written by:
October 3, 2013
This weekend City Modern kicked off with the Manhattan and Brooklyn Home Tours. The tours take design fans inside the doors of some of the city’s most standout residences. This year, one of the highlights was an impressive 10,000 square-foot studio and residence in Brooklyn. The Salle Residence belongs to painter David Salle and is the largest collaboration to date between the artist and designer Christian Hubert. Having worked together on Salle’s former residence and studio, the two resumed their partnership when the artist found he’d outgrown his current living space. Hubert’s strong understanding of the dynamic between art and space led to a long-lasting creative partnership with David Salle that began in 1984 with their first collaboration on the artist’s loft. For Hubert, this foray into the design of a space immersed in art was the beginning of what would become a portfolio populated with a number of art-centric projects ranging from exhibition design at the Whitney Museum to galleries as widespread as Greece and Los Angeles. We were able to catch up with the two during City Modern and learn more about their partnership and the integration of art and architecture in the design process.
salle felicella 02

How has your working relationship evolved over time?

CH: Working with a creative artist requires trust on both sides rather than struggles for control. I think that over the years, David and I have developed an association based on aesthetic sympathy and personal respect.

David’s Tribeca loft of 1984 was my first project, but I think that very early on David felt that I was attuned to his aesthetic and understood his needs. I was quite consciously interested in creating an architectural counterpart to David’s work and to the furniture and objects that he was collecting. I think that this approach helped develop an unspoken understanding between us.

In the Brooklyn project, our working relationship had evolved sufficiently that we both understood that the basic spatial project would provide an armature for a wide range of design exploration– but that the project would still cohere experientially. We could assume, for instance, that the drastic differences between the two buildings on the outside, which were further accentuated by the design, could be developed into a coherent spatial experience on the inside, and still be punctuated by very different decorative effects.

DS: If anything it's gotten easier for us to work together - I know more about building now for one thing.

After working with other architects, David returned to Christian for the Hanson Place project. David, please tell us why you reached out to Christian for this project.

DS: After surveying a narrow field, my loft on White Street, which we did on a very small budget, still stood out as one of the best renovations of its type. I never got tired of that space - I just outgrew it.

Even the most dynamic creative partnerships have a difference of opinion at times (often at many). Could you give us an example of something you disagreed on in the design process and how you resolved it?

DS: Chris often wants to push the envelope more than I do.

CH: Much of my work, for example in exhibition design, follows explicit distinctions generally made between works of art and works of architecture or design. In 2008, David asked me to design a second bathroom for his loft. I decided to push those boundaries a bit and proposed an overtly erotic and sculptural fiberglass construction, which David interpreted as an attempt at art rather than architecture. For me, it was an interesting design experiment, but it was a failure in the sense of not convincing David to proceed with its construction.

There have been other occasional aesthetic differences between us, and there were some on the Hanson Place project, but generally I defer to David or try to find an even better solution that we will both like.

What is the Hanson Place project’s place in the story of Brooklyn’s development over the last ten years?

David: Not my area of expertise.

Christian: That’s not really for me to answer either, but David’s purchase of the Hanson Place properties in 1999 was a bold and pioneering move. Over the past ten years, there has been lot of residential renovation, as well as very large projects ranging from the banal commercial boxes nearby to the spectacular Barclay’s Center. But in this area, there hasn’t been very much in the way of new private construction – if for no other reason than that inexpensive vacant lots are few and far between.

One complimentary assessment in Diana Lind’s Brooklyn Modern (2008) was that “this project changed many Brooklynite’s feelings about radical transformations of centuries-old buildings.” Whether or not that was true, the corner of Hanson Place and South Portland remains a striking point of reference.

Without giving too much away, what are some of the highlights tour attendees can expect from Hanson Place?

DS: I think every space - every volume - is special, and each floor has its own features. But the spaces do not try to "wow" - they are all spaces to live in.

CH: The place looks better than ever. David takes extraordinary care of it. The planting has really thrived and added another dimension.

What’s next for the two of you as creative partners?

CH: We worked together on a small installation of David’s paintings at Lever House last year, and I am hoping to work with him on another exhibition project soon.

City Modern celebrates the best in New York design and architecture with studio tours, panel discussions, cocktail parties, special installations and home tours. Taking place from September 27 to October 4, the events look to elevate the level of discussion and awareness about how design affects urban life. The full list of events can be seen here.

