Category Archives: Design Inspirations

Finding Work Life Balance with Color

Gretchen Wagner

Most of the time, we strive to keep our work life and our personal life separate. We carry two separate phones, we don’t answer emails after 7 pm on Friday nights and we try not to inundate our partner with the daily office happenings over pasta dinner.

The biggest exception is – my work life really cares about my personal life.

Gretchen Wagner at SCAD

Celebrating the simple pleasure of accurately mixed color and perfect gradation (le sigh).

So, from September to November last year I temporarily moved (back) to Savannah, Georgia and served as an Ambassador in Residence at my alma mater, the Savannah College of Art and Design, through the SCAD Alumni Atelier Program. Created and endowed by SCAD President and Founder, Paula Wallace, the program provides alumni with dedicated time and space to focus on expanding their creativity, all the while creating a more meaningful connection with the university.

Color dyes

Gradation of dye samples (left) and swatch materials being rinsed (right).

SCAD project

Sunny Savannah studio views of swatch material and recipes arranged according to color gradation.

During my ambassadorship, I executed a project that further examined my interest in color theory. Wheel explored the use of saturated color to create an interactive, life size color wheel constructed from nearly 500 yards of hand dyed silk. It took precision, algebra and countless bike rides back and forth to the studio to ensure its completion. The technical process in creating Wheel ultimately yielded a simple tangible shape that allowed visitors to part the panels and enter the circular color space within.

Gretchen's SCAD project

Mock up of final installation (right) and hour one of installation at Pei Ling Chan Gallery the day of the exhibition (right).

The final installation was composed of sixty silk panels each hand dyed a slightly different variation of color from one to the next, emulating the seamless color transitions in a spectrum. Wheel was exhibited alongside the work of fellow alumni ambassadors, whose specialties ranged from ceramics and furniture design, to accessory design, documentary filmmaking and screenplay writing, this past November at the Pei Ling Chan Gallery in Savannah, Georgia.

Color "Wheel" final project

Wheel, 16.5’ x 11.5’ round. installed at the Pei Ling Chan Gallery in Savannah, Georgia

My years spent at SCAD during my undergrad propelled me into my career and evolving studio practice. Returning to Savannah and creating Wheel was a tangible reminder of what the creative mind is capable of. Infinite thanks to both my SCAD and Interface families for helping make these inspired moments possible.

In other news – enjoy some process photos, color lovers.
XOXO

For more information about the SCAD Alumni Atelier, visit here.
To explore more color musings from designer Gretchen Wagner, visit Instagram or thriveordye.com.
This project was funded through the Alumni Atelier Program for Alumni Development from the Savannah College of Art and Design.
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Graffiti Art with Carpet Tile

Interface

Adventures in Color and Rhythm with Mr. June

Across the world, there are artists, designers and other creatives that leave their mark using color. Meet David Louf (aka Mr. June): a Dutch artist who started doing graffiti art in 1985 at the age of 14. Now, over 30 years later, he runs his own graphic design studio with Yves van Asten and is still fascinated by the transition between 2D and 3D. Over the years they’ve worked for a wide range of companies, including Adidas, Heineken, Sanoma and Universal music. David’s murals can be found in places like London, New York, Miami and Ibiza.

Graffiti carpet tile art
Creating a third dimension
Mr. June’s work combines geometric rhythm with fluid lines. His use of shading creates an impressive 3-dimensional effect, often interacting with the intricacies of his “canvas” – the building he is enriching with his art.

Graffiti art with carpet tile

Mr. June meets Interface
Our team in Europe was lucky to collaborate with Mr. June for the 2016 Dutch Design Week. Mr. June replaced graffiti art with carpet and created a mesmerizing pattern of shapes and colors, fitting with the “Modular Geometry” trend that references the Memphis style from the 70s. To create the piece, many carpet tiles were cut into small pieces and positioned to create an out-of-this-world appearance. The piece was installed in Broeinest, a co-working space in Eindhoven. By positioning the rug beyond the entrance of the space, the piece attracted the interest of many passers-by.

