Richard Shemtov and Nick Dine convert a Manhattan art studio into a spacious showroom for Dune.
Linas Alsenas -- Interior Design, 10/1/2001 12:00:00 AM
After great acclaim and even greater success, Dune warranted its own space. Formerly housed in the International Design Supply showroom, the fledgling furniture and textile design firm was founded by Richard Shemtov in 1996. Together with Nick Dine, Dune's design director, Shemtov set about converting a dilapidated art studio into a bright, spacious showroom for their full product line.
Beyond its Tribeca location, the new showroom's greatest asset is a 16-ft. ceiling. Dine and Shemtov were unwilling to compromise height, although it complicated HVAC installation. To avoid hanging ducts under the central beam, which would have meant dropping the ceiling several feet, they decided instead to bring in the walls by 16 in. on either side of the space. Air ducts thus remain invisible, and additional storage is accommodated in the dead space behind the new walls. Moreover, the designers were able to carve a seating niche into the wall near the entrance as an area for designers and clients to confer or wait without having to sit on display furniture.
Many different flooring applications were considered, but Shemtov and Dine selected Stonehard, a mix of sand and poured resin. Although more often found in airplane hangars than high-end furniture showrooms, Shemtov extols the soft, rubber-like feel of the seamless, maintenance-free material. "You can drive a forklift over it, so we figured it would be suitable for commercial traffic and furniture that's always being moved around," he says.
Wheeled, mobile display platforms feature carved-out corners that fit snugly around columns in the center of the 5,000-sq.-ft. main floor. "We wanted the focus to be directed toward the center so that people could walk around the furniture, and not just have it pushed against walls," Shemtov explains. Nearby, the 16-ft. Corian sales counter's bas-relief pattern was custom-designed by Shemtov.
Below laminate glass windows and skylights along the back wall, the designers installed a double staircase with mesh railings and treads of steel grating. These stairs allow daylight to filter down to the basement level, which contains an additional 2,500 sq. ft. of product display, as well as Dune's offices and design studio. The project was completed in only three months.