Posts tagged with "Interior Design":

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MoMA recreates a dozen interiors for “How Should We Live? Propositions for the Modern Interior”

How Should We Live? Propositions for the Modern Interior will recreate a dozen full-scale interior spaces dating from the 1920s to the 1950s and feature over 200 objects. Each interior will focus on the design elements within its specific setting, as well as its connection to external factors and attitudes—aesthetic, social, technological, and political.

Divided into three chronological groupings—the late 1920s to the early 1930s, the late 1930s to the mid-1940s, and the late 1940s into the 1950s—the scenes will also explore several designers’ own living spaces, and frequently overlooked areas in the field of design, such as textile furnishings, wallpapers, kitchens, temporary exhibitions, and promotional displays. Works by major women architect-designers, many created in partnerships, also will be highlighted. Featured collaborators include Lilly Reich and Mies van der Rohe; Florence Knoll and Herbert Matter; and Charlotte Perriand and Le Corbusier. Among the interiors on display will be the 1927 Velvet-Silk Café, designed by Reich for a women’s fashion exhibition in Berlin, with tubular steel furniture by Van der Rohe; 1929 furniture and exhibition designs by Perriand, Le Corbusier, and Pierre Jeanneret; the 1948 Knoll furniture showroom in Manhattan, designed by Knoll and Matter; and a 1959 study bedroom for the Maison du Brésil at the Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris by Perriand, Le Corbusier, and Lúcio Costa.

How Should We Live? Propositions for the Modern Interior Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd Street, New York Through April 23

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AN interviews “the design world’s number one power broker” (and you may never have heard of him)

Éminence grise Michele Caniato is the president of Material ConneXion and is responsible for many colossal decisions in the design industry. With locations all over the world, Material ConneXion maintains the world’s largest subscription-based materials library. The Architect’s Newspaper sat down with Caniato to discuss the behind-the-scenes operations of his career and the industry at large.

The Architect’s Newspaper: You have been called “the design world’s number one power broker” for negotiating a deal between Philippe Starck and Target to create consumer products. How did a native Milanese end up in New York promoting good design?

Michele Caniato: I came to New York because of George Beylerian. I studied architecture and design in Milan, and I wanted to learn about more design and the English language (which I’m still learning). My uncle Giulio Castelli, founder of Kartell, introduced me to George—I still remember when he [George] gave me The New York Times and said, “Good luck finding an apartment.” George is and was a mentor: I came to work for him for six months and the six months turned into 25 years.

Sitting in his townhouse on 77th Street, we had the brilliant idea to start Material ConneXion as the material resource library and Culture + Commerce as the design brokering agency; our first client was Philippe Starck.

Twenty-five years ago, design in the United States was only really associated with high fashion like Ferrari, you know, with fashion, jewelry, or luxury cars. My mission with George was to bring design to the everyday person. We were the first ones to bring a designer to Target, and, as you know, Philippe started to design 52 products for important discount stores like Target.

We have several clients in the architecture industry including major architects, but we have seen that, especially for construction materials, innovation is very difficult and it often takes a long time because of the coding issues and approvals in order for safety or for fire coding.

What different design-related businesses are you involved with at the moment?

In 2011, we sold our businesses to Adam Sandow, who is now the CEO. The past four years have been an incredible journey in which Adam and I took the company to the next level. We have over 20 locations for Material ConneXion and over 20 designers that we represent. Our dream is to try to bring as much innovation as possible for materials and processes in industries like architecture or aeronautics.

For those who don’t know about Material ConneXion, can you explain how it works?

Anyone can join our library as a member, and most of our clients work in the design world in some capacity. Members enjoy use of our extensive online database, access to our New York flagship library and six locations around the world, access to material specialists at the library, the option to subscribe to our quarterly box of innovation, ActiveMATTER, and work on longer-term projects with our consulting division, ThinkLAB.

Who besides architects are members of the library?

