Unifying Art and Urban Living
von | Oct 7, 2010

The design of the loft in downtown Manhattan mediates between art gallery and living space. The existing loft space was characterized by challenging proportions: the space is long and wide, but also rather low. Gently flowing curved walls were introduced to virtually divide the main space into proportionally balanced spaces. This created zones of comfortable proportions for domestic use, while simultaneously generating a large amount of wall space for the display of art.

The meandering walls frame an open a space that privileges long perspectives, with more sheltered corners and niches nestled in the curves. In this hybrid space exhibition areas merge into the living areas; a floating exhibition wall blends into library shelves on one side and into a display case on the other side. The client as collector had sought a space in which he could live comfortably while interacting with the many paintings, objects and books he has brought together over the years. The loft aims to merge life and art by facilitating these daily interactions, and by making clearer his own unusual way of seeing.

UNStudio: Ben van Berkel mit Arjan Dingsté, Marianthi Tatari und Collette Parras
Lighting design: Renfro Design Group Inc., New York

Douglas fir floor by Dinesen with 1½ feet wide planks covers the entire loft. | photo © Iwan Baan
The main walls and ceilings flow through the space, creating hybrid conditions in which exhibition areas merge into living areas. | photo © Iwan Baan
Framing the view: The former windows in the South wall have been replaced by full floor to ceiling glass panes of Sky-Frame that frame and extend compelling views, over a full glass balcony, toward downtown Manhattan. | photo © Iwan Baan
Fields of light: By interchanging luminous and opaque, the ceiling creates a field of ambient and local lighting conditions, forming an organizational element in the exhibition and the living areas. Private Loft in Manhattan, N.Y. | photo © Iwan Baan
The subtle, even-toned floor unifies the space and allows furniture and art to be positioned as floating elements in changeable constellations. | photo © Iwan Baan
To enable this uniform and seamless space, partly double curved glass fiber reinforced gypsum paneling is used. | photo © Iwan Baan