Page 1


Nº119 NOV — DEC 2017

EU €19.95 IT €14.95 CHF 30 UK £14 US $19.95 CA $29.50 AU $28.99 JP ¥3,570 KR WON 40,000


Welcome to the RESPONSIVE WORKPLACE. Design to DE-STRESS. KENGO KUMA nurtures mutual trust. CENTRE POMPIDOU puts play on the agenda. OFFICE FURNITURE: driven by data, hospitality and dynamism.





50 Courtesy of Andreas Piedfort


Chic solar cells, participatory products, adapted architectural materials


Five creatives design to de-stress

49 PORTRAITS 50 KENGO KUMA All in the details 56 MIGLIORE+SERVETTO ARCHITECTS Italian inspiration 58 ETIENNE BAS Feeding Beirut’s urban fabric Tada (Yukai)

64 MARC ALMERT Wining with a Gaggenau Sommelier Awards winner 66 DIANA SCHERER Laying the groundwork 72 SPACE COPENHAGEN Nordic knows no bounds 78 DOMOTEX Trade-fair transformation


Cavernous creations in China and South Africa


Alex Fradkin

140 LAUFEN Shower toilets, Swiss style




145 FRAME LAB Work


146 Welcome to the RESPONSIVE WORKPLACE 150 STUDIO RHE asks buildings for feedback 156 SPACE ENCOUNTERS raises the roof for Sony 162 TEAMLAB gives office-goers an interactive welcome 168 LABORATORIO PERMANENTE packs it all in

175 REPORTS Office furniture

Driven by data, hospitality and dynamism 176 OKAMURA Seated, not sedentary 182 ANDREU WORLD Shift work Peter Tijhuis


192 IN NUMBERS Joachim Froment’s 0.6 Chair in facts and figures

Jonas Lindström, courtesy of Kinnarps




Frame is published six times a year by Frame Publishers Luchtvaartstraat 4 NL-1059 CA Amsterdam

EDITORIAL For editorial inquiries, please e-mail or call +31 20 4233 717 (ext 923). Editor in chief Robert Thiemann – RT Managing editor Tracey Ingram – TI Editor Floor Kuitert – FK Research editor Anouk Haegens – AH Editorial interns Chahinez Bensari – CB Sofia Angelopoulou – SA Copy editors InOtherWords (D’Laine Camp, Donna de Vries-Hermansader) Design director Barbara Iwanicka Graphic designers Zoe Bar-Pereg Cathelijn Kruunenberg Translation InOtherWords (Donna de Vries-Hermansader) Contributors to this issue Will Georgi – WG Kanae Hasegawa – KH Norman Kietzmann – NK Merel Kokhuis – MK Gili Merin – GM Shonquis Moreno – SM Alexandra Onderwater – AO Jonathan Openshaw – JO Jill Diane Pope – JDP Inês Revés – IR Jane Szita – JS Lauren Teague – LT Suzanne Wales – SW Michael Webb – MW Crystal Wilde – CW Cover Concept and photography Thomas Brown Set design Andrew Stellitano Retouching Recom Farmhouse Lithography Edward de Nijs Printing Grafisch Bedrijf Tuijtel Hardinxveld-Giessendam


Web editor Terri Chen T +31 20 4233 717 ext 962 Web intern Alexandra Servie Distribution and logistics Nick van Oppenraaij T +31 20 4233 717 ext 954

SUBSCRIPTIONS For subscription inquiries, please e-mail or call +31 85 888 3551. 2-year subscription 2-year student subscription 1-year subscription 1-year student subscription 6-month subscription

From €195 From €155 From €99 From €79 From €49

‘For the cover of this issue, we created a spatial experience that is all in the mind. The world seems to have flipped on its head, and nothing is as it seems. A tunnel that extends off into the distance is, on close examination, made out of a modular toolkit of materials’ THOMAS BROWN AND ANDREW STELLITANO, COVER ARTISTS

Please visit for the latest offers. Back issues Buy online at

ADVERTISING Sales managers Baruch Pichowski T +31 20 4233 717 ext 955 Ed Smit T +31 20 4233 717 ext 953 Advertising representatives Italy Studio Mitos Michele Tosato T +39 0422 894 868 Sara Breveglieri T +39 3394 373 951 Turkey Titajans Hilmi Zafer Erdem T +90 212 257 76 66 Bookstore distributors Frame is available at sales points worldwide. Please see Frame (USPS No: 019-372) is published bimonthly by Frame Publishers NL and distributed in the USA by Asendia USA, 17B South Middlesex Ave., Monroe, NJ 08831. Periodicals postage paid at New Brunswick, NJ, and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: send address changes to Frame, 701C Ashland Ave., Folcroft, PA 19032. ISSN FRAME: 1388-4239 © 2017 Frame Publishers and authors

Directors Robert Thiemann David de Swaan Head of partnerships and events Marlies Bolhoven T +31 20 4233 717 ext 911 Using wood, paper, watercolour, acrylic, glass, organic materials and glycerine, photographer Thomas Brown and set designer Andrew Stellitano built a multilayered world that hovers between fantasy and reality. Aptly titled Doubt, it’s their first cover in a series of four.


