Sunday, August 9, 2009


New York buzz seems to have reached a fever pitch about husband and wife design team Roman & Williams. Thanks to a well played PR blitz, their work seems to be everywhere lately. I first came across them when their Montauk vacation home was featured in World of Interiors last year, and it is great. They are also did the new Standard Hotel, Ace Hotel, Royalton Hotel, and a brand new condo building in NoLIta.

They do have their critics, and while the antiquarian aesthetic may be reaching it's crest, I still appreciate R&W's approach to high quality, eclectic design. It may be a tiny bit dogmatic at times, but it always comes across as well thought out, fun, classy and comfortable without fetishizing the antique (well, maybe a little sometimes-- I could do without the scull and cross bone plaque).

All things Roman & Williams, along with others' thoughts: here, here, here, here, and here.

Here is a related piece about the detailed, highly crafted brickwork involved in their 211 Elizabeth building. Interesting, because while it is commendable that they care about quality, are working with the neighborhood's architectural context, and are supporting a disappearing craft... when does a design move from contextual to just an exercise in old world techniques without sufficient innovation? I am not sure, and I still like the building, but it is something to think about as the current trend for all things old wears on. In 20 years, will this building be a classic, or a kitschy-weird throw back that makes people cringe? My vote is for classic.

Images from and WOI

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