Return to site home page


Then and Now

Robert Nieminen

Then and Now


Robert Nieminen

Then and Now

From corporate offices to healthcare facilities, educational institutions to retail showrooms, hospitality suites to public spaces, one thing many of these commercial projects have shared in common over the years is right under your nose, or feet, rather—a well-selected, attractive carpet. Since 1983, the DuPont Antron Design Award has recognized interior designers who are setting new standards of creativity in commercial interior design through the innovative application of carpet. This year was no exception.

" Carpet played a key role in completing the design objectives of the various category and merit winners this year, with many of the winners choosing custom styles," said Deborah Carlson, commercial brand manager for DuPont Antron.

One might think after two decades, the awards program might become a bit predictable. Far from static, the program was expanded in 1997 to include the DuPont Antron Product Innovation Award, honoring carpet mills for innovative new commercial carpet styles made of DuPont Antron nylon. Twenty years later, the competition continues to evolve—this year, DuPont presented the first DuPont Antron Sustainable Flooring Award, which recognizes sustainable design practices through the use of performance-driven commercial carpet applications (see below).

2002 DuPont™ Antron®
Design Award Category Winners
Small Office category winner —VOA Associates, Inc.
Large Office category winner —Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum, Inc. for Williams Communications of Tulsa, OK.
Large Office category winner —STUDIOS Architecture for E*Trade Bank in Arlington, VA.
Hospitality category winner —Carrier Johnson for Hilton, Gaslamp Quarter San Diego, at Bridgeworks in San Diego, CA.
Hospitality category winner —HNTB for INVESCO Field at Mile High Stadium in Denver, CO.
Public Spaces/Institutional category winner —Clive Wilkinson Architects for The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising/FIDM in Irvine, CA.
Retail category winner —Gensler for the Allsteel Showroom in
Washington, DC.
Grand prize winner —C&R/Rizvi, Inc. also captured the Public Spaces/Institutional category for its design.

Merit awards were given to:

Healthcare merit winner Hammel, Green and Abrahamson, Inc. for
Innovis Health in Fargo, ND.
Hospitality merit winner Trellage-Ferrill Architecture and Art for
Bacio, Minnetonka, MN.
Large Office merit winner Gary Lee Partners for Winston & Strawn,
Chicago, IL.
Public Spaces/Institutional merit winner SmithGroup for
McNamara Terminal/Northwest WorldGateway, Detroit Metropolitan
Airport in Detroit, MI.

The honor bestowed upon award winners can't be understated either. As a two-time award recipient and former competition judge, Joe Connell, principal with The Environments Group, says, "It means a lot to be recognized by your peers and for your work to be validated." Responding to what might be a critical opinion of such a brand-specific award, Connell draws on his experience as a past juror for the competition: "I've learned that there can be a cynical view about [the awards] in that it is a special interest for their specific brand and how it's used. From the juror view, however, I've always found in the juror process that what's being recognized is the overall quality of the design. And so the competition takes on more importance."

This year's Grand Prize was presented to C&R/Rizvi, Inc. for its innovative use of carpet in a childcare facility. Accustomed to accepting difficult projects, C&R/Rizvi, Inc. eagerly took on the task of designing the Reebok Childcare Center for Reebok International Limited's headquarters in Canton, MA. Working by the themes of "rigor and quality," the firm began the project by conducting extensive research into existing childcare facilities and childhood development. It discovered that children perform best in environments that allow freedom of movement and creativity, and minimize traumatic separation from parents and playmates. The resulting space is an environment that is open, flexible and comfortable for both the children and caregivers.

Entendre, a Prince Street product from Bentley Prince Street, constructed of Antron Legacy nylon, and Interface Flooring Systems, Inc.'s Paintbox in Antron Lumena solution dyed nylon provided the right range of secondary colors for the facility. The team broke away from the primary color scheme generally used for children, finding that the colors were over-stimulating. Instead, soothing but rich tones including apricot, lavender and chartreuse were chosen for the colorful environment.

At the landmark awards ceremony earlier this year, DuPont Antron also presented Margo Grant Walsh, respected interior designer and Gensler vice chairman and managing principal, with the first honorary DuPont Antron Design Award for her contributions to the field of design and her lifetime of design achievement.

DuPont Antron Design Award entries were judged by a panel of professional architects and interior designers, including Robert Blaha, Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum, Inc. (St. Louis); Mary-Jean Eastman, FAIA, OAA, OAQ, Perkins Eastman Architects PC (New York); Karen Daroff, Daroff Design, Inc. (Philadelphia); Eileen E. Jones, Perkins + Will/Eva Maddox Branded Environments™ (Chicago); Stanley Felderman, IIDA, Felderman + Keatinge Associates (Santa Monica). Entries were evaluated on creativity and originality of the application of carpet, overall design creativity and originality and how well the design met client business objectives and challenges.

Colorado School Receives Sustainable Flooring Award
The year was 1967 and the Monkees were "Daydream Believers," the Turtles were "Happy Together" and a radical new school was being built in Wheat Ridge, CO. Peace, love and carpet were on the agenda for Prospect Valley Elementary School, winner of the 2002 Antron Sustainable Flooring Performance award. The new school featured an open floor plan to maximize teacher-student interaction and promote a group-learning environment, as well as a theater in the round, affectionately called the "Pit." At the time, the school's most unique design element was the carpet, and Prospect Valley was the first school in the district to specify this beneficial flooring selection. What was at first deemed luxury by some citizens proved to be a wise choice, as the original installation still remains on the floor today looking nearly as good as it did 35 years ago.

Carpet was the logical choice for this space, as it provides a comfortable seating surface, reduces noise and can withstand heavy foot traffic from little feet. And, after nearly four decades on the floor, it has saved the school a great deal of money in replacement and maintenance costs. Proper selection and routine maintenance have prolonged its life, saving more money over time and extending the like-new appearance of the floor.

As the winner of the 2002 Antron Sustainable Flooring Performance award, Prospect Valley demonstrated how well its original carpet selection has continued to meet performance and design objectives and its ability to meet challenges over time through sustainable material selection. The award recognizes sustainable interior design practices through the use of performance driven flooring in commercial carpet applications. The competition was open to projects with original carpet of Antron nylon installed prior to September 1, 1992 and still on the floor.

" By specifying and maintaining durable products that last longer and perform exceptionally well throughout their service life, Jefferson County Public Schools has demonstrated a true commitment to sustainability," said Dave Bouton, business director, DuPont Commercial Flooring. "When carpet can remain on the floor for an extended period of time, less energy is used, fewer raw materials are consumed and less waste is generated. The specification of Antron nylon and a well-planned maintenance program yields the best life-cycle costs and the lowest total environmental impact."

After 35 years on the floor, teachers and students alike can attest to the carpet's remarkable appearance. Even the original colors have remained in style, with the bright green and royal blue maintaining their original vibrant color.

Word has spread about the carpet's age, which has become part of the school's identity. In fact, when camera crews rolled in to film the school for a video shown at the 2002 Antron Design Award ceremony, one child remarked, "Oh, it's just about the carpet. It's, like, ancient."

To learn more about the DuPont Antron Design Awards call
(800) 4-DUPONT, or visit