Whether for artists, acupuncture studios or recent upstate arrivals, New York architect Frederick Tang knows many architectural idioms.
“We often talk about language and vernacular in our projects,” he explains. “All of our projects have geometry, some play on shape and curves, but also all of our projects have some kind of play with language and detailing that’s unique to that specific project.”
When Tang started his studio in 2015, he began it in conversation with art. “One of the first calls we got was from [artist] Adam Pendleton. It wasn’t even a conventional architecture project, it was the installation that we just completed at MoMA.” That MoMA coproduction for Pendleton’s solo show has now evolved into a number of projects—from the “very technical” workshops to more gallery-esque spaces—with Pendleton. “I think it’s the best version of a collaboration where there’s a really great sense of trust between the two of us.”
An “intimate relationship” is no less present for Tang with his residential clients. “Many of our clients tell us that they have dreams about us,” he says of working on people’s homes. Perhaps that is why the studio’s approach often becomes so expansive. He notes that they rarely set out doing interior design with an interior architecture project, rather, Tang says, “Once we establish a good relationship with the client, they end up trusting us and it starts with a little thing like, ‘Well, what are we gonna do with this?’ and we take a stab at it and it’s surprising to them. We end up just doing all the furniture and interior design. And sometimes even art purchasing, because the client really trusts the vision.” This total approach has increasingly become intentional, such as for a Cobble Hill restaurant for which the firm is designing everything from the architecture to the decor to the menus. “That’s a great example of a commercial project where we can create not just the physical space, but also the environment that the brand occupies.”