Designing a home for an art collector can be exhilarating but also challenging: What if a client’s favorite piece isn’t quite right for a space? That certainly wasn’t the case in this loftlike Tribeca apartment designed by Grade New York, where a sculpture by famous Latin American artist Fernando Botero proved to be an ideal fit. Standing by the living room’s central window, the three-foot-tall bronze figure depicts a young girl with extravagantly rounded shapes. “The Botero sculpture perfectly offset the rigidity of the construction,” says designer Edward Yedid, referring to the two-bedroom residence’s gridlike layout and hefty wooden beams (recovered during the renovations of the building, an 1882 landmark).
He and Grade cofounder Thomas Hickey were asked to create a “rich and colorful” milieu where the client, a real-estate developer who splits his time between Manhattan and Long Island, could showcase part of his collection. “I come from a family of collectors and have always been surrounded by art,” says the client. “I wanted that to be a big part of the apartment.”
“Our entries are always designed to introduce the general materiality, palette, and language of the project,” explains Grade's Thomas Hickey. To present the apartment’s intriguing yet inviting aesthetic, the designers lined the foyer in a series of panels that were laid out in uneven rectangles like a Mondrian painting. Each one is covered in rich suede or linen.
To execute their vision for an inviting art-filled environment, Yedid and Hickey chose plush fabrics and sculptural furnishings culled from various corners of the world, including a bedroom dresser made of hundreds of patinated oak chips and a set of Franco Albini armchairs upholstered in thick Mongolian fur. “We aimed to soften and warm the spaces with curved furnishings, luxurious textures, and the creative use of color and detail- ultimately inspired by the artworks seen throughout the apartment,” says Hickey.
The spacious living room, which has two seating areas, is a perfect example of their approach. One section, informed by the Botero, features plump swivel chairs by India Mahdavi and a Lindsey Adelman chandelier made of brass discs. The other, anchored by a remarkable Jean Dubuffet painting, has more angular lines and a red and gray palette that echoes the French artist’s brushstrokes. “Everything is visually connected,” says Yedid. “The eyes move around the room and there’s harmony but also a sense of the unexpected.”