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


New Year, New Products: Designers Weigh in!

Happy 2016! In the spirit of New Year, NEW PRODUCTS, ASI has been busy launching WHAT'S NEXT® in interior finishes. After the first IIDA Hospitality Forum committee meeting of the year in the ASI Showroom (we are planning another fabulous event ...details to follow !) I got to catch up with fellow committee members and discuss the latest industry trends.  

Elle Sears and Dylan Kruse of the Rockwell Group and my friend Jennifer Mehra from Glen & Company shared their ideas and inspiration on the new ASI product collections that were on display. 

I’ve highlighted their responses and where they envision incorporating these materials in their current and upcoming projects!

Quarto™ Stone Veneers  A Thin Stone Veneer with Translucent and Opaque FRP backing options. This collection launch was so successful it crashed the website- Literally!

Elle Sears, Rockwell Group: " This material has nice texture and great depth. It feels like a full slab a stone."

Jennifer Mehra, Glen & Company: "This is a really cool product, I could see using it for an exterior application in New York City and in elevator vestibules."

Lucido™ Wood Grain Porcelain  A high-gloss finish for a compelling take on porcelain walls and floors. Also, an Instagram favorite!

Dylan Kruse, Rockwell Group: "It's pleasantly confusing, I love it! The product is so shiny I almost thought it was plastic, I've never seen anything like it."

Elle Sears, Rockwell Group: "It's natural yet glam. I can't wait to find the project to use this material."

Jennifer Mehra, Glen & Company: "It's playful!"

Rustik™ Wood Grain Porcelain - An evocative material with a superior natural finish.  #ICYMI - A feature on #Ihavethisthingwithfloors!

Elle Sears, Rockwell Group: "I really like the luxe dark colors in the Rustik collection. These great neutral colors are different, you don't see them everywhere" 

Dylan Kruse, Rockwell Group: "It's unexpected in a good way. I could see using this in bathrooms and even outdoors."

ASI has many new products to launch this year! Interested in discovering What’s Next® ? Here’s how:

Explore the Power of Materials®:
Schedule an appointment with me in the  ASI Showroom, email: materialista@archsystems.com and see materials installed in actual applications!

Be In The know:
Do you receive our Let’s Talk Materials and What’s Next® e-blasts? Sign up here!

Join the Conversation: Materialista® Blog:
Let us know your initial reaction and where you envision using these materials!

Request Samples:
Contact sales@archsystems.com if you would like to request samples of  Quarto™ Stone VeneersRustik™ and Lucido™ Wood Grain Porcelain.

Posted at 1/15/2016 2:27 PM

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A Toast to 2015!

I can't believe the year is coming to an end!

This week Architectural Systems celebrated the Holiday Season with a fabulous luncheon in the ASI Showroom toasting to creativity, collaboration and success into the New Year. Everyone shared their top moments, products and projects of 2015!

So for the last blog of the year, I wanted to recap the highlights with all of you! On a personal note, my favorite part of the year was getting ENGAGED last month in the ASI Showroom!   

My top product introduction of 2015 would be Quarto™ Stone Veneers; ASI will be officially launching this innovative product in January! I am excited to see how designers will incorporate this material into their projects. Where do you see using it?

As for projects, I adored working with Synergistic Designs on Thistle and Bee, Too! This was a new retail concept for a global wholesaler and a true modern interpretation of a jewelry store design integrating Cast Stone Dimensional Panels for the exterior facade and luxe quilted leather with crystals, and metallic wood for the interior. I sure wouldn’t mind a gift from here this season! 

Rachel Cooper, SVP of Sales (and my older sister) shared that her favorite ASI moment was mixing business and pleasure when we met tennis superstar, interior design entrepreneur, and Boutique Design NY’s keynote speaker, Venus Williams! If you didn’t know, we are a big tennis family, so this was a really exciting moment for us. #ICYMI check out the full recap in last month’s blog post.

Next up, Andrew Cooper, SVP of National Accounts, shared some of his favorite moments like visiting clients on the road (see the photo below with Macy’s and BDHP at Ruby's Steakhouse ) and is looking forward to the busy year ahead presenting What's Next® in materials to key accounts across the country.

