Newsletter 08.2011

Dear Readers

Holey smoke.

Sometimes solid surfaces can be, well, a bit too solid. Cue a group of recent architectural projects that take a bold approach to perforated façades and divisions. Featured in this issue of our newsletter, they use technologically innovative materials to create big statements and grand narratives, both inside and out.

We also talk to Sam Wilkinson, the young British designer whose game-changing 'Plumen 001' low-energy lightbulb - which picked up the UK Design Museum's Design of the Year 2011 award - proves that formal aesthetics serve a purpose just as important as utilitarian function. Love and light, people. Love and light.
Jakob + Macfarlane's Orange Cube in Lyon, covered in a perforated steel mesh; photo: Roland Halbe. Read the article 'Hole Lot of Sense: smart uses for perforated façades and partitions' below

And we look at some recently completed international concert halls and opera houses, whose designs perform just as hard as the artists who take to their stages.

Plus our usual selection of new projects from our ever-expanding 'Architecture & Design' section on Architonic.

Need all of this in bullet points? You got it:

* Hole Lot of Sense: smart uses for perforated façades and partitions
* How Many Designers Does It Take to Change a Light Bulb?: Samuel Wilkinson
* High Performance Spaces: concert halls and opera houses that hit the right note
* A round of some of the best forthcoming international design events
* The latest projects from Architonic's 'Architecture & Design' section

Be inspired!

Your Architonic Team
Zurich | Milan | Barcelona | Berlin | Cologne | Copenhagen | Stockholm | London | Miami
Hole Lot of Sense
Smart uses for perforated façades and partitions
Perforated walls, panels and screens have been used for centuries as a way to control the level of light entering a building or to offer privacy to the occupants. The functions of perforations have remained largely the same, but the materials and methods of manufacture have altered considerably. No longer cut or carved by hand, developments in computer-controlled technologies mean that detailed patterns can now be quickly and easily etched into various materials for interior or exterior use. Architonic looks at some recent projects demonstrating the contemporary effects that can be achieved using perforated materials.
Two huge voids in the Orange Cube help provide light, ventilation and views of the city; photo: Roland Halbe

Perforated screens and shutters can help to add a distinctive personality to a building's exterior, as well as performing an important function. In the Mediterranean region, louvred shutters painted in bright colours give the towns and villages a cheerful visual style. When closed, they reduce the impact of directly sunlight and provide an extra degree of privacy and security. Intricately patterned screens are a typical feature of many buildings in parts of Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, where they would traditionally have been cut by hand by skilled craftsmen. The complexity of the latticework denotes the wealth or importance of the occupier, with the most complex and delicate often found in temples, mosques or other places of worship. These traditional applications for perforated surfaces have inspired and informed contemporary architects interested in exploring new functional and aesthetic possibilities.
One of the large voids cuts a section through the floors, creating balconies and communal areas; photo: Roland Halbe

In climates where harsh levels of heat and sunlight can create uncomfortable conditions, striking a balance between light and shade, warmth and ventilation is an important consideration. Piercy Conner Architects have confronted this issue in their design for the Restello apartment building in Kolkata (Calcutta), India, which is due for completion early next year. Floor-to-ceiling glazing is wrapped in an outer layer, comprising perforated steel screens that offer protection from sun and rain, controlling the amount of light that enters the interior whilst maintaining the spectacular views. Between the glazing and the screens are double-height terraces that blur the boundaries between inside and outside space. The delicate patterning used on the screens references the local vernacular and produces a dappled light that brings an impression of natural shade to the interior.
Traditional Polish folk art inspired the perforated pattern applied to the surfaces of the Polish Pavilion at last year's Shanghai Expo by WWAA Architects; photo © WWAA
How Many Designers Does It Take to Change a Light Bulb?: Samuel Wilkinson
When young British designer Samuel Wilkinson set out to redesign the standard low-energy light bulb, with the aim of making it work just as hard aesthetically as it does environmentally, he was in for a long trek. Journeying beyond the safe and familiar territory of the archetype is seldom easy, particularly when you have to develop a new set of manufacturing methods to realise your product. In conversation with Architonic, Wilkinson sheds some light on his award-winning 'Plumen 001' bulb.
Young British designer Samuel Wilkinson's low-energy 'Plumen 001' light bulb (developed in collaboration with Hulger), whose innovative design earned it the accolade Brit Insurance Design of the Year 2011; photo Andrew Penketh

