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ZGF was tasked with a one-of-a-kind project—transforming a landmark hangar into an office for Google. The structure was built by famed business magnate, film producer, and aviator Howard Hughes in 1943 for the construction of his H-4 Hercules airplane, more commonly known as the “Spruce Goose” because it was almost entirely crafted from wood (although it was actually made of birch, not spruce).

Today, the Spruce Goose is housed in Oregon, but the hangar remains in Southern California in the city of Playa Vista, and now comprises a range of office, meeting, and food service spaces for the tech company. With Google’s specific requirements, and the building’s rich history, ZGF embraced a unique approach to complete the remarkable conversion from an airplane shed to a contemporary workplace.

The different facets of the project went beyond anything the architects had done before, because it was crucial to respect the past while still designing a workplace that reflected Google’s core values. “This project was a historic preservation, an adaptive reuse of an important historic structure, and the construction of a modern, four-story office building. Google’s a tech company, but it’s interesting, because a lot of the way that we did this was analog, and we never would have ended up with this result if we had done this all digitally,” says James Woolum, partner at ZGF.

Indeed, the ZGF team went back to basics—think printouts, not pixels. Diagrams, photocopies, and an endless selection of fabric swatches were the tools of the trade. This thorough attention to detail was the key to creating a cohesive space with just enough variety to keep the interiors fresh for the employees who are on-site every day.

The spine is a stunning feature that was restored, highlighting the intricate rehab work required for the latest iteration of the hangar. “The whole central spine, which was made out of wood, had to be taken apart piece by piece, cataloged, and stored before it was put together again meticulously,” Woolum explains. The backbone divides the four-story, 450,000-square-foot building lengthwise, with open floor plates that are pulled away from this locus and interior envelope. The varied shape of each floor and added skylights allow for abundant daylight to filter through every level.

The circulation routes were designed to increase interaction, which is key in any Google office, where employees often collaborate in several different areas during the day. The architects devised a boardwalk, on the perimeter of each floor, which allows individuals to weave through the long structure. “On the boardwalk, you are moving vertically and laterally through the space. The places where the boardwalk penetrates through the spine were really natural points to locate some of the important amenities like the micro-kitchens,” Woolum notes. Along the boardwalk, no two amenity areas are alike, giving users options and allowing them to view the impressive structure from all angles.

In this particular office, more sophisticated materials and colors were used to bring a new refinement to the company’s signature look. “They wanted a grown-up Google, and it was really about this macro, micro way of looking at all of the spaces, and then being able to look at one piece to see how it complemented everything else,” says Antony Tavlian, ZGF associate and interior designer for the project.

For the ZGF team, all of these interesting components were combined to create an office that gives its users enhanced experiences that go beyond basic job tasks. “It’s not just the architecture or the beautiful furniture, or the artwork. It all comes together to support a layered and rich human experience. It really is a magical space,” adds Woolum.
Kenny Viese/courtesy of AW²
So long 2019 and all the crimes we committed with you. With 2020, it’s time for a little rest and rejuvenation—and health-geared hospitality destinations are here to help. From a remote Costa Rican retreat with tent-like structures conscious to a sensitive tropical landscape to a spa that cocoons guests in hanging teepees and a pool promising a “womb-like” experience, here are 10 standout spas and wellness retreats around the globe. We’ve focused mostly on those new to the scene—but you’ll find one established favorite and one yet to come.

1. Kasiiya Papagayo, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

In remote Costa Rica, Paris-based architecture firm AW² designed custom timber-and-canvas “luxury tents” for wellness retreat Kasiiya Papagayo, opened in March of 2019. Raised off the ground, the tents protect the sensitive landscape of the dry tropical jungle—and can be broken down to disappear without a trace. The master bath in this tented suite provides a soaking opportunity in a custom copper tub, but self-care can also be drawn from strong personalities on the property’s staff. Yamuna, the property’s healer—rumored to have treated Brad Pitt—will quickly pinpoint over tea both the troubles of your soul and how to release them, while fitness expert Bruno teaches strength-building exercises based on animal movements.

2. Hotel Palácio Estoril, Estoril, Portugal

With another James Bond film gearing up for April 2020, what was once the setting for the classic film “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” released in 1969, could be just the place for a limber spy—or anyone else eyeing a few days of well-being. Designed by French architect Henry Martinet and built in 1930, the Hotel Palácio Estoril was a playground for royals for decades. Today the property combines historical grandeur—think a doorman smartly dressed in traditional garb—with high-class health facilities. In the 27,000-square-foot Estoril Wellness Center designed by Palmer Grego Arquitectos, two floors are occupied by a Banyan Tree Spa. For one spa massage treatment, staff takes aim with high-powered water jets, hosing the brave off firehose-style. A more subdued water experience is found in the dynamic pool, where jets slowly spin guests around in circles under the twinkle of LED lights recalling the night sky—no crime-fighting required.

3. The Spa at the Mandarin Oriental, London

Glass above a 60-foot-long pool reveals a lounge’s fire place at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park. With a restoration and enlargement completed by New York designer and Hall of Fame member Adam Tihany in the Summer of 2019, the Spa at Mandarin Oriental, London now includes 13 treatment rooms, a massage suite for two, a traditional mosaic-tiled steam room and warm rain shower, mani-pedi studio, and room dedicated to Chinese medicine consultations and treatments.

4. The Rena Spa at The Midland Manchester, Manchester, England

Spa lounging reaches new heights at The Midland, Manchester, which opened in November after a rebranding conceived by an in-house design team drawn from developers Leonardo Hotels and U.K. and Ireland hotel group Jurys Inn. In the Rena Spa, ceiling-mounted tepees and Eero Aarnio’s retro Ball chair, designed in 1963, are among unique opportunities that tuck guests away from the outside world.

5. Six Senses Thimpu, Bhutan

Perched on a hillside and capturing breathtaking views of a nearby mountain range, the Six Senses Bhutan will be the most recent debut for global hotel brand Six Senses—its fifth property in Bhutan—when it opens in Spring 2020. Packed soil, hemlock wood, bamboo, granite, and natural stone are the dominating materials in a sustainably conscious design crafted by Thailand-based firm Habita Architects and the brand’s in-house design team. In the spa area, shown here, floor-to-ceiling glazing allows an infinity pool to reflect both sky and mountains.
Peter Molick
Brierley+Partners runs loyalty and customer relationship programs for companies that include 7-Eleven and Hertz, so naturally the firm’s management wanted to inspire the same good feelings in their own employees when moving into 56,700 square feet of a new office building in Frisco, Texas. “They wanted to support employee well-being and create a fun yet professional space for their mix of creative software engineers, finance, and administration,” says Melissa Cooksey, Perkins and Will’s senior interior project manager, associate principal.

Those inspirations are all over the interiors: Graphic wallcoverings help liven up and carve out open workspaces, as do glass-film graphics across glass meeting rooms and office fronts, while writeable walls are at the ready whenever inspiration strikes. The new space includes twice as much, and twice as many kinds, of collaboration and conference areas, not to mention a gym and breakroom with its own kegerator.

Bright colors and bold patterns keep things lively. But, Cooksey notes, “the open area ceilings have K-13 acoustic spray, in white and gray, crisply divided on ceiling deck and HVAC ductwork.” And while the client wanted a space to help position them for future growth, that didn’t necessarily mean straight lines and rational finishes. “The wood veneer wallcovering installation and the adjacent subway tiles,” she says, “are both on a 45-degree angle. It’s an eclectic vibe.”

Corey Gaffer Photography
Which interior design companies are the best to work for? AD PRO breaks down the firms with the highest Glassdoor ratings

What makes some interior design companies better to work for than others? Is it the nature of the design work, the firm’s high-profile clients, and the opportunity for upward mobility? Or is it the parental leave policy, travel opportunities, and office amenities? All of these factors and more contribute to why workers love being employed at certain interior design firms. AD PRO scoured reviews on Glassdoor, a website that asks reviewers to rate organizations from one to five stars, to find out which interior design companies stand out. Of course, a lot of the big guys made the list—the design giants we all know. But a few smaller firms, and several outside of bicoastal metropolises like New York and San Francisco ranked highly as well. AD PRO distills the results for you here, in alphabetical order.

Editor's note: All quotations are taken from Glassdoor reviews. The ratings reflect the company's Glassdoor score at the time of publication.

BSA LifeStructures
What: 4.8 stars
Where: Indianapolis, with five other U.S. offices
Why: Employees feel recognized for their worth at this 40-year old multidisciplinary architecture, engineering, interior design, and planning firm. “Team members are respectful and helpful to one another. They emphasize good design, celebrate individuals' strengths, and provide technology that allows for flexibility,” a review states. A small-firm mentality with large-firm resources, BSA offers “great opportunities for design with purpose.” Workers feel that the company “really values intentional design work for healing, learning, and discovery spaces.” BSA has a fantastic culture that promotes flexibility, community, and hard work, says one employee, who’s worked at the firm for four years and adds, “They have shown that they want me to progress individually by being supportive of continuing education and certification testing. I appreciate the flexibility that BSA provides to accomplish all my work and life goals.”

CBRE | Heery
What: 3.9 stars
Where: Atlanta, plus 22 additional offices nationwide
Why: A full-service firm offering architecture, interior design, engineering, construction management, and program management, CBRE | Heery has a diverse portfolio of projects across sectors. The company culture is family-oriented with “homegrown talent.” “Leadership grew up in the company, so they're in touch with the workforce,” a reviewer says. Employees feel taken care of: “I always felt the company had my best intentions in mind,” one says. “Management really cares about you as an individual. They give you the chance to grow.” In terms of benefits, Heery provides “great employer contributions in paid benefits and paid time off designations; [the] 401(k) match is above average in the industry.”

CBT Architects
What: 4.1 stars
Where: Boston, with an office in Abu Dhabi, UAE
Why: “It feels like a family” at this small architecture, interior design, and urban planning firm, whose leadership is known for investing in its people. “The environment allows you to grow, all team members attend meetings, and everyone's opinion matters. Within departments, there is a lot of collaboration and idea sharing, rolls are clearly defined, and there’s not too much overtime,” one staffer writes. Employees at CBT also love the caliber of the work and the opportunity to participate on projects of all stripes. And “everyone is friendly, has a positive attitude, and makes an effort to create a congenial atmosphere,” which is fostered with a casual dress code, flexible work schedule, and encouragement to take advantage of vacation time.

What: 4.1 stars
Where: Dallas, with nine additional U.S. locations, plus offices in Singapore and London
Why: Who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch? That’s one perk of the many that Corgan offers, including generous health benefits and parental leave (fathers and mothers are entitled to a three-month leave), a flexible work-from-home policy, a company-matching 401(k) plan, and stock options. Employees say they love that at Corgan: “Everyone helps everyone. Teamwork is evident, and the culture is something that wraps around you from your first day here. Leadership listens and appreciates you.” Plus, you get
Gary Landsman
If only your office was as cool.

No, really. You might have a fancy rooftop deck, or a golf simulator, maybe even a white-tablecloth restaurant in the lobby. But you don't have the original costume Christopher Reeve wore in "Superman," or the Heart of the Ocean necklace Kate Winslet wore in "Titanic." And no way you have the sorting hat from "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone."

Those are just a few of the items on display in the Motion Picture Association's headquarters building in downtown D.C. The MPA moved in August from swing space at One Franklin Square back to its longtime home at 1600 Eye St. NW after a major repositioning by Trammell Crow Co. and Meadow Partners. The WBJ recently toured the improved space, designed by Gensler and chock full of stuff to geek out on if you're a fan of popular culture.

"What inspired this was kind of melding the idea of classic Hollywood and technology together," said John McKinney, a principal at Gensler who was part of the design team.

The building's showplace is its ground-floor event space facing Eye Street NW. Set against a wall fashioned to look like a movie curtain and interspersed with video screens showing TV or movie previews, you'll find a life-sized statue of Batman from "The Dark Knight Rises," a miniature space capsule from "Apollo 13," and the costumes Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto wore in "Star Trek: Into Darkness," among other things.

It's not a museum, mind you. It's a commercial office building redesigned for multiple occupants including the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute, which plans to occupy about 14,000 square feet. But the MPA's members include the studios that brought Batman, Superman and Star Trek to the Silver Screen, and in this modern era of office as brand, the building features plenty of memorabilia on loan from those shops.

The association, with about 40 local employees and 200 globally, lobbies on behalf of its members just like every other government affairs shop. But it also holds plenty of events, including a couple of movie screenings a week on average in its freshly remodeled and expanded 118-seat theater, accessible from that ground-floor event space. It has hosted the likes of Charlize Theron in connection with a screening of "Bombshell," Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson for a screening of crime drama "Power," and Jane Fonda in connection with Mark Ruffalo's environmental drama "Dark Waters."

From there you can continue to a door leading into the building's main lobby, which also has a separate entrance at 888 16th St. NW. The MPA occupies about 30,000 square feet, including parts of the second floor and its main headquarters space on eight. As you might expect, there are all kinds of costumes and set pieces inside, including some of the weaponry from the "Men in Black" and a proton pack from the 2016 remake of "Ghostbusters."

