Design

Design

August 29 2009

While the airline industry remains fiercely competitive through price wars, company's real ammunition should be found in the point of difference offered in their inflight experience. Oddly however this leverage is never taken advantage to its full potential as in-flight-experiences rarely stray away from offering a stock-standard service to their customers.



An airplane is of course transportation, and not a hotel, spa or restaurant, but we have been waiting for a long time for the first airline that is willing to embark on true differentiation. Taking cues from cool architecture, leading-edge design and the vibes we see ahead of, and outside of, trends, The Coolhunter is now working on creating truly cool airline experiences, giving premium-class passengers a real reason to select one airline over another.

Bred from the very culture that has made The Cool Hunter an international success, TCH is offering its insight in the world of trend forecasting to the airline industry to create a truly unique and progressive in-flight experience. The Cool Hunter will curate the design, aesthetics and functionality across on-board entertainment, furnishings and decor right through to re-inventing on-board shopping, all with the signature style that has placed The Cool Hunter in the forefront of style.

Airline Marketing Managers should contact [email protected] for more details.

Virgin Atlantic exterior designed by TCH Design Studio

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Design

July 26 2009

An existing subway or metro station does not give much room to creativity. Drassanes is a metro station in Barcelona’s Ciutat Vella district at the old docks of Port Vell.



The original station was built in 1968. Eduardo Gutiérrez Munné and Jordi Fernández Río, the 31-year-old partners of ON-A Arquitectura WWW.ON-A.ES, had no other option but to accept the limitations of the constricted space and make the best of it by covering the old station with new surfaces. They decided that a subway car already has everything a passenger needs and proceeded to create a station that emulates the feel of (a) subway cars. Light-weight, white glass-enforced concrete covers the vertical surfaces and a resin component helps make the white floors vibration-proof. 



The overall feel is clean and open, something that could not be said of the old station. Eduardo Gutiérrez and Jordi Fernández have completed several public and commercial projects, from hotels and bars to stadiums and zoos. They established ON-A in 2005. - Tuija Seipell

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Design

July 7 2009

West Hollywood, California-based Clive Wilkinson Architects has completed many projects for California’s Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. The private college offers two-year fashion, graphics, interior design and entertainment education at four campuses Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orange County and San Diego.
 
Clive Wilkinson’s latest undertaking with the Institute was the 31,000-square-foot Sand Diego facility located on the third floor of a new, unremarkable office tower overlooking the Petco baseball park. Bold use of colour defines the various functional areas of the campus, and makes dividing walls unnecessary. Glass walls are present in almost every space, which allows light to flow freely. These are all effective ways of creating openness and visual interest while avoiding the claustrophobic, square-box feel that could result, especially in the areas located farthest from the perimeter walls with windows.


 
Sand-tone flooring and hard, angular lines link everything together, and establish an edgy, free-flowing sense of vibrancy. Visually light-weight furniture paired with heavier blocks of seating and desks bring variety without looking pretentious. Everything seems a bit temporary, in the positive sense of the word. Softer, rounded treatments in the lounge area invite relaxation and rest.


 
The Cape Town and London-educated architect, Clive Wilkinson, established his office in Los Angeles in 1991. The company has since reaped awards in both interior design and architecture, completing commercial, residential and hospitality projects. One of the firm’s current assignments is the renovation of the 370,000-square-foot Nokia House in Helsinki, the headquarters of Nokia, due to be completed in 2010. - Tuija Seipell

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Design

June 8 2009

Mecanoo Architects is designing the city hall and central train station for its home town of Delft, in the Netherlands. The top level will be glass-ceilinged, and even the underground levels will have a feel of transparency and light. Vaulted ceilings, archways and a strong use of white and blue will lighten the visual weight of the complex that will include a 30,000 square-meter public hall. The four-year construction will begin next year.

