Office Interior | Derek Lam Atelier | New York | Designed By SO-IL

In the summer of 2008 SO-IL was asked to envision fashion designer Derek Lam’s new center of operations, in their move from West-Chelsea to a the more fashionable location in a landmarked loft building on Crosby Street in Manhattan. The fluid and spontaneous nature of Derek Lam’s operation, which we discovered during our first visits to their office, juxtaposed with the quintessential block-deep SoHo loft immediately presented us with the opportunity to imagine a productive connection between seemingly unrelated spaces; between the stable and the flexible.

Through stripping the loft building - previously used as a boxing gym, above the SANAA designed Derek Lam boutique - down to its bare essence, and introducing a few measured architectural elements, we were able to create an environment where the existing subtly gets embedded in the new. The initially contradicting desire for both an open spaces and substantial privacy is achieved by devising a series of adjoining realms - gently separated through slender walls - connected through a sequence of large portals.

Framed with thin steel tubes, the 2-1/2” thick wall is finished with bee waxed plaster to reflect light. This creates a calibrated environment of sheens and shades, where designers, administrative personnel and production staffs collaborate. Egress, storage and other support program is organized in a monochromatic zone along the southern parti-wall behind a single continuous polyurethane partition. Its dark reflective surface bounces daylight deep into the space to further emphasize the extraordinary span from Crosby to Broadway....more

Photography Dean Kaufman / Iwan Baan

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