Function reigns supreme in the New York office of Shelton, Mindel & Associates. Bare cinder-block walls frame arresting views of the New York skyline. Carefully crafted presentation models of buildings clutter the conference room. Even the office dimensions are chosen to provide clients with a ready visualization of standard heights, lengths, and widths. But something else is at work beyond mere practicality: an aesthetic sensibility that borders on the visionary.

Since Peter L. Shelton C’68 and Lee Mindel C’73 founded the firm in 1978, it has garnered 16 citations from the American Institute of Architects, numerous awards for product design, membership in Interior Design magazine’s Hall of Fame, and a place among Architectural Digest’s top 100 interior designers. Through meticulous attention to detail and a willingness to take risks, Shelton and Mindel have developed an impressive reputation for fusing architecture and interiors. Although the theoretical rigor of their approach often produces highly personal results, they bring only their formidable skills and taste to a project—not a desire to impose.

“They approach each project fresh, without a preconceived idea of what a building should be, what a space should be,” says Louis Oliver Gropp, former editor-in-chief of both House and Garden and House Beautiful. “And they always relate it to where it is.” Consequently, Shelton and Mindel have never developed a trademark “look.”

“There isn’t one,” Gropp admits. “But there is, in another way. There is always a very clean quality to their work. There are usually some surprises, some sophisticated humor often; but also a very high level of seriousness. It is always highly designed.”

Highly designed—but never encumbered by design. “They do very livable architecture,” Gropp observes. “Many architects will design spaces that are beautiful as objects but often problematic as living spaces. Lee and Peter do think about how you’re going to live in that space—and their spaces are eminently livable.”

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2004 The Pennsylvania Gazette
Last modified 04/27/04

FEATURE:
Creating Space
By David Perelli

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