The Dutch-born and educated architect Francine Houben established Mecanoo Architects in the mid-80s. Mecanoo has since completed an incredible variety of public and private projects, including retail stores, theaters, hotels, libraries, museums, chapels, residential neighborhoods and parks. Houben’s focus on ”sensory beauty,“ color and light has produced many spectacular buildings in Europe and around the world. Most recently, Mecanoo won the competition to design the new master plan for a central business district in Shenzhen, China. The district will include 8,000 houses and 400,000 square-meters of commercial and cultural facilities. - Tuija Seipell

Design

June 2 2009




You must feel comfortable being surrounded by really bright colours if you plan on studying at Tokyo's famous Senzoku Kaguen College of Music's latest addition. It is called Black Hole on the school's site, but Black Hall on the site of Terada design & Architects, the Tokyo-based architecture firm that designed it. We want to believe the school, especially when we know that one of the large studios is called Big Mouth. The Black Hole has recording studios, multimedia studios, electronic organ classrooms, PC labs, and practice studios for jazz, jazz vocal, pop and rock. In the otherwise basic hallways, intense wall and ceiling colours have become the main design element, and the way finding ' large-scale painted signage on the walls ' is the main artwork. Terada is an architecture and design studio established by the Osaka-born, 42-year-old Naoki Terada in 2003. - Tuija Seipell


 

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Design

March 25 2009



Barcelona’s new wholesale flower market – Mercabarna-Flor – near the Barcelona International Airport was designed by Willy Muller Architects.
 
The most striking features of the new market are the multi-faceted angular roof structure and the multi-colored outer shell inspired by an aerial view of flower fields in full bloom.


 
The new complex – 15,000 square-meters of buildings on a 44,000 square-meter lot – houses three main sections, one for cut flowers, one for plants and one for accessories. The location near the airport cargo terminal is crucial to the flower business that relies on fast air delivery of fresh flowers.


 
The impressive building joins a line-up of several much talked-about new structures in Barcelona: Fira de Barcelona’s (Barcelona Fair grounds) nine pavilions and two 114-meter towers designed by Japanese architect Toyo Ito; Terminal Sur at the Barcelona Airport by Barcelona’s own Ricardo Bofill; and the Hesperia Hotel and Towers by the British Pritzker Prize winner, Richard Rogers.



 Willy Muller’s Barcelona office is led by Muller, a native of Argentina, and by Frenchman and associate architect, Frédéric Guillaud. They also have an office in Brazil. - Tuija Seipell

Design

January 13 2009



Many of the brutalist forms of architecture constructed under the watchful eyes of the Soviet regime in the latter half of the twentieth century sit unused or abandoned throughout various eastern European cities.  The ‘Danube Flower,’ a Belgrade landmark sited along the river’s foreshore was no exception.  Originally opened as a restaurant in the 1970s, the triangular structure built 15 metres above the river sat empty for fifteen years after the fall of Communism and during the civil war in what was then Yugoslavia and now is Serbia. 

 

The Belgrade design studio, 4of7 partnered with London-based Superfusionlab to adaptively reuse the space as a high-end gym and spa in city’s centre.  From the ground-level pedestrian esplanade, visitors enter the Wellness Sky through the central core, the sole support for the entire structure, which contains two lift shafts and a double spiral staircase.



Once inside the facilities, its namesake genuinely takes meaning.  Fitness gurus and gym junkies are immediately awash with sweeping city and river views from the uninterrupted ribbon window, which wraps entirely around the building.  During the day, light glows through the widows onto the reflective resin floor.  The faceted ceiling comprised of backlit semi translucent triangular panels allows visitors to feel as if they are exercising within a cloud.  The openness and loftiness of the design of the Wellness Sky allows members to feel nearly weightless in the very environment where burning away the excess is the ultimate achievement. - Andrew J Wiener.

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Design

December 4 2008



123dv Architectuur & Consult is yet another award-winning – and strangely numbered – multi-disciplinary Dutch design firm. The Rotterdam-based 123dv practices architecture and interior design in a wide range of areas from residential to commercial buildings, from small-scale to huge projects.
 
