Futura Interiors

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Archive for March, 2010

Westweek – 032510

by Erline M. Altamira

The Pacific Design Center (PDC) is the venue of the annual Westweek that stands in the center of the Avenues of Design. Our team attended various events on March 25, 2010 from a morning continental breakfast at the Fabricut/S. Harris/Vervian showroom, Keynote discussion at the Blus Conference center to a notable book signing with Kelly Wearstler.

Thankfully our team was able to reconnect with friends, absorb words from reputable industry peers, and remember what Westweek is all about. There were many activities to choose from on Thursday but most of the team met Margaret Russell during her book signing hosted by Farrow & Ball, attended the Keynote at 11am, took notes at the Donghia presentation, met renown Orlando Diaz-Azcuy at Kneedler I Fauchere, then lastly to the Lee Jofa showroom for Kelly Wearstler’s book signing.

It was nostalgic walking through the corridors and seeing the changes the PDC has had since I worked there, but great to experience all the programs & events I could attend. Thank you to all the showrooms/manufacturers and great mentors who shared their time and talents. Our team left with words of inspiration and the pleasant thoughts of our industry coming back in full force.


Don’t be afraid

by Erline M. Altamira

When pulling an interior scheme together, don’t be afraid of using finishes that do not “match”. Items selected should relate or compliment each other but your furniture pieces/accessories can be different finishes or styles. The eclectic or collected look can stand timeless and here are a few tips in areas you can focus on.

Collaborating wood finishes: Try mixing medium and dark colored woods like natural walnut wood with zebrawood. The zebrawood consists of warm medium and dark tones, which are complimented by the natural hue of walnut tomes.

Emphasize with metals: Bringing metal gold tones and stainless steel finishes adds a nice sleek detail that can help accent any area. There are polished, matte, hammered, and other various metal finishes that can add texture and depth.

Cool and warm paints: If you decide to use different paint colors in adjacent rooms consider how they will look side by side if the walls meet. Try to stick with either warm or cool colors especially if the rooms are open to one another. Remember that the natural light that enters through the windows will affect the hues of the paint.

Contrasting floor treatments: A mix of stone tiles with wood detailing can be dramatic if the flooring layout has a pattern of interest. This can also help differentiate areas or beak up large rooms.

Have fun with when selecting finishes for your scheme!!

Non toxic paints, a win win situation!

Posted by: Cindy Lam

In today’s market, there are vast products that are made with the environment in mind.  From wall paper to shoes, designers are more conscious about the products they specify and the long term use of such things.  Last week I talked about the psychology of paint colors and with that said, I’m sure some of you may want to consider the different options you have when it comes to the types of paints you can use. 

For those of you who are not familiar with low VOC points, VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compound.  This means chemicals are released by certain interior paints affecting indoor air quality which may trigger asthma attacks, eye irritation and respiratory problems, nausea and dizziness among other symptoms.  For products to be categorized as low-VOC and zero-VOC, paints must meet standards set by the U.S. Environmental protection agency. 

There are many alternative paint options we can choose from such as: Low Odor or Low VOC Paint, Zero VOC Paint and Non-Toxic or Natural Paint.  Low VOC paints use water as a carrier instead of petroleum based solvents.  There are harmful emissions as regular paint but there is a lower solvent coating therefore making it a Low VOC.  Zero VOC paint with VOC’s in the range of 5 grams or less can be considered “Zero VOC” according to the Environmental Protection Agency.  High fumes in some paints can cause eye and throat irritation, as well as headaches, nausea and dizziness. 

Why not use paint that is good for your family and better for our world?  The next time you go out to buy gallons of paint, you may want to consider the health hazards it has on your environment.  Many people are discouraged that low VOC paints cost more than the regular paints but to my surprise, there is not a big difference between the two.

Budget Cautious

by Erline M. Altamira

Whenever you approach a project, the number one item that should be discussed up front is the project (client’s) budget. Some clients may say there is no budget or may state it is $XXX when it is actually $X; that’s a recipe for add-on service design fees. It is very important to have the budget information when designing and selecting materials because the budget drives most of the design. If the budget is an unknown figure, sooner or later it will definitely come into play.

Every project has a specific budget for every specific thing. There is a budget for the landscaping, a budget for the lighting, a budget for furniture, etc. on top of the budget for all the various design firms’ fees. The problem is some projects have not taken the time to figure out the itemized budget before the project starts. This creates issues especially when the originally approved no budget selections will later need to be “value engineered.” This term can simply suggests either cut out some items from the design or an even more challenging exercise is to keep all elements but redesign with monetary restrictions.