Graffiti art with carpet tile

Graffiti art with carpet tile

MrJune_Blog6_575x575 See more from Mr. June on Facebook, Instagram and his personal website.

 

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Interface moves in to Mies van der Rohe Business Park

Interface

In October 2016, Interface moved its German headquarters to the Mies van der Rohe campus in Krefeld, a textile city on the Lower Rhine. Formerly occupied by the textile company VerSeidAG, it’s the only textile industrial campus that THE famous architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe planned and built. After Mies van der Rohe’s emigration to the U.S., the architect Erich Holthoff continued the work of Mies van der Rohe and his Bauhaus architecture, building the “Alte Speditionshaus”—the former gatehouse of the area. Today, we are proud that the location serves as the new Interface showroom and office in Germany for about 40 employees.

At Interface, we believe that in order to create a living workplace, you need a place that enables people to perform well, where they can live, laugh and work. You also need a place that promotes the well-being of the employees with regard to work structures and in terms of mobility, both physically and mentally.

Our new showroom has a newly completed interior design, including lounges for refuge, meet and greet areas, meeting rooms, traditional office spaces and even cinema. Each of these spaces are based on biophilic principles, aesthetics and well-being elements. Specific collections of Interface products have been creatively combined and selected with care by the Interface design team for each zone, space and function.

Krefeld showroom entrance

The first “epicenter” is located opposite the open reception area. With organic, biophilic elements, Interface provides a contrast to the Miesian grid, which defines the light-flooded space.

Krefeld showroom lounge

The lounge is at the heart of the space but still allows you to feel secluded. The ceiling-high bookshelves separate this area from the entrance, yet have gaps to allow people to see through them. The curtain rail, adapted to the organic shape of the furniture, creates a retreat—providing a visible and noticeable contrast to the orthogonally-oriented floor plan structure and polished screed floor.

Krefeld showroom kitchen

Extending off the lounge is a counter area that ends in a small kitchen area. Here, it’s possible to talk, work or take a break and hang out. This space features a planted parapet and a waterfall, which connects the upper floor with the lower floor and helps to create an ideal climate within the office.

Krefeld showroom seating

Opposite the planted parapet is another space directly adjacent to the central area. We’re always on the move, so all of the flexible areas have power sockets to facilitate mobile working.

Krefeld showroom vertical

Natural wood, water, plants and high ceilings create a sense of space in the central vertical access area of the building. This area combines Biophilic design principles, with tangible spaces, experiential engagement, nature inside and views of the outdoors.

Krefeld showroom conference

This space is dedicated to Mies van der Rohe. Each area of the office features an inspiring, encouraging or exhorting quote from either Mies or our founder, Ray Anderson.

Krefeld showroom cinema

Featuring wall bars, the Interface home cinema is small but looks smart and invites you to climb up, descend, settle down and be inspired. Whether you’re watching the World Cup or a marketing presentation—it’s a favorite place for everyone to enjoy.

Krefeld has evolved over the centuries to become a robust industrial city with economic connections around the world, and with its abundance of Mies van der Rohe architecture, it serves as the perfect new home for Interface.

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Pantone Color of the Year 2017: Greenery

Gretchen Wagner

2017 is finally here and with it comes the long anticipated opportunity to turn over a new leaf. In keeping with traditions it is also the time to celebrate Pantone’s Color of the Year, Greenery.

Throughout all seasons, Greenery is a reminder of vitality and prosperity; youthfulness and energy.

Greenery palette

Greenery hinges on the development of well being and self care trends that have been rising to the forefront of our minds while we contemplate the differences between health and healing, the group and the individual.

Shades of green are ubiquitous in nature. You can find Greenery nestled as a pop of color among soft pastels or paired with bolder shades of jewel toned orchids in an effort to transition us out of Winter. Root Greenery with deep mineral and rust tones for the perfect earthly balance and blur man made versus nature made by bringing the outdoors inside.

