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sept 2014


Future living:

Ingenious ideas that are reshaping the way we live








From self-driving cars and urban insect farms to mushroom bricks and music-playing gloves: welcome to Azure’s guide to the next design wave


58 70

Mould Breaker Philippe Malouin’s playful approach

to making stuff. By Craille Maguire Gillies

Looming Large Elizabeth Whelan’s boundarypushing

textiles. By Elizabeth Pagliacolo

Skin Deep How architect Jenny E. Sabin envisions

buildings in the future. By Terri Peters




Above the Tide

A Swiss cheese

house on a

California beach,

the latest from

L.A.’s Johnston


By Tim McKeough



Time flies

10 novel

clocks to keep

life on track.


by Natasha V.

sept 2014 25


sept 2014


show report

54 Identikit Dutch designer Lex Pott on the

value of making mistakes and taking risks

90 Rem Vision The Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, curator of the 14th international Venice

Architecture Biennale, explores 100 years of modernism. By Catherine Osborne

show report

44 Just Built Turning a water tower in the

Netherlands into the ultimate lookout

48 Story Of… Studio WM’s Lucent Mirror has

us seeing double

46 Fresh Take Freyja Sewell’s tent-like pod

encourages employees to unplug and


52 et Cetera Graphic

skateboards; Dr. Dre’s

headphones; and more


100 ICFF Big names came together for

dynamic and playful collaborations.

By Elizabeth Pagliacolo

96 NeoCon Commercial

spaces with a touch of

home. By Diane Chan

38 Contributors

50 Calendar The London Design Festival;

Maison&Objet; Cersaie; IDS West; and more


Design File

114 Material World Advanced products for

clean, comfortable health care environments

116 Media Shelf Books, films and websites: what

we’re reading, watching and downloading

118 Boldface Movers, shakers, winners and

green do-gooders

120 Advertiser Index

122 Trailer Dominic Wilcox’s Binaudios

42 In Living Memory Snøhetta’s entrance for

the September 11 memorial and museum

104 Kitchen Concepts and Appliances

25 fresh styles from EuroCucina

on our cover

Now based in South Pasadena,

California, Eric Staudenmaier

first honed his skills as a

lensman at age 12, capturing

the streets of Denver with his

Nikon FE. He shot Vault House

at dusk, giving the all-white

house a lantern-like glow.

26 sept 2014



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sept 2014


→ azuremagazine.com



On the Table Each week, we deliver hot new products for every room

in the house. In September, tune in for a roundup of kitchen systems,

including Aran Cucine’s Bijou, with scratch-resistant glass cabinetry in

rich, saturated hues.

Storm Stay Keep up to date on the latest innovative structures, from

large to small. Garrison Architects responded to Hurricane Sandy with a

prototype for post-disaster housing to shelter displaced residents.



Shelve It MVRDV’s use of towering crimson shelves transformed a

neo-classical chapel at the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, in the Netherlands.

It’s just one example of the stunning interior design we’ll post online.

Iron Giant Striking interdisciplinary works always make our web lineup.

Antony Gormley’s Room – a luxury suite within a cubist man-of-steel

sculpture, perched atop the Beaumont Hotel in London – will be featured

when it opens this fall.

video ►

job board



Click on our Video section for exclusive

interviews with such notable designers

and architects as Karim Rashid and

Philippe Starck.

View career openings in Canada and

internationally in 10 fields, among

them architecture, interior design and

graphic design.

Updated daily with dates and deadlines

for current and upcoming conferences,

exhibits, competitions and openings

around the globe.

Packed with innovations, state-of-the-art

builds plus the latest in furniture and home

accessories from across the world.

we’re open 24 ⁄ 7 twitter.com/azuremagazine facebook.com/azuremagazine azuremagazine.com/app

28 sept 2014


Bend-Sofa is music to Kate and Davide. Bend-Sofa is designed by Patricia Urquiola. www.bebitalia.com


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Follow us on

Vol. 30 – No. 234 sept 2014

Editorial Director

Nelda Rodger


Catherine Osborne

Creative Director

Karen Simpson

Managing Editor

Diane Chan

Associate Editors

David Dick-Agnew, Erin Donnelly

Copy Chief

Pamela Capraru

Contributing Editors

Andrew Braithwaite, Tim McKeough, Elizabeth Pagliacolo,

Rachel Pulfer, David Theodore, Adele Weder


Lloyd Alter, Giovanna Dunmall, Peter Frey, Matthew Hague,

Marius W. Hansen, Ellen Himmelfarb, Paige Magarrey,

Craille Maguire Gillies, Josephine Minutillo, Eric Mutrie,

Terri Peters, Rhys Phillips, Carolyn Pioro, Corinna Reeves,

Catherine Sweeney, Jeanne Tan, Natasha V.

Associate Art Director

Vicky Lee

Junior Designer

Taylor Kristan



Web Coordinator

Francesco Sgaramella

Web Designer

Kari Silver

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Please send your letters to: azure@azureonline.com

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32 sept 2014 azuremagazine.com

Vol. 30 – No. 234 sept 2014

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34 Trianon2/3Vertical_Sept sept 2014 2014.indd 1

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Sign up for

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and keep on top of the

latest news and views

→ we asked: What design

concept would you love to

see catch on in the future?

“I commute to work in central

London by bicycle, so I would love

the city to design safer roads.

We’ve seen successes in places

such as Vancouver, but change

elsewhere is slow.”

Writer Craille Maguire Gillies visited

furniture and lighting designer

Philippe Malouin at his busy studio

and workshop in London, for “Mould

Breaker.” → Page 64

“We’re running out of landfill

space and tossing electronics that

pollute the earth. Phonebloks will

cut down on e‐waste by letting you

replace parts of your phone over

time rather than throwing the whole

thing away.”

Photographer Peter Frey snapped

a portrait of artist and architect

Jenny E. Sabin at an exhibition of her

work mounted by the Architectural

League in New York. → Page 70

get your


design fix

→ Inspiring design news

→ Innovative architecture and design

→ The latest products, materials,

technologies, events, jobs and


→ The most captivating cross-displinary

projects from around the world

“I’m looking forward to design

that can truly multi-task: buildings

that clean the air, denim that tones

leg muscles, coffee that makes the

body feel rested. And can someone

please redesign air travel to improve

my mental health?”

“A few years back, I saw my

dream home, weeHouse. It’s a

modular house that you can put

anywhere, almost like a life-sized

Lego structure. It’s beautiful,

with a modest footprint, and it’s

far less costly than building.”

Go to:



Writer Terri Peters spoke with Jenny

E. Sabin for the profile “Skin Deep,”

which looks at the discipline-crossing

visionary’s latest projects.

→ Page 70

For “Time Flies,” photographer

Natasha V. brought the adage

to life by carefully positioning 10

stunning clocks to appear as

though they’re floating in mid-air.

→ Page 84

Clarification: In our June issue, we misidentified the manufacturer of Monolith,

which is made by Agape. Azure regrets the error.

38 sept 2014 azuremagazine.com

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in living


At Ground Zero, an asymmetric pavilion

serves as a graceful entrance for the new

museum and the memorial site

BY elizabeth pagliacolo

Snøhetta’s entrance pavilion for the

museum is clad in metal and striated

glass. The museum is located beneath

the memorial fountains.

every day, a row of smudges, made by noses pressing up to the glass,

forms along the facade of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum’s

entrance pavilion. For architect Craig Dykers of Snøhetta, this is a clear sign

of the building’s success. “First you focus on yourself,” he says, “then you draw

closer and focus on what’s inside, and what’s inside is other people looking

at you.” We are here on a glorious afternoon in May, and the semi-reflective

pavilion, located between the memorial fountains, captures movements

across its metal and striated glass cladding, a detail that mimics how light

and shadows once played across the original Twin Towers. Inside, the view is

analogous. Between the two rusted tridents in the main atrium, and beyond

the webbed steel structure that supports the facade, the new Freedom Tower

soars skyward. “You are not thinking about the abstraction of death,” says

Dykers. “You’re thinking about you and the people immediately around you,

and that’s very much the role of the building.”

The pavilion houses an auditorium, a café and the mechanical rooms

(the lungs for the entire memorial site) within a calming palette of concrete,

re constituted ash and natural light. In contrast, the 10,220-square-metre

museum below ground level, designed by local architects Davis Brody Bond,

submerges you in darkness. A wooden ramp that twists like a ribbon, flowing

between the fountains’ aluminum-clad volumes, leads to a viewing platform

overlooking Foundation Hall, where visitors can take in two incredible artifacts:

the slurry wall that held fast against the Hudson River as the towers fell, and

the last steel column removed from Ground Zero. Deep inside the museum,

the exhibits form an evolving document of those who died that day. The walls


42 sept 2014 azuremagazine.com

→ Tridents salvaged from the original

Twin Towers stand like totems over the

stairs to the sub terranean museum,

which was designed by Davis Brody Bond.

are lined with their portraits, and display cases are filled with the everyday

objects found on the site: lipstick, wallets, ID tags. These tangible items are

supplemented with interactive digital displays, including a row of tables along

a recumbent steel beam, where visitors can leave behind their thoughts with

electronic pens.

How you feel about the museum depends on you. Tom Hennes of Thinc,

who crafted the exhibit’s design, wants the museum to resonate with every

person, from the survivors, the first responders and family members of the

victims to the many millions more of us who watched the event unfold onscreen.

“It’s about giving people a chance to come as close as they feel they need or

want to, and no closer. We characterized it from the beginning as not wanting to

re-traumatize people.” But the fraught collective sentiment about the attacks

also guaranteed instant controversy, including the disbelief that kitschy

souvenirs are sold in the gift shop. In June, the Washington Post blasted the

museum. Philip Kennicott wrote, after walking through it, “You’ve learned

nothing about the overwhelming cost of two wars, the loss of civil liberties,

the secret renditions,” and every other catastrophic policy decision enacted

in the name of 9/11. This may be true, yet I couldn’t help but be moved by the

exhibits and the reactions of those around me. As Hennes says, “By witnessing

and being witnessed by others, my deepest hope is to build the capacity for

empathy with each other.” snohetta. com, davisbrody. com, thincdesign. com

sept 2014 43

just built



Zecc Architecten re-purposes

a neglected water tower into a

destination photo op

BY Catherine Sweeney

↑ The original staircase,

little more than a ladder

running along the walls,

still remains, adding

an engaging spatial

dynamic to the robust

new insertion.

With a singular Gesture – a sculpted strand board staircase

that zigzags across a cavernous water tower – a once utilitarian

space is reborn as a destination lookout. Although few had

visited the tower before this spring, its sweeping view of the

Netherlands’ 58-square-kilometre De Wieden nature reserve

demanded to be shared.

In 2006, the non-profit that owns the remote wetland

approached Utrecht’s Zecc Architecten to turn the decades-old

structure into an attraction. While water tower restorations

are often true conversions, into housing or cultural centres,

Watch / Watertower Sint Jansklooster celebrates its industrial

history. “We tried to connect the area with the building itself,

which is a cultural monument,” says project architect Bart

Kellerhuis. “One route and one tale.” That one route is the

unpolished fire- resistant wooden staircase, a warm, robust

structure that casts long shadows onto the stark concrete walls.

The project’s modest budget ultimately imbued the design

with its singular focus. Without a program to follow, the firm had

carte blanche in a scheme that accommodates even the smallest

of sightseers with windows set low along the staircase. The

interior was left unadorned so visitors could experience it in its

raw state.

At the top of the new 24-metre staircase sits the now-empty

reservoir. To emphasize its vastness, the interior was fitted

with a steel stairway along the perimeter, leading to a lookout at

the tower’s highest point. Large windows give a 360‐degree view,

open to the sounds of the wind and the birds flying overhead.

It’s a feat to climb the 45 metres to the top, but “it’s a true route

architecturale,” says Kellerhuis. “With every step up, there is

something different to see, a surprise.” zecc. nl

PHOTO BY stijn poelstra

44 sept 2014 azuremagazine.com




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fresh take



Need time to think at the office? One British

company is inspiring creative chatter with a

womb-like tent

BY paige magarrey BY tk

according to google, nearly 90 per cent of smart

phone users spend their free time staring at a

screen. While zoning out online may be relaxing, it

can also cause stress, anxiety and insomnia. It

further takes over human interaction with alarming

ease (who hasn’t come across a bunch of people

sitting together yet conversing on their personal

devices?). Freyja Sewell addresses that digital

reality with Sensory Concentration Space, an environment

similar to a tent, entered through a narrow

slit and intended as a place for groups to unplug

and converse.

Last year, the British designer was approached

by a multinational company seeking a novel way

to help its employees think creatively in small

gatherings, without inhibition. Sewell has been

building felt-made pods for solitary escapes since

2011, so she responded to the commission with a

version that holds five to six users at once.

To create a distraction-free interior, she

engineered an exterior framework and kept any

technical details hidden from view, leaving a cozy

space of relaxing blankness. A small pocket holds

an iPad to program a palette of LEDs and ambient

music. The all-over felt surface feels as inviting as

a blanket, with small woollen discs to douse with

essential oils for added olfactory benefits.

Sewell is sanguine about how the SCS can

affect employees’ states of consciousness when

they’re huddled inside: “I am hoping it will lead

people to heightened awareness,” she says wistfully.

“The idea is to allow it to help them reconnect

with the authentic.” She is now exploring other

environments, including a centre for children with

special needs, that could benefit from group

cocooning. freyjasewell. co. uk

↑↑ Suspended from above, the microcosmic felt- lined

space comfortably fits groups of five to six.

↑ The cozy interior helps employees unplug their devices

and think creatively.

46 SEPT 2014 azuremagazine.com

story of



Studio WM turns a bathroom vanity into

something magical using dichroic glass

BY jeanne tan

the concept At first glance, Lucent Mirror looks straightforward:

a reflective glass surface in the shape of a full moon

and mounted to a row of three ultra-slim shelves. Its real wonder,

though, becomes clear when the mirror is gently pushed from

one side to the other. A hidden LED begins to glow, and within a

few seconds the mirror turns transparent, its reflective properties

all but gone, revealing the items stored on the shelves behind.

“The magic is in the material,” says Studio WM’s Maarten

Collignon, who has crafted two variations of the shelf with his

partner, Wendy Legro.

The development The material is dichroic glass, which

undergoes a colour change in certain lighting conditions (it is

more commonly used as a light filter in theatres). “We were

intrigued by its qualities and wanted to find ways to exploit that,”

says Legro. Lucent Mirror-Shelf operates more like a lamp, and

it doesn’t slide but turns on and off with an embedded dimmer.

One of the key challenges with this version was determining how

to conceal the electronics within a single shelf just 16 millimetres

deep. The duo settled on a brass button that lies flush with the

shelf and is engraved with the initials WM.

The presentation The results of

both products are mesmerizing:

the mirror reflects a tinge of

lavender, while the light casts a

complimentary yellow hue.

When the initial designs were

presented in Milan this spring,

visitors intuitively knew how to

use them, either by sliding the

mirror or pressing the dimmer

(although the pair did their

fair share of demonstrations).

“People called it magic,” says

Legro, laughing. Adds Maarten,

“It becomes a piece of home

jewellery. Instead of a painting,

you can hang a mirror.” They

now sell Lucent Mirror through

their studio in Rotterdam.


mirror PHOTO BY Paul Schipper

48 sept 2014 azuremagazine.com


PEI ground sirloin, porcini mushrooms, artisanal lettuce,

truffle oil, and creamy Brie de Meaux prepared to

perfection on the Jenn-Air gas cooktop.

Created by Chef Mark McEwan

Visit jennair.ca/mcewan for the recipe.

A finely crafted burger created in a Jenn-Air kitchen

is Mark McEwan’s idea of luxury.

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Visit jennair.ca/mcewan for the recipe.


