Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Bamboo and Shadows

 The dried bamboo poles in this cafe looked great against the dark background, but also have a look at the backlit ceiling with the leaf pattern.

Below is the exterior of this cafe with a light canopy
with a real leaf pattern being cast as shadow.

While these sticks of bamboo were found all around Cersaie 2014, you have to admit that the radiators designed around this effect by K8 are just gorgeous.

For more info contact Radiating Interiors 

Social Lives in a Built Environment

In an ever altering environment, the need to anticipate social change is crucial to ensuring that the infrastructure that supports individuals as well as communities is in place.  Reading the research material recently published through Adam Urbanism was a reminder how tough the relationship can be between designers, architects, developers, planners and government in creating a positive built environment.

"Tomorrow's Home" ( Lily Bernheimer- Space Works Consultancy and ADAM Urbanism) is a timely reminder about the need to understand and act upon social lives in anticipating and creating flexible and happy work/ home environments. The research predominately looked at the socio-economic changes affecting the Millenials- young adults born towards the end of the last century, effectively an 18-34 age group.

The study looked at the differences between the aspirations of this generation and the previous one.  Where home ownership was feasible based on average incomes, it would seem that this generation will continue to see rental as the only way forward with mortgages and housing stock unavailable.

Workers still migrate towards urban areas with greater employment options, however there is also a greater element of self employed working from home.

There is always the issue of multitasking work and home space.  It appears new housing stock still needs to take into consideration the need for larger living spaces.

While agricultural farms were isolated in many respects, those same families enjoyed social interaction with other farms.

Today individuals, working alone, share their lives with online support , some  via social network groups prompting real interactions.

The creation and development of outside spaces is important. Parks, gardens, areas to gather and chat. The "KIOSK" idea from AJ and various at Bologna Water Design being actually a very good idea.

Great humanitarians and industrialists Robert Owen, the Cadbury family and Lord Lever all created great "towns" for their workers with enhanced living conditions, compared to local housing, in New Lanark, Bournville and Port Sunlight respectively. They considered the needs of their workers first, then realised the environment. Truly front runners of town planning in a built industrial environment.

Now too often town planners meet the requirements of a political party, developers are greedy about maximising units of land in often inappropriate sites ( flood plains eg) , architects are concerned with price they can achieve per square metre to satisfy clients - often compromising the finish to suit the budget - and interior designers are brought in to make impossible spaces work for the inhabitants.

It is time for policy and decision makers to take heed of such information as contained in the Tomorrow's Home report, and properly plan and implement living conditions that will enhance lives and be flexible to support near future generations.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Bologna Water Design , Tubes and Zucchetti

 A 16th century palace becomes the backdrop to a creative  experience that forms the Bologna Water Design Show. Entering the building in search of the Italian radiator company Tubes Radiatori felt rather like entering a theatre in the middle of a Shakespear play while all the Acts were happening at once, and having no idea what it was about, but wanting to stay.

In one room a short animated film was being shown to a captive audience of young children sitting in rows of Starck chairs.

Tubes Kangeri
 A pixar styled animated figure nodded its head against a watery coloured background, while the earth felt rain and a shadow pulled a shower curtain across. The only colour was a bright yellow rubber style duck.

There was something mesmerising about the sequence which led me to watch it a second time.

Then I realised this was a short promotional film to advertise a showerhead by the Italian company Zucchetti
Zucchetti Kos

While fresh mozzarella balls with cherry tomatoes, and stuffed fresh figs were served with the obligatory and delicious Prosecco in the architects room - Tubes radiators blended in with the half plastered walls and Hansgrohe Axor.

In other rooms water being used to create patterns was in evidence as well as designs for open pools such as found in many open spaces, or public water fountains as found in "Kiosk"


Tubes Scaletta

Ofcourse like many things that look simple on the surface, there is very likely some skilled and great creative forces involved, and this exhibition was a great example of just such an abundance of  talent.

While each room seemed impossible at first to reconcile with another, somehow the Acts all fell into a natural order and the overall experience of taking part in such a theatrical exhibition was well worth the extra glass or two of Prosecco.

Here is to great design, enjoy.

For more info on Tubes Radiatori contact 

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Cersaie 2014 Bologna and more

Bologna has long been known as a centre of culture.  Historical buildings, well preserved architecture and  great transportation links all add up to this city being a destination for creative fairs and tourism. Little wonder it was voted European Capital of Culture in 2000.

Cersaie is a firm fixture in the ceramics world calendar. Major suppliers showcasing what is new and bold in the world of porcelain, ceramics, glass, designer walls, bathrooms and fittings. There was certainly a lot to see.

Glass glazed ceramic tiles and funky displays of lava basins made appealing and interesting displays. There was certainly a fair amount of lava products on show. Whether the material was used as wall tiles , or cast as basins or worksurfaces, this was certainly an interesting product.

I really liked the  bricks on show. Whether they were porcelain or designer brick, there was something really appealing about them. Not only were there different sizes and shapes- but some really exciting colourways and suggestions for patterns.

I'm quite into the designer brick- and very excited one supplier. Something a little bit different.
We saw at Decorex a few years ago a bit of gold/ brass displayed in bathroom hardware, this year a bit more in Bologna. It's a resurgent market, impressed to see some really good partnerships hardware and sanitaryware.

How can you not love these radiators by Ridea Schema Bird. There is Wolly, Schema Cat and Schema Bird- who incidentally was tweeting through Cersaie 2014 . Who says radiators need be boring.

We tend to think of heating in this country as being wall mounted boring white, or portable grey blowing hot air.

There are alternatives, and some imagination and great designs.

Excited was I by Cordivari, Italian style fantastico, shown here.
Fiore, a Spanish company with electric and water heaters and again great designs.

My journey continued to visit Tubes Radiatori. So here I am in a 16th century palace Ex Ospedale dei Bastardini in via D'Azeglio in Bologna, it's the Bologna Water Design festival. The building itself is beautiful, courtyard, vaulted ceilings- a place to stay and explore. That's where we found ourselves looking for Tubes. We found them, but the journey much more more interesting.
The international partnership between Turkish Ceramics, The Architect's Journal and 6 of the best architecture practices around was a highlight. The Architect's Journal teamed up with Turkish Ceramics, who represent 37 Turkish ceramic manufacturers, to create a design challenge called "Kiosk". The word kiosk is derived from the Turkish "kosk" which translates as small communal space. And of course the brief included an aspect of water as well as the use of Turkish ceramics in the design.

 The clue was probably in the introduction by AJ's acting editor Rory Olcayto, "Kicking the Bottle". Water is beneficial for health and millions is spent on bottled water. Why not tackle the problem of readily accessible free water in a unique and environmentally friendly way. How could a water fountain be exhibited and used in 21st century London and by incorporating Turkish ceramics into the design.

The wow factory definitely kicked in. How different could six architectural practices view something that's mostly sole purpose was to distribute water? How different indeed. The architects in question were Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, Adam Architecture, Hopkins Architects, Eric Parry Architects, Studio Weave and Zaha Hadid. Each practice had its own unique take from single fountains that could refill water bottles and offer water to a dog, to elaborate fountains.

For more info re Italian radiator products contact Radiating Interiors