New York, NY
The Interior Design program at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) has named Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch, principals of Roman and Williams Building and Interiors, as the 2013 recipients of the Lawrence Israel Prize. The prize, endowed by architect Lawrence J. Israel, has been given annually since 1998 to an individual or firm whose ideas and work enrich FIT Interior Design students’ course of study. Each year, the award recipients are invited to give a public talk on their work or a relevant topic.
Standefer and Alesch will discuss the power of beauty and their firm’s pursuits on Thursday,
April 4, at 6 pm in the Katie Murphy Amphitheatre at FIT, Seventh Avenue at 27th Street. This event is free and open to the public, with no reservations required.
In addition to the presentation, Standefer and Alesch will sign copies of their recently published monograph, Roman and Williams Buildings and Interiors: Things We’ve Made. The book will be available for purchase.
After a decade of designing sets for Hollywood films, Standefer and Alesch founded Roman and Williams Buildings and Interiors in 2002. Based in downtown Manhattan, the firm creates projects “that consistently find the tension between spontaneity and rigor, refinement and rebellion, and past and future.”
In selecting this year’s honorees the committee noted, “More than designers, Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch are alchemists and choreographers, individuals who possess the magical powers of seduction. With exquisite details and tactile craft, their interiors entwine an imagined past with a future full of potential – essentially Janus portals from our present onto a collective memory.”
Roman and Williams Building and Interiors’ contributions to New York City have informed the continuously evolving social scene, with completed projects that include the renovation of the iconic Royalton Hotel, the Standard Hotel for hotelier Andre Balazs, and the Ace Hotel. The firm’s award-winning design at 211 Elizabeth Street in NoLita is a building of such weight, craftsmanship, and humility that Manhattan Magazine wrote, “Most passersby will think the building has always been there, and Roman and Williams built it as if it always will be.”
Standefer and Alesch’s own homes in Manhattan and Montauk, NY, are, perhaps, the purest expression of the couple’s interests, and they act as design laboratories and inspirations for the firm’s projects. The New York Times called their East Fourth Street loft “an appealing hybrid, as if an apartment from the Apthorp had been reassembled by the furniture designers Pierre Chareau or Jean Prouvé.” Residential projects, which Roman and Williams undertake with the same sense of totality and holism as it does all of its projects, remain a priority.
Past Lawrence Israel Prize honorees are:
2012 Diller Scofidio + Renfro
2011 David Rockwell
2009 Gaetano Pesce
2007 Lindy Roy
2006 Jamie Drake
2005 Adam D. Tihany
2003 Vicente Wolf
2002 Billie Tsien
2000 Margo Grant Walsh, Gensler
1999 John F. Saladino
1998 Charles Gwathmey
FIT’s Interior Design program, named by DesignIntelligence as one of the country’s top ten interior design programs, by the website www.schoolofinteriordesign.org as among the top ten programs in the world, and by Examiner.com as the number one interior design program in New York City, has been preparing students for success for more than 50 years. This rigorous, multidisciplinary program combines the academic study of the history and theory of interior design with practical, hands-on projects. In classes taught by industry professionals, students learn drafting techniques, computer modeling, lighting, and materials and methods, with an emphasis on sustainability, user health, and safety.
FIT is a leader in career education in art, design, business, and technology, with a wide range of programs that are affordable and relevant to today’s rapidly changing industries. Part of the State University of New York, the college offers more than 45 majors leading to the AAS, BFA, BS, MA, MFA, and MPS degrees.