CARTERSVILLE, Ga.—In its seventh year, the Shaw Contract Group Design Is… Award program honors architecture and design firms that are changing the very idea of what design is. These winning projects, selected from commercial spaces from around the globe, aim to redefine the way we work, play and organize our lives. Out of 285 entries from 19 countries, the following five firms are the Design Is… Award winners for 2012:
Firm: D/DOCK| Amsterdam, Netherlands
Project: B/S/H/ Huishoudapparaten | Hoofddorp, Netherlands
Charged with housing five unique brands in one building, D/DOCK set out to create one culture, one brand and one vision for the new company. The result is a welcoming place that radiates a sense of calm, open for everyone, everywhere at any time. Optimal lighting, tactile materials, soft colors and flexible design elements throughout maximize the experience and well-being of people, while emphasizing the open structure and the vision of the client as a company. This gives clarity to the total and keeps attention on the individual. Classified BREEAM 4 stars, the space is under a guaranteed take-back contract to ensure a second life for all interior elements.
Firm: Colacion Studio | Long Beach, CA
Project: Tamdeen Group | Safat, Kuwait
A dynamic, international workforce demands a diversity of spaces, so agility was essential for this project. The project criteria focused less on personnel count and more on personal requirements based on work style and client contact. With work groups ranging from retail management to property development to financial investment, the office needed to have a single style that worked from “daytime to evening.” It was this fashion approach that led the design team to create a stage that celebrated contemporary design elements while maintaining a progressive Arab culture heritage. With stylized silhouettes, a two-story, vertical green garden and modulated workstations to accommodate future organizational change, this space delivers on its promise.
Firm: Gensler | Los Angeles, CA
Project: Shore Hotel | Santa Monica, CA
Replacing two aging motels, the Shore Hotel boasts 164 moderately priced guest rooms in two buildings connected by a bridge. The design team’s vision blends the natural landscape and vibrant urban life, taking in the beauty of the sea and embracing the pedestrian activities of the area. A metal-clad trellis over the street side of the courtyard unifies the two wings of the main building, creating an outdoor living room. The lobby walls pay tribute to the beach, while floor-to-ceiling glass sliders maximize transparency. This LEED Gold-certified project completes the profile of Santa Monica’s scenic oceanfront street.
Firm: Checkwitch Poiron Architects Inc. | Nanaimo, BC, Canada
Project: Nanaimo Cruise Ship Terminal | Nanaimo, BC, Canada
For cruise ship passengers visiting the mid-Vancouver Island area, the Nanaimo terminal makes a striking first impression that reflects the values of the region: extensive use of warm, inviting wood combined beauty and native industries of the region. Sustainable products used in the offices overlooking the welcome center provide a subtle yet playful and dynamic counterpoint to the richness of the natural wood used throughout the terminal.
Firm: Shimoda Design Group | Los Angeles, CA
Project: WorkCafe | Grand Rapids, MI
Shimoda Design Group was called upon to refresh the Steelcase Global Headquarters for their 100-year anniversary, refurbishing a 1983 cafeteria and converting three large training rooms into a 23,000 square-foot cafeteria. It was important to integrate food and work through a palette of place and posture by mixing workplace around the social aspects of food. Together, the two food centers, a cafeteria and nourishment beverage bar, become a real time connection for all employees. In addition to being a winner, Shimoda also won the People’s Choice Award, which brought in over 430,000 votes.
“After seven years and more than 1,400 entries from 25 countries, the Design Is… Award continues to champion design excellence across market segments and around the world,” says John Stephens, vice president of marketing for Shaw Contract Group. “This year’s Design Is… Award winner video provides some of the best talent in our industry the opportunity to share the stories of their award-winning projects. We do this to acknowledge the highest caliber of work, remind one another of our shared passion for design, and strengthen and build the connections between people. Simultaneously, we will create an invaluable archive of design voices and wisdom for the future of the profession.”
Five distinguished members of the design community evaluated each project based on its design solutions beyond aesthetic quality. John Peterson, founder and president of Public Architecture, moderated the discussion as the jurors reviewed the challenges, processes and results of each project and how each design team defined design. The judging panel included Lucy Baraquio, senior design manager, Starbucks; Aneetha McLellan, associate vice president, HDR Architecture; Vito Lotta, senior director of design, Doubletree Hotels of Hilton Hotels; Steve Louie, teacher, Design School of Temasek Polytechnic; and Casey Jones, design director, General Services Administration (GSA).
Winning firms will be recognized in an upcoming advertising campaign in leading industry publications and receive an original award sculpture. A $2,000 charitable donation in the name of each winning firm will be awarded to the program or organization of the firm’s choosing.
Firms can currently enter the 2013 Design Is… Award competition at www.shawcontractgroup.com.