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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Axor Starck Shower Collection:Tailor-made bathroom design

(1) Juicy Salif lemon squeezer for Alessi, 
(2) Phillipe Starck, 
(3) Hudson Hotel

Phillipe Starck creates the functional and the fantastical. He tries to change perspectives and one’s angle of thinking. He is one of the most fascinating architects, interior designers and product designers in contemporary design today.

"I like to open doors to human brains" - Phillippe Starck

In 1990, Starck changed the industrial design market. Objects were no longer simply functional. Objects and furniture were anthropomorphized- he attributed human or animal characteristics onto objects and furniture with a sense of humor and irrationality. Like his iconic Juicy Salif lemon squeezer for Alessi. (1) It generated many discussions about its meaning and design and now is shown on permanent collection at the MOMA in NYC.

In 2000, Starck transported guests into a theatrical, dream-like world in his utterly cool Hudson Hotel design in NYC. This building is a must see! The exterior of the building is blank with a small neon door.(2) Classic Starck play of proportions. Once through the neon door, the guest enters a luminous glass tunnel with an escalator that ascends up to a magical, surreal lobby! (3)

So, it is no surprise that when Phillipe Starck collaborated with Axor, the Hansgrohe AG designer brand he would think of the bathroom differently, a new angle. The bathroom is not just a room to wash yourself. Phillipe thought of it as a room of pleasure or a room to rest, a "salle d'eau" or room of water.

The Axor Starck shower collection was shown at the imm-cologne trade show. It is a complete system of showers, mixers and accessories that turns the shower into a personally designed spa. I was blown away by the power of the rainfall: the aesthetic, the pulse and the luxurious feel of the water was extremely overwhelming ;yet, calming! 

At the Axor display, we were able to meet with Phillipe Grohe, who heads the Axor brand. He explained to us that the overhead shower format can take on the basic principle of the square into smaller shower areas. Depending on the size of the bathroom, the stainless steel rain shower can be mounted in three different ways- flush-mounted, with ceiling connector and wall mounting with shower arm. The waterfall spout is multi-functional and the system is modular. The squares can line up like a mosaic and piece together in multiple formats. This flexibilty provides unlimited freedom to create individual bathroom solutions! 

What is also interesting is how the rain zone is blended with air, providing a more powerful shower experience. You can control the water flow  depending on the type of shower experience you want - just like being in a spa, but in your home. This sophisticated collection was tailor-made to create a new aesthetic, a new territory and a new control for well-being and bathroom design!! 
Thank you again Axor for sponsoring BlogTour Cologne!!  Stay tuned for my personal interview with Phillipe Grohe!! Thank you Phillipe!
(product and profile images given by Axor press)

Sunday, January 27, 2013


New York-based master-potter and home décor designer Jonathan Adler known for his chic and incredibly smile-inducing home design is launching a collection of accessories!  Right on, it makes so much sense!  Bold, Dynamic, and Groovy defines his signature style so his expansion over to fashion seems organically natural to me. I can easily see his daring patterns and geometric use of textiles, prints and patterns on bags, belts, scarves and small leather goods! It all about....."style, craft and joy," so why not blur the lines between Home and Fashion and expand the JA house!

I'm so incredibly thrilled to feature and interview Jonathan Adler on my Designer Spotlight series where he gives us a sneek-peek into his accessory world and his muses for the collection.

For the Home:

Collaborating with The Rug Company to illustrate his adventurous patterns with 
quality hand-knotting construction

Accessory collection for the 'JA' girl:

Dauphine handbag collection:
pinwheels, diamonds, scales

Close-up look at the delightful chain stitch details from his 
Dauphine leather/needlepoint handbag accessory collection

(coming this fall)

with Jonathan

When you decorate you are actually accessorizing – I think of what we do as making jewelry for your home. I took the same colors, patterns, graphics, and jet set philosophy to allow women to accessorize their outfits. The fashion accessories have the same spirit of style, craft, and joy that defines everything I make.

(coming this fall)

She’s jet set, she’s smart, she’s confident, and she gets whatever guy (or girl) she wants.  The collection is bold and colorful, just like her.

Muulti color Waves Pareo Wrap/Scarf

I’m constantly inspired - by art, by movies, by people and places, and by the city of New York.  I always keep my eyes and mind wide open.  For the fashion accessories collection, I thought of the style of Talitha Getty and of hotspots like the sands Capri and the slopes of St. Mortiz.


