For the sixth annual AZ Awards, our intrepid jury narrowed the field from over 800 submissions, received from dozens of countries, to select just 48 finalists that stood above the rest. In addition to presenting the AZ Award winners, Azure recognized these projects, products and concepts with Awards of Merit.
The following four projects are Awards of Merit winners in the categories of Interior Products and Architectural Products.
Urban Fabric Rugs
Los Angeles’s bustling grid, the sweeping boulevards of Baron Haussmann’s Paris, the whole of Manhattan: these are just a handful of cartographic elements captured within this line of rugs designed by Four O Nine. Each hand-tufted virgin wool piece uses pile variations to bring to life a locale’s unique geography, such as the 12-sided starburst of Place Charles de Gaulle in Paris. The firm, from Shanghai by way of Toronto, has designed the line with two residential grades and one commercial; the Residential Luxe version introduces a hand-knotting process that incorporates pure silk for a vibrant lustre.
Designers: Lukasz Kos and Andrei Zerebecky, China
The slip-thin bathroom sinks seem finely sliced from polished ceramic slabs, with the smooth, elongated shape of a well-used bar of soap. But their delicacy is deceiving: Toan Nguyen Studio’s latest collaboration with Laufen utilizes the Swiss manufacturer’s SaphirKeramik, a super-strong material that enables fixtures to be made with slender profiles, without sacrificing their robustness. The washstand, with optional recessed shelf, has a rim radius of just two millimetres, which frees up space for the generous basin to hold more water. The series includes a walnut veneer vanity and a tub with integrated headrest.
Studio: Toan Nguyen Studio, Italy
Designers: Toan Nguyen, with Philipp Leibundgut, Alain Reymond and Marc Viardot
Manufacturer: Laufen, Switzerland
Blue Ceramic Funerary Urns
Designer and multidisciplinary scholar Diane Leclair Bisson’s study of contemporary burial practices led to a series of cinerary urns that promote conversations about sustainable, accessible funeral practices. Moulded in porcelain using a proprietary glazing technique, they have a tactile, powdery surface. The cobalt blue finish (meant to evoke the sky’s tranquility) and curiously inviting texture are a welcome evolution from overly ornate, even intimidating vessels. In three heights, from 8.8 to 35 centimetres, they offer five different lids that meld almost seamlessly into the universal base.
Designer: Diane Leclair Bisson, Canada
Manufacturer: A+J Metissage, Canada
Entice Entrance System
Narrow vertical stiles just under three centimetres wide seem to disappear into the glass facade, giving a bank of door-ways a “now you see me, now you don’t” quality. CRL–U.S. Aluminum didn’t compromise on performance to achieve this elegantly engineered design: the system meets or exceeds air infiltration and thermal standards and other energy conservation requirements. Glass panels 2.5 centimetres thick support door handles on installations up to 3.7 metres tall. The fully fabricated entrance also features an integrated LED system to highlight the vanishing exterior.
Manufacturer: CRL-U.S. Aluminum, U.S.