Bruce Nagel & Partners Architects


Rye, New York

Built Project

Judith DiMaio Architect

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DiMaio often favors ‘set piece’ projects which she sees as opportunities  for  innovation where the complexity of design is the visual impact without the same complexity that base building design involves.  ‘Set Piece’ projects tend to be more lyrical, and playful though the ultimate product is utterly serious in intention.

This was a perfect commission for DiMaio who was contacted by the art consultant , Virginia Bonito , on behalf of a private collector of contemporary art who resides in Rye, New York. The collector acquired Peter Gourfain’s “The Fate of the Earth” , a series of 24 high relief bronzes. Gourfain’s work is displayed in museums and held in private collections as is the case here.

The client wanted the reliefs to be part of his garden and  landscape  as a backdrop that could be viewed close up or from afar in his highly vegitated garden landscape. Inspired from her travels and her  in- depth knowledge of architecture history, DiMaio implemented a design strategy where architecture becomes  a framework for the display of art; art and architecture become one or, more specifically, are fused into a single, visual  harmony.

The framework, or gridded surface,  is strategically designed to be excessively flattend so that the figural characteristics  of the high reliefs is prominent and project passed the framework  to heighten the artistic quality of the patined bronzes and accentuate the flattness of the architecture.

The color scheme selected by DiMaio was purposeful in that it picks out the patina of the bronzes and frames them. The grided armature is painted mahogany  and the wall is 17’- 0” x 8’- 8”. The painted scheme was executed by the reknowned artist and muralist Richard J. Haas.