New York's Cova Condominium Project: Integrating Ancestral Culture in Contemporary Design

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2015-04-14
Authors
Danielsen, Joseph
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Research Projects
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Interior Design
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Interior Design
Abstract

This project explored residential interior design at a compact scale, and addressed client issues of cultural identity, changing contexts, human behavior and special needs. Architect Frances Cova and his elderly mother Letizia, originally from Barcelona, Spain, purchased a condominium in Brooklyn, New York. The Covas desired a design concept that would incorporate their ancestral Spanish heritage, and its cultural identity, with the contemporary ideology of simplicity. Design methodology included assessing each client's functional spatial and character needs. Researching Letizia's physical limitations led to developing spatial arrangements to enable ergonomic comfort in her living quarters. To express architectural aesthetics through character, it was necessary to analyze Hispano Moresque and Roman classical forms reflecting Spain's Moorish and Imperial Roman influences. The design solution juxtaposed Spanish antiques, Moorish textiles and classical elements with contemporary furnishings, creating reasonable visual signs of the Cova's cultural heritage and Mediterranean life. Reimagined forms draw from the traditional language of the past, while reflecting the contemporary preferences through restraint. The project is important to designers who collaborate with clients to preserve individual cultural identities in a global economy, using traditional materials, forms, motifs and symbolism. In addition, it innovatively expands the perception of space within a small footprint.

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