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May 2021                        COOPERATORNEWS.COM  way, in the widest possible range of situations, by the broadest ar-  ray of users, without special adaptation, modification, or specialized   solutions. They can be applied to evaluate existing designs, to guide   new ones, or to educate designers and consumers.  Jonathan Baron, principal of Jonathan Baron Interiors, also lo-  cated in New York City, explains the movement in simple terms.   “The concept came out of architects’ and interior designers’ con-  NEW YORK  THE CO-OP & CONDO RESOURCE  COOPERATORNEWS  continued on page 7   205 Lexington Avenue, NY, NY 10016 • CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED  As the biggest global health crisis of mod-  ern times continues to impact the world, it   leaves a wake of changes to the way we live,   eat, work, play, learn, plan, and even how we   dream. Humans — a species well-known for   our adaptability — are finding ways to adjust   our lifestyles to this new environment.   In many cases, however, we are adjust-  ing our environments to suit these new life-  styles — and no one knows more about the   trend than interior designers. In speaking   to many who work in multifamily build-  ings throughout the Northeast, as well as in   the Chicagoland area, the common refrain   among interior experts was how busy they’ve   been in the last year-plus. Whether carving   out space in private homes to accommodate   remote working and schooling, or reimagin-  ing common areas to allow co-op and condo   residents to enjoy amenities safely, interior   designers have been hard at work using their   skills and imaginations to adapt our living   environments to the post-COVID reality.  Flexibility Is Key  Across the board, interior designers   working in residential buildings express   the need for flexibility in domestic spaces.   Especially in urban areas where vertical liv-  ing dominates, many homeowners can’t ex-  pand their footprint due to having neighbors   above, below, and next door in all directions.   Reconfiguring a limited interior space—es-  pecially within the confines of the condo as-  sociation’s or co-op corporation’s alteration   rules and parameters—requires a particular   set of skills and ideas.  Ximena Rodriguez, Principal and Direc-  tor of Interior Design for New York design   firm CetraRuddy, says that even before the   pandemic, new construction clients like the   Rockefeller Group, developers of the Rose   Hill condominium tower in Manhattan’s   The idea that ‘form follows function’ is one of the basic concepts underlying nearly every   design discipline—but function for whom? For many people living with disabilities, it often   seems that ‘function’ covers a very narrow range of ability—rendering many forms clumsy at   best, and completely useless at worst. While a cascading stairway might provide drama to a   public space, for example, it may present an insurmountable obstacle to anyone making use of   a wheelchair or other mobility aid.   While in the past accessibility for differently-abled individuals may have been an af-  terthought (if it was a thought at all), in recent years, architects and designers have begun   to change their view of how to best achieve form and function for everyone, regardless of   age or ability. Two key drivers of that change were the adaptation of the theory of Univer-  sal Design, and the passage and implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act   (ADA).  Universal Design  “Universal Design was developed in 1997,” says Eric Cohen, senior associate principal at   Ethelind Coblin Architect, an architecture and design firm based in New York with clients   across the country. “It was the brainchild of a working group of architects, product designers,   engineers, and environmental design researchers led by Ronald Mace at North Carolina State   University. Universal Design is the design and composition of an environment so that it can be   accessed, understood, and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their   age, size, and ability. It is a fundamental process of good design.”  Cohen goes on to explain that there are seven principles of Universal Design: equitable   use, flexibility in use, simple and intuitive use, perceptible information, tolerance for error,   low physical effort, size and space for approach and use. Taken together and applied, these   principles ensure that an environment can be used in the most independent and natural   Design is what makes the difference be-  tween a space looking like a seductive bou-  doir… or the interior of a cardboard box.   Neither may be appropriate for a co-op or   condo lobby, but somewhere in between lies   the comforting, welcoming common space   we hope to encounter when we arrive home.   The key to creating that welcome lies largely   in the use of basic elements of color, texture,   and light.  While all three interlock to create   a unified, coherent aesthetic, color is at the   heart of the puzzle.  Defining Color & Palette  “Words are always a challenge for design-  ers to describe when seeking to create a spe-  cific mood,” says Marilyn Sygrove, principal   of Sygrove Associates Design Group, based   in New York City. “One person’s ‘dark’ is an-  other person’s ‘rich.’ One person’s ‘light and   bright’ is another person’s perceived mainte-  nance nightmare. So we have to be sensitive   to the perceptions of our clients. It is all about   balance, and selectively choosing what can   be used effectively, and where. Accent walls,   floors, a piece of furniture, a desk are also to   be weighed against wear and visual impact.”   A community’s population can heavily   influence its color preferences; so can its loca-  tion. “Beachfront condominiums in Brook-  lyn and Long Island like to reference water-  colors and sunsets,” says Sygrove. “Urban   communities generally like more edgy com-  binations, or subtle neutrals with deep, rich   contrasts. We are definitely seeing colors that   reflect a ‘sense of place’ reflecting the geogra-  phy surrounding the property, whether parks   or riverfronts, especially in special setbacks   with respect to their landscaping.”   Ethelind  Coblin,  architect  and  principal   of Ethelind Coblin Architect, a New York   City-based design and architecture firm with   clients throughout the Northeast, says, “To   ‘lift’ the space, we incorporate light metallic   finishes in the upper tray.  Generally, our use   of  color  is  spare  and restrained, minimally   incorporating it in artwork and accents, such   as pillows, etc. Our goal is creating timeless   public spaces such as lobbies, halls, commu-  Universal Design &   the ADA  Design for Every Body  BY A. J. SIDRANSKY   Using Color to   Create Mood and   Make a Statement  Your Palette Makes a    Difference  BY A. J. SIDRANSKY  Interior Design   Responds to COVID  Flexibility, Technology,    Nature, & Gratitude   BY DARCEY GERSTEIN  continued on page 10   continued on page 8 

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