“The main task was to create a unique flower shop avoiding all associations with typical ones like salvaged wood, dark cozy colours, pots and warm light inside,” Eremchuk said.
“The whole interior is monochrome, an aesthetic that comes from contemporary art galleries with white walls and bright lighting. The idea was to make a space which will not distract the viewer from the flowers, their shapes and colours.”
Pink lighting beneath a metal bench, where customers can sit and read whilst waiting for their bouquets, is one of the few splashes of colour in the gallery-like shop.
Eremchuk also introduced colour in the shop by painting the small room leading to a bathroom in purple, and with art pieces that hang on the wall and in the entrance.
The main room is divided in two by a four-metre-long stainless steel work bench that separates the front of house from the back rooms, where staff have access to the private storage area and flower refrigerators.
Dezeen promotion: Le French Design by VIA has unveiled a list of leading and emerging designers and interior designers who are conveying the essential values of French design.
Selected by an international jury, Le French Design 100 highlights one hundred of the most successful designers either from France or working in France.
“This list is not a ranking, but rather a photograph of French creation at a given moment: it includes the country’s leading names as well as its most promising profiles and stars of tomorrow,” said VIA, which stands for Valorisation de l’Innovation dans l’Ameublement (promotion of innovation in furniture design).
Each of the designers on the list was chosen for their elegance, audacity and sense of balance.
“All convey the essential values of le French Design: art de vivre, creativity and industry, elegance and a touch of luxury, sustainable innovation, audacity, savoir-faire, balance, heritage, cultural openness and panache,” said VIA.
“France is a crossroads of paths running through Europe with an enriching potential for fertile sediments,” said Starck. “But it is just a crossroads. Don’t expect delirious extravagances or a Calvinist-style austerity. France is a land of digestion, of reflection and of weighing in.”
Along with the numerous designers based in France, the list includes several French designers who are working abroad but continuing to spread the vision of French design. This includes Gwenael Nicolas, who is based in Japan, and Patrick Jouin, who has projects in China.
The list includes 50 years of French creation, with studios that were created in 1970s through to those established in the past couple of years. Overall 40 per cent of the designers on the list are women.
Le French Design 100 was determined by a jury presided over by Agnès Kwek, DesignSingapore Council Ambassador, which included Christopher Turner keeper of design, architecture and digital at the V&A Museum and Jochen Eisenbrand chief curator of the Vitra Design Museum.
Chicago’s Department of Aviation has released images of the five designs for a proposed “global terminal” at the city’s largest airport – a $8.5 billion (£6.59 billion) project titled O’Hare 21.
Each was created by either a single studio or team of several firms, as follows: Fentress-EXP-Brook-Garza Joint Venture Partners; Foster Epstein Moreno Joint Venture Partners; Santiago Calatrava; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM); and Studio ORD Joint Venture Partners.
“The design teams were asked to deliver innovative designs to build a cutting-edge new O’Hare Global Terminal, while reflecting the legacy of Chicago’s innovation, architecture and diversity,” said a statement from Chicago Department of Aviation.
The search for a lead architect started in June 2018, when 12 teams submitted proposals. The city then whittled these down to the current shortlist.
The Fentress-EXP-Brook-Garza team is headed by Fentress Architects, which designed Denver’s white, tent-shaped international airport.
The group’s proposal for O’Hare is based on a curving white roof that resembles waves. The roof design has curved edges that protrude out from a glass curtain wall base, with pillars inside.
British firm Foster + Partners is leading the Foster Epstein Moreno Joint Venture Partners team, which has put forward a design that features three different arches that merge into a grand single curve at the rear of the building.
Studio ORD’s proposal was led by Chicago’s Studio Gang, and comprises a series of white ridges along the roofline, evocative of rolling terrain. Converging lines would conceal three terminals, centred around an oculus defined by indoor plants and a warm-coloured ceiling.
The two other designs were created by sole architects or studios: Spanish-Swiss architect Santiago Calatrava; and SOM – which is headquartered in Chicago.