Andrew Cooper hosting #DiningandDesign in Cincinnati

Account Exec., Sarah McGrath’s favorite collaboration of the year hands down was the Marriott Marquis Atlanta. As a strategic material partner, ASI supplied a range of interior finishes throughout the hotel. We can’t wait to feature this project!

Kiel Wuellner, Creative Director at ASI, spoke about, "My favorite product introduction of 2015 was by far Crossfuse™ Wood Panels, which is the next generation of our exciting and successful Fusion Wood Panels." And best moments are putting together material boards for the client presentations.

Marketing Director, Amanda Zapp loved the success of this year's #Powerofmaterials photo contest, in which designers submitted photos of recent (and fabulous) projects incorporating ASI products. Congratulations again to Glenn Coben of Glenn and Co. for Gabriel Kreuther, whose talent and stellar use of  Aegean Eco-Porcelain was awarded with an iPhone6S PLUS.

From "family bagel breakfasts" on Fridays to sponsoring industry conferences and events, everyone at ASI shared their favorite moments of the year while looking ahead to creativity and collaboration in 2016.

Thank you for your continued business.  Happy Holidays from the ASI Family to yours!


Posted at 12/16/2015 1:7 PM

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Incorporate the Culture

What a hospitable month! So many exciting events took place in November including our own Open House and Happy Hour during the Boutique Design New York (BDNY) tradeshow.

A trend ASI spotted is how hospitality brands are incorporating local culture into their design. We created a theme around #incorporatetheculture with material boards for ideas and inspiration placed strategically throughout the 5000 square foot ASI showroom. #ICYMI (In case you missed it) you can experience the event through the video: http://bit.ly/1Qyc1bG

Our Pinterest board also reflected great examples where regional flavor was infused in different properties including the Archer Hotel and the newly debuted Even Hotels.

I worked very closely on this month’s featured project, The Paul Hotel with my friend and Developer, Ronica Sharma, of Sharma Development Group. The design vision was brought to life by delivering a quintessential NY experience as soon as you enter the lobby.

View the Creativity and Collaboration℠ Series for a look at this hipster haven in NoMad: The Paul Hotel





As always, my BDNY favorite was the Power Players: Women Leaders in Hospitality which is sponsored by NEWH - The Network of Executive Women in Hospitality. You may remember one of my older blog posts when Nancy Jackson, President of ASI was on this prestigious panel. Coming from a big tennis family, I was extra stoked for this year’s keynote speaker… Venus Williams.

The opening remarks were inspiring as we learned how she used her dedication as an athlete, passion for design and personal guest experience staying at hotels across the world to become a successful CEO of V*STARR interiors, a design firm located in Jupiter Florida.  The life lessons shared were: “Prepare! We can control only so much... so be ready and remember to breathe!" Her wild card advice was, "keep your eye on the ball!”

Venus also participated on a panel with other industry luminaries discussing the importance of creating the magic of design with personalization, value and a memorable experience. When a hotel feels like home with exceptional service, guest loyalty is achieved. Venus stated that you must know who the avatar is that you are designing for. As an example, she explained that millennials rely on social media and technology throughout their journey- before, during and after they arrive at a property.  

Marriot Hotels UK reflects this idea, with the “ideal room of the future.” They teamed up with sports celebrities to design personalized rooms that included selfie walls in the guest rooms complete with selfie sticks, local food and drink recommendations (#incorporatetheculture), free wifi and an in-room exercise station.

In spirit of market week coming up in the first week December, the showroom has been refreshed to highlight new products, installed in real life applications for you to touch and see how the materials will look! Be sure to visit us during Retail Design Collective, Dec. 2-4 with the trend #evokeamood in branded environments.

As a proud Benefactor Sponsor of The Planning and Visual Education Partnership’s (PAVE) gala, ASI is also participating in the PAVE globe display and auction. The talented Andrew Shannon, founder of AB Creative Studio designed our globe, made of unique ASI materials to create “global Awareness for PAVE”.  Place your bid in the showroom or online during RDC, more details to follow.

Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy all the hospitality that comes your way!

