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THE INTERNATIONAL DESIGN AUTHORITY

BUILDINGS WITH BUZZ Daring design around the world

NASCAR’S JIMMIE JOHNSON AT HOME IN NEW YORK HERZOG & DE MEURON’S LATEST MASTERPIECE RYAN MURPHY’S BRILLIANT BEACH HOUSE

FEBRUARY 2017


CONTENTS february

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A STAINLESS-STEEL RIBBON POUF BY MARIA PERGAY, FROM DEMISCH DANANT GALLERY.

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46

A STYLISH MINNESOTA SALON.

PARADISE IN PIEDMONT, ITALY.

Features 46 ITALIAN IDYLL

By Mitchell Owens

60 LIVING THE DREAM

Acclaimed television impresario Ryan Murphy conjures a showstopping compound in Laguna Beach. By Ryan Murphy 68 PAINT THE TOWN

After soaking cities and sand in radiant color, German artist Katharina Grosse takes Manhattan with a show of new canvases at Gagosian Gallery. By Julie L. Belcove

72 MUSIC IN THE AIR

More than ten years in the making, Herzog & de Meuron’s Elbphilharmonie concert hall adds a high note to the Hamburg skyline. By Fred A. Bernstein 78 NORTHERN LIGHT

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86 ZEN SPIRIT

For music mogul Lyor Cohen, Leroy Street Studio crafts a refined retreat in the Hamptons. By Derek Blasberg

96 PHOTO FINISH

The Manhattan home of NASCAR star Jimmie Johnson and his wife, Chandra, is a mellow mix of topflight art and family-friendly comfort. By Mayer Rus

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100 CREATIVE HAVEN

The luminous interiors of a Minnesota lake house set the scene for a couple’s striking collection of contemporary art.

How an out-of-the-way villa in northern Italy nurtured the artistic genius of the late Enrico Baj and his wide circle of friends.

By Raul Barreneche

By Aaron Peasley

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CORRECTION: JANUARY 2017 ISSUE

On page 122, a London home designed by Charles Zana was incorrectly identified as a Veere Grenney project. We regret the error.

SUBSCRIPTIONS For subscription information go to archdigest.com, call 800-365-8032, or email subscriptions@archdigest.com. Download AD’s digital edition at archdigest.com/app. To sign up for AD’s daily newsletter, go to archdigest.com/newsletter. COMMENTS Contact us via social media or email us at letters@archdigest.com.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: OBERTO GILI; COURTESY OF DEMISCH DANANT; DOUGLAS FRIEDMAN

Oberto Gili and Joy Sohn’s Piedmont home is a sensual delight every month of the year.


CONTENTS february

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Discoveries

MODERNISM IN THE HAMPTONS.

19 SHOPPING: WHIRLWIND

Everyday objects get an artful twist with the centuries-old technique of marbling. FROM TOP: PERNILLE LOOF; STEPHEN KENT JOHNSON

Produced by Parker Bowie Larson

22 ART SCENE: PROVOCATIVE STATEMENTS

On the eve of his first U.S. solo museum show, Adam McEwen opens his studio for a look at his wry, wondrous works. By Julie L. Belcove

26 PERSONAL BEST: MARGHERITA MISSONI

With a new home collaboration, the Missoni scion has big designs on the little ones in your life. By Jane Keltner de Valle

36 ARCHITECTURE: OUT OF THE ORDINARY

Tapped to build a house for construction-savvy clients, architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien show just how sculptural standard materials can be. By Joseph Giovannini

In Every Issue 12 OBJECT LESSON: HOT SEAT

How Pierre Jeanneret’s simple chair for civil servants rose from trash to treasure.

40 DEBUT: QUIET RIOT

By Hannah Martin

In his new line of lighting and furniture, Billy Cotton, designer to Cindy Sherman and other art stars, signals a return to discreet chic. By Mayer Rus

16 DEALER’S EYE: DEMISCH DANANT

At their New York gallery, Suzanne Demisch and Stephane Danant shine a light on undersung French masters. By Hannah Martin

106 LAST WORD: CURVES AHEAD

In Changsha, China, NEXT architects takes a walk on the wild side. By Sam Cochran

ON THE COVER RYAN MURPHY’S POOL IN LAGUNA BEACH. “LIVING THE DREAM,” PAGE 60. PHOTOGRAPHY BY DOUGLAS FRIEDMAN; STYLED BY LAWREN HOWELL.

ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST AND AD ARE REGISTERED TRADEMARKS OF ADVANCE MAGAZINE PUBLISHERS INC. COPYRIGHT © 2017 CONDÉ NAST. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. PRINTED IN THE U.S.A. VOLUME 74, NO. 2. ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST (ISSN 0003-8520) is published monthly by Condé Nast, which is a division of Advance Magazine Publishers Inc. PRINCIPAL OFFICE: Condé Nast, 1 World Trade Center, New York, NY 10007. S. I. Newhouse, Jr., Chairman Emeritus; Robert A. Sauerberg, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer; David E. Geithner, Chief Financial Officer; James M. Norton, Chief Business Officer, President of Revenue. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY, and at additional mailing offices. Canada Post Publications Mail Agreement No. 40644503. Canadian Goods and Services Tax Registration No. 123242885-RT0001. POSTMASTER: Send all UAA to CFS. (See DMM 507.1.5.2); NON-POSTAL AND MILITARY FACILITIES: Send address corrections to ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST, P.O. Box 37641, Boone, IA 50037-0641.

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AN ARTFUL CORNER CHEZ ENRICO BAJ.

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THE INTERNATIONAL DESIGN AUTHORITY VOLUME 74 NUMBER 2 EDITOR IN CHIEF

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Art art director Natalie Do art assistant Megan Spengler art production director Karrie Cornell production manager Michele Tymann Photo photo director Michael Shome assistant editor, photo Gabrielle Pilotti Langdon Copy and Research copy editor Alexa Lawrence research chief Andrew Gillings associate editors, research Susan Sedman, Leslie Anne Wiggins archdigest.com deputy editor, digital Kristen Flanagan home editor, digital Jennifer Fernandez

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object lesson

THE STORY BEHIND AN ICONIC DESIGN

How Pierre Jeanneret’s simple chair for civil servants rose from trash to treasure TWO OF KOURTNEY KARDASHIAN’S V-LEG ARMCHAIRS BY PIERRE JEANNERET, SEEN HERE IN HER HOME OFFICE IN CALABASAS, CALIFORNIA. 12

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ROGER DAVIES

Hot Seat


object lesson

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1. A CÔTE D’AZUR INTERIOR BY AXEL VERVOORDT. 2. A BUILDING DESIGNED BY PIERRE JEANNERET FOR CHANDIGARH’S PANJAB UNIVERSITY. 3. LE CORBUSIER (SEATED) AND JEANNERET. 4. DISCARDED CHANDIGARH CHAIRS. 5. GIOVANNA BATTAGLIA ENGELBERT’S STOCKHOLM APARTMENT. 6. A RESTORED V-LEG ARMCHAIR.

