Thesis Up Close

Anne Aristya graduated this past May from NYSID’s BFA in Interior Design. Born in Indonesia into a family with an architectural background, Anne has been surrounded by art and design throughout her life. She was awarded this year’s Ana Blanc Verna Award for Excellence in Interior Design, which is given to a senior in the BFA program who has demonstrated and expressed creativity throughout their entire course of study. Anne has since started a new job as an interior designer at Gensler.

What attracted you to the field of interior design?
I am continuously fascinated by how well-designed environments have contributed immensely to society's welfare. Having design, psychology, and sociology as my life passions, I am grateful that I have the opportunity to pursue interior design as a career now. Interior design has the power to improve humans' lives by supporting existing life styles and shaping new culture.

Your thesis project, 1.5 Place, sheds light on the direction that live and work spaces may be moving. Can you describe the project, from inspiration to realization?
1.5 Place is a combination of hotel and workplace that addresses the 21st-century social question of the work/live relationship.  Inspired by the historical context of work/life balance, the project interweaves both working and living elements through spatial arrangement, strategic programming, and design elements. I deconstructed all preconceptions of work and live, taking elements from both and reconstructing them into a new space. My research revealed that work modes consist of individual focus, collaborations, meeting, learning, and socializing; while live modes are inspired by elements of the home, including energy-recharge, self-care, nourishment, and socializing. By taking one mode from each segment, it creates a new space type.

These new space types are applied in two intertwining loops, which are inspired by the historical context of the work/life balance and initially depicted through Jenga blocks. From the 2nd to 8th floor consecutively, one loop represents spaces that move from all work to a balanced mix to pure live while the other loop represents this spatial arrangement in reverse. On the 5th floor the balance of work and live is achieved. Since social mode occurs in both work and live spaces, the 5th floor becomes a special space that is open to the public to work and socialize.

Do you think that 1.5 Place blurs the line between work and personal life too much? Or, because it functions as a hotel, is this balance not as crucial?
I think, whether 1.5 Place is a hotel/temporary living space or not, it is important to address the varying needs of individuals. The wide range of space typologies at 1.5 Place was strategically planned to accommodate both introverts and extroverts. Those who need solitude could stay and work in private spaces; for example, the private energy-recharge room on the 2nd and 8th floors, floors that accommodate pure work and pure live modes. In contrast, spaces like the communal hot tubs on the 5th floor would benefit the extroverts.

In fact, there has been a blurred line between work and personal in contemporary life; at home, we think about work and at the workplace we think about our personal lives. This work/live balance is indeed always a question; I am not trying to provide an answer through this project. 1.5 Place was designed to allow every individual the opportunity to answer the question of a work/live relationship by his or herself.

Phyllis Greer