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Tag Archives: Edie Cohen

London’s SelgasCano-Designed Serpentine Pavilion is About to Land in LA

Interior view of the SelgasCano-designed Serpentine Pavilion. Photography by Iwan Baan, courtesy of Second Home.

Since its inception in 2000 with Zaha Hadid as its first designer, the Serpentine Pavilion on the Kensington Gardens lawn outside the permanent Serpentine Gallery has been created by such architectural supernovas as Sanaa, Sou Fujimoto, Peter Zumthor, Bjarke Ingels, Diébédo Francis Kéré, and a collaboration between Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei.

The SelgasCano-designed Serpentine Pavilion will soon be installed in LA’s La Brea Tar Pits. Photography by Iwan Baan, courtesy of Second Home.

 

In 2015, the Madrid-based studio SelgasCano, the first Spaniards commissioned, created a charming cocoon-like work of a colorful membrane fabric. This summer, that construction will be reincarnated and transported to Los Angeles, marking its debut in the U.S. Visitors will be able to experience the architects’ themes of light, shadow, color, transparency, and materials as they enter through various openings and proceed through the structure. The venue is the La Brea Tar Pits, the historical site that is mere steps from LACMA, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Read more: SelgasCano designs a Floating Temporary Pavilion for a Belgian Canal

Second Home will use the Serpentine Pavilion for free events throughout the summer and fall. Photography by Iwan Baan, courtesy of Second Home.

The LA installation, running from June 28 through November 24, coincides with the Hollywood opening of the London-based co-working venture Second Home, which is sponsoring the endeavor with the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County. Encompassing 866 square feet, Serpentine redux will be a meeting ground for public talks, film screenings, music and cultural events. So far, named collaborators include BBC host and DJ Gilles Peterson; the film streaming and distribution firm, Mubi; and the Goldhirsh Foundation addressing LA’s future with its initiative LA2050. Everything will be open to the public and free.

Interior of the 2015 Serpentine Pavilion, set to debut in Los Angeles on June 28, 2019. Photography by Iwan Baan, courtesy of Second Home.

Read more: Numen/For Use Refashions “The Tube” Installation for Handbag Designer Anya Hindmarch in London

Continue reading London’s SelgasCano-Designed Serpentine Pavilion is About to Land in LA

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Swarovski and Mass Beverly Name Brilliance of Design Winners

Ever the mentors and proponents of design with a capital D, Swarovskiand LA’s Mass Beverly showroom initiated the Brilliance of Design competition. The charge was to push the potential of crystals in three categories: lighting, home décor, and architectural surfaces. Talk about global entries. The 56 submissions came from the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, France, Sweden, Greece, Israel, Brazil, Colombia, and Poland, as well as from New York and Los Angeles, closer to home.

Josha Roymans’ Aurora Borealis pendant is a wave of translucent glass and crystals capped by a strip of LEDs. Rendering courtesy of Josha Roymans.

Josha Roymans, with a multi-disciplinary studio in Amsterdam, won the lighting award with his proposal for Aurora Borealis, inspired by the so-named northern lights. The design is a wave-like pendant of translucent glass and crystals capped by a strip of LEDs that allow for color changes.

From left: Josha Roymans, Tilman Bartl, and Bahata Saha.
Rings of crystal in differing sizes and gradations of color stack in Tilman Bartl’s flexible and contemporary vase. Rendering courtesy of Tilman Bartl.

 

In home décor, German product designer Tilman Bartl won for his vase of stacking crystal components. Cited for its flexibility and strongly contemporary approach, the product has another plus. According to Mass Beverly founders Mary Ta and Lars Hypko, it is predicted to be eminently sellable.

Bahata Saha’s architectural surface has Swarovski crystals arrayed in organic patterns between layers of translucent white marble. Rendering courtesy of Bahata Saha.

 

A Parsons School of Design student, Bahata Saha, took the award for her architectural surface—panels based on two layers of white translucent marble sandwiching crystals arrayed in organic compositions simulating abstract veining.

Each winning designer will receive a $5,000 grant for future crystal projects. Collaborating with Nadja Swarovski, who oversees the company’s corporate branding and communications, the judges were Yves Behar, founder of San Francisco-based Fuseproject; Mary Ta and Lars Hypko; and Interior Design’s deputy editor Edie Cohen.

Continue reading Swarovski and Mass Beverly Name Brilliance of Design Winners

“Fearless Fashion: Rudi Gernreich” Opens at LA’s Skirball Cultural Center

Peggy Moffitt modeling a black and white dress by Rudi Gernreich, fall 1971. Photography by William Claxton.

 

The world knows Rudi Gernreich for his monokini. That image of his model-muse Peggy Moffitt, with her sleek, five-point Vidal Sassoon haircut in the topless bathing suit, was the shot seen around the world and a symbol of the freewheeling 1960s. Arguably America’s first contemporary fashion designer, he gave us miniskirts, pantsuits, and unisex clothing, as well as the thong.

Peggy Moffitt in the Gernreich-designed monokini, 1964. Photography by William Claxton.

 

What many do not associate with Gernreich, however, was his social activism. Ideas we take for granted—body freedom, androgeny, gender equality, and fluidity—were less part of conversation than they are today. For Gernreich, they were his core concerns and he used fashion as a vehicle for expression. As portrayed by  “Fearless Fashion: Rudi Gernreich” at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, which features more than 80 of his bold, graphic designs as well as accessories and sketches, the designer was fearless in his thinking as well as his approach to fashion.

Read More: Fashion and Fantasy Shared the Stage at Paris and Milan Fashion Weeks

Gernreich’s vinyl and wool ensemble for Harmon Knitwear, resort 1968. Photography by William Claxton.

