Friday, December 15, 2017

Limited Edition Asana Ground Chair by Mario Milana for Les Ateliers Courbet

Limited Edition Asana Ground Chair by Mario Milana for Les Ateliers Courbet

To celebrate Miami Design Week 2017, Italian designer Mario Milana created a limited edition of his Asana Ground Chair for Les Ateliers Courbet’s Miami offshoot at The Surf Club, a venue designed by Joseph Dirand at the Four Seasons Hotel. While the original comes in Italian leather, this special version is hand stitched and upholstered in an off-white bouclé fabric by Pierre Frey.

The low chair is meant to bring the user closer to the ground with the goal of acquiring physical and mental balance.

Its name is based on the yoga term, ‘asana’, which means ‘the posture that brings comfort and steadiness’. To aid in that, the back adjusts up and down


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A Beach House on the Mediterranean Coast by Laura Ortín Architecture

A Beach House on the Mediterranean Coast by Laura Ortín Architecture

Located on the Mediterranean coast in La Torre de la Horadada, Alicante, Spain, The Beach House came about when a family needed more space for their vacation home. Laura Ortín Architecture designed the new space on top of the original one-story beach house, typical of the area. Instead of building the exterior like the surrounding houses, they took a unique approach and created a faceted, modern facade that stands out on the block.

The slanted, light blue roofline is meant to extend out to the sky.

Part of the new design includes a terrace on one side of the house, as well as a loft with access to a roof terrace on the other side.

Inside, they chose affordable materials to keep the costs down, so the finishes are fairly simple. Raw plywood covers the upper walls and the loft space, while white paint is used on the main floor. Terrazzo floors add texture and a decorative element to the interior.

The upper part of the structure is offset so the best views from the loft could be secured.

The bedrooms are kept minimal, as a majority of the time is spent on the terraces.

Photos by David Frutos.


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Loupedeck Adds Tactile and Precise Lightroom Controls

Loupedeck Adds Tactile and Precise Lightroom Controls

If you’re a photographer or graphic designer that lives, breathes, and works in Adobe Lightroom on the daily, you’re very well aware any bit of well learned speed is always tempered by the need for accuracy when it comes to editing an image. Fast is good, accurate is better. Designed with Lightroom users in mind – both professionals and amateurs alike – the Loupedeck photo editing console reintroduces what we’ve lost in the era of virtual touch-swipe UI: an ergonomic and tactile mechanism for editing with acute accuracy.

Developed by a team of former Nokia developers for both Windows and macOS Adobe Lightroom users alike (note: Adobe Lightroom 6 or Adobe Lightroom Classic CC required), the Loupedeck presents an intuitive assemblage of knobs, dials and buttons inviting exploration, while also recognizing the time-oriented requirements of photo editing professionals. In presenting a great many of the most common adjustment tools as tactile controls, the requirement for hunting across menus or even accessing keyboard shortcuts is reduced to a minimum or eliminated.

About twice as large as a compact Apple wireless keyboard, the Loupedeck positions comfortable above when needed.

Our loaner’s matte finish felt comfortable to the touch across each of its controls; whether using the large Rotate/Crop dial, turning one of the small row of color adjustment wheels (each turn offering a subtle click), or adjusting shadows and highlights with a knob, the Loupedeck’s controls feel confidently aware users will need access to a wide expanse of adjustments across any photo editing projects.

Whether manipulating minute pixel-level edits or entire image adjustments, editing with physical controls delivers a more satisfying feedback between intent and execution. Simply put: it feels good using the Loupedeck right out of the box.

Setup is quick and simple, only requiring a USB cable and running a setup software to establish a connection between console and computer. After that, the controls are immediately accessible any time Adobe Lightroom is fired up.

Small, but thoughtful details like the cable routing options on the underside of the Loupedeck make the input accessory easy to incorporate into workflow and to fit onto a desk without clutter.

We’ve only integrated the Loupedeck into our workflow for a few weeks, but its productivity-boosting potential was immediate, one of those rare professional design tools that adds an element of fun (perhaps attributed to novelty, but also, who doesn’t enjoy turning knobs, pressing buttons, and adjusting dials?). It’s easy to imagine over the span of more weeks and months using the Loupedeck our productivity would improve even further, its easily memorizable layout navigable by touch and becoming as much part of muscle memory as any keyboard shortcut – the best sort of tool: an accessory you never think about, but that always delivers reliable efficiency.

The Loupedeck is available online for €249.00 with shipping to the United States available.