Calatrava’s project features hundreds of white, wave-like strips that serve as pillars, walls and a roof. The building looks similar to Calatrava’s skeletal Oculus in New York City, designed around natural light.
Rounding out the finalists is SOM’s design: an expansive, square-shaped structure topped with dozens of small arched designs. Inside is a pale, undulating ceiling with square lightwells, and live trees that change with the seasons showcased behind glass walls.
The goal of Chicago’s airport expansion is “to increase gates, terminal capacity and amenities, and enhance the city’s leading global connectivity,” said the statement.
“At 2.25 million square feet, O’Hare’s new terminal will be among the largest terminals built in the US.”
The five designs are currently on display at the Chicago Architecture Center (CAC) on 111 East Upper Wacker Drive, as well as an exhibit at O’Hare Terminal 2.
Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel and a committee will select the leading design, while the public is also encouraged to give feedback in a survey. The new terminal is scheduled to open in 2028.
“The city’s intention is to select two design teams: one to design the O’Hare Global Terminal and Concourse; and another to design two new satellite concourse,” said the statement.
Speaking to Dezeen at the project’s unveiling on 16 January 2019, architect Elizabeth Diller said 15 Hudson Yards marked a major step for her and the firm.
“It was really, really difficult for me, from typical work [like cultural buildings and institutions],” she said. “We have never done a tower or anything above 14 storeys.”
“We thought, this is not in our wheelhouse, but let’s do it,” she said. “It’s a challenge to work in another mode, for a different type of client, and do something that makes us a little uncomfortable.”
Plans for the residential building were drawn up well-after DS+R and Rockwell Group had started designing cultural complex The Shed together in 2008, and so they used the earlier project to inform the design.
The two buildings are nested together and share 15 Hudson Yards’ service and freight elevators.
“We decided it could really be an advantage to do both,” Diller told Dezeen. “When you have a neighbour that’s unfriendly, then you don’t know [what will happen]. We wanted to have a good building next door to us.”
“We were able to work back and forth and negotiate back and forth, to make both buildings better,” she continued. “But they’re still separate.”
Overlooking the Hudson River, 15 Hudson Yards has a rigid, rectangular base that gradually rises and morphs to form a cloverleaf-shaped top portion. This shape is designed to maximise views for its upper residences.
Inside, the building has over 200 private residences, ranging from two- to four-bedroom homes. Rockwell Group chose walnut, travertine and limestone surfaces to feature throughout.
Amenities are located midway up the building on the 50th and 51st floors, providing views of the river, New York City and New Jersey. They includes an indoor swimming pool, a gym, spa, movie theatre, private dining room, lounge and other communal areas.
Hudson Yards is the largest private real-estate development in the US, spanning 28 acres (11 hectares) with 14 additional acres (5 hectares) of open space, and covering seven city blocks in total.
The first phase of the vast complex includes six skyscrapers, numbered 10, 15, 30, 35, 50 and 55 Hudson Yards. Rounding out the site are The Shed, a school, a hotel and a mall.
“Architects and urbanists have to be very vigilant about the city, and how it becomes privatised,” said Diller. “I think this site is an exception, in many ways, regarding developers that are just sprouting over Manhattan, because it is planned.”
Hudson Yards is built on a platform on top of the West Side Yard – New York City’s storage centre for Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) regional trains.
“If there was ever a place to build, this was the place,” said the architect. “New York is a real-estate oriented city, love it or not.”
“It was an engineering feat, a real tour de force. So when that happened, the opportunity to develop enabled this whole project, which is like changing the centre of gravity.”
DS+R is based in the neighbourhood, and has been involved with the redevelopment of Chelsea and the West Side for over a decade, starting with the elevated park the High Line in 2008.
She still holds this opinion, but believes that “Hudson Yards is a unique exception.”
“It’s planned; it’s thought-through; it’s zoned, and it’s thought of as a neighbourhood,” Diller said. “When you develop a whole big neighbourhood, you can rescript the rules.”