Our library includes members from across all industries of design. We work with corporations like Nike, Coach, Google, Tesla Motors, and others to provide material solutions. We also work with universities to build bespoke libraries and offer the largest materials research database in the world for students in architecture, engineering, fashion, and other design fields. We also work a lot in the aeronautic industry. Our goal is to bring new textiles and new processes to them, especially for the interiors of airplanes.

How do products enter into the library?

Products are entered into the library through an internal jury process. Our material experts research and collect material samples, then meet once a month to judge the best and most innovative materials. On a quarterly basis, we hold an external jury where we invite experts from design-related industries to help us choose the 15–20 best materials of the quarter to be included in our ActiveMATTER box of innovation.

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This Spanish office is an architectural fun house that challenges normal spatial perception

The HUB flat in Madrid, designed by Josemaria Churtichaga and Cayetana de la Quadra-Salcedo of Madrid- and Miami-based ch+qs, is a fun house of architectural design as well as an homage to 1970s American artist Gordon Matta-Clark, who studied architecture at Cornell and was famous for taking slices out of abandoned buildings.

Churtichaga also teaches architecture at the University of Miami. He designed the HUB flat in 2013 as an upstairs addition to his design for The Hub, a ground-floor incubator, which occupies a former garage, where young entrepreneurs can brainstorm about start-ups.

The HUB flat is a mere 1,100 square feet but contains a living room, three bedrooms, a bathroom, and a kitchen, all transformed through Churtichaga’s remarkable cutouts. A long cone-shaped negative volume slices diagonally through the entire apartment, while huge circles cut through walls, creating mind-bending, unexpected vistas. The circles are in the walls connecting the living room and a bedroom, as well as in between two other bedrooms. The cone and circles, Churtichaga said, “have the power to be recognized by very few elements.”

“I took the original structure and space and took out material. By taking out material, you can transform with a very, very, very, extremely low budget,” Churtichaga added, describing his concept as “a design through unbuilding, demolishing.” His entire budget: A tiny $33,880. (The furniture is from IKEA.)

The playful ambiance continues with various wall coverings, including a vintage 1950s turquoise-blue wallpaper with a geometric design, and special black paint that acts as a blackboard surface for drawing and writing.

Entering the flat, Churtichaga explained, alters the visitor’s perception. “We are playing with you; we are challenging you. You don’t know exactly if you’re seeing a mirror, how big the rooms are.” The concept, he said, is the architectural equivalent of the disruptive perceptions sought by The HUB’s young entrepreneurs. “If you want to generate new business ideas, you also have to behave disruptively.”

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Pop, supergraphics, and eclecticism: The L.A. cool of Design, Bitches

Catherine Johnson and Rebecca Rudolph, cofounders of the multidisciplinary firm Design, Bitches, recently moved their four-person office from Rudolph’s home to a not-yet-gentrified nook of L.A.’s Glassell Park. Aside from a homey corner store, their mid-block storefront is the only other obviously inhabited shop in the area. But even that distinction is nebulous: With its street number missing, the studio is discernible only by an old sign a previous occupant left behind that reads “Architecture.” Make your way through a metal gate and vestibule, and you’ll find yourself transported into the well-lit, spartan factory Design, Bitches uses as its headquarters.

The genesis of Johnson and Rudolph’s firm is a well-worn story: During the depths of the Great Recession, the American Institute of Architects L.A. chapter put out a call asking, “Architecture is: Fill In The Blank.” The duo’s response, “It’s design, bitches!” became the clarion call that launched a namesake practice. Both were working at Barbara Bestor’s office at the time and had experience with high-profile commercial projects—Johnson worked on Intelligentsia Coffee’s Sunset Junction location, while Rudolph labored on the interiors for Beats By Dre’s Culver City headquarters. The duo joined forces and put together a mostly fictitious portfolio for the AIA competition, ultimately winning an honorable mention award for their provocations.

