Thursday, July 20, 2017

Why Furniture Matters When Designing Your Home

Interior design is exciting because it shows off one’s style and gives you a canvas to display how you want to express yourself.  Each design decision can’t be made lightly because it could be like a bad domino effect waiting to happen. Choosing the right furniture can either make or break the interior layout of your home.  Especially if you live in a city like New York where space is a challenge, you don’t want to choose furniture that is too bulky, boring and adds no value. The furniture’s size, dimension, and design are all factors that must be cohesive and complimentary to each other.

Choosing The Right Furniture Pieces
Furniture helps set the stage for creating a welcoming and relaxed environment for your guests. It is important to maximize the functionality of your space and pick that perfect couch, cabinet, table etc., to make your rooms come to life.
 West End Apartment designed by JMA

Importance of Dual-Use Furniture

JMA recently did an interior renovation for a West End apartment located in the Upper West Side. We wanted to create signature-customized pieces that worked for specific rooms. In the foyer, we sought to make a cabinet storage piece perfect for books, shoes, and other items. Dual-use furniture is beneficial because it adds function and a unique special touch to your apartment. The bookcase was custom-made to have sections that were cut various sizes and heights to stir interest and make the room look taller.
Storage cabinet designed by JMA
Foyer at the West End Apartment

Another furniture piece JMA had fun creating was a modern white cabinet at the 5th street townhouse project. The built-in white cabinet is not bulky, blends in with the rest of the room, and creates an illusion of higher ceilings. The cabinet is a focal point in the family room because it displays personal memorabilia and an example of our client’s personality. At the base of the cabinet, we wanted it have a unique geometric style door and a storage space to provide privacy.  
Modern Cabinet designed by JMA 

Creating Unexpected Furniture Arrangements
I always believe that when you go into someone’s home the furniture helps narrate the design story and creates a vibe. In the living room at the West End Apartment, the style we were aiming for is a modern streamlined look with a “Mad Men” feel to it.

The standout furniture pieces we created were two dark colored wood cabinets. They are both high-quality pieces and give the apartment a cool contemporary flair. The longer furniture piece makes the room look wide, spacious, and gives it a twist. The dark color compliments the light colored herringbone floors and highlights the white trim moldings. The diffused accent lighting in the apartment creates a warm ambiance over the intricate details of the apartment and the furniture.
Dark wood cabinets designed by JMA

Sometimes when you shop at stores, you see a plenty of items that look too “cookie-cutter.” These pieces are mainly all about the function and have little to no unique design style to it. JMA is great at combining function, beauty, and comfort all into one package. When decorating your home it’s okay to splurge on customized items because it allows the room to reach its full potential. I believe designing is all about trusting your instincts and having fun with customizing or buying furniture pieces to create the vibe you want. Furniture is just one of the design factors that helps draw your guests in and defines the space, so make sure you are choosing good ones.

  • Fusaro, Kim “10 Tricks to Make Your Home Look Bigger”. Women’s Day. Hearst. Nov. 21, 2011 Web.
  • Margolies, Jane “12 Decorating Do’s and Don'ts From Top Designers” House Beautiful. Hearst.  Web. Feb 19, 2014

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Psychology behind Urban Design

Have you ever wondered as you walked around the city why some public spaces attract crowds of happy people, and other spaces you want to run from? The difference between the two is whether or not that architect was successful in creating a design that embraces its community and inhabitants. A city must include buildings and public areas that benefit society, not hinder it. Urban design is the process on how we achieve this goal. It is an important tool architects and planners use to enliven and enrich the experience of urban life in cities, like New York and Jersey City.
Urban design gives character to buildings and neighborhoods as a whole. It’s fascinating when architects and urban planners use their talents and knowledge to construct buildings and create public spaces that uplift the entire energy of city. Urban design is special because it can promote community involvement and enhance people’s quality of life.

What is considered a good urban design?

Good urban design affects your mood, makes you feel happy, and you don’t mind staying in that space for a long time. For instance, in the city the High Line is a great example of this type of location. On any day during the week or weekend the High Line is filled with hundreds of people who happily meander through the area. Urban design should be functional and attractive for its inhabitants. All public spaces should serve a specific purpose from the placement of a bench, to the placement of flowers and greenery.
The High Line located in NYC

JMA’s Urban Design Projects
Jorge Mastropietro creates spaces that bring people together whether they are inside or outside the home. For all of his projects he always keeps in mind how that building should perform and how to make people feel comfortable around that space. 
The perfect example of this type of building is Jorge’s Newark Affordable Housing Projects. It is a group of homes that provide the residents and visitors with a welcoming and positive energy. The houses are located in a low-income residential urban density within a suburban neighborhood in Jersey. The project called for a design of a family residence that could be placed on a single lot as a free-standing unit, while being versatile enough to be repeated in a group setting that looks deliberate and appropriate.
Newark Affordable Housing Projects, designed by JMA
The resulting module engages the street traffic, both pedestrian and vehicular, with planes of various volumes on several different scales. Jorge designed the facade of the homes to be very appealing, a plus for pedestrians as they walk by. He did this by using a variety of sustainable materials like red cedar board; aluminum clad wood, and corrugated metal. All these various materials help stir interest in the viewer and provide a unique appearance on the street-scape.

In addition to the pleasant appearance of the front of the houses, the backyard spaces are just as functional and beautiful. All the homes have a backyard space that helps residents connect back with nature. The backyard area is a very warm space, giving the residents a place to interact, relax, and have a good time.
Newark Affordable Housing Projects (Backyard)

Jorge designed each apartment with function and resource efficiency in mind. The residents who live on the first floor still have a sense of privacy with their doors not so close to the sidewalk. It also doesn’t make pedestrians feel like they are intruding in someone’s personal space.
Urban design helps people live, work, and relax in happier and functional spaces. It is a important process architects and planners use to adapt to the psychological desires of people.  It is amazing how one wrong design decision can make a space feel dreary and unreceptive. Architects should create buildings that motivate people to be drawn to it and makes them never want to leave. 

  • EUKN Research. “Urban Design, how important is it for cities?” Web.
  • Ellard, Colin “Cities and their psychology: how neuroscience affects urban planning”. The Guardian. Web Feb. 4 2014.