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Factory and building

Factory and building

Redevelopment factory area

Said property had gone through several metamorphoses since its genesis in 1902. Located at Inner Harbor East, now a redevelopment area, the 00,000-sq.-ft. Bagby building is made of masonry bearing walls and timber frames, and originally housed its manufacturing facilities.

At some stage, the factory was retired, and the entire space was given over to showrooms. Long before then, in 1907, a metal structure housing a kiln for storing and drying timber (today it’s a 1,000-sq.-ft, conference center) was acquired, and a 1962 concrete-block addition (now linked to the main body by an atrium with skylight) brought the square footage to 100,000, in 1990, Bagby went out of business. In 1996, Gensler was awarded the twofold job of rehabilitating the building and designing Eisner Communications.


Objectives topping the client’s wish list, Banks and Trujillo report, were: to preserve the venue’s industrial character; to accommodate the creative staff in quarters conducive to maxing morale and titillating teamwork; and utilize the structural openness so that visiting clients and prospects, encouraged to tour the premises, come to know that nothing is hidden and that, in fact, they and their agency are partners in the creative process.

The layering of open levels scored with catwalks and, at midpoint, stairs, rooms, indeed forms a grand route for people-at-work viewing.

Industrial characters

On the point of industrial character, much preparatory work had to be done by way of reincarnating, repairing, and excising before constructive work could start. (Speaking with feeling, Trujillo recalls his first impression: “Dirty, dangerous, and a floor full of holes.”) Two loading docks were deleted, but the massive 9-ft.-by-6-ft. metal doors, complete with original hardware, were retained.

New ductwork, wiring, HVAC, and three passenger elevators were installed. As mandated by the Maryland Historical Trust, replacement windows, the original glazing being beyond redemption, had to match old single-pane models. And brickwork, rather than being scraped and scoured, was sprayed with high-pressure water so as to cleanse the surface yet preserve traces of the original white paint. (Nostalgia knows no bounds.)

To these legacies of decades past, the design team added, where appropriate, under-lit glass floors at selected corridor ends; textured and translucent fiberglass panels screwed to wood studs; pendant, track, commercial toilet, sofas, and marine light fixtures bought mainly from industrial catalogues (i.e., they were cheap); and interior scaffolding from/on which to hang, insert, mount, prop, or clip posters, print adverts, graphics, you name it. Daylight, cross-filtered through the translucent panels, is a prime source of illumination.

Dubbed “brand factories”–brand being the new-age heir to corporate image, but factory fitting the industrial theme–workplaces for creative teams ranging from senior account execs up to writers are spread over three large sectors.

One is behind the reception desk, two are on the second floor. Staffers have private offices, and all engage in collaborative efforts. The habit of forming and regrouping human nuclei to consider and dissect all sorts of ideas is somewhat similar to architects’ design studios, the Gensler duo notes. Of 120 Eisner employees overall, less than ten percent toil from open work stations.


Including preliminary studies, the designers spent about three years on the job. Other key participants were project principal Diane J. Hoskins, designer Barbara Noguera-Frye, project manager Anne Runow, graphic designer Stephen Magner, and project architects Ebong Ukor, Tom Gregory, Eric Stultz, Matthew Ford, and Hansoo Kim. Construction costs came to $15 million.

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Interior design for natural beauty shop

The importance of furniture decorating for a beauty shop

Special furniture for decoring a natural beauty shop

Special furniture for decoring a natural beauty shop

This is, of course, because Takashimaya is in a retail category of its own.

Until this past summer, cosmetics were, in fact, for sale on Takashimaya’s ground level. A small but busy area, the department purveyed exclusive and esoteric product lines, which over the years won a cult following. When it was decided that the department warranted expansion, Takashimaya’s management felt confident that, contrary to industry norms, devotees would follow their favorite products up to the store’s sixth floor. The company called upon architect David Mann of MR Architecture + Decor to create a sophisticated, salon-like setting that would be well worth the elevator ride. Having worked previously on aspects of the store’s design as well as product development, Mann has a firm command of Takashimaya’s luxurious but understated aesthetic.

