Skidmore, Owings & Merrill creates a 21st-century look for a classically-detailed room in the Washington Design Center's spring show house.
Jen Renzi -- Interior Design, 5/1/2001 12:00:00 AM
Some designers are inspired by an artwork or an historical period. Others by a question or a philosophical investigation—as was the case for Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), who recently tackled the theme for the Washington Design Center's spring show house: What is modern now? "Modern is an attitude rather than a vocabulary or a particular stylistic approach," suggests SOM associate partner Nestor Santa-Cruz, who nonetheless offers a few concepts that guided the design team's direction: flexibility, an attention to new materials, and "comfort—not just physical, but visual, too." Under the direction of partner Stephen Apking, the SOM design team selected furnishings that could easily be rearranged to suit various modes of work and leisure, freely mixing mid-century icons such as a George Nelson bubble lamp and an Eero Saarinen pedestal table with contemporary pieces, including "non-traditional items from traditional manufacturers." This juxtaposition of old and new was of particular relevance to Washington, D.C., "a city with a tremendous history, but with a strong international flavor and a booming high-tech economy," says Santa-Cruz, who has discovered that local clients often strive to bring a modern sensibility to an historic residence.