throughout the short history of DB. Now you can find us on the Magnificent Mile!
The number of cover options that we rejected before landing on the beauty you see here.
The name of the new typeface that we're using on our cover. Call us juvenile, but we couldn’t resist the name.
BAT What our little logo looks like—well, that or an open book. Or maybe a crown. What do you see? To take the DB Rorschach test, shoot an email to the address below.
Have a question or comment? We want to hear from you. Give us a shout at email@example.com.
Letters & Contributors
Everything is designed, and design doesn’t end with aethestics. It’s a very effective business tool.
I am IIDA
BRIAN GRAHAM, IIDA, IDSA member since 1994
BUILT FJORD TOUGH: WINTER GEAR Old man winter won’t know what hit him when you let fly a devastating one-two punch of function and fashion. Here are a few essential items that will get you through the elements in style, whether chopping wood in Wisconsin or fording the fjords in Sweden. PHOTO BY ZACK BURRIS
1 SCP Knot Garden Ember Throw, £130
SCP Moose Blanket, £86 2 Arcteryx Alpha SV Glove, $275 3 Best Made First Aid Kit, $89 4 Wentworth Pewter Flask, $68
5 6 7 8
Magnesium Fire Starter, $29.95 Victorinox Swiss Army Traveller, $149 Spyderco Sage Carbon Fiber Knife, $179.95 Best Made Limited-Edition Map, $140
SCP, www.scp.co.uk; Arcteryx, www.arcteryx.com; Best Made, www.bestmadeco.com; Flask & Fire Starter, www.store.kaufmann-mercantile.com; Swiss Army, www.swissarmy.com; Spyderco, www.carbonfibergear.com
Cold? Pimp your woodstack. Details on next page
CHOP, STACK, BURN: firewood SteP
01 WINTER SURVIVAL
BY ALYSSA MEZA
So you’ve done the hard part, right? Wrong. If you don’t stack your wood properly, all that chopping will be for naught. There are a few different schools of thought when it comes to wood stacking. Below, you’ll find three solid methods that will ensure your firewood dries thoroughly and burns longer.
Styles of Stacks Traditional Towers
This style is made of rows of piled firewood with two towers of stacked wood at each end for support. See variations of these traditional towers below. Grab an axe and get to swinging. If you don’t know how, ask your dad. Of course, a painted handle and a leather sheath are unnecessary, but nice design is always a good motivator. Best Made American Felling Axe (Pearl of Twin Lakes), $350 photo by zack burris
This method is also made of stacked rows of logs. However, instead of support coming from woodpiles, the row is supported by two 2-by-4s at each end with rope threaded between them. The tension on the rope keeps the 2-by-4 pieces upright, pushing on the logs to keep them in place.
Light it Once the wood is good and dry, light it up (with a flint, for you adventurous types), and enjoy the fiery fruits of your labor.
Best Made Match Safe, $9
8 Steps to Stack Your Wood Courtesy of The Chimney Sweep, thechimneysweep.ca
German for “wood house,” this is a traditional European technique for stacking firewood, and is one of the most visually attractive options. The split firewood is stacked in a circle around a pole in the ground, reaching up to 10 feet high. Atop the Holz Hausen stack is a thatched roof made from bark. This method saves space and speeds up drying— so long as you have the patience to do it.
What You’ll Need - Level ground - An area with plenty of sunlight - Split firewood - A pallet to keep the wood off the ground - A 7–10-foot pole
how to do it
1. Place a 7-foot-tall pole into the ground. Splash a bit of paint at the 5-foot 8-inch mark 2. Arrange firewood in a 7-foot circle around the pole 3. Place wood radiating outward like spokes, with ends resting on the base 4. Place wood pieces as shims on the outside edges of the spokes, pushing the firewood toward the center until it is 5 feet. 5. Fill the interior with firewood standing vertically to accelerate the drying process 6. Do not use any shims for the last two feet of the stack—this ensures the wood slopes inward 7. Create the thatched roof by placing the firewood bark-side up across the opening of the stack 8. Leave wood to dry until the stack has lost 20 percent of its height. When the patch of paint is visible at 80 percent of the pole’s height, the logs are ready for the fireplace.
5 DESIGNERS / 5 QUESTIONS In the name of investigative journalism, we asked five of the industry’s coolest designers five hard-hitting questions. This time, we contemplate food sidekicks and tasty paint colors with a group of restaurant designers.
CASS CALDER SMITH
By Stephanie Orma
Helms Workshop helmsworkshop.com
An avocado, artichoke, or carrot—which would you rather have as your design sidekick?
Whichever one will make coffee and go on taco runs.
Artichoke for sure. I like them sharp and edgy. And although it is a lot of work to begin with, there is a big payout at the end.
Naturally sweet, delicious, and packed with beta carotene and vitamin A, we think carrots are the clear winner. As long as their sidekick is a bowl of hummus.
Artichoke—prickly to counter balance my agreeable nature.
You’rE designing your own food-inspired paint color. What’s it called, and what color is it?
South Carolina BBQ Sauce: It’s a deep mustardbrown.
Chicken Liver. It’s an “almost color.” It’s almost brown yet almost grey, and with the right lighting, turns into almost red.
Crème fraiche white. Silky, bright, warm but not too yellow, and very versatile. Equally delicious on a plate or on a wall.
Butcher—It is bold and red.
If you had to live (and eat) in one restaurant For the rest of your life, which would it be?
Frank, in Austin: hotdogscoldbeer.com
The Standard grill in New York. Somehow it always seems sunny in there, even when the weather sucks. And if I ask nicely, they might serve me breakfast for dinner.
Blue Hill Stone Barns, hands down. We’d run around the fields playing with the pigs and goats all day and then munch on all of their incredible produce picked that day from the gardens in their big, lofty modern barn of a room.
Zuni Café in San Francisco and Blue Hill in New York.
Fearing’s—great menu, great Chef. I could live in the Rattlesnake Bar…plus there would be an opportunity for late night guitar pickin’ with Dean.
Which chain is in dire need of a redesign?
Subway could really use some help. And I can tell you what I wouldn’t change: Waffle House. I love how utilitarian it is, and how they pay no attention to design trends. They are what they are, and that’s it.
Which one isn’t?
KFC should get ballsy and connect with its Kentucky roots. They should rock the down-home, Southern-style thing and get real with their spaces. How fun would that be? It’s Billy Reid meets chicken shack.
Pizza. They’re all horrible.
On Which food reality show would you most want to be a guest design star?
Anything that doesn’t involve Guy Fieri. He seems more like a Muppet than a chef.
Top Chef. It’s the only one I watch.
Probably Bizarre Foods, hosted by Andrew Zimmern on the Travel Channel. He just seems very laid-back but incredibly knowledgeable, and definitely seeks out some strange stuff in some small corners of the world.
Iron Chef, as a judge.
Hell’s Kitchen. I like a no-BS guy!
The designers' work (from left to right): Frank in Austin, TX; Girl and the Goat in Chicago, RN-74 in San Francisco; Rusk; Manzanita, RitzCarlton in Lake Tahoe, NV
AvroKO portrait by Yuki Kuwana; AvroKO photo by Michael Weber
555 Design 555.com
Avroko AvroKO avroko.com
CCS Architecture ccs-architecture.com
The Johnson Studio johnsonstudio.com
Flavor Papers, Design Bureau March/April 2011 Photo by Noah Kalina
BLACK HOLE design Meet the couple that’s converting waste into slick building materials Absorbing everything and reflecting nothing, a black hole is more than a little terrifying, but it’s what inspired French designers Gaëlle Gabillet and Stéphane Villard’s Objet Trou Nois. They took a little-used waste byproduct called Cofalit and transformed it into a range of bricks, tiles, and decorative items. According to the designers, the goal was to “absorb wastes and other objects with low gravity” and create “basic components that have the ability to compose other functional objects.” Adapting the wonders of the cosmos for the good of the Earth? Now that’s a big bang for your buck. a portrait by François Coquerel
Gaëlle Gabillet & Stéphane Villard, www.ggsv.fr
Cofalit in its raw form
Paving tile, ideal for heated floors
Heater: The three different formats of the tile enable construction of a custom-made heater. Heat is given off via the tiled surfaces.
Stove: The stove radiates maximum temperature within an hour after ignition and diffuses an even heat; its topside can be used as a warming plate.
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The inspiration for Gabillet and Villardâ€™s Objet Trou Nois, Cofalit is a black obsidian-like substance formed by the vitrification of asbestos-contaminated construction detritus. After this transformation, the material is totally safe and has fascinating properties. It looks like black glass and has a great resistance to heat shocks as well as high thermal inertia.
PBZ LLC 295 Wood Corner Rd, Lititz, PA 717-738-7365 www.laserpipecutting.com
Buzz Worthy Straight outta London, graffiti for your dome Photographer Richard Nicholson wanted to document East London’s vibrant haircut subculture, but he needed a way to get his foot in the door. So, to borrow a barber’s term, he decided to blend in. He made himself a fixture at Ali’s, a barbershop run by two Pakistani brothers in their late 20s. “I spent six weeks in the barbershop, sat on the bench, reading a newspaper, and waiting for the most interesting haircuts,” Nicholson says. “I became part of the furniture.”
“In general, my subject is a second generation Bangladeshi, 16 years old, studying at college, or working in retail. He wears a McKenzie hoodie, Adidas trainers, and jewelry from Argos. He listens to Akon, Jay Sean, and Lil Wayne, and his ambition is to start his own business and make a lot of money.” —Richard Nicholson
Many of Ali’s clients stop in weekly, visiting the shop to make sure their particular style is as fresh as possible. Jabedul Islam (stage name: Mirakool) is one such customer. “Maintaining my look is important,” he says. “It’s almost like a signature hairstyle for me. I’m a musician, and a lot of people recognize me by my hair.” For Jamil Trofder, getting a wild haircut is just something he’s done his whole life. “I think it’s just become a part of me,” he says. “I feel real uncomfortable if I don’t.” According to owner/stylist Qasim Ali, the drive for uniqueness and individuality brings most of the business in. Though some come with specific ideas, most customers trust in the stylists’ abilities to freestyle—a type of client we can all appreciate. a Photographer: Richard Nicholson Location: Benthal Green, East London Year: 2010
Top row: Jamil, Ali, Jamil; Bottom row: Abdul, Jabedul, Abidul
Polished Packaging a Tiny, Dutiful Englishman gets his Day in the sun
Creative Team: Andrew Smyth
of Town Talk Polish and Ian Logan of LRW Design
Smyth, the goal was to “bring Mr. Town Talk, the ‘polished gentleman’ to life.” Exuding an air of charm was key.
Reason for redesign: The century-old company, specializing in high-end polishes and cleaners, wanted to emphasize the “English look” of their original packaging. According to
DECISION process: Along with further developing the butler illustration featured on the products (a design that was first created in 1910), polishing tips are now included on every package.
By increasing Mr. Town Talk on the packaging and using his likeness more freely, the look becomes more personable. Color-coded plastic packaging and elegant typography differentiate between the products’ wide range of uses while giving them a more polished finish.
BEFORE Readers Respond:
What do you think of the new Town Talk design? Tell us at letters@ wearedesignbureau.com
Town Talk Polish, www.towntalkpolish.com
Mr. Town Talk was a part of the logo rather than the entire brand image. Heavy tin and glass containers masked the liquids and carried text-heavy labels. While the labels are straightforward, the company values of tradition, service, and quality were lost on the nondescript look of the packaging.
MUST-HAVE DESIGN BOOKS For the daring tourist: Habana Libre Michael Dweck Damiani
Cuba’s creative culture is alive in photographer Michael Dweck’s provocative tome. Stunning black and white imagery reveal the vibrant scene of Havana’s artists, writers, and filmmakers.
For the daydreaming designer: Microworlds Marc Valli and Margherita Dessanay Laurence King Publishing
View the world on a micro scale, where pumpkins are enchanted homes and frosted cupcakes double as pillowy mountains.
For the nostalgic purist: Saul Bass: A Life in Film and Design Jennifer Bass and Pat Kirkham Laurence King Publishing
From logo design for United Airlines to title sequences for Alfred Hitchcock, influential graphic artist Saul Bass designed more than 1,400 visual creations throughout his career, transforming American design culture.
Hollywood for SANE Invitation / poster Established in 1959 and co-chaired by Steve Allen and Robert Ryan, other members included Harry Belafonte, Marlon Brando, Kirk Douglas, Henry Fonda, Aldous Huxley, Groucho Marx, Marilyn Monroe and Gregory Peck. 1959
Human Rights Week Poster The U.S. National Commission for UNESCO promoted observance of Human Rights Week as part of its mandate to further the universal respect for the freedom and dignity of the individual. 1963
Hollywood for SANE Invitation The white and sky blue of the invitation offers hope and suggests that by standing together the organization’s mission to “lead mankind away from war and toward justice and peace” might be realized. 1960
Saul offered his design services to the various causes with which he was involved. His contributions ranged from invitations for the Southern California Peace Crusade and Plaintiffs Against the Blacklist, to stationery for the Great Issues Foundation and Transport-A-Child, and posters for Human Rights Week. In 1957 he designed a poster for a public meeting about nuclear policy at which the main speakers were Nobel Peace Prize winner, Dr. Linus Pauling, and California Congressman Chet Holifield, who sat on the government’s Joint Committee for Atomic Energy. Saul’s 1959 symbol for the Hollywood branch of the National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (SANE), which sought to keep nuclear power within safe and human bounds, indicated that the future lies in the hands of each and every one of us.29
An independent architecture curator and writer based in London and Paris, Elias is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of the London Architecture Diary and a columnist for the New York Times’ design blog. This issue, he brings us “five photography books that offer insights into the physical world we have created around us.”
Yu Ogata & Ichiro Ogata Ono
Living With Modernity Baan’s photographic odyssey shows the contemporary experience of living in the two great modernist urban projects of the 20th Century: Brasilia and Chandigarh.
Case Study Homes Bialobrzeski’s documentation of migrant worker housing in Baseco, near the Port of Manila, presents a handmade architecture of basic needs and survival for people searching for a home.
House This beautiful Japanese book takes the reader on a personal world tour, from an ultra baroque church in Mexico to abandoned houses in Namibia that are now inhabited by sand dunes.
Architecture & its Photography The godfather of architectural photography passed away recently, and this monograph shows his skills in bringing together architecture and lifestyle to create iconic imagery.
Empty Bottles The thread-bound photo book by the artists Thijs groot Wassink and Ruben Lundgren captures 24 bottle collectors scavenging against a backdrop of rapid urbanization in Beijing and Shanghai. Habana Libre photos by Michael Dweck
Pretty Packaging Whimsical cosmetic designs that are as fun as playing dress-up
Finally, fashionistas and design geeks will have something to talk about, thanks to Topshop’s latest makeup collection. The cheekily designed packaging features playful spots and stripes, hand-drawn using the line’s kohl pencils. “Using the products to create the dots, doodles, and patterns reflects the light-hearted approach to trying different looks,” says Karin Kleen, a designer at the British brand.
The globe-trotting design team traveled the world while coming up with the fall color palette. “On a trip to LA, I was inspired by the grungy look of the Melrose Avenue girls; they appeared so effortlessly cool with their ‘lived in’ smoky eyes and red lipstick,” says designer Lizzie Dawson. “And Tokyo—I love how the girls experiment with nail art and seem so unafraid of new, bold colors!” a
photo by heather talbert We asked the Designer: What is your favorite product in the line?
“I would have to say our Cream Blush in Neon Rose. It is the perfect shade of neon coral, ideal for a dewy look on the go! Also, my favorite lipstick is the candy pink Brighton Rock!”—lizzie dawson
Topshop Makeup, www.topshop.com
LISTEN UP: pianola citymusic
YEAR IN DESIGN
FOLLOW US ON A JOURNEY OF HISTORICAL HIGHLIGHTS IN THE DESIGN WORLD
Grand Central Terminal New York City’s Grand Central Terminal, also known as Grand Central Station, is rebuilt and reopens as the world’s largest train station. It contains a total number of 44 platforms with 67 tracks.
Armory Show The Armory Show opens,introducing modern art to dazed New Yorkers accustomed only to realistic art.
Rustless Steel Harry Brearley invents “rustless steel,” later to be called “stainless steel,” in Sheffield, England
All-Purpose Zipper Swedish engineer Gideon Sundback of Hoboken patents the all-purpose zipper
Woolworth Building The Woolworth Building opens, and is one of the oldest skyscrapers in New York City and a National Historic Landmark today.
CROSSWORD PUZZLE Arthur Wynne invents the first crossword puzzle and calls it a “word-cross puzzle.” DESIGN NOSTALGIA
Nike Waffle Shoes While other designers busy themselves with what cities look like, designer Akko Goldenbeld is more interested in finding out what they sound like. As a student at the prestigious Design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands, Goldenbeld began studying noise and silence in public space. “I was recording a lot of sounds in the city, but I couldn’t grasp the whole city,” Goldenbeld says. “I finally got inspired by the small music boxes with pins in them.” A music-box restorer advised that a cylindrical model of Eindhoven couldn’t be made at such a tiny scale, so Goldenbeld decided to scale his idea up. Pianola Citymusic, which the designer describes as “a piano with a cylinder with a city model on it,” was the result. After debuting Citymusic as his 2010 graduation project, Goldenbeld has, once again, aimed his sights even higher. “It would be most interesting having concerts with cities all over the world,” he says. “I am also curious if there are cultural differences hearable between cities.” a
What we love about it: Rubber poured into a waffle iron: effective, revolutionary, endlessly imitated. Vaguely appetizing. Why it's primed for a comeback: ZigTech, Shox, Shape-Ups, Heelys, those weird toe-shoe things— novelty soles are wearing thin. Homegrown chic is in. The Prefontaine ’stache can stay in the ’70s, though.
design jobs around the world
DESIGN CAN BE A LONELY TRADE. GET TO KNOW YOUR GLOBAL COMMUNITY—AND FIND OUT IF YOUR PAYCHECK MEASURES UP. This issue, it's Furniture and industrial designers.
Glendale, California, originally from Iran
Vancouver, British Columbia
Tel Aviv, Israel
Brooklyn, New York
Designer, owner of Mario Sabljak Design
Freelance product designer
Furniture designer and manufacturer
Furniture, environmental, and experience designer
Designers Should Never Stop Sketching.
DESIGN MUST EVOKE AN EMOTIONAL RESPONSE.
BE THE ORIGINATOR, NEVER THE DUPLICATOR.
INSPIRATION EXISTS BUT IT HAS TO FIND YOU WORKING.
Philips, Stalform, Audi, Red Bull
Mercedes Benz, city of Vancouver
Graduated with MA in industrial design from Folkwang University in Essen, Germany
Studying environmental design and furniture at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena
BA in commercial art, self-taught in design and woodworking
Bachelor of design from Holon Institute of Technology in Israel
Thorn Felicia, Foley and Cox, Fendi North America
BA in furniture design from the Rhode Island School of Design
Consumer electronics products for Philips; Clamp Chair; Fungi Lamps; Vika Table
Aria and Beat rocking stools showcased in ICFF 2011 and the Milan Furniture Fair; Honorable mention at International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta, GA
Various retail and commercial establishments in the Vancouver area
Lucid Dream, a solo exhibition at Periscope gallery; Cubed, a series of playful dressers exhibited in IMM Cologne 2009
i am still a student of design, learning from my colleagues, clients and employees.
