Awarded in Alberta

Every two years, the Interior Designers of Alberta honour their own. The 2009 IDA Design Competition attracted 41 entries, “the highest participation to date,” notes Karen L. Robertson (prinicipal, KLR Interior Design), who organized the competition with Michele Gunn (associate, Sizeland Evans Interior Design; and IDA president).

After careful consideration, five judges (from Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto and Vancouver) chose 17 winners: 2 Gold, 6 Silver and 9 Bronze. The big winner was MartensGroup Licensed Interior Design Studio, with one Gold, one Silver and three Bronze. Walker Lawson Interior Design also did well, netting one Gold and one Silver. The other multiple winner was Shearer Design, which won four Bronze.

The two Gold projects — the MartensGroup’s Pengrowth Corporation Livingston Place and Walker Lawson’s Newalta Corporation Corporate Headquarters, both in Calgary — were in the category Office Over $80 Per Square Foot Construction.

According to the project summary for the Pengrowth office, “The company’s president, unapologetic in his request for a traditional aesthetic for his new premises consisting of 11 floors in a newly constructed glass office tower, requested that our interior design solution exude the sense of permanence and solidity.” The MartensGroup responded by using traditional elements (such as columns, cornices, wall panelling and ceiling coffering) in a new way, experimenting with proportion and scale. Says MartensGroup associate Douglas Niwa, “In a design world that can seem a little infatuated with the futuristic, design can also achieve a surprisingly progressive and innovative aesthetic by looking to the past for guidance. Historical reference when combined with a contemporary design sensibility can produce an exceptionally sophisticated hybrid style.”

According to the project summary for the Newalta office, “Five employee floors were to be designed with the premise that natural daylight, ease of collaboration and communication, flexibility and personal comfort should be available to all without sacrificing the efficient use of space.” Walker Lawson’s design provides an international aesthetic that is contemporary and timeless. Says Walker Lawson principal Jane Lawson, “It is a true honour for our firm to have won an IDA Gold award for Newalta Corporation, and to have our work recognized by our industry peers. More importantly, though, is that we have made a major impact on our client’s operational success. To the Newalta people we tip our hat and thank them for the opportunity to be part of something much bigger than ourselves.”