Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch, principlas of Roman and Williams, have been named this year’s recipients of the Lawrence Israel Prize, awarded by the Interior Design Department at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). Endowed by architect Lawrence J. Israel, the prize has been given annually since 1998 to an individual or firm whose ideas and work enrich FIT Interior Design students’ course of study.
Together Standefer and Alesch will discuss the power of beauty and their firm’s pursuits on Thursday, April 4 at 6:00 pm in the Katie Murphy Amphitheatre at FIT, Seventh Avenue at 27th Street. This event is free and open to the public, with no reservations required.
After a decade of set designs for significant Hollywood films, the design duo founded Roman and Williams in 2002. Based in downtown Manhattan, they “create projects that consistently find the tension between spontaneity and rigor, refinement and rebellion, and past and future.”
They have completed projects inculding the renovation of the iconic Royalton Hotel, the Standard Hotel for hotelier Andre Balazs (including the Standard Grill and the Boom Boom Room), and the Ace Hotel (including the Breslin restaurant Stumptown Coffee Shop and the John Dory Oyster Bar) all in New York City. 211 Elizabeth Street, the firm’s award winning ground-up building in NoLiTa, is a building of such weight, craftsmanship and humility that Manhattan Magazine wrote, “Most passersby will think the building has always been there, and Roman and Williams built it as if it always will be.”
Standefer and Alesch ‘s own homes, in Manhattan and Montauk, are, perhaps, the purest expression of the couple’s interests and act as design laboratories and inspirations for the firm’s projects. The New York Times called their East Fourth Street loft, “an appealing hybrid, as if an apartment from the Apthorp had been reassembled by the furniture designers Pierre Chareau or Jean Prouve.”
In selecting this year’s honorees, the committee noted, “more than designers, Robin and Stephen are alchemists and choreographers... individuals who possess the magical powers of seduction. With exquisite details and tactile craft, their interiors entwine an imagined past with a future full of potential... essentially Janus portals from our present onto a collective memory.”
In addition to the presentation, Standefer and Alesch will be available for a book signing of their recently published monograph, “Roman and Williams Buildings and Interiors: Things We’ve Made,” Rizzoli 2013 will be available for purchase.
Past Lawrence Israel Prize honorees include: 1998 Charles Gwathmey; 1999 John F. Saladino; 2000 Margo Grant Walsh, Gensler; 2001 Clodagh; 2002 Billie Tsien; 2003 Vicente Wolf; 2004 Bromley-Caldari; 2005 Adam D. Tihany; 2006 Jamie Drake; 2007 Lindy Roy; 2008 Avro|KO; 2009 Gaetano Pesce; 2010 Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis; 2011 David Rockwell; and 2012 Diller Scofidio + Renfro.