Trends 2018 / 2019

9. — 12. 1. 2018

heimtextil theme park



The Heimtextil Theme Park explores how our urban future will impact the spaces in which we live, work, make and play. Come and discover how these lifestyle trends will shape the key colour and design trends for tomorrowʼs textile interior. Heimtextil Theme Park ”The future is urban” Trends 2018/2019 in Hall 6.0




Work in Progress THE BUSINESS heart of Amsterdam is just a stone’s throw from our workplace. Within an area of some 3 km2, law offices nudge elbows with banks and multinational headquarters. Without exception, they occupy rather prosaic mid-rise towers whose façades consist mainly of steel and glass. Transparency is obviously a desired asset. You can look straight into these buildings, where more often than not thousands of workstations in hundreds of seemingly identical offices are parked in rows against the glazing. The underlying message couldn’t be clearer: we’ve got nothing to hide, we’re here for you, and what you see is what you get. Nothing could be further from the truth, as we learned from the banking crises of previous years. But that’s another story. No matter how modern such gleaming business hubs may appear to be, in reality they are old hat. With their inflexible layouts and indistinguishable desks, they’re part of a working world that forces both staff and organization to adapt. The gargantuan office facilitates control and efficiency; it serves the employer whose aim is maximum productivity. Young 21st-century workers, however, aren’t so easily pigeonholed – and with so many digital tools at their disposal, the process of

a ginger-beet juice. By accident, they spot a colleague who’s part of a project team they joined a week ago; she gives them a quick update before leaving for a yoga class downstairs. From the café, they make a detour to the office restaurant for falafel wraps. According to Richard Hywel Evans, the architect behind many a successful London workspace, the need for a physical office will always remain, ‘even if it looks more like a combination restaurant-barthinking and working outside gym surrounded by a random the box boosts their productivity. arrangement of casual work This demographic includes selfareas’. The office of the future employed entrepreneurs who is sure to be less transparent cycle from hotel lobby to nearby and uniform than those inside co-working space, as well as the towers that now populate people who prefer to work in an Amsterdam’s commercial centre. office that adapts to them, and It will have to be an attractive not vice versa. place where we want to spend Genuinely modern time. A place that adapts to us employers realize that the way and fulfils our expectations – to get the most out of their one of which might be a dim digitally empowered personnel alcove for meditation. is to offer a diversity of flexible Somehow, I don’t see that spaces. Whereas one employee happening at a workstation might prefer to sprawl on a behind a clear glass wall. sofa and develop his ideas on a laptop, another will feel more ROBERT THIEMANN comfortable typing trip reports Editor in chief while standing at a heightadjustable table. Meetings move to the office café, where they enjoy an espresso macchiato or



‘I was intrigued by the playfulness of Laboratorio Permanente’s project, which balances effortlessly between identity and mutability – not a matter of course when designing for a major corporation’ NORMAN KIETZMANN

With specializations in cultural studies, film and communication studies, CHAHINEZ BENSARI earned a BA from Montreal’s McGill University, where she is currently pursuing an MA in communication studies. Bensari was involved in research at the University of Groningen’s Film Archive and the Moving Image Research Laboratory in Montreal. She gained writing and editing experience while working for Formerly Known As Magazine and interning for Frame. For this issue, she explored how architecture is influencing product design.

Swedish photographer MAJA FLINK lives in Copenhagen and works in both Denmark and Sweden. Portraits are her speciality. Among her subjects are professionals in a variety of fields, ranging from fashion and art to politics and science. At present she is working on her second book, which features photographs of families from five Scandinavian countries. Flink’s portrait of the duo behind Space Copenhagen is on page 72.

A native of Berlin, journalist and critic NORMAN KIETZMANN studied industrial design at the Berlin Weissensee School of Art and the École National Supérieure de Création Industrielle in Paris. Since 2003 he’s been writing about architecture, design and fashion for publications such as Dear, Damn°, Domus and Handelsblatt. In 2011 Kietzmann received the prestigious COR-Preis Wohnen und Design for young journalists. He now lives and works in Milan, where he visited Laboratorio Permanente. Turn to page 168 to read his take on the interior of a 5,000-m2 office.

After being part of Frame’s editorial team for six years, MEREL KOKHUIS wanted a new challenge, which she found in her work for literary publishers and magazines such as Elle Decoration and Indesign. But true love never dies, and she continues to contribute to Frame publications such as Mark, Masterclass Graphic Design and Masterclass Product Design. Find her story about a museum in Cape Town on page 82.

"The carpet is a blank canvas upon which to express my passions, drawings, collages, prints in black and white or in colour, albums of old pictures from my personal archives." Monsieur Christian Lacroix

Subscribe NOW Spend a year at the forefront of SPATIAL DESIGN. Enjoy Frame delivered bimonthly to your door and save 17% OFF the listed retail price.

*For locations outside the EU, a shipping surcharge applies.

2 YEARS €195 (Students €155)* 1 YEAR €99 (Students €79) 6 MONTHS €49


Katarina Juričić, courtesy of Jasmijn Muskens

ARCHITECTURE strengthens product design. SOLAR ENERGY attracts new applications. The MARKET STALL gets an update. CUSTOMIZATION becomes co-creation. Discover new directions in the world of products.


Design graduates take a PARTICIPATORY APPROACH to bespoke furniture CONSTRUCTION – Custom furniture used to be beyond the budget of the ordinary design enthusiast. Today, myriad possibilities are available on the market: pieces that can be tailored to suit almost anyone’s taste, needs and lifestyle. The shift towards less predefined furniture shows that designing and buying, or vice versa, are no longer disconnected processes. Despite the amalgamation, the

buyer’s influence is often limited to the choice of colour and material, and perhaps a selection of add-ons. At this year’s graduation shows, however, flexible furniture collections and systems offered diverse levels of consumer involvement, making both the purchasing experience and the follow-up more playful, dynamic and participatory than ever. – CB

Kingston University graduate FERN TOYNTON dismisses nails and screws in favour of balloons to secure the DIY furniture and toys in her Inflate kits. The project invites both children and adults to make their own colourful compositions.



