The Votes Are In: Colors Driven by Trends
INVISTA™, formerly DuPont Textiles & Interiors, have announced the results of the color voting that took place in the Antron® showroom at NeoCon 2003. Results indicate a preference for clean, bright colors, driven by social, cultural and economic trends. Over 1,500 attendees voted for their 10 favorite colors among the 367 displayed in the showroom.
"The most popular colors NeoCon attendees selected illustrate the strong influence sustainability and technology has on this group—these trends not only influence how they work and material selection, they also affect color choices," said Patsy Kuipers, color specialist, INVISTA. "Bright technology colors and many greens and blues were among the favorites at the show."
Results revealed the most popular colors among designers at NeoCon were clear reds and blue-cast reds; most blues; green-cast browns; oranges; purples; and yellow-greens. Neutral colors like creams, beiges and grays, as well as golds, copper, rusts and browns were among the least favorite.
Billings Dip, But Inquiries Indicate Gains Ahead
by Kermit Baker, Ph.D.,
AIA Chief Economist
Billings at U.S. architecture firms dipped slightly in October 2003, following September's modest gain. Inquiries for new projects increased sharply, as over a third of firms reported increases while only 15 percent of firms reported declines in likely future work. The optimism over project inquiries was broad based, with firms of all sizes and in all specializations reporting increases.
Billings were up strongly at firms in the South, flat at firms in the West, and off at firms in the Northeast and Midwest. By area of specialization, billings were flat or modestly higher at firms specializing in the residential or commercial/industrial sectors, as well as at firms with a mixed practice. The softening in billings, therefore, was concentrated at firms specializing in institutional markets.
Overall, the economy has been sending off favorable signs recently. The third quarter reading for economic growth was 7.2 percent at an annual rate, by far the best performance for this recovery. A key indicator of economic health—employment gains—has turned positive recently. Payrolls have increased for three straight months, with gains in September and October each at 125,000 net new payroll jobs. With the jobs gains, the national unemployment rate dropped to six percent in October, down from 6.1 percent in September and down from its high of 6.4 percent in June.
The manufacturing sector of the economy also is showing positive signs. Monthly survey results from the Institute for Supply Management were up sharply in October, the fourth straight month that this survey pointed to increases in manufacturing activity. Consumer sentiment readings from the University of Michigan also increased in October.
Yet, in spite of weakness in the construction sector over the past two years and the resulting pressure on architecture firms, mergers and acquisitions activity continues. Overall, 14 percent of firms on AIA's Work-on-the-Boards panel acquired another firm, merged with another firm, or actively considered one of these actions over the past two years. Additionally, another 10 percent of firms were involved in another significant business activity during this period, such as starting a new business entity, separating into two businesses, or implementing an ownership transition plan.
Larger firms are the most active in merger and acquisition activity, but mid-size firms also hold their own. Almost one in four firms with annual billings over $5 million reported significant involvement in merger and acquisition over the past two years. However, 18 percent of firms with annual billings between $250,000 and $1 million also reported significant involvement during this period.
Participants most often cited the ability of the firm to expand its reach as the rationale for undertaking a merger or acquisition. The factor cited most frequently as a key reason for a merger or acquisition was "the ability to add new markets/ serve a broader area," followed by "additional skills/credentials." Competitive reasons were also mentioned as important factors. "Allow firm to compete more effectively" was frequently mentioned as very important by firms active in mergers and acquisitions, while about a third of firms rated "allow firm to operate more efficiently/ profitably" as very important.
Ceramic Tile Contest Accepting Entries
The Italian ceramic tile industry has announced the 11th edition of the Ceramic Tiles of Italy Design Competition. This annual awards program, sponsored by Assopiastrelle, the Association of Italian Ceramic Tile Manufacturers, and the Italian Trade Commission, recognizes design excellence in projects that feature Italian ceramic tile. North American architects and interior designers are invited to submit residential, commercial or institutional projects.
A jury of design professionals will judge projects on their creative attributes as well as how the tiles meet their functional and technical > requirements. Submissions from three categories—residential, institutional and commercial—may be entered for consideration, and winners in each category will receive a cash prize of $5,000, a trip to Coverings 2004 and be eligible for a trip to CERSAIE 2004, to be held in Bologna, Italy.
Entries may be submitted for domestic and international new construction and renovation projects completed between January 1999 and January 2003. This year, in recognition of sustainable design's increasing significance to the professional community, designers and architects will also have the opportunity to describe any sustainable architectural detailing. Completed submissions must be received no later than January 30, 2004. Interested applicants can visit www.italiatiles.com
Own a Piece of Beatles' History
Acclaimed Beatles' artist, Shannon, is making her mark in Liverpool, England as the exclusive artist for the Hard Day's Night hotel, the world's first and only Beatles hotel. She is painting 120 enormous wall murals of the Beatles and she is creating only one original reproduction of each.
The collection will be on sale for a limited time for $100,000 a piece. With over 20 years experience painting the Beatles, Shannon is growing to become to the Beatles what Norman Rockwell was to suburban America. Her work has been featured on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and "Good Morning America" and graces the walls of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Shannon's newest Beatles' works will come with an accompanying authenticity certificate and a photograph of the relevant mural in the hotel. For information, email: theartagent@ aol.com.
Certification Law Extended in California
With the passage into law of Senate Bill 363 on October 12, 2003, the Senate Business & Professions Committee has extended the Certified Interior Designers law in California until January 1, 2006. Review of the Certified Interior Designers law by the legislature is a regular occurrence, and the next date slated by Senate Bill 363 is September 1, 2005 when the California Council for Interior Design Certification (CCIDC) will prepare a report on its activities to that date, which in turn will be presented to the Joint Legislative Sunset Review Committee (JLSRC).
The JLSRC then makes recommendations regarding the certification process in California to the Senate Business and Professions Committee for codification into law subject to public hearings and the vote of the legislature.
Other changes to the Certified Interior Designers law created by SB 363 are a new qualification section that allows interior designers to apply for certification with two years of education and four years of experience providing they meet all the other requirements including the appropriate examinations. CCIDC is also charged under the revised law to report to the JLSRC by the next reporting date on the California Codes and Regulations Examination administered by CCIDC and to explore feasible alternatives to this examination.