CALL FOR ENTRIES: HANSGROHE + AXOR DAS DESIGN COMPETITION

CALL FOR ENTRIES: HANSGROHE + AXOR DAS DESIGN COMPETITION
From large hotels to multi-family spaces and single-family homes, Hansgrohe and its designer brand Axor are looking for outstanding projects of all types and scales. US based architects and interior designers are invited to submit a built residential or hospitality/commercial interior project that features products from either/both brands. The winner in each category will receive $2000 and be eligible to attend a VIP trip to the Black Forest, Germany. Submissions must be received by August 12. Entry is free at dasdesigncomp.com

At this occasion, WantedDesign addressed few questions to Philippe Grohe, VP Design Management, Hansgrohe SE, to learn more about the company origin and vision, and his collaboration with designers from all over the world to create products that answer technical, environmental and cultural challenges.
Long time supporter of WantedDesign, Axor + Hansgrohe was one of the 2016 Conversation Series sponsors. 

Philippe Grohe - portrait by Alexander Schneider

Philippe Grohe – portrait by Alexander Schneider

WantedDesign: What is the origin and history behind the Hansgrohe Group?
Philippe Grohe: Hans Grohe (1871-1955) was an innovator. In 1899 he walked from Luckenwalde near Berlin to the small Black Forest town of Schiltach. Two years later he established a metal pressing workshop. Hans Grohe had a passion for technology and water, and so from 1901 onwards he bravely hedged his bets on the sanitary sector, which was still in its early stages of development. Of course, bathrooms in private houses were only just becoming fashionable at that time. More

Teaching Kids the Power of Design

WantedDesign expanded its already strong design education platform to reach out to a new group at this year’s show: kids.

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Education has always been a core tenet of our program, starting first with our Design School Workshops connecting college-aged design students across the globe. WantedDesign has always prioritized design training and is now expanding that to an even younger generation. Today’s school-aged kids live in a world where success demands creativity and innovation. We believe teaching design early fosters children’s innate creativity and will continue to grow with them.

“This is the core of what we believe: Great design equals smart and happy kids,” said Lora Appleton, founder of kinderMODERN. “It goes way beyond pretty shapes into the formation of ideas at an early age.”

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Oeuf and Kinder Modern at WantedDesign 2016

KinderMODERN was one of three presenters, along with West coast Nursery Works and Brooklyn-based Oeuf, at this year’s show that focused on kid-centered design. All three brands leveraged the founders’ love of design and adapted it to fit the lifestyle and needs of a younger audience. The companies were born out of necessity when founders like Appleton and Oeuf’s Sophie Demenge couldn’t find baby furniture and products that fit their design or quality standards. Rather than lament the lack of great options, all three companies have set out to change the narrative. More

ALPI: Italian roots for international excellence. A Q&A with Vittorio Alpi.

ALPI, one of our 2016 Conversation Series sponsors, participated in WantedDesign for the third year in a row. Constant technological innovation, fine craftsmanship, a wide range of products, maximum customization, environmental and social responsibility and transparency are the company’s strong points. Together with outstanding quality of raw materials: the wood selected by ALPI is rigorously sourced of certified origin, and always processed in-house.
We interviewed Vittorio Alpi to discuss the company’s big changes since the announcement at the FuoriSalone 2016 of new art director Piero Lissoni. The main developments of the company’s next phase include a new coordinated image, along with original collections designed by the Campana brothers, Front and Lissoni himself, all within a new showroom in Milano.

Vittorio Alpi and Piero Lissoni

WantedDesign: Can you give us a little background on the major steps that mark the evolution of the company since its debut ? 

VA: ALPI was the first company in the world to industrialize the manufacturing process for reconstituted wood. Our history comes from a great tradition that has made excellence its main asset: on the one hand, ALPI is pure innovation, ahead of the demands of the market; on the other, painstaking craftsmanship.
Nowadays a multinational with a leading position in the production of decorative surfaces in reconstituted wood veneer, ALPI was founded by my grand-father Pietro Alpi in 1919 at Modigliana, in the province of Forlì. From a small workshop of fine cabinetmaking, it soon evolved into an avant-garde enterprise, immediately making an important contribution to the growth of the local territory.
The change from furniture manufacturing to industrial production specializing in prefabricated panels and reconstituted wood veneer for the nascent furniture industry was already beginning back in the 1950s, when my father Valerio entered the company, leading to the organization of widespread distribution across the entire nation. In 1961 we introduced “ALPIlignum”, the first reconstituted wood veneer sliced veneer, and still the most representative product of our company. At the time this was a true revolution, made possible by intense technological efforts and an illustrious background in fine woodworking, leading to rapid success on international markets, from Europe to the USA, and then Asia at the start of the 1970s. This incessant growth feeds and is fed by ongoing R&D activities. In fact, innovation has always been the driving force behind our business.