Ekaterina Galetski and Jian Da Huang

Reframe is a rather abstract clothing collection hatched in the brain of Taiwanese designer JIAN DA HUANG, who enjoys stimulating the consumer’s sense of creativity. Merging fashion and architecture, Huang’s DAE graduation project features a series of ‘soft bone’ shapes that restore the fun of getting dressed as they change the wearer’s silhouette.




Designed for Nov Gallery by PANTER&TOURRON, Tole is a furniture collection made from corrugated sheet metal, a material normally used in an architectural context. The simple forms explore the potential of an ordinary cladding material reduced to the scale of product design. Surfaces that are polished, anodized, lacquered or combined with marble add a touch of luxury to inexpensive aluminium sheet.

Omar Golli, courtesy of Giustini Stagetti / Galleria O. Roma


Inspired by the building principles of Italian architect Pier Luigi Nervi, KONSTANTIN GRCIC came up with Magliana, a limited-edition modular table with built-in seating made entirely from reinforced concrete. The material increases the strength of the long dining table while reducing its weight and demonstrating the application of unembellished concrete to furniture design.


La Triennale di Milano – Salone d’Onore – Milano


TOP-CLASS ACOUSTIC SOLUTIONS. 4akustik combines the top-class sound-absorption performance with a new formula offering the ultimate in health and safety. 4akustik contributes toward satisfying prerequisites and credits under LEED®.


B-s1, d0 / / +39 0432 9761


Yair Meller

DESIGN TO DE-STRESS In the lead-up to each issue, Frame challenges emerging designers to answer a topical question with a future-forward concept. The pressures of today’s fast-paced, performance-orientated world have made burnouts and insomnia rising concerns among (mainly) working professionals of an increasingly younger age. Alarmed by the growth of these and other stress-related conditions, we commissioned five makers to conceptualize a product, space or service intended to reduce stress and improve mental wellbeing.




Nº 1

Jaw Dropper

The stress-relieving qualities of CHEWING GUM inspired Carolien Niebling’s plant-based, mood-enhancing alternative.

CAROLIEN NIEBLING’s future-forward approach to food design earned her a place in ‘The Challenge’.

You’ve given us something to chew on . . . CAROLIEN NIEBLING: According to research from the National Center for Biotechnology Information in America: ‘Fourteen days’ gum chewing may improve the levels of anxiety, mood and fatigue.’ However, as well as relieving stress, it’s also a habit that generates a lot of waste. Your solution is slightly unexpected. Seaweed. Yes. I originally looked into articles about seaweeds and jellification while working on a project [The Future Sausage] with Gabriel Serero, a molecular chef who

specializes in textures. We are only now discovering the amazing jellifying qualities and textures of seaweeds. Noma chef René Redzepi [Frame 118, p.164] has called seaweed ‘one of the few untapped natural resources we’ve yet to really start eating’. What makes seaweed so great? About 650 varieties of seaweed grow on British coastlines. It’s been said that all of them are safe to eat, but more research is needed to confirm this claim. Nutritionally, I can tell you that dried seaweed is rich in protein and that most varieties provide high levels of iodine, along

with vitamins A, B, C and E. From a sustainability standpoint, seaweed is abundant, stocks are replenished within a year or two, and it keeps for a long time when dried. So what do you propose? A series of chewables made from different types of seaweeds and plant-based substances. The idea is that these chewables resist becoming gummy in the mouth and, subsequently, digestible. The property of resistance gives you the jaw workout you need to relax, while the unexpected texture – brittle seaweed crumbles, and seaweed with more elasticity tears apart – triggers the


Olli Hirvonen and Carolien Niebling

Each of the natural substances used in Carolien Niebling’s chewables was chosen for its specific effect, from anxiety relief to sleep regulation.

mind. Thanks to nutrients from the seaweed, such as calcium, iron and folate, combined with stress-relieving herbs, the product should have a positive long-term effect. What sort of stress-relieving herbs would you use? Having considered locally available ingredients, I settled on lavender, Ginkgo biloba and passionflower. Although passionflower comes from overseas, it’s such a nice addition. All three have stress-relieving qualities. Lavender reduces irritability and anxiety and promotes relaxation. The benefits of Ginkgo biloba include improved cognitive function, increased

energy and improved memory. Traditionally, passionflower has been used to treat a variety of conditions, like wounds, earaches and liver problems. But more recently researchers have found that passionflower may help adults manage anxiety, mild sleep irregularities and stomach problems. How will the chewables taste? Flavours should stay close to the herbs used to soothe stress. Lavender can be paired with lemongrass or Brazilian ant, which tastes like lemon. The gel will be flavoured with extracts and essential oils from these herbs

and left as sugarless as possible. Ginkgo biloba has woody notes and a greenish aftertaste, which goes well with orange and tangerine. It might be nice to include a savoury option: Ginkgo biloba and bacon, for example. Passionflower has a grassy flavour and only light traces of its delicious fruit, so it’s a good match for calendula, aka marigold, which has a spicy, peppery tang and gives foods a light golden colour. Calendula and grapefruit are a great flavour combination, and the addition of roasted hazelnut makes it a real taste-bud tickler. – WG


Amelie Goldfuss’s cyborg phone gets tired and miserable when overused. Her cphone creates an emotional connection between the user and the digital device.