Posted at 11/20/2015 2:38 PM

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Materialista® Highlights NY Fashion Week, Retail and Hospitality Conferences & The Art of Storytelling

I can’t believe summer is officially over! One of my favorite things about fall is the energy that comes from New York Fashion Week and the retail and hospitality conferences. I'm excited to share Insights on Innovation® from ASI’s recent involvement in the design industry.

ASI caught up with Harry Cunningham, Head of Store Development at Vera Bradley after the craziness of Fashion Week (Vera Bradley was featured in the exclusive Vogue retreat) to chat about reinventing the iconic American brand. They are really not just about the quilted bag anymore! #ICYMI, check out the featured project interview: bit.ly/1LQlhRn 

Right: Vera Bradley, Virginia Beach, VA, In-House design, Featuring: ASI Hardwood Flooring - Custom

Another fashion icon, Diane von Furstenberg, who is the Chairman of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, transformed the runway with fresh new looks for the modern business woman. ASI has supplied the signature flooring in shops globally. I recently stopped by the corporate headquarters in the Meatpacking and sighted DVF herself, what an inspiration!

Hospitality Design CityScene WELCOMED ASI to Miami!

Right: President Nancy Jackson and Nicole Homan, Interior Designer at The Related Group at the Miami Beach EDITION

Architectural Systems was a proud sponsor of Hospitality Design CityScene!  Prior to cocktails and conversation, Ron and Nancy attended a lively roundtable with Hospitality luminaries and select vendors to discuss what’s trending in the industry and how important it is to educate designers with the right product recommendations. And of course Cuba came up with big plans to revitalize the vibrant tourist destination.

Creativity and storytelling were the hot topics at design:retail Forum in Portland. Whether you are a 9 year old creating a cardboard arcade and actually wind up speaking at a Ted Talk or getting inspired by Rachel Shechtman, who pioneered a retail media model for the uber successful shop concept, Story in NYC to exploring the boundaries of path to purchase with Healey Cypher, former Head of Retail Innovation at eBay—this Forum did not disappoint! 

ASI was #OutandAbout in Austin, TX for the International Retail Design Conference (IRDC). The engaging conference showcased examples of the omni-channel platforms, done well on all levels.

Breakout sessions during the conference spoke to the brands using social media influencers, instead of models to appeal to the Millennial Mom. Lemon Pop, a new division for Charlotte Russe hires "mommy bloggers" with millions of followers to create "authentic narratives" which includes posting family photos wearing the merchandise. (Think: Happy family, happy retailer!)

Another interesting concept was from the session, “Consumer X , A love Story” that segmented brand loyalty into three stages of a shopper’s heart :attraction, dating and then commitment! ASI is privileged to be a strategic material partner to Macy’s, who is forging ahead capturing lifelong relationships with their customers!

This year's 10th annual Iron Merchant Challenge featured Yoga Mannequins! Materialista® always ahead of the trends spotlighted retail environments that cater to this trend (Athleisure, I told you so!).  Congrats to David Kepron, Creative Director - Brand Experience Studio at Little and his “Red Team” for winning the 10th Annual Iron Merchant visual merchandising challenge.

Architectural Systems was an emerald sponsor of #IRDC2015, check out more Highlights here!

Hoping that in this transitional fall season you are energized as you gain Insights on Innovation® while enjoying leaves changing colors and creating the design stories waiting to be told!

Posted at 9/30/2015 12:8 PM

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Designing Retail Environments for the Athleisure Trend

Chloe Kernaghan, left, and Krissy Jones. Credit Isak Tiner for The New York Times

"From Alexander Wang to Beyoncé, Everyone’s Doing It: The Rise of Athleisure” – Style.com

In spirit of the #getintoshapes photo contest going on this month at Architectural Systems, I switched up my normal exercise routine and organized a yoga charity event that was held on the roof deck at Equinox 61st Street. We had a great turnout and everyone enjoyed flowing through poses at sunset. 

Seeing everyone go straight to their next destination still in (very stylish) workout clothes inspired me to write about the latest fashion/design trend, Athleisure!

