Buy: Retro Record Washer

Keep your beloved vinyl collection in tip-top condition with this manual washer from Spin-Clean. Offering a compact, made-in-USA unit that's more affordable than its high-tech counterparts, Spin-Clean celebrates 40 years…

Keep your beloved vinyl collection in tip-top condition with this manual washer from Spin-Clean. Offering a compact, made-in-USA unit that’s more affordable than its high-tech counterparts, Spin-Clean celebrates 40 years of taking lint, dust and fingerprints……

USGBC Ranks Countries for LEED Green Building

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced its international rankings of the Top 10 Countries for LEED, the world’s most widely used and recognized green building rating system. The…

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced its international rankings of the Top 10 Countries for LEED, the world’s most widely used and recognized green building rating system. The Top 10 list highlights countries outside of the United States that are making significant strides in sustainable building design, construction and transformation, illustrating the ever-growing international demand for LEED green buildings.

Barry Sternlicht’s SH Group Unveils 1 Hotel Central Park

NEW YORK—SH Group, the hotel brand management arm of Starwood Capital Group, announced the opening of 1 Hotel Central Park. This is the second property for the recently launched 1…

NEW YORK—SH Group, the hotel brand management arm of Starwood Capital Group, announced the opening of 1 Hotel Central Park. This is the second property for the recently launched 1 Hotels, and the first in New York City. Known for his innovations, Sternlicht developed the brand with goals of truly upending the world of hospitality through a socially and environmentally conscious platform in celebration of the beauty and preservation of nature. A natural haven in the middle of Manhattan, 1 Hotel Central Park stands one block south from New York City’s largest green space, at the corner of 58th Street and Sixth Avenue. A true homage to Central Park with its ivy-covered facade, the hotel offers respite from busy New York life for visitors and the community. “1 Hotels started from a simple belief: those who travel the world, care about it,” said SH Group CEO and Chairman Barry Sternlicht.

Huy Fong Food's original—and unabashedly copied—Sriracha hot chili sauce has forever altered the tastebuds of people all over the world, found on bowls of fried rice and avocado kale salads…

Huy Fong Food’s original—and unabashedly copied—Sriracha hot chili sauce has forever altered the tastebuds of people all over the world, found on bowls of fried rice and avocado kale salads alike. We’ve been overjoyed to find out that the cult……

Italian automotive design owes its prestigious legacy to five main design houses: Pininfarina, Zagato, Bertone, Italdesign Giugiaro and Carrozzeria Ghia. It’s because of these five firms that Italian cars have…

Italian automotive design owes its prestigious legacy to five main design houses: Pininfarina, Zagato, Bertone, Italdesign Giugiaro and Carrozzeria Ghia. It’s because of these five firms that Italian cars have become synonymous with speed, luxury and……

ListenUp: Joanna Newsom: Sapokanikan

There's no voice quite like that of Joanna Newsom, and once again her signature warbling vocals and acute, whimsical songwriting play their part in track "Sapokanikan." Supported by a brand…

There’s no voice quite like that of Joanna Newsom, and once again her signature warbling vocals and acute, whimsical songwriting play their part in track “Sapokanikan.” Supported by a brand new video by film auteur Paul Thomas Anderson, the song is……

The City of London now sports boutique gym: It’s crunch time

Project InfoClient: 1RebelArchitect: Studio C102Size: 743 sq mCost: Not disclosedDuration: Five monthsWords by Emily MartinImages by Gareth GardnerThe City of London has acquired a new boutique gym thanks to Studio…

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Project Info

Client: 1Rebel
Architect: Studio C102
Size: 743 sq m
Cost: Not disclosed
Duration: Five months


Words by Emily Martin

Images by Gareth Gardner

The City of London has acquired a new boutique gym thanks to Studio C102, which has completed the fit-out of 1Rebel on the ground and basement levels of 63 St Mary’s Axe. With the architecture practice set a design brief to include an industrial-looking aesthetic for the luxury workout space, the former offices now showcase as a contemporary ‘theatrical’ space that includes a shop and juice bar.