The apotheosis of subtlety and elegance, Takashimaya’s sixth floor is the opposite of most cosmetics departments. The visual maelstrom of signage, the cacophony of aggressive perfume spritzers, and the blinding glare of make-up lights are noticeably absent. Instead, Takashimaya offers a rather civilized, if not soothing, shopping experience in a setting that is tempered by a muted, earthen color scheme and subdued lighting. Mann’s design represents a skillful integration of materials and textured surfaces. “Nature is a prominent motif throughout the store, and we intended the sixth floor to be as `natural’ as possible,” says Mann, citing the use of wood, plaster, concrete, stone, and bronze. Among the design’s most interesting components is the floor, a combination of valverde stone and cast concrete insets that gives the impressions of wood planks, tatami mats, and raked sand.

Natural beauty shop decoration

Tables, Chairs, Shelves, and Mirrors are used to decorate a convenient space for customers visiting the beauty shop

Tables, Chairs, Shelves, and Mirrors are used to decorate a convenient space for customers visiting the beauty shop

The space is organized around an opening in the floor that establishes a visual connection with the level below. Butterfly-inhabited bronze twigs sculptured by jewelry designer Gabriella Kiss ring the circular aperture, a gesture that brings together nature and artifice. In plan, the space is loosely divided into three areas. The central region, occupied by the bronzed thicket and a pair of commodious, kidskin leather banquettes, serves as a sitting area for shoppers and a waiting area for those with scheduled beauty treatments. Brightened by an expanse of windows, the west side of the floor is devoted to cosmetics while beauty products occupy the east side. A partial-height plaster wall supports an elongated concrete sink with bronze fittings, where tested salves can be rinsed off if a customer so desires. The top-lit plaster partition is a discreet but suggestive divider between the private treatment rooms and the public sales floor.

Perimeter walls feature illuminated bays of transparent glass shelves backed by frosted, mirrored glass panels where products are displayed without signage. Palladium-leafed panels divide each bay, and can slide to protect shelves from dust at night or to highlight a particular product line. Alternatively, rolling carts and antique tables display additional offerings and invite study. As customer service and discretion are of utmost importance at Takashimaya, sales staff consults privately with clients at tables equipped with bronze-framed mirrors. The consultation tables’ lithe silhouettes “offset the architecture,” says Mann, while the mix of antiques adds a “quirky edge.”

David Mann extends credit to William Clukies, Sophie Brouzes, and Renee Cooley.

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Plastic and Seating Art

Plastic and Seating Art – Plastic Chair

The enthusiasm expressed in that Society of Plastics Engineers article from 1971 is the manifestation of tireless efforts to merge art and industry. In the previous decade, artistic uses of plastics had been the focus of numerous exhibitions. They did not, however, easily garner industry attention or support, as chemical companies remained largely skeptical about the “value” of art to their booming plastics business. Not until 1968, when “Plastic as Plastic” opened at New York’s Museum of Contemporary Crafts, now the Museum of Arts and Design, did industry executives really begin to find merit in art.

Plastic and Seating Art - Plastic Chair

Plastic and Seating Art – Plastic Chair

From early in the planning process for “Plastic as Plastic,” it was clear that the scope necessitated outside financial and technical support. Museum director Paul J. Smith spent years soliciting funds from chemical companies, seeking collaboration from industry-wide societies, and researching the artists who took the most interesting approaches to plastics. Though industry interest was high, no company was willing to make the leap to official partnership. Smith’s proposal was turned down by the Dow Corning Corporation, DuPont, Monsanto, and the Union Carbide Corporation, among others.

A partner finally emerged when Smith’s team chose to feature a certain Yale University architecture project in the show. The installation was to be constructed with a urethane spray foam developed by Durex, a division of the Hooker Chemical Company. Hooker therefore agreed to provide the funds, the know-how, and the materials necessary to produce this large foam creation at the museum’s entrance.

Plastic object and its usage

Subsequent exhibitions touted the exceptionality of plastic and presented artists as holding the keys to unlocking its potential. However, the enthusiasm did not continue for long. Acceptance of the material by art critics was mixed, while evidence of safety hazards mounted. As indicated by the name “The Last Plastics Show,” presented in 1972 at the California Institute of the Arts in partnership with the Hastings Plastics Company, the wave of exhibitions had crested.

We now look at plastic objects with little regard for how or why they were made. We think nothing at all when we depress the handle on a toaster, pick up a cell phone, or slide a debit card into an ATM. Plastic has become unremarkable, while it is digital technology that we associate with innovation.

