Knoll International

Showroom and Office Building Boston, MA Although Gwathmey Siegel Kaufman have often undertaken interior design commissions, this example of urban infill is rare in their work. The site is a particularly cherished shopping street in a city particularly sensitive to such matters: Newbury Street, just off the Public Garden, in Boston. It is a fine street of small shops and galleries, but its architecture is a mixture of sizes, styles and ages; certainly not all Newbury Street is of landmark quality. Continue Back
Great care had to be taken, nevertheless, to make the work compatible with both the neighborhood and with the Knoll image. A building-high panel of glass block, lighting a stair, is interrupted by horizontal strips that do not actually align with the new building’s floor levels but do align with the floor levels of the older building to its right. A projecting element on the ground floor is curved (as are the bow windows common in the area) and flush with the structure at the left, while the main block is flush with those at the right. Large glass areas on the three lowest floors (the ones used by Knoll) are inconsistent with the older buildings, but these areas are recessed. The top three floors (now used as rental areas) have a more traditional void-to-solid ratio. Interior spaces are understated backgrounds for furniture display, but these are modulated by terracotta-colored columns, divided by a stair climbing a warm gray wall, traced with white pipe rails, and distinguished by a second-floor semicircular enclosure of glass block and by a neon strip on the soffit.

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