Best of Year Awards – Interior Design Magazine



From where does great design come? Hours, days, and weeks of time can be spent in the search of a truly original idea which can become a great design. In the end, the spark of innovation may be found in the most unexpected places.  Or at least this was true for William Zhang, Creative Director for leading residential door hardware manufacturer Emtek ASSA ABLOY. One of Zhang’s most recent designs, the Modern Disc Crystal Knob, was awarded the Best of Year honor by Interior Design Magazine. The award is prestigious and the road to receiving it was paved with creativity, hard work, and inspiration from the past.


In late 2013, Zhang was, quite literally, at the drawing board trying to find his next original design for Emtek door hardware. He wanted something sleek and contemporary, something that would capture the zeitgeist of design today. Zhang had created new square and disc shaped knob designs and while the shapes were there, the design still wasn’t quite right. There was a certain “je ne sais pas” that was missing.


That missing piece came from a classic Emtek crystal cabinet knob. Glass and crystal door knobs date back to 1826, when the process for molding the material was created. They became commonplace in homes during the First World War In short, crystal is a classic material. The designs were usually multifaceted with anywhere from six to 12 facets and a flat face which showed a star or other pattern in the center of the knob. Zhang wondered how would it look to take a material that is typically used in such intricate designs and apply it to the clean, contemporary design of the square and disc knobs.


Emtek created prototypes of the contemporary knob designs in the classic material of crystal and the result was simply stunning. Once introduced into the market, the knobs were a quick success for the company. The decision to submit the modern disc and square crystal knobs for consideration in Interior Design Magazine’s Best of Year Awards seemed a natural progression. Crystal was in demand for the 2014 year; these knob designs had their finger on the pulse of the design market.


The Best of Year Awards by Interior Design Magazine is the preeminent competition for new and compelling design. Every year, Interior Design must meet the challenge of finding the products that are on the leading edge of today’s trends. Their audience is made up of professionals in the design field and they are discerning of what the next big “thing” will be.


The competition was fierce, with over 2,000 entries in over 100 categories. A handful of finalists were selected by the Interior Design Magazine’s top editorial staff, but the final winners were decided upon by popular vote. Design professionals logged into the magazine’s website and cast their vote for the best innovative products and designs for the 2014 year.


After 60,000 votes and 600,000 page views, Emtek was declared the winner in the hardware category.  The award ceremony was held in New York City in the Frank Gehry designed IAC building. More than 950 designers and manufacturers were in attendance. It was a standing room only crowd, as demand to be present when the awards were announced was high. Interior Design magazine editor in chief, Cindy Allen and President and Publisher, Mark Strauss used IAC’s 80 video wall to present the winners.


It marked Emtek and Zhang’s first submission and first win at the awards. Winning this prestigious award is only the beginning. If anything, it will act as a boon to try new designs and reach for even greater heights. With innovators like Emtek and William Zhang, the possibilities are endless.


William Zhang, Creative Director at Emtek

William Zhang, Creative Director at Emtek


Article by Susan Jeffery



New Crystal Cabinet Knobs by Emtek

Introducing all new crystal cabinet knobs by Emtek.


One of the amazing qualities of crystal is its ability to transcend any design style. The right knob design paired with the right finish can fit perfectly into any kitchen or bath. These new knobs come in a variety of styles to fit the look of any home.



Veterans Day

This Veterans Day, we honor our men and women in service. This day has a personal connection for Emtek. Tom Millar, the founder of Emtek, is a veteran of the Vietnam conflict where he served as a platoon leader in the 101st Airborne Division.


During his time in Vietnam he was awarded two Bronze Star Metals.


Today, we give thanks to Tom and all those great Americans in our Armed Forces.




New Trail Appliance Pull

Emtek’s Trail Pull is now available for appliance cabinets with 12 and 18 inch sizes. This chic, minimalist design is the perfect fit for any contemporary kitchen. Create a complete design theme with the Trail Pull on all of your cabinets.




Details of Design – Choosing a Finish

Design is in the details and picking a finish for the hardware in your home is key.


It can be the difference between the room “working” or feeling not quite right. So how do you choose the right finish? The fashion world touts hard and fast rules such as “Never wear stripes and plaid together!” or “No socks with sandals!”, but there’s no one-set of rules for choosing a finish in home design. That can make it one of the more challenging aspects of putting a room together.


For expert advice on the subject, we consulted the interior design team at DKOR Interiors in Miami, Florida.


“All of our projects start with the creation of a concept. The concept then relates from the big picture to the small details like the door design, baseboard design to even smaller carpentry pieces, like a nightstand. And something as detailed as the type of pull handle is crucial – is it functional while still maintaining the concept? So it’s the little, important details that bring the concept to life.”



