I recently completed another home office in a spacious loft apartment in downtown New York, in the neighborhood of Tribeca. My client and old friend Nelba Valenzuela Delmedico, an art dealer, lives with her husband and their daughter in a converted office building and works from home.
Even though their apartment has a separate study, Nelba likes to work in the main room of the house, so we had to design the bookshelves and the desk in such a way that could coexist with the rest of the furniture in their living/dinning room.
It seemed obvious to place the desk close to the window, just as Nelba had it. The challenge was to integrate it into the whole unit and make it as less “invasive” as possible. The actual desk is like a box with drawers that cantilevers from the bookshelves.
From the start, both my client and I decided to use bamboo. It is a sustainable wood, it is hard and durable and looks beautiful in its natural amber tone. The bamboo plywood is composed by many small strips of bamboo glued together in a triple layered 3/4″ thick “sandwich”. It is a very stable, flat sheet of material that allowed me to create this system where the shelves are a few inches cantilevered from the vertical supports.
Going “green” is not only about using sustainable materials but also about creating products that will last a life time. It’s about designing and building furniture that is strong and durable and flexible enough to adapt to different uses and different locations.
Last but not least, my design process is based on the efficient use of materials and the refinement of its proportions rather than going after a particular “look” or “style”. It has been my experience that when you design with common sense, focusing on the functionality and the durability of the product, beauty may result as a welcomed sub product of this effort.