2017 AZ Awards Winner: Residential Interiors

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Desai Chia Architecture’s penchant for masterly minimalism is put on display in the Photographer’s Loft, a gorgeous home-gallery hybrid in NYC.

Photographer’s Loft

New York, U.S. 

Desai Chia Architecture, New York, U.S.

Katherine Chia and Arjun Desai

Desai Chia Architecture has a gift for artful minimalism and an obsession with exacting detail. This 465-square-metre loft, in one of New York’s coveted cast-iron industrial buildings, is a powerful case in point.

“Kudos to both the designers who envisioned this space and those who actually produced it, the general contractors. This kind of project requires real craft.”  Alessandro Munge

With a tightly controlled material palette, principals Katherine Chia and Arjun Desai have created a drop-dead gorgeous hybrid of art gallery and home. Thirty-centimetre-wide oak planks provide reassuring warmth underfoot, and then – positioned vertically – serve as wall panelling and cabinetry above. Fused resin panels form seamless bathroom walls, niches, sinks, vanities and shower rooms.

Wooden shelves and a blackenedsteel kitchen island are so stripped-back they read almost as art objects in themselves, and serve as visual extensions of the Donald Judd chairs in crimson red, which have been paired and placed in grid formation along walls and beside tables. Voids in the ceiling that give form to light, bathing the apartment in a revitalizing glow, channel another modernist giant, James Turrell.

Visitors to the studio, which is owned by an accomplished photographer, enter the live-work space via the library, where they can pore over images on the expansive table at the centre. It’s an ideal place for meeting clients without requiring them to take a trip through the private areas of the residence. Those who do get past the threshold enter a calm and expansive kitchen, dining and living area that seems a million miles away from the heart of frenetic Tribeca.

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