Dauphin: Ergonomic task chairs aren’t the only seating options that can benefit from netted backing. The Turkey Trot lounge and visitor chair, featuring a netted backrest, will surely add a little spring to your seat. 300 Myrtle Avenue, Boonton, NJ 07005; 800-995-6500; dauphin.com. circle 348
HBF: Barbara Barry’s Hourglass tables emphasize form as well as function. The pieces feature a curvaceous base of steel filaments and tops made from maple veneer, acrylic, or tempered glass. P.O. Box 8, Hickory, NC 28603; 828-328-2064; hbf.com. circle 349
Design Link: Thinner is definitely better with the Chip chair, featuring a super-slim plywood seat and back. Inspired by clean-lined Scandinavian design, the light and durable Chip is also stackable. 25 Kingston Street, 5th Floor, Boston, MA 02111; 800-568-2585; deslink.com. circle 350
Martin Brattrud: Gensler’s Terry Walker and Collin Burry devised the One collection, consisting of chaise (shown), chairs, sofas, glider, ottoman, benches, and tables. Bases are polished chrome, platforms wood or steel. 1224 West 132nd Street, Gardena, CA 90247; 323-770-4171; martinbrattrud.com. circle 351
Metro: The greatest dilemma for the modern office worker? How to keep track of all those projects. Metro has our MO down with M/o, a modular case-good system with such organizational aids as a “project wall” and “cubby-file” to keep things straight. 7220 Edgewater Drive, Oakland, CA 94621; 510-567-5200; metrofurniture.com. circle 352
Keilhauer: The Turn table will have you spinning for joy. Easily moved from room to room, this cute occasional table functions as a stool, too. Available in maple, walnut, and cherry, in a natural finish or a choice of six cheery paint colors. 1450 Birchmount Road, Toronto, Ontario M1P 2E3, Canada; 800-724-5665; keilhauer.com. circle 353
Mohawk Group: One person’s ivory is another’s antique white. That’s why the the color experts at Pantone have come aboard to systematize Mohawk floor coverings. Thanks to Pantone’s numerical standards, designers specifying products from Karastan Contract’s Fashion Venue collection or Durkan Commercial’s Art House, among other lines, can now choose and coordinate hues with total certainty. 500 Town Park Lane, Suite 400, Atlanta, GA 30144; 800-554-6637; mohawkgroup.com. circle 354
Davis Furniture: The curvaceous Lipse chair and beam seating, featuring a bent-plywood seat, is offered in a variety of colors and finishes. There’s an upholstered version, too. 2401 South College Drive, P.O. Box 2065, High Point, NC 27261; 877-463-2847; davisfurniture.com. circle 355
Amtico: Feel like you’ve spent a century searching for an alternative to rubber flooring? Amtico’s new Century collection of synthetic tiles ends your quest. The line comes in 12 colors and has a durable textured finish suitable for restaurants, hotels, and stores. Available in 12inch or 18-inch square tiles. 6480 Roswell Road, Atlanta, GA 30328; 404-267-1900; amtico.com. circle 356
Brueton: This company definitely means business, recently introducing three collections: Zag (table shown), Stem, and Stilt. Designed by Stanley Jay Friedman, all bring simple, sculptural lines to office furniture. 979 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10022; 212-838-1630; brueton.com. circle 357
Lees Carpet: MetaFloor II, which marries the durability of hard-surface flooring with the sound absorption and slip resistance of carpet, is the next generation of this company’s popular and versatile floor-covering line. Previously, the product came only on a black background; thanks to technological advances, MetaFloor II is available in pretty much any color you might fancy. Exposed nylon backing contributes to a surpisingly sophisticated look. 3330 West Friendly Avenue, P.O. Box 26027, Greensboro, NC 27410; 800-523-5647; leescarpet.com. circle 358
Source International: New from Jorge Pensi Design of Barcelona, Spain, the elegant, stackable Poi chair features an upholstered seat and back, in either beige or black. Also available as beam seating. 545 Hartford Turnpike, Shrewsbury, MA 01545; 800-722-0474; sourceseating.com. circle 359
Izzydesign: The Izzyseating collection’s eight lighthearted chair styles can be ordered in innumerable finishes and sizes. For those in search of a flexible Izzydesign table, however, there’s a single clear choice: Jack, a new lightweight, tilt-top, foldable version. 80 Ottawa NW, Suite 300, Grand Rapids, MI 49503; 616-458-7513; izzydesign.com. circle 360
System 100 is the thinnest demountable commercial wall system available in the United States. Inspired by European design, System 100 now surpasses it. Acme Architectural Walls developed the all steel constructed System 100 to the highest standards of quality and craftsmanship resulting in maximum aesthetics and in a minimal profile wall that can be relocated effortlessly. System 100 meets all US building code requirements, is manufactured here in the U.S.A. and can be fabricated within normal industry lead times. Call to receive our brochure on System 100 and our other innovative products.
