Category Archives: Interior design projects

Meet The 2016 Winners: Smartvoll

Posted on July 21, 2017 by Gemma Norris

The next in our ‘Meet The 2016 Winners’ blog series features Austrian-based firm Smartvoll. Their project, Loft Panzerhalle, blew the judges away in the Residential Interiors category and here we speak with founding partner Christian Kircher to find out a little bit more about the team and their spectacular winning project…

The Smartvoll team

How did Philipp and yourself come together to form Smartvoll?

We got to know each other at the technical university in Vienna. Having been grouped together for an intense 6 month design workshop, we bonded playing an old school computer game called SkiJumpDeluxe during our breaks. After that we started collaborating on both university and real-life projects, we wrote our master thesis together and founded the predecessor of Smartvoll the day we stepped out of university.

Loft Panzerhalle – Winner – 2016 WIN Awards Residential Interiors category

Loft Panzerhalle has received international acclaim. What is it about the project that you think has been so well-received?

I think that people have realized and acknowledged that design is not just about aesthetics and a project can achieve very deliberate goals if you program it in a way that follows a distinct vision. It’s also become clear that people are generally fed up with designers & architects giving the same well known answers to even better known challenges. Furthermore we’re now approached by people who actually see taking a risk not only as a danger but as a chance, who are bold and willing to really go with us where no man has gone before!

What was the greatest challenge when embarking on the project?

Definitely getting the project built. We perfectly modelled the whole staircase in 3D and thought that the formwork for the concrete would be 3D milled out of polystyrene or similar (in a very modern way of working with 5 axial robots who cut away from the polystyrene). After the first bids were brought in the whole team saw that it was basically not feasible, since all company’s who bid, were afraid of the complexity and adjusted their prices accordingly. This continued for a couple of weeks and suddenly voices arose suggesting that we do it in wood or steel – which would have been a horror. The client then said: ok, having watched 3 carpenters on the ongoing construction site, I reckon they are efficient enough to complete the work in 3 weeks in a direct labour contract (so without a bid or indication of how much it will cost). The carpenters pulled it off and completed it in 3 weeks, which for us was a brilliant example of what you can achieve as an architect if you have a great client who shares your vision and is proactive. In the end it was not an uber-modern robot who did the work but an old fashioned handcraft, paired with a lot of engagement and experience by the carpenters.

What are you working on at the moment that you’re particularly excited about?

It has been a great year so far for us, since we have been designing one project after the other and that’s really what we like most. In an old Warehouse we are building one of the longest swimming lanes in Austria that is surrounded by moveable crane-like platforms that can adapt the space to fit an array of sporting activities. In south Austria we are planning a Community Center which takes a radically new approach to rebuilding a community and counters the donut effect that many villages currently experience in Austria. Right now we are working on a water-based fitness contraption which has the potential to change the mechanical way we train. Diversity excites us!

You’re based in Vienna, a city renowned for its stunning architecture both old and new. Is
there a particular space or building in the city that inspires you?

We love to live in Vienna but we tend to look abroad for inspiration. For example, we were stunned by how informal old buildings sit side by side with brutalist and British high-tech architecture in London. It’s a complete contrast to the way Vienna literally embalms its architectural heritage and we firmly believe that you can only evolve by exposing yourself to the unknown.

What would you say to anyone considering entering the WIN Awards now?

Just do it. We have started way too late entering the awards circus and for a long time we did not realize what a door opener this really is. Especially with all the international platforms and awards around, there is no need to limit yourself to the boundaries of your immediate neighborhood! Apart from that Steven and the WIN gang are a great bunch to hang out with!

Meet The 2016 Winners: Chu Chih Kang Space Design

Posted on June 30, 2017 by Gemma Norris

For this week’s ‘Meet The Winners’ blog post we speak with Yu Shan Su of design practice Chu Chih Kang Space Design, winners in the WIN Awards 2016 Retail Interiors Greater Than 200 SQ.M category.

The concept behind your project Fangsuo Bookstore was so beautiful – can you tell us more about the story?

I always aspired to design a bookstore when I was young. Taikoo Lu Chengdu were building a new shopping area which surrounded the historic Daci Temple. The very well-known Buddhist, Xuanzang, practiced in the temple before he started his journey to India which inspired the classic Chinese novel “Journey to the West”. The location of Fangsuo Bookstore is in the basement just beside the temple. The story immediately fired my imagination; Xuanzang stored precious scriptures in a secret cellar under the Daci Temple. In ancient China scriptures symbolized knowledge and wisdom and this became the overarching theme for the project.

