Author Archives: prarcbiz

As founder of the design and build firm Fire Features, sculptor Elena Colombo has turned what she calls her “healthy pyromania” into a booming business where she creates stunning fire, water and wind features that adorn the landscapes of private homes, hotels, and resorts worldwide. Elena’s sculptures are often the defining element of a landscape. They accentuate a space and give it unique character.
Elena is especially inspired by the primal need we have for fire and our instinct to gather around a warm lighted place to share food, stories, music and experiences. As she puts it, she’s on a mission “to restore the hearth as a ceremonial place and as a point of convergence for families and friends.”  Her designs reflect this goal. They are pieces of art that dazzle the senses and draw people around for conversation, warmth and happy memories.

Submission Deadline Extended 
to July 1, 2020
In light of the unprecedented impact Covid-19 is having on our community, we have extended the deadline for submissions for the Urban Confluence Silicon Valley Open Ideas Competition to July 1, 2020.
Please find fully updated details on the web site:


Please be assured the transformational work of this project will continue unabated. Seeing the resiliency and fortitude of the international creative community coming together during this time of uncertainty further magnifies our vision to create an iconic landmark worthy of these extraordinary times that truly advances humanity in the world’s epicenter of innovation.
We will be closely monitoring the situation and will make responsible adjustments as needed.

The National Hardware Show (NHS), the leading event dedicated to all things home improvement, hardware and product innovation, is pleased to introduce NHS Connects. In the spirit of bringing the hardware community together, NHS Connects is a new digital platform that enables networking and business to continue leading up to the Show, which is now slated for September 1-3, 2020 in Las Vegas, and beyond.

Set to roll out in the coming weeks, NHS Connects provides retailers, wholesalers, distributors, suppliers and manufacturers with year-round online digital content designed specifically for the hardware and home improvement industry. Attendees can use NHS Connects to stay up to date on leading industry topics and education, connect and set up direct appointments with leading suppliers and manufacturers as well as source new, trending products while also expanding current product offerings. Together with NHS Connects, the Show will provide the tools needed to equip customers, empower businesses and engage with industry leaders.

“We understand the significant impact NHS has on our customers’ business especially during this unprecedented time in which hardware and home improvement stores are considered essential. Our new online platform enables exhibitors and attendees to get the most out of the Show through creating a resource for community, connection and innovation,” said Rich Russo, Industry Vice President for the National Hardware Show. “NHS Connects reimagines sourcing strategies and encourages industry leaders to stay united with manufacturers and brands not only during the Show but throughout the year. The platform will provide a plethora of resources that benefit all attendees to help increase productivity and maximize efficiency.”

NHS Connects will be comprised of a variety of informational sessions. Visitors have access to the year-round online resources including scheduled and pre-recorded webinars, virtual education and panels hosted by NHS industry partners, health and wellness classes and more!

Overlook Café, renovated and reconceptualized by Arcsine, transports members and guests to a time when mid-century modern architecture and design flourished. Situated above the pool room at The Olympic Club—a historic athletic club operating since 1860 in San Francisco—the café combines the club’s sports-driven heritage with stylish and contemporary accoutrements.

The café’s logo—with the light blue-accentuated bottom of the letters playfully depicted as being half-submerged in water—along with a framed vintage club flag greets guests as they enter the bright space. Overlooking the club’s swimming pool, the multipurpose space features bold yet classic aesthetics such as white picket tiles from Statement Tile and luxury vinyl tile flooring from Reward.




Saint Louis Zoo solar canopy 1

(St. Louis, MO, Sept. 4, 2019) KAI Design has created a unique solar canopy for the Saint Louis Zoo that provides much-needed shade for visitors, absorbs light and generates power.

The solar panel shade canopy, officially called Williams Family Solar Pavilion, provides shelter for a 2,200-square-foot dining area at a prominent location in the zoo. During the planning process for a retail renewal program in the heart of the zoological park, the project team recognized an opportunity to greatly expand the amount of sheltered outdoor dining area.

“The prominence of the location presented a unique opportunity and demanded ambitious aesthetic goals,” said Carl Karlen, Design Principal at KAI and Senior Designer on the project. “The canopy overlooking the central lagoon is highly visible to the millions of annual visitors, many of whom will sit in its shade enjoying their meals. It will also host important after-hours events as a source of additional revenue. The generosity of a sponsor elevated the possibilities for a distinctive architectural solution adding to the fabric of the historic and varied campus.”

