In one of New York’s most traditional Central Park Apartment, Jamie Drake and Caleb Anderson employ a restrained palette, luxe fabrics and shimmering surfaces to compose a stirring ode to Manhattan glam.
Being asked to design an apartment in one of the biggest residential skyscrapers to rise in the center of Manhattan in the last couple of years would be a high-water mark for any interior designer. The designer Jamie Drake, whose swashbuckling 39-year career has taken a new turn because of his recent partnership with former protégé Caleb Anderson, concedes that even he — no stranger to super-luxurious commissions — was gladdened by the epic chance to deck out this sprawling pied-à-terre overlooking Central Park.
In the kitchen, the table is by Egg Collective, the Holly Hunt chairs are covered in a leather from Keleen Leathers and the lightening is by Lindsey Adelman.
The clients are two grown siblings and their children, who live in other countries but go to New York as often as their super busy schedules allow; they imagined the apartment as a refuge in the clouds. The project was a perfect fit for the designers. Drake certainly has had a lot of experience channeling the antiques-laden wishes of the international VIPs: He made his name designing several homes for former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, including a classic adorned Upper East Side limestone mansion, a 6,000-square-foot vacation house in Bermuda, and a vast formal townhouse in London’s South Kensington neighborhood. Still, the designer considers himself essentially a modernist.
In the living room, the mirrored chair is by Julian Mayor, the side table is by Sebastian Herkner, the Serge Mouille floor lamp is from Design Within Reach and the custom wall light is by Studio Drift.
As such, he had a good time watching the zeitgeist move in recent years toward a new kind of minimalism, one that eschews coldness while embracing bold gesture. He gravitates toward subtle interiors with statement pieces by up and coming artists, set off by a backdrop of hand-hewn finishes. His own much photographed home — a 3,000-square-foot Chelsea apartment in an Annabelle Selldorf building — is at the same time a color riot, a pared-down retreat, and a place to throw huge cocktail gatherings, complete with late-night dancing.
The foyer’s console and mirror are by Hudson Furniture, and the cocktail table beyond is a custom design.
The owners of this big apartment offered few parameters beyond wanting a neutral palette of black, white, and gray; they understandably requested that nothing should distract from the unique skyline views. They also told us that they aren’t the type of clients to micromanage the design of their homes, instead preferring to be surprised by a big reveal. Such freedom enabled Drake and Anderson to push boundaries.
The entry hall bench is by Paul M. Jones, the light fixture is by Paul Loebach, and the rug is by Kyle Bunting; the walls are sheathed in a custom shagreen by Edelman Leather, the trim is painted in Benjamin Moore’s Day’s End, the flooring is ebonized oak, and the artwork isby Damian Loeb.
“We were relieved in the end because it turned out to be just what they wanted,” says Drake. “It’s relaxing and, at the same time, exciting.” In fact, the 3-bed apartment is so high in the sky that it has a spaceship feel, and the designers decided not to fight that. The goal, says Anderson, was to create a “glamorous, transporting, otherworldly place that is extremely urbane.”
In the master suite, a bed by Minotti is dressed in linens by E. Braun & Co., the bedside table is from Philippe Hurel, the custom rug is by Tai Ping, and the walls have a custom textured finish by Atelier Premiere.
Instead of bringing in a lot of vertical pieces to balance the large scale of the rooms, most of the furniture is actually streamlined and low-slung — the better to gaze out upon the vast city and its rivers below, stretched out like a topographical map. Smaller seating areas were arranged around the periphery to encourage guests and family members to simply sit and drink in the view.
In the living room of a Manhattan apartment designed by Jamie Drake and Caleb Anderson of Drake/Anderson, the sectional sofas by Avenue Road are covered in a Great Plains mohair, the pair of vintage Gio Ponti armchairs are from Karl Kemp Antiques, the glass cocktail table by Fredrikson Stallard is filled with feathers, the round side table is by Holly Hunt Studio, the lamp on it is by Charles Paris and the custom rug is by Tai Ping.
While the designers largely attached to the restrained palette asked by the clients, they managed to put in a bit of blue to echo the sky itself. In the living room, the blue adds a celestial touch that enlivens the muted atmosphere while balancing the graphic quality of the black Serge Mouille floor lamps.
Throughout the apartment, walls are embellished with subtly textured surfaces ranging from plaster to shagreen. The rooms are furnished with spectacular contemporary furniture made by a new generation of artisans. Barlas Baylar of Hudson Furniture designed a console in the foyer that looks like a pile of giant stones, including some bronze ones; in the living room sits a jagged-looking mirrored chair by East London–based Julian Mayor that lends a note of Brutalism, says Drake.
To be sure the place doesn’t look too much like a showroom, the designers were careful to mix in some vintage items, including chairs by Gio Ponti.
The guest room’s Joseph Jeup bed is upholstered in a Toyine Sellers fabric, the bench byAnne and Vincent Corbiere is covered in a Soie de Lune fabric, the bedside table is by HH Ruseau, the Roberto Rida lamp is from Bernd Goeckler and the curtains are of an Osborne & Little fabric.
The art was also rather to reflect both the 21st-century sensible side of the owners and the incomparable setting. With a few wall space due to the expanses of glass, each piece had to carry enormous aesthetic weight. A large triptych by John Noestheden on the wall of the dining room resembles an abstract star chart, and a sculpture-cum–light fixture by the Dutch team Studio Drift is made of LEDs covered in ethereal, fluffy dandelion heads — real ones.
The master bath’s sink and tub fittings are by Dornbracht and the flooring is marble.
“We wanted the apartment to respond to where things are headed,” says Drake. “You look out of these windows, and you see everything: the man-made world and nature. And somehow, it’s all in harmony.”
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This story was originally published in the June 2017 issue of ELLE DECOR.