Eco-sustainability and design for resilient flooring.

After creating countless styles of modular carpet, distinguished by high performances and sustainability, Interface launches a luxury modular vinyl flooring featured by the same green vision and based on biophilic design approach.

Level Set is the first Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) collection by Interface. It is environmental friendly and is inspired by natural elements like wood and stone, according to biophilic design approach.
It offers options that evoke distressed, reclaimed and exposed natural materials. The textures, colours and patterns available provide more light reflection to maximising the benefits of daylight.
Available in 28 variations of Natural and Textured Woodgrains & Stones, it comes in Interface’s standard (25 cm x 1 m and 50 x 50 cm squares) and is complementary to carpet tile collections.
Since it is fully compatible in size and height, you can combine existing carpet and new LVT for a unique space of varied textures and designs.


We’re seeing an increased focus on cohesive design throughout the built environment, as well as a rise in demand for soft and hard flooring that blends well and functions as part of a modular design system– said Mandy Leeming, Design and Development Manager for Interface EMEALevel Set embraces our customers’ interest in flooring that has the look of natural materials with the functionality, durability and affordability of LVT, while ensuring they can select a mix of hard and soft flooring from a single partner to create a unified look and feel.”


An eco-sustainable design aimed at environmental comfort.
To install Level Set is simple and clean thanks to glue-free TacTiles. It emits virtually zero VOCs and allows for an environmental footprint over 90% lower than installation with traditional glue adhesives.
Engineered to compatible height (4.5mm total thickness) with Interface’s carpet tiles, providing the ability to effortlessly move from hard to soft flooring without transition strips, eliminating an unnecessary trip hazard and reducing the number of materials for specification and purchase.
To improve acoustic comfort the sound absorbing “Sound Choice” is available for LVT collections.




A corporate garden to foster wellbeing.

Michelle Obama, who introduced in 2009 the vegetable garden at the White House, should take the credit for the launching of trend based on quality food locally grown;  but a long time before this do-it-yourself cultivation was in fashion, a few pioneers of the industrial age already grew vegetable in their garden, like Sedus  that has been giving its employees organic food cultivated inside the company since 1966.

The corporate garden is a steadily growing phenomenon. After several trials in US(Google, Yahoo, Aveda, Toyota, Timberland, etc.) in Italy, too, many companies have created green areas their employees can cultivate together during their breaks (Diesel, Bottega Veneta, Kbs Italia, Unicredit, etc). A relaxing work, that helps to wellbeing  and socialization, thus to harmony in workteams.
The vegetable garden, a trend perfectly keeping to the theme of Expo2015 Feeding the Planet, has also inspired Quantomais, 1500 plants of maize and herbs downtown Milan, between the two Expogate Pavillions, the H-Orto by H-farm and Grow the Planet, the start-up that makes the old art of farming social.
The  WWF has also started the project “Coltiviamo la natura in azienda” with the technical partnership of Orti d’Azienda, a non-profit association born in 2012 .
The goal of the project is  “to foster corporate gardens linked to an awareness campaign on the themes of sustainability. By sharing a pleasant time with colleagues and coworkers”.

Sedus: an exemplar case history.
In the fifties – before  words like  Corporate Garden, Health Management and Eco-sustainability were coined–  in Waldshut (Germany) a cultural revolution took shape that has greatly marked the corporate philosophy of Sedus.
Dorothea Scheidl-Nennemann, PR manager Sedus and editor of Place 2.5 corporate magazine, explains “ In the 1950s Christof and Emma Stoll, the third generation owners of the business, inspired by anthroposophic principles, decided to provide workers with a nutritious meal including vegetables from the company’s garden. Around 1966 the creation of a professional kitchen has developed over the following years into today’s impressive facility which includes a team of trained chefs and Sedus’s own branded restaurant Oasis serving world class food.
Wherever it is served, the kitchen uses produce from the firm’s own six hectare farm and gardens which are managed according to strict organic principles.The home-grown produce includes vegetables and salads, all grown without artificial fertilisers and pesticides. About 200 free range chickens provide eggs and some meat and a few pigs are also kept, mainly to provide a sustainable way of disposing of waste plants and vegetables.
Each day, head chef Ulrich Rotzinger and his team prepare meals for some 200 people in the main canteen; customers and visitors are entertained each day in the Oasis restaurant.
As the Stolls knew very well,  dietary habits makes a significant impact on health and if the garden is cultivated by the employees, wellbeing increases for conviviality puts in a good mood.

