New York interior designer Anna Karlin has given a print shop in the city, which was ruined in a fire, a new life as her design studio and gallery, decorated with rough plasterwork, Shaker-style furniture and bulbous lamps.
Karlin runs a small design team – working across a range of disciplines like furniture, lighting and jewellery – from the space in Manhattan’s Lower East Side neighbourhood. Located at 108 Eldridge Street, the two-storey workplace features a showroom and design studio on the ground floor, and a workshop in the basement.
The interior designer and her team undertook an extensive renovation project, as the interiors had been left completely ravaged from the blaze. They added in flooring, ceilings, plumbing, electrics and a bathroom.
“When we found it, it was a leaking shell really, with one toilet in a cupboard,” Karlin told. She also replaced the building’s shopfront with a design similar to the 1940s. After trawling through photographs in New York City government archives to match it, the facade now features two windows for her to display objects.
Inside, brick walls and ductwork are left exposed. They are complemented by a mix of simple materials, including roughly finished plaster, concrete flooring and worn-looking wooden furniture.
According to Karlin, the unfinished look refers to Japanese aesthetics known as wabi-sabi, which celebrate the incomplete. The designer describes her design studio as “perfect in its imperfections”.
“I wanted to really achieve the contrast between areas of the rough and raw industrial with incredibly fine detailing,” said the designer.
The space also forms an ideal moody backdrop for a number of works from Karlin’s collection, comprising a long coat hook from which bronze, wooden and metal elements hang.
Among her other works currently on display are three glass vitrines, which have black steel frames and house marble spheres suspended inside. “I wanted every one to feel as if they were working around their kitchen table so I designed our desks as a series of large shared beautifully worn wooden tables that we custom made,” said Karlin.
The wooden pieces are influenced by the style of the American Shakers – a religious sect known for its simple furniture and architecture made in the late 19th century. For example, cabinetry in the kitchen is painted in pale tones, and topped with marble and an assortment of wooden chopping boards.
The eclectic decor is completed by a number of pieces that the designer collected while travelling, and antique chairs by New York gallery Dienst + Dotter Antikviteter.
Karlin – who was born in London – undertakes a diverse range of projects from her design studio, including branding, graphics, interiors, set design and product design.
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