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Events

A Partnership of AIA Los Angeles and USC Architecture: BIM EDGE + BIM GAP
August 22–23, 2014
BIM GAP will feature presentations about the bridging GAPs between BIM tools (analysis, construction, facilities management, and more) and also bridging the GAPs between BIM people (contractors, architects, owners, managers, subs, consultants). Learn how professionals are dealing with these gaps towards realizing the full potential of BIM. Who do you call when you need BIM guidance? EDGE examines potential partners in working with BIM beyond your firm’s current capabilities: BIM coordinators, consultants, modeling services, others.

Architecture and the City Festival
September 1–30, 2014
The American Institute of Architects, San Francisco chapter (AIA San Francisco) and the Center for Architecture + Design announce the 11th annual Architecture and the City festival, the nation’s largest architectural festival of its kind. Taking place in San Francisco every September, the month-long celebration features behind the scenes and walking tours, films, exhibitions, lectures and more, providing opportunities for participants to engage with the local architecture community and experience design in a myriad of ways throughout the city. The 2014 Architecture and the City festival theme, Home: My San Francisco, will examine the shifting nature of home, the different elements that contribute to its definition, and its relation to the urban fabric. Over 40 festival programs will explore the cultural richness and diversity of our local architectural and design community as well as provide a platform for conversation about our changing landscape and its implications for a city in a time of rapidly intensifying housing needs.

San Francisco Living: Home Tours
September 20–21, 2014
AIA San Francisco and the Center for Architecture + Design are excited to announce the 12th annual San Francisco Living: Home Tours, a two-day open house event featuring a select number of modern residences. The popular weekend showcases a wide variety of architectural styles, neighborhoods and residences, including single-family homes, contemporary renovations and multi-family residences, and is the first tour series in the Bay Area to promote residential design from the architect's point of view. Throughout the weekend, tour participants can see some of the city's latest residential projects from the inside out, meet design teams, explore housing trends, and discover innovative design solutions that inspire unique San Francisco living.

Detroit Design Festival
September 23–28, 2014
Presented by the Detroit Creative Corridor Center (DC3), and supported by the Knight Foundation, the fourth-annual Detroit Design Festival spans all design disciplines and brings together commerce, culture, education, and entertainment with a full, varied program of exhibitions, openings, installations, shows, talks, open studios, fashion shows, product previews, performances and workshops.

Archtoberfest San Diego 2014
October 1–30, 2014
Archtoberfest San Diego 2014 is a collaboratively-operated initiative aimed at establishing an annual, month-long program of public events and activities pertaining to architecture, design, planning and sustainability.

New Urbanism Film Festival
November 2014
The primary goal of the New Urbanism Film Festival is to renew the dialogue about urban planning with a broader audience. The Festival brings in movies, short films, speakers, on the topics of architecture, public health, bicycle advocacy, urban design, public transit, inner-city gardens, to name a few. 

 

 

 

 

Competitions

Deadline: August 18
Fabric
Formabilio


Deadline: September 2
Hansgrohe+Axor Das Design Competition
Hansgrohe+Axor


Deadline: September 5

2014 Designer Dream Bath Competition
Duravit

Deadline: December 31
Kitchen Design Contest
Wolf and Sub-Zero 

FORM Event Images

Industry Partners

  

  




















 

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Tuesday
Feb042014

WEB EXTRA: Restaurant Design: A Chat with ICRAVE's Greg Merkel

Greg Merkel, the creative director at ICRAVE, has a portfolio that includes the design of STK New York. We asked him for his thoughts on restaurant design. Image courtesy ICRAVE.FORM's current print edition features the winners of the AIA|LA Restaurant Design Awards. Inspired by the amazing spaces, we reached out to Greg Merkel to get some insight into his approach to restaurant design. Merkel, the creative director of ICRAVE, joined the company in 2006 and has worked on projects ranging from nightclubs in New York and Los Angeles to restaurants around the country. Here, he unpacks what makes a great restaurant and how, with today's diners, the expectations are bigger than ever. 

