Founders of Design
Laboratories, architects Karen Frome and David Ruff, are based in
New York City. Their work spans from theoretical investigations
of culture to built projects. The firm creates spaces that reflect
social conditions as well as offering multi-valent experiences. Das Boot
presents three of their projects which are of particular interest to us,
above left to right: "Life
Forms" studies , The Cohen Loft and
The Urban Ivy project.
Design Laboratories integrates advances in digital and mechanical
technology into their work. Rather than express this technology
formally, they are committed to the latent incorporation of technology
to explore the established tenets of architecture. Their work seeks to
use the most current procedures to create phenomenological experiences
of materials, light and space.
They are interested both in the use of new materials and building
practices and in re-thinking conventional materials and techniques. In
their built projects, they maintain an on site laboratory – a workshop
– where the tools and resources for experimentation are readily
While Design Laboratories engages in theoretical exploration, the firm
believes that the act of building is an essential part of practice.
Recent and current jobs in the office include a project for The Brooklyn
Academy of Music; The John A. Reisenback Charter School in Harlem; The
Peter Langner Atelier and Showroom in Rome Italy; Sol Restaurant In
Brooklyn, and various residential projects in and around New York.
Frome holds a Masters in Architectural History and Theory from Princeton
University where she is on leave from her doctoral studies. She has a
Masters in Architecture from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts
from the University of California at Berkeley. Ms. Frome has been a
Fulbright Scholar, a Guggenheim Fellow in Venice and received numerous
grants and awards including a Graham Foundation Grant, John Labatut
Fellowship and has published articles in a number of cultural
publications. Ms. Frome has taught industrial design studio at the Rhode
Island School of Design.
Ruff holds a Masters in Architecture from Columbia University and a
Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Duke University. He
has received a William F. Kinne
Fellowship to study Raymond Loewy. His proposal for the redevelopment of
the Freshkills landfill was exhibited at the Graham Foundation in
Chicago. Mr. Ruff has taught at Pratt Institute.
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