In a sky-high Manhattan duplex penthouse, Workshop/APD’s interiors division designed this serene and subtly nuanced living room. Soft curves and luxurious plaster finishes take the edges off the newly built residence, and sculptural furniture forms are highlighted with a material palette emphasizing texture and lush tactile experiences. Photo by Read McKendree.

Architecture and Design Firm Workshop/APD Launches New 2024 Furnishings Collection

by Benjamin Genocchio

Matt Berman and Andrew Kotchen, founding principals, Workshop/APD

Workshop/APD is an award-winning multidisciplinary design and architecture firm that has become a popular choice for residential or commercial clients. Incollect had the opportunity to speak with founding principal Matt Berman about their design philosophy and values.

Your team is doing amazing work. What is the scope of the business today, and what areas of design do you cover with in-house expertise? 

Workshop/APD is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year — a milestone. In the beginning, our work was primarily residential architecture, but we’ve grown into a vertically integrated, multidisciplinary design and architecture firm working across high-end residential, luxury development, hospitality, and product design work. We have offices in New York City, Minneapolis, MN, Greenwich, CT, and Nantucket, MA, as well as satellite staff across the country. Our collaborative team comprises 100 architects, interior designers, and product designers working together to create extraordinarily unified, meticulously detailed structures, spaces, and furnishings at every scale. 


You have written that projects are ‘defined by a sense of place and purpose.’ Can you elaborate on how that plays out within the context of your work? 

While there are Workshop/APD hallmarks, we don’t believe in imposing a singular aesthetic on a project — every client’s needs and desires are so different, as are the local landscape, historical and cultural contexts — the list of unique conditions goes on and on. What really defines a Workshop/APD project is the place it is realized, the people who will inhabit it, and its intended purpose. We like to think that the result is effortless, intuitive, and integrated within our clients’ lives, their community, and the site. Through this practice, we hope to design places and products that elevate the human experience, create connectivity between inhabitants, and merge architecture and landscape in a synergistic unit. 

Views of the Palm Beach pied-á-terre of Workshop/APD founding principal Andrew Kotchen. Roughly half of the furnishings are from the firm’s collections, and living with the pieces helps to shape future designs. Throughout, particular attention was paid to the transitions between spaces to mirror the natural surroundings — the rolling ebb and flow of the nearby ocean and the seamless horizon line between sky and sea. Left: In the dining room, the contours of the biomorphic Workshop/APD Leif Table are echoed in the ceiling niche. Cane and teak Chandigarh Office Armchairs designed by Pierre Jenneret surround the table; their angular lines create a dynamic contrast with the soft, rounded forms of the ceiling niche, pendant lights, and dining table. Right: A corner of the living room, with the Kaiman Sofa by Workshop/APD. It features a slightly angled base that results in an interesting profile and brings people closer with its subtly enveloping shape. Photos by Read McKendree.

Workshop/APD’s stunning debut room at New York City’s prestigious Kips Bay Decorator Show House in May 2024, “Le Fumoir Femenin” was designed as an enveloping, cocoon-like retreat for the lady of the house. Inspired by swirling smoke plumes, the room abounds with soft curves, from the stunning Fromental “Ambia” wallpapered ceiling to the custom undulating plaster panels. Shown here: Workshop/APD’s Quay curvy sectional sofa and biomorphic Sumina coffee table in ebonized oak, Nero Marquina and White Jade marble. Photo by Nickolas Sargent.

How would you describe your aesthetic sensibility as interior designers, and what are its historical roots?  

We call our design ethos “Crafted Modern.” Our interiors are undeniably modern, but there is a warmth and interest to them because of an enduring love for craftsmanship. By expressing the hand of the maker in each furnishing, textile, surface, and detail we can bring humanity to modern design. We love interesting natural materials, often deploying a single material in multiple ways across a home or carrying it from space to space to create continuity. We also love to explore liminal space, an enduring theme in our book Workshop/APD Homes: Architecture, Interiors, and the Spaces Between. You can see this in the way we connect two materials, employ reveals, or activate transitional areas like hallways and staircases, or in the way we explore positive and negative space, light and shadow. 

The Workshop Collection showroom displays the firm’s “Crafted Modern” furniture and lighting, born of bespoke designs created through the years to address specific needs they encountered in projects and could not find elsewhere. From left: Glaze Sculptural Sconces, Workshop/APD Dining Chair with channel-tufted leather seat, Kaiman Sofa, and Castor and Pollux Accent Tables. Photo by Nicholas Franzen.

You have also designed two collections of furniture. Can you tell us about this extension of your creative work?

Workshop Collection, our furniture line, launched in 2023, and represents decades of experience creating amazing custom furnishings for our clients. Workshop Collection is an expression of our Crafted Modern ethos and embodies a desire to offer timeless, luxurious designs that are highly functional. For decades we’ve designed bespoke pieces to address specific client needs — things we couldn’t necessarily find in the marketplace – and over the years we’ve distilled and honed those to create a collection of the pieces that we go back to time and time again. We’ve reimagined classic forms and design elements, exploring material connections, the interplay of positive and negative space, and a soft, organic palette and architectural language. Our second collection named 'Perpetual Motion' was just released in May, 2024. The collection’s nine pieces — a credenza, coffee table, console,  side tables, mirror and dining chair — explore motions ranging from weaving, twisting, and shifting, to meeting and passing by. Each piece in this collection interprets the theme of motion in a unique way, whether it’s the actual act of making, a suggestion of movement, or the way the user interacts with the piece as they pass by and around it.  

