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Highlights from the Expo at A’18

Intriguing combinations of materials, colors and textures

By Paul Hagar and Katherine Mills

We walked every aisle of the Architecture Expo held in New York City during A’18, the AIA Conference on Architecture to find some of the most engaging highlights. Product designers and manufacturers presented new opportunities for surface patterns, playing with color and bringing lines, forms, and textures to unexpected materials. Here are some of our favorites:

Large examples of digitally printed glass for exteriors and interiors, including botanical and linear patterns, among others, produced by Skyline Design. Look closely to see the beautiful mounting componentry, which reminded us of high-grade shade hardware (see photo!).

GGI Glass showed a wide range of designs on digitally printed glass – featuring typography, geometrics, and bold colors – which they produced using a ceramic printing technique. Some of the prints were remarkably similar to those offered for Techstyle Graphic ceiling and wall panels (pictured).

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Taking color and texture to ceramic, and then adding shape, NBK Terracotta presented a tactile range of exterior façade panels that seemingly compelled architects to touch. The front of their booth gave a dramatic preview of the collaboration with SHoP Architects on a superskinny tower just a cab ride uptown at 111 W. 57th Street.

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Riffing even more on color, Behr Paint put a whimsical hippo in their booth. It started out white, but visitors soon took the opportunity to brighten it up with playful colors of their own design. Interactive art meets social media!

USAI showed color that came not from surfaces, but instead from light, offering a range of customizable hues, intended to allow designers and architects to establish a specific feeling for spaces by tuning the warmth/coolness of the light.

On the sustainability front, Eileen Fisher Design Work offered a take on responsible fashion design with an installation that re-used clothing to create an arch of colorful cubes.

Next year, the AIA Conference on Architecture moves to Las Vegas, itself a cornucopia of color, light and design of all stripes. We can’t wait to see what will appear!

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