Posts tagged with "Interiors":

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Italian architect Ferruccio Laviani imbues iconic Foscarini lamps with color

Released in the United States for the first time this month, the Be Colour capsule collection reworks designs from Italian lighting brand Foscarini’s catalog of decorative luminaires. The Venice-based company asked its longtime collaborator Ferruccio Laviani to reimagine some the company's most iconic pieces. The architect chose a bold color palette to enliven classics like the compact Binic table fixture, the adaptable Magneto desk lamp, the Gregg and Bahia wall sconces, and the Twiggy floor lamp—a version of which received a 2018 AN Best of Products Awards honorable mention. “We wanted to go beyond the all over effect of a single color,” Laviani explained. “Where possible, we formulated chromatic combinations that make the shape of each lamp more unexpected.” The architect separated what were originally monochromatic totems into different geometric forms using strategic color pairing. In some cases, like the Magneto desk lamp, such an intervention helps delineate function. The fixture’s fiery-red stem deliberately contrasts with its baby-blue head to show how the lamp can be adjusted. Laviani’s interest in color is nothing new. In 1991, he developed the Orbital standing lamp for Foscarini, which was a study in the relationship between form and tone. The release of the Be Colour capsule collection coincides with the opening of the Foscarini’s new Spazio Soho showroom. The recently-renovated Greene Street space in New York is now the Italian company's American flagship store.
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Two new books delve deep into midcentury Danish design

Midcentury modern design has surged back into fashion in the past decade. In a time of economic uncertainty, many in the furniture and interiors industries are adopting the restrained aesthetic as a reassuring alternative to the opulent and overly expressive styles of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Though renowned designers from many countries played major roles in shaping this movement in the 1940s, '50s, and '60s, Danish icons like Arne Jacobsen, Finn Juhl, Verner Panton, Børge Mogensen, and Hans J. Wegner are often credited as its catalysts. Today, Danish brands like Hay, Muuto, and PP Møbler have capitalized on the renewed interest in the country’s design prowess. Copenhagen-based Strandberg Publishing has just released two books that explore the topic. In Furniture Boom: Mid-Century Modern Danish Furniture 1945-1975, historian Lars Dybdahl surveys the full trajectory of the midcentury modern movement in Denmark, situating iconic furniture pieces in a larger cultural context. Across 13 chapters, the anthology highlights key trends as well as social, aesthetic, and technical topics. While chapter 2 investigates the disparity between high-end and accessible design, chapters 4, 5, and 6 consider different materials and production techniques that were championed and refined during the period: lamination, padding, wicker, etc. The last few chapters look at different scales of context and use: children's and office furniture alongside Space Age influences. While the book takes an academic tone, it's multifaceted approach paints a holistic picture. Throughout, archival product and interior images, advertisements, and drawings help illustrate the full story. In The Danish Chair: An International Affair, author Christian Holmsted Olesen analyzes the chair archetype. As one of the most complex and contested objects, the chair often signifies a make-or-break moment for designers and serves as a touchstone throughout evolving careers. In the book, Holmsted Olesen positions Danish design at the center of an international and historical dialogue. The author reveals how celebrated midcentury modern chair designs by Danish icons took inspiration from history and abroad. Certain chapters explore the influence of Chinese and English traditions, while others identify different typologies: folding, low, easy, bentwood, shell, cantilever, etc. The book also looks at how the country’s design scene gained international recognition in the early 1950s and how that drove its designers to perfect the chair. Holmsted Olesen is the head of exhibits and collections at Designmuseum Danmark and mounted a permanent exhibition of the same name in 2016.
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Bar Basso, the historic heart of Milanese design, gets new birthday lights

