Archive for the 'Design' Category

What is your concept?

October 23, 2011

In the Austin office we’ve been discussing the design concept. Do we have one, do we start with one, do we end with one, how is it evident in our projects.

To be inspired about what a concept can do for your project, during your next lunch break, watch the 18 minute video by TED featuring Bjarke Ingles.

Click here to watch.


Taking Architecture to a New Depth

October 12, 2011

Some people accept an architecture job anywhere. Literally. This Conrad Hotel in the Maldives takes innovative design to a new depth. If you are interested in staying for a night, it could cost you close to $1,600 but what a view!

For more photos check out the website, Today I Learned Something New

Skyscrapers in Hong Kong are built using bamboo scaffolding

September 26, 2011

Safety is always an issue on a construction site and as architects we have a strong awareness of it as well. Here at STG Design we tak safety seriosuly as well for all of our projects. From Mike Pennington in the Austin office sent this one from the website Today I Learned Something New The article is about bamboo being used for scaffolding Hong Kong.

Here are interesting facts about Bamboo:

Strength and Durability
Bamboo is a fascinating material due to its incredible strength, regenerative properties, and its natural aesthetic beauty. In structural engineering tests, bamboo has a higher tensile strength than many alloys of steel, and a higher compressive strength than many mixtures of concrete. It even has a higher strength to weight ratio than graphite.

Bamboo has been used as the standard building material for the majority of the world for thousands of years. There are many examples of buildings constructed entirely of bamboo, which are now several hundred years old. Due to their strength, these structures have even withstood 9.0 magnitude earthquakes.

Unlike elsewhere in the world, bamboo scaffolding is widely used in construction business in Hong Kong. The blocks are tied together with nylon straps.

In Hong Kong, skyscrapers are built using bamboo scaffolding

I am not sure how safe this practice is, but it is definitely environmentally friendly.

In Hong Kong, skyscrapers are built using bamboo scaffolding

Design on Wheels

August 3, 2011

Shawn in the Austin office is working on a cool project involving a train that could develop once permits get approved.

One of our clients has a long-time side project of relocating old buildings (train depots, feed warehouses) to a commercial site and  refurbishing them as rental offices.  His latest acquisition is a 1937 train lounge car, purchased from a lot in northern Canada on the basis of photos posted by the seller.  The local fire marshall decided a New Building Permit is required before the train could be installed on a section of track that the owner is having built.  STG Design’s task was to document the car as a New Shell Building under the IBC.

Nambe (#1371) is one of six cars built as a mid-train lounge for The Chief, and is in exceptional condition.  The stainless-steel car was designed by Beaux-Arts master Paul Cret, architect of the UT tower and many of the buildings built on the main campus from the 1920s to the 1950s (the owner may pursue listing under the Texas Historical Commission.)

It is the owner’s intent to maintain the original elements, inside and out, to preserve its historical character.  When it is brought to the site, the car will be ready for plug-in operation, with fully functioning electrical and HVAC systems complying with Federal Railroad Administration regulations for the wiring of passenger cars.

Safety (emergency exit) features required by the Federal Railroad Administration are in place, although they are not exactly what the IBC requires for a ground-up building.  Exterior modifications at existing openings are not technically feasible, as the stainless-steel shell of the car is also its structural system (we interpreted that as evidence of non-combustible construction, by the way.)  Accessibility modifications are not required, as both State and Federal regulations exempt railroad cars from compliance with accessibility standards.

The permit application has been submitted and we’re waiting to hear back comments; the car remains in Canada until the permit is approved.

November 10, 2010

2 words.  Lumber and Newspaper.  What do they have in common?  Not much, until Kranthout came about.  Kranthout is Dutch for “Newspaper wood”. 

The design firm Vij5 took old newspapers and rolled them into a tabloid sized log and cut them into planks.  They say that you can sand and drill these, just like real wood.  It’s important to note the glue.  While I couldn’t find any information about its, err, green-ness, they did select the glue due to its ability to be separated from the paper at the end of the Kranthout’s life.  Allowing the paper to be easily recycled.

Learn more about Vij5 here (it’s worth a quick look): 

Learn more about Kranthout here:


October 11, 2010

Ok, so there I was, thumbing quickly through my RSS feeds when all of a sudden, be still my beating heart…the most beautiful, off the wall lighting fixtures I’ve seen…perhaps ever!  The ultimate in recycled lighting.  Artist Tanya Clarke takes old plumbing hardware, retrofits it to fit a piece of custom blown glass to mimic a water drop and lights it with an LED.  Let’s all say it together…GENIUS!  She calls it “Liquid Light“…

Visit her site here: for more beautiful fixtures.