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1. LAZIZ HAMANI; 2. STUDIO INDIANO CHANDIGARH/COURTESY OF ARCHIVES GALERIE 54, PARIS; 3. JEET MALHOTRA/COURTESY OF FONDATION LE CORBUSIER; 4. ERIC TOUCHALEAUME/COURTESY OF ARCHIVES GALERIE 54, PARIS; 5. MATTHIEU SALVAING; 6. COURTESY OF 1STDIBS

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hen Swiss architect Pierre Jeanneret devised a teak-and-cane chair in the 1950s, his reasoning was simple: The people needed seats. The design was just one of several by Jeanneret that would be produced by the thousands for Chandigarh, India, the utopian city created by his cousin Le Corbusier. The chair’s V-shaped legs, hewn from humidity- and bug-resistant Burma teak by local artisans, were sturdy. And their durability would be put to the test decades later in Chandigarh, when, as people gravitated to more contemporary designs, discarded Jeanneret chairs piled up across the city—from the roof of the High Court to the balconies of administrative buildings. Many were sold as scrap at local auctions for a few rupees. Enter: the dealers. In the early aughts, Eric Touchaleaume of Galerie 54, François Laffanour, Philippe Jousse, and Patrick Seguin began making trips to the remote city to snap up the junked treasures. “We said, Let’s take the risk of buying these, and we’ll see what happens,” says Laffanour, who showed a cache of expensively restored Chandigarh pieces at Design Miami in December. Since its rediscovery, the chair has become a favorite of Belgian designer Axel Vervoordt and French talent Joseph Dirand. “It’s so simple, so minimal, so strong,” the latter says. “Put one in a room, and it becomes a sculpture.” These days, clusters of them adorn celebrity homes, including Kourtney Kardashian’s (she owns at least 12). And as more and more creep onto the market, both refurbished originals and unofficial reproductions, a chair that was once common is becoming oh-sofamiliar yet again. —HANNAH MARTIN 6


dealer’s eye

PIERRE PAULIN’S ÉLYSÉE BOOKCASE, 1971.

WHERE ART MEETS COMMERCE

Demisch Danant At their New York gallery, Suzanne Demisch and Stephane Danant shine a light on undersung French masters

SPECIALTY: Twentieth-century French

design, mostly from the 1950s to the ’70s. BEST KNOWN FOR: Highlighting stylemakers

WOOL PRAYER RUG BY SHEILA HICKS, 1972.

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who have gone off the radar—such as ’60s cult figure Maria Pergay, whom Suzanne Demisch tracked down in Morocco in 2004, using the yellow pages. RESEARCH AID: Back issues of Connaissance des Arts, Maison & Jardin, Maison Française, and Plaisir de France. VIRTUE: Patience. “With Joseph-André Motte, it took seven years of talking with his family before they gave me access to his archives,” Stephane Danant says. “Then I spent another year making weekly visits to his widow to document the images.” LATEST PURSUIT: Postwar talent Étienne Fermigier. “He was so prolific, creating everything from lighting and furniture to cars,” Demisch says. “But there’s not a lot around.” LUCKY FIND: A rare Pierre Paulin Élysée bookcase, modular Plexiglas shelving identical to one commissioned in 1971 for then-president Georges Pompidou’s apartment. Danant found the piece at a flea market and eventually authenticated it. RESEARCHING: American fiber artist Sheila Hicks’s collaborations with Mexican architect Luis Barragán. “Where are they? What are they? We don’t really know,” says Demisch. “But she does.” IN THE WORKS: A partnership with the Paulin family business to produce some never-realized concepts that date from the end of the designer’s glorious career. demischdanant.com —HANNAH MARTIN

FROM TOP: THIERRY DEPAGNE/COURTESY OF DEMISCH DANANT (3); PAMELA HANSON/COURTESY OF DEMISCH DANANT

A BLACKENED-STEELAND-MARQUETRY SOFA BY MARIA PERGAY, COMMISSIONED IN 2009.


DISCOVERIES

THE BEST IN SHOPPING, DESIGN, AND STYLE 1

EDITED BY JANE KELTNER DE VALLE AND SAM COCHRAN

1. COURTESY OF SCHUMACHER; 2. COURTESY OF TISCH NEW YORK; 3. JOHN MANNO

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Whirlwind

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Everyday objects get an artful twist with the centuries-old technique of marbling 1. MARTYN LAWRENCE BULLARD FOR SCHUMACHER FLORENCE WALLPAPER IN LAPIS; TO THE TRADE. FSCHUMACHER.COM, 800-523-1200 2. TISCH NEW YORK MARBLE WOOD-AND-CORK PLACE MAT IN FRENCH BLUE. 15" DIA.; $49. TISCHNEWYORK.COM 3. SIMPLE LIFE ISTANBUL EBRU LIGHT MARBLE CERAMIC SERVING BOARD IN GREEN. 14" L. X 7" W.; $75. SIMPLELIFEISTANBUL.COM, 646-598-9288 AR C H DI G E S T. CO M

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DISCOVERIES shopping

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1. JOHN DERIAN FOR ASTIER DE VILLATTE SMALL RED, BLUE, AND YELLOW MARBLE TERRA-COTTA TEAPOT. 5" H. X 8" W. X 4" DIA.; $575. JOHNDERIAN.COM, 212-677-3917

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2. LE FANION JASPÉ EARTHENWARE EGG CUP. 2.25" H.; $36. LEFANION.COM, 212-463-8760

3. REBECCA ATWOOD DESIGNS MARBLE WALLPAPER IN OCEAN; $68/YARD. REBECCAATWOOD.COM, 718-369-0016

4. PORTA ROMANA ROCKET TABLE LAMP IN FRENCH BRASS WITH SATIN SHADE IN MARBLE. 27.5" H. X 13" W.; $2,511 FOR LAMP AND SHADE. PORTAROMANA.COM, 786-464-0992

5. TROELS FLENSTED STUDIO LARGE POURED BOWL IN WHITE WITH PINK. 2.25" H. X 7.5" DIA.; $185. TROELSFLENSTED.COM, +45-60-65-58-98

6. RULE OF THREE STONE PLUME SILKAND-LINEN PILLOW IN STARLIGHT NIGHT. 16" X 20"; $315. RULEOFTHREESTUDIO.COM, 213-266-8643

P ROD U C ED BY PARK ER BOWI E L A R S O N

1. COURTESY OF JOHN DERIAN CO.; 2. AND 5. JOHN MANNO; 3. REN FULLER/COURTESY OF REBECCA ATWOOD DESIGNS; 4. COURTESY OF PORTA ROMANA; 6. COURTESY OF RULE OF THREE

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DISCOVERIES art scene

ARTIST ADAM MCEWEN WITH RECENT PHOTOGRAPHIC WORKS ON SPONGE IN HIS NEW YORK STUDIO. HIS SOLO SHOW AT THE ASPEN ART MUSEUM RUNS FROM JANUARY 13 TO MAY 28 (ASPENARTMUSEUM.ORG).