Nº 3

Judgment Call Aiming to eliminate unhealthy smartphone habits, Amelie Goldfuss proposes a CYBORG MODEL that acts up when it’s fed up.

The cphone indicates when it wants some time alone, which is great for you, because you were caught in your newsfeed and wanted to stop anyway.

Intrigued by her talk on design fiction, held during Beirut Design Week’s Criteria Conference, Frame selected critical thinker AMELIE GOLDFUSS for ‘The Challenge’.

You want to eliminate smartphone stress? AMELIE GOLDFUSS: We have almost become one with our smartphones and other devices that keep us online, informed and busy. Today’s devices and apps are engineered to gain and keep our attention. It’s really hard to stop scrolling through semi-interesting, often irrelevant content, and the result is more time devoted to our handhelds than we intend. What is your solution? The cphone – a cyborg that can be compared to a combination of your iPhone and your hamster. How would we use the device? Just like you use a smartphone, but there’s a difference. Normal phones are designed to serve you. But the more you use the cphone, the more fed up it becomes. As you constantly scroll through Twitter or share every meal on Instagram, the cphone’s annoyance level increases. If you don’t give it enough free time, it gets sick and shrivels. The same phone moves through three states: happy and healthy, bored and slightly fed up and, finally, exhausted and miserable.

What happens if you want to check your mail and it says no? It can’t say no. Cphones don’t have the authority to do that. But when you notice that it’s as miserable as hell, you feel guilty and will most likely think twice before checking your mail again. So it forces us to behave better? Sort of. It’s like the way many people get dogs, because they need something to force them to get up early and to leave the house three times a day. By taking care of something or someone else, they automatically take better care of themselves. Will we love cphones? Writer and philosopher Aldous Huxley once noted the similarities between cars and pets. People love them, but it’s also a matter of power, obedience and momentary interest. I think most of us are in love with our phones, our cars and, even more, our pets. But that doesn’t stop us from trading them in for new and more exciting models, even when the old ones are alive and healthy or still working well. You can upgrade you cphone, however, until the organism dies. – WG


Table: CALACATTA Polished Tipped Moorhead Offices, Orange County (USA) Fabricated by: Colisseum Marble CO INC.

NEOLITH, SINTERED STONE. Interior and exterior applications: Furniture, Countertops, Flooring and Cladding. Resistant to stains, chemicals, extreme temperatures. Light and 100% natural. Maximum format, minimum thickness, different finishes. More than 50 selections available. Design, Durability, Versatility, Sustainability.

Belgische Marmer & Granietbedrijven NV: I Michel Oprey & Beisterveld Natuursteen BV:

Michiel Spijkers

SPACE COPENHAGEN makes waves beyond its namesake city. KENGO KUMA nurtures mutual trust. MIGLIORE+SERVETTO lives and breathes Milanese design. Meet the people; get their perspectives.



‘An architect needs to feel unsatisfied to move forward’ KENGO KUMA may be unable to satiate his architectural appetite until he’s designed a religious building. Words








Kengo Kuma is so involved with his projects – both on site and from his studio – that he doesn’t do interviews until after 10 p.m.


KENGO KUMA: ‘While I was a student at the University of Tokyo in the late 1970s, I worked part time for my teacher, architect Hiroshi Hara. I can remember that period vividly – staying in his office overnight for days at a time, making maquettes. When I saw an established architect like Hiroshi Hara working overnight, I had to do the same. It was an eye-opening experience. I did not know a famous architect would work through the night.’ ‘Hara told me that you can become an architect if you stay close to an architect. What he meant was that by spending your days and nights with an architect, you realize that he is like any other human being – an ordinary person. People think architecture is a special profession. But once you discover an architect is just like you or me, you feel as if you can become one, too.’ ‘At one point I was able to accompany my teacher to the Sahara for a two-month expedition. Imagine: just the two of us together, day and night, for 60 days. I got to know Hara as a person. As an architecture student, I saw it as such a precious experience, and a privilege, to have an architect all to myself. As I listened to his views on life, I began to think that I, too, could become an architect.’ ‘After working for several years at one of the biggest construction companies in the industry, I studied at Columbia University in New York City as a visiting scholar. The approach to architecture there was very different from that of Japan. Architects in Japan are expected to be good draughtsmen


KENGO craftsmen who shared their know-how with me. We ate together, and they talked about the local way of living. They taught me how materials from the area – wood, bamboo, paper – are traditionally used in Japanese ‘As someone who returned from the States buildings, and proved how sustainable they with no realized projects, I found it difficult are. Through spending so much time together, to get a commission in Japan. I started with working on a project, I became very close a modest project in a small town, Yusuhara, with the craftsmen and nurtured trust. I which is in Kōchi Prefecture in southwest respect the skills of craftspeople, and they in Japan. The mayor there asked me to design turn trust me. Their skills give me hints on a small public restroom. I had no work at the time, so I was thrilled and immediately agreed. how to infuse craftsmanship into a project.’ Then in 1994 the mayor again approached me ‘I listen to clients, of course. And in the case to do a larger project in the same region: the of public buildings, I listen to the citizens who Kumo-no-Ue-no Hotel.’ will use the building in the future. Gaining trust from the public is very important, which ‘I always treasure meeting people. Architecis why I try to be on site when there is a public ture is the result of mutual trust, and it takes time to build belief among people. During the hearing on a project – wherever it may be.’ recession in the early 1990s, it was difficult ‘Architecture students believe that realizing for architectural projects to be realized in aspirational projects stems from visionary Japan. Young architects had no work. Occaideas. No. Grand projects do not suddenly sionally, I would get a small project in the materialize from grand ideas. I always tell my remote countryside. I had no choice. But since I had plenty of time, I spent many hours students that it is more important to build with local carpenters, stone-carvers and other mutual trust between people.’ who can draw lines. But at Columbia, being a good architect was based on the ability to convincingly articulate ideas.’