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sept 13 to 21




Back in 1995, in a tent pitched off King’s Road,

100% Design was born. Nearly two decades later, it

has become the anchor of the week-long festival,

with over 300 events and installations taking place

simultaneously around the city. The show itself has

morphed in size and content, a reflection of recent

recessionary dips, but the exhibitor list this year looks

strong, with Philippe Starck getting star billing. To

celebrate the 20th anniversary, Design Kaleidoscope

will display some of the seminal pieces launched at

the fair, including Thomas Heatherwick’s Spun,

created for Magis in 2010.

Beyond Earls Court, the off-site events provide a

unique way to see London, with installations popping

up in city landmarks. One worth checking out is at

the Victoria and Albert Museum, where Edward Barber

and Jay Osgerby’s collaboration with BMW sees the

insertion of two enormous reflective surfaces on

the ceiling of the Raphael Gallery. The kinetic pieces

dramatically distort the perspectives of the room and

its famed cartoons. londondesignfestival. com

↑ Double Space for BMW - Precision & Poetry in Motion, at the Victoria

and Albert Museum. The kinetic installation is by BarberOsgerby.

→ This kaleidoscopic graphic represents a retrospective exhibit that

show cases products launched at 100% Design over the past 20 years.

sept 22 to 26


bologna, italy

sept 5 to 9



Bologna’s 166,000-square-metre convention centre is the site for

a colossal display of ceramic tiles of every shape and size. The

annual expo hosts over 900 exhibitors from around the globe, and

it includes bath furnishings and fittings from such top brands as

Antonio Lupi and Duravit. Sure to be of interest is how keynote

speaker Toyo Ito’s “non-material” approach, focused on lightness

and transparency, translates to the Italian tile industry. Pictured

is 41Zero42’s Mate. cersaie. it

The catalyst for Paris Design Week, Maison&Objet takes over

Nord Villepinte, with exhibitors showcasing home decor, from

lighting and furniture to toasters and tchotchkes, such as Tom

Dixon’s latest tabletop accessories (left). The biannual show’s

September edition is a great resource for residential trend

spotting, and for scoping out what’s coming up for the holiday

season. maison‐objet. com

sept 25 to 28

ids west


Renowned Dutch designer Bertjan Pot is speaking at this year’s

West Coast edition of the Interior Design Show, and he will

bring along Prop, his latest light for Moooi, for its Canadian

debut. Feature exhibits by Asher Israelow of New York, as well

as Portland’s Revolution Design House (left), form part of the

experience. Prototype, a competition for emerging designers,

joins the show with novel ideas for the residential market.

idswest. com




Concepts for experiencing the home,

indoors and out. homimilano. com



Luxury contemporary furniture

and lighting from across Italy.

abitareiltempo. com

OcTOBER 17 to 26

INTERIEur, KORTRIjk, Belgium

A design event that combines

culture and commerce. interieur. be

OcTOBER 18 TO 23

HIgh POINT market,


Housewares and home furnishings.

highpointmarket. org

OcTOBER 21 to 25

OrgATEc, CologNE

All things for the office environment.

orgatec. com

OcTOBER 22 to 24

gREENBuILd, New orleans

Green building products and

innovations. greenbuildexpo. com

OcTOBER 29 and 30



East Coast expo for commercial

interiors. neoconeast. com

50 sept 2014




affords you creative new options for designing your kitchen entirely

according to your own taste and harmonizing it elegantly with your

style and finishes. With a unique mix of materials of high-quality

aluminum, velvety flock, fine porcelain, and fine woods like dark

smoked chestnut or light oak with numerous innovative functions.

Creating order has never been so much fun.

You can see the new

interior design system in

action via the QR code or

at siematic.us/individual.


et cetera

compiled by ERIN DONNelly

→ Myth collection

Atypical, an Italian company

that crafts handmade

skateboards, collaborated

with Paris’s Say What for

a line of solid ash cruisers.

The vibrant graphics in grip

tape represent Hellenic

gods, such as Poseidon,

this board’s namesake.

$362, atypical. it,

saywhat-studio. com

↓ Shed Theatre

Nestled within London’s

grey, brutalist architecture,

this shocking crimson box

from Haworth Tompkins

acts as a temporary stage

for productions of the

National Theatre while its

Cottesloe auditorium is

under redevelopment.


↗ valve water bottle

Composed of recycled PET,

Sismo’s reusable water

bottle for Eau de Paris is

as eye catching as it is

environmentally responsible.

The ergonomic cap,

in ultramarine or fuchsia,

takes inspiration from

traditional kitchen taps.

$4, sismodesign.com

→ Multiple exposures

This exhibit at New York’s

Museum of Arts and Design

examines connections

between jewellery and

photography. Ursula

Ilse-Neuman, MAD jewellery

curator, selected over

80 artists, including Andy

Warhol, Gijs Bakker, and

Lauren Kalman, whose

Tongue Gilding is shown.

madmuseum. org

↑ Snarkitecture

for Beats

Dr. Dre commissioned

Brooklyn’s Snarkitecture

for a limited edition set

that strips away the

typical bright colours of

Beats headphones, and

seems to cushion them

upon a cast marble pillow.

$640, snarkitecture. com,

ca. beatsbydre. com


Vancouver graphic

designer Brennan

Glea son’s packaging

concept for his homebrewed

beer features

minimalist icons and

colours that riff on the

nautical pun names

he assigned to the ales,

stouts and porters.

brennangleason. com

52 sept 2014

STAR DISPLAY LED lights shine through micro-pinholes

to display temperature.

go from

cook to chef.

We call it the Chef Collection for a reason. Our premium and

impeccably designed line of professional-grade appliances is

inspired by some of the world’s finest Michelin Star chefs.

CLUB DES CHEFS Culinary appliances inspired by

Michelin Star chefs from around the world.

Learn more about our premium suite of appliances at


flex duo Double oven when you want it, single oven

when you need it.

© 2014 Samsung Electronics Canada Inc. All rights reserved. Samsung, Flex Duo

is a trademark of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., used with permission.




This risk-taking Dutch designer thrives

on experimentation, and isn’t afraid to

show his mistakes

BY Giovanna Dunmall

↑ The Transience

collection exploits the

natural tendency of

silvered mirrors to darken

over time. Pott achieves

different tones by

chemically controlling

the rate of oxidation.

→ To create the

narrow slits that define

the Diptych collection,

Pott masked the grain

of Douglas fir, then

sand-blasted away the

softer wood.

Born Hilversum, the Netherlands, 1985

Location Amsterdam

Education Bachelor of arts (cum laude)

in Man and Living, Design Academy


Occupation Designer and artist

Selected awards 2013 Nominated

for Mini Young Designer Award; 2013

Nominated for D3 Contest, IMM Cologne

Selected exhibits 2014 Wood, Het

Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam; 2012–2014

Salone del Mobile, Milan; 2013 Dutch

Design Awards, Eindhoven; 2013 London

Design Festival, U.K.; 2012 VitraHaus,

Weil am Rhein, Germany; 2012 Gallery S.

Bensimon, Paris; 2012 Art Brussels,


Selected clients Hay, &Tradition

Artistic Beginnings My parents are artists, and

when I was a kid I was always making models and

playing around with different materials. I was

fascinated by their artistic life, but I also saw how

difficult it was to make a living. When I saw the

work being done at the Design Academy Eindhoven,

it seemed like a perfect combination of visual and

applied arts. So it was a logical next step for me to

take: doing something creative but making it more

applied and reproducible.

The biggest difference between design and art

is function. I often work with a sense of personal

necessity, so sometimes the outcome is not a functional

piece. In that sense, I work as both designer

and artist.

Early Works My graduation project at the Design

Academy Eindhoven in 2009 was a series of wooden

shelves and a big stone table. Everyone thought I

was the “super-sustainable guy,” because I had only

worked with natural materials. But the first collection

I did after graduation, True Colours, involved oxidizing

metals with chemicals, so I lost the sustainability

label pretty quickly. It’s too narrow for all of the work

I want to do. It’s good to design in a sustainable

way, but it’s not a purpose in itself for me.

Process over outcome I like to experiment,

but nine out of 10 times people say, “It won’t work.

Why don’t you quit right now?” I think it’s crucial

to follow your intuition and keep trying, even after

many failures. In the end, there may be an unexpected


What’s interesting for me is getting more out

of such familiar materials as wood or metal, where

so much has already been done with them. When

you zoom in on an individual material, there’s always

a hidden quality, or a moment, where you can do

something to shape it in a different way and tell a

unique story. In that sense, I consider the process

crucial. A lot of designers might set out to create

a chair, for instance; I start with material research

or an experiment, and after diving into all of that

the outcome becomes logical.

Embracing vulnerABility Working on Diptych was

a nerve-wracking experience. The collection uses

Douglas fir sandblasted to open the grain of the

Portrait by Femke Reijerman

54 sept 2014 azuremagazine.com

↑ The Pivot shelves,

manufactured by

Hay, comprise several

variations of a circular

sheet folded along

a central axis.

→ The True Colours

collection of treated

metal objects includes

panels, shelves, and

these vases, turned on

a lathe to reveal the

uncorroded metal.

↑ Pott’s copper,

aluminum, steel and

brass panels are

stencilled with the

names of the chemicals

used to treat them.

← His first project,

Stone and Industry,

included this massive

bluestone table that

contrasts straight lines

and geological forms.

wood, contrasting organic and geometric shapes.

Together with Woes van Haaften, who operates the

New Window online gallery that commissioned the

line, I shared the initial sketches and ideas via social

media. We included both the successes and the

failures, like the moment when we tried to use the

wood in discs instead of cutting it lengthwise. It was

impossible; it started to shrink and crack immediately.

Normally, if you screw up a project you can simply

not show it to the world and keep it to yourself. In

this case, it was all out in the open, so we felt quite

vulnerable. It’s interesting to communicate the real

design process and those moments of impasse

where you’re sort of stuck.

Making Hay I showed my Pivot shelves in Milan in

2013, and the Danish manufacturer Hay came by and

picked it up for their collection. I think what they

liked was that I had already resolved everything, from

the suspension to the folding, so they could see that

it really worked as a system.

Now they’re producing wall hooks of mine that look

like cubes being stretched and coming out of the

wall. If you combine them in a grid, you can play with

shapes and sizes, almost like a modular system.

This project happened by chance; my assistants and

I were making plinths for our show in Milan, and we

were cutting sheets of wood at a 45‐degree angle.

That night when we were cleaning up, I noticed a

small offcut and thought it had an appealing shape,

and I wondered what we could do with it. I placed

it on the wall, and it made a perfect hook. I studied

the proportions further, and the material, the colours,

the suspension, and it became a product within a

week – one of my fastest projects ever.

Future Forward Besides Hay, I am working on

a set of vases, part of the True Colours collection,

that will be launched soon by &Tradition.

I’m interested in companies that have strong

craftsmanship. I would love to work with a glass

producer to create unique pieces from what they

would normally do but using the same techniques.

Working with leather, cork and clay would also be

great. I’d approach those materials the same way

I did the others, trying to find new qualities or an

unexpected method of manufacture. But it takes

time. I’m still relatively young and fresh. lexpott. nl

→ The Iso wall hooks

for Hay, in four colours

and natural wood,

have the form of a cube

angled up from the wall

by 45 degrees.

An extra- ne Persian Bidjar woven from wool and silk.

Available sizes: 3x5, 5x7, 7x10.

Refer to stock number 25902.



Unbeatable Since 1906.


452 Richmond St. E., Toronto, ON | 416.366.0707 | www.TurcoPersian.com

Always free onsite parking for our customers.



rolf benz –

contemporary furniture since 1964.

made in germany.

places of longing


Anniversary product rolf benz 50

Design norbert beck

Home Couture

1311 United Boulevard

Coquitlam, BC

Interior Elements

255 Davenport Road

Toronto, ON

Flagship Studio Anise

21 Greene Street

New York, NY

Internum Miami

3841 NE 2 nd Ave,

Miami, FL

Mobili Möbel

220 West Erie Street

Chicago, IL

Carriage House

1855 Griffn Road

Dania Beach, FL

the materialist:

Elizabeth Whelan

At her former studio

in New York, Whelan

derives weaves from her

sketches of nature and

man-made structures.

PHOTO BY Alyssa Kirsten

58 sept 2014


Whelan uses an in-house loom

to mock up meshes. She then

sends the swatches to industrial

mills, challenging them to think

outside the box.



Creating high-performance weaves for

Humanscale, Nike and Tumi, among others, the

textile designer gets ready for her next big move

By Elizabeth Pagliacolo

sept 2014 59

↑↑↑ For Nike, Whelan proto typed

the glow-in-the-dark Bridge Reflection

textile, for jackets that enhance

joggers’ safety at night.

↑↑ The Flywire weaves, also for Nike,

reinterpret the cable suspension of

the Brooklyn Bridge.

↑ In 2009, Whelan introduced

Ginkgo, a colour-saturated wool

upholstery inspired by the veined

leaves of the Ginkgo biloba tree.

The fabric is used on Humanscale’s

task and conference seating lines.

On a sunny May afternoon in her midtown Manhattan studio,

Elizabeth Whelan holds up two swatches of her lightreflective

Bridge Reflection textiles for Nike jackets. “I

made two patterns inspired by the nighttime reflection of

the Manhattan Bridge on the water.” She then brings out

a few energetic fabrics for Nike bags and gloves, which she developed based

on the company’s Flywire textiles, modelling the zigzag weave structure on

her drawings of another New York icon: the Brooklyn Bridge. The Bridge

Reflection fabric glows in the dark, a property I could see in the daylight if

she had her viewer handy. But she has packed it up, along with most of her

studio, ahead of a big move to Portland, Maine, later in the month.

However, it is in this penthouse studio that her unique expertise has

evolved over many years, from finding completely novel uses for sports

fabrics – such as upholstery for Niels Diffrient’s first Humanscale task chair,

in 1999 – to designing specialized textiles for activewear. Within her modest

set-up, with a drafting table, a dye lab and a loom, Whelan has mocked up

high-performance materials for chair meshes, wallcoverings, clothing and

luggage. As she goes through samples, she tells the story behind each one,

her irrepressible energy making you forget that she is in her early 50s and

not a neophyte designer.

It all came together for her in 1997, when she established her own studio.

She had graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design, had done a

four-year stint at Designtex and was teaching at Parsons. She mentioned to


↑ Whelan uses an A-to-Z process by devising

weave structures, twisting yarns together in new

ways, and dying swatches in dozens of colours.

a colleague that she wanted to explore sports fabrics for interior products,

and he recommended that she meet Diffrient. At NeoCon that year, she

went to Humanscale’s showroom, where Diffrient was showing a prototype

of the Freedom chair. “There was a line out the door for whoever Niels

Diffrient was,” says Whelan. She laughs as she recalls how she had barely

heard of the legendary designer and author of Humanscale 1/2/3, the bible

of ergonomics, who would become her biggest mentor. When she told him

of her interest in sports fabrics, he pulled out of his pocket several swatches

of upholstery Humanscale was considering for his task chair: swimsuit

knits. It was serendipity. He eventually brought Whelan along on the project,

and would frame its ultimate challenge by posing the question, What

does the textile need to do? His standards and discipline, and his focus

on performance and functionality, were values Whelan wanted to learn

and incorporate into her own practice. “That took off the blinders,” she

says, and irreversibly transformed her approach to textile design.

To cover Freedom’s moulded contours, Whelan needed stretch. She first

looked for upholstery mills that could produce such fabrics; none did, so

she hired an apparel mill. But the real test came when she started working

on the Liberty chair, which would pare back the task chair even further,

with fewer mechanisms and an integral mesh back and seat. At the time,

Herman Miller’s Aeron, the paragon of stripped-down design, was all the

rage. Yet Diffrient was hesitant about a mesh-backed chair, until Robert

King, founder and CEO of Humanscale, pushed him on the idea. “It’s

better environmentally, it’s visually minimal, and it’s cool,” King says.