The Roots and Bulbs juice bar at the gym was designed by k-studio
The Roots and Bulbs juice bar at the gym was designed by k-studio

Studio C102 started by stripping out the existing interior features to expose a concrete ceiling, ductwork and pipes. It opted for reclaimed industrial light fittings, sourced from a communist-era Polish ceramics factory and a German cargo ship from the Sixties to enhance the unfinished look. A mix of raw materials also features and includes unsealed steel, which will gain a rusty patina over time. It is a design scheme not usually associated with the luxury market sector or even a gym, but Studio C102 says it made for an ‘interesting’ brief.

The retail space features a bespoke display hanging rail
The retail space features a bespoke display hanging rail

‘The stripped-back, industrial aesthetic might encourage you to feel tougher when working up a sweat, but at the same time it is not a “spit and sawdust” kind of aesthetic,’ says Kyriakos Katsaros, founder of Studio C102. ‘We used heated porcelain benches and towels at three temperatures (warm/ambient/chilled) to offset all the concrete and rusting steel so that end result looks industrial, yet feels luxurious.’

Creating a focus on merchandise, company products and customer experience was a client requirement too that also aided the luxury feel to the space. Studio C102 placed the shop at the gym’s front entrance, at street level, with gym-goers passing the luxury sportswear ranges hanging from a clothes rail that snakes its way from floor to ceiling.

Copper lockers feature in the women’s changing room
Copper lockers feature in the women’s changing room

A Roots & Bulbs juice bar, designed by architecture practice k-studio, is also at the entrance and provides refreshments to both visitors and passers-by. Katsaros says: ‘We began by creating a design language drawing on inspiration from contemporary art and cutting-edge retail design, rather than the fitness sector.’

In addition the studio delivered a scheme that creates a ‘night-out’ experience. ‘Each [exercise] class feels like a night out and an event in its own right’, says Katsaros, and Studio C102 opted for cinema-style signs to illuminate the entrance to the ‘Ride’ and ‘Reshape’ studios on the ground floor and basement levels. Exercise bikes in the ‘Ride’ studio sit on tiered levels and face a raised podium to mimic the layout of a theatre. Projections play on the walls to recreate a club experience, with music, sometimes from a live band, accompanying the workouts.

A long bench made from white handcrafted tiles runs along one side of Ride studio and provides discreet storage for cycling shoes, provided by the gym for use on the bikes. The basement Reshape weights studio features Georgian wired mirrors with steel frames and bespoke gym benches.

The Ride space, for spinning classes, has live bands to add to the ‘night-out’ vibe
The Ride space, for spinning classes, has live bands to add to the ‘night-out’ vibe

Consistent with the gym’s ‘edgy and urban’ style, Studio C102 has continued its industrial luxe into the changing rooms, which feature the handmade, tiled and heated benches and SMEG fridges that contain chilled towels for post-workout use. In the men’s changing rooms, Hollywood-style vanity mirrors are paired with Fifties’ barbers chairs, and a concrete lift shaft has been exposed. Other design elements include galvanised-steel lockers and LED filament bulb lighting in copper holders.

The women’s changing rooms are softer, with bespoke Deborah Bowness wallpaper and modern copper-panelled lockers. Here, the LED filament lighting hangs from the ceiling in concrete holders to complement the concrete floors, which were left exposed before sealing to give them a unique patina.

Tasked with an interesting design brief Studio C102 has delivered an unusual and quirky project, which Katsaros summarises as ‘industrial, yet luxurious and places the visitor at centre stage’.

