Dull Office No More!
Cindy Allen -- Interior Design, 5/1/2006 12:00:00 AM
This issue, Office '06, constitutes nothing less than a harbinger.
That's a bold assertion in need of explaining, I know, but it chiefly relates to the behind-the-scenes mechanics of our editorial selection process. Vetting—that dread hound chained fast at the gates of Interior Design—went for a walk this month, making way for a primus inter pares approach. (Sometimes erroneously translated into everyday English as eeny, meeny, miny, moe.) We usually end up with a small "yes" pile and a tall stack of "blah." But, surprisingly, almost every May submission that we received was stuffed with industrial-strength innovations.
Consider our two L.A. stories. A law firm by Studios Architecture has a round white desk that looks like an off-center pile of pancakes 15 feet across—and MTV Networks by Joey Shimoda doesn't even have a reception area. Meanwhile, Richard Hywel Evans designed a London ad agency where staff members create mood boards inside a tubular-steel structure called the Birdcage, and yoga balls stand in for conference chairs. Still not enough for you? At a Spanish arts and cultural foundation by Mansilla + Tuñón Arquitectos, a hydraulic floor turns a theater into a gallery, and a lecture hall's rows of chairs take flight on theatrical rigging.
The sheer breadth of so many high-quality projects, stylistically and geographically, signals a new cycle in contract interiors. Employers have finally embraced the idea that the only way to increase productivity and retain valuable staff is through mercilessly forward-thinking design. This also spells serious choices in the near future for those sectors that persist in clinging to what's safe, to put it kindly. If I were those people, I would take heed. . .