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Study Answers: What Do Millennials Most Want in the Workplace?

The following post is brought to you by Capital One. Our partners are hand-picked by the Design Milk team because they represent the best in design.

Study Answers: What Do Millennials Most Want in the Workplace?

What do the vast majority of millennials believe a workplace has to offer to inspire creativity and productivity? That’s the very question companies large and small are working hard to answer: Pixar’s headquarters is famous for the playful sway of their interior design. Google takes on an office-as-playground atmosphere to promote inspired thinking. And Apple? They’ve built the mothership – an enormous campus epitomizing the open floor plan design to compel interaction. So, who has it right? The 2017 Work Environment Survey sponsored by Capital One believes it has some of the most relevant and important information revealing the future of where and how we work.

Secret passageways aren’t necessary for a creative workspace, but novel and playful interior features are surely welcome. Capital One offices in San Francisco designed by Interior Architects. Photo by Jasper Sanidad Photography.

The rebellion against open office settings – where personal privacy is completely eliminated under the banner of collaboration-always environments – seems a foregone conclusion, as ill-conceived for worker happiness as any expanse of windowless cubicles. Yet, the ideal conditions permitting the possibility of creative ideas to form and gestate seems as uncertain as the Heisenberg principle, simultaneously requiring privacy and openness. Too much privacy, and collaborative efforts wane. Too little, and the solitary moments required for creative minds to explore ideas withers. Employers are beginning to recognize the key in achieving this equilibrium is neither here nor completely there, but achievable integrating environmental flexibility. And now we have survey results to prove it.

Capital One offices in McLean, Virginia, designed by Interior Architects. Photo by Adam Auel Photography.

Capital One’s 2017 Work Environment Survey queried 2,500 full-time office millennial professionals in Chicago, Dallas, New York City, San Francisco, and Washington D.C., providing an overwhelming agreement (86%) that “companies cannot encourage innovation unless workplace design and environment is innovative”, identifying flexible workspaces are an integral mechanism for encouraging the best ideas (88%). Sadly, 62% of those polled said their company’s current workplace environment fails to encourage innovation, revealing the majority of companies are not only failing to meet the expectations of their employees, but also likely diminishing opportunities for innovative thinking to occur during work hours.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise the majority surveyed (62%) wanted access to natural light in the workplace. Capital One offices in Chicago designed by Gensler. Photo courtesy of Capital One.

25% cited spaces for rest and relaxation as important. Capital One offices in Clarendon, designed by Gensler, offers intimate nooks serving this purpose. Photo courtesy of Garrett Rowland.

Spaces inviting comfortable and natural collaborative interactions (37%) came in neck and neck with desire for easily reconfigurable furniture and spaces (43%). The Capital One in Chicago hits both marks. Design by Gensler. Photo courtesy of Capital One.

One becomes obvious reading the findings is establishing an inspiring workplace isn’t a singular solution – it’s a sum of numerous factors:

In light of these findings underlining design’s importance in driving innovation, the one-size-fits-all strategy of yesterday seems obviously ineffectual and antiquated. Multi-purpose, adaptable, and reconfigurable spaces are the new ideal, promoting employees to alter environments dynamically (while also facilitating focused productivity vs. mitigating distractions as needed throughout the day). In this way the interior itself becomes a vehicle of empowerment, a tool for collaboration.

But what should employers hoping to upgrade existing workspaces execute within the realistic limitations of space, budget, and resources? One of Capital One’s in-house design experts, Michelle Cleverdon, offers these recommendations:

The design process should start with conversations with associates to assess what’s important to them, what drives them to do their work, what they care about and what makes them proud to work for their company or organization. Insights from these conversations will help define what inspires a particular workforce and how to enhance the workplace environment to achieve the greatest impact.

Asking associates to describe their bright spots (what makes life easier) and their pain points (the little things that can really hamper their day) shines light on what’s already working well in the workplace as well as on issues that need to be addressed. Another way to pinpoint this is to challenge associates to “hack” their space, empowering them to identify what’s not working well and experiment to create solutions with what they have (or with a small investment). Giving associates ownership and support in identifying space challenges and developing creative fixes enables organizations to start small and refine ideas that will enhance their workplace environments until they’re tried and true.

In other words, ask and you shall receive. In the end, communication, observation, and experimentation are all critical in creating engaging workspaces where inspiration has the opportunity to evolve into innovation.



