alkin trio


alkin trio
Inspiration &
2015 winter/spring volume 1
Color: pink-ish
The latest item we showcase in the pink spectrum
is Moroso’s new Glider sofa by Ron Arad, below.
It will be shown during Saloni in Milan this April.
The gradient knit textile called Blur, by the highly
creative Dutch textile manufacturer, FEBRIK,
jumps to the front of what we love about the sofa.
W SP/2015
We had our eye on pink last year and believe it will continue
to grow and morph through 2015. Therefore, we were
excited to see what Stockholm trio Claesson Koivisto Rune
designed for the Swedish lighting manufacturer, Wästberg,
above right. The matte finish on spun aluminum of their
w151 series pendant lamps were introduced in February at
the Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair. The color intensity of
these giant-sized conical forms inspires delight and
interaction. A very successful application of color. Pantone
coronated their 2015 color of the year: 18-1438 Marsala, top
left. If you pay attention to any color foretelling, it’s
probably this one. Leatrice Eiseman of the Pantone Color
Institute (who we greatly respect), calls her selection
“hearty…stylish…universally appealing”. We find the color
to be murky and unprogressive for commercial interiors
(sorry) but it looks great in these deeper iterations on Blake
Lively and Jane Fonda at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.
Beetle Pink, above left, is one of the new, special edition
Beetles that will be shown at the NY auto show in April.
Volkswagen is evaluating the color for the American
market. Niche? yes. Awesome? double yes.
Color: brit blue
Light blue has been in our sights as
we’ve noted its emergence in fine art,
product design and surface materials. It
can become a neutral, can straddle retro
or modern, and doesn’t evoke a specific
seasonal rhythm. Some of our favorites
that should inspire are shown here.
Jethro Macey’s tiles, left, on display at
the 2014 London Design Festival depict
the palette’s range. The material
(cement) and the process (traditional
encaustic by Moroccan artisans) results
in color you sink into. Get them through
the design consortium, WorkHouse.
Another Brit who explores this wavelength is Nick Smith, above. His
London solo show opened in January at the Lawrence Alkin Gallery.
Mr. Smith takes famous works like Van Gogh, Warhol and Hockney,
pictured above, and interprets them in Pantone chips that he custom
creates. We love the variety of moods Smith captures through the range
of blues, which speaks to this color’s versatility. And just because we
find it so interesting, what color did you see in the dress that began on
Tumblr and quickly made its way to Twitter and Buzzfeed where it
basically “broke” the internet for a short period at the end of Feb. When
first evaluating, we saw blue and black, hands down. To our amazement,
when looking again shortly thereafter, the dress was white and gold and
then literally changed back right before our eyes!! The optical ability of
the brain is a wonder.
We are expecting some new arrivals in our studio in the coming months,
but we were tracking pink and blue long before we became fixated,
W SP/2015
Around town: celebrate cmyk
Sonia Delaunay Prismes electriques 1914 Centre Pompidou Collection, Mnam / Cci, Paris
© Pracusa 2013057
In our last report, we highlighted the prevalence of full spectrum color use at the
Orgatec fair in Cologne. As is often the case, we continue to see trends take hold in
other areas so we wanted to give this a bit more coverage before moving on. Tate
Modern will present a retrospective of Sonia Delaunay starting April 15, top left.
She is one of our favorite artists when it comes to the exploration of color
movement. Her work is seriously playful, something we aspire to achieve in our
studio. Don’t miss it if you’re in London before August 9. DesignTex recently
launched new performance upholstery patterns, Big Dot and Little Dot, upper left.
We love the spectral hues, which are both classic and fresh. Roy G. Biv, the clever
name of Carnegie’s new collection, literally means spectrum. You can be forgiven
if you don’t get the pun, though we dare say most of those specifying the product
will. Buzz, left, is the collection’s ikat-inspired classic upholstery weave. Alchemy
shears, bottom left, uses digital printing to create an impressive ombre effect. On
the architectural scale, colorful mesh shades the sun on the new Shands Children's
Hospital façade, below, designed by Ponikvar and Associates. The Gainesville, FL
facility got a bold makeover that creates an inviting experience for those who might
rather be elsewhere. We call this bold use of color a public good.
W SP/2015
Trend to watch: Detroit
When things get bad enough, the unlikely becomes possible. Such is the case with Detroit, which emerged from
bankruptcy in December poised for the future while still nursing many wounds. We are closely watching this living
laboratory of urban retraction and wanted to feature some of the cool things happening in and around the Motor
City as our way of cheering them on.