There are certain object types that have a kind of 'naturalness' about them, a taken-for-grantedness, so ubiquitous are they or long-standing. The incandescent light bulb is one of these. Ask someone to sketch one for you and you're more than likely to end up with the familiar round glass form that narrows at the bottom (or top, depending on which way up you're visualising it) to form its metal contact.
'I think you have to survive in this industry. It's certainly not the easiest ways to make a living but can be amazingly rewarding when it starts to work': Samuel Wilkinson

Perhaps design is at its most meaningful when it's deployed to challenge the inevitability of archetypes, replacing the script of 'This is the way it is' with 'Why does it need to be this way?'. Young British designer Sam Wilkinson, whose aesthetically charged 'Plumen 001' low-energy light bulb (developed in collaboration with Hulger) scooped the covetable Design Museum's Design of the Year 2011 award, is an enthusiastic writer of such scripts. 'To work on a project that has the potential to be a real game-changer is always an interesting challenge,' the London-based creative tells Architonic.
Wilkinson's limited-edition 'Vessels' series for UK manufacturer Decode, designed especially to house the 'Plumen 001' bulb, is being developed into a production series, to be launched in September during this year's London Design Festival
High Performance Spaces
Concert halls and opera houses that hit the right note
If music be the food of love, then where better to dine out than a world-class concert hall or opera house? Here, Architonic examines a number of recently completed architectural projects that perform as hard as the artists who take to their stages. Play on.
Henning Larsen Architects' new Harpa Concert & Conference Centre was conceived of as part of Reykjavik's harbour-development project; photo © Osbjørn Jacobsen

Given the digital times in which we live, there's something reassuring about the fact that intelligent, relevant and inspiring performing-arts venues are still managing to be designed and built. In all their glorious materiality, they cock a cultural snook at the ever-growing disembodied consumption of online and downloaded music, dance and other art forms.

Perhaps its a hard-wired social desire that we, as humans, have to congregate and experience performance en masse and unmediated, or maybe it has something to do with the perceived value of such buildings in terms of the cultural profile they can lend a city (and the economic benefits that often attend this), but, whatever the reasons for their continued need, a number of architects are ensuring that newly commissioned concert halls, opera houses and cultural centres in general are as performative in terms of their design as the activities they house.
Frank Gehry's New World Center in Miami Beach, Florida, features an 80-foot-high glass curtain wall and giant LED screen on the exterior, while inside the auditorium sail-like acoustic-panels-cum-projection-screens animate the space; photos Claudia Uribe
Design That Crosses Continents
Istanbul Design Week 2011
The must-visit Istanbul Design Week, now in its sixth edition, takes place this year from 28 September to 2 October, and is setting up home on the Old Galata Bridge, which spans the Golden Horn, connecting east and west.
  Design That Crosses Continents

In association with dDf and Hurriyet, it has in store a super-charged programme of new projects, covering design, trends, fashion, science, architecture and technology, as well as exhibitions, workshops and conference guests. And, of course, the IDW 2011 party.

By using the Old Galata Bridge as both event and the exhibition area, participants and visitors will have a unique perspective on the city and on design.

Big-name conference guests include Lidewij Edelkoort, Amanda Levete and Tomoko Azumi.

Istanbul Design Week 2011
28 September to 2 October 2011
Opens 11.00, closes 20.00
Ticket prices: Adults 15 TL, students 10 TL

The Architonic App: your perfect summertime companion
Ah, the summer. Good times.

But what to do with all those extra daylight hours? Why, get aquainted with the Architonic App, of course.

The Architonic App for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch puts the entire Architonic products and materials database in your hands, allowing you, as architect, interior architect, planner or, simply, design consumer, to carry out your professional research on anytime, anywhere.

The intuitive navigation across product groups, manufacturers, designers or free-text searches allows you to locate the right products at the right time.

And all of this with breathtaking speed and brilliant picture quality - and, of course, it's always up to date.

So what are you waiting for? A three-month subscription costs just €3.99.

