Condo Design Tips from an Award Winning Designer!

Monday, January 25, 2010


In a world of growing complexity, the relationship between technology and sustainability is a pressing issue of concern at the highest levels. There are countless books, articles, tv shows focused on sustainability, but what consumers need to know is that it all starts at a small scale, it starts with us, It all starts at home, one person at a time, one household at a time.

The idea of sustainability, or ecological design, is to ensure that our actions and decisions today do not inhibit the opportunities of future generations. Small lifestyle changes can lead to big benefits for the environment.

One of the design trends for 2010 is Home Design Style with a Conscience - it's all about eco-friendly design, products and implementation. There are many design concepts for products that will help us pay more attention to how much water and electricity we spend.
One design concept is an Energy-efficient refrigerator concept. A refrigerator that saves energy by minimizing the outflow of cool air. When you open the refrigerator door, warm air flows in and cool air flows out therefore an increase use of electrical power.
Korean designer Kim Yong-jin figured out a way to prevent the outflow of a considerable amount of cool air, go to his website, click on “shift” from the top menu.
Another cool project by the same designer is “switch”. Standby power refers to electrical power wasted by electronic appliances that are connected to power but not in use. Did you know that standby power represents 11% of total household electricity consumption?? But plugs are not easily disconnected from the socket, so they are just left connected plus once you disconnect them they are in the way and they pose a risk for electrical shock accidents.
The solution in concept is a switch that simply be turned instead of being unplugged. Switch- why hardly unplug? Just twist it easily- go to his website and click on "switch" from the top menu.
One other example is this Bathroom Mirror that shows Water Consumption in LEDs As You Wash Your Face.
This is just a concept design by designer Jin Kim for a bathroom mirror that monitors your water spending behaviour. More than that there is a control in the mirror so your supply is limited once you use too much water.

Designed to be a part of your home this intelligent mirror shows you the amount of water you use on the daily, monthly, and yearly basis. Blue color is for 24 hrs usage; green for 365 days and orange is for 12 months. There are LED colored lights on the rims of the mirror and each color represents the amount of water that runs through the sink to which the mirror is attached.
When you start using the water, the light turns on and the intensity of color changes with the usage. Read further...  
But at the end of the day, whether you live in a condo or a house, it’s up to all of us to be more conscious about what we do and how we try to save the planet, one step at a time, one person at a time. Ecosystems, consciousness and sustainability are definitely interconnected.
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Monday, January 18, 2010


Technology plays definitely a big role in the design developments of the past decade and will become stronger in the next decade, and not just in architectural or interior design but in all areas of design.

Home energy management system- Home dashboard concept- atom based device that provides relevant and detailed information on the overall consumption of energy.

The Intel® Atom™ processor is the heart of a low-power embedded computing panel designed to exchange monitoring and control data with smart appliances, smart plugs, smart electric utility meters and sensors located throughout the home.

The concept design is a central control center that provides family members with information to help them plan their daily activities, control utility costs, access personal messages and activate home security systems.

When you’re able to monitor and control data with smart appliances, smart plugs, smart electric utility meters and the sensors located throughout your phone, your home will certainly become more energy efficient.

This is something that can definitely help you upgrade your condo unit. I see the implementation of this system more feasible if developers are incorporating it in one of the upgrade packages. There are already many new developments that are offering similar energy management systems in the new high rise developments and this is definitely a feature that will increase the value of your condo.

Intelligent home energy management proof of concept- explore the demo

There are lots of people who are constantly searching for all the new gadgets that help make our lives more comfortable, but there are certainly lots of people who enjoy to be in control of everything around their home and not let a “robot” control their lives- here’s an example of how our homes and lives can be fully controlled by these new devices. Watch this

Monday, January 11, 2010

Top 5 Design Trends for 2010

Today, condo dwelling defines the cutting edge of urban living. Like everything else condominiums have had an interesting evolution in development and design (cutting edge and green design being the driving force). Condominiums developed over the past few years include large amenities spaces like recreation rooms, pools, banquet rooms, cyber lounges, roof top patios, theatres, indoor gym courts all for the use of residents.

The design of our living spaces has evolved in a synchronized tandem with everything from industrial design, automobile design, fashion design and with gadgets design.

