Lower East Side Lobby

GRT Architects found sophistication in every element of designing the Lower East Side Lobby, from the furniture, to the materials.

  • rooms 83
  • Year 2019
  • GRT Architects was asked to redesign the public spaces of an 83 unit residential building in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Working to a deadline, this project challenged them to design a space that could be built quickly without looking rushed or generic. Their strategy hinged on modifying ‘stock’ items and working with local crafts people who can build in a variety of materials.

    Their first stop was to a local stone yard where they sourced in-stock tiles in four types of marble. They had these 18 inch squares delivered to their favorite fabricator in Queens where each received a single cut, resulting in a large and small trapezoid that nest in each other. They laid out the resulting pieces in an irregular checkerboard primarily composed of contrasting grey and white stone, sprinkled with a confetti of yellow, green and red. Where the floor meets the wall they rotated the small trapezoids to serve as the baseboard, their sloping sides creating a chevron profile in elevation. Custom wall paneling meets this zig-zag stone base, incised with lines to emphasize the geometry. The floor extends all the way into the vestibule which GRT redesigned in solid sapele, including custom surrounds for off-the-shelf mailboxes.

    The entry desk and bench echo the chevron motif at a larger scale and further explore the refined but playful material palette. The desk is clad in solid rounds, inlaid asymmetrically with brass. Its top and base are in Rosso Verona which is echoed in the a large format custom bench supported by cantilevered wide-flange steel beams that are relieved into the wall cladding. They were able to integrate disparate materials on a tight schedule by working with a husband-and-wife team who are comfortable in a variety of materials. They are as excitable as GRT are about a challenge and beautifully executed the intersection of stone, steel and wood.

    In addition to the lobby, GRT selected furniture, lightings, accessories and designed the corridors and elevator lobbies.

    Design: GRT Architects
    Design Team: Rustam Mehta, Tal Schori, Stephanie Tager
    Photography: Nicole Franzen