More Hudson Yards structures are set to open over the coming months, including The Shed – poised to launch 5 April 2019 – and Thomas Heatherwick’s Vessel, which is planned for unveiling on 15 March 2019.
Photography is by Timothy Schenck, courtesy of Related and Oxford, unless stated otherwise.
Chile-based designer Margarita Follert has created a sustainable, biodegradable alternative to single-use packaging, using raw material extracted from algae.
Disappointed by the abundance of non-recyclable materials currently used to contain food products, Follert decided to develop her own eco-friendly packaging that would stand in for plastic.
Particularly concerned that we commonly allocate an indestructible material to packaging that is quickly disposed of, it was essential that the resulting organic material would easily break down.
According to the designer, the material only includes natural matter, including the dyes used to colour it, which are extracted from the skins of fruits and vegetable such as blueberries, purple cabbage, beetroot and carrot.
The basic mixture is made up of a polymer, a plasticiser and an additive, with the amounts of each ingredient varying depending on the desired consistency of the final product.
The polymer and main ingredient in this case is agar – a jelly-like polysaccharide substance that is extracted from red algae by boiling. Follert adds glycerine as a plasticiser and natural dyes to add gentle colour.
To make a material that bears a close resemblance to thin plastic, Follert boils the agar mixture to around 80 degrees celsius, before transferring the molten liquid onto a mould.
When the liquid drops to a temperature below 20 degrees celsius, it takes on a gel-like consistency. This is then left to dry in a well-ventilated environment with a constant temperature, until it becomes similar to paper or thin plastic.
The bioplastic packaging is especially suited to containing dry food products. It is best sealed with heat rather than glue in a bid make the end result as natural as possible.
As the designer explains, the versatility of the algae-derived material means that it has the potential to generate many different types of bioplastics – some more rigid and others more flexible – just by altering the proportions of polymer, plasticiser and additive in the mixture.
Intended as a replacement for single-use or disposable plastics, Follert’s algae packaging is designed to biodegrade in around two to three months, depending on the thickness of the material and the temperature of the soil.
Despite some bioplastics being criticised for only decomposing in warm temperatures over 30 degrees celsius, Follert insists that, while biodegradation is indeed slower in cooler, winter temperatures, it is not less effective.
The material takes around two months to decompose in summer temperatures , depending on the thickness, and about three to four months to decompose completely in winter.
“I believe that bio-fabrication will be an important part of future industries,” said Follert. “As long as all the processes of extracting these raw materials and their manufacture are done with environmental awareness.”
“But it is not enough just to create new materials,” she continued. “These different solutions to the huge environmental problem must work in parallel with other action.”
“Different nations should implement action plans for reducing the amount of plastic waste produced by introducing more circular economy projects, keeping plastic in a cyclical system to prevent it from ending up at landfill or in the sea,” Follert suggests.
The cruise ship, called Celebrity Edge, has 1,500 suites designed by British interior designer Kelly Hoppen, who also fitted out the world’s first cantilevered deck that can move up and down the ship’s exterior.
The moving deck, or Magic Carpet, is the size of a tennis court and travels 16 storeys up and down the side of the ship through an orange structured hoop system, with the ability to dock at four separate locations.
Its design was masterminded by architect Tom Wright, who designed the Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai, with the interior decoration completed by Hoppen.
Hoppen’s interiors are often pared back and neutral in tone. She was initially unnerved by the bright colour of the Magic Carpet’s structural elements, but integrated this into the design.
“Of course, for me, the bright orange wasn’t an ideal base colour to work with,” she told Dezeen. “However, this inspired the idea of nautical design somehow, and of using greys and blacks alongside burnt oranges with stripes, textures and different materials to create an inviting space.”
The Magic Carpet can be attached at four levels including deck two where it forms an extension to the embarkation station where guests join the ship.
It can also be attached at deck five where it completes the footprint of a seafood restaurant, deck 14 where it extends the pool deck and deck 16 at the top of the ship where it creates a large dining area.