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Oiling the wheels: Co-design the way forward

'Cooperation oils the machinery of getting things done,' says philosopher and sociologist Richard Sennett in the preface to his excellent book, Together. 'Cooperation is embedded in our genes, but cannot…

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‘Cooperation oils the machinery of getting things done,’ says philosopher and sociologist Richard Sennett in the preface to his excellent book, Together. ‘Cooperation is embedded in our genes, but cannot remain stuck in routine behaviour; it needs to be developed and deepened. This is particularly true when we are dealing with people unlike ourselves; with them, cooperation becomes a demanding effort.’

In few transactions is that effort more demanding than when highly educated architects are working on behalf of people whose expertise lies in very different areas than in the complexities of how to design or reorganise a building – be they school head teacher, hospital director or would-be house builder. This lack of shared experience and knowledge is probably the single biggest contributor to the acrimonious relationships that can develop by the time a project has completed. But stakeholder engagement is now becoming an accepted part of a building design process – with more than lip service paid to the concept.

There are, as Sherry Arnstein (author of the oft-used ‘ladder of participation’ hierarchy) pointed out, many shades of engagement in the creation of places, from mere consultation – a willingness to inform the public what they’re going to get – to genuine collaboration with all parties allowed to contribute to the eventual design. When the latter happens – when clients and architects have reached a level of mutual understanding and shared objectives – it supports a move away from a ‘risk averse’, formulaic approach to design and facilitates the creation of innovative buildings and projects.

This is certainly true of schemes such as Kingfisher Court, a mental health unit in the Hertfordshire countryside. When project manager Dr Barry Trindall sat down with P+HS Architects Trindall made it clear that he wanted to create a building that promoted the ‘recovery model’ of care: to have the physical setting work actively towards restoring patient wellbeing. As such, says Trindall, ‘one of the objectives [was] inclusion and discussion at all levels and involving the community in building, design and usage decisions’. This was most unusual, says Wendy da Silva, a director of P+HS and with 20 years of experience in healthcare design. ‘But I can now see the benefit of it.’

Kingfisher court, Hertfordshire
Kingfisher court, Hertfordshire. Photo Credit: Tim Soar

Some 2,000 hours were spent in consultation with various groups in the first three months alone. Over the project’s course the stakeholder groups were consulted on all major decisions involving facilities, bedroom design, furniture choices, artworks, leisure and recreational facilities, even colour palettes. The huge amount of feedback and consultation required a rigorous communication programme so that all groups felt their points had been heard and dealt with.

Trindall insisted on a ‘closed feedback loop. Whatever request was made, there had to be a response and, if possible, action.’ What was also required was extra time for the architects to adjust the scheme, when issues were raised.

The resulting facility is an exemplar for thoughtful and non-institutional design. A low-lying series of buildings are set into the hillside, with bedrooms and communal rooms arranged around landscaped courtyards, providing greenery and views of nature from all angles.

There is no overt security; no dominating high fences or barriers. The programming of spaces is crucial in setting a more normal atmosphere and providing choice. Says da Silva: ‘One thing was very important: places for chance meetings and contemplation. As you come out of a bedroom there are window seats. As you get better you might be able to go into the day spaces. There are therapeutic courtyards. As you get still better there are “streets” where you might gather, and places where you might meet your partner and children. Also [places]for staff and therapists and interaction between everyone here.’

Maudsley Learning Centre: Ortus Building
Maudsley Learning Centre: Ortus Building

One of the most effective elements, however, in lifting this scheme well above the institutional norm, are the wooden doors and windowframes. Says Trindall: ‘I don’t like painted doors. You save almost nothing in terms of capital costs. Then you have got to maintain them and they don’t provide the same degree of quality.’

Original art was also prioritised. Says Trindall: ‘I think art is important in life. It should reflect in the buildings.’ He appointed the Contemporary Art Society as adviser, which wrote a Trust Art Policy and proposed a shortlist of artists. From this the stakeholder groups chose artists Nicky Hirst and James Ireland. Their work on this site specifically addresses the needs and sensibilities of the patients, bringing an engagement with nature and texture, light and colour (as with Ireland’s Sunset to Sunrise light-box installation), as well as with home (especially Hirst’s delightful series of photographs depicting real people’s mantelpieces and keepsakes), arranged along the walls, near seating spaces.