That left Trammell Crow and Meadow with about 120,000 square feet to play with. The partners retained CBRE to market space, and having separate entrances helped downplay the impression that other companies would be taking remainder space the MPA didn't need.

"It was important to make sure that we kind of bring the building to current but also give an eye toward the future," said Jordan Goldstein, a principal and global design director for Gensler. "How does this building have a long life beyond its present and past?"

The MPA picked Trammell Crow Co. and Meadow Partners to reposition 1600 Eye as part of a competitive bidding process run by Savills Studley. The pair acquired a majority interest in the building for $32.25 million in 2017, while the association retained ownership of its space.

Renovations to the Brutalist structure, which dates back to the 1960s, included replacing the building's deep-set, punch-window facade with floor-to-ceiling glass, introducing a new fitness center, and converting mechanical equipment on the building's rooftop into usable, indoor-outdoor penthouse space. That prospect didn't come without its own drama, Goldstein said.

"The crazy thing is this building, which has some amazing views, had no rooftop, no occupiable rooftop whatsoever," Goldstein said. "In fact when we went out the first time and went to the corner, the building management at the time got a phone call from the White House. 'What are you guys doing?' Because the corner ironically, has a view between
Givlio Aristide
Every year, ArchitectureAU publishes reviews of scores of old and new Australian homes. As the year draws to a close, here are the 10 houses and apartments that most drew our readers’ attention.

10. Passivhaus Apartments by Steele Associates

There was more honesty and acknowledgement this year around the fact that architecture and its related industries have played a part in the unfolding climate crisis, with the global Architects Declare movement in particular bringing renewed focus to the nearly 40 percent of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions that originate in building and construction.

One long-touted approach to sustainable design and construction is the Passivhaus model, an invention of a German physicist, which has so far seen limited adoption in Australia due to a combination of the model’s onerous requirements and the particular environmental conditions of Australian cities.

Oliver Steele, of Steele Associates, told ArchitectureAU that he hoped that this apartment block in Sydney’s Redfern, Australia’s first to meet the Passivhaus standards, would be a “sign of what’s possible” under the model. Steele was keen to point out that, aside from the low energy requirements demanded by the operation of the apartments, the standards also resulted in living spaces that were more pleasant to inhabit.

9. Silver Street House by EHDO

This house combines off-form concrete with Australian cypress to create a playful, jolly home. The design of the house was in part a response to a number of site constraints, including a main sewer line, which diagonally bisects the site.

“Working with the sewer line was a help for us,” said designer Dimitri Kapetas. “When you have these constraints, it’s helpful because the ‘What ifs?’ aren’t there. It’s just a case of: ‘How can I make the best of this scenario?’”

8. Ooi House by Kerry Hill Architects

The news in January that a house by Kerry Hill on the banks of Western Australia’s Margaret River was up for sale drew a large amount of attention that was perhaps increased by the fact that the widely celebrated architect and progenitor of a school of tropical modernism had passed away in August 2018.

A “seminal project” in Australia’s modern architectural canon, the news may also have tapped into the anxiety felt by some about the fate of the country’s stock of modern homes, which diminishes every year.

The house received a Housing Commendation in the 1998 Royal Australian Institute of Architects national awards, with the jury describing it as “a house at peace with the landscape and the horizon.” It is also listed on the Institute’s register of nationally significant 20th-century architecture.

7. Cloister House by MORQ Architecture

This unusual Perth home turns its back, in a number of senses, on contemporary architectural convention, with an austere, inward-facing design that would be spooky if it wasn’t so thoughtfully assembled. Inspired by ancient Roman houses, Cloister House is centred on a lush courtyard, with the surrounding living spaces facing inward to create a highly private perimeter.

Presenting to the street as a rammed-concrete bunker that inspires curiosity about what lies within, the house has an unusual monastic quality that surprises and challenges.

6. Sly Brothers Semi by Archisoul Architects

A modest renovation of, and addition to, a pair of historic cottages in beachside Sydney, this unusual project saw Archisoul Architects working with two separate briefs and two separate clients in a complex arrangement that required a sensitive approach.

5. Daylesford Longhouse by Partners Hill

It is not surprising to find this novel building by Partners Hill attracted the attention of our readers. The Daylesford Longhouse was named the Australian House of the Year at the 2019 Houses Awards in July and then went on to win the Robin Boyd Award for Residential Architecture at the National Architecture Awards.

A multipurpose building, the long, prefabricated shed contains a cooking school and a working farm building in addition to the living quarters. “There’s something quite magical and otherworldly about entering this space,” wrote Katelin Butler in Architecture Australia. “But all design decisions for this building have masterful clarity and are based on rational thought processes.”

“It turns out common sense yields all sorts of poetic pleasures,” said Timothy Hill. “It’s great fun.”
Architect Magagine
Aaron Betsky on why the work at this year's event gives hope for the future of architecture.

The breadth of the World Architecture Festival, a confab held for the last four years in Amsterdam (but moving to Lisbon next year), is astonishing. I know of no other conference or competition in the field that brings together such a great variety of architecture, interiors, and landscapes projects. Moreover, you can actually understand the many designs that are nominated in a dizzying array of different categories because each of the designers gets 20 minutes to present and defend their projects in front of a jury and a live audience. Inflatable tents that flank the manufacturers’ stands, which show the latest doorknobs and blinds and thus pay a lot of the events’ bills, are home to these non-stop critiques. The juries then pick a winner in each of the categories, which include best interior, best student work, best drawing, and best future building.

This year I had the honor of being a member of the “super jury,” which had the task of picking the best building of the year, which was featured with the other honorees at the event’s closing gala. Working with fellow jury members Anuradha Mathur, Ben van Berkel, Maria Warner Wong, and Murat Tabanlioglu, we picked the LocHal in Tilburg, the Netherlands. Designed by a team of three women-led firms (Braaksma & Roos, Inside/Outside, and Mecanoo), it is the renovation of a former train locomotive repair facility into a library and community hub. Not only was the work carried out with great care and produced a wide variety of beautifully proportioned, open, and functional spaces, but it also brought together four of the most important themes we saw in the work that was produced this last year: the repurposing of existing buildings; the importance of libraries as new community centers; the prominence of women designers, and the emergence and integration of new technologies, in this case the “heat the people, not the space” principle devised by Arup for this job, in which heating and cooling is directed only to those place and at those times when people are present.

What we missed (you can’t have everything in one project) were some other important themes. One was the integration of landscape and building. We saw projects in Singapore, New Zealand, Scotland, and Shenzhen that are more or less buried in the landscape, or where the landscape meanders through the whole building, turning the structures into open public spaces that bring together a variety of functions. Other projects open up to a borrowed landscape, in the manner of the library for the Sekkei-Kokugakuin University in Tokyo, which uses the trees of the adjacent temple yard to shield its massive expanse of glass from the sun. Yet others, like a small religious structure in Abu Dhabi, cloak themselves in the imagery of rocks and desert. It made you think that in the future, those projects that will not disappear into renovations of existing structures will dissolve into the landscape.

A second theme was the uncoupling of form or gesture from function. There was nary a blob to be found in the whole of the festival, nor were there many shards or angles (the notable example being the beautifully detailed and sited dwelling the Australian firm Terroir designed for a site in suburban Sydney, which won the Best House Award). The Weird Stuff category was dominated by Thomas Heatherwick Associates, who vied for the top prize with both the Vessel, their three-dimensional M.C. Escher in New York’s Hudson Yards, and their shopping mall in London, the Coal Drop Yards, where they delaminated and rebuilt the roof of two industrial buildings and curved them up and towards each to house a Samsung Concept Store. All hat (or stairs) and no cattle, as the old Texas saying about show-offs goes, the buildings’ lack of architectonic qualities highlighted that the era of expressionist exploration of technological possibilities is fading.

There were some other notable images and moves spread throughout the festival. I loved the winner of the Best Community Building Award, a small library for a village in southern China designed by teams led by faculty from schools in Hong Kong and Guangzhou. And I wish that more architects who are engaged in such collaborations with local inhabitants and craftspeople could afford the rather steep fees and travel costs that are the festival’s biggest drawback. The “mat building,” a labyrinth of closed and open spaces that hugs the ground and crea
Interior Design Media
Office design provided some of the most surprisingly cool projects of the past year as traditionally sedate corporate workplaces transitioned to dramatic social hubs designed with the wants and needs of employees in mind. Here are the most creative office projects of 2019—three of which won Best of Year awards and five of which were honorees.

Boies Schiller Flexner Law Office in New York by Schiller Projects

A modernist architect might begin a design with a concept, simple enough to draw on a restaurant napkin. A structuralist might import a typology, everything understood in advance. A text-driven architect might initiate a project with a theory. But for Aaron Schiller, principal of the integrated architecture, design, branding, and strategy consultancy, Schiller Projects, the process always starts with data. Asked to design the New York headquarters for Boies Schiller Flexner, a high-profile international law practice relocating from Midtown to Hudson Yards, the first thing Schiller and his team did was to descend on the firm’s existing offices and, like sociologists with iPads and notebooks in hand, observe work patterns, chart logistics, conduct interviews, and weigh expectations. The result speaks for itself—and won the 2019 Best of Year Award for Medium Corporate Office.

Campari’s New York Headquarters by Gensler

These days, workplaces often contain cafés, wellness rooms, and lounges galore. But a bar? Not as likely... let alone four of them. But such is the case at the North American headquarters of the Campari Group—the Milan-based company famous for its bright-red namesake aperitif—that now also counts more than 50 other beverage brands in its portfolio. Mix them all together, and it makes Campari Group the sixth largest spirits company in the world—a feat worthy of celebrating. Gensler helped the group do so with its new two-story New York office and won the 2019 Best of Year Award for Corporate Cafeteria/Bar.

Sunbrella’s North Carolina Headquarters by Tsao & McKown

“We truly cross the divide,” Calvin Tsao begins, meaning: “We’re equally comfortable with architecture and interior design.” So naturally Tsao & McKown was among the talented mix-masters that members of the Gant family wanted to meet when they were planning headquarters in Burlington, North Carolina, for their growing Sunbrella brand. The Gants had their eye on converting the early 20th-century former mill they owned. “We had the aha moment, literally, in looking at our birthplace,” Glen Raven chairman Allen Gant Jr. says. “So we weren’t looking for an architect who could design us the most beautiful building—we felt we already had that. But instead for someone who could understand the functionality of the business.” The result earned Tsao & McKown a 2019 Best of Year Award for Manufacturer Headquarters.

Google’s Los Angeles Office by ZGF Architects

It was inevitable. Google, which we like to call the first stop for everything, would one day expand its presence in Los Angeles. When that time came, not just any venue would do. The company alit at the hangar built in 1943 to house Hughes Aircraft Company’s Spruce Goose. Google and ZGF Architects had already worked together on six projects, but this would be the largest effort that either had ever undertaken in the realm of adaptive reuse. “The outcome was unknown when we embarked on the project,” Google project executive R.G. Kahoe says. “But we knew we could do something amazing, a moon-shot idea, as well as being the correct stewards for the building.” The project was a Best of Year honoree in the Office Transformation category.

Showtime’s Los Angeles Office by CannonDesign

Some of the edgiest programs to hit the airwaves come from Showtime: Dexter, Homeland, Ray Donovan, Billions. The list goes on. You’d never have guessed, however, from visiting the Los Angeles office. The space was unremarkable at best. Relocation offered the opportunity to create “an environment that was warm and welcoming, cool without being trendy,” says Showtime Networks president of entertainment Jana Winograde. For that, kudos go to CannonDesign where Principal Chari Jalali led the project from L.A., while design principal Robert Benson commuted from Chicago. And the project earned Best of Year honoree status for Creative Office.

Lillie Thompson
Australia’s most exceptionally designed hospitality venues were celebrated at the 2019 Eat Drink Design Awards, which were announced at a ceremony in Melbourne on Tuesday 12 November.

The jury said, “There was one word that arose over and over during our deliberations: restraint.”

“The principle of restraint marked every single winner, as well as many commendations, though it was expressed in myriad ways.”

In 2019, there was a marked increase in entries from regional locations, which was also reflected in the winners of the awards.

“From a pink-hued bar in a country town with barely over 2,000 people, to a future-focused CBD restaurant, this year’s winners are very geographically diverse, indicating that in Australia, good design transcends location. It’s something that has permeated out to our suburbs and our regional areas, which should be applauded,” said Cassie Hansen, jury chair and editor of Artichoke magazine.

The jury also selected one iconic hospitality venue to enter the Eat Drink Design Awards Hall of Fame. Venues considered for this accolade have achieved a level of cultural significance as well as demonstrating longevity in an industry often categorized as transient.

