The St. Thomas / Ninth project is composed of 12 starter homes occupying an existing warehouse and vacant parcel. OJT designed the complex in order to make the best possible use of the industrial edge site. Embracing the warehouse language became a springboard for the firm’s formal exploration of the remainder of the site. Because OJT worked with abnormally large lot minimums for single-family structures, the firm mandated a tactic that leveraged the density allowed under multifamily development regulations, but organized the site as a single-family assemblage. Each home touches down minimally in order to free the ground plane to become a courtyard. The residual spaces between buildings are reclaimed as front porches, giving each dwelling a sense of entry and ownership. Meanwhile, pitched roofs accent the industrial character of the neighborhood.
Posts tagged with "Best of Design Awards 2018":
Located on a mountain three hours outside of Mexico City, the Terreno House addresses two contradictory conditions: seclusion and aperture. Designed by Fernanda Canales, the project’s thick brickwork facade provides protection against the extreme weather of the area, where temperatures often fluctuate 50 degrees on a given day. The home is laid out around four courtyards. Built in different shapes and sizes, each opens up to the project’s surroundings. These voids help frame key aspects of the dramatic landscape. The first, curved patio acts as a transitional space between the exterior and interior, while the second, central patio shifts the program from public to private spaces. A third patio leads to a rooftop terrace, and a fourth provides ventilation and sun to the service area. Each courtyard works to create a different atmosphere and frames the surrounding landscape. While Terreno House’s exterior is clad in brick and its curvilinear roof in green clay tiles, its interior features softer surfaces. A long corridor connects six bedrooms before reaching a shared open-plan living and dining room. In this space, wood and concrete are used to articulate different elements: built-in book cases, a wall-integrated fireplace, and an arched concrete ceiling. The contrast of warm wood and gray concrete carries through in the choice of furniture and upholstery.
By converting an uninhabitable attic into a unified and light-filled volume, Mork Ulnes Architects gave new life to a 1907 Victorian flat. The formerly compartmentalized house was transformed into an expansive home centered on collective living. To host a growing family, the gabled attic level was lightly divided into bedrooms, thanks to a series of partial-height walls. A double-height stair atrium cuts into the center of the building, linking the newly habitable attic to the levels below. The attic’s wood framework is a graphic echo of the original roofline within the expanded building shell. This framework language carries throughout the project in casework details, windows, guardrails, and the kitchen.
As part of the redevelopment of hospitality spaces in New York’s iconic Seagram Building, L’Observatoire International conceived of a lighting concept for the celebrated Peter Marino–designed Lobster Club restaurant. Marino’s design relinks the Seagram space with its Pop Art heritage. Collaborating with developer Aby Rosen and Major Food Group, L’Observatoire introduced a bold design concept for both levels of the venue that complements this colorful scheme. Upstairs, lighting fixtures were introduced as provocative punctuations, echoing the space’s contemporary take on midcentury modern graphic opulence. Downstairs, a sequenced program—based on daylight cycles—was implemented to counteract the lack of natural light.
Spectra was a seven-story temporary installation designed by NEWSUBSTANCE and mounted at the 2018 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Visitors were able to walk up a spiral ramp to view the fairgrounds from different heights and through a full spectrum of colored windows. During the day, the 31 Perspex panels reflected and refracted sunlight. At dusk, an LED cove light scheme gently fluctuated through different color temperatures. As night fell, roof-mounted spotlights extended the tower’s profile into the sky. Spectra was one of six site-specific installations commissioned for this year’s festival. Responding to the surrounding Colorado Desert, the cylindrical project explored the relationship between light and landscape.
JL: Good design is always about the interaction between an object and the environment it occupies—the people it interfaces with. There are ways that we can talk about social and ecological issues through form and aesthetics. Is the product masculine or feminine? How long does that piece last versus how long will that piece seem appealing? However, I wouldn’t say that what’s coming out now is a direct visual or formal reflection of everything that’s going on in the world. What designers are now taking into closer consideration is how they source material, what companies and vendors they decide to collaborate with, and how they run their businesses. Sometimes, it’s simply a question of being active and not apathetic toward the things that are changing in the world around them. That awareness seeps into everything they do.
AN: How do these changes in the way talents work affect trends?
JL: The talents that are leading the way are now pushing themselves to create timeless pieces. This is a reaction to Instagram culture, the latest and flashiest designs that often look the same, go viral, and get all the attention—but only for a fleeting moment. I love trends and believe they become popular for valid reasons, mainly because they are approachable at the given time. Right now, monolithic forms and earthen jewel tones are all the rage, but next year we could be talking about much more delicate shapes and a different color palette. Trends get pushed to their threshold and spark antitrends that then take over. The designers that show at Colony are using material, but in an aesthetic and formal language that can last much longer.
AN: Do the collectible and art design markets create economic conditions that give independent designers the time and space necessary to develop these types of designs?
JL: I don’t see the collectible design market as something that has a great impact on the wider design industry. It’s aspirational and only targeted to the 1 percent of people who are able to afford a luxury item that isn’t necessarily functional, and perhaps it’s more reflective of artistic expression. What truly pushes designers to innovate is a different kind of high-end market that is educated in the quality of craftsmanship and the value of good design. Emerging designers are finding a comfortable place in the market. The upper middle class, interior designers, and the hospitality industry are starting to appreciate the quality of this output. In turn, there is a demand for beautiful, functional, and well-crafted work that doesn’t have to sit on a shelf to be acknowledged.
AN: You mentioned that interior designers are important clients. This is especially true in New York City, where a strong surge in real estate is keeping the industry busy. How are independent designers faring in other parts of the country?
JL: This summer, Colony and Design Milk launched an initiative called Coast to Coast to help dispel the misconception that the only design market in the United States is New York. I think that this city is an amazing commercial and creative center for design. I also think that the sentiment that people never have to leave because all the best talents come or sell here is too insular and no longer accurate. We visited Detroit, Nashville, New Orleans, and Santa Fe to get a better understanding of how the independent design movement has expanded. Many local or transplanted talents are becoming a force for good in their communities, helping to change the market and creative landscape. I’m now planning to orient Colony with a broader focus and to incorporate design from different parts of the country.
AN: The independent design or maker’s movement has been going strong for the past 15 years or so. Is there a potential for autonomous talents to collaborate with larger manufacturers and the contract market?
JL: It would be a challenge. A lot of independent talents have altogether discounted the possibility of collaborating with big companies. The gap between these two areas of design is wider than ever. Unlike in Europe, major manufacturers and design brands in the United States don’t have the time to dig in and find talents who aren’t on a top 10 list. They’re always going to go with the star designers they’ve worked with before. This reality forces and facilitates independent design companies to grow, out of necessity. However, large companies definitely look to young and emerging talents as a resource, even if they don’t give credit where credit is due. As independent practices become a stronger commercial force, this will happen even more. The good news is that consumers are also seeing the value of well-made furniture and product design, even if it has to be sold at a higher price point.