On the occasion of Bar Basso’s 51st birthday this October, the designers of Gabriel Scott presented a new lighting installation, the first addition to the famous Milanese watering hole’s interior since 1967. AN Interior contributor Jordan Hruska sat down with the bar's owner, Maurizio Stocchetto. AN Interior: How has the design of Bar Basso changed over the last 51 years? Maurizio Stocchetto: Bar Basso was founded in 1947, but my father, Mirko Stocchetto, took it over in 1967. He kept most of the furniture of the previous owner, including wood paneling, mirrors, chairs, and the iconic neon sign outside. AN: Explain the history of how your father created the infamous Negroni Sbagliato and his overall vision for the bar. MS: In the 1960s, cocktails in Milan were hard to come by. Oddly enough, they were popular in Venice, Cortina, and Florence—mostly in the lounges of the big hotels. My father brought an old-school experience he gained by working at hotel bars to a small street corner in Milan. One day, while making a Negroni, a cocktail traditionally made with Campari, red vermouth, and gin, he substituted sparkling wine for gin, claiming that he picked that bottle by mistake. He finished the drink anyway. I‘ve never known if it was true, but the name Sbagliato, which means “mistaken,” caught on. AN: Why do you think designers were initially attracted to Bar Basso as a place to gather in the 1980s? MS: Bar Basso attracted many creative people starting as far back as the 1960s. I think it’s because of its unpretentious atmosphere. Joe Colombo and many architects from Politecnico, the Milanese University of Architecture, were already regulars in the ’70s, but I was too young to notice them. The first designers that I personally met were James Irvine, Jasper Morrison, Marc Newson, Stefano Giovannoni, and a few others working in the [Ettore] Sottsass studio. This community started to grow spontaneously more or less at the same time as the Salone del Mobile brought more visitors to town. After our first “British Invasion,” we started to attract Scandinavian designers, design journalists, and assorted manufacturers. AN: How has your knowledge of design changed since Bar Basso has become an informal hub for designers? MS: The sheer proximity with designers has given me an awareness of how much effort lies behind any design piece, even for objects that we always take for granted. AN: Thousands of designers around the world have a very intimate connection to Bar Basso. Why did you choose Gabriel Scott to design your new lighting? MS: Gabriel Kakon and Scott Richler, owners of Gabriel Scott, contacted me last March in order to organize an exposition of their lamps during the Salone del Mobile in two of our windows. We hit it off and agreed to develop the bar’s first-ever installation to celebrate our anniversary. AN: How did they develop the lighting installation? MS: Gabriel and Scott proposed installing versions of their Myriad and Welles light fixtures with custom satin copper fixture finishes, which give off an alabaster glow that evokes the color of the Negroni Sbagliato. AN: What are the plans for Bar Basso in the next 51 years? MS: Stay alive and stay in business!
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Take a deep dive into Olafur Eliasson’s first completed building

Fjordenhus in Vejle, Denmark, is the first completed building by artist Olafur Eliasson and architect Sebastian Behmann. Together with Studio Olafur Eliasson, the duo have created a thoughtfully conceived and crafted structure in the bay of a Danish fjord. In their earlier architectural collaborations—like the curtain wall design for the Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik, Iceland—their work has displayed an attention to detail, composition, materials, and craftsmanship that carries over into this unique commission.

Once they convinced their client, Kirk Kapital, to build its headquarters in the water of an underutilized shipping port, they created a cylindrical concrete structure as a reference to the area’s surrounding grain silos.

The building is composed of four intersecting concrete volumes arrayed around an open public space and faced with nearly a million custom-designed bricks. The four-story volumes morph in elevation from ellipses to circles, and out of these are carved porous openings that dramatically frame views of the fjord. Built atop a man-made island with a basement foundation, Fjordenhus looks like a medieval rampart as imagined by Louis Kahn. But up close, its exterior walls are a pattern of endlessly and beautifully textured color.

The designers created 15 different hues of unglazed brick, added a smattering of blue, green, and silver glazed bricks, and then meticulously laid them out in digital drawings to create a patterned composition for the entire building. The brick colors were selected to reflect their immediate surroundings (more blue at the top of the building and gray for the stairwells), and they are meant to embody the changing weather and light conditions of the site. The torqued elliptical forms are intended to create a series of dynamic, flowing spaces that are “constantly calibrating to allow the user to trust themselves,” according to Eliasson, as they enter and pass through the building. The artist cited Erwin Panofsky’s criticism of neoclassicism and how it prescribes the inhabitation of buildings as an example of what not to do in designing architectural space. Eliasson wanted to move away from classical hierarchical planning to a more democratic, participatory architecture that he considers a hallmark of Danish democracy.

The building is entered from the quay by a footbridge that leads into a circular public space with three of the artist’s sculptures and a mirrored ceiling piece that reflects the light of the fjord back into the occupied public space.

