Creating a decor generally involves adding objects and new structural elements to an environment. But when space is at a premium, the art of eliminating, understating and streamlining comes into play. Such was the situation interior designer Michael de Santis encountered in arranging an apartment on an upper floor of one of Manhattan's modern Fifth Avenue high-rise buildings. His client, an international businessman whose main residence is not in New York, needed a pied-à-terre in that city. Naturally he had selected an apartment small enough to be maintained easily. But since he also intended to entertain on a large scale, it became necessary to evolve a decor with a minimum of walls and objects, to avoid crowding the limited space.
Fortunately the apartment had one major asset that made his goal possible: a magnificent view of the New York skyline.
A carefully detailed background and understated appointments in the Living Room of a pied-à-terre designed by Michael de Santis emphasize the Manhattan skyline. A large conversation area, placed on the diagonal, affords varied views of the cityscape. Neutral hues unify carpeting from Edward Fields and generously scaled seating from Brueton: the sofa and chairs are upholstered in velvet from Jack Lenor Larsen, and the contemporary récamier is covered in a subtle striped fabric from Manuel Canovas. Champagne glasses of Baccarat crystal and an ashtray from Cartier adorn the parchment table at the center of the grouping. The background is designed with bronze-mirrored walls, stainless-steel and lacquered panels, a mirrored corner niche and crown molding lighted with neon.
A coromandel screen from Rose Cummings and a Japanese pottery vase create an exotic mise-en-scène for a backgammon table with an ashtray from Lorin Marsh. A wall of glass, behind the sofa, separates the dining area from the entrance hall.
City lights lend jewellike sparkle to the Dining Area. The hexagonal table has a bronze glass top; the Oriental-style chairs, covered in suede-textured fabric, are from Brueton. Complementing crystal stemware and dinnerware from Baccarat are sterling silver shells and candlestick, and napkins from Pratesi. Carpeting is from Edward Fields.
In the Master Bedroom, Oriental accents and diverse textures enhance the contemporary decor. The walls are covered in grass cloth, and the half-round crown molding is accented with knotted rope. Raised on a carpeted platform, the bed is covered in linen from Stroheim & Romann and embellished with pillows wrapped in antique kimono silk. Functional amenities incorporated in the lacquered bed unit include light switches and a control panel. Delicate sprays of flower blossom in a pair of Japanese polychrome vases.
Photos by Jaime Ardiles-Arce from Architectural Digest, early 1980s.
Labels: 1980s, architectural digest, Interiors, jaime ardiles-arce, michael de santis, new york