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Young + Wright & The IBI Merger
Succeeding at succession: Earlier this year, Young + Wright Architects, a 125-person Toronto-based firm, joined forces in a merger/acquisition with cross-town giant IBI Group. Their combined firm has a new handle, Young + Wright/IBI Group Architects.

Prize Prairie Interiors
The author recently took a tour of the Prairies, from Dallas to Minneapolis, stopping along the way to enjoy exceptional art and design – some new, some old, some renovated. The following is a report on three outstanding interiors.

Indoor Air Quality, Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is
Every cheesy teenage “slasher” movie includes the same scene: the victim opens the attic door and peers into the blackness. What lurks within is evil and she knows it – but she ventures up the stairs nonetheless. Fool.

USGBC-NY Natural Talent Competition
The Emerging Green Builders of NY held the USGBC-NY Natural Talent Competition Award Ceremony on July 30th at the Mohawk Showroom. This year the Emerging Green Builders of NY focused its Natural Talent Competition on a green school project in DUMBO, Brooklyn.

Karen Brown and G3
Karen Brown of Perkins+Will is more than an interior designer. The Social Responsibility Leader for the New York Perkins+Will office has an uplifting outlook on life that will take her to three countries – Republic of Georgia, Ghana, and Guatemala – in three months starting on August 21.


A Minute with Ira Joe: Restaurant Problems
“No problem.” That’s what the young woman behind the counter countered with when I thanked her as she handed me a cup of Rhode Island clam chowder*. An odd rejoinder, don’t you think? And not the first time I’ve heard it in this young century.



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Young + Wright & The IBI Merger
by David Lasker Succeeding at succession: Earlier this year, Young + Wright Architects, a 125-person Toronto-based firm, joined forces in a merger/acquisition with cross-town giant IBI Group. Their combined firm has a new handle, Young + Wright/IBI Group Architects. Consistently profitable, Young + Wright (Y+W) has designed projects valued at least $1-billion in construction value every year since 2000. Unique, because they work in the full range of building types, (except healthcare). The firm has not only completed over a quarter of a million housing units and many of the country’s largest laboratory buildings, but it also has designed half a dozen churches recently. Eight designers work full-time on custom residences (featured in Architectural Digest) in the $1 million-to-$5 million range. As designers of Toronto’s SkyDome (recently renamed the Rogers Centre), Chairman Emeritus, Rod Robbie, invented and patented the mechanism for a retractable roof on a large stadium. The firm’s Wickaninnish Inn on Vancouver Island was named the top hotel in North America in 2002 and the third-best hotel in the world by Travel and Leisure. The Y+W staff is subdivided into studio groups of eight to 12 so that employees have the informality of a small practice and the benefit of team work. The firm even has a partner in charge of human relations guarding the culture they have developed over the past 30 years. There is another very unusual aspect to Y+W’s business model: Over 10 years ago, Y+W had hired architect Gerry McMaster, formerly in-house project manager for a large Canadian bank, to manage its extensive work in Canada and the Eastern United States with an American multiplex theatre company. Mr. McMaster was on the Y+W payroll, yet he thought of himself, and their client thought of him, as the Director of Project Development. This allowed Y+W to expand the traditional role of the architect as well as its influence on the project. As the cover-story feature in business section of The Globe and Mail explained, Mr. McMaster, “knew not only the ins and outs of the architectural side of the business but the more prosaic planning details of securing lease agreements, hiring lawyers, developing marketing plans and even securing favorable financing.” He even attended to the installation of seats and projectors in a virtual turnkey operation. “This is unusual,” said Mr. McMaster in an interview. “It’s unheard



of. I don’t know of any other similar architectural example.” Over the years, the founding partners Richard Young and Jamie Wright utilized a little country office upstairs on the main street of Creemore, ON, where members of the firm would go every four months for management brainstorming sessions. During one such retreat, they devised their 18-point “go/no-go” Business Development decision grid. For instance, whereas relevant experience would earn one point on the 35-point score necessary to proceed, personal relationships with one of the client decision-makers, or strategic market positioning, gained more value on the firms evaluation chart. This helped minimize time and money wasted on unsuccessful project bids. As for IBI Group, the publicly traded firm offers services in four areas of practice: urban land, building facilities, transportation networks and systems technology. The integration of the architectural personnel at the combined offices of Y+W with IBI Group Architects aggregates approximately 450 personnel in Canada – the biggest



architecture office in Toronto – and approximately 675 architectural personnel worldwide; there are approximately 2,300 personnel within the overall IBI Group of companies. Still, with so much going right at Y+W, why rock the corporate-structure boat and merge with a much larger firm? We thrashed out the issues during a recent meeting with affable (a smile rarely leaves his face) founding partner Jamie Wright. OI: Let’s talk about Y+W first, and then the merger. You were not only successful, but uniquely successful. JW: Newport Partners, a client of the firm and the consultant we retained to help us find a merger partner, told us that our business development procedures were unique. Our “loop” meetings every Wednesday morning at 8:15 are open to everyone in the firm. We track every project we are pursuing by the amount of fees, the percentage of likelihood of success, and actions required. By doing so, we consistently surpass our monthly target for new business, which is part of our annual business plan, and that has resulted in a two-year backlog of new work. OI: Can you put numbers on your success rate? JW: With respect to Requests for Proposal, (i.e. – RFP’s) for government and institutional clients, our success rate is higher than the industry norm of ± 10% but, since we have an unusually large number of repeat and referral clients, our overall success rate is more like 55 to 70%. OI: Unlike most big firms, Y+W rarely enters competitions. Why? JW: Competitions are not well suited to the majority of the building types that we excel at, such as complex laboratory projects, or multiple residential or sports and entertainment venues where the architect has to work closely with the user for optimum results. Also, there’s a very high risk/reward ratio involved with competitions and the client has to make very important financial decisions based on minimal information. We prefer to invest our time partnering with our clients to find innovative solutions to their accommodation needs. OI: Why weren’t you content just to grow the firm organically? JW: We tried it, with a series of small mergers and by growing our professional staff incrementally, but we concluded this route would take too long to change our strategic direction. OI: Did succession planning play a part in your decision? JW: We tried every which way to have an internal succession plan, but ultimately had to come to terms with the reality that, for architectural practices, it seems very difficult to succeed beyond the first generation of owners. OI: Why was it so important to get significantly bigger? JW: We realized that you’re either growing or shrinking. Staying the same size was not an option. At our size, to grow ourselves significantly in Toronto would be difficult and risky, plus we seemed to get the work that we could logically expect to obtain in our market place. That’s why we decided to grow ourselves in Vancouver three years ago. To offset our exposure in our market, we also felt that we needed to be international in scope. However, once you get to a certain size, you are up against the world’s largest architectural practices. We increasingly found that we had to be part of a larger organization to be able to compete internationally against the big American and European practices. We came this close, last fall, [he squeezes his thumb and forefinger] to getting a mammoth project in Dubai, but we weren’t big enough and just didn’t have the critical mass to be convincing. Even though we had obtained several master planning projects in the Middle East on our own, we now find that we are more credible because we have IBI’s office network and additional planning, landscape architectural, and transportation services in the Middle East to offer and that synergy is very beneficial as we move forward.




IBI already has huge, multiyear, landscape and transportation projects in the Middle East, with people on the ground. Additionally, large organizations like to hire large consulting practices. The project manager for the mega projects world-wide is looking for reliability, consistency and one-stop consulting. OI: But other Canadian firms your size successfully works outside Canada. JW: Any sizeable Canadian architecture firm will get opportunities to work internationally. The problem really is: How do you manage it and how do you service the client after you finish the initial design phase and go into implementation? How, for instance, do you provide appropriate services for the construction of a stadium or a million-square-meter hotel resort development, remotely from Toronto? Despite all the advantages of electronic communications, etc., we have now for keeping in touch, ultimately you need people on the ground in these locations to meet with clients, address issues as they arise and undertake site review on a daily or hourly basis. We just weren’t sure how we would get past the initial master planning phases


with the financial and people resources that we had. That’s all been made much easier with IBI’s personnel resources and range of consulting services. It’s a relief, frankly. OI: When will you start reaping the fruits of your merger? JW: Now that we have the credibility of a larger organization, we are already being short-listed and getting work that wouldn’t have been available to us before.