A circular elevator that features dramatic top and bottom lighting, along with a surrounding stair that rises on splayed armatures, take users up into workspaces fitted with furnishings, lighting, built-in cabinets, and interior stairs all designed by the firm. The placement of furniture is purposefully haphazard so that users “democratically” negotiate their own paths through the space, giving them co-authorship of the building. 

In addition, Eliasson designed table and floor lamps made of deep green glass and metal, as well as built-in lighting that is equal parts functional lighting and sculptural object. Lower floors have elegant, circular concrete pads with coffered lighting overhead. The top floor has a globular, faceted sculpture placed below a skylight that throws sunlight over the space. In addition, the rooms have a series of Eliasson-designed fixtures elegantly cobbled together from a hanging LED light fixture that casts light upward through a glass lens, creating a pattern of concentric circles on the ceiling.

This unique practice is based on an artistic sensibility devoted to materiality, craft, and an understanding of form, developed through Eliasson’s years of experimentation as a trained sculptor. As a result, it is a challenge to more traditional architecture practices. Furthermore, the designer’s insistence on the necessity of creating a democratic, user-controlled space means Fjordenhus comes as close to a contemporary Gesamtkunstwerk (or total work of art) as we have yet experienced in the 21st century.

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SPAN converts an iconic roof topper into a Central Park triplex penthouse

The steeply-pitched mansard roof of 150 Central Park South, an iconic copper patinaed topper that stands out among its West 57th Street neighbors, will eventually be home to more than storage and HVAC equipment. SPAN Architecture is converting the previously-unused roof floors into a triplex condo unit with surround-views of Central Park, and AN got to tour the raw space before construction begins. 150 Central Park South, also known as Hampshire House, was completed in 1937 after six years of delays caused by the Great Depression. The 37-story, limestone-clad building is instantly recognizable owing to a cascading series of terraces on the northern face, and the two chimneys that bookend its massive copper top. Despite its age and famous tenants, the tower isn’t a landmarked building, allowing for significant interior alterations with the permission of the co-op board and Department of Buildings (DOB). Among them? Two floors could be added, punching 40-foot-tall windows into the roof (after a restoration), and a terrace could be built on the Central Park-facing side. According to SPAN principal Peter Pelsinski, the “eureka” moment came during a survey for the (then) top-floor apartment on the 37th floor. Questioning where the mechanical systems were held, SPAN discovered that the space inside of the roof directly above—also used as storage—could be converted into two new floors with 14-foot-tall ceilings. A tour of the current space revealed ample exposed terra-cotta block insulation (commonly used for fireproofing in older buildings), anchors connecting the copper cladding to the raw concrete walls inside, and a soaring vaulted ceiling reminiscent of a cathedral. With so much height to work with, SPAN ran through over 15 different schemes before arriving at their current layout, though it was also noted that any potential buyers would have the ability to customize the triplex. Some of the wilder schemes for the 39th floor involved leaving it out entirely and opening up the full height of the ceiling, running a pool from one end of the building to the other, or turning it into a gym, an office, or a full cinema. The current plan as approved by the DOB would see the renovation of the current 1,100-square-foot 39th-floor unit, the addition of living rooms on both the 38th and 39th floors, a bedroom and bathroom at each end of the 38th floor, a family room, and a full kitchen and dining room. The nearly-floor-to-ceiling windows in the top-floor living room will also have the ability to open up to the 39th-floor terrace facing the park and create a seamless indoor-outdoor space. When fully built out, the triplex will hold 8,585 square feet of interior space and 1,225 square feet of accessible outdoor space. SPAN went with a neutral palette for the interior, in part as a response to the colorful backdrop that Central Park presents. As the seasons change, so does the color of the foliage, and with so much of the penthouse’s view oriented towards the park, the firm didn’t want to lock themselves into a color or material scheme that would only sync up some of the time. With white walls, herringbone floors in light wood (already found in the 37th-floor unit), and white marble in the bathroom, the aim was to enhance, not detract from, the view.
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viaARCHITECTURE brings joy to a small office in Lower Manhattan