There’s an expression involving the original Shinola
brand that’s not fit for a family show. But did you
know that this maker of shoe polish, originally
founded in 1907, has been revived? And they now
make hand-built watches at a factory they chose to
set up in Detroit, like, on purpose? They also have
leather goods and even bicycles, all made in the USA.
You can pick up the women’s triple wrap watch at
Neiman Marcus. Not bad for a brand of scrappy shoe
W SP/2015
Trend to watch: Detroit
Detroit is getting a boost in the form of fiber optic infrastructure that could improve internet speeds in the
downtown area 100X. Rocket Fiber LLC is behind the new venture. This latest move is one more vote of
confidence from Dan Gilbert of Quicken Loans fame. This entrepreneur is also buying up downtown Detroit and
growing his empire there.
And BTW, Quicken Loans, whose HQ was relocated to downtown in 2010, has been camped out on
Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list for years. They rank #12 in the most recent survey.
Millennials obviously want to be in Detroit.
SowHow, the artisanal purveyor of grow-yourown seeds from Bristol, England, got the
memo that Detroit is on trend. Their namesake
variety of beetroot is among only 8 carefully
curated seeds they offer. Each item targets UK
garden enthusiasts with a keen eye for design
and marketing.
W SP/2015
Walking Dead’s Steven Yeun is an actor who grew up in the
Detroit suburb of Troy, MI. His character, Glenn (who is also
from MI), is getting press for the non-stereotyped portrayal of
his Korean-American heritage. The potential to move the
racial-cultural needle is no small thing. The first episode of
season 5 broke the record for most watched cable drama ever
when it aired in October. Spoiler alert if you’re not caught up
through the end of season 5…..Glenn hasn’t been killed off yet.
Seems that a zombie apocalypse is an excellent platform for
normalizing racial representation in the media.
Auto land
NAIAS, the North American International Auto Show,
took place, as it always does, in Detroit’s Kobo Center
for a few weeks in January. Since we are focusing on the
motor city in this edition, seems natural to look at what
the show served up this year. The result is a mash-up of
our favorite topics: materials, technology, sustainability.
We especially like one of the locals, Ford. Aluminum
replaces the steel body on the new F-150, which also won
Truck of the Year, top left & right. We like the
sustainability angle where the lighter weight (hundreds of
pounds) translates to less material intensity and improved
fuel efficiency. It’s great to see this innovation applied to
the best selling vehicle in America for the last 20+ years.
To convince diehards, Ford made a MythBusters style
video comparing impact resistance to traditional steel.
Tough-guy athletes pitched, hockey-pucked, and shot
putted into the bed and, no surprise, the lightweight alloy
outperformed the old-school steel. An effort to capture
hearts and minds. Carbon fiber makes up the majority of
the body on the new Ford GT, upper left, along with
some aluminum. At 600 horsepower, the advanced ecoboost engine should get to the start line of Le Mans in
2016. We would not kick this out of the garage. The
latest chapter in autonomous vehicles shown at NAIAS
was the “luxury in motion” concept car from Mercedes
Benz, center left. The F015 debuted a few weeks prior at
the Consumer Electronics Show, literally. See the video
here of this mobile piece of technology cruising itself
down the Vegas strip. Delphi’s Roadrunner, lower left,
an autonomous version of the 2015 Audi SQ5, also
showed up at NAIAS. It competed a 9-day drive from
SanFran to New York in early April, 99% of which was
done driverless. If you’ve been of a mind that self-driving
vehicles are still a long way off, might be time to rethink.
W SP/2015
Tech: power & light
New York based Urban Green
Energy has installed their vertical axis
wind turbines, left, on the Eiffel
Tower as part of taking this iconic
landmark off the grid. The turbines
will create 10,000 kWh per year,
adding to other sustainability
initiatives like solar panels,
installation of LED lighting, and the
collection and use of rain water. In an
effort to remain discreet, the turbine
was even painted to match.
Kangaroo Light, right, is a flexible, touch-sensitive light designed to
illuminate unusual places, thus solving the mystery living at the bottom of
your bag. We’ve been waiting for this product to start shipping after its
successful Kickstarter campaign last year. The creatives behind it are the
principals at architectural and product design firm, Skawamura-Ganjavian.
