“Our approach to design is about capturing the essence of an idea,” says Paul Masi of Bates Masi + Architects, winner of nearly 200 design awards since 2003, the 2018 and 2019 American Institute of Architects (AIA) National Housing Award and countless other honors and accolades–including induction into the Interior Design Hall of Fame in 2013. “This idea takes root in client lifestyle and the context of the place. It is manifested in materials that perform functionally and compositionally tell its story.”
Masi’s own East End story includes summering in Montauk growing up and joining Harry Bates in a firm that has earned renown on projects ranging from urban and suburban residences to schools, offices, hotels, restaurants, retail and furniture in the United States, Central America and the Caribbean. “I was fortunate to have spent many years of my early career with Harry Bates, where I learned to grow as a designer you need to take risks, step out of your comfort zone, and never repeat yourself.”
ON EVOLUTION AND CHANGE… The biggest change in architecture that I have seen involves a number of influences and certainly the sophistication of the homes has evolved substantially from the simple beach house. Architecture is now designed with a more sustainable eye and resiliency for how it will perform in decades to come. I would say over the years I have gained a deeper sense of listening to the client and the landscape of where the project is located. Learned to be open rather than start a new project with preconceived notions. I have had the advantage of seeing how our clients live in their homes five,10, even 20 years later and have been able to understand the success of each project both programmatically and physically. This invaluable knowledge has informed our current projects a great deal.
ON INSPIRATION AND VISION… Design challenges–to solve some of the most restricting circumstances can lead you to explore new design paths you never would have taken otherwise. Nature–the simplicity and beauty you see in nature intertwined with the complex network that sustains it. This really make you feel like you’re part of a greater community.
ON DREAM PROJECTS… Honestly, we’ve had a lot of dream projects–incredible locations, unique programs and great clients. But truly the dream project is having the right team where there is a level of collaboration that gets you to a refinement of your design that never would have been achieved without those individuals.
ON THE EAST END CANVAS… The abundance of natural features from the ocean and wetlands to the open fields and forests truly make the East End a diverse and special place. There is a balance between reserve and development of the land that allows for vistas that are unique only to the Hamptons.