space of the week

The Office As Sanctuary

An architect renovates her own Greenwich Village office, which includes a meditation room and kitchen you’d want at home.

Suchi Reddy’s office. Photo: Seth Caplan
Suchi Reddy’s office. Photo: Seth Caplan

“When we renovated, the idea of making it feel like a black-and-white sketch that came to life was important,” architect Suchi Reddy of Reddymade architecture and design firm says of the 2017 expansion of her office, which is now almost twice the size it was in 2010, when she moved in. The work took about five weeks, and the streamlined 2,200-square-foot interior illustrates Reddy’s sophisticated sense of play. Reddy, who grew up in Chennai, India, started her own practice in New York in 2002 and has grown her business into a 14-person office. Her international projects include a collaboration with Ai Weiwei on a house in upstate New York and a prefab house for the actor Will Arnett in Los Angeles in collaboration with LivingHomes. She is also working on a project in Chennai. And last year, she won the 2019 Times Square Valentine Heart Design competition; her 18-foot sculpture will be on view there starting February 1. Just as her own apartment, a 375-square-foot former dentist’s office on Fifth Avenue, resonates with her ingenuity at shifting your perception of space, her office is filled with the same magical thinking.

For example, above, just beyond the standing chain light by Franz West, the etched glass from Bendheim’s +2 Collection provides light and acoustical privacy in the wall between Reddy’s office and Hannah Laplace’s desk off the entrance hall. It also created the opportunity to design a comfortable niche Reddy uses as seating for guests. “It’s a good informal space for team meetings as well!” Reddy says of her home away from home.

The black-and-white palette is introduced as you come up the stairs to enter through the glass door, above which a prayer is written in Sanskrit. The console table is by Gijs Bakker from Les Atelier Courbet and the art above is by Mary Ellen Carroll from MEC, studios. Photo: Seth Caplan
Reddy designed simple cantilevered charred wood window seats for the two windows in the entry area. Here, Richard Artschwager’s small sculpture sits on a pedestal beneath photographs by Erin Shireff (bottom) and Zeuler Lima (top). Photo: Seth Caplan
Chris Wall did the white Venetian-plaster finishes of the hallway between the entrance and main office. “Everything I do, I like to have a sense of wonder,” Reddy says, referring to the image of the black cube at the end of the room. From this vantage point, it looks three-dimensional. Photo: Seth Caplan
As you get closer, however, you realize that the three-dimensional appearance has been created with tape and paint. “This is part of my fascination with what we call anamorphic graphics. We wanted to create an end point, but we didn’t actually want to have an object. We didn’t want to hang anything from the ceiling. And we didn’t want it to be solid, so we thought, How can we do this? And the anamorphic graphic was the perfect thing, the sort of illusory object.” Red Eames chairs, the only color in the office, accompany the Saarinen table. Photo: Seth Caplan
Reddy designed the handsome kitchen tucked into the right-hand corner as you enter the main office. When I mention that there are design features here that one would love in their own home, Reddy says, “I definitely thought about making people more comfortable.” She says that “neuroesthetics, being sensitive to how your body is actually feeling in a space,” is part of her design scheme. Paint aficionado, Martin Kesselman custom designed the paint colors of the walls and kitchen cabinets, except for the hall and meditation room. Photo: Seth Caplan
The wall beside the kitchen was designed with metal bookshelves and has an invisible opening where a section pivots for access into the conference room, seen here. Photo: Seth Caplan
The opposite wall is covered with folded paper blocks originally created for a study for a design installation for a fragrance fair. The reflective plaster walls of the hallway contain a door on the right to Reddy’s office and, to the left, the conference room. Photo: Seth Caplan
Reddy’s office off the hallway is a compact oasis with Glenn Ligon’s Negro Sunshine framed on the wall. Her desk was custom-designed by Reddymade and fabricated by Roman Kolbusz. The red-and-black sculpture in the corner is by Kate Shepherd, and the ball used as her desk seat is from Technogym. Photo: Seth Caplan
The shoji-screen wall in Reddy’s office slides open to reveal a meditation room with custom tatami mats, duck-cloth-upholstered walls, a lingam from the Narmada River in India, and a vintage Korean table from Dear Rivington. Photo: Seth Caplan
How an Architect Transformed Her Office Into a Sanctuary