The 2019 jury comprised Besha Rodell (restaurant critic for the New York Times’ Australia bureau), Nathan Toleman (restauranteur, CEO and founder of the Mulberry Group), Graham Charbonneau (co-founder of Studio Gram), Phillip Schemnitz (architect of Cookie, the 2018 Hall of Fame inductee) and Cassie Hansen (editor of Artichoke magazine).

Find more information on these projects in the full list of winners below.

2019 Eat Drink Design Awards

Best Bar Design

Blacksmith Lake Mulwala – The Stella Collective

Best Restaurant Design
Di Stasio Citta – Hassell

Best Cafe Design
Via Porta – Studio Esteta

Best Installation Design
The Magic Box – Liminal Objects with Van Tuil

Best Retail Design
Piccolina Collingwood – Hecker Guthrie

Best Hotel Design – joint winners
Drifthouse – Multiplicity
The Calile Hotel – Richards and Spence

Best Identity Design
Lagotto – Studio Hi Ho

Hall of Fame
Cumulus Inc – Pascale Gomes-McNabb

See the 14 commended projects across seven categories.

Winners, commended projects and the shortlist are all featured in Artichoke 69, along with a full jury overview. View all the entries and more images at the Eat Drink Design Awards gallery.

The 2019 Eat Drink Design Awards are organized by Architecture Media and supported by major partner Chandon Australia; supporting partners Harbour, Latitude, Ownworld, Roca and Tasmanian Timber and event partners Four Pillars Gin, Jetty Road Brewery and S.Pellegrino.

The Eat Drink Design Awards are endorsed by the Australian Institute of Architects and the Design Institute of Australia.
Sean Airhart
NBBJ returns to a 1989 Seattle project and creates a wow moment using parametric design and cardboard models. gn and cardboard models.

Parametric design and the geologic processes that formed the rock bluffs of the Puget Sound region may seem unrelated, but Seattle-based NBBJ senior associates Sarah Steen and Daniel Cockrell believe the processes share a—relative—independence from human hands. In creating a feature wall that abstracts the bluffs for the third-floor lobby renovation of the 56-story Two Union Square, also in Seattle, Steen says the designers aimed “to use technology in an unpredictable manner,” similar to the way tectonic activity is uncontrollable by humans.

The office tower, designed originally by NBBJ in 1989, features a curving reinforced concrete building core, which had been finished in a faceted wood veneer. NBBJ wrapped the core on the building's third floor in approximately 1,650 curved panels of pale travertine—selected due to its lightness in both color and weight—which were quarried and custom fabricated by the Poggi Brothers in Tivoli, Italy.

Because of the lobby’s prominence as the pinnacle of a grand staircase leading from the building’s first- and second-floor entrances, the architects saw a need for a focal point. “It just begs for something cool to be happening,” Steen says.

Instead of a surface treatment, the design team “started experimenting with something that could be part of the wall,” Steen says. They envisioned a sculptural element inspired by the geologic history of the Pacific Northwest, “sharp and angular with peaks and valleys.”

Using Grasshopper and Rhino, the NBBJ team established a set of parameters that would maximize the number of triangular sizes and shapes in order to keep them as irregular as possible. Next, they “allowed the script to connect the dots and create this network of angles,” Steen says. “That’s how we arrived at the patterning.”

The result is a nearly 20-foot-tall by 20-foot-wide 3D sculptural ribbon of 415 fractal panels that cuts diagonally across the wall plane like a mountain range. (A smaller tectonic wall feature arises near the elevator bank.) The angular stone panels emerge seamlessly from the more conventional coursing of the rectilinear wall panels, creating a monolithic central element that simultaneously feels divorced from its heft, floating above the floor. This juxtaposition is amplified by the natural banding in the stone, which was preserved meticulously by NBBJ working with the Poggi Brothers and local stonemason Synergism Stone. “It’s laid up on the wall as it [appeared coming] out of the Earth,” Steen says.

Ranging in thickness from 1¼ inches to 3¼ inches, the fractal panels are effectively pinned into place through pre-drilled holes in their top and bottom edges. The holes accommodate steel dowels welded to bent steel plates that are screwed into horizontal strapping, which, in turn, is secured to an 8-inch-wide stud wall covered with gypsum wallboard.

Though the concept of an abstracted cliff face came early, the final design required much refinement. “We did a lot of lighting experiments to make sure that we weren’t protruding from the wall too far and creating too many shadows,” Steen says. “And we did a lot of cardboard mock-ups [following the modeling]. We went analog.”

The light tests, conducted by NBBJ’s internal lighting studio, revealed that the panels, when positioned under overhead illumination from a recessed light cove, only needed to rise a maximum of 2 inches outboard to achieve the desired relief. This was fortuitous since the existing structure had to bear the additional dead load of the travertine panels.

Other design considerations came from the material restraints of the stone. The most significant deviation from NBBJ's 3D model followed the construction of a full-scale mock-up in Italy, working with the Poggi Brothers and Synergism Stone. Some triangular stone panel vertices chipped during installation. “We realized some of our acute angles were a little too fragile,” Steen says, “so we applied another parameter or two to control those acute angles.” Vertices had to be greater than 25 degrees and NBBJ specified filled travertine for panels with the most acute angles.

NBBJ ran a final mock-up with the stone on-site in Seattle, testing every aspect of the process, from fabrication to shipping to installation. Because the firm planned to preserve the natural coursing in the travertine, sp
Sergio Pirrone
Eye-catching residences across the globe beguile with bold and eccentric forms.

Firm: Cloud 9

Site: Aigua Blava, Spain

Recap: Olive-glazed clay roof tiles blend architect Enric Ruiz-Geli’s new-build near Girona into the surrounding treetops. The complex’s swooping shaped-fiberglass forms, with intricate vaulted-brick ceilings handmade by a Catalan artisan, loosely follow the shape of the coastline—at times cheekily reminiscent of the female body.

Firm: R2K Architectes

Site: Espoo, Finland

Recap: A radio chat in which Finnish filmmaker Aki Kaurismäki posited that storytelling originated with humans gathering around the fire to eat, drink, and share tales inspired architect Olavi Koponen’s spiraling house, which winds around a central concrete fireplace—the heart and hearth of the home. Aspen shingles clad the interior, larch the exterior; and the whole is dubbed Kotilo, which translates to “conch shell.”

Firm: McBride Charles Ryan

Site: Blairgowrie, Australia

Recap: A wood veranda is an Australian design classic, but the trope is refreshed at this suburban beach house, becoming part of a faceted volume that renders the facade like a frozen wave. Inside, a raked box-beam wall painted cerise is a receptacle for much-leafed books, family snapshots, and beloved bric-a-brac accumulated during vacations.

Firm: Iroje KHM Architects

Site: Goyang, South Korea

Recap: Nineteen buildings spearheaded by architect HyoMan Kim bloom like flowers in the Stella Fiore residential complex, 90 minutes northwest of Seoul. Constructed from steel and concrete, they’re embellished with aluminum sheeting painted a cornucopia of colors. Four possible volume shapes and three possible zigzagging split-level floor plans add an element of organic variation.
Interior Design Media
With a forward-thinking vision for a university bistro, Toronto-headquartered DesignAgency was born. Two decades after serving steak tartar to students, business is booming for founders Allen Chan, Matt Davis, and Anwar Mekhayech, who can rattle off hostel brand Generator Hostels, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, and culinary brands Nando’s and Momofuku from a high-profile client list. On the books: rollouts for workspace and cultural hub NeueHouse and new Hilton urban hotel brand Motto.

“These days, a designer’s vision needs to be half the business of design and half the art of design,” says Mekhayech. “There are unlimited possibilities when creating a physical space—but process, purpose, and budget lead.” To better hone these three crucial points, DesignAgency is full-service, tackling interior design, architectural concept, strategic branding, and visual communication. Projects around the globe (in addition to offices in Los Angeles and Barcelona, DesignAgency now has full-time designers in Vancouver, London, and Washington, D.C.) are executed by a divide-and-conquer technique—the three partners collaborate on creative, before letting one partner run with it.

Interior Design sat down with the three founders to learn more about that first fateful collaboration, the upcoming NeueHouse rollout, and who is a master at balloon animals.

Interior Design: So, tell us about the student bistro that brought you together.

Anwar Mekhayech: We had no business plan and it was all very organic. I studied engineering and business at the University of Toronto (U of T) but grew up in the family restaurant business. After taking over my parents’ restaurant, I decided to open my own—which I really wanted to design. So, I asked Matt, who has a degree in Landscape Architecture from U of T, to start a design company with me, and he introduced me to Allen, who was studying architecture at Columbia University.

It was all very fast—I graduated in 1997, we formed what was then called Precipice Studios in 1998, and I opened a student bistro at U of T that we designed in 2000. My dad was living in Paris at the time, opening a restaurant there, so the concept became a kind of French-bistro-meets-California-casual-organic—but in 2000, so way before its time. We had DJs playing, and were serving students steak tartar, duck confit, and healthy salads. It was so much fun.

ID: NeueHouse is a big project for you. What exactly does it entail?

AM: We’re renovating the two existing properties and are about to open a third in downtown Los Angeles, NeueHouse Bradbury, which will help explain our design ethos and narrative as we scale the brand to new locations globally. Our design aims for residential and inspiring, balancing private and social, but with a strong emphasis on collaboration and communication. There will be a play of vintage and new pieces across all the projects—and I’m super excited about the art program and the use of plantings.

ID: How do you believe NeueHouse meets current demands in the hospitality market and stands out from the likes of big players like WeWork?

AM: Sophistication and refinement. NeueHouse is more an invited member’s club that centers around working, content, and collaboration than co-working. It has a kind of celebrity following because they started ahead of the curve, in 2012 in New York. So last year, Josh Wyatt entered as CEO, and immediately brought us onboard. We worked with Josh on Generator Hostels and have a great relationship with him. Together we’re adding the food and beverage hospitality angle—the restaurants, bars, and patios because that’s what we are good at—building off the original concept based on bringing likeminded people together by Rockwell Group. We’re also ramping up the amenities where possible, for example spa-like showers and changing rooms for people commuting by bike or spending extended amount of time on site.

NeueHouse has several different types of membership. Netflix, for example, is a tenant in Los Angeles, with their own private studio floors on the upper levels. Actually, DesignAgency’s Los Angeles studio is also in NeueHouse—we moved in just a few months ago.

ID: What have you completed recently?

AM: We developed the design language and ethos for Momofuku spaces and recently
RE Journals
For over 20 years, it sat vacant and imposing, overlooking the westerly approach to Downtown Chicago. Now the Old Post Office is nearly ready to welcome its first office tenants to an adaptive reuse that has implications beyond the building’s footprint.

New-York-based 601W Companies has sunk more than $800 million into the 2.8-million-square-foot, Art Deco behemoth. Now, those redevelopment efforts are paying off as one of the properties numerous prominent tenants, Ferrara Candy, prepares to officially move in on November 4th.

“Superlatives are very easy to use with the Post Office,” said Brian Whiting, president of the Telos Group, which has been advising 601W and marketing the property to potential tenants. “It’s the largest post office ever built, the largest redevelopment going on in the nation and the largest adaptive reuse of a historic structure.”

601W Companies acquired the iconic property in 2016 and tapped architecture firm Gensler to draw up a vision for the building’s second life, including the addition of a forthcoming food hall and a new Riverwalk. A four-acre, tenant-accessible rooftop park will feature a basketball court, two paddle courts, a quarter-mile running track, a bar and plenty of green space. Bear Construction was selected as general contractor for the monumentous project.

“There were literally thousands of people who have invested their heart and soul into the adaptive reuse and reposition of this building,” said Sheryl Schulze, NCIDQ, RID, principal at Gensler, “a building that the project team affectionately calls ‘sleeping beauty.’”

Now that the building is ready to awaken from its slumber, it brings with it the potential to rejuvenate a part of the city that is itself sleepy: the near South and Southwest Loop. With this redevelopment—as well as the projects happening along the South Branch of the Chicago River—there are signs of stirring.

Office tenants should be attracted to a newly revitalized area of the city. In the case of the Old Post Office, they are attracted to not only the historic touches, but the large floor plates. Ferrara originally signed on for 78,000 square feet but leased another 40,000 square feet before the ink was even dry on that deal. They pulled the trigger on the additional space in part because of the opportunities for collaboration that the Old Post Office offers.

“It was important to be on one floor for Ferrara’s culture,” said Theresa Williams, principal, design director at Nelson, the architecture firm that designed Ferrara’s offices. “It also helps everyone to see each other, to have those spontaneous moments to run into each other.”

This is a homecoming of sorts for Ferrara, which was founded not far away in Little Italy in 1908. One of the main drivers behind the confectioner’s move of approximately 400 employees from their Oakbrook Terrace offices back to Chicago was that they believe the property will attract young, innovative employees.

“One of the reasons we made this decision to relocate to downtown Chicago was because of access to a tremendous pool of diverse talent,” said Todd Siwak, chief executive officer of Ferrara Candy. “We are going to use our space to attract and retain talent.”