There are good clients and then there are good clients with great projects. They don’t always go together, but when they do, the result can be inspiring architecture and design. viaARCHITECTURE, the New York City firm led by Frederick Biehle and Erika Hinrichs, found both when they were commissioned to design the New York offices for Creative Capital. The nonprofit began as a project to “reinvent cultural philanthropy and to support innovative artists pursuing adventurous projects in all disciplines.” It was founded in response to the National Endowment for the Arts' abandonment of support for individual artists, and the nonprofit is proud to claim “a fierce commitment to freedom of expression.” In the last few years, they have supported artists as diverse as Meredith Monk, Laura Poitras, and Rebecca Solnit, among many others. Biehle was excited to design the group's office space and produced a working environment that is a thrill for its 20 daily inhabitants and any additional visitors. The organization's office is in a typical cramped New York site on Maiden Lane near Wall Street on the 18th-floor. But the architects were able to open up the space and emphasize the view out through a number of tall windows. The 5,000-square-foot space is further enhanced by exposed concrete floors and ceilings with stripped-down beams and columns all focused on the view out to the street and sky. In addition, the office design, which emphasizes communal, co-working spaces instead of individual work rooms, have space-saving pocket doors and multiple openings to increase spatial adaptability and visual access. The space feels open and light-filled despite its less than desirable dimensions. Visitors to Creative Capital exit a small elevator and turn into a narrow hallway, where they are greeted by a colorful double-wide sliding metal door that pulls one into the space. It is hard to convey how the architects' color palette has created an entirely joyful work environment for its employees, something that is not always the case in narrow Lower Manhattan work spaces. It should be noted that the architects worked with their clients to produce not only a desirable work environment but also one that was affordable for the nonprofit. The construction fees for the office were integrated into the ten-year lease plan, and the architects produced efficient built-in furniture and the rest is discounted Herman Miller task furniture for the remainder of the space. This commission was a special one for the architects and produced a project that improved the daily work experience for its users. It’s a case study in what architects can do to improve everyone’s lives.
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Madderlake’s design for this hillside mountain house protects it from avalanches

A modernist-inspired mountain home outside of Aspen, Colorado, sports gorgeous wood paneling and concrete walls detailed in the style of Louis Kahn’s early architecture. Dreamed up by Madderlake Design for an active couple and their championship hunting dogs, the 7,500-square-foot Conundrum House and Studio brings a minimalist Japanese sensibility to the remote landscape of the Rockies’ Castle Creek Valley. Design principal Tom Pritchard, a former long-time resident of Aspen, said his team was trying to create a twist on the typical chalet-like, rustic cabin. “We were aiming for luxury rooted in simplicity,” he said. “As you move throughout the house, from space to space, the details feel as if they came from the hands of craftsmen.” But that personal touch was intentional. Madderlake selected materials that fell in line with this natural and effortless aesthetic, such as the simple graining found in Douglas fir, weathered western red cedar, and reclaimed heart pine that are featured on the floors, siding, and ceiling. According to Pritchard, mountain homes tend to be grandiose with massive logs and heavy patterns. Madderlake’s low-hanging, multistory structure combines stucco, soapstone, and Japanese plaster to bring the overall tone of the building back down to earth. One of the biggest design challenges Madderlake faced was protecting the Conundrum House from the threat of an avalanche. The design team incorporated a concrete retaining wall to complement the structure’s steel core and broke up the mass of the building by burying the majority of living spaces deep within the hillside. They then sculpted the landscape to minimize the impact of a potential snowslide. Though much of the house is underground, Madderlake designed the inside levels as a series of steps with small window units that diffuse light into the depths of the building. The result is a bright, inviting interior that’s as elegant as it is cozy.
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These toothsome dentist offices make cleanings a piece of cake

