January 13, 2012
It is always a pleasure interviewing Tina Periquet. Architects are my favourite people to talk to. I love discussing their ideas and being in the physical space they’ve created. My dream conversation would be with Frank Gehry. Universe, please make it happen. I dream big. But I digress…
This last interview with Tina was at a 170 square metre penthouse unit of a relatively new condominium tower, the interior architecture of which she also designed. She knew the entire building inside and out. The owner of this unit wanted a place where they could entertain guests but would not necessarily live in. They still lived in a house nearby. To say that Tina created a sophisticated and modern space would be a gross understatement, so let me just quote directly from our interview.
All captions, lifted from Tina’s interview.
The concept was the unfolding of space as you enter. The door is treated as part of a wooden box frame that runs all the way up, past your line of sight, to the upper level and then folds into a ceiling element that you only see when you move forward into the main area.
Then the ceiling opens up into a double-height space with a wall of windows that wraps round one side, and you are treated to an eye-filling, panoramic view of Forbes Park and the golf course below.
The upper spaces seem to float over the lower, with a wooden bridge that crosses from one side of the apartment to the other, leading you from the stairs at one end to the master suite at the other.
To maximize the effect of the double-height glass wall in making the sky seem part of the unit, we wanted to minimize anything standing between us and the view. The problem was that there was this large beam in between upper and lower glass panels.
We painted these white to make them blend with the white shell of the space, and used solar film instead of curtains or shades, to keep the view unobstructed while managing the entry of light and heat.
To make it “disappear”, we built out the window frames slightly, with continuous vertical lines running from top to bottom, to visually flatten the beam and make it seem to form part of the window paneling.
The fact that a penthouse is a house in the sky rather than on the ground tends to dictate a certain approach to its design. Instead of trees and grass outside the window, you see blue sky and clouds and gray concrete, and steel and glass structures. So you tend to reach for a different palette of materials and colors that will complement this — not earth tones, but more sophisticated urban shades such as silver gray, ice, pale beige and taupe, and then mix this with metallic surfaces and lots of glass. And then warm the whole thing with wood, or you may end up with a frigid, inhumane environment. This is a residential space, after all.
We used a modern language here, as the context was contemporary and the client wanted something adventurous, since she wasn’t really going to reside here.
The bedroom on the upper floor.
Transluscent frosted glass visible from the living room.
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