By the time construction is completed next year, the Old Post Office will be capable of housing up to 14,000 employees. More than 75 percent of the building’s space has been pre-leased, accounting for over 1.8 million square feet. The project should be an engine for relocation as well; according to Whiting, only about half of the employees that are projected to eventually occupy the building are currently in the city of Chicago.

Walgreens was the first user to commit to the building, announcing last summer that they would take on more than 200,000 square feet. Tech giant Uber is the largest confirmed tenant so far, as they signed a 10-year lease for 450,000 square feet. Among the others that will eventually occupy the Old Post Office are Cboe, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, AbelsonTaylor and Kroger subsidiaries Home Chef and 84.51°.

The original post office was designed by Graham, Anderson, Probst & White—the prolific Chicago architectural firm behind many of the city’s icons, including the Civic Opera House, Field Museum, the Merchandise Mart, Shedd Aquarium and the Wrigley Building. Th
Design Week Mexico
Taking place from October 3-27, the 11th annual Design Week Mexico features Cuba and Yucatan as this year’s respective guest country and guest state. The 2019 installment includes more than 15 exhibitions, installations, conferences, conversations, documentary screenings, and pavilions.

Additionally, México Territorio Creativo was launched this year as a platform to analyze design’s connection with the environment, education, innovation, culture, and the economy. Founded by Emilio Cabrero, Andrea Cesarman, Marco Coello and Jaime Hernández, the organization is now in charge of Design Week Mexico. As Mexico City mayor Claudia Sheinbaum says, “Creativity and knowledge will lead us towards a more sustainable city, with better mobility, and more equality and human rights.” Here are our top 10 highlights from Design Week Mexico 2019.

Mondrian Chair by Luis Antonio Ramírez Jiménez

This piece is part of a show organized by the Museo de Arte Moderno (on view until March 2020). “Cuba: La Singularidad del Diseño” deals with the design and architecture that emerged during the Cuban Revolution in 1959.

Entryway by C Cúbica Arquitectos for Design House

Every year, through Design House (on view until October 27), architects and interior designers transform a whole building into a sample of different styles and trends. Among the participants in 2019 are C Cúbica Arquitectos (who created the entryway), Jorge Mustri, MarqCo, Olga Hanono, Studio Roca, and Vieyra Arquitectos.

Origo Lamps by Studio DavidPompa

Made from volcanic rock, the floor lamp and small table lamp from the Origo collection are presented in a shipping container, creating an immersive experience for visitors. A strong contrast between the roughness of the stone and the soft light characterize these lighting fixtures.

Visión y tradición by communities in Taxco, Mexico

Thanks to a residency program in Yucatan and Taxco—a city known for its fine silver handwork—artisans and designers from Cuba and Yucatan collaborated to create unique pieces, which establish a dialogue between crafts and contemporary design.

Ato Sofa designed by Jorge Arturo Ibarra for Luteca

Inspired by Josef Albers’ 1930’s photographs of the pyramids of Tenayuca, Mexico, the Ato sofa designed by Jorge Arturo Ibarra, Luteca’s design director, pays tribute to the pre-Columbian architecture.

Thaw by Mool

Founded by Emmanuel Aguilar and Edgar Tapia in 2016, Mool evoked the effects of climate change through patterns that represent small ice islands in a vast ocean with this functional piece of furniture.

Visión y tradición by communities in Merida, Mexico

Through this Yucatan residency program, artists and designers used materials such as henequen, macramé, and stone to these create pieces showcased through October 27 in the Museo Nacional de Antropologia in Mexico City.

Lamp by MOB

With Ruta del Diseño, visitors were invited to discover some of the city’s best showrooms, galleries and studios. Founded in 2001, MOB focuses on pieces that transform through time.

Secreto desk by Pèrch

Inspired by the simplicity of Scandinavian design, this new piece of furniture features clean lines and hidden drawers on each side to protect sentimental items. The wood comes from sustainable and local providers.

Olho by students Rocío Callado Canteli, Luis Enrique Rosas and Natalia Hernández with professor Alejandra Cordero

Designed by students from the Universidad Iberoamericana, this utilitarian object—which was one of the winners for the Inédito section—reinterprets the preparation of food. It is part of a seven-piece collection designed with natural materials including stone, wood, and clay.
When Gensler employees come to work at the company’s new downtown offices, they’ll be able to set up in one of at least six workspaces. If they’re feeling stressed out, they can step into a “wellness room” to decompress. Those who bike to work will be able to take an elevator straight into the office, which will have its own bicycle storage.

“A lot of people ride their bikes to work and it seems like we’re getting even more, so we decided to accommodate a large number of bikes in the work area,” said Gensler’s Vince Flickinger, who was part of the team that designed the company's new space in 2 Houston Center.

The architecture firm signed a lease earlier this year for 50,000 square feet on two floors of the building at 909 Fannin, part of the larger Houston Center office complex on the eastern end of downtown. The company will relocate from Pennzoil Place once construction on the new space is complete.

San Francisco-based Gensler is known for its high-end corporate interiors. In recent years, its Houston office has implemented more of the design trends it studies and carries out for its clients, which include some of this region's top law practices, financial institutions and energy firms.

The new space will bring even more forward-thinking design.

About 70 percent of the Houston 288-person office will focus on so-called agile working, where employees can choose from a variety of workplace settings, whether it’s outside on a patio, in a huddle room or at a stand-up desk.

One section of the office will house mobile work stations that can be fully reconfigured. All workspaces throughout the office will have sit-to-stand capabilities.

“We like to see our office as a testing ground,” Flickinger said.

A design lab will include a makerspace with 3D printers, a virtual reality testing space and a shop area for making architectural models. The firm’s materials library will be twice the size of its current footprint in Pennzoil Place.

Employees will have access to a “sensory-lined wellness room” with adjustable light and sound systems to create a calming atmosphere. Gensler designers also plan to use the room for research on how sight, smell, touch and sound affect the workplace. Other quiet areas will encourage employees to relax without electronics.

“As you have more open areas some times some people just need to get away,” Flickinger said. “Not focus rooms or huddle rooms, but rooms for you to separate yourself from the working environment to get refreshed.”

Houston Center has its own amenities for tenants, including a fitness center, shops and restaurants. The complex is in the throes of its own renovation, which Gensler designed for landlord Brookfield.
creatAR images
wutopia lab has recently completed the design of duoyun books’ flagship store on the 52nd floor of shanghai‘s tallest building, shanghai tower. titled ‘books above clouds’, the project was commissioned by shanghai century publishing and includes a variety of functions including a bookstore, a lecture room, exhibition space and a cafe. providing more than just books, the new public place intends to become a cultural landmark within the busy city.

the design covers a huge area of 24,315.67 ft2 (2259 m2), providing space for 60,000 books. the scheme by wutopia lab centers around translucent bookshelves stacked in layers, or what the design team describe as a ‘white abstract mountain’. the curved entrances invite visitors inside to explore the books on offer, while at the end of the ‘mountain’, large windows gain impressive views over the city below.

the bookstore also includes a black study room, which denotes a quieter space for serious readers. circles of books wrap around visitors, while a movable bookshelf is used as a partition to separate different areas of the room. this bookshelf has been prefabricated in a factory and later installed on site. in addition to the areas for books, the store also includes a multi-purpose space that can be used for exhibitions or talks, or simply as a social gathering place.

wutopia’s design also comprises of two places to enjoy a cup of coffee on the 52nd floor. firstly, a ‘tiffany-blue’ cafe is embedded amid the white translucent bookshelves. meanwhile, a pink dessert house lies at the end of the store as a surprise to visitors. developed as a high quality bookstore, books above clouds results in a calm, beautiful space to spark readers’ imagination.

Trent Bell
American firm Supernormal has created a nursery and preschool in the Boston area that features sculptural volumes wrapped in vibrant wallpaper and open play areas illuminated by speckled daylight.

Opened in 2019, the SolBe Learning Center is a nursery and preschool for children aged six months to five years. The 550-square-metre facility is located in a strip mall in Chestnut Hill, a community in the Boston area.

Supernormal – a multidisciplinary firm based in the nearby town of Somerville – sought to create a new type of daycare and learning environment. Working in collaboration with SolBe's founders, the architects conceived a model that pairs each classroom, called a Dwelling, with an open space, called a Yard.

"The SolBe Learning Center questions the traditional definition of the classroom, commonly interpreted from early education code as a room bounded by four walls with an area of 35 square feet of space per child," the studio said in a description.

"Instead, the classroom is re-imagined as distinct zones of activity with specific spatial characteristics that better match the quality and level of activity within them."

For the classrooms, the team created sculptural volumes wrapped in colourful, patterned wallpaper. The interiors are fitted with oak flooring, creamy walls and wooden decor. Up above, a billowing ceiling was constructed using light-gauge metal framing with an acoustical plaster finish.

"The ceiling geometry allows for, and amplifies the effect of, indirect light in the dwellings," firm principal Elizabeth Bowie Christoforetti told Dezeen.

"The soft classroom lighting and dynamic ceiling contribute to a sense of calm and wonder in the learning spaces."

Acting as "islands" within an open-floor plan, the Dwellings provide space for focused, quiet learning. In contrast, the Yards are meant for lively play, dining and group activities.

"This oscillation between focused learning and free-play territory reflects the innovative curriculum, creating space that is sensitive to the needs of children as they transition through growth stages and times of the day," the studio said.

In the open areas, activities take place under a 4.5-metre-high (15-foot-high) ceiling punctured with skylights and covered with a screen made of white, acoustic baffles. Dappled, natural light moves across the interior, enabling kids to feel and observe how light and weather change throughout the day.

When school is not in session, the facility acts a community centre, offering opportunities for weekend play, music lessons and continuing education courses for adults.

"The space is an embodiment of SolBe's distinct, open and inclusive approach to early childhood education and life in community," the studio said.

"The space and the concept that drove it hold an enormous amount of potential to push at the edges of the existing status quo toward a redefinition of our experience of young family life in America, in whatever traditional or untraditional form it exists."

The SolBe Learning Center is longlisted for the Dezeen Awards 2019.

Other innovative schools and daycare facilities within the US include Big and Tiny in the Los Angeles area, which has a co-working space for parents and a wooden play area for kids, and WeWork's first school in New York City, which features lily-pad-shaped cushions and sculptural wooden enclosures.
As our understanding of wellness grows more complex, designers are thinking about the full life cycle of products they are specifying for the workplace.

While our understanding of what is attributed to wellness has changed, we have far to go in practice. When they specify products and materials, workplace designers are thinking beyond occupant health to that of everyone throughout the cycle of production. Similarly, we’re not just concerned with indoor air quality or toxins, but also movement and social interactions as daily rituals—in short, our happiness, not just our safety. Our environment must take center stage: What’s good for the planet is good for us.

We asked specifiers at COOKFOX and IA Interior Architects—two firms with reputations for supporting well-being and sustainability—for examples of what products they turn to in support of wellness at work.

Through their selections, one can see the wide range of concerns and corresponding standards or certifications that are shaping workplace design today. Red lists of toxic chemicals, standards for emissions levels, and new strategies for recycling materials—these and other tools are proving to be vital in building spaces that help people be happy and work safely.

The nine products below represent selections by Bethany Borel from COOKFOX and by Robert Atkinson, Tanya Davis, and Steven South from IA Interior Architects.

BAUX Acoustic Wood Wool Panels Responsibly sourced wood fibers make up the “wool” woven into these panels, which are moisture resistant, fire retardant, and recyclable. baux.se

BENTLEY MILLS Wanderlust This cradle to cradle silver carpet tile takes the hazards out of its fibers, backing, and adhesives to protect installers and occupants alike. bentleymills.com

GEIGER Brabo Lounge craftsmanship, material transparency, and sustainable practices elevate this collection above industry standards, attaining Indoor AdvantageTM gold certification. geigerfurniture.com

KVADRAT Divina The textile boasts six environmental achievements in material composition that include GREENGUARD Gold and LBC Red List compliance. maharam.com

INTERFACE Visual Code This collection is made with 100 percent recycled-content nylon, is treated with EPA-approved preservatives for longevity, and has achieved Green Label Plus status. interface.com

MUSHLUME Trumpet Pendant This biofabricated pendant light is grown from mushroom mycelium and is completely biodegradable. flowandchaos.com

STICKBULB Bough Elegance meets eco-minded design: Made in New York City, these lamps are built from reclaimed and sustainably sourced wood. stickbulb.com

WATSON FURNITURE Tia Part recycled, part recyclable, this office system marries environmental health with the ergonomics of a standing desk, pro- moting movement throughout the day. watsonfurniture.com

UPOFLOOR Upofloor Zero Enomer®, the material used in this flooring, is free from six common toxins affecting indoor air quality, helping it reach M1, the most stringent emissions class. upofloor.com
Getty Images
Employees report performing better in flexible workspaces that offer natural light, but most say their current offices don't have those features.

Want your workplace to be more productive and successful? Start by redesigning the office.