Partially occupied in summer 2014, by that November there were already remarkable results. Not only had aggressive incidents diminished, but Trindall reported a 65 per cent reduction in tribunal appeals: around 70 per cent of the patients at this facility have been sectioned (against their will), which often results in ime and cost-intensive appeals; not here.

One of the key factors in pushing through the more innovative aspects – especially to do with ‘normalising’ elements of the patient bedrooms (mirrors, opening windows, loo seats) – was a scaled mock-up of the room that was tested exhaustively. Says Trindall: ‘When they [health and safety officials] came back to me to query any of the design innovations, I was able to say no, we have tested this.’ But da Silva thinks that equally important was having one project manager – Trindall – throughout the programme: ‘If we hadn’t, it would never have retained that initial vision.’

In achieving true collaboration, Richard Sennett argues for a mix of empathy and clarity of vision – lashings of sympathy is not what’s needed, he says, or decision-making can be severely compromised. But clarity of communication is also essential. It’s this that helped inform the process through which Duggan Morris Architects achieved a landmark – and now multiple-award-winning – new building for the Maudsley, one of the UK’s leading mental-health hospitals and teaching institutions. The Ortus building also emerged out of intensive workshops with the client and stakeholders, but in this case they didn’t even know at the start what sort of building was needed. They wanted both social and educational facilities, in order to enhance connections between departments across the Maudsley campus and beyond.

Kingfisher court, Hertfordshire
Kingfisher court, Hertfordshire. Photo Credit: Tim Soar

Duggan Morris was brought in right at the beginning of the process, spending a year in consultations with staff, patients and locals. There were some innovative ways of helping the client team along the route to the right building: on top of the more standard consultation mechanisms (in-depth interviews with 35 key staff, and site visits to centres of learning excellence and innovation around the world, including Cambridge University colleges, the Rolex Learning Centre in Lausanne by SANAA, the Young Vic, London’s Maggie’s Centre).

Duggan Morris prepared a series of books at key stages during the consultation to provoke discussion and establish consensus. It even produced a cartoon version of how the proposed building would look, feel and work for the people using it, in order to gauge reactions – and in the process, really immersing itself in the client world. But Genevieve Glover, managing director of Maudsley Learning (the education and outreach arm of the charity) remembers the crucial elements of consultation being ‘whitesof- the-eyes stuff – meeting people face to face; gathering people together in a variety of locations across Camberwell and the campus’.

Gibson feels that this clarity of vision attained by the end of the consultation helped immeasurably, as did the simplicity and directness of the client- architect relationship, facilitated by the procurement process. As a non-NHS entity, the Maudsley Charity was able to procure the building through a PPC2000 contract in which the client and architect team retain control of budgets and subcontractors, rather than the usual NHS contract that delegates all power to an external contractor, whose primary objectives are financial.

The building is innovative in many ways, she says: ‘The vision was about no barriers to entry: no reception desk, no glass window, no signing in, no security pass. We wanted it to be welcoming to all and giving everyone a consistently good experience.

‘If I look round the space now, we have mums with their children from the school next door in the cafe, we have academics, administrators, people from the hospital. Earlier today we had some local residents. Someone from the hospital said it was a very democratic building. Everyone is welcome, and they feel welcome and make themselves at home.’

Culturally, the building has had an impact, says Gibson: ‘Across the campus I think you will find that people who have clinical roles, or executive leadership, administrative roles, are probably coming across their academic peers more. I think the silos within each organisation are broken here. That has been not only facilitated by the building but also the work we’re doing through Maudsley Learning – we’re working with departments across the campus to convert to accessible learning, webinars et cetera. I think the environment here encourages people to think more freely.

