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Tom Givone: The Artist as Architect – Christie’s International Actual Property


Self-taught architect and designer Tom Givone started his foray into design with a collection of private DIY initiatives in a Victorian-style row home in his native New York City. Today, his progressive work has appeared in Dwell journal and Architectural Digest, and his studio specializes within the design and improvement of each metropolis and nation properties—marrying fashionable components with interval grandeur. Read on to find Givone’s early inspirations, his route into structure, and his design ethos.

The Twist Farmhouse in rural Pennsylvania is a sculptural expression of household connection—the shopper’s household lived throughout the road and Tom Givone imagined the familial bond as a gravitational subject, “pulling” the brand new residence in direction of the outdated. Photograph: Christopher Testani. Banner picture: Mark Mahaney

Tell us about your earliest encounters with structure and design…
As a really younger boy rising up in The Bronx in New York City, I bear in mind driving the prepare with my grandfather and urgent my face to the window each time we crossed over Harlem on the elevated tracks, mesmerized by the rows of blighted townhouses round one hundred and twenty fifth Street: the decaying millwork, shattered glass, the play of daylight throughout all these majestic, crumbling façades. Those pictures had been etched deep in my psyche and nonetheless have an effect on the work I do in the present day. In reality, my first residence and venture—a Victorian row home on a cobblestone road—is just some blocks away.

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Tom Givone describes himself as an artist working in the architectural space, a sort of conductor uniting architects, engineers, and anyone with the necessary expertise to help bring his ideas to life.




Tom Givone describes himself as an artist working within the architectural house, a kind of conductor uniting architects, engineers, and anybody with the required experience to assist deliver his concepts to life.

What was your childhood ambition?  
I used to be at all times artistically inclined, and in addition obsessive about unique sports activities automobiles: Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Maseratis—little question the little Italian in me. I by no means had an ambition to design automobiles per se, however that childhood fascination definitely sparked a love for supplies, sculpture, and kind, and a primal want to precise it ultimately.

I work till one thing deeper emerges, an emotional thread that ties all of the architectural components collectively

You didn’t comply with the standard route into structure. Tell us about this…
It started in 1998 with the acquisition of the row home in Harlem. I used to be a contract copywriter on the time, writing TV scripts and such for promoting businesses, however I couldn’t wait to get again to demolishing partitions, scraping flooring, and bagging mountains of particles on the finish of the day. From there I ventured north, buying the primary of a number of deserted farmhouses within the Catskill Mountains. Initially I used to be a one-man band, designing and constructing, however because the work grew I turned extra of a conductor, calling in architects, engineers, anybody with the experience to assist deliver my compositions to life. For a torqued-volume extension to the Twist Farmhouse, a rollercoaster producer cast the big curling columns that made its undulating partitions attainable.

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Tom Givone spent four years on the Floating Farmhouse. The 1820s Catskills manor features a veranda that projects out across the surface of a neighboring creek, hence the name. Photograph: Mark Mahaney
Tom Givone spent 4 years on the Floating Farmhouse. The 1820s Catskills manor incorporates a veranda that initiatives out throughout the floor of a neighboring creek, therefore the identify. Photograph: Mark Mahaney

How do you describe what you do to pals? 
I don’t name myself an architect, I’m extra of an artist working within the architectural house. I often share a couple of pictures and go away it at that.

Melding historic and fashionable supplies and types permits me to embrace cutting-edge know-how whereas honoring the simplicity of craft

Is there a Tom Givone type and means of working?
Well, it’s not terribly formal, and I primarily work alone, sketching out numerous designs and researching completely different supplies, till one thing deeper emerges, an emotional thread that ties all of the architectural components collectively. From there it’s about assembling the suitable crew to assist actualize it.

The Floating Farmhouse was transformed into a spacious, light-filled home with generous kitchen, dining, and lounge spaces. Photograph: Mark Mahaney
The Floating Farmhouse was remodeled right into a spacious, light-filled residence with beneficiant kitchen, eating, and lounge areas. Photograph: Mark Mahaney

What unites your works? 
I’ve at all times been deeply drawn to each early American and late-modern structure. To resolve this break up artistic impulse, I began combining them. In the method, I found how doing so highlights the innate magnificence of every by advantage of its distinction with the opposite. Melding historic and fashionable supplies and types additionally permits me to embrace cutting-edge know-how whereas honoring the simplicity of craft, in addition to to fold in a lot of discovered objects and supplies. Using this stuff is one other cornerstone of my work. 

How do you outline good design?  
I feel good design is straightforward, and pushed by honesty in supplies and method.  

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Original beams and hardwood floors from the original property were exposed during renovation of the Floating Farmhouse, with a wood-burning stove added to the kitchen. Photograph: Mark Mahaney
Original beams and hardwood flooring from the unique property had been uncovered throughout renovation of the Floating Farmhouse, with a wood-burning range added to the kitchen. Photograph: Mark Mahaney

What does “home” imply to you?  
It means cultivating an area by which to really feel secure, be nonetheless, and maintain a way of marvel as life’s day by day duties roll on.

If you can reside in any constructing all over the world, which might you select?
An deserted villa by the ocean, as soon as I bought my arms on it.

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