1, Corporate garden Sedus in Germany.
2, Corporate garden Unicredit in Milan.
3, Orti d’Azienda Onlus.
4, Quantomais.


Bamboo facades at Green Place, Milan (GaS Studio).

It ‘s the first building in Italy using a bamboo brise soleil system. This courageous choice imagined by the designers, Goring&Straja Studio, while not being zero km, is definitely eco-friendly and highly distinctive, and has become one of the strengths of Green Place, now pending LEED Gold certification.

This office building (north-west Milan) is the first Real Estate develop in Italy by STAM; 4 floors, almost 11.000 flexible sqm; three buildings facing on a green inner courtyard and 7.500 smq for underground parking. Ground floor is designed for entrance halls, workshops and a show-room currently occupied by Renault Auto.
The objective of the project is to redevelop and improve the impact of the context in which the building is located, reinforcing the logic of the closed and compact city block.
Therefore, it was decided to reshape the building’s envelope by a regularization of the various bodies that also involves the skyline.

The eco-sustainable building -“designed by nature”, as explains Andrè Straja- is characterized by the extensive use of glass and aluminum, string courses on concrete structures, and a Bamboo screening system which gives the premises a natural component of great importance for the benefit of its users. Glass was used throughout the building on the ground floor, creating a sort of transparent base, as well as on the south-east and west facades, where it is shielded by a bamboo brise soleil system that makes for what might be called heterogeneous sunlight, because of the articulated form of the building. in fact, the brise soleil thins, thickens, and adjusts depending on solar inclination, creating an interplay of density and lightness, which makes the facades, which are already broken by changes in direction even more vibrant and mutable.
The building is pending LEED Gold C&S certification.
The terrace on Building C, in addition to providing great views from the south of the courtyard, creates a play of interpenetrating volumes on the northern front, making the facade an interesting sculptural element.
It is an “introverted building” and the inner courtyard is proposed as a connection between the various bodies and the outside, appearing to pass through the entrance on Certosa Boulevard with a sneak peek effect.
The inside stairway has a strong graphic impact, evoking Escher perspectives. It connotes  the entrance hall and offers a beautiful view of the inner garden.

Design: GaS Studio
Name: Green Place
Client: STAM Europe
General Contractor: Immobiliare Percassi
Direction: Tekne
Project Management: Prelios
Renting: JLL; DTZ
Photo: Stefano Gusmeroli


Design, art and life styles on two wheels.

Started a few years ago in the Big Apple, now the ”bike” phenomenon is spreading all over the big cities and, besides the designers, it inspires the world of art, too. This boom is a sign of the new eco-sustainable life styles, of a social, cultural and political change and new business opportunities. It’s already mentioned as Bikeconomics.

In all world metropolises, cycling to the office is very radical-chic, the projects of the most cutting-edge and sustainable offices provide for cycle paths, bicycle parking and showers for the biker-employees. The most eco-friendly companies ( for example Sace in Rome) offer bike-sharing to their employees and make use of petrol-free couriers (for example Urban Bike Messengers o Milanbike in Milan).
There are more and more meetings of people sharing this passion (between wheels and design “Vélo Velo” promoted by Gallery S.Bensimon, last June 25th in Paris) and cycle-bars are now available, where one can have a drink while setting a wheel hub. In short, the two wheels are good for business, too and open a market, where there is still a lot to invent.

One of the latest issues of Time Out has on its yellow cover a “smile” with two wheels instead of the eyes and ironically asks “Bike Curious?”.
In Italy, too, despite the shortage of cycle paths,  there are now dedicated websites like Urban Cycling for a constant update on the bike universe.
The city of Buenos Aires launched Better by Bike”, a campaign to make people aware of the use of bicycle, promoted through very nice posters explaining the benefits of cycling for the body and the mind. 
And design doesn’t miss this opportunity: Brompton is at the top of the design oriented city bike, there are even custom made bamboo bike (the Lhenry’s bamboo bike won the 7° Red Hook Criterium) more natural than the carbomium fiber ones and lighter than the wooden sculptural model exhibited in the FederlegnoArredo headquarters, made by Tino Sana carpenter based in Bergamo A precursor of the city-bikes was the Italian created by Marco Gaudenzi and Isao Hosoe (I’m proud to own the prototype).
Cinelli Laser, interpreted by Keith Haring in 1987 and Look L96 decoder with Mondrian’s colours are hybrid between industrial design, artworks and means of transport.

