Newsletter 10.2010

Dear Readers,

Our series on 'Concrete in Architecture' illustrates the versatility of this building material and presents a number of modern high-tech applications.

At this year's London Design Festival we met the British designer Matthew Hilton who colourfully recounted the story of the label he founded in 2007 - from its eventful beginnings to the latest collection.

In addition, at Architonic@Facebook you can see a number of impressions of individual exhibits and new products which Architonic compiled for you at INTERIEUR 2010 in Kortrijk.

From 29 to 31 October the sixth Designers' Open will be taking place in Leipzig. As a media partner to the show we take pleasure in inviting you to exhibitions by international product, graphic and fashion designers.

Be inspired!

Your Architonic team

Zurich | Milan | Berlin | Barcelona | Copenhagen | London | Miami
Concrete in Architecture (1): a material both stigmatised and celebrated
Architonic takes a look at concrete, related new technologies and a selection of interesting projects that have embraced these
    Concrete in Architecture (1): a material both stigmatised and celebrated  
fibreC fibreglass concrete, made by the Reider company, used here for the [C]SPACE Pavilion in London, designed by Alan Dempsey and Alvin Huang, 2008

Almost no other material manages to carry such contradictory associations. Stigmatised on the one hand, celebrated on the other, it evokes highly diverse reactions. The word 'concrete' was used for the first time in 1750 by Bernard Forêst de Bélidor as a description for a mortar, in his book 'Architecture hydraulique'. The first ferroconcrete structures were built around 1900. Today, reinforced concrete is Germany's most important building material, with over 100 million cubic metres of it used every year. Its potential seems almost inexhaustible and continual innovations in how it's applied make it a valuable material for new architecture concepts.

Herzog de Meuron set another trend in architecture: the photo-concrete façade of the Fachhochschule Eberswalde's library, 1998
What actually is concrete? Basically, concrete consists these days of cement, water and a stone aggregate:
cement, a hydraulic-setting binding agent, produces a cement paste when mixed with water, which is then enriched with a stone aggregate. The paste envelopes the small pieces of stone, fills the hollows and makes the wet concrete workable, until it hardens through hydration. The concrete then stays rigid, even under water and has a stable volume.

Reinforced concrete has led to a revolution in architecture. Steel possesses a high tensile strength, unlike concrete, and therefore makes large spans possible, without the need of arching. Its image as a cold and inhuman material was particularly prevalent in the 1970s. The repetitive way the elements were put together and monotonous housing silos contributed to this, as well as the way in which exposed concrete ages, often perceived as unaesthetic. 'Béton brut' architecture led to the term 'brutalism'. The association of brutality always accompanies the term, which makes the image of exposed concrete quite clear.

'It's all about surprising yourself'
Matthew Hilton at the London Design Festival
    'It's all about surprising yourself'  
British furniture designer Matthew Hilton: 'It's nice to show the things you've been slaving away on. It's part of the reward.'

British furniture designer Matthew Hilton's work manages to walk that very fine line between restraint and expressiveness. It's probably why his designs, offering as they do a kind of reassurance, are so respected by so many. But the path hasn't always been a smooth one, as Architonic discovered when we met up with Hilton at this year's London Design Festival.

Those of you who like your music somewhat on the minimal side will probably know contemporary composer Steve Reich's 'Different Trains', a hypnotic piece where a string quartet at times dovetails, at times spars melodically with sampled human voices, creating a multilayered, complex work that assails the listener with its repetitive insistence. It's anything but easy listening.

The latest additions to Matthew Hilton's furniture collection, due for production by quality-focused Portuguese manufacturer De La Espada, shown at the Tramshed during this year's London Design Festival

'Different Trains' is also the working title for a new storage piece created by British designer Matthew Hilton, presented for the first time during the recent London Design Festival. While the unit also displays a certainly constructional complexity, it offers, as is typical of Hilton's work with its consideration and emphasis on the well-made, an immediate sense of reassurance. And complex, at least in terms of personality, the designer himself is anything but. You'd be hard pushed to find a more friendly, more open person working in the design industry.