Fangsuo Bookstore in Chengdu

The judges were awe-inspired by the sheer scale of Fangsuo Bookstore, what challenges do you face when tackling a project of this size?

It was indeed a big challenge. For such a huge space in a basement a floor-in-floor structure was forbidden and many stairs were required for fire safety. There was the additional difficulty of how to make customers aware that there was a bookstore in the basement. Lastly, a great challenge was to make customers ‘visible’ in such an expansive space so the store did not feel empty.

The aim was to keep visitors in the store for as long as possible. Firstly, to achieve this we included 2 coffee shops; secondly, the staircases were given multiple functions for people to sit on and relax. Lastly, an iconic landmark was placed by the entrance encouraging visitors to take photo’s and share on social media.

I solved the problem for my client whilst still keeping the legendary story: a cave hiding precious knowledge. But I think the most decisive was the story, a story of our culture and of our history. There were no cliché elements to make it “Chinese”, but people could get the story and the atmosphere while entering the store. I think it is the most successful part of the design.

Fangsuo Bookstore in Chengdu

Your work ranges from Exhibition to Retail to Residential projects, is there a particular sector that you enjoy working on most and why?

Not at all! My friends all know that I am a curious person; I love a challenge and have no patience for immutable things. Therefore so long as the concept is interesting, no matter what type of space it is, I will do it.

After the success of Fangsuo Bookstore in Chengdu, to be honest, many people came to me for bookstore design. Some even requested “do something that looks like Fangsuo Bookstore in Chengdu.” Of course I rejected them. Regardless of the sector I want to be producing something different each time, otherwise it’s simply no fun!

Fangsuo Bookstore in Chengdu

What’s the next project you’re working on?

My next project is a public space on the first floor of the Tao Zhu Yin Yuan tower located in Taipei, Taiwan and designed by the architect Vincent Callebaut. I was invited by the GAA Foundation to exhibit the concept model for the project during Venice Biennale. It’s perhaps unusual to exhibit an architecture project at an art show, but to me, the space itself is a huge art piece. Rather than creating a modish design I’m approaching this project more as an art piece with the concept of the circle of life at it’s centre.

Chu Chih-Kang exhibiting at Venice Biennale

Our 2017 categories will soon be coming to a close. What would you say to anyone considering entering the WIN Awards?

Practically, it has been a fantastic way to publicize my own project. In particular I was really happy to hear the judges’ feedback. The concept of Fangsuo Bookstore in Chengdu is related to Chinese history and legend and I am thrilled that the jury panel understood and appreciated the concept from their point of view.

Don’t hesitate, enter the WIN Awards now!

Meet The 2016 Winners: Joanne Motee

Posted on June 16, 2017 by Annalisa

This week our blog comes from Melbourne, Australia where we catch up with Joanne Motee, interior designer, stylist and winner of last year’s WIN Awards Cafés category, with her beautiful design for the Mister Hoffman Café.

Named after the street it’s located on, Mister Hoffman won many plaudits from our jury, who concluded: ‘The compositions are thorough and composed. There are some quirky items in there as well – altogether a very optimistic project’. Here’s what Joanne had to say to us….

Joanne Motee collecting the WIN Awards 2016 Cafés trophy

You grew up with creative parents who would regularly redecorate your home. Now you have a home of your own, do you do the same?

I spend a lot of time creating inspirational and functional spaces for amazing clients – turning job sites into homes, and spaces into beautiful places where people enjoy and congregate. So the focus when I am home is to feel clear and inspired at all times, along with all the things I love; regular bed linen, floral arrangements, scatter cushions…changes are made almost every week.

Mister Hoffman – Winner – 2016 Cafés category

You have worked on many beautiful projects including Mister Hoffman, a café in Melbourne and winner of the WIN Awards Café category 2016. Do you work on international projects as well, or do you prefer to work locally?

I am very honoured and humbled to have been recognised for great design for Mister Hoffman by WIN, and enjoyed attending the ceremony and meeting amazing creatives.