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Friday Five with Cindy Allen

Friday Five with Cindy Allen

This year marks 16 years as Editor in Chief of Interior Design magazine for Cindy Allen, who has spent that time well championing the field’s up-and-coming designers right alongside the prominent and established ones. Besides bringing the best of interior design to the magazine’s pages every month, she has also published nine books on design and produced over 70 short documentaries on various designers. If the monthly issue isn’t enough, you should follow her on Instagram (@thecindygram) to check out her beautifully curated feed, which also gives viewers the occasional peek at what goes on behind the scene at the magazine. See what inspires Allen in this Friday Five.

Spinneybeck \\\ Photo by Bob O’Connor Photography

1. Erwin Hauer, Sculptor
When the book, Erwin Hauer – Continua – Architectural Screens, landed on my desk a decade ago, I became obsessed with the Austrian sculptor and his modular large-scale screens. I made several visits to Hauer’s treasure trove of a barn/studio in Connecticut (near Yale where he taught under Josef Albers until 1990), and in 2008 had the honor of inducting him into the Interior Design Hall of Fame. Erwin’s designs are as relevant today as ever, and he’s experiencing somewhat of a resurgence (teaming up with former student Enrique Rosado), having designed leathers for Spinneybeck and screens for Knoll. To me, he is a living icon, and the most lovely and gentle man.

Photo by Ronald Clyne

2. Ronald Clyne, Graphic Designer
When I first met my hubby Marino 20 years ago, he lived in an amazing modernist townhouse in Brooklyn Heights owned by Ronald Clyne. Ronald’s duplex apartment was to die for: hardcore minimalist interiors, huge abstract modern paintings, museum quality oceanic art, and his own designs of an estimated 500 record covers for the Folkways label! He created all the artwork by hand—typography, layout, and images—and every jacket cover perfectly represented the traditional or contemporary music from around the globe inside. We spent loads of time together talking shop, design, and tales behind those amazing covers. The original collection is now part of the Smithsonian, but Ronald generously gifted Marino and me with roughly 100 original prints, and we just recently had them all framed! Ronnie is no longer alive, and we feel so lucky to have known such an extraordinary talent, and now have this amazing collection to enjoy and always remember his brilliance.

Photo by Vero Kherian

3. The Year of Knots by Windy Chien
Windy always jokes that she had three lives: the first, owning a hipster record store, the second, working at iTunes for Apple, and now, using her hands to create art out of a simple material: rope. Her story—so inspiring—goes something like this. At 50, Windy decided to ditch her successful, corporate career to live her creative dream. She rented a studio, got to work, and almost instantly, became an Instagram sensation with her project “The Year of Knots,” where she taught herself a new knot every day and posted about it online. She just finished a 2nd edition of “Year of Knots” at Facebook for the Artist-in-Residence program (@fbairprogram). Windy is a real inspiration, for not only taking a big risk to follow her true path, but utilizing her past experiences to create a brand in almost a snap of her fingers, or a twist of a knot!

Photo by Monica Castiglioni

4. Monica Castiglioni Jewelry
Monica grew up completely immersed in design, with her father being Achille Castiglioni, designer of the Arco Lamp, who taught her to “absorb and do what you like!” Jewelry designer, sculptor, photographer, she is always experimenting with new mediums, from metals to 3D-printing, with bronze being her most cherished material. She creates experimental, organic shapes that resemble abstract flowers and even sea monsters (in a good way!), and most pieces become either one-offs or limited editions. Her creative brain is always churning, and she jokes she can’t herself stop from making! Her time is split between her hometown, Milano, and her new home, Brooklyn, having just opened up a store on Court St. Ever since I met Monica in Milan, her jewelry has become a staple for me because I wear her designs almost every day. Friends and colleagues identify ME with her jewelry—like a pair of silver cuff bracelets I hardly ever take off!

Photo by GS Visuals and Co

5. Interior Design August Art Issue Cover
Every month, somewhat in jest, I say my team and I make a baby! The process of creating a magazine gives me such enormous satisfaction, culminating with that one impactful, inspiring, and memorable cover shot. This heavenly installation inside an abandoned building in England made the coveted spot and was designed from…you’ll never guess…cardboard. Studio Lazarian created 15 10-foot-high pods at the Cotton Exchange in Blackburn. I was wowed by the transformation of the humble material into modern organic shapes striated in custom hues. Their curves and colors echo the ceiling of the building and emit a divine light that beckons people to enter. This cover tells us everything we need to know: design and art, especially when masterfully mingled together, have the ultimate power to transcend. Now that’s inspiring!


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