Sci-fi ceiling illuminates Russian florist in constructivist building by Eduard Eremchuk

Architect Eduard Eremchuk looked to visuals from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey when designing the Guapa Flower Shop in a historic building in Rostov-on-Don, Russia.

The whole ceiling is a lighting element, bathing the minimalist florist in bright white light and giving the curving white walls a Space Age feel.

Guapa Flower Shop by Eduard Eremchuck

Guapa Flower Shop is located in the ground floor of a Soviet-era building in Rostov-on-Don. The former apartment block was built in 1928 by Michail Kondratyev in the Constructivist style.

Russian architect Eremchuk described the project as a “new wave of architecture design in Russia, meets Soviet history”.

Guapa Flower Shop by Eduard Eremchuck

Eremchuk, who also designed a concept store with pink fluffy walls in the city, wanted the boutique to go against all the usual florist clichés.

“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.”

Guapa Flower Shop by Eduard Eremchuck

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.

Guapa Flower Shop by Eduard Eremchuck

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.

Other unusual florists include a hybrid flower shop and restaurant encased in a pink box in China, and a Japanese florist with an arcing black climbing frame for plants.

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Le French Design by VIA launches list of influential designers sharing French design

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.

Emmanuelle Moureaux is one of the 100 designers chosen by VIA

“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).

The list includes Constance Guisset, who recently designed a modular pouf system, called Waves, for furniture brand LaCividina and artist Emmanuelle Moureaux, who created a rainbow-hued installation at the Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art and Design. The full list is available on the Le French Design website.

Le French Design 100
Clément Brazille is included on the list. Photo is by Baptiste Coulon

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.

Also included on the list, which is supported by French designer Philippe Starck, are Sam Baron and Charlotte Juillard, who both had their sketches brought to life in blown glass by master glassmaker Massimo Lunardon.

Drawing Glass by Massimo Lunardon curated by Fabrica at Silvera
Charlotte Juillard’s drawing was reinterpreted as glassware

Interior architect Tristan Auer, who was the designer of the year at the September 2017 edition of Maison&Objet and trained under Starck, is also included.

“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.”

Le French Design 100
Le FD100 includes Gwenael Nicolas. Photo is by Satoshi Shigeta

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.

Read the full list on the Le French Design website.

Main image is by Ranieri Pietra Lavica.

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Foster, Calatrava and SOM on shortlist for Chicago O’Hare airport terminal

Five teams of architects are in the running to redesign Chicago‘s O’Hare international airport, with Foster + Partners and Santiago Calatrava among the list of firms participating in the competition.

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.

Chicago O'Hare airport
The five shortlisted designs for the new O’Hare terminal include a proposal by team Foster Epstein Moreno Joint Venture Partners (also main image)

“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.

Chicago O'Hare airport
A wavy roofline with various pitches was proposed by Fentress-EXP-brook-Garza

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.

Chicago O'Hare airport
Studio ORD’s design features a ribbed, fin-like roof that is made from thousands of panels and skylights

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.

Chicago O'Hare airport
Dozens of white, undulating strips form the roof of Santiago Calatrava’s proposal.

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 O'Hare airport
Six bulbous strips run the length of SOM’s airport terminal roof, rounding off the list of finalists

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.

Several US airports are undergoing dramatic transformations – including Newark airport in New Jersey, with a new $1.4 billion terminal by Grimshaw, and New York’s LaGuardia that is currently being completely rebuilt.

Images courtesy of Chicago Department of Aviation.

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Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Rockwell Group’s 15 Hudson Yards completes

The 88-storey skyscraper that architecture firms Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Rockwell Group designed for Manhattan’s Hudson Yards development has officially opened.

The 910-foot-tall (277-metre) apartment tower at 15 Hudson Yards is the latest to complete at the vast site on the West Side, set to become a hub of commercial, cultural and residential activity.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) designed the towering, curtain-wall skyscraper with Rockwell Group, which was in charge of the interiors.

15 Hudson Yards by DSR

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.”

15 Hudson Yards by DSR

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.”

15 Hudson Yards by DSR
Photograph by Scott Frances

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.

15 Hudson Yards by DSR
Photograph by Scott Frances

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 complex is developed by Related Companies with Oxford Properties as a major equity partner, and masterplanned by architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF).

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.”

15 Hudson Yards by DSR
Photograph by Scott Frances

“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.

The firm is primarily known for its cultural and public sites, with current projects including the overhaul of New York’s MoMA and a proposed outpost for London’s V&A Museum.

15 Hudson Yards by DSR

In a 2016 interview with Dezeen, Diller recounted her uneasiness about super-tall skyscrapers in New York City, how they “damage the city fabric”.

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.

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Margarita Follert develops algae-based alternative to single-use plastic packaging

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.
Agar is boiled to a temperature of 80 degrees celsius with natural dyes

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.
Beetroot extract delivers a purple colour to the material

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.
Natural vegetable dyes such as cabbage and carrot produce different shades of bioplastic

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.
The material is particularly suited to packaging dry goods

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.
The rigidity of the resulting product can be adapted according to the amount of polymer, plasticiser and additive

“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.”
The packaging is best closed using heat rather than glue

“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 material will decompose in four months even in winter

Designers are increasingly experimenting with bioplastics made from materials as diverse as corn starch and beetle shells.

In a similar project, Italian designer Emma Sicher combined food waste with bacteria and yeasts to create disposable packaging, in a bid to provide a sustainable alternative to plastic.

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Kelly Hoppen-designed Celebrity Edge cruise ship has a moving cantilevered exterior deck

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.

Kelly Hoppen Celebrity Edge cruise
The interior of the Magic Carpet is designed by Kelly 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 deck can move up and down the ships exterior

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.