I love a variety of works and curating different styles, so working overseas allows me to extend myself and collaborate with local designers, clients and suppliers. I have executed many successful projects in the US and UK and am currently working on some exciting future retail spaces in Asia. Thankfully the WIN Awards allowed me to connect with many inspiring people and I am looking forward to designing for a Maltese architectural firm I have been following for some time. The prospect of working on a project in Malta excites me, as it is both my heritage and source of inspiration.

Mister Hoffman – Winner – 2016 Cafés category

How does living and working in Melbourne influence your design?

Design in Melbourne is highly valued by the public, which means as a community of designers we are constantly pushing the boundaries. I find the multicultural diversity in Melbourne quite influential with strong blends of classic and contemporary meetings, allowing me to create fearless and soulful interiors.

Lost in Seasons

This year you have entered the WIN Awards with Lost in Seasons, a retail space in Melbourne. Tell us about this project.

Yes! Fingers crossed as Lost in Seasons is a compelling brand based on trend clothing for any season. Executing the brand’s identity for Lost in Seasons was both rewarding and challenging. Working with clients who have total trust in your design and understanding of their brand allows for an amazing outcome. Adjacent to the tourist-attracting South Melbourne Market, Lost in Seasons is a crisp, artistic and clever design in a limited space.

What next for Joanne Motee?

I want to create cohesive and immersive experiences through thoughtful curation of spaces. I feel blessed to have such creativity, so next is an amazing café project, retail stores in Hong Kong, a boutique hotel in Bali and clever residential designs.

Lost in Seasons

Do you ever switch off from designing, and if so, what might a typical diversion be?

Strangely enough, I am at my most creative when I am free of mind, I find it both relaxing and uplifting to be in these moments. A typical diversion for me would be family and travel.

What is your biggest extravagance?

My continuously growing collection of dresses.

Thank you!

Meet The 2016 Winners: Nicemakers

Posted on June 9, 2017 by Annalisa

Amsterdam-based studio, Nicemakers, founded by partners Joyce Urbanus and Dax Roll, was joint winner of the WIN AWARDS 2017 Hotels category with their stunning project: The Hoxton, Amsterdam.

Made up of five 17th century canal houses, the building was once home to the Mayor. It is now a stunning hotel with 111 rooms across five floors.

Described by the jury as having a ‘measurable sense of space, of place and flair’, The Hoxton is just one of many projects undertaken by this dynamic duo to win international acclaim.

We interrupt Joyce’s travels to discover what Nicemakers is up to now…

Joyce Urbanus & Dax Roll

What projects are you currently working on?

A great hotel project in the centre of Paris. It is privately owned and will have around 80 rooms with a lovely inner garden which all the rooms are facing. The design is ready; we are currently building the Mock-up Room.

We are also working on a jewellery store in New York, a new-to-build hotel in Amsterdam, and a couple of great residential projects; from an 1800 Century farmhouse in the East of Holland to a Brutalist – style penthouse of 550m2 in Maastricht.

The Hoxton – Joint Winner – 2016 Hotels category. Image Credit: Alan Jenssen

Nicemakers works on a wide range of projects across all sectors, is there any sector that you haven’t tackled yet that you would like to?

Dax is still waiting for a boudoir to do the design for!

Will you be looking at product design in the future?

Yeah, that is definitely on our agenda. For almost every project we do we design a lot of custom -made items, so it is definitely not something new for us.

The Hoxton – Joint Winner – 2016 Hotels category. Image Credit: Alan Jenssen

What advice would you give to young architects and designers thinking of starting their own practice?

Make sure that besides design, you also develop your skills in listening and understanding your client and their brief. Go and visit buildings, try to understand the energy of a space and make sure whatever you design is aligned and well thought of.

Research! Know about the history, or the future, or just the area. There are great products, suppliers and developers in every country that you work.

And…be ready to give everything you have; it will take a great amount of energy, it’s 24/7 full-on. But always feel the confidence that you’ve ‘got it’…. it will go with a lot of up’s and downs.

Amsterdam City Apartment. Photo Credit: Alan Jenssen

What does a typical day look like?

There is no typical day, one is always different from another.

What’s next for Nicemakers?

Being consistent in keeping up the quality of work, with the love that we feel for our projects and clients, as we do now.

Amsterdam City Apartment. Photo Credit: Alan Jenssen

Would you say that working in Amsterdam inspires you?

Yes, it’s a dream city. Cosy and international. Our HQ is on one of the Canals, we have an amazing big garden in the back, what else could you wish for?

Can you name a few of your favourite places in Amsterdam?

