UNStudio: collector's loft in new york
UNStudio: collector's loft in new york
aug 27, 2010

UNStudio: collector's loft in new york

living with books and art a loft in new york all images courtesy UNStudio



UNStudio‘s design for an existing loft located in greenwich village in manhattan explores the interaction between a gallery and living space. the main walls in the loft flow through the space, and together with articulated ceilings create hybrid conditions in which exhibition areas merge into living areas.



UNStudio: collector's loft in new york



the design of the loft in downtown manhattan mediates between art gallery and living space. the existing loft space was characterized by challenging proportions: the space is long and wide, but also rather low. gently flowing curved walls were introduced to virtually divide the main space into proportionally balanced spaces. this created zones of comfortable proportions for domestic use, while simultaneously generating a large amount of wall space for the display of art. the meandering walls frame an open a space that privileges long perspectives, with more sheltered corners and niches nestled in the curves. in this hybrid space exhibition areas merge into the living areas; a floating exhibition wall blends into library shelves on one side and into a display case on the other side. the client as collector had sought a space in which he could live comfortably while interacting with the many paintings, objects and books he has brought together over the years. the loft aims to merge life and art by facilitating these daily interactions, and by making clearer his own unusual way of seeing.



UNStudio: collector's loft in new york



UNStudio: collector's loft in new york



while the walls form a calm and controlled backdrop for the works of art, the ceiling is more articulated in its expression of this transition. by interchanging luminous and opaque, the ceiling creates a field of ambient and local lighting conditions, forming an organizational element in the exhibition and the living areas. the opaque part of the ceiling consists of subtly arched elements that give a notion of an limitless ceiling which disguises the real height of the space the luminous part of the ceiling is backlit by 18,000 LED lights. this extensive membrane of light serves multiple purposes; it balances the proportions of the loft by creating an illusion of height, functions as unobtrusive space divider, and can be programmed to illuminate the space with various shades of light, from the coolest, most neutral daylight, to warmer tones. by interchanging between luminous and opaque, the ceiling becomes a field of ambient and local lighting conditions.



UNStudio: collector's loft in new york



the third element that the architect has added to this mix is the appreciation of the city which is expressed in the ‘framing of the views’. the former windows in the south wall have been replaced by full floor to ceiling glass panes that frame and extend compelling views, over a full glass balcony, toward downtown manhattan.



UNStudio: collector's loft in new york



the main walls and ceilings flow through the space, creating hybrid conditions in which exhibition areas merge into living areas; an exhibition wall blends into led illuminated library shelves on one side and a display case on the other. to enable this uniform and seamless space, partly double curved glass fiber reinforced gypsum paneling is used. within these curved wall elements most of the technical installations like hvac and lighting have been integrated.


as a last element a douglas fir floor with 1½ feet wide planks covers the entire loft.



UNStudio: collector's loft in new york



UNStudio: collector's loft in new york



project info:


collector’s loft, new york, usa 2007 client: anonymous location: greenwich village, manhattan new york, usa building area: 550 m2 building programme:  loft renovation into apartment / private gallery status: completed 2010

credits: UNStudio: ben van berkel with arjan dingsté, marianthi tatari and collette parras executive architect: franke, gottsegen, cox architects, new york. team: matthew gottsegen, bruce harvey, matt shoor structural engineer: wayman c. wing consulting engineers, new york MEP: p.a. collins pe consulting engineers, new york lighting design: renfro design group, inc., new york contractor: 3-d laboratory, inc. new york

  • Geil!

    Dr. Design says:
  • ben van berkel is always almost there, but there is always something missing. What is it? I can’t figure out…

    pedro rogado says:
  • hammer geil!

    jahny says:
  • please if dont know how to do constructive criticism dont comment, pedro rogado

    ambright says:
  • impressive lighting design!

    jame says:
  • what is the luminous membrane material? anyone?

    Adam says:
  • eames lounge and office chair are fakes.

    jesse says:
  • nope. they’re vitra. sorry 🙂

    jesse says:
  • I get it. I just wouldn’t want it. It’s cold and lifeless.

    Jake says:
  • lonely

    erdiana kartikasari says:
  • luminous membrane might be “barisol”

    Colin says:
  • a possible alternative to ‘barisol’ is ‘extenzo’. pretty much the same thing.

    laurent says:
  • Like the curves and angles. As a gallery it more than suffices. As a dwelling, that’s up to the individual to choose d;-)

    Jetwax says:
  • I agree. As a gallery the white light is not only good, also necessary. As for the living quaters, I am sure I would prefer a more homely “yellow” light.

    Also, I don’t know if it is because of the photos, but there seems to be very little connection with the outside. Makes it a bit claustrophobic for me. Like I am not ever supposed to go out. As if on a space ship? The same thing takes away from the sense of direction/orientation inside the building.

    Ece says:
  • wow that is such a cool curving design, kind of feels like the inside of some kind of futuristic plane.

    john says:
  • Extremely beautiful.I will have to stop looking at this blog because i get jealous of all the great designs other people come up with.

    jason says:
  • Amazing!

    toddn says:

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