 

A Viennese émigré who arrived in Los Angeles at age 16 in 1938, Gernreich was fleeing anti-Semitism abroad. Upon settling stateside, he experienced homophobia, yet he found sanctuary studying dance in the racially integrated Lester Horton Dance Theater, where Alvin Ailey was later a student. Ergo, the duotard and swan costumes plus jumpsuits and caftans allowing for freedom of movement. The gay rights Mattachine Society also provided solace as did Los Angeles’s coterie of artists. Later, when Vietnam protests roiled the youth culture and hippies came on the scene, Gernreich studied these kids and made clothes that they might actually want to wear.

Read more: Dame Mary Quant is Having a Moment (Again)

Unisex ensemble by Gernreich for Harmon Knitwear, 1970. Courtesy of Skirball Cultural Center.

 

Upon the designer’s death in 1985, his partner of more than three decades established the ACLU Rudi Gernreich-Oreste Pucciani Endowment Fund to support the fight for LGBT rights. “Fearless Fashion: Rudi Gernreich” runs through September 1, 2019.

Keep scrolling for more images from the exhibition >

Gernreich with models at Watts Tower, Los Angeles, 1965. Photography by William Claxton.
Duotard ensemble for the Lewitsky Dance Company production of “Inscape,” 1976. Photography by Daniel Esgro.
Gernreich fashion at LA’s Wiltern Theater, 1985. Photography courtesy of Los Angeles Public Library.
Peggy Moffitt and Rudi Gernreich dancing. Photography by William Claxton.

Continue reading “Fearless Fashion: Rudi Gernreich” Opens at LA’s Skirball Cultural Center

Rottet Studio Makes Design the Star at the Los Angeles Office of Paradigm

PROJECT NAME Paradigm
LOCATION Los Angeles
FIRM Rottet Studio
SQ. FT. 82,000 SQF

“Light and movement.” That’s what Sam Gores said he wanted to see upon entering his office in Los Angeles. And when the chairman and CEO of Paradigm Talent Agencyasks for something, that is precisely what he gets—particularly when the project is designed by Rottet Studio. Interior Design Hall of Fame member Lauren Rottet’s firm is itself a fixture in the entertainment business, with credits including offices for United Talent Agency and Viacom.

A custom reception desk in folded and welded mirror-polished stainless-steel stands on engineered European white-oak floor planks at Rottet Studio’s Los Angeles office for Paradigm Talent Agency. Photography by Eric Laignel.

 

A powerhouse with eight locations across the U.S. as well as in Toronto and London, Paradigm “understood that architecture does matter,” Rottet Studio founding principal Richard Riveire begins. “They really get that an agency can leapfrog over competitors by bringing everyone under one roof, giving them a great place to work, and making sure that conversations and impromptu meetings happen.” So, employees from the music, literary, film, and TV divisions, previously at three separate L.A. sites, are now together in Beverly Hills.

Milo Baughman–inspired chairs face a leather-covered sofa in the green room. Photography by Eric Laignel.

Notable for a landmark fountain, a monumental pyramid, standing in the front courtyard, the 1980s building had a storied past as the former home of the agency ICM Partners but had been vacant for seven years. Though Riveire and principal Harout Dedeyan term their intervention there “tenant improvement,” that’s just Rottet Studio’s typically understated manner. We call the project a complete gut job, with only the limestone and granite wall cladding and the skylight retained. The 82,000-square-foot U-shape interior was entirely rebuilt. Plus, the courtyard, which previously “leaked like a sieve,” Riveire says, was repaved and replanted around the pyramid.

Rising from reception’s sitting area, stairs offer additional seating on vinyl-covered cushions. Photography by Eric Laignel.

 

The greatest challenge was “to figure out new ways of working inside a 30-year-old building,” Riveire continues. “By jamming things together, we could create an exciting design that changes all the time.” The device that “moved the throttle setting toward more common spaces,” he explains, was the insertion of a central stair atrium—obviously the big move. “We had to whack out 1,000 square feet on two of the floors.” 

A Greg Bogin artwork was commissioned for a corridor. Photography by Eric Laignel.

No mere grand staircase, this. It’s not only the people connector between the three levels but also a multitasker. The lower, wider flight can serve as a vertical space for solo work, thanks to the  blocky cushions scattered across the steps, or as a venue for all-hands company meetings, when combined with the reception area and an adjacent conference room.

On three, the reception area features an armless chair by Karim Rashid. Photography by Eric Laignel.

 

Flights aren’t stacked but slightly rotated inside circular openings that differ in size—difficult to engineer, to say the least. “LED halos accentuate the perimeters,” Dedeyan says. The ensemble presents quite a climb, especially for those with vertigo. A mirrored ceiling produces a dizzying kaleidoscope effect, making the height appear as six stories, not three.

The courtyard’s new granite, concrete, and turf surfaces surround an existing Eric Orr pyramid fountain. Photography by Eric Laignel.

 

Sharing dramatic creds is the reception desk. Riveire, who’s highly knowledgeable about hospitality projects, too, compares it to “the front desk of a hotel.” He goes on to liken the long, purposely low form in mirror-polished stainless steel to “a squished pickle.” We see inspirations of sculptures by Anish Kapoor. Regardless, it’s an Instagram moment.

Erik Parker’s acrylic collage on canvas punctuates a corridor. Photography by Eric Laignel.

