When it comes to issues of design and aesthetics, New York is the epicenter of all things style. That is certainly the case when it comes to architecture and perhaps most importantly, interior design. For co-op and condo buildings, style and design are keys to providing a unique identity and a welcoming place for residents and their families. In the last few years, design has changed and evolved, representing cultural shifts and the one simple constant that always holds true for aesthetics: times change, and so do people’s tastes.
Green is In
Listening to the needs or wants of a building and its residents is also vital because it can lead to important discussions on the philosophical, financial or even ecological desires that are behind a redesign or renovation. Today, as the green movement continues to gather steam and cost-savings are being associated with energy efficiency, more and more buildings are looking into things such as new lighting, materials made from renewable resources and more.
“I do see a lot of manufacturers creating new ‘green’ materials,” says designer Bob Goldberg of the Manhattan-based firm Interior Design Force, citing wall coverings, carpeting, flooring, and other important pieces of the design puzzle. “And LED lights have been around for many years. They’re decorative, and nowadays they are changeable in terms of color,” which is a relatively new advance. Plus, “green” pieces tend to hold and embody that sleek, contemporary feel that is currently so popular.
Jerold Richland of Richland Design Associates in Manhattan agrees in terms of lighting. “Energy efficient lighting is the norm now,” he says. “It’s nothing new, but what has changed is what’s now being made available, like candelabra bulbs. And the bulbs are able to emulate incandescent lighting now—there’s lots of color, it’s not just cold and institutional lighting.” And this type of lighting can make economic sense. “You leave the lights on all the time in the public spaces so you want it to be efficient,” Richland adds.
The green wave has not caught on everywhere though. Goldberg says his firm has not used too many green pieces in their recent designs “unless it’s been required by management,” but clearly the conversations are starting.