BLT Architects

Hubbardton Forge lighting shows up in all kinds of projects. In this case, the project is a cellar. But not just any cellar, it’s of the Union League of Philadelphia and it was designed for the storing, aging, and holding of 4,000 bottles of wine in climate-controlled cases. Intrigued? We were too. Read our interview with a spokesperson from BLT Architects, the firm behind the design, to learn more.

blog_blt_02HF: Who were the lead designers on the Cellar 62 project?
BLT: The project was a collaborative effort led by Karen Soni as interior designer and Donna Lisle as project manager.

HF: What were the biggest challenges in designing for the Cellar 62 project?
BLT Architects: As with any project where you are dealing with existing conditions, especially in a historic building such as the Union League, there are many unknowns. The spaces were carved out of congested and adjoining storage areas with hidden spaces and concealed original exterior walls. The tasting room is a half-octagonal shape formed by the brick foundation of the original 1865 building. It overlooks and leads downstairs to a two-level private dining/wine cellar created by removing the floor above the original keg vault.

HF: How did you address those challenges?
BLT Architects: We started with exploratory removal of the existing walls and ceilings to define the working space. Throughout the construction and closely working with the contractors, we had to change strategies to fit the technical support for the wine cooling systems and room climate into limited space.

HF: What aspect of the design or space is your favorite?
BLT Architects: The details of the wine storage allow for their display in a contemporary fashion that does not seem foreign in a more traditional space.

HF: How did Hubbardton Forge get picked to be included in this design?
BLT Architects: 
The wine cellar space combines rustic elements like existing wood beams and brick walls with finely detailed walnut millwork and contemporary wine storage components. The handcrafted nature of the Hubbardton Forge chandelier balances these elements with its more traditional presence.

HF: As a firm, what would be your dream project to design?
BLT Architects: Something designed from a creative discovery of community (or culture) and place; perhaps something in Havana? Our client would include us in thinking through their dreams and decisions for the project and trust our design opinions.




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