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

starting over sturgeon bay facade tongue and groove new growth cypress  0
After a devastating fire, architect David Salmela designs a house to replace a beloved lakeside retreat in Wisconsin.
May 26, 2016
Modern home with brick base and cedar rain screen on top level
An architect reimagines an outdated brick garage by designing a graceful new family home atop its foundation.
May 26, 2016
sardenya lr 7
A renovation brings light and order to a Spanish flat, maintaining its standout ceilings.
May 25, 2016
pow 5 25 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
May 25, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent thom fougere winnipeg canada cthom fougere studio thom fougere saddle chair 2
Designer Thom Fougere plays with scale and typology to create playful furniture.
May 25, 2016
prs my16 0067 v001 1
In the worlds of architecture and design, we’re always looking for the best ways of supporting sustainable building practices. This awareness doesn’t have to stop at our driveways but rather, it can extend to the cars we choose to take us to the places we go each day. With Toyota’s 2016 Prius, the daily task of getting from point A to point B can now be experienced with a new level of efficiency, safety, and style.
May 25, 2016
mountfordarchitects western australia
On a narrow site in Western Australia, Mountford Architects makes the most of a tight spot—with an eye to the future.
May 25, 2016
San Francisco living room with Wassily chairs
Materials and furniture transformed the layout of this San Francisco house, without the need for dramatic structural intervention.
May 24, 2016
shiver me timbers tallow wood kitchen
A pair of married architects put their exacting taste to work on their own family escape in the Australian bush.
May 24, 2016
in the balance small space massachusetts cantilevered cabin glass facade
When nature laid down a boulder of a design challenge in the Massachusetts mountains, an architect’s solution elevated the project to new heights.
May 24, 2016
Wooden Walkways
A home in Ontario, Canada, demonstrates how factory-built housing can be as site sensitive as traditional construction.
May 24, 2016
15 icff 5
From Corian furniture to immersive installations, here are some of our favorite designs we saw at the 2016 shows.
May 24, 2016
gpphoto44
A home and community celebrate natural remove in unison.
May 24, 2016
With our annual issue devoted to the outdoors on newsstands, we did a lap of Instagram for some extra inspiration.
May 23, 2016
forest for the trees english prefab mobile home facade chesnut cladding
On the edge of a historic park in an English shire, a prefabricated home sets a new design standard.
May 23, 2016
tread lightly australia
A family home on Australia’s Mornington Peninsula is built to blend in with its lakeside setting.
May 23, 2016
jardins party dining room hay chairs local wood floor
A pair of architects help a client carve out an oasis of calm amid São Paulo’s bustle.
May 23, 2016
hwm6zf 1
No matter where you're located or what time of the year it is, having a fireplace in your home is a treasure that’s continuously sought after. Besides the obvious benefits of keeping a fire going through the cold winter months, it can also be a cherished asset that provides an extra level of year-round comfort—not to mention how it can help define the layout of a space by acting as a sculptural element.
May 23, 2016
An office Crosby Studios designed for NGRS in Moscow
Crosby Studios just cares about the essentials.
May 22, 2016
cold sweat seattle floating sauna gocstudio
A cadre of designers let off steam after hours by building and sailing a seaworthy sauna.
May 22, 2016
in the swim off the grid campsite healdsburg california swimming pool solar heat lap pool ipe deck loll designs lounge chairs
An off-the-grid house that is little more than a decked campsite—albeit with a roof—includes a swimming pool for a family that loves to enjoy the elements.
May 21, 2016
A print by Kristina Krogh
From flat to physical, Kristina Krogh masters every dimension.
May 21, 2016
scifi
Every week, we highlight one amazing Dwell home that went viral on Pinterest. Follow Dwell's Pinterest account for more daily design inspiration.
May 21, 2016
beverly hills living room piano view
Architect Noah Walker, principal of Los Angeles–based studio Walker Workshop, shares completed and work-in-progress residential designs on his Instagram page (@noah_walker). Take a peek at some of the striking modern houses here, and tour the Venice House on the Dwell Home Tours on June 26.
May 20, 2016
ripple effect san fancisco small space yard outdoor monica viarengo pebble mosiac artificial turf slide
A San Francisco landscape designer finds a small-space solution that’s anything but narrow-minded.
May 20, 2016
Oslo living room with light wood floors and wood slab table
A pair of designers in Oslo, armed with tricks for introducing color and daylight, remake their compact late-19th-century apartment.
May 20, 2016
family affair backyard addition portrait
In coastal Massachusetts, a resourceful couple and their equally enterprising children use reclaimed materials to create a versatile 168-square-foot backyard building.
May 20, 2016
speed machine australian beachside prefab archiblox facade colorbond ultra steel cladding queensland blue gum wood
With little time to waste, an Australian firm erects an efficient prefab overlooking the ocean.
May 20, 2016
Christian Benimana at Design Indaba
When he was younger, there wasn't a single architecture school in his country. Now, as part of MASS Design Group, Christian Benimana shares how architecture can heal and inspire Africa.
May 19, 2016
01 1
This Italian villa is serenity incarnate.
May 19, 2016