Tip #1: Let the Room Guide You

“The first step is to take a look at the overall design of the space. Are we using flush doors? Are the doors white or painted a color? Once the general tone for the interior is set, we select the hardware model and finish based the aesthetic,” stated DKOR Interiors.  While not a hard and fast rule, there is a general association between certain styles and finishes. Is your design contemporary or transitional? Rustic? Traditional?

Finishes with a white base coloring, such as satin nickel, polished nickel, and chrome, tend to be used in contemporary and transitional design work.


Emtek Stuttgart Lever from American Dream Builders Featuring Nate Berkus.

Yellow tones in a finish have a close association with traditional design themes. Brass and French antique finishes fit well in this style.


Emtek Melon Knob in French Antique used in American Dream Builders with Nate Berkus.

Emtek Melon Knob in French Antique used in American Dream Builders with Nate Berkus.

Don’t forget about the texture of a finish! Is it shiny, brushed or sandcast? For example, a rustic design theme is based on natural materials with an unfettered look and feeling of warmth, thus a sandcast material would be a natural fit.



Mountain Luxe Style with Tumbled White Bronze and Oil Rubbed Bronze finishes.

Mountain Luxe Style with Tumbled White Bronze and Oil Rubbed Bronze finishes.


Tip #2: Don’t be Afraid to Mix Finishes

“Recently in our project, A Contemporary Moody Home, we used a mixture of gold and silver finishes. The goal was to appease different age groups in the home and in turn, helped encourage the home’s concept of a sleek and simple contemporary mood,” stated DKOR Interiors. While mixing finishes requires a lot of planning, the payoff can be great. Choosing two different finishes for a room can create a very dynamic, bold look or it can give it an unassuming, lived in feel.


Tip #3: Make It Your Own


Look for inspiration everywhere and don’t be afraid to throw the rules (or helpful tips) out the window to make the design your own. “We are constantly seeking to be inspired by unusual sources and hardware is certainly a very important detail in the final design. Accessories are often the pieces that pull a space together,” DKOR Interiors.


At the end of the day, pick the finish that you like best. Choose what catches your eye and your design will always feel like home.


Emtek in American Dream Builders with Nate Berkus

Emtek in American Dream Builders with Nate Berkus




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Style Guide

Style Guide – Savannah Chic

This month’s Style Guide is Savannah Chic! “This bold style is centered on creating texture for both your sense of touch and sight.” Have you used this style in your design work? What’s your favorite element?



Marketing Your Design Work – Tips on Photographing Reflective Surfaces

“How do I reach new customers?” is a fundamental question that rings eternal for every business owner. As a designer, the best tool you have to gain new work is beautiful, well put together examples of your previous work. The perfect picture of your designs can act as your best marketing piece to reach new customers. If you’re a do-it-yourselfer in terms of marketing, this blog will help you in taking on one of the more difficult tasks of photography – shooting reflective surfaces.


Chrome, polished nickel and other surfaces that shine are extraordinarily popular today. As beautiful as they are in a design, these materials prove wily subjects for photography. Many products that have a polished chrome or nickel look will tend to have intricate details to go along with the reflective surface, like ridges, curves, bevels, and sharp edges.


First tip: The shape of the hardware/product will tell you how you need to set up your lights, where to stand in relation to the product, and what you want to reflect or not reflect into it.




Second tip: Reflective surfaces will show anything within close range. Makes sense, right? So, put at least 3 feet between you and the product you are shooting. If you can, put distance between yourself and the product; it will help to eliminate unwanted reflections. It also helps to wear neutral colors if you can’t shoot from a distance.


The last thing you want in a close up shot of your beautiful chrome piece is a reflection of a person holding a camera.




That being said, some reflections can actually provide an interesting enhancement to your photograph.



These surfaces can also be very responsive to the light in a room. For example, yellow lights will make them appear more yellow themselves in tone. They will take on the coloring of the room and lighting in it, which may not provide an accurate portrayal of how the product actually looks.


Final tip: Be mindful of the light! A good soft box can help create the right lighting. If you don’t have one, try to get as much natural light in the room as possible. You can also use a combination of natural and artificial light. The goal is to fill in every shadow of the composition.


Use white boards to surround the reflective material and bounce light off of them instead of directly at the actual reflective surface you’re photographing. This will create soft, clean reflections that do not capture the image and color of other objects in the room.



If all else fails, you may need to color correct in post-production with a photo editing software.


In terms of photography, the devil is in the details, but with a few of these tips in mind you can easily create a beautiful portfolio of your best work.


Good luck and happy shooting!


From the collaborative minds of

SusanSig  andvioletsig