AD100 designer Steven Volpe had the opportunity to decorate this luxury Manhattan apartment. For over two decades, Studio Volpe has helped people realize their particular vision of living gracefully and beautifully.
The library contains a pair of Jean Prouvé armchairs, a Jean Royère cocktail table, and a Gino Sarfatti chandelier; artworks include paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol, a Roman marble figure, and a Haas Brothers mini beast.
What does it mean to create a massive New York City apartment, something equal in ambition and quality to the brightest homes of the Gilded Age, in the 21st century? How do you express the ideas of luxury in a way that feels modern, elegant, humble, and, above all, relevant for a young family?
The designer Steven Volpe had the rare chance to explore those questions designing a 10,000-square-foot, located in a slender, skyline-defining tower in midtown Manhattan.
In the family room, a Gio Ponti lounge chair and a Steinway & Sons piano join custom cabinets of multicolored plaster panels.
However, before Volpe and his team could bring the furniture to the luxury apartment, they faced a massive engineering challenge. Essentially creating a building within a building to mitigate the strange sounds of wind.
“Our solution was to formulate a new architectural shell, with walls and ceilings that are independent of the walls of the tower. This was not a simple task.”, says Volpe.
In the kitchen, an Emmanuel Babled chandelier hangs above a Martin Szekely table from Galerie Kreo and Joseph-André Mott chairs from Demisch Danant.
Once the structure’s controversial issue was resolved, Volpe and his design director, Ralph Dennis, focused on developing a modern luxury apartment. One that nods to historical classics without succumbing to antiquated models. “The stone floors of the entry hall feather into the wood floors of the living room with no hard stops. Blurring the boundaries between the rooms,” Volpe says.
In the foyer, an Andy Warhol painting hangs above a Valentin Loellmann bench. A Pablo Picasso painting surmounts a Martin Szekely console. The wall lamp is by Jean Royère.
The spacious living room perhaps best exemplifies the level of detail and sophistication of the entire home. “We had to ask ourselves, ‘How do you design a room of this size without having it feel like a hotel lobby?’ ” Volpe notes.
In the living room, a Gio Ponti chandelier hangs above a Jules Wabbes center table. A pair of Diego Giacometti armchairs and a Frank Stella painting surmounts a Studio Volpe sofa covered in Anamar and Chapa’s textiles fabrics. Blue table by Wendell Castle, obsidian lamps by Jean-Michel Frank, Fredrikson Stallard cocktail table from David Gill Gallery, and custom rugs by V’Soske. The artwork at the rear is by Lucio Fontana.
A 1970s Jules Wabbes center table, with a rare Gio Ponti chandelier, divides the space, creating two distinct seating areas that soften the room’s enormous scale.
In the living room, a Gio Ponti chandelier crowns a Jules Wabbes center table and a pair of chairs by Diego Giacometti.
Important vintage furnishings combine amicably with signature creations by avant-garde contemporary designers. New oak-and-bronze surrounds frame the windows and window seats, adding another layer of refinement along the space’s periphery.
On one side of the living room, the ensemble includes Joaquim Tenreiro sofas covered in Prelle silk. A Vincenzo de Cotiis side table, a Guy de Rougemont cocktail table, a Joris Laarman copper chair, Nacho Carbonell table lamps, an Alberto Giacometti floor lamp, and Claremont silk curtains. Painting by Roy Lichtenstein.
That same inspired collision of the classic and the contemporary extends into the formal dining room. A colossal Rick Owens alabaster dining table is surrounded by a suite of chairs, all set beneath a pair of 1940s Venetian glass chandeliers.
Jean Royère armchairs surround an alabaster table by Rick Owens from Carpenters Workshop gallery in the dining room. Curtains of Lisio silk taffeta, Seguso chandelier, and door panel with portholes by Jean Prouvé.
A Richard Prince painting is paired with a Jean Royère Trèfle sideboard in the dining room.
In this luxury Manhattan apartment’s primary bedroom, walls of stitched, pale-gray lambskin panels, set within a walnut framework, represent a modern take on the parchment-covered rooms. Like many details in the apartment, the wall treatment appears pretty uncomplicated and simple, despite its construction complexities.
Lambskin panels in a walnut frame line the walls of the primary bedroom. Headboard upholstered in a Sam Kasten handweaver silk, bench by Milo Baughman, and chair by Wendell Castle.
The primary bath in the luxury apartment has a Franco Albini sconce, a Paavo Tynell chandelier, P.E. Guerin fittings, and walls of the back-painted glass.
A Vincenzo De Cotiis table sits beside a custom carved travertine tub in the primary bath.
They did not want the spaces to feel as if there was too much going on. The decorative effects are calculated for subtlety, not artificial drama. When you are in this luxury Manhattan apartment, you sense the quality.
A seating area in the primary bedroom includes a Wendell Castle chair from Carpenters Workshop Galler. A Federico Munari sofa covered in Fortuny velvet, and low tables by Bethan Laura Wood from Nilufar Gallery.
An eglomise mirror and a pair of sconces by Max Ingrand complement a custom carved limestone vanity in a powder room. The chandelier is by Seguso, and the chair is by Claude Lalanne.
Still, for anyone with an eye for spectacular detail, bravura moments, however understated, proliferate throughout the home. There are solid oak doors that would terrify even the most experienced contractors. Kitchen cabinetry of bronze and wire-brushed oak. Impossibly thin, floating aluminum shelves veneered in wood. Citrine pulls on the guest-room closets. Children’s bunk beds that look like something out of the grandest ocean liners or railcars of yesteryear. Also, a hallway paneled in ribbed wood lacquered in a shade of Byzantine blue.
A child’s bedroom has a custom bleached-mahogany bunk bed with D. Porthault linens, a Pierre Paulin chair covered in Maharam fabric, wool carpet by Stark, and curtains in a Kerry Joyce linen.
No single detail was too obscure, and no room too secondary, for the highest levels of imagination and craftsmanship.
Pink onyx is inset in a field of Compac quartz in a child’s bath; fixtures by Dornbracht.
Of course, it never offends to have a collection of blue-chip artworks to ennoble a luxury Manhattan apartment. Here, paintings by Picasso, Warhol, Lichtenstein, Stella, Basquiat, and other mandarins of 20th-century art make collegial partners for Volpe’s array of the choicest of choice decorative objects.
A child’s bedroom has a custom beech bunk bed and beech cabinets, linens by D. Porthault, a Renate Müller stool, and a Gino Sarfatti sconce.
“We tried to make the rooms feel old and new at the same time—familiar yet extraordinary,” the designer says. “For all its grandeur, this apartment recognizes the time and place we are in. It belongs to today.”
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