Gym, tan, laundry (just kidding).  I always say, “if your heirs won’t fight over it, we won’t make it.”  I want to make stuff that people will love for years and years.


Thank you so much Jonathan for the sneek peek into your accessory world! The MDG reader is looking foward to seeing the future launch of the jewelry line too!!

Friday, January 25, 2013


This morning, the 34th Annual Interior Awards, presented by Contract Magazine honored Michael Graves with the 2013 Legend of the Year Award and Joey Shimoda the 2013 the Designer of the Year Award and 11 Firms Honored for Design Excellence. Contract's Editor in Chief John Czarnecki, Assoc. AIA emceed the prestigious award breakfast at New York's Cipriani 42nd Street. Projects ranged from public spaces to offices to adaptive reuse.


Michael Graves is an iconic architect who also engages interiors and product design. He looks at furniture and objects as references to inform architecture and draws with a purpose. I admire his work and his marvelous sketches. He teaches us, "sketches express the interaction of our minds, eyes and hands and create an emotional connection with the work."


“The process of making meaningful and beautiful spaces is a
fragile and precarious journey. By receiving this honor, I am fortified in believing that all of our effort inspires excellence in design.” 

 Shimoda Design Group is a talented 10 person firm that designs memorable architecture. In Mr. Shimmoda's  Steelcase Work Cafe he goes beyond its design program -  it touches the personal lives of their employees. 

The 2013 Interiors Awards jury selected one winner in each of 13 categories. 

The 2013 jurors were: 

Stephen Apking, FAIA, interior design partner, SOM; 
Dina Griffin, AIA,IIDA, NOMA, president and partner, Interactive Design, 
Nancy Keatinge,president and partner, Felderman Keatinge + Associates; Alan Ricks, cofounder,MASS Design Group; 
Margaret Sullivan, director of interior design, H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture.

Confidential Multimedia Entertainment Company by FXFOWLE Architects
New York, New York

'FX FOWLE Architects expertly transformed the historic New York armory building from the 1900s into a space where remnants of its past life co-exist with modern design.'

(image by Frank Oudeman)

Cranbrook Art Museum Renovation and Collections Wing by SmithGroupJJR
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

'The Crankbrook Art Museum shows that renovation goes hand in hand with
preservation. The design team added 31,000-square-feet of space and made vital upgrades to the existing structure while maintaining the integrity of Eliel Saarinen's original design. '

(image by James Haefner)

Wuhan Pixel Box Cinema by One Plus Partnership
Atlanta, Georgia

'For this 95,000-square foot cinema in Wuhan, China, One Plus Partnership selected a single motif—the pixel—and used it as the fundamental element throughout their design, creating the most avant-garde movie house in the city.'

(images by Ajax Law)

Randall Children’s Hospital by ZGF Architects
Portland, Oregon

'When designing this 334,000-square-foot facility that consolidates previously separate healthcare services, ZGF Architects had one goal in mind—to combat the fear and anxiety of patients and their families.'

 (images by Hedrich Blessing)

Grand Hyatt New York by Bentel & Bentel Architects/Planners
New York, New York

'Over a two-year period, Bentel & Bentel Architects/Planners transformed the public areas in one of New York's busiest hotels into a functional yet sophisticated urban public space.' 

(images by Eduard Heuber)

Microsoft Vienna by INNOCAD
Vienna, Austria

'Microsoft's Austrian headquarters in Vienna challenged INNOCAD to create a space that would entice mobile workers to come into the workplace, so the designers strove to create an environment that would give employees the feeling of being on a 'working holiday.'

(images by Paul Ott)

Lakewood Cemetery Garden Mausoleum by HGA
Minneapolis, Minnesota

'Melding beautifully into the cemetery landscape, the Lakewood Cemetery Garden Mausoleum commemorates life and legacy with contrasting yet subdued textures and circular motifs.'

(images by Paul Crosby)

Untitled by Rockwell Group
New York, New York

'Untitled—the latest addition to New York's Whitney Museum of American Art—is an architecturally flexible café that is remarkable for its ability to transform into a variety of spaces to suit the museum's ever-changing programmatic needs.'

