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deSigns of the Times

January 01, 2002


In this issue, we present the 23rd Annual Interiors Awards and the Designer of the Year Award, both time-honored industry traditions that Contract is now proud to sponsor. As in years past, the Annual Interiors Awards Competition was judged by a group of distinguished jurors-Dina Frank, Russell Groves, Eva Maddox, Michael Pinto, and Michael Vanderbyl-who generously gave their time and considerable effort to review 405 entries in 15 categories before choosing 12 outstanding design projects as this year's winners. From the glorious restoration of an historic New York City synagogue destroyed by fire, to a learning laboratory in Cambridge, Mass., that establishes a new standard for engineering education, to the elegant blending of art and merchandise for an upscale retailer in Plano, Texas, these honorees represent commercial interior design at its finest-an art that requires a careful balance between beauty and practicality, inspiration and return on investment.

The Toronto-based design team of Yabu Pushelberg, which was chosen by the Contract editorial staff as this year's Designer of the Year, is a truly dynamic and very hot design firm that is currently riding an enviable wave of popularity, both at home in Canada and abroad. Our executive editor, Diana Mosher, spoke with George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg at length to prepare their profile for publication, and in doing so attempted to learn what motivates this pair and inspires their enormous talent. What she discovered was a simple and refreshing explanation: Yabu and Pushelberg are having fun! We originally chose them for this honor because of their solid reputation for respecting their clients' wishes while surpassing their expectations, and their ability to produce solutions that are as unique as each individual design problem. Their enthusiasm for their work, their ambition, and their love of challenging themselves are added bonuses.

In examining the components of this exciting awards program, however, it was the express feeling of the Contract editorial staff that something was missing. We are therefore adding a new tradition this year, which we are calling our Legend Award, to honor individuals whose career achievements and contributions to interior design and architecture have served to raise the level of practice and set outstanding examples of talent and professionalism for the rest of the industry to follow. Based on those criteria, it seemed fitting that our first annual Legend Award honoree should be none other than Margo Grant Walsh, the respected vice chairman of Gensler, who has helped define both the industry's largest design firm and the industry itself during her decades-long career. After interviewing Margo and a few of the many people who have worked with her and benefited from her influence, I can only say that hopeful Legend Award honorees of the future will have a tough act to follow.

The editorial staff of Contract would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Yabu Pushelberg, Margo Grant Walsh, and all the winners of the Annual Interiors Awards Competition, and to thank them for gracing the pages of our magazine. We are proud to be associated with you.

On October 12, 2001, when the five jurors met in the New York offices of Contract to judge the Annual Interiors Awards Competition, it was not without heavy hearts and a certain amount of trepidation. After all, we were barely more than one month past the horrors of September 11, and the sobering and ongoing recovery effort at Ground Zero was still fresh on everybody's minds. Moreover, the anthrax scare was in full swing in New York City, and President Bush had just issued his nationally televised warning that our government had reason to believe another terrorist attack might soon take place. That Michael Vanderbyl, Eva Maddox, and Michael Pinto chose to keep their commitments and join us from San Francisco, Chicago, and Atlanta, respectively, was honor enough. That Dina Frank, of the firm Mancini -Duffy, whose offices were destroyed in the World Trade Center attacks, kept her commitment to join us was truly remarkable. This speaks to more than the "business as usual" attitude that our leaders have encouraged us all to maintain during these difficult times. It speaks to the passion of a profession and its leading practitioners to recognize, support, and encourage excellence as a matter of course.

As if to underscore our concerns, Contract's offices were suddenly evacuated during the judging process when a suspicious package arrived in the mailroom-probably making this one of the more memorable years in the competition's 23-year history. Lest these troubling signs of the times distract us from all that is positive in our society, we fortunately have good design, which captures the essence of our culture, to remind us.

We wish you a happy, safe, and prosperous New Year.


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January 01, 2002


In this issue, we present the 23rd Annual Interiors Awards and the Designer of the Year Award, both time-honored industry traditions that Contract is now proud to sponsor. As in years past, the Annual Interiors Awards Competition was judged by a group of distinguished jurors-Dina Frank, Russell Groves, Eva Maddox, Michael Pinto, and Michael Vanderbyl-who generously gave their time and considerable effort to review 405 entries in 15 categories before choosing 12 outstanding design projects as this year's winners. From the glorious restoration of an historic New York City synagogue destroyed by fire, to a learning laboratory in Cambridge, Mass., that establishes a new standard for engineering education, to the elegant blending of art and merchandise for an upscale retailer in Plano, Texas, these honorees represent commercial interior design at its finest-an art that requires a careful balance between beauty and practicality, inspiration and return on investment.

The Toronto-based design team of Yabu Pushelberg, which was chosen by the Contract editorial staff as this year's Designer of the Year, is a truly dynamic and very hot design firm that is currently riding an enviable wave of popularity, both at home in Canada and abroad. Our executive editor, Diana Mosher, spoke with George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg at length to prepare their profile for publication, and in doing so attempted to learn what motivates this pair and inspires their enormous talent. What she discovered was a simple and refreshing explanation: Yabu and Pushelberg are having fun! We originally chose them for this honor because of their solid reputation for respecting their clients' wishes while surpassing their expectations, and their ability to produce solutions that are as unique as each individual design problem. Their enthusiasm for their work, their ambition, and their love of challenging themselves are added bonuses.

In examining the components of this exciting awards program, however, it was the express feeling of the Contract editorial staff that something was missing. We are therefore adding a new tradition this year, which we are calling our Legend Award, to honor individuals whose career achievements and contributions to interior design and architecture have served to raise the level of practice and set outstanding examples of talent and professionalism for the rest of the industry to follow. Based on those criteria, it seemed fitting that our first annual Legend Award honoree should be none other than Margo Grant Walsh, the respected vice chairman of Gensler, who has helped define both the industry's largest design firm and the industry itself during her decades-long career. After interviewing Margo and a few of the many people who have worked with her and benefited from her influence, I can only say that hopeful Legend Award honorees of the future will have a tough act to follow.

The editorial staff of Contract would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Yabu Pushelberg, Margo Grant Walsh, and all the winners of the Annual Interiors Awards Competition, and to thank them for gracing the pages of our magazine. We are proud to be associated with you.

On October 12, 2001, when the five jurors met in the New York offices of Contract to judge the Annual Interiors Awards Competition, it was not without heavy hearts and a certain amount of trepidation. After all, we were barely more than one month past the horrors of September 11, and the sobering and ongoing recovery effort at Ground Zero was still fresh on everybody's minds. Moreover, the anthrax scare was in full swing in New York City, and President Bush had just issued his nationally televised warning that our government had reason to believe another terrorist attack might soon take place. That Michael Vanderbyl, Eva Maddox, and Michael Pinto chose to keep their commitments and join us from San Francisco, Chicago, and Atlanta, respectively, was honor enough. That Dina Frank, of the firm Mancini -Duffy, whose offices were destroyed in the World Trade Center attacks, kept her commitment to join us was truly remarkable. This speaks to more than the "business as usual" attitude that our leaders have encouraged us all to maintain during these difficult times. It speaks to the passion of a profession and its leading practitioners to recognize, support, and encourage excellence as a matter of course.

As if to underscore our concerns, Contract's offices were suddenly evacuated during the judging process when a suspicious package arrived in the mailroom-probably making this one of the more memorable years in the competition's 23-year history. Lest these troubling signs of the times distract us from all that is positive in our society, we fortunately have good design, which captures the essence of our culture, to remind us.

We wish you a happy, safe, and prosperous New Year.
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