That advice comes from a survey released last month by financial giant Capital One that asked 3,608 full-time office workers across the U.S. what they "need, want, and expect from their work environment." The most striking response: 90 percent of people surveyed reported performing better in well-designed workplaces.

Unfortunately, more than half of respondents said their current offices are not well-designed, noting a lack of flexibility in their workspaces limits their productivity.

Two other statistics also stood out: 77 percent of respondents said they perform better when their office "provides spaces for collaboration," while 88 percent said they perform better when they have "space for focused, heads-down work." In other words, you need to give your employees options for where to perform their tasks. Survey-takers expressed a desire to change their physical location while working, as well as to swap between sitting desks and standing desks.

The study revealed the importance of other elements of the workplace environment, as well. Nearly six in 10 employees reported increased productivity and mental well-being when windows and natural light are present. On the other hand, almost four in 10 respondents said they don't currently have such features in their offices.

Location, surprisingly, might matter less than it used to, the survey revealed. More than half of employees ranked office design as at least equal to workplace location in importance. If you're choosing between offering a beautiful office or a convenient commute, your decision just got a little harder.
There's more to Ibiza than clubber-oriented resorts – the Spanish island also hosts a growing number of agroturismo hotels in old farmhouses. Here are five that combine a farm-to-fork ethos with contemporary design.

La Granja Ibiza

German interior-design studio Dreimeta converted a 200-year-old farmhouse and a neighbouring cottage to create La Granja, a members-only retreat boasting rooms furnished with a palette of charred wood, oiled ash, stone and slate.

As well as a pool, the hotel includes a restaurant where dishes are made from the 30 varieties of fruit, vegetables and nuts grown on the farm, including beetroot, melon, carrot, fig and almond.

Guests are also offered a range of communal ritualistic activities, from farming to meditation.

Can Sastre

Dutch entrepreneurs Raymond and Bibi van der Hout combine Scandinavian minimalism with Ibiza's rustic Bohemian style in this restored finca, or country estate, surrounded by orange trees, olives trees and farmland.

Can Sastre features just five suites, each featuring simple wooden furniture, patterned textiles, spa-like bathrooms and objects that the owners have collected on their travels.

The kitchen serves up a range of dishes, and exclusively uses produce grown on the island.

Can Martí

This simple finca is over 400 years old, but has been recently refurbished with a focus on sustainable materials and methods. The white-washed villa features eight clean and airy rooms, along with a traditional hammam and a freshwater swimming pool.

Can Martí is surrounded by strawberry fields, olive groves, vineyards and orchards. It grows a range of produce in its organic, permaculture garden, which are served up at breakfast and sold in a small shop onsite.


Atzaró was one of Ibiza's first agroturismo hotels, designed to offer "natural luxury".

Although it used to feature Asian-themed interiors, the hotel's in-house design studio recently gave it an overhaul that is more in keeping with Ibiza style. Terracotta tiled floors and olive wood ceilings are accompanied by locally handmade furniture and commissioned artworks.

To mark the hotel's 15th anniversary this month, it is opening a new eight-acre vegetable garden, featuring walkways lined by hanging squashes and courgettes, fruit trees bearing everything from pomegranates to avocados, and over 50 vegetable and herb varieties. This garden will be entirely organic, maintained using water from a well and electricity from onsite solar panels.

Etosoto Formentera

Not actually on Ibiza, this simple villa retreat is located a short ferry ride away on small neighbouring island of Formentera.

Etosoto's Parisian owners Grégory and Julien Labrousse worked with interior designer Elsa Kikoïne to create the clean and bright interiors, where white surfaces and wooden furniture and complemented by basket lamps and colourful ceramics.

High walls border the property, but arched openings offer framed views out to the wild landscape, which includes olive and fig groves, vineyards and wheat fields. The gardens are planted with fruits and vegetables, and the owners practice sustainable farming to minimise their use of water and energy.
Christopher Barrett.
Here’s a bold statement that we all need to be reminded of. Pinterest has altered the design world—but it hasn’t replaced the need for a designer.

In a fascinating report on Evidence-Based Design (EBD) from The Center for Health Design, the company defines EBD as “the deliberate attempt to base building decisions on the best available research evidence with the goal of improving outcomes and of continuing to monitor the success or failure for subsequent decision-making.” In short, purposeful design isn’t just a compilation of pretty pictures, but it’s backed by results, best practices, experience, trial and error, and years of research all curated into an expertly planned space centered around the end user's functionality and with inspiration in mind.

Mark Hirons FAIA, IIDA, LEED AP, design principal for CannonDesign, explained it best: “Informed design at the onset of a project leverages baseline comparisons to offer the client context and an enriched design consultancy experience. Design should be behavioral-focused and use relevant data as a means to explore ideas. Each project is unique. Ultimately, it’s a fine-tuned process that, while working with the client over time, results in a meaningful environment and often a portfolio of thoughtfully designed spaces.”

Understanding the Value of Design

The value of design exists in its ability to support two of the client’s most valuable resources: people and place. “While oftentimes clients initially may have preconceived notions, we seek to listen to their vision, understand their culture and explore new ideas that will best position them for the future. We look at behaviors and focus on efficiency and, even more importantly, effectiveness. While everyone wants a space that works well and is budget-friendly, the most important question is how do we purposefully design our client’s second-most-expensive asset in their portfolio (real estate) to make their first-most-expensive asset (people) more effective.”

By overlaying well-being, collaboration, privacy, and meaningful interaction, Hirons explains, great design can do both.

Want vs. Reality

Hirons notes that often the first endeavor is deciphering the difference between a client’s wants and needs within a space to best achieve their goals. “Our job is to take a step back and analyze how best to translate ideas and choices, authentically, to our client,” he says. “They may express an impact, characteristic, or mood desired for their space and our goal is to translate that with their brand and story to craft the environment for which they are aspiring.”

He continues, “Design is taking the desired behaviors and matching them with an array of purposeful settings that support concentration, collaboration, comprehension, and social connection and creating them to express each client’s mission and culture. We come back with a list of design choices that offer both the feel they want and the functional environment we know they need. For example, we’ll provide a list of things to consider—perhaps multi-functional spaces, art, gardens, enhanced technology, etc.—then the client can decide to pull different levers or accentuate certain choices to make the space more engaging and experiential.”

Design as a Catalyst, Space as an Innovator

As a well-illustrated example of this EBD principle, Hirons shared a recent client experience where a leading biopharmaceutical company in Korea wanted an environment that spoke to its brand reputation of being a global leader. After meeting with the client, CannonDesign realized the company needed to provide a space that supported its employees throughout their entire day.

“They wanted a work environment that infused the elements of collaboration, innovation, reflection, and a holistic perspective,” explained Hirons. “We delivered more than 50 different settings—from a living forest and micro-kitchens to seminar rooms and sleeping pods—that spoke to the idea of being the only one. We looked at each experience a person could have throughout the day and how the spaces could support productivity and infuse innovation. Ultimately, design was the catalyst to create a completely unique environment to enrich their staff members’ lives everyday.”

To clarify, Pinterest and the use of imagery has a place in the conte
Interior Design Media
Playful graphics in bold colors cross disciplines to become striking art and custom furniture pieces by Emily Alston. “I really like the idea of functional art—which is basically furniture,” laughs the British designer, who draws from a background in graphic design and illustration. With the unforgettable moniker of Emily Forgot, also the name of her design studio, she has collected a diverse roster of clients since graduating from the Liverpool School of Art & Design in 2004. Notable among them: prestigious London cultural institutions the Victoria & Albert Museum and Somerset House, hotel chains Mondrian Suites and CitizenM, retailer Selfridges, and furniture manufacturer Herman Miller.

This fall, at The Interior Design Show (IDS) in Vancouver, running September 26-29, Forgot will debut “A Sense of Place,” an installation based on the shapes and architecture of Canadian Modernism. In parallel, 13 of her pieces will be for sale with 50 percent of proceeds benefiting education program Out in Schools. Interior Design sat down with Forgot to learn more about her boldly colored wooden relief pieces, the favorite pastime she indulges all around the world, and why little has changed in some areas of her life since the age of six.

Interior Design: We understand you recently wrapped up a residency program.

Emily Forgot: That’s right, with de Bijenkorf, a department store chain in the Netherlands. I created a series of furniture and domestic objects inspired by the de Bijenkorf stores and the Bauhaus movement—so a table, chair, rug based on a Marcel Breuer staircase, and a set of three mobiles. The program, called Room on the Roof, is organized to coincide with the centennial of the Bauhaus movement and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Eindhoven de Bijenkorf store, designed by Italian architect Gio Ponti. The pieces will be used in window displays.

ID: Can you share a little more about the IDS installation and what else is upcoming for you?

EF: For IDS, I'm making some colorful wooden relief pieces for “A Sense of Place,” an installation and entrance hall feature. Similar to others I have made, these reliefs will be based on architectural or interior spaces that I quite like, with relevancy to location. Therefore, I've been researching a lot of Canadian architects and architecture and visiting some Vancouver-based spaces. I then reinterpret and abstract them for the relief pieces.

I am also working on a maze for the hotel chain CitizenM that will be open to the public during the London Design Festival, also in September, and a series of assemblage pieces and prints which will be exclusively for the Victoria & Albert Museum shop.

ID: What gets your creative mind energized?

EF: Travel is really important. As an example, this past February I did a project for Stay One Degree, a vetted-member-only holiday home rental website. They sent me out to the Canary Islands in Spain, to Tenerife, to be inspired by one of the villas they have there and then also by Tenerife itself. For them, I also created a unique series of colorful wooden pieces. A film was made to document the trip and the making of the pieces It was a really nice project and made me think a little bit differently about my work, which always has inspiration coming from a sense of place. Travel doesn’t have to be about getting on a plane and going somewhere, it's also about going to the library and picking up some old archive magazines.

ID: How do you believe the British design culture helps enable your vision?

EF: With social media and the internet being so much a part of our creative lives, things feel a lot broader. You can uncover an amazing restaurant in Australia or a new kind of furniture brand in New York. I gain inspiration from all around the world and don't think my work necessarily has a particularly British feel. But then again, I do really like a lot of British design; it's quite playful and there is a little bit of humor.

ID: In what kind of home do you live?

EF: I've recently moved with my partner into a 1960s home with quite a lot of original features. It’s near the sea, about an hour outside London, and is a huge ongoing project. My partner, Von, is an illustrator and artist as well, and we have a studio in the house that we share. Although some people just think that’s crazy, it
Interior Design Media
We’ve rounded up the hottest products from top flooring designers in 2019.

Designer: Julia Tonconogy of JT. Pfeiffer

Product: Amelia

Standout: Don’t be fooled by the jagged configuration on the company creative director’s rug, as it’s ren­dered in luxe Tibetan wool and Indian silk.

Designer: Ilse Crawford for Nanimarquina

Product: Wellbeing

Standout: Free of any bleaches or dyes, the plush rug by the Studioilse founder is hand-knotted of Afghan wool.

Designer: Kelly Wearstler for The Rug Company

Product: Bravado Graphite

Standout: Inspired by the custom runner in the designer’s own home, the rug’s high-energy bands in dark and light shades are Tibetan wool.

Designer: Raphael Navot for Roche Bobois

Product: Merge Dawn

Standout: Part of the multidisciplinary designer’s Nativ collection, the wool-blend rug interprets sunrise with the gestural approach of an abstract painter.

Designer: Rodger Stevens for Lindström Rugs

Product: Embrace

Standout: The Parsons School of Design–trained sculptor switches medi­ums from wire to hand-knotted Tibetan wool, but retains his artwork’s signa­ture loops and twists.

Designer: Martino Gamper for CC-Tapis

Product: Xequer

Standout: Don’t be fooled by the jagged configuration on the company creative director’s rug, as it’s ren­dered in luxe Tibetan wool and Indian silk.

Designer: Matt Berman and Andrew Kotchen for Warp & Weft

Product: Tidal A

Standout: Don’t be fooled by the jagged configuration on the company creative director’s rug, as it’s ren­dered in luxe Tibetan wool and Indian silk.
Benny Chan/Fotoworks
Tiles are one of the most versatile materials designers can work with—and they can also be among the most vibrant. Here are 10 hospitality, residential, and office spaces designed with cool and colorful tiles.

1. John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects Compose Rhythmic Curves for a Santa Monica Home

John Friedman and Alice Kimm are thoroughly modern architects. That said, Friedman sounds a caveat about contemporary residential design: “I’m tired of boxy, stacked architecture,” he says firmly. He and Kimm—married co–principals of John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects—were waiting for what she calls “simpatico clients who would let us explore the curved forms we’ve used in the interiors of more institutional projects.” That’s precisely what they got when a couple with multicultural heritages—including North African and South American—commissioned a new home in Santa Monica, California. Blame it on the Bossa Nova.

