Its always fun to track who worked where and how it influenced their work. Often it is surprising, such as Robert Venturi's work for Eero Saarinen. Sometimes it is easy, like comparing Winy Maas' MVRDV to his early employer OMA, or Marcel Breuer's tutelage under Walter Gropius. The link can clearly be seen between the Brooklyn-based designer Aldo Andreoli and his mentor Ettore Sottsass.
Andreoli's AA Studio has recently designed several projects around New York City, all of which have varying degrees of Sottsass' influence. One of Andreoli's earliest projects was the Sottsass-designed Casa Maui on the island of Maui in Hawaii. The house is classic post-modernism, featuring a collage of colorful elements including a red house profile, a greenhouse, and a long, slender stainless steel column. Originally, Sottsass wanted the column to be marble.
In addition to this lineage, AA Studio also draws from Aldo's childhood experiences. His father was a journalist for Domus, which exposed him to high international design. Moreover, his good friend Morris Adjme comes from a similar pedigree to Aldo Rossi, who is a huge influence on both designers. These concurrent Italian influences can be seen in AA Studio projects, and have subtle overtones of a unique design ethos.
The legacy of Sottsass can be seen in more recent projects. Andreoli designed a radical addition to the Hermitage building on the Upper West Side. The contemporary extension shoots upward, its collage of forms contrasting with the surrounding historical buildings. The 11 high-end loft apartments overlook Riverside Park. Many of the projects retain the legacy of Sottsass, including the subtle use of color and collage aesthetics. These design principles are something that Andreoli takes very seriously, and he recognizes that Memphis and Sottsass are having a comeback. Many firms are no longer afraid of using the bright patterns and colors, and American Apparel even sells Memphis socks.
Rossi has an influence on many architects today, and it can be seen in two other AA Studio projects. The biggest project is another in Red Hook, a giant warehouse renovation at 160 Imlay. Originally known as the New York Dock Co. building, it is an extraordinary existing concrete structure that Andreoli is excited to work with. The new design will feature special Italian windows with a skinny profile that will not detract from the exposed structure.
Spring Studios in Tribeca has a similar historical layering. The 7-story industrial building has been transformed into a huge complex featuring a cinema, studios, events spaces, and a large green roof. It is not always apparent at first glance, but often a building tells a story that is not only about the narrative of the site and the city, but also about the people who made it.