Losing our History…The Erasing of our Architectural Footprints

St Sava Serbian Orthodox Church NYC

St Sava Serbian Orthodox Church NYC

May’s Blog is dedicated to the memory of the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of Saint Sava in the Flatiron District NYC, which was ravaged by a large and quick consuming fire Sunday May 1, 2016.

The church building was constructed in 1850-55 and was designed by noted architect Richard Upjohn in the English Gothic Revival Style. In 1968 the city of New York declared this church a landmark.

As one of the oldest churches in New York, Saint Sava served as not only a spiritual anchor for the community, but also an architectural anchor. In a neighborhood which one could say is plagued by developers who are eager to construct new residential and commercial spaces for their financial gain, Saint Sava served as an historic Architectural marker, a memory. In a fast changing cityscape this church was a reminder that our buildings are our memories, our reference to eras gone by and are preserved to remind future generations of how people constructed and ultimately how they lived in the past.

It has been a longstanding practice of war and territorial domination that the first destruction begins with a city’s buildings and landmarks. The oppressor seeks to erase the memory and footprint of the former ruling body, therefore erasing history so their domination can be seen as new. With Architectural treasures destroyed, a new regime, government, ruling body can form history in their own manner for future generations. If there is no Architectural footprint left, history is lost.

Our Architecture contains not only history but emotion; these structures have been created to evoke a feeling, to elicit an emotion for those who enter. As an Architect and Designer, buildings are the keepers of our history and evolution, and the destruction of this church is a tragedy, not only for the church family but for the community at large who received such joy when they passed, when they took a photo or entered to find some peace amid the art, painstaking details and beauty of the structure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Blooms…Bringing Nature Inside

Lexington Avenue NYC

Lexington Avenue NYC

Spring is a season of renewal, the weather becomes increasingly warmer, and we are all coming out of winter’s hibernation. One of the most notable arrivals is the blooming flowers and buds that this spring season brings. The essence of nature can be easily brought into a space. Flowers and plants are a decorating tool that can enhance, calm, brighten and some can fill the air with fragrance. Plants and  architectural floral compositions can highlight a design element or make an otherwise neutral space come alive with color.

The placement and object that will hold the blooms also becomes part of the design decision. Plants are considered good feng shui (a system of laws considered to govern spatial arrangement and orientation in relation to the flow of energy), an element important in creating the balance, flow and harmony in a home. They are alive and therefore add living energy to a space. Plants are a long term commitment and need to be cared for and maintained. You can invest in a long lasting plant that will live many years if you want to make that commitment. Flowers are more temporary and can be switched and placed with more creativity and variety.

Flower arrangements work very well in an entry way, as a greeting to your guests, as a centerpiece of a dining table or kitchen table or as a calming element in a master bedroom suite or master bathroom. In a living area a beautiful and tailor made arrangement can highlight a statement piece of furniture or a mantel of a fireplace.

As an Interior Designer, I like to stage all my projects for professional photography, and I love the way that flowers create an instant personalized feeling to a room. They add color and texture and when arranged in a beautiful object adds visual impact to an otherwise minimal space. They can really make a room pop and come alive.

Spring is the optimal season for integrating Nature indoors; most flowers and plants are accessible and affordable in the Spring. Adding this item may seem a small design tweak, but a room with flowers cultivates a homey atmosphere and will bring that spirit of renewal inside your space. It is a design aspect that can easily transform a room and change the ambiance.

Spring is the time for new beginnings, for fresh creations, and starting over. We have come out of our cocoon and it is the time to begin anew. Home is a sanctuary and by bringing nature inside your home can be a welcome refresher to your décor.

 

The Importance of Color Balance

Lexington Avenue NYCBalance is a key word that illustrates what my design philosophy is. It is by definition: a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions. In design, this is the equal distribution of visual content or weight. Our sense of balance is innate, so when elements of design are not balanced, we are instinctively made uncomfortable and feel this sense of instability. Balance can come from layout, furnishing, volume, structure, and lighting

In this month’s blog I want to focus on color balance, and how to identify what tones and hues work well together to create design harmony.

