Jewel Box

  • Prize
    Winner in Apartment Interior Design
  • Company/Firm
    Messana O'Rorke
  • Designer
    Brian Messana
  • Photo Credit
    Stephen Kent Johnson
  • Location
    New York
  • Project Date
    December 2019
  • Client

Our response to the challenges presented by this tiny studio apartment confirms the old adage that necessity is the mother of invention. Working with a scant 420 square feet, we were able to forge multiple experiences and moments of discovery from a space that might otherwise exude the depressing banality of a dorm room, where the bed is omnipresent and the quotidian functions of everyday life all unfold within a single, undifferentiated expanse. The linchpin of our solution is an independently articulated volume, floating within the space, which conceals the bed and mediates the procession through the apartment, delaying the revelation of a hidden kitchen, compact living room, and beautiful city views of the West Village. Clad in unlacquered brass on the outside and warm gray cowhide on the interior, the abstract cube that houses the bed chamber reads like a mysterious, minimalist sculpture—a jewel box within a jewel box. Folding doors open the container on three sides, averting claustrophobia while allowing for different levels of engagement with the surrounding spaces.