Shanghai . China
What is the architecture of Under Armour? This is the question posed to Marc Thorpe Design. Our answer, it is an architecture of action, vigor and endurance. It is the translation of muscular definition into built form. A highly tuned, striking geometry giving a presence of visual weight, intensity and unique style, it is like no other. This architecture excites you, asking you to discover more, pulling you deeper into its spaces. It is a foundation of stability and strength, to encourage your mind, body and soul to “Protect this House.” Creative Director, Marc Thorpe and Studio Director, Greg Chiaramonte of Marc Thorpe Design, collaborated with HUSH Studios on a one of a kind experience retail space for sportswear brand Under Armour. The project would mark the launch of Under Armour’s arrival in Shanghai, China.
Located in the new Jing An Kerry Center in central Shanghai, the space is divided into 3 zones of activity. Entry Light Tunnel, the Experience Room and Retail. Upon entry to the space you are guided down a 30-foot long tunnel of light, designed to alter you retina in preparation for the Experience room. As you enter the massive Experience space, an exaggerated scale, 270-degree panoramic film designed and directed by HUSH’s creative team, surrounds the viewer. The film, as it’s technically integrated into the architecture and user experience, is designed to tell the story of the Under Armour brand featuring the latest products and technology active in the sports world today. As the film ends, you are invited to discover Under Armour products more intimately by moving into the retail space. The retail space hosts four individual product brand stories, designed as a temple of worship. The viewer engages each shrine to explore the Under Armour brand.
New York . NY
Mercedes-Benz was established at the same time as some of the most enduring fashion brands in the world, Hermes, Burberry, Louis Vuitton and Chanel. Fashion has long been based in the history and style of the Houses that were formed around them and this tradition is still true today. Like the fashion house, the designers and engineers that produce Mercedes-Benz have established Mercedes-Benz as one of the greatest brands ever, in any industry. For Fashion Week 2013, Mercedes-Benz will sit on the highest pedestal with the great fashion houses in the world. Mercedes-Benz will be elevated with the likes of The House of Chanel, The House of Dior and The House of Gucci. This “House of…” positioning reinforces the glory, the legacy and the pinnacle of creativity, design and engineering.
Udine . Italy
Blur is a study of invisibility. Through the material suggestion of disappearance the Blur Sofa questions its objectivity, scale and the relationship between figure and ground. This distortion of mass provides the Blur Sofa with an irrefutable uncertainty of dimension.The Blur achieves this tactic of invisibility through its utilization of a new technique of fabric knitting. Produced by Innofa in Holland, the manufacturer knits layers of material to produce the fabric at various intervals creating a unique integrated gradient pattern and thus a suggestion of dissolving, fading or blurring.
For the relaunch of the award winning magazine BlackBook. MTD was asked to graphically rebrand the new site, develop the programmatic features and user interface. The design of the site makes reference to print through navigation, layout and UX. BlackBook is an arts and culture magazine published biannually and at bbook.com. Founded by Evanly Schindler in 1996 as a quarterly publication, BlackBook has now expanded to a circulation of roughly 150,000. The magazine covers topics ranging from art, music, and literature to politics, popular culture, and travel guides.
PUSHING BOUNDARIES: MARC THORPE DESIGN
"Being uncomfortable is a normal state for entrepreneurs. You have to push yourself to always engage with the unknown," says Thorpe.
Marc Thorpe's professional blueprint was drafted early on. The ink on his master's degree in architecture from Parsons was barely dry when he founded Marc Thorpe Design in 2004. A decade later, he is the principal architect and lead industrial designer for his multidisciplinary design studio, working across disciplines from architecture and industrial design to digital media and branding.
“When I started my career, I had my hands in all sorts of different areas of design, including interiors, architecture, and product design,” he says. “And I was fortunate to have a handful of projects that really took off, and were directing me to go on my own.” Some of those early successes included interior spaces (such as the Manhattan Classic Car Club), interactive installations, and furniture designs for some of the world’s top manufacturers. “It was like I had been set in this direction and there was no going back,” says Thorpe.