OI: Why couldn’t you simply continue to collaborate with other firms? You brought in star architects to Toronto such as Robert A.M Stern on the high-end condo 1 St. Thomas Street; Skidmore Owings and Merrill for Yonge Eglinton Centre, another residential high-rise; and Britain’s Will Alsop, when he made his North American debut at Ontario College of Art and Design’s colorful tabletop on Pick Up Sticks. JW: Yes, we’ve always felt that more and better ideas were brought to bear on projects when we collaborated with a broader range of designers. The merger with IBI Group was, in fact, a natural progression of our evolution. Collaboration has been natural for us. Young + Wright goes back to 1980, when Richard Young and I merged our practices after working as Joint Venture for two years. We joined with Rod Robbie in 1985 to form Robbie Young + Wright to help him with the SkyDome project and, more recently, we merged with Larry Doyle’s practice in Vancouver.



OI: How did you select IBI Group as a merger partner? JW: We met with half a dozen serious American and international candidates, but we were pleasantly surprised to find that the best fit for us was a Canadian multidisciplinary firm of designers that would broaden the range of service we could provide. We had gone through an exercise with another company four years ago, so we knew the process. A good relationship is when you feel like you make a difference. In Toronto, we made IBI’s architecture group more significant. One reason that some of the other international opportunities perhaps weren’t successful is that Toronto wasn’t seen as a growth market for them. OI: And IBI Group has a director, David Hastings, who is a former Y+W partner. JW: That made it like family. More than any other firm that we met, there was a cultural fit and collegiality about IBI. We are organized into studios/ groupings; they are organized into user disciplines. Also, the IBI Group has a horizontal structure that’s very easy to fit into. You can interact with the partner in charge of the Dubai office who has the ability to make things happen locally, so it was very easy for us to integrate immediately. Typically, large practices have managing and design partners. The IBI Group is more integrated and its decision making seems more organic. You don’t get the sense that “Now we’re in a business mode” and “Now we’re in a design mode.” Another plus is the fact that IBI Group’s chairman [Philip Bienhaker] is an architect, and the engineering disciplines there are generally not building engineers. That appealed to us because we could maintain our relationships with our existing building engineer friends. OI: Now, if you pardon me for waving the flag, did you want to merge with another Canadian, rather than American, firm? JW: Their Canadian-ness was very compelling. Joining an American firm would have been less useful for us because we have found that there is indeed a positive response to the quality of work and personality of Canadian architects when you work internationally. We’re used to being a little more humble because we are a small country. We listen to our clients; we don’t come with a big ego, and generally speaking, we’re probably politically more acceptable. OI: I’d like to wind this up by asking, if you were to give just one piece of advice to a young designer, what would it be? JW: During a lecture I once gave at the School of Architecture at Dalhousie University in Halifax , which I attended, I was asked by a student, “What’s the most important thing you did to be successful in architecture?” I was about to talk about the importance of balance and the need to be good in design, building science and


business. But that seemed boring. So I thought for a moment and said, loudly, “I know,” and I could see everyone leaning forward in anticipation. I told him that when I was in architecture school I didn’t live with other architects. I lived in a fraternity house with 40 other “normal” people. As a result, before I got out of school I was already being asked to do architecture assignments, and when I graduated I was the only architect that these people and their friends’ friends knew. I discovered that I had what I came later to understand was a client network. When my friends went on to become successful I was, and mostly still am, the only architect they know. I think many of those architecture students went home after my lecture and fired their roommates. David Lasker is associate editor of Canadian Interiors and vice-president of MarketLink Communications in Toronto. He can be reached at




Prize Prairie Interiors
by John Morris Dixon [The author recently took a tour of the Prairies, from Dallas to Minneapolis, stopping along the way to enjoy exceptional art and design – some new, some old, some renovated. The following is a report on three outstanding interiors. More are to follow in a later issue.] >National Farmer’s Bank (currently Wells Fargo) Owatonna, Minnesota, 1908 - Louis Sullivan, Architect It’s far out in the farmlands, 64 miles south of Minneapolis, but it’s a pilgrimage point for design aficionados. And once you get there it’s obvious why. You know when you see the bank’s cubic form, with its overscaled arches, that you’ve arrived at a unique building. And when you step inside, you are inevitably dazzled. The bank is quite literally like a jewel-box. The handsome but sober exterior, with rich but restrained polychrome terra cotta ornament on its brick walls, hints politely at the explosion of color, pattern, and swirling form inside. There, an after band of imaginative stenciled patterns surround the arches and mark the banking room’s boundaries. Fanciful waves of plaster ornament spring from the room’s four extravagant chandeliers. Intricate traceries of colored glass temper the light from the vast arched windows. For all its abundance, this ornament is strictly in the service of an overall design concept, underlining the unity of exterior form and interior space. It reinforces the overriding cubic form of the room; it emphasizes and expands on the grand arches seen on the exterior; it makes unique artworks of those four chandeliers. The bank interior has lost some of its smaller-scaled features, such as the filigreed teller’s cages, some displayed in museums. But it remains largely intact, scrupulously maintained, and obviously a source of pride to its present occupants, who offer informative booklets and are eager to show visitors around. How did this small-town bank become such a remarkable landmark of design? Because both client and architect had outsized ambitions for it from the outset. The bank president had acquired an expansive cultural vision and rare taste, but was constrained to stay in his home town, succeeding his father at the bank, so he made this building the object of his artistic intentions. Sullivan, the architect, had previously produced numerous landmark structures that would alter the course of architecture worldwide: structures such as Chicago’s huge Auditorium Building, its Stock Exchange, and the Carson Pirie Scott store there, plus pioneering skyscraper office buildings in St. Louis and Buffalo. But the dissolution of his partnership with Dankmar Adler and his own decline into alcoholism, plus the abrupt shift in popular taste toward the Classical Revival style of the 1893 Chicago Fair, left him without big-budget clients. As a result, Sullivan poured all his exceptional talents during his final two decades into modest projects such as his four small-town





banks in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Ohio. Sometimes, as here, the world can benefit from the limitations of a designer’s career. For all we might have gained if Sullivan had carried out other large projects, we might never have seen such an engrossing intensity of creativity in one modest-sized space. >Inn at Price Tower Bartlesville, Oklahoma, Tower completed 1956, Frank Lloyd Wright, architect Inn interiors, 2003, Wendy Evans Joseph Architecture, architect Ambler Architects, architects of record for the renovation Jo Anne M. Lewis, interior design consultant While the prodigious Frank Lloyd Wright completed hundreds of commissions, he was able to carry out only one of his several schemes for high-rise buildings. That’s the Price Tower, only 19 stories high, for a petroleum tycoon in otherwise unimposing Bartlesville, Oklahoma. With his usual virtuosity, however, he designed a tower different from any other on earth. The tower’s most striking departure from convention was the combination of offices and apartments on the same floors. Typical floors were divided into four quadrants, three containing offices, the fourth accommodating the apartments. To further complicate the scheme, each apartment was a duplex, with living and kitchen areas on its main floor and a loft bedroom on the floor above. And everything was laid out on angular modules, yielding many unconventional corners. Wright’s exterior envelope for these unprecedented interiors was almost entirely floor to ceiling glass, shielded by bold copper sunshades – arrayed horizontally for the offices, vertically for the apartments. Seen from outside, this makes the tower a very lively sculpture, with the green tones of the weathered copper played off against the creamy color of the concrete structural frame. In the 1990s, the building became a non-profit arts center, with exhibition spaces on the ground floor and rental offices upstairs. A decision to expand the facility led to the creation of an inn supporting the center’s programs. This includes a first-floor reception area, 21 guest rooms, and a 15th-floor restaurant/conference center. Many of the inn’s guests travel here just to stay in this unique Wright building, and Wendy Evans Joseph’s 21st-century interiors are a happy dividend. Completed at a cost of $1.2 million, including furnishings, the inn can be expanded to include more of the tower as demand arises. Joseph’s interiors complement Wright’s building, but add a distinctive character of their own. Instead of the usual hotel neutral colors and textures, Joseph adopted a strong palette of colors compatible with Wright’s work, along with patterns and shapes related to the buildings distinctive geometries. The pervasive greens provide a welcome relief from the intense local sun, which streams through the glass walls. Obviously, the drapery required for two entire walls in each room exceeded that needed in most hotel rooms. Two layers of Larsen fabric in complementary greens are used, the inner one hung from bold visible loops, rather than hidden hardware.




