Last week one of our newest clients, Crescent Communiites, broke ground on the Bryson Development in Leander, Texas. Laurie Smith Design Associates is providing interior design services for a prototypical marketing center and hatch + ulland owen architects is the project architect. We are also currently working with Crescent Communities on a "Welcome Center" for "The Groves" development in Northeast Houston. This is our first foray into this market segment, although out joint venture partner, Neel Morton (Smith + Morton Architecture) has extensive past experience with similar projects.
Last weekend, the Austin American-Statesman profiled chef Shawn Cirkiel, who mentioned working at an award-winning Austin restaurant we designed called "22", that was "ahead of its' time" when it opened in 2000. He added that Twenty Two was an "experiment with higher-end restaurants" serving "modern American cuisine" and described the experience as "incredibly educational." His comments motivated me to post a TBT (Throwback Thursday) item about the project.
Twenty Two's partners Doug Foreman (who founded "Guiltless Gourmet" and "Beanitos") and Frank Obregon had developed a restaurant concept that was upscale in terms of food and service and hoped to capitalize on Austin's tech boom. They brought in Shawn as part of the opening team and the North Austin restaurant & bar quickly gained critical accolades for its' continental menu with Southwestern & Asian influences. "22" also had a great wine list and some of the best service I've ever experienced in Austin (although "La V" in East Austin may have set a new standard recently).
From a design standpoint, the clients asked for something "sophisticated and fresh" compared to anything else in Austin at the time. Texas Monthly's Pat Sharpe called the 5,000 sf multi-level restaurant "an architectural knockout." It featured innovative lighting and acoustical design as well as walls of temperature-controlled wine storage displays and a private dining area. It was honored by the Austin Chapters of AIA (American Institute of Architects) and ASID (American Society of Interior Designers). It also received a top regional design award from the Texas / Oklahoma Chapter of the International Interior Design Association and was featured in an exhibit entitled "Portrait of A City" at Austin's Daugherty Arts Center and a 2nd exhibit in conjunction with the Charles Moore Center For The Study of Place.
The images at the beginning of this post show the ceiling of the bar area in the restaurant (right photo) and a detail shot (left photo) of a lighting sconce on a colorful curved wall at the entrance to the restaurant. The photographs were taken by Patrick Wong. The custom sconce was designed by LSDA and fabricated by Two Hills Studio (who also fabricated other custom light fixtures for the project). Austin Artist Kathleen Ash made the fused glass for the sconce.
For more details about the project, click on this Twenty Two Restaurant & Bar link. If you need any help with your next project, please send us a note or call us at 512.383.1090. For more info about the variety of services we provide, please go to the "About Us" page on our website.
We typically send out our annual holiday greeting in late January and early February to coincide with the celebration of the Lunar New Year. This year’s e-card features a photo (left) that I took of some kids we met on a trip to Nepal and Bhutan last year (their lunar new year celebration is called "Losar" and it can last up to 15 days!). The kids are extending the traditional greeting of “Namaste”, which is (for those of you who aren’t familiar with the word) a way to pay homage or show respect for the person they meet. It literally means “I bow to you” and it recognizes the life force that we all share. I was constantly struck by the sincerity in the way people greeted each other and felt that this image would be the perfect way for us to express our best wishes for a happy new year & valentine's day to our friends and clients.
One of the most interesting things we saw on our trip was the arts and crafts style architecture in Bhutan. I've included (below) some photos that I took there highlighting some examples of the country's unique vernacular architecture, traditional architectural elements and construction techniques. Bhutan is focused on preserving traditional arts and culture and one of the ways they achieve this is by requiring that construction of all new public and private buildings adhere to traditional design criteria. Building design in Bhutan also employs some inherently sustainable design practices. Traditionally, Bhutanese buildings have been built with locally available stone, wood, bamboo and occasionally clay & adobe bricks. Rammed earth or stone is placed between timber frames for insulation. Roofs are raised with an open space (Shambarnang) below the roof which allows natural ventilation and creates an area for dry storage. Houses also utilize the space for sleeping during warm months.