Of course, that didn’t mean he didn’t have his doubts about striking out on his own while his colleagues were signing up for job security with established firms. “Questions go through your head—you have school loans, no health care, you wonder what you’re doing with your life. But at a certain point it’s sink or swim, and you do what you have to do.”
For a new digital platform launching for Target called Girls Night In, MTD was hired to conceptualize the new identity for the program. The focus was on women between the ages of 20-35. The identity needed to reflect excitement, pop culture, engagement, and above all fun.
Lenoir . NC
Area, a collection of tables from New Yorker Marc Thorpe, morphed from the concepts of spatial definition and positive/negative space in architecture. The invisible joinery gives Area a simple, yet elegant appearance, a chameleon for many different environments. Area is available in occasional and coffee table sizes in solid walnut in hand-oiled or paint finishes.
New York . NY
In collaboration with digital media partner HUSH and IBM's agency Ogilvy, Marc Thorpe Design was asked to conceptulize a data wall. The IBM Data Wall was conceived to host data collected and visualized as interactive graphic content. The graphic data would be presented on a series of high definition touch screens. The architecture of the wall is designed in three stacked parts, Audio Bar, Video Block and Hardware Block. The top video block was designed as the extroverted visual presentation and the lower hardware block as the introverted hardware containment. The two sections interlock at 10 degrees and shift off center to produce a dynamic cantilevering composition encouraging interactivity and circulation around the wall. The Audio Bar, surround sound system cantilevers off the Video Block washing the user in an interactive audio experience.
Monterey . CA
Most vehicles are designed based on a standard litany of technological constraints. Infiniti vehicles come to life in a different way. They are inspired by a brushstroke. And that "Moment of Inspiration" is what leads to everything that is unique about the brand. The Shodo brushstroke is a metaphor for the Inspired Moment – for the burst of intuitive brilliance that lives in each of us and which can be inspired by nature, by a thing of beauty, or by a great car.
The Infiniti Moments of Inspiration pavilion, comes to life at Pebble Beach, during the 2010 Concours d'Elegance designed by Marc Thorpe Design. Guests encountering the pavilion are enveloped into an augmented reality driven interactive experience that brings to life the Infiniti brand pillars. The pavilion itself, following the principle of Takumi, is designed to exemplify the human perspective of the brushstroke and that help guests experience the moment of inception that comes from the physical gesture. The pavilion and its elements are metaphorical articulations of structure derived from contemporary roadways, the undulating hills of natural landscapes, and the Shodo brushstroke itself.
New York . NY
The L'Oreal concept store was designed with the intention to fuze a physical retail store with a virtual shopping experience. The store is composed of interactive touch screen technology designed to educate the customer on selected skin products. Products would be purchased virtually and either sent directly to the customer or available for pick up at the front of the store. The products are organized within the space by skin type pods to allow the customer to self guide themselves based on need.
Brooklyn . NY
Our vision of the "home office" is one defined by a distant technological future, inspired by Acura's core brand themes. We've designed a minimalist space where Acura's principles of innovation, technology and moving forward are hyper-simplified. This space allows our bachelor to conduct his work quickly and efficiently because the ultimate luxury, of course, is Time.
We believe that the future is less. Less work. Less clutter. Simplified materials and media; through a few quick gestures he generates audio and visual expressions that allow him to speak to the world, and hear what it has to say. This is his communication, his office, his Clocktower.
We've created a multi-sensory space that acts as a metaphor for the car experience: the delicate blend of audio, visual and touch. As the centerpiece, we're fabricating a minimalist, sculptural work table: the ultimate icon of "the office." The form is sleek, inspired by Acura's clean lines. Our Esquire audience will be able to interact with the table, creating audio and visual expressions displayed for all to see/hear. Group participation is simple, efficient and encouraged to help everyone experience our vision of a future communication space.