 

Speaking of art, there’s no shortage of spectacular pieces, some of them commissioned. Initiated by Gores, the program was assembled by a DJ-curator, DB Burkeman, in collaboration with a more conventional art consultant. Standouts include the atrium’s colorful text-based screen prints, kinetic black-and-white photographs of figures in the elevator lobbies, and a corridor’s collage inspired by comic books, hip-hop, and graffiti.

Nylon carpet in a private office. Photography by Eric Laignel.

Surprisingly, knowing Rottet Studio as we do, furnishings are generally not custom. Widely available residential pieces, they could be found in many a stylish living room. Flooring, consistent with that vibe, is white-oak planks in common spaces. “The wood is a contrast to all that stone on the walls,” Riveire explains.

The listening room is acoustically isolated. Photography by Eric Laignel.

Carpeted work spaces follow the customary setup. Glass-fronted private offices for agents face assistants at a benching system. Most offices have sit-stand desks. (Many in the stand position during our visit.) Sprinkled among the offices are casual lounges, up for grabs as needed. What’s unusual is the lack of hierarchy among divisions. No single one ranks above any other.

The stair atrium’s mirror-finished stretched mem­brane ceiling reflects a series of 21 screen prints by Eve Fowler. Photography by Eric Laignel.

 

Conference and meeting rooms and the “signing rooms” encircle the stair atrium. Really, though, everything is an ad hoc meeting space, including  elevator lobbies fitted out with chic and super-comfy seating. There are also pantries and coffee bars aplenty, the best, no doubt, being the ground level’s coffee lounge opening onto the courtyard. Pull up a stool to the marble counter, or plop down on a sofa or armchairs anchored by a houndstooth rug that blends with the same pattern rendered in floor tile.

Reception’s custom wool-silk rug. Photography by Eric Laignel.

The list of amenities goes on: a screening room with adjacent green room, another room filled with candy. According to Paradigm director of special services and guest relations Rozzana Ramos, clients come just to hang out. Linger long enough, and you might spot Antonio Banderas or Henry Golding reading a script or Chris Martin, Ed Sheeren, or Sia headed to the listening room where, Riveire says, they can “crank it up to 11.” 

Keep scrolling to view more images of the project >

LED halos ringing the stair atrium. Photography by Eric Laignel.
A corridor’s con­struction of album covers with wood and resin by David Ellis. Photography by Eric Laignel.
The lounge on two. Photography by Eric Laignel.
Patricia Urquiola chairs appear in a private office. Photography by Eric Laignel.
Damien Hirst’s deck for Supreme is mounted with other skateboards in an office area. Photography by Eric Laignel.
In the coffee lounge, a focal wall includes artwork by Raymond Pettibon and Ed Ruscha. Photography by Eric Laignel.
Laser-printed photographs by Kenton Parker energize an elevator lobby. Photography by Eric Laignel.
The lacquered logo wall on a granite base. Photography by Eric Laignel.

Project Team: Chris Jones; Theresa Lee; Pegah Koulaeian, Laurence Cartledge: Rottet Studio. Esquared Lighting: Lighting Consultant. Newson Brown Acoustics: Acoustical Consultant. Cybola Systems Corporation: Audio-Visual Consultant. Lendrum Fine Art: Art Consultant. Thornton Tomasetti: Structural Engineer. Arc Engineering: MEP. AMA Project Management: Project Manager. Clune Con­struc­tion Company: General Contractor.

Product Sources: From Front: AM Cabinets: Custom Desk (Recep­tion). Palecek: Coffee Table (Green Room). RH: Chairs, Sofa (Green Room), Sofa (Listening Room). CB2: Console (Green Room), Side Tables (Hall), Sofa, Coffee Table (Lounge), Table (Office), Dining Chairs (Coffee Lounge). Tai Ping Carpets: Custom Rug (Sitting Area). Davis Furniture: Sofas. Holly Hunt: Chairs. West Elm: Side Tables (Lounge, Coffee Lounge, Reception Area). Martin Brattrud: Cushions (Stairway). Blu Dot: Benches (Hall), Stools (Atrium), Credenza (Listening Room), Sofa (Reception Area). Summer Classics: Chairs (Court­Yard). Andreu World: Chairs (Office). Alur: Storefront Sys­tem. Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams: Coffee Table (Coffee Lounge). Gus Modern: Sofa. Shaw Hospitality: Rug. Andreu World: Barstools. Thomas O’Brien: Pendant Fixture. Zuo Modern: Chairs (Coffee Lounge), Chairs, Table (Listening Room). Tandus: Rug (Reception Area). Nienkamper: Chair. H.D. Buttercup: Armchairs. West Elm: White Side Table. Bernhardt Design: Bench. Throughout: Monarch Plank: Floor Planks. Bentley: Carpet. Barrisol: Stretched Ceiling Membrane. Benjamin Moore & Co.; Dunn-Edwards Corporation: Paint.

> See more from the May 2019 issue of Interior Design

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The USC Shoah Foundation in Los Angeles by Belzberg Architects Shines Light on the Darkest Events in Modern History

PROJECT NAME USC Shoah Foundation
LOCATION Los Angeles
FIRM Belzberg Architects
SQ. FT. 10,000 SQF

In 1994, a year after the release of Steven Spielberg’s movie Schindler’s List, the director founded a nonprofit organization to videotape and preserve the testimonies of survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust (or Shoah in Hebrew). Initially, its home was a series of trailers on a Universal Studios Hollywood backlot. A dozen years later, the organization relocated to the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where, renamed the USC Shoah Foundation–The Institute for Visual History and Education, it occupied cramped offices on the ground floor of the Leavey Library.

In Los Angeles, visitors interact with touch screens in the lobby of Belzberg Architects’s USC Shoah Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving survivor testimony of the Holocaust and other modern genocides. Photography by Bruce Damonte.
 