A commercial project, the new wing of the Media Plaza in Utrecht, was launched with a high-tech party in October.
 
The Media Plaza is one of many conference and exhibition venues under the wings of the venerable Dutch Fair organization
JaarBeurs.


 
The Media Plaza’s new expansion involves eight meeting rooms and a main congress hall that accommodates 700 people. The space 123dv created is an incredibly flexible blank-canvas for seminars, conferences and corporate events.
 
The design emphasis is on various light sources and different projection methods. The new wing is accessible via two tunnels in which 123dv designed all surfaces to be canvases for projection, with floors and walls reacting to the movement of people.


 
Light and projection are the main features also in the foyer and in the meeting rooms. To create different moods or to emphasize event-appropriate colors, the LED-light walls in the foyer and the fabric ceilings in the session rooms can change color.
 
123dv outfitted the main hall with a 100% transparent ETFE (ethylenetetrafluoroethylene) roof to mimic the feel of an ancient amphitheatre – a meeting under the open sky. The completely white congress hall seems an ideal backdrop for events where the organizer can really allow its colors or products to pop. We can already picture the possibilities for a fashion runway show. - Tuija Seipell



 
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Design

September 29 2008



Great surroundings will not camouflage poor programming in movie theatres. No matter how swanky the theatre, if it shows poor movies, we just won’t go. Which isn’t to say that we have given up on movie-theatre design. We still wish that one day, somewhere, someone is going to design a decidedly different, interesting and exciting movie theatre.


 
Glimpses of brilliance are visible in the new Light House Cinema at Smithfield in Dublin, Ireland designed by Dublin’s award-winning DTA Architects Of course, you really need to design – and judge – a movie theatre so that it looks and functions best when people are using it. So, having not paid personal visits to the new Light House, we cannot say for sure, but the images we have received of the empty space indicate that the play of light, colour and height works exceptionally well here.
 


Light House cinema has been a bit of an institution in Dublin. It started showing Irish, independent, foreign-language, art house and classic cinema 20 years ago, closed in 1966, and re-opened this summer in its new, customized space. The four-screen, intimate art-house cinema includes a wonderful, inviting and open cafe that looks like something you’d see at an art museum, not a movie theatre. The leader of the Light House project at DTA was Derek Tynan and the project architect was Colin Mackay.


 
The new cinema benefited from the financial assistance of The Arts Council, the Irish Film Board, and the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism. For Dublin’s city planners, this was to be a cultural magnet and a focal point for the largest mixed-use development ever in Dublin’s inner city, the massive rejuvenation plan for the historical Smithfield Market area.


 
And if you’d like to make our wishes come true, please let us know of any supreme movie-theatre design concepts you’ve seen, designed or commissioned. We are all eyes and ears. - Tuija Seipell

See also Home Theatre and AMC Pacific Place Cinema in Hong Kong.

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Design

September 24 2008



In most cities, strategic downtown street corners are flanked by enormous, old banks, the ornate cathedrals of capital designed to impress and intimidate. With the massive changes in real estate values and consumer banking habits, such monuments to Mammon are no longer smart or necessary. But what amazing opportunities such massive commissions must have been for the architects of the day! And what depressing alternatives we’ve experienced since! Luckily, online banking has made a bank visit almost obsolete, but when you must visit, most of the time you’ll find a boring, convenience-store-type standardized box – retail banking in the worst meaning of both words.


 
But we are starting to see a change. Several new bank design concepts are in the works, and some have been launched recently, including CheBanca! in Milan by Crea International. The concept for CheBanca! (translation: What a bank!) reflects the brand’s simplicity, transparency and innovation. When Crea International co-founder Massimo Fabbro will speak at POPAI Italia in November on the power of physical brand design to bring to life a brand's language, spirit and values, he will no doubt mention CheBanca!


 
And now that we have seen a few examples of fabulous bank design, we want more! If you’ve seen, designed or commissioned one, let us know. — Tuija Seipell



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