TCondon_Airport_fltJust a bit of hospitality to welcome visitors to our home city. TCondon partnered with Steelcase, Experience Grand Rapids, and the Gerald R Ford International Airport to create a small welcome center for those arriving at the airport. This space has a concierge, info boards, ipads, charging stations, and some nice seating options for anyone looking to relax, recharge, and discover Grand Rapids. It was a true design challenge to pack a lot of usefulness into a pretty small footprint, but it is a very functional little space.
It was nice to work with Steelcase, who donated the furniture, in contributing to our community.
Check it out next time you are coming in to town!

Ted_Day 2_ft

Spaces are starting to be defined. Months of work and ideas are coming together. It’s going to be a great show and I can’t wait to see the space in action.

TED_Van_2014_day1_FT

I’m sharing some shots from the first day of our TED installation in Vancouver. Many trucks, long day. Stay tuned to see the progress over the next two days.

Pantone_Color of the yearAs a designer, I live and breathe color. You know what I mean. I have to make color decisions every day as we design breathtaking client environments! And, even though I have a color “palette” that speaks to me personally —  in the clothes I wear, the colors I paint with, the pieces I may select for a room in our house — I have to park those biases when I consider the spaces we design. What I personally like may not be the right solution for our clients. I consider the mood and attitude of the space, the purpose of  the space, the desired energy we are tasked to create. There is color psychology around that. Plus, we are constantly investigating color trends, and how any of those colors may harmonize with, or complement, the choices we are making around the product color and material options that will be in the spaces we are creating.
Pantone, which has been an industry-leading color resource for designers, has been digging into color trends for a little while now. I enjoy seeing their take on future color thinking, and their pick for 2014 came off a bit polarizing. I have seen reactions from “sweet!” to “really, Pantone?”. It is a purplish tint they named Radiant Orchid, and they describe it as a harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink, and claim it “emanates great joy, love, and health.”
My take? It’s all about context. Am I a fan of that color on its own merits? Not necessarily. But, I don’t think about color that way. Could we use it in a space we are designing as part of our holistic color solution? Absolutely. The entire mix is key to supporting desired behaviors and the intent of the space. If the strategic “feel” of the environment calls for a color like this, it’s part of the solution, whether or not I would pick it out as a sweater.
In case you are wondering, yes, I do own a sweater with some stripes very close to this color. I picked it up last year and I love it. Is Pantone tracking my color preferences? Well, I have a hunch that a range of medium blues will be trending upwards  — let’s find out next year!

Ted Glb_flt

I am currently at TEDGlobal in beautiful Edinburgh. TCondon designed the many social spaces here at the venue and I am sticking around to recharge and be inspired. A huge perk from collaborating on events like the TED series is having easy access to some of the best ideas and thinking in the world, unfolding all around me.

Day 3 is tomorrow and the stage has been set for a very engaging week. “Think Again” is the theme this year and the challenge is to open one’s mind to the possibility that old ways of thinking must evolve as the world is changing. The status quo is certainly being challenged: Could stress actually be good for us? Maybe. Can men be comfortable with not being the bread winner in the family? Probably. Are you open to loosening the hold you have on the way you understand the world around you?

As I mentioned, T. Condon once again designed the social spaces at this event. Always striving to create a great vibe, the design intent was to craft a unique experience. Imagine combining a comfortable lounge and café with a cool book store, coffee shop indulgences, a Getty art gallery and intriguing technology innovations showcased in the Autodesk Exhibit. This combination is a big hit – I am seeing many connections and conversations happening throughout this lively space. It is exactly the types of interactions we were designing for. And, if you are here be sure to see the other exhibits throughout the entire building. Great stuff.

A personal favorite this year — don’t miss the robot lab. Raffaello D’Andrea demos his flying quadcopters. These are amazing robots that seem to think on their own. They are solving physical problems by utilizing algorithms that help them learn. It’s incredible to watch these drones play catch and to work together using a net to toss a ball back. You have to watch the video to believe it. It’s certainly more than what you find on the shelves at any hobby shop, but who knows when this sort of technology may be commonplace? More great stuff!

http://www.ted.com/talks/raffaello_d_andrea_the_astounding_athletic_power_of_quadcopters.html

WS_Flex_fltWorkspring is a hosted Steelcase co-working environment in Chicago, and when they expanded to a beautiful new location TCondon got the call to partner with their architect and construction team to create a dynamic layout that supports individuals, groups, meetings, social gatherings and focused-work needs. Realize, too, that one day there could be 20 people utilizing the space, the next there could be 120, and that the way the space is utilized also varies day-to-day.

These realities seem to be, but could not be, contrary to each other. Rather, these needs had to coexist in harmony. TCondon had to develop a solution revolving around high flexibility for layout and use, with furniture and materials that could stand up to being reconfigured, moved, and repurposed. We also needed to be very careful that it didn’t “feel” temporary or impermanent and all the while allowed for comfortable interactions and rewarding experiences throughout.

We put on our empathy hats and imagined the many moments that would occur here. We imagined varied use-cases — from the focused, head-down individual laptop user, to a sales team meeting in town for the day, to team-building session attendees enjoying a casual refreshment break after a long day. Wondering for each: “What would I want from this space?”.

And, we landed at a solid solution that is getting terrific feedback. It’s a great space in a great location. If any of you are able to experience some time there, do so. You can’t beat that moment when you find your comfortable spot, hunker down with your laptop and a cup of coffee, and gaze down at the city below. Check them out online and book some time on your next trip to Chicago: http://www.workspring.com/

Dusseldorf, Germany was home to the Glasstec Trade Fair – the largest glass show in the world. 43,000 visitors attended this year and TCondon made sure Guardian Industries was a standout as they launched great products for 2012. Part of the challenge of a large show is breaking through the noise and clutter. We designed a welcoming space with a base of clean white, contrasting smartly with Guardian’s blue and green. We utilized large panes of glass and really cool interactive displays to fill the space without being busy. The glass itself was the star, shining, literally, in this beautiful modern space. We also blended together hospitality and meeting areas, allowing Guardian to host visitors and to fully showcase the comprehensive array of solutions in commercial, residential and interior glass products. We’re packing it up and getting ready for the next big event.

By the way, Guardian’s product is terrific – modern, smart, and top-shelf. Learn something new. Click here to see what you should know about. www.guardian.com/AboutGuardian/Newsroom/News/prd_056998

TCondon’s newest booth design for Guardian Industries is becoming a reality at the GlassTec Trade Fair in Germany. Guardian has some great products and the booth is coming together nicely. I focused on a clean white base with the glass products jumping off chromatically. It’s great to see all of the hard work come together. And, the show is the biggest in the glass industry so Guardian will have plenty of visitors. Stay tuned for a show recap.  

We’re closing the TEDGlobal event for 2012, where we did our best to make sure every great idea got written down!

What do you do with your ideas? How do you share them? Where do you go with great ideas that you don’t use ? Is there a new technology that can help ideas grow?

The TEDx space at TEDGlobal started as a blank canvas, slowly becoming a masterpiece of great thoughts as we encouraged the TED community to draw on literally every surface in the room. It’s a fun way to be part of a collaboration and sharing of ideas and people are actively participating. As some express themselves with markers, others are smiling as they read the messages on the walls, floor, tables and chairs. Inspiration and new ideas are shared on every surface and in countless conversations, all spurring on new ideas that will change the world.

Thanks to the Gates Foundation for bringing 15 TEDx organizers to Edinburgh and for continuing to help make this a great experience.