Art, too,was enticed by the charm of the two wheels. Among the the most innovative interpretations there is the Marcel Duchamp’s ready made “Bicycle Wheel” (1913), an icon of Dada or the pop art bicycles by Mario Schifano in the 80’s.
Last but not least, Ai Weiwei: after the site specific installation “Forever” formed by a dozen of frames at the Lisson Gallery in London, at Palazzo Franchetti in Venice ( until November 23rd) displays the not-to-be-missed, huge version with 1179 bikes in the exhibition Genius Loci presented by Lisson. The same exhibition shows also  “White Water Falls” by Richard Long, a conceptl,  land art work inspired by bike.
Painting, bicycle and “literature” on the road also in Bike Ride Story by Stefania Galegati Shines with Paolo Roversi,, a story written in washable painting on a cycle path, that will stand for the next twenty years, going pale in a natural and not polluting way.
Text by Renata Sias, editor WOW! Webmagazine.

1,UBM, Urban Bike Messenger.
2, VèloVelo, Gallery S.Bensimon, Paris.
3,4, Better by Bike, promotion of the use of bicycle campaign by City of Buenos Aires.
5, Folding city bike Brompton.
6, Cinelli Laser interpreted by Keith Haring in 1987.
7, Look L96 decoder with mondrian’s colours..
8, created by Marco Gaudenzi and Isao Hosoe.
9, The sculptural bike by Tino Sana in FederlegnoArredo hall, Milan.
10, Marcel Duchamp and his ready made “Bicycle Wheel” in 1913.
11, One of the Mario Schifano’s bicycles of the 80’s.
12, Ai-Weiwei,  Forever, 2014. 1,179 bicycles. ’Forever’ is a brand of bicycles that have been mass-manufactured in Shanghai since 1940. Courtesy Lisson Gallery.
13, “White Water Falls” di Richard Long, a conceptual artwork inspired by bike. Courtesy Lisson Gallery.
14, Bike Ride Story by Stefania Galegati Shines (winner of  RiGenerazione competition of, 48° Premio Suzzara edition) con Paolo Roversi.



Design on the crest of a wave.

The most fashionable  “nautical-design” event of the moment is the opening of the Yacht Club de Monaco designed by Norman Foster, a building shaped like a ship. Instead, a more human and genuine scale of boat design comes from Salon International du Multicoque offering some interesting surprises, floating meeting rooms, too.

We weren’t at the exclusive grand opening of the Yacht Club de Monaco (attended by Prince Albert, the archistar Lord Norman Foster and the happy few). The 5 floors high-tech and eco-sustainable building with its decks, masts and large glass walls evokes a sumptuous – yet perpetually anchored – boat and is the venue for the facilities and services of a whole city.
Not too far from there, the “smaller boats” presented at the original Salon du Multicoque at La Grande Motte were actually sailing. Here the designers convey their passion for the sea as well as their technical skill.

For instance, Loic Goepfert, founder and designer of Alibi Catamarans, launches his Alibi 54 Aeroyacht and explains us that the most important concepts in sailing and boat design are not only functionality and space saving, but the comfort, leisure and emotions that the bout can raise.

Martin Mai, CEO of Aquacon invites us on the innovative “Micro Island”, a perfect boat for relaxation but also for job meetings really “out” of the ordinary!

1,2, About Alibi Multicoque-online wrote
“Alibi is not really a boat yard … or not only a boat yard: Alibi is rather a Naval Architect’s office building it own boats. Or a fully autonomous boat builder…. Whatever, it is a team following a dream … the dream of a catamaran … As fast as comfortable … as simple as safe … and of course in harmony with the world of ocean ; so, with an allure matched only by the diversity of it moods.
This boat does not exist ; it is an unreachable goal. Nevertheless, by pursuing this grail, a passionated team left Brittany in order to base the Alibi boatyard nearby Bangkok. This quest started 5 years ago and the output is a must see”.
Salon du Multicoque is a show globally focused on Multihull Boat. The diversity of the exhibition is certainly the strength of the show, and the reason why people (5th edition: 14800 visitors) come from so far to see the boat of their dreams. The organisation also offers a real concept with the “Multihull Club Design”, where the most daring projects are initiated. The International Multihull Boat Show brings together the most reknown multihull architects and designers. The 6th edition is planned from 15th to 19th April 2015 in La Grande Motte.
4,5, Aquacon Micro Island,
perfect for open air and floating relax or job meetings.

