When we served up the first course of NeoCon finds last month, we neglected to cover a few mouth-watering experiences – specifically… a) how enamored we were with keynote speaker Paola Antonelli, who whetted everyone’s appetite with her eccentric concepts regarding the future of design; b) how satisfied we felt after keynote speaker Daniel Pink shared a recipe for successfully motivating the creative process by mixing together the crucial ingredients of autonomy, mastery and purpose; and c) how hungry we became to explore more on the subject of Building Information Modeling [BIM] after digesting a mere fraction of its potential. But it is time to present a second course of juicy resources, which include 13 tasty menu items in alphabetical order, starting with…
As the super-sized box of Crayola® Crayons is to five-year-olds, the Acrylite® Creative Box is to design professionals. Though the plastic material that makes up Acrylite has been around approximately 35 fewer years than Crayons’ impressive 105, the product line seems to get fresher every day. You can thank both its diversity of form, color and shape, and its specifiers’ wild imagination for varied application – e.g., interior features, exterior elements, furniture, signage, millwork, art…) – for that. From iridescent to fluorescent, translucent to opaque, textured to multicolored, there’s a product for every project.
Anthro Technology Furniture
This Oregon-based group excels in ergonomic furniture solutions for medical and educational facilities, the creative technology fields, corporate settings and even home offices. Knowing a few people in the film editing biz, we passed along their “Elevate™ Wrap” workstation (shown here), which allows for multiple LCD monitors and space for lots of other creative equipment (that makes little sense to us). In 2006, their compact wall-hung “eNook®” (also shown here) won a Gold Award in the Alternative Office category in the Best of NeoCon® Competition.
We’re in the middle of a digital revolution, baby, and Astek is in the thick of it. Servicing design firms, retailers, corporations, and the entertainment industry, they have built upon traditional screenprinting to offer more eco-friendly UV digital printing as well. If you can think of it, they can probably print on it: canvas, plywood, vinyl, cork, fabric, glass, grasscloth, mylar – oh, and papers, of course. Therefore, the sky’s the limit on design possibilities for floors, walls and ceilings. Nostalgic for flocked wallpaper” They do that too.
This slightly older than 10-year-old company carries a variety of natural stone products, as well as eco-friendly porcelains in sizes from mosaic to 3’+ and recycled content terrazzo in both tiles and slabs. However, what really caught our fancy was their BIO-LUMINUM™ offering, a self-described “Future Friendly material made from 100% post-consumer recycled aluminum from reclaimed aircraft parts.” Up on the wall, this tiled materials was simultaneously sleek and soft. Something about its provenance makes it historic, yet its patina creates a very contemporary sensibility.
Not sure where this company got its name (let’s be honest here – teenage boys must have a field day with it), but lowbrow humor aside, they make some great products. The proud USBGC member manufacturers long-lasting, environmentally sensitive flooring such as recycled rubber, traditional cork, and rubber/cork combinations. They also feature Vallerex™, a floating (read: no glue necessary) floor system made up of cork and high-density fiberboard that is durable enough for most residential applications and some select, lower-traffic areas in commercial projects. Expanko also supplies cork to place under your hardwoods, helping your kids to “keep it down up there!”
Möbel für Menschen
Translated as “Furniture for People,” this German company – that operates under the alphabet soup parent company, C + P Möbelstysteme GmbH & Co. KG – had one sexy, minimalist booth featuring a mere sampling of their more corporate-focused offerings. Following the trend of many of the furniture manufacturers at NeoCon, most of the pieces shone sleekly in the “color” weiss. Besides their tightly engineered, cross-over pieces, we applauded them for handing out their catalogue on a sleek little branded flash drive instead burdening us with a cumbersome tome.
Designers are forced to think differently when considering the fluid, malleable pieces of molo design. The majority of us are comfortable with the right-angled rigid, Tinker-Toy-ed, parts-n-pieces structure of 99% of what’s available to us to shape interior environments for our clients. Their softer styled modular systems offer the freedom of flexibility, temporarily dividing spaces with opaque or translucent cellular “Slinky” walls that not only perform an aesthetic function, but also act as sound dampeners and – in the case of their softwall modular system with LED lighting – emitters of ambient light.
Murals Your Way
When it comes to murals, we’ve come a long way from the limited (and, if we remember correctly, slightly out-of-focus) beach and jungle scenes of the 1970s. Due to amazing advancements in the technology – and associated cost – of graphics software, photographic techniques, printing and materials, today’s design professional has some incredible out-of-the-frame options for incorporating vibrant imagery into interior environments. Murals Your Way offers a wide array of stock image options, but they have ability to use imagery you or your graphic designer creates as well, allowing truly customized applications for your client.
Perspectives In Print
When a window or tabletop retail display catches your eye and you wonder, “Who makes this stuff”,” Perspectives In Print is the answer. Straddling the words of interior design, product design, visual merchandizing, graphics and printing, this vendor pretty much does it all. Not only do they do digital printing on fabric, carpet, sheers, canvas, mesh, etc. for things like custom upholstery, drapery, lampshades, wallpaper banners, awnings, etc., but they also make props, offer finishing, cutting and sewing of things like backdrops, table displays, custom display mannequins, and tradeshow stylings.
Elegant in its simplicity and superb in its functionality, Pulse Design’s “surface technology” puts a VGA (Video Graphics Array) connection, three power outlets and three data ports at your conference table user’s fingertips. Electronically operated with a touch of a button, the unit quietly spins upside down (or is that right-side up”), presenting its utility line-up only when needed. After use, just tap another button to close up shop; however, note that the all-seeing photo-electronic eye will prevent any user from rotating the unit with cords engaged, avoiding damaging the merchandise and creating a Gordian Knot. Often acting foolish ourselves, we love anything foolproof.
Though they might sound like a law firm or pharmaceutical company, this manufacturer excels at helping others to excel. Focusing a great deal on higher education and grade school environments, they offer highly functional technical carts, desks, tables, chairs, storage and visual communication tools to help instructors interact effectively and efficiently with students. Of course, many of the products comfortably crossover into the corporate setting as well. Plus, their STUdio line gives designers the freedom to come up with completely custom solutions for their clients’ unique problems.
Wire By Design
Wire. It’s seems like such a simple thing. Besides thousands of other ways, we use it to hang ornaments on Christmas trees, display photos of loved ones, secure precious art in place, and conduct electricity through walls. By design, Wire By Design is dragging wire out of the shadows and into the spotlight. Using a variety of metals, the manufacturer creates strong, stylish weave patterns with varying textures, densities and “translucence” for their equally as varied application possibilities: corporate wall panels, residential wall dividers, restaurant screens, retail backdrops, airport benches, and even clubhouse floorcovering. Who knew wire could be so attractive”
Attractive door options are often hard to find, especially when you want to integrate them perfectly with some eye-catching wood paneling in a home, boardroom, executive floor, etc. Enter the WTP Collection, who makes it easy with their LM Textured Panels and Doors, featuring 3mm carved wood veneer on sliding, swing doors, and pocket doors. Though not pictured here, be sure to look at their Wave Panels. Stunning in either a deep or gentle relief, they’re perfect on a feature wall in a hospitality or corporate setting, and they provide acoustic properties as well.