Christoff: Finio Architecture transforms a former printing space into Todd Hase's furniture gallery.
Sheila Kim -- Interior Design, 11/1/2001 12:00:00 AM
Like the New York galleries that colonized the neighborhood, Todd Hase's showroom and headquarters in Soho is a minimalist industrial space of soaring heights, clean design, and thoughtfully placed pieces. Hase asked the local firm Christoff: Finio Architecture to create something "monochromatic and subdued to feature the furniture rather than the architecture," says firm principal Martin Finio. The architects began by gutting the entire former printing concern, leaving only traces of the building's history—columns, an exposed brick wall, and curved panels above the bay windows—to give character. Plywood panels patching the crumbling ceiling were removed, revealing a badly stained surface that needed to be skim-coated with plaster.
"In terms of layout, Todd gave us a program," says the firm's other principal, Taryn Christoff. Knowing Hase's penchant for envisioning his furniture in groupings, particularly in front of walls, the architects proposed two raised "folded platforms" to give scale to the pieces and create residential settings without necessarily sealing off space with a series of rooms. "We were surprised by the amount of furniture they needed to fit there," adds Finio, making it all the more essential that the 3,500-sq.-ft. showroom not look cluttered. The display platforms, one L-shaped and the other U-shaped, are also meant to draw attention to select furnishings and are finished in a high-gloss white epoxy. Complementing these display platforms, the floors are made seamless with a poured high-gloss cement-epoxy mix. Noting that Hase likes to change furniture displays often, the architects installed a basic, flexible track-lighting grid to allow spots to highlight specific pieces as merchandise is rearranged. In the end, Christoff: Finio created a backdrop befitting Hase's contemporary-yet-classic designs and fabrics. The showroom was completed in six months; design credits extend to project architect Robert Donnelly.