Leslie Banker -- Interior Design, 3/1/2006 12:00:00 AM
In the two decades since Kravet opened in New York's D&D Building, the fourth-generation family-run fabric company has expanded into trimmings and furniture, licensing and contract divisions, and more. When neighboring showrooms on the same floor vacated, Kravet jumped at the chance to add 2,500 square feet to the existing 8,000. The firm chosen for the task was Atelier de l'Opéra, which already designed furniture for Kravet.
Principals Louis Pépin and Jean Turcotte varied floor coverings and ceiling heights to demarcate zones. (Previously, carpeting and an acoustic-tiled 9-foot ceiling extended throughout.) In the front, where the ceiling is now 10 feet, Atelier de l'Opéra used off-white ceramic floor tile. In back, where most of the fabric shopping takes place, the space opens up—with a 12-foot concrete ceiling, track lights, and a band of windows.
The central zone contains several function areas. One, a carpeted platform set off by damask curtains, displays furniture from company licensees. Nearby, a white-painted cabinet shows off a legion of Kravet's own tassels, hanging in perfect symmetry in individual cubbies; a backlit cabinet with much larger compartments holds two rows of chairs.
Walnut brown takes over the walls of the Kravet Café, which comes complete with long granite-topped tables, seating for 10, Internet access, flat-screen TVs, and Starbucks coffee. The spot has become a hub for designers, who congregate here all day long to schmooze—read work.