Diffrient determined how to tailor the mesh, with a tri-panel construction,

to provide rigid back support and a surface with form-sensing give. Now

Whelan had to design the actual material. The only viable option on the

market was the one used on the Aeron chair, which had too much stretch

for Liberty. Most versions were leno weaves, with a loose grid that would

look too open when wrapped across the chair’s frame and stitched to create

its characteristic seam, reminiscent of men’s suiting. On her loom, Whelan

experimented with combining unusual materials, such as wire, elastic and

leather, together with monofilament yarns, including fishing line. She came

up with two new translucent textiles: the ultra-minimal Monofilament

Stripe; and the dynamic checkerboard pattern Silver Check, which combines

a thicker multi-filament polyester yarn, for a non-slip surface, with

a silver-plated yarn, for a shifting tonality animated by the user moving

around in the chair.

Liberty debuted to raves in 2004. Through this patented, award­ winning

work with Diffrient and Humanscale, Whelan honed her A‐to‐Z process,

which brings an artisanal approach to futuristic textiles whose aesthetic

beauty derives from their structure, material, pattern and colour. She is

hands on during production, challenging industrial mills to replicate her

custom weaves and colourways. Going back and forth with the mills, she

refines the fabrics during the vigorous pre-launch phase – including the

Wyzenbeek method, under which her meshes have exceeded fivefold the

sept 2014 61

↖ Diffrient’s World Chair for Humanscale

(2009) continues Whelan’s innovation in

meshes, which began with the Liberty

chair in 2004.

← One of her pliant and form-sensing

designs, Pinstripe features a thick,

multi-filament yarn for improved stability

and ergonomics.

↑A new mesh that Humanscale will

debut this fall, Catena comes in a

bouquet of spice hues: white and pink

peppercorn, clove, turmeric, and

green cardamom.

industry standard of 30,000 double rubs – and works out post- production

problems that surface through the end user. For Humanscale, she devised

the reverse Wyzenbeek test, to develop meshes that are rugged yet kind

to the sitter’s clothing. In this version, a pendulum wrapped in her mesh

strikes repeatedly at a piece of standard wool suiting.

For each new client, she imagines a tapestry of possibilities. She helped

Spinneybeck, a Knoll company, expand its collection of leather wall panels

by designing woven versions, in intricate structures and colour combinations

inspired by a beetle’s carapace. “Our weavers in Italy loved it,” says

Roger Wall, Spinneybeck’s president. “No one had ever asked them to

do this before.” (Innovation has its risks, though; Whelan’s wallcovering

collection for KnollTextiles did not fare as well. Made in collaboration with

a rural Mexican mill, the line failed to meet commercial specifications for

lightfastness, which resulted in an alluring yet unsuccessful product better

suited to the residential market.)

She also approached Nike with her envelope-pushing concepts. Ed

Thomas, Nike’s director of material design, awarded her a master design

contract so she could prototype her ideas for the company’s advanced

materials research department. These include light-responsive jacket

fabrics, still in development, to keep joggers safe at night. “It is a rare

talent to move a material through the gauntlet of initial brief and ideation,

prototyping and then the eventual layering-on of commercial sensibilities,”

says Thomas. “You often find that those are three different skills and

resources, but she seamlessly integrates these processes into her work.”

Whelan has found a kindred spirit in Tumi, a luggage company that

seeks out novel materials and models. Denielle Wolfe, the company’s

vice-president of design, was already contemplating a hybrid textile, one

that merges its ballistic nylon with Tegris, a carbon fibre–like polypropylene

tape manufactured by Milliken. To realize this material, which

would become the DNA for a collection launching in 2015, Wolfe turned to

Whelan. “She initially took on the challenge to colour the un-colourable,”

Wolfe says, laughing. Though Tegris could not be dyed, Whelan demonstrated

that the hybrid industrial-quality product could be visually

enticing. “She managed to dial in to the iconic elements of our product and

interpret them in a weave pattern that makes sense, one that has a story

and is also beautiful,” adds Wolfe.

Whelan sees broader applications for this innovative material, and

her excitement is palpable, but that might have to do with her new setting,

too. From one room and a squeezed mezzanine in New York, she now has

three spaces (plus two storage rooms) in Maine with views of the rooftops,

the mountain peaks and the waterfront. One area is devoted to her loom,

a dye lab and a sublimation press; and another to two drafting tables, so she

can go back and forth between projects – just as Niels Diffrient used to do.

Most of all, she has more mental and physical space to work on her ideas.

“I didn’t come here to retreat into the woods and eat granola,” she jokes.

“I came here to continue to grow.” One day, as we spoke on the phone, she

interrupted herself mid-sentence to marvel at a dragonfly flitting outside

her window. For someone who takes inspiration from her surroundings –

from cable suspension bridges to the backs of beetles – this might indicate

the shape of a weave to come. elizabethwhelandesign. com

62 sept 2014 azuremagazine.com






TEL 212-253-5969







The London designer is making a

name for himself by exploring the

strange and unusual, from sugarbased

plates to chainmail rugs

By Craille Maguire Gillies

Portraits by Marius W. Hansen

64 sept 2014


the materialist:

Philippe Malouin

Malouin in his East London

studio, where he invents new

forms, including his brutalisminspired

Gridlock fixture, now

being produced by Roll & Hill.

sept 2014 65

↖↑ Brick Lamp, a new task light for

Umbra Shift, and Concrete Tupperware

bowls. Both accessories pay homage

to basic building materials.

← To produce the Dunes dishware for

1882 Ltd., Malouin first built a 3‐D printer

to make moulds out of sugar mounds.

↙ Reinforced with resin, Kvadrat fabric

is used as the structural material for

the Hardie Stool.

philippe Malouin has the hands of a carpenter, large and

rough around the edges. His workspace in an East London

warehouse – not far from a Burberry outlet and a Pringle

of Scotland shop, and next to one of the city’s ubiquitous

housing estates – is more gritty workshop than slick studio:

lumber is stacked in the corner (he’s building crates to ship a product

to Italy), and ceramic moulds and assorted materials shambolically line

the walls. In one corner sits a large band saw, along with disc sanders and

other tools accumulated over years of investigating new materials and

manufacturing methods. His design partner, Eva Feldkamp, is leaning over

a large worktable, not far from the Montreal-born designer’s favourite

tool: the mitre saw.

Dressed head to toe in his standard uniform of black, he sports a groomed

lumberjack beard, perhaps a nod to his Canadian roots; he apologizes for

the mess and pushes through a heavy plastic curtain to the office side of the

studio. A metal panel from his Gridlock series sits on his desk; overhead

hangs a Popsicle-stick model of Loop, an undulating sculpture made from

recycled shipping pallets and recently installed at Bloomberg’s head office

in London. “Lots of things here came from trying stuff out,” he says, looking

around. He obsesses over material, often with no idea whether the result

will be a sofa, a stool or a bookend – or anything at all. “We do many things

you are not meant to do, like using metal polishing techniques on plastic.

Mixing up materials and techniques is a good way to experiment,” he says.

He describes this approach as research, sometimes spending months

finding the perfect way to, say, make chain mail by hand (as for his Yachiyo

rug); or to connect tiny metal components, as with his latest work to reach

stores, a hefty hanging light from the Gridlock series, part of a lighting

collection for Roll & Hill. Its geometric squares refract light, giving it the

glittering aspect of crystal but with a brutalist edge. “For the connectors, it

took two years to get the design perfect. Then we had to find someone who

could cast them properly within 0.2-millimetres’ precision.” (They went

with a saxophone manufacturer.)

Malouin’s work with the Brooklyn, New York, company is one of several

recent partnerships that will see the one-time Tom Dixon designer’s

diverse (and sometimes counterintuitive) creations go into production.

He has received commissions from Swarovski, Finnish furniture company

Artek and London’s Established & Sons. At the International Contemporary

Furniture Fair in New York this past May, Umbra Shift launched Hanger

Chair, a foldable plywood seat with a nifty clothes hanger-shaped hook,

which Malouin created in 2008 as a student at Design Academy Eindhoven

66 sept 2014 azuremagazine.com

in the Netherlands. And you can hardly swing a samples bag at the annual

London Design Festival without hitting something with his thumbprint

on it. Jason Miller, creative director at Roll & Hill, says Malouin has a

strong focus on materials and tackles design as an artist would. “This sets

him apart from other designers whose approach is similar but ends up

being too conceptual to function.”

Perhaps it’s no surprise that Malouin takes a craftsman’s approach: he

grew up making slingshots and skateboard ramps in his dad’s workshop.

Later he studied industrial design at the Université de Montréal, won a

bursary to go to Paris’s French national school for advanced studies in

design, and finally landed in Eindhoven. At his graduate show, Tom Dixon

offered him a part-time job in London. He arrived with a few pieces of

luggage, and moved into a four-square-metre flat with a raised ceiling that

he converted to a sleeping loft. Plastic and wood shavings were scattered

around the downstairs living area turned studio. “I started hiring interns,”

he says, “and they’d walk in while I was asleep.” Eventually, freelance

work took up much of his space and time, so he left Tom Dixon to focus

on his own pursuits.

Some of his greatest successes have come from having free reign. In

2012, textile design company Kvadrat asked him to create an object for

↑ In 2011, Malouin and his design

partner, Eva Feldkamp, hand-wove

galvanized steel rings into a metal

rug, designed for Yachiyo of Japan.

↓ This spring, the studio presented

Mollo, manufactured by Established &

Sons. The seat is made of nothing but

velvet-upholstered polystyrene foam.

sept 2014 67

← Hanger Chair, made of Baltic

birch plywood, is among the

inaugural products for the Umbra

Shift collection, launched in New

York in May.

↑ The studio is dominated by

work benches and array of tools.

Says Malouin about his process:

“Mixing up materials is a good

way to experiment.”

Milan design week. He and Feldkamp only knew that they wanted to use

a stiff fabric. “But how do you make fabric stiff?” he asks. “We tried laminating

it, but that was too flat. Then we put resin on it, rolled it and

vacuum-bagged it.” By morning, the material was hard, but it lacked the

tautness required for furniture. “So we put a loop on an upside-down

bucket and rolled it down like you would with your socks. The shape just

happened.” That shape became Hardie Stool, made of nothing but fabric

and glue, with stiff fabric legs. “It was all about ‘Okay, we have this problem.

How do we solve it?’” he says.

These stories – of conjuring a stool from fabric, or a couch from a chunk

of foam (Established & Sons is rolling out the chubby Mollo armchair, which

has no internal support), or slip-cast ceramics inspired by sand piles (for

the five-generations-old North Staffordshire pottery company 1882 Ltd.)

– are of design as exploration rather than expectation. It usually starts not

with an idea but with playing around, just like he did in his dad’s workshop.

For his next project, Malouin is visiting a stone manufacturer in Tel Aviv.

“They want us to take a look at their slabs, then try some stuff,” he says. As

always, he doesn’t know yet what will come of it. philippemalouin. com

PHOTO (top) BY marius hansen

68 sept 2014 azuremagazine.com

skin de

Collaborating with a team of scientists at

two American universities, Jenny E. Sabin

attempts to make buildings respond, visually

and sustainably, to human presence

By Terri Peters / Portrait by Peter Frey

70 sept 2014 azuremagazine.com

the materialist:

Jenny E. Sabin


↖ Architect and educator

Jenny E. Sabin with some of her

latest projects, recently on view

at Parsons The New School for

Design, in New York.

← An eSkin prototype dem onstrates

interactive cladding.

When a finger or a hand passes

the embedded sensors, the

surface colour changes.

sept 2014 71

← ↘Renderings illustrate

how eSkin could react

to localized stimulation,

such as pointing at

the cladding to form a

window; and to global

stimulation, where larger

areas respond to human


→ An exploded view

shows eSkin’s cell matrix

interface and adaptive

wall assembly.







Some day, building exteriors will behave more like human

skin, regulating internal temperatures similarly to how our

bodies do. They might also change colour, or respond to

our presence within them. Breathing, learning and sensorial,

the new responsive building could be the next phase of a

truly sustainable form of architecture. At least, these are some ideas architect

and educator Jenny E. Sabin envisions for the future. Since 2010, she has

collaborated with a team of scientists at the University of Pennsylvania

and Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, all angling to figure out how to

make buildings far more interactive, and how to retrofit existing structures

with similar capabilities. They have developed a proto type called eSkin,

and while its design is highly conceptual it is beginning to find exposure

outside the lab.

Earlier this year, at the new FRAC Centre in Orléans, France, the

exhibition Naturalizing Architecture displayed some of the most sci-fi

explorations happening in the realm of digital technology and architecture.

It included eSkin, along with 39 other concepts, each investigating ways of

integrating buildings with robotics, nanotechnology and 3‐D printing. In

June, Sabin received the prestigious Architectural League Prize in New York,

for her contributions to biotechnology among other fields.

So what is eSkin, exactly? For one, it is an alternative way of considering

a building from the start. “In many ways,” says Sabin, “we have been dealing

with energy within buildings all wrong. We are using an existing paradigm,

even though we now have all of these new issues, such as climate change,

on the table.” In a proposal to rethink the design process, eSkin considers

relationships, systems and materiality at the front end.

Physically, it was conceived as a transparent film installed over existing

or new cladding. At the University of Pennsylvania, cellular biologist Kaori

Ihida-Stansbury and Shu Yang, a materials scientist, have been studying

human cells to discover new methods of working. They hope to design

interfaces between living and engineered systems that respond to various

external conditions. “We are looking at changes in geometry, changes in

pattern, what happens if we change the stiffness of the material, how that

alters the behaviour of a cell,” explains Sabin. She then renders the lab

work into models and diagrams, to explore how eSkin might look and feel.

One term Sabin uses when talking about the project is “personalized

architecture,” where inhabitants fine-tune their interior environments by

controlling light, for instance, or heating and cooling. One rendering depicts

a man forming a window within a semi-opaque surface simply by pointing

at it. The advantage of this approach is both aesthetic and sustainable,

since a building would adjust to a specific desire and an ecological context.

One early model, which resembles a large circuit board and took over

a year to produce, focuses on structural colour. Instead of pigments, it

derives from microscopic surfaces that affect light wavelengths. The eSkin

prototype consists of nano- colloidal particles like those found naturally

in opal (and sometimes in milk), which have pearlescent effects. These

particles are sandwiched between two conductive glass plates, and sensors

that detect changes in light intensity. If someone walks in front of it, or

runs a finger along it, a charge is sent to the components, which alters the

particles and changes the colour. “There is a hierarchy designed into the

interaction,” adds Sabin. “The whole thing doesn’t change, just the stimulated

areas, so you get regional effects.”

The next step is to test the responsive surface at a building scale.

“Realistically, we are about six to 10 years away from having an industryready

product,” she says. Her optimism comes in part from eSkin’s

accolades so far. The National Science Foundation funded the initial project;

it is almost unheard of for an architect to secure a grant of this kind. Sabin

credits the success to her diverse team of materials scientists, electrical

and systems engineers and cellular biologists.

Her own varied background makes her a natural for interdisciplinary

collaborations. Before heading into architecture, she studied ceramics and

visual arts at the University of Washington, and her other ventures have

been rather eclectic. One of her earliest, from 2006, was Fourier Rug, an

11-metre-long tapestry based on the Fourier mathematical sequence. More

recently, Nike commissioned her to design a pavilion using Flyknit, the

shoe company’s solar-active, photo-luminescent thread.

Her portfolio extends the traditional notion of architecture, but what

underpins everything is the cross-pollination between science and the built

environment. Another project she has received funding for will unpack the

hidden potential of kirigami, a version of origami that incorporates cutting

as well as folding. Sabin sees enormous architectural potential in the traditional

craft: “The idea is to productively contaminate these processes with

the stuff of architecture. That is the only way to find something novel and

functional in the context of sustainability.” jennysabin. com

72 sept 2014 azuremagazine.com

A building-scale model of

eSkin. Sabin predicts that

the film could be industry

ready within six to 10 years.

