A Material Girl dishes on what's new, what's now and WHAT'S NEXT® in interior finishes


Materialista® on the Pulse: The Evolved Workspace

This past week, Architectural Systems once again was a presence in the Interiors & Sources Materials Pavilion at Neocon, the largest commercial interiors tradeshow in North America. Held in the (mammoth!) Merchandise Mart in Chicago, this show focuses on products and trends that are on point for corporate interiors.

The continual trend of creating areas that will foster collaboration and offer flexible work spaces gives the design community the opportunity to incorporate finishes and materials that typically have not been specified in traditional office layouts. 

ASI featured nine product collections, which included the new Structura™ Eco-Panels, Crossfuse™ Wood Panels, Reflektiv™ Deco Panels, Imagio Hardwoods, and the latest in Fusión Wood Panels, Interwoven Eco-Panels, MIXX™ Porcelain, Aegean Eco-Porcelain and Ornamental Surfaces - Glam Acrylics. The buzz around our ASI display was, "if you want to select something unique that hasn't been seen around, connect with Architectural Systems!"

Highlights during the Neocon show include the IIDA Cool Gala, an annual celebration honoring design excellence. ASI was #OutAndAbout with Kiel Wuellner, VP/Creative Director and Shelly Ave, Chicago-area Account Executive/National Account Executive, attending. Congrats to all the winners!

Another great night was at the iconic Gibson's Steak House, where Nancy Jackson, President of ASI, flew in to host a #DiningAndDesign memorable evening with our favorite Chicago designers. It was another successful trip to the Windy City !

Posted at 6/18/2015 2:25 PM

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Materialista® on the Pulse: Experience is the New Expectation

Back from Vegas! I had the pleasure of exhibiting at HD Expo and attending multiple hospitality inspired events in Las Vegas and NYC, including #ToastyTuesday. Tracking the trends on hospitality design, there is a noticeable paradigm shift. The guest experience is influencing the way branded and boutique hotels deliver on the wants and needs of the modern day traveler.

HD Expo 2015, Las Vegas

ASI had another successful HD Expo show, at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Convention Center, launching 5 innovative materials that speak to designing for the original brand experience. We had a positive response to Crossfuse™ Wood Panels, Reflektiv™ Deco Panels, FORM Concrete Porcelain, Structura™ Eco-Panels (Happening Soon) and TimberWood Veneers, complementing our full offering of interior finishes.

Young Entrepreneurs Breakfast

Rachel Cooper and I were excited to attend the NEWH Annual HD Expo Breakfast (The Young Entrepreneurs). A panel of up & coming luminaries in hospitality design discussed industry challenges, secrets and trends. One of my key takeaways was hotel chains are basing design on the guest centric experience, which is the new expectation!

#Toasty Tuesday

Another memorable Toasty Tuesday! This monthly NEWH networking event showcases hospitality design and is a great way to see the latest NYC Hotels!  Heather Maloney, VP of Design Chelsea Hotels led a group tour of the Martha Washington Hotel. The boutique hotel, built in 1903 exclusively for women, has been restored to be spacious, comfortable and exclusively for everyone. Another trend I noticed is guest bathrooms are getting a lot of special attention to detail, as seen in the stone porcelain tile installed in Chevron patterns in the image below.


IIDA Hospitality Forum, New York Chapter

Held at the Haworth Showroom, a captivating panel, moderated by Nancy Jackson, ASI President, discussed Customizing the Guest Experience in Hospitality and how the landscape is changing. They also touched upon trends to note when crafting a customer experience and how a brand now competes with Airbnb's authentic and local offerings. The guest journey now begins through social media and designing the perfect backdrop setting for a "selfie", which is all part of the mix when creating a sense of place.

Trends in Hospitality Design

The traditional hotel lobby is being refreshed in a more dynamic and functional way. Hospitality giants like the Marriott are melding the business center into these public spaces for a comfortable and communal experience. One example highlighting this concept was debuted at HiConnect 2015, in the Club M award-winning vignette incorporating ASI materials (ASI was a proud sponsor). Another trend I am seeing is the size of guest rooms are smaller and pared down, keeping only the essentials for a traveler while encouraging guests to be more social and migrate to open areas in the hotel.

