Our May issue highlights the latest advancements in architectural acoustics from a piece on the making of Brooklyn’s National Sawdust to an article dedicated to materials and technology. In March we met both the architect and the owner of Europe’s most sustainable hotel located in Iceland, the ION. After a tour of the original ION located outside Reykjavik and surrounded completely by nature, we were given a tour of the nearly-finished city version: the ION’s double! Check out all the goodies this issue has to offer and be sure to connect with us on Twitter.
Algorithms and sound wave tracking technology have led to a metamorphosis in modern concert halls to produce a richer experience for the audience.
The swirling walls of the Elbphilharmonie concert hall, Hamburg’s newest, were designed by Herzog and De Meuron. While it may resemble an abstract work of art, its...
Behind a factory façade decorated with colorful creations, the auditorium at National Sawdust is even more striking. Intersecting black lines on the white walls, floor and ceiling break up a symmetrical space to generate the illusion of irregularity.
“In any major city, a post-industrial arts space is very understandable, so we wanted that familiarity and comfort, but also something that would linger in the memory,” said architect Peter Zuspan, a founding principal at Bureau V. “When you come through the lobby, it feels completely strange and different.”
National Sawdust lobby. Courtesy of the architect.
The zigzag channels are made from aluminum that is perforated to achieve acoustic transparency, finished with a synthetic fabric commonly used to protect the speakers of sound systems. The black channels also house technical elements such as lighting, power outlets and AV panels, eliminating visual interference from wires or cables.
The 12 interchangeable units measuring 1×2 m comprising the stage allow its configuration to be set depending on the show, with room for as much as 70 percent of a full orchestra. The auditorium is shielded by a custom 3×3 m vertically sliding door manufactured by Clark Door. It can be closed to effectively seal the space during acoustically sensitive performances.
Despite a strong synthesis between functionality and eye-catching aesthetics, some of the most intriguing innovations at National Sawdust—which opened in 2015—are not visible to concert-goers. Bureau V worked closely with engineers at Arup, a firm which uses proprietary data modeling software to simulate the acoustics of a space,a sonic parallel to architectural visualizations.
National Sawdust floor plan. Courtesy of the architect
“National Sawdust was the most complex project per square foot that we’ve ever done,” said consultant Matthew Mahon, who has been with the company since 2008. He identifies the most unusual feature as a set of velour curtains that hang between the acoustically transparent “skin” of the auditorium and the concrete outer wall; they allow the room to be tuned to artistic needs.
“Massive” black and white velour drapery surround Brooklyn’s music venue, National Sawdust, creating an “acoustic envelope”. iWeiss Theatrical Solutions built and installed a line-shaft for lighting positions and all of the drapery is hanging on iWeiss curtain track and attached by custom brackets into the solid concrete shell.
“It’s always going to look the same, even though we’re changing the acoustics,” Mahon told ArchiExpo e-Magazine. “When the concrete walls are exposed, it makes the room more reflective. When the drapes are in place, it becomes drier and less reverberative, which is more appropriate for amplified music.”
The auditorium is a box within the old factory shell surrounded by about 60 springs to absorb vibrations from trains rumbling their way from Manhattan to Brooklyn. “If you go to a movie in New York, you hear the subway,” said Zuspan of Bureau V. “The building precludes that noise because the sprung area is totally insulated.”
The land of fire and ice renders luxury difficult, and while most hotels in Iceland harness a rustic style, the Ion Luxury Adventure Hotel takes classy comfort to a new level: simple crème-de-la-crème beauty with a sustainable icing.
Award winning L.A.-based design studio Minarc completed the Ion Hotel in 2013,...
Slightly French and very Brazilian” is how premium furniture and household accessory brand Cremme defines itself on its website. The firm was founded in São Paolo in 2013 by two young French entrepreneurs, Hadrien Lelong and Pierre Colnet. Cremme products are available in-store and on the internet, and are inspired mainly by Scandinavian and Japanese design. In a word—simplicity.
“Simplicity is the highest form of sophistication. In it, you will find a perfectionism and dedication that only the more trained eye can catch. This is the philosophy that guides our business,” says Colnet, who is responsible for product development, branding and marketing, while Lelong takes care of finances and logistics.
Cremme works with designers from all over the world, including Frenchwoman Cécile Désille; Brazilians Fabricio Ronca, Ronaldo Duschenes, Dari Beck and Selma Calheira, and Argentinians Julieta Castillo and Patricia Lascano. The whole manufacturing process, though, is Cremme’s responsibility.
Courtesy of Cremme
The high quality finish of the products is impressive, and is reflected in the prices. For example, a dinner table displayed at the company’s shop in São Paulo’s Pinheiros neighborhood once made such an impression on a visitor that Pierre was asked if it had been manufactured in Italy.
Courtesy of Cremme
“We are really, really stubbornly selective, only working with manufacturers who give us the opportunity to discuss everything and participate in the whole manufacturing process. For example, the quality finish on that table is only possible when you depart from standard manufacturing procedures,” explains Pierre.
A fine example of the company’s philosophy is the Botané (Greek for botany) collection, made in partnership with Portuguese designer Pedro Ribeiro. It is inspired by the leaves of trees and plants he used to collect in São Paulo, his current home. Botané consists of five tables varying from 20 to 30 centimeters in height and of different proportions. They can be used either as separate side tables or stacked in an original way to create a large central table. Their solid tops can be ordered in different woods and colors, while the base is made of steel, with either a black or brass finish.
Mesa Botané by Cremme
However, it is not only about quality. Cremme’s goal is to promote the dreams and lifestyle philosophy behind their products, rather than just acting as curators of diverse furniture design. That is also why both Pierre and Hadrien have been involved in São Paulo’s artistic scene, hosting parties and events, such as a photography exhibition at the store. It could not get more French-Brazilian than that!