Provocative Statements

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On the eve of his first U.S. solo museum show, Adam McEwen opens his studio for a look at his wry, wondrous works

t first glance, the through line of Adam McEwen’s art appears to be humor—of the deadpan variety often associated with Brits like himself. There are his parodies of shop-window signs, such as the one announcing “Fuck Off We’re Closed,” which he made shortly after moving to New York in 2000, and his pitch-perfect obituaries for subjects who are still alive. There are his drawings of real text messages (one reads, “Cant. Dad’s shooting a porno in ohio, mom’s flying to seattle”) and his photographs, printed on colored kitchen sponges, of chewing gum stomped and baked into sidewalks. But take another look, and something darker, more unsettling surfaces. Those wads of gum in fact reference bombing patterns from the Second World War. Graphite sculptures of everyday objects, meanwhile, may look hyperreal, only that mailbox doesn’t open, and that elevator button doesn’t light up. “A lot of things I’ve made in graphite, like a watercooler or an ATM, are analogies for nondelivery,” McEwen says in his Long Island City, New York, studio. “That sense of wanting to deliver and failing—art can feel a bit like that.” Tall and lanky, with a plummy English accent, McEwen has a knack for keeping viewers off-balance. Videos shot driving through Manhattan’s tunnels loop so the car never reaches an

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exit. An infamous photograph of an executed Mussolini and his lover hanging by their feet in a public square is inverted, so the couple appears to be flying. His obituaries have a similar effect. “You see it and are like, Is Bill Clinton dead?” McEwen says. “In that split second, things become unstable.” “There is a poeticism about the realities of the lives we lead,” says Heidi Zuckerman, director of Colorado’s Aspen Art Museum, which has organized McEwen’s first solo museum exhibition in the U.S., on view from January 13 through May 28. “The show is really about death.” Case in point: a 2013 graphite version of the coffin carrier McEwen and his fellow pallbearers used to take his father, Rory—the influential folk singer and botanicals painter—to the graveyard 35 years ago. “If you had made that object in 1450, you would have made the same object,” says McEwen, marveling at the timeless form, a minimalist abstraction embedded with emotion. It took McEwen several years to come to terms with his own artistic ambitions. Raised in London and Scotland, he studied English at Oxford, let a family friend guilt-trip him into taking a job at an investment bank, then bolted for the

P ORT RAI T BY FLOTO + WA R N E R


DISCOVERIES art scene 1. DISPLAYED IN HIS STUDIO ARE SMALL CONCRETE SCULPTURES OF DEPLOYED AIR BAGS. 2. AN UNTITLED 2015 PRINT ON SPONGE. 3. HOLLAND TUNNEL (YELLOW), 2016.

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California Institute of the Arts. After graduating he returned to London, where he took a part-time job writing obituaries for The Daily Telegraph. Struggling to find his artistic voice, he composed an obit for punk icon Malcolm McLaren, then living. After moving to New York at age 35, he made more faux death notices, some of which attracted attention as part of the 2006 Whitney Biennial. “They’re homages, not wishful thinking,” he says. An homage to Macaulay Culkin? “He was pretty incredible in Home Alone. Nothing wrong with that film.” More recently McEwen has created concrete sculptures of deployed air bags and a series of long, narrow photographs of stretch limousines, printed on sponge. “Again, they speak of people wanting,” he says, exclaiming with a tragic twinge, “‘It’s going to be the best night of our lives!’” As he points out, such limos have fallen out of favor. “These guys are cruising around desperately looking for work.” 3 24

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McEwen empathizes with the drivers, obscured behind tinted windows. “As an artist, you’ve got to reveal yourself, because if you don’t, you won’t make good work,” he says. “But you don’t want to reveal yourself, because it’s horrible.” —JULIE L. BELCOVE

FROM TOP: FLOTO + WARNER; COURTESY OF THE ARTIST AND PETZEL, NEW YORK (2)

“That sense of wanting to deliver and failing— art can feel a bit like that,” says Adam McEwen.


1. COURTESY OF 1STDIBS; 2., 5., AND 6. COURTESY OF POTTERY BARN KIDS; 3. ANDREW WOFFINDEN; 4. ROBERTO TOMEI/COURTESY OF ZANELLAZINE CERAMICS; 7. AD GROUP FOTOGRAPHER/COURTESY OF BUDRI

DISCOVERIES personal best 3 1

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Margherita Missoni With a new home collaboration, the Missoni scion has big designs on the little ones in your life

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argherita Maccapani Missoni Amos grew up in a swirl—okay, make that a zigzag— of color and pattern. “I don’t have to consciously put it out there,” she says. “It’s part of my aesthetic. It’s how I dress myself, my kids, my home.” Now she’s making it her business to spread the rainbow: The Italy-based mother of two boys launched a childrenswear line, Margherita Kids, two years ago, and will debut a home collection for Pottery Barn Kids in January. Needless to say, the collaboration is a reflection of her vibrant world. Featuring a sophisticated medley of sunshine hues that defy gender distinction (no pink or blue themes here), the line has a playful, free-spirited feel. Think mirrors trimmed in daisy petals (the flower Amos is named for) and Calder-esque mobiles. “Everything can be mixed and matched,” says Amos, who hates the idea of sets; even her china at home—which includes Richard Ginori, Missoni Home, and family heirlooms—is an eclectic blend. Personal touches can be felt throughout the new collection. Pillows embroidered with Italian terms of endearment, for example, were inspired by a christening gift her son Otto received from his godmother, Coco Brandolini D’Adda. The style doyenne has been thinking about home a lot of late. She and her husband, race-car driver Eugenio Amos, are preparing to move into a new house, which she is decorating herself. While she cites Gabriella Crespi, Renzo Mongiardino, Gio Ponti, and Max Lamb among the designers who inspire her, she insists, “I would never use a decorator; it’s too fun doing it myself.” She adds: “I like for things to be lived in.” It’s a philosophy that extends as much to fashion as to home. “I hate when people wear clothes that look borrowed,” she says. “You want to feel the person owns the pieces and has a history with them.” potterybarnkids.com —JANE KELTNER DE VALLE

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MARGHERITA’S FAVORITE THINGS 1. A MEMPHIS LAMP. 2. THE NURSERY OF AMOS’S THREE-YEAROLD SON, OTTO. 3. AMOS IN THE LIVING ROOM OF HER FAMILY HOME IN VARESE. 4. A CERAMIC-ANDMETAL CACTUS FROM ZANELLAZINE. 5. & 6. MARGHERITA MISSONI FOR POTTERY BARN KIDS DAISY MIRROR, $199, AND PICCOLO MIO PILLOW, $50. 7. PATRICIA URQUIOLA FISH-BONE MARBLE INLAY.

