Architonic Newsletter 12.2012

Dear Readers,

This issue of the Architonic Newsletter focuses on change. On the one hand we look at the the production of design classics and the question of how, when and if they should be modified, and, on the other, we examine the new roles of physical retail spaces in the age of internet. And - as usually before important trade fairs - you will find the links to download the Architonic Guides to imm cologne and BAU Munich.

Here's a brief overview of the contents of our December Newsletter:

  • Same but Different: classic design and the design of change
  • Architonic Guides imm cologne and BAU München 2013
  • Selling Spaces: new directions in retail design
  • Architonic Products & Materials: Inspiring Search Results N° 12
  • Architonic Architecture & Design: Inspiring Spaces N° 5
  • The Most Recent Projects From Our 'Architecture & Design' Library

Get inspired!

 

Your Architonic Team

Zurich | Milan | Barcelona | Berlin | Cologne | Copenhagen | Stockholm | London

Shanghai architects Neri&Hu’s design for Design Republic’s Design Collective store, also in Shanghai, took the opportunity while refurbishing an existing building of installing a show-stopping wrap-around staircase within the main exhibition space

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Same but Different: classic design and the design of change

Everything changes, so they say. But should it? What about decades-old, often iconic, designs? Should they be preserved, as it were, their contemporary production remaining ‘true’ in every respect to the ‘original’? Or ought manufacturers be free to modify them – materially, technically, even formally – in the name of contemporary market appeal. And what about the thorny issue of authorship? Architonic investigates.

 

‘A kit of parts’ is how Vitsoe managing director Mark Adams describes Dieter Rams’s 620 chair programme. From 2013, the London-based manufacturer is the sole licence-holder for the legendary ex-Braun design director’s complete furniture portfolio

OK. I confess. Once upon a time (and we’re talking a good few years ago), I bought an unlicensed copy of an iconic mid-century furniture design. Call it a temporary aberration, a moment of madness, if you will. I’m not proud of myself and, rightly so, was disappointed with the quality of the chair once it was installed in my home. Lesson learnt.

While action groups such as ACID (Anti Copying in Design) in the UK work hard to promote awareness of the abuse of intellectual-property rights within design (with publications like the consumer title Elle Decoration also taking up the cause) the question of just how far a bona fide licence-holder of a design can modify the product in question along formal, material or technical lines, has, until now, been the subject of far less debate.

 

Molteni&C got to grips recently with the thorny issue of the licenced reproduction of classic designs and just how far one can modify them when it set about putting a number of previously limited-edition Gio Ponti designs into production

At what point does an ‘original’ design – and, in particular, an iconic one – cease to be original when it is subjected to a series of adjustments, tweaks or ‘improvements’? Do such interventions bring with them the death of the author? Or is an industrially produced design object always in some sense a copy?

Molteni & C spent a significant amount of time getting to grips with this thematic when it set itself the task recently of reissuing a collection of Gio Ponti furniture designs that the respected architect-designer had previously created for private use or as limited editions. ‘What does it mean to re-make a designer item decades later,’ asks the Italian manufacturer’s catalogue, ‘and what does it imply, when the manufacturing techniques and system have radically changed, or when regulations prohibit the use of certain original materials, forcing manufacturers to use alternatives?’

 

‘Without doubt an outstanding product’ is how S+’s (formerly SDR+) Thomas Merkel describes Dieter Rams’s iconic 606 shelving system. Both SDR+ and Vitsoe worked with Rams over 15 years on a number of ‘adjustments’ and ‘improvements’

Innovative technology and creative spirit are in the new Frame collection, developed by Ceramiche Refin in partnership with STUDIO FM Milano

 

 

Following years of important projects with the protagonists in design and architecture, DesignTaleStudio, Refin’s creative ceramic laboratory, has chosen to hand this new project to a team of professionals experienced in visual communication and graphics, a skill that, finally, is receiving the recognition it deserves in product design.

Hence, the collaboration on the Frame collection with STUDIO FM Milano, a Milan-based agency specialising in graphic design, corporate design and publishing, an agency that loves to experiment by combining architecture, design and art.

“Studio FM accepted Refin’s suggestion to re-interpret decorative ceramic using traditional techniques and the true worth of decoration,” Barbara Forni said...

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Architonic Guides imm cologne and BAU München 2013

In the 10 years since the founding of Architonic, the Architonic Guide has established itself as an indispensable trade-fair companion.

During our anniversary year, too, the Architonic Guide allows you to find the best exhibitors quickly. Architonic’s selection is purely an editorial one and is limited to high-end manufacturers whose products are visually relevant to the design of buildings and spaces. It’s a guide by architects for architects.

To help you prepare your visits to imm cologne 2013 and BAU 2013, our Architonic Guides are now available for you to download as PDF files using the links below.

Printed copies will be available free of charge at the stands of selected exhibitors at the fair and from the Architonic Concept Spaces at imm cologne (Passage between Halls 10/11) and BAU München (Stand 50, Hall A6).

 

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Selling Spaces: new directions in retail design

In spite of the rise of e-commerce, the physical point of sale is still with us. That said, the traditional store is having to up its game in terms of the experience and brand relevance it offers consumers – not only to compete with online shopping but also to support it. Architonic goes all secret shopper to investigate.

 

Shanghai architects Neri&Hu’s design for Design Republic’s Design Collective store, also in Shanghai, took the opportunity while refurbishing an existing building of installing a show-stopping wrap-around staircase within the main exhibition space

It’s not uncommon these days to hear about a high-street retail brand going to the wall. And long-standing ones at that. No surprise really, given the less than favourable financial straits most national economies are currently in. Internet shopping – although not unaffected by sluggish, if indeed negative, sales growth – continues to gain ground at the expense of its analogue counterpart, the physical point of sale.

Yet, we’re far from witnessing the end for the traditional, non-virtual shop. Retail footfall may ebb and flow, but stores, as real-time spaces to which consumers deliver themselves and where they – if things go according to plan – part with their money, continue to serve a purpose.

 

What’s the key difference between online and in-store shopping? Physical space. Japanese office NI&Co. Architects’ micro-architectural design for the Bianco Nero boutique in Osaka treats visitors to a memorable spatial experience; photo Yuko Tada

But what is that purpose exactly in 2012? If anything’s clear, it’s that the point of sale, as we know it, is moving beyond its historical function as a quasi-public space for the mere display and provision of goods and services to something altogether more sophisticated and plural. And the internet is without a doubt playing a key role in this evolution.

Smart brands, however, don’t consider this to be the death-knell of the physical point of sale – the store – but rather as a challenge to reimagine its meaning. If everything’s cheaper on the internet, how do you make real-time, real-place shops meaningful? How do you turn online brand fans back into analogue consumers?

 

Online communities of fans are invited to become in-house, real-time patrons at Burberry’s new flagship store on London’s Regent Street. Seamlessly integrated digital technology includes a 7-metre-high laser-phosphor screen for live web streaming…

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Architonic Products & Materials: Inspiring Search Results N° 12

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Architonic Architecture & Design: Inspiring Spaces N° 5

The Most Recent Projects From Our 'Architecture & Design' Library

 

Alex Cochrane Architects

 

Selfridges Designer Menswear Space | United Kingdom | Completed 2012

Neri & Hu Design and Research Office

 

BIANCO NERO | Osaka | Japan | Completed 2012

Alexandre Pain

 

Rama | France | Completed 2012