2. Mercado Little Spain in New York City by Juli Capella

Most recently, alongside innovation studio Icrave, Juli Capella has wrapped up the 35,000-square-foot Mercado Little Spain at New York's 10 Hudson Yards. The sprawling culinary tribute to tapas king and celebrity chef José Andrés consists of three full-service restaurants, 15 dining and retail kiosks, and two dedicated bars. Just as with the food, the interior—bursting with artwork, custom murals, materials, and furnishings—presents a taste of Spain to a New York audience.

3. Brilliant Hues Set the Mood for Jouin Manku’s Voyages by Alain Ducasse in Macau’s Morpheus Hotel

In the Morpheus hotel in Macau, a curving corridor to the north leads to Voyages by Alain Ducasse, its entrance anchored by a massive circular bar of heavily veined marble with a glittering armada of backlit bottles arrayed on stainless-steel shelves. In the bar, lounge, and the 116-seat dining room, brilliant hues are the key—an exception for Jouin Manku—with vivid orange flooring and ceiling panels inspired by the persimmons found in local markets. In the dining room, a wall-size panel in yet more tangerine displays an installation of 100 tiles printed with delightfully playful food drawings by French illustrator Léa Maupetit, interspersed with brief recipes and notes handwritten on the tiles by Ducasse.

4. Jorge Pardo Eyes the Skies for Dallas's Commissary

When Headington Companies, fresh off the success of Forty Five Ten and the Joule Hotel, asked Jorge Pardo to do something with a drab brown brick-and-concrete building in downtown Dallas, he wanted to take his time. “I took a color inventory of the center of the city,” he says. “It’s kind of gray, so I thought it would be interesting to have something that reflects the sky and is a break with the architecture.” He then found ceramic tiles made in Guadalajara that could withstand the Texas climate. The result is Commissary, a five-story market and espresso bar covered, inside and out, in a vibrant combination of more than 27,000 blue and white tiles.

5. Spacemen Duo Goes Bold and Experiential with Landmarked Shanghai Eatery Icha Chateau

When deciding on a name for the firm they were founding in 2014, designers Edward Tan, now 31, and Foo Chit Kyan, 40, went with Spacemen. They are always thinking about space, after all. But the futuristic reference also links to the firm’s aesthetic: bold and experiential, particularly apparent in the studio’s hos­pitality projects. One such is Icha Chateau, a Western fusion restaurant and teahouse in Shanghai.
Denilson Machado of MCA Estúdio
A stark white latticework volume conceals kitchen cabinets and a bathroom in this São Paulo apartment, designed by local architecture studio NJ+.

Called Dendê Duratex House, the 155-square-metre studio apartment is laid out as an open-plan L-shaped space. It comprises a bedroom at one end and a lounge at the other with a kitchen in between.

Off the sitting area is a larger living room, positioned next to a lush garden.

A free-standing lattice volume acts as a divider between different the kitchen and bedroom, and accommodates the kitchen cabinetry as well as a bathroom.

NJ+ studio, led by Nildo José, designed the Dendê Duratex House with Brazilian manufacturing company Duratex for Casacor, an interior design festival in São Paulo.

José created the one-bedroom apartment around the festival's theme, Planet Home. He took many cues from the Brazilian state Bahia, where he grew up.

Among these details is dark wood panelling that references Bahia's Jacaranda trees. Walls covered in burnt cement coating in a contrasting pale colour take cues the light and simple architecture of its beach houses.

"Every detail reflects a special bond with his homeland in a sober way, rich in art, bossa nova and poetry," said NJ+ studio in a project description.

Dendê, in name of the project, is also a reference to a fruit from a palm tree native to West of Africa that is commonly in northeast Brazilian cuisine, including Bahia.

The home's interiors comprise a monochrome palette of grey stone floors, a slatted dark wood wall that arches to form the ceiling, and numerous bright white furnishings.

Double-height glass walls line all three of the rooms, and bring in plenty of natural light.

At the entrance is a marble slab of rock salt with a 15-metre long strip of LED light underneath, which "recalls Bahian mysticism in a creative and subtle way". Another rock-like design runs along the bottom of the floor.
W Dubai-The Palm
“Textiles and color have formed the basis of our work since the very beginning.” So states Paola Lenti of her namesake company, which she founded in 1994 in Meda, Italy, and today produces fabrics, rugs, architectural structures, and furniture for indoor and outdoor use, employing a staff of 100.

Born in Piedmont in 1958, Lenti studied graphic design at the Scuola Politecnica di Design in Milan, and then went on to work as an art director for various fashion companies, where she would create displays and environments, designing rugs and such herself. Eventually, she went out on her own, making small glass and porcelain objects but switching to felt rugs, which she says represented the true start of her self-named brand.

Materials research and sustainability have been guiding forces since day one. In 1997, she began working with designer Francesco Rota, a collaboration that has produced some 70 collections and is still going strong. It was 2000 when they turned their focus to outdoor, aiming to create furnishings that are as attractive and comfortable as those for interiors. That same year was when her younger sister Anna came on as managing director, overseeing administrative and marketing aspects. Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, the company they’ve forged is synonymous with innovation but also with the handmade, global but also local (except for a few items, Paola Lenti products are all made in Italy). Here, Lenti the older expounds on inspirations, recent projects, and upcoming endeavors.

Interior Design: What inspires you?

Paola Lenti: Nature, for its simplicity, clarity, and unexpected texture and color combinations. I remember, as a child, my entrepreneur father would take me along when he went to the countryside to paint and teach me to appreciate all the surrounding beauty. My passion for color was born with me. Another childhood memory is receiving a book of colored collage paper and cutting up and combining the dark orange and dark turquoise pieces. Each time I start selecting colors for a collection, I recall cutting those pieces.

ID: How does color play through your col­lec­tions?

PL: We focus on it not only for individual fibers but also in the fabrics we weave from those fibers, and for the collections and the ways they work together. Even our solid fabrics often have more than one color of thread woven in.

ID: What are other constants?

PL: Research and development, finding increasingly better materials in terms of both ecological sustainability and durability. We have propriety materials that do both, such as Rope and Twiggy.

ID: Which designers have you collaborated with?

PL: At first, it was only Francesco. But now we work with a handful, such as Francesco Bettoni, Victor Carrasco, Claesson Koivisto Rune, Vincent Van Duysen, Marella Ferrera, Marco Merendi, Nicolò Morales, and Lina Obregón. I prefer to concentrate on just a few people for a closer collaboration. Marella and Nicolò had pieces debut at this year’s Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan.

ID: How long have you participated in that?

PL: From 1995 to 2002, we were at Salone. From 2003 on, we’ve been part of the Fuorisalone off-site. This year, we returned to Fabbrica Orobia, where, with Bestetti Associati, we created a series of modern environments to contrast with the enormous 1920s warehouse using partitions made from materials such as glass, ceramics, lava stone, and fabric pieces, all of which are now part of the collection. We also had indoor and outdoor furniture introductions this year by Bettoni, Van Duysen, Obregón, and Rota.

ID: Any projects abroad?

PL: Yes, Torno Subito at the W Dubai-The Palm hotel. The chef is Massimo Bottura of the famous Osteria Francescana in Modena. The mood there is completely different, more formal and serious, whereas the Dubai restaurant is playful and colorful, recalling the joyful Italian Riviera of the 1960s.
What is a social stair? Remember back in 2001, when OMA/Koolhaas and Scheeren completed the Prada Boutique (now called Prada Epicenter) on lower Broadway in Soho? It features an amphitheater-like stair leading from the ground floor down to the basement. This stair can be used as a stair, taking you from one level to the next. It can also be used as bleacher-like seating. And when it is not accommodating seated human beings, the amphitheater part of the stair can be peopled with ranks of mannequins outfitted in Prada fashions. Though not the first of its kind, the Prada stair is the archetype of the 21st-century social stair. The social stair connotes a style of 21st-century sociability: cool; hip; spontaneous; diverse, yet connected; and youthful. As such, it has been transformed into a symbol: an icon of collective identity that suggests it has the power to make you cool, hip, awesome (and maybe even young) — just by being in its presence. The 21st-century word associated with this phenomenon of implied magical bonding is “meme” (rhymes with “mean”). My authoritative source on 21st-century forms of knowledge, Wikipedia, tells me that “meme” means a unit of conduct that you can internalize and imitate in order to represent yourself to others as embodying the desirable associations — cool, hip, awesome, young — affiliated with the meme/form. So now you know: The social stair is a magical meme. It possesses the power to confer a social identity, linking you to a community that you want other people to see you as belonging to.

The Wikipedia entry on memes has a whole section on architectural memes, an indication of the potency that buildings possess to shape the attitudes, opinions, and conduct of the people who occupy, or simply pass by, them. The Wikipedia entry also identifies the foremost theorist of architectural “meme-ology” as Nikos A. Salingaros, professor of mathematics at The University of Texas at San Antonio, and author of “A Theory of Architecture” (2006).

Houston, in the past four years, has experienced a population explosion of high-profile social stairs. The expansion and reconstruction of the University of Houston Student Center South (2015, EYP and WTW); the Midtown Arts and Theater Center Houston (2015, Studio RED and Lake|Flato); the Moody Center for the Arts at Rice University (2017, Michael Maltzan); the Glassell School of Art of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2018, Steven Holl and Kendall/Heaton Associates); and the Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (2019, Gensler) all have public spaces configured around social stairs. Do the people who frequent these buildings actually hang out on the social stairs, embodying the forms of contemporary sociability depicted in architectural renderings? Or is this even a relevant question? Doesn’t the very existence of the social stair demonstrate that the building comes equipped with the necessary spaces for shaping cool, awesome, etc., subjects and bonding them into a community?

In his book “The Architecture of Neoliberalism: How Contemporary Architecture Became an Instrument of Control and Compliance” (2016), the British architectural historian and theorist Douglas Spencer decodes such memes as the social stair; long refectory-like communal work tables; internally exposed trusses, ducts, tile block walls, and concrete floor slabs; and interior glass partitions to argue that these are not simply constituents of a currently fashionable style of architecture but the material and spatial building blocks of a social system based on the exaltation of economic markets. What Spencer finds notable about the effort to shape people’s (and especially architects’) self-conceptions and their ideas about community is how often Neoliberalism operates through soft means (and soft memes) — architecture, fashion, advertising images, architectural renderings — rather than through rules, creeds, and the formation of political or religious belief structures. The rhetoric of self-direction and workplace democracy, the absence of hierarchy, the ability to bring your pet to work — are visually portrayed in memetic images of happy, attractive, racially and ethnically diverse groups of young people working at their laptops or texting on their cellphones, spontaneously generating innovation even as they break from their co-work perches on social stairs to grab a healthy fusion snack at the nearest
Cody Pickens
The special sauce behind Google’s breakout hardware products is its one-year-old Design Lab. We’re the first publication to go inside.

There’s a building on Google’s Mountain View, California, campus that’s off-limits to most of the company’s own employees. The 70,000-square-foot Design Lab houses around 150 designers and dozens of top-secret projects under the leadership of vice president and head of hardware design Ivy Ross, a former jewelry artist who has led the company’s push into gadgets ranging from the groundbreaking Google Home Mini speaker to the playful line of Pixel phones.

Inside the lab—and away from the cubicle culture of the engineering-driven Googleplex—industrial designers, artists, and sculptors are free to collaborate. “Google’s blueprint for how they optimize is great for most people [at the company],” says Ross. “Designers need different things.”

In any other setting, Ross’s upbeat, bohemian demeanor would evoke that of a high school art teacher or perhaps the owner of a crystal shop more than a design director at one of the most powerful companies in the world. Today she walks me, the first journalist ever allowed in the building, through the space—which she calls “a huge gift” from Google’s executive team. Google was always an engineer’s company, rarely recognized (and sometimes ridiculed) for its hardware and software design. But recently, Google CEO Sundar Pichai has been forthright in articulating just how crucial design has become to Google’s business. In the past few years, Google has developed gadgets—from phones to smart speakers—that are some of the most desirable in the world. Yet before doors opened to the lab last June, the growing Google hardware design team ran many of their operations out of a literal garage—not the best setting for such an important of part Google’s operations.

So Ross collaborated with Mithun, the architects behind many Google buildings, to create something new: a space that is meant to be a backdrop to Google’s soft, minimal industrial design aesthetic. “This framework, it has fairly neutral colors. There’s nothing so ingrained that we can’t evolve,” says Ross. “But being a blank canvas, what changes it is the products we’re evolving, the materials, their color, and their function.”

Each space in the lab was constructed to help Ross’s team marry tactile experiences (understated, fabric-covered gadgets that feel at home in the home) with digital ones (Google’s unobtrusive UX). “Essentially the first thing I said was, ‘We need light,'” recalls Ross. “Where in some buildings, [programmers] need darkness for screens, we need light.” The lab’s entrance is a two-story, skylit atrium, filled with soft seating and cafe tables for casual meet-ups.

