February 6, 2013
by: Murrye Bernard Assoc. AIA LEED AP
Gisue Hariri, founder and principal design director of Hariri & Hariri.Camila Schaulsohn
Hariri speaking about Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater.Camila Schaulsohn

Gisue and Mojgan Hariri have collaborated for nearly all of their lives. Born in Iran, the two sisters officially founded their architectural practice, Hariri & Hariri, in New York City in 1986. Their work, which often features faceted forms, ranges in scale from master plans to buildings and interiors, down to furniture and product design. Gisue Hariri recently presented a selection of her firm’s work at the Center for Architecture as part of the annual Oberfield Lecture series, named in honor of the late Gilbert R. Oberfield, AIA, a Gensler partner and founder of the AIANY Interiors Committee. Many of Gil’s family, friends and colleagues were in attendance.

“Design and architecture are not about style or fashion, but rather ideas and concepts,” said Hariri, who shared that her best ideas do not always emerge in “eureka!” moments, but reveal themselves over time. She finds inspiration in “visionaries with passion and innovation,” including Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, Alvar Aalto, and Steve Jobs. Like Jobs, Hariri & Hariri has brought design to the masses with its crystal chandelier and jewelry collections for Swarovski, including the Kryptonite Collection that was inspired by natural crystalline geometries and, according to Hariri, brings power to those who wear it. The firm also collaborated with aFNY to create crystalline bath fixtures such as a tub featuring jewel-like facets that follow the body’s angles of recline and a matching sink with a faucet imbued with – what else – crystals.

Crystalline structures have also made appearances in Hariri & Hariri’s residential designs. A rooftop terrace on a building in Harlem features ipe wood surfaces that bend and fold, creating a faceted form that functions like a large piece of furniture and defines zones for seating and plantings. The firm has also completed many interior renovations in New York City apartment buildings that date from pre-war to modern, and while the confines of floor plates often limit them to rectilinear walls, consistent in their designs are high-end finishes that conceal gadgetry, adapting Corbusier’s concept of a “machine for living” to real life.

Murrye Bernard, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP, is a freelance architecture writer and a contributing editor to Contract Magazine and e-Oculus. www.murrye.com

Event: Oberfield Lecture: Hariri & Hariri – Creative World Speakers: Gisue Hariri, founder and principal design director of Hariri & Hariri
Introduction: Ed Siegel, AIA, co-chair ,AIANY Interiors Committee
Location: Center for Architecture, 01.24.13
Organized by: AIANY Interiors Committee
Sponsored by: Gensler, Bernsohn & Fetner


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