If you read my blog regularly, then you’re probably wondering where I’ve been. Well, it’s been a bit crazy finishing up my interior design program, but the great news is that I’m done! So I’m bound and determined to get back to blogging regularly again. And to read a book. And to do some yoga. But definitely the blog!
In case your curious about what exactly I’ve been doing in these all-consuming classes of mine, here I’m sharing my final project in my final class in the program, sort of my design school grand finale. The challenge was to design a conceptual three-story live/work unit inspired by the designs of both an architect and a fashion designer. In my case, I chose two people whose designs I feel compliment each other: Daniel Libeskind (architect) and Prabal Gurung (fashion designer). Here’s a photo of my inspiration board:
I would not say this is generally the style I gravitate toward in my own daily life but that’s exactly why I was so excited by the pairing of these two artists. What I really like about them both is each of their use of geometric shapes to create battling senses of symmetry and asymmetry, as well as the ways in which each of them use contrast to accentuate their designs. In the case of Daniel Libeskind, I was especially inspired by his combining of the old and the new in some of his projects. Often the shapes he uses in his architecture resemble a crystal or iceberg protruding from an otherwise symmetrical, grounded structure.
All of us in the class were given the same 3-story space to work within, assumed to be one unit in multi-unit building. We were given a program which included requirements like the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, offices, and common areas. After that, we were free to explore our design concepts in whatever way we chose. I knew I would need to add a Libeskind-esque iceberg-like element to the structure, and chose to do this by way of a skylight.
Below are four section-views (imagine cutting an apple in half, top to bottom, and looking at a perfect dissection of the inside). You can see furniture placement, materials, and the arrangement of the rooms within the space. Architecturally, I played a lot with the geometry of the walls. I wanted one cohesive set of geometry to pass through the entire space, which I used as the walls dividing each of the rooms. I wanted a person to be able to walk into the space and fully experience that geometry, not just see it visually. With that, I also wanted the overall space to feel very open, so I created a couple of double-height spaces; one is in the kitchen, which is open to the dining room above, and the other is in the living room which is open to the floor above, and then to the skylight beyond that. The first floor is essentially the “public” space and contains two offices, a common work/collaboration area, a powder room and the kitchen. The common work area also opens to the patio.
The lighting is meant to be both functional and aesthetic, and includes a series of custom fluorescents inspired by Libeskind’s designs inset into the ceiling, as well as down-lights and wall-washers to highlight the entrance and the surrounding geometry on the adjacent walls.
I chose a combination of geometric and industrial furniture furniture that compliment the style of Gurung’s and Libeskind’s designs while also creating a unique look that felt distinctly mine. On my materials board, I showed these as well as my custom design for desks for the offices. Throughout the design I dropped in elements of copper to brighten the look and feel of the color palette rooted in dark grays, champagnes, and whites. Finishes shown here include the carpet tile used in the private offices, paint colors for the non-sculpted walls, fabric used on the office guest chairs, a representation of the copper elements, and the kitchen cabinets, counter tops, and back splashes.
A rendering shows the entrance to the work-level of the unit. Notice the lighting on the ceiling and the shadows created by lighting on the walls at the entryway.
The second floor is the semi-private area, where the occupant would lounge and entertain. There is also a guest room and full guest bathroom on this level. Because I value a separation of work and home life, I designed the location of the kitchen (just below and open to the dining room) to be easily accessed from either the public work area or the semi private area without having to connect them. So if it’s a Saturday and you’re “off duty” you wouldn’t have to go through the office to get to the kitchen, and similarly you can heat up your lunch during the week without having to go “home” to do so. Also there is an additional entrance to this level so you can lock the doors to the office on the weekends and your cocktail guests can arrive directly to the party on the second floor. The lighting here has the same goal as on the first floor, using similar fluorescents, down lights, and wall-washers.
This materials board hightlights both the furnishings chosen for the dining and living areas as well as the typical finishes used throughout the entire three-story unit. You can see images of Libeskinds lighting and furniture design that inspired the lighting and furniture designs throughout the space. All the common area spaces are designed with polished concrete floors, and the sculpted walls are finished with a gray-washed wood finish. (This same wood color is also used for bedroom flooring.) Other finishes shown here include fabric for the custom Libeskind-inspired sofas, sheer drapery fabric, and paint colors for the non-sculpted walls.This rendering highlights the living room area of the second floor, and shows that it is open to above, with a chandelier hanging through the two stories.Finally, the third floor is the private area consisting of two master suites connected by a landing which overlooks the living room below.
Again, the lighting here has the same goals, but also includes bedside sconces and general ceiling lighting in the bedrooms that will be softer and warmer than the typical fluorescent lights used in the more open areas. Since the two-story chandelier would need to hang from the same location as the skylight, There will be a designed series of tension wires, one of which would deliver electricity to the chandelier hanging from the center of the skylight. This provides a practical solution with a designed execution.
This is my favorite of the three materials boards, and includes bedroom furniture (my favorite is the upholstered leather bed) and fabrics for the bedding and lounge chair. You’ll have to take my word for it, but they are the kind of fabrics you just can’t resist touching! And the bathroom is intended to be high contrast, using black hexagonal floor tiles, a black and metallic geometric wall covering, and white marble on the counter tops and at the wall behind the tub.This rendering shows your view as you have arrived at the top of the stairs on the landing. There is one minimal railing to keep you from stepping off the edge. Clearly there are all sorts of building and safety codes that would not allow this to be built quite like this, but that’s why it’s so important to have an outlet (class) to explore conceptual ideas without restriction.
In the end I had eight full presentation boards, plus an architectural model made from foam core, chip board, bass wood, and sheets of clear acrylic (below). <big sigh of relief> And there it is! It took many hours of work to complete: finding materials and furniture, sorting out how these crazy shaped walls were going to work, and executing a cohesive presentation with all the documents to clearly express my design. But overall I had a lot of fun working on it!
What do you think? I’d love to hear!