(images by Paul Warchol)

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art Store by Marlon Blackwell Architect
Bentonville, Arkansas

'Functional, tactile, and a clear extension of the Moshe Safdie-designed museum building: this was the challenge presented to Marlon Blackwell Architect for the design of the 3,040-square-foot curved, concrete space that was to become the museum store. The design team drew inspiration from Mark Niehues' unique basket weaving style to provide the space with a character that reflected the regional pride and identity of the Ozark Mountain Range.'

(images by Timothy Hursley)

Chongqing Mountain and City Sales Office by One Plus Partnership
Chingqing, China

'Taking inspiration from the mountain profiles of the Nanshan District, the Chongqing Mountain and City Sales Office reinterprets nature in high chic style. This idea materializes in the interior architecture's terrain of "valleys" and "caves." The 19,375-square-foot, two-level sales office is unlike any other real estate showroom: its various rooms are accessed by journeying through a topography of slanted, triangular masses of grey marble.'

(images by Ajax Law)

XAL Competence Center (XALcc) by INNOCAD

Graz, Austria

'For this 20,500-square-foot renovation of an aging 1950s warehouse, INNOCAD focused on lighting and acoustics to set a tone and create an ambiance conducive to productivity and innovation. The large, open volume was divided into three zones that preserved the warehouse's industrial quality while turning it into a modern space with daylight.' 

(images by Paul Ott)


'For her Senior Capstone Project at the University of Cincinnati's College of Design,Architecture, Art & Planning, Nicole Germano chose to design a learning environment for children. "As a child, I felt like the learning environment suppressed my imagination,"she recalls. Her thesis project, Play Lab, cultivates "controlled chaos" by balancing structured activities within a stimulating and flexible environment.' 

22 squared by Gensler
New York, New York

'22 squared's Atlanta headquarters—originally a dark space with walled-off offices and segregated departments—was at odds with its innovative cross-disciplinary business model. To increase collaboration among workers and departments, Gensler designed spaces that encourage run-ins, replaced walls with glass panels, and coated most of the remaining walls in a writeable finish, so nearly every square foot is a potential work surface.'

(images by Michael Moran)

(all images courtesy of Contract magazine)

BLANCO: passion for perfection like a true Olympian

   (Image by Blanco)

The first evening on BlogTour Cologne was so much fun! Our sponsor BLANCO, a German company who designs and engineers unique sinks, faucets and decorative accessories hosted a dinner event at the German Sports and Olympic Musuem, which documents the history of the Olympics and successes of German Olympians. Here are some images from the night:

(Images by MDG & Blanco)

Olympic athletes are totally dedicated, strive for excellence, and have a passion for perfection. Like Olympians, BLANCO is passionate and committed to be the best. This brand is all about Innovation, High quality and unsurpassed service since 1925.

 (Image by Blanco)

"Passion starts with people and passion starts with us, " states Tim Maicher, Director of Marketing for BLANCO. "We are presenting state of the art products at IMM Cologne/Living Kitchen with a Passion for Perfection." Yes!, I can feel the power and energy in the room and that zeal for innovative design was evident in their architecturally powerful display constructed specifically for the imm-cologne trade show. Their arched design highlighted their brand and product amid water, and colored lighting. Superb, like their products!

 (Image by MDG)

 (Image by Blanco)

I saw some very exciting designs from BLANCO. Their Compact Alta is suitable for small work areas and has an extendable pull out design with dual spray coverage. Really like the variety of finishes:

 (Images by Blanco)

The  retractable faucet is an amazing product! Now you see it, now you don't! The faucet in its standing position retracts and becomes flush with the sink so that the cutting board can slide over the faucet and sink. I have never seen anything like it! Have you? That's brilliant German engineering! For a small kitchen, this is an efficient use of space! Unfortunately, we are ahead of the curve here. This won't be available in the U.S. for a year or so. 
Check it out:

  (Image by MDG)

Another really cool and unique faucet is The BLANCO Hot!  The instant hot is integrated into the faucet. Rotate the end of the faucet and hot water pours out!!  Its all in one, hot and cold. Who needs multiple holes in your counter-top for another fitting? Simplicity at its best!

  (Image by MDG)

The perfection in this stainless steel counter-top fabrication is unmatched! Absolutely, gorgeous craftsmanship!

  (Image by MDG)

BLANCO, I am your #1 fan! 
Cannot wait for these products to come to the U.S.A.!

Thank you for being a sponsor of Blog Tour Cologne! Great Team breakfast!