At last year's Interior Design Show in Toronto, Ikea pulled the sheets off of their bold country kitchen look, an aesthetic departure from the blonde-wood kitchens with which their showrooms had become associated. The kitchen won the show's Gold Booth Award and our entry on it quickly caught Facebook fire.
At this year's IDS, the design pendulum has swung the other way: Ikea's display kitchen features a distinctly sleek and modern look, one reportedly inspired by "the classic fashion combination of a black dress and pearls." In sharp contrast to last year's kitchen, where pots, pans, and kitchen storage objects were all made visible, this year's kitchen design renders most objects invisible, tucking them away behind glossy surfaces. In a second nod to the fashion world the backsplash tiles are meant to evoke patent leather quilted handbags and the island has received special focus.
The original philosophy was to extend the life of the beautiful oak barrels, that would other wise have ended up as landfill, and manufacture solid wood parquet flooring from the staves and lids. Having achieved this to much acclaim we were still left with plenty of usable prime oak from the many staves that were unsuitable for converting into the thin flat strip flooring. We have now introduced Whisky Barrel Cobbles to the Whisky Barrel Flooring range.
Taking inspiration from the gentle curve of the contours of a whisky barrel we noticed the likeness to traditional granite cobble sets that once paved the streets or our native Glasgow. By cutting the staves down to hand sized blocks and applying some finishing and staining we've replicated the cobble look for use indoors utilising the authentic the casks cast off by the Scottish Whisky Industry.
Glasgow's Bruadar bar is among the first watering holes to boast a rustic oaky interior courtesy of McKay's.
This Friday Apple opens its new retail space in New York City's Grand Central Terminal and it is huge. This morning Core77 got a sneak peek of the place, and while we initially thought it would only occupy the area above the stairs on the East Balcony, we were wrong. The 23,000-square-foot space wraps around the north end of the Main Concourse, going all the way to the escalators for those of you familiar with the terminal, and extends into rooms on the south end.
I'd wondered how Apple was going to deal with the lighting issues in the cavern-like Main Concourse, where the terminal's lighting is many stories above the floor; what they've done is outfit the tables with slender LED bars which, whether by design or coincidence, resemble smaller versions of the overhead lighting.
Since the store is located within a bustling train station, it will open at 7am for the convenience of commuters; other train-station-specific touches feature an Express Shopping counter facing the store's entrance, so harried train-takers who don't need to browse can quickly grab exactly what they came for, and special 15-minute Express Classes in using Apple gear are being scheduled around rush hour times.
Then there's Apple's recent push to create an experience where you needn't interact with a store employee if you don't want to, or are simply in a rush. An army of clerks were on hand to give EasyPay demos; I went to video one but it was literally over before I got the camera set up. You pick up an item, scan it with your iPhone/iPod Touch, punch in your iTunes password, then walk out with the thing. That's it. I asked the clerk how they'd prevent theft, and he said someone would check a receipt (presumably a digital one on your device) as you left the store.
With 750,000 people traipsing through Grand Central daily, the Apple Store is expected to draw huge revenue and boost traffic through surrounding businesses. It opens this Friday at (an uncharacteristically late) 10am.
For their latest project, the Mexico City-based strategic design firm was invited, along with eight other designers, to develop a kitchen concept—another topic that we've seenlately—to showcase the appliance offerings of Mabe. Villarreal and his partner Michel Rojkind arrived at "Rehilite," Spanish for pinwheel, a culinary workstation with four 'wings,' each with its own dedicated function: compost/harvest, preparing, cooking, eating.
As opposed to a regular kitchen that uses the walls to allocate all the storage and working space, AGENT's concept concentrates all the action in a central island with the 4 wings. As an experimental yet visionary proposal, the concept presents new opportunities to generate architectural spaces from the inside-out, where eating, cooking and farming happen at the same central space of a house. Aesthetically, the concept was inspired by the dynamism and cyclic movement of the Pin Wheel.
The team at AGENT underscored the differences between the purpose of each station with their choice of materials: Corian for the preparation & compost/harvest stations, stainless steel for the cooking station, and wood for the dining area. "The stations also include storage space and units for the elements required on each phase."
