For today’s installment of her conversations with industry friends, Interior Design Editor in Chief Cindy Allen welcomed Goil Amornvivat & Tom Morbitzer, founding partners of AM/MOR Architecture, to the livestream. They joined Cindy from their home in Brooklyn, where they can see the Whole Foods line snake around the block as life in the city tries to go on. The three participants not only share an infectious sense of humor and a love of design but impeccable taste in eyewear, too!
“We have 20 years practicing being on top of each other,” Goil says laughingly about their current situation, while also urging everyone to check on their friends and neighbors. A lot of the firm’s projects have halted due to suspended construction, but that’s given the architects newfound perspective or, as Tom puts it, “a little more runway.” Goil jokes that they’re often in panic-mode so now it’s nice to have more time to think things through. They are preparing the best they can for when work gets back. While they’ve always sent a weekly email update to current clients, the partners now include former clients and old friends in the art and design communities on the mailing list and have added original coloring pages to the memo as well.
Read more: AM/MOR Architecture Brings Out the Best in a Tiny Manhattan Duplex
“We appreciate richness in things, and like to give the richness air around it,” Tom says about their place in the Venn diagram of maximalist/minimalist design. A good example of this approach is an office they designed with a colorful entrance and reception spaces that reverse the mullet ethos of business in the front, party in the back. Cindy shows images of the Midtown Manhattan office, which was completed before the COVID-19 outbreak but nevertheless incorporates safe materials that can be easily disinfected.
While Goil is trying baking for the first time in his life, Tom is critiquing FIT students tasked with designing a lamp for restaurants. From this guest-critic perspective at FIT and NYSID, he sees resilience in students while they lose the camaraderie of studio space. One thing Tom is doing to fuse the art and design communities is live drawing on Zoom calls with other artists from around the world.
With a small staff, AM/MOR Architecture has been able to transition well to working from home, even if they both miss workplace company. “I really like the quiet,” Goil admits, acknowledging all the thinking and reflecting this time has allowed him to do. The pair signs off with words of encouragement to stay creative and find the potential within this pause—and then gives a rendition of Tomorrow that would put Annie to shame.
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