K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for Universal Design

May 01 2015

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From Hotels to Homes

David_RockwellThe words, “There was this hotel I really liked…” have turned up more and more frequently when discussing design aesthetic with a client. People travel and explore for retreat and inspiration, and often when they return, homeowners realize that they can have a similar escape at home too.

This past week I had the honor of hearing architect David Rockwell speak on what inspires him to create the hotels, restaurants, theater sets and other spaces for which he is famous. The Rockwell Group, founded by Rockwell in 1984, has imagined and built some of the most creative structures seen in recent years. From a journey-like experience in an Asian restaurant to a moving train on a Broadway stage, the company’s creations drive the hospitality world and therefore are leaking into our residential designs.

“The barrier between work, home life and socializing is more permeable than ever,” said Rockwell. “So it’s making sense to mash up several ideas into one.”

By this he’s referring to the idea of taking what people want – like a beach house – and finding a way to insert it into the mundane place they need it to go, like a plain old office space. He reaches for inspiration around the world to find ways to incorporate these ideas practically, and we can use similar methods in residences. Here are some of my takeaways from his inspiring talk.

Fear up front is a good thing. Having been asked to do the stage set for the 82-tc-1009Academy Awards, Rockwell was intimidated by the scathing criticism the ceremony often gets. He took on the challenge by looking at choreography and movement.

“People move in arc movements,” he said, explaining how the importance of a journey to a space is just as important as the space itself.

Only 20 percent of a project creates the memory. In TAO Downtown in New Tao_NYC_Downtown__David_rockwell_groupYork City, the restaurant is laid out in such a way that the entrance feels like a transformation into a different world. The main seating area, set up in a unique theater format, faces a giant statue illuminated by projected animation. Even though the majority of the budget went to the statue’s animation, most of the diners say they remember the statue more than anything else in the building.

yotel-01Environments tell a story. Looking to the past for inspiration is old news, but by melding different parts of the past – like 60s air travel and Japanese hospitality in Yotel hotel – an entirely new space can form.

There is a power in things changing. Designers are no strangers to this. Rockwell felt this experience the most after 9/11, when he was asked by a New York mother to build a playground to replace the one destroyed by the attacks. His creation resulted in a series of building-block playgrounds called Imagination Playgrounds, which have changed communities around the world.

“Be curious,” Rockwell said. “You’ll see how the eccentric things you love in design can pay off in the future.”
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Apr 20 2015

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Randy Fiser on Designing for Wellness

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At Coverings ’15, Randy Fiser, CEO of the American Society for Interior Designers (ASID) explained not only that design matters, but that it actually matters for wellness.

“Design is not just nice to have. It enhances a person’s life and shapes who we are,” he explained. “Design matters.”

In recent years, there has been a significant wellness movement; businesses are striving to create better work environments for their employees. Google, for example, prides itself on having been named the happiest company in America. We are seeing an increase in wellness centers along with “Stay Well” hotels and rooms, which play on the belief that people deserve to spend time in healthy environments.

Why are we seeing this shift?

Aside from the fact that people are focusing more on their health and wellbeing, more than 90 percent of a company’s operating costs are linked to human resources. Companies are seeing steady increases in their employees’ long-term disability claims and general absenteeism. Things such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, smoking and low physical activity are all on the rise. Studies are now showing that many of these conditions can be combatted through design.

Natural ventilation, low-VOC products, access to daylight and creating a space that promotes movement are some examples of what is being proven to increase worker productivity.

“A typical company of 1,000 employees with an average compensation cost per employee of $13.24 per hour, could increase its profits by $3.9 million annually by increasing the productivity margin as little as 6 percent,” said Fiser, who also noted that studies show an employee will select a company with a better work environment over one that is offering a better salary, and it all leads back to positive design.

Human-centric design, active design and designing for longevity are the keys when it comes to designing for wellness, and today’s businesses are looking to do just that. As interior designers, you not only have the ability to transform a space, but you also have the ability and the power to profoundly impact and transform the lives of your clients.

– By Marisa Hillman, K+BB freelance writer

Mar 26 2015

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Make a Seat…So You May Take a Seat

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Many readers know me as a contributing writer to WestSound Home & Garden Magazine. I am also a residential designer, remodeling contractor and an avid tennis player. Ten years ago, I had a mishap on the courts and seriously injured my left ankle.

At that time, the shower in our master bathroom was a 32-in. by-32-in. stall type. Needless to say, I had a dickens of a time showering in this confined space with no grab bar or seat.

A year later when my husband and I commenced a rebuild of our home, I vowed to make sure there was a multitude of places to sit down in our new home – and boy, am I glad that I did. Recently, I had an identical accident but this time my right ankle was injured.

When planning your next home build or remodel project, remember to incorporate seating opportunities throughout your home. A bench at the back and/or front door for removing shoes, a seat in the shower, a chair or storage bench in a walk-in closet, a chair or storage bench in a bathroom, a window seat at the landing of a set of stairs, a banquette or eating bar in the kitchen are just a few ideas to consider.