Tobias Grau: Sophie’s, a height-adjustable suspension lamp, is distinguished by a mix of wenge and porcelain–and bold hardware. Plug Lighting, 8017 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90046; 323-653-5635; pluglighting.com
Raul Carrasco: The Cliff console exhibits the elegantly fluid character of calligraphy. Shown in solid walnut. 74 NE 40th Street, Miami, FL 33137; 305-573-7889.
Casa Domani: These leather tiles with faux whip-stitching make an incredibly handsome wall cladding or floor covering, acquiring a rich patina with wear. Artistic Tile, 79 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10003; 800-260-8646; artistictile.com.
Leef: Stylishly divide and conquer the open-plan office with these colorful and curvaceous privacy screens. Available as freestanding modular units and desk-mounted ones. 63 Medulla Avenue, Toronto, Ontario MSZ 5L6, Canada; 416-236-5353; leef.ca.
Lolah: Representing different braille symbols, Dennis Lin’s cast-polymer tiles toy with text and texture. 2265 Royal Windsor Drive, Mississauga, Ontario L5J 1K5, Canada; 800-909-8233; lolah.com.
Walker Zanger: Glinting and glamorous, Metallisimo stainless-steel tiles are a sterling choice for modern kitchens and bathrooms. 37 East 20th Street, New York, NY 10003; 212-844-3000; walkerzanger.com.
Joel Berman Glass Studios: This company’s newest kiln-cast glass panels dazzle with dimensionality. Arrigado ripples like a windswept lake. 1-1244 Cartwright Street, Vancouver, British Columbia V6H 3R8, Canada; 888-505-4527; jbermanglass.com.
Anzea: Eco-conscious designers gravitate to Getting Green, an extensive line of environmentally sensitive–and sophisticated–textiles. Some selections are rendered in Climatex Lifecycle fibers. 2810 White Settlement Road, Fort Worth, TX 76107; 817-336-2310; anzea.com.
Montis: The Malou sofa, designed by Gijs Papavoine, has a pleasantly cartoonish quality. With a rounded silhouette in playful colors, it’s very comfortable and easy to love. M2L, 215 East 58th Street, New York, NY 10022; 212-832-8222; m2lcollection. com.
Collaborative. Ordinary walnut, maple, and cherry veneers become extraordinary when suspended in transparent cast rubber. 140 East 17th Street, New York, NY 10003; 212-260-9475; collaborativeny.com.
Kohler: Refined readers recognized the Purist Suite sink because it’s the ultimate in pristine design. We noticed that, too. The kid in us also likes how this wet-surface lavatory set gives us license to leave the water running. 444 Highland Drive, Kohler, WI 53044; 800-456-4537; kohler.com.
Rolf Benz: With hypnotically concentric circles and soft, hand-tufted virgin wool, Circolo is a real dazzler. Available in six colors and 11 standard sizes. Shoomine, 8 Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116; 617-227-2021; shoomine.com.
Red Plum Jam: The husband-wife team of Alex Schaub and B. Jane produces finely crafted pieces that celebrate the beauty of materials, from African mahogany to MDF. 512-442-6824; redplumjam.com.
De Sede: For multitasking mods, the DS-152 lounger by Jane Worthington is a must-have. The chair’s metal frame can accommodate a glass tabletop and a flat-screen monitor. 2001 West Main Street, Suite 157, Stamford, CT 06902; 203-353-8114; desede.com.
Modenature: Luxuriously low Louise is just the recliner chair for lounging around. It would look equally at home in residential or hospitality settings, Interieurs, 149-151 Franklin Street, New York, NY 10013; 212-343-0800.