The visitors lounge has seating upholstered with custom fabrics printed with vivid patterns derived from traditional artifacts from Rwanda and Guatemala. Photography by Bruce Damonte.

Designing and constructing the new headquarters was a 3 1/2-year, multifaceted project, but one that was full of resonance and personal meaning for Belzberg Architects. While the firm had already shown poetic sensitivity in its 2010 design of the mostly subterranean Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, founding partner and Interior Design Hall of Fame member Hagy Belzberg can also recall hearing stories of his own father’s escape from Poland and the Nazis.

Allied Maker’s pendant fixture illuminates a table and chairs by Minimal in the distinguished guests conference room. Photography by Bruce Damonte.

 

The foundation’s previous chopped-up quarters had fostered tribal work habits among the permanent staff, which now numbers 82. “We aimed for an open, hyper-functional plan,” Belzberg begins. “There would be a level of scales: from neighborhoods and clusters to the larger whole,” lead architect Lindsey Sherman Contento adds, outlining the collaborative, flexible environment they envisaged, which would include opportunities of respite from the frequently harrowing work.

Nicola Anthony’s stainless-steel sculpture in a skylit area off the lobby incorporates the testimony of a Holocaust survivor. Photography by Bruce Damonte.

 

This dual essence—remembering hatred in order to overcome it, an endeavor at once painful and healing—is palpable right out of the elevator into the central lobby, which functions as both reception and an exhibition space. “It’s intentionally warm and dark,” Belzberg notes of this public zone, an environment designed to generate a sense of safety while providing museum-quality viewing conditions. Subdued LED light filters through perforated powder-coated-aluminum ceiling panels. Opposite the elevator bank, a wall sheathed in seven floor-to-ceiling touch screens offers a panorama of interactive content. Visitors can further explore foundation programs at freestanding digital kiosks—individual touch screens set in totemlike panels of backlit perforated aluminum framed in dark walnut—that fill the room. “It’s like walking through a forest,” Belzberg says.

In the office area, bays of bench-style workstations flank a broad pathway of carpet tiles and engineered-oak flooring. Photography by Bruce Damonte.

 

The tenebrous space doesn’t feel claustrophobic, however, because a broad portal at one end opens onto a semicircular skylit area that commands views of the campus and cityscape beyond. Suspended beneath the skylight, Nicola Anthony’s stainless-steel text sculpture incorporates the testimony of a Holocaust survivor. Passageways on the left and right lead to private wings.

Custom benches with upholstery patterns inspired by traditional Chinese and Armenian designs furnish “think tank” booths. Photography by Bruce Damonte.

 

The larger, predominantly open-plan wing houses most of the full-time staff. A broad blond pathway of engineered-oak flooring and nylon-carpet tiles cuts a diagonal swath through the light and airy work space. Right up front, a casual visitors lounge hugs the wall of windows so that its colorful ottomans and cushy lounge chairs sit in the abundant sunshine. Facing them across the central aisle is an open kitchen that, for film screenings and other events, conjoins with adjacent classroom and conference spaces via sliding glass panels. 

Panels on the lobby’s interactive kiosks are perforated bronze-anodized aluminum. Photography by Bruce Damonte.

 

As the pathway proceeds deeper into the office area proper, it is flanked by open bays of workstations that provide bench seating, sit-stand desks, and other individual or group work options. Every staff member has a designated place, but each “neighborhood” includes a central table that encourages collaboration. Sculptural built-in banquettes, finished in gleaming white paint, line one section of the path, which culminates in what Belzberg calls the “think tank”—a quiet space divisible by pocket doors into two separate niches.

Molded MDF with bronze insets forms custom banquettes and standing-work desks. Photography by Bruce Damonte.

 

The smaller wing accommodates distinguished guests and researchers needing the privacy of enclosed rooms. It also has facilities for recording and editing survivor testimonies—the most compelling example of which can be viewed in the distinguished guests lounge: Here, Pinchas Gutter, a Polish survivor born in 1932, appears as a life-size interactive-screen image to tell his story and answer viewers’ questions with the help of AI.

Sliding glass panels open the kitchen and adjacent classroom space for large events. Photography by Bruce Damonte.

 

The wing is notable for its tranquil, light-filled atmosphere. “Early on, we learned that trauma victims can be sensitive to certain triggers,” interior design lead Jennifer Wu explains, which determined the calm, neutral palette with particularly thoughtful textile and wall-covering choices. “We called for artwork and artifacts from affected countries and used them as inspiration for digitally printed patterns.” Examples appear on lounge seating, pedestal cushions, and phone-booth walls.

In the distinguished guests lounge, custom acoustic panels, installed in a custom pattern, span the wall and ceiling around an interactive display of ?a Holocaust survivor. Photography by Bruce Damonte.

 

Despite the overwhelmingly painful histories with which the foundation must deal, its aura remains positive and hopeful. “We were able to avoid genocide tropes,” Belzberg says. “There is no manipulated emotional response.” With perseverance, study and education will preserve the past and help prevent its recurrence.