We’ve all been there—harsh lighting, outdated fitness magazines, uncomfortable chairs in windowless rooms—the truth is that dentist offices are often as ugly as they are fear-inducing. But every now and then, it’s possible to create medical offices that soothe rather than stress. To achieve this goal, some designers might focus on interesting wall detailing, access to daylight, or even innovative circulation. We’ve collected examples that align all three approaches to show that when designers drill down into the details of dentistry, spaces can make patients smile. KU64 Dental Specialists Karhard Architektur + Design On the other side of the pond, German architects Karhard Architektur + Design divide patient rooms from circulation and waiting areas with transparency instead of the usual poché. In the offices for KU64 Dental Specialists, the firm deploys fritted glass walls and brightly patterned wallpapers depicting local flora and fauna for maximum dissociation. These colorful spaces are intended to provide a visual distraction as well as personal comfort. The offices include a dental surgery wing divided into sterile and nonsterile areas by a faceted airlock while also offering an area of themed recovery rooms to help patients come to. These loungelike rooms—cloaked in cross-stitched end-grain plywood, accented with photo murals depicting Baroque interiors, and filled with chrome-wrapped seating—look out over leafy, urban vistas. Santa Monica Orthodontics Sharif, Lynch: Architecture For Santa Monica Orthodontics in California, Los Angeles–based Sharif, Lynch: Architecture uses subtle abstraction to create surprisingly kid-friendly spaces. With an emphasis on “graphic flatness and tectonic fullness,” the designers interrupt cool materials with dramatic points of visual interest to bridge the front- and back-of-house sections of the office. The dichotomy is most pronounced where sliding acrylic and glass panels separate an open treatment room from a mix of ancillary spaces located beyond. The prismatic, dichromatic panels change color throughout the day, running from purple to gold as the lighting conditions behind them shift. Mohamed Sharif, founding principal at Sharif, Lynch, said, “We wanted to break free of the typical associations we might have with normative medical spaces by creating details for anyone who cares to linger.” MINT, D.D.S. Höweler + Yoon Architecture Höweler + Yoon Architecture (HYA), on the other hand, takes an opposite tack by using patterned millwork and monochromatic, faceted surfaces to conceal medical equipment and storage spaces for the MINT dental clinic in Boston. Here, the designers line an interior hallway with cabinets sheathed in CNC-milled, laminated Baltic birch plywood panels studded with pointillist representations of buoyant clouds. The arrangement, an effort to be “strategic with thickness,” according to Eric Höweler, founding principal at HYA, creates an “almost spalike appeal” to the spaces while also providing clear circulation routes as well as privacy for each of the operating suites. An accent wall located behind a stark-white reception desk uses serial end-grain panels as a faceted backdrop for the office waiting areas, elements that help the firm develop an “exceptional project with a nonexceptional budget.”
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Goodnight Charlie’s is a contemporary honky-tonk with Texas roots

“We didn’t want a Disney World experience at Goodnight Charlie’s, so we pared back,” said Gin Braverman, principal of Houston-based Gin Design Group (GDG), about the city’s Montrose neighborhood’s newest (and only) honky-tonk. “We didn’t want it to feel contrived.” In order to flesh out project architects Content Architecture’s contemporary structure for a musical lineup that ranges from twang to tonk, GDG began with Goodnight Charlie’s good bones and dressed them with simple, vernacular elements. The rectangular structure’s cedar-clad exterior is complemented by interiors of warm, accessible materials that would be at home in Texas’s barns and farmhouses. Rough cedar and plywood dominate the interior, materials evocative of the simple, collaborative approach a community might take in a barn raising—and the cooperative process that came easy for the interior designer and Content, whose practices share a building. Galvanized aluminum paneling wraps an angled wall behind the bar and around the door to the kitchen—a utilitarian choice that ends brilliantly, as the aluminum picks up and diffuses the multiple light sources in the room, including a lattice of raw lightbulbs, the fresh neon signs of the bar logo, and a cheeky crescent moon behind the stage. Bar storage is achieved with rolltop doors set within a steel structure, where a rotating narrative of bottles and ephemera is allowed to build naturally, a scheme Gin Design Group put considerable intent behind. “It was important that nothing appeared staged,” Braverman added, “so the finishes and fixtures align with that direction.” Nested tables with benches in hardwood provide a flexible gathering space within the performance area, while warm leather high-top chairs in burnt sienna encourage patrons to (figuratively) saddle up to the wide bar top, rendered in concrete and powder-coated metal. Beyond the bar area is a real-life Texas porch that opens out to the neighborhood, complete with swings hung on long steel chains and classic picnic tables. Looking up reveals the structure’s exposed trusses and cedar louvers. The restrooms are more intimate and detailed, with a portrait of Goodnight Charlie’s namesake—Charles Goodnight, the first cattle rancher in the Texas Panhandle—separating genders. Inside there are farmhouse sinks and white tile that has a handmade texture. Wallpaper takes on a Federalist air, the red print featuring the Texas seal, the Alamo, and an eager American eagle above a wave of stars. “The materials are just broad enough,” added Braverman. “They are a nod to Texas in general.”
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Four new spaces turn Tribeca into New York’s newest design destination

