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AZURE, Canada’s leading contemporary design magazine, revealed the winners of its first annual AZ AWARDS, the international competition recognizing excellence in design and architecture.

“The AZ AWARDS shows the high calibre of Canadian design by pitting it against the best in the world,” said Nelda Rodger, editor-in-chief of AZURE. “This competition is the next step in AZURE’s mission to provide our readers with visionary and engaging coverage of the international contemporary design scene.” These awards are the first of their kind: the only international, multi-disciplinary design competition in Canada. Representing a global snapshot of the world of design, submissions were open to designers, architects and firms of all disciplines, as well as students in these fields. To be eligible, designs and concepts had to be realized by 2010.

An impressive 600 entries arriving from 25 countries to a shortlist of 52 finalists. From there, a selection of 14 winners, included Valcucine.

Here i s the complete list of the WINNERS (*Indicates both jury-selected and People’s Choice Winner)

Furniture Design: Ply Shelves, by Matter Design and CW Keller (USA)*

Furniture Systems Design: Invitrium Recyclable Kitchen, by Valcucine (Italy)*

Lighting Design: Softlight, by Molo (Canada) People’s Choice: Canopy, by United Visual Artists (UK)

Interior Product Design: SensoWash Stark, by Duravit (Germany)*

Residential Architecture: Linear House, by Patkau Architects (Canada) – People’s Choice: 60 Richmond East, by Teeple Architects (Canada)

Commercial and Institutional Architecture: Long Studio, by Saunders Arkitektur (Norway)*

Landscape Architecture: Ballast Point Park, by McGregor Coxall (Australia) – People’s Choice: Trinity College Quadrangle, by gh3 (Canada)

Temporary and Demonstration Architecture: NY-11-18-02-10, by Campaign (UK) – People’s Choice: Ontario Pavilion, by Hariri Pontarini Architects (Canada)

Residential Interiors: Surry Hills Warehouse, by Ian Moore Architects (Australia) – People’s Choice: Crosstown Loft, by Campos Leckie Studio (Canada)

Commercial and Institutional Interiors: Scandinave Les Bains, by Saucier + Perrotte Architectes (Canada) – People’s Choice: DRU Cultural Factory, by M&R Interior Architecture (The Netherlands)

Unbuilt Concepts: Musée National des Beaux-Arts, by Saucier + Perrotte Architectes (Canada) – People’s Choice: Openair, by Jet Architecture, CXT Architects and Archasia Design Group (Canada/China)

Other Unrealized Concepts: Metropolitan Vertical Amusement Park, by Ju-Hyun Kim (USA)*

Student Work: Temporary Mosque, by Alex Josephson, University of Waterloo (Canada) – People’s Choice: Visions of Settlement, by Katherine Kovalik, University of Waterloo (Canada)

For the Jury Award: Hydroelectric Lamp, by Hierve (UK) – People’s Choice: OMS Stage, by 5468796 Architecture (Canada)

The 2011 AZ AWARDS exhibition will be open to the public from June 18 – September 25 at Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay W) in Toronto, Canada.

About 600 entries across 25 countries were submitted to Azure’s AZ AWARDS 2011, the magazine’s first annual international competition recognizing excellence in design.  Of these submissions, international experts – Claude Cormier of Claude Cormier Landscape Architects, Craig Dykers of Snøhetta, product designer Patty Johnson, Eero Koivisto of Claesson Koivisto Rune and Glenn Pushelberg of Yabu Pushelberg – have chosen the finalists and winners.

We are proud to announce that Valcucine’s Invitrum Base System was chosen as finalist for the category Furniture Systems. Thanks for voting and supporting us!
Do you know Invitrum? Discover more about it…

What happens now?
On June 16 the winners selected by the jury and the public will be announced during a private ceremony and exhibition at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre. All winners and finalists will be featured in Azure’s Awards Annual on newsstands in June. The AZ AWARDS private ceremony and exhibition opening will take place June 16 at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto. The AZ AWARDS winners exhibition will be open to the public June 18 to September 25.

We highlight the major findings of a study released today by American Express,  showing that Canada’s most wealthy individuals are going through a re evaluation of their lifestyles and attitudes.
Excess and gratuitous consumption are out, says the “Inside the Affluent Space” study, replaced by a more introverted and new ‘individualist’ mindset. Fuelled by the current economic environment the study reveals however that an underlying trend has emerged over the past few years that has affluent Canadians asking themselves “What is it that is really important to me?” For many, the answer seems to be, authenticity and life enhancing experiences.
“Financial caution in the current economy is definitely driving a more restrained and pragmatic attitude. But our research shows that the attitude changes among the wealthy are more deep rooted and fundamental,” says Trevor Van Nest, vice president of consumer card marketing at American Express Canada. “The affluent are still willing to spend on things that are meaningful to them and will somehow make their lives better. It’s about enriching their lives, not simply being rich.”

This mentality shift has led to the emergence of the ‘individualist’ – a wealthy consumer who is more selective, less impulsive, and in many respects much more discerning and consequently harder to serve from a business perspective. For them the notion of ‘mass luxury’ is a contradiction. They are interested in products, services and experiences that are more personalized and unique. They are interested in relationships rather than transactions. Acquiring knowledge and a greater depth of appreciation for the luxuries their wealth can afford them is more meaningful than merely acquiring possessions. “For many affluent Canadians, luxury is equated to ease and balance in life. This is even more evident in the current economic climate, with consumers evaluating each purchase to ensure that it provides worth and contributes to their overall lifestyle,” says Van Nest.
In particular, American Express has identified four new insights that define the ‘individualist’ mindset, including:

Lifestyle exclusivity is what matters – The new luxury is a lifestyle that is unique. Affluent Canadians want to be able to enjoy what is important to them.

Excess is out – The ‘individualist’ wants what is unknown and hard-to-get. Being different and authentic is more important than impressing others.

Time is like titanium – The ‘individualist’ is in passionate pursuit of ways to leverage their resources to create more time to spend with family, friends and on themselves.

Freedom from complexity – The ‘individualist’ expects personalized service by expert providers who understand their lifestyle and deliver on their expectations.

Marketplace Implications

The desire for differentiation, demands on their time and the new realities of the economic situation mean that value and service is everything.

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