Most of the furniture is customdesigned by Joseph’s firm and was assembled in the rooms themselves, using components sized to fit in the tower’s tiny elevators. Maple elements are combined with inventive uses of polished copper pipe that echo Wright’s extensive use of the metal. Towel racks and other bathroom fittings are made of copper pipe, as are the bases of some tables. Copper screen is imbedded in a sandwich of pebbled glass for desk and table tops. And Copper is the name of the inn’s restaurant and bar. All significant Wright interior details have been retained, including the canted plaster ceiling in most spaces, with their original lozenge-shaped recessed lights and, in the duplex spaces, copper reliefs on the loft balustrades. The nucleus of each guest bath is the small lavatory Wright included for each office quadrant. Joseph avoided carving complete bathrooms out of the guestroom space by placing the washbasin on green marble counters in the room itself, adjoining compact toilet-shower compartments. Wright referred to this tower in an unlikely setting as “a tree that has escaped from the crowded forest,”


and Joseph cites that as the basis for the design of the inn’s carpets, fabrics, and decorative vinyl wall panels. The same tree-forest theme appears in graphic images and logos for the tower’s arts center and restaurant. >Bloch Building, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art Kansas City, Missouri, Steven Holl Architects, architect Berkebile, Nelson, Immenschuh, McDowell, architect of record Guy Nordenson and Associates, structural engineer

Steven Holl’s bold addition to Kansas City’s already excellent art museum is by no means just a design star’s indulgence. Holl won a design competition against four other notable firms with a unique scheme that didn’t obstruct either of the museum’s Classical front or back facades. Instead, it is largely buried under a berm running along one side of the existing building, with a series of glazed polyhedral “lenses” reaching up out of the grassy slopes. Clad in translucent channel glass, these lenses admit tempered sunlight to the interior


Avo | Design by Komplot 800.257.5742



by day and dramatically mark the museum’s presence as they glow after dark. Striking as the addition is on the exterior, its interior is the most creative part, displaying Holl’s dedication to the occupant’s experience, rather than to abstract form. Virtually alone among his contemporaries, Holl makes perspective sketches of his designs as they evolve (exquisite ones, with watercolor), visualizing what occupants will see as they move through the project. As the museum addition snakes more than 800 feet down the hillside, its interior offers a procession of galleries, connected mainly by low-pitched ramps, along which the visitor encounters spaces of varied dimensions, shape, and lighting. There are no neutral, dividable gallery spaces here, or any anonymous corridors. Every space is special and tailored to its purpose. Nor is every detail standardized; it’s as if every square inch of the building is individually considered.



Contrary to what one might assume from outside, not all the interiors simply rise to fill those glass-clad “lenses.” In the large “lens” that houses the lobby, café, and shop, the channel glass walls are plainly exposed. (The glazing system is more complex than it looks, incorporating an air cavity with translucent insulation and an inner plane of glass.) Galleries, however, must have more carefully modulated daylight. Typically, portions of the glass envelope are exposed to the interior as clerestories, their daylight diffused over cylindrically curved white plaster surfaces that further disperse it into the gallery spaces below. The visible portions of the glass envelope maintain an identity with the signature exteriors. Occasionally, too, there are carefully located views outward over the museum’s beautifully landscaped sculpture terraces. Throughout, one experiences a formal vocabulary of subtle angles and curvatures, composed of white surfaces, except for the near-black

floors. The walls are of hand-troweled plaster, polished in some key areas. The floors are of stained end-grain oak blocks in the galleries, epoxy terrazzo with recycled glass aggregate in the circulation areas. We’re all accustomed to modern galleries with uniform ceiling planes that continue unchanged from one space to another. Here, it is refreshing to find some spaces with slightly tilted ceiling planes, suggesting an asymmetrical emphasis – or even more surprisingly, two tilted planes forming a subtly peaked canopy. These differentiated ceilings establish an individual identity for the galleries they shelter and establish their boundaries, even though the exhibit spaces may flow informally below. The inevitable targeted museum lighting is given a visual order by locating it along slots that trace coherent patterns on these ceilings. This is one museum project in today’s parade of prominent ones where the interior is fully equal in quality to the visually striking exterior.



Chapter Five: Indoor Air Quality, Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is
by Kathleen Vick, ASID Every cheesy teenage “slasher” movie includes the same scene: the victim opens the attic door and peers into the blackness. What lurks within is evil and she knows it – but she ventures up the stairs nonetheless. Fool. This week, armed with a white terrycloth rag, I got to play the role of the fool in the “indoor air quality” slasher movie as I peered into the blackness of a supply air duct. I had heard all the stories about what lurks within and I really didn’t want to know – or did I? I could not help myself; I reached in, took an 18” long sweep with the rag and was faced with something more ugly than all the platinum LEED requirements could possibly prevent: particulate settlement. And it wasn’t just the supply; I ventured over to the return air duct and took a good hard look. I called my son over and asked him to run his hand across the bottom of the opening and show me what he’d captured (heck, I’m not touching that stuff!); what he held was enough to make a person sick. Until demolition I had been pretty smug about the quality of the air in our home. Seven years ago we purchased a steam cleaner and use it, exclusively, for cleaning everything in the bathroom except for the calcium deposits (our new water treatment system will eliminate those). We also use steam to clean all the hard surfaces throughout the house. For stubborn goo and crud we use a straight razor – works like a charm. We have a central vacuum that vents directly to the exterior – ensuring dust and everything associated with it does not co-mingle with inside air. We have a super-low water use clothes washer that uses about 1/3 of the detergent of a typical one and our dishwasher will be able to use a substantially reduced amount of detergent once we have our new water treatment system. Yes, I was pretty self-satisfied and maybe I was justified, considering how I’d minimized the use of chemicals (and saved quite a bit of money). But now I know better and I am humbled. However….. Probably the most wonderful thing about living in Phoenix is living “en plein aire”. Because there are few insects it’s possible to have a “porous” house for 6 months of the year; the garden and the house become one; meals are cooked and served outside; books are read while lounging under the trees; the pool doubles as a kind of soap-less bathtub; the dog comes and goes as he pleases; when there is a breeze it dances through the house; when there is rain (ok, rarely) the scent of the desert wafts through the interior; it is intoxicating. But there is the particulate matter to deal with. Dust (and goodness knows what else) is everywhere and, as I have just witnessed, builds up.





So what’s a person to do? There are 2 ways to manage this dirty air situation and they both begin by installing sheet metal ductwork. Although it is more costly, only rigid ductwork can be cleaned successfully; flexible ducts can rip and fiberglass ducts have a texture that enables particulates to “get a grip”, making cleaning less effective. Once rigid ductwork has been installed, the first strategy is to actually clean the ductwork on a regular basis – in addition to using quality filters that are changed on a regular basis. Pretty basic. The second strategy is a solution –install a piece of equipment that cleans the air. Since we have committed to using Trane mechanical units we had the opportunity to see what they have to offer as part of their repertoire. Their “CleanEffects” equipment can provide close to “clean room” air quality. But it comes at a price of nearly $1500 for just that one piece of equipment; additionally, there are required add-ons such as fans (that must run continuously), a host of electronics and specialized filters – just to name a few. But worst of all, open doors and windows are absolute no no’s; they negate all the efforts; indoor air must completely divorce itself from outside air. No fraternizing with the enemy. We are going to install the more costly sheet metal ductwork and have every intention of cleaning it when we close up the house in January – we’ll see how long that lasts. We are just going to have to accept dust in our air because we like our doors and windows open; the dog loves to come and go as he pleases and sometimes you just have to put your priorities in order and live with the consequences.


Organizational policies and building design affect informal interaction in offices, according to research in Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design. To learn more about the relationship between spatial layouts and face-to-face interactions using space-syntax analysis, see our Research Summary, “Seeing Other Workers Increases Workplace Interaction.”



