Karim "I don't believe in style" Rashid is designing a series of residential buildings for HAP Investments and, although it's not without competition, the craziest by far is HAP 5 at 329 Pleasant Avenue in East Harlem. That building, which broke ground in April, has drawn comparisons to a pile of storage bins, Barbie's Dream Condo Development, and a Mighty Ducks tribute — in fact, the outcry from the neighbors has been so strong that the developer is allowing them to vote on the building's final color scheme. Today, the Wall Street Journal came out with a new piece about HAP 5, in which HAP's Eran Polack enthusiastically reveals just how little he understands about the community's concerns. "I think it was the color that was giving people the impression that it is out of context," he told the Journal. "Maybe with a different color people will think it is part of the neighborhood." Yeah, maybe with a different color scheme this ridiculous stack of terraces would be more at home between rows of stately brownstones. Don't sell yourself short, Eran. Literally every part of this design is giving people the impression that it's out of context.
The neighbors, of course, have not been swayed by the fact that they now get to vote on the color of the building as if it's a new M&M. "They should pick it up and move it to Mars. There it would be contextual," said a commercial real estate broker who lives around the corner. "We hate the color, we think it is ridiculous. But that is the most minor issue they could address. They have bigger issues," said local Assemblymember Robert J. Rodriguez. "Color is not just 'is' and is not intangible — it is very real, very strong, extremely emotional and has a real physical presence. I'm also thinking about using colors to create and work with the experience, or the human engagement of that certain task or function," said Karim Rashid.
· HAP Investments Gives Locals a Say in New Project's Design [WSJ]
· Karim Rashid coverage [Curbed]