It’s no secret that upon entering the workforce many designers find themselves longing for the intellectual environment of their school days. Trapped under the weight of practical concerns, finding an outlet for freedom and exploration in design thinking can be difficult. It’s within this deficit that the Spanish global bathroom brand Roca is driving a force for change with rocagallery.com, an online platform hosting thoughtful dialogue, spirited debate and useful precedents specifically developed for practicing architects and designers.
Emerging from the salon atmosphere of lectures, talks and events hosted in Roca’s showrooms, designed by the likes of Zaha Hadid Architects and MAD, rocagallery.com is establishing a space for this intellectually stimulating environment in the virtual world. Hand-picked by a diverse committee of designers, authors of Roca Gallery’s equally diverse articles are challenged to share their best wisdom on a particular topic determined by the editorial committee.
Featuring serious contributors such as Shigeru Ban and Aaron Betsky, to name just a few, Roca Gallery unlocks valuable knowledge and perspectives that would otherwise remain trapped in some of the best design minds of our time. Below you can find introductions and links to some of rocagallery.com’s best features, sorted by the topics their expert committee regularly develops and changes.
Long employed by architects to elicit emotional reactions in the inhabitants of the environments they design, the effects of color in space have, up until now, never undergone significant scientific evaluation. In this feature, color scientist Dimitris Mylonas reveals the rapidly expanding world of neurological research into color perception. Focusing on the possibilities and limitations of language in describing color, Mylonas discusses cutting-edge research into the linguistic gaps between cultural and biological experiences of color.
This in-depth interview with well known Japanese architect Shigeru Ban captures a working process that uncovers why his projects seem to be defining architecture’s current zeitgeist. Focusing on Ban’s small-scale disaster relief projects, typically made from overlooked materials such as cardboard tubes, the architect muses on temporariness and aesthetics by considering the changes building materials undergo over time. The architect demonstrates how designers can achieve the best of both beauty and sustainability with incredibly limited resources.
An overview of architecture’s fledgling physiological realm by Australian design journalist Julia Fairley places this developing field in a refreshing, up-to-date context. Examining the latest developments in spatial neuroscience, Fairley covers contemporary methods, best practices and historical precedents in a corner of the architecture profession that’s poised to bring evidence-based design into the mainstream, potentially changing the way buildings are designed for many years to come.
MASS Design Group explores the futility facing popular notions of sustainable design in an inextricably interconnected world, and seeks ways to overcome these hurdles. Two Senior Principals from the forward-thinking firm identify the primary challenge as the lack of a global benchmark for every material-related decision architects face. They discuss MASS’ approach to this problem, which relies on intense up-front planning around a building’s materials and potential for local fabrication.
Breaking from established conventions is an imperative for designers to solve today’s most challenging environmental problems, according to Italian architect Mario Cucinella. As a widely experienced designer with AIA and RIBA credentials, Cucinella sees cultivation of a contrarian culture in the world’s architecture schools as the only way to bestow young designers with the courage needed to both think and practice effectively.
Long treated as single-purpose destinations on the edge of cities, the design of major sports stadiums has undergone a renaissance in recent years, as documented here by the London-based sports venue designer Maria Knutsson-Hall. Touring the latest trends and high-tech tools, Knutsson-Hall examines how architects are responding to the industry’s changing demands, such as designing stadiums as all-day destinations, optimizing the spectator experience and — most importantly — creating stadiums that fit into dense urban areas in ways that will complement and improve surrounding communities.
The rise of short-term rentals as a popular form of lodging for tourists in major cities is tackled in full by design publicist and branding consultant Carol VanderKloot. She examines both the up and downsides of the issue through the lens of city life: the boon short-term rentals can bring to cash-strapped urban homeowners while driving up housing costs for renters; diverting business from hotels while letting tourists experience a city like a local. VanderKloot surveys current legislation addressing this situation while noting it’s still emergent, and likely to change significantly in the near future.
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