USGBC-NY Natural Talent Competition
The Emerging Green Builders of NY held the USGBC-NY Natural Talent Competition Award Ceremony on July 30th at the Mohawk Showroom. This year the Emerging Green Builders of NY focused its Natural Talent Competition on a green school project in DUMBO, Brooklyn (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass): The Empire Fulton Ferry Art Center & Middle School conceptual design project. The competition focused on the new LEED for Schools rating system, challenging teams made up of young architects, designers, engineers and students to design a Platinum rated Arts Center & Middle School for grades 6-9 while incorporating design concepts described in local green school guidelines such as the NYC Green Schools Guide and the NY-CHPS High Performance Schools Guidelines. The design challenge included the revitalization of the historic Empire Stores Tobacco Warehouse and the adjacent Empire Ferry State Park, located on the waterfront in Brooklyn, NY’s DUMBO neighborhood. The judging panel was made up of distinguished professionals known for their contributions to sustainable school design; Robin Auchincloss of Dattner Architects, Richard Eiden of the New York City School Construction Authority (co-authors of the /NYC// Green Schools Guide/), and Craig Norsted of Perkins Eastman (the USGBC NY Chapter representative for USGBC’s national Green Schools Campaign). >First Place: FXFOWLE/BURO HAPPOLD COLLABORATIVE J. Arthur Liu, Andrea Schelly, Nicholas Hollot, FXFOWLE; Rebecca Allen, Buro Happold; Jenny Hamp, Buro Happold >Second Place: EJ Studio Jennifer Dunn, Page Ayres Cowley Architects; Eric DiFronzo, Page Ayres Cowley Architects >Third Place: Team Lindsey Lindsey Brough, Lafayette College; Deb Perrone, Lafayette College; Dave Kendall, Lafayette College; Ryan Clark, Lafayette College; RJ Sindelar, Lafayette College >First Honorable Mention: Green Apple LEEDers Catherine Simpson, Arup; Mia Tsiamis, Arup; Cecilia Martinez, Arup; Bettina Rohe, (Freelance Architect); Frederik Feller, Kiku design studios inc. >Second Honorable Mention: Studio START Holly McWhorter, Parsons School of Design; Bjarke Ballisager, Royal Academy of Art & Architecture; Laura Eckenrod, New School liberal arts; Ayano Misawa, Parsons AAS Interior Design The winning teams received cash prizes, with the 1st place winner earning a trip (travel, lodging and registration) to Greenbuild 2008 in Boston. The winning team will compete against other regional USGBC Natural Talent Competitionn winners for the national title earning up to $5,000.












Karen Brown and G3
by Jean Lin Karen Brown of Perkins+Will is more than an interior designer. The Social Responsibility Leader for the New York Perkins+Will office has an uplifting outlook on life that in 2004, took her for a year sabbatical to Egypt, where she volunteered her time and worked for an NGO and various non-profit organizations, and will take her to three countries – Republic of Georgia, Ghana, and Guatemala – in three months starting on August 21. In preparation and celebration of her upcoming three month sabbatical, a cocktail and fundraising party benefiting the three organizations with whom Ms. Brown will be volunteering was held on August 12 at the Humanscale New York City Showroom. The idea of G3 began in April, 2008 when Ms. Brown was on vacation in Puerto Rico with friends. Escaping from the grind of New York City gave her time to reflect on her life and goals; G3 was the result. Ms. Brown wanted the trip to be about giving back, giving back to others using her time and resources. And so, taking inspiration from this theme, she turned to countries whose names begin with G: (There are, you see, far fewer countries whose names include both a G and a B, and only one with full (almost) alignment: Gabon, Gambia, Gibralter, and Guinea-Bissau). After a few days of research, she felt strongly about going to three different parts of the world, focusing on three different areas of human need: social care, health care and education. A detailed account of the birth of G3 can be found on Ms. Brown’s web blog, Here, Ms. Brown gives personal details that led up to her decision to embark on this adventure (lucky pennies, vacation pictures and dating dish!). The blog even includes an entry with breakdowns of Budgets and Time Frame. Ms. Brown writes on April 27th “I thought it might be wise if I start looking at my finances and come up with an estimated budget for each country and see how far my savings could take me, especially since I wouldn’t be seeing a paycheck for 3 1/2 months or longer....” The blog concludes with several charts of her budget for the trip and each individual country. In a world and time where charitable actions can sometimes be clouded with ulterior motives, G3 seems to be, quite literally, an open book. The three charities selected by Ms. Brown are:




The Beteli Center [Republic of Georgia] In a society where people are struggling daily to provide housing, food and clothing for their families, the Beteli Center offers help to the Georgian people through the number of projects they have started. The Beteli Center was established in 2003 and has an onsite home for the elderly, a library, and skills training seminars and classes for computer technology, second languages, ecology, business, carpentry, etc. Their hope is to provide a better future for those in need of social care. FOCOS - Foundation of Orthopedics & Complex Spine [Ghana] FOCOS is a non-profit organization established in 1998 by Dr. Oheneba Boachie-Adjei. The mission of FOCOS is to provide comprehensive, affordable orthopedic and spine care to underserved communities in Ghana and throughout West Africa. Through its International network of world-class volunteer surgeons and other medical providers, the FOCOS vision is to create a sustainable infrastructure that encourages local capacity building and professional development in these areas. Safe Passage/Camino Seguro [Guatemala] Passage was founded in December of 1999 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and works with the poorest, at-risk children of families working in the Guatemala City garbage dump. Safe Passage provides a comprehensive and integrated program that fosters hope, good health, educational achievement, self-sufficiency, and confidence, by creating opportunities through the power of education. “Perkins+Will has been so supportive of me,”said Ms. Brown at the fundraiser where she spoke with officeinsight. “They have given me the time off and, even though I was so nervous to tell them about my plans, they are so supportive that here are my bosses, guest bartending the event!” The Humanscale event, itself, was quite an accomplishment for a woman preparing to leave the comforts and security of home for three months. The food was themed to the three countries, and there were several raffle giveaways donated by Ms. Brown’s industry and NYC local sponsors. Charmingly and cleverly, attendees and raffle sponsors could choose which country they wanted to benefit. Industry sponsors included Kimball, Haworth, Teknion, Perkins+Will and many more. Because of current events in The Republic of Georgia, Ms. Brown was forced to rearrange her travel schedule. She had planned to visit Georgia first, but is now going last, in hopes that the conflict would be settled down or resolved by that time. officeinsight will keep a close eye on Ms. Brown and G3’s developments. G3’s humanitarian vision is to inspire people around the world to make a difference in the lives of others through the generosity of their time in volunteer commitment, and Ms. Brown has started her world wide vision with New York City’s interiors design industry.




a minute with ira joe
A Minute with Ira Joe: Restaurant Problems
by Ira Joe Fisher “No problem.” That’s what the young woman behind the counter countered with when I thanked her as she handed me a cup of Rhode Island clam chowder*. An odd rejoinder, don’t you think? And not the first time I’ve heard it in this young century. “No problem.” The response used to be, “You’re welcome.” or “My pleasure.” That a problem ever loomed in the purchase of chowder never occurred to me. And this spurred me to ponder other newly acquired restaurant problems. Loud music. When did they start piping rock ‘n’ roll into dining establishments? And why? Please understand that I love rock ‘n’ roll. I’ve loved it ever since my brother Harlow bought the 45** of Dion and Belmonts wailing about being a “Teenager in Love.” Beatles? I worship them. Eagles? Ditto. Buddy Holly, Linda Ronstadt, Beatles, Don McLean, Beatles, Grace Slick, Mamas and Papas, Dave Clark Five, Simon and Garfunkle and Gerry and the Pacemakers. Oh! And the Beatles. Love, love, love. But at a record hop***. Or on the car radio. On a sunny, sandy Saturday. But, not in a restaurant, where I go for dining and chatting. Not rocking.