Michaelian & Kolhberg: Designers looking for a little fun underfoot found it in a collection of striped flat-weaves in hand-spun wool. 578 Broadway, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10012; 212-431-9009; michaelian.com.
Marimekko: Unabashedly retro, Maija Isola’s Albatrossi, a 1965 pattern, has been reissued, Made of 100 percent cotton and available in three colorways. Textile Arts; 888-343-7285; txtlart.com.
Emily McLennan: With ethereal organdy shapes and steel supports, the Liteweights collection’s lamps strike a delicate balance between hard and soft. 701 North Third Street, Suite 101, Minneapolis, MN 55401; 612-339-7746; [email protected]
Molteni & C: Designed by Patricia Urquiola for the 2002 Salone Internazionale del Mobile, the upholstered Clip bed is built for comfort. The headboard shifts into multiple positions. Format, 50 Wooster Street, New York, NY 10013; 212-941-7995.
Fantini: What a profile! It’s no surprise that minimalists embrace the simply elegant Cafe kitchen faucet. Hastings Tile & II Bagno Collection, 30 Commercial Street, Freeport, NY 11520; 800-351-0038.
Agape. The sleekness of Benedini Associati’s Woodline sink, available in natural oak or wenge-stained finish, helps to up the prestige of plywood. Moss, 146 Green Street, New York, NY 10012; 866-888-6677, mossonline.com.
Tracy Kendall Wallpaper: Elevating wastepaper to a whole new level, In the White Room is made from individually hand-stitched scraps. It’s just one of many bespoke wall coverings from this British designer. 116 Greyhound Lane, Streatham Common, London SW16 5RN, U.K.; 44-20-7640-9071; tracykendall.com.
“I love the nuts-and-bolts-ness of this floor lamp. The assembly is very straightforward, but the proportion is beautiful,” declares David Ling. According to the New York architect, this icon “could act as a contrast in tall residential spaces. It’s so sculptural, it’s sure to make a strong impression.”
Why do I love this lamp?” ponders New York designer Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz. “Because it can be used in any interior, modern or old-world. Because you can barely see it–all you see is the light source. Because it takes up no room. And, most of all, because of its gorgeous wonderful design.”
“This is a terrific reinterpretation of the ’30s Jean-Michel Frank design,” enthuses Nestor Santa-Cruz of Skidmore, Owing & Merrill in Washington, D.C. “It goes well in residential and commercial settings, modern and traditional environments. It’s also one of the best deals for the style.”
Shamir Shah was pleased to discover easy access to quality craftsmanship–Santangelo and Santos occupy studio space in the same building. “They both have amazing versatility,” says the New York architect, who has used a number of variations on this classic hanging lamp. “It has a really nice quality of diffused light and helps anchor a table in a large space.”
Ambient, indirect, and translucent light make this lamp a favorite of architect David Ling. “The fixture becomes a sculptural spark,” he elaborates. Then there’s the added value of “providing light and eye candy at the same time.”
Juan Carlos Arcila-Duque is still wowed by this favorite from the 1960s. “I like how it’s engineered from an architectural point of view,” says the Miami designer, who finds Arco’s versatility equally arresting. “The design complements so many styles. It always makes a solo-act statement.”
Precious details drew Shamir Shah to this item. According to him, “The felt topstitching on the edge a predictable shade a little twist.”
This clamp-on lamp is perfectly proportional. “It puts out beautiful light, too,” says New York designer Laura Bohn. “We’ll buy a whole bunch and distribute them over library shelves.”
“The main thing I like is the pure A-line shape of this floor lamp. And it’s very low, just the right height for next to a chair. Most are too tall,” explains Laura Bohn. She also lauds the finish options and the streamlined, switchless design–simply twist the stem to turn the fixture on and off.
Sometimes, there’s nothing like your own. Says Los Angeles designer Barbara Barry, “I design lamps based on the philosophy that they’re vehicles for light, not decoration, so my pieces are the ultimate in simplicity.” What makes this table lamp her ongoing favorite? “It just slips in, without creating tension.”
“What can be said about this iconic piece that’s not been mentioned before?” muses London designer Bobby Pathak. “For me, it epitomizes the elegance of simplicity.”
