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spbr Architecture – House in Carapicuiba, Brazil


House in Carapicuiba by spbr Architecture is set in a small valley far below street level. To design a house that provided for both living and work in this unique site, the architects created a multi-level structure that separates private and professional space. The entrance to the concrete and glass building, reached via a steel-grid bridge, provides two options upon entry: a descending staircase to the living space, or an ascending staircase to a tube-like structure that serves as the office.

Full story and all photos in Architizer

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These Days, Recruiters Are Worth the Money

When it comes to sourcing the right interview candidates, I’ve never been keen to use recruiters. But I recently changed my mind.


My company, Metal Mafia, has an excellent candidate screening process, a super training program, and a very successful team of employees to show for it.

But hiring has always been a difficult task for me because each time I get ready to hire, it takes me forever to find the right type of candidates to even get the screening process started.

Despite the fact that I carefully consider where to advertise for candidates–I try to maximize the search dollars and get a good mix of potential applicants–it always takes me a long time to find people suited well to the company, and therefore, even worth interviewing.

I’ve tried everything from placing ads on large job boards like Monster.com, to smaller specialized job boards that cater to sales hires or fashion jobs, to local university boards where I can post for free (or close to it). Each time, I experience the same slow crawl toward finally finding the right person. It has taken me up to five months to find the right kind of hire in the past. So in November when I decided I needed to think about hiring for the new year, I was not optimistic.

For me, recruiters have traditionally been out of the question because I figured they would be a waste of time and never be as good at sending me the right people for the job as I would be in reviewing resumes myself. They’re also too expensive for my small budget. But as I got ready to place my job ads again, one of my senior staff members came to me and offered me the name of a fashion recruiter she knew and thought could help. I was skeptical, but I called her anyway, figuring listening would cost me nothing.

The recruiter convinced me she would do a thorough job, but I still hesitated because of the price. I do not have large sums of money to devote to the hiring process, and by my calculations, when all was said and done, using the recruiter was going to cost me three times as much as my usual techniques. On the other hand, the recruiter would only charge me if she found someone I decided to hire, which meant I was risking nothing, and could always come back to my original methods. I bit the bullet and signed up, reminding myself “nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

The recruiter sent me the resumes of 10 entry-level candidates. I screened six by phone, met three in person, and found the right hire–all in a month. The cost suddenly became much less, because I saved so much time in the process, and because I got a pool of applicants who were decidedly better to choose from than in the past. Even more interesting, perhaps, was an insight the right candidate shared with me during the interview process. When I asked why she had chosen to work with a recruiter rather than post on job boards, she said “because recruiters make sure your resume gets seen, while submitting via the Internet is like sending your resume into oblivion.”

If most people these days are thinking like my new hire, the recruiters will clearly have the best selection of candidates every time. Looks like I’ve got an essential new hiring strategy.

Vanessa Merit Nornberg: In 2004, Vanessa opened Metal Mafia, a wholesale body and costume jewelry company that sells to more than 5,000 specialty shops and retail chains in 23 countries. Metal Mafia was an Inc. 500 company in 2009. @vanessanornberg

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Building 7 at World Trade Center now fully leased

The controversial 52-story skyscraper just north of the World Trade Center has finally been fully leased. Developer Larry Silverstein announced Monday that MSCI, a provider of investment decision support tools, would occupy the remaining floors 47 through 49, the AP.

Bernstein had long had troule attracting tenants in part because Seven World Center came under fire for opening too quickly at the site of the old World Trade Center Building 7 — the last building to collapse in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

But the site was also the focus of many conspiracy theories, all of which pointed out that Building 7 was the first known building to collapse as a result of uncontrolled fires, and some of which claimed that the U.S. government had been behind the attacks.

The building also cost a pretty penny, with tenants paying the highest prices ever paid downtown — several above $70 a square foot.

Source: The Washington Post




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New York City’s ‘design sector’ grew 75% the past decade

Study ties 40,000-plus jobs here to creative services like fashion, architecture, and interior, industrial and graphic design. City could do more to stoke NY’s creative juices, study argues.

New York’s design sector is the unsung hero of the city’s economy, growing by 75% in the past decade to supply more than 40,000 jobs, an economic think tank reported Wednesday.

More designers are employed here than in any other U.S. city, thanks in part to an explosion in recent years of Brooklyn-based companies, said the report, released on Wednesday by The Center for an Urban Future, a think tank in Manhattan. It noted that the number of Brooklyn-based firms spiked from 257 in 2001 to 433 in 2009, for a 70% increase.