You can now order it through their retail outlet, Studio Banana Things. We
love the tactile polymer packaging surrounding these programmable Lithiumion batteries (also usb rechargeable) that invites user interaction.
We have been watching the slow pace of advancement of inductive charging for personal electronics. To be sure,
there are genuine logistical and infrastructure barriers to overcome. Still, the Betamax vs. VHS type war over the
standardized format has been a frustrating aspect. While no winner has been declared, IKEA has now jumped into
the mix with three new product applications using the Qi (chee) format. A small collection of furniture pieces,
above left, have the technology integrated into embedded charging zones. There are also some stand alone charging
“coasters”, above center, you can position where you want. They trade location flexibility for the presence of an old
school visible cord. Finally, IKEA sells a kit, above right, that allows you to customize any piece of furniture with
a permanently integrated charging pad. Inductive charging remains a comparatively slower and less efficient way to
juice up, but we believe this technology will continue to advance. Market forces are the best lever for making things
happen so we applaud IKEA for playing their part.
W SP/2015
The final word
The building near Grand Rapids knows simply as the Pyramid, above left, finally has new owners. Built by
Steelcase to house their more creative types, it became an icon of the 90’s. It stressed form over function for the
directionally challenged who, but for the amazing artwork to guide your path, became hopelessly lost. We are
delighted that this building will be given new life as an education campus for pre-K through university level
students focused on STEAM (science, technology, arts and math). Plenty of space for outdoor learning labs. And
speaking of pyramid shapes, have you picked up on an innovation boom in umbrellas? The Sa umbrella, above
right, is a great example that does away with the metal structure in favor of an origami-folding frame and rain
shroud. Designer Justin Nagelberg ( in partnership with Matthew Waldman
of Nooka ( hope to begin shipping Sa this spring. Sadly, we lost two of design’s greats in
recent months. Michael Graves left an important and iconic mark on postmodern architecture and product design,
below left & center. Who else could get us to part with $184 for a tea kettle 20 years on? Watch this space– we see
sparks of Memphis-style re-emerging. Frei Otto, passed away only days before he was to receive architecture’s
coveted Pritzker Prize. He pioneered work in tensile roofs, like his Olympic Park structures for the 1972 Munich
summer games, bottom center. And the 1977 Pink Floyd concert tour umbrellas almost make you wish for rain.
The importance of using materials in new and innovative ways strikes deep with us; he will be missed.
W SP/2015
Inspiration &
Thank you!
stay tuned….
….We moved out of our long-time studio early this year and are now in transition while
our new studio space is being completed. The new place will be fabulous when
completed, hopefully in June.
As always, we remain just an email away. We welcome the chance to talk with you about
how design research could enhance your projects.
[email protected] or 616.748.1572
ala_wallpaper_Pantone_Color_of_the_Year_20152048x1536.jpg Pantone Marsala color chip Blake Lively and Jane
Fonda at 2014 Cannes Film Festival. Wästberg
w151pendant lamp series. Car and Driver for Beetle Pink Moroso sofa
by Ron Arad with Febrik upholstery Jethro Macey’s tiles for the British Tile
Collection Shinola images. SowHow, sellers of Detroit
beetroot seeds. Glenn from the Walking Dead. image of Ford F-150. video comparing aluminum alloy to steel. Ford aluminum exploded image. Ford
GT image at NAIAS in Detroit. Mercedes
image on Vegas strip. Artist Nick Smith’s website.
Blue/black dress phenomenon. Sonia Delaunay retrospective at the
Tate Modern in London.
Designer Pages for DesigTex’s Big Dot and Little Dot
Mercedes-Benz F 015 making its entrance at CES in Las
Vegas. Delphi’s Roadrunner autonomous vehicle. Urban
Green Energy (UGE) article on Eiffel Tower. Kangaroo light sold through’s Roy G. Biv
collection. IKEA’s inductive charging products.
c2fe0b74e7 Haver & Boecker, architects. Shands Children’s
Hospital in Gainesville, Florida. Former Steelcase pyramid image. Detroit’s fiber optic internet. Detroit Free Press
article on Dan Gilbert’s Rocket Fiber.
W SP/2015 SA umbrella.
Michael Graves Architecture & Design, Denver Central
Library. 9093
Tea Kettle designed by Michael Graves for Alessi. Frei Otto awarded
2015 Pritzker Architecture Prize.

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