Going Deco at the Walker Tower

 

Custom Art Deco Friezes by SuperStrata top off the newly completed Walker Tower Lobby.

Left: Exterior of the Walker Tower.  Right: Custom, modernized Art Deco friezes by SuperStrata top off the newly completed Walker Tower Lobby designed by Jarvis Studios.

 

Called the “architect of the century” by the New York Times early on in his career, the legendary architect Ralph Walker completed his Art Deco masterpiece, lower Manhattan’s Walker Tower, in 1929. With the Walker Tower and his other Art Deco skyscrapers he sought to humanize skyscrapers through both design and ornamentation.

Originally designed for the New York Telephone Company, today the Walker Tower has been converted into luxury residences with quite a pedigree . Walker’s original deco vision was painstakingly preserved during it’s conversion from office headquarters. This restored architectural masterpiece soars above its neighboring buildings, providing views of Manhattan that rival the beauty of the meticulously designed interior.

As part of that restoration SuperStrata was brought in to create the custom, hand-cast Art Deco inspired plaster panels that top the sleek, black marble lined lobby designed by Jarvis Studios. From design to fabrication and installation, creating the Walker Tower lobby friezes was an artistic pleasure at every stage.

 

 

Custom, handmade plaster friezes by SuperStrata provide Deco adornment in the Walker Tower lobby.

Custom, handmade plaster friezes by SuperStrata provide Deco adornment in the Walker Tower lobby.

 

Deco flourishes - white custom plaster friezes by SuperStrata in the Walker Tower Lobby.

Deco flourishes – white custom plaster friezes by SuperStrata in the Walker Tower Lobby.

 

White plaster friezes designed by SuperStrata for the Walker Tower Lobby top lush, black stone walls.

White cast plaster friezes designed by SuperStrata for the Walker Tower Lobby top lush, black stone walls.

 

Custom plaster friezes by SuperStrata integrated into the Art Deco concept in the Walker Tower Lobby.

Contemporary, custom plaster friezes by SuperStrata integrated into the Art Deco concept in the Walker Tower Lobby.

 

SuperStrata Walker Tower Frieze

Cast plaster friezes by SuperStrata about to be installed in the Walker Tower Lobby.

 

Music For Your Eyes: Fluted Walls

A few years ago we were installing a plaster wall finish for an interior design project by the venerable Jeffrey Bilhuber and fell in love with another wall- a fluted plaster stunner. It was the first time we had seen a fluted plaster wall, columns sure, but on a flat wall in a contemporary setting, never. We saw that flat, previously nondescript walls become architectural design statements when fluted. Tactilely inviting, optically captivating, and a bit mysterious, at a distance fluted walls could be mistaken for stripes, their trendy, two dimensional cousin, but fluted walls have a visual depth, a play of light and shadow, and a historical reference all their own.

We’ve always wondered when the idea of fluting walls would take off. And then, an eclectic, colorful New York apartment designed by Miles Redd featured recently in House Beautiful caught our eyes. Miles Redd’s designs often are eye catching, but the living room caused a double take; it has a beautifully applied plaster fluted wall treatment running right up the walls and over the ceiling. That got us to thinking- how many other designers are now using this ancient architectural element as a wall treatment? We couldn’t find many, but thought we’d share what we did find, along with a few casual shots we took of that Bilhuber project years ago…

Fluted Plaster Wall Treatment in an apartment designed by Jeffrey Bilhuber

The first fluted plaster wall finish we’d ever seen in a New York living room designed by Jeffrey Bilhuber. Photo by SuperStrata.

A fluted plaster wall finish designed by Jeffrey Bilhuber.

Up close and personal, the unfinished plaster brings a subtle texture. The texture and depth of the finish is further enhanced as the light plays off the ridges of the fluting. Photo by SuperStrata.

Bespoke fluted plaster wall and ceiling finish in a living room by designer Miles Redd.

The living room by Miles Redd that sent us on our quest for fluting! The walls and ceiling received a continuous surface finish created by applying plaster to the walls and fluting it while still wet with specially made tools. Photo by James Merrell via House Beautiful.

Miles Redd designed living room with fluted walls in New York.

The light, ruffled aqua drapes lend a delicate air to this sitting area designed by Miles Redd. Notice the fluted wall treatment does not continue over the ceiling, but rather meets it in a soft caress. Photo by James Merrell via House Beautiful.

A fluted reading corner by Miles Redd. Photo by James Merrell via House Beautiful.

Perfect fluting adds texture and movement to a hallway ceiling by Miles Redd.

The fluting on the ceiling, seen here reflected in the mirrored wall, adds texture and movement. Interior design by Miles Redd. Photo by James Merrell via House Beautiful.

Fluted walnut paneling in an interior designed by Fox-Nahem

We love this warm and sensual fluted walnut paneling in an interior designed by Fox-Nahem. Photo by Elizabeth Felicella via Fox-Nahem.

Fluted walnut paneling in an interior designed by Fox-Nahem

Photo by Elizabeth Felicella via Fox-Nahem.

Fluted walnut paneling in an interior designed by Fox-Nahem

Photo by Elizabeth Felicella via Fox-Nahem.

Bespoke fluted walls by the Luczak Brothers for Jean-Louis Deniot

A Chicago dining room by Parisian designer Jean-Louis Deniot with fantastic plaster fluted walls by the Luczak Brothers. Can’t you just see these walls perfectly juxtaposed with minimal and mid-century design as well? Photo by Miguel Flores-Vianna via Architectural Digest.

A fluted half wall in a home designed by McAlpine Tankersley

This elegant, rustic room by McAlpine Tankersly gets the traditional gone modern treatment in the form of a fluted half wall. Photo via Limestone and Boxwoods.

Art-deco era interior with Fluted walls.

Maybe not such a new idea? An illustration of an Art-Deco era grand “stair hall” designed by Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann with a fluted wall on the ground level. Image via Bradbury & Bradbury.