We are excited to see one of the projects we worked on (the Granger House) featured on the cover of TRIBEZA - especially since it’s the annual “Interiors Issue" of Austin’s premier arts & culture magazine. The editor felt that the house made a perfect backdrop for a winter “fashion shoot” (pp 66-75) and said that their “fashion team couldn’t get enough of the Eames chairs and mid-century modern décor throughout the space.”
The house was built in 1951 by Austin’s most famous Mid-Century Modern architect, Charles Granger, who designed it for his family. The current owners, Mark Seeger and Jeff Harper, bought the house in 1998 and lovingly restored and updated it with the help of architect Jay Farrell, an Austin architect who is known for his work on historic renovations. Mark and Jeff asked our managing partner, Laurie Smith, to design some custom furniture and help them find some new furniture and fabrics that would relate to the house’s Mid-Century Modern aesthetic. One of the pieces of custom furniture she designed (fabricated by Alan Reams) received a “Design Excellence Award” from the Austin Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID).
The house is located in Austin’s Judge’s Hill Historic District and was featured on Dwell TV and Preservation Austin’s Mid-Century Modern Homes Tour. It’s listed in the National Register of Historic Places and has been designated a Historic Landmark by both the City of Austin and the State of Texas. There are indeed some chairs designed by Charles & Ray Eames in the house, but there are also several other notable furniture designers represented such as Eero Saarinen and Isamu Noguchi.
While we can provide a full range of architecture and interior design services, we often serve as part of a design team because of our interiors, lighting, space planning and furniture expertise. If you need help with a renovation or a new residential or commercial project, please contact us at 512.383.1090, x11. For more info about all of the services we offer, go to our "About Us" page.
btw . . . Photos in the TRIBEZA article are by Austin photographer Wynn Myers / Styling by Lauren Smith Ford / Hair + Makeup by Franchiska Bryany (Jose Luis Salon)
Scandinavian furniture giant Ikea is relaunching the 1956 LÖVET (Leaf) table they have re-engineered and renamed LÖVBACKEN. It was the first product that they sold in a "flat-pack" rather than fully-assembled. When the original design, (by designer Gillis Lundgren) was first being used ins a photo shoot the three-legged leaf shape proved too cumbersome for Lundgren to fit in his car, so he sawed off the legs and started a flat-pack, self-assembly revolution.
The LÖVBACKEN side table will be available starting August 1st, 2013, and retails for $59.95. If you need any help with residential or commercial furniture selection and layout, or custom furniture design, please contact us at 512.383.1090. For more info about all of the services we offer, please go to the "About Us" page on our website.
Have you ever had a problem finding your way around a hospital or clinic - or for that matter - any sort of interior space? Good signage can help, but we’ve found that incorporating distinct architectural features and colors into the design of an office, healthcare facility or any public building can help visitors find where they need to go - without wishing that they had a Google Maps "interior space app" on their phone to guide them via GPS coordinates.
The offices we designed for the Renaissance Women’s Group (pictured above) are a good example of how you can make it easier for visitors to get to their destination. Individual doctors’ areas were identified by a uniquely designed colorful portal defining the entrance to each space within the 25,000 sq. ft. Ob / Gyn office. At the main reception area, patients were simply told to follow the corridor until they saw the appropriately colored portal, where they could wait until their doctor was able to see them. Within each doctors’ area, the signature colors were repeated on curved walls (identifying restrooms) in internal corridors. For more photos and information about the project, go to http://tinyurl.com/m9gz267 or the project profiles at the bottom of our home page.
Like many professions, architecture and interior design has a unique language – commonly referred to as “Archispeak.” Unfortunately, some design professionals use it when talking to clients and non-professionals who often have little idea of what they’re talking about.
