In the living area of a Manhattan apartment designedby Robert Couturier, the custom-made sofa sits ona Corian base, the lamp is by Hervé Van der Straeten,and the bronze cocktail table is by Hubert le Gall; theCrochet chair is by Marcel Wanders, the marble Cumulustables are by Joris Laarman, and a 1960s Paul Tuttlechair is upholstered in an Élitis velvet. See Resources.A Mod Mod WorldA clean, well-lighted space in a Manhattan tower gives Robert Couturier the chance to put a contemporary spin on histext by tim mcKeough · PhotogRAPhy by jason schmidt · Produced by Anita sARsidi
trademark flair for luxuryWhen Robert Couturierbegan designing the interior of an apartment in amidtown Manhattan skyscraper, his client expressedone primary desire. “She wanted somethingultracontemporary, because she had doneeverything else,” Couturier says. The Polish businessman’swife had previously overseen the designof a number of the family’s other homes in Europe.“They have incredibly beautiful houses,” says Couturier.“They have one in Warsaw, another by a lakein the Polish countryside, a place in Geneva, a placein Sardinia, and a boat. Each reflects a different sideof her personality.”But the client envisioned her Manhattan home as“the modern one,” he says. A mutual friend put herin touch with Couturier. While the decorator isknown as a master of mixing periods and styles, hewas thrilled to push his work in a new direction.“Although what I usually do is very different fromwhat she wanted, she recognized that I have a demandingeye and a knowledge of design,” he says. “Ialways love and welcome a challenge. There isnothing more boring than repeating oneself overand over again.” Couturier drew much of his inspirationfrom the personal style of the client herself.“There is something simple yet incredibly sophisticatedabout her that I felt immediately at easewith and that I wanted to translate into her home,”he explains.The client and her husband visit New York onlyoccasionally, notes Couturier, and had one otherwish. Their daughter is attending college in theU.S., and they use New York as a meeting place.The 4,500-square-foot space needed to incorporateboth an appropriately chic apartment for thevisiting parents and a separate suite for the daughter.Beyond those basic requirements, the clientgave Couturier full creative license.Stepping through the apartment’s entrance, it’s immediatelyapparent that Couturier has delivered,elledecor.com 185
A Laarman table, an Aqua Creations light fixture, anda marble sculpture by Pascal Haudressy in thedining area; a collage by César hangs above a pairof Poltrona Frau chairs. FACING PAGE, CLOCKWISEFROM LEFT: The living area screen is by Peter Lane, andthe rug is by Rosemary Hallgarten. A Mattia Bonettilamp beside a console by Aranda/Lasch in the diningarea; the large painting is by Wojciech Fangor. In theentry, the painting above Nendo’s Cabbage chair isby Henryk Stażewski, and the mirror is by Van derStraeten; the floors are bleached oak. See Resources.
with great zeal, on his client’s request for a contemporarylook. Pristine white walls, light wood flooring,and reflective surfaces set off a dramaticcollection of cutting-edge art, before giving way toa wall of sunny windows overlooking Central Parkand the Upper East Side. But the design isn’t onlyabout providing a singular, breathtaking moment.Making the most of the apartment’s unconventionallayout—its diagonal walls and corners that terminateat odd angles—Couturier designed aninterior that slowly reveals itself, with frequentshifts in color, texture, and mood.The main living space, which is defined by a skeletalfloor-to-ceiling ceramic screen designed byPeter Lane, has the cool, open feel of a gallery. WhenCouturier first met his client, he recalls, “She wasdressed all in white, with a blond bob and not onehair out of place.” He wanted the apartment’s publicspaces to reflect her “very controlled look,” he says.Of course, any decent gallery needs stunningworks—in this case, it’s a museum-worthy selectionof contemporary furnishings, including limitededitionpieces by Aranda/Lasch, Joris Laarman,elledecor.com 187
The study’s Alessandro Albrizzi desk is paired with a1970s Brazilian chair, the custom-made daybed isupholstered in a Clarence House velvet, and the tableis by Pouenat Ferronnier; the artwork is by EdwardKrasinski, the curtains are of a laser-cut microsuede, andthe rug is alpaca. FACING PAGE, FROM TOP: The masterbedroom’s walls are covered in a velvet by Sahco, andlamps by Mauro Fabbro flank a custom-made bedupholstered in a Rubelli velvet. The wall panels in themaster bedroom’s sitting area evoke the New YorkCity skyline; a desk by Nicolas Aubagnac holds a Tamarade Lempicka drawing, the chair is by Archirivolto, andthe floor lamp is by Philippe Hiquily. See Resources.
and Marcel Wanders. One could imagine a collectorlovingly acquiring them over the years, but thatwas not the case here. “We found everything in twodays in Paris and two days in New York,” says Couturier.“It was loads of fun, because she’s very decisiveand very quick.”The feel of the space changes dramatically uponentering the master bedroom. There, the materialsand color palette create a cozy, cocoon-like environment.Walls are covered with pleated velvet.Furniture and accessories feature patinated metals,dark woods, and gold accents. Most striking isa series of doors and wall panels depicting the NewYork skyline, made from liquid metals and resins,which adds an Art Deco touch to the room.Each of the other private rooms has a distinctpersonality. “In some projects, people don’t wantthat,” says Couturier. “They want them all to bethe same. But I think this is more fun—especiallywhen you have so many rooms.” The study, for instance,is grounded in black and white but enlivenedwith pops of mustard-yellow. Even the fivebathrooms and two powder rooms cater to differentmoods, from cool and modern to playful andglamorous.Couturier believes the apartment’s mix of furnishingsis an ideal reflection of his client’s diverseinterests and world travels. “She’s incredibly chicand elegant—when she visits, she comes with sixVuitton suitcases,” he says. “I think it’s rare that anapartment is such a perfect fit.”elledecor.com 189