Marta, a new restaurant at the Martha Washington Hotel designed by Selldorf Architects, is a great example of this trend (and one of my favorite dining spots!). It is located right next to the façade, enticing hotel guests to dine before checking in and people passing by to stop in for a taste of Chef Nick Anderer’s amazing cuisine and celebrate an occasion!

Attending NeoCon? Please stop by ASI at Booth 8-2130 at The Interiors and Sources Materials Pavilion, June 15-17, to view WHAT'S NEXT® in materials for Corporate Environments.

Posted at 5/26/2015 9:36 AM

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Materialista® On the Pulse: What’s Going On and Who’s Making it Happen

Last month I had the privilege of being invited to the Bill Burns lecture at the Clodagh Design Center along with Account Executive John Geagan. Mr. Burns spoke about finding success and happiness and empowering yourself to find solutions and make personal changes. The evening was a reflection of the generous, life-enhancing energy Clodagh’s studio is recognized for. I aspire to model my own path after Clodagh!

Not only an award-winning designer and author, Clodagh is a citizen of the world and a philanthropist. Founder of ClodaghCares, she believes in the fundamental right of every child to receive a good education. The Thorn Tree, one of several organizations she supports, raises money through the sale of traditional Samburu bracelets. These bracelets combine beautiful design with purpose; just one bracelet can pay for a nutritionally balanced breakfast for one child every day for one whole school year. Involved in philanthropic organizations myself, I find it important to give back. And as many of you may know, I collect bracelets. How could I resist?

Architectural Systems has had a long standing commitment to nurturing future generations of design students. The ASI Showroom has always been the perfect destination for a class trip, and I am proud to say I have taken the torch from my Mom, Nancy Jackson, an advocate of sharing the "business of design." Recently, I gave internationally acclaimed designer/professor Joseph Lembo and his students from the Fashion Institute of Technology a materials tour. I spoke with them about ASI’s collaboration with designers and architects and the process from design development to a project’s completion, explaining the rewards and challenges of the industry.

Giving back to the community is important to my success and happiness. No project, client, or budget is the same and this makes every day captivating and gratifying. I love working in an industry where sharing and education is valued and creativity and collaboration occurs every day!

Tradeshow season is here! We are putting the finishing touches on our booth for GlobalShop 2015 and ASI is excited to launch 8 new innovative curated collections. Back by popular demand, the booth lounge is just the perfect place to be inspired and get creative, especially when designing for the Here and Now Shopper. We look forward to seeing you there!

Posted at 3/5/2015 7:41 AM

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Realizing the Design Vision - Part III

If you started off 2015 following the Materialista®, then you know that I’ve been asking a few of my favorite designers how they keep their creativity flowing.  Kelly Dunne, Creative Director, Kramer Design Group talked about cozy whites, color and the inspiration she finds exploring, Ximena Hoyos, Interior Architect, CetraRuddy, likes retro styles, weathered looks, and finds her inspiration through social media.  Concluding our three part series is Lisa Sternfeld, Principal of LSID, Inc. with whom ASI has enjoyed many successful collaborations.  It’s my pleasure to share Lisa’s insights and observations as we contemplate WHAT'S NEXT® for the new year!

M: Where do you find inspiration for your projects?

Lisa Sternfeld: I’m always inspired by travel. A new surrounding does wonders for perspective. I just returned from South America and was struck by the saturated colors of the buildings against the raw earthiness of the land. I can see exploring that juxtaposition in my work.

M: What are the design trends you see for 2015?

LS: Some of the design trends you’ll see this year are the use of mixed metals, smoky glass and mirror and the continued use of natural materials like stone and wood with more raw texturized finishes. I especially like the idea of mixing warmer and cooler metals together like copper mixed with silver, or brass with a dark bronze. There’s a fresh unexpectedness to it.

ASI materials are always on trend. Click images to view products.

Celebrating 25 years of creativity and collaboration, as a strategic material partner, Architectural Systems works closely with designers to select finishes that realize the vision. Materialista® welcomes the opportunity to work with you on your current and upcoming projects.

Not to be missed - IIDANY Chapter Co-Chair Hospitality Forum and Co-Founder and President of Architectural Systems, Nancy Jackson, will be moderating the IIDANY Hospitality Forum Event on March 18, 2015. Haworth Showroom, NY, NY.

Posted at 2/5/2015 12:31 PM

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Realizing The Design Vision - Part II

Materialista® catches up with interior architect Ximena Hoyos in our continuing series of “What Inspires You “ and trend forecasts for the new year ahead. Classic Luxury and Jewel tones are strong while Pinterest is just one tool for inspiration!

