Presented with a blank canvas, Safavieh’s Lorraine Gordon designed a comfortable home around her clients’ collection of contemporary art.
Gordon chose furniture that’s “witty, sculptural and a design bridge between the last century and this one—much like my client’s art.”
When a young Manhattan couple relocated from the Upper East Side to Chelsea, they started with a blank canvas—an apartment with floor-to-ceiling windows and a southern exposure, guaranteeing plenty of natural light. They decided to bring almost nothing over from their old home, furnishing the new one truly from scratch. Step one was to purchase several bold pieces of contemporary art from a favorite gallery in Miami.
In a wall composition by Steven Gagnon, we see the silhouette of a vintage pinup girl rendered as a cutout in an aluminum box. Within its margins, inches beneath the surface plane, is a tangled mass of women’s shoes—stiletto pumps, mostly—coated in green metallic automotive paint. The companion to this sculpture is a large painting by Kaï, in which the familiar stencil logos of a Louis Vuitton handbag cover the canvas in bright colors on a black background. Atop the whole floats a ghostly message, “Lost Values.”
One could spend hours a day contemplating the layered ironies of these artworks, while sitting on…what? The homeowners’ next step was to enlist Lorraine Gordon, a designer at Safavieh’s Broadway, New York store, to create living spaces in a way that favored the art. She left all the walls white, as in a gallery. Some of the furniture is white, too. “I really admire the white lacquered pieces in Jean-Louis Deniot’s collection for Baker Furniture,” she says. “They’re witty, sculptural and a design bridge between the last century and this one—much like my client’s art.” Gordon used other Deniot pieces extensively in this apartment, including antiqued gold lamps and seating upholstered in soft gray velvet. Plump pillows, books, flowers and other accessories of daily living contribute to an overall effect that is at once casual and refined. The artwork here may be a bit edgy, but the home is entirely comfortable and serene.