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DISCOVERIES architecture A PATINATED BRISESOLEIL CRAFTED FROM STEEL TUBES WRAPS THE DALLAS HOME OF DIANE AND CHUCK CHEATHAM, WHICH WAS DESIGNED BY TOD WILLIAMS BILLIE TSIEN ARCHITECTS USING READYMADE MATERIALS.

Out of the Ordinary Tapped to build a house for construction-savvy clients, architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien show just how sculptural standard materials can be

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t age five Diane Cheatham already had it all worked out: Instead of pretending to be a doctor or a cop, she played developer, assigning subcontracting jobs to her pint-size colleagues as they dreamed up houses. The instinct lay dormant through her early career as a CPA but surfaced when she later started to work in a developer’s office. Then, at 40, she struck out on her own building homes—all of them modernist. In 2005, with some 60 houses under her belt, Diane set about creating an entire neighborhood in Dallas, on an overgrown 14-acre property in the northeast part of the city. She and her husband, Chuck Cheatham, a financial executive, made a deal, mostly with each other. Diane would sell 50 lots carved from the site, which they called Urban Reserve, and contract the construction of residences. With the profits, the Cheathams would pay for their own house on the land. The couple already knew which architects they wanted to design their home: husband-and-wife team Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, the same New York talents Barack Obama recently picked for his presidential library in Chicago. And the Cheathams wanted

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a big kitchen. “We had never planned a house around one to such an extent,” Williams says. “But Diane is a great cook, and they entertain a lot.” As Diane explains, “Chuck and I have a 50-50 relationship in the kitchen—I plan, he shops, I cook, he cleans.” The Urban Reserve neighborhood now boasts more than 30 homes, including the Cheathams’ own, a 6,900-square-foot collage of indoor and outdoor spaces. On the ground floor, two guest rooms, storage, and the carport elevate the upper stories into the breezes and the view. The second level is an open-air plateau, with a lap pool, dining area, and kitchen. Meanwhile, the main spaces—a living room wrapped in floor-to-ceiling windows, the generously sized main kitchen and pantry, another dining area, and the master suite—are all on the third floor, creating what is basically a one-bedroom flat that, set eye to eye with the surrounding oaks and elms, has the feel of a tree house. Architecturally, Tsien and Williams have created a materially rich, spatially complex, and porous house, with decisive cubic forms clad inside and out in warm woods, glazed concrete, and crackled, colorful ceramic tile. Diane’s comfort zone for construction set the agenda, and the architects had to specify surfaces and

P HOTOGRAP HY BY M I C H A E L M O R A N


DISCOVERIES architecture 1. THE LIVING ROOM’S WINDOW WALLS FRAME VIEWS OF THE TREES. 2. MARBLE COUNTERTOPS COMPLEMENT WALNUT-VENEER CABINETRY AND POLISHED CONCRETE FLOORS IN THE KITCHEN. 3. THE DINING ROOM FEATURES A JOHN PAWSON TABLE AND HANS WEGNER CHAIRS.

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“The house is straightforward, with its quirky sides,” says architect Tod Williams.

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building techniques familiar to her subcontractors. So, though unique and sculptural, the home is made of off-the-shelf parts and materials. Standard aluminum mullions frame the glass walls, polished concrete floors have the variegated richness of marble, and concrete blocks give the place geometric rigor. With the Cheathams paying for the house as they built others down the block and employing tradesmen between different construction jobs, the home grew slowly. As a final touch they added a hanging screen of unfinished steel tubes that wraps two façades. The metal is rusting to orange. “Diane is a straightforward, straight-talking person with a quirky imagination,” Williams says. “The house is straightforward, too, with its quirky sides.” If cooking for the Cheathams is a 50-50 proposition, devising the house was not. “Building a house is like driving a car,” Chuck observes. “There can be only one person with control of the steering wheel, one person making the decisions.” It’s easy to forget how much great architecture depends on having a great client in the driver’s seat. —JOSEPH GIOVANNINI

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DISCOVERIES debut

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Quiet Riot

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In his new line of lighting and furniture, Billy Cotton, designer to Cindy Sherman and other art stars, signals a return to discreet chic

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f you want to capture someone’s attention, whisper. That was the sage advice proffered in a famous 1970s perfume advertisement. The lesson still applies today, as New York–based industrial and interior designer Billy Cotton has demonstrated in his seductive new product collections and the stylishly understated Brooklyn showroom he has conceived to display them. “In this age of statement lighting and high-concept sculptural furniture, I wanted to dial down the noise,” Cotton says. “My new work is about the power of distilled forms and subtlety.” The simple silhouettes of Cotton’s Joinery lighting series— essentially rectangular volumes that can be combined in endless configurations—belie the complexity of the fixtures’ construction. A single piece incorporates more than a hundred custom-engineered parts that enable the panes of acid-etched glass to stand apart from their walnut frames so diffused light

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1. DESIGNER BILLY COTTON SITS AMONG HIS FAVORITE VINTAGE FINDS IN HIS BROOKLYN OFFICE. 2. JOINERY COCKTAIL TABLE. 3. BILLY COTTON X SEIBERT & RICE PLANTER. 4. JOINERY DINING CHAIR. 5. JOINERY VOLUME STUDY LIGHT FIXTURE.

can escape at the edges. “The challenge I gave myself was the idea of evoking the lantern in its most basic form,” the designer explains. “It was also important for me to confront LED technology as a reality for our planet.” Cotton’s companion line of Joinery sofas, chairs, tables, and case goods operates under the same logic. By exposing the joints and breaking apart solid volumes, the designer gives a gentle lift to the furniture, as if the pieces were floating in controlled stasis. And as with the lighting collection, buyers have the freedom to change the finishes on any of the glass, metal, and wood components to suit their tastes. “I wanted to take my ego out of the process and create a canvas for 5 designers to express their own vision,” he says. Arrayed in pared-down vignettes, the new works can be found in a just-opened showroom adjacent to Cotton’s design office, all in a 1906 poured-concrete factory building in downtown Brooklyn. With period casement windows, concrete floors, and crisp white walls, the space is redolent of a contemporary white-box gallery. But Cotton eschews any inference about his intent: “I try to avoid the word gallery,” he says. “I make furniture, not art. I leave that to my artist friends and clients. If people like the furniture and want to live with it, that’s enough for me.” billycotton.com —MAYER RUS

P HOTOGRAP HY BY S T EP HEN K EN T J O H N S O N

3. AND 4. LAUREN COLEMAN

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italian idyll

TEXT BY

MITCHELL OWENS OBERTO GILI

PHOTOGRAPHY BY


Oberto Gili and Joy Sohn’s Piedmont home is a sensual delight every month of the year SNOW BLANKETS THE POOL AREA AT PHOTOGRAPHERS OBERTO GILI AND JOY SOHN’S FARM IN NORTHWEST ITALY.


