Location: Red Hook, Brooklyn NY
Type: Commercial/residential interior
Size: 1,200-sf renovation
Team: Michael Lillard
Program: Entry, main multi-mode room, bathroom, kitchen, and multi-mode rear room eating/serving/sleeping
Photography: Steven B Boling
Video: Steven B Boling (videography), Bruno G Tavares (music), and Michael Lillard (direction)
The design for Façade/Fasad, a residence used as live/work/show art-space, merges the client's divergent spatial needs with aesthetic goals so that form = function. The idea of "home as circus," a place where the interior design components (like "well-rehearsed acrobats") mechanically facilitate ("perform") and elevate the art-life needs of the artist/client, was one theme used throughout the design process. The space serves as: home, office, art studio, and rehearsal space, plus on occasion as art gallery and performance/installation venue. The main multi-mode room with multi-mode furniture and folding entry wall is convertible for both private and public uses. The entry wall folds up to accommodate load ins/outs, then folds back down to maintain privacy and reestablish entry sequence. The folding entry wall also serves as an interior "facade," becoming a sculptural centerpiece that in many ways embodies the design of the entire space. The built-in and mobile benches serve for seating and storage, plus conceal perimeter outlets and heating elements. The multi-mode tables serve as desks, coffee tables, dining tables, and can be placed on angles for use as drawing tables or art display. The small rear multi-mode bedroom is convertible for eating/serving/sleeping and any number of backstage uses, dressing room, green room, and/or instrument/prop storage. The bathroom is set to one side of the main multi-mode room with the kitchen through the arch at the rear, opposite the bedroom, with a door to the backyard.
Interlocking bracket-like forms frame/embrace various spaces without impeding use. The folding entry wall is connected to the overhead soffit and stage-backdrop wall, and serves as "high-wire trapeze," or vertical bracket/spatial-embracing component. The surrounding stationary benches serve as "circus ring," or horizontal bracket/spatial-embracing component. Slipped/interlocked/segmented delineations of space/soffit/benches express the sequence of space, public to more-private zones, front-to-back. Rhythmic rows of overhead lights and gray-scale color bands enliven the soffit and general atmosphere - the soffit assembly spanning the space like a "tent structure" or "trapeze," always visible overhead no matter how many people attending an event. Both the vertical and horizontal bracket components, frame/embrace the various multi-mode spaces - the interlocking forms, like the arms of an embracing couple, convey the client's desire to more-easily and therefore more-freely embrace a more-public home life.
All the changeable components and furnishings are made for quick and easy conversion from home to public use/mode and back again, with all private possessions able to be concealed. The overall design emerged slowly as the multi-mode interior components were developed, the aesthetic slowly brought into harmony with the divergent functionalities, thus: form = function. Ultimately the back-and-forth form/function design process led to a relatively practical way for the client to open his home to the public without unnecessary disruptions.