← ↓Sabin works with scientists at the

University of Pennsylvania who are

exploring biomimicry, including structural

colour, to discover new applications.

↑A sequence of still images shows a

real-time simulation of eSkin as a person

comes into contact with it.

sept 2014 73

Metris ®

Comfort at all levels.

With five distinct faucet heights, Metris is as versatile as the ways we use water. Varied faucet heights empower the user with a range of

possibilities. Metris allows you to find the faucet height that suits your individual needs — from washing your hands to washing your hair.

Hansgrohe has a name for this extra personal space: ComfortZone. Discover Metris at hansgrohe.ca.

© 2014 Hansgrohe, Inc.










Seismic shifts are happening in every field of

design, from self-driving cars to mushroom

bricks. Here is a glimpse at some of the most

enterprising trends that are making the world

better, greener, smarter and a lot more fun

Contributions by: Lloyd Alter, David Dick-Agnew, Erin Donnelly, Matthew Hague, Josephine Minutillo and Catherine Osborne

sept 2014 75



Flying on zero fuel

In June, the world’s first solar-powered airplane that can fly day

and night took to the sky – a slender craft made from carbon fibre

and 17,000 solar cells, with a wingspan larger than a Boeing 747’s.

Although the Swiss-born project will not likely disrupt commercial

flight anytime soon (it seats only one), the team plans to circumnavigate

the globe by 2015, proving that zero-fuel flight is on the

horizon. solarimpulse. com – David Dick‐Agnew




Concrete to last a lifetime

The average age of more than 600,000 bridges in the U.S., one in

nine of which is rated as structurally deficient, is 43 years – about

the typical lifespan of a concrete bridge. However, a new type of

maintenance-free, waterproof concrete has the potential to last

over a century. Civil engineers at the University of Wisconsin–

Milwaukee have developed an unusually ductile hybrid concrete

called superhydro phobic engineered cementitious composite,

which repels water rather than absorbing it and stops most cracks.

Ultra-strong poly vinyl alcohol fibres, each the thickness of a

human hair, added to the mixture prevent occasional fractures

from becoming larger tears. That’s one design innovation that

won’t fall through the cracks. – Josephine Minutillo


The man who will save Manhattan from drowning

Without extreme preventive measures, New York might look more like Venice in 100-plus years. Henk Ovink,

a water management expert from the Netherlands, has made it his mission to save his adopted city from watery

destruction. Last year, he headed up Rebuild by Design, an initiative that enlisted architects, including Bjarke

Ingels Group and OMA, to develop schemes for a new standard of resilience. Azure spoke with Ovink about

translating Dutch innovations and why it is wise to fear the water.

What drew you to New York? There was a need. It’s not a desperate situation here, but one with many opportunities.

Hurricane Sandy showcased the region’s vulnerabilities. New York could become an example to everyone

by setting a new standard of resiliency. This is the city every boy or girl in the world knows, it’s a city of the

world – and it got struck by a hurricane. It is affected by climate change and rising sea levels. If New York can

find solutions to move forward, it can be an inspiration to the rest of the world. Has the fear of rising water

levels shifted from the Netherlands, which has done such a good job of managing water, to places like the

U.S.? There is always a sense of fear, which is good. This is not the big fear of an enemy, but there is always

something you don’t know about water. That is why it’s so fascinating, and why as a kid, when you go swimming

and the current takes you away, you feel overwhelmed. Water still has its own rules. It’s not about being the boss

of it, though; it’s about living with it in harmony. The Dutch way of dealing with water is inherited in our culture.

We have been living below sea level and at risk for ages, but we have found a way that makes sense technically

and culturally. Is it ironic that many recent innovations in water management, from digging giant holes to

making room for oyster reefs, are not so innovative from a technical perspective? Innovation is not determined

by bigness but by smartness. What we have seen with Rebuild by Design is that innovation doesn’t lie with

the best storm surge barrier ever; it actually lies in combining a region’s cultural, social, economic and physical

needs and opportunities into solutions that are partly physical, but also drive policy change and political reform.

Innovation is less about engineering or inventing something. It has an impact in a far broader sense. – J.M.

photos from top left: troye fox, olivia locher

76 sept 2014 azuremagazine.com


for the near



The individualization of shopping

Online retailers are dramatically changing how we shop, as are apps that make impulse buying a mere screen

tap away. What will these service-free conveniences mean to bricks-and-mortar stores that rely on customers

to visit them? Phil Handford, creative director of the London design agency Campaign, works with

such big labels as Burberry and Nike, exploring alternative ways for brands to stand out in a saturated retail

environment. He believes stores have an advantage over mobile shopping: they can give consumers informed

recommendations through what he calls “highly curated, customized, immersive, theatrical events.”

In May, Handford, along with trend forecaster Chris Sanderson of Future Laboratory, tested out the theory

with a perfumery that crafts individualized scents. Called Fragrance Lab, the immersive space, installed at

Selfridges’ Oxford Street location in London, re-imagined the perfume counter. Rather than having clients

navigate the usual lineup of ladies spritzing familiar brands, the lab invited clients to embark on a self-guided

tour within a series of ethereal zones. No merchandise or advertising was visible. Instead, lab-coated assistants

presented shoppers with a selection of images to choose from, questions to answer, and objects to hold

and sniff. Depending on each person’s response, a team of perfumers generated a personalized scent and a

unique bottle. At $120 a visit, Selfridges managed to give each shopper a 50-millilitre customized fragrance,

and an experience that could never be replicated by an online-dependent shop like Amazon. – Matthew Hague




product design

The orchestral sound of one

In 2013, Roland Lamb invented a technologically advanced keyboard that

some say is set to revolutionize music. Called Seaboard, the instrument

follows the usual configuration of piano notes, but it allows players to

manipulate sound by massaging its silicone surface in various directions,

which alters pitch and vibrato. Using advanced sensor technology, two rows

of rubberized keys enable a solo player to sound like a full ensemble when

he or she caresses the keys back and forth or up and down. Lamb, originally

from the U.S. and a musician himself, fine-tuned the instrument while

studying under Ron Arad at the Royal College of Art. He has since founded

his company, Roli, in London and launched the inaugural Seaboard Grand.

The Design Museum of London has also taken note, and earlier this year

named the instrument Product Design of the Year. roli. com – Erin Donnelly

sept 2014 77


for the near




In the future, we will eat bugs

Even though billions of people around the world have dined on insects for millennia, a

phobia of eating bugs remains throughout most of North America and Europe, keeping the

protein-rich food source from becoming a dietary staple. That’s about to change. With the

global population expected to reach nine billion by 2050, entomophagy is becoming an

obvious, viable solution to pending food shortages, offering an economical way to produce

protein at a fraction of the cost of raising livestock, with significantly less farmland. The

challenge lies in how to break the culturally entrenched taboo and turn crickets into the

new kale. To help popularize the trend, some top-tier Paris restaurants have begun to serve

such delicacies as water scorpions baked in pepper and black garlic. In Toronto, architect

and entrepreneur Jakub Dzamba has launched Third Millennium Farming, a cricket farm

made from re-purposed water bottles. The tabletop unit is designed to be escape-proof

and utilizes bio-waste as feed. Dzamba hopes to adapt his miniature ecosystem for

large-scale production.

Belatchew Arkitekter of Stockholm has gone a step further. In June, the experimental

firm launched a proposal called Insectcity, which would see nine full-scale insect farms

installed at roundabouts throughout the city. The doughnut-shaped steel structures would

double as learning and commercial hubs, with restaurants along the buildings’ periphery

serving up the harvest; and at their cores a natural habitat for cultivating crickets and safe

havens for endangered bee species. The firm’s CEO, Rahel Belatchew Lerdell, considers the

visibility of his field-to-table concept essential, so people can overcome their insect hangups.

The Buzzbuildings, as the proposal calls them, would ensure a self-sufficient food

supply for Stockholm. belatchew. com, thirdmillenniumfarming. com - Catherine Osborne

↑↑ Insectcity by Belatchew

Arkitekter of Stockholm.

↑ Architect Jakub Dzamba’s

escape-proof cricket farm.



Cycling will become safe (again)

At first glance, the Vanhawks Valour looks like your average

nice-looking bike. Its carbon-fibre frame, reinforced with

carbon nano-tubes, weighs a mere seven kilograms. But

what attracted $820,000 worth of Kickstarter backing in

May is the extensive list of embedded features that will

make it one of the safest bikes on the road.

This is the first commuter bike fully integrated with Bluetooth

and networked with smart sensors. When a route is

programmed into the rider’s cellphone, the travel plan syncs

with LED arrows embedded into the handlebars, which blink

when a left or right turn approaches. When a car enters the

cyclist’s blind spot, the potential danger is detected and

the handlebars vibrate via ultrasonic sensors. The suspension

system is also wired for safety: if the bike shakes too

much – the result of rough road or potholes, for instance –

it alerts other Valour bikes of the disturbance so their GPSs

can plan an alternative route. It even includes a search and

rescue function in case of theft.

Valour resulted from four Toronto bike geeks – Adil Aftab,

Niv Yahel and brothers Ali and Sohaib Zahid – pooling their

varied backgrounds in the sciences to promote cycling

as a more appealing form of urban transportation. Aftab,

now 31, came up with the novel manufacturing process for

carbon fibre while working at his family’s business Dita,

which makes wooden field hockey sticks. The conversion to

carbon fibre sticks also spurred the idea for applying the

technology to the framework of bicycles. In October, the

first Kickstarter supporters will receive an inaugural edition.

The bike is also available on Shopify, starting at $1,249.

vanhawks.myshopify.com – M.H.

bottom photo by naomi finlay

78 sept 2014 azuremagazine.com


Guitar Hero’s next wave

British electro-pop artist Imogen Heap has always been

fascinated with fusing technology, sound and performance,

and in 2013 she launched Mi.Mu, a prototype for musical

gloves that create live music through a wave of the hand.

Equipped with LEDs, haptic motors, inertial measurement units

and motion detectors, the gloves respond to raised arms or

the flex of a finger, cueing pre-programmed sounds and note

progressions. The choreography is as much a part of the

performance as the music, and even pointing moves sound

around a room. Heap is now working with a small team of

musicians, designers and computer scientists in London. Her

recent Kickstarter campaign fell short of its financial goal,

but the project still brims with potential, perhaps more so for a

generation that has grown up playing Guitar Hero and video

games rather than traditional instruments. mimu.org.uk – E.D.





Smog vacuums that clear the air

Dutch innovator Daan Roosegaarde’s latest brainwave, conceived after he witnessed

Beijing’s opaque sky, aims to combat the dire problem of air pollution in urban centres.

Working with Environmental Nano Solutions Europe, a manufacturer of ionic filters, he plans

to roll out a series of parks that will hide arrays of copper coils, which, like air purifiers, use

statically charged positive ions to vacuum carbon particles from the atmosphere. When the

pilot project becomes operational later this year, it is expected to create a 40-metre-wide

hole of clean air with roughly 75 per cent less pollution. He even has plans for the carbon

soot collected: processing a portion of it into artificial diamonds, an alchemical trick almost

as impressive as sucking up smog. If the plan succeeds, Beijing just might reach its goal

of becoming smog-free by 2017. studioroosegaarde. net – D.D.A.

sept 2014 79


for the near





Culinary design thinking

The Meccanica kitchen system’s barely there design

enables endless adaptability – a feature Valcucine believes

makes it amenable to any culinary trend or household

evolution. Yet even the manufacturer realizes that responding

to change requires continual reinvention. This spring

during EuroCucina, the world’s largest fair devoted to

kitchens, the Italian company tore a page from the design

thinker’s manual and invited 11 creative types (including

one aerospace engineering student) to hack Meccanica,

adding features as they liked. “We wanted to see what

other drivers besides us could add to the system,” says

marketing head Daniele Prosdocimo.

The results of the open-source workshop, which took

place publicly within the Milan showroom, were similar to

what comes out of most incubator labs – a goulash of

both brilliant and dumb ideas. One participant proposed a

grey water system to funnel cooking water into the garden

(good idea); another wanted to convert the fabric used on

the cupboard doors into reusable shopping bags (impractical);

and collab orators Marina Cinciripini and Vittorio Cuculo

designed an infographic embedded with conductive and reactive

LEDs that make it easier to track down kitchen tools

in drawers and cupboards (brilliant). Prosdocimo has hinted

that at least one of the ideas generated is being considered

for a future Valcucine product. demode. it – C.O.


What will you be doing in your self-driving car?

It’s just so cute, the Google self-driving car. It looks like BMW’s Isetta from the early ’50s, a smiley little thing that says,

“Oh, the places you’ll go” – but it is much more than just a self-driving car. As the Institute without Boundaries in Toronto

concluded a few years ago, the autonomous car will be smaller, lighter, slower, and there will likely be one-tenth the

number of them compared to regular cars. Parking garages will disappear, as the cars don’t really stop; they zoom off

to pick up somebody else or do a sushi delivery. The streets will be free of parking spaces and the intersections devoid

of annoying traffic lights as the cars flow around one another. Of course, with this vehicle as the sole designated driver,

happy hour will be fun again. The air will be clear of pollution, too, and the city much quieter without the sounds of

electric motors and tooting horns. Downtowns will be re-greened with boulevards and parks.

Or maybe not. While most people hate the commute from the suburbs, Allison Arieff, editorial director at the urban

planning think tank SPUR, predicts that travelling to and from work will become the best part of the day. “If you can

read on your iPad, enjoy a cocktail or play a video game while commuting,” she pointed out in one of her New York Times

columns, “time spent in the car becomes leisure time, something desirable.” That is what we are doing when not behind

the wheel, so why not do it in our Google cars – our little mobile entertainment bubbles, which just happen to take us

home. In this scenario, by the time driver-free transportation becomes a reality (predicted to arrive as soon as 2020),

cities may well start to empty out, and commute time will become irrelevant. – Lloyd Alter


product design

Every chair can be different

In São Paolo, a novel way to customize furniture encourages

every one to collaborate. Called TOG All Creators Together, the

newly minted company lets shoppers choose a piece of furniture

online and then search a network of affiliated artisans to individualize

it, adding such unique touches as beadwork, handwoven

upholstery or carving to chairs, tables, lamps and other pieces.

The initiative is being bankrolled by Grendene, the Brazilian

footwear giant that makes the Melissa shoe, and it has commissioned

Philippe Starck and Sebastian Bergne, among other big

names, to design the first line of naked products. The artisan

community now numbers in the dozens, but the plan is to expand

to thousands around the globe, engineering a new way for designers,

consumers and craftspeople to join creative forces. As the

brand develops, nascent technologies, including 3‐D printing, will

be employed to further push the maker movement into the mass

bespoke market. togallcreatorstogether. com – M.H.

80 sept 2014 azuremagazine.com




The prospect of bricks that grow themselves, consuming

no energy and releasing no pollutants, was too tantalizing

to pass up for archi tect David Benjamin, principal of

New York’s the Living. Hy-Fi, his pavilion installed this past

summer at MoMA PS1 in Queens, is made entirely from organic

materials – most notably bricks grown from mycelium

mushroom roots in moulds filled with cornstalks (a worthless

by-product), then dried into blocks that resemble

Styrofoam. “Each brick grows in about five days, with no

energy or sunlight required,” says Benjamin, “so it generates

no waste and no carbon emissions.” Mycelium has been

used in product design and architectural concepts before

(project collaborator Ecovative produces an entire line of

packing materials made from the stuff), but it has never

been realized at this scale. “This is just the beginning,” says

Benjamin. “We should be able to generate biological materials

with a wide range of physical properties, including those

that self-heal and change in response to their environment.

