Groundbreaking design often requires breaking the rules, and the winners in the A+ Awards Products category are no exception. Stepping out of the box rather than adhering to the norm, they’ve turned the familiar on its side, which is literally the case with Dornbracht’s luxurious Horizontal Shower (or upside-down, in the case of JTI Companies’ hanging gardens, or inside-out, with Vitrocsa’s sliding glass walls erasing the interior-exterior barrier).
Rule No. 1: A Wall Is a Barrier
Having invented the world’s slimmest sightlines, Vitrocsa has erased that fictional barrier between the interior and the exterior. The Swiss company’s 18-millimeter-thick patented Invisible Wall system is completely transparent yet hurricane wind-resistant, and its horizontal and vertical motorized sliding options open up a new world of energy efficiency and light-filled interior design.
Rule No. 2: It’s Polite to Make Small Talk
Sometimes you just want to spend your obligatory wait time in a dentist office waiting room, hotel lobby, or airport terminal in peace. The small-scale architecture of Haworth’s window seat provides a semi-private space in conventionally public settings with its sound-absorbing frame. In addition to public spaces, they also address contemporary needs in open-plan offices, where, as much as you love your coworkers, you occasionally need to block them out.
Rule No. 3: Gravity
Gardens grow from the ground ... except when they're in the air. The popular winner in the Product Landscape category is Birmingham-based JTI Companies’ Fiberglass for its fabrication and engineering of such Bizarro-World plants. Its fiberglass tubes, which weigh up to a ton yet can sustain hurricane winds while suspended mid-air, are the core of the Patrick Blanc-designed lush, shade-providing vertical garden hanging outside Herzog & de Meuron’s newly-opened Perez Art Museum.
Rule No. 4: The Office Is a Static Space
We dread Mondays in part for the dolorous tone of the office, but Rem Koolhaas, architecture’s resident provocateur, doesn’t believe we have to live this way. For American company Knoll, OMA developed the Tools for Living suite of office furniture to be more dynamic and versatile. Their kinetic elements — pistons, hydraulics, and unconventional forms — afford movement that defies traditional office typologies, or the idea that the workplace requires sitting still.
Rule No. 5: There's Only One Way to Shower
Presumably it’s standing up, but only for ye of little imagination. Cologne-based manufacturer Dornbracht’s Horizontal Shower provides the ultimate luxury: bathing in a fully reclined position. The six-bar showerhead runs the length of your body, and offers three separate modes of relaxation settings: Balancing, Energizing, or De-stressing, none of which require you to lift your head.