‘Grand projects do not suddenly materialize from grand ideas’

‘I am still not satisfied with what I do. When I finish a project, I believe I have done my job. But as the years pass, I think of things that I could have done better – small aspects that I could have taken into consideration. Then, as I move to the next project, this feeling of a lack of accomplishment subsides. I always learn from my past. I determine the lesson and incorporate it into my next project. Together, my works are a progression of finding mistakes and making improvements. I have now worked on five projects in the town of Yusuhara, and I am not satisfied with any of them. But in the end, an architect needs to be hungry – to feel unsatisfied – in order to find motivation and move forward.’ »



‘I respect the skills of craftspeople, and they in turn trust me’

As a student, Kuma interviewed Ian Schrager. Now the architect is working on the entrepreneur’s Edition Hotel in Tokyo, which is expected to open in 2020.

Kengo Kuma 1954 Born in Yokohama, Japan 1979 Earns a master’s degree from The University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Engineering 1985 Studies at Columbia University in New York City as a visiting scholar 1987 Opens Spatial Design Studio 1990 Founds Kengo Kuma & Associates 1995 Achieves international recognition with Water/Glass, a villa in Tokyo 2008 Opens Kengo Kuma & Associates Europe in Paris 2009 Made an Officier de L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France 2015 Selected to design Tokyo’s new National Stadium

‘Until the 1980s, architecture symbolized the Japanese economy and its culture. But after the recession, the people of Japan viewed the discipline as something destructive – a useless way to spend our taxes. People thought we did not need any new buildings. This caused an architectural setback after the ’90s. As a result, architects and city planners learned that buildings need to engage society.’ ‘It is not that I deny flamboyant architecture. I very much admire Ian Schrager, for instance. One of my assignments while studying at Columbia University was to interview the hotelier and submit a report. It was the first time I had interviewed anyone, and I was struck by his energy and his belief in what design can offer to a hospitality environment. He taught me that design can be emotive.’ ‘I try to make architecture that speaks to people. I like to use Japanese expressions that apply to tactility – fuwa fuwa, which translates as “airy”, or zara zara, meaning “rough” – phrases that are subject to individual interpretation. Maybe what I learned from Schrager has influenced my approach. Funnily enough, I just started working on his new Edition Hotel, which will be built in Tokyo.’

‘When designing a building, I do not focus on the overall silhouette but on what each detail conveys. A single project is made up of many details, and I want each specific element to have a voice. I hope people who look at one of my projects can feel what I’ve tried to do. Historically, architecture was about reading detail. It was more about ornament than decoration. There was meaning behind it.’ ‘I am very grateful to be working as an authorized licensed architect in France, thanks to permission granted by the École Spéciale d'Architecture. I already had an office in Paris, but a foreign architecture firm that practises in France needs to partner with a local architect. With ESA’s authorization, my office can work alone, and that makes a huge difference. I can communicate directly with French engineers and craftspeople. It is more difficult in the US, where each state has its own licensing system. If I want to work on my own in New York, Florida or California, I need licences from all three states. Even though there are US clients who appreciate the essence of Japanese architecture and would like to commission a project, the country’s licensing system forms a barrier.’ ‘My dream for the future is to complete a religious building of some kind – any kind. I think that religious architecture can touch the hearts of children who don’t know anything about my industry. I have a strong childhood memory of going into a Protestant church that was near my kindergarten. I was mesmerized by the architecture. When I went to my relative’s funeral in a temple, I was awestruck by the atmosphere of the place. I cannot explain why, but those buildings simply left a lasting impression on me.’ ● Kengo Kuma’s recent design of One@Tokyo hotel is featured on page 130

BetteLux Oval Couture Steel can wear anything

Design: Tesseraux+Partner

Keep feeling

A new traditionally installed switch that can be turned into a smart switch A new era for the world of electrical mechanisms, which will now offer infinite possibilities. Possibilities created with a single aim: so you keep feeling.


THOMAS HEATHERWICK carves out a ‘chapel’ in Cape Town. MUTI RANDOLPH connects physical and virtual retail. CENTRE POMPIDOU puts play on the agenda. Step inside the great indoors.



