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Product Reports 2004

Photography: © André Souroujon

Our 2004 Product Reports Jury
Howard Brandston, LC, FIES, Hon. FCIBSE, FIALD (back row, far left), is a partner with Brandston Partnership in New York City.

Thomas C. Lekometros (back row, second from left) is a principal owner and the partner in charge of design for The Lawrence Group Architects, New York.

Blaine Brownell (back row, third from left) is a LEED-certified architect and an associate with NBBJ in Seattle.

Roger Klein, AIA (back row, far right), is principal and director of architectural design at Swanke Hayden Connell Architects (SHCA).

Morley Bland (front row, left) has been with Beyer Blinder Belle in New York City since 1991.

Lauren Crahan (front row, right) has been a partner in the Brooklyn, N.Y., firm Freecell since 2000.

How do you recognize a well-designed product? The seminal designer Charles Eames once said, “The real questions are: Does it solve a problem? Is it serviceable? How is it going to look in 10 years?” As I sift through the thousands of product submissions that cross my desk during the year, I keep this quote tacked to the wall as a reminder of the goals of good design. Our aim at record is to feature products that are useful, timeless, and address a problem in a new way. This is a quest that is not only rewarding for us, but we hope rewarding for you, as well.

In fact, once a year we gather a passionate and knowledgeable jury representing our readers—architects, designers, and product experts—to choose the most outstanding products of the year. This tireless group donates a day from their busy schedules to pore over product submissions, images, and samples, to find products that answer a well-known or recently created demand in the market. This is no beauty contest—products are chosen not only for their aesthetics, but also for their sustainability, durability, ease of maintenance, and a range of other qualities that push them a step beyond the standard.

Our jury has a different relationship with the product manufacturers than our editors do, and while lead times, customer service, and price points are not part of the criteria for judging, the jury can’t help but let these issues factor into their choices. Often their personal experiences with a company that was stellar, or less so, will affect their final decisions.

After all was said and done, our jury selected 125 new products that they felt deserved recognition this year. While avoiding overdesigned products, they favored offerings that combined new technologies and customization options, including a rear-projection acrylic screen that comes in lengths of up to 340 feet, and a phosphorescent glass block material that can be crafted into an array of surfaces.

For the second year in a row, our Digital Products editor Deborah Snoonian, P.E., organized a “virtual” jury to evaluate the best digital products of 2004. Her jury included Patrick Mays, AIA, principal and C.I.O. of NBBJ, Seattle, and Paul Seletsky, Assoc. AIA, director of technology, Davis Brody Bond, New York City.

Our thanks go to the jurors, participating companies, and Record interns Audrey Beaton and James Murdock for their help with this year’s Reports. We are eager to see what manufacturers have on the boards for 2005, and with Eames’s criteria as a guide, to continue our search for the industry’s most exciting new products.
- Rita F. Catinella

See the December 2004 issue of Architectural Record for detailed information about and images of these products.


Top Ten Green Products
Click here for a complete list of the top ten green products

Digital Products
Gehry Partners Digital Project software

Dimension’s 3D printers

CINEMA 4D modeling and animation software


Pocket Palette color reader

GoToMeeting software

Graphisoft’s Virtual Construction

IES’s Virtual Environment program

X1 search software

Project Website

The Nox line

The Dune Series cast-concrete landscape containers

Huncto Supply

Take 5 seating, table, and planter line

Hudson Bench

The Tolt table and bench

Concrete & Masonry

The BlockNet system by Mortar Net

Extremeconcrete cast-concrete material

CavClear Stone Mat

Lafarge’s Agilia Blockfill self-consolidating grout

Lithochrome Tintura Stain

Hanover Architectural Panels

Xypex Megamix

IMF (insulated masonry form) wall system

Metals, Woods & Plastics
The Tropical Veneers collection

Pep and Stage honeycomb panel products

Spectra lite 16

X-Tend2 prefabricated handrail system

Panelite’s Cast Polymer Series of translucent honeycomb panels


Hybrid glulam beams

Thermal & Moisture
Sto Guard


Concept Series concealed fastener panels

Doors & Windows
Luna cast glass

Aluflam aluminum door and window system

Pella Vivid View screens

Profile 3D cast glass

Rockwood leather door pulls

WaterGlass highly translucent glass material

SGG Swissflam Structure

Kalwall + Nanogel translucent aerogel panels

The LightPoints LED system

Singular Forms


Plynyl Shag indoor/outdoor flooring




Pause wall-covering pattern

Quilt-glass tile

Terra Serena

Laticrete SpectraLock Grout with Microban

The Embossed Wood Collection

The Focus tile


Lonseal Nova UV sheet vinyl

Specialties & Equipment
Afuera built-in central vacuum system offering permanent HEPA filtration

Om is an almost vertical, completely flat glass hood

Blue Ocean screen

Starck 1.2.3. tall cabinet

Latitude Bumper System

Varia closet

SIU401-22 sculptural island-style hood

Sierra Series

ad notam

Allsteel’s Terrace office system tiles

Liberty chair

Nung chair

Timeless chair’s seat and backrest

Soft Wall flexible partition

The k chair

Flori chair and ottoman

Vox Office workstation


EcoVeil solar shade cloth

The Superlight aluminum chair

Strip chair

Topo’s “flex-fit” walls

The Leaf seating collection

Sustain residence-hall furniture

Special Construction & Conveyance

ISIS elevator

RWI Schott Solar’s semitransparent building-integrated photovoltaic panels

OpenAire - large-span retractable roofs

Siedle’s fingerprint-based access control

Alape’s WT.RX basin

Stillness and Purist wall-mount faucet designs

Purefecta Drinking Water Purifier

Aveo, a collection of bathroom fixtures from Villeroy & Boch

Hoesch single- or double-seated bathtubs in four sizes

The Axor Steel collection

Soli Zontio

Bega’s Adjustable Gantry Lighting System

Sylvania Prominence

Martin Architectural’s new Flat panel speakers

The Grafik 7000 centralized lighting control system

iColor Tile FX

Retail Rod fluorescent rod system

LightScript LED-based illumination solution

Uni-Form Natural White pulse-start metal-halide systems

Candéo decorative, high-performance, recessed downlighting

SL-43 in-ground/above-ground landscape lighting luminaire

T5HO high-range voltage AccuStart 5 ballast

I.Q. On Board roubleshooting LED signal device

EFO fiber-optic light source

DS2490LP (low profile) soundmasker