Connect: April 2018

Places to go, things to do and see and people who are leaving their mark on the world of style.

By Moe Godat


Bobcat of St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 
Photography by Darin Wood

    After a devastating flood in 2015, the owners of Bobcat St. Louis went back to the architectural drawing board, hiring Youtopia Designs in conjunction with Space + Form Architects, LLC and contractor Tim Reinhold Enterprises to handle the task. The 40,000-square-foot build is the perfect showcase for the company’s largest products and rentals with its high ceilings and open floor plan styled with a simple industrial theme accented with Bobcat’s signature orange. A coffee bar on the first floor features a stainless steel backsplash that extends to the ceiling, drawing attention to the height of the space and highlighting the exposed ceiling. The coffee bar has the same durable cabinetry as the kitchen and conference room, and all three areas have flashy top lift doors and sleek cabinet pulls to complement the hushed gray stain of the cabinetry to round out the industrial design of the construction company. The designer used visual boundaries to separate the space; custom carpet made exclusively for Bobcat creates a distinct space for the reception desk while also incorporating acoustic ceiling clouds to help reduce noise. Strategically cut pieces of wood adhered to a black background and stained to match the other cabinets mimic the look of tire treads and create focal walls in multiple areas. Multiple lights illuminate the timeline wall art stretching along the main hallway to highlight the space and to also make the space visibly shorter. 

Exploratorium at Pier 15, San Francisco, CA
Photography by Amy Snyder © Exploratorium

    Originally opened at a different location in 1969, the internationally acclaimed science museum called the Exploratorium found a new home on the downtown waterfront of San Francisco in 2014. Pier 15 had fallen into a state of near disrepair, but it was a great challenge for the architects at EHDD. This new location not only brings public life and energy back to the Pier, but also provides enough space for the museum’s hands-on exhibits of scientific phenomena. The design takes advantage of the historic structure on the waterfront, while also implementing the unprecedented goal of Net Zero Energy. The new walls and mezzanines were carefully planned to fit the existing grid of steel already in the building, though all asbestos and lead was safely removed. Pier 15 not only has clerestories to filter in natural light, but also is equipped with an 800-foot roof, the perfect place to put solar panels. The bay water running below the building provides a source of radiant cooling, or the use of cooled surfaces to remove sensible heat created by radiation and convection. Among the many attractions added to the Exploratorium are its new glazed glass observatories, which provide unobstructed views of the San Francisco Bay. 

Koi Café, Hanoi, Vietnam 
Photography by Nguyen Thai Thach

    A café just opened in Vietnam’s capitol to feature the Koi fish, both beautiful and the country’s national fish. Constructed from an old three-story home, including its front yard, the Koi Café’s centerpiece is its aquaponic display, or a system that combines the raising of aquatic animals with the cultivation of plants in water. A waterfall powered by solar panels refreshes the water for the koi fish while also running a supply of water to the building’s collection of hanging Fuji flowers and various trees. The construction of this interesting hotspot required Farming Studio architects to design a steel structure that was easy to install and remove for routine cleaning. The interior is also intriguing because the walls, ceilings and furniture are all made of reused wood pallet materials from the house’s previous owner. The outside of the building also sets it apart from nearby constructions and blends it into the surrounding natural life with a roof resembling a thin layer of film and a façade of traditional Batrang doubled tile. The café’s mood reflects the koi fish’s intended sense of peace and tranquility.