Loft for two Artists
Upper West Side

The clients, a painter and a sculptor, spend several months each year in Mexico, where the colors and handcraft traditions are an important source of inspiration. For their apartment on the Upper West Side of New York, they wanted elements that would recall a Mexican atmosphere.

Our interest was in a juxtaposition of "folkloric" elements with an open, Modern spatial and detailing approach. The enormous west-facing windows provide both beautiful afternoon light and a horizon line as backdrop to a series of display niches for the sculptor's work. The boomerang-shaped space which reflects the curve of Riverside Drive spans between two "private" wings of the apartment which include, on one side, the master bedroom suite and, on the other, a second home office, a second bathroom and guest bedroom.

Continuity is permitted by the integration of kitchen storage and appliances into a tear-drop shaped, sculptural element that suggests adobe construction as much as the modern precedents as Alvar Aalto or Luis Barragan. Enormous folding doors between T's office and the library are inset with magnifying lenses which focus light and estrange the view from one side to the other. Color, as important as texture, detail and spatial continuity, was employed to balance the relationship between the folkloric references and loft-like spatial continuity.

The perimeter is kept muted in pallete; the kitchen and bathrooms are an explosion of color and pattern. All materials - sandblasted Douglas Fir, Talavera and Terracotta tile, Casein paint, Swiss-fabricated Sissal carpeting, solid maple floor - were chosen to reinforce the "realness" and presence of the project as well as to evoke its relationship to the client's memories of Mexico. Photos: PaĆ¹l Rivera, ArchPhoto

Date of Completion: 2004


View to living area and kitchen from piano room