The only limit is our imaginations.” – D.D.A.

top photo BY kris graves

product design

Adopting the James Dyson mantra

One of the biggest champions of taking product engineering

to the next level is the man who reinvented the vacuum

cleaner. James Dyson hands out annual awards to

ingenious student inventors who are making stuff that is

destined to impact the world. We spoke with Dyson about

his competition, and why we need more design engineering.


The brief for the James Dyson Award is to “design

something that solves a problem.” What are the biggest

problems we face in the near future? Sustainability,

housing and an aging population come immediately to

mind. Many students entering the award competition are

already trying to tackle these issues. In Canada, we’ve seen

two inventive projects among this year’s submissions that

aim to solve such challenges. Stefan Djerkic, from Humber

College in Toronto, designed a beach cleaner called Shorvac

[shown]. It removes debris from beaches and coastlines,

to protect wildlife and the environment. A team from the

University of Calgary has developed a wheelchair that can

be propelled using a single hand. It gives greater mobile

independence for those who only have the use of one hand.

What are the biggest innovations you’ve seen from

the competition? Inventive ideas come out of the awards

each year. Last year’s winner was a team of mechanical

engineering students from the University of Pennsylvania;

they designed a battery-powered upper-body robotic arm

that increases human strength by almost 20 kilograms.

The project, Titan Arm, was designed for under $2,000, and

their use of modern, relatively inexpensive materials made

the project even more compelling. Are there some

problems design can’t solve? If it’s a practical problem,

there will always be a practical solution. It might just take

some time to frame the problem and come up with a viable

solution, and of course the technology required may not

have been invented yet. Great ideas meet great resistance,

but that’s the thing about perseverance: you don’t stop.

Getting something right takes time – weeks, months and

even years – but we all must persevere. – J.M.

sept 2014 81


for the near




Mind scanning for the perfect product

The ideal design, immune to shifting trends, is like a maddeningly elusive dream, although

most designers – and manufacturers – would kill to crack the code for what makes

us desire one object over another. Dutch designer Merel Bekking, whose work playfully

combines neuro science with product concepts, has developed an alternative approach

that could reach that goal, based on responsive data gleaned from MRI scans. While

multinationals such as Google and Pepsi do use biometrics, they tend to apply the research

to existing products. Bekking, on the other hand, is using neuroscience as the jumping-off

point for creation.

To carry out her research, she has teamed up with Steven Scholte, a scientist with

Neurensics, Europe’s first neuro-marketing research and consulting firm; and with the

Spinoza Centre for Neuroimaging in Amsterdam. Their test group consisted of 10 men

and 10 women between the ages of 20 and 30, all Dutch. Each was asked what colours,

shapes and materials they most admired, and the consensus was: blue, round and

wood. Then, using MRIs, the same subjects were shown a mix of gruesome and appealing

images. Surprisingly, the visual stimuli that caused the brain’s pleasure centre to peak –

red, organic shapes and plastic – were the opposite of what the subjects thought they liked.

In April, Bekking took the project a step further, creating furniture pieces that exploited

the three most desirable attributes. However, the reaction to the work was split. She says,

“I am looking for a way to exclude emotion from design, so the interesting thing was to

see if people really were attracted to the red plastic organic shapes.” She hopes to repeat

the experiment with different ages and cultural backgrounds to see if variances occur.

merelbekking. nl – M.H.



The lens that will keep

an eye on sugar levels


Google is stepping beyond driverless cars and street view

mapping and into the medical world. Google Lens aims

to give diabetics a way of monitoring their glucose levels

continuously without shedding blood, using a corrective

lens that sits on the eye like a contact. A sensor embedded

within measures sugar levels once every second, while a

wireless chip powered by a radio frequency magnetic field

sends the readings to a nearby cellphone, via an antenna

thinner than a human hair. After teaming up with Swiss

pharmaceutical giant Novartis in July, Google announced

that prototypes should be ready for testing as early as

next year. – D.D.A.


Cleaner, healthier and smarter hospital care

One of the biggest challenges faced by the medical industry is how to accommodate health care demands as the

population ages. In the U.S. alone, medical service needs are expected to increase by 25 per cent over the next decade.

This is one of the reality checks NXT Health, a non-profit organization that promotes design innovation in the industry,

wanted to address when it set out to build a hospital room of the future, dubbed Patient Room 2020. Now realized and

installed at the DuPont Corian Design Studio in New York, the holistic model suite brings together products by 40 leading

manufacturers invested in high-tech innovations, from the quiet-flow toilet by Grohe to Milliken’s anti-microbial fabrics.

The 37-square-metre, clutter-free space looks decidedly futuristic, with its all-white Corian walls and rounded corners,

but the goal was not to recreate Star Trek. Fewer corners mean less dirt and dust buildup and, in turn, less chance of

spreading hospital-acquired infections. The rubber floor, by Dalsouple, helps to absorb shock if a patient falls, and a halo

light box by Barrisol casts a soothing therapeutic glow above the bed. At night, grab bars are illuminated, courtesy of

Osram / Sylvania, to help patients move safely between the bed and the washroom.

Various accessories are concealed at the caregiver station, including washing indicator lights to let staff know that

their hands have been cleaned thoroughly, and built-in technology for tracking patient information. Patient Room 2020,

developed as a concept in 2009 and turned into a reality by NXT Health co-director David Ruthven four years later, is

giving architects a chance to experience first-hand a cohesive system rather than just parts. Until 2016, the room is

viewable by appointment at DuPont Corian Design Studio. nxthealth.org – C.O.

82 sept 2014 azuremagazine.com






Enjoy the grandeur and sophistication of yesterday

complemented by the modern sensibilities of

today. GROHE’s Grandera collection reconciles

opposite geometric shapes, circle and square, in

one harmonious look. The result is flowing feminine

forms with defined masculine edges. Thanks to Grohe

StarLight ® technology, the fittings retain their shine

and resilience while Grohe SilkMove ® technology

guarantees easy movement of the handle and precise

temperature control for years. Timeless, simple and

yet extravagant… relax and take it all in. GROHE.CA










The analog is making a comeback amidst our fast-paced lives.

Here are 10 options that put their best face forward

Compiled by Diane Chan ⁄ Photography by Natasha V.


A Brooklyn family, whose members all

teach or study at Columbia University’s

architecture school, formed Lee Lab

Studio where they have designed dozens

of wood or concrete clocks. $235,



For his second Leff Amsterdam clock,

Sebastian Herkner made a mantel piece

using recycled PET felt and bamboo.

Available in white, grey or black. $200,


84 sept 2014






3 AC 01

Jasper Morrison’s Braun-like version

of an aluminum alarm clock was created

for Punkt, where the British designer

acts as art director. Available in red, black,

white or silver. $185, punktgroup.com


The name of Ivanka Studio’s weighty clock

refers to its main material composition:

fibre reinforced concrete. In matte shades

of black, navy, taupe or cement. $55,



Designed by 11+ of Korea, this clock can

display 24 time zones simply by being rolled

left or right. It then settles back to local

time when still. In orange, blue or grey. $50,

elevenpl.us, leibal.com


This faceted concrete piece from

National Design Collective of Toronto

is only 10-millimetres thick, making it

deceivingly light. A neon Plexiglas backing

lends an illumination effect. $150,



Does Alan Wisniewski’s wooden wall piece

for Umbra look familiar? Probably. It was

inspired by the caged clocks that were once

a common feature in gymnasiums. $70,



Norm Architects’ latest wall clock for

the Danish company Menu is made

from synthetic grey felt with hands in

wood and aluminum. $90, menu.as


As with all of Oki Sato’s designs, this

piece follows his three-point mantra:

natural, simple, functional. Created

for BoConcept, Fusion playfully

replaces hands with scissors. $130,



Thanks to Kickstarter, Shay Carmon and

Ben Klinger of Studio Ve have launched

a series of five monotone clocks that

create abstract patterns as time moves

on. $80, studiove.com

sept 2014 85


the tide

A Southern California beach

house raises the bar with arched

cut-outs and vaulted ceilings

By Tim McKeough

Photography by Eric Staudemaier


86 sept 2014


Los Angeles firm

Johnston Marklee’s

sculptural splitlevel

house uses a


vaulted scheme to

maximize sunlight.


sept 2014 87

↑ An open plan allows for views

through the house, framed by

asymmetric arches.

↗ Vaulted ceilings define the rooms

and passageways. The master

bedroom sits atop the kitchen, with

sliding glass doors on either side.

↗↗ Accessed through an open-air

courtyard, the house is split over

two levels.

floor plan

1 Living room

2 Bathroom

3 Pantry

4 Kitchen ⁄ dining area

5 Courtyard entry

6 Multi-purpose room

7 Guest room

8 Master suite

9 Closet

10 Master ensuite

first floor




4 5











second floor

88 sept 2014 azuremagazine.com

eathtaking beauty with a familiar problem – this was the site condition

encountered by architecture firm Johnston Marklee when it conceived of a

beachfront home for a couple in Oxnard, California, a city about 90 kilometres

west of Los Angeles. “It’s a very long, narrow lot. They’re packed in like

sardines,” says Mark Lee, co-principal with Sharon Johnston.

With minimal beach frontage and neighbours on both sides, most houses

in the area place the living room facing the water and the master bedroom

directly above. That approach results in two spectacular rooms but deprives

the others of natural light. To bring views, light and air deeper into the home,

the architects organized the interior rooms as a series of interconnected,

vaulted spaces. “A vault is more directional than a plain rectangle,” says Lee.

“We start off with something familiar but use it in an unfamiliar way. Vaults

have a thousand years of history behind them.”

An open-air courtyard at the centre brings in additional light while

providing a grand entrance. “Because the lots are so narrow, many times you

have to enter quite unceremoniously, almost through an alley,” notes Lee.

Not so in this 335-square-metre house, where a swooping cutaway from the

roof and wall of the courtyard lets light pour onto a limestone floor that

seamlessly connects the indoor and outdoor spaces.

On one side of the courtyard, a gallery-like double-height living room

frames spectacular beach views that spill far inside, to a kitchen with a

large master suite above. Positioned to receive sun on two sides, the loft-like

bedroom overlooks both the living area and the courtyard. On the other

side of the courtyard, two guest rooms and a multi- purpose room sit above

a double garage.

Organically arched windows and cut-outs define the sculptural exterior,

which is clad in GrailCoat, a seamless, flexible concrete waterproofing

membrane. Developed for industrial roofing, the material gives the building

a monolithic appearance while reducing future maintenance concerns. The

front half of the house, facing the beach, is built on piles about two metres

off the sand, while the garage walls are designed to break away in the event

of a flood – features intended to ensure that the house remains standing,

even in a tsunami.

There is just one unintended side effect of having such an eye-catching

home facing a public beach. “The owners’ only complaint is that it draws a

lot of visitors,” says Lee. “They’ll wake up and walk out, and there will be

someone standing right in front of their house, looking in and commenting

on the art.” johnstonmarklee. com

sept 2014 89

Rem vision

For the 14th International Architecture Biennale in Venice,

curator Rem Koolhaas takes visitors through the past

century and asks: what have we learned from modernism?

By Catherine Osborne / Photography by Sergio Pirrone


The Arsenale is filled with over 40

installations that explore Italy’s rich

cultural history, including architecture,

film, music, theatre and dance. One

sprawling exhibit, which demands at

least a day to take in, begins with a

20-metre-wide archway illuminated by

Swarovski crystal lights. The festive

entry, a riff on Venetian architecture,

presents a dramatic contrast to the

Arsenale’s red-brick setting, from the

early part of the 12th century.

In 1914, Le Corbusier mapped out his plans for Maison Dom-ino, a three-level house intended for

mass production that offered Europe an affordable, relatively quick solution to the housing shortage

leading up to World War I. Although it remained a prototype, its stripped-down construction and open

floor plan became a symbol for a new beginning, and it laid out the principles of modernist ideals.

Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, curator of this year’s biennale – and universally recognized as one

of the most provocative thinkers of our times – chose to install a modern-day replica of the house on the

Giardini grounds, as a kind of totem to the overarching question that informs the biennale as a whole:

what have we learned from modernism? It is a perfect 100-year bracket for asking the question with the

benefit of hindsight. We are now fully entrenched in postmodernism, when architects have become

celebrities and buildings ornamental objects.

The answer to Koolhaas’s provocation is, of course, that we’ve learned a lot, and nothing at all. Is the

ubiquitous drop ceiling – which invisibly controls temperature, lighting and airflow with mind- boggling

precision – better than a beautiful domed ceiling painted by a leading artist of the day? One of the two

exhibitions Koolhaas has assembled is Elements of Architecture, and as the title suggests it is all about

architecture – not architects. The galleries are filled with materials that show the evolution of building.

One room is devoted to walls; another examines windows; another chronicles the history of the fireplace,

the evolution of corridors, the varying widths of stair risers, and so on. By breaking down the components

of buildings like distinct chapters in a book, Koolhaas gives us a chance to reflect on the past with a

powerful visual encyclopedia at our disposal. The next step is to think critically about what lies ahead.

90 sept 2014 azuremagazine.com

Elements of Architecture

At the entrance to Elements of Archi tecture,

one of two exhibitions Koolhaas envisioned

for the biennale, two types of ceiling

treatments are installed: an ornamental

dome painted in 1909, and a typical drop

ceiling found in buildings today. The two

treatments – one an expression of beauty,

the other purely rational – set the stage

for the rest of the exhibition, which showcases

how 15 building materials, including

windows, doors and cladding, have evolved

over the centuries.

Maison Dom-ino

This year marks the 100th birthday of

Maison Dom-ino, Le Corbusier’s answer

to the housing crisis leading up to World

War I. The open concept home was the

state of the art when it was conceived, and

while it was never put into mass production

it remains a symbol of modernist ideals

and principles. This 1:1 model replaces the

original’s concrete and steel construction

with more contemporary engineered timber,

and it ships flatpacked. After Venice, the

house will travel to other cities, including

London and Tokyo.

sept 2014 91

Canadian pavilion

Arctic Adaptations, by Toronto’s Lateral

Office, maps out Nunavut – Canada’s

youngest territory, created in 1999 – and

the 25 communities located within its

two-million-square-kilometre boundaries.

Extreme weather conditions, limited job

opportunities and a lack of resources,

including such basic services as schools,

have made Nunavut one of the harshest

places to live in the world.


92 sept 2014


Republic of Korea pavilion

Golden Lion winner for best pavilion, this

multi- faceted display curated by Mass

Studies mixes installations, art and poetry

with photographs and documentary films.

Each describes the social and built complexities

of the divided nations, including

the kinds of monumental structures that

are built, and the psyche and ideology

of the people. The plan was to have North

Korea participate, although, despite “love

letters” from the curators, a collaboration

proved impossible.


British pavilion

The theme of dystopia/utopia is at the core

of Britain’s contribution to the biennale,

curated by FAT Architecture and Crimson

Architectural Historians. The display begins

with a mound of dirt framed in fuchsia, a

sculpture that signifies the romanticized

notion of tearing down the past and building

anew. From there, rooms full of posters,

videos and pop culture paraphernalia –

including Cliff Richard albums and stills from

Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange –

focus on the 1960s and ’70s, one of the

country’s most dramatic periods of social

revolution and unrest.

sept 2014 93


French pavilion

In the centre of Modernity: Promise or

Menace? sits a miniature replica of Villa

Arpel, the über-minimalist house at the

heart of Jacques Tati’s Mon Oncle. The

classic parody, which won an Academy

Award in 1958, pokes fun at some of contemporary

design’s alienating aspects.

It is one of the displays that present

four French “misfits” of the modernist

era, including Jean Prouvé, engineer

Raymond Camus, and Drancy, a massive

public housing project outside Paris

that became a Nazi concentration camp

during World War II.