M: Where do you find inspiration for your projects?

Ximena Hoyos: The number one place that I find inspiration for my projects is definitely Pinterest. I have many different boards and I use this tool on a constant basis, either for concepts or to communicate with my team and share ideas. I am a magazine junkie. I love glancing thru all the design magazines and seeing what is new, what has been built, and which are the latest and greatest products out there. I always read the newsletters that are product and design related which I receive in my inbox. Although we get so many emails on a daily basis I always end up reading something that will be helpful and useful in future projects. I am a big fan of social media and follow many different designers on Instagram and blogs to help me get inspired!

M: What are the design trends you see for 2015?

XH: I definitely see a lot of Retro styles (Classic Luxury) being a big design trend for 2015. One of the big trends is having brass back on the horizon in warmer, earthier shades (hammered, blackened, burnished) which help items have a more weathered look. This is almost like nostalgia for other times, for the classic luxury that was put aside with all the clean, minimalist trends we have seen in the past. Color also will play a big inspiration and trend in my world. I still see the jewel tones coming on strong and being toned down in spaces with different shades of gray (pun intended). These are not only strong in fabrics; I have seen quite a few porcelain tiles and materials in fabulous jewel tone colors.

Always trend spotting ourselves, ASI shares images of our product collections that showcase the design direction for 2015! (Click images to view products)

Celebrating 25 years of creativity and collaboration, as a strategic material partner, Architectural Systems works closely with designers to select finishes that realize the vision. Materialista® welcomes the opportunity to work with you on your current and upcoming projects.

Coming next: Part III - Q & A with Lisa Sternfeld, principal of LSID, Inc.!

Posted at 2/3/2015 10:44 AM

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Realizing The Design Vision

This month we embrace the New Year with renewed excitement to collaborate on new projects and introduce new product collections! I am so privileged to be a part of the design process when designers are developing a concept into a three-dimensional space. The commitment to their craft is so inspiring to me! When I asked a few of my favorite designers how they keep their creativity flowing, this is what they shared with Materialista®! This will be the first in a series of "What Inspires You" and trend forecasting for 2015!

M: Where do you find inspiration for your projects?

Kelly Dunne: Even though inspiration really is everywhere, I find that sometimes we all get so busy in our fast-paced NYC lives that we forget to look around us and take it all in. I feel the most inspired when I'm traveling. Whether its a night out at a restaurant, exploring local stores, or the vibe of the hotel I'm staying in, its always fresh and new to the eyes. And besides, who doesn't love a long weekend? 

M: What are the design trends you see for 2015?

KD: Color Grows up - After a few seasons of bright vivid colors, there’s a trend to balance that vibrant energy with sophisticated luxurious color - full of depth and complexity. You see it with Pantone’s color of the year, Marsala.  Depending on the light, you can see the blend of multiple colors, textures and tones.

For instance, black isn’t just black anymore; With a bit of green it goes to Gunmetal.  Brown with a hint of grey transforms into a gorgeous Mink.  As these colors come together, they create a atmosphere of richness that makes you want to linger…

Warm Vibes - You’ve already seen it in Fashion - on jewelry and handbag hardware. It’s even on our tech accessories, like iPhones and on earbuds. This year designers are sending Warm Vibes to everything from kitchen hardware and cutlery to stationery. Look for more brass, bronze and a hint of rose gold / copper in 2015.

Curated Minimalism - Let‘s be honest, true minimalism is a luxury. These days, everyone is talking about decluttering... but pay attention because this is more than a New Year’s Resolution to live in ‘nothingness’! Curated Minimalism is a combination of  living with less and living with things you truly love.  It’s a thoughtfully-considered layering of elements - organic materials, specially-chosen furniture and collected accessories that come together like a narrative of your life.

Cozy Whites - With the New Year comes cold temps and brisk winter air. And while it would be easy to bury yourself under mounds of layers, it’s easiest to reach for layers and textures in lovely, warm whites.  Every texture will render the same color differently. Think of the combination of the softest cashmere knit paired with silk, all in the same tone. While it’s cozy and luxe the same time, the white makes it forever timeless. 

Celebrating 25 years of creativity and collaboration, as a strategic material partner, Architectural Systems works closely with designers to select finishes that realize the vision. Materialista® welcomes the opportunity to work with you on your current and upcoming projects and show you WHAT'S NEXT® for 2015!