As the home of AN Interior's parent publication, The Architect's Newspaper, for 12 years, Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood has steadily developed a spicy, post-work hangout scene. The latest places to pop up in our community include four chic, inviting spaces that offer commuters and locals alike the chance to savor the sweet taste of good design (at a good price) any time of day. These stunning and simple venues—a timeless tea parlor, a cozy cocktail lounge, a sunny seafood spot, and a sky-high, Danny Meyer dining experience—all opened this year to rave reviews for their food, drinks, and decor. Next time you’re in Tribeca, you won’t want to forgo seeing these inspired interiors for yourself. Primo’s Designer: Camilla Deterre 129 Chambers Street Primo’s exudes a surprising and sexy contemporary twist on Italian Art Deco. Designed by model Camilla Deterre, the striking bar packs speakeasy sentimentality and midcentury modern elements into a small, two-room space hidden inside the Frederick Hotel. Long drapes with rich primary colors and cotton velvet upholstery covering curvaceous banquets give Primo’s an aura of luxury, but the soon-to-be late-night Tribeca mainstay is more informal than it appears. The chrome-outlined bar boasts an impressive organic wine collection and serves an array of dreamy classic cocktails and avant-garde absinthe coolers that will knock your socks off. Manhatta Architect: Woods Bagot 28 Liberty Street, 60th Floor As culinary impresario Danny Meyer’s most recent endeavor, Manhatta serves as a home in the sky for delicious food and jaw-dropping views. With less glitz than you’d expect from a restaurant of this stature—it nearly covers the entire top floor of Manhattan’s first International Style building—its elegant yet friendly atmosphere overwhelms any sense of high society. Woods Bagot’s design for the French-American eatery and bar brings dark wood, weathered granite, brass fixtures, and jewel-toned Chinese paintings together to subtly create an intimate setting with an unparalleled perspective of New York. A Summer Day Cafe Architect: Savvy Studio 109 West Broadway This relaxing restaurant and raw bar transports urbanites to Italy’s Amalfi Coast with an enticing seafood selection and a maritime mood. Dreamed up by architecture and branding studio Savvy, the 1,290-square-foot space oozes summer simplicity. It’s one of Tribeca restaurateur Matt Abramcyk’s latest ventures and an experiment in stylishly crafting the sensation of leisure and calm. The concept is a nod to photographer Joel Meyerowitz’s 1985 book A Summer’s Day, with a material palette inspired by boats, seaside cottages, and industrial fish markets.
Interlude Architect: Kimoy Studios 145 Hudson Street Founded by Juilliard-trained classical pianist Josh Kim, Interlude is an Asian tea and coffee cafe that serves its signature matcha tonic and homemade baked goods in a light-filled, minimalist space, designed by KIMOY Studios. Kim combined his passions for gastronomy, design, and hot drinks to open the business (which he runs with his sister and girlfriend) this summer. The bright white marble, polished black granite, and warm wood tones found throughout the cafe were hand-selected to mimic the look and feel of a grand piano.
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Rockwell Group’s Blue School brings a pop of color to Lower Manhattan

