The Business in May and June

News and pictures from the design sector

Network Rail and RIBA announce railway station design winner

Network Rail and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) have announced Edinburgh-based 7N Architects as the winner of a competition to shape the UK’s future railways.

The competition invited architects, engineers and designers worldwide to look at how small to medium-sized stations can improve travel experience for passengers across the UK.

7N Architects were chosen from over 200 entries for its pared-back design, which comprised a clock tower to act as a local landmark and meeting place, platform canopies to provide shelter, and modular station design that can be adapted to suit the local landscape. Supporting Network Rail’s aims to be carbon neutral by 2050, the design incorporates translucent photovoltaic panels to generate renewable energy for most of the stations’ power.

One of the judges, Lucy Musgrave, founding director of Publica said, ‘This competition has clearly set out the importance of holistic and integral design quality when it comes to creating successful infrastructure. Network Rail’s leadership has encouraged all involved to consider how society is changing, and how we can address the climate emergency and the evolving civic role of our infrastructure. 7N’s winning proposal showed a confident expression and understanding of the opportunity to celebrate our local identities, the specificity and integration with our urban and rural landscapes, and the strength of our national identity through our railway infrastructure. We wish 7N well in this next phase, and look forward to seeing the work develop.’ |

Ini Archibong unveils the Pavilion of the African Diaspora for London Design Biennale 2021

For the 2021 London Design Biennale (LDB), Ini Archibong has designed the first Pavilion of the African Diaspora. The pavilion will be located on the river terrace of Somerset House throughout LDB, before embarking on a touring exhibition through to 2023.

As an American with Nigerian heritage, Archibong wished to facilitate and elevate discussion around the importance of black voices, and to celebrate the African diaspora’s global cultural influence.

The design is inspired by conch and cowrie shells, the latter once used in trade across Africa and beyond, and the former as a trumpet, urging the people of the diaspora to action.

The pavilion is managed by Tamara N Houston, has funding from Logitech, structural engineering from DIFK and was designed with the architectural oversight of Perkins+Will.

Decorex launches online hub ‘The Edit’

International design show Decorex has launched its online hub, The Edit, offering networking, inspiration and sourcing opportunities to members. There are more than 50 hours of on-demand discussions, webinars, debates and masterclasses, in addition to live Q&A sessions. Additional themed content will be presented each month, and there will also be a monthly live event; the first took place on 22 April with the theme of sustainability in design.

David Rockwell releases new book Drama

Architect David Rockwell has released a new book, Drama – published by Phaidon – exploring the Rockwell Group’s ideas and methods across examples from architecture and theatre. Drawing on his experiences in the theatre, Rockwell uses performance to frame and enhance his built work – hotels and restaurants, workplaces, playgrounds and academic buildings, theatres and museums. It includes conversations with creative practitioners from across disciplines, including Daniel Libeskind, Thelma Golden and Adam Stockhausen.

Pearson Lloyd and Access BDD create new stairlift, Flow X

London-based design studio Pearson Lloyd has revealed its new stairlift, Flow X, developed for mobility specialist Access BDD, a division of TK Elevator, following an international competition.

Hoping to reduce the stigma around the product – for both designers and users – Pearson Lloyd’s winning design prioritises comfort, aesthetics and user experience.

An innovative folding mechanism allows for a compact footprint, enabling the user to park the stairlift without bending. Folding arms provide support while sitting and allow side access from a wheelchair. Patented advanced swivel levelling technology rotates the seat and footrest together, enabling the user to get on and off without twisting.

Simple intuitive controls are located in the arms, including a call function for contacting family, friends or care teams, and to answer incoming calls.

Luke Pearson, the company’s cofounder, said, ‘At Pearson Lloyd, we accepted the challenge to design the next-generation chairlift, as we saw that it was a product category that deserves the highest level of design thinking.

‘Mobility solutions are unfairly overlooked by the design community, but with Flow X we hope to destigmatise the sector with an empathetic and contemporary approach to ergonomics and user interface design. Our approach drew from our extensive experience rethinking the home, the office and aviation seating over the last two decades. Here, we are designing for our future selves.’ |

Milliken London studio awarded WELL Platinum award


Flooring designer and manufacturer Milliken has been awarded WELL Certification at Platinum level for its Clerkenwell showroom, the first in the UK to receive the certification.

The multifunctional space is used for showcasing Milliken’s flooring collections, hosting client meetings, hospitality and events, as well as serving as a flexible work and well-being hub for employees.

The showroom was given the platinum award as part of the International WELL Building Institute’s WELL v2 pilot.

A rigorous testing process was carried out, with a final evaluation by WELL’s thirdparty certification body Green Business Certification.

Winning team announced for Parco Romana regeneration project in Milan

The winners have been announced for the competition to create Parco Romana, an urban redevelopment project in Milan’s Porta Romana district. The winning team comprised Outcomist, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, PLP Architecture, CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati and Arup.

The large industrial site, a disused railway yard adjacent to the Fondazione Prada, has divided neighbourhoods for more than a century. The project aims to transform this into ‘connective tissue’ instead, by creating a new mixed-use district.

