Pipe Dream


Azure - - SPOTLIGHT - WORDS _Sheila Kim PHO­TO­GRAPHS _Michael Vahren­wald

To most ur­ban dwellers, a New York City loft within a for­mer fac­tory is a cov­etable piece of real es­tate: Think high ceil­ings, an open space, char­ac­ter that comes from an in­dus­trial, po­ten­tially sto­ried past. But in the case of one Brook­lyn loft, pre­vi­ous ar­chi­tec­tural in­ter­ven­tions – from sheetrock walls to an awk­ward crawlspace – re­sulted in a cramped and dark en­vi­ron­ment. “Every­thing was heavy and the ceil­ing had been dropped by sev­eral feet in some places,” says Jaf­fer Kolb, one half of lo­cal prac­tice New Af­fil­i­ates. To­gether with part­ner Ivi Dia­man­topoulou, he trans­formed the 70-squareme­tre space into a bright set­ting with a unique kitchen at its cen­tre. Since the client, who works in fash­ion, shared the firm’s phi­los­o­phy for bal­anc­ing nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als with mo­ments of sat­u­rated colour, she granted the duo free rein on nearly ev­ery de­tail. Ac­cord­ingly, the part­ners stripped the ex­ist­ing kitchen and sleep­ing area back to the bones (save for two mas­sive struc­tural col­umns) and de­vel­oped a pal­ette of sim­ple ma­te­ri­als that of­fer an in­ter­play of rough­ness and re­fine­ment – a trade­mark of the firm’s work. They spec­i­fied raw ply­wood, for in­stance, to con­struct a vol­ume com­pris­ing a home of­fice, stor­age and el­e­vated sleep­ing area screened off with a crisp white metal mesh. Open to the liv­ing room – and to the only win­dow wall in the loft – the be­spoke kitchen backs onto a chasm in the ply­wood struc­ture. This aper­ture al­lows light to pen­e­trate the cube’s core while also form­ing one leg of an L-shaped kitchen counter, which in­cludes base cab­i­nets and a con­crete­toned quartz sur­face. A ply­wood is­land was added to hold the sink and dish­washer and pro­vide ex­tra stor­age space. Kolb re­calls how the old kitchen’s counter nudged up to one of the mas­sive col­umns. “It high­lighted the col­umn as an ob­struc­tion rather than an op­por­tu­nity. We de­cided to do the op­po­site and en­gage it,” says Kolb. Thus, the is­land’s ra­diused cor­ner hugs the col­umn, which re­sem­bles a tree sprout­ing from the sur­face. The most at­ten­tion-grab­bing fea­ture is a group­ing of four ex­posed cop­per pipes that ex­tends three me­tres from the ceil­ing to sup­ply wa­ter to the is­land and serve as the faucet. Joined by a U-con­nec­tion in lieu of a tra­di­tional mixer and fit­ted with in­dus­trial valve lev­ers in­stead of faucet han­dles, the set up is “a di­a­gram of plumb­ing some­what lit­er­al­ized,” ex­plains Kolb. “We wanted it to be an or­na­men­tal, dec­o­ra­tive ges­ture – not just a lo­gis­ti­cal one. It’s a bou­quet of pipes.” new-af­fil­i­ates.us

OP­PO­SITE: Em­brac­ing a dra­matic struc­tural col­umn original to the loft ac­cen­tu­ated the height of the space.

ABOVE AND LEFT: Cop­per pipes are the cen­ter­piece of the new de­sign. Green lac­quer on the is­land adds a hit of colour.

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