The Graphic

32 Cambridge Street, Charlestown
171 Apartments
Interior Design and Decoration

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Client: Berkeley Investments
Architect: Icon Architecture
General Contractor: Tocci Building Corporation

The Graphic is the second residential project that we have worked on with Young Park and Berkeley Investments. The site is a prominent spot in Sullivan Square, Charlestown, MA with an existing industrial brick building. A second building, using modular construction, was added to the site for a total of 171 apartments.

We always start adaptive reuse projects by understanding what the host building has to offer. In order to do that here, we began the design process by creating a brand book. Beside the formal qualities related to the structure, materials, and light, we look to the heritage of the building as a clue to its future use. This simple building was well known to the community and passing commuters by the stainless steel “Graphic Arts Refinishers, Inc.” sign that was mounted on the front of the building. The building was filled with equipment for spot coating, foil stamping, embossing, binding, and the like. One of the ways that we addressed the heritage was to create artwork that was produced by the company, now based in a town south of Boston, that owned the building.

One of the challenges of the project was to create a distinctive environment that would work in two very different contexts, one historical and the other just built. The history of the use of the site, and simple architecture of both buildings, lead us to a design solution based on a “graphic” approach which, in turn, became the name of the development.

For this project we designed the public spaces: the lobbies, corridors, function spaces, gym, yoga space, and game room. We also specified the finishes and cabinetwork for the apartments, and designed three model units.

Anamorphic projection, color blocking, bold simple shapes, super graphics, neon, colored film, high contrast, stripes, and the whitest white paint we could find (in order to create the spatial equivalent of the graphic design term “white space”) were all part of our arsenal in creating the interiors for The Graphic.