Determining the right color scheme for your space starts with how the space is lit, if there is a lot of natural light in, or not. Is there is enough artificial light or does the lighting need to be redesigned. Without light there is no color, there is a void. Choosing a color scheme is not only related to the color of the material per se but how the color is read in that specific space with its own specific light.

The feeling of being in the space is dependent on the placement of color throughout. When thinking about how to use color in a home or commercial space I think about how those colors will be seen as a whole. I first choose an atmosphere that I want to create, how they will complement each other creating calm, productive energy, or comfort.

Color can be bold and create a strong juxtaposition or soft and monochromatic to create calm and fluidity. It can also be a strong pop of color that draws the eye to a certain structural detail, piece of furniture, artwork or object. It is all about the space as whole, with the elements working well together to create that desired feeling. Color can determine mood, it can alter thinking and establish inner centeredness and peace.

Determining what colors work well together comes from the designer’s expertise and vision. It is our job to understand the big picture to see beyond the singular notion of design elements and realize their potential to work together to create this harmony. It is also our job to work with the Client who may have a color preference that has a visual appeal for them or is a trend of the moment, but that might not work well in their specific space. There is a lot of psychology of color to take into consideration when choosing a palette and making the Client aware and to have them understand this psychology (See our Blog Archive: https://orastudio.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/the-science-of-color-part-1/ )

Creating a successful color palette is a science, it is an important element in the design process and whether it is multi-color patterns carefully matched and placed together, a neutral color palette, monochromatic scheme or strong accents of color, this requires an eye for symmetry and visual appeal. The mark of a good designer is their perception of this balance and cohesion.

 

 

The Power of Intuition…

Lexington Ave. High Rise

Lexington Ave. High Rise

Intuition is the natural ability to recognize and understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning to make decisions. Being an Architect/Designer requires keen decision making skills, and the ability to discern and to interpret what the client needs, through being in tune with their feelings and ideas.

Intuition is an important tool in the Designer’s process when doing a Project. Most often the end results come from the process of intuitive decision making derived from a natural sequence of events.

Intuition and creativity go hand in hand; one informs the other and combined with inspiration lead to a successful project. It is an integral part of the design process and the formulation of good client rapport.

Architects and Designers can turn what could be seen as chaos into order, solving challenges and providing the resolution to create a beautiful space. It is the relationship of intuition and scientific facts that are the basis of design triumphs.  A Designer who has a strong intuition serves their Client well and maintains a level of innovation and sophistication in their work.

It seems now more than ever “intuition” is in fashion again, has become a trend, and topic that is widely discussed, and written about, but has intuition ever gone away? This is a human trait; everyone has the potential to tap into their intuition, or their “sixth sense” and trust it when dealing with Clients or personal situations. What has changed in the zeitgeist to make intuition a “buzzword”? I think that people are looking more and more into themselves for the answer, not everything can be solved or answered by reading it or solely based on information from the internet. Our intuition is a muscle that needs to be exercised, to enable us to evolve and become a better-rounded and informed person.

 

 

 

2016 and the NEW Meaning of “Designer” …..

023

 

 

As we welcome the year 2016, what does the future hold for the Designer? Gone are the days of niche designers, who specialize in one medium, style or genre. That concept is antiquated. It has become the age of the Multi- Talented  Designer/Entrepreneur. In today’s design market and design business, the Client looks for that designer who can adapt, innovate, and solve all the challenges of their new design or renovation. It is essential for the designer to be multi-faceted, able to work in not only Architecture and Interior Design, but lighting, space planning, custom furniture, and Art.  More and more the emerging “new normal” is for the designer to have multiple talents, even outside the design world of interiors and architecture. A focus on art and fashion is desirable, even film and photography. Clients trust in someone with a vision and  an artistic sense that creates concepts beyond what they thought possible and  the designer who can execute them.

It is the age of the Designer/Entrepreneur, the self-contained company that provides guidance in all aspects of design, focusing on space design and renovation but also catering to an ever more savvy and worldly clientele that are knowledgeable and well-traveled and that want their space to reflect their style and taste levels, and they do not have to hire 4 different professionals to do each task separately, it is a convenience for the Client.

