Almost Studio designs Loft for a Chocolatier in Brooklyn

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Almost Studio designs Loft for a Chocolatier in Brooklyn

Brooklyn practice Almost Studio has completed an apartment renovation inside a former chocolate factory, retaining an open layout while adding level changes to demarcate functional spaces.

The Loft for a Chocolatier occupies part of a 1947 industrial building along Myrtle Avenue, in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Kitchen in a loft apartment with tambour lower cabinets that curve around an island
The loft’s kitchen revolves around an island that’s anchored by a structural column surrounded by corrugated metal

The apartment boasts many features typical of loft-style living, including high ceilings, large windows, and exposed pipes and ductwork.

In one sense, Almost Studio founders Anthony Gagliardi and Dorian Booth aimed to retain this character through an open floor plan, adding powder-coated white mesh boxes and metallic accents.

Exposed ductwork and white powder-coated mesh boxes on the kitchen ceiling
Exposed ductwork and white powder-coated mesh boxes highlight the industrial character of the space

In another, the pair chose to denote or separate some of the functional areas using changes in angle or elevation.

They looked to artists like Kazimir Malevich and Josef Albers for ways to honour the original spatial composition while organising the various spaces.

A work-from-home area where pale wood panels are contrasted by lime-green storage niches
The kitchen counter integrates a work-from-home area, where pale wood panels are contrasted by lime-green storage niches

“It became a way for us to distinguish different areas – such as entry, kitchen, living room, dining room, and office – through these subtle rotational moves in a space that was otherwise entirely open,” said Gagliardi and Booth.

“In many lofts, every space is equally capable of hosting any activity, and is therefore equally inadequate to host any activity,” the duo continued. “If a dining room can also be an office, gym, and workshop – is it the best place to have dinner?”

Lounge area located in the middle of an open-plan space
A lounge area is located in the middle of the open-plan space

The apartment’s dining room is therefore located on a raised platform at the end of the space, where the ceiling is also lowered using the mesh boxes.

This set-up aims to create “a closer relationship with the high loft windows, and light, as well as a smaller, more intimate space for conversations”, Gagliardi and Booth said.

Dining area raised on a platform and surrounded by large windows
The dining area is raised on a platform to differentiate it from the rest of the apartment

The raised area is accessed via a short staircase that’s covered in green carpet and flanked by sculptural pale pink screens.

These elements – covered in Shirasu Kabe plaster – are indicative of the studio’s approach to softening the industrial architecture, along with cork flooring and wainscoting, and upholstered seating.

Pale yellow shutters partially open high in the wall
Shutters can be opened to connect the mezzanine bedroom and the main living area

Pale millwork fronts the pill-shaped kitchen island and curved cabinets behind, while other niches are left open and lined in chartreuse.

The kitchen counter integrates an area for a desk, used as a home office, where the shelving also continues overhead.

Meanwhile, corrugated metal surrounds a structural column that anchors the island, and the dining chairs have tubular steel frames.

At the opposite end from the dining room, another elevated portion of the space houses a bedroom, which is closed off from the rest of the apartment.

Light-filled bedroom featuring cork wainscoting and plenty of built-in storage
The light-filled bedroom features cork wainscoting and plenty of built-in storage

This space is more intimate, and features cream walls, built-in storage, and an arched niche beside the bed that’s lined with more green carpet for the owner’s cats to nap in.

A fritted glass door slides across for privacy, and a series of shutters that offer views between the bedroom and the main living area can be closed when desired.

An arched niche lined with green carpet, with a cat napping inside
An arched niche lined with green carpet provides a spot for cat naps

Brooklyn has many former industrial buildings that have been converted for residential use over the past decade.

Others include a 19th-century hat factory in Williamsburg that is now home to an apartment that doubles as a performance space and a warehouse in Dumbo where one loft features a book-filled mezzanine.

The photography is by Jonathan Hokklo.

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