The common topic of this newsletter is nature and, in just few moments, you will find out what the respective connections are. Furthermore, the last block of this year's fairs and design festivals belongs to the past now. As usual, we were on site to document the events for you photographically. Enjoy the newsletter!
Here's a brief overview of the contents of our October newsletter:
At Your Convenience: contemporary public-toilet architecture
The Most Recent Projects From Our 'Architecture & Design' Library
Go get inspired!
Your Architonic Team
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1,200 metres above sea level, LJB architects' tilted, cuboid-formed rest stop at Flotane, on top of Norway's Aurlandsfjellet, digs its heels in against the site's harsh weather conditions; photo L J B AS, E Marchesi, Statens Vegvesen
At Your Convenience: contemporary public-toilet architecture
We'd like to talk to you about a delicate matter. The toilet. The WC. The lavatory. However you choose to refer to it, we all require regular access to this most prosaic of environments. Which is why it's refreshing to see a number of recent public conveniences receive a greater degree of design consideration than has historically been the case. So, sit down, relax and don't forget to flush.
Oslo architectural office Manthey Kula's Roadside Reststop Akkarvikodden in Lofoten, Norway, is designed to defy the Arctic's elements; photo Knut Hjeltnes
They say death is a great leveller. But your everyday, prosaic bodily functions come a close second. Even royalty gets caught short on occasion and has to dart off to the lavatory. London's V&A Museum is just one of the many 19th-century public buildings that had a special toilet constructed for a visiting Queen Victoria. (Save your jokes about royal flushes. We've heard them all before.)
Given that the need for public conveniences isn't one that's going to disappear until evolution finds some other way of disposing of the body's waste products, it's somewhat surprising that the public toilet as a building type hasn't received more and consistent architectural consideration. That said, a number of practices have attempted through bold and innovative forms and materials to create structures with added value – ones which function well as conveniences, but also contribute architecturally to the landscape in which they are situated, be it urban or rural. For them, the loo is anything but a dirty word.
Rusting Corten steel forms the toilet building's windowless structure, which, according to the architects, 'present(s) a pause from the impressions of the surrounding nature, offering an experience of different sensuous qualities'; photos Paul Warchol
The relation between natural surroundings and design intervention in the context of the public toilet is perhaps nowhere as emphatically foregrounded as in Lofoten, Norway. Replacing an existing structure that was lifted from its foundations by the dramatic location's strong Arctic winds, Oslo architectural office Manthey Kula have delivered a project that goes by the rather polite title of 'Roadside Reststop Akkarvikodden'.
If you're looking to spend a penny, you probably couldn't choose a more spectacular site. Lofoten lies north of the Arctic Circle, with the toilet building itself situated next to one of Norway's National Tourist Routes, which runs along a narrow plateau between the mountains and the sea. And yet, perhaps, counter to expectations, the welded-Corten-steel structure is not about the view. Indeed, its lack of windows serve to deprive visitors temporarily of their immediate surroundings.
A skylight is provides natural daylight to Manthey Kula's design, while the Corten steel and internal concrete walls ensure that the building doesn't meet the fate of its predecessor, which was up-ended by strong winds; photo Paul Warchol
If the Slow Design movement were looking for a poster boy, Ask Emil Skovgaard would undoubtedly be on the shortlist. Treading a fine and virtuosic line between design, craft and art, the Copenhagen-based creative’s work is, among other things, an expression of pure material joy and a comment on the, often compromised, value of fast-paced production. Architonic talks to the Skovgaard about his patient approach.
'Cloud' table by Ask Emil Skovgaard, made of walnut and padauk: 'Things take time and good things take good time,' says the designer
There’s something fitting about Danish creative Ask Emil Skovgaard’s atelier being located behind Copenhagen’s old vegetable market. It you had to choose one adjective to describe the aesthetic of his decidedly sculptural pieces – which encompass tables, chairs and a range of artworks – it would probably be ‘organic’.
With wood as his material of choice (‘Wood is the perfect material because it is so imperfect’), Skovgaard spends time – and the operative word here is ‘time’ – distilling his formal ideas and expert craftsmanship into objects that speak of the labour and love that has gone into them. They wear their genesis on their soulful sleeve, so to speak, showing the fact that their coming-into-being wasn’t hurried or driven by production targets, but instead the result of significant consideration and considerable, technically flawless handwork.
The filigree joinery of Ask Emil Skovgaard's 'Cloud' table speaks of the time invested in its fabrication
As previously mentioned, the last block of this year's fairs and design festivals belongs to the past now. We were on site at Interieur Kotrijk and Orgatec Cologne to capture our impressions and, as always, are now sharing them with you through out ever-popular Facebook Photo Tours. Naturally, we didn't only take pictures, but also had the pleasure to release the "Best Belgian Design Brands" and the "Best Dutch Design Brands" apps in Kortrijk and to launch the "Best Contract Design Products" app, all of which was followed by our legendary Architonic Disco, supported by our sponsors Monkey 47 Gin and Thomas Henry Tonic Water, in Cologne. If anyone of you happens to have a large neon Architonic logo standing at home - we know where you have it from!
Interieur 2012 in Kortrijk
At the end of October it was once more time for the Interieur design bienniale to take over the Belgian city of Kortrijk - this time in every sense of the word. The most impressive aspect of the newly launched Interieur concept with its slogan "City in the biennale and biennale in the city" was that instead of separating the two main locations with their outstanding mix of trade fair and curated exhibitions, the organisers used presentations going beyond individual locations to combine the two in an ideal way not only in terms of content but also, thanks to the shuttle service, in terms of transport.
This year's Orgatec, which took place from 23 to 27 October, had, despite the unsafe economic situation lately, a good atmosphere about it. The office- and contract-design fair proved once more its leading credentials in the international contract sector, thanks to its – among other facets – convincing selection of high-end exhibitors and professional events programme, which covered the latest global trends. As ever, you'll find our Architonic members who exhibited at the fair represented in our photo gallery.
After its premiere in Milan last April we have now also presented a larger version of Architonic Concept Space IV at Orgatec Cologne. Concept Space IV is the subject of ongoing development in cooperation with Beat Karrer, its designer and the inventor of the innovative material FluidSolids®.
Having a successful day at the fair is all well and good, but the best contacts are usually made in a relaxed atmosphere in the evening after a hard business day. Accordingly at this year's Orgatec we once more invited guests to the Architonic Disco in Cologne's Club King Georg where we - supported by our sponsors Monkey 47 Gin and Thomas Henry Tonic Water - celebrated until the early hours of the morning. Here you will see some impressions of the evening - although photos can't compare with the experience of actually being there. At this point we would like to thank all of you who came - and sorry for the queue outside!
Going Underground: Zumtobel sheds light on the Städel Museum's new subterranean extension
Lighting always has to work harder when it's deployed in underground spaces. But when the space in question is a museum one, where the considered illumination of its exhibits is key – not to mention their protection against the potentially damaging effects of lighting...
Still Waters: Laufen's newly extended Palomba range takes restraint to a higher level
When it came to launching their latest family of products, high-end Swiss bathroom manufacturer decided to buck the trend for the ultra-rational and focus on building on the softer, timeless design language of its earlier Palomba collection...
From huge temporary stadia to tiny transitory event spaces, pop-up architecture fulfils many roles and comes in many guises. In some cases the very latest technologies are used to engineer complex structures, while in others a readymade approach is more appropriate...
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