WHEN WINTER PASSES, THE POOL’S PAINTED AMERICAN FLAGS ARE REVEALED AND ROSES FLOURISH.


oberto Gili, celebrated photographer of houses and gardens, had always dreamed of living off the land. Of cultivating vegetables he would lovingly harvest, cook, and eat. Of tending grapevines whose plump fruit he would transform into wine (“not château quality,” he says, “but drinkable”). Of raising chickens for eggs and cows for milk and cheese. Not just any farm would do, though. The only location Gili ever considered when it came time for him to pick up a spade was the commune of Bra, near Turin, in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy—which is, neatly enough for the photographer’s farm-to-table reverie, where activist Carlo Petrini pioneered the Slow Food movement in the 1980s. Born and raised in Turin, Gili spent childhood summers at his grandfather’s big farm in Bra, where he tagged along with the hired hands for much of each day, he says, “coming home for lunch and then running back to them.” His extended family still calls that countryside home, and the photographer and his companion, Joy Sohn—herself a gifted photographic chronicler of domestic settings—now live there, too, on about six acres that abut family members’ proper-

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ties. “It’s better than having other kinds of neighbors,” says Gili, whose latest book, produced with writer Marella Caracciolo Chia, is Domus: A Journey into Italy’s Most Creative Interiors (Rizzoli). “We drop in on each other if we want to, because there’s no reason to call and ask,” Gili continues. “And because we know each other so well, we have fewer fights.” Replacing an existing structure that was too dilapidated to readily salvage, the couple’s rambling, two-story stucco home is purposefully modest, heated in winter solely with woodstoves and cooled in summer, somewhat, with French doors flung wide. “We hardly spend any time inside when the weather’s warm,” Sohn says. The upper floor contains the master bedroom and a guest room (outbuildings offer other guest quarters), while the ground level is given over to interlocking living spaces that have no definite purpose, since, Gili observes, “rooms should be what you want them to be—and when you need them to be.” Hence the sufficiency of sturdy tables and chairs— enough for 50 people—both upright and laid-back, which allow the interior to morph in an instant. As for the architecture, “I just wanted to build a very insignificant farmhouse and then cover it with flowers,” Gili recalls, adding that he conferred with longtime friend Paolo Pejrone, Italy’s landscape guru—whose devoted clients include Aga Khan IV and Chia’s aunt Marella Agnelli—on the building as well as


the layout of the gardens. In fact the grounds were laid out and planted before the house was even constructed, and as Gili’s photographs bear witness, they look as good under a blanket of snow as they do in full bloom. “All seasons have their own beauty, and some are more interesting than others,” he says. “Come May, we have so many roses that I get sick of them. Then the blossoms wilt, the bushes have to be pruned, and everything is beautiful again, but in a different way.” Chez Sohn-Gili, Piedmont’s earthiness meets the cosmopolitan beyond in arty, cozy interiors that bear witness to the owners’ global gallops (they still maintain a Manhattan flat and travel the world on assignments), bohemian outlook, and cross-cultural union (Sohn, of Asian descent, hails from Dallas). Room after well-layered room, noble Piedmontese antiques mix it up with industrial-strength modernities that Gili designed, among them light fixtures that look like repurposed funnels and a sleigh bed fashioned of rusted metal. (Similar Gili creations will be sold at the couple’s shop, A.G.O., which opens in Bra in February.) African mud cloth, Colombian molas, and Indian saris hang at the windows, drape chairs, and swathe beds, while terra-cotta–tile floors are enlivened with Moroccan and Romanian carpets dyed rose-red, sky-blue, and leaf-green. “It’s like living inside the garden,” Sohn observes. Once a sun-bleached pink, the exterior of the farmhouse

was painted gray not long ago to heighten that feeling. Ditto the interior walls, though the living room still blushes, a memory of what came before. The chromatic change renders the plainspoken residence less visible and, Gili says, “makes the flowers look ten times more beautiful.” Repainting took around a month to complete because of the climbing roses, primarily wonderfully fragrant David Austin varieties. “That was a nightmare,” Sohn remembers, describing how each thorny cane had to be pushed aside by hand so the wall beneath could be carefully refinished with small brushes. Today Gili and Sohn’s daydream of self-sufficiency has come to a literally fruitful pass. “Pretty much everything we eat comes from the land,” Sohn reports. Vegetables, from peas to celery, are planted between the rows of grapevines, following space-saving Piedmont agricultural tradition. Old-fashioned Reinette apples, grown in an orchard along with figs, loquats, and five types of cherry, end up in tarts. The cows, Valia and Katyusha, alas, do not produce any milk, which puzzles everyone, though Gili concedes that, given all his responsibilities in Bra, the last thing he needs to do is make his own cheese. Still, every ten days, using a starter that’s more than four years old now, “Oberto bakes about 15 pounds of sourdough bread,” Sohn proudly says. “The dogs get most of it,” Gili admits with a shrug and a smile, adding, “I really like farming—as a concept basically.”

ABOVE AN ALESSANDRA BRUNO FLAG PAINTING ACCENTS THE FARMHOUSE’S BREAD ROOM. GILI DESIGNED THE LIGHT FIXTURE. OPPOSITE THE GARDEN’S BLACK CEMENT OBELISK, ANOTHER GILI CREATION.


LEFT A GUEST ROOM HOSTS GILI’S BANK STREET ROSE: LIFE AND DEATH AND A METAL BED HE DESIGNED. OPPOSITE GILI, SHOWN, PLANTED VEGETABLE BEDS BETWEEN ROWS OF GRAPEVINES.

ABOVE IN THE LIVING ROOM, A MARLIN LEAPS ABOVE A CECIL BEATON FLOWER PAINTING AND AN ANTIQUE DAYBED. LEFT A ROOSTER STRUTS ALONG A SNOWCAPPED WALL. BELOW RACCHETTA, ONE OF THE COUPLE’S THREE DOGS, PAUSES BENEATH A CLIMBING ROSE.

