In Soho, a Penthouse by Andrew Franz

You can almost hear Stan Getz wailing away on “The Girl from Ipanema” in the background.

Inspired by the work of Charles and Ray Eames, architect Andrew Franz has transformed 850 square feet of space in Soho into a seemingly spacious, post-World War II loft.

The client’s a French filmmaker from Paris with strong links to Brazil. She wanted a place in New York to call home. And she wanted it to feel distinctly American.

“She wanted to let it be about the optimism of the ‘50s in America,” Franz says.

He obliged her by using materials that are almost exclusively domestic, like white oak flooring and plenty of fir trim. And then there are the brightly Plexiglas cabinets, recalling Mondrian and Le Corbusier

“I’ve never used so much color before,” he says. “The Plexiglas is a sensual material and in the kitchen the colors are a sly reference to the bright colors of Brazil.”

In essence, he used wood, plastic, metal, Plexiglas and tile to make the small, jewel box of a space into something maximizes every inch.

“It’s the antithesis of minimal,” he says. “The materials, colors and events inside it are quite maximal – there’s an explosion of visual things going off.”

The architect says he was inspired by an American postwar modernism that was just starting to use new materials and construction technique for the furniture of that era.

“The materials and the palette go back to those ideas of the period, when they were exploring how consumer items were made, and the methods they used for building things during the war,” he says.

It’s not retro, though. It’s just cool.

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Photography by Albert Vecerka/Esto