The 18th Annual Starnet Design Awards were one of the major highlights of Starnet Worldwide Commercial Flooring Partnership’s Annual Meeting which was recently held in Miami.
The awards recognize creativity, professionalism, quality and versatility, and this year’s winners encapsulated the power of innovative and bold flooring installation in commercial interior design. From a critically acclaimed, environmentally conscious airport project to the renovation of a national treasure that plays host to astronauts and space-flight enthusiasts, the projects had judges and competitors seeing stars.
“Once again, we are awestruck and proud of the work done by Starnet Members throughout the country,” said Jeanne Matson, president and CEO of Starnet. “The Design Awards allow us to come together and recognize this talent and creativity. This year’s winners demonstrate to the entire industry that outstanding flooring design and craftsmanship can achieve amazing results in the commercial market. The Design Awards also allow us to showcase the collaboration between our members, vendor partners and the A&D community. It’s a team effort that strengthens relationships and fosters innovation.”
Gold, silver and bronze prizes were awarded in six judged categories: Healthcare, Corporate, Education, Hospitality/Public Space, Environmental Achievement and Unique Installation Challenge. Votes from Starnet members, vendor partners and members of the trade press selected the winners of the third annual People’s Choice Awards.
The winning projects were selected by a panel of nationally recognized and award-winning A&D professionals, including Paul Lewandowski, design principal, Lavallee Brensinger Architects; Scott MacMeekin, associate, Gensler and Megan Walker, senior interior designer, Eppstein Uhen Architects.
Honorary judges for the Environmental Achievement and Unique Installation Challenge Awards were Robert Peoples, executive director of Carpet American Recovery Effort (CARE) and John McGrath, director of INSTALL, respectively.
Grand Prize Winner/Gold in Corporate
The most prestigious award, the Grand Prize, was presented to Starnet Member Resource Colorado of Denver for their work at IMM TI. The installation at the Boulder, Colo., based digital agency also captured the Gold in Corporate.
“The entire team is honored to win both Gold in Corporate and the Grand Prize at the 2016 Starnet Design Awards,” said John Stanfield, owner of Resource Colorado. “This project allowed us to flex our design and installation muscles and create a space that supported IMM’s staff and exuded their branding. The finished product represents our original mission for the building: revitalization, productivity and identity.”
The overall aesthetic was an industrial, neutral palette to which the flooring team added pops of color in the carpet, the greenery and specific paint locations in order to align with the client’s professional but playful persona. A variety of collaborative and individual workspaces were integrated into the plan to support a range of staff work styles. Built-in nooks, standing height touchdown spaces and informal “living room” style meeting areas were all key factors in designing for company productivity, flexibility and staff satisfaction.
Gold in Environmental Achievement
The Gold in Environmental Achievement was awarded to Rubenstein’s Contract Carpets for its work on the Portland International Airport (PDX) Terminal Recarpeting. The project, which gained national attention through coverage in the Wall Street Journal, Smithsonian, New York Times and on NBC Nightly News, was done over 10 months in a fully operational airport. It saw the complete removal, reclamation and replacement of 14 ACRES of carpeting, in an airport that was known for its iconic carpet pattern.
The environmental story at the Portland Airport goes beyond recycled content, sustainability and LEED points (even though those were important factors). This project was all about the direct reuse of 14 acres of used carpet, without additional processing and direct recycling into carpet pad. Rubenstein was able to repurpose and upcycle many of the products into entry mats, area rugs, wall art, Christmas ornaments, community center carpet, flooring for a renovated 100-year-old building and a baseball practice hitting facility. In the end, they were able to salvage or repurpose 10,080 square yards of iconic PDX carpet and 10,930 square yards of "other carpet from project."
Gold in Unique Installation Challenge
This year’s Unique Installation Challenge prize was awarded to Mr. David’s Flooring International for its work on a true national treasure. The Kennedy Space Center’s Astronaut Encounter on Merritt Island, Fla., recently underwent a total system reboot. The dated complex, which includes a lobby/holding area, theater, gallery and corridors, was given a thorough refresh, and a futuristic new look promises to keep visitors enthralled for years to come.
While some areas required simple modifications, the newly redesigned 1,500 square-foot lobby and 4,000 square-foot theater were a complete redesign and rebuild. Along with new theater carpet flooring and wall carpeting, the lobby included black hexagonal tiles with an integrated LED programmed light show.
