Furniture to meet Gen Y demands

Steelcase, an office furniture has launched its new Manifesto and Lexicon furnishing system ranges. These new systems were designed specifically for Gen-Y workers now entering the workforce in large numbers in India and the other Asian region. Steelcase also marked the opening with Think Art, an “art meets chair” themed exhibition featuring inspired works by leading designers and artists in India. The development of the new ranges grew out of insights gained from recent research conducted by Steelcase to explore the changing workplace needs of Generation Y and the current day workers in India. The research revealed that work styles, new work-life demands and increasing workspace density are all contributing to changing the way systems and storage in the workplace are planned and used.

Manifesto supports 3-dimensional space management, to enable the creation of complete workplaces that facilitate individual and team work in a variety of settings. Manifesto applies five key design principles to make the best possible use of space, helping individuals to work the way they like.

The Lexicon range makes it easy to create a variety of workplace applications for both individual and collaborative work, with simple solutions for every requirement from benches to desks to panel configurations and tables, using the same range of components and elements. It brings a fresh balance to the need to support work and life, helping balance task and collaborative teamwork, personal and public items, and to enable the personalisation of individual workspaces to support the ways people work.

The refashioning of the award-winning Think chair is Steelcase’s inspired response to creating a working environment that is more fun and creative. Generation Y is the dominant force in shaping India and will have a dramatic global impact over the next 20 years.

“In 2011, Steelcase strengthened its India strategy by developing more Gen-Y products to highlight the core concept of ‘you are unique, you are the future,’” added Gwinner.

Birch Court in Chennai

Unitech, an integrated developer of large-scale real estate projects, has launched ‘Birch Court’, a plotted development as part of their township project at Nallambakkam in Chennai. It is the second phase of plotted development in Uniworld City, a 220-acre integrated township.

Aspen Greens was the first phase of plotted development in Uniworld City, Chennai. With the IT sector on the upswing and stability in jobs, there is a rise in demand for quality residential projects in Chennai.

Uniworld City, Chennai was launched by Unitech as part of its strategy to strengthen company’s footprint in South India.  Uniworld City is in close proximity to GST Road and Old Mahabalipuram which are growing fast into automotive and IT hubs.

It is also in close proximity to the proposed campus of VIT, IIIT DM and new Sports University. The newly launched project, Birch Court, is spread over 6.76 acres.

Art of the matter

You are one of the thousands of young people moving into your new home; some of you may even be setting up your first home away from your parents’ home. Your excitement mounts as you arrange the furniture, put away your ‘stuff’ and order your curtains or blinds and settle down.

Suddenly as you look around, something is missing. What is it?

The bare walls tell a story. As products of Next Gen, Net Gen and all others of any “click” generation, who barely ever use a watch let alone a calendar, (what are phones for?) obviously you have dispensed with the garish calendars of your parents’ and grandparents’ generation. We do, however, need something to jazz up our bare walls. 

This is where art plays an important role. Art does not have to be a Picasso or a Hussain. You can start by buying what appeals to you and then graduate to spotting artwork which will appreciate with time. Shopping for artwork itself is a joy but before you run willy-nilly and pick up random pieces, it is important to bear in mind where you will hang the art.

For example, many people buy a nice sofa and hang a great piece of artwork way too high above it. Remember this masterpiece is for your pleasure. You should be able to enjoy it and the same time it should complement your décor.

When hanging pictures over a sofa or a bed (these are called the anchor), the artwork should be approximately two-thirds as wide as the anchor.

Thus, if you have a 1.5 metre (or about five feet) sofa or bed, the artwork should be about one metre wide. If you feel this is too wide for one picture, you can combine pieces which total about one metre in width.

Perhaps the most common mistake we make is hanging the pictures taking into consideration the ceiling. The main determinant is the anchor, with the height of the ceiling playing a subsidiary role. In a room with a low ceiling, the picture should be hung 20 cm (about eight inches) above the anchor, and if the ceiling is high, the picture is to be 30 cm (or 12 inches) from the anchor.

The above are probably the easiest rules for hanging art. For floating artwork, or pictures hanging where there are no anchors, the best way to assess a good site is to consider every angle from where the picture is likely to be viewed. The rule of thumb is to measure 150 to 165 cm i.e. 60 to 66 inches, from the floor and keep the middle of the picture at this height. This is what is called hanging a picture at eye-level.

The shape and location of your wall also play a role in determining how you hang your art work; for instance, if you want to fill some wall space between two doors you should choose art that you can hang vertically.

Once you get an eye for your art and a feel for what’s right with respect to putting it up, nothing can stop you from getting hung up on art!

Prema Varadarajan

For architectural excellence

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced the winners of the 2011 RIBA Awards for architectural excellence. They will be presented to 97 buildings in the United Kingdom and Europe – 89 in the UK and eight in the rest of the European Union.
The shortlist for the coveted RIBA Stirling Prize for the building of the year will be drawn from the  97 RIBA Award winners.

This year’s RIBA award-winning buildings range geographically from a winery in Spain to a community hall on the Scottish Hebridean island of Raasay, and in style from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford to ‘Love Shack’, a self-build hideaway in the Lake district National Park in north-west England. The recently completed Velodrome is the first ever 2012 London Olympics event building to win an architectural prize, and is one of five RIBA Awards for Hopkins Architects, who were previously shortlisted three times for the RIBA Stirling Prize.

This year has been an exceptional one for private houses, which constitute 17 out of the 89 U.K. winners of the RIBA Awards.  Educational institutions also figure prominently, with 14 schools and nine university buildings winning awards. 

Last year’s  Stirling Prize winner, Zaha Hadid, is an award winner this year with the Evelyn Grace Academy in south London.

The President of  RIBA, Ruth Reed, said, “For 46 years the RIBA Awards have reflected the health of British architecture.

 This year’s winners show that, in spite of a terrible worldwide recession, many exceptional buildings have been, and continue to be, built in the UK  and overseas.

These well-designed buildings will add huge value to the lives, prosperity, health and pride of their owners, users and communities, and I am delighted with this year’s selection.  We are promised an interesting RIBA Stirling Prize shortlist.”

Achal Narayanan