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Collaborating With Architects
For the last year and a half or so we have been collaborating on an incredible townhouse renovation in TriBeCa with the architecture firm Office 606, and I am currently working with David Hotson Architects on a spectacular residential project, which is also downtown. I love these collaborative relationships, but sometimes the line between architect and interior designer can become a little blurry. Where exactly is the line that separates the architects’ and interior designers’ roles? In truth, the process is more like a Venn diagram with the middle portion being the place where architecture and interiors become the most collaborative. Working together in a joint intellectual effort can vary enormously. On some projects, the architect assumes complete control of all aspects of the project from built-in cabinetry to specifying, or at least approving, the towel hooks. On other projects, we as interior designers are asked to design built-in cabinetry and introduce the materials and palette of the interior. The assumed roles can be so different and should be addressed in the initial stages of the collaboration to avoid any conflict.
It is sometimes tricky to become involved in projects after the architect has been working independently with the client for some time. I never want to make suggestions that might offend the architect or complicate the design, so I often start the dialogue with a whisper. Once I am more invested in the project, it may be appropriate to squeak a little louder. At the end of the day, both disciplines bring something very specific to the table and with a great team there is no end to the myriad of ideas that can come to fruition.
These images are from a gallery in the Chelsea area of New York City; Mixed Greens is a space that was designed in collaboration with the amazingly talented architects Stella Betts and David Leven of Leven Betts Studio. Not only was it a pleasure to work with them, but we enjoyed each other’s company and had a lot of fun working together.
Images by Michael Moran.