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Space Shifters

In a former cardboard factory, I-Beam Design created an ingenious multitasking apartment for a pair of art collectors.

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Photographs by Floto and Warner.

Husband-and-wife art collectors Jacob Ojito and Anne Milne wanted their 1,900-square-foot Soho loft, carved out of a former cardboard factory, to be minimalist yet spirited, with wide-open space but lots of walls to display their collection of South American Constructivist art. “The focus should be the art,” Ojito says. “The apartment and all our stuff should be in the background.”

I-Beam Design came onboard after an initial round with an architect who proposed “all Carrara marble and wenge wood, basically what every new condo looks like in Manhattan,” Ojito says. “We are what you would call DINKS: double-income-no-kids. We wanted something more funky.”

Partners Azin Valy and Suzan Wines resolved all the issues with a fluid, morphing space based on interlocking grids. The main wall in the living room is a series of sliding panels, each hung with a different painting. One panel swings out to create a guest “bedroom” (and reveal more artwork). Even the pattern of the bleached wood floorboards has been designed in a detailed grid system that echoes the rest of the apartment.

The keystone of the room, though, is a massive art installation, “Cold Hearth.” Created by artist Joan Waltemath, lighting designer Linnaea Tillett, and software developer Andrew Tripp, it separates the main living space from the master bedroom (not shown). Embedded with a grid design based on a harmonic progression, it glows a deep cerulean blue at night. “It’s very hard to describe in a way that doesn’t get laborious,” Waltemath says. “But when you see it, you understand it intuitively, almost viscerally.”



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