May 20, 2020

NYCxDESIGN Winners Lea Ciavarra and Anne Marie Lubrano join Hello Cindy!

For today’s episode of Hello Cindy!, Interior Design Editor in Chief Cindy Allen (@thecindygram) interviewed the two women behind Lubrano Ciavarra Architects, Lea Ciavarra and Anne Marie Lubrano, in back-to-back interviews. 

Ciavarra, up first, joined from her Brooklyn Heights home in New York City while taking a break from her new homeschooling duties. Working from home is a lot like running an office according to Ciavarra, who remains in constant contact with team members and clients. A recent NYCxDesign award winner, she told Allen her 88-year-old parents were very excited to have the opportunity to watch the program, virtually. 

During their chat, Ciavarra shared images of one of the firm’s NYCxDESIGN winning projects—a charter school recently completed in the Bronx. Inspired by a “child’s drawing or a box of crayons,” Ciavarra notes that she wanted the final product to be “contextual and feel joyful for the kids—a happy place.” The charter school’s façade features red bricks that offer contrast to panels of stucco in blue and green tones, calming colors that evoke nature. The school interiors also feature biophilic elements, such as a soft green rubber flooring, which runs throughout the halls and classrooms. 

Ciavarra’s partner in design joined Allen next. Lubrano, who is staying with her family in Florida, and Allen are neighbors in New York City. “It’s very disorienting not being in your home,” Lubrano said. “It’s really important to remember in design and human living that we are all in this together.” One of Lubrano Ciavarra Architect’s projects and another recent NYCxDESIGN winner, which needs no introduction, is the TWA hotel. “It’s such a special building and it’s such a total design…from the floors to the wall, and the way they all flow together, it’s breath taking,” Lubrano said. A big job for a small firm, the partnerships that came from this project felt like the stars had aligned. By stripping the building back to its original frame, Lubrano explains how the team preserved and presented in a new way the original and eccentric features of building. 

Lubrano also mentioned one ongoing project—every summer for four years, the firm has been redoing a townhouse, floor by floor. “It’s the way the client wanted to do it,” she said about the renovation schedule. With a spiral mahogany staircase running down the middle and a custom light piece hanging above, rich materials and textures are found throughout the home.  “There are no great architects without great clients,” Lubrano added. 

Thinking ahead, Lubrano is focused on health and wellness in educational environments. The inspiration “should be about experience and positivity,” she said, such as incorporating more natural light to help students have a more positive experience in school. Staying mentally healthy in school, especially under these circumstances, is top priority for Lubrano and she ended the conversation with Allen by encouraging everyone watching to take some time for themselves—a welcome self-care reminder. 

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