Marc Thorpe Design was commissioned by Bloomberg Business Week to conceptualized the womens bathroom of the future for corporate office environments. The restroom should be “a destination, a place you can escape,” says Thorpe. “There’s a table for women to put their bags, maybe grab a magazine. To the left is a lounge area. It’s a centralized place for communal gathering with pockets of privacy. On the perimeter are satellite wash stations.” The main wall features digital media. “It will be a screen of interactive glass making the movement of the water,” says Thorpe. “It’s intended to be soothing and feminine and cool. Behind that, concealed, are the actual stalls, with modern toilets and amenities.”
For the release of the new 2015 Chrysler 200, Marc Thorpe was selected to be featured in the Chrysler Born Makers ad campaign.
Born Makers reminds us that it's not just dreaming big ideas but also having the ingenuity and commitment to make them happen. It's an homage to American innovation, serving as a reminder that you don't have to cross an ocean for a car you're proud to have in your driveway," said Olivier Francois, Chief Marketing Officer, Chrysler Group LLC. "The all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 embodies this ideal. It's a perfectly timed coming together of people, resources and spirit of the Chrysler brand."
The "Born Makers" commercials are narrated by Kevin Yon (the voice behind the Chrysler brand's "Born of Fire" commercial that debuted during Super Bowl XLV) and features Detroit-born artist/singer MoZella performing the vocals behind Bob Dylan's "Things Have Changed" track.
The commercial's visuals include footage of Chrysler Group's Sterling Heights (Mich.) Assembly Plant (SHAP), and its employees. The all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 is designed, engineered and built with pride in Michigan. With a major investment of more than $1 billion, Chrysler Group's Sterling Heights (Mich.) Assembly Plant (SHAP), once slated for closure, sports an all-new paint shop using leading-edge technology, a new, fully robotic body shop and an upgraded assembly area, setting the stage for the world-class craftsmanship found in the all-new 200. The commercial ends with the "America's Import" tagline.
Udine . Italy
Ratio is a game more than a table surface. Designed as a concept piece for Italian design house Moroso. Ratio invites you to move and create your own unique surfaces for living. Starting from a platonic square, a series of 45 degree cuts begin to define the individual pieces. These pieces can be arranged in endless combinations to define the space. Conceptually, The theme of Ratio is generated from an understanding of systems theory and Gestalt Psychology. Simply stated, “the whole is more than the sum of its parts.” Each unit can be utilized to create multiple configurations and orientations, extending and linking the units horizontally (floor) through space to accommodate and create a network of various programs and activities.
New York . NY
The Classic Car Club Manhattan was designed with the intention of creating an exclusive urban sanctuary for the members of the CCC. Located in a 13,000 sqft showroom in the heart of Soho, the CCC hosts a fleet of classic and exotic cars ready to be driven on the streets of New York. The design intention for the club lounge began with the materiality and architecture of the cars themselves, that the cars would be come an extension of the space and the space an extension of the cars. Materials such as steel, wood, leather and glass were used to translate this language down to the smallest detail. The spatial organization of the clubroom is weighted by a 16-foot long ribbed steel bar. The architecture of the bar and lounge is derived from the internal tubular steel frame and sheet metal body of an automobile. The custom bar stools are inspired by a mechanics workshop stool and finished in a blackened stained steel, solid walnut and fine Italian leather. The ribbed structure of the bar is translated into a linear canopy of warm Linestra lamps. Custom fitted to house LED diodes, which wash the ceiling in crisp blue light. The hybrid effect of these two types of lighting elements creates an almost perfect sunset as the spectrum of cool blues merge with the warm tones of orange and yellow.
Marc Thorpe was invited to design a limited edition product for the reopening of the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum in New York City. The brief asked for a tool for living. Marc Thorpe and his team asked the question, what is the perfect tool and attempt to redesign it. The answer was a paperclip.
The paperclip, named the Deleuze Clip, inspired by the writing of French philosopher Gille Deleuze. responds to the traditional form and functionality of the paperclip but synthesizes the structure into a uniform body by activating a “folding” point or point of inflection.
Corning . NY
Marc Thorpe worked with Corning Glass Museum glassmakers to explore and prototype his design concepts in a public GlassLab session at the Museum’s Hot Glass Show on the Courtyard Stage. GlassLab sessions took place over the summer as complement to the Museum’s exhibition, Making Ideas: Experiments in Design at GlassLab. Using the immediacy of hot glass as a catalyst for innovation through the rapid shaping of forms and exploration of the unique properties of glass, watch as glassmakers and designers make ideas in these collaborative design performances.
New York . NY
Marc Thorpe Design was commissioned by New York fashion house David Yurman to design a custom display table for their flagship boutique on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills California. The table was designed to enhance movement around the display surfaces by utilizing a deep cantilever to enable multiple users and a stronger physical and emotional connection to the jewelry on display.
For Dutch textile brand Febrik, Marc Thorpe Design collaborated to design and develop a new three dimensional fabric which fades from one color to another by only using the process of knitting. The project was commissioned by Italian design house Moroso to accompany the development of a new signature commercial seating system titled Blur. The fabric took three years to develop the technique, computer aided software and thread sourcing.
Udine . Italy
The cantilevered table is designed as a minimal pull up surface to accompany seating in the home and in the office. The table's design is an exercise in function dictating form. It is produced out of a single sheet of powder coated bent steel with an additional laser cut rib to add structural integrity. The wrapping articulation of its design, communicates a new relationship between table and interior furnishings and space. Thorpe states, "the table is as little design possible, that makes this table successful. The table is less about itself as an object and more about the relationships it creates, it is relational design."
New York . NY
Marc Thorpe Design was commissioned to design a custom motorcycle based on the 2014 Ducati Monster 1200. The design brief was to produce a bike with zero styling limits and embrace the meaning and value of a limited edition motorcycle. The final product, named Ducati Xistenze, is produced out of laser cut, faceted aircraft aluminum mounted to the tubular steel trellis frame. The internal design is Ducati's 1200 cc Testatstretta 11° DS engine, delivering 99,3 kW (135 CV) of power @ 8.750 rpm and 118 Nm (12,0 kgm) of torque @ 7.250 rpm.
Lenoir . NC
Facet tables are a delicate, yet structured interplay of glass and polished stainless steel. Resting on four tapered extensions radiating from a delicate steel column, the table-tops are available in glass, walnut and maple in a variety of finishes. Offered in round or square shapes in multiple widths and heights.
Fremont . NY
This project is currently under planning and development.
New York . NY
Marc Thorpe was commissioned to design a custom wall graphic for technology brand HP. The project featured HP's new Wall Art design software, a variety of wall covering substrates and an HP Designjet L26500 Printer. Thorpe conceptualized the wall by offering a 10 foot long linear quote by Jim Jarmusch on originality at eye level. The blue color gradients increase in saturation as they converge at eye level, allowing a white datum of type to be read.
New York. NY
The Davidoff Lounge located on the roof terrace of the Esquire House penthouse in Soho New York was designed to capture the contemporary sophistication of the Davidoff brand. MTD’s approach was to frame the terrace and create a sense of forced perspective through the use of light and line. The device MTD selected to create this effect was a series of white cantilevered sun screens. The screen's formal language mimic the unique beveled cigarette packaging of Davidoff. In addition, MTD took the screens one step further by designing a custom CNC routed analog pattern of Davidoff's package profile into the polypropylene skin. At night, the screens transition from minimal daytime shading devices to a fully immersive experience of light, color and form.
University of Maryland . MD
Featured in the Annual Design Issue of Surface Magazine, 2007
The Mark Lounge was conceptually developed as a spatial study of solid and void through the programming of surface and the articulation of movement. The lounge is composed of 5 "positive" asymmetrical "pockets" of activity, linked by a "negative" passive transition space. The "pockets" translated into the program of the lounge, defined as the Entry Tunnel, VIP Seating, Main Seating, Bar and Bath. These pockets of activity are rendered in the space with a vibrant high gloss epoxy surface, which extends in a wrapping motion from floor to wall to ceiling, delineating it from the transition spaces, rendered as a rough muted textured surface. The Bar was custom designed to support a seamless spatial transition from the front to the rear of the lounge and is composed of a cantilevered steel frame and clad with a polyester resin laminate supplied by 3Form. The furniture, including the Lounge Seating, Bar Stools and Side Tables were custom designed for the space as flexible seating and surfaces, to allow for multiple configurations of interaction and use.
