Posts Tagged ‘Constantine Vasilios’

The interior design Competition Studio at Harrington College of Design began this year with a challenging problem of large interior proportions: how to design a 14,000 square feet residence penthouse for the Trump tower in Chicago. The competition quickly began to create a buzz in the corridors of the school as teams of students and individual competitors tackled the problem and submitted their designs on Monday November 28th. Since 2002, the Harrington Studio under the direction of Constantine D. Vasilios AIA, NCARB, IIDA, NCIDQ has tackled real problems throughout the Chicago that range from band headquarters at the Metro, to housing developments and this year’s Trump tower competition.

The sponsor for the competition this year is award-winning designer John Robert Wiltgen, a 30-year veteran of the design industry who currently practices in the US and internationally. Mr. Wiltgen leads a highly acclaimed design team that has created extraordinary homes for clients in locales ranging from Chicago’s Magnificent Mile to LA’s fashionable Wilshire Drive as well as Acapulco, Toronto, the south of France and Africa’s Ivory Coast. Wiltgen embraced the idea of offering the Trump Tower penthouse project to Harrington College’s Competition Studio because it is an unprecedented, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work in an absolutely surreal space. While the level of living in the Trump penthouse space is beyond the realm of many, it is for some a very real world. This project created an opportunity for design students to see and work in that other world.

Wiltgen chose to sponsor this year’s competition class because he is a staunch advocate of education and believes that exposure to this type of experience is critical for those interested and involved in interior design. Also involved in the student competition is Sara Martens, Executive Director of the Trump Organization, who will be serving as the client. Together they visited the site and the classroom to provide students the reality necessary for the project.

This is the second project Wiltgen has offered Harrington’s Competition Studio, having previously presented an opportunity to design a penthouse at Emerald, a West Loop condominium where a green lifestyle is encouraged. Winners of the competition will be announced soon on December 13th at the Trump Tower, followed by their respective cash prizes being awarded, interviews and publication opportunities for all of those involved.

Photo courtesy SolarWind

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INTERIOR DESIGN: The Market, the Trends and the Question

“Professionally the outlook for the Interior Design industry in 2011 is rosier than 2010 for both employment as well as clients. Several sectors of the business are reporting increases from Hospitality to Health Care. Architectural billings have increased. A considerable amount of work is out of the country in places such as China, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong leading the charge in that order. Europe is also waking up slowly in terms of Hospitality according to La Salle, one of the biggest developers in the world. However, in the US the banks have been slow in lending and this has kept the markets tight. Housing is still stumbling in terms of the economy. How does this impact us locally? Students have been getting interviews with larger firms who are hiring to meet their work overseas. Predictions are slow and rising for the year however this is welcome news versus the negative recent trends from the past several years.

What are some of the design areas that will impact the 2011 and beyond? Usually after each recession there is a new path formed in the design world. Everyone agrees that the past ten years and Frank Gehry type design star system will be less pronounced. With the computer no longer being a new tool but rather a tool of the trade with technology updates (which program is the hottest…), I believe the profession will be more focused on building for a global community. On the other end of the spectrum, local firms will concentrate on delivering high touch solutions to specific client needs based on small town, neighborhood and community involvement.

LEED projects are the word of the day for government and municipalities. This has influenced the choice of materials that designers are choosing. Recent updates in thermoplastics and glass will have designers busy using these materials in a creative and surprising way.

As far as new methods of designing…virtual reality may be something that will be with us soon. Three dimensional television is here, so design in three dimensions will rule the future of practice and education as it always has. 

With all of the above in mind, the question is are we, as designers, up to the task of making meaningful environments for people to live enriched lives?”

Constantine D. Vasilios, B.ARCH., M. ARCH., AIA, NCARB, IIDA, NCIDQ
Interior Design Instructor, Harrington College of Design
Principal, Design Director of Constantine Vasilios & Associates, Ltd.

Photo courtesy New Launches

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As one of DIFFA’s largest fundraising events, Dining By Design brings together top designers to create breathtaking three-dimensional dining installations. Since its inception, the fundraiser has raised more than $5.5 million. Each year, a team of design students from the Harrington College of Design partners up with a faculty member to create an annual DIFFA Dining by Design concept to show at the event held in the Merchandise Mart. This year, Harrington’s team included students Troy Atwood (ID), Erin Costello (MAID), Tim Naus (ID), Manuel Navarro (MID) and Danielle Vevea (MAID) led by their faculty advisor Constantine Vasilios, Interior Design instructor.

“Connections,” Harrington’s table for DIFFA’s Dining by Design 2010 took five interior design students five weeks, $2,000, and 6,500 coffee filters to complete.

Student designer Danielle shared, “Our design concept “Connections” was born at our first meeting in late September from two ideas. Our primary goal was to design a table that would engage attendees from across the room. A secondary focus was an observation that sharing a meal with others keeps us all connected in a way that technological methods of connecting with others never will. These two ideas fueled even the smallest design decisions displayed at the DIFFA event in the first week of November.

The round shape of the room mirrored the round KNOLL Tulip table to maximize conversation between diners. The backlit paper ceiling installation constructed from coffee filters connected the ceiling to the table and created an experiential environment. Carpet fiber connections defined the dining room walls. We even overlapped the chair legs to symbolize “Connections.” In the end, the opportunity to plan and execute a design for this event was an invaluable experience that would not have been possible without a dedicated team, the advice of Constantine Vasilios, or Harrington’s sponsorship.”

Great work Troy, Erin, Tim, Manuel, Danielle and Constantine!

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As one of Harrington College of Design’s Interior Design instructors, Constantine Vasilios’ work has received recognition from both near and far. This past year, Constantine’s Ronald McDonald House design (pictured above) was recently exhibited at the University of Texas at Austin.