Yacht Club de Monaco. The comments by Lord Norman Foster and Nigel Dancey, Senior Partner of Foster + Partners:
“The building is a little like a city in microcosm, with schools, parks, offices, restaurants, a network of interior circulation ‘streets’ and a hierarchy of public and private, social and functional spaces. It is a continuation of Monaco’s dense urban fabric, as well as the Yacht Club’s traditions and will be an important part of civic life. –says Lord Norman Foster– Every child in Monaco learns sailing at some stage during their education and those lessons will be in the new building – as a result, the Yacht Club will become even more rooted, in a public sense, in the Principality and part of its cultural and urban fabric.”
“With all of our projects, our approach to sustainability is to maximise the natural advantages of the local climate, while mitigating its extremes. We have also used locally sourced or recycled materials. -explains Nigel Dancey, Senior Partner at Foster + Partners- Our starting point for the Yacht Club was extensive analysis of the climate and the way that the different spaces are used. Photovoltaic cells and solar thermal panels convert Monaco’s sunshine to energy, while the sea water is used for cooling and the facades can open completely to allow natural ventilation. To provide shade in the summer, there are sail-like canopies – a reference to the nautical traditions that Monaco is famous for.”



UNDERHouse: light ducts for underground living.

UNDERHouse, a project by Paul Coudamy explores an original underground architecture in response to some constraints and common themes of the urban landscape: a small area of land, a house that takes up the greater part of the plot and “vis-à-vis”. The natural light penetrates the volumes from the ground to the lower floors.

The windows play an important role, favouring an intimate, hidden space in which the inhabitants live in tune with the sky, clouds and stars. The ground surface – the roof of the house- is free and lively, it has ducts that pierce the surface of the garden and penetrate the volumes down to the lower floor providing natural light to the bedrooms, the living room and the bathroom. The light ducts, covered by a glass lens, are lined with systems for reflection making the most of natural lighting throughout the day.
This concept represents a high performace eco-sustainable habitat typology: it hides 5 sides of the building, the green “roof” ensures a good insulation ad
optimizes sun light.


A sustainable gateway: Kutaisi Airport by UNStudio.

The Kutaisi International Airport, destined to become a central hub, with up to one million travellers targeted in 2014-2015, was recently completed. UNStudio’s design is focused on sustainability, transparency and enviromental quality for travellers and workers.
UNStudio‘s project, designed and constructed in two years, comprises the full airport development, including the terminal building, offices, a meteorological station and the air traffic control tower.
“The design for the new terminal in Kutaisi focuses first and foremost on the experience of the traveler by creating an inviting, safe, transparent and user-friendly airport. The desire to provide for and communicate equally with both international visitors and the local community is paramount” explains Ben van Berkel, principal of UNStudio.
It is a gateway, in which a clear structural layout creates an all-encompassing and protective volume. Both the exterior corner detail – which functions as a crossing-point and point of recognition – and the so called ‘umbrella’ structure within the terminal building – which operates as a roundabout for passenger flows – operate as the two main architectural details around which all of the airport functions are organised; the terminal will in addition operate as a café and art gallery.
The 55m high Air Traffic Control Tower and its supporting office/operational building is designed to complement the design of the terminal. The exterior of the tower is clad with a perforated skin on a concrete core to use wind for ventilation purposes. LED Light in-between the skin and the core enhance the beacon effect of the tower at dusk and dawn by changing colour whenever there is a fluctuation in wind speed.
The design for the new airport incorporates numerous eco-sustainable elements. A large onsite underground source of natural water provides the basis for the reduction of energy consumption through concrete core activation and use for sprinkler basins. The floors of both the terminal and the traffic control tower will utilise this water for maintaining a regulated temperature in the two volumes. In the terminal building cantilevered roofs provide sun shading on south and southwest zones. A hybrid low pressure ventilation system is integrated into the terminal’s main structure and there is a grey water collection system in the floor underneath the terminal building. A future aim is to present Kutaisi airport as Georgia’s first airport to incorporate a strict segregation of waste and establish a recycling system which could be further implemented into new and existing projects in Georgia.
Text by Gabriele Masi.
Photos: ©Nakanimamasakhlisi.



A light skin: Effedue Headquarters by A2 Studio.