A birchwood staircase leads upstairs to a library filled with the design team’s favorite books—each member of the team was asked to bring in six texts that were important to them, and inscribe a message as to why. “We’re the company that digitized the world’s information,” says Ross, “[but] sometimes, designers need to hold things.”
In other instances, the lab is set up so designers can window-shop. The second story walkway around the atrium feels something like a high-end mall. On one side, I see a glass wall to the color lab. On the other side, a glass wall to the material lab. The color lab features an ever-changing array of objects, collected by Google hardware designers on their travels. It’s a hodgepodge of items that seems less about color than what I might call a vibe. I see a paper radish, a green stack of stones, and an ivory jewelry box—all evoking a certain handmade minimalism. The display is the best reminder of a simple fact of Google’s hardware design team. Just 25% to 40% of the group has ever designed electronics before. The rest designed everything from clothing to bicycles in a previous life.

At a large white table inside the color lab, under carefully calibrated lights, Ross’s team debates the next colorways for upcoming Google products. Once a week, designers from across categories—from wearables to phones to home electronics—gather around the table with scraps and samples in hand, to make product line decisions together. I’m treated to a show of last season’s products and colors to demonstrate a point: that Google designers, making more than a dozen products that could be in your home at once, want them to look good next to one another, even if they were produced a few ye
Interior Design Media
During Salone del Mobile 2017, a flurry of Instagram posts propelled designer Marc Ange’s sheltered daybed, Le Refuge, boldly rendered in pink, to fame. Springing from a wood base, his fabricated palm trees sheltered an inviting retreat with their deftly layered leaves. “My universe is made up of Los Angeles's influence on my European cultural structure,” says Ange who praises Italy—the land of his birth—for “its lyricism, majesty, pride, and decadence” and France—the country where he was raised—for “its perfectionism, depth, and melancholy.” He now lives in L.A., where, he says, his visual imagination is inspired by the light and contrasts.

In 2008, with the decision to expand from the luxury car design arena, Ange founded studio Bloom Room, which now has outposts in Los Angeles and Paris; a client list that includes the likes of Louis Vuitton, Nina Ricci, Ferrari, Prada, and Zadig & Voltaire; and projects including private homes and Dar Simons, a restaurant opening in September in Marrakech. Most recently, during Salone del Mobile 2019 in Palazzo Cusani, a historic 17th-century palace in Milan, Ange presented new furnishings in the exhibition “An Extraordinary World.” Interior Design sat down with the designer to learn more about his new pieces, how inspiration can come from a childhood fear of spiders, and where to find a spa retreat within a ghost town lost in the mountains.

Interior Design: Can you tell us a little about the new pieces you presented in “An Extraordinary World,” your exhibition in Milan this past April?

Marc Ange: Following my creative instincts, this collection naturally took the direction of a fantastic universe, bathed in memories of childhood, repressed fears, or forgotten dreams. I presented a new version of Le Refuge—the very first piece of my collection, which I launched in 2017. This piece—a sheltered bed called Le Refuge de la Nuit—is the expression of the memory of an emotion that I felt in my childhood when I imagined that a forest was growing in my room to protect me from the real world. I chose super foamy white fabric from the new collection of Dedar, which I love because it’s like a cloud. For the base I chose terrazzo tile because it’s something that is very old, with history, something Italian. The Les Araignées upholstered seating collection of armchairs and now a sofa probably represents my buried fear of spiders, which was among the things that a refuge could protect me from.

Lampes Refuge is a floor lamp in aluminum—that’s very light and easy to use—with a marble base. For the marble, I chose a lot of different colors—yellow, some pinks, some greens, some grays, some brown. I went to these different caves north of Tuscany to choose the stone.

ID: What else have you recently completed recently?

MA: We have just finished three bottles of perfumes, for three big luxury brands, each very different from the others. This type of project is very interesting because these small glass objects must represent a complete universe. Every detail of these bottles tells a story—precise, chiseled—which must touch a certain part of the collective unconscious, and stage the brand without betraying its context and its history. These are difficult and exciting exercises.

ID: What’s upcoming for you?

MA: For an Italian luxury brand, I am preparing a residential furniture collection with a very strong identity, which will launch during Design Miami in December. It will be a kind of romantic and modernist bestiary, carved in exceptional and precious materials. In addition, at Salone del Mobile 2020, I will present a new residential furniture collection, which will be a summation of all I have done so far.

ID: How do you believe your unique background in automobiles and fashion helps enable your vision?

MA: Having a varied background allowed me to understand the mysteries of creation. Indeed, the creative process, before the physical development, is the same—be it a car, a luxury product, a piece of furniture, or an interior. I also think that specialization ends up creating habits that cause creative paralysis. Touching different universes allows you to constantly recharge your batteries.
Rachel Jones
This tech-savvy and entrepreneurial cohort has the power to change the workplace.

As we eye the opportunities and upheaval posed by rapidly evolving technology and societal shifts, it may be today’s young people (known by demographers as Generation Z) that are poised to make the most significant disruptions. Architecture firms could prove to be in a prime position to attract today’s youth, since the profession offers ample opportunity for unique expression while also advocating for the creation of a better world through concrete actions and increasing technology use.

Gen Z, with their technical savvy and tendency toward collaboration and individual expression, may be the best fit yet for the profession. However, there is a lot to be considered to attract, retain, and harness those traits.

To date, there has been notable study on the ways that millennials (born 1981–1996) have changed the workforce, and office culture in particular. For example, millennial influence can be seen in the emergence and growth of flexible and collaborative work environments, telecommuting, and workplace benefits aimed at better work-life balance (i.e., things like paternity leave and flexible work hours). In some ways, the collaborative nature of architectural practice has made architecture firms better prepared for millennial influence in terms of workplace engagement. However, like many other professions, architecture firms are still working to create a culture that embraces the benefits demanded by the large cohort of millennials.

But as large a cohort as millennials have been, the oldest of the generation are nearing 40. As we envision the practice of the future, it is now to the subsequent generation—Gen Z— that we must look. The Pew Research Center defines Generation Z as those born from 1997 to 2012—spanning today’s elementary school and college students, the oldest of whom are just starting to enter the workplace. This is the largest generation to date (estimated in the U.S. at 86 million, as compared to the 72 million millennials). This cohort already holds tremendous purchasing power, something unheard of in prior generations. Current estimates value their current consumer spending influence at $40 billion.

Profile of a Generation

Gen Z is a cohort with glimmers of the past. Socially, its members are in sync with their millennial predecessors. According to 2018 surveys by the Pew Research Center, 62 percent of Gen Zers believe increasing amounts of racial and ethnic diversity are good for society, equivalent to the 61 percent reported by millennials, and significantly higher than reported by earlier generations. They also share millennial views that the government should do more to solve problems, that the Earth is getting warmer due to human activity, and that same-sex marriage benefits our society.

In approach, it mirrors Generation X (born 1965–1980), the one that makes up the largest proportion of Gen Z’s parents. They are similar in their pragmatism and work ethic. According to the University of Michigan’s annual Monitoring the Future survey, high school seniors in 2017 were more willing to work overtime than their millennial peers, at levels that are on par with Americans in Generation X.

In circumstance, it also shares much in common with the Silent Generation, those born from 1928 to 1945, who emerged after World War II and the Great Depression during a time of economic disaster and recovery. Likewise, Gen Z came of age during a time of economic and social turmoil, following the Great Recession and 9/11. Their society is one plagued by global conflicts and wars, climate disruption, and school safety threats. It has led to a cautious generation, but one born at a time of opportunity.

Along with these commonalities, Gen Z has an identity of its own, bringing new energy and skills, as well as new challenges, to the workplace. Having never known a world without mobile devices, it is a group used to having information available all the time, and as a result they are both highly sophisticated online but also wary of the content they find there. They are constantly connected, but less so in person. They are realistic, yet still hopeful of a better future. They are economically cautious, yet highly entrepreneurial. And they are risk-averse—an attitude borne from a deep trust of adults coupled with economic insecurity.

Implications on Workplace Benefits

Given some of the unique demograph
Interior Design Media
A holistic approach to nature and wellness drives Matteo Thun’s built projects. The award-winning Italian architect and Interior Design Hall of Fame member co-founded the iconic Italian design and architecture collective the Memphis Group with Ettore Sottsass in 1981, before striking out on his own, forming Matteo Thun & Partners in 2001. Thun’s happiest designing something new, he admits, and his firm’s creative eye, honed out of a headquarters in Milan and an office in Shanghai, is behind a long list of high-profile hospitality and healthcare projects spanning the globe.

Most recently, summer saw the reassembly of Thun’s temporary beach structure, Cala Beach Club on the breathtaking Emerald Coast of the Italian island of Sardinia. Situated at Hotel Cala di Volpe in Costa Smeralda, a playground for the rich and, at times, famous—many of them yachting enthusiasts—Cala Beach Club is an environmentally sensitive structure only accessible by foot or boat. In summer it hums with private parties, with clientele seduced by the stunning natural landscape. Interior Design sat down with Thun to hear more about the Cala Beach Club, what toy kicked off his imagination at a young age, and which project reachable solely by cable car he considers a career turning point.

Interior Design: What was your overall design goal for Cala Beach Club?

Matteo Thun: Cala di Volpe is a beautiful beach in Sardinia. We wanted to create a shady oasis just between the woods and the sea. Restaurant, bar, and treatment rooms have been designed to melt within the landscape, to respect the charm of this special place.

ID: What was particularly challenging about this project?

MT: This property is reachable only by boat or on a path through nature. Since it serves only for the season, we designed a removable structure that is easily to assemble and dismantle.

ID: What materials did you use and why?

MT: The structure unites with the beach vegetation, terraces value the inclination of the land, and views are open to the sea. We only used natural materials that integrate with the surroundings, such as chestnut wood and bamboo. All colors are natural and warm.

ID: What else have you completed recently?

MT: We like to bring nature inside and believe in concepts that emphasize an overall healthy lifestyle as a main approach. Healthy architecture and interior design guarantees physical and mental well being, allowing a relationship between humans and the environment. In Obbürgen, Switzerland, the Waldhotel at Bürgenstock Hotels & Resort, which opened at the end of last year, is a space for wellness and medical services. It’s made from local stone and wood, and nature will take over in a few years so that the building will melt with the mountain. As with most of our projects, we also designed the entire interior.

Another recent project is the new headquarters for Davines, an Italian beauty company dedicated to sustainability and based in Parma, Italy. Here, we grouped traditional rural shapes and innovative volumes around a greenhouse that serves as a restaurant for the employees. Maximum architectural transparency with a minimum amount of masonry elements provides every working station with a view of the green areas.
Saladino Design Studios
The sizzle of mid-summer isn’t slowing down the design community. Here is a look at the latest batch of art installations and venue openings, plus the glassmaking technique behind the 2019 Tour de France trophy.

New Exhibitors Join 1stdibs, Expanding Design Hub’s Offerings

Design mainstay 1stdibs, which opened its Manhattan gallery near Hudson Yards in February, announced several new exhibitors joining the marketplace this month. Vitra, Wyeth, and FK Gallery now each have booths, in addition to new gallery installations by Equinocial, Opiary, R & Company, and Artek (distributed by Vitra).

Miami’s CityPlace Doral Gets First Pisco Bar, with Swinging Chairs and Rope Mural

Whimsical is the word that comes to mind when describing the newest SuViche restaurant in Miami’s CityPlace Doral. The 3,800-square-foot restaurant, designed by Saladino Design Studios, features the area’s first Pisco Bar, swinging chairs, a handwoven macramé rope mural, and a custom floral and moss graffiti wall that reads, “Let’s Get Saucy.”

Here’s What Biophilic Design Looks Like in Paint

Brooklyn-based artist Matthew Tucker reimagines mid-century furniture in lush, vibrant interiors on canvas—driven by his desire to establish a sense of place within surreal settings. Tappan launched a collection of Tucker’s works July 18, marking the start of their relationship, with prices ranging from $500 to $7,500.

Master Glassmaker Recruited to Create 2019 Tour de France Trophy

Czech glassmaking company Lasvit once again collaborated with ŠKODA AUTO, Tour de France's longstanding partner, to create a distinct crystal trophy for this year’s winners. Designed by Peter Olah, the 2019 trophy reflects the “spitzstein” glass-cutting method—a traditional Czech technique, which led the team to seek out a 75-year-old master glassmaker to craft each trophy.
Evan Joseph
On July 29, the Empire State Building unveiled a new visitor observatory experience and museum in Midtown Manhattan. The 10,000 square foot space—designed by Thinc, Beneville Studios, Corgan, IDEO, and Squint/Opera, among others—occupies part of the second floor of the Art Deco skyscraper. Exhibitions highlight the structure’s modern-day interventions, guiding visitors through its storied past and ultimately escorting them up to the 86th floor observatory. At 1,454 feet tall, the Empire State Building, designed by Shreve, Lamb and Harmon, was completed in 1931—and is now home to the Architectural Record offices.

The new visitor experience begins in a vestibule lined with the building’s early history and plans, opening into a room where an archival panoramic photograph of the original site (it housed the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel up through the 1920s) wraps the walls from floor-to-ceiling. Here, one can view imagined video clips of scenes of Midtown’s past through building surveyors. The building’s original survey marker is displayed in the center of the room.

