Berlin Designs, Inc. Blog: Design Rituals

... a passionate revelation of my design rituals ...
a passionate account from a South Florida award-wining interior designer who is blessed to celebrate her 20th year anniversary of designing "interiors that lift your spirit™"
Welcome! The search is finally over. That perfect marriage of understanding without words:one look, one image, a breathtaking view... Someone who will know how to interpret her client's wishes by listening to all the unsaid words, seeing the cues, perceiving the feelings with a simple gaze.
I am the lucky designer who will get to go into the personal spaces in your life, your office or home. That place you call your own, where you can be you. Your surroundings matter to me, my passion is to let the best of you shine through the space you occupy. No antiseptic rooms, catalog photo-shoot ready, rather the elegant comfort of a back porch at sunset is the feeling I want in the interior of your private spaces. The sink-down comfort of being in your OWN space.
Let your smile shine as you enjoy learning about my passion for design. Then, you will see why we say: experience Interiors that lift your spirit™.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Controversial Ground Zero shall yet soar

As the soaring bird-like design for his World Trade Center PATH station has been endlessly pared down over the years due to budget concerns and other troubles at Ground Zero, Santiago Calatrava has maintained his cool—happily redesigning signature elements to trim costs and repeatedly telling reporters what an honor it is just to be involved. But New York Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff feels Calatrava's pain and goes to bat for the Spanish starchitect, using the unveiling of a new model of the revised design to praise Calatrava's skill and problem-solving while shredding pretty much everything else about the project—including its placement at the WTC (creating too long of a connection to the MTA's Fulton Transit Center), the excessive retail added to the Grand Central-inspired underground "Great Hall," the forced tweaks to the design and the overall limited use of the station. Calatrava doesn't come away completely unscathed, with Ouroussoff criticizing the limited number of entries and the fact that there's no way to get to the street directly from the train platforms, but in the end Ouroussoff pins the blame on forces greater than Calatrava. The "seeds of the design's failure were there from the very beginning," he writes, and the PATH station just "reinforces the likelihood that one day, decades from now, when the site is finally completed, it will stand as a testament to our inability to put self-interests aside in the face of one of America’s greatest tragedies."

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ylighting brings Spanish designer overseas

Gandia Blasco from Ylighting

Gandia Blasco was born in 1941 as a family business in Valencia, basing its activity in the manufacture of blankets and traditional bedspreads. This activity was kept for more than 40 years until it was decided to give the company a strategic change in the mid-1980s. Gandia Blasco decided to change its focus toward the production and design of home-textiles, furniture, and lighting. All of the products designed and distributed by Gandia Blasco share the same qualities and features: modern, fresh design with personality.

Outdoor life and all the products related to it are the main objective and focus of the company, taking the warmth and luxury of the interior to the outdoor environment.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Kitchen remodel

Before and After

I always feel a sense of pride and accomplishment when I see the amazing changes a room undergoes during the process of remodeling. The existing architecture dictates the shapes and elements, but is the details that make the dream a reality. All the unexpected repetitions of a theme add visual power and interest. These elements can be adapted from other areas of the surrounding rooms, be it the diamond basket weave motif of the frosted glass panels or similar wood trims or finishes. Perhaps the shapes that evoke sensual curves on a counter top invite the guests and homeowner to become one with the space, allowing for traffic flow to be second nature.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Duravit Showroom in NYC

Duravit invited a few select designers from the Miami and Chicago area to attend a 2-day in depth product overview course as well as a sneak preview on their new items to be added to their amazing collection.

A full detailed explanation went into the German company's profile, Worldwide locations and position in the luxury market. Further, an insider's view of how Duravit has been doing manufacturing in a green and ecologically sensible way for over 40 years was a remarkable example to learn from.

Their partner Geberit has afforded them the edge in wall mounted sanitary toilets, urinals and bidets, thus saving precious and top dollar square feet for developers throughout the U.S.

In addition their association with designers the like of Phillipe Stark has elevated the luxury and branding efforts of Duravit to a level of unparalleled beauty and style. A true display of German engineering at it's best! Well done Duravit!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

World's First: Non-profit luxury eco-resort announced

January 14, 2009– (Atlanta, GA) The Cacao Pearl, Palawan: the world's first non-profit and luxury eco-resort community to commit 100 per cent of operating profits to environmental protection and social improvements will be built on a 124 acre private island in the Calamianes archipelago, at the northernmost tip of the Palawan Biosphere Reserve in the Philippines.

The Cacao Pearl will occupy an entire private island, with 124 acres of lush rainforest and towering coconut trees fringed with over a mile of pristine beaches, according to its operator, Cacao Resorts. This new approach to resort-communities is nestled within the eco-tourism destination of Palawan - Philippines, a stunning eco preservation area within sailing distance of two UNESCO World heritage sites & four marine reserves. The Cacao Pearl is an eco-chic low-density boutique resort concept promising sustainable development and sustainable enjoyment — designer homes with zero carbon cost, 5 stars service, an infinity pool, wreck & reef diving, a secluded destination spa, organic gardens & bar, restaurant, private media rooms and enough delicious design details to delight the most discerning guest.

"Forget old luxury, welcome green luxury!" said Joel Cere, CEO of Cacao Resorts." Cacao Resorts is offering eco-aware urban escapees the luxury of private island home ownership with the launch of a truly guilt-free investment: The Cacao Pearl, Palawan." "In a world of homogenous, over-developed concrete destinations, disinterested developers, fake themes and over-priced mini-bars, token green gestures and disenfranchised communities, Cacao Resorts provide an authentic experience for the grown-up backpacker, a guilt-free option for the traveler with conscience, a breath of fresh tropical air for sophisticated urban escapees."

