His-Her Collage and Ceramics Studio

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February 22, 2011

Just as water and oil don’t mix, neither do the crafts of collage and ceramics. Nevertheless, a combination of the two was precisely what one creative couple living on Long Island requested when they contacted tbd design studio in the late 2000s. “Collage is all paper and glue, and pottery is all dust and moisture; those are terrible things together,” says designer Joshua Weiselberg, who went on to accept the project with his design partner Selin Semaan. On a site with just 700-square-feet of buildable space, the designers intersected two rectangular boxes to bring the artists—but not their materials—together.

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  The art studio makes a clear delineation of “his” space and “her” space. His, wrapped in translucent polycarbonate, draws in the light and meshes inside and out. Hers, clad in cedar, is a more private box, as the programming flip-flopped several times during the design and construction process from pottery studio to personal gym and finally back to a ceramics room.  Courtesy of: matthew williams
    The art studio makes a clear delineation of “his” space and “her” space. His, wrapped in translucent polycarbonate, draws in the light and meshes inside and out. Hers, clad in cedar, is a more private box, as the programming flip-flopped several times during the design and construction process from pottery studio to personal gym and finally back to a ceramics room.

    Courtesy of: matthew williams

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  The young couple built the main house on the two-acre lot in the early 2000s but by the time they were ready to add the art spaces, their architect was no longer practicing. With the help of their builder, they made contact with Weiselberg and Semaan. Though neither residents is a professional artist, their crafts are their personal callings.  Courtesy of: matthew williams
    The young couple built the main house on the two-acre lot in the early 2000s but by the time they were ready to add the art spaces, their architect was no longer practicing. With the help of their builder, they made contact with Weiselberg and Semaan. Though neither residents is a professional artist, their crafts are their personal callings.

    Courtesy of: matthew williams

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  To keep dust from clay and water from paper, the designers created two 350-square-foot boxes that meet at an angle. "The wedge" houses a powder room and storage space.
    To keep dust from clay and water from paper, the designers created two 350-square-foot boxes that meet at an angle. "The wedge" houses a powder room and storage space.
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  Inside the collage studio, light floods in from outside. “He didn’t want to be able to necessarily see the outside but he wanted it to be very bright,” Semaan says. “From the inside, you can’t make out exactly what’s out there but you can see some of the colors of the exterior through the polycarbonate.”  Courtesy of: matthew williams
    Inside the collage studio, light floods in from outside. “He didn’t want to be able to necessarily see the outside but he wanted it to be very bright,” Semaan says. “From the inside, you can’t make out exactly what’s out there but you can see some of the colors of the exterior through the polycarbonate.”

    Courtesy of: matthew williams

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  When the sun’s rays aren’t enough, suspended Neo-Ray fixtures from Cooper Lighting step take the stage to provide the spotlights.  Courtesy of: matthew williams
    When the sun’s rays aren’t enough, suspended Neo-Ray fixtures from Cooper Lighting step take the stage to provide the spotlights.

    Courtesy of: matthew williams

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  The collage studio was constructed with “a rusty, premade steel,” Weiselberg says, and the polycarbonate sheeting. The framing provides natural hanging space and the table, custom designed by Weiselberg and Semaan, mimics the look by utilizing the same material.  Courtesy of: matthew williams
    The collage studio was constructed with “a rusty, premade steel,” Weiselberg says, and the polycarbonate sheeting. The framing provides natural hanging space and the table, custom designed by Weiselberg and Semaan, mimics the look by utilizing the same material.

    Courtesy of: matthew williams

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  The shift in materials from polycarbonate sheeting to drywall indicates the change of programming. The ceramics studio, equipped with a kiln and the necessary tools for mixing colors, is much more closed off to the exterior with its drywall construction but does feature square windows of varying sizes and heights to create a room with several views as well as to encourage ventilation.  Courtesy of: matthew williams
    The shift in materials from polycarbonate sheeting to drywall indicates the change of programming. The ceramics studio, equipped with a kiln and the necessary tools for mixing colors, is much more closed off to the exterior with its drywall construction but does feature square windows of varying sizes and heights to create a room with several views as well as to encourage ventilation.

    Courtesy of: matthew williams

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  The client wavered back and forth between making her space a ceramics studio or a personal gym, in the end choosing the studio. The square windows frame views of the home and were carefully positioned so that the lowest window is at eye level when the client is seated at her workstation and the others are at the correct height when she stands.  Courtesy of: matthew williams
    The client wavered back and forth between making her space a ceramics studio or a personal gym, in the end choosing the studio. The square windows frame views of the home and were carefully positioned so that the lowest window is at eye level when the client is seated at her workstation and the others are at the correct height when she stands.

    Courtesy of: matthew williams

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  While Weiselberg and the clients were at the steel shop during construction, one of the residents stumbled upon what was once part of a trailer hook. “We were looking for options for grates for the entry step outside and there was this fantastic wall of strange parts,” Weiselberg recalls. “I was talking to the guy who runs the shop and the client was browsing things saying, What can we do with this? and What can we do with that?.” One powder-coating later and the trailer hook was a green door handle.  Courtesy of: matthew williams
    While Weiselberg and the clients were at the steel shop during construction, one of the residents stumbled upon what was once part of a trailer hook. “We were looking for options for grates for the entry step outside and there was this fantastic wall of strange parts,” Weiselberg recalls. “I was talking to the guy who runs the shop and the client was browsing things saying, What can we do with this? and What can we do with that?.” One powder-coating later and the trailer hook was a green door handle.

    Courtesy of: matthew williams

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  Completed in 2009, the studio shines in the night among the trees. Weiselberg and Semaan devised a clever foundation system that allowed them to avoid ripping up roots. “The floor is a concrete slab on a steel deck that sits on a spider web of steel beams,” Weiselberg says. “There are eight piers per side of the structure, each designed so that if we dug the 12-inch hole and there were roots underneath, we could move it along a certain radius. The base is like a skirt that is just hanging off the building.” So while the floor floats a foot above the ground in the couple’s backyard for now, it could one day easily be picked up and moved elsewhere.  Courtesy of: matthew williams
    Completed in 2009, the studio shines in the night among the trees. Weiselberg and Semaan devised a clever foundation system that allowed them to avoid ripping up roots. “The floor is a concrete slab on a steel deck that sits on a spider web of steel beams,” Weiselberg says. “There are eight piers per side of the structure, each designed so that if we dug the 12-inch hole and there were roots underneath, we could move it along a certain radius. The base is like a skirt that is just hanging off the building.” So while the floor floats a foot above the ground in the couple’s backyard for now, it could one day easily be picked up and moved elsewhere.

    Courtesy of: matthew williams

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