(Oh, and the Architonic App also works in winter.)
  The Architonic App: your perfect summertime companion
DESIGN DAYS: the 2011 edition
22 to 25 September sees the the fifth annual edition of DESIGN DAYS, organised by the French-Swiss design and architecture magazine 'Espaces contemporains'. The event brings together the best of contemporary design and functions as a design-cultural platform for meeting and exchange, aimed at both professionals and the general public.
Design Days 2009: tuk.tuk by Moyard in the Mamco courtyard

Taking place across various locations in Geneva's city centre, including the quartier du Bains, the Auditorium Arditi cinema and the Freestudios, designers will be showing industrially designed products, as well as limited-edition objects, prototypes, one-off pieces and installations. There will also be several exhibitions, among them Les Espaces du design, a selection by 'Espaces contemporains' of the best Swiss design of the past year, designed by Adrien Rovero.
Design Days 2010: conference at ECAL on Lebanese design with Bokja Design

In addition, 20 contemporary furniture showrooms will be hosting special exhibitions. Free shuttle buses connect the various venues, creating a large design trail, called 'Le Circuit du design'
Don't forget to check out HEAD's (Haute Ecole d'Art et de Design) activities, too. They'll be hosting an exhibition by Noam Toran, as well as a number of conferences, co-organised with 'Espaces contemporains':

23 September: Ignaz Favata : Joe Colombo + Alberto Alessi

24 September: Conférence Nitzan Cohen + Noam Toran

25 September: Swiss round table: Philippe Cramer, Jorg Böner, Philippe Bestenheider, INCH Furniture

at HEAD, boulevard James-Fazy 15, Geneva

For more information, follow the links below.
Month of Design 2011
Should you be in the Slovenian neck of the woods this autumn, or even if you're not, why not head to Ljubljana for the literally titled, but anything but prosaic, Month of Design 2011, which kicks off on 13 October? You won't be alone. Last year, 42,000 visitors hit the over 100 exhibitions and events across the city, to see the best of what Slovenian design has to offer, while a further 8,000 attended the Design Expo, which successfully mixes creativity with business.

Held at the Exhibition and Convention Centre (Slovenians), the 2011 expo is divided into six sections: Design Market, where design-led companies present their latest offerings and achievements; Masters and Materials, a space where creative producers and manufacturers can merge their knowledge of materials and processes with the experience of innovative designers; R&D, which presents organisations with an emphasis on research and development, as well as knowledge and innovation; Creative Drugstore, which showcases active members of the creative industries; Generation of Talent, where active, talented students exhibit; and ArtPark, a research platform that allows collaborations with visual and multimedia artists.

In addition to all of this, there's an international design conference on 18 October, plus two awards schemes - one that recognises the best Slovenian design, and another called the All Design Awards, which chooses the best from the winners of other international design awards programmes.

Month Of Design 2011
Ljubljana, Slovenia
13 October to 13 November
Date for the Design Diary: neue räume 2011
2011 sees Zurich's international furniture and home-design exhibition - neue räume - throw open its doors once more. Its sixth edition, which runs from 1 to 6 November, will feature more than 90 Swiss and international producers of furniture, lamps, kitches, bathrooms and textiles (many of them Architonic members), in a 8,000-square-metre exhibition space. The event, with its comprehensive brand overview and platform for new trends and ideas, has become the most important design in Switzerland over the last few years.

Architonic will, of course, be there (it's our home turf, after all), and invite you to come and see us at our innovative Concept Space III, designed in collaboration with Oskar Zieta, which, if you haven't seen before, is worth a trip in itself!

We'll also be throwing a VIP party on 3 November (starts at 20.00), sponsored by our good friends at Monkey 47 gin, and featuring some excellent sounds. Invitations will be sent out nearer the time.

neue räume 11
1 to 6 November 2011
ABB halls 550
The Latest Projects from 'Architecture & Design' on Architonic
  The Latest Projects from 'Architecture & Design' on Architonic  
Museum of Liverpool, Liverpool, England, completed 2011; photographer: © Philip Handforth
Emmanuelle Moureaux Architecture + Design
Sugamo Shinkin Bank / Tokiwadai branch, Tokyo, Japan, completed 2010
AGi architects
Secret House, Shuwaikh B, Kuwait, completed 2010; photographer: © Nelson Garrido