Where Ideas Take Shape
Stephen Treffinger -- Interior Design, 11/1/2009 12:00:00 AM
The hospitality vignette at the DuPont Corian Design Studio combines the featured material—represented by a sidewall, a platform, a radiator cover, a headboard, and linear fixtures—with cork floor tile, bamboo-fiber carpet, and the polyurethane upholstery of the headboard "pebbles." Photography by Tom Powell.
firm: morris sato studio
site: new york
This computer rendering shows the 5,000-square-foot floor plate, the entire third story of a prewar limestone-brick building. Courtesy of Morris Sato Studio. Corian's suppleness and DuPont's scientific interests mesh perfectly with Morris Sato Studio's tactile and humane approach, which often incorporates technology in ways that make it comforting rather than intimidating. And that's what initially drew the manufacturer to husband-wife designers Michael Morris and Yoshiko Sato.
In their hands and minds, Corian's New York showroom becomes an abstract landscape, one where virtually all components are forged from the versatile solid-surfacing. Morris Sato is the second firm worldwide chosen by DuPont to design showrooms of this sort: interactive, instructional, and inspirational studios. (The first, by Amanda Levete Architects and Lorenz Kaz Milano, is in Milan; the third, by Harry Allen Design, is in Philadelphia.)
The ceiling-scape of the 5,000-square-foot open plan is dominated by Corian linear fixtures, 74 tubes suspended to form a horizontal arc. "Corian can be seen as a heavy material," Morris says. "This installation counteracts that gravity." And adds color to the predominantly white environment, thanks to the purple, blue, green, yellow, and red LEDs inside the tubes. Beneath this unifying gesture, various products—sometimes off-the-rack but more often pushed, milled, or otherwise formed into something unexpected—are showcased in vignettes devoted to kitchen, bathroom, hospitality, office, and health-care settings.
In the hospitality vignette, the bed's headboard is translucent Arctic Ice and opaque Glacier White, punctuated by giant pebble-shape inserts of padded polyurethane. Even the sidewall is Corian, as is the platform that distinguishes this particular corner from the rest of the oak floor. Beneath the nearby windows, Morris Sato created a long radiator cover by perforating six sheets of Corian, then thermoforming them into an 85-degree angle. With the internal blue LEDs shining through the circular holes, it's like a constellation.
The kitchen vignette's Corian counter cantilevers 7 feet. Photography by Tom Powell.
Morris Sato calls the gigantic Corian storage unit in the center of the showroom the "curiosity cabinet" for its multiple doors and drawers. As you move from front to back, round protrusions from the surface increase in length. "Pinocchio!" Sato exclaims. And, no lie, they were difficult to fabricate. A video of the process—involving liquid Corian adhesive, a circular router, and extensive sanding and polishing by hand—runs continually in the theater corner.
Left: LEDs shine through the radiator cover's CNC-cut holes. Right: Intended specifically for medical settings, this restroom configuration showcases a Corian sink, walls, and floor. Photography by Tom Powell.
The bench built into one end of the unit gets the nickname the "accidental chesterfield," a reference to dimples that resemble upholstery tufting. (Morris calls them "innies" as opposed to the "outies" elsewhere.) When you sit down, a blue glow automatically emanates from the dimples. The lights then begin to pulse every 7 seconds, the average rate of human respiration. Morris and Sato say this has a relaxing effect.
The storage unit's drawers have chrome-plated integral pulls. Photography by Tom Powell.
Health-care applications occupy not one but three areas. That's because, from a medical standpoint, Corian is an ideal material. Besides being inherently antimicrobial, it can be fused without seams and formed into radiused corners, qualities that help keep surfaces clean. Along the top of the mock-up operating room's Corian enclosure is a particularly Morris Sato touch, a wave of blue LEDs designed to relax patients before and after surgery.
DuPont executives "like to see a lot of vertical applications of Corian," Sato explains, in order to distance the product from its counters-only reputation in the U.S. While many Americans know Corian as an option for topping kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanities, the material's potential for depth, warmth, and luminosity is, to Morris and Sato, practically limitless.
FROM FRONT ANJI MOUNTAIN BAMBOO RUG CO.: RUG (HOSPITALITY). GLOBUS CORK: FLOOR TILE. THROUGH ORGANIC MATTRESS: MATTRESS, BEDDING. LUTRON ELECTRONICS CO.: CUSTOM WINDOW SHADES. ELECTROLUX: APPLIANCES (KITCHEN). SUGATSUNE: CUSTOM DRAWER PULLS (STORAGE). SKYTRON: TABLE, SURGICAL LIGHT (HEALTH CARE). MANNINGTON COMMERCIAL: FLOORING. TOTO: TOILET, TOILET CONTROLS, SINK, SINK FITTINGS (RESTROOM). THROUGHOUT DUPONT: SOLID-SURFACING. LIGHTOLIER: TRACK LIGHTING. TRAXON TECHNOLOGIES: LED FIXTURES. EVANS & PAUL: GENERAL CONTRACTOR.
The DuPont™ Corian® Design Studio had many moving parts that brought the studio to life, many of which are featured in this “Making of the Space” video. From a time lapse of the studio coming together to the intricate process of fabricating the central storage unit, this video gives a sneak peak into the creation of this one-of-a-kind space. (Please note: the video is silent.)
This segment illustrates the making of the “Feature Wall,” a vertical surface made entirely of DuPont™ Corian®, which showcases the flexibility of the material through a smattering of raindrop-like textures. The Feature Wall is the first designed object visitors see when entering the Studio.
DuPont placed a video camera in the studio 24 hours a day to capture this time lapse of the space coming to life.
This sequence shows the process of manufacturing a piece of the Operating Room cabinets. The Corian® is heated and formed over a mold, trimmed to size and then seamed to additional pieces to eventually become a seamless, in-wall medical cabinet.
In this sequence, the integral structural frames of the feature wall are being CNC milled and dry fitted in preparation for final assembly.
The Evans & Paul staff is dry fitting the base and three walls of a seamless shower prior to shipment to ensure tight fit and finish on the job site. This is the same sequence that will be followed on site during the actual installation.
To schedule an appointment to see the DuPont Corian Design Studio in person, visit www.designstudio.corian.com.