Category Archives: architecture

Awesome work spaces

Employer branding is the ‘promise of an experience’. It’s about creating an image of your business as a great place to work and, in turn, attracting the right people to the business. When a business employs the right people it succeeds. And when employees enjoy coming to work they succeed…and stay. Research has also found that that having fun at at work greatly improves productivity. Google are well known for their well designed and interactive offices. Their Sydney office includes a bean bag meeting room, cubby houses, a games room, masseuse and free cafeteria. Here are some other awesome examples of engaging and inspiring work spaces.

Google Offices eating area with slippery dip
Google breakout area pods
Redbull office cricket pitch
Redbull office basketball court
HOK, London office picnic lunch area
HOK, London
Thinkgarden office space
Thinkgarden office space with desks amongst trees

We can’t all have slippery dips in our office…but we can dream! When it comes to employer branding, even small investments can provide great financial benefits to employers.

Yours in office envy,

Rebuilding Christchurch NZ, what an opportunity

After the devastation of the earthquakes in Christchurch New Zealand, there are now a number of opportunities arising that may very well see Christchurch be a new world leader in innovation and sustainability.

Although the casualties and mass destruction of infrastructure is of course something that would not be wished upon any community but now after the event the opportunity to build a brand new city is being taken very seriously. In the current environmental situation where all global nations are trying to figure out the best way to move forward to reduce the production of carbon into the atmosphere, one way that experts are tackling this in Christchurch is to design a city that is the most advanced sustainable city on the planet.

This weekend there is a 48 hour event at Lincoln University in Christchurch where 115 design professionals will be putting their heads together on how to rebuild the city. The challenge has been organised by the Christchurch City Council as part of its overall approach to the daunting task of making a new city. There are five areas of the city that the Council have selected that need planning and from the 115 design professionals, three teams are working on each of the five areas.

Out of the key sites four of them are in the red zone including the Cathedral Square, the BNZ Building, the Orion NZ Building, and 90 Armagh Street, including the Avon River and Victoria Square. The fifth site is what used to be the Christchurch Women’s Hospital, which is just outside the red zone.

At the end of the 48 hour challenge a judging panel, including internationally recognised, for Sustainable Innovation in Architecture, architect Andrew Patterson and Alex Cutter, who is the chief executive of the New Zealand Green Building Council.

There have been some amazing stories of rescue and survival from the earthquakes and I am looking forward to seeing and hearing about the new innovations in sustainability, design and community planning that will come from this amazing opportunity that Christchurch has.

From a culture and artistic point of view, I have no doubt that this tragic event will also spark some new ideas and influences on the local artists as they express their feelings and insights from their experiences and also their thoughts on the future of Christchurch.

There is a whole website created for the development of rebuilding the city here . Have a look and see what they will be doing in the future and some of their reasoning behind the process.

This is a small video is Jasper van der Lingen talking on, “A Unique Opportunity for a New City Floorplan.” Visit the website for more videos and information.

Yours in rebuilding,


Functional turns decorative

Check out this fantastically creative fence art designed and produced by Dutch design outfit: DemarkersvanLace Fence. Dutch design strikes again!!!

Images by Lace Fence.

Lace Fence have crafted something which was purely functional with a hostile stigma into something aesthetic and decorative while still functional. They have crafted a variety of designs ranging from lace florals to contemporary designs. Their design range is not limited to these, as they are taking on new projects, each with their own weird and wonderful structures and briefs to work with.

I wish I discovered Lace Fence before I invested thousand$$ in my home fencing renovations!!!

Yours in beautiful home renovations!
Amber van Sloten

Design considerations

I chose this TED Talk to share with the Brio Group team this morning as I liked how Thomas Heatherwick’s London Architect firm considered their designs in a holistic approach. Not only did they consider the impact their designs have on the existing natural and built environment, but they also considered how it affects the audience which are not persay the people working or residing in the buildings but also the general public and passers by.

Heatherwick Studio conceptualises beautifully creative buildings that invite participation and provoke feelings/moments.

