The city of Oakland, California, often referred to as the “Brooklyn of San Francisco”, is home to a recently opened residential tower called Atlas, one of the city’s tallest apartment buildings and a popular destination for upscale living. The forty floors are divided into four sectors – Gallery, Elevation, Collection and Penthouse – each containing apartments of different sizes, from studios through to three-room and extra-large floor plans, and all featuring sophisticated stylistic choices and upscale amenities.

The project was led by McCartan, a firm specialising in high-rise and hospitality architecture with offices in Belfast and New York and a presence in the United States since 1996. Founder Colum McCartan gave the following description of the design process that led to the creation of Atlas: “Right from the start we sought to capture the ambitious, entrepreneurial and visual nature of Oakland and to use it as our guide. At the same time, we continued to pursue innovation and add a few surprising touches to the building that would astound users at every turn. Our goal was to create spaces that would be filled with ideas and would reflect the inventiveness of modern Oakland and the nearby tech industry.”
This focus on innovation is reflected in a number of architectural choices, most notably the attention to sustainability that has enabled the building to gain important environmental certifications. “Atlas achieved LEED Gold level certification by implementing practical and measurable solutions in specific areas such as sustainable site development, water saving and energy efficiency. The interior finishes and furnishings also met the Gold standard,” confirms Colum McCartan.
The choice of ceramic tiling also played a part in achieving stylistic quality and environmental sustainability, including stone-effect porcelain stoneware chosen in two shades of grey (Atlas Concorde’s Marvel Pro collection in the Grey Fleury version) for the spa, the lifts, the dog park and the entrance to the car parks, and marble-effect porcelain installed on the floors and walls of the ground floor lobby and lift area.
“We tried to create a balance between polished, aged and textured surfaces. To achieve this, we used polished marble-effect porcelain alongside waxed, textured oak planks. It was important for us to create a warm, inviting and energy-filled atmosphere and instil a comforting and calming sense of trust among guests,” concludes Colum McCartan.