Project Team: Cory Taylor; Ashley Coon; Adrian Cortez; Barry Gartin; Aaron Leshtz; Corie Saxman; J. Joshua Hanley; Alexis Roohani; Susan Nwankpa Gillespie; Katelyn Miersma; Melissa Yip: Belzberg Architects. Egg Office: Custom Signage. Maude Group: Exhibition Consultant. Mad Systems: Audiovisual Consultant. Newson Brown Acoustics: Acoustics Consultant. Burohappold Engineering: Lighting Consultant, Structural Engineer, MEP. USC Capital Construction Development: Project Management. Clune Construction Company: General Contractor

Product Sources: From Top: Roche Bobois: Ottoman (Lounge). Pedrali: Lounge Chair. CB2: Side Table. Bernhardt Design: Sofa. Maharam: Sofa Fabric (Lounge), Curtain Panels (Conference Room). Oritz Custom Upholstery: Stools (Lounges). Coalesse: Table, Chairs (Conference Room). Designtex: Chair Fabric. Allied Maker: Pendant Fixture. Haworth: Workstations, Storage Units (Office Area), Tables (Booths). Teknion: Task Chairs (Office Area). Spectrum Oak: Custom Banquettes. Martin Brattrud: Custom Benches (Booths, Lounge). Resident: Pendant Fixtures (Booths). Guilford of Maine; Valley Forge Fabrics: Wall Covering. West Elm Contract: Barstools (Kitchen). ICF Group: Tables. Fornasarig: Chairs. Eureka Lighting: Pendant Fixtures. Seeley Brothers: Custom Cabinetry. Caesarstone: Countertops. Schoolhouse Electric: Cabinet Pulls. De La Espada: Side Table (Lounge). Lindstrom Rugs: Rug. Throughout: Koster Construction: Custom Metal Paneling. Opuzen: Custom Fabric. Arktura: Custom Ceiling, Wall Paneling. Stile: Wood Flooring. Tandus Centiva: Carpet Tile. Through Vista Paint: Paint. 

> See more from the May 2019 issue of Interior Design

Continue reading The USC Shoah Foundation in Los Angeles by Belzberg Architects Shines Light on the Darkest Events in Modern History

Cindy Crawford on Hand for Opening of New Cosentino City Los Angeles Center

From left: Matt Thurston, Massimo Ballucchi, Eduardo Cosentino, Cindy Crawford, Brandon Calvo, Patty Dominguez, Isabel Martinez-Cosentino Rosado, and Santiago Alfonso Rodriguez. Photography courtesy of Cosentino.

 

The recent opening of the Cosentino City Los Angeles Center, in the heart of West Hollywood’s design district, was a big deal. First, there was the presence of supermodel Cindy Crawford, Cosentino’s Silestonebrand ambassador, who was on hand to cut the ribbon after just inking another contract. Equally photogenic was the $1.7 million property itself: 4,208 square feet of indoor and outdoor space, including 3,529 square feet of showroom to display the Spanish producer’s collections of Silestone and Dekton natural quartz surfacing.

Enter the 2019 HiP Awards by May 3

Read more: Luminaire Opens Showroom in LA Designed by Make Architecture 

The showroom at Cosentino City Los Angeles Center. Photography courtesy of Cosentino.

Samples are displayed in quasi-full-height slabs near the entry and in smaller versions within a more intimate enclosure toward the rear. The ultra-resilient Dekton product appears outside on the property’s 680-square-foot terrace, which also has party place potential.

The outdoor terrace of Cosentino City Los Angeles Center showcases Dekton product. Photography courtesy of Cosentino.

We caught up with Eduardo Cosentino, executive vice president of global sales and CEO of Cosentino North America, while he mingled with 300 guests from LA’s architecture and design communities as part of his whirlwind global tour. The rationale for why here, why now, even when a North Hollywood showroom for the company’s brands exists, was quite simple. “This is where the architects and designers are,” said the third-generation executive of the family-owned company. “This is where they want to come.”

A lounge space at Cosentino City Los Angeles Center. Photography courtesy of Cosentino.

And why not? In addition to hands-on experience, Cosentino City—one of four in the U.S. and 12 worldwide—offers a comprehensive digital experience to aid designers in both the physical and virtual worlds. Plus, lounge space galore encourages lingering.

The Silestone Gallery at Cosentino City Los Angeles Center. Photography courtesy of Cosentino.
Silestone samples at Cosentino City Los Angeles Center. Photography courtesy of Cosentino.
Supermodel and Silestone brand ambassador Cindy Crawford. Photography courtesy of Cosentino.

Read more: New in Los Angeles: 10 Recent Projects in the City of Angels

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SOM Fashions Former Chicago Firehouse Into Bespoke Men’s Hat Atelier

PROJECT NAME Optimo
LOCATION Chicago
FIRM Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
SQ. FT. 7,700 SQF

Chicago is renowned for myriad phenomena. Jazz and the blues. Politics. Pizza. And, of course, architecture. But hats? Yes, according to Graham Thompson, founder of Optimo, a men’s hat company based in the city’s South Side. Steady growth over its 25-year existence has called for expansion—and a new space. It comes courtesy of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the 82-year-old firm with significant ties to the city.

> Project Resources

Thompson has been a hat devotee since he was 16, when he’d saved up for two years to purchase his first one from legendary Chicago hatmaker Johnny Tyus. He eventually apprenticed with Tyus for seven years, and then, upon graduating college and Tyus’s retirement, Thompson bought his equipment and opened Optimo. Last year, when it came time to move someplace larger, he found the ideal venue in a 1914 firehouse about a mile from his original location.

Custom steel armatures power and illuminate the machines in the workroom. The same metal forms the custom rolling racks along the window wall. Photography by Tom Rossiter.

Though derelict for years, the 7,700-square-foot, two-story building was “built like a brick tank,” Thompson recalls. Interiors, though, were another story. “It looked like a bomb went off.” To re-envision it as a bona fide factory and showroom, Thompson’s dream was to enlist SOM. The firm values craftsmanship, authenticity, and timeless luxury just as he does, but rarely takes on projects of such scope.

