Posts Tagged ‘ Warmth ’

The Architect’s Inner Dialogue: Inspiration and Information…

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Creative people tap into their inner dialogue and use it to fuel inspiration and in the decision making process in their chosen medium. Artists, actors, singers, and dancers all have this heightened sense, and use it to their advantage.

How does the Architect use this inner dialogue to better their designs and aid in their execution? The Architect’s language is specialized combining the technical and artful to bring their designs to reality. The inner dialogue surfaces at any given time, there is no downtime for an Architect, ideas  can come to them anywhere, anytime… it is this freedom to enable the inner dialogue that creates lasting structures, beautiful design and functional structures.

Design is about the evolution of an idea through revision and trials and thought. It is about the process of a design and how the idea can be translated to be useful for the real world. Form, function and beauty are mainstays to Architecture and this inner dialogue of the Architect allows the ideas and dreams to flow, to evolve and challenges to be solved. It is the way the Architect creates this inner speak that can develop a project and create something for their client that they never imagined. Positive inner dialogue can bring excellent results, as they expand the boundaries of their design acumen and utilize them in their projects.

An Architect relies upon their technical knowledge plus their artist’s sensibility to design successful projects and make their clients happy. It is how they utilize their inner dialogue and how they question themselves that can bring innovation, based in their acquired knowledge of this very difficult and demanding field. Tapping into the inner dialogue and speaking within themselves to question or affirm, can bring about new ideas and design techniques and lead them to more clients and larger projects.

 

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Green Spaces that Work… Beyond Concept to Functionality

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There have been many trends in Architecture and lifestyle, but I think the “green” trend has inhabited every aspect of our lives. In its concept, “Green” living refers to… “a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual’s or society’s use of the Earth’s natural resources and personal resources. Practitioners of green living often attempt to reduce their carbon footprint by altering methods of transportation, energy consumption, and diet.” As defined by Wikipedia. This concept has permeated the zeitgeist and made positive strides in health and well-being. Green living has affected how we live, shop, eat and exercise and in Architecture it has affected how residential and commercial construction is designed.

From reducing our carbon footprint, saving energy, consuming less, eating well and living in a less excessive style, everyone can benefit from a green lifestyle. In designing a  home, office or commercial space, what materials will we use and how will we heat, cool and light spaces? In a true green space, the ultimate goal is reducing energy consumption, reducing cost and maintaining and supporting the environment.

How does the designer take aspects of making a green home or office from the drafting table to reality? There are many aspects to include in this equation: geography, space, building codes, and how to make the space as green as it can be within certain guidelines. Lighting, heating and cooling, and energy sources come into play as well as plant based design to incorporate within areas of a home or office, to create energy and improve air quality and even create a food source.

Materials that aid in this concept are another major component of a green space. Using recycled materials, natural materials that are sustainable and durable are important. A truly green space considers every alternative to wasteful and high cost materials and strives to create a new and more affordable yet still high quality design.

Building codes and regulations also should be included within the design plan, in an urban environment especially. There are many regulations put in place long before sustainable homes or workspaces became popular, so the designer must adjust to these rules. How will the designer incorporate these new ideas into an old framework of codes and regulations? For example, the Client wants a “living” wall, of plants or an indoor vertical garden for a food source or air quality source, will their building allow this and how will it be maintained. These types of new features must be studied and researched and the designer must be sure that not only can it be installed but that it can also be maintained by the client.

I think that in the flurry of excitement around having a “green” space, sometimes the functionality factor can be neglected. When designing this type of home or office, it is more imperative that the research, development and execution of these new features be more examined and that the proper experts are involved in the installation of these green features. “Green” is not just a trend, when done successfully the Client’s daily life is improved and their home or office can truly be economically more sound and their well-being improved.

