This building is amazing, even after almost 90 years.
Carousel No. 4 was the kick-off of Tampa Design Week 2014. In my opinion, it couldn’t have started in a more fitting venue.
A few months back, I wrote a post after walking through downtown Tampa and admiring all of the old architecture. That day, I was reminded of how beautiful my city is, despite the lack of care some of the structures have seen. One of the most stunning buildings in downtown is the Kress building. It has sat empty for years, with the exception of some RNC event in 2012. Other than that, the lovely edifice with its ornate facade, has basically sat unused and unloved. Well, not completely unloved as I have walked past it numerous times imagining bringing life into the building, if only I had the money to do so.
When speaking of design, this place is top-of-the-line. From the colorful crests surrounded by filigree, to the painted signage over worn brickwork, this place is just about jaw-dropping. What I never realized, because I had never been in the building, was that the interior matched the splendor of the exterior. I couldn’t keep my eyes off of the ornamental pilasters and ceiling details. The worn walls, with a touch of light green showing through caused me to come to another realization…that despite the lack of use, the building still has life in it.
That life comes from the craftsmanship that it was made with. The love is still there, it is seen in the details. Constructed in 1929, it was made during a time when, I think, people still cared about what they did. Construction wasn’t so utilitarian, it was a perfect blend of function, design and beauty. This was originally built as a department store. If one were to look at current department store design, the difference if clear. That craftsmanship, that blend of function, design and beauty can only be created with love and care. Life, love and care are innate to creations such as this. It is in every brick, in every inch of concrete and every drop of paint that it is comprised of. That is what I put into my own work, perhaps that is why I feel such a great connection to buildings like the Kress.