A Japanese restaurant brings Zen to China’s far north Jing Zhang


CHANGCHUN – Nothing better demonstrates the growing prosperity and sophistication of China than Setsugekka Japanese Cuisine, a restaurant whose upscale aesthetics rival those of its counterparts in Tokyo. And it’s located not in one of the major eastern cities, as one would expect, but in Changchun, China’s most northerly provincial capital. The city of eight million was laid out by the Japanese to serve as the administrative centre of Manchukuo, a puppet state established in 1932, and is now a hub of the automobile industry. Given the brutal

history of Japan’s occupation of this region, it’s even more remarkable that the smartest restaurant in town should be an expression of traditional Japanese values. Tianwen Sun, principal of Shanghai Hip-Pop Architectural Decoration Design, found inspiration in the northern climate and in haiku, poems that compress the experience of nature, joy and sadness. ‘For top interior designers, perfection of technique has already become a given,’ says Sun. ‘What makes one’s work outperform another’s is the vision and understanding of culture that contains


greatness in simplicity.’ He and his colleague, Xindi Cao, specialize in hospitality projects; here they used a few simple materials – glass, tatami mats, paint and light – to transport diners to a world far removed from the everyday. They captured a sense of harmony in ultra-clear glass engraved with snow flakes and cherry blossom, bands of blue LEDs, and the black background of the sushi counter. Setsugekka has a total floor area of 1300 m2; three levels are above ground and one is below. Sun designed the client’s first restaurant and built a relationship of trust. »


In Changchun, he was given a free hand within the tight budget, and the only requirement was to provide 160 seats. The Chinese love to entertain family, friends and business partners in private rooms, so many of the spaces are divided up, and the result is an air of intimacy that belies the size of the restaurant. Its name has various meanings, and these find expression in the different levels. The ground floor has a dramatic entry – with the receptionist at the end of a long platform – and a

Setsugekka marries Japanese cuisine with Chinese sensibilities; spaces are divided, for instance, to accommodate the Chinese preference for private dining.

concealed area for food preparation, while the first floor contains the kitchen and the largest private room, and suggests a flower. Another floor up, visitors find nine private rooms on a level that evokes moonlight. The basement floor includes small booths and conveys the idea of snow. ‘The most beautiful and romantic image in the north is the moment when it starts snowing,’ says Sun. ‘At that point the world is silent, and we wanted to freeze that moment in the space.’ Changes of colour

and lighting betoken a cool outdoors and a cosy interior. The façade is pure theatre: a tall entry slot pierces a windowless cube. The lower part glows with an icy blue that segues into a warm orange, giving diners, coming in on a winter night, the feeling that they are clustered around a fire. Private rooms are screened off by walls of glass that mimic the snow falling on the city. – MW



‘What makes one’s work outperform another’s is the vision and understanding of culture’




MUTI RANDOLPH’s generative surfaces connect physical and virtual retail at Melissa

NEW YORK CITY – The Melissa flagship in New York City, having relocated from Greene Street to a larger retail space in SoHo, is a dynamic jungle of irregular geometries infused with layers of reflection and abstract moving imagery. In fascinating flux, the entrance to the shoe store is ‘a pyramidal, kaleidoscopic funnel that sucks people from Broadway into the store’, as its designer, Muti Randolph, puts it. Like the Brazilian brand’s recent Covent Garden showroom, also created by Randolph, the SoHo space has a main entrance and one room that accommodates installations, including interactive works that are driven by visitors’ movements and a Kinect sensor. The imagery that Randolph designed for the store’s August opening – and for segueing between seasonal installations by various artists – recalls a drawing by composer and architect Iannis Xenakis, here set into motion like music, the medium in which Randolph’s work has its roots. Although Randolph is a pioneer of interactive interiors, he uses hi-tech interactivity with increasing restraint. Many surfaces in the new flagship are not interactive but generative, manufactured by a computer in »


Alex Fradkin

Tomooki Kengaku / Nacása & Partners Inc.


Workin’ nine to five, not a way to make a livin’: these could easily be the lyrics to a theme song for today’s nomadic workers. As the very concept of the office comes into question, employers are starting to shed the one-fits-all approach in favour of individualized, HUMAN-CENTRIC SPACES THAT RESPOND AND ADAPT.




UNStudio and Scape’s RESET installation explores individualized therapies for treating employee stress.

The Responsive Workplace Flexible offices that CATER FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL are sparking a workplace revolution. Words




among millennials than among any previous generation, and it’s becoming clear that the office model is due for a radical overhaul if it’s to survive at all. Set against this backdrop is a revolution sparked by the emergence of flexible, responsive workplaces. Truly innovative employers have stopped trying to resist the rebellion. Instead, they’ve got on board, sanctioning the disruption and embracing both hi-tech and low-tech solutions that make offices more adaptable and enjoyable places in which to spend time. Here we explore a number of insights into the future of work.

OFFICES ARE not best known for their flexibility. Directly descended from the monastic scriptoriums of the Middle NUMBER CRUNCHING Ages and the clerical counting houses of Workplaces have always been closely the Industrial Revolution, today’s offices monitored spaces, but the all-controlare still largely about control, manageling Big Brother mind-set is giving ment and productivity. They are archiway to time-management systems that tectural edifices to efficiency, where topfocus on the employee. Tech company down rules and regulations are imposed Humanyze devised a ‘sociometric badge’ on indentured workers. that tracks everything from the The situation is changing, wearer’s movements to speech however. Digital technology has patterns, posture and heart rate. transformed not only our behav‘We can The data is cross-referenced with iour as consumers but also the now design the user’s productivity, and the way we operate as producers. a built resulting suggestions for optiContemporary office workers no longer need a complex corporate environment mizing time can make a distinct structure in order to get things that adapts difference, as demonstrated by done; they have access to a whole to humans, the 10 per cent jump in office efficiency that occurred when the host of digital tools that make rather than Bank of America made use of the entire departments of traditional the inverse’ Humanyze badges. businesses redundant. Architect Carlo Ratti relied A growing sense of employee on the same sort of data-enabled empowerment means that the competence in his redesign of office as we know it is under the Agnelli Foundation headquarters attack. Workers are no longer willing to accept the old structures and stricin Turin. Responding to the startling fact that around 40 per cent of all office tures of a nine-to-five regimen and are space is unused at any given moment, questioning whether they need to comRatti worked with tech giant Siemens mute to a bricks-and-mortar office at to equip the century-old building with all. According to a recent report by software company Intuit, 33 per cent of US infrared sensors that track movement in real time. The strategy allows for workers are independent or freelance, automatic stand-by settings – light, heat a figure that is expected to rise to 40 and/or air conditioning – in rooms that per cent by 2020. are not in use, saving upwards of 25 per Such demographic shifts are inflicting unique pressures on traditional cent on energy consumption. Thanks to a dedicated app, occupants can also set » businesses. Employee turnover is higher