Lenoir . NC
Resting on sleek contours of polished stainless steel loop bases, Miura is a fully upholstered lounge series consisting of sofas, loveseats and chairs. Available in leather or fabric, a varied aesthetic is achieved when contrasting upholstery is specified for the seat and back.
New York . NY
Blurred Limits, is an exhibition featuring the work of American Architect and Designer Marc Thorpe. The exhibition reflects the binding ideology of both Moroso and Marc Thorpe, to push the limits of technology, material, form and space. The exhibition is less about the objects represented but more about the relationships created between the objects and the individual. Suggestions of disappearance, deconstruction and relational design produce a body of work, which embrace the notions of Gestalt psychology, in that the “whole is more than the sum of its parts.”
New York . NY
CONCEPTIME is a product designed for the Nooka Zonal exhibition in New York City. Minimal wearable technology that displays the time in three dimensions via holographic projection off the glass surface.
Brooklyn . NY
The Pavilion 12 is perched on the rooftop of a 19th century warehouse building in the historical district of DUMBO Brooklyn. Marc Thorpe Design was commissioned to design a modernist pavilion to enhance the views of lower Manhattan and create a sophisticated yet flexible lounge atmosphere for the client’s private functions. The design solution called for two interlocking zones of activity. The first, a long axis cantilevered corridor, defined as the introverted zone, for interaction within the space. The second, a short axis bay, defined as the extroverted zone, for interaction outside the space i.e. maximum views of the Manhattan skyline. In section, the zones are defined by height, causing a spatial tension between the two zones of activity, the views toward the city and the sky itself. The structure is fabricated out of powder coated tubular aluminum with custom laser cut steel connectors and synthetic vinyl mesh screens. The furniture was produced by Quinze & Milan in Belgium.
New York . NY
Marc Thorpe Design was commissioned by Showtime to interpret their newest show, The Borgias staring Jeremy Irons, for the 2010 Showtime House. Located in the exclusive penthouse of Cassa NY in Times Square, Marc Thorpe Design focused on the subversive nature of the catholic church at the time of Rodrigo Borgias in Renaissance Italy. The symbolic interpretation of this subversion of the church is articulated by the subtle manipulation of the cross itself. The cross is presented as a collision between old and new media. Fusing together the traditional lighting technology of neon with high resolution digital media projections, the space blurs the boundary between the physical and virtual, challenging the viewer to question reality.
The Skip Barber Racing School is one of the largest racing schools in the world. It conducts racing schools, defensive and high performance driving schools, amateur and professional racing championships and corporate entertainment schools. Skip Barber started the school in 1975 with two borrowed Formula Ford race cars and four students. The school visits up to 30 race tracks across the United States and Canada and owns 120 race cars. As of 2007 the school is affiliated with Mazda, who provide many vehicles for the school. MTD was hired to graphically rebrand the new site, develop the programmatic features and user interface for the Skip Barber brand.
Set in the Black Forest of Germany, the Sky House offers itself as a retreat from the everyday. Perched deep within the forest, with expansive views of neighboring tree tops, it can be understood as a tree house for adults. Three efficient programmatic elements comprise the house, Garage, Circulation and Living. The garage space is large enough for one car, from there one rises upward via a central circulation tower to the main cantilevered living space. The living space hosts a core service unit, managing bath, kitchen and storage functionality. The Sky House is a minimal, functional and efficient escape.
Udine . Italy
The Morning Glory takes its name from the flowering vine. The vines grow and wrap around each other reinforcing the structure of the plant. The pedals of the vine spread out become a canopy of surfaces to retain water. This organic architecture lends itself to the table designed for Moroso. Designed to be arranged in clusters, the three stems of the table connect at the base mimicking the organic structure of the vine itself. The pedals of the table overlap each other producing a multi layered system of surface and color.