I hope you enjoy this TED Talk as much as we did.

Another TED Talk which I discovered and loved, was by a woman of my own heart… Jessi Arrington buys and wears only second hand clothing to reduce her impact on the environment [high 5 sister!]. She has a fantastic personality and rocks in her colourful outfits! She says, “If you believe you’re a beautiful person inside and out, there is no look you can’t pull off!’ Here is another feel good TED Talk…

Yours in awesome TED Talks!
Amber van Sloten

Come Together Brisbane TVC campaign

I really love the new Brisbane City Council’s “Come Together Brisbane” TV Advertising campaign. It’s fun, energetic and fresh and sends the message that its business as usual in Brisbane and this is the place to see and to have fun. I also love the Hungry Kids of Hungary and Ball Park Music’s rendition of the classic Beatles song “Come Together” played in the commercial.

In view of the recent natural disasters experienced in our beautiful city, this campaign clearly demonstrates that Brisbane has bounced back with much renewed enthusiasm and energy and is working together to be better than ever.

Through this campaign, Individuals, Community Groups, Sporting Clubs and Businesses are being invited to share their messages to the world that Brisbane is better than ever and to also become a part of a series of unique exhibitions held throughout Brisbane during the Brisbane Festival. A major prize, second prize and runner up prizes are on offer for the best entries.

You may view the TV commercial and some of the messages that have already been created on the together brisbane website. This campaign makes me feel very proud to be a Queenslander and a Brisbane local.

How would you share your message to the world about Brisbane?

Yours in Advertising

The Queensland Premier’s Design Awards return for 2011

After the success of last year’s event, the Queensland Premier’s Design Awards are back for their secon official year and ready to add more inspiring design ambassadors to their ranks.

So what are the Queensland Premier’s Design Awards you ask?

The awards were started in 2006 when Arts Queensland established the Smart State Designer of the Year Award in conjunction with the Design Institute of Australia. Originally part of a broader Queensland Design Awards program, it was created to recognise design excellence and leadership within the Queensland design industry.  However since inception it has morphed into an annual event recognising how good design – in theory and practice – has a profound effect on business, lifestyle, innovation and of course culture.

Inaugural winner of the Smart State fellowship, Alexander Loterzstain used his winnings to travel, but said what he really got from entering the competition was perspective – after all, the submission process required him to pull together his last (or rather his first) 10 years of work. At the same time 2010’s Emerging Design Leader and environmentally-motivated designer Kent Gration used his winnings to venture into his sustainable furniture’s heartland – The Bamboo Ocean – and absorbed all he could about the manufacturing process behind the materials he used to create beautiful, and functional products.

If good design inspire you to inspire others, head over to The Queensland Premier’s Design Awards and apply now. Submissions close COB Friday 29 April.

Yours in Inspirational Design,


Before I die…

I’ve always driven past billboards/ads/posters and eagerly scanned their content for some form of inspiration to bring to my day. But it seems that beer advertisements with half-naked models, realestate billboards with cheesy agents and towering fast food burgers just aren’t cutting it for me. I can’t help but feel like big businesses have lost the ability to communicate to and understand how the everyday man/woman ticks.

Then I came across this project by Candy Chang in New Orleans. Her public art project invites passers by to chalk their own ending to the sentence: “Before I die I want to…” on a disused building in her neighbourhood. The public are invited to share their most intimate or crazy aspirations, inspiring fellow pedestrians to chalk up.

The opportunity to fully voice your opinion uncensored creates a huge opportunity to be completely honest and think deeply about your answer. This got me wondering that, with all the leaps and bounds in social media, are big brands really connecting with their customers and getting honest feedback? The disconnection with using faceless technology to communicate still creates a barrier. What would happen if companies started using such ‘in-your-face’ approaches as this public art project? Would there be a more honest approach with feedback if both parties are face to face and therefore more accountable for their words? I would personally love to walk into a store or management office and write up on their wall my review of their service (a bit extreme maybe, but boy would I feel like I was being heard!).