Cacao Resorts operates a "greenprint" for operations and, with development partners Barefoot Investments and Abode Management, benefit from sustainable construction methods employed, ethical management practice observed, and ecologically responsible operations as standard. That means 100% renewable energy, and for the first time in the hospitality industry, 100% of the resort's net operating profits will be used to support local environmental and social programs. You can now own a truly chic eco-home with a conscience and investment-grade security.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

HOT new trend: eco-friendly fireplaces

Eco-friendly fireplaces: the constraints of a traditional fireplace disappear.
Forget about red brick and fieldstone! Eco-friendly fireplaces will soon arrive in stores all wrapped up in mantelpieces of stainless steel, copper, titanium, ceramic or synthetic coatings.
Twenty years ago talk of modern, decorative and eco-friendly fireplaces would have been considered sheer madness. But in
Europe, fireplaces burning denatured ethanol are becoming much more than just an insignificant invention. It will now be making its appearance on the North American market. A truly revolutionary concept, for these fireplaces without need of vents or chimneys can be moved around a house or an apartment without any installation. Eco-friendly fireplaces heat the interior slowly without using the normal fuels such as wood, propane or electricity.

As well as being green, these fireplaces have an outstanding appearance which could revolutionize consumer behavior. With creative use of different materials, the mantelpieces of these bio-appliances are available in beautiful designs, colors and textures.

Using classic materials and restrained styles these new fireplaces will never go out of fashion. With a front of tempered glass and an enameled frame, it’s possible to hang these fireplaces on the wall as we would a painting or a plasma television. What’s more, the form, framing and the play of the flames can be personalized. This range of fireplaces will be welcomed stateside with open arms, particularly by those looking for something different.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sustainable Aircraft Hangar Debuts in Burbank, California

Hangar 25 boasts a plug-in jet system, solar panels, sustainable landscaping, and electric vehicles, among other green features.

Shangri-La Construction hangar 25 photo
On December 9, Los Angeles officials and notable guests including Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa and Rick Fedrizzi, president and founding chairman of the U.S. Green Building Council, welcomed Hangar 25 at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, California. If an aircraft hangar servicing planes consuming tremendous amounts of fuel can be green, the 60,000-square-foot facility is the most sustainable one in the world, with the highest possible LEED rating, Platinum.

Designed by Shangri-La Construction, the hangar is expected to operate at reduced operating costs--thanks to reduced energy consumption--and was constructed at a price comparable to other aircraft hangars, according to the construction firm. Shangri-La Construction outfitted the hangar with green features including a plug-in jet system, solar panels, sustainable landscaping, electric vehicles, and a chemical-free fire system. Walls are decked out in public art. Shangri-La Construction hopes the hangar's green design elements will be adopted as a green model for other new construction and retrofit projects.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Fireplace: to mantle or not?

We're building a modern-style home that will include a fireplace. It's not the standard kind that's placed against a wall but will instead be situated between the living room and dining room and visible from both. What sort of mantel would be appropriate with such a fireplace?

In her column in the Baltimore Sun, Rita St. Clair explained the appropriate mantel for a fireplace "situated between the living room and dining room and visible from both." St. Clair said this "type of fireplace" is "seldom accompanied by any mantel at all. In keeping with its minimalist styling, there are usually no decorative or framing elements around the firebox."

The type of fireplace you're describing is seldom accompanied by any mantel at all. In keeping with its minimalist styling, there are usually no decorative or framing elements around the firebox.

If you still prefer to add a mantel, your best option is probably to have it custom-designed, perhaps in Art Deco or Arts and Crafts styling. A local cabinetmaker should be able to create a wooden mantel of that kind with a handsome finish.

An alternate strategy involves calling attention to the wall around the fireplace. In this sophisticated contemporary setting, most of the wall has been covered with slab-sized ceramic tiles that form an integrated geometric pattern.

A contemporary fireplace doesn't need to be framed by a mantel. The main requirement is that the fireplace opening be surrounded with fireproof material to 6 inches minimum (building codes vary). This can be slate, marble or tile. Beyond that, you may extend the decorative treatment by covering a good part of the wall in tile or marble, or by using a contrasting paint.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Industrial Chic: get in gear

Rooms already dressed in mid-century furniture seem the most receptive to these elements, which require the balancing effect of more masculine silhouettes, heftier textures.

When high-tech entrepreneur Matthew Hill designed his condo in Lansing, Mich., he wanted decor to reflect his personality and "pretty wild lifestyle."

California-based Motoart had what he was after. They buy up junked aircraft -- everything from WWII fighter planes to modern jet parts -- and transform them into furniture: desks, tables, even sofas. Hill opted for a coffee table devised from a section of a C-119 cargo plane.

"I wanted something with a real edge that spoke to the influence of ultra-lounge atmosphere, as well as pure modernism," says Hill, who founded a company called Liquid Web.

Call it industrial chic. Furniture and accessories this year are flaunting their rivets, welds and obvious mechanical origins.

Interior designers are making liberal use of vintage components. While many pieces are sleek, almost aerodynamic, others emphasize the drama of scale -- think gigantic kleig-like floor fixtures, factory work tables or Hill's coffee table.

Industrial-style furnishings aren't new. Marcel Breuer and other Modernists in the early 20th century embraced the idea that man and machine could coexist. Mass production techniques and new materials excited these designers, who sought innovative ways to adapt them for the home. It was a marriage of purpose and aesthetics.

The retro trend is advancing throughout the home furnishings marketplace. A wave of commercial-grade trash bins, bread boxes, toasters and other kitchen accouterments has come ashore, at pricepoints high and low.