Simon Cowell met up with Hilton at the Tramshed, a pop-up exhibition space in London's Hoxton/Shoreditch district, initiated by high-end Portuguese design brand De La Espada, where his new furniture designs, 'Different Trains' among them, were shown alongside recent work by, among others, Ilse Crawford, Autoban and Leif.designpark. Here, Hilton spoke thoughtfully and candidly about past production difficulties, future creative challenges and why he finds buying a vacuum cleaner so problematic.
Architonic at Designers' Saturday 2010
Appearing for the last time with Concept Space III by Oskar Zieta
On 6 and 7 November Architonic will be presenting its services at Designers' Saturday. All those who have not yet experienced the Architonic Concept Space III designed by Oskar Zieta will have a final chance to do so there because this popular designer event in the Swiss town of Langenthal will, for the moment, mark the final appearance of this innovative metal structure which is inflated by water pressure.

With 71 exhibiting companies, 12 selected carte-blanche holders and a range of domestic and international colleges of design this year's thirteenth Designers' Saturday will be the biggest since it was founded in the year 1987. This event, which takes place every two years, differs from the well-known furniture fairs above all in the elaborate and artistic installations designed by the exhibitors. As a result Designers' Saturday, in spite of its relatively low-key location, has established itself as an unmissable date in the appointment books of the trade public.

Tickets for the Saturday and Sunday can be obtained at the ticket offices located at the railway station, the central car parks and all exhibition locations. Tickets can also be bought in advance online. They are valid for use of the shuttle buses between the various exhibition locations and also entitled the ticket holder to refreshments.

  Architonic at Designers' Saturday 2010  
Architonic Concept Space III by Oskar Zieta, photo by gee-ly
Impressions of INTERIEUR 2010 Design Biennale in Kortrijk
Now on Architonic@Facebook
Visit us on Facebook to view more images and discover the new products and inspirations that have been captured by the Architonic team for you!
  Impressions of INTERIEUR 2010 Design Biennale in Kortrijk
Architonic Guide Orgatec 2010
Your handy guide to the 'Office and Facility Fair' in Cologne
Orgatec, the international fair for office and contract furniture, opens its doors in Cologne from 26 to 30 October. Those who have not yet found time to prepare for the extensive range of exhibitors at the fair can download the Architonic Guide listing the best of them here. The guide can also be obtained from the stands of all the exhibitors listed.
In addition we look forward to welcoming you at the Architonic Concept Space III, designed by Oskar Zieta, in Hall 9.1, Stand A70-B71.

  Architonic Guide Orgatec 2010
Designers' Open
29 - 31 October 2010 in Leipzig, Germany
With its rich cultural scene and relatively inexpensive rents Leipzig has for some years now come to rival Berlin as a growing centre for Germany's creative talents. Designers' Open will be taking place there from 29 to 31 October. This is the sixth time that the latest works of domestic and international exhibitors - which this year number 120 - from the fields of interior, industrial, fashion and communications design will be on show in Leipzig. This year the fair is for the first time divided into "DO/Market" for consumers and "DO/Industry" for trade visitors. The extensive accompanying programme consists of special design exhibitions, external "DO/Spots" in the city centre, lectures, film shows and workshops. All these activities have ensured that Designers' Open has established itself as a major design event in the German-speaking world and beyond. As a media partner to the fair we take pleasure in inviting you to attend.
  Designers' Open  
Hôtel de Pologne, before restoration, one of the impressing Designers' Open locations
New Projects from 'Architecture & Design'
King Shih Architects
  New Projects from 'Architecture & Design'  
2010 Taipei International Floral Expo, Fine Arts Museum Park, photo by Marc Gerritsen
Correia / Ragazzi Arquitectos
Casa no Gerês, photo by Luis Ferreira Alves
Pir II Arkitektkontor AS
Hotel SUB, Stokkøya, photo by Dan Ågren
'Umhüllter Raum', photo by Thorsten Klapsch
crossboundaries architects
Family Box, photo by Chaoying Yang
Edward Szewczyk & Associates, Architects
More Articles from 'News &Trends'
Détente Cordiale: when Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance met Bernhardt Design
  More Articles from 'News &Trends'

Architonic spent some time with the trained sculptor at this year's London Design Festival, discussing, among other things, his experience of transatlantic collaboration, why he's not a modernist, and the particular commercial - and physical - demands of the American market...
Concrete in Architecture (2): not really grey
In the second part of our 'Concrete in Architecture' series, Architonic shows how concrete certainly doesn't have to be grey. From delicate tones to high luminosity, it can take on a wide range of chromatic and emotional complexions.