Free Continuing Education for Interior Designers & Architects

Established in 2000, InformeDesign is a collaboration between ASID & the University of Minnesota's College of Design.  The driving idea was the belief (read: FACT) that interior designers and architects must continue to their education to improve their methods of protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the public. InformeDesign's mission is to "facilitate designers' use of current, research-based information as a decision-making tool in the design process, thereby integrating research and practice." 

Liquid Floor Tiles by B.Lab

This is by no means a new product, but it's fun and worth mentioning. B.lab, an Italian manufacturer, has a product called B-surfaces, it's a floor tile that has a layer of liquid beneath a clear coating.  When pressure is applied to the surface of the tile, the liquid moves to an area with less pressure, leaving a negative impression of whatever applied the force for a few moments. (If you walk on the tile, your footprints will remain for a few seconds.)

We had this installed in a study area at my college and it was definitely a fun interactive experience.  This tile would be great for any place where children will be present. B-surfaces is sold under many different brand names: Liquifloor, Liquid Floor, Liquid Lava & Liquid Fusion, to name a few.  Tiles are available in a variety of colors and in  Watercolor (1 color), Bi-color, or Metal.  Tables with B-surface tops are also available.

Free Online Portfolio Hosting & Portfolio Design Advice

Designing a portfolio can be both a rewarding and frustrating process. If you're a recent grad or an unfortunate victim of the economy looking for a job, you're probably laboring over your Interior Design Portfolio or Architecture Portfolio.  Have you considered posting your portfolio online? Aren't sure how or where to post it?   May I suggest Coroflot?   

Coroflot is a great resource for creating an online portfolio, has a great blog, Creative Seeds, and is the largest and most active job board for creatives from all industries.  I like oohing and aahing over the 3D work and seeing what others in my field are putting in their portfolios (Know Thy Competition). It's inspiring. It's informative. It's free!

While you're there, check out this post A portfolio doesn't speak for itself, by Jim Best of Pensa.  Although, Jim Best is an industrial designer, the concepts are universal.  Tips are short and to the point. This post has 12 fantastic tips that cover Portfolio Design, Resumes and Cover Letters.  Well worth the click. 

If you want some feedback on your portfolio, I'd love to take a look - send me a link or pdf.

Need more portfolio design advice? Get this book:

Happy designing & job hunting!  

Cant is my favorite word.

I have an unexplainable attraction to all things cantilevered: stairs, cabinetry, pools, bridges, buildings, decks, chairs, if you can cant it, I love it!  That explains the pitter patter in my heart when I saw these beds designed by Daniele Lago for Lago, an Italian furniture manufacturer.

Clockwise from Left to Right: Fluttua, Fluttua Round Letto Air. & Tavolo Air, All by Lago.

Unfortunately, not all of the text translates into English & I can't understand a lick of Italian. But the cute animations helped me navigate the site & frankly- the work speaks for itself.  The Fluttua beds are supported by a single leg in the center.  The Letto & Tavolo Air Beds are supported by a clear material.  I'd love to own one of these beds, but first I need to find a place to store all that stuff under my bed...

Futuristic Yacht Designs

Today I have a wonderful link to share: Schopfer Yachts

I love the realistic looking 3d renderings of their yacht concepts.   My favorite concept is the Oculus, when viewed from the side it looks like a giant open mouthed fish.  The exteriors are sleek and and interiors are contemporary and just plain sexy.

Unfortunately, I never received a reply for permission to post their images so I don't have any eye candy for you. But I assure you, it is worth the click.

Design Crush: Ross Lovegrove

My senior year of college, I was working on a pediatric rehabilitation center for a class project. I wanted the center to be an escape from reality for the children and parents, a place where the anything was possible. Based on the idea that it's easier to move in a relatively weightless environment, my concept was 60's futuristic space-age and I "named" the center Flux which means to move freely as if in a stream. (Stay with me, I swear I have a point!)

While selecting furniture for Flux, I came across the Go Chair by Ross Lovegrove. The design was fluid, graceful, and futuristic. And I thought, everything I wanted my design to be was embodied in this chair. I was instantly smitten. 

Designs by Ross Lovegrove. Clockwise from Top Left: Mercury Ceiling Lamp for Artemide, 
2008. Solar Trees for MAKDesignNite @ MAK museum,Vienna, 2007.  System X for Yamagiwa, 
2005. BDLOVE Lamp for Barcelona Design, 2003.  DNA Staircase, designed by Ross Lovegrove 
and manufactured by Chistophe Moinat Design, 2003.

September Design Competitions

Interior Design Magazine's Best of Year 2008 Awards.  Interior Design Magazine's 4th annual Best of Year design competition honors over 50 categories of interior design projects and products.  Entry deadline is 18 Sept 2009. Here are links to PDFs of entry forms &  fee information for Project Design and Product Design.

Bricks-Stainable: Re-thinking Brick. This competition is seeking design solutions that explore the use of brick as a primary building material in creating an energy efficient building.  The challenge is to design apartments and meeting spaces for visiting dignitaries and their families in Emmitsburg, Maryland. You can find the full  competition brief here. Design AND performance will be the basis of selecting the winners.  Registration deadline has been extended to 30 Sept 2009. Entries must be received by 30 Oct 2009. There is a $50 entry fee.

3rd Advanced Architecture Contest.  This competition is open to students and professionals.  The challenge is to design a Self-sufficient building or city. Project size and location. is up to you. See full program requirements here. Individuals or groups may enter and there's no limit to the # of members in a group. Keep in mind only 3 teams leaders will receive cash prizes and a one-year grant to take the Master in Advanced Architecture at Institute of Advanced Architecture Catalonia (Barcelona, Spain)  to research self-sufficient architecture.The deadline is 28 Sept 09 & there is no entry fee.

Spark Awards International Design Competition.  There are over 14 categories & dozens of sub-categories.  The categories you, dear Design Elixir reader, may be most interested in are: Product, Furniture & Outdoor, Green, and Architecture & Interiors.  Check out these links for a full list of categories & sub-categories and the judging criteria. The competition was divided into two Phases to lower the initial cost of entry.  Register here for the Phase I competition by 17 Oct 09 (original deadline of 15 Sept 09 has been extended). Projects must be received by 17 Oct 09. Entry fee for professionals is $175 and $100 for students & non-professionals.  If you are selected as a Phase 2 finalist there are additional submission requirements, deadlines and fees.

Underneath the Mexican Moonlight

Take a virtual stroll through Icon Vallarta, a luxury resort style beachfront high rise condominium project in Puerto Vallarta. Scheduled to open Winter 2009, this project was put together by real estate developers, The Related Group.  While the views are breathtaking, the contemporary architecture by Arquitectonica and interior design by Yoo by Phillipe Starck steals the show.

Public spaces feature massively scaled vases, doorways, windows and columns with intimate seating areas designed to encourage mingling.   And of course, no Phillipe Starck design is complete without his Louis Ghost Chair, Soft Egg Chair, Emeco Icon Chair, or  Bubble Sofa & Chair.  Private residences include 336 one to three bedroom units, 3 penthouses with
private rooftops, and 7 two-story, two bedroom
villas, complete with private roof top terraces
and private pools.