But perhaps the most interesting of rooms is an immersive exhibit demonstrating the construction process. LED screens line the walls and part of the ceiling, displaying life-size videos—a mix of historical images and recreations—of workmen assembling steel beams that form the structure of the tower. Surround sound construction noise accompanies the video footage, creating an experience akin to what New Yorkers would have experienced at the site nearly 90 years ago. Glimpses of LED sky peek through openings in the wood-paneled ceiling meant to recall the scaffolding of construction zones past. At points during construction, as many as two floors were built each day, totaling only 14 months of construction time for the 102-story building.

Michael Benveille, chief creative officer of New York–based Beneville Studios says his firm wanted to bring a sense of “childlike wonder” to the observatory and museum, while still honoring the legacy and integrity of the building, “without making it too much like a theme park.”

The museum also contains models of the original Otis elevator cars, information on the building’s energy efficiency, and an exhibit on the Empire State Building’s place in pop culture, complete with historical artifacts, photos, and film clips. The project represents the second phase of an extensive, $165-million renovation plan, which began with a new observatory entrance, which opened on 34th Street last summer. The final pieces of the observatory’s face-lift will be completed next year.
NYC Health + Hospitals
New York City’s largest public art collection is in its hospitals. NYC Health + Hospitals, the biggest public healthcare system in the United States, manages a collection of more than 7,000 works, including pieces by important 20th-century artists such as Ellsworth Kelly, Andy Warhol, and Robert Rauschenberg. But some 70 percent of the collection needs conservation, according to Linh Dang, who directs NYC Health + Hospitals’s Arts in Medicine program. A recent survey of the collection revealed mold on a piece by Keith Haring, graffiti on a work by Helen Frankenthaler, and a large collage by Romare Bearden displayed without UV-coated Plexiglas to protect it.

Last February, NYC Health + Hospitals announced a $1.5 million grant that will fund several new arts initiatives, some of which will make use of its extensive art collection. The collection will be used to train doctors, who, research shows, can improve diagnostic skills and better interpret patients’ emotional expressions by viewing art. The funds will also support audio art tours. In hospital waiting areas, anyone with a smartphone, including patients and their families, will soon be able to access descriptions of the artworks on the hospitals’ walls.

But none of the grant money will go toward conservation of existing works. Dang estimates an additional $2 million is needed to adequately conserve the hospital system’s art collection.
The work being done inside NYC Health + Hospitals to manage its art collection reflects similar efforts at hospitals across the U.S. and reveals the unique benefits and challenges of acquiring, displaying, and caring for art in healthcare facilities.

“The appreciation of art and the response to art is heavily based on human perception,” said Upali Nanda, who is principal and director of research for the architecture firm HKS, Inc. and a professor of architecture at the University of Michigan.

Guided by art

Art, she says, can be used for making a space memorable, for positive distraction, for inspiring awe, and for wayfinding—knowing where you are in a building or an environment, where your destination is, and how to get there.

To determine how art might be best used in a healthcare setting, Nanda and her colleagues have drawn on a concept developed by Austrian art historian Alois Riegl at the turn of the 20th century called “viewer’s share.” Riegl recognized that a work of art is incomplete without the perceptual and emotional involvement of the viewer. In a museum, Nanda said, we are cognitively much more prepared to do our share of the beholder’s work. We may even be disappointed if the art we encounter in that context doesn’t challenge us.

In hospitals, however, patients are in varying levels of vulnerability. According to recent research, familiar and non-threatening images of nature tend to be the most calming. But it’s not one size fits all, Nanda said. “Anchor yourself in the human perception.” Think of who is receiving the art and what their experiences might be.
Jobe Corral Architects
Texas is known for its harsh climate—something that Camille Jobe and Ada Corral, principals of Jobe Corral Architects, keep in mind when they are sketching out plans for the mostly residential architecture and interiors projects out of their headquarters in downtown Austin. Previously practicing independently as architects, Jobe and Corral joined together five years ago to form one of the rare women-owned-and-operated architecture firms in the United States. Most recently, the duo completed River Ranch, a modern house in the Texas Hill Country built employing traditional rammed earth construction. Interior Design sat down with Jobe and Corral to learn more about River Ranch, why they have debates about front doors, and the clear division that drives their creativity.

Interior Design: So, tell us a little about the River Ranch project.

Ada Corral: The clients were really in love with the land. After an arborist came and talked about the big oak trees on the site and how it was all very rooted and connected underground, we came up with this idea of using traditional rammed earth construction. The rammed earth is a conceptual way of tying in the love of the land and the connection with the earth. Having a building that is sheltering and protected was also important. Our solution is an almost U-shape, with expansive glass in the direction of the view.

Camille Jobe: For River Ranch, the rammed earth is made of decomposed granite, Portland cement, and water. It’s a dry mix that is poured into forms in ‘lifts’ of about six to twelve inches and then rammed down to compact it. This layering process is what gives it the striated appearance. It has been done for thousands of years and was an easy yet sound construction method because it requires no heavy machinery and can be done incrementally. The rammed earth was really the boss of this project because once we created these walls, they sort of ran the show. There is not a single space where you don’t see them—so we had to be very particular about texture and color, warmth and coolness next to these super striking and very distinctive walls.

ID: How did you choose the furnishings, which have a Scandinavian feel?

CJ: The project began with a collection of pieces that we called ‘artifacts,’ which the client had gathered from around the world over time. We started thinking about filling the space solely with items that were just as well-crafted—where you could see the connection, detail, and materiality—and make each one of these pieces a new artifact. So, all of the new furniture either has a notable providence story—in terms of where it came from—or appeal in the way it was assembled. For example, in the living area, the pink leather and wood sling chairs are from a company called Fenton and Fenton and are made in Indonesia.

ID: What’s coming up for you?

CJ: In collaboration with a branding company in Oregon, we’re doing the architecture and interior design for a young company headquarters in Austin. It’s a large commercial space that we’re figuring out how to make look like home.

We also have a fun project that is literally three toilets. In Austin there’s a trail that goes around Lady Bird Lake, and up and down the trail are these little boutique, sculptural restroom projects by different architects. We've admired the previous restrooms that have been out there so we’re really excited about it. Ours will be of terracotta tile, concrete, and steel, and to create the sink we are reusing a concrete pipe.

ID: How do you work together as a team?

CJ: I am the big-picture person and Ada is the detail person.

AC: So, it is very clear.

ID: In what kind of homes do you live?

AC: We're actually neighbors and live on the same street about five houses down from each other in the same style of post-World War II residence. There was a shortage of wood at that time, so the houses were built out of concrete blocks instead of wood framing. As such, they are both very simple mid-century concrete block houses. After we started our partnership, we brought the houses into the office and designed additions for both of them at the same time.

ID: How did your childhood play a role in your creativity today?

CJ: My dad and everybody on his side of the family are civil engineers and my mother w
Interior Design Media
Stadium seating adds playfulness and versatility to office projects big and small.

1. Tsao & McKown Lets History Shine at Sunbrella’s North Carolina Headquarters

Naturally Tsao & McKown was among the talented mix-masters that members of the Gant family wanted to meet when they were planning headquarters in Burlington, North Carolina, for their growing Sunbrella brand. The Gants had their eye on converting the early 20th–century former mill they owned across the street from a building Sunbrella shared with its parent company, Glen Raven. Beyond the new glass-and-steel curtain wall, a 46-foot-wide swath of pine stadium seating fills the lobby. Cushions covers rotate a selection of Sunbrella fabrics. Read more about the headquarters

2. Nike Ups Its Street Cred in NYC With a New Office by Studios Architecture

Few things are more city-gritty than chain link, and Nike is intent on burnishing its street cred, which Studios Architecture principal David Burns and associate principal Frank Gesualdi were amped to do in collaboration with Nike’s workplace design team. For Nike, the wide-open expanses offered the promise of a “freestyle” work environment. For Studios, the unfinished features were appealingly reflective of the character of New York. Read more about the office

3. Rottet Studio Makes Design the Star at the Los Angeles Office of Paradigm

“Light and movement.” That’s what Sam Gores said he wanted to see upon entering his office in Los Angeles. And when the chairman and CEO of Paradigm Talent Agency asks for something, that is precisely what he gets—particularly when the project is designed by Rottet Studio. The greatest challenge was reimagining the 30-year-old building. The device that encouraged community was the insertion of a central stair atrium. Pictured above, the stairs rising from reception’s sitting area offer additional seating on vinyl-covered cushions. Read more about the office

4. Rapt Studio Makes TV Studio Turner’s Atlanta Campus a Must-See

“It was all just cubes and walkways,” Rapt CEO and chief creative officer David Galullo recalls of initial visits to the Turner campus. At first, Rapt considered a standard program for each building: office floors, a café, and a coffee shop. But that plan was scrapped. “We instead decided to entirely re-imagine the site,” Galullo states. “It became about making place.” The team focused its work on 100,000 of the project’s 1 million square feet: in two of the buildings, the seven-story garage, and two courtyards, the purview extending to graphics, art direction, and food service. Read more about the campus

5. Roar's Pallavi Dean Uses Color Psychology to Define Work Spaces at Edelman's Dubai Offices

While the 11,000-square-foot floor plan of Edelman’s office is open to encourage collaboration, Roar created a concept of “cultural villages” to serve a range of functions, inserting phone booths and small meeting rooms for quiet, heads-down work. There are playful environments for the millennial employees, and more refined spaces for senior managers and important clients. The workplace is further delineated by color: The royal blue of Edelman’s logo defines reception, IT is marked by a calming green, the creative team by an energizing yellow. Read more about the office

M Moser via The New York Times
In recent years, new office designs have encouraged employees to get moving. Cafes and lounges beckon workers when they need a break. Open staircases spur them to climb floors rather than take the elevator. Sit-stand desks offer them a chance to stretch while continuing to work.

Now, the offices themselves are on the move.

M Moser Associates, a design firm in New York, calls its office “a living lab.” Green walls of plants are set on casters and can be used to block off one end of the 6,000-square-foot open space for private meetings, or they can be pushed against other walls to make room for large gatherings. And custom birch-topped work tables have wheels on back legs so they can be tipped and easily rolled elsewhere.

M Moser continually tinkers with its office, seeking new ways to support its staff and offer a “proof of concept” to visiting clients, said Grant Christofely, a senior strategist and associate at M Moser, who led a recent tour of the firm’s office in the historic Woolworth Building in lower Manhattan.

The desire to be able to switch things up at a moment’s notice has spread to companies in other fields, too. “Businesses are changing at a rate architects almost can’t keep up with,” Christofely said.

The flux is a result of many factors, including wave after wave of technological change that has prompted repeated adjustments to office designs. (Remember the need for a 150-square-foot room for the computer servers? Now, data is likely to be stored off-site or in the cloud.)

More collaborative ways of working have also been a driving force. A growing emphasis on teamwork often requires temporary settings for groups working on short-term projects.

And there is always economic pressure to keep real-estate costs down. Many companies have done away with private offices in favor of more efficient open plans, but some are shying away from long-term leases at permanent addresses altogether. The alternative: renting instant offices often called, appropriately enough, flex space.

Flex space represents 5% of overall office space in the 18 cities around the world surveyed for a recent report from real-estate services company Instant Group. Demand for short-term offices in flex-space facilities and other venues increased 19% last year.

“It’s a systemic shift in commercial real estate,” said Tim Rodber, chief executive of Instant, which procures space for Amazon, among other companies, and has an online platform listing more than 14,000 flex-space locations for rent, including about 4,000 in the United States.

CBRE, another real-estate services company, said that three-quarters of its large-scale clients were looking to add flex space to their real estate portfolios. Those findings are behind a new venture for the company: Hana, a flex-space subsidiary.

Hana’s first project has been leasing 67,000 square feet on 2 1/2 floors in a recently constructed building in Dallas. The company is outfitting the space for rentals that can range from hours to years, according to Andrew Kao, Hana’s vice president for product and design experience. Kao said the new space is expected to open in August.

But even some companies that sign traditional long-term leases are building kinetic elements into their designs to provide workplace flexibility.

Digital content provider Wiley has a banquet-size space at its headquarters in Hoboken, New Jersey. When folding wall panels are pulled open, the expanse can be divided into three conference rooms.

“It can accommodate a 225-person town hall or be broken up,” said Joseph Orrico, Wiley’s director of real estate and facilities for the Americas.

Law firm Nixon Peabody achieved flexibility in a different way in its midtown Manhattan offices, designed by architecture firm Perkins and Will. Its reception area is backed by a pivoting 12-foot-wide custom media wall that incorporates screens displaying branding content and company stats. When the wall pivots, reception and the cafe behind it are merged into one big space that can accommodate a crowd.

The pods allow employees to carve out space for meetings in Pixel’s open plan, said Philippe Paré, a Gensler design principal and director in London.

“It gives them a sense of control over their environment,” he said, adding that such pods were part of “the next ch