KBB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for 2011

Dec 11 2011

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Colors to take us into 2012

Pantone’s 2012 Color of the Year has been making the rounds on various websites and was even featured on the Yahoo! homepage at one point. It’s a vibrant orange-red called “Tangerine Tango.”

But Pantone is not the only company with a color forecast for next year. This past fall, Benjamin Moore revealed its palette for 2012, which features colors that seem reflective of the uncertainty still lingering in the country as it struggles to recover and of perhaps the desire for comfort and the familiar in these troubling times.

Among them are tranquil blues with a green and/or gray cast, such as the company’s top pick, Wythe Blue HC-143 (shown on walls),

Wythe Blue_Dining Room 2
Montpelier AF-555 and a slightly purplish Amethyst Shadow 1411 (shown in wall stripe).

Amethyst Shadow_ Office Wall Closeup2

The forecast also calls for an array of grays, some of which have names suggestive of a more sober and subdued—but not necessarily depressed—mood: Nimbus Gray 2131-50 and Storm Cloud Gray 2140-30. And then there’s Sharkskin 2139-30.

Shark Skin

Naturally, with the economy still up in the air and a future somewhat nebulous, one may find oneself yearning for clarity and purity—whites are still popular—as well as an emotional anchor, especially at home. Why not try on a rich earth tone, such as French Press AF-170,

coffee press
Farm Fresh AF-360,

Masada AF-220 (shown on wall),

Dunmore Cream HC-29 or Fresh Olive 2149-30.

And for a hit of color, the 2012 forecast offers up Gypsy Love 2085-30 and Persimmon 2088-40 (shown on ceiling).

Persimmon_ Office2

Dec 08 2011

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Have you heard of IPTLOCK?

A few weeks ago, I received a phone call from a Gary Blum about IPTLock, a website that allows designers to communicate and share files with their clients while providing better copyright protection. I had told Gary that I would ask the designers judging this year’s K+BB Product Innovator Awards what they thought of the site, but to be honest, I forgot to do so in the controlled chaos of managing the awards program.

Consequently, I’m mentioning it to all of you.

How does the site may differ from others you’re already using? It features a virtual remote that allows you—the designer—to set who, what, where, when and for how long you want someone—your client or a project member—to have access to a file. You can also determine if you want to allow printing and comments. By controlling the former, the site cuts down on the possibility of your client taking your design and going to someone else with it (which is just plain shady).

In addition, the files you send can only be viewed on the first computer/IP address they’re opened on. They can’t be copied, printed or shared—unless you say so—and you get a complete record of who’s viewed the files and the amount of time they spent viewing them. If you enable comments, your clients or other members of the project team can view the files, provide immediate written feedback and/or make suggestions without altering the original designs. The site automatically alerts you via email or text when files are opened, and comments posted are relayed to you in real time.

According to Gary, who is president and chief creative officer of TLG7, an ad agency in Purchase, NY, the site started out as a way to prevent prospects from using the agency’s pitch work without its permission and to get feedback from clients more quickly. “As an ad agency, once we sent a proof, file or concept by email to a prospect or client, we lost all control of our work,” he said. “There was no real proof anyone saw our work,” requiring multiple follow-up calls to confirm receipt and obtain changes and comments (sound familiar?).

If you’re intrigued, you can demo IPTLOCK for free at www.iptlock.com. If you have any questions, please call Gary at 914-251-9300.

—Alice Liao

Dec 07 2011

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Antonio Lupi in French & Italian

Product news from abroad is always welcome, especially when the sender is high-design Italian manufacturer Antonio Lupi. But sometimes, the news can be a little bittersweet if the email is about product launches at a European show you did not attend or will not be attending. After all, seeing the product “in the flesh” is so much better, wouldn’t you agree?

So here’s what the Italian bath company has been up to lately. At Cersaie, it showed OiO, a line of tubs and washbasins conceived by the Belgian designer Michel Boucquillon and launched with a younger audience in mind. All pieces are made of polyethylene and can be internally illuminated with color-changing LEDs. The tub measures 1750 cm x 86 cm x 57 cm and the washbasin is 63 cm x 35 cm x 85 cm.

antoniolupi OiO amb bianco
antoniolupi_OiO amb_068green
antoniolupi_OiO amb_072red

At the next Maison & Objet, which takes place January 20-24, 2012, the company will be showing Strappo, a sink that vaguely resembles a dropbox for returning library books or videos—both of which we rarely do nowadays, I guess—after hours. Its designer Domenico De Palo offers a much less mundane description for the origin of the concept: “I wanted to design a washbasin that seems to tear a strip of the wall, to give life to a new concept of living the bathroom.”

The sink is made of Corian and, once installed, can be brushed, plastered and finished to create the illusion of being pulled out of the wall. It measures 83 cm x 48 cm x 58 cm and, from the images, looks as if includes LED lighting. Kinda’ cool, no? Incidentally, the design is registered and patent-pending.

antoniolupi presenta STRAPPO_immagine_20111201145659

—Alice Liao

Dec 06 2011

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3 tips we can learn from the dental industry

“The best and cheapest dentistry is when the right thing is done extremely well the first time and it lasts.” —unknown

I went to the dentist last month and, like most people, wasn’t looking forward to it. However, this time I was struck by how well the dental industry is set up to soothe fears and what we could take away from its business model.

In many ways, both construction and dentistry are very similar. Whether people are patients or clients, all feel some level of anxiety before they even walk through our doors. Here’s where dentist offices excel and what we can take away from their business model:

1. Calm, friendly support staff. I was a typical client: I hadn’t been in awhile, didn’t know what anything cost and was afraid I’d be paying heavily in both discomfort and dollars. That first phone call to the office helped. The receptionist responded in a friendly, modulated voice, sounded happy to hear from me, was quick to answer questions and reassured me that it would be as painless as possible.

What are clients hearing in that first phone call to you? How are you soothing their anxiousness? Are you rushed or impatient? What message are you conveying with your tone, your answers, or even the speed of your sentences? If you don’t have time to answer the phone because you’re an independent
and on the road, can you consider a phone answering service?

2. Clear explanations. From the time I entered the reception room to my time with the dentist, everything was laid out. I was provided options on whether I wanted to get all my work done at once or broken down to be easier on the wallet. A key point: Once I made my decision as to how I wanted to proceed, the decision itself was greeted with enthusiasm, like I’d made the best choice.

When I was in the chair, the dentist explained what I might experience—everything from the sounds to the degree of discomfort I might experience. Once I knew what to expect, my level of anxiety dropped to (almost) nothing. Are you informing your clients what they might expect? More importantly, are you telling them how it’ll make their life easier once the project is done?

3. Take care of what you have. How many of us spend time discussing with our clients how to best care for all the new products we have selected? In this, we’re slightly different than the dental industry. While failure to upkeep basic standards in a home can be very dangerous or even life-threatening, we rarely see that in the homes we’re working on.

However, today’s newer finishes and products require a completely different style of cleaning and maintenance from our parents’ homes. Can you consider printing out a hand-out (dentists are extremely good at that) or providing a small sample of the correct cleaning products? Are you addressing their lifestyle and what future details they might need in their home to maintain the quality over the years?

I could get into how they make it as easy as possible to pay, but that’s a story for another day.

Until next time,