The Great Indoors Awards 2007

November 17th, 2007

NAi Maastricht

Japan and the UK reign, retail gains

Five awards of The Great Indoors 2007 were distributed in the NAi Maastricht, the Netherlands.
The jury voted unanimously for these five selected entries:

Interior Design Firm of the Year:

Wonderwall Inc., Tokyo

Ryui Nakamura Architects, Tokyo
Jin's Eywear Store, Chiba (Japan)
Heatherwick Studios, London
East Beach Café, Littlehampton (UK)

Zaha Hadid Architects, London
Winery, Haro (Spain)

Item Idem, Tokyo
Bernhard Wilhelm Store, Tokyo 

The Jury's choice of these outstanding projects was based on a previous selection of 23 nominees out of 275 entries.

Coherence of interior and exterior
The visitors and wine-tasting centre R. Lopez de Heredia in Spain, designed by architect Zaha Hadid (UK) and the East Beach Café in England, produced by multifaceted designer Thomas Heatherwick (UK) were praised for forming a coherent whole of interior and exterior. 
The jury agreed that the iconic exteriors of both structures have given rise to interiors that are undeniably related to their shells but also striking in their own right. Selecting these two designs was the jury's way of emphasizing the importance of projects in which exterior and interior are seen as equal parts of one task, preferably to be realized by a single designer or design firm.

Transcending restrictions
The contrary goes for both projects winning The Great Indoors Award, where the refusal to acknowledge the existence of the immediate surroundings added to the quality of the design. The Bernhard Willhelm flagship store in Shibuya, Tokyo, shows an exuberant interior by design collective Item Idem (Japan), located in a department store. Inspired by Bernhard Willhelm's fashion brand, Item Idem laid siege to the conventions of high-fashion retail outlets. Jin's Global Standard, an eyewear shop in Nagareyama (Tokyo) designed by architect Ryuji Nakamura (Japan) might be an unlikely project to win a prize, being 
situated in a shopping mall which is seldom the location of innovative retail concepts. Nakamura transcended restrictions and ignored the ironclad rules of a shopping mall to create a strongly conceptual yet extremely customer-friendly interior.

Retail reigns
Retail reigns at The Great Indoors Award of 2007. The prize for Interior Design Firm of the Year goes also to an outfit whose name is synonymous with retail projects. The trademark of Wonderwall (Japan), founded by designer Masamichi Katayama, was commended for the sometimes hilarious fusion of polished decadence and bizarre humour. Luxury, a must in hardcore retail, radiates from the abundance of details and the degree of perfection that this firm pours into its projects.

Jury The Great Indoors Award 2007
The Jury of The Great Indoors Award 2007 consisted of Rolf Fehlbaum (CEO Vitra), Renny Ramakers (Founding Director Droog Design), Andrej Kupetz (General Manager German Design Council and Director of Zollverein School), Claus Sendlinger (CEO and President of Design Hotels AG) and Wiel Arets (Architect and Founder of Wiel Arets Architects).

The Great Indoors 2007
The Great Indoors is a new, biennial, international interior design award. Interior design is currently the most vital field of the design profession? combines the disciplines of fashion, architecture, and product design. By signalling the best interior design world-wide, The Great Indoors AWARD wishes to celebrate the best-realised projects biennially, thus raising the quality of interior design. The Great Indoors CONFERENCE aims to contribute to the international discourse on and the growing importance of interior design. In addition, The Great Indoors WORKSHOPS intend to give a positive impulse to design education and to the positions of both designers and clients within interior design.

  Nominees The Great Indoors 2007:  
Maurice Mentjens Design, Maastricht
nominee Interior Design Firm of the Year
Neri & Hu Design, Shanghai
nominee Interior Design Firm of the Year
Concrete Architecture Associates, Amsterdam
nominee Interior Design Firm of the Year
Clive Wilkinson Architects, West Hollywood
VOID Planning, Seoul  
Jeroen Mayer H Architects, Berlin  
Ministry of Design, Singapore  
E15 Design und Distributions, Oberursel (Germany)  
Richard Hutten Studio, Rotterdam  
Klein Dytham Architecture, Tokyo  
Studio van Eijk van der Lubbe, Geldrop (Netherlands)  
Diretribe, Melbourne  
Concrete Architectural Associates, Amsterdam  
Office dA, Boston  
Kossmann de Jong, Amsterdam  
JKMM Architects, Helsinki  
Steve Lidbury Design, Tokyo  
  Initiators of The Great Indoors are:
Frame magazine
Marres, Centre for Contemporary Culture (Maastricht, NL)
Netherlands Architecture Institute Maastricht (Maastricht, NL).
The province of Limburg and the city of Maastricht are providing generous support for award, conference, and workshops.