Coming from a family of artists and ceramists, this has always been a quality that I have integrated in my designs. I continue to be that designer who can do design tasks and also create and select art and fabrics and objects that work well in my Clients’ spaces. It is with my knowledge of art and fashion and history that I can be that well rounded and versatile designer.

I look forward to new Projects and challenging spaces for 2016, I always strive to innovate and use my creative abilities to elicit the best results for my clients, whether it is a commercial, public or residential space. By being well rounded, the Client reaps the benefits and has a cohesive and harmonious design.

Get Inspired ….

The Art of Simplification…

Lexington Avenue NYC

Lexington Avenue NYC

As we close in on  another year, It seems that there is a lot  reflection during this time of year; about life, career  and  space, whether it is a work space or home. I think that many people use this year end period as a time for simplification to de-clutter their minds and spaces in anticipation of the new year, a fresh start. What better place to start that in the space where you live. The home provides shelter, comfort and functionality. There is a newer movement towards sustainability and simplicity especially in an urban setting. With space already at a minimum and also increasingly costly, urban dwellers have looked to a new way to live in smaller spaces and use design elements to help them achieve the optimum use of their home.

As an Architect/ Designer living in New York City, one of the largest and most crowded cities on this planet, I use my sense of perception and imagination to create fully functional homes in any space, whether large or small. This is a challenge, and an opportunity to use my design vision and skills to bring to my Client a new way to live in their home. I first assess what their needs are for their home; what rooms they use the most and an important question…storage. Is that a concern for them? Creating a harmonious space that looks uncluttered and simple utilizes the building of storage spaces that can provide need organization in a home.

Whether it be a single person, couple or a family with children storage is always important. I like clean spaces, effortless rooms that look lived in but not overdone. How can I create a space that is perceived to be larger, when the square footage is not? This is where a Designer who understands space can create a home that suits their client and exceeds expectation.

Simplification is cleansing, especially in a home. Our lives are so fast paced; we do not have time to breathe sometimes. When we simplify our space, we simplify our life. We reflect on what we really need to live and what is important. We prioritize. In a large city where overcrowding is the norm, simplification is key to an enriched quality of life. I think it is something we can learn from and makes us resilient, and knowing that we are not tied to possessions, we can realize what is important.

 

 

The Blueprint of Design …Combining the Technical, Creative and the Psychological to Achieve Success

IMG_1262Giusi Re Touch- GiusiBeing an Architect and  Interior Designer is not for the faint of heart. Design incorporates technical, creative, and psychological skill. It is with the harmony of these aspects that a good Designer flourishes.

The Technical: Studying Design and Architecture is a calling and a commitment to intense study and practice. It commands great passion and talent involving mathematics, geometry, science, art and creative inspiration. It is the combination of these elements that make a Designer of merit. There is also the need to keep up with design trends and adapting those trends to your particular style. In the profession of Interior Design, this is beneficial in creating Projects that are successful and having happy Clients.

The Creative: An  Architect/Interior Designer is an artist, a visionary, someone who strives to innovate in their chosen industry. Following a creative path is not easy; it comes with challenges and bumps along the way. Sometimes an intensely creative person suffers because their mind works in such a different way and so quickly. Sometimes this creative spirit is stalled, this is the creative resistance. Focusing too much on always having to produce can be stressful therefore stifling the freedom of creativity. It is the ability to manage the creativity in a business format that helps the designer through tough challenges.

The Psychological: An  Architect/Interior Designer deals with Clients, whether it is a family or an individual, a corporation or an organization. This requires diplomacy and highly evolved social skills. In dealing with Clients, a Designer must know, especially in Residential Design, the Design process is very personal. To be in someone’s home and make changes to improve their quality of life is deeply rewarding. Establishing the trust between Client and Designer is necessary.

Being an Architect/Designer is a courageous  profession. The Designer is an artist, a therapist, a problem solver, a knowledgeable source, and an innovator. What sets apart a good designer is the  balance in these skills.