For architect Jordan Mozer, the answer is a sinuous table lamp in his very own Chicago bedroom. This version, in resin and cold-cast aluminum, derives from one he created for a 1991 restaurant project. (The original was made of sheet copper). As Mozer puts it, “I like lamps that are organically sculptural objects in their own right.”
Sealy: The company’s contract division includes the recently redesigned Posturpedic collection with warranted Everlast fabric handles. Sealy, One Office Parkway, Trinity, NC 27370.
Dormire: Raso linens, with off-white piping in 100 percent Egyptian cotton, include a series of standard colors (white, ivory, ochre, melon, scarlet, periwinkle, sky blue, forest, and moss) as well as custom colorations.
Available in twin, full, queen, and king size sets with fitted and flat sheets and two pillowcases. Dormire, 1345 Fourth Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401.
Justice Design: The 7020 MAT GGGV ovalesque single arm lamp, shown in matte white glass with a vianne grass green uplight shade, is part of the Euro Classic line. Justice Design Group, 11244 Playa Court, Culver City, CA 90230.
Rejuvenation: Scholls Ferry, a reproduction three-light billiard room fixture, has a polished nickel finish (11 variations are available) and is offered in a 48- or 56-in. width. Rejuvenation, 2550 Northwest Nicolai Street, Portland, OR 97210.
Holly Hunt: The Coriandre floor lamp, designed by Christian Liaigre with a wood base, measures 19 3/4 in. wide and 52 1/2 in. high (with shade). Holly Hunt, 801 West Adams Street, Suite 700, Chicago, IL 60607.
“IN THE 15TH CENTURY, everything changed,” wrote Victor Hugo in The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. “The human mind discovered a means of perpetuating itself that was not only more lasting and resistant than architecture but also simpler and easier. Architecture was dethroned. The lead characters of Gutenberg succeeded the stone characters of Orpheus. The book was to kill the building.”
While Hugo’s predictions that the printing press would lead to the demise of the cathedral were clearly incorrect, his remarks indicate a common prejudice in favor of language. We think of journalists as the powerful fourth estate–sharing facts and insight, shaping opinions and beliefs, providing inspiration–but cast architects and designers in a primarily passive role, responding to the needs of others. To do so is to miss Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin’s point: “Design is a language that is communicated visually.”
Europe’s great cathedrals are a positive example, successful in interpreting and promulgating medieval culture and spirit. Adolf Hitler, too, used art and architecture to communicate his message to the world–and in fact considered himself “master builder of the Third Reich.” Striving to construct a bridge of tradition for future generations to admire in “reverent astonishment,” he strongly opposed the modernism of the Bauhaus and looked to define his reign with anachronistic grandiosity that he saw as sentimental and nostalgic. (The Olympic stadium complex in Berlin is among the surviving examples of Nazi architecture.)
Unsurprisingly, it was to those very same architects and designers associated with the Bauhaus that corporate America looked to communicate a new identity after Hitler’s defeat. Businesses wanted new headquarters that would function like the great cathedrals of Europe, buildings that would announce the importance of these corporations to society, reflect their mission, and embody their technological, expertise. Today, businesses continue to appreciate the power of design as a tool for communicating beliefs, and we see the growing power of design as an approach to branding, from Starbucks to the Gap. And now, as never before, design is being used by organizations as a way to attract and retain employees. Even entire cities are using design to revitalize and inform, from Bilbao with Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim to Milwaukee with its museum addition by Santiago Calatrava.
So, how does design inform? By presenting theory and intent. Design sets up the behavior and degree of formality or intimacy, defining the culture, the mood, or the essence.
Over the past two years, answering this question became increasingly compelling to my team as we worked on the Interior Design Handbook of Professional Practice. We started the project with a single mission: to define what it really means to be a design professional in the new millennium. And while we set out to create a handbook, our approach was less a journalistic process than a design process, one that started with building a community of advisers and contributors whose recent accomplishments are seminal. The design process–connecting people, ideas, and resources around a shared mission–led us through to discovery.
In A History of Architecture, Spiro Kostof writes, “No building is an isolated object, sufficient unto itself. It belongs in a larger setting, within a bit of nature or a neighborhood of other buildings, or both, and derives much of its character from this natural or manufactured environment that embraces it.” Kostof’s metaphor applies to all communities, whether they are communities of buildings or people–in essence social and professional communities, like those of buildings, derive much of their character from the environment that embraces them. The interior-design community is no different.