Fortunately, retired SOM managing partner Richard Tomlinson is an Optimo collector and helped facilitate a meeting between Thompson and the firm. Although a small endeavor, design partner Brian Lee saw an opportunity. “It’s a great story for the city,” the architect says, “helping to continue a rich history of craftsmanship in South Chicago. Plus, the building was in better shape than others we’d seen before.”

Optimo felt hats line shelves formed from aircraft cable. Photography by AJ Trela.

Thompson had already gotten the renovation ball rolling by commissioning a pair of gleaming brass-clad entry doors. Then SOM took charge. Masonry was re-pointed and cleaned, especially on the interior, with its grimy diesel residue. Other walls were re-plastered. Upstairs, which is dedicated mostly to the showroom, new stained oak flooring was installed. On the double-height ground floor, the existing concrete floor was sealed and polished. That’s the workroom where each hat, ranging from $395 for straw to $1,000 for felt, gets handmade by Thompson and his seven-person team. Expressed as a contemporary workshop with an industrial aesthetic, its design draws from a palette of understated materials and colors.

To plan the space, Lee first researched the making of men’s hats, which involves blocking, surface- and brim-edge finishing, trimming, flanging, shaping, and steaming—a process that takes from two to six weeks to complete. “It helped us determine the organization of the machinery with the right power and lighting and how much space each machine would require,” he explains. “We ended up falling in love with them,” referring to such pieces as the French steam table that dates to the early 1900’s. (SOM painted all the machines, old and new, a dark gray for uniformity.)

Laminated glass covers the aperture left by the firehouse pole, so the workroom is visible from the upstairs showroom. Photography by Tom Rossiter.

That research resulted in what Lee calls “goal-post lighting,” brawny blackened-steel armatures with integral LEDs and power capability that frame the trio of workbenches arrayed down the center of the workroom floor. Along one side of the space, rolling hat-storage racks lined up between the window bays are framed in the same metal. Toward the back is the walnut and cork hatter’s wall, a nearly floor-to-ceiling construction that houses hundreds of hat forms plus the doors to the sewing and surface-finishing rooms behind it.

The second floor emits an airier, more refined aesthetic compared to the industrial vibe downstairs. But it didn’t start out that way. It had similar proportions to the workroom—“almost too overscale for the gracious feeling we were going for,” Lee notes. So, he and his team tempered the scale by installing a kitchen and an office for Thompson, and then creating a steel pendant fixture 10 feet in diameter to center the remaining showroom space. The fixture is like “an extended wing,” he adds, anchored by cables from a central escutcheon. Below it, a lengthy table crafted from two solid planks of walnut hosts design discussions between Thompson and his clients. He can narrate the history of the hat-making craft with the rare vintage tools and artifacts displayed in the tall steel-framed shelving unit nearby and throughout the atelier—he has traveled to over 15 countries in search of them.

Stained oak flooring flows through the lounge, furnished with Mermelada Estudio sofas. Photography by Tom Rossiter.

Off the showroom, a portal of walnut repurposed from Thompson’s original hatter’s bench leads to the lounge, the firehouse’s former captain’s room. But what’s a firehouse without a pole? Yes, this venue once had one, but it was stolen. So, Lee and his team decided to fit the aperture with a round of transparent laminated glass. Now, with light from the showroom’s windows streaming deep into the workroom below, craftsmanship is clearly on display.

> Project Resources

Project Team: Jaime Velez; Jeremy Bouck; Daniel Bell; Dennis Milam; Rebecca Delaney; Michelle Mirrielees; Dickson Whitney III: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Bureau of Architecture and Design: Design Consultant. Carpenter Corey: Woodwork. Bader Art Metal & Fabrication: Metalwork. Hugo Sanchez: Plasterwork. Cotter Consulting: Project Management. Helios Construction Services: General Contractor.

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Continue reading SOM Fashions Former Chicago Firehouse Into Bespoke Men’s Hat Atelier

Peter Marino Delves Into Italian History to Renovate Bulgari New York

PROJECT NAME Bulgari New York
LOCATION New York
FIRM Peter Marino Architect
SQ. FT. 4,500 SQF

Since 1989, Bulgari has been an ipso facto New York landmark. Its two floors of Italian jewelry and luxury goods have occupied Warren & Wetmore’s 1921 Crown Building on a prime corner in Midtown, keeping company with Harry Winston and Van Cleef & Arpels. But last year, it was time for a refresh.

Think Bulgari, and visions of the brand’s centuries-long heritage in gold, silver, and gems comes to mind. You may also conjure sunny images of the Eternal City, with its terra cotta–toned facades, and thoughts of Elizabeth Taylor and Rome’s Cinecittà, considered the hub of Italian cinema. In other words, la dolce vita. To translate that inimitable glamour architecturally, the company turned to Peter Marino.

The Interior Design Hall of Fame member’s connection with Bulgari began six years with Peter Marino Architect’s renovation of the flagship in Rome, where the company was founded in 1884 and is headquartered today. Then came PMA’s re-envisioning of the London store in 2016. All the while, at the behest of new owners LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Marino was developing a design language to burnish the brand’s identity, much of which is carried through all three stores. But since both the Italy and U.K. projects were in landmarked buildings, the firm was precluded from exterior interventions. Manhattan was another story, however. There, Marino could tell a tale of continuity and innovation both inside and out. “New York is a younger and more modern city,” he begins.

LEDs concealed in the bronze grillwork turn on at night. Photography by Manolo Yllera.

“I’m a complete bronze freak,” admits Marino, who is an avid collector of Baroque and Renaissance bronzes and a creator of sculptural boxes cast in the ancient alloy. It’s a passion he shares with classical Rome, where bronze was the metal of choice. In Marino’s hands, it became the basis for elaborate grillwork throughout.