“I just wanted to build a very insignificant farmhouse,” Gili explains, “and then cover it with flowers.” AR C H DI G E S T. CO M

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GILI DESIGNED THE DINING ROOM’S CEILING LIGHTS AS WELL AS THE CHERRY TABLE BENEATH IT.


A fan of multipurpose spaces, Gili believes “rooms should be what you want them to be—and when you need them to be.”


BELOW A FOX THAT JOINED THE FARM’S MENAGERIE. OPPOSITE DAVID AUSTIN’S ALBÉRIC BARBIER WHITE ROSES FLANK A PATH EDGED WITH LAVENDER.

“Pretty much everything we eat comes from the land,” Sohn says. ABOVE ROSES FRAME A FARMYARD VIEW. RIGHT A SERGIO LEONI CERAMIC WOODSTOVE HEATS THE DINING ROOM, WHERE GILI PRINTS BRIGHTEN THE WALLS. BELOW THE WINTER LANDSCAPE.

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DESIGN NOTES

THE MASTER BEDROOM.

At the Italian farm of photographers Oberto Gili and Joy Sohn, it’s all about bohemian style and creative living

It’s like living inside the garden,” Sohn says of the farmhouse, which is layered with colorful textiles, bold artworks, and Italian antiques.

TULIP CHAIR BY EERO SAARINEN FOR KNOLL FROM DESIGN WITHIN REACH; $1,588. DWR.COM VIENNESE STOVE BY SERGIO LEONI; FROM $8,120. SERGIOLEONI.COM

VINTAGE MOROCCAN RUG FROM WOVEN; PRICE UPON REQUEST. WOVEN.IS

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LEAD PYRAMID AND LAMP SHADE DESIGNED BY OBERTO GILI THROUGH A.G.O.; PRICE UPON REQUEST. GALLERIAAGO.COM


CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: OBERTO GILI; COURTESY OF HUDSON VALLEY LIGHTING (2); OBERTO GILI; JOHN MANNO; COURTESY OF CARVERS’ GUILD; COURTESY OF 1STDIBS; JOHN MANNO (4); COURTESY OF DESIGN WITHIN REACH; OBERTO GILI; COURTESY OF SERGIO LEONI; COURTESY OF WOVEN

ALTAMONT PENDANTS BY HUDSON VALLEY LIGHTING; FROM $642 EACH. HUDSONVALLEYLIGHTING.COM

DIANA II MIRROR BY CARVERS’ GUILD; $1,950. THEGILDEDMIRROR.COM

We don’t have a proper sofa, but we do have enough chairs for 50 people,” notes Sohn.

GILDED METAL TABLE AND WALNUT LAMP WITH LEATHER SHADE DESIGNED BY OBERTO GILI THROUGH A.G.O.; PRICE UPON REQUEST. GALLERIAAGO.COM

VICTOR HUGO FABRIC BY LE MANACH; TO THE TRADE. LEMANACH.FR

ANTIQUE SETTEE FROM OLIVIER FLEURY INC.; $2,000. 1STDIBS.COM BRASS OBELISK BY RH; $135. RH.COM MORETTI MARBLE PYRAMID BY RH MODERN; $495. RHMODERN.COM MARBLE PYRAMID OBJECT BY DWELLSTUDIO; $39. DWELLSTUDIO.COM

DOMUS: A JOURNEY INTO ITALY’S MOST CREATIVE INTERIORS BY OBERTO GILI; $65. RIZZOLIUSA.COM


Acclaimed television impresario Ryan Murphy conjures a showstopping compound in Laguna Beach RYAN MURPHY DOUGLAS FRIEDMAN STYLED BY LAWREN HOWELL TEXT BY

PHOTOGRAPHY BY

GROOMING BY LAUREN KAYE COHEN FOR TRACEY MATTINGLY; ON MILLER: SWEATER BY ORLEY, PANTS BY GREG LAUREN; ON MURPHY: SHIRT BY TOMAS MAIER

LIVING THE DREAM


THE POOL TERRACE AT RYAN MURPHY’S CALIFORNIA COMPOUND, DESIGNED BY ARCHITECT MARK SINGER, FEATURES CHAIRS AND PLANTERS BY WILLY GUHL. OPPOSITE MURPHY (RIGHT) AND HIS HUSBAND, DAVID MILLER.


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LEFT IN MURPHY’S OFFICE, A SWEDISH DINING TABLE FROM GALERIE HALF SERVES AS A DESK. LEATHER-AND-MAHOGANY ARMCHAIR BY FRITS HENNINGSEN; ANGELO LELLI TABLE LAMPS. BELOW THE DEN’S VELVET SOFA AND PLASTER TABLE LAMP ARE BOTH WILLIAM HAINES DESIGNS. BRAZILIAN LEATHER CHAIR AND OTTOMAN FROM JF CHEN. OPPOSITE GARDEN DESIGNER BRIDGET HEDISON DEVISED THE GROUNDS, WHICH INCLUDE AN ALLÉE OF LIGUSTRUM AND PALM TREES.

hen I was pitching the very first season of American Horror Story, in 2011, my main selling point was this simple conceit: Let’s change how we make it. Let’s do something radically new with the characters and the sets. Let’s completely reimagine it every single year. To some people, this idea might seem risky. But for me, it was a very natural rhythm I felt I had some experience with: I had been doing this sort of annual reimagining at my Laguna Beach home since I bought the place in 2003. The modern residence, designed by legendary local architect Mark Singer on two acres of land with panoramic views of the Pacific, had served as a kind of design laboratory for me. Every 12 months or so, I would try a different version of my California dream. The house has been a cream-and-black-leather tribute to Scarface, then a cozy beach shack inspired by Mildred Pierce, then, after a trip to Asia, a textural Balinese home, then a blue-and-white homage to Bel Air. Moving trucks would show up, old furniture and art would be carted off to storage or sold, and a new vision would be carefully placed, scrutinized, and curated with feverish enthusiasm. Then I would start thinking about doing it again. Design has always been a passion of mine, a place to pour anxiety and joy in equal measure. I’m a bit of an addictive personality, to the point where, when my business manager complained of my Laguna hobby, I replied, “I figure it’s either furniture or cocaine.”

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IN THE LIVING ROOM, DECORATED BY CLIFF FONG OF MATT BLACKE INC., A DOUG AITKEN MIRRORED ARTWORK REFLECTS A MIX OF MIDCENTURY

FURNISHINGS. OPPOSITE A CURVILINEAR COR-TEN–STEEL PLANTER BY JOHN DAVIS BRIMS WITH LICORICE.