National display campaigns for Fendi; Custom furniture for celebrity clients
Because your low-slung satchel won’t cut it when the going gets tough
ITS Tactical Discreet Messenger Bag Gen 2 $349
Brownbreath Messenger’s Urbanpack DWF ￦ ￦ ₩ 198 (KRW)
Porter X Isaora Limited Edition 25L Backpack £575
Topo Designs Klettersack $139
Mission Workshop The Rambler $239
photo by Liam Strain, Streetlevel Photography
Blue Skelve and Elizabeth sculptures by Circus Posterus
TOYS BY DESIGN
Circus Posterus A DIY Art and Design Collective
Jeremy Brautman writes about the intersection of art and pop culture
With sold out shows from Los Angeles to Tokyo, Brandt Peters and Kathie Olivas are two of today’s most distinctive independent toy designers. Their original characters mix sweetness with sideshow, achieving a nostalgic aesthetic that stands out in an industry dominated by trends. But designing toys isn’t always fun and games… The husband-and-wife team got started in the toy industry by licensing its work to other companies. While this opened doors, the gigs included horrible communication, dubious contracts, lack of control, and limited room for growth. “Artists want new markets, honesty, and equality,” said Peters. “No company even cared about these things.” Instead of fighting the lopsided system, Peters and Olivas focused on growing their fan base. They invested in equipment and developed their own lines. By 2009, steady growth allowed them to operate their own brand full time and also reach out to fellow toy designers. “When
Photography by Brandt Peters; Circus Posterus, www.circusposterus.com
you see someone new and filled with potential, you want to grab them and share everything you’ve learned the hard way,” Olivas says. Their collective, Circus Posterus, is now headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a place they call “inspiring.” Peters and Olivas act as collaborators, mentors, and producers to more than 15 members who share equipment, experience, and a fan base. They’ve traded overseas manufacturing for local rapid prototyping services, resulting in increased productivity. With last summer’s opening of the Stranger Factory retail and gallery space, Circus Posterus no longer needs a middleman to sell and exhibit its work. If their success has you flirting with the idea of entrepreneurship, Olivas offers this advice: “Do what you say you’ll do. Word spreads fast, and your reputation is everything.” “Try it all, even in the face of struggle,” Peters says. “If something doesn’t work, the right person or company may be right around the corner.” a
debra baxter Badass Crystal Jewelry
Inspired by Superman's Fortress of Solitude, designer Debra Baxter set out to create an absurdist sculptural piece and ended up launching a viral jewelry hit with her crystal brass knuckles. “I am in awe that nature and time can create such wonder,” says Baxter of her mineral obsession. A fascination with geology, rocks and their healing power steered her to incorporate heavy materials with light, such as alabaster and crystal. Fusing the juxtaposing materials together, Baxter ended up producing what she refers to as a “a weapon and a healing tool in one.” After being flooded with inquiries about mass production, Baxter has now launched rock and crystal jewelry line called DB/CB (Debra Baxter/Crystal Bomb), which features bold pieces similar to the brass knuckles, yet includes more wearable items, as well. a PORTRAIT BY ANDY REYNOLDS
DESERT ISLAND DESIGN
If stranded, Debra would bring...
For sculpting and building.
Designed by Rick Owens. It could double as a pillow.
I like the look of folded paper in porcelain, and love [origami film] Between the Folds.
DB/CB, $80-1,700, www.debrabaxtercrystalbomb.bigcartel.com Clockwise from top: Quartz pendant, $170; Take Your Medicine bracelet , $1,700; Ring in portrait, price upon request
ASK THE EXPERT Still wasting your time on Yahoo! Answers? Let our experts eliminate the guesswork by answering your most puzzling design queries
I've been reading various menswear blogs and mags, and I'm seeing a lot of man-jewelry lately. I've never really been one to accessorize, but part of me is intrigued by the possibility. Do you have any good general rules for a guy looking to step his accessory game up?
There are really only two elegant forms of jewelry for men: cuff links and watches. Step beyond those and you’re getting yourself involved in a world of potential hurt. So let’s address links and watches first.
G.P., Raleigh, NC
Inset: Jesse Thorn, radio host/ producer and style writer
With cufflinks, the most important issues are that they be made from genuine precious materials and that they be double-sided. That means silver or gold, not silver-tone and goldtone, and none of those swiveling toggle post things. Why have one side beautiful and the other side an ugly toggle? The secondhand market is flooded with beautiful cuff links, but if you don’t want to hit eBay, try Kent Wang. He makes simple, beautiful links at prices anyone can afford. For watches, simpler is better as well. If money’s no object, you can buy yourself an IWC or a Patek Philipe and call it a day. If it is an object, try something simpler, like a Stowa Flieger aviator’s watch or a Junghans watch, designed by Bauhaus and modern design legend Max Bill. If you’re looking
for something casual, try a generic military watch from your local Army-Navy store, or one of Braun’s recently reissued quartz watches for a more modern look. Resist the trend of installing clock movements in pewter plates and calling the result a wristwatch; your watch should be proportional to your wrist. As far as the rest goes, you can join the leather bracelet trend if you like. Keep it simple and masculine and you’ll be fine, at least as long as the trend lasts. Bottega Veneta sells a few fantastically beautiful braided leather wristbands that are nice enough to wear with a good watch but not excessively feminine. There are also a million similar products at lower price points on eBay and Etsy. Necklaces and rings have a place if you’re a male model or in the waste-management business in New York, but beyond that they’re pretty gauche. Jesse Thorn, radio host & style blogger Jesse Thorn is the host and producer of The Sound of Young America and Jordan, Jesse, Go!. He founded The Sound of Young America in 2000, while a student at the University of California at Santa Cruz. In 2007, the show began to be distributed by Public Radio International, making Jesse the youngest national host in public radio history. In addition to his work at MaximumFun.org, he hosts and helps produce Put This On, a video series and blog about men’s style. He also hosted The Grid, a culture recommendation program on IFC. Jesse lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two dogs.
side. To clarify, the subject should be between the window and the foam core/white sheet.
I don’t have the budget to hire a professional photographer, but I want to be able to take at least semi studio-quality photos of my work. What basic tips can you offera person with a decent camera and a willingness to learn?
The basic factor in making a great photograph is beautiful light. Fortunately, we all have access to light, a.k.a. the sun. This beautiful flaming mass of fire provides us with different qualities of light, depending on the time of day, time of the year, cloud coverage, and other variables.
For a more poppy, edgy, and crisp look, bring your subject outside in full sun, along with a white foam core board and play with the placement of the subject in relation to the sun, using the white foam core as a light reflector to manipulate, bounce, and deflect light. Observing light in your everyday routine is a great way to start learning the basics of photography.
C.M., PHiladelphia, PA Inset: Erika Dufour, photographer
For a breezy, soft light, place your subject next to a window. (To soften the light even more, have some sheer curtains diffusing the window light.) Then, put either a white sheet or foam board on the opposite side of the subject to bounce light back, thus filling in the shadow
Have a question that only an expert can answer? Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Erika Dufour, photographer Erika Dufour was born in Quebec City, Canada in 1973. At the age of five, she spent three and a half wonderful years eating pastries and frolicking in the Bois De Boulogne in France. Since discovering photography and ballet in high school in Illinois, she hasn’t stopped. A former ballet student at Columbia College, she continues to incorporate a physical aspect into her imagery. www.erikadufour.com
Lever When pushed, depresses an internal rod that breaks two release valves.
PIN Locks the lever in place. Pull the pin to use the extinguisher.
HOW DOES IT WORK? Handle
Clearly not a fan of the “roof is on fire, let the motherfucka’ burn” mantra, English chemist Ambrose Godfrey invented the first fire extinguisher in 1723. Today most extinguishers fall under one of three types: air-pressurized water, CO2, and dry chemical. Though each propellant fights a different type of fire, they’re all based on the same basic design that remains relatively unchanged over the past 300 years. The thinking among extinguisher engineers, is, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. After all, play with fire too much, and you’re going to get burned. a
Although they’re uncommon, grenade-style extinguishers do exist. They explode on contact when hurled into a fire, spraying a five-square-meter area with flame-killing dry chemical powder. Bombs away!
n.: a honed perspective or outlook. When to use it: When you’re trying to explain a particular designer’s point of view, but just can’t find the words, try “sensibility.” How to use it: “Vignelli’s sleek typefaces capture his modern design sensibility.”
demystifying EVERYDAY GADGETS
Fighting fire with…a bomb
Gas Cartridge One broken valve opens the gas cartridge, releasing compressed gas into the propellant tank via the siphon tube.
The Fire Extinguisher
Nozzle The second broken valve opens the nozzle, expelling the now-pressurized propellant onto the fire.
Pressure Gauge Measures the extinguisher’s internal pressure. If it reads, “recharge,” then it’s time for a maintenance check.
Interiority n.: internal emotional state or psyche. Why people use it: Often inserted in cliché marketing phrases to insinuate the feelings of inanimate objects. “The table’s sleek chrome legs express its minimalist interiority.” Why you shouldn't use it: The last time we checked, designed objects didn’t have inner thoughts.
ALARM PLAYLIST: Seven of the best songs from 2011 01 ADEBISI SHANK: “Micro Machines” from This is the Second Album from a Band Called Adebisi Shank (sargent house) 02 BEEP: “Robo Pup” from City of the Future (THIRD CULTURE) 03 Maggie Björklund: “The Anchor Song” from Coming Home (BLOODSHOT) 04 OTHER LIVES: “For 12” from Tamer Animals (tbd) 05 SEPTICFLESH: “The Vampire from Nazareth” from The Great Mass (season of mist) 06 sole & the skyrider band: “We Will Not Be Moved” from Hello, Cruel World (fake four) 07 WORLD’S END GIRLFRIEND: “Teenage Ziggy” from Seven Idiots (Erased Tapes) Want more music? Flip to page 161 for this issue’s recommended albums.
A peek inside the world's BEST CREATIVE SPACES
A Northwestern Design Nook In the middle of the Pacific Northwest is a beacon of light: the lantern-like studio of an artist who knows that even in the dead of winter, her studio will be a well-lit fortress for creativity. The compact and sustainably designed space almost totally blends into the surrounding forestry save for its desired effect: to be a “fully-lit box” where the artist can focus on her watercolor, collage, and letterpress creations.
With a media room, exercise room, and kitchenette, Greene Partners Architecture and Design created the space to be as comfortable as a home, and designed it so that the studio could actually be a full-time residence someday if needed. Outside, they ensured that their design altered the surrounding environment as little as possible. “We are ruralists,” says principal Joe Greene, “and rural buildings are practical, simple, and utilitarian. This studio reflects that philosophy.” Combining the windows of a commercial building with handcrafted lighting and the comforts of a home make this artist’s studio fully livable—even in the harsh winters that blow over San Juan Island. a photos by jk lawrence
Roof overhang: The lighting of the studio was “critical” for the artist, and pairing softened cedar with industrialized lighting structures and aluminum windows was the perfect way to complement the machine-made elements in a woodsy environment.
2. Rear-entry path: Fir trees surround the house on three sides, save for the rocky trail connecting the artist's home to the studio. Photo by Nancy Greene. 3. Façade: Resting on wire-thin rods, sheer colored blinds allow the structure to both project and absorb light.
4. Kitchenette: No starving artists hereâ€” Doug-fir cabinets store victuals in a fully stocked kitchenette.
5. Wood-burning stove: Where the heated cement floor fails, the rustic space heater of yore triumphs in warming the all-wood studio space.
born electrical services 14037 Maccoys ct. Edison, Wa , 98232 5
DESIGN IN WEIRD PLACES
discovering the world’s wildest structures
These snowbound structures are designed to make mountain life look like a walk in the park —Justin Ray
THE HUSKI APARTMENTS Location: FALLS CREEK, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA Architect: ELENBERG FRASIER ARCHITECTURE Based on the unique radial symmetry of a snowflake, the Huski Apartments’ geometric arrangement make them capable of withstanding large amounts of snowfall by spreading it out amongst multiple eaves. Using the structure of snow to defeat snow itself? Genius.
church of st. john the baptist Location: mogno, maggia valley, switzerland Architect: mario botta architetto In 1986, the people of Mogno, Switzerland, were devastated to find their 350-year-old church of St. John the Baptist (San Giovanni Battista) destroyed by an avalanche. Thankfully, legendary Swiss architect Mario Botta took it upon himself to rebuild it. The new structure is an exercise in defiance and duality, alternating layers of Riveo granite and white Peccia marble—both locally sourced—to form the cylindrical, fortress-like walls. Now, town residents can bask in divine light while thumbing their noses at Mother Nature.
FACTS & FIGURES
Design by the numbers
The first local green-building program is established in Austin, TX
The square footage of the largest Energy Star building in the US
Location: ARLBERG, AUSTRIA Architect: DRIENDL ARCHITECTS Rearing its elegant glass-and-steel head from the slopes of St. Anton am Arlberg is a ski lift called Galzigbahn. Its Ferris wheel design allows skiers to enter gondolas at ground level. Not only is it convenient and accessible, it’s efficient, too; it can carry 2,200 people every hour, meaning you’ll have more time to gaze at the man-made wonder from on high.
The number of LEED-certified projects in the US
THE WHITE HOUSE The country's most cleaned-
up and greened-up residential site, according to the EPA
All statistics gathered from the EPA.
Bare-Chested American Design
HOW BRANDS LIKE ABERCROMBIE AND FITCH ARE WINNING OVER THE WORLD SIMPLY BY BEING THEMSELVES
When Abercrombie and Fitch opened its brand-new flagship store on Paris’ famed Avenue des Champs-Élysées, it did it the American way: by flying in 100 surfer-type male models from around the world to stand shirtless in front of the store, baring the requisite A&F washboard abs. The models stood on the historied shopping avenue, hooting and hollering at passersby. One might assume that the Parisians—famous for not covering up their frosty feelings towards Americans—were turned off by this brazen marketing move. So just how did the locals respond? With hundreds of French A&F fans lining up around the block just to get in to the store’s front door. Abercrombie quickly became the hottest new club in town, and the hardest to get into. It was a ballsy move for the quintessentially American company entering into a foreign market—and the bold decisions didn’t stop with this PR stunt. A&F bucked the textbook notion that in order to be successful abroad, you need to adapt to the local culture. Instead, the brand is following the same methodology that it uses here in the States to capture consumer attention: it kept its California-cool clothing style the same and hired employees that fit its impossibly beautiful archetype. A&F’s refusal to assimilate to the European culture has resulted in astounding sales. The company expects its international sales to comprise 30 percent of its overall sales by 2012—a 10 percent jump from the previous year, according to the Wall Street Journal. So, what is it about this American brand that has the French in a fashion tizzy? Global consumers crave authentic American style and design, which plays an important role in selling our products, services, and environments in foreign markets. To them, it all represents the unique promises of America: the land of opportunity, freedom of self and self-expression, freshness, youth, vitality, and the American dream. And maintaining American style is a competitive advantage for our companies and brands. Apple, Harmon Kardon, and Ralph Lauren are all examples of unmistakably American brands that are highly sought after overseas. American automakers successfully sell cars throughout the world, each one representing the seductive possibility of the literal and metaphorical open road. The draw of Americana even applies to architecture: American firm Cannon Design often does work in China, and it has found that Chinese clients appreciate its attention to detail, investigation of needs in a project, and especially its willingness to take risks—something that’s staunchly American. The “Go West” mentality remains with the US today, driving us to continually search for new ways of interactVisit www.imagestyledesign.com for more details on Fischer's lectures
Global consumers crave authentic American style and design, which plays an important role in selling our products, services, and environments in foreign markets. ing with the world. We are still a relatively young country, with a pioneering spirit that continues to make a statement domestically and abroad. After all, the world’s most influential computer company proudly stamps “Designed in California” on the outside of its boxes, regardless of where in the world it is made. a
By Steven Fischer, Lecturer of Image, Style & Design at Northwestern University and leader of StyleSalon Chicago Illustration by Scotty Reifsnyder
Ballsy Marketing in a Cutthroat Industry
Managing Editor Kristin Lamprecht chats with design entrepreneurs getting it done. This time, we focus on bold moves and pimping out your product.
“We’re here to talk to the editor.” Designers Norman Teague and Agnieszka Kulon walked into our office with a purpose—and without an appointment. But it didn’t matter. It was clear that the duo was on a mission, and had no time to waste by being bashful or by scheduling something. Fortunately, I had time to chat. “Do you have a conference table where we can show you our presentation?” Teague asked. Teague, an architecture teacher and furniture designer, and Kulon, a photographer and fashion designer, got straight to the point: they had recently collaborated on a line of jackets made entirely from Tyvek—a material more commonly found in new homes than in new clothes. They claimed their all-white, utilitarian windbreakers were the perfect weatherproof jacket for men and women living in the Windy City. After months of designing and testing, Teague and Kulon's jackets were ready to go, and now they were in full-on promotion mode. “…and it is easily packable, and able to be worn when riding a bike…” Teague pitched their product while Kulon demonstrated its many uses. Although Teague and Kulon didn’t have fancy marketing materials or a flashy website as visual aids, they didn’t need it. These entrepreneurs already came armed with the best marketing tool: a strong belief in their new product. And they knew they had to get out there and start the conversation. Because if they didn't, who would? By the end of their simple presentation, whether I liked their jacket design or not, I definitely appreciated their gumption. “Thank you so much for talking with us,” Kulon said while she gathered her stuff. And without missing a beat, she added: “Now, tell us, when should we be following up with you?” For many designers, they don’t want to release their product until all of the flaws are worked out. Was that the case with your designs? AK: You kind of want to protect your idea in the beginning; you don’t want to spread it around…I totally understand the privacy about that. But there’s a point when you have to get loud about it. Otherwise what is the point? You’re not designing it only for yourself. Why is it important to promote your own product? NT: Even if you have a great design sitting on your dining room table, if you don’t generate any sort of PR, it doesn’t generate any sort of revenue, either. AK: You cannot be shy about what you are doing.
There’s a point when you have to get loud about it. Otherwise what is the point? You’re not designing it only for yourself. What advice would you give to other new entrepreneurs starting out? AK: Roll your sleeves up, and get ready for hard work! NT: Do what you love to do, and your reward will follow. Do it really hard, in a Kanye West kind of way. a
By Kristin Lamprecht Illustration by Scott Allen Hill
Visit www.wix.com/normaga/final for more details on Normaga’s creations
Advice from an Architect
Zen, Trust, & Amateur Magic
At age 14, principal architect Mark Elster knew he wanted a career in design. Now, after 25 years in the biz, he shares why architecture isn't his entire life Don’t look; see. Don’t hear; listen. It’s kind of Zen-sounding, but you cannot be a good architect without seeing that which others overlook and without listening to what’s being said.