Posted at 1/20/2015 2:58 PM

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Relationship Retail: The Here And Now Shopper

This month in honor of our sponsorship for Retail Design Collective 2014 and our 25th year in business, celebrating creativity and collaboration, Architectural Systems shares insights on how retailers are connecting to the here and now shopper. As Materialista® and actively working with the retail design community, I’ve noticed the evolution in customer engagement and the challenges retail designers have capturing brand loyalty on the every changing platforms to engage in.

Uniqlo for example, the global clothing brand, opened up a pop-up shop selling down jackets and parkas during the cold season last winter in a subway station at Union Square, NYC.  Today, almost everything we need can be found online and internet sales have become a way of life.  However, Uniqlo proved that providing on-the-go services right there and then for shoppers, who are on the move added a personal and value-added service at the point-of-sale. As an additional incentive with purchases, Uniqlo provided a pre-loaded MetroCard. How clever, don’t you think?

Toms founder, Blake Mycoskie, introduced eyewear to his shoe collections in 2011. In keeping with their corporate philosophy, every pair of sunglasses a customer buys, Toms donates medical treatment, prescription glasses or surgery to a person in need. For the here and now shopper this concept expanded into seasonal pop-up carts that were situated in parks on sunny days. Pairing fashion with causes and pop-ups contribute to the retailer’s success, especially when the location and the products you’re selling happen to be in the right place at the right time, allowing retailers to go where the customers are while also building brand awareness. Unlike traditional retail establishments, pop-up stores create a sense of urgency among consumers to buy now as they are presented as a “limited edition” item that people must take advantage of in the moment.

Macy’s Herald Square, one of the most iconic and oldest department stores, co-branded with NYC & Company as an Official NYC Information Center.  This collaboration offers concierge-type services to restaurants, special ticketing for NYC attractions and caters to both a local and international clientele.  This innovative platform enhances the customer shopping experience, advancing Macy’s into one of the most technologically savvy, fashion-forward and exciting destinations; attracting the here and now shopper from all over the world. 

As far as savvy retailers go when it comes to utilizing the mobile web, UK department store John Lewis and Founder of Hointer, Nadia Shouraboura, are enjoying it the most! John Lewis, recently introduced ChargeBox to their London store, a free to use mobile phone charging station, enabling customers to recharge and ensure their phones are safe while shopping. Isn’t that brilliant?

Hointer Store, located in Seattle, Washington is revolutionary, allowing customers to shop quickly with the help of their phone and Hointer’s app. By downloading the app in the store kiosk, a shopper can try on clothes in their size within 30 seconds, simply by scanning the number on the apparel, placing it into a virtual shopping cart and heading to the dressing room number the app sends you to! The shopper can even purchase what they like in the fitting room by swiping a credit/debit card on the tablet located there. Have to buy my next pair of jeans at Hointer!

These store formats present a new perspective that reimagines the shopping experience as technology takes charge, combining services that are relevant with contextual offerings. Providing customers with an immersive experience, shops must remain compelling with reasons for customers to visit them as technology allows shopping to be easier outside the store itself. 

Click and Connect!

The last example I want to share on technology and immersive experience for the here and now involves a cloud based composition collaboration featuring a virtual choir created by Eric Whitacre, a Grammy award-winning Composer and Conductor.  People all over the world uploaded videos of themselves singing as he conducted virtually. The Virtual Choir went viral featuring over 5,000 singers from around the world representing 101 countries. This creative collaboration was constructed to produce a transcending experience, affecting a physical state change, cultivating relationships and uniting people from all backgrounds. This project is about being part of something bigger than ourselves and is very similar to brand integration. Social commerce and sharing cool stuff everyone is talking about, makes for a successful brand experience on all platforms, nurturing the cultured consumer beyond the three-dimensional store environment.  Please treat yourself and watch this amazing video.

As a global distributor and strategic materials partner, ASI collaborates with leading architects, designers and retailers to create well-orchestrated symphonies, while translating the brand with signature and iconic materials. Visit us, during Retail Design Collective, December 3-5, in our newly refreshed showroom located at 150 W. 25th St., 8th Floor, NYC. Preview new innovative product collections and see how the power of materials® deliver the here and now shopper!

Posted at 11/18/2014 9:39 AM

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