The Results Are In

11.28.2012 by Robert Nieminen

During the recent election season, I found myself growing increasingly irritated and appalled by the constant barrage of negative campaign ads and the endless bickering during the presidential and vice presidential debates—not to mention the often-obnoxious social media posts by friends and acquaintances on both sides of the aisle. I, for one, am glad it’s over, and that we can get back to posting pictures of our kids, our pets and witty e-cards about life on Facebook.

What is it about politics that seems to bring out the worst in us, anyway?

Perhaps it’s because, despite its inherently collective nature, the voting process is divisive. Sharply differing visions of how we should move our country forward have a tendency to do that. But the fact remains that we greatly value the opportunity to voice our opinions, be it via a ballot box or on Twitter.

In that spirit, we are proud to present the results of our fourth annual Readers’ Choice Awards. Each year, we’ve asked you—our constituents—to make your way to our website to cast your ballot for your favorite products that we’ve featured in the pages of the magazine or in our DesignFlash and Specifics e-newsletters over the course of the past year. (Sign up for our newsletters if you haven’t already.)

As in previous years, the race was tight in several categories, but never has the outcome been so close as in the Kitchen & Bath sector. For the first time ever, we have a three-way tie. Unfortunately, there were no hanging chads to recount and the official I&S Constitution contains no provisions for a run-off, so each of the three winners must share the spotlight.

Another first in this issue is our inaugural 10 to Watch feature, which showcases designers who are making waves in the world of product and furniture design. We selected this crop of influential and creative designers because of the substance, scope and style of their work, not to mention their efforts to take product design in new and exciting directions. Some have been in the business longer than others, but we consider them all to be visionaries with not only a passion for design, but a desire to uncover solutions that push the boundaries of what lies ahead.

Speaking of the future, the era of the Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) may have finally arrived on this side of the pond. “For years, building and design professionals have sought consensus, confirmation and clarity regarding what constitutes a ‘green’ product,” writes Jane Wilson, director of standards for NSF International, in this month’s EnvironDesign Notebook column. “Now, a standard for environmental labeling in Europe seems ready to take root in the United States.” While the realm of eco-labeling can seem dizzying to the uninitiated, Wilson explains in this no-nonsense piece how the entire EPD process moves us closer to an internationally recognized standard of communication for consistent reporting of a product’s environmental impact in a shared language that we all can understand.

Glancing in our rearview mirror for a moment as we close out the year, we here on the editorial staff saw an opportunity to sift through our files and select a number of stand-out projects across a variety of markets that have not been published previously in the pages of I&S. It’s a wish-list of sorts that no one gets to see except us—until now. Discover a few of our favorite commercial projects from the past year and find out why these dynamic spaces captured our attention.

It’s been an exciting and productive year for us here at Interiors & Sources, as we’ve grown in size and frequency in print and online. Expect more exciting changes from us in 2013, as well as the same commitment to delivering the latest innovations, inspirations and trends from the world of commercial interiors. As always, if you have comments, questions or just want to voice your opinion, drop me a line and I’ll lend you my ear. Your feedback and input is invaluable to us, and I hope to hear from you in the year ahead.