June 8, 2020

Artists and Architects Design for a Better Future on DesignTV by SANDOW

Last week on DesignTV by SANDOW, host and Interior Design Editor in Chief, Cindy Allen, sat down with artists and architects, treating viewers to exclusive looks at a range of projects across the globe. The uniting throughline between the conversations? Each guest designs and creates solutions for a better future.


Monday’s episode began with a 1on1 segment with Bill Bouchey, director of design at HOK, who discussed his NYCxDesign winning creative office project for Shiseido, a family-run beauty house in Tokyo founded in 1872. He joined from his new L.A. home—previously inhabited by Orson Welles—where he draws inspiration from the artists, creatives, and lush gardens around him. But back to New York City. The Shiseido U.S. office is just one of four projects HOK has done with the brand. “They were always about beauty innovation for a better world,” Bouchey says about what attracted the team to create a meaningful partnership with Shiseido. 

The overarching goal for HOK’s projects with Shiseido has been to create “places where beauty and cosmetic leadership shine,” Bouchey says. Over 15 Shiseido brands convene under one roof in its new office, which is a first for the company on this side of the Atlantic. The Midtown office was chosen for its “cool, modern details and smart leveraging of massing,” Bouchey explains. Coincidentally, Bouchey worked in that building over 20 years ago, but now, he’s given it a face-lift. 

Omotenashi in its historic principle means touching the heart of the customer,” Bouchey says about the Japanese hospitality ethos that Shiseido has honored for years, which his team translated into a physical space. This is best represented by the gathering place that HOK and Shiseido collaborated on. Under high ceilings with brightness from large windows, the new amenities Shiseido introduced for its employees include a cafe and conversation spaces—the office is a place where all employees are welcome to connect, relax, and meet new people within their organization. “We call it the heart,” adds Bouchey. 

Watch the 1on1 segment with Bill Bouchey here: 

Next, Allen hosted a Design Giants segment with Tom Kundig. “How could we design anything that is more beautiful than the natural world?” Kundig says about Olson Kundig‘s main muse: Forests, ecosystems, and all of earth’s beautiful bounty. The firm aims to not bring the outdoors in, but the inside out with their residential projects, giving homeowners a feeling of fusion with the natural world around them. “The landscapes, the interiors, the architecture—to me—are all one thing,” says business partner Jim Olson in a pre-filmed clip, noting how Kundig’s sharp lines and geometric residential designs are able to harmoniously fit into earthly settings. 

Kundig’s fourth book features some of his most influential designs in one place, with stunning photographs that show off a range of his finished products as well as critiques and background information. Creating a book such as this one puts the architect in the position of editor, as Allen points out, and thus she feels even more of a kindred spirit with Kundig. Having grown up in the silver mines of northern Idaho, the book, like many of the projects Olson Kundig builds, shows how innovations in hyrology and gravity used by Kundig’s ancestors make the process of building as interesting as the final product. 

Watch the Design Giants segment with Tom Kundig here: 


On Wednesday’s DesignTV by SANDOW, Claudy Jongstra joined Allen for a 1on1 talk. The wool-felt artist has her pieces displayed in various places all over the world, with the connection to the environment being the main idea and inspiration behind every project. Working with local crafters and suppliers, Jongstra’s work is also environmentally friendly, down to the natural dyes she uses. “We’ve lost ourselves a bit in this over-consuming, tempting [sic] for the new things,” Jongstra says, “we’ve forgotten where we come from.” As Allen points out, designers are always looking for the new and the next, and now, the connection to nature and sustainability is au courant. “It’s almost healing, in a way,” Allen says before treating viewers to images of the 260-foot-long installation Jongstra and her team did for the University of Pennsylvania.

Because Jongstra works with a natural material with a 40-year lifespan, there is some maintenance, mainly keeping the surfaces dust free. Some benefits of having wool-felt in a space, Jongstra and Allen point out, include regulating humidity and enhancing acoustics. Jongstra has commissioned large-scale work for restaurants and libraries, and often these places share similar values such as caring for and cultivating natural resources in a sustainable way. Jongstra’s pieces are characterized by the diversity and range of her artistry, especially with the saturation she achieves with her material. 

Watch the 1on1 segment with Claudy Jongstra here: 

The week ended off with a revisit to a segment with Allen, Leanne Ford, and Sebastion Brauer. Ford has collaborated with Brauer and the team at Crate and Barrel to create a minimalist yet cohesive design that extends throughout the entire home. 

Watch the segment with Leanne Ford, and Sebastion Brauer here: 

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