Everybody notices it but whether it’s to do with the openness or the light or the hum of activity it’s not clear. Either way, It’s a very good space for collaboration and creativity.’

Meanwhile, up in Derby, an immersive, hands-on co-design project has turned a museum into a space for collaboration and creativity, in conjunction with the local community. Derby Silk Mill Museum worked closely with co-design specialist Studio Tilt to create an innovative new model of a museum, where local skills and making are displayed and utilised alongside artefacts (see case study), sparking a whole new conversation between exhibits old and new, and generating a new community of makers, some of whose output is now being sold in the shop. Says Studio Tilt director Oliver Marlow: ‘Co-design is about challenging hierarchies anyway – knowledge hierarchies too. You have all those people who walk into a provincial museum in Derby and they’re not even that happy with the [usual] kind of museum atmosphere and expectation of how to act. You try and challenge those hierarchies and people get excited. They don’t think for a second they are in a museum.’

Studio Tilt is well placed to observe the growing interest in this collaborative design process, with a growing client list embracing a range of sectors, from office to healthcare to education. Says Marlow: ‘That free flow of inviting people to contribute…is the way everything is moving in the public domain.

From our point of view it’s…about a structured and open way of engaging people around space and giving them the agency to have their ideas and needs expressed. That’s not what usually happens in the way architecture is practiced – because it’s so time and money dependent.’

It may be harder work, it may be more time consuming and it certainly requires a knowledge and experience of the tools for gathering and harnessing feedback, but the ultimate benefit of good, collaborative design is much greater buy-in from the community involved. As Sennett observes: ‘Cooperation becomes an earned experience rather than just thoughtless sharing.’ He concludes: ‘As in any other realm of life, we prize what we have struggled to achieve.’

Light Collective epitomises a collaborative practice

Words by Veronica SimpsonCollaborative is surely one of the key words in design right now: from textile designers working with chemical engineers to create exotic new heat or light-reactive pigments…

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Words by Veronica Simpson

Collaborative is surely one of the key words in design right now: from textile designers working with chemical engineers to create exotic new heat or light-reactive pigments (check out The Unseen) to architects working with biologists to develop new and sustainable building forms and materials (see Michael Pawlyn’s extraordinary structures at Exploration Architecture), the cutting edge of design – and culture in general – is about the serendipitous mixing of talents and skill sets to generate innovative new approaches and applications.

Lighting design is up there in the ‘collaboratory’ with the best of them, but its output is mostly confined to the kind of immersive audio-visual wizardry increasingly conjured up to enhance performances and events from theatre experiences to exhibitions to Olympic opening ceremonies, or used to create stunning art installations. What you don’t tend to get is lighting designers being truly free-range in their activities. Or so I thought, until I met Light Collective.

Light Collective is one of the most interesting and innovative studios currently using light as a medium. Started by architectural lighting designer (ex BDP) Martin Lupton and Sharon Stammers, who came to lighting design via theatre and stage lighting, their work combines technical brilliance with a keen sense of fun.

Light Collective’s Guerilla Lighting in Salford, at the Old Fire Station
Light Collective’s Guerilla Lighting in Salford, at the Old Fire Station

For example, it has a Guerilla Lighting arm which has taken over some of the grittier parts of European towns, unloved spaces in rural villages and even forests, with the help of small armies of locals, reinventing familiar landscapes for one glorious night of mischief thanks to the deployment of portable lamps and coloured film. As justification Stammers – a likeable, no-nonsense lighting evangelist – says: ‘Local authorities invest all their money on lighting town centres and never the places where people live, where it’s needed.’

Stammers and Lupton are also part of a group of pan-European lighting designers who have founded what they call the Social Light Movement. With a little help from sponsors (iGuzzini and Concord play a key part here), they host workshops with a wide variety of design students and practitioners, taking light out into the parts of the city where it’s needed most. One recent project in a Swedish housing association went down so well the association has decided to permanently install it.

