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A loft with a cabinet of curiosities on an architectural scale

A loft with a cabinet of curiosities on an architectural scale


New York architect Andrea Leung has found her ideal refuge. A spacious, airy loft, reminiscent of her grandmother’s penthouse, rich in curiosities and hidden spaces, in a trendy neighborhood of Tribeca, New York. “Secret spaces fascinate me. My grandmother’s penthouse was full of them. Press the right mirror, and it opened onto a hidden tatami room. Press the right bookcase, and a dimly lit corridor led you to her personal oasis of calm,” Leung explains.

It was in a quiet corner of Tribeca, New York, that Andrea Leung found the ideal site: a sun-drenched loft with verdigris antique pewter ceilings, supported by three cast-iron Corinthian columns. Located in a historic building dating from 1864, the 150 m2 apartment originally featured a strange mezzanine, which the architect removed. She also placed all the private rooms, including a bedroom, dressing room, two bathrooms and kitchen, on the east wall. The continuous partition, which hides them, creates a kind of illusion effect, changing almost imperceptibly from a mirrored face over most of the surface, to another glass face in certain areas. “The wall of mirrored doors allows the main living area to transcend its physical boundaries and appear to double in size, while the generous windows with their original corrugated glass also reflect, bathing the walls in soft refracted light”, she explains. Looking at the partially reflected mirrored glass partition from the central space, it’s almost impossible to distinguish reflection from reality, creating an original and breathtaking moment. From the living room, a mirrored triple door opens into the master bathroom, where a one-piece oval bathtub is set into softly veined stone walls. Another set of mirrored doors leads into an impressive kitchen, where matte figurative marble and patinated brass joinery play with the loft’s new wide-plank oak floors. The young lady found multiple bespoke solutions, as well as some of the furniture such as the brass and walnut credenza and dining table and a bespoke brass coffee table (in collaboration with Steven Harris Architects for Barneys New York), whose irregular shapes are whimsically submitted to the overall concept. “As an architect, I thrive on the satisfaction of achieving elegantly simple design solutions,” she says. But more importantly, it’s the promise of emotions engendered by beautiful spaces that drives my architecture. I’m always interested in how ostensible, static configurations of materials can evoke poetic tensions that speak to our thoughts and memories, touch on aspects of our subconscious and elicit reactions we’re not necessarily able to fully articulate.”

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