June 10, 2008
by: Linda G. Miller

Event: Design Awards Winners’ Symposium
Location: Center for Architecture, 05.19.08
Speakers: Farnaz Manusuri, Assoc. AIA — Lead Designer, De-Spec; Stephen Cassell, AIA — Principal, Architecture Research Office; Joel Sanders, AIA — Principal, Joel Sanders Architect; Sam Dufaux — Worker, Work architecture company; Peter Bentel, AIA — Partner, Bentel & Bentel Architects and Planners AIA; Stephan Jaklitsch, AIA — Principal, Stephan Jaklitsch Architects; John Lee, AIA — Principal, Workshop for Architecture; Taryn Christoff — Principal, Christoff:Finio Architecture; Lee Mindel, FAIA — Principal, Shelton, Mindel & Associates
Moderator: Paul Zajfen, FAIA, RIBA — Juror, Design Principal, CO Architects
Organizer: AIANY Design Awards Committee
Sponsors: Benefactors: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; Syska Hennessy Group; Patrons: F.J. Sciame Construction Co.; HDR; HOK; Langan Engineering & Environmental Services; O’Connor Capital Partners; Richter + Ratner; Thornton Tomasetti; Lead Sponsors: Arup; Consulting for Architects; Gensler; KI; Lutron Electronics; Mancini Duffy; RMJM Hillier; Robert A.M. Stern Architects; STUDIOS architecture; Turner Construction Company; Sponsors: Armstrong World Industries; Atkinson Koven Feinberg; Building Contractors Association; Cosentini Associates; Costas Kondylis and Partners; Flack+Kurtz; Forest City Ratner Companies; FXFOWLE Architects; Ingram Yuzek Gainen Carroll & Bertolotti; James G. Kennedy & Co.; Jaros, Baum & Bolles; JCJ Architecture; John Gallin & Son; MechoShade Systems; Microsol Resources; New York University; Pei Cobb Freed & Partners; Perkins+Will; Peter Marino Architect; Polshek Partnership Architects; Ricci Greene Associates; Rogers Marvel Architects; Swanke Hayden Connell Architects; Toshiko Mori Architect; Weidlinger Associates

2008 AIANY Design Honor Awards in Interiors (l-r): Yale University Art Gallery Media Lounge by Joel Sanders Architect; Banchet Flower Bar by De-Spec; Friedman Study Center at Brown University by Architecture Research Office.

Courtesy AIANY

There were over 140 entries in the AIANY Design Awards Interiors category this year. “It was a daunting thing looking for a reason to get rid of a project,” said jury member Paul Zajfen, FAIA, RIBA, design principal at LA-based CO Architects. “Projects were submitted that were really good, and with another set of jurors someone else might have won.” Proving this point, John Lee, AIA, principal at Workshop for Architecture, admitted his 2008 merit award-winning project, the Maritime Intelligence Group Offices, was twice previously submitted. The difference between an honor and a merit, according to Zajfen, was unanimity and, to that end, the jury selected four honors and seven merit awards.

Honor Award Winners
The Banchet Flower Bar is a shop in the meat packing district designed by De-Spec. The two-phased project transformed a warehouse space into a flower design studio at a time when the district was still a mix of meat-packing and trendy stores and restaurants. The design team spread out flowers along the shop turning it into a performance space for passers-by, according to lead designer Farnaz Mansuri, Assoc. AIA. Once open, Mansuri was pleased to hear photographers wanted to use the space for shoots and people wanted to rent it for weddings.

Brown University’s mission of interdisciplinary education was integral to the programming, and thus the architecture, of the Friedman Study Center, stated Architecture Research Office (ARO) principal Stephen Cassell, AIA. With a large floor plate, they could design several micro-environments, each furnished differently. The interiors accommodate quiet, individual study zones, interactive areas, as well as collaborative activities.

Yale University Art Gallery Media Lounge, designed by Joel Sanders Architect, was an exercise in working with many different parties — the director and curators of the museum, bookstore employees, and students. The space serves reading, film screenings, and even banquets. Custom-designed, flexible furniture is demountable quickly and easily. Since it is located in the first floor of the Louis Kahn-designed gallery, the firm incorporated four-foot floating modular display panels to divide and create.

Merit Award Winners
Anthropologie, a retailer that sells items ranging from door knobs to clothing, called upon Work architecture company to design a new store in southern California. This involved revamping the brand and creating a template for future stores. Workshop For Architecture’s design for the Maritime Intelligence Group Offices is stylistically estranged from its neighbors despite its site in a typical 1980s brick office building. The suspended ceilings are painted black and are backlit, window walls are screened with parachute fabric, and floors are concrete.

Bentel & Bentel Architects and Planners AIA’s design for Craftsteak in an old building near Chelsea Market echoed the chef/owner’s idea that cooking is a craft, not an art. Thus, the restaurant has a refined, simple palette, to echo the process of simple food preparation. The Marc Jacobs Collection in the Palais Royal in Paris occupies seven bays in the 1739 arcade, rather than one. Stephan Jaklitsch Architects gutted the space and worked with the Ministry of Culture to develop a model for future stores in the Palais.

STUDIOS Architecture mimicked Gehry Partners’ undulating exterior skin within the IAC Headquarters to create distinct areas for the company’s Internet properties. Christoff:Finio Architecture’s “untech” scheme won the New Museum of Contemporary Art’s competition for its interiors. Ten small tables rearrange into one large one, and six mesh curtains are on ceiling tracks for maximum flexibility in the space. Shelton, Mindel & Associates’ pool house on Long Island is a simple cube with a wall opened up to the outdoors. Furniture acts as indoor “pool toys” to neighborhood children’s delight.


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