Latest Articles in Design

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A Visit to HAY Copenhagen

I just returned to the office from a trip to Copenhagen spent reporting a handful of stories for the magazine and scouting future projects. A highlight of the trip was my visit to HAY, a fantastic store dedicated to contemporary Danish design that's set in a historic building overlooking Strøget, the city's main pedestrian thoroughfare. I spent more than an hour in the store in a kind of happy design daze, gawping over the lovely sofas, chairs, rugs, tables, and miscellaneous gifts and gadgets. Here are some photos from my visit. I'll share some of my other favorite Copenhagen discoveries online over the next couple weeks.
November 15, 2011
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Highlights of Dwell Design Lab

This past weekend I attended Dwell's first annual Design Lab, which took over a raw penthouse space in the new Millenium Tower in San Francisco's SOMA district and spotlighted 13 local designers. (My colleague Diana Budds offers a good overview of the event here.) After a festive, Kim Crawford Wine-fueled Friday night reception, I spent Saturday afternoon wandering through the show, chatting with the designers about their work and their display spaces. Here are a few of the highlights I spotted... 
October 31, 2011
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Hôtel Americano, New York City

Carlos Couturier and Moises Micha have ten hotels in Mexico under their brand Grupo Habita, but now they’ve stepped out of their comfort zone to build a hotel in New York City. What makes Hôtel Americano unique from prior projects? There is not much color and no art, a far cry from their previous hotels, known for their contemporary art pieces. For the hoteliers, neutrality meant no distractions and no competition with the bounty of art already in the area. Hotel Americano pushes boundaries, working with small spaces and making special features like the rooftop pool and restaurant functioning in the cold of winter as it does in summer days. "It's not about trendiness," Couturier explains. "Everything is about the architecture, the interior design..."  
October 31, 2011
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Friday Finds 10.28.11

It's Halloween weekend and we here at the Dwell office are excited for the next few days of revelry spent in costume. Before the holiday sugar crash sets in, have a look at our favorite things from the past week: Game 6 of the World Series, a dog with an uncanny resemblance to a certain Star Wars character, and a special light show.
October 28, 2011
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A Zero-Energy Community: Part 4

Project Manager Brad Liljequist chronicles the building of the zHome, a ten-unit townhome in Issaquah, Washington—the first multifamily zero-energy community in the United States. Part 4: A new approach to stormwater management. Water and salmon are iconic in the maritime Northwest. The Puget Sound basin has for decades been a hub of innovation in stormwater management, with a goal of protecting these icons. Recently, a movement has been afoot to change how stormwater is managed. In past years, stormwater for new development was typically collected in large vaults or ponds and then released at a set rate into local streams and lakes. While this strategy has had success in reducing impact to local water bodies, it requires large infrastructure, and also is not always effective in limiting runoff impacts. zHome embodies a new stormwater management strategy called "low impact development," which takes a more site-driven approach, where water is detained and returned to the ground right on site. Our stormwater benchmark requires that the same amount of rainfall be reintroduced to the ground as fell there in the site’s original forested state. We employed a number of strategies to achieve this.  zHome also has been "Salmon-Safe certified," the first residential project in Washington State to achieve this standard. Salmon-Safe’s mission is to "transform land management practices so Pacific salmon can thrive in West Coast watersheds." This independent certification ensures that zHome’s stormwater and landscape management systems are ecologically sound and safe to aquatic resources. Click through the slideshow to learn more about zHome's strategy, and click here to watch a video about the cachement system.
October 26, 2011
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Schoenenberger's Favorite Buildings

Continuing our series where we ask our favorite architects and designers about the three buildings that most inspire and impress them, we turn to Erich Schoenenberger of su11 architecture + design. Schoenenberger most recently impressed us with his and his partner Ferda Kolatan's design for a 620-square-foot apartment in New York City for a family of four, which appeared in our March 2011 issue and featured a serpentine floor-to-ceiling wall of laminate cabinets.   Asked to pick his three favorite structures, he globe-hopped from Mexico to Spain to Italy—where he raved about a most popular structure, the Casa Malaparte, also selected by Page Goolrick for her "Three Buildings" list. Reflecting on what these three buildings have in common, he said: "Sagrada Familia and the Lautner house share a dynamic space experience; the Lautner house and Casa Malaparte both have a great interrelationship of building and landscape/views." See below for more about each...                                        Casa Marbrisa                                      Acapulco, Mexico, John Lautner, 1973
October 19, 2011
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Design with the Other 90%: CITIES

The second in a series of themed exhibitions by the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum that demonstrate how design can address the world’s most critical issues, "Design with the Other 90%: Cities," opened this past week at the United Nations in New York City. Organized by Cynthia E. Smith, the museum’s curator of socially responsible design, the exhibition features more than 60 projects from 22 countries around the globe and explores design solutions to the challenges created by rapid urban growth in informal settlements (a.k.a. slums). The exhibition is free to the public and runs through Jan. 9, 2012. Here's a glimpse at some of the projects on view, from a "favela painting project" in Rio de Janeiro to Floating Community Lifeboats in Bangladesh, which provide space for solar-powered schools, libraries, clinics and community centers in response to rising waters and extreme density.
October 18, 2011
Touring Basel Switzerland part 2

Touring Basel, Switzerland, Part 2

Last month I traveled to Basel, Switzerland, a European city first founded during the Roman Empire and still boasting beautiful buildings constructed more than 1,000 years agos. In Touring Basel, Switzerland, Part 1, I explored the city's historic downtown, which is a mix of neo-Gothic cathedrals, knit graffiti, ancient bridges, and Richard Serra sculptures. In Part 2, we share the fun to be had in and around the Rhine and travel outside the city to the Vitra campus and the Laufen bathrooms factory.
October 12, 2011
<h3>Latte Cup in Slate, Mud Australia, $37</h3>
Alissa Parker-Walker: "My idea of a perfect fall afternoon would be laying next to a fire, drinking a cup of tea and enjoying a good book. What better to drink that cup o’ tea from than a latte cup from Mud

The Best of Horne

Browsing online design shops peeping at awesome housewares and furniture counts as 'work' here at Dwell, and I recently discovered what might be my new favorite design resource: Horne, founded by Ryan Walker and Alissa Parker. "Our promise is to only offer items that we think are truly wonderful," the pair write in their site's mini-manifesto. "We try to counter the 'buy disposable' mentality by selling pieces that you will cherish for years and years to come. Each item is truly a special treasure—something to hold and love but also use and enjoy." With the seasons changing and an influx of sweet new objects on their site, I asked Walker and Parker to share a few of their favorite fall-friendly items currently available at Horne, from a graphic patterned pouf to a perfect tea mug.
October 10, 2011