The premise, is that beyond looking at the actions of preparing, cooking, eating and waste management as separated events (sometimes even happening at different zones of the house), these have to be understood as interdependent stages of a larger cycle. The idea is also to shorten the gap between food and its origin, bringing a compost/harvest station to the same room where food is prepared, cooked and eaten.
The cycle includes 5 phases: 1) growing and harvesting vegetables and herbs, 2) preparing, 3) Cooking, 4) Eating, and finally 5) reintegrating organic residuals to the compost bin (which later becomes fertilized dirt to seed again). The sinks, having the most recurrent function in all stages, are located at the center of the island.
Designing with white is not for the faint of heart. In addition to the sheer maintenance required of a white environment, the absence of color brings form sharply to the forefront, meaning you can think of, love or criticize nothing else.
Linda O'Keeffe, the former Creative Director of Metropolitan Home magazine, has assembled a photo-heavy tome called BRILLIANT: White in Design that "explores the full spectrum of colors and characteristics inherent in white, exploring how it is used and viewed in art, design, architecture and nature."
Containing more than 250 photographs showcasing a wide range of residences, retail stores, hotels, spas and offices worldwide, Brilliant: White in Design considers the different aspects of white, a color with unmatched versatility, in a collage of text and imagery. The angelic sister of beige, white is at once stark and glamorous, marrying design styles from different eras and sensibilities flawlessly....
Brilliant is a testament to a color that has retained vibrant appeal throughout the centuries, yet remains prominent in the architecture and design of the present. The book contains projects from across the globe, including France, Japan, Spain, England, Mexico, Canada, South Africa, and the United States. Featured architects and designers include Orlando Diaz-Azcuy, Barbara Barry, Tony Duquette, Anouska Hempel, Zaha Hadid, Syrie Maugham, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Richard Meier, Juan Montoya, Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz, Hugh Newell Jacobsen, Jean Nouvel, Oscar Niemeyer, John Pawson, Andree Putman, David Rockwell, Philippe Starck, Kelly Wearstler, Marcel Wanders and Vicente Wolf. Brilliant also celebrates both up-and-coming and established artists such as Lynn Davis, Andy Goldsworthy, Ann Hamilton, Robert Ryman, Martha Schwartz, John Waters and Rachel Whiteread.
The book is being released today, and should be available at the link above.
IkeaMalaysia has started posting a series of videos featuring their interior designers giving tips on how to squeeze every last inch—sorry, centimeter—out of a living space. It's no surprise the videos come from an Asian branch of Ikea and not the U.S. one, as your average spoiled-for-space Yank would find the sizes of the rooms pretty alien: A 40-square-meter (430 sq. ft.) apartment; an 11-square-meter (118 sq. ft.) combo bedroom/living room (not shown below, but viewable at the link at bottom); and most impressively, a 2.7-square-meter (29 sq. ft.) bathroom that still has room for laundry facilities, including an overhead drying rack that lifts up to the ceiling when not in use.
We dig the videos because they go beyond traditional advertising, espousing principles that are simple and sensible independent of whether you buy from Ikea. In a nutshell, they are: When you don't have space to go outwards, go upwards; find objects that can do double-duty; repurpose pieces to your needs.
I love the forced perspective of the multilevel fluorescent bulbs and their contrast against the blackness of the space. And while I can't speak with authority on what the exact design inspiration was, the room will undoubtedly remind Star Wars fans of something....
The Prouvé RAW collection by G-Star for Vitra made it's US debut during New York Fashion Week at Vitra's showroom in the Meatpacking District. Looking something like a designer skate park, the pieces are presented museum-style mounted to angled surfaces which elevate the furniture to eye height allowing visitors to get up close and appreciate construction details that would otherwise easily be missed.
G-Star's contemporary update to seventeen Jean Prouvé classics launched earlier this year at Art Basel and while we're the first to be skeptical when a fashion company takes on furniture, this collection plays to the strengths of both brands and is an extremely well executed tribute the French designer's legacy. Nine pieces from the collection are available for pre-order in the States, and will go on sale late October.