The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has declared the results of the 2019 Institute Honor Awards for Interior Architecture, which celebrates the best new interior designs by US-licensed firms. The winning projects include an Apple Store that used to be a bank, a hat manufacturer in a 100-year-old fire station, and a restaurant that incorporates a building once used to store the Royal Danish Navy's mines.

There are a total of nine winners this year, with seven based in the US, one in Denmark and another in South Korea. AIA's five-member jury selected the projects based on "design achievement, including sense of place and purpose, ecology and environmental sustainability and history."

We've chosen a few highlights below, but head to the gallery to see the rest of the winners for this year's 2019 Institute Honor Awards for Interior Architecture.

noma - Bjarke Ingels Group

BIG's recently-completed premises for the award-winning noma restaurant is located in Copenhagen and incorporates a former military warehouse that was previously used to store mines for the Royal Danish Navy.

The firm arranged a total of 11 buildings around a central kitchen, putting the chefs at center stage and allowing diners to see what goes on while the meals are being prepared. Visitors are encouraged to explore the buildings, including a barbecue area that feels like a hut and a lounge that aims to offer the experience of sitting in front of a cozy brick fireplace.

Optimo - Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

SOM turned a 100-year-old decommissioned fire station in Chicago into a LEED Silver certified (a green building standard) workshop and headquarters for Optimo, purveyor of handmade hats.

The premises was purchased for just US$1 in 2015 thanks to a city program that allowed empty lots to be sold for pocket change as a development incentive. Though badly deteriorated, SOM gave the building new life with a material palette of blackened steel, walnut, and cork. In a nice touch, the team preserved the original Chicago Fire Department plaque, while porthole windows fill the fireman's pole openings.

Apple Store, Upper East Side - Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

Bohlin Cywinski Jackson rehabilitated New York City's historic US Mortgage & Trust Company Building to turn it into an Apple Store. The neoclassical masterpiece was originally designed by Henry Otis Chapman and completed in 1922.

Bohlin Cywinski Jackson sought to restore the building to its previous glory by removing the various additions that had accumulated over the years, such as a hung ceiling and partitions. The firm sympathetically restored both the exterior and interior, even going as far as studying old photographs and drawings to determine how best to recreate its original feel. The original banking screen and vault doors were also retained, offering a link to the building's past.

Source: AIA

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