Design by Arts Corporation
Central themes in the firm's architecture, design, and art are an affinity for transparency, both physical and theoretical; movement over time; and incorporating the contemporary technology that surrounds us in unexpected ways.
Arts Corporation Headquarters
Arts Corporation Headquarters, located on Great Jones Street in Manhattan, serves as both a studio space where objects are crafted and the headquarters for day-to-day operations. The studio space is an all-encompassing artwork where the envelope and everything inside it are part of the work.
The studio features items such as the Arts Corporation "vitrine," which can be fitted out as a kitchen, library, or closet, and in this case is primarily used to house sculptural supplies. A mobile bar in the kitchen area and a mobile shower demonstrate the frontiers of the company's research.
At any given time, prototypes of various sculptures and inventions, such as the MP3 lounge, will be on display. The work desks are also custom Arts Corporation pieces.
The company does business 24 hours a day with Zurich, Mexico City, and Tokyo, so it's not surprising that Latham, the principal, has devised a way of living close to, or more accurately in, the office.
Behind a revolving bookcase (which opens with the pull of a secret book) or accessible from a separate private entrance, is another world complete with bedroom, library, outdoor space, and luxurious master bath.
The library and the bedroom are separated by four massive floor-to-ceiling bookcases that pivot closed, allowing the use of the library as a second bedroom.
A wall of closets and a two-way mirror separate the master bath and the master bedroom, while allowing light from the ten-foot (three-meter) windows to enter into the tub and shower area. A custom glass-enclosed Murphy bed, an Arts Corporation sculpture, completes the space.
Bed, Shelf, Desk: Home.in.1
Home.in.1 had a limited budget for the creation of storage space and furniture — a bed, bookshelves, and a desk — in a New York studio apartment. The solution conflates the furniture program and the client's possessions in a mobile six-foot (1.8-meter) cube, or "pixel," made of standard 1.25-inch (3.2-centimeter) shelving angles, glass, and acrylic.
In its location as photographed, the result is a high level of openness and organization in a space that might otherwise be overwhelmed by objects. Home.in.1, and its contents, can be moved against a wall allowing for open studio workspace.
The unit can be disassembled and reassembled by two people in two days of work.
Appliance as Sculpture
This series of works questions the utility and mass-manufactured nature of common household objects, in varied edition numbers. The appliances are custom-designed, immaculately crafted sculptures inspired by objects from everyday American life.
The espresso.alarm was commissioned in a very limited-edition run by the editors of the premier edition of Men's Vogue. The edition was also sponsored by Tiffany and Co., which supplied the Atlas alarm clock. When the alarm rings, it triggers the integral espresso machine to brew a cup of espresso.
Other works express the intricacies of their mechanical workings, freed from the shroud of the anonymous plastic or metal that typically obscures the life inside the box. Many of the appliances are designed to move around a space, commanding territory wherever their wheels take them.
The recently released book New York Dozen: Gen X Architects presents the ideas and work of a dozen young firms practicing in the city that never sleeps. This excerpt profiles some of the projects of one of those firms, Arts Corporation. —Editor
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Architect Michael J. Crosbie is chair of the University of Hartford's Department of Architecture, editor-in-chief of Faith & Form magazine, and a contributing editor to ArchitectureWeek. More by Michael J. Crosbie
This article is excerpted from New York Dozen: Gen X Architects by Michael J. Crosbie, copyright © 2011, Images Publishing Group, with permission of the author and of Arts Corporation.