BY LESLey STANLEY PORTRAIT BY ANDREW WAITS
Part of having a pleasant home is being a good neighbor. I’m not comfortable with ignoring the context of a neighborhood while designing. I don’t want to create a white elephant, and too many architects don't seem to care about this. I don’t think that’s a humanistic or neighborly way to behave.
An architect should never become complacent. Our technology, culture, jurisdictional laws, and competition never rest, therefore, neither should we.
Architects must be autodidactic—to be able to teach themselves things without the aid of others. You must become your best teacher, because even though most of the time the information is out there to solve the problems we confront, there’s no one there to sit you down and tell you how to do it. You have to
No problem is unsolvable. It begins with having self-confidence won through experience. Most of the time, studying the problem in great detail and concentrating on alternative solutions to discover other factors you didn’t know about solves most problems. However, I can recount a couple of occasions
invent new ways of thinking about a problem and figure it out on your own.
An architect should never become complacent. Our technology, culture, jurisdictional laws, and competition never rests, therefore, neither should we. 1
Estate Transformation Project Completed in 2009, the Estate Transformation Project includes the full renovation of a 11,500-squarefoot home located on Lake Washington, near Seattle. With the addition of 3,500 square feet, the oncecontemporary home, built in 1991, now blends the family’s Italian and Japanese heritages for a unique timelessness. “Mark is able to communicate extremely well with clients,” says Rick Conces of Integrity Home Integration, who revamped the estate’s network, home theater, audio, and security systems. “He is very honest and extremely sincere, which I really like about him. In terms of a professional, he is top-notch.”
At a Glance Milestones in the career of Mark Elster, AOME Architects 1983: Receives Bachelor of Environmental Design degree from the University of Washington. 1985: Begins career as architectural designer and project manager at Anderson, Koch & Duarte Architects in Seattle.
1991: Becomes partner at AOME Architects.
1986: Helps to cofound AOME Architects with colleagues and fellow architects Mark Anderson, Mark Olason, and Dennis Marsh.
1995: Finishes partial renovation and remodel alongside Dennis Marsh, project architect, of the historical Boyer Estate, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. (1)
1988: Receives master’s degree in architecture and certificate in historical preservation from the University of Washington.
2009: Finishes Estate Transformation Project, a full renovation of an 11,500-square-foot residence located on Lake Washington near Seattle. (2–3)
2009: Wins invitational design competition to design a 16,000-square-foot residence on Lake Washington. Construction began in June 2011. (4) 2011: Construction begins on a 6,000-square-foot residence on Mercer Island in Washington. (5)
Boyer Estate photo by Marshall Johnson; Estate Transformation photos by Mike Jensen; Lake Washington residence photo by Benjamin Benschneider; Mercer Island residence rendering by AOME
S teve L opeS blacksmith
design solutions in metal
Working with Elster: “Mark has built this quality of being a student and teacher at the same time. He loves to learn and pass on what he’s learned from others. When you work with Mark, he asks a lot of questions, and I really appreciate his ability to try to understand what I’m trying to do [in my line of work]. He’s very humble, and he truly wants what’s best for each project.” —Steve Lopes, Steve Lopes Blacksmith, Port Townsend, Washington
when I had to walk away from a problem and come back to it later. That’s when the subconscious is able to look at the overview and produce a solution almost magically. Be patient. Clients can make you groan when they are harming their own prospects, either unintentionally or intentionally. I take slow, deep breathes and tell myself to slow down. Clients aren’t trying to make your life difficult. They have legitimate reasons for doing what they’re doing. I do my best to help them out of self-sabotaging behavior. Quickly build a rapport with the client. A really good architect knows design is the easy part, it’s the intangible things that are the toughest to master. Early on, you need to illustrate in advance how you will take care of the client, their time, money, and brain cells. If you can give them a glance at that, you should land the project more often than not. Trust is a two-way street. I have trusted people, families, individuals, and developers who didn’t warrant that trust. I ignored the warning signs and made costly mistakes. Stop problems before they snowball, and learn to say “no.” I love making things for people. Architecture is the ultimate expression of conceiving something and boldly, unabashedly making your ideas manifest. Many of us are able to think up ideas, but are rarely able to execute them when it comes to making physical objects. Fortunately, I have the ability, resources, and access to the talented people and tools needed to build virtually anything I can conceive of. In my career, I get so much out of the collaborative experience of working with a whole orchestra of people who also enjoy making things for others. It’s one of the great joys of the profession.
72 DENNY AVENUE PORT TOWNSEND WA 98368
t e l e p h o n e 360 385 5448 STEVELOPESBLACKSMITH.COM
Strive to be well rounded. When I was in college, I decided I wouldn’t let architecture become my whole life. At that time, a significant portion of students were obsessed with architecture— it was their whole life. That experience and others in life have taught me to not let myself be absorbed by any one thing. I treasure the time I have with the people I care about— my family, friends, and peers. Focusing only on business can drive those things out of your life. Having multiple pursuits keeps you physically and mentally young. To relax, I pursue my hobbies, which are a form of pleasurable work. I’m a photographer, furniture builder, gardener, and amateur magician. When I need a break from my hobbies, I bike, mountain climb, volunteer, and read. When I’m not doing those things, I love to literally do nothing to decompress. a
INtegrIty Home INtegrAtIoN professional home technology solutions
1321 120th Avenue Northeast Bellevue, Washington 98005
Advice from an Interior Designer
cool & confident Montreal interior designer René Desjardins discusses picking a team with talent, and why designers should consider getting a minor in psychology Designers need to apply a little psychology to convince clients to adopt your ideas. If you can express your aesthetic choices rationally, then clients will usually support your decisions. But sometimes a little more persuasion is necessary. I recently worked with a powerful businessman who was not used to being told “no.” When I felt his judgment was wrong, I didn’t tell him directly. Instead, I’d present him with a series of alternatives that he could choose from, and then ask for his opinion. I work collaboratively with sub-contractors. I surround myself with the best people in the trade, and listen seriously to them, because their specialized knowledge can often add to my ideas. We push one another to go further, and the end result is a product that everyone involved can be proud of. When I find the right people, I do everything I can to keep them. When choosing my design team, I look for people with talent, with an eye for good design. You either have it or you don’t. Organization, responsibility, and the capacity for teamwork are also important. The key to creating a unique project is deep listening. Every project has its own particular givens: the style of a house, the site, the clients’ lifestyle. When you truly respect and respond to these conditions, it forces you to be creative, and by necessity you will create something unique. If you use cut-and-paste, you’re doomed.
Being an interior designer takes confidence. Once you’ve decided on the key ideas and direction of a project, you have to be solid to see it through in all the details. You’re the one driving the show. Don’t work with clients that you don’t love. I’ve learned to listen to my first instincts about a client, my gut reaction to them. To work well with someone, you need to have affinities, to be
Interview by Kristen Eichenmuller Portrait by Vinna Laudico Architecture photos by André Doyon Above: René Desjardins
Jean Bearnar Brochecouste and his team at Batimat handled all of the plumbing in the penthouse as they have on most of Desjardins’s projects over the last twenty years. Determined to match the elegance of the homes with high-end bathing fixtures, Brochecouste says that it is Desjardins’s “unfailing professionalism and his concern for excellence and creativity” that has kept their partnership so strong.
Designers need to apply a little psychology to convince clients to accept your ideas. If you can express your aesthetic choices rationally, then clients will usually support your decisions.
Desjardins Designs a Modern Montreal Penthouse With magnificent views of downtown Montreal, Mount Royal, and the St. Lawrence River, this penthouse is all about the city. Glass charcoal granite countertops and a waxy French walnut dining room table act as reflectors of the city’s skyline, while window treatments made with threads of stainless steel disappear to reveal the urban landscape. Full-length windows, warm beige wooden floors, and a color scheme with shades of white, gray, and brown complete the penthouse’s sleek look.
Don’t work with clients that you don’t love. I’ve learned to listen to my first instincts about a client, my gut reaction to them.
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4790 WEST JEAN-TALON OUEST MONTREAL 514 735 5747 WWW.BATIMAT.NET
on the same level intellectually, to share core values. Creation is an act of love, so it’s a necessity to start from a relationship based on common ground and mutual respect. If I could create any space, I would make a glass box in the woods. It would be a contemporary house, protected to the north and open to nature and views on all the other sides. In fact, I just bought a piece of property, so this will become a reality in the near future. a
Stressed about what to give this holiday season? Fret no more—the gift guide is here. We’ve done the hard work (sorry, “Santa”) so you can look like a generous genius. Photos by Doug Human Illustration by Chris Burnett
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Refreshing frasca Redesigning and expanding a James Beard award-winning restaurant isn’t easy, but figuring out what to order might be just as difficult Explain for us the clients’ goals with the renovation. SB: The overall project was revisiting and renovating Frasca as well as incorporating the new restaurants Pizzeria Locale and Caffé, all of which work out of the same kitchen as Frasca.
Three projects in one—that’s a big undertaking. What were the biggest challenges? AN: The owners wanted to make sure we could keep Frasca
open as long as possible and reopen them as fast as we could—and I think we succeeded. It was only shut down for a six-week period, and in that time, we had to remodel their dining room and rebuild their kitchen completely. We had hundreds of people working round-the-clock. How would you describe Frasca’s aesthetic redesign? SB: We like to create timeless spaces and use materi-
als that aren’t too trendy. The overall space is clean and contemporary, but it has some eclectic pieces that give it a comfortable feel, like using reclaimed walnut from old train cars for the flooring. Frasca had very high ceilings, so we added beams and custom chandeliers that pulled the scale of the space down. We also added a private dining room that gives it a smaller, more intimate feel. How is designing and constructing a restaurant different from any other space?
AN: With restaurant renovations, you have to consider
pretty complex mechanical systems—ensuring that systems will function, that everything is waterproof. We have to reinforce areas of bars that are used aggressively; for the life of the restaurant, we have to constantly consider durability.
Now that the project is complete, what do you take away from it? SB: One of the pleasures is that we get to see the users and
By Jenny Seyfried Photos by Ron POllard
Above: Amory Narvaes and Sarah Brown at Frasca
their enjoyment of the space after it’s completed. Restaurants are a lot of work, but the end result is a celebrated space.
Amory Narvaes looks towards Frasca’s kitchen and laughs, realizing the design process has come full-circle. The chefs are designing meals within the design he and architect ...and what do you order? Sarah Brown created for the Boulder, Colorado restaurant. “Seeing the chefs and staff prepare the meals and bring them AN: The menu changes all of the time. It’s always different, out of their new kitchen are what makes these unique proj- and everything is good. ects more than worthwhile,” Narvaes says. We chatted with SB: I like everything at Frasca! Pizzeria Locale has a version Narvaes, of Western Construction, and Brown, of Semple of a Margherita pizza that has spicy prosciutto on it that is Brown Design, about the ins and outs of designing for dining. my favorite. a
bureau experts epstein joslin architects Partners in business and life, Deborah Epstein and Alan Joslin describe six remarkable experiences that continue to inspire them today
Husband-and-wife team Alan Joslin and Deborah Epstein met as graduate students in the MIT Department of Architecture and have been collaborating ever since. Along with fellow architect and business partner Ray Porfilio, they are principals of the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based firm Epstein Joslin Architects, Inc. Although each brings different
talents to the table, together they’ve shared some unforgettable experiences all over the world. Take a look at a few of Epstein and Joslin's favorite spots around the globe and why they’ve influenced their architecture. Portrait by Simon Simard Travel photos by Alan Joslin
Above: Joslin and Epstein, pictured with principal Ray Porfilio, are both artists in their own right—he with sketching and she with weaving. Both are represented by the Mercury Gallery in Rockport, MA.
Epstein and Joslin put their inspiration to work in their work. Take a look at one of their projects that was influenced by their travels.
1 THE GLOBE THEATER, LONDON, ENGLAND For Joslin, the environment of the theater has always been a place of extraordinary magic: the experience of transforming place through light, illusion, and character acting; the inspiration from the actors’ craft and skill being laid bare in live performance; and the transference of energy between the accompanying audience members. “As architect, scenic designer, and long-retired actor, I have found the Elizabethan theater form, as represented by London’s Globe, one of the most exciting places to experience theatre,” he says. “Artistry and community are inextricably linked in an ideal and intimate composition.”
Quarries, Carrara, Italy According to Epstein, “the opened earth, the snowy inside of the mountain, the echoing cavern,” is a vision of the sublime. “Carrara’s history is awe-inspiring,” she says. “It birthed the Pantheon and Michelangelo’s David. Its structural strength and hardness, coupled with its plasticity, allows it to become breathing bodies and rippling dresses, Gothic cathedrals and Italian butcher tables.” Quarries in Carrara and elsewhere provide unending inspiration for Epstein’s architecture and weaving. And they both say they take the opportunity to swim in abandoned quarries whenever the opportunity presents itself, especially in the early mornings when a quarry “feels like a cathedral full of fog.”
Floating Peak House
Western suburbs, Boston, MA
“Stone’s structural strength, coupled with its plasticity, allows it to become breathing bodies and rippling dresses, Gothic cathedrals and Italian butcher tables.”
The firm thoughtfully designed a single-family residence within the historic gardens of a former estate in Boston. Fieldstone walls add privacy to the perimeter, enclosing the gardens and entertainment spaces of the house from the driveway. Natural materials such as limestone and timber harmonize with views of the garden through the floorto-ceiling windows. An atrium staircase, which is artfully shaded by solar-powered glass-tube hot-water collectors, leads to secluded family sleeping and study areas to the left, and a private nanny and guest suite to the right. Energy-efficient features include thin photovoltaic film on the south-facing roof to help power the geothermal heat pump that provides much of the heating and cooling for the house.
3 VERNAZZA, CINQUE TERRE, ITALY Joslin says he is drawn to the small hilltop and seaside villages of the Italian countryside as a true form of organic architecture:
a tight weaving of human settlement in ity—are all constructed and articulated in balance with the natural and tended land- built form. “The hilltop town of Vernazza is scape, encapsulated within an easily com- a particularly striking example,” Joslin says. prehensible scale. The basic needs and as- “It can be viewed so beautifully from a hilltop pirations of humanity—security, commerce, promenade amongst the surrounding (and collective celebration, individual expres- fragrant) vineyards, dramatically entwined sion, spiritual and institutional communal- within and between earth and sea.”
4 IMPERIAL VILLA AND GARDENS OF KATSURA, JAPAN Raised in northern California, Joslin has a special affinity for architecture that respects and merges with its natural setting in form, organization, and material. And it is in the Japanese villas of Kyoto, particularly in the gardens and Imperial Villa of Katsura, where he finds the most striking examples of this. “A total composition of interior and exterior spaces, shaped by careful material assembly and craft, guides one through a controlled procession that reveals selected vistas of an idealized landscape, offering a captivating analogue of a harmonious and respectful settling of man within the world,” Joslin says.
6 FARMERS’ MARKET, AVIGNON, FRANCE
5 ANNI ALBERS Epstein’s long-standing interest in the Bauhaus and textiles led her to the work of Anni Albers. In that creative community of the Bauhaus, architecture and the art of everyday life were merged through the collaboration of artists of many disciplines, an attitude that is consonant with Epstein’s fascination with the Gesamtkunstwerk (total work of art). Albers’ personal explorations in weaving push the boundaries of design, leading to innovative structures using old, new, and unexpected materials and color relationships in rigorous yet open-ended geometric configurations. “It is this spirit, at once intensely disciplined and playfully free, that I try to embody in my work,” Epstein says.
Farmers’ markets are Epstein’s color laboratories. For her, they are the perfect place to compose a gift of ochre cumin, rusty paprika, and sparkly salt; or a dinner party with red, orange, and yellow beets, bumpy green cauliflower, early spring greens,
raggedy sunflowers, and shiny baguettes; or a shawl of the subtly colored merino skeins, from creamy white to chocolate brown. “All of these color and texture schemes eventually find their way into our projects and, of course, my woven work,” she says. a
Project photos by Robert Benson; Anni Albers image © 2011 The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Shalin Liu Performance Center, for Rockport Music
Epstein Joslin built a contemporary 335-seat concert hall within a new structure, where the exterior recalls in style the Historic Haskins Building it replaced on the main street of Rockport, MA. The worn exterior of the mercantile edifice has been returned to its 1845 Second Empire splendor to enhance the charm of its village setting. The interior has been reconfigured as a worldclass performance venue, and is the new home of the Rockport Chamber Music Festival. The oceanfront faĂ§ade has been reshaped to open all public rooms to the harbor, adding a new, joyful, and scaled face to the townâ€™s harbor edge.
Italian engineered oak crystal floor
fill in the blank john senhauser architects Even with 40 years of award-winning design under his belt, John Senhauser isn’t ready to give up yet. The laid-back architect talks mind-blowing structures, why failure is never the end, and his once-potential career as a cowboy.
By Lesley Stanley Portrait by Claudia Susana
BEING AN ARCHITECT MEANS: Being dedicated to articulating the “built” environment, and to establishing a meaningful or coherent relationship between the parts and the parts of the whole. It’s all about asking the right questions. A STRUCTURE THAT BLOWS MY MIND IS:
The chapel of Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchamp, France. I’ve never physically visited the building, but I really became interested in it when I was a student. It was the first time I realized one could infuse a project with a whole myriad of meaning, from symbols, to light, to religious artifacts. Also, the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, which I
Every home should have: A rescued dog.
A look at John Senhauser’s projects. Above: Walnut Woods residence Right: Glass-enclosed projecting volume contains the meditation space, photo by Scott Hisey; Kitchen and living room, photo by Craig Thompson.
visited 12 years ago. It’s simply sublime how it captures and uses light in a way that hasn’t been duplicated anywhere else I’ve ever seen. IF I WEREN’T AN ARCHITECT, I’D BE: Miserable or lost. When I was four or five years old, I wanted to be a cowboy, but once I knew what an architect was, at age 10, that’s when I decided that’s what I wanted to be. I enjoyed
making model airplanes and cars, and it got to the point where I had leftover parts from kits, and I started designing and creating my own things. EVERY HOME SHOULD HAVE: A rescued dog. Your whole perception of things will change, and you understand what unconditional love is about. I’ve had a rescued dog, Cedric, for
A designer should never: Fear either misconception or failure, for without these, there’s no possibility of discovery or invention.
nine and a half years. I literally took him out of the street and took him home. All of us in the office have a dog—we’re dog people. The Palisades of Mount Adams Totaling approximately 33,000 square feet, the Palisades of Mount Adams is a 10-unit condominium complex reflective of Cincinnati’s urban surroundings with views of the city’s skyline and riverfront. The building gets its unique “stair-step” look and shape from the zoning restrictions placed on Senhauser during the designing stages. “It was complex to execute because there were so many constraints in a tight site,” Senhauser says. Developer Charlie Postow of Vail Terra, LLC wanted The Palisades to be reflective of Senhauser’s other high-caliber design, which meant no expense was spared, and nothing was held back. “We used top-of-the-line materials and some of the best known tradesmen in the Midwest,” Postow says. As a result, the condominiums have become a unique landmark in the Mt. Adams neighborhood and a feather in Senhauser’s design cap.
