Downtown Duplex, New York

The mammoth phalanxes of white-brick apartment houses that proliferated in the 1960s occupy an architectural purgatory; generic, with boxy interiors devoid of detail, many aren’t even interesting enough to excite a raised eyebrow. Our solution for this exemplar near Astor Place, which fortunately was blessed with premium skyline views, was to relieve the interior ordinariness by stimulating the senses with tactile variety. Axis Mundi created a complexly layered textural palette that injects visual adrenaline into the architectural envelope: a television set into a waxed steel panel topped by clerestory windows with a built-in planter for grasses; wenge wood walls rising from richly figured walnut floors; white subway tile surrounding a subtly colored penny-tile mosaic tub and wall; in the kitchen, Venetian plaster, steel, stone and wood mix harmoniously as a surprisingly spiced exotic concoction. The interiors exude a confident masculinity that challenges the complacency of bland, white-box living.

Project Team: John Beckmann and Esther Sperber | Studio ST
Photography: Andrew Garn
Contractor: John Marsh
© Axis Mundi Design LLC