How does restaurant design differ from other types of hospitality design?

Restaurant design has been getting better and [more] over the top. I feel recently they have become a whole new animal—a beast unto themselves in the hospitality world. Obviously food and getting it to people is nothing new, but the recent obsession with eating "the best of" plus having access to the coolest, newest everything at the touch of a button has put an unprecedented spotlight on dining out. In response to this, the industry has propelled the notion that the environment in which you eat "the best burger" or "the best steak" is nearly just as important as what’s on your plate.

What is it about restaurant design that's appealing to your practice?

At ICRAVE, we find this spotlight being shone on dining out and the customer’s expectations for how the space should interact with all five senses, much more interesting than just the stage itself. We don’t want to design another restaurant just to design another restaurant. When you shine a spotlight on something, you are opening it up to be seen in a new light. It is this "newness" that we try to focus on.

What are the particular challenges of restaurant design?

It is getting to the point now that just about every restaurant offers amazing food and the "best this" or "best that." Restaurants now need to up their game and offer an experience beyond dining. It’s been said that people first consume with their eyes, so the design of the space must set the stage for the food, but now that we have all become such skilled consumers and consume information all day long, it is no longer enough to just deliver a beautiful space. Consumers have become savvier and get bored faster, which puts more pressure on us the designers to offer something to match.

Greg Merkel, of ICRAVE. Photograph courtesy ICRAVE.

What are some of the opportunities/benefits?

At ICRAVE there are always opportunities in every project we do, restaurant or not. For us the opportunities are usually the challenges mentioned above—how to push the project beyond what is expected. How can we make the space more impactful and have meaning beyond the materials on the walls? How do people interact in the space?

What's the key to a great space?

The key to a great restaurant is that it must be more than just an amazing looking space. At ICRAVE, we are more interested in creating one holistic design, environment, and experience that extends beyond the brick and mortar location. A great space is one that manages to feel completely natural and comforting, all while getting you to engage in a way that you otherwise wouldn’t, or is one that manages to feel new and fresh each time you come without having to reinvent itself every couple of months. There are many different metrics for measuring greatness for us, but we try to challenge the norm of restaurant design by asking the unasked questions and deconstructing every touch point or design element that is experienced by the customer.

What are some trends in restaurant design at the moment?

We are arguably in the heyday of beautifully designed restaurants, but design trends come and go. Most recently the idea of timelessness and its counterpoint to the economic crisis has served us all well in the design industry. Obviously ‘timelessness’ means different things to different clients, but I don’t see this going away anytime soon.

What are some trends that are on the horizon?

There is now a much more distinct bleed between different programs within the world of hospitality. The lines between dining and retail, dining and entertainment, dining and spectacle have all been blurred…defining and curating this gray area where all of these are all meeting is what interests and drives us at ICRAVE. We feel and are driving the idea that restaurant design now has to extend beyond food type and look to the holistic design and programming I mentioned before. We are now designing the brand, how the brand communicates, what the messengers of the brand are wearing, the programming that happens inside of the locations beyond just eating and drinking, and of course what the space looks like. It is less about a trend in décor than it is about a trend in offering an experience and a lifestyle.

What are some trends that are on their way out?

Not to sound pithy, but all trends by their very nature are on their way out. Once it has gathered enough momentum to be listed as a trend, it is more than likely on its way to being played out. Sorry, trends.

Any trends that are filtering into other areas of design (residential, etc.)?

The crossover projects that I mentioned before means that we are now going to see restaurants as more "dining as retail" and "dining as entertainment" situations. With this I think we will see more and more dining setups in retail locations and the line between the two will be further blurred.

What's a dream project like?

I’m actually very lucky in that I am actually already doing my dream project. I am renovating my home along with my wife Catalina who is also a designer. It is really a labor of love (we are nearly two years into the process and just barely starting to see the finish line), but it is great to do something for yourself and with a loved one. Despite the disagreements.

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