Since then, Design, Bitches has not only become a real firm with real projects, but one that has gone on to help articulate the polyamorous eclecticism that now defines the hipster, slow food, and green juice scenes of popular L.A. culture. That’s because the Southern California Institute of Architecture–educated principals have a keen and self-described interest in pop. They are as likely to evoke Venice’s Dogtown days by using Mexican poncho fabric to wrap banquettes as they are to riff on Frank Gehry’s exposed stick construction by turning the horizontal fire-stops between studs into shelves for epiphytes and succulents. They rain down supergraphics upon diners hunched over grain bowls and have used indoor planters and palm fronds to divide a wine bar from a yoga space.

Design, Bitches works across the fields of architecture, interior design, and graphic design, merging those related traditions with pop culture and brand identity. The result is a trademark approach that is notable for its intellectual flexibility, constant reinterpretation, and total-work-of-art-ness. Because it mines history and references heavily and freely, one can’t really say, “That’s a Design, Bitches project,” per se, but look through your most in-the-know L.A. friend’s Instagram, and it’s more than likely Johnson and Rudolph’s work will come up sooner or later.

Touting itself as an “eco-vegan-mind-body-one-stop-shop,” the Springs brings together a mix of programs—wine and juice bar, restaurant, yoga studio, and wellness center—inside a structural steel-and-concrete-block hangar in L.A.’s Arts District. Concrete-block planters and a breezeblock screen split the industrial-scale volume. The spaces between these dividers are populated with objects painted in a sun-bleached spectrum, running from bright yellow to key lime to turquoise. These colors are applied to space-specific furniture: wood benches and chairs in the dining areas; couches, bowl chairs, and yoga mats in the wellness areas; as well as an assortment of rugs and pillows throughout.

The Oinkster Hollywood The Oinkster is a picnic-inspired roadside burger and pastrami stand in Hollywood. Design, Bitches uses an open, porous plan and facade to make the dining room seem more like a covered patio. The seating is a nod to picnic benches, and VCT tiles are laid out in various gingham patterns along the floor, drop ceiling, and the wall framing the kitchen pass. A long, street-facing patio area is topped by a white cloth awning, while supergraphics depicting the restaurant’s name and logo—a reclining, sunglasses-wearing cheeseburger—wrap the parapet above.

Button Mash Button Mash is a unique restaurant barcade located in one of the ubiquitous strip malls along Sunset Boulevard. The architecture nods to pop culture, bright colors, and screaming patterns just as much as the games themselves do. The entry area’s walls and ceilings are covered entirely in a cartoony, black and white wallpaper depicting scenes of surfboard-toting beach babes, dudes and sea monsters playing arcades, random medusa heads, and a rat screaming on an old school brick cellphone. The interiors resemble an unfinished Southern California garage smashed together with a Midwestern basement with board and batten wood paneling, polished concrete floors, built-in seating, and a mish-mash of ceiling types. Picnic tables and diner and barstool seating areas fill out the space between arcade games.

The Springs Touting itself as an “eco-vegan-mind-body-one-stop-shop,” the Springs brings together a mix of programs—wine and juice bar, restaurant, yoga studio, and wellness center—inside a structural steel-and-concrete-block hangar in L.A.’s Arts District. Concrete-block planters and a breezeblock screen split the industrial-scale volume. The spaces between these dividers are populated with objects painted in a sun-bleached spectrum, running from bright yellow to key lime to turquoise. These colors are applied to space-specific furniture: wood benches and chairs in the dining areas; couches, bowl chairs, and yoga mats in the wellness areas; as well as an assortment of rugs and pillows throughout.

Nong Là At Nong Là’s La Brea Avenue location, the second branch of the popular, family-run Vietnamese restaurant, Design, Bitches uses plants and wood—hanging pothos plants and philodendron-printed wallpaper, and exposed two-by-fours—to evoke the banal domesticity of L.A.’s single-family homes. In one area, the leisure shirt–inspired wallpaper turns from wall to drop ceiling, terminating in the middle of the dining room to reveal exposed ceiling joists as well as a trio of HVAC grilles. Navy-blue cloth banquettes, button-studded and hanging on golden hoops from pegs embedded in the wall, follow the space’s perimeter, while a mix of built-in settees and colonial and midcentury chairs fill out the dining room’s tabled seating areas.