individual environmental preferences within personalized ‘bubbles’ that fol­low them around the building as they go from place to place. ‘Throughout history, buildings have been rigid and uncompromising, more like a corset than a T-shirt,’ says Ratti. ‘Pairing real-time data analytics with digitally integrated buildings is just the beginning. Eventually, this approach may even enable the creation of workplaces that will evolve on their own over time.’ His data-enabled vision of the future workplace is the opposite of the traditional office’s top-down structure. ‘We can now design a built environment that adapts to humans,’ he says, ‘rather than the inverse.’

court and talks from health experts. Physical activity is logged into a wellness cloud that gives individual employees feedback on their progress, and the most active are rewarded. In San Francisco, designer Yves Béhar’s Fuseproject has been collaborating with furniture brand Herman Miller to tackle the subject of workplace health. Live OS, their connected office system, promotes physical activity by sending staff subtle reminders – in the form of vibrations and light signals – to change their posture at regular intervals, while tracking each employee’s activity over time and providing recommendations on how to work smarter. The standing desk unit can be preprogrammed to adjust automatically to individual preferences of height and desk level, therefore shape-shifting every time another person uses it.

ALL IN THE MIND Wellbeing goes far beyond physical health. It’s now understood that office design can have a profound impact on an employee’s mental health. According to the European Agency for Health and Safety at Work, stress accounts for 50 to 60 per cent of A company lost working days, while a study HEALTH KICK must realize at Harvard University shows that Experts agree that our deskthat different stress-related insomnia could cost bound lifestyle is a ticking time bomb in terms of health. A study personality the US economy around $63.2 by the American Cancer Socitypes require billion a year in lost productivity. There are a plethora of prodety finds that men who sit for different six or more hours a day have a environments ucts and services on the market that seek to imbue office life with death rate almost 20 per cent higher than those who sit for opportunities for rest and relaxation, such as Metronaps’ Energy three hours or less. The odds for Pods, which use NASA technology to women are slightly better. help tired employees take quick naps These alarming statistics are causat work, a solution that lowers attention ing employers worldwide to reimagine how offices can respond to health needs. failure by 30 per cent. UNStudio and Scape joined forces Italian sports-equipment manufacturer to develop a modular series of walk-in Technogym is, unsurprisingly, ahead of pods that monitor and treat employee the game, describing its headquarters in stress. Called RESET (Responsive EmoItaly’s Emilia-Romagna region as a ‘wellness campus’ where employees have tional Transformation), their installation comprises six units, each of which proaccess to free tai chi classes, a basketball



Helping to combat attention failure in the workplace, Metronaps’ Energy Pods are designed for power naps.

vides a different form of treatment, from meditation to sound therapy. The idea is that different individuals respond in different ways to the same therapy; meditation may be soothing for some people yet raise stress levels in others. RESET carefully monitors an individual’s biological response to each therapy before determining the correct pod for his or her personality type. DESIGNED FOR ALL For decades, offices have been profoundly inflexible and unresponsive spaces, built around the demands of the employer rather than the needs of the employee. To accommodate a workforce in which everyone has a chance

to reach the so-called productive peak, a company must realize that different personality types require different environments. Inflexible office design has generated a crisis in work-related health and wellbeing, but inflexibility has been bad for businesses, too. The demographic and technological shifts that accompanied the 21st century’s digital revolution are turning office design on its head. Faced by an empowered and unruly staff, offices are forced to redefine their very reason for existence. They have to become highly flexible spaces that reflect the preferences of personnel. The office is dead. Long live the office! ●

Thomas Bach, courtesy of Wilkhahn

Office OKAMURA activates sitting. HERMAN MILLER empowers employees. SPACE10 and SCHEMATA ARCHITECTS behave responsibly. OFFECCT goes informal. ANDREU WORLD adapts. Discover what’s driving the business of design.



The Hot Seat

OKAMURA updates the Contessa task chair to meet the demands of modern workers. Words


IN JAPAN, a full-time employee spends an average of 68,400 hours at his or her workplace before reaching retirement age. The calculation comes from Jun Nakahara, an associate professor at the University of Tokyo who researches human learning environments. Even though many companies, especially those in Nordic countries, have introduced standing desks and other healthfocused furniture into the office, sitting still occupies a large portion of the employee’s time – a fact that explains why Japanese office-furniture supplier Okamura launched the ergonomic Contessa in 2002 and, owing to the chair’s success, continued to research the art of sitting ever since. Fifteen years

have passed, and a new and improved version – Contessa Seconda – has just been released. When we speak with Takuya Takahashi, who represents Okamura’s marketing division, he explains how the reworked chair responds to developments in today’s working environment without losing the iconic image of the original. What distinguishes Contessa Seconda from regular task chairs? TAKUYA TAKAHASHI: Unlike most reclining office chairs, Contessa Seconda has a backrest that is adjusted by gripping the lever under the left armrest. The idea is derived from aeroplane and train seats. It’s much easier to grab the