Once, as I waited for a friend in a favorite diner, I watched the family at a neighboring table. Mom, dad and young son. Their food arrived – a plate of fries and a frankfurter was placed in front of the little boy. I thought, Nice order; I might have that, too. But the boy ignored the food and continued coloring on his place mat. And it dawned on me that I should have lived like that. In a restaurant, well, heck, in life I have always paid too much attention to the meal. I should’ve done more coloring. Perhaps I wouldn’t be so testy about the rock ‘n’ roll. * Clear broth with other chowdery things; but, also water chestnuts. ** A “45” is vinyl record featuring two songs; one on each side. The disc is equipped with a larger hole in its center than a “33” or a “78” or the occasional “16.” The numbers refer to the “revolutions per minute” (that is, turns on a turntable; not to be confused with Central American uprisings). If you enjoy rock ‘n’ roll in your restaurant, you have no recollection of “45s.” Or interest in them. *** What we called “dances” back in the days of “45s” (before bands were allowed to leave cities and visit little town high schools to perform music and take Brylcream to the indigenous masses).



project focus
Barnes Morris Klein Mark Yorn Barnes & Levine
<The Firm>
Felderman Keatinge and Associates is a Los Angeles firm whose innovative style often benefits greatly from custom solutions that require a range of materials and techniques that go beyond traditional millwork. Quite naturally, they have become frequent collaborators with dTank. FKA was hired by Barnes Morris Klein Mark Yorn Barnes & Levine – another in a string of law firms – after the client visited Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, Los Angeles, another FKA/dTank collaboration. Barnes Morris wanted something similar to the desks at Pillsbury, but with certain modifications. As usual, FKA went the extra mile and came up with something fresh.

<The Project>
An open office layout for some areas was a new move for Barnes Morris. FKA was able to achieve the benefits of an open office while respecting a law office’s need for privacy and confidentiality. They created an aesthetic of floating elements set against a background of a dark, earthy palette to give a cutting-edge, yet comfortable, feel. For a paralegal station, requirements included plenty of workspace, some privacy, and ample filing and binder storage. FKA created a station that provides all of that, and a workplace image that conveys the law firm’s style, one suitable to its entertainment industry clientele. To meet the fast-track project requirements, dTank enlisted students from the nearby renown Art Center College of Design to create a full-scale foam core mockup. This enabled the FKA designers, knife and tape in hand, to quickly and easily sculpt the form into the desired size and shape.

The Product The workstation is constructed of hardwood with a customstained quarter-cut walnut veneer, giving the station a warm, soft look. The modesty panel is made of ¼” steel, powder coated on the front to add an unusual, but very civilized, industrial element. This panel extends past the desk edge and, with its easy-to-read angle, doubles as a magnetic vertical surface for useful reminders.
The workstations are made in pairs, separated by a low ironglass divider panel that gives the user some privacy without the feeling of restraint. The divider has a tackable surface of industrial felt that is both highly durable and pleasingly tactile. Each workstation pair has an integrated plug-and-play electrical/data system to support a shared large-scale printer and other equipment that a modern office might use.

7635 San Fernando Road, Building 8C Burbank, CA 91505 T:818 252 3888 |



>Landscape Forms’ second version of the Lakeside Bench by Margaret McCurry from the Landmark Collection is now available in FSC-certified ipe. The Lakeside Bench, offered both in a Picket Fence style with staggered slats, or the Garden Fence style with back slats of identical lengths, were designed in response to designer’s request for benches containing FSC Chain of Custody certified wood with standard lead times. http://

>Nienkämper introduced Instant Space. The portable wall completely retracts into a slender column of anodized aluminum when not in use. Instant Space is opaque and sound-absorbent for use as a dividing wall or a projection screen.

>Jessica Konawicz and Jittasak Narknisorm won the top prizes in the first One Good chair International Design Awards. Sponsored by Las Vegas Design Center at the World Market Center, the Sustainable Furniture Council and Western Interiors & Design magazine, the program encourages entrants to contribute their vision for a new kind of eco-chair that focuses on form. Ms. Konawicz is from Raleigh, NC and Mr. Narknisorm is from Woodland Hills, CA. www.


>AGATI Furniture will furnish the new library at Penn State’s Dickinson School of Law, University Park campus. Designed by Charmian Place and Felicia Berger of Polshek Partnership LLP, the library will feature nearly 200 Baja side and arms chairs, Antrim tables, Brown tables and carrels, as well as tables and accessories custom designed by the architects. All tables feature data and power connections. AGATI is also building custom credenzas that will house computers and flat screen monitors.


>Mobern Lighting, Laurel, MD, introduced The Scented Series for bright illumination with a longlasting fresh linen fragrance. The fragrance lasts up to a year and the fixtures come in Black Marble or Beige Alabaster marble with Chrome or Brass Trim. www.

>W.A.C. Lighting introduced InvisiLED for new construction and retrofit projects. InvisiLED works well for cove lighting, under counters and bars, toe kick spaces, display windows, refrigerated cases, trade show booths and architectural accents. InvisiLED uses only two watts per-foot and has a life expectancy of up to 50,000 hours. Easy to install, LED Tape Lights are available in white, blue, red, green and amber. W.A.C. Lighting also offers an InvisiLED Project Solutions Kit for lighting distributors and electrical contractors.





>Don Mead was appointed by HNI Corporation to President for The Gunlocke Company. Mr. Mead, who will report to Stan Askren, Chairman, President and CEO, HNI Corporation, joined HNI Corporation in 2000 as Vice President, Marketing, Allsteel, and has since held executive level positions at The Gunlocke Company, HNI Corporation, and The HON Company. Prior to joining HNI Corporation, Mr. Mead was Vice President of Marketing at Bandag, Inc.

>Architecture for Humanity received the Design Patron Award in the 2008 National Design Awards given by Paul Warwick Thompson. Architecture for Humanity was recognized for its commitment to bringing sustainable architecture to global communities in need. The Design Patron Award, which recognizes outstanding support and patronage within the design community, was created by Mr. Thompson, director of the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, in 2001



as one of the National Design Awards. Unlike other National Design Awards, which are selected by a jury of leading figures in design, the Design Patron Award winner is chosen by Mr. Thompson.

>BIFMA’s new ANSI/BIFMA S6.5 Small Office/Home Office Products standard was approved by The American National Standards Institute (ANSI)\. Copies of the new edition are immediately available from BIFMA (Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association). The definitions, test set-ups, test procedures, load applications, etc. have been modified for consistency with other ANSI/BIFMA standards.

>The Frank Lloyd Wright Showroom by Copeland Furniture will open October, 2008 on the 16th floor of the Merchandise Mart Design Center. Since 2006, Copeland Furniture has held the exclusive license from Mr. Wright’s heirs, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, to build his designs. The collection, using Mr. Wright’s Prairie Style elements, will include dining room, bedroom and living room furniture. Copeland has made slight adaptations to accommodate today’s lifestyles. >HDR launched the Facility Services and Commis-

sioning Group (FSCG) for commissioning, optimizing and troubleshooting of mechanical/electrical systems operation. Commissioning in architecture and engineering, is a process of testing and evaluating mechanical and electrical systems to ensure they are installed properly and operate in an efficient manner. FSCG will be led by Matt Beckingham, regional director of commissioning/facility services. Some of the services that FSCG currently provides for external clients and internal project teams include: - LEED certification - Facility assessments - Energy conservation studies - Energy rebate incentives research - Air/hydronic testing, adjusting, balancing - Commissioning new construction - Retro commissioning - Facility maintenance agreements - Design build M/E systems upgrades - Automated control systems installation and service - Continuous commissioning > Huntsman Architectural Group named Alan Vartabedian a principal for the New York office, and Sascha Wagner, David Meckley and Bill Puetz principals for the San Francisco office. - Mr. Vartabedian is director of the New York office and has over 27 year of experience specializing in corporate interiors. - Sascha Wagner, a LEED ac-

credited professional has over 15 years experience and has served as project manager for the San Francisco State University’s downtown campus and Moody’s/KMV West Coast headquarters. - David Meckley focused his 25 year career on helping clients implement strategic growth plans in their real estate and understand the impact of design and construction in meeting business and operational goals. - Bill Puetz has over twenty years of experience in commercial interiors, providing service to clients such as Texas Pacific Group.

>Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick vetoed Massachusetts interior design legislation. HB 4731 was titled An Act to Recognize the Profession of Interior Designers to Bid on State Contracts. IDPC, Interior Design Protection Council, fought the bill which, according to it, while seeming to be a benign vehicle enabling interior designers to bid on state contracts, was really an attempt to get a “foot in the door” to pave the way to introduce more restrictive regulation. IDCP said it will continue to follow two Massachusetts interior design bills for any attempts to re-activate them. (Is it too bold to point out that all legislation is inherently restrictive vis-à-vis someone?) >The International Conceptual Design Competition for the 5.12 Sichuan Earthquake Memorial Landscape produced two winners from America. Wang-Li Fang and HsinKan won first place for Healing the Wounds and a second place went to Abul Abdullah, Sandipan Aditya and Emran Hossain for EON. The competition, launched by Landscape Architecture Journal is intended to honor the earthquake victims and explore the relationship between human beings and nature. All the winning designs will be featured in Landscape Architecture Journal. http://www.asla.





>KI furnished The Natural Science Building at Palm Beach Community Colleges, Lake Worth, FL with flexible, ergonomic furniture. The 50,000 sq. ft building includes educational spaces than can change each hour to support various teaching methods and learning styles. Among the KI furnishings selected for the building are height adjustable Intellect desks, flex-back seating, desking with height adjustable worksurfaces and articulating keyboard trays. www.

storage system for Knoll that features a planning model that supports both group and individual work styles. >Krug appointed Moore Solutions and PSA to represent it for portions of the United States. Moore Solutions, Birmingham, AL, will cover Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas. The company is led by Sam, Lew and Chad Moore. PSA, High Point, NC, will cover North and South Carolina. The firm is led by Greg Phillips and Bill Wilson. Moore Solutions can be contacted at and PSA can be contacted at 1.336.886.4772. >Nuhouse Design Associates provided a new look and feel for Southernmost on the Beach in Key West, FL. The southernmost resort in the continental U.S. is expected to open in the fall 2008 with a nautical and tropical theme, designed by Nuhouse, for the 80 guestrooms and three suites. Nuhouse also designed the expanded lobby. http://www.

hurt their career prospects due to a lack of contact with the employer and the company’s preference to control the work environment and prevent a decline in productivity. However, a majority of the respondents believe that current technology allows them to be just as connected to the office and that a different environment can actually make them more productive. >Trendway named Polito & Associates as its sales representative firm for Southern California. The four-person organization has been providing office furnishing solutions for clients since 2000 and has offices throughout the Southern California area. Tom Polito, principal, has more than 20 years of industry experience. Prior to starting Polito & Associates, he worked with Kimball International, JOFCO and EldoRubbermaid Office Products. The other three members of the Polito team are Tomoko Wachi, Don Benac, and Sandra Larsen.

cal comfort of the patients, staff, and visitors. The award will be presented to University Hospital during the Healthcare Design Conference, November 8-11 in Washington, DC. >Visa Lighting worked with the HGA design team to provide performance sconces, illuminated cubes and decorative custom pendants for the Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, WI. The link between architectural design and the museum’s exhibits is most evident in the Visa custom pendants, when visitors are met by the silhouette of a motorcycle once owned by Evel Knievel and the Visa Lighting custom cylinder pendants.

>Kimball Office and GSI Office Environments, Atlanta, hosted a special showing of Hum. Minds at Work. The event attended by over 200 design professionals was held at Richard Meier’s High Museum in conjunction with GSI’s fifth annual Movie Night, an institution with the city’s A&D community. >Knoll Denver and Antenna Design hosted a reception for the design conference: Image, Space, Object 5: People Centered Design: Tools and Inspiration, The conference was organized by Michael McCoy, design education co-designer of the Knoll Bulldog chair series. The conference focused small teams of participants and studio mentors on creating multidimensional environments, human interactions and brand strategies. Antenna Design is the designer of a new

>Bowie Abercrombie joined Paoli Inc. as National Sales Manager for Government Sales. Mr. Abercrombie has more than 15 years experience in government sales with previous positions at Kimball, Allsteel and National GSA Sales Director at Haworth.

>The San Francisco Cable cars are the only mobile National Monuments. >The Steelcase Workplace Index Survey reports that most office workers fear a backlash for telecommuting, yet see the trend as increasing. The results indicated that office workers fear that telecommuting can

>University Hospital was selected for the ‘Citation of Merit’ by Healthcare Design magazine for its October International Showcase issue. University Hospital, part of the Dubai Healthcare City, was recognized for creating an environment that is functional, aesthetically appealing and promotes efficiency, while enhancing the well-being and physi-

>Eric Hardesty was named Sales Engineer for Schréder Lighting USA, Chicago, IL. He will be responsible for coordinating engineering products for special and custom applications and performance. Prior to joining the com-



pany, Mr. Hardesty serves as National Accounts Sales Engineer and Application Engineer for Ruud Lighting.

>Chen Zhili accepted a LEED Gold award from the U.S. Green Building Council for the Beijing Olympic Village. The award affirms the cooperation between China and the United States in clean energy technology at the games. According to Ms. Chen, the concept of Green Olympics, High-Tech Olympics and People’s Olympics was fully implemented. >Details, a Steelcase company, received Cradle-to-Cradle Certifications for six of its organizational worktool products. All components for manufacturing the worktool products, which include Slatwall Extrusion, Freestanding SlatRail Stanchions, SlatRail, a binder holder, three letter trays and a pencil cup, were evaluated by McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC) for their impact on the environment.
http://www.details-worktools. com

>Stephen Lawlis joined HDR Architecture, Inc. as a senior healthcare interior designer in the Houston, TX office. Mr. Lawlis will lead the interior design and planning initiatives and will become a member of the global HDR interior design delivery team. Mr. Lawlis comes to the firm with 18 years experience, most recently with HOK. His portfolio includes projects in corporate headquarters and civic facility design as well as healthcare facilities.

tons of raw material waste and other product applications. The one-million sq. ft facility manufactures Sunbrella performance fabrics for awnings, marine and furniture applications.

>EMCOR Group, Inc. announced that its subsidiary, Gibson Electric Co., Inc. received a contract to install all power, lighting, structured cabling and life safety systems for a new 650,000 sq. ft. office expansion project for Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago, IL. Gibson Electric will be responsible for the installation of a complete lighting and power system throughout the new office facility consisting of 23 floors of offices, two floors of conference and meeting rooms, and a data center with its own normal and emergency power distribution system. http://www.

>Indiana Furniture received Greenguard Certification for the environmental benefits of its ultraviolet finish. Promise, Centennial, Revolutions, Madera desk and the company’s casegoods lines also met BIFMA standards for low-emitting office furniture systems and earned LED Credit. http://www.

>Tom Philippi was appointed the new Vice President and Director of Design for Leo A Daly, Dallas, TX. Mr. Philippi, LEED accredited, has more than 25 years experience in designing and managing hospitality, retail, corporate and mixed-use projects. He previously was employed by RTKL, where he worked as a design principal. http://www.leoadaly.

> Zeftron nylon, a division of Shaw Industries, received Cradle to Cradle Silver certification for its environmentally responsible yarn system. Zefton nylon is 100% close-loop recyclable at the end of its useful life and all Zeftron nylon yarns come standard with a minimum 25% recycled content in every color. www.zeftronnylon.

>KlingStubbins’s Carnegie Center West project located in West Windsor Township, NJ, broke ground last week. The 120,000 sq.ft. office building, which is targeting LEED Silver, will be fully occupied by Princeton University starting fall 2009. >URS Corporation, Sacramento, CA, was awarded a five-year indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract for design services by the California Army and Air National Guard. Design services may include architectural, engineering and environmental services for the new construction, repair and renovation of facilities and infrastructure throughout California. Other services that may be performed include investiga-


>Glen Raven Custom Fabrics was named a member of the South Carolina Environmental Excellence Program for its environmental leadership in the state. The Anderson, SC company was noted for its recycling program that prevents more than 400 tons of materials from going into landfills annually, while reclaiming 500

>TVS received Gold LEED-CI for its 17,700 sq. ft. space in the Rookery building in downtown Chicago. TVS implemented several sustainable design strategies into the project, such as diverting 75 % of construction waste from entering a landfill and using 100% electricity from renewable energy sources.



tions, inspections, conceptual and detailed designs, engineering studies, and preparation of operations and maintenance manuals and statements of work. URS Corporation also was awarded an institutional services contract to support NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and US Air Force programs and projects to include maintenance and engineering services to assigned facilities, systems, equipment and utilities. Selected services also will be provided at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Patrick Air Force Base in Florida.