As inconvenient as my injury is, at least this time around I can navigate our home with ease and safety. A seat in the shower allows me to sit and bathe with the handheld shower and under average circumstances, it provides the ultimate in relaxation as the water cascades over me and all the stress of the day runs down the drain.

The chair in the bathroom is used for trimming and polishing toenails, dressing, as well as removing an ankle boot. (I will let you in on a secret; I sometimes pull the chair up to the bathtub and stream movies while soaking.)

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The cedar chest in the closet (a garage sale find from my college days) is a great place for putting on socks and shoes (and ankle boots), setting a suitcase for travel packing, as well as sitting and contemplating what I want to wear for the day. Warning: Chairs and benches in a closet often become a receptacle for clothes that need to be returned to a hanging rod or dresser drawer. Take this into consideration when selecting the size of the bench or chair.

With a little forethought and planning, you can make your home safe and comfortable and subdue whatever curve (tennis) balls life throws your way. Remember – make a seat, so you may take a seat.

– By Molly Erin McCabe, ADBD, CGP, CAPS. Reprinted with permission from WestSound Home & Garden Magazine.

 

Feb 03 2015

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Modenus Talks Tackles Power of Design

Brands, Design Pros, Media and VIPs Convene for Idea Exchange to Kick Off Their Design & Construction Week Experience

The Modenus Talks event at the Las Vegas Market brought 75 participants together from all areas of the interior design and kitchen & bath design industry on Jan. 19 – just before KBIS and IBS opened for business. The day revolved around the important topic of “The Power of Design: How Does Great Design Impact the Way We Live & Work?”

Lively Q&A sessions followed ASID CEO Randy Fiser’s keynote and color expert, Amy Wax’s, presentation at the sold-out Modenus Talks event.

Lively Q&A sessions followed ASID CEO Randy Fiser’s keynote and color expert, Amy Wax’s, presentation at the sold-out Modenus Talks event. All photos by Chasen West Photography.

Keynote Randy Fiser, CEO of ASID, spoke on the “Power of Design,” followed by Color911 founder Amy Wax’s presentation on the “Impact of Color.” A group brainstorming session, mirrored online as a Twitter Chat, yielded important elements that can and should be considered by design professionals when developing a design concept for a client. Solutions and ideas brought forth in this dynamic session covered everything from the psychological impact of color, sound and smell to the physical impact of well-thought-out space plans, sustainable material selections and lighting design – to name a few.

NKBAU Professional of the Year Rhonda Knoche, CMKBD, and Molly Switzer, AKBD, present their team’s outdoor living concept.

NKBAU Professional of the Year Rhonda Knoche, CMKBD, and Molly Switzer, AKBD, present their team’s outdoor living concept.

During the afternoon session, the audience divided into eight groups to create design concept using a minimum of three of the elements that had been identified during the brainstorming session. Teams presented the projects at the end of the day with results that produced an urban oasis; a universal-design restaurant concept; a colorful modular group office; an interactive, healthy day care; a feature-rich micro home, as well as kitchen, bath and loft challenges.

Interior designers Holly Hollingsworth Phillips, (left) and Pamela Copeman, review their three key terms of wellness in design as it relates to their bathroom/spa concept.

Interior designers Holly Hollingsworth Phillips, (left) and Pamela Copeman, review their three key terms of wellness in design as it relates to their bathroom/spa concept.

“Seminars and learning sessions are crucial to stay relevant in our industry, but the format may not fit everyone in the room. Individuals have their own experiences and knowledge to share.” said Veronika Miller, CEO of Modenus. “We created Modenus Talks to bring brands, design pros, media, showroom owners and others together through conversation, sharing of ideas, skills and experience.”

Judges Brian Pagel, vice president, Kitchen Bath Group, Emerald Expositions; Chelsie Butler, executive editor K+BB Magazine; and Laurie March, designer and HGTV/DIY Network personality, gave top honors to the universally-design restaurant concept created by Designers Mitzi Beach, Robin Siegerman and Anne Edwards, color expert Amy Wax and sponsor Thermador’s Director of Brand Marketing Zack Elkin. Other event sponsors included Mr. Steam, Blanco, Cosentino and KBIS.

Awarding the winners of the Modenus Talk Design Challenge: Judges Brian Pagel, vice president, Kitchen Bath Group, Emerald Expositions; Chelsie Butler, executive editor K+BB Magazine; and Laurie March, designer and HGTV/DIY Network personality.

Awarding the winners of the Modenus Talk Design Challenge: Judges Brian Pagel, vice president, Kitchen Bath Group, Emerald Expositions; Chelsie Butler, executive editor K+BB Magazine; and Laurie March, designer and HGTV/DIY Network personality.

Modenus Talks, produced by Modenus.com, is a series of one-day events, as well as smaller, showroom-based events that leverage Modenus’ design network locally and regionally.

– Leanne Wood Newman,  principal, Flying Camel