Only If

Only If takes the stance that interiors and all the elements that compose them can be conceived as interrelated parts.

There are two types of architecture. One is the kind designed from the outside in. The other is designed from the inside out. Although architects might state that theirs belongs to the second category, cases where the process of conceptual inversion actually takes place are quite rare. Paradoxically, they are even more uncommon in projects that strictly concern the interiors of buildings. Interior design that proceeds from the exterior toward the inside tends to determine the interiors inasmuch as the outside precedes them, justifies them, and limits their possibilities.

Only If, a design studio founded in New York City in 2013 by Adam Snow Frampton (Washington D.C., 1980) and now led by him and Karolina Czeczek (Krakow, Poland 1986), takes the stance that interiors and all the elements that compose them (like furniture, technical systems, materials, finishes and colours) can be conceived as interrelated parts, a bit like an internal city. The office used Colour Material Finish design (CMF) as a fundamental tool to harmonise the stylistic entropy foreseen in an office for three companies in New York (2015). In order to activate surprise in the space, specific islands of colour and materials (stone, felt, wood, mirror and glass) were inserted.

In another two interiors in New York, we see a different approach. For Voyager Espresso (2015), a coffee bar in a subway concourse in Manhattan’s financial district, the layout is based on two circular focal points. One is the bar counter, the other is a niche with banquette seating. The former is perceptible as a solid volume, the latter is excavated as a void. The concept of flow is also central in the design for the coffee bar City of Saints (2018) in Bryant Park. The space revolves around a counter perched on a raised central island cladded in translucent fibreglass grating. Its pale green colour functions as a characterful element that strongly connotes the place, besides being a prominent shade in the coffee brand’s palette.

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