Today our community, the design community, is at a crossroads. We are in a time when matters of design are moving to the forefront of business and personal decisions, a time being labeled the “era of design.” And while we are all looking forward to an opportunity to make the work of interior design more meaningful to our clients and society, do we all agree on what it means to be a design professional? The process of writing our handbook led us to this conclusion: To be a design professional in the new millennium requires that the design community become a group of people who speak with one voice on matters of legislation, regulation, ethics, responsibility, sustainability, and excellence. We must coalesce as an assembly of well educated minds that, focused on questions of research or social policy, can create, hold, and perpetuate knowledge that will contribute to the universal intellectual enterprise. And like every healthy community, we must continue to grow and evolve as new people, new ideas, and new resources join us.
The public expanse is essentially open with living, dining, and kitchen areas. But this is not an amorphous space. It is subtly delineated thanks to the design team’s deft deployment of columns, a double-faced, freestanding fireplace, an articulated ceiling, and built-in banquette. Surprisingly, the house’s coziness and warmth go hand in hand with its grandeur and drama–which exactly met the clients’ demands.
Finishes and furnishings humanize the building’s potentially overwhelming scale and develop a vocabulary addressing both contextual issues and the overriding desire for a contemporary approach. Brukoff introduced his clients to the project’s potential through photography. “I showed them the works of Luis Barragan, Ricardo Legorreta, and modern architecture from the Canary Islands, explaining that [a solution] could be Spanish/Mexican in feeling and, at the same time, distinctly modern,” says Brukoff. “After showing them photos of Anasazi ruins made of dry stack stone work, they were convinced to create similar stonework fireplaces and to use random flagstone limestone floors.” These materials, used throughout, set the stage for the interior. They are supplemented with pale stained stucco walls, cedar ceiling and framing systems, and cherry cabinetry. The intent, says Brukoff, “was to create a seamless environment that looks as if it couldn’t have been done any other way.”
The designer, who has created numerous furniture collections for commercial production, opted to go the custom route for the majority of pieces here. Scale was a major factor Under his authorship are the living room sofa, occasional tables, dining table and console, Tibetan rug, and coffee table.
The architect’s and designer’s involvement extended to lighting–“the best lighting job I’ve ever done,” Brukoff comments. “To convince the client what lighting could do to a house, I showed him a project I’d done in Atherton. After seeing that, he was on the team.” Brukoff staff designer Gary Helfand shares design credit.
Also delivered with special attention to the client firm’s particular situation was the studio principals’ scheme to “connect EMR with the city.” The underlying idea, they say, was to inject some light and air into the street-level workplace. To do so, they “sliced out” a 45-ft.-long by 46-in.-wide slot into the first-floor slab, there inserting a flights of stair leading, 19 ft. from the last tread, to a terminal 25-ft./double-height panel of perforated and corrugated aluminum. Upstairs, roughly at mid-point, the roof of the lateral basement path is crossed with a latitudinal bridge, which, in turn, connects with the film output department. Those entering or leaving this sector reportedly can be glimpsed by passing pedestrians looking through a part of the storefront glazing.
The long walls below are clad with polycarbonate, a tough thermoplastic here imparting a lambent sheen, mounted to 16-gauge metal studs. Together with the high end-piece, the surfaces project an interplay of shimmer and sparkle complementing the semi-opaque non-color palette predominant in the space. Further igniting the glitter are fluorescent light strips originating downstairs and continuing at the ceiling. The architects liken the sum-total effect to a “translucent glowing box.”
A quick on-site tour guided by Barry Rollins, EMR distribution manager, proves to be instructive. He explains, as did the architects, that Karat accepts programming directly from the computer, whereas with non-digital presses, images have to be put on the plate. He points to the desktop department, where layouts are made and advance proofs are checked in essentially old-fashioned ways with the aid of light-tables and eyesight. To avoid chromatic distractions, potentially combative colors are taboo here. Rubber matting covers polished concrete so that skids, meaning platforms for stacking paper piles, don’t leave damage marks when dragged to and from presses.
Phased so as to avoid work stoppage, the project schedule covered a year, most of it completed in the first nine months.