I have been radically transforming rooms since I was nine years old and my parents let me experiment with my Indiana tract-house bedroom. In 1977 it was inspired by Studio 54; the next year it was a tribute to Hitchcock. And so on. The experience was great preparation for becoming a showrunner and a director with the privilege of creating imaginary worlds. Set on a stunning plot of land, the Laguna home was always a dream, purchased with my first real money (from the pilot of Nip/Tuck). My oldest friend, Bart Brown, also a real-estate junkie, visited the property with me on a sunny January afternoon, and I bought it on the spot. The project started off with one house, which Bart would lovingly tend to while I was off in Los Angeles working. Then the house next door came up for sale, and I bought it, reuniting the original parcel. Bart moved in there, and I lived in the main house. Surrounding both was a tiered nightmare of a garden with ground as hard as lava rock and sad, wilted root-bound roses. In 2009, after writing the Glee pilot, I called up Mark Singer and asked him to figure out a way to tie the houses together. What about a pool pavilion? he asked. Sold! A citrus allée? Sold again. How about a saltwater soaking tub? Sounds great! Plans were drafted up and sat for two years. Then I got married to David Miller and had my first child, Logan. (Ford would soon follow.) I wanted to nest, to create a weekend getaway for my growing family. And so we started construction, supervised by Bart and David. The idea was to make both houses steel and glass, and the gardens modernist but bold and odd (like much of my work, I have been told). With garden designer Bridget Hedison, we moved forward. Six months tops, we thought. God laughed. Five years later, after stops and starts, it was finished: concrete and glass and minimalist, with olive trees galore. My good friend and interior designer Cliff Fong, who had helped me revamp my Beverly Hills home (previously owned by Diane Keaton), was called in to finesse the final details.

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LEFT THE MASTER SUITE’S CUSTOM-MADE BED BY PRESTIGIO IS UPHOLSTERED IN HOLLY HUNT FABRIC. HERMÈS FOLDING CHAISE; HANS WEGNER LOUNGE CHAIR. BELOW A MONUMENTAL 1950S CLAY SCULPTURE OF PAUL ROBESON KEEPS WATCH IN THE KITCHEN. CUSTOM-MADE STOOLS BY BESPOKE FURNITURE; CALACATTA BORGHINI MARBLE COUNTERTOP; THERMADOR OVENS. OPPOSITE INDUSTRIAL METAL CHAIRS FROM BIG DADDY’S ANTIQUES ARE GROUPED AROUND A VINTAGE TRESTLE TABLE ON THE DINING TERRACE. VASES BY BLACKMAN CRUZ.

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or months, Cliff and I slowly but surely curated a home and gardens inspired by local artists we loved. The California dream house now became a literal tribute to the photographers, furniture designers, potters, and decorators who have, over the last 100 years, made the Golden State their home as well. An entire wall was dedicated to the photography of Herb Ritts, whom I had the pleasure and privilege of knowing slightly before he died, in 2002, and whose work my husband has long admired. William Haines, movie star turned decorator to the stars in Hollywood’s golden era, was always a favorite, and so Cliff found several big Haines-designed pieces—most notably a comfy sofa we clad in a mouse-gray velvet—and brought them in. Next to my bed are two huge chinoiserie lamps covered in white porcelain flowers that Haines designed for the bedroom of Joan Crawford (I’m doing a show called Feud, out in March on FX, about the battle between Crawford and Bette Davis). Other California pieces abound, but three are worth singling out: Doug Aitken’s text sculpture NOW, anchoring the living room; David Cressey’s earthy pottery, which I have come to adore and hoard; and Portal Arch, a huge piece of found Big Sur redwood hacked by chain saw into a monumental totem by J. B. Blunk. The latter weighs more than 1,000 pounds and stands proudly outside the kitchen window, framing an ocean view. Peaceful, clean-lined, modern, and oddly quirky, my finally finished family home embodies my fantasy of California— glamorous but effortless, a place to dream and retreat—and how I pictured myself living here when I was kid. Recently, David, Bart, and I were walking the grounds, taking it all in, and the conversation shifted to my yearly habit of redoing and reimagining the house. “I think I’m finally done,” I said.

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Peaceful, clean-lined, modern, and oddly quirky, my finally finished family home embodies my fantasy of California.

WATCH RYAN MURPHY’S HOME VIDEO AT ARCHDIGEST.COM


PAINT TH After soaking cities and sand in radiant color, German artist Katharina Grosse takes Manhattan with a show of new canvases at Gagosian Gallery

TEXT BY JULIE

L. BELCOVE JANS

HAIR AND MAKEUP BY HELENA NARRA FOR LIGANORD

PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARKUS

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HE TOWN

ARTIST KATHARINA GROSSE POSES IN HER BERLIN STUDIO AMID THE FOAM STENCILS USED TO MAKE HER VIBRANT PAINTINGS. A SHOW OF HER LATEST WORKS OPENS AT GAGOSIAN’S 24TH STREET GALLERY IN NEW YORK ON JANUARY 19 (GAGOSIAN.COM).


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erman artist Katharina Grosse is famed for working on a monumental scale. Using industrial-strength spray-paint guns, she’s applied screaming colors onto railroad corridors, piles of debris, and other emblems of urban decay—creating huge sculptures and public installations that look like earthworks graffitied by Abstract Expressionists. For her most recent site-specific piece, Rockaway!, she spent a week at Fort Tilden beach in Queens, New York, splashing red and white pigment on a derelict building, as well as the sand that had piled up around it since Hurricane Sandy blew out the windows and doors in 2012. “The building was stripped down to the basic bones,” says Grosse in her Berlin studio. “It was just an open structure, which made it very abstract. You didn’t know, Is it going to emerge from the sand? Or is the sand about to cover it?” But for her next big project she is going small— relatively speaking. After joining Gagosian’s star roster last summer, she will make her debut on January 19 with a show of new canvases, some nearing 13 feet in height, at the gallery’s West 24th Street space in Manhattan. Awash in layered hues that swirl, bleed, and drip, the paintings, like her outdoor installations and sculptures, are unabashedly about color, a facet of art often dismissed as secondary in this concept-heavy era. “Color is very intimate,” Grosse says. “It triggers your responses right away. I also use it to retrace my thought structure, which is what I think a painting basically is.” Though the studio works also incorporate her signature spray-gun technique, the most obvious difference between them and her installations, Grosse notes, is time. “The intensity with which I do the site-specific pieces is always very strong, because I work, like, ten days straight; there is nothing that interferes with my activity,” she says. In the studio, on the other hand, she may have 15 canvases at various stages of completion, allowing her to develop each one gradually over the course of months—often with the

