an oculus in the grand hall of 550 Madison, with orange and red murals flanking it
Photography by Nikolas Koenig.

5 Giants of Design Craft Artful Interiors

Whether an apartment building in Massachusetts, a Vermont music hall, or a law office in Washington, five top firms infuse their work with the beauty and stimulation of art—and nature.

Marlboro Music Reich Hall in Vermont by HGA

After completing a series of residential buildings for this nonprofit classical music retreat nestled amid 360 verdant acres, the firm returns for a multifaceted encore that is harmonious with the area’s vernacular and environmental stewardship. Presenting as a simple cedar-clad Cape Cod–style cottage, the 12,000-square-foot hall encompasses three rehearsal rooms and an archive library, all outfitted with large, operable windows affording woodsy vistas, ceilings and paneling of locally sourced, acoustically sound white pine, and a passive solar-gains strategy.

See where HGA ranks on three of Interior Design‘s recent Giants of Design reports, including Top 100 Giants; Healthcare Giants; and Sustainability Giants.

Williams & Connolly in Washington by HYL Architecture

The 290,000-square-foot headquarters of a leading litigation firm exemplifies the consideration of setting and sustainability. Poised on the Potomac River, the interiors incorporate sweeping curves and Jae Ko’s Riverine, a commissioned artwork of swirling paper, both reflecting the motion of the water, while the project’s LEED Gold certification resulted from employing such Living Building Challenge–supporting natural materials as limestone, marble, and quartered walnut; daylight harvesting; and lighting controllability, public-transportation access, and a café addition providing healthy snacks for all staff.

See where HYL Architecture ranks on Interior Design’s Rising Giant report.

7INK in Boston by Elkus Manfredi Architects

Somewhere between an upscale dorm room and a boutique hotel is this 14-story rental property that offers Gen Z tenants “inclusive living,” meaning cooking classes in the communal kitchen, lounges, coworking, fitness facilities, and housekeeping services for the 180 furnished apartments. Even though marketed as affordable, an offbeat luxury pervades via white oak millwork, sophisticated wallpapers and lighting, Modernist- inspired furniture, and commissioned contemporary art, while a 15-foot scoreboard salvaged from the former Boston Garden brings local spirit.

See where Elkus Manfredi Architects ranks on three of Interior Design‘s recent Giants of Design reports, including Top 100 Giants; Hospitality Giants; and Sustainability Giants.

550 Madison in New York by Rockwell Group

A repositioning of this landmarked office tower, completed in 1984 by Philip Johnson and John Burgee as the AT&T headquarters, entails a new lobby by Gensler, an enlarged public garden by Snøhetta, plus 35,000 square feet of fitness and amenities spaces by this firm. Joining the latter’s café and lounge is a library and a billiards room encased in bleached European walnut, which surround the grand hall, a sunlit gathering spot featuring the original rose-window oculus, a custom chandelier in bronze and opal glass, and a pair of Dorothea Rockburne murals that bring the project’s total number of artworks by women to 13.

See where Rockwell Group ranks on Interior Design‘s Top 100 Giants and Hospitality Giants reports.

Finance office in San Diego by IA Interior Architects

Archways of quarter-cut American walnut nod to the region’s architecture at this 15,400-square-foot executive center, concepted during the early phase of the pandemic to radically reimagine and anticipate the future of workplace. Free-address desking; flexible collaboration rooms able to accommodate intimate gatherings as well as larger TEDx talks; and lounge and pantry spaces appointed with artworks by local and national creatives, mohair-upholstered seating, and recycled-content watercolor carpets blur the lines between client-hosting and employee zones.

See where IA Interior Architects ranks on three of Interior Design‘s recent Giants of Design reports, including Top 100 Giants; Healthcare Giants; and Sustainability Giants.

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