Right-brain and left-brain thinking meet happily at this Connecticut sculptor's studio. The 1,100-square-foot building's large, loft-like windows and Shaker-influenced simplicity satisfy the artist's intuitive side, giving him the mental breathing space he needs to conceptualize his modernist metal sculptures. But it also alludes to his passion for mathematics: Much of the studio's dimensioning follows the Fibonacci sequence, a string of numbers in which each figure equals the sum of the previous two numbers. “He and I are both lovers of the Fibonacci sequence,” says architect Mark Simon, FAIA. “It became a running joke.”
Simon designed a desk for the sculptor with a tilt-up top for sketching out ideas. The top folds down to a flat surface used for making models, known as maquettes. The wainscoting that rings the studio's interior supports a sill wide enough to hold the maquettes, so the artist can keep them in sight rather than store them. “[This way] he can look at a maquette and judge it and put it aside and come back to it,” Simon explains. “It's constantly visually present.” A small kitchen and bathroom allow the owner to stay at work for long spans of time when the mood strikes him.
Actual fabrication of the sculptures takes place on a property down the road, freeing the studio from the constraints of housing heavy metalworking equipment. Instead the project feels refined, from the soft hues of its slate and maple floors to the intensity of its interior and exterior paint palette, assembled by well-known colorists Donald Kaufman and Taffy Dahl. Like the sculptor's work, the building possesses a sense of playfulness, most evident in its oversized chimney and whimsically arched roof forms. Located about 150 yards from the main residence, it gestures stylistically to the 18th century house without resorting to mimicry. “It feels like a friendly younger neighbor,” Simon says.
project: Connecticut Sculptor's Studio
architect: Mark Simon, FAIA, Centerbrook Architects and Planners, Centerbrook, Conn.
structural engineer: Gibble Norden Champion Brown, Old Saybrook, Conn.
interior designer: Gomez Associates, New York City
color consultant: Donald Kaufman Color, New York City
project size: 1,100 square feet
construction cost: Withheld
photography: Scott Frances/Esto