>AIA will travel to China in October 2008 to explore traditional and modern architecture in the Middle Kingdom. Eight AIA chapters will venture into culture and culinary experiences beginning in Beijing with the Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Temple of heaven, Birds Nest Olympic Stadium and Water Cube Swimming Center. To download the full itinerary: brochures/aia_7.pdf

>AIA NY Chapter will sponsor, Greening the Iron Ribbon: Redefining the Northeast Corridor, on Tuesday, September 16 from 8-1:00 pm in NYC. The event will be held at the NYU Kimmel Center, 10th Floor, 60 Washington Square South. The discussion will look at the issues of aging city centers, transit and new trends surrounding the expected addition of 18 million residents in the next generation to the Northeast Megaregion. The keynote address will be given by Eugenie Birch, Chair. CEU points are available. For more information: or T: 212.358.6121. >The CET Designer User Conference will be held October 1-2 at The Luxor, 3900 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas, NV. The conference will cover industry best practices and ways to simplify the selling process through software. Conference sessions are free, a special room-rate is available and each dealer who registers and attends the conference will receive a one-year subscription to CET Designer. Configura

received a Best of NeoCon Gold Award for CET Designer. Online registration and schedule details are available at
http://www.cetdesigner. com.

>IFMA’s World Workplace 2008 Conference & Expo coming to Dallas, TX, Oct. 15-17 will tour facilities of the conference’s host city. Attendees will tour Fluor headquarters; the Dallas Morning News corporate offices; the American Airlines Center; the 115-year-old, newly-restored Old Red Courthouse; and the Dallas Convention Center. World Workplace 2008 facility tours will be held Thursday, Oct. 16, beginning at 9:30 a.m. and will depart from the Dallas Convention Center. Members of each facility’s engineering, operations or facility management team will conduct the tours and be available to answer questions. To learn more about the World Workplace 2008 facility tours, or to register, visit www. .

>The New Practices New York exhibition will open at the Center for Architecture on September 5 to recognize six winning new architectural firms. In order to qualify for the competition, practices must have been founded after 2002 and be located within the five boroughs. The 2008 winners are: - Urban A&O, which earned the highest honor ( - Baumann Architecture ( - Common Room ( - David Wallance Architect ( - Matter Practice ( - Openshop Studio ( The exhibition will remain on view through January 3, 2009. In addition to the exhibit, a symposium has been planned for October 15, 6-8 pm for the winners to present their work and discuss how they organize their architectural practices. The Center for Architecture is located at 536 La Guardia Place, NYC.

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International Regional Sales Manager Chicago, IL International Regional Sales Manager Chicago-based Contract Furniture (North & South America) Zoeftig is a world leader in the design, manufacture and sales of premium seating solutions to the Passenger Terminal, Hospitality/ Leisure and Office markets. Based in Bude, South West England we have for many years enjoyed good sales in North America to the Airport sector and are now opening a permanent office to market our products to the specification markets i.e. architects and interior designers through a network of agents that need to be established. Whilst sales to airports in the USA will remain under the present structure it is envisaged that assistance will be given to this division by the successful candidate. The role is seen as a position that will eventually evolve to Vice President Sales & Marketing of our US incorporated company with a stock/share holding within the company as the successful candidate will play a major role in shaping our American business. We are a small close knit team enjoying impressive growth, we are hard working and many projects can take several years to come to fruition so a tenacious character would be advantageous. Extensive travel will be required. The ideal candidate profile will be: -Dynamic, Driven & Entrepreneurial -Sales executive with experience in sales projects/specification sales -Strong negotiating and closing business skills -Experienced in negotiations with large organizations at the highest levels -Excellent communication and public relations skills -Proven experience and excellent references -Languages of benefit would be: Spanish & Portuguese Please reply in the first instance in total confidence to Paul Williams,

Healthcare Sales Boston, Eastern Massachusetts New England’s Premier Haworth Dealership Seeks Talent New England’s premier Haworth dealership, Environments at Work is creating a new kind of office furniture dealer. Owner-operated, we service corporate clients throughout Boston and Eastern Massachusetts. If you are seeking a career with a fast paced, innovative and employee-focused organization, please send your resume to Healthcare Sales Must be familiar with and enjoy working in large hospital environments. Knowledge of key healthcare furniture manufacturers is essential. You will be responsible for working with some high-profile existing accounts and developing new business in other accounts. Previous healthcare sales experience required. Architectural and Design Marketing /New Business Development Responsible for promoting our dealership, Haworth and other key product lines, you must have extensive knowledge of the industry and the greater Boston architectural and design (A&D) community, enabling you to become a valuable resource to our A & D constituency and other influencers.

CEO, Zoeftig & Co Ltd, Kings Hill Industrial Estate, Bude, Cornwall, United Kingdom Email:, sending details of career and experience, salary/package expectations, why you think you would be the idea candidate, how you would establish Zoeftig in the A&D community and how flexible you are regarding location. Please review our web site before applying Textile and Wallcovering Sales IA, Kansas City, MN, NB Carnegie a leading innovator in the textile and wallcovering field is seeking Sales Representation for the territory of Iowa, Kansas City, Minn & Neb. This highly motivated candidate should have experience calling on the A&D community, preferable in textile and/or wallcovering sales. The Carnegie line is extensive including wallcoverings, upholsteries, window fabrics, healthcare and panel fabrics. If you have a strong appreciation for the design industry this is a prime opportunity to join this esteemed company and cultivate relationships with top notch A&D firms in this territory. Please forward your resume to Michael Cook VP of Sale: mcook@carnegiefabrics. com

Project Management Services Zeeland, MI Herman Miller is looking for a Project Management Services Manager for their Zeeland, MI location. Ensures the coordinated management of multiple related projects and the ongoing operations directed toward implementing client contracted furniture management and light construction projects. -Manage program change in accordance with the change management plan to control scope, quality, schedule, cost and contracts. -Identifies and selects a course of action that address’s project issues, constraints and objectives to enable continued project progress. -Bachelors degree in Engineering, Construction Management, Business or other related field. Masters degree preferred. Current PMP certification preferred. -Five to ten years previous contract furniture or related industry experience, preferably with contract furniture dealers, or an equivalent combination of education, training, and experience. -Demonstrated process/project management skills and relationship/alliance management skills. -Strong business knowledge including financial and accounting related concepts and principals. -Previous experience managing a team of project managers preferred. To apply go to and reference job requisition 663




BIFMA: June Orders -4%; Shipments -1%
Analyst(s): Budd Bugatch
>After Friday’s market close, the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association (BIFMA) released its market statistics for June 2008. The month’s order and shipment statistics are derived from a sampling of 38 companies in the contract office furniture industry whose combined shipments make up about 75% of total industry volume. >June contract office furniture orders fell 4% year-over-year, compared with 2% growth in May. Shipments also declined, down 1% versus 1% growth in May. While the headline order decline was the worst since July 2004, we would note that the prior-year comparison was a challenging +13%. Year-to-date orders and shipments are flat, compared with mid-single-digit growth in 2007 and mid- to high single-digit growth in 2006. That said, while the trend has clearly weakened, industry demand has not yet collapsed. >The June data were largely consistent with our industry view. Our cautious outlook for the office furniture industry stems from concern that deteriorating macroeconomic conditions will translate into weakening industry demand, thereby pressuring sales and earnings for our companies under coverage. Historically, the primary drivers of industry demand include business confidence, corporate profits, white-collar employment, new office construction, and office vacancy rates. As depicted in the attached graphs, business confidence has trended steadily lower since early to mid-2007 and is approaching recessionary levels. Service sector employment has likewise deteriorated. While growth in new office construction remains positive, the trend has softened. The AIA Architecture Billings Index (a leading indicator of non-residential construction) rebounded to 46.1 in June versus 43.4 in May; however, it remains below 50, the line of demarcation between expansion and contraction. The current BIFMA forecast suggests 2008 orders and shipments will decline 4.7% and 6.8%, respectively. While we believe this prediction is directionally correct, we suspect it is a bit draconian, given it implies at least high single to low double-digit declines for the balance of the year. >Additionally, rising costs for steel- and petroleum-based inputs/components, as well as higher fuel costs, are pressuring margins. While office furniture makers have announced list price increases, there is typically a timing lag before cost inflation can be recovered with pricing.

