Eleven Madison Park was recently redesigned. The goal?  To make it calmer.

The new room is pleasantly muted, with whites and off-whites everywhere. It is more symmetrical than the room it replaced, which began as a brasserie, and wool-and-silk area rugs are now set into the terrazzo floors. He said he got the idea for the patterns on the rugs from looking at wet leaves on the sidewalk in Madison Square Park, across the street. “They’re abstractions of that,” he said.

Maybe the cups and saucers, also his, contributed to the pressure. He was not called on to design tableware for other big projects like Studio Bell, the new home of Canada’s National Music Centre in Calgary, Alberta, or for Uniqlo City, the headquarters of Fast Retailing in Tokyo. Nor were cups and saucers his responsibility for the new United States Embassy in Mozambique, on 10 acres overlooking the Indian Ocean in Maputo.

“Is this architecture?”  This was the question posed to Brad Cloepfil, the project’s architect.  He replied:

I think of it more as stage design,” he said. “There’s architecture of the space — after that, it’s entirely different.

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