Discussions on sustainability and LEED certification goals yielded the decision to include electrical power generated on-site from a solar power array. Design challenges included integration of technical requirements and aesthetics of the solar array itself (a steep 20-degree panel slope, exposed wiring and connections and an industrial appearance).

“The strategic location of the structure was selected to avoid disruption to seating and other uses,” said Karlen. “LEED requirements for power generation and lighting spillover, and harmonization of the new structure with the existing naturalistic context were also considered.”

The final architectural design allowed for inclusion of extensive custom artwork engraved into the Corten steel structure, which features aquatic life located throughout the park.

Power UP installed the panels and KAI Build was the general contractor on the project.


REPORT: Energy Efficiency Leads Calif. Job Growth, Nationwide Job Growth 

Industry now employs 318,500 Californians; grew 2.6% in 2018

  • 34% of Calif. energy workers are employed by energy efficiency businesses
  • Top 10 States for EE Jobs: Calif., Texas, N.Y., Fla., Ill., N.C., Mass., Mich., Ohio, Va. 
  • 41 states, including Calif., employ more workers in energy efficiency than fossil fuels 
  • 11% of Calif. energy efficiency workers are veterans

LOS ANGELES – Energy efficiency is the fastest-growing segment of U.S. energy-sector employment, now employing more than 2.3 million Americans—including 318,500 in California— according to a new analysisfrom E4TheFuture and the national, nonpartisan business group E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs). Energy efficiency workers now account for 34 percent of all energy workers in California, and 28 percent nationally.

The new report, Energy Efficiency Jobs in America, finds energy efficiency jobs grew 3.4 percent nationally in 2018 –more than double the rate of growth for overall jobs nationwide — with 7.8% growth projected for 2019. In California, employers added over 8,100 jobs for a 2.6% rate.

Among states, California led the nation in energy-efficiency employment with 318,500 jobs, followed by Texas (162,800), New York (123,300), Florida (118,400), and Illinois (89,400).  Thirteen states saw efficiency jobs increase by more than five percent in 2018, led by New Mexico (11.6%), Nevada (8.1%), Oklahoma (7.2%), Colorado (7.2%), and New Jersey (7.1%). Not a single state saw declines in energy efficiency employment in 2018.

The report, released at the annual meeting of the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) in Manhattan Beach, California, highlights energy efficiency’s continued economic importance.

“While politicians argue over the direction of our energy transition, the economic benefits of improving energy efficiency continue to unite America’s business and environmental interests,” said Pat Stanton, Director of Policy at E4TheFuture. “Not only is expanding America’s energy efficiency key to solving multiple climate policy goals, it is now integral to businesses’ expansion plans – saving money and creating local jobs that cannot be outsourced.”

Efficiency businesses added 76,000 net new jobs in 2018, accounting for half of all net jobs added by America’s energy sector (151,700). The sector also employed twice the number of workers in 2018 as all fossil fuel industries combined (1.18 million) and in 41 states, including California, energy efficiency employs more workers than fossil fuels. There are now more than 360,000 energy efficiency businesses operating across the U.S., including 51,000 in California.

“We all know energy efficiency saves consumers and businesses money with every month’s power bill,” said Bob Keefe, executive director of E2. “We should also remember that energy efficiency is creating jobs and driving economic growth in every state – and doing so while also helping our environment, not hurting it.”

Energy efficiency jobs include positions in manufacturing, such as building ENERGY STAR® appliances, efficient windows and doors and LED lighting systems. They include jobs in construction – retrofitting buildings, offices and schools to make them more efficient. Efficiency careers are found in high-tech design and software and professional services, as well as at the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) companies that upgrade outdated inefficient HVAC systems, boilers, ductwork and other equipment.

Energy efficiency jobs aren’t limited by geography, geology or political persuasion. There are workers in energy efficiency in every state and in virtually every U.S. county, the report shows. California is home to 7,400 of the nation’s 317,000 rural energy efficiency jobs while the San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego metro areas account for 188,000—more than every U.S. except California.

Looking at legislative districts, 46 of California’s 53 congressional districts are home to at least 3,000 energy efficiency jobs. In the state legislature, all 40 of the state’s senate districts along with 76 of 80 house districts had over 1,000 energy efficiency jobs.

“State energy officials understand that energy efficiency and the jobs that come with it is an integral and important part of the overall economy,” said David Terry, Executive Director at NASEO, which provides research support for the underlying data behind Energy Efficiency Jobs in America“Policymakers at the state and federal levels will hopefully keep the size and reach of energy efficiency employment in mind as they plan for the future.”

