International Interior Design Award (IIDA), Interior Design Magazine, 2015
Interiors Merit Award, American Institute of Architects (AIA), 2015
Best of Year (BOY) Award, Interior Design Magazine, 2015
Innovation in Design Award, Architecture and Kitchen, NYC&G, 2013
Innovation in Design Award, Interior Design, CTC&G, 2013
Interiors Merit Award, American Institute of Architects New York (AIANY), 2012
International Interior Design Award (IIDA), Interior Design Magazine, 2012
20th Annual Will Ching Award, Will Ching (WC), 2012
Interior Design Award (IDA), Interior Design Magazine, 2012
Best of Year (BOY) Award, Interior Design Magazine, 2012
Annual Azure Award, Azure, 2012
Excellence in Design, World Architecture News (WAN), 2011
De-spec is an award-winning, internationally recognized multi-disciplinary practice, with a focus on the relationship between space and occupant. By developing new spatial typologies, de-spec aims to produce an expanded model of architecture, one that is meant to be experienced both inside and out. The name de-spec is an abbreviation of the term ‘de-speculative,’ which refers to the practice initiated in response to the rising trend of speculative construction, including housing development, in which generic homes are built for an unknown occupant. The act of de-speculating refers to the production of experience through a privileging of specific contents and programs over general design strategies and aesthetic principles.
Our practice is divided into three categories:
de-spec is primarily interested in exploring the corporeal experience of space through a phenomenological perspective. Drawing from the ideas of Radical Functionalism, de-spec’s emphasis is on the lived experience of space, wherein the practices of daily life are analyzed and translated to determine the specific architectural program. In this approach, attention is given to the multisensory perception of space, including the aural and haptic dimensions which constantly define participation, intimacy and experience.
Rather than creating standardized architectural solutions from a bird’s eye view, treating space as a container which simply holds objects, de-spec seeks to define the ‘inside-out’ quality of architecture. That is, a practice of architecture in which form is inextricably linked to function, and cannot be understood independently. As a sort of architectural choreography, our practice attends equally to the body’s movements in space, as to the forces in space that are constantly acting upon the body.
Located in the heart of the Chelsea Arts District of New York City, de-spec was founded in 2002 by Farnaz Mansuri. The firm is led by two principal designers, Farnaz Mansuri and Frederic Levrat. The creative studio is comprised of a small team of international architects and designers, and a supporting team of independent freelancers assisting with model-making, 3D rendering and IT services.
de-spec’s approach to working with clients internationally produces exciting and economically feasible solutions. The firm manages both onsite and offsite construction, working closely with contractors and owners, as well as organizing the project’s schedule and budget. By integrating our high design standards with the technical expertise of local construction companies, de-spec is able to provide clients with the highest caliber of design using local, environmentally-friendly construction methods.
526 West 26th Street, New York, NY 10001
T: + 1 212 633 6626
F: + 1 917 591 2732
Farnaz Mansuri, Founder-Principal Designer
Farnaz, the founder and one of the principles of de-spec, defines the feminist response to architecture and design as one ‘collaborative’ with client or user, where the design is not a ‘Seal’ but ‘an interactive experience’, always different. Farnaz received a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Pratt Institute. She studied Film at Columbia University and Fine Arts at Cooper Union. She has taught Architectural Design, Delineation and Programming in the Graduate and Undergraduate Program at NJIT. She has gained much of her experiences from working with architectural firms including I.M.Pei (Pei Cobb Freed & Partners), WASA architects & engineers in New York, James Stirling (Wilford & Stirling) in London, and Carl Pruscha and Raimond Abraham in Vienna. Farnaz Mansuri is a member of American Institute of Architects (AIAS), sits on the board of Children’s theatre company and is an active member of Baha’i community.
Frederic Levrat, Principal Designer
Frederic has received numerous awards including, on two separate occasions, the New York Foundation for the Arts Award in Architecture, the Young Architects Forum Awards, and the European 5 Competition in Zurich. Levrat taught design studio for 18 years at Columbia University Graduates School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, as well as at Pratt School of Architecture. Levrat has been invited to teach, or participate at end of year’s juries at Osaka University, Princeton, Yale, UCLA, Sci-Arc, Harvard, UPenn, the Cooper Union, and Lausanne EPFL, AU Sharja, Tonji University and many other universities. Levrat has lectured internationally on his research and projects in Japan, France, Switzerland, China, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar as well as the United Sates. After 18 years with his own firm ArX New York, Frederic Levrat has designed and builds projects around the world, ranging from showroom in New York to schools in Afghanistan and a research center in Geneva. Levrat’s design produced a number of audacious large tower design for Dubai and Abu Dhabi, as well as an exceptional Museum for Singapore.
Levrat joined de-spec in September 2012 and is bringing his expertise in large scale projects to de-Spec, such as the towers designed for Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Yerevan, or the master plans for the Airport road and the industrial Park, both realized in Kabul, or the design for the Spreebogen in Berlin, or Ipari New town design in Hungary.
Mike Lau, Designer
Jon Pakaki, Designer
Ghislaine Ng, Office Manager / Bookkeeper
Azhar Kotadia, Junior Designer