Even Teri Gross, NPR’s “Fresh Air” host (not someone who has difficulty understanding complex subjects) recently said that one of the reasons she’s only interviewed a few architects on her show is that “it was frustrating trying to understand what they were saying” and she had to resort to “asking them about their childhoods to get enough material to air!”
Much of the jargon legitimately provides an easy way for design professionals to communicate with each other or with clients who are familiar with the language of the building and design professions. A few examples are: fenestration (doors & windows), chase (a framed shaft for pipes or ductwork) and cantilever (a beam or structural framework that is supported at one end and carries a load at the other end or along its length). Other terms, such as materiality (what buildings are made of), typology (type of building) and architectonic (related or conforming to technical architectural principles) can seem a little pretentious, especially when mutated into obscure statements that some architects and designers use to try to impress clients or other people. Grant Snider’s cartoon (above) humorously translates some of the gobbledygook into everyday language.
At our firm, we work hard to clearly communicate and avoid the use of jargon, unless it’s something you may want to learn more about – like LEED (the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program run under the auspices of the U.S. Green Building Council) certification, our "less is more" design philosophy or some of the specialized services we provide.
If you’d like to learn how to master “Archispeak” and impress your friends with up to 40,000 profound design statements, click on DIYAD (Do It Yourself Architectural Dialogue). To learn more about the types of projects we've helped clients with, please click on representative project examples.
After seeing an article in the Austin American-Statesman yesterday about one of our clients (chef & restaurant owner Larry McGuire) it occurred to me that it might be a good idea to periodically post some "Before & After" images of some of our renovation projects as it’s a great way to communicate the kind of transformation that can take place. This first post shows the 1st floor of the historic 1874 J.P. Schneider Store in downtown Austin in the upper left hand photo before it was turned into an upscale barbecue restaurant and music venue. The same view (after renovation) appears directly below the “before” shot. The 3rd image shows a close-up of the far end of the 1st floor and the code-required front staircase, which we designed, appears to float in space.
For more photos and details about the project, go to http://tinyurl.com/bmf6w7a or the project profiles at the bottom of our home page. If you need any help with your next renovation, please contact us at 512.383.1090. For more info about the variety of services we provide, please go to the "About Us" page on our website.
We typically send out our annual holiday greeting in late January and early February to coincide with the celebration of the Lunar New Year, which starts this year on February 10th. The Lunar Calendar has a 12-year cycle with 12 different characters representing each year. For 2013, it’s the “Year of the Snake”, or the “Year of the Water Snake.” While that might sound ominous, it could actually be seen as a very positive thing. According to traditional beliefs, water is associated with money and wealth, so this year could be a good year for business. A snake is determined and smart and a snake year is said to bring great opportunities. People born in the “Year of the Snake” are reputed to be quick learners, good with money and approach problems rationally and logically. They are also said to like the best things in life. Oprah Winfrey, Martha Stewart and Jackie Kennedy Onassis, for example, were all born in a “Year of the Snake.”
If you’re a golfer, or just interested in design, you should check out Austin’s new Morris Williams Golf Course Clubhouse and the recently renovated course. Laurie Smith Design Associates is proud to have provided interior design services for the project as part of the hatch + ulland owen architects design team.
In addition to the new pro shop and restaurant, the new 10,000 sq. ft. two story sustainably designed clubhouse includes a large kitchen, comfortable restrooms with showers, offices and a “cart barn”. The handsome new facility projects a quiet elegance and provides a comfortable place to relax and spend time with friends before, during and after a round.
While most of our projects are handled “in-house”, we frequently serve as part of design teams or a joint venture because of our interior design, space planning, signage and lighting design expertise. We’ve worked with well known national and local architects ranging from Cesar Pelli & Associates, Leo A. Daly and the late Charles Moore to the Lawrence Group, the Bower Downing Partnership and Page Southerland Page. Currently we are on design teams headed by Jackson & McElhaney Architects, the Stanley-Salaiz Joint venture and CasaBella Architects, as well as hatch + ulland owen architects.
SMarchitecture / Austin
a blog about smart design + architecture + interiors