UPPER EAST SIDE – NYC
The clients, natives of Sao Paulo, love New York City, and wanted to establish a sometime home there, where their children and grandchildren could visit and they might entertain. To import the colors and cadence of Brazil was a joyous assignment for us, an unusual, less sedate take on modernism which draws inspiration from Latin American architects such as Brazil’s own Oscar Niemeyer, landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx, and Mexico’s Luis Barragan.
We adopted Niemeyer’s and Marx’s love of undulating biomorphic shapes in our selection of ceramics and artworks; and Barragan’s bold use of color to demarcate planes and announce room transitions. These architectural trends are hinted at, echoed rather than imitated. Instead of painting a whole wall orange, as Barragan might have done, we brought in this luscious, vibrant color more sparingly: the large ceramic lamp in the entry; the pillows and napkins in the dining area; and the back of a shelving unit. Yet the dominant colors–coffee brown, cinnamon and natural walnut–also speak of Brazilian tropics and tastes.
The slim, handsome custom one-armed sleeper sofa from Carlyle is juxtaposed with a jaunty abstract rug by John-Paul Philippe for West Elm, and Rietveld’s classic Zig Zag Chair.
We created an ensemble with an aura of Latin sophistication. The sideboard was crafted from rare, exotic peroba wood salvaged from the siding and floors of old buildings in Brazil. The 1960s orange stoneware lamp sets the vibrant mood of the entire apartment. The 1970s bentwood and cane stool and African sculpture complete the earthy, quirky atmosphere.
Earthy modern ceramics populate the large multi-use low table in the Living Room, with pops of color provided by textiles used on pillows and a vintage Kente cloth throw with a common orange thread.
In the spacious bedroom, a custom bedside console floats along the wall, illuminated by the Machine Age lamp designed by Edouard-Wilfred Bouquet. The print is by Robert Motherwell. Archaic elements make their way into the room: a vintage Thebes Chair with leather upholstery and a small vintage Moroccan rug, c. 1940s, from Jacques Carcanagues.
A tailored upholstered head board combined with custom wall-mounted mahogany bedside cabinets with Edouard-Wilfred Buquet articulated lamps continue the clean-lined mid-century story.
In a definite nod to simple luxury living a modern vanity was designed to provide a perfect location near the large window for the application of make-up, and completion of finishing touches.