A new building has changed the skyline of Imola to symbolize the wave of architecural innovation that is interesting some Italian provinces and small towns. It is a strongly iconic, transparent, de-materialized; a translucent volume that becomes a cube of light during the night. An ice-cube, but dynamic and full of energy.
Approaching to this eco-sustainable business center, designed by da A2 Studio (Gasparri e Ricci Bitti Architetti Associati), the perception changes: the relief surfaces, the geometric patterns that are repeated in an apparently casual manner, the red gateway exalts against the neutral background and the cold, evanescent and ethereal elements (glass, white, soft lighting) contrast with the warm textural additions (the red door, stone, exterior greenwood, internal wood, dark grès tiles, some pieces of furniture and colored walls, glaring light and the staggered arrangement of the windows).

Effedue is a company focused on the quality of the spaces; the client’s brief requested the design and construction of a quality management office block that would make an important contribution to the ongoing transformation of a ‘public’ city, such as Imola, into a smart city, through investments in important technological systems devoted to sustainability, environment and recycling.
The architects dressed with a poetical language (the graphic pattern reproduces F2, the name of the owner) the double-skin glass-facade. The façade limits the amount of direct sunlight that penetrates the building, provides indoor acoustic comfort thanks to the sound proofing features and contributes heat insulation in all seasons.
The building was designed using bioclimatic criteria. Devices are integrated in the building to exploit local renewable energy sources.
Light, glass, transparency play a leading role in interior design too. Inside the building, the architects have used plasterboard panels to separate the offices from one another and glass partitions (Mascagni) to separate the common areas from the offices, creating a visual continuum that opens the contents of the rooms to observation while maintaining an appropriate degree of privacy, thanks to the application of customized glass-film. In order to reduce the amount of artificial light used, a skylight installed in the roof illuminates the common areas of the various floors.
Project Team
Architectural design and General Project Management: Arch. Antonio Gasparri and Arch. Andrea Ricci Bitti – A2 studio Gasparri and Ricci Bitti Architetti Associati
Assistants: Arch. Giovanna Campesato, Arch. Maddalena Casarotti, Arch. Chiara Celli, Arch. Valeria Tedaldi
Structural Design and Building Project Management: Ing. Antonio Tassinari – Studio Tassinari Associati
Design and Project Management of the Mechanical Plant Building Project
Light Design: Luca Turrini – Format Design Studio
Photo: Andrea Liverani (Photos And Live Studio)






Eva Tower: pay-per-use sustainable offices in Venice.

Today was lauched in Mestre (close to Venice) Torre Eva, the first eco-sustainable business centre in Triveneto that proposes the US formula of sharing space and pay-per use.
A progressive building (Energy Class A), designed by Giovanna Mar (Studio Architetto Mar) which make use of multiple technologies to guarantee the minimum impact on the environment to reduce electricity costs, heating and air-conditioning.
Torre Eva (11.000 sqm surfaces) is based on a cluster of buildings facing on a Piazza, that privileges the concept of sharing space and takes value to a quite and nice public space for relaxing.
“Heating and electrical energy traditionally represent the highest costs for any office – explains Luca Pasqualotto, Manager for the Offices Section of Halldis- For the Torre Eva building, which is owned by Life of Mirano, choices were made to guarantee much lower costs, taking into account the importance of the environment. A prime example of this is reflected through the photovoltaic panels, which generate enough electricity for all offices, as well as the heat pumps, which use the aquifers to air-condition the spaces as best as possible. Another system put to good use, in order to substantially lower consumption and energy costs and to improve the level of comfort is cross ventilation: the central atrium vertically connects the whole building, and an electronic control system within the double-sided glass-wall facade allows constant air re-circulation with beneficial effects on the environmental comfort and the wellbeing of the occupants. It is therefore not necessary to depend on automatic aeration because of this very advanced yet simple and natural functionality, with instant benefits in terms of reduction of consumption and particularly for the environment.”
The ever-growing importance and focus in productivity also demands having to take economically viable decisions in the short and long term which include the optimization of operational costs and the externalization of non- core activities, in order to focus primarily on the company’s own main business priorities.
For this purpose the business centre proves to be the ideal choice to help companies and professionals, thanks to the formula of space sharing and pay-per-use, both already successfully implemented in the US: this innovative function of perceiving spaces allows to use the offices and meeting rooms one needs with flexible contracts.
The offices come ready equipped with furniture and cables, ready to move into and start working.