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AN interviews interior design international rising star Rafael de Cárdenas

Rafael de Cárdenas founded Architecture at Large in 2006 and he has steadily taken the world of interiors by storm ever since. With his studio’s residential and commercial projects, he has built a body of work that deftly injects a jolt of born-and-bred New Yorker pop-culture sensibility into a market that is so often more workaday. He was recognized by MAISON&OBJET as Designer of the Year in January 2016. AN sat down with him to discuss the world of interiors past and present.

The Architect’s Newspaper: Moving in scale from your furniture to art galleries, interiors, and even ground-up buildings, do you feel like your work is all one continuous project? Or are there certain aspects in which you take pleasure in each that don’t exist in the other scales of projects?

Rafael de Cárdenas: I always move from small to big; I always think that way. Even in terms of doing ground-up work, I think of how the space feels and what space does to people. It happens to a lesser degree at the scale of doing a building, but I suppose that does other things.

A spatial experience versus an imagistic experience? Do you normally work from the inside, out?

Yes, it’s like an anthill. I’m figuring out, or scripting, how we might operate inside, and then the form emerges from that. Of course there’s always other constraints too.

You have a diverse client list, ranging from Nike to Baccarat to Delfina Delettrez. Do those projects bring the same kind of pleasure, or is it more like flexing different muscles?

I don’t know how this happened; it’s not like I have some desire to be.… Well, I like architecture a lot, but I’m not interested in the discourse of academic architecture.

I vividly remember a well-known architect, who shall not be named, say that “architecture is the history of ideas.” I remember being like, “You’re just saying that because you haven’t convinced anyone to build anything, and the few things you have built suck, and it’s not emblematic of what you say.” I have a problem with heroism—the heroic architect—because I’m not a genius, and I’m not trying to save the world, but I build almost every single project that I design. It’s important that even things that are not built, we’ve been paid for!

It’s the culture of production—you have to make things. What if an artist only had the history of ideas? If you make only one thing, it better be amazing. Like Kafka. You know, Kafka didn’t publish a lot.

So if architecture puts relatively few physical things out there in the world, and those few things need to be prodigious, what would an analogous format be for smaller-scale projects? As in shorter, more self-contained works that are more frequent but still convey a definite atmosphere? Would it be more like poetry?

Kafka was a ghost, and ghosted things are very romantic and beautiful. James Dean is so romantic and beautiful because we didn’t have him for very long. I would say that my approach, because I’m so obsessed with music, is in many respects like making songs—and some of them are not great! Some of them are B-sides. But sometimes I’ll look back at the B-sides five years later, and I’ll think, “That was really cool; let’s revisit that.”

Everyone’s different, and there are people who build on one project forever, and those successful examples are rarely stylistic. Like I.M. Pei for example, you could argue he had a style, but I.M. Pei also did something else with space and form, he just often used similar forms. Or Rem [Koolhaas], for example, I feel like it’s the same project over and over again—and I love it, it just keeps getting better and better. But the reason I don’t work like that—the single project, that is, I do think I’m getting better—is I’m an architect, and I didn’t necessarily set out to be an interior designer. I resist the term a little bit, and the only reason is because I do think that I claim this for architecture, I just happen to do things in a way that I can do them faster, with smaller budgets, and convince people to build them. That happens to be New York interiors, but the vantage point is architecture. I’m very satisfied by what I’ve been able to do, especially since it was never a passion – I didn’t set out to work in this business. I don’t love interiors. I shouldn’t say that… I love space, I love atmosphere, and it’s a combination of a million things, and I arrived here in a very circuitous way. I’ve never worked for an interior designer, so I had no idea how it was done.

