Lounging takes place both indoors and out. A place to sit back or sprawl out is the obvious universal requirement. Beyond that, the mood of the room, the connection to nearby spaces, and the view to what’s around are the important elements that come into play.
Some of our favorite moments have to do with how one occupies the edge of a room. For example, there is a window seat at a house in Croatia where you are practically in the window. Window seats have this extraordinary intimacy about them, but you are also right there connected to the outside. It brings to mind Vermeer, who liked to portray women sitting and sewing or reading at the window. Proximity to windows and the outdoors is critical in some cases, especially when there are sweeping views to enjoy. At the same time, it depends on where you are. We made the living room of a Park Avenue apartment very warm and enveloping to provide a sense of tranquility and serenity, an escape from the bustle outside. In this space, lounging is internally focused.
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The way outdoor lounging areas are experienced has the potential to shift based on the time of day, the weather, or design elements. The lit outdoor living area at a house in Palm Beach, with a vivid blue night sky and illuminated green grass, has an atmosphere that is slightly surreal and Edward Hopper-like in hue and brightness.
The established protocol for designing spaces for cooking and dining tends to be inconsistent with the lived experience. One traditional paradigm for the kitchen requires it to remain tucked away behind closed doors, while the dining room becomes an idealized room. Each space is contained and sealed off. Very few people actually live that way anymore, and in fact, it’s often quite the opposite. A kitchen that we design may open to a dining room or a sitting room, or become a destination in itself, a gathering point for family and friends.
People have very different approaches to cooking, so in thinking about kitchens, it is critical to understand what this activity means for a client. Functionally, it is important to know how much storage space to provide, as well as the appropriate surfaces and appliances needed for the type of cooking and entertaining that will take place. If appearance comes before function, a kitchen will inevitably fail. This is not to say that program and function supersede aesthetics; rather, they go hand in hand.
For some, cooking is a more utilitarian act; however, it can be an act of community, generosity, and love. Even for those who rarely cook, the kitchen is still the central place people gravitate toward during parties and gatherings.