Architectural Record’s 35th Annual Product Reports presents more than 300 of the year’s most innovative new Building products selected by a jury of architects and designers.
What exactly constitutes an innovative building product? Each year, on behalf of our readership, architectural record tries to define this term by assembling a group of product experts—including architects, lighting designers, and product designers—who are given the task of delving through hundreds of submissions to find products that push the envelope of what is typically expected from offerings in that category. It is important to note that rewarding innovation merely for its own sake was not the goal of the jury. “Not all innovations are good innovations,” explains juror Charles Renfro, AIA. For Renfro, “developing materials that masquerade as other materials always seems like the wrong direction for innovation.” Juror Eric Bunge, AIA, was drawn to products that are “beautiful with a purpose,” such as a 3D felt-wool wall covering that improves the acoustics of a space. He was also swayed by products in general “that embrace the use of technology together with something performative.”
This year, our jury was impressed by products intended to help reduce waste, such as stone masonry designed and precision cut using CAD/CAM, or a residential carbonated-water dispenser that eliminates unnecessary packaging. Overall, verifiably green products had a stronger presence in the submissions this year, including water-conserving plumbing fixtures, a concrete block made of recycled materials, and glass made from 100 percent recycled content from a manufacturer who, according to one juror, “sensed an opportunity and pushed on it.” Also of interest to the jury: product hybrids that are difficult to classify, such as a clever “rug” developed by a young German designer that morphs from a floor covering to a privacy screen to a seat.
Thanks are due to all of the building product manufacturers who submitted this year and to our team of jurors. We hope that the following pages serve as a resource that you and your practice can refer to again and again in the coming year.