Plastic object

Plastic object

Plastic Material Used in Design: Seating chair, housing, foam,…

Nevertheless, the fact remains that artists working with plastics 50 years ago were what today we would call early adopters. Documentation of those exhibitions contains evidence of an admiration for the breadth of projects that explored the potential of plastic: architecture made of sprayed foam, rainbow-colored sculptures that squished or floated, plans for housing developments in space. Artists employed a test-and-learn attitude, whether their medium was clear or silk-screened acrylic, cast polyester resin, stitched vinyl, vacuum-formed hard plastic, or glistening epoxy.

As curator for the Neuberger’s exhibition, I selected artists including Louise Nevelson, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, and Leroy Lamis, because they participated in the seminal plastic shows of the era, were discussed in literature on art and plastic, or incorporated “plasticized” culture into their work. In my research, I reviewed a list of hundreds of three-dimensional objects in the Neuberger collection and flagged words such as neon, light, motorized, and mechanical. I was looking for work that pertained to the history of technology and for artists who contributed to that history within the realm of electronic, computer, and so-called new media art.

I also flagged Hans Haacke for his participation in “Software” at New York’s Jewish Museum in 1970. There are at least two Haacke works at the Neuberger-and both are plastic. This was one of my first clues that plastic objects held potential for my investigation into art and technology.

Another link was Lamis. In the 1970’s, after years of dedicated work with acrylic, his practice evolved beyond plastic. He taught himself how to code software and proceeded to make digital art. Fascinated with his transition from material to virtual technologies, I became even more convinced that plastic was to the 1960’s as the Internet is to now.

Design with plastic - apply to seating chair design

Design with plastic – apply to seating chair design

Viewing plastic objects today, in a museum setting, we can take away many lessons on how artists-and the rest of us-should approach cresting waves of innovation.

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Defining Logic in Design

Defining Logic in Design

Open Areas of Design Functions

Kellen jumps in. “Companies have their own personalities, but creative people have their own needs. They need inspiration and energy in a space that challenges their thinking processes and things taken for granted.” What kinds of things? “Things like scale or degrees of closeness,” he responds. “In an office like this, people get `switched on,’ not only through intellectual expectations, but with intuitive expectations as well. This space asks, without demanding, that you be the best you can be.”

Open area and logic of colors

Open area and logic of colors

Nash urged Kellen to experiment in solving issues relating to population density, open areas free of designated functions with furniture arrangement, fully and partially enclosed meeting rooms, plus a work station landscape integrating ganged units where woody working desk and chair recliners are used, semi-private cubicles and long counter work surfaces. Kellen obliged. He approached the site–actually a pair of them within a warehouse-like structure developed specifically for e-enterprise tenants–as a three-dimensional canvas.


At the project’s inception, both of the 6,000-sq.-ft. spaces expressed a now-familiar vocabulary. Concrete flooring, 25-ft.-high ceilings, and mezzanines with basic steel stairways formed the shell. Existing mechanical services included air conditioning accommodation, but no ducts, plus appropriate power to be distributed at the individual tenant’s discretion.

Sharing rooms for employees

Absolute parity between the two locations, as well as a nonhierarchical solution, were the primary mandates expressed by Nash and his partner Carl Midson. In fact, they initially eschewed any enclosed offices. And, although Kellen convinced the principals that an all-open resolution would ultimately prove too limiting, Nash and Midson profess to spend most of their time out on the floor rather than secluded behind closed doors. There, they mingle with the fixed project teams that serve such clients as The New York Times, the Washington Post, Ziff Davis, and Interior Design’s parent company Cahners, whose CEO Marc Teren “liked the company so much he bought it,” Nash comments. Out on the floor, employees share the light, views, music from a jukebox always in play, and a provocative landscape alive with color, punched forms, and an underlying sense of discovery.


Working space combining with entertaining areas

Working space combining with entertaining areas

Kellen’s “minimalist architectonic scape,” as he terms it,  is one formed chiefly by drywall, with undulating and intersecting planes that are ten inches thick to connote permanence. The planes loosely divide reception areas from the office proper while articulating various work zones. Loose, however, is the operative term, as open areas fit out with lounge furniture and long tables provide equal welcome to guests, project teams, and individual workers needing a change of venue from their work stations. Colors of the dividers are deeply saturated but grayed down, and choices, according to the architect, “just happened.” Only the slate blue tone was fixed in his mind from the start.