 

 

 

 

 

The Power of a Contemporary Dining Area…

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In Contemporary Design, the balance of form and function holds great importance. Finding the balance can come from mixing colors and textures, different materials and keeping the shape of functional items proportional and unique. A Contemporary Dining Area contains clean lines and the aesthetic beauty comes from the shape of the furniture, and  high quality materials.

This image is from our Project at 58th Street NYC, this is a high rise modern building with spectacular panoramic views of Midtown Manhattan. The views are also an element in the design of this Dining Area. Everything chosen has great symbiosis with other elements in the space. We begin with flooring in a light tone then work with that color palette.

A Modern Dining Table of lacquer and chrome in a neutral complementary color enhance the simple unfettered beauty of the floor and white walls. The chairs in velvet bring the softness, the tactile element that a Client can appreciate in an area of their home as important as the Dining Table.

Whatever style of design, the Dining area holds precedent because it is there where the emotion of the home is displayed and the hospitality shown to family and friends. Whether Contemporary or Traditional in Design the space has to flow and the emotion and feeling is the same, comfort.

The layout in this space became crucial, how can we place the table so that all seated can have a clear view of NYC especially at night when it is at its most magical. The fireplace is in perfect range in regards to the table to create atmosphere if the Client wishes, giving options is always good.

The neutral palette of the table and chairs also works with the Living Space that is adjacent; this is an open floorplan so the layout and placement of elements is crucial for overall harmony.

In such a luxurious space, there is a call for a special Dining Area, to provide a place to dine, and entertain to make the house a home and to create a chic ambiance to enjoy.

All about the Mix…

West 56th St. Project by Giusi Mastro/ORA studio

West 56th St. Project by Giusi Mastro/ORA studio

 

The movement  towards a mixture of styles, materials, and eras, in Interior Architecture and Design has become a leading trend. This “nouvelle eclecticism” is not so much mix and match, as it is mix and mix. For an Interior Designer this opens the door to new conceptual ideas of what a space can look like and also perhaps some new challenges when dealing with a Client with many ideas that need to be developed into a cohesive plan. A concept is still imperative for good design. The mixture of pattern, materials, and colour still need to be cohesive.  There is also this movement to mix periods, decades and styles. Modern with Traditional….Urban with Ethnic and so many other combinations that is interesting and innovative.

How do we work with the Client and organize their eclectic desires? It all starts from preference, what the Client’s likes and dislikes , what makes them feel comfortable and happy in their space and what works for their lifestyle. The designer is there to conceptualize, organize, and suggest the best solutions for their needs, resolve challenges that the Client once saw as unresolvable, and sometimes even be a mind reader .

The word Eclecticism literally means (from the Dictionary)

“a tendency in Architecture and the Decorative Arts to mix various historical styles with modern elements with the aim of combining the virtues of many styles or increasing allusive content”

With this literal definition, it is truly an “art” to mix styles and elements of a certain period in a way that looks fresh and “now”.  There is serious thought to what can really work in regards to colour, pattern, shape, material, and proportion.  I think the “mix” is a very trendy way to say this type of approach and this mix is not only in Interior Design, but in Fashion and Beauty, and even Cuisine. There is this reenergized movement to look to the past, derive what you like from it, and then translate and interpret it into something innovative, aesthetically beautiful and modern.  As a Designer, fitting into only one niche can be precarious. Modern does not necessarily mean spare and minimal, but it means fresh, unbothered, harmonious and functional for today.

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Spring Color 2015: Poppy Brights or Subtle Hues??

ICFF5442When spring nears,  Clients bring me ideas about painting and freshening up their space. A wonderful new color of paint can really change the dynamic of a room and with a few small changes can really create new harmony in a home.

When I think about color in my Client’s space I think about natural light, dimensions, shape, existing furnishing and how all of those elements can help me to choose the right color for the paint.