>Despite our concern that industry demand will remain challenged for the next several months or more, we would reiterate our belief that any downturn will not match the magnitude of the 2001-2003 decline, which took orders and shipments down ~40% from peak levels. Interestingly, the peak-to-trough declines in the office furniture equities have seemingly discounted a similar “doomsday” scenario. >Finally, we would remind investors that each of our companies under coverage is well managed and high quality, boasting individual competitive strengths and positive cash flow dynamics. The median forward P/E multiple for our companies under coverage is now ~11x, down from over 18x in February 2007. While this is attractive relative to historic norms, the market appears to be pricing in further downside risk to EPS. >According to BIFMA, June orders were $1.175 billion, down 4% versus $1.220 billion last year, but up from $990 million last month. As noted above, the prior-year comp was a formidable +13%. Estimated trailing-12-month orders were $11.41 billion, a slight sequential decrease, but 2% higher year-overyear. After maintaining a range of roughly +5% to +6% for most of 2007, trailing-12-month order growth has markedly weakened. The June reading marks the slowest percentage growth since September 2004. >BIFMA estimates that June shipments decreased 1% yearover-year to $1.04 billion. This represents a modest sequential deterioration compared with 1% growth last month, despite an easier prior-year comparison (+5% in June 2007 versus +7% in May 2007). Trailing-12-month shipments increased 2.9% year-over-year to an estimated $11.405 billion. Similar to trailing-12-month order growth, shipments have continued to decelerate, with June marking the lowest growth rate since September 2004. >Unfilled order backlog increased 3.2% year-over-year to $1.61 billion, down versus ~10% growth in each of the past three months, though we would note the prior-year comparison for June was a more difficult +15.1%. >In regards to our office furniture equities under coverage, we reaffirm our Outperform rating on Herman Miller. Despite our near-/intermediate-term industry concerns, our positive investment rating on Herman Miller reflects management’s continued strong execution and the shares’ attractive absolute and relative valuation. Herman Miller is a well-run, EVA-focused company that combines innovative design, high-quality products, and lean manufacturing. In recent years, the company has lessened its reliance on the North American office furniture market, diversifying internationally, expanding its healthcare



business, and developing emerging technologies like CONVIA. Herman Miller generates substantial positive cash flow, and we are heartened by management’s track record of managing the company through difficult times. Finally, MLHR currently trades at 10.0x our NTM EPS estimate of $2.63, a discount to historic norms and modestly below the peer median of 10.6x. >We also reaffirm our Outperform rating on Knoll. Knoll is a well-managed enterprise that generates significant free cash flow, which management has used to de-leverage the balance sheet and return capital to shareholders through dividends and stock buybacks. We believe that Knoll’s focus on higher-end products with high design content lends itself to attractive profit margins and better maintenance of pricing power, important as materials costs, such as steel, continue to rise. Despite consistent execution, Knoll sports the lowest forward valuation of its peers (though that gap has narrowed recently) at 9.3x our NTM EPS estimate of $1.69. >On July 17, Knoll reported 2Q08 adjusted EPS of $0.49, well above our $0.40 estimate (also consensus). Total sales increased 7.5% year-over-year to $292.5 million, above guidance of +14% and $12.6 million better than our estimate, due to strength in Knoll’s Specialty products and international businesses and boosted by a February price increase. Reported ending order backlog increased 9.7% to $191 million, implying ~10% order growth versus a +4% prior-year comp. During 2Q08, Knoll: 1) generated $36.7 million of free cash flow; 2) repurchased 1.1 million shares for $13.9 million; and 3) reduced debt by $9.6 million. Management forecast 3Q08 revenue of $266-272 million (+5-7%) and EPS of $0.38 to $0.41. Our preexisting sales and EPS estimates had been $265 million and $0.39, respectively. >The Market Perform rating on Steelcase stems primarily from its modest valuation premium to peers, now trading at 11.2x our NTM EPS estimate of $0.93. Further, we believe that Steelcase’s industry-leading market share and significant international exposure may make the company more vulnerable than its peers to industry weakness both domestically and abroad. >We also reaffirm the Market Perform rating on HNI Corp. On July 17, we upgraded HNI from Underperform to Market Perform (market price was $17.35) following a steep share price decline and the company’s much better-than-expected 2Q08 EPS report. HNI reported 2Q08 adjusted EPS of $0.36, $0.10 better than our $0.26 estimate and $0.15 ahead of the $0.21 consensus. Total sales declined 0.8% to $613.1 million, near the high-end of management’s guidance for “flat to down 5%,” and were $12.1 million above our estimate. Earnings quality was excellent; operating EPS beat our model by $0.10 (normalized) and by $0.11 on a GAAP basis. >While the 2Q08 performance was impressive, we remain reluctant to recommend HNI shares as the company faces headwinds in its three primary end markets, including: 1) slowing contract office furniture demand; 2) weakness in the supplies-driven channel (which caters to small businesses through big-box retailers and catalog dealers); and 3) declining hearth sales, which typically lag new home construction by 9-12 months. That said, we would remind investors that due to its exposure to small business through the supplies-drive channel, HNI will likely be the first among peers to benefit when the economy begins to recover. HNI’s valuation of 15.3x our NTM EPS estimate of $1.41 is the highest among the peer group.



>Knoll, Inc., on August 14 announced that its Board of Directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.12 per share payable September 30, 2008, to stockholders of record on September 15, 2008.

Industry Stock Prices
8.15.08 ChromC CompX HMiller HNI Inscape Interface Kimball Knoll Leggett Mohawk OffDepot Staples Steelcase 20-20 Tech UntdStat USG Virco SUM DJIndust 2.7 7.7 28.3 22.5 3.4 12.9 11.5 16.8 21.4 73.0 7.1 24.9 11.0 4.5 49.7 28.1 4.4 330.0 11,659 12.28.07 4.9 14.8 28.8 35.7 3.5 17.5 14 16.6 18.7 75.5 14.4 22.6 15.3 6.4 47.4 36.6 5.9 378.6 13,339 9.28.07 4.7 19.6 27.1 36 3.7 18.1 11.4 17.7 19.2 81.3 20.6 21.5 18 6.6 55.5 37.6 7.8 406.4 13,895 475.5 13,408 6.29.07 7.5 18.5 31.6 41 3.5 18.9 14 22.4 22.1 100.8 30.3 23.7 18.5 7.1 66.6 49 3.30.07 9.6 16.1 33.5 45.9 4.2 16 19.3 23.8 22.7 82.1 35.1 25.8 19.9 6.8 59.9 46.7 6.8 474.2 12,354 12.29.06 8.59 20.16 36.36 44.41 2.95 14.22 24.3 22 23.9 74.86 38.17 26.7 18.16 5.91 46.69 54.8 7.8 469.98 12,463 9.29.06 9.9 15.6 34.2 41.6 3.4 12.9 19.3 20.2 25 74.5 39.7 24.3 15.7 5.8 46.5 47 4.9 440.5 11,679 %frYrHi -56.2% -63.8% -16.4% -49.2% -24.7% -35.3% -25.1% -18.5% -3.7% -19.1% -72.4% -6.3% -43.1% N/A% -19.3% -30.7% -68.0% -

%fr50DayMA -16.4% 24.9% 9.3% 10.3% -0.9% 6.2% 16.6% 16.0% 17.7% 14.9% -7.0% 7.7% 7.2% N/A% 23.8% 3.3% -2.6% -



>Google inaugurated a new search analysis tool called Insights for Search, useful for market researchers, advertising planners, or anyone who is curious about trends in internet searches. The user enters one or more search terms and selects a geographic region and timespan, and the site generates a time-line graph as well as a color-coded map showing search volumes by country, state, or city. >HyperOffice, supplier of web-based business and collaboration tools, introduced HyperMeeting, designed to provide small and mid-sized businesses with a powerful set of web conferencing solutions. Said to be compatible with any browser including smart phones, the new service features easy desktop and application sharing, high quality audio recording and playback, and “instant” setup for online meetings of all kinds, including interactive sales presentations and product demos, webinars, training sessions, team collaboration, and tech support services. Whats_New.cfm

Soduko: Fill in the empty cells so that every row, column and cube contains a digit from 1-9, without duplication. (Level: Medium)

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