A DESIGNER SHOULD NEVER: Fear either
misconception or failure, for without these, there’s no possibility of discovery or invention.
I’VE NEVER BEEN GOOD AT: Basketball. I’m
short, and I can’t jump very high. But realistically, I’m not good at saying “no.” It stems from the fact that I truly believe there are many shades of gray. I have to investigate all possibilities before I could arrive to some absolute like “no.” I’M HAPPIEST WHEN: I’m working. I love what I do, and that in itself has its own rewards. I’m not interested in retiring. I’M OBSESSED WITH: Detail. Active detailing
separates good buildings from architecture, in the sense that good buildings perform necessary functions. But when you can reconcile everything in typical economical terms and still find you have something left, something that embodies community spirit, uplifts your senses, or brings new meaning to your life, then I think architecture exists. a
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The great american garage Architect B. Alex Miller explains why the garage is more than just a place to keep your car
By Nalina moses Portrait by Dusdin Condren
What do Apple, Google, Barbie, Mickey Mouse, the pacemaker, and the Ramones have in common? They were all created in garages, of course. In addition to our cars, the ordinary American garage has sheltered ideas, ambitions, and inventions that don’t fit so neatly within the confines of middle-class American life. Brooklyn-based architect and writer B. Alex Miller, a principal at Taylor and Miller, takes a closer look at this unsung space in his forthcoming book, The Great American Garage.
Above: Jeff Taylor and B. Alex Miller. His book, The Great American Garage, will be published by MIT Press in the fall of 2012
Miller began researching the suburban, residential American garage for his master’s thesis in architecture school, and then, still
fascinated, took up the study again six years later. What first grabbed him was the way the garage was pictured in pop culture, like the scene in American Beauty when actor Kevin Spacey, who portrays an upstanding family man, retreats to his garage to lift weights and smoke pot. “When you start to question why this space is portrayed this way, you begin to more fully understand the critical role that the garage plays in suburbia,” Miller says. “It is the space that is meant to be in the shadows— hidden for the most part. But it also happens to create this huge gash in the suburban house’s façade. When the large door is opened, a whole world of secrets is revealed.”
GARAGE-INSPIRED SALON? Taylor and Miller used their muse, the garage, to design the Sanctuary Salon in Brooklyn, NY. The project’s design is based on the use of plywood storage shelf, often found in basements and garages. General contractor Alma C.T. did the millwork for the salon, and describes the experience of working with Taylor and Miller as “out of the ordinary.” “The guys are very innovative, and they’ve got cool ideas,” says Albert Tanqourazov, owner of Alma C.T. But cool ideas don’t necessarily ensure an easy road. “The budget was very tight, yet we had to create this coollooking millwork design all around the space. So we ended up building up everything on site, not in the shop.” Struggles aside, the unlikely convergence of salon and garage turned out spectacularly.
Left: images from The Great American Garage Top right: Sanctuary Salon, Brooklyn, NY Bottom right: Miller's concepts of garages based on metaphors: Vending House, based on a garage as a cog in the machine of suburban capitalism (garage sales), and Nested House, wherein the home is designed as a cultural archive where the entire domestic environment is represented as a kind of Russian Nested doll—storage elements within storage elements
In addition to movies, Miller examines the role of garages in TV sitcoms, ad campaigns, and popular music, showing how it gives unique expression to the private, the repressed, and the deeply creative. It’s a space that nurtures high-tech startup companies and garage bands alike, freeing them from the pressures and proprieties of adult life. “It’s interesting because you can’t talk about the garage as an incubator for these creative endeavors without also talking about the context in which the garage is embedded,” Miller explains. “The garage is the release valve for a lot of things that are not allowed in the home; it is better suited to make a mess in because it doesn’t have the living room’s carpet that can be stained, or the drapes that can be smudged. It doesn’t adhere to the social conventions implied by these elements.”
relationship to being an ‘outbuilding’ of the domestic site used for storing farming implements or tools, or to the fact that it is intended to be the storage place for the automobile; and you get this interesting social mix…a mix that only the garage could provide a context for. In either case, the technology helps to empower and protect Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark.” Even as the structure of the American family becomes more fluid and the home becomes increasingly gender-neutral, the garage offers special freedoms. Miller notes, “The garage isn’t just one thing. It’s a lot of different things to a lot of different people.”
Miller does foresee the design of the garage shifting with changes in automobile technology, like the increased use of electric cars, yet he’s hopeful that the room will retain its special character. There’s just something about the orThe garage often serves as a final outpost dinary American garage that seems to quietly for masculinity, with Miller noting that both and powerfully subvert conventions. To unBatman and Iron Man retreat to their respec- derstand the true power of the space, Miller betive garages to tinker with tools and assume lieves, we need to look beyond its humble form. their true identities. “They found a space “Now, aesthetically, it’s ugly as hell, slapped onto that provided them with a suitable sanctuary,” the face of some formulaic façade of a suburban Miller says. “Combine this with the fact that house, I will admit,” he says. “However, the idea the garage has always had a relationship with of the garage—its myth and its promise, those technology, perhaps because of its original are very beautiful things.” a
at home & work with tony chi
ince starting his interior design firm Tonychi and Associates in 1984, Chi has wowed the hospitality world from Chicago to Shanghai. The worldly designer gives us a look inside both of his artfully arranged homes and shares with us his style philosophy—or lack thereof.
by Jennifer brunner PORTRAITS by JACOB PRITCHARD
How did your upbringing influence your current approach to design?
I’d have to go back to when I was a child living in Taiwan in the early 1960s. Life was very difficult then; people were still rebuilding and recovering economically from World War II. A few times a year, our family would go to special ceremonies, like weddings, which would be held in these beautiful, ornate hotels. It was such a contrast to what I’d see everyday, and consequently made a huge impact on my life. The experience awoke my sense of fantasy and awareness. How would you describe your personal style?
“Style” is something I have never understood, but I can describe my behavior! I think that my behavior is a balance between science and art. Function and form. I have a particular fondness for science and the order and
focus that it requires. On the artistic side, I tend to focus on redesigning the ordinary, like something as simple as a shower head. I like to imagine how to redefine a closet, bedroom, or bathroom to make the use of space more efficient and, ultimately, more enjoyable to use. I like to manipulate human function without their knowing it, but only in the most positive way, of course! If we were to look inside your home, we’d find….?
I have homes in New York City and Buenos Aires, and both are very similar aesthetically, so no matter where you are, it always feels like home. I call it my “continuous home.” Both spaces are very open and airy, and there is really no definition of a room, except the bedroom. I like to think of the bedroom as a private place to be in your unconscious mind. A cocoon. The other areas of the home are for conscious living.
the residence buenos aires, argentina What made you pick Buenos Aires for your second home?
Do you prefer to keep work life and home life separate?
I chose this home based on area and space. During my search, I looked at several houses, but felt more comfortable in a smaller, apartment setting. My apartment is in Recoleta. The neighborhood is vivacious and not as structured or as disciplined as other nearby areas.
In my own opinion, as a designer, there really is no clear distinction between work and free time. Designing is a lifestyle that is immersed into my life holistically. One can find inspiration in a current project by simply taking a stroll in the park on a weekend morning.
Have you noticed any significant differences between living in the US and South America?
You’ve traveled the globe for your many far-flung projects. Where do you find inspiration when working on a new concept?
South America is a continent not affected, nor corrupted, by globalization. The culture is truly colorful and authentic with strong traditions found in its people, food, and family life. Not only do certain elements of the culture attract me, but there is also a strong connection between past and present.
Any place. Any time. Right now! You have to become aware of the unexpected, to look through the layers of an ordinary day. I observe a lot and interpret what I see differently than others. People and culture are a source of many inspirations. I do not look
the office manhattan, new york
Above and opposite page: Chi’s Buenos Aires and New York residences are part of what he calls his “continuous home”
“It’s about the journey—not the beginning or the end, but what is in between. The journey for me has always been the most fascinating part of any project... and in life.”—TONY CHI
Portrait by Jacob Pritchard; Residence photos by Ana Maria Lopez; Office photos by Michael Moran
the work park hyatt shanghai
Great Design Takes Teamwork
for something in particular, but instead an interpretation and knowledge of how people and culture interact with each other. I must admit, when I’m tired or having an off day, inspiration is a lot harder to find.
eat, smell, and hear can be inspiring.
Are there certain cultures in particular that are inspiring to you?
When I started out as a young designer, it was all about the “look” of design. It took me a while to discover what I now call “invisible design.” Invisible design refers to the sensation you get when you first walk into a space, the undetectable subtleties, how it engages all of one’s senses, not just focusing on how something “looks,” but how it actually feels. Since discovering invisible design, I have become more courageous in my work. a
The cultures that are the most inspiring are those that not only have a visual appeal, but can also be experienced through all five senses. Bali is one place that comes to my mind as an inspiring place. On the same accord, the fastpaced energy of New York could equally be inspiring. Essentially, anything one can see, Photos by Michael Moran
In what ways do you think you have evolved as a designer since you started your firm 27 years ago?
“Tony Chi is not designing in a vacuum,” says furniture maker Deirdre Jordan. Jordan has partnered with Chi on many projects, most notably the Park Hyatt Shanghai. In her words, the Shanghai hotel hits a “balance between natural and sleek, warm and comfortable” due to Chi’s thoroughly detailed design vision. This process not only considers the actual design of objects, but the individual strengths and synergies of the team members behind their creation. Jordan likens his studio’s personality to the early 20th century Vienna Werkstätte, which believed that integrated relationships among designers led to cohesive design ideas and ideal end products. “Tony’s team is nice, talented, and busy, but they’re all really committed to his idea,” she adds. “As a collaborator, you are completely taken in, given precise design directive, and made part of the process. It makes for a great partnership and excellent design.”
DESIGN + ART + OBJECTS
C U R AT E D
O P E N I N G FA L L 2 0 1 1
400 -406 N Oakley, Chicago IL 60612
Painting by Leslie Baum courtesy of Devening Projects Photo by Jim Warych
constructive criticism: OLSON KUNDIG Inspiration often comes from many places. For this Seattle-based firm, it usually starts during a conversation over beers.
Seattle-based architecture firm Olson people are asked to draw potential design soKundig knows how to get good ideas flowing lutions and present their ideas; other times in its office: with booze. Each week, it holds it’s more of a verbal discussion. Projects a “design crit” for all 90 employees, including discussed are typically in their early stages, architects, interior designers, and administra- and ideas raised in crits often make their way tive staff. Food is served, and keg beer flows— into the finished work. Kirsten R. Murray, usually from the local Georgetown Brewing another of Olson Kundig’s principals, says Company, whose brewing facility also the crits are a learning experience for everyhappens to be one of Olson Kundig’s recent one involved, and often give rise to ideas that projects. The goal of these meetings is simple: would likely not have come up any other way. to make every project in the office the best it “Collective studio criticism is a fundamental can be by putting the employees’ cumulative part of our education as architects, and is something that we believe makes our work genius to work. better,” she says. According to firm principal Tom Kundig, the company’s successes are due in large part to Beyond their formal role as a sounding board Olson Kundig’s collaborative spirit. “The firm for firm projects, the crits also give Olson actively invites and engages, in authentic Kundig employees a chance to unwind, catch terms, the spirit of exploration and craft. It up, and have fun. Non-firm fabricators, artists, and craftspeople are often in attendance as has never been a fashion statement.” well. “Architecture has always been an effort Each crit begins with a short overview by the of a group of people: those that help to create project principal, followed by a more detailed and manage the design, the clients, and the exploration of the work in progress by the craftspeople that build it,” Kundig explains. project manager and architect. Sometimes “The maintenance of that culture is critical.” a
By Christopher Moraff Portrait by Richard Darbonne
Above: The firm engaged in a weekly crit session in Tacoma, photo courtesy Tim Bies/Olson Kundig Architects; Right: The Pierre residence, San Juan Islands, WA, photo by Benjamin Benschneider
“The firm actively invites and engages, in authentic terms, the spirit of exploration and craft. It has never been a fashion statement.” —TOM KUNDIG
Jim Olson: Architecture for Art The architect who’s left the Northwest with an abiding legacy of buildings that combine art, nature, and a new urban culture, is about to give the region something more: a retrospective exhibition of 30 of his designs, spanning a 45-year career. From Sept. 30 through Dec. 10, the Museum of Art at Washington State University in Pullman will host the exhibit Jim Olson: Architecture for Art. “We want to reach out to young people at an early age and show them the moments of inspiration—how creativity works—and what a multidisciplinary approach to making architecture can add to the mix,” says Chris Bruce, museum director. Life-sized, 12-foot-tall photographic panels will illustrate Olson’s own homes—an apartment in downtown Seattle and a cabin on Puget Sound— as well as his public design work. Running throughout the gallery will be a shelf containing ephemera from each project—a notebook here, a drawing or letter from a client there, or an inspirational postcard from Istanbul over there. This exhibit is about the places where he’s framed art within his architecture, one piece at a time, over a lifetime. “It’s been 50 years now,” Olson says. “And I’m nowhere near finished yet.” —J. Michael Welton
Top row: principal Tom Kundig, photo by Richard Darbonne; The Pierre residence, San Juan Islands, WA, photo by Benjamin Benschneider Bottom row: Shadowboxx residence, photos by Jason Schmidt (left) and Tim Bies/Olson Kundig Architects (right)
Lopez Island, Washington For inspiration in the Shadowboxx house, Kundig turned to the essay In Praise of Shadows by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki. “In Praise of Shadows is a book about the quietness of shadows and their importance that transcends the object,“ Kundig says. “Shadows are more important than the object, just as white space is more important than the stroke of the pen. The shadows are the silent reason the objects are recognized and shaped, and [they] can metaphorically represent the soul of the place or object.” That guiding principle is evident throughout the house, as Kundig expresses that "Shadowboxx is about shadows and not the object." Guests sit and sleep on six movable sofa beds, each with its own reading light, while a glass-encapsulated bathhouse sports side-by-side tubs and a roof that retracts with the push of a button. "The idea of the house is that it quietly emerges out of the existing natural harsh conditions— wind, sun, rain—and its natural mysteriousness," Kundig says. "Its intention is to embrace the mystery of its place. The project, which took 18 months to complete, involved many specialized craft shops, says Richard Manderbach, a partner with Shadowboxx's construction firm, KrekowJennings. “Everything was considered, detailed, and fabricated for the project itself,” he says. Manderbach and company also considered the project’s impact on the environment, using ferries, light trucks, and cranes to effect “minimal impact on the land and the community.”
A FEAST FOR THE EYES Ever stopped to notice the ambience while you’re chowing down on a burrito? Neither have we. Niccolo Valerio explains why that’s a good thing. BY molly raskin Photos courtesy Valerio Architects
From the kitchen to the customer’s table, Los Angeles-based Valerio Architects’ designs are a treat for the senses. Having completed more than 400 restaurant projects around the world, including fan-favorite Chipotle, the firm creates concepts that leave patrons craving more. (We secretly hope his next project is making that delicious guacamole fat free.) Principal architect Niccolo Valerio explains what it takes to overhaul the fast-food customer experience and why it’s the things that you don’t notice that make the biggest impact. What was it about the fast-food industry that compelled you to redesign the customer's experience?
We definitely had the right set of skills to help our clients achieve what they wanted, and we were able to add the right sort of intuition. We focus on a lot of the aspects of the space that are experienced by the customer subconsciously and are not clearly visible: the noise, the lights, the proportions of the space, and the height of the ceiling. It’s the stuff that we control that gives us a little bit of an edge.
How do you appeal to the customers’ senses and overall dining needs?
As a designer, you’re trying to bring in enough natural light and a proper reverberation of sound, which will ultimately move the customer through space comfortably and without being interrupted. The space is often appreciated in ways that are not obvious, which is probably the secret to the success. What are some of your favorite projects that you’ve worked on?
I get excited visiting each one, but the last one we did, a restaurant called Urban Bistro, was really neat. We did a new store for a company that we really like called Tender Greens, a completely organic and sustainable restaurant. But in a week, I’d probably give you a completely different answer. If you could describe your business in a word, what would it be?
FAST FOOD, FAST DESIGN Clay Enterprises worked with Valerio Architects on a new casual dining spot now in the building phase, and for them, it was all about creating a design that was functional, fast, and had flair. “We focus on the functionality, making sure the kitchen runs smoothly from an operational standpoint to produce quality meals in a timely manner,” says Shane Lupis, owner of Clay Enterprises. “We work closely with the designers to make sure we are giving them and the restaurant owners the look that they want. We are always looking for the latest technology to make sure we are giving our clients the most up-to-date equipment and their guests the freshest food as quickly as possible.”
Below: Chipotle; Opposite page and bottom: The Veggie Grill
“The pretty picture of your work that gets printed in the magazine is the byproduct and not the overall goal of what you’re trying to achieve.” —niccolo valerio
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From dreary to dreamy Architect Robert Young starts fresh, creating a brand new pad using classic beach house style and sensibility
Montauk Lake House Montauk, NY Square Footage: 4,400 (main); 1,600 (guest) “The house was a dog,” says architect Robert Young of the original construct on a Montauk lakefront lot. This time, given the client’s program, there was simply nothing salvageable about the preexisting structure, which he describes as a 1970s “pile.” And since the home was built in concrete, any stripping away would have been impossible. Young’s recommendation was something his clients didn’t like: Tear it down. Build new.
By Saundra Marcel
With a seemingly grim outlook ahead, the homeowners decided to abandon their dream of restoring the old structure, and even put the house back on the market. But something stopped them from selling. “They fell in love with the lake,” Young says. One year after putting the project on hold, the family finally decided to design their new dream house from scratch. Designed for both a growing family and many visiting friends, the Montauk Lake House is actually three structures—a 4,400-square-foot main house, a 1,600-squarefoot guest house, and a 600-square-foot barn. The result feels new yet simultaneously traditional and marine-inspired. Very white and very modern-looking open spaces are combined with weatherworn accents, like the shingled exterior, driftwood dividers, and pine-clad walls. Young understood the homeowners’ vision for their perfect place and was able to bring it to life. “It all fits together,” he says. a
The casual chic vibe of the Lake House perfectly meshes with the laid back town of Montauk, NY
Landscaping thE Lake House Landscape architect Brady Mitchell Anderson put the local vegetation to work around the Lake House. “Local ordinance required indigenous plants,” says Anderson, owner of his eponymous landscape architecture firm. “So we decided early on, as a team, to create a calibrated ‘natural’ setting, which we used in unusual ways: beech trees in hedge form, waves of highbush blueberry.” The result is a unique setup befitting the beautiful home. “The palette was often surprising, but the architecture floats within this balanced setting.”