Kelly Hoppen Cruise Celebrity Edge interior design
The ships interiors were designed by Hoppen, Patricia Urquiola and design studio Jouin Manku

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.

Kelly Hoppen Celebrity Edge cruise
Spanish architect and designer Urquiola is behind Edge, a lounge area at the back of the ship

“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.

Kelly Hoppen Cruise Celebrity Edge interior design
Hoppen has designed the ship’s suites

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.

Kelly Hoppen Celebrity Edge cruise
Urquiola designed a library of plants for the Edge lounge and bar area

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.

Kelly Hoppen Celebrity Edge cruise
Urquiola’s designs extend to the staircase that leads to the Eden area

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.

Lisbon’s cruise terminal, designed by João Luís Carrilho da Graça, occupies a former port site in the Portugese capital and has a distinctive folding roof, one area of which has been left flat to accommodate a viewing platform that is reached from the upper storey by stairs or a ramp.

Photography is by Steve Dunlop.

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Post-communist countries make Mies van der Rohe Awards 2019 shortlist

Buildings in Albania, Serbia and Slovakia have been shortlisted for the prestigious Mies van der Rohe Award for the first time.

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.

Mies van der Rohe 2019 Shortlist
Skanderbeg Square, by 51N4E. Photo by Filip Dujardin

“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.

Mies van der Rohe 2019 Shortlist
Adaptation of the former factory Mlynica, by GutGut. Photo by Jakub Skokan a Martin Tůma

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.

Museé d'arts de Nantes, France, by Stanton Williams
Nantes Museum of Art, by Stanton Williams Architects

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.

High profile projects on the 2019 shortlist included BIG’s LEGO House and ALA Architects library in Helsinki.
LEGO House, by BIG. Photo by Iwan Baan

Five finalists will be announced on 13 February, and the winners ceremony will take place on 7 May at the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion in Barcelona.

Last year NL Architects and XVW Architectuur won with their revamp of 1960s slab apartment block in Amsterdam.

Read on for the full list of all 40 finalists by country:

› Skanderbeg Square, by 51N4E

› House of Music Innsbruck, by Erich Strolz
› Aspern Federal School, by Fasch & Fuchs Architekten
› Performative Brise- Soleil, by Studio Vlay Streeruwitz

Ryhove Ghent office by TRANS architectuur
Ryhove Urban Factory, by TRANS

› 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

› Residential and studio building at the former Berlin flower market, by Ifau
› Terracehouse Berlin, by Brandlhuber + Emde

Stadiums of 2018
Streetmekka Viborg, by EFFEKT

› Streetmekka Viborg, by EFFEKT
› Hammershus Visitors Centre, by Arkitema Architects
› LEGO House, by BIG

› Arvo Pärt centre, by Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos

Garciagerman Arquitectos design cactus centre in Madrid
Desert City, by Garciagerman Arquitectos

› 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

› Helsinki Central Library Oodi, by ALA Architects

Theater in Freyming-Merlebach by Dominique Coulon & Associés
Théodore Gouvy Theatre in Freyming-Merlebach, by Dominique Coulon et associés

› The Perret Hall – Cultural Centre Francois, Atelier d’architecture Pierre Hebbelinck. Photo by Brix
› Nantes Museum of Art, by Stanton Williams Architects
› E26 School Refectory, BAST
› Théodore Gouvy Theatre in Freyming-Merlebach, by Dominique Coulon et associés
› Transformation of 530 dwellings, by Frédéric Druot Architecture, Lacaton & Vassal architectes, Christophe Hutin Architecture
› ENSAE Paris Tech, by CAB Architects
› Lafayette Anticipations, by OMA

› St. Mary’s Medieval Mile Museum, by McCullough Mulvin Architects
› 14 Henrietta Street, by Shaffrey Architects
Visitor center park Vijversburg, by Studio MAKS with Junya Ishigami

› M9 Museum District, by Sauerbruch Hutton
› Prada productive headquarter, by Canali Associati
› Musis Sacrum, by Van Dongen-Koschuch

The Netherlands
Visitor center park Vijversburg, by Studio MAKS with Junya Ishigami

Silesia University’s Radio and Television department, by BAAS arquitectura, Grupa 5 Architekci, Małeccy Biuro Projektowe

Department of Radio by Grupa 5 Architekci
Silesia University’s Radio and Television department, by BAAS arquitectura, Grupa 5 Architekci, Małeccy Biuro Projektowe

Lisbon Cruise Terminal, by Carrilho da Graça

› Restoration, refurbishment of the headquarters of the order of architects of Romania, by Starh
› Occidentului 40, by ADN Birou de Arhitectura

› Reconstruction of Museum of Contemporary Art Belgrade, by Booto, Dejan Todorović

› Adaptation of the former factory Mlynica, by GutGut

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Pentagram deconstructs Slack’s hashtag logo in rebrand

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.

Slack rebrand by Pentagram

“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.

Slack rebrand by Pentagram

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.”

Slack rebrand by Pentagram

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.

Slack rebrand by Pentagram

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.

Slack rebrand by Pentagram

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.

Established in 1972, Pentagram provided an obvious choice for Slack’s rebrand with a number of major rebrands under its belt. The agency’s recent overhaul of Mastercard involved dropping its name from the logo, while a stencil-style supergraphic was created ICA Boston.

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Dezeen Weekly features ultra-high-resolution photo and banned sex toy

195-gigapixel photo of Shanghai allows viewers to zoom in on street-level detail

The latest edition of our newsletter Dezeen Weekly features a birds-eye-view photograph made up of 195 gigapixels and a sex toy for women that was controversially banned from CES for being “immoral”. Subscribe to Dezeen Weekly ›