Toscanini and Café de Klepel are our all-time favourites. That’s where we celebrate the good things in life with the best service and amazing food and vino.

Restaurant Jacobz

I’ve read that you love to travel. What places would you love to visit that you haven’t already?

We’ve seen quite a lot that we wanted to. There are quite a few places that will take a longer trip than just one week, like Peru, Argentina, and all the rest of Brazil we haven’t seen yet. But for now we also would love to discover more of Europe. It’s all next door…

Where are you happiest?

Every few weeks we try to go to a little house we always rent on Ibiza.  It’s a place just surrounded by nature and where the sun goes down every evening right in front of you. We cook meals, we read, we go for long walks, just be together and sometimes speak about new ideas. But most of the time we just empty our minds to maintain a strong focus and clear vision… and just feel really happy.

Thank you Joyce!

Ballet Pendant Lamp

Posted on April 1, 2016 by Annalisa

Founded 20 years ago in Galicia, Spain, lighting company Arturo Álvarez specialises in handmade lamps for hospitality projects including lighting solutions for hotel chains including Hilton, Sheraton and Melia.

‘Ballet’ is a new design from the studio created in collaboration with product designer Héctor Serrano who together with Arturo Álvarez has produced this pretty light using SIMETECH®, a steel mesh covered with silicone.

SIMETECH®, gives the designer the flexibility to create graceful forms which bring the lamps to life, ‘its asymmetry makes its forms change depending on the point of view. … a constant dance of light and shadows”.

Ballet comes in white, grey, beige, yellow or orange.

www.arturo-alvarez.com

The Herbarium: Crabtree & Evelyn

Posted on October 15, 2015 by Annalisa

The Herbarium display for the Crabtree & Evelyn store at Regent Street was part of the RIBA Regent Street Window project collaboratively designed by the architects London Atelier and lighting designers Michael Grubb Studio. The display captures the memory of English Still rooms. A delicate combination of colourful and fascinating plants and flowers, tracing papers, copper and brass utensils, wooden surfaces of country kitchens and remedies, potions and cosmetic products were the inspiration for the project.

The display is a choreographed ensemble of herbs, plants and flowers preserved in panes of soap within a brass grid lit by an LED matrix.

A grid of 96 boxes or pigeon holes was made into 4 separate modules. 77 of these modules were caped with panes of soap with botanical compositions made from around 200 different species of plants common to English gardens cast into them. The piece is constructed from lightly stained plywood, frosted glass and brass angles that hold the soap panes in place and it rests on a plinth of 10mm steel. It is lit using 77 linear runs of LED lights which are connected to a computer to create a subtle, organically animated and surprising lighting effect.  The lighting matrix responds to the movements of the passers-by and translates them into disturbances and ripples into general pattern.

 

PATTERNITY x Paperless Post

Posted on October 8, 2015 by Annalisa

Innovative invitations company Paperless Post and London-based pattern pioneers PATTERNITY, the world’s only dedicated digital pattern archive, have collaborated on a graphic collection of ten modern invitations to help people celebrate life’s most memorable moments. The bold geometric patterns designed exclusively for this collection reflect the connections we experience as we relate to and bond with one another at occasions like dinner parties, birthdays, cocktail hours, and housewarmings.

To celebrate the collaboration’s launch, Paperless Post and PATTERNITY created an interactive installation called ‘Connected by Pattern’ as part of Somerset House’s ‘10 Designers in the West Wing’ exhibition during the London Design Festival. The immersive experience was comprised of a single room that is filled from floor to ceiling with the patterns designed for the collection to create a space that invites guests to explore, play, and connect with one another in the real world.

Paperless Post’s distinctive, customizable designs can be sent online, on paper, or with the free app for iOS. Previous Paperless Post collaborations include Kate Spade New York, Oscar de la Renta, Kelly Wearstler, and Vera Wang.

Photo Credit: Luke Hayes

Gyrecraft by Studio Swine

Posted on July 24, 2015 by Annalisa

‘Gyrecraft’ is a new project by radical design practice, Studio Swine, in which they have transformed plastic pollution found at sea into a collection of luxury objects.

The title derives from a combination of the word ‘Gyre’ (circular currents in an ocean basin where plastic pollution concentrates) and two distinct meanings of the word ‘Craft’: skill, dexterity and art – and also a vessel in which you sail.