Lake House photos by Michael Moran
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CABLE INSPIRATION The layout of the office campus mimics the pattern of Columbus Networks’ underwater cable ring between the coast of Florida, Central and South America, and the Caribbean
DESIGN UNDER THE SEA A communications company that lays cables on the floor of the Atlantic gets a structural facelift on land Columbus Networks isn’t a name many people are familiar with, but without them, most people in the Americas wouldn’t have access to phones, TV, or Internet. That’s because the Miami-based company has built and currently maintains 8,300 miles of undersea fiber-optic cables known as the Americas Region Caribbean Optical-ring System, a.k.a. ARCOS. Columbus Networks is responsible for the majority of broadband and IP access to telecom, television, and Internet companies stretched across the US, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. And such an innovative company requires an equally cutting-edge office campus.
complexity and eagerly took on the task. “We could sense right away that Columbus Networks wanted to do something really extraordinary,” Shulman says. “Their business is high-tech, engineered, and largely undersea, which gave us a lot to work with, in terms of establishing the character of the project.”
Shulman’s layout for the campus is based upon Columbus Networks’ own design. The structures mimic the pattern of the ARCOS underwater cable ring between the coast of Florida, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. This design connects the original (and newly renovated) headquarter building with the warehouse, office spaces, “Our needs were unusual because the campus had to fuse and possibly the most important place on the Columbus state-of-the art communications technology and hardened Networks campus, the network operations center (NOC). facility, high-tech security measures with the sizzle of truly “Literally everything comes together in the NOC and is contemporary Miami design,” says Paul Scott, president of monitored [there] in an interactive way. It’s a type of war Columbus Networks. For the project of designing its Miami room,” Shulman says. The campus setup wasn’t just a headquarters, the company looked at bids from several ar- matter of design choice, though. It was a matter of safety. chitecture firms before selecting Shulman + Associates for “Security always comes first. The very approach of ‘campus’ the job. Principal Allan Shulman understood the project’s is a security feature of the building,” Shulman says.
By Kathryn Freeman Rathbone RENDERINGS by SHULMAN + ASSOCIATES
Opposite page: Glass walls and an internal courtyard ensure an open, airy feel
Although the design is meant to be secure, it doesn’t mean that it’s boring. S + A integrated glass walls and patios that open onto an expansive internal courtyard so that workers and visitors can see the outdoors from inside the building. They also incorporated glass walls in the interior so that the buildings’ inhabitants can see the sophisticated telecom technology in action. Scott’s favorite design aspect: the seamless walkway corridor that leads into the NOC. “It’s a glass hallway that puts our high technology on display but also secures it away,” he says. “One side opens out to the courtyard, and the other opens onto our 30-foot LED screen that displaus the network monitoring in action. To me, it’s extremely cool.” The new Columbus Networks campus may be cool, but now it also expedites flow and security while at the same time keeping employees happy and proud of their workplace. Shulman sums it up best: “This building is an investment, not just in their everyday operations, but in their global image as a corporation.” a
OPEN HOUSE 01 Four architects give us a tour of their favorite hometown projects
Steven Harris Montauk House montauk, ny Beautiful views abound at this East Coast beach house BY CHRISTOPHER MORAFF PHOTOS BY SCOTT FRANCES
Portrait by Matthew Williams
According to Steven Harris, each project is a chance to resist “an everquickening cycle of consumption,” to avoid creating a trendy, expendable building that he likens to “this season’s frock.” His key to escaping the cycle is, for lack of a better word, boring. “We looked at the way people lived in the most mundane way, trying to build up an architecture based on routine, on the everyday,” Harris says. By considering minutiae of daily activity, Harris creates customized living spaces that are highly functional, an approach that came to fruition in his design for the Art and Surf Residence in Montauk, Long Island. The house’s design smartly and efficiently divides the living quarters into separate entities: the main house with the master bedroom, kitchen, dining and living room; and a second structure, which houses three guest rooms and the garage. A garden acts as the social hub of Harris’ plans, positioned between the two buildings. But the true focal point is the ocean view, which is served by sliding glass panels and an open floor plan. Both the sea breeze and foot traffic can come and go as they please, in true alfresco style.
“These modern designs never go fast, and sometimes problems need to be solved in the field. I’ve found that with good designers like Steven, they go to the site and spend time and look at it and see it. What might have looked good in one location might not work in another.” —ROBERT PLUMB, PRESIDENT OF SALT CONSTRUCTION CORPORATION. PLUMB'S COMPANY worked with Steven Harris on the Art and Surf residence
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Cigarette wire neck piece by Rachel Freire, Photo by Fiona Garden Design Bureau, May/June 2011
The house’s living room hugs the perimeter of the pool so closely that Harris jokes, “If you get off the couch and trip, you land in the water.”
Kenneth Topp: Bronzino's Cross-Atlantic Connection
Ultimately, the classic conflation of indoor and outdoor spaces and the symbiotic relationship of “boring” and luxurious coalesce in a sensible beach house that—like its location—will never go out of style. about the architect: Steven Harris
When Steven Harris was eight years old, he told his aunt that he wanted to be an architect when he grew up. Her response wasn’t exactly as supportive as one might have expected. “That’s great,” she replied. “But architecture is just a language; it won’t teach you what to say. It might teach you how to say it, but first figure out what you want to say.”
Taking his aunt’s words to heart, he put his plan on hold long enough to obtain an undergraduate degree in philosophy from the New College in Florida before attending the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design for his bachelor of fine arts. More than three decades later, Harris, 61, is the founder and principal of one of New York’s more sought-after firms, which he runs with the help of his long-time partner, interior designer Lucien Rees Roberts. He is also an educator, and has been teaching architecture as long he has been practicing it. Harris’ lecture circuit has included stints at the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies in New York, Harvard, Princeton, and Yale, where he is currently a professor of architecture. a
Steven Harris' designs extend all the way to the outdoors, and he often uses Bronzino outdoor vessels and containers to complete his looks. UK-based Bronzino head designer, Kenneth Topp, cites his childhood as a primary source of inspiration. “I grew up around work benches, riveted boilers, and engines, with the sea as a constant presence,” Topp says. “I love everything maritime, especially the copper and bronze fixtures on board the boats.” Topp has worked with Harris on a number of projects, including a New York condo and cliffside house in Cabo San Lucas. Though his Scottish heritage and reverence for craft traditions guide his work, Topp is also interested in making new history. “I wanted to reinvent the past and introduce new designs to meet contemporary functional requirements,“ he says. As for what he recommends for urban settings, well, it's hard to choose just one. “All our designs are suitable, and we think they look great both inside and outside!“ He notes that the containers can be used for other things besides planting. “The cauldron is a popular choice for storing logs, and I store my files in a row of riveted boxes,” Topp says.
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OPEN HOUSE 02 Four architects give us a tour of their favorite hometown projects
Roberto De Leon & David Mayo Everett House louisville, ky
Building sensibly in one of America’s most historic cities BY KATHRYN FREEMAN RATHBONE PORTRAIT BY ANDREW KUNG
The stringent architectural regulations of historic Louisville were a welcome challenge for principal Roberto de Leon and project manager David Mayo while updating one old-fashioned home. “It was like building a ship in a bottle, which is what made it so appealing,” says de Leon of the so-called Everett House. Firm De Leon & Primmer Architecture Workshop was brought in to design a 485-square-foot addition to the existing structure, and in order to keep it in line with the neighborhood’s traditional aesthetic, the firm developed a schematic that was “contemporary but tailored in scale to the neighborhood,” Primmer says. To maintain the established Louisville style, de Leon and Mayo used cement-board lap siding and painted it with the tried-and-true Southern color palette of hunter green and black. Inside, however, bright white walls, wood built-ins, and a multitude of windows modernize the space without looking cold or feeling too traditional.
Architecture photos by De Leon & Primmer Architecture Workshop; Opposite page: Roberto de Leon (right) and David Mayo designed the addition for the Everett House
Mayo summarizes the project best: “In a neighborhood [where] you can’t mimic history or be too modern, this house has become a catalyst for building sensibly.” And in an era when more is more, this pragmatic take on design is a simple breath of fresh air.
Between Designers, Respect Goes a Long Way Daniel Chaffin and Matt Frederick, the team behind Daniel Chaffin Furniture Makers, describe their work as “un-artsy-fartsy.” So when it comes to working with outside designers, the two insist that this down-to-earth approach be maintained. “Our ideal collaboration always starts with an unspoken understanding that neither party knows much about what the other is doing,” Chaffin and Frederick explain. Since De Leon & Primmer work from a similar vantage point, it’s only natural that the two Louisville studios team up. “They know their craft and they give us the latitude we need to design and refine our parts of the project,” Chaffin and Frederick add. “This is the essence of professional respect. Having the opportunity to work with another company that embraces that notion as De Leon & Primmer does is something we do not take for granted.”
Deep in the Wood Cabinetmaker Brian Thomas, of Bradford T. Newhall Construction, created the sophisticated and sleek cabinetry inside the Everett House. “In keeping with the project’s general look, we finished the cabinets with a veneer that gives them a modern appearance,” Thomas says. “The cherry keeps the cabinetry classic, but the veneer makes them very modern.”
Architecture photos by De Leon & Primmer Architecture Workshop
About the Architects:
Roberto de Leon and Ross Primmer founded De Leon & Primmer Architecture Workshop in 2003. The firm believes in collaborative design to achieve architecture that is mindful of the local design context. Built in accordance with the Louisville landmarks commission, the Everett House project has become a catalyst for building sensible contemporary architecture within a historic city. a
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OPEN HOUSE 03 Four architects give us a tour of their favorite hometown projects
Kelly Mitchell Labron House Dallas, TX Architect-slash-house sitter Kelly Mitchell gets to experience her design firsthand while the homeowners are away BY LINDSAY OBERST PORTRAIT BY VAN DITTHAVONG
Architecture photos by Charles Davis Smith
Kelly Mitchell became fast friends with her clients while designing the Labron residence, working closely with them to execute their dream home in Dallas. Jokingly, she kept asking the couple if she could stay in it sometime. But when the homeowners eventually did need someone to watch their newly completed pad, the joke grew into reality. “To actually stay there and live in the space made me realize that the decisions I had made throughout the process were correct ones,” Mitchell says. Her design placed all of the living areas on the second floor, including the kitchen, living, dining, and bedrooms. Mitchell added two-story windows to the façade with wooden privacy screens to capitalize on the natural light and lush surroundings without exposing it completely. “It’s basically like a glass house,” she says. Mitchell says she did discover a few new things while staying there. “The openness of the upstairs felt surprisingly private.” And her favorite feature of the Labron home? The outdoor shower. “Taking a shower out of doors is just plain invigorating. There are stone steps leading down from the patio, so it kind of seems like you’re in nature.” After experiencing the flip side of a project, would Mitchell stay in another one of her designs? “Absolutely—it’s a way to learn, to keep a check on yourself,” she says. “It’s fun to be in a space you created.”
“Taking a shower out of doors is just plain invigorating. There are stone steps leading down from the patio, so it kind of seems like you’re in nature.”—KELLY MITCHELL
About the architect:
Kelly Mitchell comes from a wide variety of experiences, ranging from hospitality to residential and restaurant design. She started her firm, Mitchell Garman Architects, in 2006. Mitchell describes her style as contemporary with an emphasis on simple lines, efficient layouts, and warm materials. To her, perfect design is small and efficient with no extraneous space. a
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OPEN HOUSE 04 Four architects give us a tour of their favorite hometown projects
John Burke & Todd Ray Huis-JCMZ House washington, dc An American residence designed to recall the charming qualities of European architecture BY ALYSSA MANNION PORTRAIT BY DALLAS LILLICH
Architecture photos by Maxwell Mackenzie
Winding Italian roadways inspired John Burke and Todd Ray’s design for a Washington, DC, residence. “It’s basically the way you would move along a street in a hill town in Italy; the form of the street is not defined by curbs or sidewalks, but by the forms and façades of the buildings,” Ray says. Johannes Zutt, the client and owner of the 2,500-square-foot house, is the man behind the design. Zutt grew up in Holland with a fascination for European architecture, and his own knowledge on the topic drove the design process. “When we interviewed with this client, he possessed a tremendous breadth of knowledge about European pavilions,” Burke says. In order to bring Zutt’s own modern European pavilion to life, the design required rigorous planning and logic. Burke and Ray arranged the rooms in the house in the same way that European buildings are organized in an urban setting. “It’s reminiscent of an urban spatial experience,” Burke says. “The in-between spaces—the alleys and streets—are created by the buildings. In this house, the rooms are acting as buildings do in an urban environment; they are definining the open living space.” a
“It’s like what you would see in a city: you have the city and then you have the in-between spaces— the alleys and the streets—that are created by the buildings. The rooms are creating the open space, rather than the buildings.” —JOHN BURKE
About the Architects
John Burke earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and has been practicing architecture for 25 years. Along with his partner Todd Ray, Burke created Studio Twenty Seven Architecture in 1999. According to Burke, the firm works to be “generalists that create architectural content as opposed to a firm that specializes in any particular project.”
For nearly twenty years, Glass Construction (GCI) has collaborated with architects and owners to produce unique, award-winning, nationally recognized residences. We focus on architect-designed, new homes, and full house renovations across the spectrum of architectural periods and styles with a particular expertise in historic restoration, preservation, and adaptive reuse.
MATERIAL CONVERSATIONS Both Burke and Tom Glass of Glass Construction approached the Huis-JCMZ project with pre-formed plans in their heads. “I had very definite ideas about how I would approach the construction and what techniques I would use to realize his vision, and John had ideas about the materials he wanted to use and how those would interconnect and relate to one another,” Glass says. They ended up agreeing on structural and decorative steels, porcelain tiles, wood floors, and just about every other material used in the house because of the importance of its all-around appeal— something Glass says is a part of every Studio Twenty Seven project. “They create environments that are a true pleasure to be in. Everywhere you look and from every vantage point you see the beauty that the built environment can bring to and enhance our experience of living and enjoyment of being.”
ver the past 10 years, Austin—once best represented as the sleepy college town in Richard Linklater’s 1991 indie film, Slacker— has become a curious point of attraction for modern, minimalist architects relocating from powerhouse firms in major metropolitan areas in order to start their own practices. There’s a certain charisma to Austin—one that it’s famous for. The city could be described as a velvet coffin; it’s the type of place where you can settle down, find immediate comfort, and lie happily until your death. The capital city consistently lands atop national “Top 10” lists for quality of life, world-renowned university systems, urban greenery, and small-business vitality. A liberal oasis in a state typically defined as a sea of red, Austin has spent much of this century reimagining itself, demanding to be recognized as among the most progressive, innovative cities, not just in Texas, but in the United States.
Until recently, one looked to the coasts for innovative architecture. Now, it’s Austin’s turn. See how these architects and designers have shaped the little city that could. BY CAITLIN RYAN PHOTO BY JONATHAN ALLEN
This type of enterprising cultural economy serves as a primed canvas for those migratory architects interested in thoughtful, careful, pedagogic design and build. Austin’s economy—named by a 2010 Brookings Institute’s Metropolitan Policy Program report as one of the most recessionproof in the nation—weathered the 2008 collapse better than most, but it wasn’t impervious to the “flipping culture” that the market (and national media) so strongly promoted. If there’s one critique that Burton Baldridge of Baldridge Architects can offer, it’s to move away from a calculable “Dwell aesthetic.” “The mark of this point in time is so easily readable on much of what’s built.” Baldridge says. “If you throw it ahead 30 years from now, it’s going to look like what was built ‘right now,’ and if it wasn’t built well, it’s going to delaminate.” Thus, there’s a danger of misinterpretation that comes along with a design scene in relative nascence. But in
East Windsor Residence Clarksville
Austin architects bringing in the modern: Eric Barth and Ryan Burke of A Parallel, Kevin Alter and Ernesto Cragnolino of Alterstudio, Brian Bedrosian of Baldridge Architects, Arthur W. Andersson and F. Christian Wise of Andersson-Wise, and Burton Baldridge of Baldridge Architects.
The East Windsor residence boasts extraordinary views in the heart of the city. Visitors enter through a pivoting glass door, where the natural stone gives way to its dressed-up counterpart. Inside, one is immediately greeted by a staircase of massive ebonized oak treads floating above twin steel channels and hanging in a three-story vertical space.
East Windsor photos by Paul Finkel Piston
Deep Eddy Residence Central Austin
Burton Baldridge: "Along with a lot of the other houses we’ve done, the game was to try to build immaculately but build smaller. To try to build rooms that function well, felt bigger, and connected to the exterior, but put the money in the quality and well-detailed, well-conceived building, rather than big spaces that were allegedly marketable."
“In post-war America, the modern idiom was used as a way to embrace the pleasures of living in a modern world.” —KEVIN ALTER, ALTERSTUDIO Photos of Deep Eddy Residence by Casey Dunn
Temple Ranch is a seasonal retreat for Buddy and Ellen Temple, who have, for two decades, passionately worked to manage, restore, and preserve the native habitat of southern Texas.
concert with Baldridge, Austin firms like A Parallel, Alterstudio, and Andersson Wise are keeping the award-winning architectural growth spurt on course by way of experiential—rather than vacuously stylistic—design and build. The city is fertile ground for remodels, with a plethora of inefficiently planned ranch style houses built in the ’50s and ’60s that no longer function in a modern sense. Eric Barth and Ryan Burke of A Parallel are often tasked with righting the ship and resurrecting these battered, thriceremodeled homes. “What’s most unfortunate about the flipping tendency is finding layers upon layers of previous construction,” Burke says. “When working with an existing building, our priority is to assess what should be saved, and then design thoughtfully to create permanence. When someone comes in, they see the value of the architecture as opposed to the opportunity for the next remodel.” Kevin Alter of Alterstudio Architects sees the value in creating buildings that transcend comfort, and says the most profound are the ones that “leave you with a different understanding of the world.” Alter, who first came to the University of Texas as a professor whose research focused on the modern movement, argues that Austin effortlessly embraces the attitude from which a non-dogmatic modernism arose.
Temple Ranch Duvall County
“In post-war America, the modern idiom was used as a way to embrace the pleasures of living in a modern world,” he explains. “Propriety wasn’t so important. You might sit on the floor, and you might not have a formal dining room, but you’d have a great room— where one space freely flows
Photos of Temple Ranch by Andrew Pogue and Art Gray
into another. A modern world in post-war America was something to revel in. Modern industry won the war and defined an opportunity to embrace the pleasures of living in a modern world. ” To build a modern building takes a certain amount of finesse and construction aplomb. A decade ago, there weren’t many Austin builders well suited to do so. Now, a new crop has come forth, including Pilgrim Building Company’s Branson Fustes who has worked with A Parallel, Alterstudio, and Andersson Wise. “As a builder, the refreshing aspect is that more often than not, architects and clients are seeking quality over quantity,” Fustes says. “This allows a design that can be fully realized in craft and its materials…and of course, the devil’s in the details, and [the architects] know it.” Though still somewhat lacking in Austin’s civic realm, modern architecture is finding a smooth inroad by way of residential design. “There’s a lot of young money in Austin, and much like the technology industry in Austin, there are a lot of people who want to feel like they are on the leading edge of what’s happening,” says Brian Bedrosian of Baldridge Architects. “But those people didn’t grow up in those houses. They grew up in suburbia.” Herein lies the educational bent of a conscientious architect’s job. Baldridge Architects, most known for what it calls “playful, screw-ball” projects, is often asked to “warm over” a fullblown modern house. Other times, it’s presented with the challenge of introducing a modern house to a neighborhood, like Austin’s Pemberton Heights, which had very little modern presence. The firm is met with great success because, like the others, it is able to correct the misinterpretation that modern architecture is anything other than a way to improve one’s ritual of life. An intellectually stimulated city with a legendary casual attitude and (mostly) temperate climate like Austin proves a great opportunity for enterprising architects willing to challenge, push, inform, and enlighten a developing market. Arthur Andersson and Chris Wise, architects behind Temple ranch and the towering new W Hotel, say, “Austin BEDROSIAN, is currently experiencing an architectural renaissance. We’re enthusiastic to be one of several practicing in this great city.”
