After much outcry, the Karim Rashid-designed residential building at 329 Pleasant Avenue in Harlem will be getting a new color scheme. According to the WSJ, locals have voted to scrap HAP Five‘s color-blocked magenta and turquoise design for a facade of simple white balconies with a less audacious “translucent cirrus with [a] graduated magenta balcony trim”.
Rashid recently defended his color choice in an interview with 6sqft saying: “Contemporary design tends to be cold, alienating, and sometimes very inhuman. I’m interested in showing the world how a contemporary physical world can be warm, soft, human, and pleasurable and color plays a large part of the warmth of my designs. I use colors to create form, mood, feeling, and to touch the public memory. Color is not just ‘is’ and is not intangible—it is very real, very strong, extremely emotional and has a real physical presence.”
Unfortunately for the designer, neighbors didn’t agree. Eran Polack, chief executive of HAP Investments LLC (the developer), told the WSJ, “Going forward we will be using the preferred color scheme in our development.”
But don’t think locals are putting their picket signs away just yet, there are still a slew of others who want the building stopped completely. Laurena Torres, a commercial real-estate broker who lives nearby said: “I have 1,143 people who say they don’t want this building to be here, period. Forget about the colors and the 300 votes for pink, green or smoke. The bottom line is all of them are ridiculous because the property is totally incongruous.”
What do you think? Is this building site insensitive any way you slice it, or is the modern design a step in the right direction?