Upper East Side Duplex

CompanySPAN Architecture
Lead DesignerKaren Stonely
Design TeamPeter Pelsinski, Alan Ho, Aaron Zalneraitis, Elizabeth Oder
PrizeInterior Design / Residential

A traditional apartment was acquired by a young family with a forward minded art collection. The total renovation included both a gallery setting with select furnishings designed to provide a warm and sophisticated backdrop, and a few pivotal moments of bold objectivity to complement the art. The stair became such an object, a lightweight structure around which to circulate revealing the continuing spaces beyond. It is akin to a spider web held between two trees; strong, delicate, ephemeral. The light filled perforated steel connection hides the muscle and structure that went into its creation. As further blowing open of the space was not an option, we decided to continue to exploit the stair core and connections from one space to another where rooms through out connect with over- scaled openings and door panels so that actual spaces remain undefined and scale-less. Continuing the idea that the spaces flow together, perimeter surfaces and museum quality lighting strategies are seamlessly connected, the material application is sublime and homogeneous in muted tones, and the details are taut and rigorously simple. When the walls are bare, the graceful lines of soft cove lighting wash over the textural whitened oak wall panels providing warmth and visual interest. The furniture selections and the architecture have equal aspirations to cohesively intermingle with their art counterparts. For instance, we choose a table at the entry by Vincent Dubourg that is art and function - an exploding sculptural piece of wood constrained only by its use as a table. A bed is made from scrap wood, composed and glazed, similar to an artist painting a canvas. A vintage Edward Wormley sofa sits adjacent to a pressed wood, amorphocally formed coffee table. There is a balance, which results in the interaction and experience of the sum being greater than each individual part.