Outside, bronze crisscrosses the double-height windows on two elevations, creating “a level of transparency that’s quite a new concept,” the architect notes. “Most jewelers are walled against the day.” The motif—diagonal rhomboids with rosette corners—is derived from an archival sketch for a Bulgari brooch, sadly never created.

For the 4,500-square-foot interior, more bronze screens surround the new statement stairway up to the balustrade along the rebuilt mezzanine. Their matching geometry has deeper historical roots: Its pattern is borrowed from that on the floor of the Pantheon, an intervention Marino had devised for the Rome and London stores.

In the jewelry salon, the pair of chandeliers were originally designed in 1964 by Gio Ponti for the Parco dei Principi Hotel in Rome. Photography by Manolo Yllera.

The same goes for other design elements throughout. For instance, since Bulgari is quintessentially Italian, Marino again looked to the country’s modernist architecture and furnishings for inspiration. For furniture and lighting, he dove into the postwar period, examining work by Gio Ponti, Piero Portaluppi, and Carlo Scarpa. In fact, several of the era’s signature pieces are here. A ’50’s Osvaldo Borsani table in pink marble and mahogany, for example, functions as a display surface in the main jewelry salon, where the central vitrines are anchored by massive bronze bases. A pair of Ponti’s exuberant chandeliers, also bronze, hang from the shallow vault around the salon’s 18-foot ceiling.

Materiality, color, and historicism have been carried through, as well. For materials, Marino homes in on pietra, “classic Italian marbles and rare stones, to be exact,” he states. Here, there are five varieties, their colors and vibrant veining an opulent mainstay of the densely layered palette. Pavonazzetto, or Italian marble, pervades downstairs in columns and stair treads, while Breccia di Stazzema, another Italian marble, appears on the exterior and interior portals. Twinkling red porphyry trims the gleaming marble mosaic floor, inset with a single eight-pointed star at the entry, while white Thassos marble borders it.

“Yellow, orange, red. I hadn’t done a store with those colors before,” Marino continues. “For me, it’s stepping out”—into the light of a Roman summer afternoon, as it were. He’s referring to the apricot silk lining the display niches, another gesture spearheaded in the Rome flagship. He has not only repeated it in New York but also built upon it. In the mezzanine lounge, also known as Maison Bulgari, a silk blend in the same color upholsters the sectional sofa, its silhouette inspired by Borsani originals.

Stair treads are Italian marble. Photography by Manolo Yllera.

That lounge functions as an event space or, with its separate VIP room, a private sales area. But here’s one of the ways the New York store differs from Rome and London—and, actually, most other jewelry stores: The high-end pieces are not cloistered away in off-limit rooms. Customers and tourists alike can gape at five- and six-figure jewelry and watches right up front. Toward the back, the flooring changes to Italian walnut, a warm backdrop for the selling of bridal and other accessories such as Bulgari fragrances.

Undoubtedly, the setting is glorious. And of course, glamorous. Taylor, arguably the epitome of glamour and Bulgari’s most famous client, is memorialized with a commissioned artwork by Campagnolo & Biondo. Andy Warhol, who coordinated a meeting between the actress and this architect when he had them both to his Montauk compound in the ’70’s, may have been as enamored of oversize gems as the movie star, creating a series of screen prints to prove it. One of them hangs in the store between the niches showcasing watches.

Another purely New York characteristic of this project is Marino’s representation of the city’s energy. It’s apparent on the exterior grillwork: At dusk, LEDs behind each rosette pulse in changing patterns. “Between the neighboring high-end stores, Bulgari wins.” Italian glamour and American pizzazz—now that’s an unbeatable combination.

Marble mosaic flooring is inset with a porphyry star at the entrance. Photography by Manolo Yllera.

Project Team: Frank Spadaro; Alex Lavecchia; Luis Gonzalez; Joseamid Martinez-Cosme: Peter Marino Architect. Design Republic: Architect of Record. Luce5; Metis: Lighting Consultants. Eckersley O’callaghan; Robert Silman Associates Structural Engineers: Structural Engineers. Rosini Engineering: MEP. Sice Previt: Metalwork. Damiani Marmi: Stonework. L’Artigiano: Plaster Workshop. Michilli: General Contractor.

Product Sources: Through Nilufar: Chandeliers (Jewelry Salon). Green Allestimenti: Custom vitrines. Margaritelli: Wood flooring.

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SOM Fashions Former Chicago Firehouse Into Bespoke Men’s Hat Atelier

PROJECT NAME Optimo
LOCATION Chicago
FIRM Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
SQ. FT. 7,700 SQF

Chicago is renowned for myriad phenomena. Jazz and the blues. Politics. Pizza. And, of course, architecture. But hats? Yes, according to Graham Thompson, founder of Optimo, a men’s hat company based in the city’s South Side. Steady growth over its 25-year existence has called for expansion—and a new space. It comes courtesy of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the 82-year-old firm with significant ties to the city.

> Project Resources

Thompson has been a hat devotee since he was 16, when he’d saved up for two years to purchase his first one from legendary Chicago hatmaker Johnny Tyus. He eventually apprenticed with Tyus for seven years, and then, upon graduating college and Tyus’s retirement, Thompson bought his equipment and opened Optimo. Last year, when it came time to move someplace larger, he found the ideal venue in a 1914 firehouse about a mile from his original location.

Custom steel armatures power and illuminate the machines in the workroom. The same metal forms the custom rolling racks along the window wall. Photography by Tom Rossiter.