Reselect, redesign, resource new vendor, “value engineer”…but try to keep the quality and integrity of the design intact so you/your design firm can still be proud of the end product. In the end if you/ your design firm can at least see 50% of their design in tact, which is an accomplishment. So be cautious and know what figures you are required to work with because in most projects, there is always a budget.

The Psychology behind color

By: Cindy Lam

Do you ever wonder how color in a room can affect your mood, your emotions or behavior? Believe it or not, color can have an effect on how we feel both mentally and physically.  Ancient cultures used colors for therapeutic reasons.  Colors can affect not only the mood in a room but also affect people and their choices. 

Psychologists have suggested that color impression can account for 60% of the acceptance or rejection of a product or service.  Market researchers have also determined that color affects shopping habits. 

The next time you select a color for a room, you may want to think about the mood you are seeking.  According to online resources, general colors such as reds, blues, greens and yellows are said to evoke certain feelings and moods.

Red: is associated with boldness, excitement and desire.  It’s viewed as a powerful color and will usually be the color that grabs the most attention.  This color may be wrong for a baby’s room but great for a gym or a place to get people excited.

Blue: Blue is one of the most popular colors.  It resembles stability, trust and is believed to soothe illnesses.  Many people tend to paint their rooms blue because it’s a restful color and is associated with the skies, seas etc. therefore naturally, it’s a safe color. 

Green: is the color of nature and resembles safety and durability and in some cultures resembles good luck, generosity and fertility.  It is identified as a calming and stress relieving color.

Yellow: is associated to the feeling of happiness, it is the closest color to the sun and is thought to increases energy level and stimulate the nerves.  Yellow is said to speed up our metabolism and bring out some creative thoughts. 

For an in depth explanation on the study of color:

Title: Living Colors: A Definitive Guide to Color Palettes Through the Ages by: Margaret Walch

Title: The Designers Guide to Color Combinations: 500+ Historic and Modern Color Formulas in CMYK by: Leslie Cabarga

The Key to Space Planning

By Tina Howell

We are currently working on a corporate office design project, based in Hong Kong. The existing site is currently used as a warehouse space, and the new design will serve as an office and retail showroom. Two teams were approaching the project with the same concept boards and requirements. Other than each team’s unique design and presentation styles, the results of the space layouts are quite different. With only one design selected for the next design phase, the subtle differences could determine a team’s success. Based on our initial review, following are some of the critical criteria to good space planning.

  • Program

From the outset, interior designers need to be able to provide professional recommendations to clients. Good designers are able to accommodate clients needs but also able to convey and integrate those needs with industry best practices.

  • Function

Good designs should reflect effective space planning and help increasing occupants’ productivity. The detail to attention such as traffic control, window treatments, ceiling plan, and efficient use of space differentiates excellent designs from average designs.

  • Presentation

Good design should be complete, appealing and self explanatory. On the drawings/sketches, every line means something. Appropriate hatching, coloring, illustrations and notations could improve communication and reduce confusions.

We are excited to move forward with the same principles to the next design phase.

10 Green Facts About Los Angeles

by Nicole Shen

  1. L.A. was the first city to require that city-owned buildings be built to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) specifications – the internationally recognized standard for constructing eco-friendly buildings.
  2. L.A. has the highest solid waste recycle rate of any large American city – 62 percent.
  3. The Los Angeles Convention Center is the largest solar-generating complex in North America.
  4. Nearly 10 perecent of all L.A.’s energy comes from renewable resources, including solar and wind power.
  5. L.A. boasts the single-largest fuel cell power plant at any university in the world, at the California State University Northridge (CSUN) campus in the San Fernando Valley.
  6. Eighty percent of the City’s trash trucks and street sweepers run on natural gas.
  7. The Port of Los Angeles is slashing in port-air pollution by half with its five-year Clean Air Action Plan.  It will replace diesel-powered equipment with clean, natural gas and electric-powered equipment.
  8. L.A. boasts the nation’s largest fleet of clean, green buses – 2,500 – all powered by compressed natural gas.
  9. L.A. recycles more than 850 tons of restaurant food waste a month into compost that is sold to local farms and vineyars.
  10. Los Angeles International Airports (LAX) uses non-polluting green soucres for up to 35 percent of its electrical power.

Courtesy of LA INC. The Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau – www.discoverlosangeles.com