But the massive potential of New York’s design industries isn’t sufficiently exploited by local economic development interests, the report said, arguing that city and state governments don’t do enough to promote local designers and their work.

In other cities around the world, the government invests cash and energy in promoting their design industries, said David Giles, the study’s author. “Milan brands their furniture designers, London brands their industrial and graphic designers,” he explained. “And in the U.K., the Trade and Investment agency is a venue for foreign investors to meet manufacturers.”

Similarly, he said, other cities promote aggressive export strategies, while New York does not; for example, while New York’s state export assistance program has a budget of $1.5 million dollars a year, the province of Ontario has $70 million to work with annually. “There’s huge potential here,” Mr. Giles said.

Designers in New York echoed the study’s conclusions. Amy Smilovic, the head designer for the young contemporary design house Tibi, has noticed the differences in her travels. “When you go to Milan or Paris, or even Miami,” she said, “you get the sense that design is part of the heritage and that it’s very respected and promoted. New Yorkers are hard pressed to even know when fashion week is.”

Sometimes, it’s the little things that can convey that impression.

“In Paris, when you go to even the fabric shows, the trade center is so accessible by train and all the Metro platforms have signage up everywhere so everyone in Paris knows the shows are happening.” Ms. Smilovic said. “New Yorkers are hard-pressed to even know when fashion week is.”

But Brooklyn native Paul D’Aponte, whose company Fabbrica D’Aponte designs apparel, accessories and furniture, said that while the city doesn’t seem too concerned with marketing design, he can’t really blame public officials.

“When they’re having these massive problems with the education system, for example, that takes precedence,” Mr. D’Aponte said.

“I wouldn’t mind help with my business, but I’d be better off if I had had a better K-12 education to begin with,” he joked.

The city’s Economic Development Corp. said Wednesday it would review the report’s recommendations. “Over the past two years we’ve launched a number of programs dedicated to helping our thriving creative industries,” said a spokesman for the EDC. “But we’re of course always looking for new ideas.”

On Wednesday, the EDC announced the implementation of “Fashion Campus NYC,” an initiative designed to give exposure to up-and-comers in fashion and retail management. It is the first in a series of six initiatives the EDC has planned to promote the city’s fashion industry.

The study by Mr. Giles defined the city’s “creative economy” as a work force of around 40,500 in the fields of fashion design but also architecture, interior design and graphic and industrial design.

Hat tip:  Crain’s New York Business

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Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum Announces Winners and Finalists of the 12th Annual National Design Awards

Sixth Annual National Design Week to Be Held Oct. 15–23

The Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum will celebrate outstanding achievement in design this fall with its 12th annual National Design Awards program. Today, Cooper-Hewitt Director Bill Moggridge announced the winners and finalists of the 2011 National Design Awards, which recognize excellence across a variety of disciplines. The award recipients will be honored at a gala dinner Thursday, Oct. 20, at Pier Sixty in New York.

“As the nation’s design museum, Cooper-Hewitt raises awareness that design is everywhere,” said Moggridge. “The work of this year’s National Design Awards winners represents extraordinary solutions to the design problems central to the landscape of daily life, from how we dress, shape our personal and private spaces, frame communication and interact with the world at large.”

First launched at the White House in 2000 as a project of the White House Millennium Council, the National Design Awards were established to promote excellence and innovation in design. The awards are accompanied each year by a variety of public education programs, including special events, panel discussions and workshops. First Lady Michelle Obama serves as the Honorary Patron for this year’s National Design Awards.

The call for National Design Award nominations was extended this year to the general public, broadened from the select committee solicited in past years. Nominees must have at least seven years of experience in order to be nominated, and winners are selected based on the level of excellence, innovation and public impact of their body of work. This year’s jury of design leaders and educators from across the country convened by Cooper-Hewitt reviewed the nominations and chose Lifetime Achievement and Design Mind recipients, and selected winners and finalists in the Corporate and Institutional Achievement, Architecture Design, Communication Design, Fashion Design, Interaction Design, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture and Product Design categories.

Cooper-Hewitt’s sixth annual National Design Week will be held Oct. 15–23. Educational programming surrounding the 2011 National Design Awards, which includes the Educator Open House, the Teen Design Fair in New York and the Teen Design Fair in Washington, D.C., are sponsored in part by Target.

Media sponsorship provided by Fast Company.

National Design Week is made possible in part by the generous sponsorship of Target.