Left: A selection of pieces from the firm's second collection: the Mews Wall Mirror, wall-mounted Guild Console, Entwine Dining Chair with curved, enveloping woven leather back, and Twist Tables in travertine. Right: Twist Tables are offered in three sizes – End, Drinks, and Spot tables. Shown here in solid limestone.

The Entwine Credenza from Workshop/ADP's "Perpetual Motion" Collection is crafted with a solid wood frame and intricately woven leather cord. Entwine's unique materiality and partial transparency bring warmth and lightness to what is traditionally a weighty piece. 

Do issues of sustainability factor into your furniture and product designs? 

In all our work, we’re interested in designing things to last. Quality, construction, and craftsmanship are paramount. We look for honest, natural materials, partner with skilled workrooms and craftspeople, and focus on form, functionality, and detail over current trends. We’re always looking for ways to use natural and renewable materials, reduce waste, and produce our furnishings locally.

Do you look to nature directly for inspiration for designs or it is more for materials? 

Nature provides us with materials and inspiration. Because we’re a design collaborative, we’re lucky enough to have 100 people with vast perspectives and experiences sharing inspiration every day. As a culture, we love the outdoors and have hikers, swimmers, skiers, surfers, divers, champion kayak polo players, and all-around world travelers who bring back ideas from the natural environment. You can see this translated in all of our designs, whether it's material choice, detailing, or patterning. 

The Isla Side Table’s form and soft plaster finish echo the draping of diaphanous fabric, evoking a sense of weightless movement. Photo by Nicole Franzen.

How does a furniture design or form begin — with an idea, or does it come from the material? What is the process? 

Often a piece begins with a challenge and an idea — for example, the need for a sectional sofa that can sit in the middle of the room, with 360-degree appeal and view-through. Or a coffee table that conceals extra occasional seating for family game night and casual gatherings. Or, we see a shape out in the world that we want to explore or a material that we fall in love with and want to use in a new way.

Do you design furniture in collections or the pieces individually for specific projects? Is it available retail?

Workshop Collection is available to the trade, through our dedicated showroom and Workshop Collection team, and our outside sales representatives. We’re excited to be launching our second collection this spring. Though we are always designing new pieces for clients, we like to think about offerings in terms of collections when we bring them to market.

The Caspia Arm Chair is offered in either stationary or swivel models, and features a split back with wood key detailing, a graceful sloping side profile, and an inviting and enveloping seat, making it equally compelling from all sides. Photos by Nicole Franzen.

The Caspia armchair is intriguing; can you tell us about the genesis of this design? 

Caspia is one of our favorite designs, too. It was born from a need for a great-looking, comfortable, modern swivel armchair, something that looks amazing 360 degrees. To achieve that, we devised a back with a compelling split detail and wooden key, which speak to our love for material connections and liminal space, and then drilled down on comfort to achieve something that feels good for users of all shapes and sizes. The result is an inviting design that looks beautiful in any room, from every angle.

Workshop/APD X Arteriors collaboration yielded three distinctive lighting and mirror collections. Left: The Glaze Collection with blackened steel framework with ivory-stained crackle glaze ceramic and frosted opal glass. Right: The Bend Collection has curved rippled glass shades in a selection of colors and blackened steel or antique brass structures.

Lighting and mirrors seem to be a particular design focus. 

Because we think holistically about design, we try not to rule out any item when we’re creating. It’s been fun to explore lighting and mirrors with our partners at Arteriors in particular: they have extraordinary access to talented craftspeople which allowed us to employ a number of glass and ceramic techniques for our Guest Designer collection.

At left, “Shore A” and right, “Tidal C” rugs from the Workshop/APD x Warp & Weft “Atlantic Collection”

You also have a rug collection, how did that come about?

Our rug collection with Warp & Weft — called the Atlantic Collection — is a series of graphic interpretations of the Atlantic coast. You’ll see abstracted designs that reference interlapping waves breaking over each other on shore, paths intersecting beach grasses, and tidal lines. Warp & Weft works with amazing global craftspeople to make each one to order, and the level of customization means that each is perfect for the project.

Workshop/ADP’s Harbour Coffee Table.

Is there a piece of furniture you have made or are currently working on that you are excited about? 

The Harbour table is an enduring favorite in our collection. It’s super functional, looks amazing in every finish, and compliments nearly every aesthetic. In our new Workshop Collection launch we’ve brought fresh materiality to the line with our limestone or travertine Twist Tables, the amazing Sumina multi-stone coffee table, and the Guild Console with woven leather detailing that’s an iteration of one of our earliest (and most beloved) bespoke designs.

What trends do you see in interior design these days, what are clients looking for?

Clients learned to really live in their homes during the pandemic, and they have little patience for unused space. They want their spaces to be extremely functional, personal, and livable, without sacrificing beauty. This is less a trend than good design, plain and simple, but it’s wonderful to see it become a prevailing theme. We’re always less concerned about setting or following trends than creating something beautiful, functional, and enduring.

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