We aimed to accommodate various seating scenarios

Taking a cue from the seats in planes and trains, Okamura integrated Contessa Seconda’s adjustment technology into its armrests.

armrest than to bend down and reach a lever attached to the leg of the seat. Users don’t want to think about which buttons adjust which of the chair’s various functions, especially not when they’re focusing on other things. We wanted the control of those functions to be simple and intuitive. How does the chair adapt to changes in the working landscape? The new model features many elements required for a contemporary task chair. When Contessa was launched in 2002, most of our users were office workers with personally allocated desks and desktop computers. In today’s more flexible workplace, people with smart notebooks sit with their arms closer to the body and use the armrest to support their elbows. Besides the difference in posture, we had to consider their other activities. In today’s workplace, collaboration and interaction are a given. People spend more time in meetings, for example, where they often express their ideas in body gestures – with every movement, the posture changes. In order to accommodate various seating scenarios, we studied the armrest design, among other things, and developed the 4D armrest – adjustable in height, depth, width and angle. It swivels, allowing the user to find the most comfortable resting position for his or her elbow.

While developing the new version of Contessa, Okamura’s engineers made the chair’s backrest frame more flexible and easier to adapt to the natural movement of the body.

What technical challenges did you face? One was how to incorporate several complicated mechanisms within the chair’s narrow armrests. Unlike the previously mentioned aeroplane seat, an office chair doesn’t have a big space for technology, but we can’t have our end users looking all over the place when

they want to activate Seconda’s different functions. We used wires to control the backrest tilt and the height-adjustable seat. These wires connect the lever under the armrest with the backrest, which can recline freely or be locked into one of five preset angles. Another challenge was to spare the body any unnecessary tension. The chair has an ankle-tilt mechanism that enables the user to find the most comfortable reclining position. The seat follows the movement of the thigh, relieving pressure on the back of the thigh. A lot of engineering went into the perfection of these features. We didn’t want the upgraded mechanics to affect the chair’s overall design, making it voluminous or chunky. It was important to maintain the essence of the original Contessa – an iconic and successful part of our collection. What type of office setting is suitable for the new chair? Seconda has a light streamlined design that fits into executive offices and traditional conference rooms, as well as into casual settings. Because the frame is thinner than that of the original model, when you lean back the frame follows the natural contours of your body. Streamlined but strong, the chair supports weights up to 130 kg. New colour options for mesh, fabric and frame are complemented by add-ons, such as a headrest or a clothes hanger. Ultimately, Contessa Seconda’s ambition is to be such an integral part of the active body that users can go about their business without giving the chair and its comfort-directed functions a second thought. ●



The HQ of Squarespace in New York City seeks to strike a balance between office and hospitality experiences; highlights are a lobby that hosts art installations, a library, a roof terrace and a panorama bar.

Geordie Wood

The Office Club HOSPITALITY-INSPIRED concepts deformalize the office. It’s no accident that the co-working space is often derived from a hospitality original. The growth of entrepreneurial culture is a key factor in this development. A good example is Soho Works, an offshoot of members’ club and hospitality group Soho House in London. As start-ups multiply, so too does the need for workspaces that offer not only Wi-Fi but also a sense of community, allowing micro businesses and solo entrepreneurs to reach out and support one another. Shared workspaces try to combine the comforts of home with the sociable atmosphere of a café or club. Offices of all kinds are joining in. No longer formal and hierarchical, they’ve learned

a thing or two from the hippest hangouts. People need to collaborate and to focus, and offices increasingly cater to these demands by providing social spaces for brainstorming and meetings, as well as private areas for tasks that require concentration. A new generation of workers – young people who take digital life for granted and blur the boundaries between work and life outside the office – is helping to reshape the workspace. Community elements that support innovation and creativity are replacing the old feeling of formality. Mixeduse locations now blend occupational functions with leisure opportunities, further eradicating outdated distinctions. Research shows that well-designed workspaces improve both health and performance. Inherently flexible and adaptable, the transformative office boosts invention and motivation. — JS



Abbey, by Francesco and Stefano Borella for Quadrifoglio, rejects formality through the use of soft, natural forms and a striking palette that enhance office landscapes with a sense of playfulness and spontaneity.

ÉCAL/Younès Klouche

Curvy Dune is at home in the creative office. Designed by Front for Offecct, it sets out to be a new seating typology, ideal for informal meetings of up to eight people.

ÉCAL updated Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec’s pod-like Workbays for Vitra with nontraditional elements, adding to the system’s functionality with a workshop, fitness area, bar, garden and rest zone.



Bent, Not Broken Strong yet lightweight, JOACHIM FROMENT’s 0.6 Chair involves a new process of wood lamination with carbonfibre reinforcement. Words

cm is the current thickness of the chair – an improvement on the initial measurement of 0.6 cm for which the product is named



steps are involved in 0.6 Chair’s production: cutting the sheets of carbon fibre, pressing them into the mould, trimming the edges, applying the veneer, and applying the finish



kg is the amount of weight that the chair can support

kg is the weight of a typical wooden chair. Froment’s current prototype weighs less than 3.8 kg

materials – carbon fibre for the structure and wood veneer – comprise the product. The latter can be replaced by cork, leather or textile

layers of carbon fibre – along with 2 sheets of wood veneer – make up the design

PREVIEW Frame Magazine #119 - Nov/Dec 2017