Right on Track
Sliding panels help Insight Environmental Design achieve the openness a Chicago kitchen deserves
Monica Geran -- Interior Design, 10/1/2002 12:00:00 AM
For Anne Kaplan and Bruce Goers of Insight Environmental Design, it was a lovely challenge: to make the best of a 54th-floor Chicago apartment with three-sided exposure to the fine cityscape. After a gut renovation of the 3,000-square-foot residence, the designers went about establishing open sight lines between interior spaces and windows at the perimeter. Even in the galley kitchen, crucially located in the center of the floorplate, Kaplan and Goers minimized the view-blocking solid walls required for appliances and storage. Rather than build a solid wall between the kitchen and the adjacent entrance, the partners installed a freestanding storage unit that stops 2 feet short of the 11-foot ceiling—just tall enough to house the refrigerator. Additional storage, the sink, and wall ovens occupy built-in cabinetry of teak and Cumaru, a wood from Brazil. Above the ovens and on the cooking island, the wood is inset with aluminum strips. On the floor, Cumaru planks are finished with only a protective sealant.
When dinner is served in the living-dining area just beyond, a Macassar ebony table can extend to 144 inches long. And the owners can decide whether to keep the kitchen in plain view. Between the two areas are six sliding panels track-anchored to the floor and ceiling. "We capitalized on the open floor plan to allow for an inclusive or secluded space depending upon the clients' needs," explains Kaplan. "Beauty and privacy were key ideas." Panel frames are of aluminum-capped, dark-painted poplar, the grid is of poplar strips, and the translucent woven mesh is a blend of metallic yarn and silk. Panel position notwithstanding, though, both areas enjoy vistas of the Magnificent Mile and the Loop.