The winner of the Remodelista Considered Design Awards Best Professionally Designed Kitchen is Space Exploration of Brooklyn, New York.
Their project, a loft kitchen created from two classrooms in a former school building, was selected as a finalist by guest judge Diana Darling, who said: “It’s a challenge to create an intimate, warm, and inviting space in a large, open room with very tall ceilings. With an extended light fixture and use of vintage furniture, this design utilizes the space well. And the black cabinetry with the gray countertops incorporates well with the classical detailing of the existing space.”
Take a look, and hear what Space Exploration has to say about the remodel, the firm’s secret design sources, and its dream project.
N.B.: This is the first in a series of posts spotlighting the winners of the Remodelista Considered Design Awards. We’ll be featuring one winning project a day for the next few weeks. Go to
Space Exploration’s Design Statement: This loft for a young family was formerly two classrooms in a school building in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Space Exploration employed a language of light and simplicity to make the most of the apartment’s dramatic 20-foot ceiling height and existing period detailing. Classical architectural elements are distilled to their essence, highlighting the patina of the rich materials employed in both finish work and furnishings.
Q: What were your practical goals for the project?
A: We were charged with creating a functional kitchen for a young family as part of a gut renovation of their Brooklyn apartment. The father of the family is an avid cook, so the kitchen needed to be durable and highly functional. The apartment is a converted loft in a historic building with beautiful period detailing. We sought to develop a material palette that was warm, tactile, and modern, but which still dovetailed with the classical language of the existing construction. Another challenge was making the space, which has very high ceilings, retain an intimate feel.
Q: What are your favorite features of the project?
A: Henrybuilt of Seattle fabricated the millwork to our specifications and did a terrific job with the custom finish, which was well outside the range of the company’s typical finish package. It took a lot of approval samples to get to the final product, but it was worth it. We also love the well-worn Garland stove with its “salamander” broiler, which is the element of the project that relates most to the client’s vocation, restaurant owner, and sets the tone for the rest of the kitchen details.
Q: What advice do you have for anyone undertaking a similar project?
A: A good grounding element–in this case, the base cabinetry with its solid-feeling concrete countertops–goes a long way in a design like this, which takes the height of the room into consideration. The open shelves and dropped pendant helped create a gradient of mass, from heavy to light, that balances things out. Also, of course, don’t forget the importance of lighting! Test the finish palette out under different conditions and at different times of day to see how it affects the experience of being in the space and to make sure it always feels right.
Q: Who worked on the winning project?
A: Kevin Greenberg was the lead designer and project manager, assisted by Elisa Iturbe and Jennifer Weaver.
Q: What does your firm specialize in?
A: Space Exploration specializes in the design of residences with great personality regardless of budget, modern restaurants, and retail spaces.
Q: Who is your dream client?
A: It would be hard to dream up clients better than those we already work with now. Since Space Exploration started six years ago, we’ve been lucky enough to cultivate relationships with adventurous clients who have great taste and aren’t afraid to take risks to achieve exceptional results. As for dream projects, we would love to design a space for art, like a gallery or museum. Some kind of secluded spa in the woods wouldn’t be bad, either!
Q: What is your best secret design source?
A: The halls of great museums, and books from outside the conventional design disciplines. Our best ideas often seem to come from far-flung sources unrelated to architecture and design.
Q: What is your favorite local shop?
A: BDDW is a great favorite. So are Mondocane, R 20th Century, Modernlink, Karma, Maryam Nassir Zadeh, and E.R. Butler.
Q: Which architects or designers do you admire?
A: Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Ricardo Bofill, Paul Rudolph, Smiljan Radic, Ryue Nishizawa, and Ward Bennett.
Q: What’s next for Space Exploration?
A: We have several residential projects under way in Brooklyn, Miami, and Montauk, New York. We’re working on restaurants and retail projects in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Tokyo.
Congratulations to Space Exploration! See all winners of the 2014 Remodelista Considered Design Awards here: