You’ve probably seen the murals of Cuban-American artist José Parlá in the lobbies of One World Trade Center and the Barclays Center. With such high-profile clients, it’s no wonder he worked with starchitecture firm Snøhetta, who completed the 9/11 Memorial Museum Pavilion, to create his personal artist’s studio.
Collaborating together, Parlá and Snøhetta transformed a Gowanus warehouse into a double-height workspace that retains industrial characteristics of the building like beamed ceilings, exposed piping and electrical fixtures, and concrete floors. To tailor the studio to their client’s needs, the firm re-opened old skylights to let natural light in to the middle of the work space, and they painted all the walls neutral grey tones so Parlá’s bright paintings really stand out.
The space is divided into two sections: the “arena,” or double-height workspace, and the “nest,” an elevated lounge above storage areas and the kitchen, where the artist and others can view his work in full scale. The arena is framed by two sets of interlocking U-shaped partitions, some of which pivot, allowing for mobility of the massive paintings. The nest is referred to as a “cozy mezzanine,” offering comfortable sofas and warm fabrics.
Guests to the Gowanus studio pass through large folding doors and step into a small gallery and kitchen. When Parlá Studios hosts an event or more formal gallery showing, the space can be easily transformed by painting the floors and adjusting the wall configuration.
The studio renovation is actually the latest in a series of collaboration between Parlá and Snøhetta; he designed the façade of the firm’s Far Rockaway Public Library, which is currently under construction, as well as a large mural inside their James B. Hunt Jr. Library at North Carolina State University.
Photos via Jeff Goldberg/ESTO
Neighborhoods : Gowanus