“There's a lot of young money in Austin, and there are a lot of people who want to feel like they are on the leading edge of what's happening. But those people didn't grow up in [modern] houses. They grew up in suburbia.”—BRIAN BALDRIDGE ARCHITECTS
It’s that same brand of enthusiasm that allows for a refreshingly close relationship between architect and client, one that’s often lost in a larger-scale city. Uniquely, those forward-thinking clients who do ultimately invest in the core tenets behind good, modern architecture can expect to see their lives evolve alongside their rapport with Austin industry trailblazers. “It’s a great pleasure as an architect to run into clients at Whole Foods, for example, and hear them say their home has changed their life,” Alter says. “In a way, it’s like being a small-town doctor. Helping people live better in one's own community is a great, great pleasure.” a Photos of El Greco residence by A Parallel Architecture, except for bottom right by Whit Preston
A PARALLEL ARCHITECTURE
El Greco Residence Tarrytown
pilgrim Pilgrim Building Company builds custom homes with a holistic approach, dovetailing efficiency and sustainability; infusing aesthetic detail with experienced craftsmanship. Therefore we focus on materials and methods that balance both construction and life-cycle cost. The result is a home that is cohesive among its parts and harmonious with its environment.
PILGRIM BUILDING COMPANY / AUSTIN, TEXAS The complete interior remodel of El Greco brings natural light and spaciousness to the core of the home, where a load-bearing plaster wall acts as a permeable threshold between living spaces. A sculptural steel staircase folds its way up to a completely reorganized second floor, housing a generous master retreat, childrenâ€™s playroom, and treetop roof-deck.
BUREAU From right: Matthew 110 left to DESIGN Grzywinski, Dana Jaasund, Amador Pons, and Carrie Dessertine, photographed by Eric Luc in Brooklyn
THESE DESIGNERS CAN’T EVEN TECHNICALLY CALL THEMSELVES ARCHITECTS, YET THEY’VE ALL LOGGED THE HOURS AND SCORED THE JOBS NECESSARY TO QUALIFY THEM FOR THE POSITION. SO, WHAT’S WITH THE HOLDUP?
by SAUNDRA MARCEL photos by ERIC LUC AND MATTHEW WILLIAMS
hese four designers thought they’d become something else. All four went to traditional architecture school, and all four had grand plans to follow in the hard-worn footsteps of the many greats that had come before them. But Carrie Dessertine, Dana Jaasund, Matthew Grzywinski, and Amador Pons all ended up taking unconventional routes to their present career paths. And despite doing things a little differently—or maybe because of it—these four have all turned out just fine. More than fine. They’re building and designing, and living the dream. But is the road less traveled really the best way for these designers to become the next starchitects? Especially if they’re not really architects at all? Dessertine and Jaasund, founders of Own Entity, don’t make big buildings or brand-new buildings. They don’t even make buildings at all. They make interiors, focusing on the minutia of much smaller spaces, and picking up where an architect’s work typically ends. What makes Own Entity different from traditional interior design firms is not just its background, but its approach. Dessertine and Jaasund have had training in the large scale; they know building codes, structural constraints, and construction possibilities. But having practiced for more than 10 years at both large and small architecture firms, they’ve learned that interior design suits them. “There was something about the way we approached projects and materi-
als that hinted our attention spans were better suited for a smaller scale,” Dessertine says. “When you study under famous architects, you don’t even think about what else there is in the design industry. That is, until you’re in an office and confronted with the task of designing a beautiful door handle as opposed to the façade of a building. Something fits better about it.” Some might call Own Entity’s work “trendy,” but Dessertine and Jaasund aren’t among them. For these two, being trendy means being a follower—seeing cool and repeating it—and that’s not what they do. They humbly acknowledge the way things are supposed to be and then do it just a little bit differently. Common materials are often used in uncommon ways, like canvas walls and upside-down porcelain lampshades. Their spaces are designed to feel inclusive and accessible, and frankly, comfortable. At the Anfora Wine Bar in Manhattan’s West Village, one of their first projects together, patrons chatter unhurriedly, enveloped in an interior that kindly commands them to slow down. Relax. Their newest project is a restaurant called Super Linda, in Tribeca. Own Entity was challenged to turn an old Greek diner into a hip Latin-fusion hot spot. It was a gut renovation, and the team completely recreated the space with all new surfaces, lighting, and furniture. For Dessertine, making these kinds of special experiences are what makes designing for a smaller scale so rewarding. “We see our projects through the more intimate scale of human experience. And sometimes it’s a huge advantage
Above: Elizabeth residence, interior design by Own Entity Opposite page: Carrie Dessertine and Dana Jaasund in their DUMBO neighborhood
“When you study under famous architects, you don't even think about what else there is in the design industry.” —carrie dessertine, own entity
to ignore constraints altogether and just see what develops organically. Then when it needs to weave its way into the realistic, built world, we can adapt.” Seven years ago, Matthew Grzywinski and Amador Pons joined forces to design Hotel on Rivington, an unapologetic 27-story glass tower on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. They were 26 and 27 years old, respectively. And though it’s unusual for such a junior team to win such a prized project, their naiveté and nerve produced something with sass.
Above: interior residence by Grzywinski and Pons Opposite page: Matthew Grzywinski stands in a project in progress
Confident in their combined abilities and willing to give every possible ounce of their combined effort, Grzywinski and Pons managed to convince the project’s developers that they were up to the task. “We were almost too young to know how young we were,” Grzywinski says. It might have been a risky prospect for everyone involved, but they pulled it off, proving that expertise can, indeed, precede experience. Today, they’ve done more than 20 projects together, with four more new construction buildings in New York City, making them among the youngest to alter the Manhattan skyline.
And actually, their youthfulness is awfully convenient when the project is a swank metropolitan hotel. Their latest commission is the brand-new Nolitan, a building located in another gritty-on-the-verge-of-trendy Manhattan neighborhood. Just opened this summer, the destination promises an infiltration of newer, hipper, and younger crowds to the area. And these two certainly look like they’d be right at home with that crowd, because, well, they are. “Usually, by the time you’re given license to do your own work, you’re kind of dried up, so we felt very fortunate to get an early start, compartively speaking,” Grzywinski says. So while most “traditional” architects in this age bracket are still gruelingly paying their dues at large firms with punishing hours and torturous tasks, Grzywinski and Pons have been making it—literally getting out there and realizing their visions. Doing it DifferenTly—Worth the Risk?
At the moment, none of these four designers can officially call themselves architects. Despite undergraduate and graduate training from accredited universities, years of Project photos by Floto + Warner
internships and work experience, and passing a series of difficult exams, the long and arduous path of becoming “licensed” remains elusive. J. David Hoglund is president of Perkins Eastman, the second-largest architecture firm in New York City, with more than 150 licensed architects. Hoglund is credentialed as a fellow of the American Institute of Architects, an honor bestowed on less than two percent of architects in the US, and is also a LEED-Accredited Professional in green building practices. He knows the licensing process well and confirms that it is “absolutely necessary as a professional standard.” But he stipulates: “I am concerned that the process has become so lengthy and expensive that it has discouraged young professionals from pursuing licensure, and therefore the ability to truly be called ‘architect.’” Among the requirements for certification: interning for up to eight years under accredited architecture professionals, keeping careful track of the hours they spend in different aspects of the field, and reporting those hours every six months to the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards. The NCARB charges fees for everything: to be an intern, to take the required exams, to apply for certification, and an annual renewal once their newly minted status is conferred. Students of architecture spend thousands of dollars to get the title, and once they have it, thousands more to maintain it. But those who make the rules don’t think they are too demanding. Architect John Sorrenti, director of the NCARB for the New York region, says “We’ve simplified the process in this state, and the six-month rule is not a hindrance, but a benefit. It is so much easier now to keep records.” He also reports that the organization has taken steps to make the seven-part examination process easier, with more testing centers and the opportunity to begin test-taking earlier than before. The numbers back up his claim: in 2005, there were 504 licenses granted to architects in New York state, and in 2010, the number had increased to 683.
sertine recalls. After they both accepted positions at a New York-based design firm without licensed architects on staff to apprentice under, they knew that the door to getting certified had truly closed. Own Entity maintains that it was a strategic decision to abandon the pursuit, since changing scale to work on interiors meant that they no longer needed to endure the rigorous architectural certification process. But despite their claims of having calculated this decision, the truth is, they had found themselves with a logistical problem: to become licensed, you need to work with others who are licensed. For Grzywinski and Pons, there’s nothing strategic about their current position, and it’s one that causes much angst. “Whether we like it or not, it’s a branding of legitimacy,” says Pons, who knows that becoming licensed is essential. “You have to show that you’re fully qualified to practice the art of architecture, and I understand that.” Grzywinski is on the track to receiving his license, but Pons is actually right on the finish line. Only one check mark from the prize, he is very, very close to being deemed an official architect. Although the designers are capable and talented, the logistics of being unlicensed is a nightmare. “Everything is by the book,” Pons says. Their clients know their status, every box is checked, every piece of paperwork filed, and every single plan, sketch, and idea must be reviewed and signed off on by a licensed architect for every project.
For Grzywinski and Pons, there‘s nothing strategic about their current position, and it's one that causes much angst. “You have to show that you‘re fully qualified to practice the art of architecture, and I understand that.”
But a slightly simplified process hasn’t made a difference to the Own Entity duo, which chooses to remain in a state In New York City, building codes require that a true architect of suspension. “Like anything else that’s hard to complete, be held accountable for projects that involve structural changes, people ‘fall off ’ along the way, and are sometimes more and without one, the building owner can incur significant fines. inspired by other aspects of the field,” Dessertine says. Grzywinski + Pons act as design architect in conjunction with a Adds Jaasund, “Today, there is a lot more specialization filing architect or architect of record. Own Entity has a similar among design firms.” More possibilities. At the Universi- process. “It can be a little nerve-wracking, actually, in the beginty of Virginia, where they completed undergraduate work ning with potential clients,” Jaasund says. “We have to explain together, their trajectory had been the same as everyone to them that we cannot take the place of their architect, so they else, entrenched in all of the established ideals and tradi- have to hire two teams.” Dessertine struggles to define this tions of the trade. But real-world experience proved to be unique relationship. “It’s a collaboration of ‘designer-architects’ a greater teacher, opening their eyes to bigger possibili- and ‘official-architects,’” she explains. “Except we can’t use the ties of the profession. The pair began to understand that ‘A’ word.” there could, in fact, be alternate paths than just the one they were taught. “I was just doing what I was attracted While Grzywinski and Pons may be young for their accomplishto, and after a few years, I realized I wasn’t actually doing ments, they are getting a bit old for this particular pursuit; most architecture anymore, not in the traditional sense. And complete the requirements within 10 years post-graduation. “I I didn’t really care anymore about logging hours,” Des- didn’t drink the Kool-Aid early on,” says Pons, who adds that while
Various New York projects by Grzywinski and Pons
his peers were interning for free during their summers, he felt the need to learn more about the building side of the industry. “I liked construction, and I got paid well for it. I would come back from the summer flush.” Grzywinski got a late start for another reason. If this tall, hunky 33-year-old looks like he should be posing on catwalks, that’s because he does. Or rather, he did. Grzywinski spent time abroad as a model before returning to his professional roots. “The opportunity was there, so I decided to take advantage of it,” he says. “It was a catalyst that afforded me the chance to travel the world and live abroad that I might not otherwise have had.” It was his graduate school, in a sense. Taking full advantage of the moment, Grzywinski traveled with an architect’s eye—seeing, studying, taking notes, and developing a style that is now reflected in his work. Despite having done it differently, both Grzywinski and Pons maintain that the purpose of the professional internship process is sound and necessary. By now they have more than paid their dues and logged their hours. And Pons admits something else: “I came out [of school] overly confident, overly cocky.”
The eclectic Hixson Residence is an apartment designed by Own Entity with a style it calls industrial-classic. The space was gut renovated with the help of Greenlight Construction Management. “It’s a different world,” says Matthew Tritt, president of Greenlight. “You open the door, and you’re in another place. It’s cinematic.” Jaasund and Dessertine inspired all-around enthusiastic support for the project. “When someone cares so much about the vision, you just want to get behind that,” Tritt says. The result is a charming home located in the East Village but fit for another world.
For Own Entity, real-world experience opened their eyes to bigger possibilities of the profession. When they changed scale to work on interiors, they no longer needed to endure the rigorous architectural certification process, and made the strategic decision to abandon the pursuit.
The future for Own Entity means launching their own product lines of lighting fixtures, household accessories, and cabinet hardware. Eventually, they say they want to design furniture. They will definitely continue to push creative bounds and stay inspired. Dessertine and Jaasund describe themselves as an anomaly in the market, with a unique mission and idiosyncratic style that varies from project to project. It’s no surprise that clients love them. The duo—composed of actual best friends—is pensive and quietly confident, attuned to reading each other’s personality. Work life and personal life are as interchangeable as their sentences, friends become clients, and clients become friends. Grzywinski and Pons are going to keep us guessing. They are continuing to work on becoming official, a step on the evolutionary path from design architect to architect. They’ll continue to design super cool buildings with the unique flair that has earned them accolades. They hope to someday return to academia. And an ultimate achievement would be to build something for the common good, like a school, civic structure, or intermodal transit hub. In retrospect, Pons admits that he might have done things just a little differently. Less attitude early-on and more concern for title-getting. But both partners are also incredibly proud of their work, and both feel lucky that doors have opened for them. “I don’t know anyone else that’s doing what we’re doing right now,” Pons says. They acknowledge easily that an alternate entrance wouldn’t have led them to the same place, and they can’t imagine being anywhere else. These four designers share an ability to dream, and then do. Of course, 10 years ago they couldn’t have foretold these exact dreams. Own Entity wanted to run a business, so they said goodbye to their much safer jobs and made a business. Grzywinski and Pons were offered a make-or-break project at a young age, and they decided to make the most of it. Each group has had their own winds in the road, bumps along the way, and turning points where a single decision set them upon a new course. But their success is built on genuine talent, hard work, and the willingness to take risks. So it seems for now, the untraditional path to design has been worth it for them. Who knows what twists and turns may lie ahead? a
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7/11/11 2:15 PM
All Eyes on Fernando Stepping out from behind Carlos Slim’s shadow, Fernando Romero is securing his position as one of the power players of architecture
Fernando Romero isn’t an easy guy to pin down. An assistant for the hip, Prada-wearing Mexican architect reschedules our phone interview four times before Romero and I finally connect. To his credit, Romero apologizes for the many cancellations—he’s been busy with work and travel. Though it’s hard to fault him for a crowded calendar. This year, Romero has gone from a little known architect outside of Latin America to a rising star on the global design scene. Powering this meteoric ascent is the biggest project of his young career: Museo de Soumaya, an ambitious aluminum-clad building that opened in late March in Romero’s hometown of Mexico City. The 180,000-square-foot structure was built for Romero’s father-in-law, Carlos Slim Helu, currently the wealthiest person in the world, with a fortune that Forbes says exceeds $53 billion. Named for Slim’s deceased wife, the six-story Museo de Soumaya houses the billionaire’s massive art col-
lection: 66,000 pieces that include works by titans like Picasso, van Gogh, Matisse, and Renoir. Slim’s holdings are impressive (he owns more than 300 Rodin sculptures), but it’s Romero’s anvilshaped design that has the international community buzzing. The museum’s opening was heavily covered across the world’s major publications, heaping praise on the contemporary, 150-foot-tall museum and its creator, who just happens to be a former protégé of Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas. But if the spotlight has Romero feeling stressed, he doesn’t sound the least bit anxious when we finally speak, coming across as humble yet cool and confident. Although he downplays the attention, Romero isn’t shrinking away from the limelight. He recently opened a studio in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood to try to boost his profile and win international assignments. He founded his own firm, Free Fernando Romero, more than a decade ago, though his father-in-law has
By Andrew Schroedter Photos by Carlos Alvarez Montero
Opposite page: Fernando Romero, principal architect and son-in-law of the wealthiest man in the world
MUSEO SOUMAYA Mexico City, Mexico 2009-2011
“We’ve proven that exciting, contemporary, really avant-garde architecture exists in Latin America.” —FERNANDO ROMERO
Border between El Paso, USA and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico
Mexico City, Mexico
This page: Romero’s office space in Mexico City Opposite page: Museo Soumaya photos by Adam Wiseman. Renderings courtesy of Free
funded most of his designs. So does Romero feel pres- he’s proud to have designed a prominent museum in sure to finally step out from behind Slim’s shadow? his hometown, Romero sounds more like a populist Not at all, he says in heavily accented English. “We’ve than a pampered member of Slim’s wealthy family proven that exciting, contemporary, really avant- when he talks about creating cutting-edge housing garde architecture exists in Latin America,” he says. for the masses. Among the projects Free has in the works is a master plan for the crime-ridden Mexican “All the pressure has been taken away.” city of Juarez. Outside of his skyrocketing professional life, Romero describes himself as a simple person, albeit one who If his future projects are as well-received as Museo collects modern art and shuns jeans in favor of haute de Soumaya, Romero will cement his reputation couture attire. When he’s not working, he prefers as one of Latin America’s top designers. While down-to-earth pursuits, mainly spending time with he’s thankful for the accolades he’s received so far, his wife, also named Soumaya, and their four chil- Romero says he’d prefer to stay out of the spotlight. dren. He loves living in Mexico, relishing the coun- “I like to think I’m very low-profile,” he says. “That’s try’s stunning landscapes and culture that values old my ideal. I’m a simple person…I’m honored to be able world traditions like family and religion. And while to continue working.” a
LuxE Eco chic done in style In the design world, the word “luxe” is reminiscent of rich materials, daring forms, and sharp finishes. “Green” recalls earth-friendly, often uninspired aesthetics. But green and luxe together? Until recently, that pairing remained completely foreign in the realm of high design. Now, all kinds of designers, from architecture to fashion, are turning out finished works that combine top-shelf indulgence with a sustainable sensibility. These polished products are fast becoming design’s hottest objects. And the designers behind them? They’re becoming the tastemakers of the new green-luxe gold standard. After all, as their work proves, green design is good, but when it’s also posh and polished, it’s even better.
Architectural Artifacts OLD OBJECTs inspire anew
lex Scott Porter may have grown up in the heart of New York City, but she spent her summers in Maine on a farm with no plumbing. “We ate vegetables from the garden and used a hand pump for water,” says the architectural designer. “Yet, that had a certain luxury because the food was always fresh and the water always clean. I was brought up with the principals of sustainability—that respecting the earth was of great importance.”
are not scaled to people,” she says. “We had to bring the scale down and create cozy spaces while still keeping the majestic feel.” She designed a loft area over the end of the barn frame where the dining room is situated, which lowered the ceiling and counter-balanced the vastness of the frame. This created a more intimate space for entertaining. “It might have been cheaper and easier to knock the whole thing down,” Porter says, “but I always gain a lot of inspiration from what is already there, and it felt really wasteful to just start anew.”
So when a client asked her to convert their traditional East Hampton house into a high-end country home—one that joined the existing The barn frame also helped to connect the structure with an antique barn frame—she home to its natural surroundings, another jumped at the opportunity to redefine the important aspect to the client and a driving concept of luxury. Porter worked closely force of Porter’s design. “The goal of my pracwith The New Jersey Barn Company, which tice is for the people inhabiting the spaces to salvages barn frames, to piece back together feel connected to our planet and each other— the frame beam by beam with wooden pegs. to regain their feeling of connectedness with The frame was adjoined to the existing house nature, rather than existing in opposition to via the kitchen. “The barn frame was really a it,” Porter says. ‘found object’ that inspired the design of the kitchen, master bath, and master bedroom,” Although Porter admits that she struggles Porter says. She was able to bring a warm yet with what sustainability means to luxury modern feeling into the space by juxtapos- home design, she remains hopeful that people ing the vintage charm of the reclaimed wood will continue to adjust their definition of “luxury.” “I hope that purity becomes the new against the sleek glass and steel kitchen. luxury—that having clean air, water, soil, and Despite its rustic beauty, though, the addition food becomes what is luxurious,” Porter says. of the barn frame did create a major challenge “The owners of this house often eat from their in the floor plan. “Barns are designed for farm vegetable garden. That is luxury to me.” equipment, hay, and housing animals—they —Aryn beitz / Photos by Tim Street-Porter
“I hope that purity becomes the new luxury—that having clean air, water, soil, and food becomes what is luxurious." —Alex SCOTT PORTER
MATERIAL CONCERNS Porter selected materials that would age well and did not require numerous chemical finishes: concrete, reclaimed wood, patinated steel, and limestone. “For this house, shiny new surfaces were not optimal,” Porter says. “We worked with the attitude that houses should look better over time, and that aged surfaces were ideal and beautiful.” Porter also worked with New York-based furniture designer Jim Zivic to create several custom pieces of furniture, including a steel and recycled leather link hammock for the living room and recycled leather stair treads. Other vintage pieces were found in upstate New York and complemented the industrial and farm vernacular feel of the home.
Nature & Nurture
Cultivating Consciousness with landscape designers Dennis Stevens and Karla Lindeman
indeman/Stevens, the 20-year-old landscapedesign firm run by Dennis Stevens and partner Karla Lindeman, has been quietly practicing sustainable design long before it became an industry trend. “While landscape design and sustainable practices should go hand in hand, they typically don’t,” Lindeman says. “Most people just plant what they want, where they want, without doing any research or consulting a professional. The end result is often overgrown landscapes that are poorly maintained, and that end up being taken out and left barren.”
Determined to end this vicious cycle, Lindeman/Stevens has built its business on translating the age-old adage of teaching a man to fish into the design world with its focus on eco education. “Every client is different, and it is our job to understand what makes the client happy while educating them on sustainability,” Linde-
man says. “If they’re happy and educated about the plants and materials used in their garden, they will want to maintain it.” The partners focus their energy on preventing further destruction to the environment by creating luxurious landscapes that require little dependence on outside energy sources. “A true self-sustaining garden is one that can manage itself,” Stevens says. Sourcing indigenous plants, choosing ground cover in lieu of grass, and using hedges instead of concrete walls to instill privacy are only a few of the techniques often employed by the firm. “Essentially, we want to create an urban rainforest for our clients,” Stevens says. “We begin by creating a canopy with trees, because they help clean the air and provide shelter for homeowners and wildlife, and [we] choose plants that won’t overgrow and that will retain moisture longer.”
Above: Environmental warriors Dennis Stevens and Karla Lindeman. Opposite page: Project photos from Lindeman/Stevens.
Masters at translating their client’s visions into a reality while maintaining the integrity of the environment, Lindeman/Stevens has become a favorite among designers, architects, and celebrities. Journalist and environmental activist Lisa Ling enlisted Lindeman/Stevens to flesh out a landscape that would work with her new carbon-neutral home in Santa Monica, California. “It’s always a pleasure to work with a client who understands and believes in sustainable landscape design,” Stevens says. For Ling, Lindeman/Stevens created a design that would easily maintain itself due to Ling and her husband’s busy travel schedules. They used succulents and cacti—some that were 150 years old—that are nourished using solar panels and a rainwater filtering system, as well as hedges, planted ground cover, and artificial turf in lieu of grass. Through high-end, high-efficiency projects like the Ling residence, Lindeman/ Stevens is proving that people no longer have to sacrifice looks for the environment. “If we pay attention to nature, nature will teach us how to save the planet,” Stevens says. “It is our job to do what Mother Nature does best.”—Aryn beitz / Portrait by aaron farley
Felipe Mendoza of MB Garden Services in Los Angeles works with Lindeman/Stevens to provide routine maintenance of plant materials for numerous properties. “My primary concerns in regards to garden maintenance are water conservation and pollution,” says Mendoza. For the Ling residence, Mendoza relied on water harvested from the roof to water the plants, and used a hand push vacuum to remove debris from the artificial turf areas as opposed to power machines. Unlike power machines, man-powered push vacuums require no gas, oil, or batteries, and are a quiet alternative to noise polluters such as lawn blowers.
“it is our job to understand what makes the client happy while educating them on sustainability.” —Karla Lindeman
Growing Greens Sustainably If you’re looking to up the green factor in your garden, Lindeman/Stevens recommends doing your homework before heading to the nursery. “Educate yourself on the plants you like and where they grow best,” Stevens says. “Read the labels, and do your research. Whatever you do, don’t base your purchases on aesthetics alone.” Plants such as African Sumac, Cedrus Deodara, Crape Myrtle, Brazilian Pepper, and Palm Trees are ideal for creating Lindeman/ Stevens’ signature urban rainforest in warmer climates. For city dwellers with limited space, Lindeman/Stevens suggests filling window boxes and containers with succulents, ice plant varieties, scented geraniums, jasmine, gardenias, camellias, and ground cover. However, they stress that the foundation of any self-sustaining garden is knowing what to plant and where, regardless of geography and climate. Whether you have an entire yard to landscape, or just a few window boxes to fill, it’s time to bone up, dig in, and root down.
Aqua Creations Launched in 1994, Aqua Creations started designing green lamps and furniture way before sustainability was cool. This year’s collections only advances Aqua’s commitment to handcraft and advanced electrical technology. Its Gladis and Juno chairs are hand-stitched to cut down on industrial waste, while LED lights on digital timers ensure that their Molecule and Rotini lamps minimize energy consumption. Aqua Creations, prices available upon request, www.aquagallery.com Green Luxe Home
Kjaer Weis Kirsten Kjaer Weis has hit an organic make-up sweet spot. Made from preservatives and pigments extracted from natural minerals, plants, and wildflowers, her cosmetics allow women to play with bold colors without having to worry about the synthetic fillers that are common in high-end cosmetics. The beautiful and refillable silver compacts come in red pebbled leather cases so they’re luxe from start to finish. Kjaer Weis Cosmetics, $20-70, www.kjaerweis.com
Green Luxe Beauty
It’s Not Sustainable; It’s Just Design Angela Brooks and larry Scarpa explain why green design isn’t yet the norm
os Angeles firm Brooks + Scarpa is known for its inventive, eco-conscious architecture work, including the partners’ very own Solar Umbrella House, a high-end home built to be a fortress of sustainability. But the husband-and-wife team doesn’t like to talk about sustainable design. To them, it is simply design. “We’ve always designed for the environment,” Brooks says. Here, Brooks and Scarpa discuss the present and future of sustainable luxury design. Why do some people think that luxury design cannot be sustainable?
brooks: Because sustainability was not in fashion and therefore not seen as luxurious. It had a connotation of being hand-built—no frills. That perception is changing. Luxury has meant ‘larger’ in the past, and I think now people are equating luxury with quality of life issues. For instance, living within a smaller footprint allows you to ride your bike or walk to everything you need; it creates a sense of community and is a lifestyle more people are yearning for.
Brooks: The mindsets of people who only look at the first cost, not the long-term costs, and building inspectors or officials who do no understand the technology, or want to embrace it. To be truly green, you want to have a net-zero carbon footprint, and on the energy side, you need to look at renewables (solar or wind) to offset the power your building will use. We have encountered regulatory and cost constraints with this process, but have come to understand that when the regulatory part of it gets resolved, the cost side will automatically get better.
You're known for using materials in unique ways. What are some of the inventive things you've used on luxury projects?
What are some of the constraints you've experienced while designing green luxury projects?
Brooks: We’ve used recycled aluminum cans that we obtained from the recycling center as an exterior wall finish on an apartment building in Santa Monica. When you’re on the other side of the street, you don’t know what the material is—it is just a beautiful pattern—and when you get close, you see that they are crushed beer and soda cans. We’ve also used colored plastic Dixie cups and ping-pong balls sandwiched between two pieces of glass. We try to raise people’s awareness with the materials and forms we use as a way to educate, make a statement, or just create an experience as you move through a space.
Scarpa: Some people lose sight of making a project green, and they have to be reminded.
Scarpa: We have a lab where we experiment. It’s fascinating for people to walk into a room and recognize
Left: Solar Umbrella House Above: Redelco Residence
"We try to raise people’s awareness with the materials and forms we use as a way to educate, make a statement, or just create an experience as you move through a space." —Angela Brooks
the materials. It really heightens the experience. What are some of your recent luxury sustainable projects aside from your own Solar Umbrella house? Brooks: We just finished a very sustainable 1.7-million-dollar house in a dense neighborhood in Venice, California, that incorporates solar panels and a green roof. The house is a continuous flowing space and is very open to the garden; it is hard to tell where the interior stops and the exterior begins.
We’re also doing a 60,000-square-foot building in Monterrey, Mexico that will be the first LEED-Platinum building there. It has natural day lighting and high-energy systems. Scarpa:
In your opinions, how can we increase sustainability in the United States? Brooks: We need to create incentives, rather than
make it more difficult. If we were to subsidize the solar panel industry at the same rate as the oil and gas industry, we would see a lot more sustainability. We should look to other countries that have done it and learn from them. Germany is comparable to Alaska in terms of the amount of sun they get, and they are light years ahead of us in renewable solar power. At the highest political levels, we need to take a hard look at our long-term future and health. We need to make the hard decisions now, to create a better world for our future. How long before we’re saying “design” rather than “sustainable design?” Scarpa: Decades. Brooks: Political inertia is causing us to move at a snail’s pace—a lot of what we are doing in California should just be mandated throughout our country. When sustainability becomes as common as the building code, no one will have to discuss it! —Lindsay Oberst / portrait by bryan sheffield
On working with Brooks + Scarpa: “It’s really enjoyable working with Scarpa. He has a terrific ability to work in the field, and he has a keen eye for opportunities for subtle revisions, which is important on sustainable projects. He’s much more active on site than other architects. We’re brought in earlier, and with more communication, the whole process becomes easier, and it helps educate the client. He likes to be upfront, that way the client has fewer surprises,”—John Codic, president of RJC Builders, who has worked with Scarpa on many projects
Above: Architects Larry Scarpa and Angela Brooks
Green Luxe Furniture
Florense is the answer for any contemporary design aficionado looking to adorn a green home from top to bottom. The furniture and fixtures manufacturer uses only raw materials from reforested areas, certified metals, recycled chemicals, and low VOC particle board in their pieces. During production, the company purifies and reuses all of its water, and they heat their factory using burned sawdust fuel. Leave it to the Brazilians to make green look not only easy but damn good, too. www.florense.com.br
Fabbrica da Ponte
Green Luxe Furniture
Through Fabbrica da Ponte’s bags, vintage Swiss Post sacks live on in style. The Swiss Post satchel and messenger line is constructed using upcycled Swiss mailbags, leather pieces, brass hardware, and cotton chambray fabric. No two pieces are identical, making Fabbrica da Ponte’s bags one-of-a-kind carry-alls that are completely recycled, too. Swiss Post Satchel, $325, Swiss Post Messenger, $300, www.fabbricadaponte.com Green Luxe Fashion
UrbanCase Superfluous barware and wasted space drives Urbancase nuts. Keeping this in mind, they teamed up with barware crafter Teroforma on their Sidebar liquor cabinet. Its interior shelves and drop-front drawer specifically fit the dimensions of Teroforma’s Sidebar tumblers, cocktail glasses, and bar supplies. The thinking behind the dual design: if your storage and barware fit perfectly together, you’ll only buy what you need—and no more—to build a great bar. The Sidebar (glassware not included), $3,100, www.urbancase.com
Swiss, with a Twist
A SMALL SPACE, EUROPEAN ETHOS, AND AN ENTERPRISING ARCHItect Prove Eco DESIGN CAN BE CHIC
pace is limited, and excess is frowned upon”—this was the Swiss design principle that Seattle architect Daniel Stettler used to define his renovation of an inefficient home on a petite neighborhood lot. As the director of a University of Washington summer design program in Switzerland, the well-traveled architect had plenty of experience working with tight spaces in the historic Swiss village of Tschlin. Thanks to his summers spent overseas, Stettler knew that small spaces could inspire creative, sustainable design—knowledge that he put to work while designing the Wallingford Eco-House. In his credo, Stettler used “excess” in terms of both the house’s physical and carbon footprint. “Early on it became clear that for this couple, sustainability was a priority,” says Stettler. He worked with Eco Innovations, a green building consultant, to monitor the house’s sustainability goals. With solar panels, rainwater cisterns, and a hybrid radiant heating system, the house achieved a five-star Built Green rating and scored 630 points on the Built Green rating system, one of the highest numbers for a Seattle home at the time. Eco-friendly design aside, the house’s small-butideal corner lot still posed a challenge. Without changing the footprint of the original house, Stet-
tler designed the current landscape stairs to corkscrew around the front of the house, which made better use of the tricky site. The second floor of the house was then rotated to face out, and in one Rubik’s cube twist, the Wallingford Eco-House maximized its view of Mount Rainier, giving new dimension to the tight lot. While the house boasts the best of sustainable technology, Stettler says the real luxury is that the house is an integral part of a vibrant urban neighborhood. The corner lot provides access to shops and restaurants and cultivates a village life in an auto-centric city, another example of Stettler’s European-influenced design thinking. As Stettler embarks on two more sustainable home projects and a Swiss-inspired café, he continues to draw from his experiences in Europe to make Seattle a more sustainable community. The designer hopes that the Wallingford Eco-House will become an example of how Seattle can think globally to increase its urban density. “Traveling gives us access to new ideas,” he says. “I’ve designed outside of Seattle, but I am committed to the city. As someone who travels regularly, I feel it’s my duty to make people aware of what other options they may have.”—SARAH HANDELMAN / PHOTOS BY DALE LANG
ECO CONSTRUCTION Sustainability doesn’t stop with the design process, something Mike Beckman of Beckman Building and Remodel knows very well. Beckman worked with Stettler on the Wallingford Eco-House, and he did his part to ensure that the green way of thinking extended to his portions of the project, too. “We kept our material loads small as space was an issue, as well as a clean and well organized job site [to] help to minimize the impact to the street,” he says. Beckman used many reclaimed materials and “a lot of good input from our green build consultants at Eco-Innovations” to ensure he was on the right track to sustainability. He also credits Stettler’s levelheaded thinking, too. “Dan is a very collaborative architect. He is very interested in not only the design process but making practical decisions based on construction, as well.”
Above, from left: The street view shows the rotated landscape stairs. The driveway is made of pervious pavers to minimize rainwater runoff. The steel and wood stair was designed to be open and transparent. The railing is walnut, and the tread is made of Trestlewood, recycled from the Great Salt Lake.
Felipe Mendoza Maintenance, Pruning, Irrigation, etc. 310.702.3359 email@example.com
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An art lover's abode puts natural elements to work
im Burton’s clients—one a well-known art dealer, and the other a successful music teacher—came to him with a request to design a second home where they could display their extensive art collection, entertain guests, and eventually retire. Burton, a partner at Carter + Burton, knew his design would need to be sophisticated enough to live up to their high standards. “It needed to rise to the quality level of their timeless collection and be worthy of this incredible site, which is one in a million,” he says. “We set out to create an instant heirloom.”
Burton designed an open floor plan that features 300degree views of rolling hills and both the Massanutten and Allegheny mountain ranges. Views aside, the home was also designed with a diminutive carbon footprint. The large frame windows by Duratherm provide cross ventilation, while the roof helps regulate the temperature and sun exposure. “By changing roof overhangs and heights, we let in the winter sun to warm the space, and at the same time, kept the direct summer sun out of the space,” Burton says. Another cooling feature is the wraparound porch that Inside the Elk Run Ridge house
Burton appreciates for both its function and form. “[It’s] a Southern tradition and has a very functional history of cooling the air around a house so the sun isn’t baking the air right outside the home.” Cooling and heating a space were undeniably central focuses for designing the sustainable home, but the aesthetics elevated the space from green to luxe. Carter + Burton sourced local glulams, stone, glass tile with recycled content, and concrete floors to create a cohesive space in which modernity exists seamlessly with nature. “The clients understood our ‘subtractive’ approach to design— trying to achieve an elegance that the natural materials can inherently provide,” he says. Creating a home that exists within its environment is crucial for the architect, who says that “using local materials and craft can root a design to a place.” Every aspect of the eco-friendly home is unique to its owners and environment, says Burton, who was confident that his clients “would dress the project well” with furniture from George and Mira Nakashima and many other well-known artists and craftsmen. “There is no formula
Above: Retreat interior Opposite page top and right: Elk Run Ridge Opposite page left: Boxhead exterior
for this kind of luxury. It’s an art form that takes a team approach.” And for an architect who thrives on sustainability, designing a home that will stand built on a family’s passion and local resources for years to come is just another day on the job.—Jenny Seyfried
BRINGING NATURE INDOORS
WINDOWS ON THE WORLD
Sometimes, sustainability can be a product of taste. That’s what Mira Nakashima of George Nakashima Woodworking noticed about the Elk Run Ridge owner’s desire to bring nature indoors. “He wanted the furniture to look as wild as possible. Lots of ins and outs and bumps and holes.” Outfitting the home with a custom-made dining set, shelves, stools, and a vanity, Nakashima ensured the use of locally harvested Eastern black walnut wood that would satisfy the residents.