It could be a reminder to the bosses on the top floors that the decisions they make effect people, the environment and communities, not just dollars and annual figures. Maybe a utopic idea, what do you think?

Yours in thought,

The Pixel building proves to be Australia’s greenest building

Melbourne’s new Pixel building, the first carbon neutral office building in Australia, has achieved the highest Green Star score ever awarded by the Green Building Council of Australia.

Pixel achieved a perfect score of 100 points under the Green Star rating system for building design, whereas 75 points is the benchmark for 6 Star Green Star. Pixel gained an extra five points for innovation, which puts them at the top of world’s best practice. Included in Pixel’s five innovation points were points for carbon neutrality, a vacuum toilet system, the anaerobic digestion system and reduced car parking. The water initiatives in the project mean the building could be self sufficient for water – in this context, the project is water balanced as well as carbon neutral.

The designers of Pixel are all Victorian firms: architects studio505; sustainability and services engineers Umow Lai; and the structural engineer VDM Consulting.

The building features a new type of concrete which halves the carbon in the mix. Melbourne University designed the ‘living roof’ which re-introduces Victorian grassland species to the Melbourne area, and includes tracking photovoltaic roof panels. The multi-coloured sun shade system on the exterior of the building will provide the maximum amount of daylight into the office space, protecting it from glare and heat in the summer. While smart window technology ensures windows will open automatically on cool nights to enable air flow into the building. Electricity is generated by roof-mounted wind turbines, designed in Bendigo.

To learn more about the Pixel building, visit their website.

Now that we have shown the world how it is done, let’s hope we start converting existing buildings.

Yours in sustainability,

Green Social Networking

Wouldn’t it be ideal to have one central place online to find all of your ‘green’ needs!?

Introducing Australia’s ‘The Green Directory‘ where green social networking comes together.

Not only can you find green business, products and services but you can catch up on your Green News and also find out what Green Events are coming up:

• Sustainable Home and Garden Expo – Steampacket Gardens, Geelong, 12-13 March 2011
• Green Earth Day – Brisbane City Botanic Gardens, 12 March 2011
• Smart Energy Expo Newcastle 2011 – Newcastle City Hall, 19-20 March 2011
• Eco Xpo: Sustainable Living made Easy – Royal Hall of Industry, Sydney, 6-8 May 2011
… just to list a few.

You can join the Green Community in their GreenSpace and meet like minded people and view their profiles, share photos & videos, create your own group or join others.

With the increasing amount of greenwash in business marketing these days, ‘The Green Directory’ prides itself in their selection criteria so you will only find genuine green business, products and services so we can be certain that what we’re looking for is the greenest alternative solution.

Join the green bandwagon and save our planet!

Yours in Green,

Turning torso building proves sky-high twists

One of the world’s most recognisable skyscrapers, Turning Torso is a building in Malmo, Sweden, designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. The 190 metre high tower’s design is based on a sculpture by Calatrava called Twisting Torso, which is a white marble piece based on the form of a twisting human being. After a long and sometimes difficult building process, the 54-story tower was officially opened at the end of August 2005.

It is the tallest residential building in the EU, and is situated overlooking the Oresund Straight. The nearby Oresund bridge linking Malmo with Copenhagen in Denmark has enabled Danish commuters to take the train or drive to their home in Sweden.

Turning Torso has been called the saviour of Malmo, a shipbuilding town with no ships to build. Its presence has led to the dockside area being redeveloped as a modern housing precinct.

The building was constructed in nine segments of five-story pentagons that twist as your eye is led up to the 54h floor.

The topmost segment is twisted ninety degrees clockwise compared to the ground floor. Each floor consists of an irregular pentagon shape rotating around the vertical core, and the entire structure is supported by an exterior steel framework. The two bottom segments were designed as office space. Segments three to nine house 147 luxury apartments.
This distinctive style is now being copied in an even taller building in Dubai.

What do you think of this innovative design?

Yours in architectural design,