Location: Sutton Place, New York NY
Type: Residential interior
Size: 1,200-sf gut-renovation
Team: Michael Lillard, Bruno G Tavares, and Dawn Thompson
Program: Entry, living area, kitchen, dining/office area, bathroom, and master bedroom suite, plus half living area convertible to guest bedroom
Status: Nearing completion
The design for the MB Residence took shape much like thoughts and images fill the mind when traveling someplace new - things accumulated in juxtaposition, creating new perspectives. The clients’ love of travel, owning a luxury travel agency and having lived abroad for extended periods of time, plus having eclectic taste in home décor and all things extraordinary, became touchstones for the project. The design began with an assessment of the attributes of travel and eclecticism and how those attributes might inform the design process. The idea of rooms as "destinations," each defined using different materials and form-work, was a way to infuse each space with a unique sense of place while creating surprises and refreshing the senses along the way.
The design also mixes the ideas of contemporary open plan layouts with traditional room-by-room divisions of space, activating boundaries with sliding divider panels, LCD glass, changes in finishes and other devices to create complex spatial interplays. The resulting multi-mode rooms: home office/dining area, living room/guest bedroom, open master suite/privitized master suite, not only can be quickly and easily converted from one use/mode to the next, but defy (and pshchologically expand) the physical limitations of the space. The divider panels in the open living/dining/kitchen area can be arranged to create a number of individual spaces. Three divider panels can be locked together and placed to bisect the living room, creating semi-divided East/West living spaces. Two divider panels can be locked together and placed to partially separate the dining area from the kitchen, creating a semi-private home office. All five panels can be locked togeter to fully separate the East end of the living room to become a guest bedroom, the living room closet door swinging out to become the bedroom door, a second inner closet door used when in bedroom mode. Additional devices are incorporated throughout, further expanding the functional possibilities, some devices creating surprises such as the LCD glass that transforms the master suite. By designing things to serve multiple functions, the overall condominium is made to seem larger than it actually is, the quantity of spaces/rooms accommodated otherwise needing more square footage. The client’s challenge to ABA from the start was, “to help them think about things differently” – a phrase that sums-up ABA's innovative, client-centric approach to design.