The South Pacific and North Pacific

‘Gyrecraft’ was the focus of an expedition across the North Atlantic Ocean, undertaken by Studio Swine co-founders, Alexander Groves and Azusa Murakami in the autumn of 2014. They embarked on a journey of 1000 nautical miles, collecting plastic on the way from Azores to the Canaries through the North Atlantic Gyre. In order to transform this plastic flotsam and jetsam into luxury, desirable objects, they invented and built their own Solar Extruder, which melts and extrudes sea plastic using the sun.

North Atlantic and Indian Ocean

In the swirling gyre, most of the plastics break down into tiny fragments that are spread over massive stretches of the ocean. In the Gyrecraft collection, Studio Swine uses sea plastic as a valuable and desirable material reminiscent of turtle shell and corals. The five objects represent the five major ocean gyres. The aim is to use plastic in a more artisan, innovative way, which adds value to an undesirable material while drawing attention to the prevalence of a largely invisible problem throughout the world’s oceans.

The project was also an exploration into maritime crafts, which utilize what the sea provides in every coastal or island culture around the world, each with its own unique identity. Traditionally, many of these crafts took place on board during long voyages as a way of making vital repairs or simply passing the time at sea. For example, inspired by ‘Scrimshaw’ a traditional maritime craft of the Azores islands -the art of etching drawings onto whale’s teeth – Sudio Swine has created a whale’s tooth made of plastic collected from the sea using the machine.

South Atlantic and a close up of Indian Ocean

Gyrecraft is the intersection of the dwindling and under-valued heritage of local maritime crafts and the rapid rise of sea plastic pollution. The project is currently on show at Selfridges & Co in its Ultra lounge gallery as part of the store’s Project Ocean campaign, which is focused on entirely removing plastic bags and single-use plastic water bottles from its store. The show is on until the end of August.

The Terroir Collection: Seaweed Decor

Posted on April 10, 2015 by Annalisa

Seaweed is a prevalent organic resource that provides the world with up to 80% of its oxygen. The marine algae has a myriad of uses from food, facials and fertiliser but Jonas Edvard and Nikolaj Steenfatt are tasking seaweed with a new endeavour; furniture production.

The Seaweed, here harvested off the coast of Denmark, is dried, ground into powder and cooked into glue utilising the viscous and adhesive effects of the Alginate – the natural polymer of the brown algae.

By combining the seaweed with paper Edvard and Steenfatt have created a tough and durable material with a warm, tactile surface and a refined organic aesthetic. Colours are determined by the seaweed itself ranging from dark brown to light green. The high natural amounts of salt within the seaweed preserves it and acts as a flame retardant, the material is also 100% recyclable and can be made into a natural fertiliser.

The range of furniture produced includes lamp shades and chairs; elegantly designed. A fabulous and innovative range of products that seeks to make the most of the planet’s abundant resources. The Terroir project is collaborating and sharing the knowledge of research with the Dansk Skaldyrcenter in order to create and showcase new ways of using a natural, plentiful material like seaweed in furniture and product design.

Photo Credit: Emil Thomsen-Schmidt

BUSTER + PUNCH X JUSTIN DEAKIN

Posted on February 20, 2015 by Annalisa

 AW15 DESIGN COLLABORATION LONDON FASHION WEEK

Buster and Punch are a London based interiors brand known for their craftsmanship and uncompromising passion for making products they love, including lighting, furniture and limited editions. Justin Deakin is arguably one of the country’s top shoe designers and also a passionate supporter of British craftsmanship, choosing to work with English factories and materials whenever possible.

So the WIN Team was very excited when they announced an exclusive London Fashion Week collaboration at Somerset House. In celebration of their shared passion for music, motorbikes and the art of making, these two British designers epitomise daring craftsmanship through innovative fashion design.

The installation features a strictly limited edition leather light shade and biker boot, both made from the finest quilted Italian calf leather with solid metal and rubber detailing.

Buster + Punch work with rare, solid materials to make extraordinary items for everyday use. The collaboration highlights their design and manufacturing skills to make unexpected accessory items that unite both the interior & fashion industries.

‘Since the day we opened the doors to the public, our main aim was to drag the sluggish interiors world out of the front door and onto our streets and catwalks alike. This exciting collaboration represents the first steps towards us achieving this goal and we will be wearing great boots along the way!.’ – Massimo Buster Minale
 – Buster + Punch

www.busterandpunch.com