So I wouldn’t say poems, because I don’t necessarily look to poetry for inspiration, but I look at music. I look at things that work really fast. Poetry is quiet and works slowly. Music and fashion by nature work on a more compact schedule: They’re fingerprinting the moment right now. When you hear music from a time, it signifies that moment. I think poetry and literature fingerprint a moment less effectively, or at least it’s less specific. It’s more an era than a moment. You can look at a skirt and you can tell almost to the year [when it was made], and music works similarly. I love that; I think that’s cool.

Do you collect any design pieces?

I do. I just sold a ton of stuff recently. I started buying a lot of Memphis stuff, a few things were my family’s from when I grew up, but I sold a lot of the Memphis stuff. I hate the constant thing where people say, “Oh, so you love Memphis.” That’s such a basic thing to say, in the K-Hole [the trend forecasting group] sense.

Because it’s too self-evident?

It’s just a dumb thing to say. For example, Frame did a story a few years ago. It was the color issue, and some publication had called me the King of Color. But everything has a color! Beige is a color! I have a few projects that are multicolored.

But in general your projects are pretty restrained in terms of color palette.

Even black and white, almost everything is black and white. It’s just such a funny thing.

So Memphis is the too easy comparison, but there are other references, like Bruce Goff, Frank Lloyd Wright, I even read some Buckminster Fuller formal tropes… I love Bruce Goff. To be honest I’m actually not so familiar with Buckminster Fuller, except that we had to make a geodesic dome in summer camp—that was the first time I’d ever heard of Buckminster Fuller.

Where would you go out in New York in the 1980s and ’90s?

The first time I went out, I was 13, and I went to the Saint with a friend’s older brother, and it was just like, “Wow.” Then the next time I went out, I was around 15, and I went to this bar in the chapel of Limelight called Shampoo, around 1989 or ’90. That was club-kid at its peak, house music. NASA [Nocturnal Audio Sensory Awakening] opened around ’92, but it was pretty classic house. I remember being like “Wow, I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Have those experiences and those interiors influenced your work today?

Yeah, totally. I want to do that. I want to be that.

What about those environments do you try to integrate into your projects or the way you work?

There are interesting things with form that equate human emotion, and that is a sort of confusion. Confusion can be a very evocative thing: It can be titillating, and form and pattern can do that. That sort of envelopment and immersion is important.

Last question: your favorite Instagram accounts? For any reason—stalking, research, pure time wasting… Well, they’re all time wasting… But I love Matt Connors’ Instagram, @cattmonnors. I love Paloma Powers, partly because she has such a finely honed aesthetic. It is finely honed, and I really like her and I think that within the grand scheme, she is pretty awesome. I like Louis Rambert, he’s a friend who is a window dresser at the Bon Marche in Paris. I really like Stefan Beckman. I love RuPaul—not necessarily her Instagram account, but I think she deserves more, I think she’s kind of a genius.
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Jeanne Gang’s Vista tower in Chicago unveils interior design plans

Since Jeanne Gang's supertall Vista tower first appeared in 2014, numerous design alterations have taken place. However, the project has maintained its original form: a series of simple stacked volumes inspired by a frustum—a naturally-occurring crystal formation that resembles a pyramid with its top cut off. As the $950 million project develops, luxury interior renderings have been released showcasing some of the spectacular views the Chicago tower will have to offer. The skyscraper is staggered into three volumes that will reach 46, 70 and 95 stories, the tallest rising to 1,140 feet. As a result, the Vista tower is set to be the city’s third tallest building in the Lakeshore East neighborhood. California-based interiors firm Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA) are behind the project's 406 luxury condos, none of which come cheap. A two-story penthouse apartment is may set clients back up to $17.1 million. The project is due to break ground later this year, with completion set for 2020. The mixed-use project will include retail and a hotel. Chicago developers, Magellan have already set up an inquiries page on the tower's website, where 360 degree window views can be found. https://vimeo.com/139190710
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Marimekko for The Masses! Finnish design house debuts collection for Target

