Defining design – Biophilia

Friday, June 30th, 2017

Originally brought about by 20th century biologists, Edward O. Wilson in the 60’s, Biophilia is a theory that focuses on human’s innate attraction to nature. It is also one of the most powerful influences on sustainable design and modern architecture. Biophilic design affiliates nature with physical dwellings, blending man-made boundaries and focusing on those aspects of nature that are pivotal to health, fitness, and well-being. It goes beyond plants and greenery and into a scientific proof that the presence of nature and aspects of the natural world contribute to higher productivity, faster healing and better learning as well as a more thriving human habitat.

Biophilic design translates into a variety of elements that are used by architects, designers, and engineers. Frank Lloyd Wright, was famous for biophilic design, an example of which is the Fallingwater house that is situated next to a waterfall and is actually integrated into its surroundings.

Fallingwater house by Frank Lloyd Wright

Fallingwater house by Frank Lloyd Wright

Another advocate of biophilic design is Toyo Ito, a Japanese architect that designs for Horm among others and is famous for his Ripples collection. Featuring a bench, dining table and stools, Ripple collection integrates five different solid woods into a seamless surface, carved and hand-finished to produce a rippling effect of water.

Ripples collection by Toyo Ito for Horm

Ripples collection by Toyo Ito for Horm

Ripples bench by Toyo Ito for Horm

Ripples bench by Toyo Ito for Horm

Boutique Hotels, what’s the hype?

Friday, April 14th, 2017

Originated in the 1980s as an alternative to the entirely standardized and familiar hospitality industry, a boutique hotel concept intended to deliver a unique and highly luxurious experience.  In contrast to the desired familiarity that defined the international hotel scene of the 1950s, with the introduction of boutique hotels, guests’ unique travel experiences started when they checked into their boutique hotel.  So what exactly make the boutique hotel so appealing and revolutionary for over three decades?

The largest defining element that separates boutique hotels from any other travel accommodations is the exclusive interior design that often dictates the hotel’s unique guest experience.  With the highest sophistication and the extraordinary ability to connect sensorial associations to interior design elements, boutique hotel’s authenticity changed the way people travel for work and leisure.

Boutique hotel concept also had a large influence on the growth of modern design within the residential space with travelers finding inspiration during their stay and recreating it in their homes.  Chic, individually curated properties like the Sanderson Hotel in London that was conceived by Ian Schrager and designed by Philippe Starck or the Mondrian Hotel in Miami that was designed by Marcel Wanders, transport its guests to fantasy-style spaces depicting elements from Sleeping Beauty’s castle and Alice’s journey to Wonderland, and subsequently creating unforgettable hotel stays full of lasting memories.

Sanderson Hotel in London, United Kingdom designed by Philippe Starck

Sanderson Hotel in London, United Kingdom designed by Philippe Starck

Sanderson Hotel in London conceived by Ian Schrager and designed by Philippe Starck

Sanderson Hotel in London conceived by Ian Schrager and designed by Philippe Starck

Mondrian South Beach by Marcel Wanders

Mondrian South Beach by Marcel Wanders

Mondrian Hotel in Miami designed by Marcel Wanders

Mondrian Hotel in Miami designed by Marcel Wanders

How architecture inspires design

Sunday, August 7th, 2016

Design’s ever-strong bond with architecture is central in personifying these inspirations in a creative and functional manner.  Architecture thus lends itself to applied concepts around the design world in the form of furniture, art and fashion.

Profound influence comes from major religious buildings that were constructed for the admiration of the masses and for the eternal emotional connection that people experience with these structures.  Example of this emulation can be seen in the architectural elements of St. Basil’s Cathedral on Red Square in Moscow and likewise found in the Venetian glass legs of the Jewel dining table by Costantini Pietro.

St. Basil's Cathedral on Red Square, Moscow

Royal palaces of the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque movements are known to showcase lavish splendor and offer visual magnificence that easily stirs creative and sensory emotions.  Not unexpectedly, Van Cleef & Arpels famous quatrefoil (four leaves) motif necklace finds inspiration from a traditional Christian symbol found in many infamous structures among which is the Dodge Palace in Venice.

Dodge Palace in Venice

Abstract structures of the 21st century like Santiago Calatrava’s L’Oceanogràfic in Valencia influence modern design in fundamental depth with many similarities that can be drawn between such revolutionary architecture and innovative modern design.  Tonin Casa’s Gaya dining table features a palpable base with underlying structure that draws inspiration from the likes of Calatrava’s fluid elements, integrating the tangibility of architecture into people’s daily lifestyles.

City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, Spain

Revolutionary architecture of early 20th century, known today as the Bauhaus movement spearheaded by Walter Gropius was full geometrical intensity, formed by linearity and pragmatic regard for function.  The Fagus Factory designed by Walter Gropius and Adolf Meyer was one such radical structure that was constructed in 1913 and later served to inspire Pablo Picaso’s Three Musician Painting that depicted classic cubist style with evident parallels original modern architecture.

Fagus Factory by Walter Gropius and Adolf Meyer

Coca-Cola, a sign of good taste

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

Indeed, Coca-Cola’s recently designed British and Canadian headquarters are spot-on representations of Coke’s 1957 slogan that originally tied the megabrand to superior taste.

Coca-Cola Canadian headquarters

Coca-Cola headquarters in Canada

Coca-Cola Canadian headquarters

Coca-Cola headquarters in Canada

From the exterior of Coca-Cola offices in Toronto, the building features wavy glass that symbolizes the brand’s iconic Coca-Cola wave, while the interior design is styled to create an audacious yet bubbly space that features wall- sized graphics and art installations from the Coke’s archives, spot-lighting both current and historic campaigns. Read More

Inside Yelp’s headquarters

Monday, July 27th, 2015

Yelp’s city guide and directory headquarters in San Francisco can be called a small (self-contained) neighborhood, spread across multiple floors.  Mostly without partitions and doorways, Yelp’s open layout spaces suggest of an industrial interior style complemented by exposed brick walls, concrete ceilings, reclaimed doors and mid-century inspired modern furniture. Quirky common areas like “semi-private pods for chess or chatting”, coffee bar, The Library and The Tool Shed are styled to epitomize their names whilst offering curious meeting spaces.

Yelp open layout spces in San Francisco

Yelp headquarters in San Francisco

Yelp interiors in San Francisco

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