In conjunction with a new retail project with Under Armour. MTD designed and developed a new UA package design to be offered during the opening months of the store. The idea was based in the brand’s identity and slogan of “Protect this House.” Each package was defined as a “brick of the house” that the customer could have with the purchase of their clothing. The UA brick package aesthetic was designed based off the faceted geometry of the store front to reinforce the company’s presence outside the store experience as well as offer a limited edition souvenir for the visitors of the UA store.
MTD was hired to design, curate and art direct a series of AR exhibitions for French technology firm Artifacto. The exhibition focused on the experience the future of digital 3D architectural presentation in real time and space. The exhibition presented the progressive and modern work of leading internationally acclaimed architects, such as BIG, Archi-Tectonics, HWKN, Jugen Mayer, Jakob + MacFarlane, REX, Dominique Perrault etc.
Brooklyn . NY
Marc Thorpe Design was approached with a new roof challenge, to design a private island oasis on top of the famed Gretsch Guitar building in the hip and trendy area of Williamsburg Brooklyn. The program called for custom lounge seating, semi-shaded areas, outdoor shower and a structure that took full advantage of the bi-directional views of Manhattan and Brooklyn. The solution was to take inspiration from the sky and the aircraft landing at New York’s LaGuardia Airport. The structure is design as a fuselage with an outer aluminum frame and inner wood skin. The lighting is integrated seamlessly into the skin of the deck to provide a rich glow to enhance the curvature of the structure. The furniture was designed to act as an organic "loungescape" to accommodate various types of seating and lying simultaneously. The seating can be assembled as a whole "island" or disconnected into parts to adjust to various seating conditions. The furniture was custom designed by MTD and fabricated by Quinze & Milan in Belgium.
The Wall House was designed as a private country retreat for a young Manhattan couple. Located two hours north of New York City on two acres of land, the house defines the property by two over extending walls. The walls frame the private two acre outdoor area, while simultaneously composing the interior program of the house. The ground level void of the house is oriented to the south, allowing for passive solar gain. Both the second level patio and roof are grass turf, designed to naturally insulate the home as well as reclaim lost outdoor square footage. The result is a house designed to shift the definition of context through its simulation of natural landscape. The walls act as a datum to define the relational unification of interior and exterior habitation.
For the launch of Luscious Jackson’s new album Magic Hour, MTD designed a limited edition poster for band member Gabby Glaser celebrating the bands reunion and concert at the legendary music venue Webster Hall in NYC.
Kortrijk . Belgium
Gretsch, designed as a landscape of seating and named after the famous Gretsch Guitar building in Brooklyn NY. The seating unit merges 5 types of sitting, lounging and laying positions into a single graceful form. The various seating elements can be separated and used individually and then reassembled as a whole. Available through Qunize & Milan Belgium.
Marc Thorpe selected as a featured designer in the Interior Design Magazine. The article focuses on the works for Italian design house Moroso.
For Dom Perignon, MTD designed a limited edition package based on the concept of a stealth edition project. The package was designed for an exclusive and extremely rare vintage of the Champaign. The case architecture is produced in a frosted smoked black synthetic sapphire crystal to give just the slightest hint of the bottle inside. The bottle’s design was skinned in black enamel and a limited edition black label was designed to signify the stealth like nature of the project but also allude to the exclusivity of vintage.
Where I Work / Studio Feature
We visit New York City to check in on the Union Square studio of architect and industrial designer Marc Thorpe who manages to bridge the gap between architecture, design, and technology. Collaborating with the likes of Moroso, Bernhardt Design, Target, and so many more, keeps this firm continually producing cutting edge work that will probably stay ingrained in your mind. In this edition of Where I Work, let’s take a look around office of Marc Thorpe Design, where you might spot an adult beverage on the desktop and perhaps some Jay Z playing in the background.
What is your typical work style?
We pride ourselves on being regimented, focused, and efficient. We never miss a deadline because of this. I work best in the morning from 8am-2pm. I try to schedule meetings after 2pm. I try to never work at home; it’s like the separation of church and state. However, when you do have a day to work at home, it’s a bit of a luxury.