Curtain walls and modular building components may not always be immediately associated with interior design, but two of this year’s Architectural and Interior Design Showcase jurors saw these and other new concepts joining some of the more tried and true.
Amy H. Lopez, AAHID, IIDA, vice president, Smith Seckman Reid, Inc., of Houston, and Vicki VanStavern, IIDA, LEED AP BD+C, of VanStavern Design Group, Inc., in Edmond, Oklahoma, represented the International Interior Design Association at the judging, bringing their unique perspectives to the table as the group weighed the merits of the submissions, with 18 considered for Citation of Merit recognition.
While projects were assessed based on accomplishments across the board—from planning and construction to architecture and operations—Lopez and VanStavern shared what they found of particular interest on the interior design front.
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The 2012 submissions presented a new interior trend that technically started on the exterior of some of the projects judged. Lopez and VanStavern noted a more concerted effort toward a truly holistic design.
“There wasn’t a start or stopping point of a curtain wall and drywall finish on the inside; it was that the curtain wall came all the way into the building or the masonry was reflected on the outside and the inside,” Lopez says. “It was a blended effort, versus the more traditional approach of the exterior design being done and the interior design being done, and then they get married together.”
VanStavern says the effect was achieved through the use of materials as well as landmarks within buildings that related to the exterior design, such as central atriums.
“Traditionally, you go into a hospital and there’s a main lobby, and then you go to different floors and they’re all laid out the same, but there’s not a starting point,” Van Stavern says. “A lot of these projects had a multistory starting point that you could get to on any floor and say, ‘OK, now I know where I am.’”
In fact, the use of architectural elements as wayfinding tools emerged as a new trend for an old concept, going beyond signage programs or color palettes to guide patients and visitors through facilties.
“By having an architectural element that references a specific place within the building on every floor, you realize in a big way that you’re at the starting point,” VanStavern says.
Lopez says the wayfinding solutions used in some of the Showcase projects focused on a variety of materials, as well, including floors, ceilings, walls, graphics, and lighting that were used cohesively as design elements as opposed to carrying out a specific theme.