The interior of the Magic Carpet can be reconfigured depending on where the exterior deck is docked, in order to blend with the existing space.
“Everything is totally moveable and the neutrals mean that accessories can be added in to create a changeable design also,” explained Hoppen.
“When I designed the space originally I designed it as motionless space and then worked backwards to ensure anything that was chosen such as furniture and accessories was 100 per cent moveable,” she continued.
As well as the Magic Carpet, Hoppen designed 1,500 suites for the ship, a variety of state rooms and the on-board spa.
Other designers involved with the project include Patricia Urquiola, who designed Eden, a lounge area at the rear of the ship with a triple-height ceiling, and a huge glass wall that offers ocean views and required almost 650 square metres of glass.
For the design of this space, the Spanish architect and designer looked to the golden ratio, a mathematical formula that informs many of the curves found in nature. Urquiola also decorated the Cyprus restaurant and The Club.
French design duo Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku, who together run the design studio Jouin Manku were behind the Grand Plaza.
The space features a large chandelier composed of five levels of 765 blades with inlaid LED strips that change colour depending on the time of day.
Celebrity Edge, which is owned and operated by Royal Caribbean, starts each voyage at a cruise terminal in Florida’s Port Everglades. The boat is exactly as long as London’s Shard skyscraper is tall.
The presence of buildings in new countries with the potential to win Europe’s most prestigious prize is proof of the “new agenda” of architecture in Europe said the jury.
Re-centring discussion “keeps architecture alive”
Awarded biannually, the prize is given to the best example of European architecture completed in the last two years by a European architect. It is named after Ludvig Mies van der Rohe, the German-American who was at the vanguard of modernist architecture in the 20th century.
“The 40 works highlight a new agenda that asks for new ways of thinking,” said jury chair Dorte Mandrup, founder of Danish practice Dorte Mandrup.
“Excellence and skilfulness are inherent in all of them, but this is not enough; it is necessary that they also make an impact and make architects themselves think differently about the profession,” she added.
“It is very refreshing to see how the architectural debate moves around Europe, changing its centre of discussion from one place to another over the years. This keeps architecture alive.”
Architecture in post-communist countries recognised
Selected from 383 nominations by a jury of seven that included George Arbid, Angelika Fitz, Ștefan Ghenciulescu, Kamiel Klaasse, María Langarita and Frank McDonald, the shortlist includes projects from 17 European countries.
Albania, Serbia and Slovakia, post-communist countries in Eastern Europe, have projects shortlisted for the first time in the awards’ history.
Brussels-based 51N4E was shortlisted for its redesign of Skanderbeg Square in the Albanian capital Tirana. Serbian architect Dejan Todorović for his reconstruction of Belgrade’s Museum of Contemporary Art, and Bratislava-based studio GutGut for a Slovakian factory conversion.
Architecture is no longer about “the most chic and shiny” said cultural theorist Fitz, instead it “is really about improving our lives and the way we live together.”
British architecture snubbed ahead of Brexit
No UK buildings are among the 40 shortlisted for the 16th edition of Mies van der Rohe Award, and only one British architect has been recognised. The Stanton Williams-designed Museum of Arts in Nantes is the only piece of British-designed architecture in the running for Europe’s most important architecture award.
Read on for the full list of all 40 finalists by country:
Albania › Skanderbeg Square, by 51N4E
Austria › House of Music Innsbruck, by Erich Strolz › Aspern Federal School, by Fasch & Fuchs Architekten › Performative Brise- Soleil, by Studio Vlay Streeruwitz
Belgium › Residential care centre, by Architecten de Vylder Vinck Taillieu › PC Caritas, by Architecten de Vylder Vinck Taillieu › Ryhove Urban Factory, by TRANS › De Krook library, by Coussée & Goris Architecten
Germany › Residential and studio building at the former Berlin flower market, by Ifau › Terracehouse Berlin, by Brandlhuber + Emde
Spain › Life Reusing Posidonia, by IBAVI › Civic Centre Lleialtat Santsenca, by H Arquitectes › Plasencia Auditorium and Congress Centre, by Selgascano › Desert City, by Garciagerman Arquitectos › House 1413, by H Arquitectes › Solo House, by Office Kersten Geers David Van Severen
Pentagram has adapted the logo of workplace messaging system Slack into a pattern of speech bubbles and lozenge shapes as part of a rebranding effort.