The 2011 National Design Award recipients for architecture, interior design and landscape architecture are:

Architecture Design: Architecture Research Office

The Architecture Design Award, which recognizes work in commercial, public or residential architecture, is given to Architecture Research Office, a New York-based firm led by Stephen Cassell, Adam Yarinsky and Kim Yao. Its work spans from strategic planning to architecture and urban design. Since 1993, the firm has worked with leading universities, cultural institutions, global corporations, government agencies, international fashion labels and nonprofit organizations using research and analysis to drive the design. From a prototype for 1,000-square-foot low-income sustainable housing to a proposal to reinvent the role of ecology and infrastructure in New York, ARO uses design to unite the conceptual and the pragmatic within a strong, coherent vision.

Finalists in the Architecture Design category are Dan Rockhill, a distinguished professor of architecture at the University of Kansas and executive director of Studio 804, a graduate design studio that builds affordable designs in neglected Kansas neighborhoods, and Weiss/Manfredi, a multidisciplinary practice known for the dynamic integration of architecture, art, infrastructure and landscape design.

Interior Design: Shelton, Mindel & Associates

The Interior Design Award, recognizing an individual or firm for exceptional and exemplary work in domestic, corporate or cultural interior design, is awarded to Shelton, Mindel & Associates. Established in 1978, Shelton, Mindel & Associates is a leader in architectural, interior and product solutions for corporate, cultural, academic, retail, recreational, hospitality and residential clients. Founding partners Peter Shelton and Lee Mindel have applied their passion for building unified environments to the firm’s portfolio of projects, which includes the design of the Polo/Ralph Lauren headquarters. The firm is a member of the AD 100 and has been honored for its simplicity and strong, elegant designs with numerous awards, including more than 30 AIA awards. Shelton and Mindel were recognized as the Deans of American Design in 2005, and both have been inducted into the Interior Design Hall of Fame.

Finalists in the Interior Design category are Clive Wilkinson Architects, a Los Angeles-based firm that covers the full spectrum of architecture and interior design with a focus on research and strategy, and Aidlin Darling Design, a multidisciplinary firm that bridges the demands of artistic endeavor, functional pragmatics, environmental responsibility and financial considerations.

Landscape Architecture: Gustafson Guthrie Nichol

The recipient of the Landscape Design Award, which is presented for work in urban planning or park and garden design, is Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, a Seattle-based landscape-architecture practice that works throughout the Americas and Asia. Founded by partners Kathryn Gustafson, Jennifer Guthrie and Shannon Nichol, the firm offers special experience in designing high-use landscapes in complex, urban contexts. The landform of each space is carefully shaped to feel serenely grounded in its context and comfortable at all times, whether bustling with crowds, offering moments of contemplation, or doing both at once. Gustafson Guthrie Nichol’s prominent projects include the Lurie Garden in Chicago, the Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard at the Smithsonian’s Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture, which houses the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., and the new Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Campus in Seattle.

Finalists in the Landscape Design category are Tom Leader, principal of Tom Leader Studio, a collaborative design office based in Berkeley, Calif., with a focus on building communal places for real people, and Margie Ruddick, whose work integrates ecology and culture, infrastructure and art, as realized in benchmark projects such as the Shillim Institute and Retreat in India and the Living Water Park in China.

Additional winners categories

Source:  PR Newswire

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Interior Design Billings On The Rise: Survey Signals Industry Growth

First ASID Performance Index Provides Data for Interior Design Billings and Product Specifications

The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) today announced the findings of its first quarterly performance index. The ASID index is based on data compiled from a monthly survey that provides a tailored perspective on billings and business conditions in the interior design industry.

“The ASID index is intended to differentiate interior design performance measurements from those that are used in the construction and architecture industries,” said Michael Thomas, FASID, CAPS, ASID President. “In addition to a focus on interior design billings, the index monitors key indicators such as product selection. This information is a valuable resource for keeping our members apprised of the industry outlook.”

Key Index Highlights:

•Both the Billing and Inquiry indexes have been above 50 for the past four consecutive months, signaling moderate industry growth.

•Improvement in the interior design industry is broad-based across regions and multiple sectors:
–Regional Indexes: Northeast 65.2, Midwest 55.3, South 57.8, West 57.1 –Sector Index Means: Residential 57.1, Commercial 55.9, Institutional 55.4 •Slightly larger increases in residential billings are mirrored by reported increases in fabric, paint and finishes for renovation projects.

“Interior designers have good reason to be optimistic,” said ASID economic advisor Dr. Jack Kleinhenz, Ph.D. “The renewed health of the US economy is becoming evident in interior design. Both billings and inquiries have shown modest improvement across the board in the first quarter. Looking forward, we can expect that level of growth to continue, with possible seasonal boosts in some sectors.”

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