Light Collective’s sense of fun is also deployed on behalf of lighting manufacturers wishing to find a fresher way of launching a product or technology than the usual conveyor-belt product parades. For example, to showcase the talents of Concord/Havells Sylvania’s Beacon Muse Projector, Light Collective dreamed up One Beam of Light, a global photographic competition inviting contributors from all over the world to send in images inspired by single-light sources. The best of these were exhibited at the ICA, but it was so successful it became a touring exhibition.

Stammers, it turns out, did her time as a more orthodox kind of lighting designer, putting spotlights on cathedrals, but found the work ultimately quite boring. She says: ‘The first time I thought: I can’t believe I’m doing cathedrals, it’s so exciting. But each time the way we lit them it was just the same.’ So when the duo formed Light Collective, their first decision was to tear up the rule book about what a lighting consultancy could be or do. Their ethos is, in a nutshell: ‘Solving problems, very creatively, using light,’ says Stammers.

This summer, they got to highlight the creative possibilities of light in a whole new way by curating an exhibition in Paris. Called Lumière: Play of Brilliants, it showcased some of the most interesting contemporary light art and design studios. Located in various rooms in Paris’s historic Eléphant Paname venue (a deliciously dilapidated Belle Epoque mansion that doubles as gallery and dance studio), the selected art works found innovative ways to deliver up what legendary lighting designer Richard Kelly had identified as the third key element in any lighting scheme: ‘play of brilliants’ (the other two being focal glow and ambient lighting).

Guerrilla Lighting hits a tunnel in Liege
Guerrilla Lighting hits a tunnel in Liege

Nothing if not diverse, the works included a stroboscopic display of light in water from Paris-based DGT; a kinetic light sculpture of colour-changing circles that moved around a room like some kind of pulsing deep-sea creature, from Germany’s White Void studio; a modern-day disco ball from UK art and sculpture group Haberdashery, with sound-reactive LED lights embedded in a sculpture formed of laser-cut acrylic (a microphone embedded in the sculpture sets off LED fireworks every time a noise is made); and Ming, a 3D-printed recreation of two Ming vases by the UK’s Moritz Waldemeyer, with LEDs on the inside that played videos across the vases’ surface.

Architectural lighting is still very much part of Light Collective’s mix. Current projects include a shopping centre in Kuwait and a rustic-luxe farmhouse outside of Florence. Says Stammers: ‘The fun thing about working for a shopping centre in Kuwait is you suggest mad ideas and they do them.’

Social media is also a tool it wields with enthusiasm. Passionate about the Twittersphere, it has just reclaimed an app it developed for Phillips, called LightCollector, that encourages people to take light-related images and share them with the global community. Collaborative and interactive in every way, sharing information and inspiration is the way forward, says Stammers. ‘We’re the creative team for MondoArc Magazine’s new set of light awards, the darc awards. The entries won’t be voted for by 10 judges in a room. Instead, we’ve made it online so everyone in the global lighting community can vote. We’ve made the voting really easy, with only a small amount of categories… All these things are trying to engage an audience and inspire them about light.’

There’s no underlying agenda other than to keep inventing and challenging themselves. ‘We’re very go with the flow,’ says Stammers. ‘We’ve just been contacted by a woman in Scotland, in Forres, who wants to do a rural light festival. I find things like that really interesting. Martin really likes architectural lighting design. But for both of us it’s about using light to create magic.’

May the force be with them…

For its 26th concept incarnation, NYC experiential retail store, STORY, offers a new sort of editorial installation. Founder Rachel Shechtman partnered with acclaimed artist and Instagram sensation Donald Robertson (perhaps…

For its 26th concept incarnation, NYC experiential retail store, STORY, offers a new sort of editorial installation. Founder Rachel Shechtman partnered with acclaimed artist and Instagram sensation Donald Robertson (perhaps best known as Drawbertson……