Slack enlisted graphic design agency Pentagram to create a more simple version of its octothorpe symbol launched in 2013 – one that could be easily assigned to different uses across its branding.
“In the course of lots of conversation, I learned that their original branding elements were never quite thought through as a system,” Pentagram’s Michael Bierut told Dezeen. “And although in the aggregate they created a general feel of ‘Slackness’, in the details there was a huge amount of consistency.”
“And this was only going to get worse as the company continued to expand,” he added.
Bierut worked on the project with Slack founder and CEO Stewart Butterfield, and the company’s in-house design and brand team. Together, they aimed to maintain elements of the hash, or pound, symbol because it plays an important part in the platform – it is used to signal the start of individual projects.
The redesign uses the four diagonals of the original mark as a starting point, but new elements include a pill shape and a droplet motif. The latter is intended to resemble a speech bubble as a reference to chatting.
“We took their familiar hashtag and deconstructed it,” said Bierut, who led the project from Pentagram’s New York office.
“After lots of trial and error and going back and forth with the Slack team, we arrived at something that would be distinctive even in one colour, recognisable at small sizes and on any platforms, consistent in all applications, and a starting point for lots of variations going forward.”
The pill and droplet shapes are paired together to create four sections, arranged around a central point.
“The pieces of the symbol are separate but come together, very much the way we do when we collaborate and communicate on the Slack platform: the forms are meant to look as if they’re at once woven together, and bursting open,” said Bierut, who also led Pentagram’s rebrand of car company Vroom.
Another key aspect of the redesign was reducing the set of 11 hues on the old branding to four primary colours: red, yellow, green and blue. Slack’s accent “aubergine purple” is maintained as the backdrop and on the left-hand column of the messaging platform.
Slack, which has so far updated its phone and computer apps with the new logo, plans roll out the new design across its website and advertising soon.
The company is headquartered in San Francisco but has opened offices worldwide, for which it has typically enlisted local architecture studios to oversee the interiors. Snøhetta designed Slack’s New York workspace, while ODOS Architects created timber and concrete interiors for its Dublin outpost.
Slack’s other recently opened offices include a Leckie Studio-designed space in Vancouver, and another in Toronto designed by Dubbeldam Architecture + Design.
As the brutalist Boston City Hall celebrates its 50th birthday, Aaron Betsky reflects on the building’s history as a monument to social democracy, and wonders if proposed updates will bring it a happily ever after.
Let me tell you a fairytale. There once was an era in which government was something we admired. What’s more, architecture was able to both represent and house the collective power that made us better and stronger. That era ended half a century ago, on or about 1968 – the year that American youth rebelled, the Vietnam War revealed its pointless evil, Richard Nixon was elected, and the Boston City Hall opened.
I write this as the government is still shut down and the celebrations of the 50-year anniversary of Kallman, McKinnel, & Knowles’ masterpiece is marked by efforts to rehabilitate it into a useful, softer-edged container of civic functions. Those dreams of restored grandeur seem like a romantic effort of backward-looking nostalgia in the deep-blue state of Massachusetts.
In this fairytale, the Boston City Hall is less of an ogre that it has seemed to many people, including one of its mayors, than the frog waiting to wake up as a prince. The kiss will consist of planting trees on the outside and freshening up the interiors – moves that are logical, but also counter to what makes the building such a statement of the civic.
Here is the basic problem: it’s not just the City Hall’s style or its amenities, but how we understand the institutions that we elect and pay for. We assume the powers we delegate to them will make them able to act for us not as individuals, but as members of a community.
