This tiny New York City pied-a-terre located in a 1931 Bing & Bing building revels in its sense of intimacy, providing a small, self-contained world for a client who neither cooks nor entertains. Designed by Messana O'Rorke for a client who values intimacy, the apartment is a safe haven from the sleepless city roaring outside. With a focus on embodying the apartment's history while capturing the modern-day design and techniques, the refined design scheme is a variation of an earlier project in which the bed-chamber is an independent volume floating within an otherwise open space. The quiet design of this apartment portrays a calm essence. It allows for comfort while maximizing such a small amount of space. The most notable use of this strategic approach to maximizing space is the bed chamber. It is articulated as an independent volume floating within an otherwise open space. Outside of the freestanding pavilion is finished in a matte-gray lacquer, while gray felt wraps the interior. The bed-chambers' minimalist lines play against the apartment's original oak floors and the traditional paneled walls that act as storage. The apartment follows the studio’s standard practice that has been used and refined since the founding of the firm in 1996. Messana O’Rorke practices the use of limiting the materials palette to reduce visual noise. This signature can be seen in the petite kitchen which is detailed with simple oak cabinetry in roughly the same color and exact dimension as the floorboards. The compact bathroom relies on a custom vanity and floor of Carrara marble to establish its own sense of place within the overall design. These quiet architectural moves result in a space that parlays its modest scale to foster an unexpected variety of experiences. A layer of depth is added to the apartment's composition with a window wall and a niche for art display, which showcases the modest yet calm scale. The apartment is a well-crafted apartment with subtle architectural details that foster an incredible variety of experiences. It’s an apartment that emphasizes the feeling of home all while capturing groundbreaking ideas. It sets the tone for the firms upcoming projects and paves the way for the architectural industry. The end result of Messana O'Rorke’s quiet architectural design is a calm, cloistered refuge from the intensity of city life, a space that parlays its modest scale to foster an unexpected variety of experiences.
Brian Messana graduated from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and Columbia University. He trained under architects and worked on projects including the Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona. He has also lectured on design and served on the faculties of several university architecture programs.
Toby O’Rorke received his Postgraduate Degree and Graduate Diploma from Oxford Polytechnic. He is a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects. He worked with The Greater London Council and has practiced with a number of architectural firms.
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