June 1, 2010

After a fairly long, unintentional hiatus, I’m back to bring you more color facts.  Today we’ll briefly explore Yellow and Purple.  Fun!

{YELLOW} Overall, yellow is a happy and uplifting color.  Some studies show that it can cause you to be more decisive and alert; and cause your muscles to become more energetic.  On the other hand, some studies suggest that yellow can cause one to go quite mad.  Think of the angry lawyer scribbling away on his/her yellow legal pad…just saying.

{FUN YELLOW FACT} In Asia, yellow is sacred and imperial.

{PURPLE} The color of royalty, luxury, wealth and sophistication.  Where did we originally get this rare, un-natural color?  From the from the glands of the murex shellfish, to be exact (or so they say).  For all of us out there who are thinking “Save the Shellfish!”, no worries.  Thank the British.  In 1856 they developed the first synthetic dye.  So now all the peasants out there can use purple to their heart’s content.  I painted my laundry room eggplant purple.  You better believe that I feel like the Queen while I pair socks.

{FUN PURPLE FACT} In England, purple was worn as a color…or colour…of mourning in the 20th century.  Ok, so mourning and ‘Fun fact” don’t exactly work together, but it’s interesting nonetheless. 

Thanks for reading this installment of Color Psychology.  As always, I’m not claiming to be an expert, just culling interesting information for you all to munch on.

March 8, 2010


If you’re looking for a daily or weekly way to catchup on what’s current in Architecture, Furniture, Interiors,  & Lighting then check out

Contemporist is a daily source for architects and interior designers to discover new products and projects in the world of contemporary design.  There are tons of exciting and inspiring images!

December 18, 2009




In my next installment of color psychology, I’d like to explore the 2 colors that are most predominant in nature; blue and green.  Interestingly, both colors are very similar in their translation into your mood.  Let’s explore.


{BLUE}  The color of peace and tranquility.  It’s been stated that people are more productive in blue rooms.  Although, be careful.  It can cause feelings of sadness…we don’t want to cause people to have “A case of the Monday’s”.  While blue can calm people, it can also decrease your appetite.  People typically stay away from blue foods (aside from blueberries and plums)…blue is usually an indication that something has spoiled or is poisonous.  If you want to eat less, eat off of a blue plate.

{FUN BLUE FACT}: In Columbia, Blue is associated with soap.  Yep, soap.  Can’t get more random than that!


{GREEN} The color of relaxation…being one with nature.  This is proved by the slogan “Go Green’.  Green often will calm us and refresh us…think of the “Green Room”, used to calm those before a televised interview or talk show.  Green can also cause us to improve our reading ability in speed and comprehension. 

{FUN GREEN FACT}: There is a superstition that sewing with green thread on the eve of a fashion show brings bad luck to their design house.

Visit to find out what your interior color personality is!

Color Psychology (Maybe you're NOT crazy!)

December 1, 2009

 What’s in a color?  While I’m not claiming to be an expert about, or anything relating to psychology, I’ve always found it interesting that people are drawn to different colors based on mood or circumstance.

 Everyone has a favorite color, and least favorite color.  In my case, that would be orange and pink, respectively.  Why?  I have no idea.  But I do know that I bought an orange car, and I refuse to wear, buy or design anything with pink. 

Our clients often have some kind of vision.  Sometimes that vision is a lack of vision.  Regardless, they have their own thoughts on their projects.  Most of the time, it comes down to what they want the impression to their clients to be.  They hate colors that we love and we can’t possibly understand WHY they don’t love them too.  It’s all very frustrating.  Perhaps sheding some light onto color will help.

Let’s start with STG Design’s logo:

{RED} The most emotionally intense color.  Red typically jumpstarts a faster heartbeat and breathing.  It brings attention and promotes action.

Red is power, hence the red power tie for business people and the red carpet for celebrities and VIPs.

In some cultures, red denotes purity, joy, and celebration. Red is the color of happiness and prosperity in China and may be used to attract good luck.

{WHITE} The color of innocence, cleanliness and purity.

In most Western countries white is the color for brides. In the East, it’s the color for mourning and funerals.  Some cultures viewed white as the color of royalty or of dieties. In early Westerns the good guy wore white while the bad guy wore black.
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