The challenge was to integrate the LED light system with the multi-angled hexagonal tile. Each tile side was intricately inset with aluminum LED track, lighting and acrylic face. This exercise took two weeks to complete, impressive for the size and scope of a project located in a remote and high-security location. Even more impressive was that the flooring installation happened at the exact same time as all other projects, requiring much coordination and planning.
“We absolutely loved the teamwork that was required to coordinate details between multiple spaces, but we also loved what’s happening with the lighting, the walls and the flooring,” said Lewandowski. “The detail that went into this was really fantastic. The floor just adds another level of texture. It’s a very cohesive concept and is incredibly unique as far as the aesthetic of the space,” added Walker. MacMeekin was also impressed, stating, “The technical aspect coupled with the intricate design makes this project really special. The team had the security issues of working at the space center and getting materials to the remote site, yet these challenges made the end project all the more interesting.”
Gold in Healthcare/Gold in People’s Choice
Mr. David’s Flooring International was also awarded the Gold in Healthcare and the Gold in People’s Choice for their work at the Rush University Medical Center Pediatric Intensive Care Unit in Chicago. Born out of the idea that sick children often look down at the floor (instead of up at colorful wall graphics and images in the pediatric ICU, Mr. David’s and Designer Proteus Group worked with doctors, nurses and a worried father to create a flooring solution that was both inspirational and provided a sense of escape from the reality of a very serious healthcare setting.
Divided into the ICU’s four quadrants, the installation includes images of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, all unique to the Chicago area. From Spring’s budding trees and dragonflies to Summer’s beach balls and footprints in the sand, the flooring motif led to Autumn’s falling leaves and footballs and finally arrived at Winter’s frozen puddles, snowmen and hockey sticks. The floor has since become a tool of healing for all ages. Soothing colors and gently flowing shapes encouraged very young children to find peaceful distraction, while still creating “find the flying kite” or “seek the sun” walking games for school-aged children who realized that they had recuperated enough to walk again.
As the center of a multi-layered visual program, the flooring imagery interconnects the various images of Chicago’s seasons on the walls, at light sconces, on patient boards, and even at room signage stations throughout the Unit. The highly successful flooring design has been credited for bringing a cheerful, healing environment with many layers of visual interest for all ages, one-time patients or frequent flyers, the medical/nursing staff and the patients’ families. This happy consequence highlights how looking down can truly start the healing process towards lifting a patient’s spirits, one fallen leaf at a time.
Gold in Education
The New Jersey City University for Business, a master class in color, scale and material selection, was selected as the winner in the Education Category. Completed by Starnet Member Consolidated Carpet, the design adapts 52,000 square-feet of former warehouse space, maximizing natural light and the amazing views of Lower Manhattan while allowing for future flexibility. The existing concrete columns and much of the ceilings are exposed, taking advantage of the character of the original architecture, and the floors were partially removed at the main entry to create a dramatic, two-story lobby with lounge seating, a monumental stair, a donor wall and direct views into the "trading room."
The new spaces feature glass walls, bright colors, dramatic textures and cutting-edge, sustainable materials, providing NJCU with a state-of-the-art business school, right in the middle of the financial center of the world.
“There is a great variety of materials, patterns and colors used in the space,” said Lewandowski. “The new building refrains from going over the top and the design team addressing emerging trends in creating a modern, functional workspace environment. This is especially important for a school of business as it showcases the crossover corporate/education environment representative of where these students will eventually end up.”
Gold in Hospitality/Public Space
HarborChase of Shorewood, a retirement community with an “Urban Lodge” theme, took the Gold in Hospitality/Public Space. Completed by Mr. David’s Flooring, the four-story, 59-resident assisted living center and single-story 41-resident memory care building feature an array of destinations to fuel body, mind and spirit.
A mix of neutral-toned flooring is found throughout the grand entrance, corridors, five different hospitality-infused dining spaces, salon, Wii bowling alley, memory care wing, living rooms and light-filled double-height activity space.
“The result is a sense of warmth,” said Walker.” It is a combination of spaces that integrate everything from warm wood beams to warm textures and colors on the floor. HarborChase also offers an excellent sense of unity, with design consistency throughout.”
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