San Francisco, California
Built on the site of a one-time auto-body shop at Pine and Polk streets, The Austin is designed to fit into its trendy industrial neighborhood, which features a century-old oyster bar and a new-school barbershop that draw hipsters and old-timers alike. Its white-clad and glass façade lets in sunlight and city views; inside, architects Edmonds + Lee introduced the architectural idea of California Organic Modernism, weaving a carefully responsive interior design throughout the project’s architectural bones. The lobby/ lounge is designed as a space to work and relax, with comfortable seating, music, and a front desk that has a concierge, takes lunch deliveries, and keeps beverages on tap. The space is saturated with rich, enveloping gold tones, accented by slim planks of white oak slats arranged in a quick staccato that disappear into the ceiling, the graceful move enhanced by the gentle glow of cove lighting. Decorative metal surrounding the fireplace brings to mind the automotive history of this particular city parcel, and also reflects the colors of the room back onto itself. The public areas are punctuated by ethereal moments interjected into the everyday: the mail room features cove lighting used to frame the striking matte black mailboxes that follow the walls like a ribbon, the keyholes transformed against that backdrop into a graphic element all their own. Anchored by a soaring soft white ceiling and the subtle texture of oak plank floors, it’s both decadent and minimal, bringing a warmth of tone and design to modernism.