What sets us apart on the worldwide scene is its direct control of the entire process, from the log to the finished product, through the forest management using chain-of-custody certification to guarantee the legal and sustainable sourcing of the wood and total product traceability. As early as 1975, in fact, we opened our first plant in Cameroon in order to have a constant supply of raw materials. The success of this initiative was the result of the intuition of my father, leading to the construction of a barge that was towed to Africa in 1975 from the port of Ravenna. Over time, the direct forest management activities have grown: today we hold licenses for the management of 500,000 hectares of forest, also contributing to the growth of local communities in economic and infrastructural terms, and thus rounding out the core business with activities of social and environmental sustainability. More

PLAYTIME: Design Schools Workshop

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WantedDesign has always actively supported design education since year one. The Design Schools Workshop, more focused on collaboration than on competition, is now in its 5th year and deeply embedded in the DNA of the show. It is conceived as a collaborative activity among students from different international design schools, who benefit from participation in both WantedDesign Brooklyn and Manhattan, part of New York’s design celebration, NYCxDESIGN. It successfully promotes schools, fostering the international network between young designers and initiating partnerships between schools and manufacturers.
The event took place from May 12th to 16th, comprised of 26 students from six U.S. and International design schools: Aalto University (Finland), Art Center College for Design (Pasadena), Centro (Mexico), ENSCI-Les Ateliers (France), Escuela de Communicacion Monica Herrera (El Salvador), and Pratt Institute (Brooklyn). The workshop was led by Matt Sindall, designer and teacher at the French school ENSCI-Les Ateliers, in conjunction with Oui Design, an initiative from the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. Students worked around the idea of playfulness in a dedicated space in Industry City, Brooklyn, and with Brooklyn based wood, glass and textile studios. They presented their final work at WantedDesign Manhattan on May 16. Congratulations again to the talented students, faculty members and partners: This edition was so far the most challenging but certainly the most exciting and successful. Read the report from media partner Core77.

Revealing Beauty: Q&A with Cooper Hewitt Senior Curator Ellen Lupton

Beauty—Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial is the fifth installment of the museum’s signature contemporary design exhibition series. With a focus on aesthetic innovation, Beauty celebrates design as a creative endeavor that engages the mind, body, and senses. Curated by Andrea Lipps, Assistant Curator, and Ellen Lupton, Senior Curator of Contemporary Design, the exhibition features more than 250 works by 63 designers and teams from around the globe, and is organized around seven themes: extravagant, intricate, ethereal, transgressive, emergent, elemental, and transformative.
The exhibition is on view until August 21st and is not to be missed. The book is as much inspiring as the exhibit so if you don’t have a chance to visit you definitely should get the book.
WantedDesign asked a few questions to Ellen Lupton, curator of the exhibit, to get her personal vision on Beauty and learn more about the theme and the process of building the exhibition.

PolyThread knitted textile pavilion, 2015-16; Designed by Jenny E. Sabin, Jenny Sabin Studio; Design Team: Martin Miller, Charles Cupples; Fabricated by Shima Seiki, WHOLEGARMENT; Engineering Design by Arup; Fabric finishing by Andrew Dahlgren; 3D seamless Whole Garment digitally knit cone elements, photoluminescent, solar active and drake yarns; twill tape; aluminum armature; Commissioned by Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

PolyThread knitted textile pavilion, 2015-16; Designed by Jenny E. Sabin, Jenny Sabin Studio; Design Team: Martin Miller, Charles Cupples; Fabricated by Shima Seiki, WHOLEGARMENT; Engineering Design by Arup; Fabric finishing by Andrew Dahlgren; 3D seamless Whole Garment digitally knit cone elements, photoluminescent, solar active and drake yarns; twill tape; aluminum armature; Commissioned by Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

WantedDesign: Why the topic of beauty in 2016? Do you feel a strong desire, or need, for beauty in our society?
Ellen Lupton: Andrea Lipps and I both worked on the previous Triennial, which focused on heavy issues such as climate change and global poverty. We wanted to turn in a different direction with this exhibition, because the sensual side of design is also important. Yes, designers are problem-solvers, but they also create ideas, sensations, and experiences that stimulate the mind and body. This side of design sometimes gets overlooked in today’s discourse.

WD: Standards of beauty evolve with time and are the products of an era. How would you define beauty today?
EL: Beauty is a reaction. We each have our own experience, based on our time, place, culture, and personal drives and cravings. Beauty is what we see, grasp, behold, and respond to. Beauty is the ultimate user experience. It’s an invitation. It demands interaction between people and objects. More