“Athleisure wear is a relatively new concept, and its explosive growth over the past few years shows no sign of abating” – design:retail Magazine

Athleisure: the blurring of athletic and leisure pursuits. Think anything from designer leggings, cashmere sweaters and luxury "gym-to-street" workout clothes

"Athleisure is bigger than a trend, as evidenced by the people who wear yoga pants anywhere." - Instyle Magazine

Merchants are challenged with creating the right ambiance for a perfect combination of leisure and luxury and they look to retail design professionals to create shops that showcase luscious high performance apparel in the right setting.

Always ahead of trends, ASI was involved years ago in the first private label active wear department at  Macy’s. To highlight their launch of the shop-in-shop, ASI supplied a custom-colored vinyl film from The Perla™ Collection, laminated to a purple acrylic to create a focal wall which featured the famous supermodel/muse and pioneer of athleisure Christy Turlington, as a yogi mannequin. Namaste!

#ASImaterials                         #getintoshapes                                 #ASImaterials

In the new concept stores for Lucy Activewear, Eco-Dimension Bamboo Wall Panels part of ASI Wood Panels were installed on the merchandise wall to reflect movement that is synergistic with their brand loyal customers.

To complete the athleisure look, you need to find the perfect athletic footwear. For Lace-Up  in Brooklyn, ASI supplied luxury vinyl flooring in a stone pattern to recreate a timeless retail environment, while tying in the experience of “lacing up” the right shoe to complement the gym-to-street apparel trend.

I’m really excited about the new patterns we are introducing to the phenomenally popular Ornamental Surfaces collection. This material is ideal for designers creating spaces for the athleisure wear!


Looking for even more inspiration, check out ASI Material Boards created on demand for designer presentations, ideas and collaboration:


How do you Get Into Shape(s)? Join ASI’s #getintoshapes contest for a chance to win a Fitbit Charge by posting a photo to Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter with your favorite ASI material, favorite ASI project or show us how you are Getting Into Shape(s) using #ASImaterials or #getintoshapes! The winner will be announced on September 8!

Posted at 8/20/2015 1:6 PM

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Sand Between Your Toes.. Summer-Inspired Design + Special Guest Blogger, Glen Coben

Back from Long Beach Island! Summer is my favorite time of the year. I always feel refreshed, rejuvenated and inspired after my beach vacation. This summer, I am looking forward to catching up with friends (Rooftop bars!), getting into a great book and summer BBQ's with family!

Speaking of catching up with family and friends, I was at Glen and Company dropping off samples for their client presentation and I had the opportunity to chat with Glen Coben. Glen agreed to guest blog about his summer plans and design inspiration!

Materlista®: How have you been spending your summer?

Glen Coben: Working extremely hard!  We have many clients who are trying to open their doors in September.

M: How has the summer inspired your work?

GC: I love light and breezy and that whole sum, sum, summertime vibe! We New Yorkers have such brutal winters that spring and summer give us a chance to let loose and be a little carefree. That attitude extends to our work! 

M: What is your favorite thing about summer?

GC: Drinking rose and eating fresh fruit!  Going to the farmers market and seeing the bounty of veggies and fruit. Oh, and having fresh tomatoes. Nothing in the world is better than a fresh tomato!

M: Which materials evoke a summer feel?

GC: Cork. Espadrille prints. Sand between your toes. Bluestone. Tea lights and a half-full bottle of rosé!

M: What are you looking forward to most this summer?

GC: Camp visiting day!  There is no better hello than having my daughter run and leap into my arms after not having seen her in four weeks!!!!

Architectural Systems is also enjoying summer with the #powerofmaterials! The Shore Hardwood Collection from ASI inspires a casual, beach-like oasis. A quick trip to Montauk anyone? Just check out Montauk Driftwood Porcelain that captures the time weathered look of coastal hardwoods. 

I love how materials transport you to summertime! Here are some of my favorite sun and sand worthy materials (Sunscreen not included!):

I hope everyone is enjoying the warm weather! I would love to hear how your summer vacation has inspired your work. Drop me a line with your beach-inspired story at materialista@archsystems.com.

Posted at 7/15/2015 10:36 AM

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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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