Israeli pavilion

One of the most provocative yet under -

stated exhibits is Urburb, named for a

neo logism that describes regions of Israel

located between urban centres and

sub urbs where various small, egalitarian

communities have formed. On the floor of

the pavilion, four 3‐D printers systematically

carve out in sand Israel’s topography

and borders, then smooth over the map

before replacing it with a new sketch.

The printers are programmed to build and

erase the geographic (and political) evolution,

year by year, over the past century.


94 sept 2014 azuremagazine.com


Elements of Architecture

In a dedicated room, one wall is filled with

various window frames gleaned from

heritage buildings across Britain, now part

of the Brooking National Collection. The

main space is dominated by machinery

used to polish and test the strength of

modern window fittings. The technology

has enabled windows to become curtain

walls, making sashes and sills a thing

of the past.



show report

new work order

tranquil spaces, fitnESS-inSPIred prODUCTS and furnITUre that

tranSCEnDS work and home rULED at nEOCOn by diane chan

with attendance up 20 per cent, navigating the crowded halls of the

Merchandise Mart was a challenge – as usual. However, at

NeoCon in June a sense of calm was palpable among the booths,

with a notable array of products to promote well-being. Fur ni ture

forms of a softer nature and pieces that blurred the line between

office and home left the impression of a growing interest in

enhanced work-life balance.

At Haworth, Patricia Urquiola cozied up with Giulio Cappellini

in Openest, her line of avian-inspired lounge pieces and movable

screens; while Keilhauer showed off squishy stools surrounding a

low table, both by EOOS, enticing visitors into an environment

that would equally suit a hip boardroom or living room.

Steelcase came out punching – and doing Pilates – with Quiet

Spaces, five concept rooms that included Studio, a stretching area

with mats, blankets and a lounger. Fitness influences were even

more direct at Humanscale, which showed a dimpled, inflated seat

called Ballo, by Aeron chair legend Don Chadwick, that takes

cues from the exercise ball. Made of thermoplastic elastomer, the

ergonomic stool is as eco-friendly as it is fun to balance on.

The real star, though, was Brooklyn’s Todd Bracher, who delivered

the opening keynote in addition to launching three products,

among them archipelago-like seat and table combinations for HBF

that give office dwellers a mental and visual respite.

1 sitting pretty

Yves Béhar returned to Herman Miller

to officially put his stylish modular

furniture line into production. Public Office

Landscape, defined by its low-backed

Social Chair, encourages desk-side confabs.

hermanmiller. com

2 chair hug

Allsteel called on Milan’s Studio Fifield

for Mimeo, a lightweight task seat that

features IntelliForm back technology. The

weight-activated tilt control is enhanced

by a breathable 3‐D knit, which gives the

feel of being embraced. allsteeloffice.com


3 good catch

The form and stitching of a baseball glove

inspired El Salvador duo Claudia and Harry

Washington’s cozy chair for Bernhardt

Design. Mitt comes in bold and neutral

shades of fabric or leather, with an optional

handle. bernhardtdesign. com

4 birds of a feather

Visitors flocked to Haworth’s showroom

to catch a glimpse of Patricia Urquiola as

she presented her bird-inspired Openest.

The collection of loungey pieces began as a

concept in 2013 and goes into manufacturing

later this year. haworth. com

96 Sept 2014 azuremagazine.com




7 low rider

Keilhauer‘s elevated floor cushion by

EOOS encourages casual meetings to stay

that way. Lo, in fabric or leather, promotes

healthy posture by keeping the hips higher

than the knees and restoring the spine’s

natural curvature. keilhauer. com

8 bicycle seat

British designer Michael Young, based in

Hong Kong, drew on his bicycle- building

experience for







14 singing our song

Davis Furniture presented Dick

Spieren burg and Karel Boonzaaijer’s

modular Side by Side line for Arco. It offers

various back heights and rounded seats,

as well as straight pieces for endless combinations.

davisfurniture. com

15 support group

Knoll’s Remix family, by New Zealand’s

Formway Design, consists of task, highback,

side and activity chairs fea tur ing

Flex Net Matrix, an elastomer moulded for

resiliency, which provides a flexible yet

supported back. knoll. com




11 walk the plank

Wood grain textures and subtly striated

solids define Shaw Contract Group’s

Grain + Pigment. The 72 per cent recycled

vinyl tiles come in seven-by-48-inch

planks, and tones from naturals to metallic

sheens. shawcontractgroup. com

12 keeping it light

Jeffrey Bernett and Nicholas Dodziuk –

who launched Teknion Studio in 2013,

catering to the open area and group workspace

trend – added six new products,

including the Lite Wall privacy screen, which

cleverly connects via magnets.

teknion. com

13 right angles

Todd Bracher returned to HBF this year for

the acoustic Triscape line of tables, benches

and pouffes – in oak, laminate, fabric or

leather – that can be arranged in multiple

con fig ur a tions. hbf.com

16 LONG LIVE McQueen

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s retrospective

of late fashion designer Alexander

McQueen inspired Knoll Textiles‘s Dorothy

Cosonas when she developed Arezzo, a

velvet upholstery that marries print and

artisanal techniques, so each pattern is

unique. knolltextiles. com

17 balancing act

Aeron chair co-creator Don Chadwick

responded to the awkwardness of perching

on a fitness ball with Ballo, an ergonomic

stool for Humanscale designed for shortterm

sitting. humanscale. com

18 trail mix

Pebbled paths, grassy fields and forest

floors inspired Interface for Human

Nature, which consists of narrow,

25-by-100‐centimetre planks of recycled

nylon, in neutrals accented by bolds.

interface. com



© 2014 Shaw, A Berkshire Hathaway Company



nyc desi



show report

come together

a collective spirit made new york's international contemporary furniture

fair and the off-site shows come alive by elizabeTH pagliacolo

strength in numbers. This past May, New York Design Week, which now goes by

the social media–friendly moniker NYCxDesign, experienced a growth spurt.

ICFF was brimming with about a hundred more exhibitors than last year, and

the events around town seemed plentiful and sprawling.

But the biggest sign that more equals merrier was the strong group shows.

At the fair, Philippe Malouin, Harry Allen, Toronto’s MSDS and others gathered

for a group portrait to celebrate their participation in Umbra’s inaugural Shift

collection of well-appointed housewares, including Malouin’s Hanger chair and

Allen’s Coiled stool. Offsite, in a huge space on 5th Avenue, Roll & Hill installed

a dazzling array of light fixtures, including a new piece by Bec Brittain that

evokes crystals forming on branches. Brittain was definitely having a moment:

her marble-embellished sconces and pendants, designed in collaboration with

Hilda Hellström, were the main event at Matter’s showroom event; so was

lighting, which emerged as the best way to express creative talent.

Taking the group dynamic to heart, Sight Unseen’s Offsite displayed an

explosion of colour and pattern by Print All Over Me, along with furniture and

accessories that recalled the heyday of Memphis, with vibrant papier mâché

vases and multimedia furnishings. Perhaps the show that mixed the best of

both worlds – playfulness and a sense of luxurious craft – was Yabu Pushelberg’s

Rational × Intuitive Thought. Except this was a solo show, where the duo’s

line, including the Blink collection of screens, cabinets and loveseats stamped

with icons of a hand, a winky eye and a circle, basked in the spotlight.

1 the ’80s are back

Print All Over Me, the online tool that lets

creatives make prints and apply them to

products, hosted a dizzying pop-up where

10 designers unleashed vibrant custom

patterns on clothing, furniture and lighting.

offsite. sightunseen. com

2 tokyo story

Bensen’s Tokyo chair takes its inspiration

from classic Japanese and Danish furniture

and further distills it, for an elegant form

achieved with traditional mortise-and-tenon

joinery, heightened by a shaped back of

solid wood. bensen. ca

3 rule, brittain

Matter debuted Bec Brittain’s collaboration

with Swedish designer Hilda Hellström,

who added gemlike surfaces and blocks of

marble and stone to her sconces, floor

lamps and pendants. mattermatters.com

4 political banner

WantedDesign’s Polish exhibit, curated

by Gosia and Tomek Rygalik, hung a

narrative tapestry by Jakub Jezierski that

depicts, among other things, an evil

snowman bursting through a bank, and

a Godzilla-like creature looming over a

church. wanteddesignnyc. com

100 sept 2014 azuremagazine.com

gn week




8 magic carpet

Inigo Elizalde always shows beautiful rugs,

but this year’s Glitch line weaves in some

extra poetry. Handmade in Nepal, in such

fibres as nettle, cactus and silky-soft

bamboo, the rugs were inspired by both

computer error messages and warm

sunsets. inigoelizalderugs. com


Syrette Lew, who runs Moving Mountains

studio in Brooklyn, won the ICFF jury award

for craftsmanship. The doors and drawer

fronts of her Confetti credenza are composed

of solid and veneered maple, with a

marquetry pattern of the festive stuff.

mvngmtns. com




5 light touch

Another vibrant ICFF talent, Rich Brilliant

Willing showed its grand Mori fixtures.

Inspired by the industrious silkworm, the

pendants are made with silken filaments

wrapped around two intersecting wire

hoops. The matte-lacquered shade, in many

forms and sizes, resembles a glowing

cocoon. richbrilliantwilling. com


For its 125th anniversary, Bernhardt

Design invited three designers to

re interpret its classics. Ross Lovegrove

did the walnut Anne chair (foreground);

Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance the Harper

rocker, in cherry and maple; and Jephson

Robb the Alex sofa. bernhardtdesign. com



For dining rooms or boardrooms, Council’s

Poise table, from a larger line that includes

wooden seating, comes in a version with a

central panel in Calacatta Oro and Carrara

marble. councildesign. com


nyc desi



12 rational and intuitive

Yabu Pushelberg threw the best party,

hands down. In a SoHo gallery space, DJs

spun, a food truck served tacos, and the

furniture on display literally winked. Blink

for Stellar Works features icons of eyes,

hands and circles set into screens and

commodes and stitched onto sofas.

stellarworks.com, yabupushelberg. com



13 animal instinct

At WantedDesign, Seletti served up Luca

Nichetto’s Inception dish trays, modelled

after Manhattan’s cluster of high-rises. At

ICFF, it herded together Sending Animals,

Marcantonio Raimondi Malerba’s line of

wooden cabinetry shaped like geese, pigs

and cows, with multiple dividers – just like

cuts of meat on a chart. seletti. it



10 natural progression

Swedish manufacturer David Design and

Toronto’s Patty Johnson added a new item

to the Haida collection: this flawless stool

in solid ash comes in three heights (45, 65

and 75 centimetres), in natural lacquer or

stained black. daviddesign. se

11 casting shadows

At the Intro/NY show in a loft-like warehouse,

Toronto’s Castor launched its Black

Metal line, inspired by the mockumentary

Spinal Tap. Their pure, unadorned pieces,

including the Conic Section lights with sleek

black chrome–plated cages, are nothing

to chuckle at. castordesign. ca

102 sept 2014

gn week


17 floor art

Nanimarquina’s New Zealand wool rugs

are hand knotted in India – a place close to

the heart of Nipa Doshi, of London’s Doshi

Levien. For the Rabari rug, the studio used

imagery of the mirror embellishments that

Rabari nomads stitch into their carpets.

nanimarquina. com

18 mass appeal

Umbra’s Shift line, which took an ICFF

jury prize for best accessories, features

Harry Allen’s Coiled stool, Hanger chairs by

Philippe Malouin (profiled on page 64), and

MSDS’s terracotta Planters, to name a few.

Bringing together international talents, the

collection signals the company’s move into

more sophisticated territory. umbra.com

19 hang it up

The exhibit of Norwegian design, curated

by Metropolis and now in its third edition,

featured Vera & Kyte’s Apparel wardrobe.

The room divider in cobalt-lacquered steel

gives you a place to hang your clothes

and fuss with your hair in the round mirror.


20 a matter of style

At ICFF, Matter was firing on all cylinders.

Besides his own switched-on light fixtures,

owner Jamie Gray debuted Jonathan

Zawada’s Affordances tables, assembled

from high-contrast marble slabs.




14 concrete poetry

Luca Galbusera’s Homage to the Artisan

recalls a woven textile but it’s actually made

of the new i.design Effix mortar developed

by Italcementi, which sponsored Alessi’s

Concrete in Design contest. Alessi Research

Lab displayed the handsome bowl, which

goes into production soon. alessi.com


15 table manners

Spain’s Jaime Hayon and Danish company

Fritz Hansen are enjoying a close collaboration

these days. After the well-received

Ro wingback, Hayon is back with Analog, a

laminate, oak or walnut veneer table whose

oblong top provides ample elbow room.

fritzhansen. com

16 fine dining

Finell, a new company out of Austin, laid

the table with glass trays, place settings

and vases. One of its new pieces, the silicone

Sod dish tray, evokes fresh grass atop a

stainless steel tray. finell. co


sept 2014 103

Design File

kitchens and appliances



Ultra-thin, geometric and movable

counters trend at Milan’s EuroCucina

biennale and beyond

by diane chan and giovanna dunmall




1 Sharp by Poliform/Varenna

This customizable kitchen by Daniel

Libeskind features his signature angular

and geometric style across a modular

system whose heart is the oversized white

Corian and steel kitchen island. The end

table comes in a penetrating deep black

(thanks to new Corian colour technology),

with a slanting leg that mimics the architectural

language of the collection’s

accompanying Web bookcase. poliform. it

2 Salinas by Boffi

Patricia Urquiola’s first kitchen system is

a characterful affair. The modular design

features warm, tactile materials: from

ceramic and lava stone, with geometric

patterns, in the work surfaces; to wood

and super-sustainable, FSC-certified

PaperStone; to copper, brass or zinc

finishes for the doors. A large stone sink

and a solid wood rounded peninsula table,

which slides back to create more workspace,

lend nostalgic touches. Urquiola

named the unit after the beach in Asturias,

Spain, where her grandfather had a

summer home. boffi. com

3 Invisible Kitchen by Toncelli

It was a double first for the Italian

manufacturer this year in Milan, which

showcased a new liquid metal varnish

and elements –such as the peninsula

and hanging wall units – made of carbon

fibre. The result was an ultra-streamlined,

architectural kitchen that almost seemed

to melt away from sight and touch. The

lack of handles and grooves only adds

to the seamless quality of this high-tech

system. toncelli. it

4 Arc by Avani

The company partnered with Dror

Benshetrit for this minimalist kitchen,

featuring a retractable Corian island that

slides away from the main unit to maximize

counter space. It consists of lacquered

doors and white oak cabinetry, with slideout

cooktop covers, concealed appliance

garages, a hideaway swivel table, integrated

LED strip lighting and handleless,

soft-close drawers. Available in 14 lacquer

and matte stains. avanikitchens. com,

ayakitchens. com

104 sept 2014 azuremagazine.com


5 Ola 25 by Snaidero

To mark their 25-year partnership, Italian

kitchen and automobile icons Snaidero and

Pininfarina have created a revisited limited

edition of their first kitchen collaboration.

Ola 25 is a glamorous contoured island

system with light-reflecting mineral lacquer

work and a smooth, curvilinear shape with

a sculptural carbon fibre support. It comes

in three different colour versions; the most

sensual has deep black and red glossy

finishes and a black glass work surface.

snaidero. com


6 Soul by Ernestomeda

After Icon, Giuseppe Bavuso designed

Soul, with a countertop that dramatically

cuts into the kitchen; a large, functional

old-school sink unit (reminiscent of an

outdoor wash basin at a country house);

such high-tech touches as abrasionresistant

ceramic coating on the surfaces;

and barely visible door handles with an

incorporated aeration filter that facilitates

air exchange. Extra features include the

LED-backlit shelving and Bulbo’s

hydroponic domestic greenhouse.

ernestomeda. com


sept 2014 105

Design File

kitchens and appliances



Whimsical, slick and vibrant touches

put these kitchens at centre stage




1 Minà by Minacciolo

Minacciolo has made a name for itself

as a maker of covetable, tactile shabby

chic kitchen systems and accessories.

