Interzum Preview Explores Smart Materials

Orgatec’s sister fair, the materials-focused Interzum, also occupies the Koelnmesse GmbH from May 5 – 8. A special Interzum preview was presented to Orgatec visitors – “Innovation of Interior: Smart Office Materials.”

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Orgatec: Working More Means Working Smarter

Once every two years the design world gathers to contemplate how office workers work. Orgatec, held in Cologne every other October, showcases the latest in practical design for our ever-evolving work spaces. We’re spending more time in the office than ever before, but longer hours don’t always translate into higher productivity. Being cooped up in a cubicle under fluorescent light rarely brings out the best in people. As designers continue to play with flexible spaces that allow workers to change their scenery and take advantage of wireless connectivity, territorial boundaries fade further and further into the distance. This level of mobility helps keep people engaged and inspired, while the layouts that enable it offer more efficient use of existing space; accommodations for the occasional influx of remote workers that need to spend a few days at HQ every few months; room for informal meetings. Furniture needs to achieve higher levels of comfort in order to support this way of working. ...

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Part 1: Safer Furniture, Safer Buildings: Flame Retardants and our Environment

Designers, end users, building owners, and consumers need to know there are new options for healthier interior products. It is now possible to meet the most widely used furniture flammability standard without adding toxic flame retardant chemicals. In 1975, California adopted a furniture flammability standard, Technical Bulletin 117 (TB 117), that promoted the use of toxic flame retardant chemicals in furniture. Ultimately this led producers nationwide to use these chemicals in virtually all upholstered furniture. Halogenated and phosphate flame retardants are associated with a wide range of adverse health effects in animals and humans[1],[2].  Exposure to flame retardants is particularly harmful to pregnant women, infants, children, those in low-income communities, and fire victims and firefighters[3],[4],[5],[6]. Flame retardants are common in many architectural materials, from upholstery to insulation, where the chemicals are expected to delay ignition and slow the spread of fire. Unfortunately, they ...

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Design Politics 101: The Legislative Lexicon

There are many different types of legislative models in effect across the country. Which category does your state fall under? Title Acts, as the name suggests, regulate the use of professional titles, like “registered interior designer” or “certified interior designer.” Title acts do not require professionals to become licensed or restrict anyone from providing the services falling under a particular title, but they do prevent anyone who is not registered/certified/licensed from advertising themselves as such. In this way, title acts serve to raise public awareness about the qualifications of professional interior designers. Practice Acts go a step further, requiring individuals to be licensed by the state in order to perform certain professional interior design services. These acts also come with title restrictions, and may even regulate general industry terminology like “interior design services” as well. Self-certification Systems are similar to title acts, but regulator ...

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Design Legislation News: South Carolina

If there’s one name design advocates in South Carolina should know, it’s Patti Morrow, founder of the Interior Design Protection Council (IDPC). On December 10, Morrow was awarded the 2014 Unsung Hero Award—and $25,000—from the Vernon K. Krieble Foundation for her organized opposition to any legislation that would require interior designers to become licensed and registered in order to practice.  Patti Morrow accepting her 2014 Unsung Hero Award. (Source: Since starting the IDPC in 2004, Morrow has testified at congressional hearings throughout the country, and has stopped design legislation from passing in at least five states. That includes South Carolina, where bills to enact the “Registered Interior Design Practice Act” died in subcommittee in the House (H.3417) and Senate (S.339) in early 2013. Morrow provided testimony at both the House and Senate hearings, acting as representative for an alphabet soup of IDPC clients: the Desi ...

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Introducing In Edition: The Blog About the Magazine

Every time a new issue of Interiors & Sources goes to print, our editorial team is left with piles of notes and pages of transcripts that did not make the final cut. And it always seems that the perfect press releases with the best news updates hit our desks right after we’ve wrapped up our articles and moved on to the next. A journalist’s job is never done, it seems, because the story of our times is constantly unfolding.  That’s why we’re launching In Edition, a new blog that puts the & in I&S, with continued coverage of the topics you’ll find in print each month. Stick around as we go in-depth, up-to-the-minute, and introduce new industry voices to the conversation along the way—and, as always, don’t forget to share your ongoing story with us here in the comments or @interiorssource. Our January issue kicks things off with a brand new theme: The Politics of Design. In print, we talked to designers about the cost of federal design-build compet ...

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Seeing Color: Design Miami Through the Eyes of Eric Chang, co-founder and chief designer of Brooklyn-based luxury furniture label, Hellman-Chang

Recently, I spent three whirlwind days in Miami during Design Miami. For the last few years the event has been making more and more noise in the design world. I went down the day before Art Basel Miami Beach opened, on December 2, to be a part of a panel called “Disruptors: Thinking Outside the Box” coinciding with the opening of an Andy Warhol Gallery and pop-up sale in JW Marriott, in partnership with Christie’s and Andy Warhol Museum. I had a great time exchanging thoughts with co-panelist Daniel Boulud on how we respectively “disrupted” our luxury industries. On December 3, I got to attend the Design Miami preview. This was the year of architect Peter Marino! He was the recipient of the inaugural Design Visionary Award and subject of an exhibition at Design Miami, in addition to a large exhibition on his work at the Bass Museum. Design Miami was a design feast tastefully supported by major corporate sponsors including Perrier Jouet, Audi, Fendi Casa and Swarowski, which each ...

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Miniature Buildings

Ann McCallum is a former professor at Williams College who taught the Architecture II course for 24 years. One of her assignments was a special favorite amongst advanced students: to design a building (more specifically, a museum) using the design idiom of a renowned architect and to build a model of it. In a special exhibition on view at the Williams College Museum of Art, nearly 100 models produced over a decade by McCallum’s students are currently on display. For this assignment, McCallum asked each student to select a renowned architect and to study their chosen architect’s work over the course of a semester. This way students learned specific artistic strategies. As a final project, they designed museum facades in the styles of their selected architects. Ultimately producing the models exhibited at Williams College today. Though these miniature buildings echo familiar forms and quote signature idioms, they ultimately convey a new built environment—offering an unconventional opport ...

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Mirror: Material and Metaphor

Since the dawn of civilization man has used mirrors for practical and religious purposes. They can be seen as a symbol of vanity or an object of insight; today they are even used as safety and security devices. From the biblical “through a glass darkly” to Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking Glass;" mirrors imbue our folklore and popular culture with a reflection not only of ourselves and the world around us, but into other worlds as well. Mirrors have also taken on many forms as society has changed and new technologies were invented. In order for a smooth surface to act as a mirror, it must reflect as much of the light as possible and must transmit and absorb as little as possible. In order to reflect light rays without scattering or diffusing them, a mirror’s surface must be perfectly smooth or its irregularities must be smaller than the wavelength of the light being reflected. (The wavelengths of visible light are on the order of 5 by 10−5 cm). In a new bo ...

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CITES: Endangered Versus Threatened Wood Species

Would you ever consider upholstering a chair in tiger or panda fur? I am sure you are saying “No!” at this moment and recoiling at the thought. Why wouldn’t you consider the use of these materials? Because these animals are endangered and we know that to kill them is to destroy the last of their species. Did you know that there are tree species that are similarly endangered, tree species that we specify daily for furniture, flooring, and interiors?

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