Daydreaming of the sun shining down on your cold, pale skin? In Helsinki (where Marimekko is based), the sunshine lasts until nearly midnight in the summer months, inspiring a cheerful uplifting palette of punchy prints that are bound to brighten up any interior year-round. The timeless brand has been creating original prints since 1951. Now, a collaboration with Target will bring the colorful designs to the masses. The collection will feature more than 200 pieces that span outdoor décor, furniture, entertaining essentials, and apparel. It will be available in stores starting April 17.
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Sleek renderings show what it’s like to live in Zaha Hadid’s luxurious 520 West 28th Street in New York

Renowned architect Zaha Hadid has unveiled interior renderings of her futuristic, 11-story residential development located at 520 West 28th Street in New York's Chelsea neighborhood, which, believe it or not, is her first residential building in the Big Apple. The curvaceous tower stands 135 feet tall and features two- to five-bedroom floor plans that range from a price tag of $4.95 million to $50 million. The tower will be outfitted with a 2,500-square-foot sculpture deck, art from Friends of the High Line, an automated underground parking lot with a robot-operated storage facility, a double-height lobby, an entertainment lounge, and a 12-seat IMAX screening room. The development will also include a 75-foot pool, a gym, and a luxury spa suite equipped with a spa pool, cold plunge pool, waterfall shower, sauna, steam room, chaise lounges, and massage beds.   The unit’s bathrooms will be comprised of electrochromic glass with a frosting feature, and the kitchens will include high-end appliances by Gaggenau. The new complex is slated to open in late 2016 or early 2017. Based on the complex's website, it looks like developers are looking to "casually" add Hadid's name to the building title. Perhaps, following the lead of New York By Gehry? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.  
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Chicago’s Harrington College of Design to close its doors, merge with Columbia College

Chicago's Harrington College of Design on Wednesday abruptly announced it will merge with Columbia College. Jim McCoy, Harrington's vice president of operations, told AN the school will no longer accept new students, but won't shut the door on its existing student body. “Everyone that's enrolled in Harrington, we will teach them out,” said McCoy. Students in the downtown college's associate, graduate, and bachelor programs will continue to take Harrington classes through August 2018—even students who took a semester off can finish their degrees, McCoy said. “We do not want to lock them out.” After the summer term, at which point Harrington will vacate its leased space in Chicago's Loop, students will attend class in facilities owned by Columbia College. Students who complete their degrees within about a year can request a diploma from Harrington, McCoy said, but bachelors finishing their degrees after that time will earn credentials from their new alma mater, Columbia College. McCoy said declining enrollment had put pressure on Harrington's administration to make the move now or face the possibility of shutting students out in a few years while they were still part-way through their academic programs. “It just became obvious,” McCoy said, “to get back to where it was financially stable would have taken years, and we felt this was in the best interest of the students.” Over the last five years McCoy estimated Harrington's enrollment has declined by 30–40 percent. He credits increasing competition, including from online programs, for the drop. But also to blame may be the college's select program offerings. For 84 years Harrington has offered highly specialized programs in graphic design, interior design, and photography. “Those are great fields. They will continue to be great fields,” said McCoy. But they could not sustain business at Harrington. Crain's Chicago Business contextualized the financial situation of Harrington's owner, the suburban Schaumburg-based, for-profit company Career Education:
Like many private education companies, Career Education has struggled with declining enrollment over the past few years and has been losing money. The company's 2014 revenue fell to $736.9 million from $834.1 million in the year prior, and its loss widened to $178.2 million from $164.3 million in 2013.
Nationally enrollment has declined at for-profit universities, as well. “We're saddened,” said McCoy. “We are. We are happy to have been able to partner with Columbia College, and the underlying thing is we're not closing the door on our students.”
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Product> Facing the Wall: 6 Wild Wallcoverings

