When it comes to the daily tasks of an interior designer, problem solving is at the top of the list. As design challenges arise, we often find ourselves asking “How can I solve this?”, and then shortly after “How can I make it beautiful?” Perhaps Louis Sullivan said it best: “Form follows function.”
A returning client of ours purchased a penthouse apartment in a Los Angeles high rise, and we were thrilled to take on the project. Our client loves to entertain, so it was no doubt that the dining room had to feel spectacular. Unfortunately, two building-owned mechanical closet doors and the door to the service elevator were smack-dab in the middle of the wall that would act as the dining table’s backdrop. Tasked with making these doors “disappear” as much as possible, we decided to design an art screen that would cover the entire wall.
How would we solve the problem? We’d install a screen to make the doors disappear. How would we make it beautiful? That’s where the hard work begins.
We started out with the notion that this screen should be comprised of mixed materials: metal; glass; shell; and mirror. But what would it look like? How would it be adjusted to permit access to the doors? The progression of some of our sketches (developed over a couple of years!) below help illustrate the journey our screen design took from start to finish.
In the end, we settled on a series of columns, made up of clusters of iron rings, which would sit in front of the wall at varying depths to help aid the door disappearing act! The iron rings would act almost as a diamond setting to the various mesmerizing materials within them. The stars of the show are the Seguso-made Venetian glass discs, which were created in 3 of the many glass patterns they offer. But they’re not the only jaw-droppers in the mix. Artistic Tile created both black and white mother of pearl discs that add some glamorous elements of nature. To top it off, we also incorporated antiqued mirror and magnifying glass.
Since this screen was going to live in earthquake country, it was important for it to be secure! The columns in front of the walls were attached to the floor and ceiling. But we couldn’t follow this same procedure in front of the doors without blocking access to them. Therefore, the columns in front of the doors were attached directly to the doors and the wall space above them.
Murray’s Ironworks created the screen frame for us, assembled it with all of the pieces, added the beautiful silvered finish, and installed it on site. It certainly took a village, but the dazzling outcome was more than worth it!
Screen Fabrication and Installation: Murray’s Iron Works
Glass Disc Inserts: Seguso
Mother of Pearl Disc Inserts: Artistic Tile
Photography: Art Gray
View the entire project here.