This year was no exception, with a new

chandelier made of various-sized pots

and smaller versions of its Mammut black

extractor hood imbuing the kitchen

with grit and personality. This is the mini

wall-mounted version, alongside the latest

additions to the pleasingly industrial Minà

kitchen range: tall pantry units that also

house appliances; and a multi- functional

island for city apartments, in three colour

finishes. minacciolo. com

2 Lucrezia 22 by Cesar

Cesar’s most popular kitchen has

re ceived a makeover. The sleek, linear

Lucrezia 22 (the name derives from its

slim 22- millimetre doors) comes in oak,

lacquer or laminate finishes, or as glass or

ceramic panels applied to an ultralight

titanium-coated aluminum frame, new for

EuroCucina 2014. Shown here with supermatte

black laminate base unit doors and

ash- lacquered etched glass wall units,

the results are nothing short of stunning.

cesar. it

3 Artematica Vitrum by Valcucine

The ever-innovative, sustainabilityminded

Italian brand’s Artematica Vitrum

features a 100 per cent recyclable glass

and aluminum base unit that eliminates the

need for double side panels. New for this

year, inlaid Middle Eastern motifs in gold or

primary colours (or a pattern of the client’s

choosing) on glass panels. Valcucine focuses

on durability: the more you personalize

your kitchen with hand crafted elements,

the longer you’ll keep it. valcucine. com

4 Add Ons by Schiffini

Rather than launch a new system this

year, the Italian manufacturer introduced

a delectable series of vertical and suspended

shelves, glass-fronted cabinets

and tables that can be fitted easily into

any open concept kitchen. Designed by

Alfredo Häberli, in bright yellows, oranges,

reds and greens, they inject a strong dose

of colour and ample storage, and they

provide screening and privacy for an often

overexposed space. schiffini.com

106 sept 2014 azuremagazine.com





5 Italia by Arclinea

Purveyor of sleek, to-die-for kitchens

(and now bathrooms), Arclinea has created

new finishes for its 1988 Italia system,

by Antonio Citterio. Italia PVD comes with

white Carrara marble work surfaces,

stainless steel doors and bronze-finished

shelves, while Italia Armour (shown) offers

a dramatic super matte black laminate

obtained via a nanotechnology process.

The new retractable hood, made of tempered

glass, filters fumes and emits clean

air back into the room. arclinea. it

6 BeauxArts.02 by SieMatic

This slick kitchen system by Germany’s

SieMatic is defined by surfaces in gloss and

wood, accented with luminous stainless

steel, plus handle-free base cabinets and

tall glass-door cabinets. It can be combined

with the manufacturer’s FloatingSpaces

panel system, which seamlessly integrates

the kitchen into the living area. siematic. us

7 Play Kitchen by Febal

A system designed to be playful and

played with, this year’s winner of the Febal

Lab contest was developed by five young

interior and product design students from

around the globe. Aimed at dynamic

thirtysomethings (with small children) who

like their kitchen spaces warm, flexible and

colourful, the system eschews high-tech

materials and overt technology in favour of

blackboard finishes and perforated wooden

wall panels on which shelves, cabinets and

utensils can be arranged as the owner likes.

febalcasa. com

sept 2014 107

Design File

kitchens and appliances

come dine

with me

The trend of combining cooking,

eating and living remains stronger

than ever





1 Ki by Scavolini

Nendo chose Scavolini for its first kitchen

(and bathroom), and the results were

appealingly smooth, pure and organic –

if perhaps impractical for cleaning.

Ki features rounded Cristalplant storage

containers on open wooden shelves,

a similarly shaped sink and range, and a

countertop that extends into a dining

table. Nendo’s Oki Sato declared that he

wanted it to be visually restful and unlike

any other kitchen. scavolini. us

2 Convivio by Alpes-Inox

Designer Nico Moretto brings the art of

cooking and hosting to a single furniture

piece by inserting a built-in stainless steel

countertop, an induction range and a sink

at one end of a square wooden dining

table. Functional and social at the same

time, it contains cutlery and utensil drawers

and extra storage space underneath.


3 Cooking Table by Bulthaup

When pushed together, this clever piece

from Bulthaup appears to be a conventional

wooden table. Once the wings are

pulled out, the interior is revealed: a

concrete surface with cooktop where

preparation, cooking and dining happen in

one place. Meals can be whipped up and

kept warm, then placed within everyone’s

reach. bulthaup. com

4 Xtend+ by Leicht

No exhibitor at EuroCucina showcased the

trend for the merging of kitchens and living

areas more beautifully than Leicht. Its

improved Xtend+ wall-fitted storage system

has individually lit shelves that cry out

for artistic vases and objects; and remote

control slatted blinds that can be closed to

create a sleek surface, or left partly open

for dramatic effect. As an added feature,

the various functions can now be operated

from a smart phone. leicht.com

108 sept 2014 azuremagazine.com


Taking food further.

GE Café Refrigerator r

with hot water dispenser

Design File

kitchens and appliances

the new


Heating and venting components take

unconventional forms and materials





1 Ye by Elica

This organic piece from Italy’s Elica

features double extraction, thanks to two

chimneys in its Y-shaped hood. Made from

hypoallergenic, stone-like Cristalplant,

Ye also contains remote-controlled iGuzzini

LED spotlights for additional illumination

while cooking. elica. co. uk

2 Glass Canopy by GE Monogram

The tempered glass detail on this compact

36-inch stainless steel chimney hood makes

it a striking focal point from any angle.

Ideal for small spaces, it features a threespeed

ventilation system; four levels of

clean halogen lighting, from a subtle glow

to full brightness; and dishwasher-safe

stainless steel mesh filters. monogram. ca

3 Accolade by Jenn-Air

The manufacturer’s stainless steel

ventilation system with ambient LED

lighting powerfully and quietly clears the

air, then disappears into the countertop

while shutting off in the process. Each unit

is individually crafted and hand polished,

and contains dishwasher-safe aluminum

mesh filters. jennair.ca

4 Generation 6000 by Miele

This mix-and-match series of perfectly

aligned built-in appliances features a

user interface that mimics a smart phone.

It can be customized to include such

elements as the 30 x 30 Convection Oven

with MoisturePlus for increased humidity

(which equates to better cooking results);

a Nespresso coffee maker with OneTouch

for Two technology that enables two

specialty coffees to be prepared at once;

and a heated drawer for defrosting or

keeping food and dishware warm for up

to four hours. miele. ca

110 sept 2014 azuremagazine.com

Introducing The NEW


An authentic experience

Crowning glory

User-friendly operation

Sophistication and extravagance

Exquisite look

As soon as you see it, you realize that the IMPRESSA Z9 One Touch TFT is setting

new standards. And it is doing this on multiple levels thanks to its impressive

coffee quality, user-friendly operation and captivating design. Made from high

quality materials and to Swiss standards of precision, this elegant automatic

specialty coffee machine is the epitome of the strong and silent type. Once the

desired option has been selected on the high resolution TFT colour display, the

machine silently sets about preparing an espresso, coffee, latte macchiato,

cappuccino or other specialty. The cup illumination feature ensures that the

nal result is always presented in the best possible light.

115 Matheson Blvd. E | Mississauga, ON L4Z 1X8 | 1-855-544-8600 | www.juracanada.ca

Design File

kitchens and appliances


of cool

Sleek, high-tech refrigerators that

keep food and wine at their freshest





1 400 Series by Gaggenau

The interior of this fridge from Gaggenau

is made of stainless steel to keep produce

hygienic and neutralize odours; LEDs

provide bright lighting while generating

minimal heat. The appliance is also

equipped with no-frost technology; and

an integrated fresh cooling zone, at

approximately 0 degrees Celsius, which

keeps food fresh for twice as long as other

cooling systems. gaggenau. com

2 Chef Collection by Samsung

Tested and approved by Michelin Star

chefs, this line consists of a refrigerator,

a dishwasher and an oven. The French

door fridge is the largest in its class, at 34

cubic feet, and features three evaporators

for increased freshness; still or sparkling

water powered by Sodastream; a convertible

zone that turns one section into a

freezer within minutes; a stainless steel

marinating pan that can be placed right in

the oven and then the dishwasher; and an

Ice Master that produces up to three times

more ice than the average fridge.

samsung. ca

3 Side-by-Side by Thermador

This refrigeration system is fully

customizable, with such options as an

LED touch screen; incandescent lighting;

frameless glass shelving, to maximize

capacity while enhancing visibility of

stored items; a FlexTemp drawer that sets

the ideal storage temperatures for fresh

meat, poultry and seafood, ensuring that

they are ready for preparation; and an

auto-shut-off mode to comply with religious

holiday observances. thermador. ca

4 Wine Cabinet by Liebherr

Two separate compartments, ranging from

five to 20 degrees Celsius, enable the UWT

1682 Vinidor 24-inch cabinet to store up

to 34 bottles of red and white according to

users’ temperature preferences. Energyefficient

LED lighting is controlled through

a dimming function, with a permanent “on”

mode to lend atmosphere without warming

the wine. In addition, an activated charcoal

filter and an insulated UV-coated glass

door provide ideal storage conditions.

liebherr-appliances. com

112 sept 2014 azuremagazine.com

Material World



Modern products for the health care industry

promote cleanliness and safety while creating

a calm environment for patients

BY Paige MaGarrEy


Bloor west

dental group

The very look of a typical dental office, with the standard stark palette and

harsh lighting, might be enough to make you vow to brush and floss more

often – especially when set against a backdrop of flower shops, bars and

bakeries on a bustling urban street. However, for the Bloor West Dental Group

in Toronto, architect Bruce Stratton, of G. Bruce Stratton Architects and the

local interiors firm Southside Design, endeavoured to design an aesthetic

more in line with the surroundings than at odds with them.

While the airy treatment rooms display an uncommon warmth – owing

to the wood-look Arteca floors and the uncluttered equipment stands that

delineate space without boxing in patients – the real departure is in the

reception area. The usual pristine health care colour scheme is replaced with

a warm limestone facade and tempered glass windows that connect the

interior with the outside, easing the transition into a place so many dread.

Porcelain tile floors and a custom walnut desk are key elements in the calming

palette. Above the desk, a matching feature runs narrow ribs of the same

wood along the ceiling and over the windows. Light yellow and red stripes of

colour, tucked between the beams, are only revealed when a patient looks up

from a waiting room chair. “The back-lit acrylic strips were added to draw

positive energy from the street and disperse it into the space,” explains Stratton.

As well as conveying a more relaxed impression, the windows pull light back

into the offices and treatment rooms. The one-storey building accommodates

a skylight that brings in even more sun. This complements the subtle recessed

lighting from Sistemalux, used along the trim and in long strips, along with

inset spotlights throughout. “The whole design was about creating a tranquil,

comfortable environment,” says Stratton. “What would put me at ease if I walked

into the space?”

Solid Surfacing and


By design, non-porous solid surfacing is a go-to for

patient rooms and laboratories. The latest innovations

combine anti-bacterial properties with curated palettes.

Arborite has introduced four new lines of high-pressure

laminates: Nuno, Safari, Twill, and Modern Cherry, which

includes four wood grain motifs. Blonde, Mocha, Auburn

and Arabica are each infused with a spectrum of soothing

grey tones, ideal for potentially stressful medical

environments. arborite. com

EOS Surfaces has joined forces with Cupron to produce a

hygienic, non-porous seamless material that looks just

like traditional solid surfacing, but contains copper-infused

polymers, whose natural anti-bacterial properties keep

microbes at bay. cupron. eos‐surfaces. com

Formica just launched the Envision system, which enables

designers to apply custom images, such as children’s art

or murals, onto laminates. Ideal for counters, cabinets and

furniture in pediatric wards and patient rooms, it can be

paired with Chemtop 2 chemical- resistant surfacing, which

inhibits bacterial growth and is easy to clean. formica. com

Futrus collaborated with DuPont Corian to develop a

line of over-bed tables, bedside cabinets, shelves and IV

stands – as well as award-winning head wall systems –

designed to address the cleaning and anti- bacterial

requirements of health care environments. Available in

more than 100 colours, the non-toxic collection is easy

to maintain and Greenguard certified. futrus. com

Hi-Macs Made in the U.S., the new Healthcare

Commercial Collection of solid surfacing includes 15

colours selected by Barbara Huelat, former president of

the American Academy of Healthcare Interior Designers.

With such colours as Serenity blue, Balance brown and

Awaken speckled white, the line creates a tranquil space

for patients and practitioners alike. lghimacsusa. com

photo by stéphane groleau

114 sept 2014 azuremagazine.com

Paints, Sprays and


These products help to make hospital rooms calm and

inviting, while cleaning the air and interior surfaces.

← Carnegie In addition to launching a bio-based version

of its anti-bacterial Xorel polyethylene textile last year,

the company has further expanded the collection with

the Details line of highly textured weaves, in six styles for

panels, walls and headboards. carnegiefabrics. com

Enduratex’s latest iteration of the Independence vinyl

fabric collection debuted earlier this year, offering 74 colour

options. Treated with anti-microbial agents, the line comes

standard with the California company’s proprietary Forbid

anti-stain topcoat. enduratex.com

Pureti’s photo-catalytic surface treatment forms a nanothin,

invisible mineral film on windows and light fixtures

that, when activated by natural or artificial light, breaks

down organic matter, removes VOCs and eliminates odours.

The New York manufacturer just introduced a glass cleaner

that leaves behind enough of the film to transform existing

surfaces into air scrubbers. pureti.com

Sherwin Williams’ new Harmony interior acrylic latex paint

reduces airborne VOCs and concentrations of formaldehyde

from insulation, carpet, furniture and fabrics by up to

45 per cent and breaks down any surrounding odours. It is

anti-bacterial, resists mould and mildew and stands up to

repeated washing. sherwin‐williams. com

Ultrafabrics The Ultraleather Viva collection of polyurethane

fabrics, for upholstery applications in doctors’

offices, waiting areas, patient rooms and cafeterias, offers

anti-microbial protection as well as Greenguard certification.

Durable, resistant to moisture and stains, and neutral

in temperature (even after prolonged sitting), it comes

in a wide selection of colourways, including bold hues and

subtle greys. ultrafabricsllc. com

Flooring and Ceilings

Seamless, hygienic and easy to clean, these products

are non-toxic and customizable to modern interiors.

