All Together Now
Julie Taraska -- Interior Design, 9/1/2006 12:00:00 AM
Enter the midtown showroom of Poliform, and you might think you've chanced upon the Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut. In one area, there's a kitchen so streamlined it would make Philip Johnson weep. In another, you'll find groupings of comfortably contoured contemporary furniture. And there are enough custom closets to satisfy any fashionista fantasy.
Come back to reality, and discover you're in the Architects & Designers Building, where Bestetti Associati has transformed an entire floor into a sweeping showcase for product not; only from parent company Poliform and its kitchen division, Varenna, but also from two independent companies, furniture manufacturer Flexform and door maker Tre-P & Tre-Più. Each of these brands has its own history, and they used to be split between three showrooms at the A&D Building. So how could everything be unified in just one location without compromising such distinct identities?
Such was the question that architect Gianfranco Bestetti had to answer for Poliform USA's CEO, David Yarom, and his son, Daniel, the company president. Before starting to design, Bestetti spent a month talking to showroom staff. Armed with that knowledge, he, the Yaroms, and Poliform in-house architect Davide Bartesaghi conceptualized the layout. The contract area, offices, and distribution center are tucked along the perimeter, leaving the bulk of the 20,000 square feet available for a series of vignettes referred to as the "casa."
You'll first encounter a living-room setup with armchairs, modular sofas, and cocktail tables. Continue on, and you'll see a series of five eat-in kitchens, each complete with an integral stove, sink, and storage units. Up next are custom closets, followed by a selection of beds and nightstands.
Beyond the casa are two branded spaces. One is dedicated to Flexform furniture. The other is dominated by a freestanding 12-by-15-foot glass box made of different models of Tre-P & Tre-Più doors.
To link these disparate areas visually, Bestetti used white epoxy flooring and gray-tinted glass partitions—architectural signatures he'd experimented with, on a smaller scale, at Poliform showrooms in Chicago and Los Angeles. These two elements, he says, make it possible "to keep the space united even if we change minor details." In the case of Flexform, adaptations included covering the floor with walnut and propping the space with framed photographs and oversize white vases.
It's a point of pride for Daniel Yarom that Poliform is showing its new look first in the U.S., not Italy. "We're making a big investment in the American market," he says. And hoping that objects from his casa find their way into your casa.