Rockwell Group’s design for the recently opened Blue School in New York City falls outside the lines of traditional design for primary and secondary education, especially in the cramped Big Apple. While the school includes many basic elements such as closed-door classrooms and a sizable cafeteria, the one thing the architects were expected to uniquely incorporate for the private school, which was founded by alumni of the Blue Man Group, is color. Lots of color. Stretched across four floors of a mixed-use, former medical building in Manhattan’s Financial District, the school serves as a “home away from home” for its kids, featuring flexible spaces and playful palettes that encourage creative self-expression and pride at all ages. The Blue School opened last month for its inaugural semester, welcoming 100 students and 70 faculty members through its shiny glass doors under a neon sign signaling its presence in the neighborhood. The 45,000-square-foot facility is the New York-based institution’s second campus designed by Rockwell Group. It provides much-needed breathing room for the school’s fourth through eighth-grade levels, which were previously housed in what’s now the primary school located in the South Street Seaport. Thanks to the move, pre-kindergarten through third-grade students were also given more space inside their facility, which opened in 2010. For the Upper School, as the new facility is known, Rockwell Group leveled up the design out of respect for the older children, who naturally are becoming more mature as they age. The architects outfitted the space with a bright, eye-catching interior and a layout designed to spark personal discovery as well as collaboration. “There’s a sense of respect the kids feel in spaces designed for them,” said Michael Fischer, the associate principal who led the design with David Rockwell. “They have autonomy, feel empowered and trusted.” Upon walking through the doors of the new Blue School, students, teachers, and guests are greeted with a lobby sporting a lounge-like feel, as well a high-gloss, neon yellow central staircase that serves as the main point of circulation in the facility. To the left in a community space called the Commons, colorful outdoor furniture adds a contemporary twist to the cafeteria setting along with bleacher-like seating wrapped in wood and staggered along the walls for a topographical effect. Additionally, a bar with stools lines the edge of the 1,800-square-foot space overlooking the street. The Commons also includes walls lined with LED-lit garden planters where food is grown as part of the school’s science curriculum as well as for students’ meals. The living wall is maintained in partnership with Brooklyn Grange and enhances the living room-like atmosphere of the shared space. On the basement level, Rockwell Group created a grown-up version of their Imagination Playground system with which students can construct their own seating stations using shapely, blue-foam cushions. The surrounding walls are clad with colorful, geometric wallpaper by Flavor Paper. Two studios as well as a column-free gymnasium, which doubles as a 130-seat auditorium—the Blue School’s first ever performance space—were also designed for the school’s arts and exercise programs. If flexibility is an integral part of the Blue School’s educational philosophy and its interior architectural design, the concept is most evident on the top floors where each learning space includes key elements that allow teachers and students to take over space how they see fit. Rockwell Group collaborated with Uhuru to create non-directional trapezoidal desks that can be easily set up to form clusters for group-work situations. Each classroom also includes a raised carpeted platform dedicated to quiet reading or presentations. An art room, maker lab, and materials library were also given major space on the second floor. Both are fully stocked with every kind of arts and engineering supply imaginable, from paint brushes to saws, to glue and glass. An adjacent materials library—open to the kids at all times—serves several fields of study and specific STEAM courses. The Blue School’s library features a book-lined, double-height reading space with a massive sofa and custom common tables by Rockwell Group for Knoll. Hanging from the ceiling next to the curtain-wall window is a light sculpture designed in collaboration with Dot Dash Design. It changes colors throughout the day and amplifies the school’s interior at night. From the street level, passersby can see activity within the facility and students get a sense of inclusion in the bustling neighborhood. Since the Blue School began in 2006, it has added one grade level per year to its roster of students—hence the need to build out a new campus for its burgeoning population. The first group of kids to begin at the school recently graduated from 8th grade and though they never had the chance to move into the new Upper School, they were integrated into the extensive planning process that Rockwell Group held with students, parents, and teachers. The school expects the number of students to double over the next several years. Blue School will featured as an Open Access site during Open House New York this Saturday, October 13th. Check it out from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. or go on a guided tour with representatives from Blue School and Rockwell Group at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. Reservations are not required.
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At Roman and Williams’ flagship restaurant-store, everything is for sale

As restaurants try to drum up alternative revenue and traditional retail outlets continue to feel the squeeze from online shopping, Roman and Williams Buildings and Interiors has brought the best of both worlds at their new flagship store in SoHo. The 7,000-square-foot design store, café, and flower shop, neé Roman and Williams Guild, is a showcase of Roman and Williams’ work. Here, diners can lick the plate clean and then buy it. Roman and Williams is well known for their work at the Standard Highline and ACE Hotels as well as high-end residential projects. Expanding into a consumer-facing brick-and-mortar space in an expensive Manhattan neighborhood seemed like a natural progression. The 44-seat La Mercerie café within the Guild is built out with pieces from Roman and Williams' new Founding Collection, and everything is for sale. The café’s light interior palette of blonde wood and pastel blues, described by Roman and Williams as “watery-blue cast, pale-gray floors and an indigo enameled kitchen” matches the exterior of the landmarked building. But walk to the back of the restaurant and through the arched threshold, and those muted colors are replaced by deeper hues of blue and a more rustic tone in the back showroom. This is where interested customers can pick up pieces in a more traditional design setting, with a heavy emphasis on wood, leathers, and fabrics. The Guild also houses a flower shop helmed by local botanist Emily Thompson, and her arrangements can be found throughout the entirety of 53 Howard Street.