The scheme will have a park at its centre, located over the active railway that bisects the site. Using the existing railway infrastructure, an elevated greenway will be developed called the Suspended Forest, containing hundreds of trees and providing views over the area. A biodiverse woodland and wetland ‘exo-zone‘ will be created, interspersed with community gardens offering communal activities – linked with Milan’s Rotaie Verdi environmental network.

Echoing historic Milanese planning, there will be a series of urban blocks with landscaped courtyards.

The Eastern Gateway district will be a new business area, while the western edge will be a mixed-use residential district initially housing athletes for the Milan 2026 Winter Olympics, to be converted into intergenerational living quarters afterwards.

The project will follow a sustainability framework focused on decarbonisation, climate adaption, resilience, biodiversity and circular economies.

Rainlight wins design awards for Nagare collection and AMBITUS luminaire

Design studio Rainlight has won awards in two recent competitions. The Nagare furniture collection for Japanese office furniture manufacturer Okamura won at the Good Design Awards 2020, and the AMBITUS luminaire for Austrian manufacturer Zumtobel took home the Best of the Best product award at the Red Dot Awards 2021.

Nagare (sketch pictured) means ‘flow’ in Japanese, and the range of seating and tables responds to the fluid working practices now current. AMBITUS, developed over a ten-year collaboration between Rainlight’s Yorgo Lykouria and Zumtobel, is defined by its compact profile and circular shape, designed to emit maximum light distribution.

Pooja Agrawal appointed CEO of Public Practice

Image Credit:  IVAN JONESImage Credit:  IVAN JONES

Architect and planner Pooja Agrawal, has been appointed CEO of Public Practice following a recruitment process by its board. Agrawal co-founded Public Practice, a not-for-profit social enterprise that places built environment experts within public authorities, with Finn Williams in 2017. She succeeds Williams as CEO, commencing the role on 21 June. Agrawal commented: ‘The built environment is integral to addressing fundamental societal issues: Covid-19 has shown the disproportionate impact on ethnic communities due to life circumstances; climate change is changing our landscape; and public space continues to be unsafe for women. We need a public sector well equipped with multidisciplinary and creative skills to redefine the future of work, adapt our local high streets and reach carbon zero targets.’

London Institute for Healthcare Engineering ‘ecosystem’ gets green light

Lambeth Council has granted planning permission for the London Institute for Healthcare Engineering (LIHE), an initiative led by King’s School of Biomedical Engineering and Imaging Sciences with the Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. A UK first, the ‘ecosystem’ aims to develop new medical technologies and accelerate NHS adoption of new technologies. Initial focuses will be clinical challenges in cancer, neurological, cardiovascular, ophthalmology, oral health and prenatal conditions, selected for their high disease burden and potential for transformation through healthcare engineering. The building, embedded within St Thomas’ campus, will be delivered by HLM Architects.

150 years of Sedus Stoll

Office furnishings manufacturer Sedus Stoll has celebrated its 150th birthday. Founded by Albert Stoll I, its 1926 Federdreh wooden office chair was a forefather to the swivel office chair; now, Sedus offers technologically complex solutions alongside its furniture.

Richard Coutts and Koen Olthuis design floating city expansion

Architects Koen Olthuis and Richard Coutts, both experts on water placemaking and floating architecture, have collaborated on a master plan for Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston, delivering a residential neighbourhood located on the water with waterside public amenities.

Olthuis, principal of Netherlandsbased Waterstudio, and Coutts, principal of Baca Architects in London, were invited to join the design team by Boston’s 6M Development.

The project seeks to create the first floating housing community off the US’s East Coast, providing a template for climate-adaptive and resilient affordable homes without high land costs.

This scheme will repurpose an unused pier, retaining parts as ‘islands’ from which floating homes will be anchored. The homes will be built on floating pontoons tethered by flexible moorings to work with the tidal range of Boston’s Inner Harbour.

The scheme is aiming for 138 LEED Certified Gold, with sustainability achieved via a water heat exchange that provides heating and cooling, in addition to rooftop ‘solar pergolas’ that will generate energy.

At less than 12m above the existing pier, homes will offer four levels of accommodation, with three and a half of those sitting above the waterline. There will be a mix of townhouses, duplexes and apartments with balconies and roof terraces.

The four islands will each have a different character, and offer amenities including pocket parks, wetland fringes, canal-side pathways, events spaces, retail, cafes and restaurants. |

Frem Group opens new Clerkenwell Showroom in refurbished PrintWorks building

British office furniture manufacturer Frem Group has moved into its London showroom in 84 The PrintWorks on Clerkenwell Road. The refurbishment references the industrial heritage of the building as a gold chain factory dating to 1879, designed by Ebenezer Gregg.

Across three floors, the company has furnished the space with its design-led product portfolio. The lower ground floor has a calm atmosphere, with hubs, booths and pods on show; the ground floor offers mobility as a theme, and features the Oasis Soft Mobile Booths, and the Novus A-Zone height-adjustable collaboration table.

Complementing the furniture is contemporary art, included as a social initiative to showcase the work of UK artists, with further plans to host live performances once Covid-19 restrictions have been fully lifted.

Progressive Media International Limited. Registered Office: 40-42 Hatton Garden, London, EC1N 8EB, UK.Copyright 2021, All rights reserved.