RUSSELL / FONTANEZ APARTMENT




Building Type: Residential
Design: LOT-EK, Ada Tolla + Giuseppe Lignano, Principals; Virginie Stolz, Project Architect
Client: Private
Location: East Village, New York
Size: 1,100 SF
Completion: 2010
Structural Consultant: Robert Silman Associates
Contractor: Andreas Scholtz, Craft Workshop
Photography: Danny Bright

LOT-EK was commissioned to design and gut renovate an East Village apartment. Originally two units combined by previous owners to encircle the central staircase, the configuration resulted in significant wasted space, awkward connections, and dark interiors. Our challenge was to transform the difficult layout into a modern/open plan, while heeding the client's primary desire to create great circulation, with more light, and maximized space for functionality and storage. The solution – turn the problem on its head by transforming the forgotten and least-interesting areas into the most important, and beautiful spaces.

Unnecessary party walls were demolished. The central staircase was then flanked with two tunnels to capitalize on the underutilized square footage. Fashioned from 63 upcycled commercial steel doors, the tunnels compressed all functional and/or mechanical needs into the middle portion of the apartment, while freeing the front and rear areas. Original details of the doors -- hinges, as well as patina/wear on the ends – are left showing, as an industrial counter-balance to the other more finished aspects of the apartment. Additionally, cutouts which formally housed door handles and locks were outiffted with light fixtures to enhance door elements and provide ambient lighting.

One tunnel distributes all service areas – master bath, wardrobe, guest bath, laundry & storage. The other, wider, tunnel houses a custom, well-appointed dining area, centered around a LOT-EK designed table of reclaimed sassafras and steel which comfortably seats 12. A built-in banquette, also salvaged metal doors, provides seating along one length of the table, and includes hidden storage. Tunnel surfaces are enameled in a continuous red shade, enveloping the spaces with a warm aura, while providing vivid shots of color from the completely open front kitchen/living area and rear bedroom suite.

Primed for casual and formal hosting, the open kitchen balances custom stainless steel cabinetry and service island with the luxurious warmth of corian.