History and Culture of Kovac Design Studio
Over their more than two decades of experience, they have honed their expertise working with a wide range of constraints and creative challenges. Their values, forged by years of frequently invigorating, and occasionally humbling experiences, are simple. They are not ivory-tower designers. They are committed to the environmental integrity of their work. They strive to provide the highest level of service to their clients, and to imbue their projects with meaning and enduring quality.
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Michael was born into an Air Force family in coastal Maine, and his extensive travels as a youngster included long stays in Okinawa, Japan. Early influences – aviation, aircraft, and exposure to non-Western cultures – would later subtly inform his work. Michael’s family eventually settled in Las Vegas, from whence he subsequently escaped to the saner confines of the USC School of Architecture on a Trustee Scholarship. Early in his career, Michael worked in the office of noted modernist Jerrold Lomax, before founding Kovac Architects (now Kovac Design Studio) in 1988; he soon earned a number of commissions for high end health clubs, commercial spaces, and detail-rich residences.
Michael is passionate about design and innovation; not only in architecture, but also in industrial design and lighting. To this end, he is directing the office’s work on a line of lighting for mass production, as well as several pieces of furniture to be available in more limited release.
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Kovac Design Studio Selected Projects
Split House’s primary conceptual move is the placement of the master suite and bedrooms in dual, hull-like volumes on the second level. The forms are clearly separate, yet are responsive to each other, and create a fluid double-height space in their interstice. A slender bridge joins the two, and glazing above and at both ends incorporates an internal brise-soleil, etched to recall the shifting silhouettes of wind-blown palms. The nautical, tropical feel continues at the rear of the property, where a gangway connects the second floor to the to the pool area. Beyond is an intimately scaled cabana, which accommodates a guest suite and a fire pit.
The home was designed with green practices in mind; LED lighting is used throughout, and photovoltaic panels are incorporated into the roof. The hulls are clad in a composite of rice husks, water, and mineral oil that simulates wood, but is far more robust and sustainable.
Photos by Kovac Design Studio & Lars Frazer
Some might say – don’t tamper with a John Lautner house, but the new owner, a longtime, passionate swimmer, wanted to add an indoor pool to this classic modernist beach home. Thus began a significant addition and interior remodel project where the great challenge lay in balancing client goals with the spirit of the original architect’s creation.
We replaced an awkward 1990’s addition, incongruent with the original Lautner residence, with a new indoor swimming pool that was designed to be largely indistinguishable to Lautner’s building. The new state-of-the-art, wake-free lap-pool is surrounded by retractable glazing which lets in natural light, and the ocean’s smells and sounds, blurring the boundaries between sea, house, and sky.
Photos by Kovac Design Studio & Roger Davies
Situated on a Bel-Air hilltop with expansive, 270-degree, views of the Los Angeles Basin, this new, three-level home, was designed as a substantial renovation and addition to a previously existing residence, creating a respectful contrasting backdrop to the original architecture, while doubling the existing floor area.
The design ethos for this project was to reinforce the notion that the site has been developed over time by multiple owners, each carefully adding their own interpretation and meaning to the property, resulting in individual layers, or strata. The strata are evident by the use of different materials and by how the building interacts with the site. They form a visual history of the project, its past and current owners, and the changing nature of the use of this spectacular site over time.
Photos by Kovac Design Studio
Do not forget that we will be posting more work by Kovac Design Studio in the coming weeks and months, so keep an eye out for more of their incredible work!! Every Friday we will be posting a new Featured Company, so join us again next week!