Monthly Archives: June 2016

Exhibition at Grand Hotel Milano

Published by:

Standard hotel room design

The exhibition brief was to design a standard hotel room, its dimensions 347 square feet with an identical footprint and a ceiling height of 9 feet 4 inches. Tihany admits that the concept was intentionally provocative. “I was hoping to portray interiors that would be out of the mold, to truly reflect the spirit of the cities the architects had been given,” he says. “If hotel rooms looked the same everywhere, why would you travel?”

“Genius loci!” exclaims Pesce, describing the idea behind his Moscow installation. The Latin phrase is about capturing the pervading spirit of a locale. “An architect must give identity to a place, express its essence,” he says. The classic Pesce touches were evident: abundant color, abstraction, resin, whimsy. Digging deeper, however, he presented a contemplative journey into Moscow as seen through his own eyes. He had visited Russia’s capital 43 years ago as a student. When he returned last year, he says, he found a city in transition, a “suspended situation.” And that’s precisely what his design conveyed. A sense of a floating, not-quite-formed place. “Moscow has the past, which we all know, and a future that is still unknown,” he says.

exhibition brief with a purpose to design a standard hotel room

exhibition brief with a purpose to design a standard hotel room

Pesce believes that, when entering a hotel room, people want information about where they are, what to do, how to do it. His multicolored quilted bedcover was a riot of pattern depicting a map of Moscow–the convention center, gyms, striptease clubs, and Kremlin all conveniently indicated. The room exuded a playful atmosphere in general, and Pesce conceived everything to give pleasure to the senses. Many items were fabricated in soft resin. “Strong enough to protect you but not to offend you,” he explains. Subtle political messages were woven into the design, too. The floor, made of translucent gel, was an illuminated grid. Yet the hammer and sickle imprinted on the gel’s surface was a reminder of the force that had once dominated the city. “This was on top of everyone,” says Pesce. “Now it’s underfoot.”

Grand Hotel Salone

Tihany assigned Paris to Richard Meier, whose design incorporated the predominance of white–and brightness–for which he is known. “The diffused light in the room is ever changing. That’s what I think of as Paris,” says Meier. A translucent glass shower enclosure stood in the center of the space, as both sculpture and a functional object. Inside its elliptical shape was a mini retreat, complete with a bidet. Outside the room’s windows, a slide show of Rene Burri’s iconic images (Louvre, Eiffel Tower, etc.) flashed upon the wall, bringing the elegance and beauty of Paris to the weary traveler.

Grand Hotel Salone

Grand Hotel Salone

Tihany himself designed the reception area, restaurant, bar, and lounges of the Grand Hotel Salone. Unlike the look-don’t-touch guest rooms, these public spaces were literally open for business. The restaurant was packed to capacity at every seating. The bar, illuminated by square red acrylic fixtures by FontanaArte, was packed at noon. As at any functioning hotel, people gathered, conducted meetings, drank coffee, read the paper, or simply daydreamed.

Design and Furnishing A Summer Residence in Florida

Published by:

Florida Summer Apartment

The couple then moved to Florida but also decided to purchase a summer residence in the suburb where they’d once lived, near shops, trains, restaurants, and–most important–three grown-up children and five grandchildren, aged 6 to 16.

The clients’ legacy centers on a love for collecting world-class modern art and a joint commitment to sharing their knowledge and passion with children and grandchildren. “It’s all about family,” says Kleinschmidt, who explains that these clients are unusual in their ability to make informed choices about both design and art. “But the decisions all center around the family, about making the time they spend together more enjoyable and more meaningful.”

P/K’s willingness to become intimately involved in every aspect of the project and in the clients’ needs is, in no small part, the firm’s legacy. Both Powell and Kleinschmidt began their careers at the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill before forming a partnership in 1976. The partners have never abandoned their modernist principles and are unwavering in attention to detail and design excellence.

The architects admit that this project presented planning and design challenges never previously encountered. The apartment, one fourth of a floor of a brand-new building, had been bought primarily for the convenient location and did not meet many of the clients’ expectations. True artistry was required to manage technical and invisible aspects of the project, and P/K paid close attention to the position of every sprinkler head and mechanical device, including the sophisticated security system and environmental controls to moderate humidity for archival purposes.

Architecture inside the summer apartment

Architecture inside the summer apartment

A corridor, asymmetrically placed within the plan, organizes the interior and doubles as a gallery for art. Living areas occupy the deep, east side of the corridor, taking maximum advantage of daylight. The kitchen and master bedroom are positioned at opposite ends of the corridor, with storage and ancillary spaces, not requiring daylight, positioned away from the window wall, along the west perimeter.

Furnishing the apartment with hardware and furniture

Because of the seasonal nature of the residence, P/K used wood floors, finely textured wall paint, glass, and leather–all low-maintenance–to achieve a sense of calm. The focus is internal. Windows are covered with either floor-to-ceiling screens or scrims that diffuse the sunlight.

Dark-stained Australian oak plank flooring runs throughout, layered with custom rugs in most rooms. Tan progresses to brown. White, used very sparingly, becomes the accent color. “We don’t have the intensity of the direct sun here in the Midwest, and much of the light tends to be reflected,” says Kleinschmidt, who explains that these deeper tones bring greater psychological warmth.

Bedroom, living room, and kitchen are furnished with best furniture to creat a comfortable living space

Bedroom, living room, and kitchen are furnished with best furniture to creat a comfortable living space

P/K designed much of the hardware and furniture. The family room, for example, features a custom sectional sleeper sofa with plenty of pillows, recliners with armrests, and ottomans to entice grandchildren, adult children, and grandparents into the same room to relax, play games, watch a movie, or simply spend time in one another’s company. “Furniture placement supports the way the family lives,” says Kleinschmidt, who was careful to ensure that furniture layouts nurture rather than dictate.

A well designed environment filled with modern art. Room for three generations to enjoy being together. Now that’s a beautiful legacy.