Greenery carpet palette

Ultimately, Greenery is about embracing our inherent connection to nature and the beneficial qualities that we absorb when surrounded by it. So as we transition and grow into 2017, remember to breathe deeply, enjoy matcha lattes and sliced avocados, barefoot walks along moss covered trails and cultivate some greenery in that urban apartment of yours.

Check out our Green Pinterest board below. Until next year my color loving friends. XOXO.

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Feeling Good, Working Well

Jean Nayar

In the relocation of its Toronto corporate office, Meridian Credit Union’s transition team worked closely with designers Bullock + Wood and Interface to craft new offices that emphasize and support the well-being of its employees.

Meridian Financial

As Ontario’s largest credit union, Meridian knows well what it takes to help its members grow. And in the process of supporting more than a quarter of a million people enriching their lives and their businesses from Windsor to Ottawa, the community-centric credit union has also grown and now employs more than 1,500 people in several branches and various commercial and corporate offices throughout the region. So when the employees who worked at its Toronto-based corporate office began to outgrow their space in a building in the downtown core several years ago, Meridian applied the same business ethos it relies on to support its Members as the driving force behind the design of a new office environment that would reinforce the well-being of its employees and help them to function effectively.

Meridian Financial

The Meridian team chose a mix of nature-inspired Interface carpet tile as the launching point for the entire design of the office space.

“As we undertook a location search five years ago, we made the decision that moving out of the core was more aligned with who we were as a community credit union,” says Sandy Brown, vice president of real estate and property management for Meridian. As a result, the company relocated this corporate office to suburban Toronto West to be closer to the community it serves as well as to its sister corporate office in St. Catharines. “Our functional goals included creating an environment that linked to our evolving business, supporting our employees’ well-being from a social and physical perspective, and reflecting our leadership and cultural values,” says Claudine Chess, senior human resources business partner for Meridian. Among the plus points of the new light-filled 33,000-square-foot space the company chose for the 150 Toronto corporate office employees were expansive views of the nearby surroundings, including greenery, Lake Ontario, and the Toronto skyline in the distance. Situated on the 6th and 7th floors of a 1980s LEED Gold certified building, the offices were also in a place where Meridian “could stake claim,” says Chess, noting that “Meridian was founded on the idea of neighborhood banking,” and the new setting would allow easy access to the people who lived in condos or worked in small businesses or for commercial developers nearby.

Meridian Financial

Recognizing that the extended commute to the new office setting would likely meet with resistance among many of the employees, the transition team involved in spearheading the design of the new offices was keen on creating spaces that would inspire a sense of comfort and well-being for the employees—especially those who would have to travel an hour or more to get to work. So designing an appealing environment with varied spaces and tools to ease various work-related tasks was critical. “We wanted them to have choices with equipment like headsets or sit-stand workstations, because in today’s work environment sitting is thought of as the new smoking and we wanted employee well-being to be front and center,” says Chess. Since many of the company’s mobile workers often work from home as well as the office, they also wanted to include characteristics that would echo a home environment. “From a wellness perspective we relied on an analogy to inform the design, which offered a choice of spaces that you’d intuitively use for different kinds of tasks in a home,” says Chess. “A dining table for concentrated work, for example, or a comfortable chair for reflective reading, or room to pace around during a conference call.”

Meridian Financial

Employees are encouraged to walk the “Meridian Mile,” outlined throughout the office by Interface Off Line carpet tile.

Another essential ingredient for the team, who worked with Toronto-based interior designers Bullock + Associates on the design of the new offices, was to support a sense of well-being by embracing the uplifting influence of nature beyond the light, greenery, and inspiring views. Interestingly, the team had been introduced to Interface products and the underlying point of view that drives its designs, and they chose to rely on a mix of its nature-inspired carpets as the launching point for the entire design of the office space. “Early on in the design phase we were presented with Interface’s Human Nature™ collection of products and we fell in love with the sustainability story behind the line and used it to inspire the look of our whole office,” says Brown. “We also saw it as an opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to communities,” adds Sarah Rea, Meridian’s senior manager of corporate social responsibility, noting that the building’s LEED Gold environmental standard and the materials choices in the office align to the goals the company aims to achieve.

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