For most of history, we understood this to mean that those governments we elected through a democratic process should maintain their sense of being above and separate from us. They were large organisations and needed big buildings, which meant that they would have a scale and a separateness that was inevitable. Their homes also needed to be imposing, worthy of our respect, obedience, and even awe.
The particular moment that gave us such structures as the Boston City Hall came at the end of this era, when the doubts about governments all-knowing, all-powerful nature were beginning their march through our institutions.
Civic architecture stripped itself down and bulked itself up
The reaction of architects was to find ways in which governments could rely on logic, function, and even economic constraints as the building blocks for a new kind of monumentality. Civic architecture stripped itself down and bulked itself up.
In this case, the architects’ knowledge of classical architecture allowed them to provide a frieze that was not an added element, but the result of how the organised the windows and their sun-shading concrete panel frames at the building’s top, while the way in which the building cantilevered out over the plaza was the result of how many square feet the offices inside needed.
The mayor’s office, which demanded extra scale and waiting areas, became an interruption in the grid, as did the other specialised elements in the municipal bureaucracy.
Perhaps the greatest of Kallman, McKinnel, & Knowles’ achievements here, and the one that will luckily be left alone (beyond the proliferation of security devices such as card-reader gates that have already been installed) is the interior lobby – a space that continues the plaza outside into the heart of the complex.
Organising all the public functions around it, and leading visitors and workers up through the tiers of offices and specialised spaces on stairs that turn past balconies and protruding parts of the programme, it is not so much an atrium as it an extension and monumentalising of the simple function of circulation. The dome of democracy has become a maze that might get you lost but might also provide chances for encounters and discovery.
All of this takes places in a building that is grid, with concrete elements that impose themselves on you, making you aware of the ways in which the whole comes out of many different elements, while letting you understand the effort needed from the concrete columns and beams to make the whole building stand up.
Boston City Hall stands for a power that accrued over the centuries
The civic effort is thus collective, but made out of supporting parts, and you can wind your way through what is your palace while feeling the weight of the community in which you have your place. The building juts out over you, extends up, invites and repels you – but you are part of its activities in the combat of civic forces.
The problem is that all of this architecture has to exist in a city, and that many people – the bureaucrats who work in the building – have to exist in it every day. On both counts, Kallman, McKinnel, & Knowles’ design strategy did not work very well.
Isolated and grand in scale, the City Hall is yet overwhelmed by the much larger office buildings, while the life of the city has never come close to its edges (the architects intended for shops and restaurants to inhabit the plaza, but local businesspeople nixed that aspect of the design).
Inside, what elegance there was to the office furniture and accoutrements has long since worn off, and we can only hope that the renovation will improve their ability to make the spaces more habitable.
The question remains as to why Boston City Hall remains both so popular and so loathed. While the latter is easy to answer, because it is just not a very friendly or humane building, the latter is more difficult.
We do not feel much ownership of our government these days. We tend to be cynical about how much say we have in its operation. Our governments’ ways of operating are also, like those of corporations, increasingly less physical. We do much of our business with them online, even down to voting.
It is one of the last concrete examples of government willing to fight for what it thinks is right
Perhaps the latter is a clue to how these remnants of civic pride can operate. It can provide and equivalent of the lavishly appointed flagship stores that are often empty both of goods and buyers but serve as brand showcases. Such buildings represent what government stands for, even if they are not functional in the way they were designed, and even if the very act of representation is not direct.
Boston City Hall, in other words, stands for a power that accrued over the centuries, and that we want as a bulwark against uncertainty and the basest of our instincts. Like all monuments, it is both a reminder and a fact on the ground that stands, endures, and offers itself as an object in a subjective and confusing world.
The fact that the Boston City Hall bears the scars of the looming fight for the legitimacy of government, and massed itself up into weightlifter form to answer the doubters assailing it, only makes it more powerful.
It is one of the last concrete examples of government willing to fight for what it thinks is right, which is, or should be, or common good. Winter might be coming, but we still have a few castles that can rally the troops of democracy.