Private Light - Design Bureau

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The screen O’Neill built filters in silver, bronze, and blue light off the East River as the sun shifts throughout the day. The architect stripped away unnecessary elements to create a more open feeling in the space.

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O’Neill worked with local fabricators to create the one-of-a-kind aluminum screen, which was laser cut in upstate New York and anodized in Queens. “I like finding small companies that make unexpected materials,” he says.

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Private Light

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Photos by Elizabeth Felicella

Waterfront living is all about the views… except when the view is your neighbor’s apartment. Architect Devin O’Neill of Brooklyn-based O’Neill Rose Architects crafted a clever solution that gave the owners of this two-bedroom condo in Long Island City, Queens, the East River views and great light they craved with the privacy they needed.

O’Neill designed a screen that blocks the view of the neighboring building to the right, while letting in copious amounts of natural light. “The owners loved the light that came off the river, so we designed something that would reflect the light off the water and give an extra layer of privacy,” he says. Made of anodized aluminum, the silver screen comprises bendable tabs that O’Neill adjusted on-site to bounce light into the space. “As the light shifts during the day, the color of the screen changes to silver, bronze, and then blue,” he adds. Best of all, the focus is now on the river view seen from the front-facing windows.

To make the inside of the 1,200-square-foot space feel as expansive as the city views, O’Neill and contractor MC Squared stripped away some of the developer’s unecessary additions. “We tried to get rid of the extras to make the space bigger and more enjoyable,” he says. One such extra was the oversized kitchen island, which was cut in half and refinished in a calming, cornflower blue lacquer. The kitchen cabinets were likewise reworked in minimalist white lacquer. Standing in contrast to the clean white background, the blue island is a powerful pop. “Color has more impact when it’s used in small amounts,” O’Neill says. “We spent time choosing the right colors for this space. It’s used playfully here.”

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