Category Archives: WIN AWARDS 2016

Meet The 2016 Winners: i29 interior architects

Posted on September 14, 2017 by Ella Pilkington

In this issue of ‘Meet The 2016 Winners’, we speak exclusively with Amsterdam-based studio, i29 interior architects, founded by partners Jaspar Jansen and Jeroen Dellensen, joint winner of the WIN AWARDS 2016 Interior Practice of the Year category (enter IPOTY 2017 category here).

Here we speak with the dynamic duo to find out a little more about the firm, their design influences and up-and-coming projects…

i29 interior architects – Jaspar Jansen and Jeroen Dellensen with Piers Taylor – 2016 WIN Awards Ceremony. Image by Matt Chung / MattChungPhoto.Com

What is the ethos behind i29 interior architects?

i29 stands for a radical design attitude that leads to award winning design solutions, dependent neither on expensive materials nor on technical show. We aim to discover unexpected concepts, bold contradictions and clear answers to any design question. Always made to measure for each client, we look for choices that answer to multiple questions at the same time. They should tell a conceptual story about the company, the space and it’s users.

DeBijenkorf ©Ewout Huibers – Longlisted – 2017 WIN Awards Restaurant category

What projects are you currently working on? Do you have any additional award winning projects up your sleeve?

We have many exciting projects running, but if they are award winning or not, that’s not for us to judge. Currently, we are working on a showroom for a large fashion brand. A cultural centre hosting events, a restaurant, and a concert hall. A large retail project for a premium store in Amsterdam. An office building in Oman. A cinema, and some private homes including a newly built holiday home…

Room On The Roof ©Ewout Huibers – Winner – 2015 WIN Awards Museum or Exhibition Spaces category

Would you say that working in Amsterdam inspires and influences your design?

Amsterdam is a city of free minds and this definitely influences our way of thinking. For us it is most important that we keep looking for the unexpected. We try to get the most out of every project, and that takes sometimes more time, money and effort then everybody is suspecting. We want to keep a fresh, creative and open minded view to our work.

Frame Store ©Ewout Huibers – Shortlisted – 2015 WIN Awards Retail category

i29 work on a variety of projects, is there a particular sector that you haven’t yet worked on but would like to? If so, why?

We would really like to work on a hotel and spa project. In the past, we worked on many small projects and houses. We would love to take that experience to a next level, and show how you can achieve a lot of spatial experience in a very small room.

BKR ©Ewout Huibers – Shortlisted – 2017 WIN Awards Public Sector category

How has your work evolved over the years and what direction do you see yourself heading in future years to come?

We are looking for simplicity and surprise in one hand. Spatial experiences which should be discovered step by step. Lately, we are also more aware of the fact that we really help companies building their brands by making iconic designs. This obviously helps us to be even more convinced that we are on the right path.

FLINCKSTRAAT ©Ewout Huibers

You have been a success within our awards. What impact does winning this type of award do for the project team and the company as a whole and what would you say to anyone considering entering the WIN Awards?

Luckily, we are successful in all kind of awards! Well, it’s just a very nice way to celebrate our work, and to show a larger audience of what we have achieved each year.

Furthermore, it’s a nice way to combine business with pleasure, and in the meantime meeting lots of interesting new people during the award show.

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: 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!

Meet The 2016 Winners: Dan Schofield

Posted on June 2, 2017 by Annalisa

This week we meet successful designer and WIN Award winner, Daniel Schofield. Born in 1986 in Royal Leamington Spa in the UK, Dan studied graphic design at college, going on to work as an apprentice at a local carpentry firm. He later left to take a degree in furniture and product design at Sheffield Hallam University in South Yorkshire, and graduated with honours.

Dan established his own studio in Sheffield in 2012, which then moved to London’s fashionable Greenwich district in 2013. Dan’s aesthetic combines simple, functional works with strong narratives, or as he puts it: “If an object can connect to its space, material, surroundings, function, and user, then it will gain personality and longevity.” We find out more about what makes this talented young designer tick…


You were one of the youngest designers to win our WIN Awards Furniture Category. What did winning the Award mean to you?

It’s great to be awarded from a panel of designers you really respect and admire so it was very humbling, and also very unexpected.

The judges said of Joist Table, ‘A really clever, simple and scalable design that unusually adds something fresh to the world of tables’. How far into the design process did you realise that you were creating something special that was both practical and beautiful?

I came to the design after my carpentry apprenticeship, it’s a similar construction method we used to build houses so scaled down architecture really so the practical side of it has always been there. I think when an object works well it’s always intriguing so I didn’t try to force the aesthetics in that sense, I just let the materials and construction do the talking.

You have designed a wide range of beautiful products, from a glass carafe with silver coins, a spherical light which splits into two halves, a pocket mirror designed to store small belongings, to tables made from marble offcuts. Where does your inspiration come from, and is there a product that you would like to tackle next?

My inspiration usually comes from trying to solve a problem, whether that be from a material or functional perspective, or just trying out new processes or materials to me. There are too many things I want to design and am working on lots at the minute so it depends what gets released next!

Your background is graphics, construction and design including restoring historic houses. How has this experience influenced your approach to product design today?

I think the time spent studying graphics has helped me give a more refined view, whilst being in construction allowed me to study and play with materials and how things go together, especially on an architectural scale, I think this also helps with race and proportion. It was never planned but I think the two complement each other quite well.

Moving on to you…How do you like to unwind after a hectic week, and where might we find you out of hours?

After a busy week it’s nice just to sort my life out! Do some exercise, have a nice meal, catch up with friends etc. Out of hours I’m usually in bed, at a gallery or playing football.

What would you like to own that you don’t already possess?

Tough one, there is quite a lot I don’t already possess. Furniture-wise maybe a Poul Kjaerholm PK22 chair.