More detailed findings of energy efficiency jobs for California and all 50 states and the District of Columbia – including job totals for every congressional and legislative district, industry and technology breakdowns, and maps of every state’s top counties — are at A set of FAQs about the report is here.

Other key findings:

  • 11% of energy efficiency jobs are held by veterans — nearly double the national average of 6%
  • Construction and manufacturing make up more than 70% of US. energy efficiency jobs
  • Energy efficiency jobs account for 19% of all construction jobs in California and more than one out of every six construction jobs nationally (1.3 million workers total)
  • More than 31,700 California energy efficiency businesses are involved in construction or manufacturing
  • Nationwide, 321,000 energy efficiency jobs are in manufacturing
  • Efficient lighting technologies employ 370,000 workers nationwide 
  • Energy-efficient heating, ventilation, and cooling technologies employ more than 187,000 California workers and over 1.1 million nationwide
  • ENERGY STAR appliances and efficient lighting firms employ nearly 71,800 Californians 
  • Energy efficiency employers are projecting 7.8% job growth nationwide in 2019
  • Small businesses are driving America’s energy efficiency job boom, with 78% of California workers employed by businesses with fewer than 20 total workers

Ahead of Energy Efficiency Day 2019 on October 2, E2 and E4TheFuture will host an online panel discussion onEnergy Efficiency Jobs in America 2019 featuring Keefe, Stanton, and the authors of the report from BW Research Partnership. To register and attend the free event on October 1, click here.

Energy Efficiency Jobs in America follows E2’s Clean Jobs America analysis, which found that clean energy jobs account for nearly 3.3 million jobs across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Both reports expand on data from the 2019 U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER) produced by the Energy Futures Initiative (EFI) in partnership with NASEO, using data collected and analyzed by BW Research Partnership. The report was released in March, and is available at E2 and E4TheFuture were both partners on the USEER, the fourth installment of the energy survey first released by the Department of Energy in 2016 and subsequently abandoned under the Trump administration.

To speak with business leaders around the country who support strong investments in energy efficiency and their impact on America’s economy, please contact Michael Timberlake (, Patrick Mitchell (

Additional Resources:

Jack of All Shades

Interiors resource available for custom lampshades:


“If we had done a simple white silk shade, the lamp would have felt more formal,” says Warner Rothblum.  “Because we did a fun pattern on the shade, it made the lamp feel more edgy and chic.  It is actually one of the client’s favorite things in the whole house.  They loved the shades in the dining room.”



Mixed Use Slated for 2019

Located on the crescent of The Palm in Dubai, a city famous for its luxury and opulence, The Royal Atlantis Resort & Residences will bring forth a new generation of distinctive luxury as the first ‘super prime’ branded residences in the Dubai market when it opens next year. The luxe 43-story building will offer 231 residences with a hotel component in the west wing of the property providing a further 795 guest rooms and suites. The property offers over 90 swimming pools as well as several design ‘firsts.’




Derviş Zaim’s film is shown as part of the 17th Annual Boston Turkish Film Festival


Emre Arolat’s Sancaklar Mosque


NEW YORK – May 1, 2018 – On April 7th, The Boston Museum of Fine Arts hosted a screening of the Turkish Film Dream, directed by respected Turkish director, producer, and novelist Derviş Zaim, as part of the 17th Annual Boston Turkish Film Festival.  The screening was held at the museum’s Harry and Mildred Remis Auditorium, and is the first time the film has been screened in the United States.


Dream, originally released in Turkey in 2016, follows architect Sine, who, dissatisfied with the current architectural landscape, designs an unconventional mosque inspired by the religious Seven Sleepers myth. The innovative Sancaklar Mosque, designed by internationally renowned architect Emre Arolat of EAA – Emre Arolat Architecture, was the mosque seen in the film.


“Sancaklar Mosque strips away design conventions and returns to the heart of Islamic philosophy.  With an original design focused on the essence of a place of worship as opposed to the aspects of a typical mosque,” said Arolat.  “I wanted to ensure that physical and emotional pleasure were at the forefront, and not form.  The mosque represents the purest forms of light and matter, to provide a space for worshipers to observe and be free from all outside burdens.”


Sancaklar Mosque is located in a prairie landscape.  The only visible elements of the mosque are the courtyard surrounded by horizontal walls and a vertical mass of stone serving as the mosque’s minaret.  The prayer hall reached down the cascading steps is a simple cave-like space meant to be an inspiring place for worshipers to be alone with God as they pray.  Additionally, the complex features a tea house, communal space, and library, encouraging social gatherings amongst visitors.