"It was the best of times it was the worst of times. A look back at the last ten years in the design world reveals 14 moments where design changed the way we interacted with technology, culture, sustainability, and ourselves." Read further...

There are many design trends for 2010, all very interesting as they are a result of the design evolution of everything else around us including a new thinking that includes sustainability.
I personally think it’s time to focus more on creating a personality for our spaces and to embrace individuality. When it comes to condominiums units, we should definitely try to have our own design that not only suits our lifestyle but helps creating it. Here is a scoop of the design trends for 2010 as shown in Condo Guide magazine January- February 2010 edition.

1. Eco conscious designs will become more affordable thus more people will embrace the idea and go for sustainability when choosing finishes, furniture and even a house or a condo- as showcased by the Award Winning Design for Spring at Minto Gardens Model Suites.

2. Mix of low end and high end- people will try to bring authenticity in their home designs with accessories and one-of-a-kind items, combining used, classic and contemporary pieces.

3. A combination of elegant and high-tech will be a recurring theme that will last well beyond 2010, with luscious patterns and textures used for décor complemented by high tech systems nicely hidden behind the walls.

4. The entire palette of white & grey tones will become the neutrals and the base for our overall color schemes, but they will have hot colors sprinkled as accents like magenta, orange, yellow, turquoise, violet and their softer versions of pale pink, papaya and fuchsia, aqua, lavender. Also rich tones of greens like moss green will be part of the summer designs like white and moss green designs.

5. It will be an eclectic look when it comes to pattern trends, from vintage floral Japanese textiles to Moroccan, Indian and South American motifs, all combined with different fabrics like taffeta, coated canvas, cotton, thick linen, laces, voile, fine tulle and embroideries. I think layering different textures of similar, if not identical colors will be an interesting way to accessorize a home but also an outfit.

Design has a way of shaping people’s lives, their feelings, their emotions and their behavior. Our life is created and continuously shaped by us, by our stories about what we see, what we think, what we see and how we feel.

The global influences are seen in almost every aspect of interior design. Although most people only see the resulting design feature, global design has roots in many years of historical reference. We have a more design savvy public with a fierce appetite for renovation and decor. Technology plays definitely a big role in the design developments of the past decade and will become stronger in the next decade, and not just in architectural or interior design but in all areas of design. We’ll explore this area in more details in a future post. We have interesting times ahead....

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Many of you are asking me the question: why are condo units so small? Well, the answer comes easy- becomes there is a demand for small units in certain real estate markets. There are many single professionals who are out for the most of the day and don’t spend too much time at home, however they need a place close to work and definitely they want to reap the rewards of ownership.

What I can tell you for sure is that the quality of a living space does not depend on the size, there are many ways you can have all the elements and all your condo design indeas integrated so perfectly that you can even tell how small the space is.

Italian home furnishings brand Poliform and their kitchen design brand Varenna have developed an inspirational site that showcases their products and the possibilities of small spaces.
It is called My Life in 80m² — that's aprox. 861 square feet — is a beautiful collection of photos and design ideas that maximize functionality and that are intertwined with one’s life style and manage to fill the space with the right mood. There are countless possibilities of living in a small space, but the idea is that a great, meaningfull life lived in the right place at the right moment is worth more than an empty life lived in a large space.

PS: you can manage the site by watching the video presentation first and then disengage the "auto" function and manually progress through the site to see the project details including floor plans. Poliform makes beautiful storage pieces and I absolutely love the simplicity of the Varenna kitchen that includes integrated appliances, a tuck-away fume hood and space for recycling.

Remember that one of the best features in a condo is a well designed and well equipped kitchen and recycling and storage are one of the functions that will be emphasized in the new decade (Yes! 2010 is the gate to a new decade, can you believe it?)

While Poliform could be considered a pricy alternative for some buyers, the My Life in 80 Square Meters website helps to demonstrate that you can create a luxurious living space by knowing how to carefully select few key pieces, so it’s all about quality and not quantity, especially when living in a small space.
Check out My Life in 80 Square Meters for the complete list of Poliform and Varenna brand furnishings.

Wishing you good times, good cheer, and a Happy New Year!
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