Certainteed Rx Sym phony ceiling panels come in gypsum,

fibreglass and mineral fibre–based versions. The low-VOC

products dampen noise, stand up to constant cleaning

and even repel stains; they’re made with up to 72 per cent

recycled content. certainteed. com

Forbo’s Step vinyl flooring adds safety to a variety of

settings, including wet rooms, thanks to its non-slip

Step Crystals, made of recycled materials. Available in

three safety levels and a range of styles, from textured

to wood grains, the material is 100 per cent recyclable.

forbo‐ flooring. com

→ Interface’s new Reclaim line of carpet tiles – which

measure 25 centimetres by one metre, with a pattern like

wood grain – is treated with Intersept, the company’s

proprietary non-toxic sealant, to protect against odours,

stains, bacteria and fungal growth. interface. com

Mannington Commercial offers Seam+Advantage

transitions on all of its flooring. It chemically welds the

pieces together, eliminating hard-to-clean gaps and

avoiding bumps for gurneys and wheelchairs. The feature

is ideal when paired with such products as the BioSpec

MD line of colourful sheet flooring, which is treated with a

bacterial inhibitor and a highly durable urethane wear

layer. mannington. com

Shaw has launched Grain + Pigment, a humidity-resistant

vinyl plank flooring that incorporates anti- microbial

properties into the wear layer and adds a built-in silencing

layer. Offered with a locking system that enables simple

installation without adhesives, it comes in wood grain

textures as well as 22 striated metallics and colours.

shawcontractgroup. com

New Materials and


These brands supply hygienic building materials without

the sterile aesthetics often associated with health care


A*STAR Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology

Last year, the Singapore research institute developed a

coating for medical equipment that infiltrates and ruptures

microbial cells. Similar products tend to allow dead microorganisms

to remain on the surface, but this recipe of

polyethylene glycol and polycarbonate allows cells to be

washed away easily. ibn. a‐star. edu. sg

Mincey Marble As well as adhering to waste-free manufacturing

processes for its marble panel systems, showers,

vanities and made-to-order accessories, the American

company’s products incorporate Agion, a mineral-based

additive that interacts with positive ions (like sodium and

other elements in the air) to slowly release anti -microbial

agents, such as silver, copper and other ions, onto surfaces

as needed. minceymarble. com

← Olin Brass’s CuVerro alloy employs copper’s natural

anti-bacterial properties for hardware, furniture and even

building materials that work continuously to kill 99.9 per

cent of bacteria within two hours. While some options

incorporate the metal’s distinct warm colour, products can

be specified in more traditional aesthetics. cuverro. com

Ondine Biomedical of Vancouver has co-funded a

Uni ver sity College London team to develop a patented

self-sterilizing coating, for application on handles and

equipment. The material combines crystal violet and

methylene blue dyes with gold nano- particles that produce

bactericidal oxygen radicals. As with other anti-microbial

coatings, it is activated by light, but with the added benefit

that it continues to work for hours in the dark. ucl. ac. uk,

ondinebio. com

sept 2014 115

media Shelf

kowloon walled city

Website by the Wall Street Journal


“Kowloon Walled City is well known for three things,” says former resident Paul

Tang Kam-cheung in a clip on this interactive website. “Opium houses, brothels and

dentists.” The last refers to Chinese-trained refugees unlicensed to work in the former

crown colony, yet operating surrep titiously alongside machinists, noodle pullers and

seamstresses in this teetering, rat-infested vertical city on the fringes of Hong Kong.

The complex was not walled, mind you – the ramparts around the former military

fort, which slipped through the cracks of tenuous Sino-British diplomacy, came down

after World War II – but it might as well have been. The original footprint prevailed as

squatters added a dozen storeys to their ramshackle huts in the booming 1970s, creating

the most densely populated place on earth. At its peak, 33,000 people occupied

this largely ungoverned tenement town, which was razed by the government in 1994.

With the impact of a feature-length documentary, the Wall Street Journal website

gives this unimaginable slice of 20th‐century Hong Kong a palpable presence. By

embedding footage from historians and interviews with former residents (themselves

unwitting historians), the producers have built their own virtual city. So dark – both

literally and allegorically – is the portrayal that even Belgian martial artist Jean-Claude

Van Damme emerges as a hero: a clip from his 1988 film Bloodsport, filmed on site,

offers one of the finest surviving reels of the mythic interior.

There are other redeeming characters. Click on the animated blueprint, and you’ll

meet the boy who played on the roof as jets swooshed precariously close on their

descent into Kai Tak airport, along with the mailman who was electrified by live wires

dangling near metal mailboxes. Lose yourself on a virtual tour, plotted by an academic

who navigated the labyrinthine corridors in the early ’90s, past chess players, and

even factory workers making candy.

A 17-minute film found on the credits page ties it all together, with archival photography

and anecdotes from statesmen for whom Kowloon Walled City posed a political

threat. It’s a captivating glimpse of an era from which we still have much to learn.

By ellen Himmelfarb

Ellen Himmelfarb is a design and travel writer in London.

The Outsiders

Book edited by Jeffrey Bowman,

Sven Ehmann and Robert Klanten

Gestalten (hardcover, 272 pages)

“We are all born explorers,” claims Norway’s

Erling Kagge – the first person to reach

both the North and South Poles and summit

Mount Everest – in the preface of this

beautiful tribute to the culture surrounding

the great outdoors. He stresses the importance

of preparation, and the pages that

follow present a bevy of stylish gear across

the categories of hiking, surfing, cycling,

on the road, snow and water, illuminated by

Kilian Schönberger’s stunning photography.

The modern yet nostalgic products

range from the Hobo Knife (a multi-tool, by

Canada’s Sitka, containing a fork, a spoon,

a knife and a bottle opener), to such luxury

items as an ultralight, waterproof carbon

fibre pack that doubles as a body board,

from Germany’s Áetem. Featuring candid

interviews with the leaders of expedition

brands such as Patagonia and Poler,

The Outsiders will leave you wanting to be

more than just an spectator of this modern

nomadic movement. by Diane Chan

Building as Ornament

Book by Michiel Van Raaij

nai010 (softcover, 240 pages)

The “Bilbao effect” still ripples through

the architecture world. Gehry’s masterful

form for the Guggenheim Museum, which

wowed the world when it opened in 1997,

gave enormous momentum to the concept

of a building becoming an ornament for

a city – or even a country. Since then,

the proliferation of starchitecture has

only increased. According to Dutch writer

Michiel van Raaij, though, theoretical

discussion of these instant icons has not

been quite as rich, and even less dialogue

has taken place about how architects

have moved away from traditional rules

and latched on to a new free-form style.

Big ideas like these could easily slip into

dense academia, but van Raaij’s writing is

more inquisitive and playful than dry, and

the 10 interviews he conducted with Ben

van Berkel of UNStudio, Steven Holl, Bjarke

Ingels, and Winy Maas of MVRDV, among

others, are published in their raw form. This

small volume is a great start to a conversation

about many things, including whether

buildings designed to wow will have lasting

power. by Catherine Osborne

book photos BY taYlor kristan

116 sept 2014 azuremagazine.com

out now!

Fall 2014

Top picks from

Luca Nichetto

Industrial designer

“When artists collaborate, it’s

really good – much better than

working alone. When two designers

collaborate, it’s just like two

musicians writing a song together.”

Listening Right now, I’m into ’80s

music, and I like to listen to Grace

Jones. She wasn’t just a singer.

She collaborated with Jean Paul

Gaultier. For me, that’s amazing.

Downloading I use WhatsApp.

A lot. When I’m working, for

example, if I’ve made a sketch I can

take a picture and send it to the

guys in the studio, and vice versa.

Featuring incredible interiors,

top design talents and stylish

furniture finds from all of the

city’s hottest ‘hoods

Reading I like Scritto di notte

(Adelphi), which means “written at

night,” by Ettore Sottsass – a kind

of autobiography. It’s not about

architecture or design; it’s about

being curious about life.

as told to Eric Mutrie

Design is One

Film by Kathy Brew and Roberto Guerra

designisonefilm.com (80 minutes)

This feature-length documentary paints

a rosy picture of Massimo and Lella

Vignelli, who enjoyed huge success

designing everything from graphics for

the New York subway system to iconic

branding and products for clients like

American Airlines and Heller. While

peppered with an impressive roster of

such interviewees as Milton Glaser,

Sheila Hicks and Michael Bierut, the

story primarily unfolds through the pair’s

casual interactions, captured in commentary-free

moments of humour or

quiet contemplation – an insider’s view

into their process and personal life that is

both refreshing and humbling. From the

couple’s arrival in America in the 1960s,

with Helvetica literally in hand, the film

moves to Massimo’s 80th birthday party

in 2011, and culminates with his eloquent

words on design and immortality, made

all the more poignant by his death this

past May. By Catherine Sweeney

Take a peek inside a modern

home with a curious pitched

roof and tour Toronto’s newest

shops and showrooms

Photos: Top, Naomi

Finlay. Bottom,

Ben Rahn/A-Frame

Pick up your copy on

newsstands or in design

stores, restaurants and

galleries across the city

Get inspired at


sept 2014 117


and the winners are…

Seven finalists have been chosen from among 36

nominees for the inaugural Mies Crown Hall Americas

Prize. The firms include Smiljan Radic, for the Mestizo

Restaurant; Steven Holl Architects, for the Nelson

Atkins Museum of Art; OMA, for the Seattle Central

Library; and Herzog & de Meuron for 1111 Lincoln Road,

a mixed-use project in Miami Beach. The MCHAP.

emerge award, honouring up-and-comers, went to Pezo

von Ellrichshausen, for Poli House. Wiel Arets, dean

of the College of Architecture at the Illinois Institute of

Technology, launched the award in February at the

Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal. All the

details are at arch. iit. edu.

The ADI Compasso d’Oro Award celebrated its 60th

birth day in May with a triumphant return to Milan.

Twenty winners representing the best in Italian design

will now become part of the awards’ historical

collection. These include Counterbalance, Daniel

Rybakken’s far-reaching light for Luceplan; Spun,

Thomas Heatherwick’s playful chair for Magis; and IN‐EI

Issey Miyake from Artemide, for which the designer

used fabric made from recycled materials. Eleven

career achievement awards went to such big names as

Richard Sapper, Giorgio Armani and Ales sandro

Mendini. Ninety honourable mentions were also

acknowledged. More info is at adi‐design. org.

Herman Miller Healthcare and Georgia Tech received

the Academy of Architecture for Health Foundation’s

2014 research grant. The funds will go toward devel op ing

the research proposal Design ing Team Spaces to

Support Collaboration and Communication in Patient

Centered Medical Homes.

In June, the American Society of Landscape Architects

selected its 2014 Honors recipients. Seven prac ti tion ers

were lauded for their work, including Oehme van

Sweden of Washington, D.C., and Andrea Cochran of

San Francisco. In the same month, ASLA ele vat ed 32

members to the ASLA Council of Fellows for 2014. The

official presentations will take place during the ASLA

Annual Meeting and Expo in Denver, from November 21

to 24. For a full list, visit asla. org.

The fourth BSI Swiss Architectural Award has gone to

José María Sánchez García; the biennial award

promotes architects under the age of 50. The jury,

chaired by Mario Botta, voted unanimously for the

Spanish architect, after studying such projects as his

rowing centre in Alange, and the restoration of the

archaeological site around the Temple of Diana in Mérida.

Botta says, “His works are both well measured and

powerful, devoid of formal complacency.”

The American Institute of Architects’ Chicago will

present John Vinci with a lifetime achievement award

this October. The 77-year-old local architect has been in

practice since 1960, beginning his career with Skidmore,

Owings & Merrill and going on to head Vinci / Hamp

Architects. Known for his respect for history, Vinci has

been integral in the preservation of several classic

Chicago buildings. The city’s top projects and firms for

the year will also be recognized during Designight this

fall, at Navy Pier.

Zaha Hadid’s Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, Azerbaijan,

was announced as the 2014 Design Museum Design’s of

the Year Award winner. The London institution selected

winners in seven categories, and in June Hadid was

named the overall winner. Characterized by the architect’s

signature curvaceous lines, the venue is the first

architectural project to win the prize, which previously

went to BarberOsgerby, for the London 2012 Olympic

torch, and Plumen’s low-energy light bulb.

On July 7, a crowd of over 1,000 gathered at the Aalto

Theater in Essen, Germany, for the Red Dot Gala.

From a record-setting 4,815 entries, 72 products were

deemed Red Dot: Best of the Best, the competition’s

highest honour. Among these are Carlo Colombo’s

striped Accademia Pop Limited Edition Bathtub, for

Teuco Guzzini; SpareOne’s AA-powered emergency

mobile phone; and Vosla’s classically shaped vosLED

light bulb. An additional 1,120 works were recognized

for outstanding product design, and 123 honourable

mentions received further accolades. The presentation

was followed by Designers’ Night, at the Red Dot

Design Museum, where the celebrations continued until

dawn. An online exhibition of winners is at red-dot.de.

Green Goods

The U.S. Green Building Council has identified

Canada as the number one country for LEED outside

of the United States. These findings are published in the

organization’s report LEED in Motion: Canada, which

outlines the country’s 1,633 LEED-certified projects,

totalling 22.3 million gross square metres. Illustrating

the ever-growing movement toward sustainable building

practices, the report is available online at usgbc.org.

Movers and shakers

Brooke Hodge has joined the Cooper Hewitt,

Smith son ian Design Museum as deputy director. The

curator, writer and critic arrives from Los Ange les’s

Hammer Museum, where she was director of exhibition

management and publications since 2010. She begins

her tenure amid some big changes, with the institution’s

Carnegie Mansion set to reopen at the end of the year,

after a major expansion and renovation.

Architecture for Humanity has named Eric Cesal

as its new executive director. He joined the non-profit

in 2006, volunteering on a post–Hurricane Katrina

reconstruction program in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Asheshh Saheba has accepted a position as principal

with international design firm Steinberg’s San Francisco

office. He brings to the firm 20 years’ experience,

having begun his career with the Renzo Piano Building

Workshop in Genoa, Italy, and working most recently as

design director at Handel Architects.

With so many impressive architectural assets, Chicago

has long been considered a significant design hub.

This status gets a boost with the news that next year

the city, in partnership with the Graham Foundation,

will introduce the Chicago Architecture Biennial. The

event “will showcase the city’s widely respected architectural

heritage and deliver a rich cultural experience

to our neighbourhoods,” says Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Large-scale exhibitions will be installed during the

inter national forum, which will address the social, economic,

technological, environmental and aesthetic

concerns of our time. With plans to run from October 1,

2015 through January 3, 2016, the hope is that the

event will occur every other year, opposite the Venice

Architecture Biennale, which is held in even years.

coming in azure:

October 2014





what’s hot

for 2015:

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carpets and rugs

that punch up a room

the latest in paints

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beautiful decorative


118 sept 2014 azuremagazine.com


OCTOBER 2 8 – 3 0

Boston Convention & Exhibition Center

Find your connection

ABX hosts 400 exhibitors, 175 workshops and tours, as well as

a myriad of social gatherings. 10,000 of your fellow design

professionals and aficionados await.

Register at abexpo.com by October 14 for FREE admission

to the exhibit hall and early bird perks.

Produced by the Boston Society of Architects


advertiser index

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Architecture Boston Expo 119




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(416) 203-9674 x238


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120 sept 2014 azuremagazine.com

The Largest

Sustainable Building Event in the U.S.

Maximize your


Greenbuild is the most costeffective

way to view highperformance

products featuring

750 exhibitors, 23,000 attendees,

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Discover innovation applications

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New features include a net-zeroelectricity

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pavilion, new education sessions,

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Design your own curriculum with

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Listen Up

Views of an urban soundscape

The most interesting cities have a strong genius

loci, the particular sense of place that emerges over

time from the interplay between a specific locale

and its inhabitants. Part of a city’s uniqueness

derives from the intricacies of its everyday sounds

and noises, attributes often left unexamined.

British artist Dominic Wilcox’s Binaudios installation

in the Sage Gateshead concert hall – Norman

Foster’s shimmering glass cocoon perched on the

bank of NewcastleGateshead’s River Tyne – creates

an opportunity to tune in to this.

What at first appears to be a cartoonist’s take

on oversized tourist binoculars is more akin to

a double Victorian ear trumpet for the hard of

hearing, enlarged to scoop up the sounds of the

city. The user swivels the horns across the urban

panorama, pointing at St. James’ Park to catch

the thunderous roar of Newcastle United F.C. fans

rolling down from the huge Leazes End stands;

or angles toward the Town Moor for a decidedly

gentler soundtrack of grazing cattle. Binaudios

also hears through time, recovering, for example,

the now-silenced clamour of shipbuilding on the

river, allowing the visitor to experience the entire

town and the music of its daily life and history

from a single vantage point.

In today’s digital world, which drowns out

ambient noise with iPods and Bluetooth headsets,

Wilcox’s installation links us to a perspective

many will have forgotten. He’s no technophobe,

though. This project is a collaboration with

technologist James Rutherford, who employed a

simple motherboard device, poetically named

Raspberry Pi, to present NewcastleGateshead’s

textured soundscape of urban living.

Rhys Phillips is an Ottawa architecture writer

who believes a project’s success is rooted in how

it responds to a sense of place.

PHOTO Courtesy of dominicwilcox.com

122 sept 2014 azuremagazine.com

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