Gentle modernism, thoughtful modernism, joyful modernism – each of these phrases would be an oxymoron in most contexts, and together they seem more contradictory still.
Modernism is rarely enough gentle, it is all too often not thoughtful, and even less frequently, alas, is it visibly joyful. But these phrases describe the work of Peter Stamberg and Paul Aferiat precisely.
Stamberg Aferiat implements their own particular brand of space craft – an approach in which function, meaning and comfort are delivered primarily through the shaping of space rather than superficial decorative effects.
Louis Kahn, when asked whether he preferred the client who knew precisely what he wanted or the client who left it all up to him, said he really liked neither type but sought instead the client “who knew what he aspired to.” Stamberg and Aferiat have been unusually successful in finding clients who, like Kahn’s, know what they aspire to, and these clients leave it to the architects to turn those aspirations into built form.
With its tactile materials and exuberant colors, the work wrought by Stamberg Aferiat succeeds in giving the lie to the notion of modernism as something cold, taut and unadorned.
STEVEN M.L. ARONSON
Stamberg Aferiat stand against the beige monochrome of most interiors.
Stamberg and Aferiat are in many ways the sum of their influences; the architects Charles Gwathmey and Richard Meier for whom Aferiat has worked, and the artist David Hockney, a longtime friend of both. Gwathmey and Meier are their Le Corbusier and Mies; Hockney is their Matisse. From Gwathmey came a respect for rigor and the importance of viewing space as an architectonic, almost tangible thing; From Meier came a sense of composition and purity; and from Hockney came a sense of exuberance that temper the others, and makes them soar.
In a time when words like: ethics; commitment; responsibility; passion; dedication; honesty and pride are not often used in the workplace, Peter and Paul bring them back with old fashioned values and bright new ideas. They bring creativity, developed to the point that your ideas are the ones they care about first and put every effort into making them work. When ideas are in conflict there is no forced or petulant effort to have theirs prevail, and yet theirs seem to grow on you, as you have the opportunity to consider them on your own. Everything I have done with the has been with out argument or angry conversation. They listen and care, believing that you as the client have retained their expertise, taste and counsel are building for your needs, not theirs.
I have invested millions of dollars in projects with them and feel that they have never cost me and additional dollar, but have saved me from wasting a fortune. The environments we created together are a constant source of pleasure, and most important of all function in exactly the manner I wanted.
By now it is obvious I think the world of them, not an easy feat after so many opportunities for things to go wrong. Whatever you need, whatever your project, you will be thrilled by what they create “with” you and equally important, the process itself.
Television Writer Director Producer
On time. On target. On budget.
The result exceeded our goals. Paul Aferiat and Peter Stamberg are truly gifted professionally. The showroom and offices looked beautiful – in fact were award winning. But just as important, functioned in a way that made it easy for our salespeople to do their job, and sell. And that they came in under budget pleased us all.
Finally, I was impressed with their ability to plan well at the front end of the project, communicate very effectively throughout the process, resulting in virtually no change orders and a very satisfied senior management team.
Chairperson, KHJ Brand Activation
Stamberg and Aferiat seem to approach their clients as educators if not, sometimes, almost as therapists, patiently trying to understand their motivations and endeavoring to explain their designs not as art objects primarily, but as solutions to problems that are very much the clients own.
I have worked with several architects over the years. One of the many qualities which set Peter and Paul apart from the others is their eagerness to listen to clients’ needs, and then to fulfill them. Their design process thrives on fulfilling complex needs and fusing those needs seamlessly with often difficult existing conditions. I believe in Peter and Paul’s skills and abilities and would not hesitate to work with them again.
The Suarez Restaurant Group
The work of Peter Stamberg and Paul Aferiat…is…more related to sculpture than to an architectural precedent…(It) embraces the sensuous aesthetic of modernism…it is through the interpretation of modern art that they have regenerated and architectural discourse that is informed by context, color and client.
Chief Curator of Architecture and Design, The Chicago Art Institute
Paul Aferiat and Peter Stamberg have produced a body of work that is notable both for its relaxed and ease and its devotion to the modernist ethos; more significant still, their architecture seems unburdened by any sense of conflict between the demands of that ethos and the needs of their clients. Stamberg and Aferiat approach their work with a generosity of spirit that extends both to the architects who inspire them and to the clients who pay them.
Sometimes you get just what you hope for – and sometimes you’re luckier. The homes of Stamberg Aferiat adapt effortlessly to their clients’ lives while presiding fittingly in their settings. It’s everything the owners didn’t know they wanted.