The design for the Ronald McDonald House in Oak Lawn, IL included 16 suites, several living areas, kitchen areas, dining areas, and other spaces for a total area of approximately 24,000 square feet. Inside, collective and individual spaces were created to support families’ physical and emotional needs during their children’s hospital treatments. Features included niches for relaxation, a computer center, a teen space, experiential play spaces, a dream staircase, communal dining room, administrative areas, and a contemplative landscape which seemed to connect the building to the hospital across the street. You can read more about the project in the two-day feature shared in this blog last year: be sure to see Part I and Part II.

The Alumni Exhibition was created at the University of Texas at Austin to celebrate their School of Architecture’s centennial anniversary. As an Alum, Constantine’s work was chosen as part of the diverse and select representation of leading work produced by graduates of the school.

Constantine D. Vasilios & Associates, Ltd. was also recently recognized with an ASID Design Excellence Award for their work on a S. Michigan Avenue home which you can see above. The scope of the project included a complete interior and exterior rehabilitation, including an addition to the house. The design honored historic elements, innovation of an interior layout, well thought out spaces, and quality finishes.

Constantine D. Vasilios is a full-time Interior Design instructor at the Harrington College of Design, and is Principal of Constantine D. Vasilios & Associates, Ltd.

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Check out some highlights from the Summer Professionals Night on July 8, 2010 below… 


Open to Harrington Interior Design students from ID3, Portfolio,Thesis Prep, Thesis and Grad Students, Harrington’s Professional nights bring in industry professionals to critique student work, allowing Interior Design students a chance to gain valuable advise and feedback on their work, as well as create a networking opportunity.

Thanks to all the students for participating and presenting their projects and everyone who helped to make this event a success!

Also a great thank you goes to all the Designers and Architects who gave students their valuable input and critique: Fabio Grego, Robert C. Vagnières, Thomas Marquardt, Lori Oelhafen,  Morlen Sinoway, Lucy Trimarco, Demetra Vartzikos, Constantine Vasilios,  Daniela Ghertovici, Peter Klick and Crandon Gustafson. 

Photos courtesy Peter Klick

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Harrington College of Design’s Journal originally began as a conduit for Harrington’s faculty from all programs (Interior Design, Communication Design and Photography) to publish and communicate their ideas, thoughts and scholarship around design analysis within Chicago’s academic community. Today the Journal has grown to include select Harrington student essays and seeks to open up discussion of design ideas.

As catalyst and founder of the Journal, Harrington Interior Design Instructor Constantine Vasilios has worked each year to pull the publication together. As Constantine explains, “The essays from the faculty Journal approach subject matter from various points of view … As in all inquiries, the Journal causes more questions to arise that provoke avenues of subsequent exploration.”

Just a few of the articles within this year’s edition include “Space Thresholds” by Constantine Vasilios, “Space and Infinity” by Jeffrey M. Janes, “Poetic of the Primaries” by Peter Klick, and “The Work itself is Silent” by Duffy O’Connor.

Copies of Harrington’s Journal are sent every year to leading design firms in Chicago, with a special copy sent each year to the Mayor of Chicago.

Interested in getting a copy? The Journal is available at Harrington’s Print Center for just $9.95 per copy. Visit us at 200 West Madison and speak with the receptionist to get your very own.

About Constantine Vasilios:
Constantine D. Vasilios is a full-time faculty instructor of Interior Design at the Harrington College of Design. Constantine received his Bachelor of Architecture in Design degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago, then attended a year abroad in the overseas program at Versailles, France. He received his Master of Architecture degree with honors from the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied and traveled with the Charles W. Moore studio. He also participated in the overseas program at Oxford, England. He is a partner in the firm Constantine D. Vasilios & Associates Ltd, and has over twenty five years of experience in the field of Architecture and Interior Design. As a licensed architect in three states and a registered interior designer, Constantine has participated in several exhibitions, has been well published and has been a guest lecturer and visiting studio critic at several schools of Architecture and Interior design.

Photo courtesy Constantine D. Vasilios & Associates Ltd.

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When Hackney’s served its first Hackneyburger back in 1939, Brandon O’Connor’s grandmother wasn’t even born. Now he finds himself competing with 11 other young design students to give the 70-year-old restaurant a fresh new look. It’s all part of the Competition Studio class at Harrington College of Design, a course where seniors in the BFA program experience what it would be like in a real world challenge, complete with clients, deadlines and the ever-present specter of rejection. The student’s work is taken through to presentation boards. On December 15, the 12 students went head-to-head in final presentations, with Hackney’s awarding the winner and runner up a $2,000 and $1,000 cash prize, respectively.

“This competition gives students a taste of life beyond graduation,” said instructor Constantine Vasilios, Chicago architect and interior designer. “Because in the real world, it’s not a professor who’s judging your work, it’s someone who may not have the design vocabulary, but knows what works for them, whether it be the owner of an office building, doctor’s office or a long-standing North Shore institution.”

The owner of this particular North Shore institution is Liz Hebson, who has been a part of Hackney’s since the day she was born.

“We may be seventy years old, but we don’t feel it,” Hebson stated. “The chance to see how we could look for the next seventy years was just too good to pass up.”

But it can’t be just pie-in-the-sky design.

“We have an older client base, who loves us for the way we look and feel,” noted Hebson. “We can’t go from a comfortable, trusted friend to the hippest kid on the block. We can’t lose the identity that made us the success we are.”
That being said, she admits there is plenty of room for improvement. “Our last major design overhaul was in the late 60’s. So yes, we could use a little updating.”

Keep reading more tomorrow to find out who competed, what they designed and who won the competition!

Media Contact:
Momi Jahn

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