Category Archives: Thoughts On Design

3 NYC Lobby Renovations That Perfectly Reflect The Building Architecture

Just as the vibrant colors of spring blossoms give way to the lush greenery of summer, architectural design trends fade in and out of popularity – and New York City has examples of nearly every single one.

From the building boom of the 1890’s continuing into the modern day, the Big Apple has always been a bustling cacophony of architectural wonder. Apartment building residents are more conscious of the architecture around them. Today, NYC lobby renovations more and more involve staying true to the building’s architecture.

It’s disconcerting to walk into a traditional 1920’s apartment building and be confronted with an ultra-modern lobby, wouldn’t you agree? Therefore, in addition to everything that we are on top of to ensure the residents’ convenience, the needs of the staff, and comply with all the complex New York City building requirements, we also focus on the architectural style of the building when we plan our lobby renovations.

Successfully and seamlessly incorporating the needs of modern urban life into a lobby of a building that was built decades, or a hundred years ago, is the kind of challenge we thrive on.  And we’ve had tons of experience doing it.

To illustrate what I mean, here are three of our NYC lobby renovations projects. They illustrate how we make the connection between the architectural style of a building – and the needs of modern city life:

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  1. Architectural Style: Mid-Century Modern Design

    The Mid-Century Modern trend can be spotted all over New York City. Think Mad Men and white bricks, and you know what it is. To make this lobby harmonize with the building’s exterior but feel more current we incorporated midcentury modern shapes and angles into all the furnishings then chose a lovely color palette of grey-blues, lavenders, and soft burgundies. It is a much more welcoming experience than the original lobby with its dark burgundies, oranges, olives, and teals.

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  1. Architectural Style: Modern/Moderne

    This post World War ll architectural style marks a distinct departure from the fussy traditional buildings of earlier decades. We loved the drama of this spectacular apartment building in Forest Hills, Queens with its sweeping, curved lines. But the lobby was downright depressing.

    We wanted to stay true to the “less is more” character of the architecture so the lobby provides residents and visitors a delightfully smooth transition from the street into the living space. We preserved the open feeling and took it a step further by using more metal than in the original décor and choosing materials that help preserve the excitement of the architecture but with a more welcoming – and less ‘outer spacey’ – feeling.

  2. Architectural Style: 1920’s Traditional

    Residents who live in pre-war buildings love that pre-war feel. We often hear, “We bought into this building because it is so exquisitely detailed and we don’t want to lose that.” So, when approaching NYC lobby renovations in 1920’s traditional buildings, we salvage everything we can of the original details – then add our secret sauce so it will function well in the 21st In this example, we restored the coffered ceiling and replicated the original patterned tile flooring.

    Then, by using clever solutions we added all the necessities of a modern lobby. For color, we traded the traditional original palette of burgundies and hunter greens for blacks, charcoal greys, camels, and navies.

For every NYC lobby renovations project we take on, our mission is to ensure the residents and building staff have everything they need for today’s urban lifestyle. But staying true to the architectural expression of each building is also the trademark of our work. We are honored to be chosen so often to work on wonderful lobby interior design projects like these in the New York metropolitan area.

Ready to update your building’s tired old lobby? Please call us at 212-757-0631 for a
consultation.

My Fascination with Cuban Architecture and Interior Design

The prospects of having access to Cuban architecture and interior design are simply AWESOME! I am pouring through on-line travel brochures to see which ones have the most comprehensive packages. I cannot wait to go!

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The problem is there is just too much – Cuba is an island jammed with inspiration from colonial to mid-century modern and everything in between. It is colorful, organic, elegant, refined, casual, inviting – EVERYTHING is there on this one 750 mile long island.  450 years of preserved architectural history.  What is amazing though, is that we see photos and hear in the news that the island is in decay but I found 2 authors who have both proven otherwise.

I’ve discovered Michael Connor’s book “The Spendor of Cuba” where the pages unfold an incredible visual history of architectural styles. Cuban architecture dates back as far as the 1500’s and is a veritable museum of period after period of architectural treasures – all intact or as he cleverly put it….“preservation by neglect”. Hermes Mallea, a Cuban born architect practicing in NYC left Cuba at the age of 5 returns to Havana and published a book – the “Great Houses of Havana”. He too, looks at the preserved rather than the decaying. Magnificent photo records of what we would see. He recants that there are “protocol” houses that were taken over by the Cuban ministry who then restores and operates these magnificent homes for foreign diplomats and important visitors. Who would have thought!

With all of this interest in Cuba, I would bet my nickel that we will be seeing design inspirations shortly all over the place; in fashion, unquestionably. My prediction is that we will be seeing it in interiors too – a new spin on color – fresh pure sun-washed colors; turquoise, yellows, greens and pinks.

Mid-century modern will have a tropical flare – natural fabrics like burlaps and linens will be used as upholstery or wall material. The options will be unfettered, fun and limitless because of the wealth of new visual information out there.

While I wait for my opportunity to explore Cuba, my focus has turned to websites about Cuban influenced design materials, inspirational photographs and particularly one female Cuban interior designer that I found, Clara Porset. Clara studied in Paris, Europe and in New York. She discovered Bauhaus architecture and design while in Europe, which influenced her furniture and interior design work in Cuba and in Mexico. Her work was simple, straight forward and organic. Now she is included as one of my inspirations!

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With a history of 450 years of Cuban architecture and interior design – this will be the new old frontier!

Here’s a list of websites about Cuba’s architecture and design that I’ve been exploring…enjoy!

http://www.greathousesofhavana.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XD0aFvxymeY http://www.cubanartnews.org/news/cuba-rediscovers-clara-porset/3832

http://cubantropicaltile.com/collection.html
http://www.cementtileshop.com/cement-tile/cuban-heritage-collection-encaustic-cement-tile.html
http://www.villalagoontile.com/as-cuban-tile.html
http://www.thrillist.com/travel/nation/cuba-travel-changes-what-you-need-to-know-about-the-new-laws-on-visiting-cuba