Wallcoverings have come a long way since the days of fuzzy, flocked papers in garish colors. Today, the erstwhile decorative product offers added value in the form of LEED credits, antimicrobial coatings, and even light-transmitting properties. Read on to see what's on our radar. Featherlight Flavor Paper Designed by Karen Hsu of Omnivore and Keryn Dizon, this pattern has a 27 ½-inch repeat; 27-inch-wide rolls are 15 feet long. The delicate photographic image comes in four standard colorways, with custom colors available; on clay-coat paper or silver mylar. Trace Trove Trace/Trove This tranquil scene—a silhouetted forest landscape, reflected in still “waters”—seems equal part photographic and hand-painted. The repeat width is 67 inches; the vertical repeat is 144 inches. In five colorways. Overlay/Underlay Wolf-Gordon Designed by Kevin Walz, this collection of wallcoverings was developed by scanning the reverse side of a swatch of painted linen and then overlapping that image with a scan of the front of the canvas. Printed with translucent inks, the patterns recall silkscreens or block prints. Henrik Large Designtex This striking, Scandinavian-inspired pattern is a kaleidoscope of bright, bold hues, and uses saturated color and crisp lines to create a sophisticated, contemporary, and playful design. Printed on a DNA substrate, this wallcovering’s strong vertical and diagonal lines produce a dynamic pattern, while from a distance the crisp edges blend into an overall design that recalls an ikat weave. ColourTec Glow Architects Paper Available in March 2015, this paper is a paintable, phosphorescent wallcovering. Activated by either natural or artificial light, the paper can be used for decorative or way-finding applications, such as signaling emergency egress routes. Spyro Carnegie Part of the Xorel Final Touch Collection, Spyro features an embroidered pattern that conjures a modern, geometric lace. Despite its delicate appearance, it is water-based solvent and bleach cleanable. PVC-free and Cradle-to-Cradle Silver certified, it is available in five colorways.
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Bring underground mood to your interior

  Ceramiche Refin S.p.A. pulls from the raw, urban street conditions around us to define their 'District' collection - a series of porcelain tiles that translates the textured and crude surfaces that we see outside, for appreciation indoors. Porcelain tiles with finishes reminiscent of asphalt (Road) that combine with the metallic-style vintage materials typical of old-style shops (Garage), as well as distressed woods inspired by velodrome surfaces and the small brickwork found on indoor walls (Track). Collectively, ‘District’ is an expression of urban lifestyle that is evident in the busiest of the world’s metropolis’s — from london to new york — taking on the rugged, industrial and underground mood that is projected in these places, and refining them for enhancing your desired space. The result is a complex porcelain tiles collection ideal for bringing a wealth of personal touches to residential settings, or for tiling commercial settings throughout in order to create up-to-the-minute atmospheres with a dynamic personality. More info: http://www.refin.us/series/district/
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Somewhere Over the Rainbow: The Pantone Hotel opens in Brussels

Winter months in the Benelux countries are not known for blue skies and bright sun. So perhaps there's an altruistic underpinning to the design of the new 59-room Pantone Hotel in Brussels. Did architect Olivier Hannaert and interior designer Michel Pennemann seek to lift the seasonally-depressed spirits of the populace through the colorful palette? We'd like to think so, although the relentless branding campaign by the client raises a smidgen of doubt. To wit: The Pantone roller bag won't get lost in the sea of black Tumi bags on the luggage carousel. Trundle down the hall, and find your color-coded room: Key fobs graphically remind you where you are—if that's necessary: Once inside, the bed linens resemble a color chip; the walls, even more so: Room service! Maybe a spot of tea will help you feel at home: Expecting visitors? Invite them to pull up a chair: Unpacked, it's time to go explore the city. What better means of transportation—conveniently available through the front desk—could there possibly be, to best appreciate the local architecture than a two-wheeled color swatch? And in case you've forgotten a toiletry essential, never fear—Pantone is here (and increasingly everywhere).