Other office rooms

Maple forms the other part of the overall materials palette. The wood is used for flooring “stages” (i.e., raised floors), reception stations, table and counter tops, paneling, and framing for the glass-fronted server room. Instead of being relegated to back-room status, the complex computer system is celebrated in full view. It is, after all, eLogic’s raison d’etre.

That’s the pragmatic side. The less tangible aspect of Kellen’s solution addresses his desire to create a landscape with varying views and layers of abstraction. One’s perception of the interior and its details changes according to viewing angle, seated or standing position, and lighting conditions as filtered from the glass front and skylights. There are also details that become apparent only after the initial impacts of form and color sink in. Nash points out his fascination with the tapering details of wall edges. Kellen remarks on the composition of overlapping duct runs. And then there are the wire glass inserts in the mezzanine’s flooring that allow views down into the server room.

Map of the area

Map of the area

Nash concludes with a comment now common to discussions of office design. There’s not a doubt in his mind that design draws talent as well as facilitates daily operations. The staff and prospective workers “are definitely not as interested in things like pension and health benefits. Most are too young. People need to be seen and need to have an ease of communication with each other. Yes, this place definitely helps with recruiting. Given the choice between an atmosphere like this or an ugly one, what would you do?”

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Storage Designed To Be Seen; If you like to bring a room alive with matching furniture and accessories, then you will love this stylish range of Storage Baskets, Tubs and Storage Cubes that will fi t easily into your home

Ava 3pc change table set

Creating a Nursery Room for the new bub makes most women dream of a beautiful haven for their child. This practical change table set includes one large sized basket which will hold lotions, wraps and creams, whilst the two smaller sized baskets will fit baby wipes and nappies. A great baby shower gift! This cotton lined set also works well in a dresser drawer to organise your delicates. Storage cubes are available in this range and come in baby pink, baby blue and chocolate. Just what you need to hold your baby’s new soft toy collection!

Madison water hyacinth storage cubes

The Madison storage cubes are made from an all natural plant material. With a strong dark leather look handle, the cubes will provide your desired room with a warm, earthy and modern look. Organise your living room and hide remotes, game consoles and DVDs. These cubes can be used in a media unit or cubed bookcase and will allow you to separate the things that your little ones can touch, from the ones that they should not be! Available in two sizes; medium and large.

Madison set of 2 water hyacinth storage tubs

There is no need to hide your children’s toys when guests arrive, now they can be stored away in style. The storage tubs are in sizes low enough for children to explore yet large enough to hold as many toys as you can think of. Strong sturdy handles allow you to move the toys from room to room all in one basket! The Madison range will look just as good filled with pillows, blankets, or towels in the bathroom. This is definitely storage designed to be seen.


Space Saving Tricks;

Turn everyday items into clever storage solutions for around the home. We’ve got six easy and affordable ideas

WE ALL NEED more storage space in the home, but that doesn’t have to mean a stack of ugly plastic containers, extra shelving or hiding things away in the attic. With a little creativity and a bit of DIY you can make practical storage solutions that look good, are easily accessible and affordable, too. Here are some cool ideas to get you started.


Making your own wall hat rack/ coatrack is a fun project that can be customised to suit your decor. We used old wooden textile spools/bobbins as they’re a good size and are great for achieving a rustic, vintage look. For something a little more decorative try ornate porcelain doorknobs, although they won’t be as sturdy or hold as many items as a wooden bobbin.

MAKE Bobbin wall hooks

1 Choose five or six old bobbins of the same size (or use different styles and sizes for a more eclectic look) and mark on the wall where you want them to go. Remember to space them equally and high enough up the wall so a long coat wouldn’t drape on the floor when hooked up. 2 Use bugle head screws that are about half the length of your bobbins, and drill the screws halfway into the wall. 3 Squeeze a little craft glue down the centre of the bobbin and push over the screw. Repeat for your remaining bobbins. 4 Leave to dry then hang up your hats, coats and bags. Voila! Your own unique bobbin coatrack.

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