This Ultra-Chic Apartment Serves Us Shade Vibes All Day Long
Bringing the outdoors in is a common theme in interior design, but it’s usually in the context of a real home, not an apartment in a high-end New York City condominium. But it’s like that SHE DECOR designate Rodney Lawrence describes his vision of the model apartment he designed in Corlanda new luxury development in West Chelsea.
Robert AM Stern was the architect of the 26-story structure, clad in more than a million hand-laid bricks in a distinctive blend of five colors, creating one of the few new buildings in this borderline overdeveloped neighborhood with a historic feel ( the design was partially inspired by the iconic London Terrace building a few blocks away). It’s a quietly elegant building that doesn’t scream for notice.
The same applies to the interior architecture of the Cortland residences, in Olson Kundig, which features an open-plan kitchen, living room and dining room, marble fireplaces, cabinetry finished in hand-brushed Italian artisan metallic lacquer and Statuario Belgia marble imported from Carrara, Italy. It was one of those spaces that Lawrence was commissioned to reinvent.
“Olson Kundig’s work is very sober, with rigorous lines and a limited palette. I wanted to do something that would be different from the base they gave me but in the spirit of their work,” Lawrence recalls of his design strategy.
“I searched [the firm’s] projects, and there would always be minimal structures surrounded by nature – set in the middle of a beautiful field of flowers or built into the side of a cliff or a mountain – so I wanted to put nature inside the one of their structures,” the designer adds.
How? By adding a plethora of colors and organic shapes layered over the 1,500 square foot, two-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bathroom apartment for a hypothetical client: “a young family with maybe a young child” who are attracted by “a cool design, but not inaccessible”, explains Lawrence.
Nowhere is this more evident than the combined living and dining room, a true study in curvaceous silhouettes, as seen in a custom sofa in velvety Élitis fabric, a Crate & Barrel three-legged cocktail table , dining chairs from Burke Decor, and a quietly dramatic banquette (also custom) that winds its way around the dining area. “Working from home has become the new norm, so things have multiple functions,” notes Lawrence. The dining table, for example, can also be used as a workspace; a console as a desk or bar.
Lawrence found several ways to steal this idea to subtly connect the living and dining areas. He got a chandelier from Alignment Studio and suspended the glass link chains so that each bulb is above a focal point of the respective zones. He commissioned a custom wallpaper from Trove in a shaded gradient that, depending on your perspective, simulates distant water or fog. “I knew the view would be of other buildings, not the landscape or the horizon, so I wanted to create a horizon inside the apartment,” he says.
In the master bedroom, Lawrence created the illusion of a horizon by “floating” the platform bed with lighting behind the custom headboard. The wall behind the bed is upholstered with an azure satin fabric from Coraggio, a nuance that is echoed in the lacquered and recessed side tables. The curvaceous shapes are repeated in the dramatic upholstered banquette nestled in the bay window, as well as a pair of pendant lights by the Brooklyn artist Yuko Nishikawa.
One of Lawrence’s favorite pieces in this area is a charcoal drawing hanging above a textured credenza by Burke Decor. It’s by the late Belgian-American artist Jan Yoors, a man Lawrence describes as “an incredibly prolific artist, with an archive of tapestries, drawings and photographs.”
“I was able to get the estate to produce a print of a recent edition for this space,” continues the designer. “It’s a beautiful figure that is very abstract.” (Two photographs by Yoors from the 1960s, depicting graffitied walls, hang in the kitchen, and a piece by his son Kore takes pride of place in the living room).
The hypothetical child’s bedroom, with its fort-shaped bunk and workspace, is a sea creature-themed visual delight. of 3D printed fish that seem to spring from that proverbial sea and draped jellyfish paper lamps from the ceiling. The plump poufs from RH give a buoy effect, but with high style and comfort, and a Studio Trish Andersen the rug reads like an abstract two-dimensional coral reef.
Lawrence admits that the confinement greatly influenced the design of this apartment: from the distribution of space to the elements chosen to decorate it, all reflect a new collective normal. “Everyone must be able to be together, in the same apartment, comfortable and not cluttered”, he notes. “People will now buy places with these requirements at the top of the list.”
Those considering the Cortland should note that its dream design of this model apartment can be recreated in other units with similar layouts. The rest of us can take notes from this A-List talent.
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