the hotel of tomorrow, linked to the think tank project of the hospitality industry, imagines what hotels might look like in 20 years. considerations revolve around groundbreaking new nanotechnologies, which will drastically change building materials and their functions, not to mention how automation and cultural standards will affect what the service industries entail. in this hotel, the current functions of hotel staff are left in tact to provide human interaction in an increasingly technology-driven world, leaving the innovations to the structural realm.
this shell metaphor becomes structural in the swirling design of the lobby stairway and a sample bedroom. the nautilis, long praised for the same golden ratio growth pattern that has inspired classical architecture for centuries, becomes the basis both for floorplans and color palates. the sweep of its curves dramatically carve the space and bring guests up vertically, inviting them to become aware of the volume of the rooms in ways they might not have noticed otherwise. they are hopefully awakened to their place within the hotel, a gentle reminder of their footprint in the world at large.
there are two technologies employed here: a material currently in development called 'frozen smoke,' and an energy-capturing technique known as 'crowd farming.'
with this in mind, the term 'shell' as usually applied to this interaction is furthered in crowd farming, which employs a layer of electrogel beneath floors of public spaces, using the pressure of feet to create and collect energy from friction. if every building produces its own energy simply by being used, then our relationship to our dwellings becomes rather poetic.
a media room has a dual inspiration: physically, an arm of the modular structure of the monsanto house of the future (at disney world's yesterland from 1957 until 1967), and atmospherically, the installation 'make it with you: a slow dance club' by assume vivid astro focus at the frieze art fair in london.
the space is divided into a functional and bare white exterior shell, and a riotous wallpapered booth inside for a v.i.p. dj booth and intense sensory experience.
in a tight space, the walls of the interior structure serve double duty. storage areas on the outside become benches inside. bookshelves push the skin of the wall out, and the opposite side nestles a tv.
steel and steam
a redesign of a restaurant in richard meier's iconic building at 176 perry st. is based conceptually on the fabulous architecture of the space: huge, open, and walled on 3 sides with dramatic floor-to-ceiling views of the hudson river park. to accentuate and soften the strong structural columns, the floor and ceiling are highly polished to create an infinity effect of smoky reflections. translucent curtains mimic the effect at eye level.
the puzzle house grew out of a challenge to design an apartment with office and conference space for a creative professional who worked from home - in a 20' x 20' x 20' cube. the assignment required one mezzanine level, but while that design would have provided lovely soaring ceilings, the limitations of living in such a small space would be too much for someone who spent all day, both work and play time, in a glorified studio apartment. instead, by carefully spiraling 8' rooms around a central stair like a spine, a houseful of rooms were fit into a dramatic space that still seems open and airy.
the first floor contains the working spaces, so that a client entering the apartment doesn't have to pass through any private spaces. the dining table can be used as a conference area, and a floor-to-ceiling bookcase screens off the office area with a double desk that maximizes space. stepping up onto the first level change, we have the sitting area that looks easily onto the dining table or up to the kitchen on the next floor.
the second floor is given over to the largest space, both in floor space and ceiling height. the kitchen and seating area are the heart of this home, with access to the bathroom and a private stair up to the bedroom. this third floor is a cozy space, nestled above the seating area below, with a second entrance into the bathroom for privacy when guests are being entertained. the bathroom, like the kitchen, has soaring 12' ceilings, and the sink is puzzled cleverly into a space shared with the vanity on the other side of the wall.
in the bathroom, the color palate is dramatically reversed. while dining, neutrals allow the food to take center stage. when powdering one's nose, however, the walls are the star.
color studies of the various levels were collage together in the planning stage. the whole house shares a palate of blue, white and coral, with a deep navy defining all floor and ceiling surfaces to emphasize the changes in levels as the color wraps from one floor to the other. other colors are gradiated with the levels as well: the first floor is done in the most intense shades, with the ceruleans and corals fading through the second floor into whites with just a hint of color in the tiny, airy bedroom.