A Monograph in Collaboration by Architectural Firm Ferguson & Shamamian

The resounding architectural firm breaks down the detailed creative process behind 14 residential projects in a new book
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Located in the East Hamptons, the homeowners dreamed of their beachfront house being cozy and homey. Light wood tones in furniture and overhead beams pair together to establish the home’s warmth. | Photo by Thomas Loof

Two is better than one. Collaborations: Architecture, Interiors, Landscapes, the new book from architectural firm Ferguson & Shamamian, shares a behind-the-scenes look into the company’s collaborative approach to the architectural process. Through a close examination of 14 stunning homes across the United States—from mountain abodes in Aspen, Colorado, to oceanfront cottages in Maine—readers will glimpse the collaboration process firsthand.

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The entryway for a stone house in Aspen, Colorado, features heavy timber brackets, meant to complement the surrounding mountain peaks. Curved angles around the door create an inviting archway. | Photo by Lisa Romrein

“We hope the book reveals how much goes into getting our projects done,” says Andrés Blanco, principal architect at F&S. “Our clients offer us the rare gift to bring talented and creative minds to work on their homes.” Blanco, who has worked at F&S since 2000, is no stranger to the intense journey the firm takes for a singular project. “It’s a time-consuming process of elaborating the design through drawings and documents,” he explains. It’s easy to look at a completed home and not give a thought to the process, forgetting that it was once a sketch on a sheet of paper.

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The eggplant-colored library inside a 1920s apartment in Manhattan enjoys direct views of Central Park. F&S remodeled the home with a focus on opening up doorways for a grander feel and bringing in more natural light. | Photo by Thomas Loof

As young professionals, founders Mark Ferguson and Oscar Shamamian left the interior design firm Parish-Hadley in 1988 to forge their own path in the architecture industry. They felt they could fill in the blanks for each other, acting as a sort of checks-and-balances partnership. “Oscar always makes me feel like I have a bigger box of crayons to color with,” says interior designer Michael S. Smith, a long-time collaborator of F&S. It is trust in each other and the business’s professional partners, be they interior designers, contractors or tradespeople, that builds the F&S foundation for success.

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A pool house in a French-inspired Connecticut chalet mimics a farm shed. Steel doors open to a stone terrace with ample surrounding greenspace. | Photo by Thomas Loof

The client-centric focus at F&S embraces new design ideas—though Blanco explains that ideas do need to be rooted in reality. “I love reality, not fantasy. Creativity in the service of reality should be every architect’s mantra,” he says. It’s the job of F&S to take on the not-so-easy feat of bringing a client’s dream to life within the constraints of any project—turning a dream into reality is a long creative process. “From the initial reaction to the final problem solving, creativity assumes many different shapes,” the architect notes. “The brain fires up ideas at the onset—what you could call the gut stage—followed by the careful and time-consuming process of elaborating the design through drawings and documents.”

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Photo by Lisa Romerein

“Creativity in the service of reality should be every architect’s mantra.” —Principal architect at F&S, Andrés Blanco

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Having grown up in Europe, the homeowners of a new house in Greenwich, Connecticut, opted for a change by leaning into a more American design. The symmetry of the home is a common thread throughout, as with kitchen cabinetry. A rolling ladder provides access to upper cabinets. | Photo by Lisa Romerein

F&S is always gathering fresh inspiration. “Travel is one of the ways we make sure inspiration stays part of our brain circuitry,” explains Blanco. The diversity of their firm keeps ideas flowing, especially when collaborating with an international team from mixed backgrounds. It’s impossible to look at a piece of work and know it’s F&S, as the firm doesn’t pitch a single theme in its work. Each home is a separate junction with influences from new voices, cultures and surroundings.

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Collaborations: Architecture, Interiors, Landscapes, by David Massello with forword by Margaret Russell, takes readers through the architectural process by way of observing 14 residential projects designed by the firm Ferguson & Shamamian. Rizzoli, rizzoliusa.com.

Categories: Contemporary Homes