Architect Michael K. Chen Conjures a Bold Landscape

An original paned window, now blocked by a neighboring building, was preserved but painted over.

To maintain its historic character while injecting warmth and personality, MKCA set about breaking down the volume into a functional but free-flowing scheme, with a second bedroom and bathroom plus workspaces for husband and wife. “Our idea was to treat the space as you would a landscape, introducing features to navigate around,” explains Chen. Architectural interventions, in other words, function as terrain, whether in the case of the oversize kitchen island—a faceted mass of natural stone and metal—or the vestibule partition, whose sculptural form snakes into the floor plan, masking the elevators. “The scale of elements verges on unusually large,” he says. That topographical approach extends to MKCA’s selections of furniture. The living room’s “ginormous” Poliform sofa faces multiple directions in a loose formation, accommodating a range of concurrent activities. Overhead, meanwhile, a staggered quartet of adjustable Achille Castiglioni pendants can move up or down in a shifting constellation.

A corner of the living area doubles as a workspace; it can be closed off using a sliding partition that runs along the ceiling track.

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