Though derelict for years, the 7,700-square-foot, two-story building was “built like a brick tank,” Thompson recalls. Interiors, though, were another story. “It looked like a bomb went off.” To re-envision it as a bona fide factory and showroom, Thompson’s dream was to enlist SOM. The firm values craftsmanship, authenticity, and timeless luxury just as he does, but rarely takes on projects of such scope.

Fortunately, retired SOM managing partner Richard Tomlinson is an Optimo collector and helped facilitate a meeting between Thompson and the firm. Although a small endeavor, design partner Brian Lee saw an opportunity. “It’s a great story for the city,” the architect says, “helping to continue a rich history of craftsmanship in South Chicago. Plus, the building was in better shape than others we’d seen before.”

Optimo felt hats line shelves formed from aircraft cable. Photography by AJ Trela.

Thompson had already gotten the renovation ball rolling by commissioning a pair of gleaming brass-clad entry doors. Then SOM took charge. Masonry was re-pointed and cleaned, especially on the interior, with its grimy diesel residue. Other walls were re-plastered. Upstairs, which is dedicated mostly to the showroom, new stained oak flooring was installed. On the double-height ground floor, the existing concrete floor was sealed and polished. That’s the workroom where each hat, ranging from $395 for straw to $1,000 for felt, gets handmade by Thompson and his seven-person team. Expressed as a contemporary workshop with an industrial aesthetic, its design draws from a palette of understated materials and colors.

To plan the space, Lee first researched the making of men’s hats, which involves blocking, surface- and brim-edge finishing, trimming, flanging, shaping, and steaming—a process that takes from two to six weeks to complete. “It helped us determine the organization of the machinery with the right power and lighting and how much space each machine would require,” he explains. “We ended up falling in love with them,” referring to such pieces as the French steam table that dates to the early 1900’s. (SOM painted all the machines, old and new, a dark gray for uniformity.)

Laminated glass covers the aperture left by the firehouse pole, so the workroom is visible from the upstairs showroom. Photography by Tom Rossiter.

That research resulted in what Lee calls “goal-post lighting,” brawny blackened-steel armatures with integral LEDs and power capability that frame the trio of workbenches arrayed down the center of the workroom floor. Along one side of the space, rolling hat-storage racks lined up between the window bays are framed in the same metal. Toward the back is the walnut and cork hatter’s wall, a nearly floor-to-ceiling construction that houses hundreds of hat forms plus the doors to the sewing and surface-finishing rooms behind it.

The second floor emits an airier, more refined aesthetic compared to the industrial vibe downstairs. But it didn’t start out that way. It had similar proportions to the workroom—“almost too overscale for the gracious feeling we were going for,” Lee notes. So, he and his team tempered the scale by installing a kitchen and an office for Thompson, and then creating a steel pendant fixture 10 feet in diameter to center the remaining showroom space. The fixture is like “an extended wing,” he adds, anchored by cables from a central escutcheon. Below it, a lengthy table crafted from two solid planks of walnut hosts design discussions between Thompson and his clients. He can narrate the history of the hat-making craft with the rare vintage tools and artifacts displayed in the tall steel-framed shelving unit nearby and throughout the atelier—he has traveled to over 15 countries in search of them.

Stained oak flooring flows through the lounge, furnished with Mermelada Estudio sofas. Photography by Tom Rossiter.

Off the showroom, a portal of walnut repurposed from Thompson’s original hatter’s bench leads to the lounge, the firehouse’s former captain’s room. But what’s a firehouse without a pole? Yes, this venue once had one, but it was stolen. So, Lee and his team decided to fit the aperture with a round of transparent laminated glass. Now, with light from the showroom’s windows streaming deep into the workroom below, craftsmanship is clearly on display.

> Project Resources

Project Team: Jaime Velez; Jeremy Bouck; Daniel Bell; Dennis Milam; Rebecca Delaney; Michelle Mirrielees; Dickson Whitney III: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Bureau of Architecture and Design: Design Consultant. Carpenter Corey: Woodwork. Bader Art Metal & Fabrication: Metalwork. Hugo Sanchez: Plasterwork. Cotter Consulting: Project Management. Helios Construction Services: General Contractor.

See more from the April issue of Interior Design

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Australian Carpet Maker Armadillo & Co Lands in L.A.

Armadillo & Co’s Beverly Hills showroom. Photography by Joe Schmelzer.

Catchy name, Armadillo. Turns out those Aussies know how to garner attention and do things right. The Australian-based carpet company has landed stateside with a Los Angeles showroom in where else but Beverly Hills. Partners Jodie Fried, who’s an L.A. transplant, and Sally Pattharst, who is not, chose a prime 2,000-square-foot stretch on Wilshire Boulevard to stake their claim. They did further research, commissioning Standard Architecture’s Jeffrey Allsbrook and Silvia Kuhle, well versed in cool, clean selling environments. The duo designed a stunning gallery-esque setting with exposed brick walls and 18-foot ceiling to show Armadillo’s wares, mostly neutrals, mostly wools.

Interestingly, Armadillo & Co spans the continents, having most of its rugs hand-made in India in small villages, at that. Thus, an artisanal quality characterizes  both products and process. Rugs are stocked in standard sizes and colorations, but the company works with designers for custom commissions. As for the former, products are warehoused in Torrance, California, for quick delivery.

Armadillo & Co’s Beverly Hills showroom. Photography by Joe Schmelzer.
Armadillo & Co’s Beverly Hills showroom. Photography by Joe Schmelzer.
Armadillo & Co’s Beverly Hills showroom. Photography by Joe Schmelzer.
Armadillo & Co’s Beverly Hills showroom. Photography by Joe Schmelzer.

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