2015 is the year of extremes in the spectrum in color. Pantone, a leader of trending color and tones in Interior Design has created a list for 2015 that is as diverse as it is beautiful. 2015’s color of the year is marsala, a deep wine tone that really brings the drama. This year  Pantone’s color  choices run the gamut from sea blue to marsala to sandstone and strawberry ice, dusty blue and titanium.

The Designer’s  challenge is to decide what is best and suitable for their Client. What direction, tone, mood, feeling, purpose of the room…these are all pertinent questions when talking about color.

In my previous blog the Science of Color, https://orastudio.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/the-science-of-color-part-1/,  I explored in an in depth way,  the ideas and philosophy of choosing hues and how they affect mood, productivity and human emotion. These points all interplay in making a decision regarding a change in the home.

Economically speaking, painting a room is a great way to refresh and revitalize without a huge investment. This is also why color choice is so important. Think about existing items of furniture, lighting fixtures, and accessories and how they will harmonize (or not) with that new paint color.

Colorful Artwork can also help a newly painted space. Color combinations are powerful and can help to elevate the emotion of a room and also aid to appreciate home’s value.

While I do not like to use the word “trend” in choosing color, I am drawn to the “now”, what works for my Client in the present and what can create an even better living space. Spring is here and a home upgrade is a great solution to create renewal and cohesiveness in your home. Whether your tastes go to POP colors or dusty, powdery pastels, the “trend” I can support is what is  best for my Client, what serves their purpose and what enhances their space.

 

 

 

The Power of a Grand Entrance…

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What becomes a home most? The entrance is that first impression, that indication of what is to come. In a grand space, you need a grand entrance, something that is  harmonious and sets the tone for the rest of the home. What creates a grand entrance is not necessarily the size of the space  but it is how it is designed, lit, and dressed. These are the components of a memorable entry.

Whether it be traditional or contemporary, the foyer or entry is the first “hello” and welcome for guests. This image is from a project we completed at UN Plaza in Manhattan, the apartment is a stunning duplex with panoramic views of the East River and United Nations compound on the east side of Manhattan. The client  had specific ideas about the home’s aesthetic and what he would like to see come to fruition. This entry is Contemporary in feel  and works symbiotically with the elliptical staircase, industrial fireplace  and the Living Area.

A bright colored, contemporary carpet warms  and saturates the space and creates contrast from the floor and walls, the table in wood also warms the space and the accent piece is artistic and unobtrusive

When a home is on such a large scale, the entry must neither detract or distract from the overall feeling of the home. Objects and accent pieces are carefully placed and it is a nice addition to bring  some nature inside  to create a homey and warm  atmosphere.

 

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The Power of Color: The Endless Possibilities of White

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When we think about color for a space, it does not always have to be bold, electric, intense color that snaps us to attention…What about the power of White? The clean, fresh and expansive feeling that white can bring to a space. It can elongate, delineate, exaggerate, and expand a space, creating light, form and shape.

As a Contemporary Designer, I have always been drawn to white for these reasons, because it is transformative. It can refresh an already existing space or be the powerful backdrop to a new one. White can be the basis for walls, accessories, carpets, furnishing, and anchor a room with its bold un- color. White is evocative of feeling fresh, clean, renewed. Why do we wear white mostly in Spring? It is a time of renewal and of dazzling possibilities.

I love the feeling of a white Kitchen, I want to use the example of a custom Kitchen I designed for a Project in Mid-Town Manhattan. The Kitchen is a gathering place, an entertaining space and a completely functional space. By utilizing white, it creates the illusion of a much larger space and gives a clean and sleek feel. I designed the custom Corian island in the center of the space to serve as a prep station, dining table and utility space. By using white I create a beautiful, modern and unobtrusive centerpiece that complements the white cabinets and flooring.

In this open floor plan white creates dimension and reflects light in this open space, it does not compete with the panoramic views and is practical and beautiful.

White can be one of the most powerful colors in your design palette, try adding some white accessories to a room and see the way all other materials and furniture take on a different look. It is complementary yet still holds it own.