Designs We Are Thankful For

Here's a selection of designs that the I&S staff is saying a bit of thanks for as we kick off the 2011 holiday season.

Robert Nieminen, editor in chief, is thankful for...

The Vision of Ray Anderson

I’m thankful that he had the conviction and the courage to change the course of his company to become a model for sustainable design for the industry while he was still with us. His legacy lives on in the transformation we’re seeing in the built environment, thanks in large part to his leadership and vision.

Architecture for Humanity

I’m grateful for organizations like Architecture for Humanity, which leverages the power of design to bring design, construction and development services to communities in need around the world.

AnnMarie Marano, senior editor/e-content director, is thankful for...

The Amsale Naomi Gown

My wedding is just under two weeks away. So one of the designs I’m thankful for right now is my wedding dress – and even more thankful for my amazing mom who bought it for me. I never would have been able to afford it otherwise.

Amsale Aberra is an Ethiopian bridal and eveningwear designer who started her career after her own wedding and the difficulties she experienced in trying to find a simple, refined dress. She decided to fill the gap she found in the market for sophisticated yet understated designs. I personally was looking for a gown with a vintage aesthetic that also had some sex appeal to it. I found it in her Naomi gown. The dress screams sophisticated simplicity -- in my opinion at least -- and the fabric is something I could not get over. This satin jacquard has whimsical swirls throughout that lend themselves perfectly to my winter wedding.

I can’t wait to wear it on December 3!

The Cupcake

This is the Hot Chocolate Cupcake from one of my favorite cupcakeries, Flour & Sun Bakery, in Pleasantville, NY.

I don’t know when this miniature version of everyone’s favorite dessert came into being, or who thought to shrink it to such a perfectly compact size, but the cupcake craze in New York City (and everywhere else for that matter) is showing no signs of slowing down. Every day there’s a new bakery popping up or some other gimmick that capitalizes on the national obsession with the cupcake. From carts to trucks to custom orders (match your frosting to your cupcake), everyone waits with bated breath to see what "they" will come up with next.

Boutique Hotels:

I’ll admit it. Hospitality is where my heart is. It’s where I began my career as a design editor and it’s still the subject I find the most joy in writing about. But it’s boutiques that truly push the envelope and I see them as canvases for designers that allow them to think outside their comfort zone and not be confined by the restrictions and requirements of brand names.

But even the big name hotel brands have capitalized on this genre of individualized properties that brought back the idea of hotels as destinations. Below is an image of a boutique we covered a couple years ago, transformed by Elness Swenson Graham Architects (ESG) from a bank into a Westin hotel that has quite the distinct identity. Read the full story here.

Photography by George Heinrich

Adam Moore, managing editor, is thankful for...

Gensler Redesign of Terminal 2 at San Francisco International Airport

As a semi-frequent traveler, I’ve learned to appreciate the good airports—the ones with comfortable seating, conveniently located power outlets and tasty food options to keep morale high when your flight has been delayed yet again. Of course, those airports are few and far between, so I was thankful to see the range of thoughtful touches that went into Gensler’s redesign of Terminal 2 at the San Francisco International Airport. Filled with comfortable seating options, convenient workspaces for business travelers, unique local eateries and a 60-foot display case housing traveling museum exhibits, Terminal 2 creates a new, sustainable blueprint for the future of air travel. (You hear that, Detroit?)

Mattiazzi’s Branca chair

I was an editor for a few different guitar magazines in a previous life, so I’ve long had an appreciation for what a well-crafted piece of wood can do. When I made the transition to the design world, I saw a lot of great furniture designs, but nothing blew me away in the same way as a 1958 Fender Telecaster until I saw the Branca chair from Mattiazzi. Designed by Sam Hecht and Kim Colin of Industrial Facility, Branca is a beautiful and functional piece of design that speaks to the minimalist hiding inside all of us. And don’t tell my boss, but I probably watched the “Making of” video produced by Industrial Facility damn near 10 times when I first saw it. Amazing.

Branca from Juriaan Booij on Vimeo.

Ooops Chair

I have this weird curse of always spilling food on myself at meals—not exactly endearing, but I’ve learned to compensate for my lack of dexterity by wearing dark shades and habitually carrying Shout stain wipes. That’s why I’m thankful for Linda Vännström’s Ooops! Chair, which comes pre-stained with a variety of messy ink blots (inspired by Rorschach himself), and coffee and paint stains. Now I can create art at every meal, or at least hide my clumsiness in a stylish chair. Now if only I can convince my favorite restaurants to keep a few of these handy…

Make Eyewear

It feels like we’ve been hearing about the glories of 3-D printing for years, but I have yet to see an implementation that really brings it home. Enter Make Eyewear, who have begun offering glasses made with 3-D printing technology. Choose from eight different designs and a variety of frame colors, or design your own and have Make Eyewear print it for you. That’s what I call progress.

Kim Barbrie, art director, is thankful for...

Okay, so these are not interiors, but these items come to mind pretty quickly with my Venice vacation still fresh in my mind.

The Crumpled Map

No folding involved for the folding-map-challenged! Just stuff it in your pocket and you’re on your way to wherever. It’s in-destructable!

The Sea-to-Summit bag

While on vacation, I used the Sea-to-Summit bag every day to carry water, bread and cheese, shells from Lido beach, vaparetto schedules, guide-books, and all the little treasures I came across. I attached the ultra-light, collapsed-3-inch bag to my camera strap daily and it opened up to a roomy, silicon-coated, strong and durable shopping bag.

Steelcase LED Dash Task Lamp

The Steelcase LED Dash Task Lamp is a fixture in my living room. Aside from it being a wonderfully fluid (it is fully adjustable with the slightest touch) and aesthetically-pleasing task lamp, one can feel environmentally responsible knowing the Dash is 97 percent recyclable and is made from 32 percent of recycled content. It supplies a soft and bright light that I find perfectly suitable for reading. I LOVE my Dash!

The iPad

And, of course, I LOVE my iPad. It keeps me connected to the web, e-mail, my tunes and movies. While on vacation in Venice, I was able to keep in touch with my cat-sitter (I am the last hold-out of everyone I know and do NOT own a cell-phone), sent images back home, read-up on the plot line of The Marriage of Figaro before seeing it at the Teatro La Fenice, watched Mad Men and The Usual Suspects in the hotel room, checked the currency exchange rates, made reservations at the Venice Jazz Club, discovered exactly what cuttlefish were and how they might taste, found out how to say “Ice, please” in Italian, and much much more! Ciao.

Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving from everyone at Interiors & Sources magazine!