Tim Downing, President and CEO of Duratherm Windows has practiced sustainability since birth. “I am the youngest of six children, so I doubt I got a new pair of jeans before I was 12. Making use of your resources was bred in me at an early age.” Nowadays, Downing’s earth friendly focus is in providing sustainable windows for eco-friendly design projects, including Elk Run’s double wide custom lift windows and sliding doors. Downing appreciates working with clients who have what he calls "an obvious concern with sustainability" and he helps them to select beautiful, durable and incredibly efficient products.
british architecture inspired the high-volume spaces of this oregon home
esides perpetually gray skies overhead, a London flat and a rural Oregon home don’t have much in common. But that didn’t stop one British expat from bringing some of his native country’s design aesthetic stateside while building his new hillside home. The owner of the Fox Hollow Residence enlisted Richard Shugar, principal of architecture firm 2Form, to recreate the high-volume spaces of his English loft on a home-sized scale. The Fox Hollow Residence, located in Eugene, OR, features three distinct sections: one for utility, one for living, and one for a bedroom. Each area is skewed for maximum exposure to the sun and views of the stunning nearby mountains. With the living spaces accessible on the same level, the residence is effectively compartmentalized into three lofted apartments. In the living room, walls stretch two-stories high, making them a perfect place for the art-collecting owners to display their favorite pieces. Not content to merely admire nature from afar, Shugar closely monitored the house’s impact on the immediate environment as well. “I think the first step to sustainability is reducing the building’s footprint to essential rooms and spaces,” he says. To make that first step, he and his team decided that air conditioning was expendable. Large, operable windows open to the vistas, and pair with ceiling fans to move the air throughout the space. Large roof overhangs shield the rooms from direct heat, effectively controlling the home’s temperature in the precipitation-heavy Northwest. Fox Hollow’s design is a trick on the eyes, too. “When you enter the house from one side, it looks like a one-story building,” Shugar says, “but when you look at the view from down the hill, it looks like a really big home.” Whether England or Oregon, uphill or down, sometimes the best solution lies in a simple shift of perspective.
THE SUSTAINABLE FORESTRY INITIATIVE For Mike Shelby of Sierra Pacific Windows, meeting 2Form’s standards of sustainability was not a problem. All of his company’s windows are fashioned from sustainably grown wood that is certified under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). They use energy efficient Low-E glass to promote thermal regulation and powdered aluminum siding that prevents chemicals from being released into the environment, something Shelby thinks greatly impacted the project overall. “The result is an aesthetically pleasing, comfortably functional and sustainable home that the owners will be able to enjoy for a lifetime,” he says.
Sustainable features: • Recessed sliding doors shield glass from sunlight for a cooling effect • Rainwater is collected from the sloped roofs and filtered in a bioswale before flowing back into a nearby creek • All beams are salvaged blown-down trees from eastern Oregon forests • Roof overhangs shield the structures from direct sunlight • Local concrete used on foundations • Floor vents allow cooler air to flow from basement
a tree is our most intimate contact with nature — GEORGE NAKASHIMA
THE SPIRIT OF GEORGE NAKASH I MA LIVES ON THROUGH THE WORK OF HIS STUDIO
George Nakashima Woodworker, S A 1847 Aquetong Road, New Hope, PA 18938 215-862-2272 www.nakashimawoodworker.com
Ralph johnson is finding ways to combine common sense and sustainability
s a design principle for architecture mega developing buildings that work with the envifirm Perkins + Will, Ralph Johnson has made ronment. a name for himself as a leader in sustainable thinking worldwide. Based in Chicago with a “In a way, we use high-tech thinking and comteam spread across 23 international locations, puter analysis to allow us to fine tune low-tech Johnson has the manpower and drive to impact systems.” Combining research on local environhow societies interact with their environ- ments and regional climates with knowledge of ments. Ever the pragmatic designer, Johnson cultural context, Johnson’s team is able to use understands the importance of developing his method of common sense sustainability to sustainable architecture that is also cost effec- develop unique buildings that have an increastive. At the heart of his work is “common sense ingly minimal impact on the environment. “By sustainability,” a self-coined idea that makes developing air-conditioned boxes, we forgot sustainable thinking a main topic in the cre- about how many of these systems work.” ation of architecture, not just a bullet point on a list. With his focus on passive architectural “We need to be responsive to cultures and not design strategies, ones that use non-mechan- develop universal buildings—not develop one ical, non-electrical means to provide heating, iconic design and insert it in every culture.” cooling and lighting, Johnson concentrates on —Stephen killion / PORTRAIT BY JON SHAFT
Shanghai Natural History Museum Shanghai, Hong Kong
SUSTAINABLE INSPIRATION Peter Schaudt of Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects is proud of his long-standing professional relationship with Johnson. In the late 1990s, when they collaborated on the Chervon International Trading Company headquarters in Nanjing, China, it was Johnson’s determination to build the first green roof in the city that influenced Schaudt’s view on green design. According to Schaudt, “In my opinion, what makes Ralph’s work so beautiful is that he takes the sustainable technology and makes sculptural forms out if it. He expresses the ideas of sustainability in a three-dimensional way.”
The Shanghai Natural History Museum is a prime example of what Perkins + Will does best—it takes a basic sustainable idea and accentuates it in a new, creative way. Johnson created a triple layered cellular wall, a crucial part of the building both visually and structurally because it acts as a structural curtain wall and sunscreen. The wall’s design expands upon local traditions by mimicking detailing found both in traditional Chinese window screens and organic cell structures. “Normally you think of glass walls as energy hogs, so a big component of designing those structures is finding ways to make them sustainable.” The orientation of the iconic cell wall provides substantial day lighting to the building and allows an extensive central water feature to cool the air being drawn through the building. A further connection to the natural environment is made through a south facing living wall. By bringing the horizontal plane of the park onto the vertical surface, an arcade is formed that retains heat from the sun. In addition, a prominent green roof was developed to allow the landscape and building to merge into one unified design aesthetic.
EvolutionMAN Good for the Earth and good-looking. EvolutionMAN mixes its grooming products from all-natural ingredients like algae extract, honey, and shea butter, and then packs them into sleek, black post-consumer packaging. Its Evman Bag, a handsome dopp kit made from recycled tire inner tubes, stores away the skincare arsenal in style. Grooming products, $10-110; Bag, $50, www. evolution-man.com Green Luxe Beauty
APOKALYPS LABOTEK Swedish Apokalyps Labotek takes chemical waste and turns it into designed objects. ALT grows the crystals for The Lamp: Crystal by dipping bare lampshades in a mineral salt byproduct for 3-12 weeks, nearly eliminating the need for human labor and electrical input in the crystal lamp manufacturing process. The Lamp: Crystal, price upon request, www.apokalypslabotek.se
Green Luxe Furniture
Green Luxe Fashion
Lizzie Burns is a newcomer to sustainable fashion, but her pieces don’t show it. Her Capsule Collection combines natural, low-impact fabrics like hemp and bamboo with hand appliqués and beadwork. Burns also recognizes that fashion trends come and go, so each piece is either 100% recyclable or biodegradable, which means you don’t have to feel guilty about changing up your closet. One-Shoulder Appliqué Dress, White and Grey Embellished Shirts, prices upon request, www.eaburns.com
Salvaging Shangri La
how a neglected botanical garden became an educational and environmental paradise
W Ornamental gardens with cleansing pools greet visitors at the door
hen philanthropist H. J. Lutcher Stark purchased 300 acres of land on the Adams Bayou in Orange, Texas, in the 1940s, he created his own personal paradise, complete with a man-made lake, walking paths and hundreds of plants. The somewhat antisocial Stark eventually opened his creation to the public, but in 1958, a devastating freeze the gardens at the park and prompted Shangri La to close its doors for good.
lands to their former glory, and they wanted Lake and Flato to make it happen. The architects were intrigued. “The buildings and grounds reflect the heroic mission of Shangri La by demonstrating how man can work in harmony with nature,” Flato says of the once-utopian gardens. “People can go away with some ideas that they can incorporate into their own projects. It’s using as little energy as possible to create the buildings.”
Fast forward to 2005—principal architects David Lake and Ted Flato were taken on a boat ride through the swamplands of Shangri La by the Lutcher Stark Foundation, which still owns the park. The group was on a mission to restore the gardens and wet-
The foundation wanted Lake/Flato to create a visitor’s center and classrooms to educate and immerse the guests into nature. Given the delicate environment, Flato had to carefully plan the best way to sustainably connect the new buildings to nature
without impacting the surrounding wetlands. “We help our clients understand the necessity and attainability of a sustainable approach to planning and design,” Flato says. “A big part of sustainable thinking is using what’s around you and not importing materials from far away.”
An open-air greenhouse with steel handlebars along the walkways was designed to become overgrown with vines
Lake/Flato created a nature center and botanical gardens, and used recycled plastic decking to build minimal-impact boardwalks to link the classrooms. Educational centers span across the different ecosystems, including grasslands and swamplands. And the team cleaned up the formerly polluted lake with the addition of new plant life. Lake/Flato’s efforts have been rewarded with LEED-Platinum certification. Now, the once-abandoned garden serves as a place where nature-lovers can walk amongst the wetlands or spy on the birds whose livelihood is ensured for years to come.—SARAH CASON / PHOTOS BY Paul Hester
botanical beauty Jeffrey Carbo of Jeffrey Carbo Landscape Architects was responsible for all aspects of the botanical gardens from preservation to construction. Some of the original plants were harvested and stored so that they could be reincorporated into the final design, among them being Lutcher Stark’s favored azaleas. Carbo found that his designs were received warmly by Lake/Flato, who “embraced the concept of buildings that allowed the landscape to dominate the visitor experience, blurring the lines between interior and exterior.”
Rainwater falls in a series of rivulets that cascade down the grounds
"So much of our approach to sustainability is thinking holistically about the landscape."—TED Flato
In keeping with the lush living of its namesake, Lake/Flato and Jeffrey Carbo Landscape Architects worked to ensure that “nature is slowly taking over the buildings.”
HOERR SCHAUDT landscape architects
INSIDE / OUT
Five photographers interpret what it means to be on the flip side of things
INSIDE / OUT
Laure and Sarah Living and working between Paris and Berlin, Laure and Sarah are two young French photographers who create provocatively staged images with dreamlike qualities. Their respective backgrounds in interior design and graphic design resonate through their works, and their images are frequently paired with text from author Côme Laffay. www.laure-sarah.fr
Nicole Bachmann Born in Zurich, Bachmann currently splits her time working and living between Zurich and London. Her clients include Apartamento Magazine, Case da Abitare, EQ3 Canada, Vitra, and many others. Her main interest is in portraits and interior and furniture design. www.nicolebachmann.ch
JORGE LUIS DIEGUEZ Dieguez is a Peruvian photographer whose photographic style is heavily influenced by his architecture studies, as well as his explorations through the visual arts. After studying architecture and communications, he traveled to Barcelona to study cinematography where he worked in the film industry for seven years. He currently lives and works in London. www.jorgeluisdieguez.com
LARS AMHOFF Amhoff is the founder of German-based design company The Substain. Focusing on contemporary furniture and accessory design quality is something The Substain seeks fervently against today’s consumer product-oriented market. Quality over quantity and art over empty design for the masses. www.thesubstain.com
WILLIAM EADON Eadon is an Ohio-born Brooklyn resident who has worked as a fashion designer and consultant for more than 15 years, maintaining his eponymous label and designing for Cynthia Rowley. He also enjoys photography, and his one-time band, Fragment, opened for Nine Inch Nails sometime in the ’90s. www.williameadon.com
Laure and Sarah, The Kitchen and The Living Room
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LAURE AND SARAH /THE BOX AND THE DESERT
THE DESERT AND THE BOX /LAURE AND SARAH
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JORGE LUIS DIEGUEZ
JORGE LUIS DIEGUEZ
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WILLIAM EADON / WAIT FOR IT
WAIT FOR IT / WILLIAM EADON
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This issue’s best Albums
Space Cadet graphic novel and soundtrack (Ninja Tune) Canadian artist Eric San, better known as Kid Koala, is a non-traditional, storytelling turntablist, classically trained pianist, and accomplished visual artist. Like his 2003 release, Nufonia Must Fall, Space Cadet is a joint graphic novel and soundtrack, each of which has been meticulously handcrafted between other artistic endeavors. Over 132 pages of etchboard images, Space Cadet tells the tale of a guardian robot and a girl whom he raises to be a great astrophysicist-slash-space-explorer. It touches on themes of love and seclusion, as San sets the tone with a gentle and somber piano score. His turntable work makes intermittent appearances, usually to give the piano or other accompanying instruments (strings, horns, marimba) a warped and “drunken” feel. The album’s tracklist provides follow-along page coordinates for the music, providing the type of audio/visual synthesis that was central to his “headphone concert” tour of 2011. /01
Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey
Race Riot Suite (Kinnara Records / Royal Potato Family) Penned by lap-steel guitarist Chris Combs, Race Riot Suite is a new long-form work from “post-jazz” quartet Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey. With a wealth of guest contributors and a “big band” frontline, the album addresses a racially charged incident that took place in 1921 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the band’s hometown.
IV (ROIR) When dub-rock powerhouse Dub Trio last released a full album at the start of 2008, it marked a significantly heavier direction, with chugging hardcore and sludge-metal tendencies creeping into its unparalleled blend of grooves and riffs. The trio’s newest, IV, continues that trajectory, committing the group first and foremost to metal.
Amid a possible lynching and escalating racial tensions, violence ensued outside the town courthouse. Later, in reaction to a nonexistent “Negro uprising,” an aerial assault battered “Black Wall Street,” an affluent and largely AfricanAmerican neighborhood in Tulsa. The violence resulted in the hospitalization of 800 people and the destruction of 35 city blocks, and Race Riot Suite pays memory to these tragic events. /02
Dub remains a key factor, albeit more subtly, as individual instruments are tweaked at key moments. “Ends Justify the Means” is a venture into the wobbly bass sounds of dubstep, but palm-muted and manipulated guitar stabs make it entirely new. And “1:1.:618” is an experiment in prepared piano and improvised effects, emphasizing the unpredictable nature of this inimitable outfit. /03
And the World is Still Yawning (Lost Tribe Sound) You might know William Ryan Fritch, a.k.a. Vieo Abiungo, as a member of Skyrider, a band that joined forces with hip-hop artist Sole in 2007. He also has worked with Kronos Quartet, and he released a solo album entitled Music for Honey and Bile for the Asthmatic Kitty Library Catalog in 2010. His new album, And the World is Still Yawning, combines modern classical, meditative ambience, and rich electronics. Having scored roughly 30 films since 2008, Fritch has a well-honed ear for nuance; many compositions evolve to a grand cinematic climax. Unintelligible vocals fade in and out, buried beneath polyrhythmic percussion and resonant instrumentation. With a refined sound-collage aesthetic, the album drifts calmly and beautifully. /05
Impossible Spaces (Constellation) Over the course of five side projects and countless collaborations, Toronto-based producer Sandro Perri has dabbled in many styles, offering touches of indie pop, Western music, and more to his folk-based style. Impossible Spaces, his third solo album, fully steps outside of Perri’s categorical boundaries. The indie-folk foundation is augmented by elements of electronica, jazz, and bossa nova, made possible by a diverse palette that includes guitar, flute, oboe, brass, synths, and samples. Many of the musical elements transform midsong, through crescendos or the entry of bass, but Perri’s soulful voice remains as the album’s constant, softening any stylistic alterations. /06
Cats & Dogs (Rhymesayers) Los Angeles MC Michael Perretta (better known as Evidence) is one third of the hip-hop trio Dilated Peoples. Over the past four years, with Dilated on hiatus, Evidence has focused on his solo career, and Cats & Dogs marks his move to Rhymesayers Entertainment. Here Perretta delivers a crisp flow that is complemented by guest vocalists such as Slug (Atmosphere), Aesop Rock, Raekwon, and Aloe Blacc. With samples anchored in soul and pop, the album lays a pliable backdrop for topics that range from the recession to distorted concepts of love. Skits between tracks bear an early-’90s influence, and with shout-outs to KRS-One and De La Soul, it’s clear that the time period remains a strong influence on Cats & Dogs. /04
Open Season Chicago quartet Yawn has demonstrated remarkable growth since its start as a highschool rock trio. After a makeover influenced by Animal Collective and other modern psych-pop outfits, the band issued a promising debut EP with heavy use of vocal harmonies, poppy electronics, and quirky effects.
Yawn’s first full-length album, Open Season, reflects an additional dose of musical maturity. A few more hints of the 1960s and ’80s have seeped into the band’s sounds to go with dueling croons, polyrhythms, and a broader spectrum of moods. And while maintaining the tom-heavy drumbeats and electronics of prior recordings, Open Season uses previously unexplored instrumentation to give each track a distinctive vibe. /07
Scott Morrow is the music editor at ALARM Press and author of This Week’s Best Albums, an eclectic weekly series presenting exceptional music. Visit www.alarmpress.com for more.
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N I M B U S
Construction begins from both sides. As construction continues each side cantilevers towards the center. The final piece functions as the ‘key’ which stabilizes the entire structure. Forces are directed down sides of the buildings into their foundations.
Once the final ‘key’ component is installed, the compression forces are taken through the main structure of the buildings and down into their foundations.
Is there a particular style of design or object that you absolutely despise? Strip malls. In Arizona, they are mass-produced on every street corner with no soul and are often abandoned within a few years. What’s the most useful piece of information you learned in design school? The least? I’ve learned that good design has to be done with an evolutionary approach. An idea needs to germinate and develop through an iterative process. I’ve also learned that it’s important to take control of your own education and not count on others to teach you what you need to know. If I’ve learned anything that wasn’t useful, I’ve forgotten it already. Why should somebody hire you? I have a passion for architecture coupled with a unique understanding of the municipal development processes. I have excellent design communication skills and an excitement for fabrication. AIA-Southern Arizona recently awarded me the Design Excellence award for best studio work chosen by a jury of professionals. a
Top: Armagon: An exploration of a modern ceramics factory Middle and bottom: Nimbus: A revolutionary step in modular bridge design. Collaboration between CPArquitectura & Catapulting Collaborative
Erin likes... My iPhone, my portly dog, Tank, Stax in Scottsdale, Arizona (tastiest little burgers ever), Material for Design by Victoria Ballard Bell with Patrick Rand, Rhinoceros and Grasshopper modeling software, Museum of Modern Art in New York, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Ray Bans, Mig Welders, 3-D printers Erin dislikes… Reality TV, whiners, computer crashes, strip malls, country music, Tucson drivers, gypsum panels, skate stops, peanuts, answering questions about myself
RESUME SNAPSHOT: Erin Bass EDUCATION Arizona State University Bachelor’s of Science in Urban Planning 2000 - 2005 The University of Arizona Master’s of Architecture 2010 - 2013
Work Experience LVA Urban Design LLC, Land Planner January 2007 – 2010 Snell & Wilmer LLP, Zoning Clerk March 2005 – January 2006
Interested in being featured in For Hire? Email us at email@example.com
Skills Proficient in CS5 Adobe suite, AutoCAD, Rhino, Grasshopper, Maxwell Render, Vray Render, Microsoft Office
Wanna hire Erin? Check out his website: www.Catapulting Collaborative.com
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SEGD is a global multidisciplinary design community providing educational resources, venues for knowledge-sharing, and opportunities to connect with practitioners in the field of environmental graphic design.
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