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aid of stencils made from foil, foam, and cardboard. Grosse describes herself as a late bloomer. At 20, directionless, she went on an outing to the countryside with some artist friends of her mother, printmaker Barbara Grosse. “I was sitting in a field, and I painted a willow tree,” Grosse recalls. “It took about eight hours.” Hooked, she spent the next year with a brush in hand, eventually entering the famed Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. Even after graduating, in 1990, she worked her way through the “whole panorama of art history” before finding her voice in abstraction. Then, in 1998, Grosse started using spray paint, which she says allowed her physical gestures to mimic sight. “The way the eyes move up, look down, grasp the space— spray paint is very equal to that movement.” Another shift came in 2004, with an intensely private, site-specific work: her Düsseldorf bedroom. “I spray-painted everything—the bed, the clothes, my writing desk, my music, an open suitcase,” she says, adding that it was the first time she incorporated found objects into her paintings. The American art world took note in 2008, when, as part of the inaugural Prospect New Orleans triennial, Grosse turned an abandoned house in the Hurricane Katrina–ravaged Lower Ninth Ward into a shockingorange buoy among the rot. Curator Klaus Biesenbach, the director of MoMA PS1, remembers how the piece uplifted him. “She painted a painting onto the house,” he says. “She didn’t paint the house.” After Hurricane Sandy hit New York, Biesenbach knew he wanted to tap Grosse for a project. At Fort Tilden, the red-and-white motif of Rockaway! not only popped against the sand, sea, and sky but also evoked both a lifeguard’s uniform and the magenta sunsets that light up that beach. Damaged beyond repair, the building will have been razed by the publication of this story—but Grosse is not dejected. “This happens to a lot of the works I do,” she says. “They have a certain life span. They disappear. It’s part of it.”

INSTALLATION PHOTOS: ROCKAWAY!: PABLO ENRIQUEZ/©KATHARINA GROSSE AND VG BILD-KUNST, BONN 2016/COURTESY OF MOMA PS1; JUST THE TWO OF US: JAMES EWING/©KATHARINA GROSSE AND VG BILD-KUNST, BONN 2016/COURTESY OF THE GAGOSIAN GALLERY

LEFT FOR HER 2016 INSTALLATION ROCKAWAY!, GROSSE TRANSFORMED A DERELICT BUILDING AT A QUEENS BEACH INTO A TECHNICOLOR SHOWSTOPPER. RIGHT PAINTINGS IN PROGRESS AT HER STUDIO.


“Color is very intimate,” says Katharina Grosse. “It triggers your responses right away.”

ABOVE GROSSE’S 2013–14 INSTALLATION JUST THE TWO OF US CLUSTERED 18 SCULPTURES AMONG THE TREES OF BROOKLYN’S METROTECH COMMONS PLAZA. LEFT A UTILITY SINK AT HER STUDIO REVEALS TRACES OF HER SIGNATURE BOLD PALETTE.


TEXT BY

FRED A. BERNSTEIN BAAN

PHOTOGRAPHY BY IWAN

MUSIC IN THE AIR More than ten years in the making, Herzog & de Meuron’s Elbphilharmonie concert hall adds a high note to the Hamburg skyline


THE RIPPLING, SEQUINED ROOFLINE OF HAMBURG’S NEW ELBPHILHARMONIE CONCERT HALL, DESIGNED BY HERZOG & DE MEURON.

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THE 2,100-SEAT GRAND HALL, WHICH IS LINED IN TEXTURED GYPSUM-FIBER PANELS.


“In this era of beautiful virtual reality, our work has to have real impact,” says Jacques Herzog.


“Good architecture is always better than what you can see in a picture,” notes Herzog.

BUILT ON TOP OF A HISTORIC WAREHOUSE, THE VENUE IS WRAPPED IN CURVED SHEETS OF GLASS THAT REFLECT THE CITY AND SKY.


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ommercial structures reinvented as cultural attractions? It’s a phenomenon happening all over the world but nowhere more dramatically than in Hamburg. There, a 2,820-seat concert venue is opening January 11 atop one of the city’s largest warehouse buildings, a masonry behemoth dating from the 19th century. Designed by the Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron, the glass-clad concert hall, the Elbphilharmonie, perches on the building like an iceberg that’s too cool to melt. The warehouse “will now bear on top the load that it once carried within its walls,” states Jacques Herzog, who founded the firm with Pierre de Meuron. For the Elbphilharmonie, Herzog says, one influence was the Greek amphitheater—carved out of the ground, as much geology as it is architecture. Another was the canopies used at festivals and outdoor theaters to protect people from the sun. The Elbphilharmonie seems to embody both, like a vast rock outcropping culminating in a tentlike roof. Viewers will also see mountains, waves, and sailing ships in the richly evocative edifice. The interior of the main 2,100-seat concert hall is similarly geological—its wraparound balconies rise steeply, like rock strata exposed in a quarry. Surrounding the concert hall (and two smaller performance spaces) are condos and a new Westin hotel, set behind bulbous, fritted panels of glass. The original building now offers parking and space for back-ofhouse functions. Its roof, reached by giant escalators that cling to the old masonry, has become a grand terrace, providing 360-degree views of the largely low-rise city on the Elbe. The Elbphilharmonie is, surprisingly, the first concert hall designed by Herzog & de Meuron. But the firm drew on its experience designing stadiums, including Beijing’s iconic Bird’s Nest (a collaboration with Ai Weiwei); the Matmut Atlantique in Bordeaux, France, a box supported by slender steel columns; and the balloonlike Allianz Arena in Munich. Those buildings couldn’t be more different—which is how the architects like it, and why, after 40 years in practice, they aren’t easily pigeonholed. In the U.S. the firm is best known for a concrete parking complex in Miami Beach and four very distinct museums, including San Francisco’s twisty, copper-covered de Young and Long Island’s Parrish, an extraordinarily refined, 615-foot-long take on a local barn. Now, after years of near-absence from New York City, the firm is constructing three condo buildings (one with a hotel) in lower Manhattan. The most dramatic—and furthest along—is 56 Leonard Street, a 57-story Jenga-like tower. “I would hate them if they were bad buildings, if they were just there to make money for the investors,” says Herzog of the New York projects. But the success of public buildings like the Elbphilharmonie, and the firm’s addition to London’s Tate Modern, only increases the value of the Herzog & de Meuron brand. The architects won the Hamburg commission in 2003, but the concert hall was plagued by delays and overruns. Previously expected to cost some 300 million euros and open in 2010, it is budgeted at a reported 865 million euros (nearly $1 billion). The architects have pointed to political upheavals and contract disputes as culprits. “We repeatedly warned that something was going wrong,” de Meuron told the German publication Spiegel Online in 2013. “When it’s finished and concerts are held there, Hamburgers will eventually forget about the problems and love the Elbphilharmonie. I’m convinced of that.”

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NORTHER The luminous interiors of a Minnesota lake house set the scene for a couple’s striking collection of contemporary art RAUL BARRENECHE DOUGLAS FRIEDMAN STYLED BY ANITA SARSIDI

TEXT BY PHOTOGRAPHY BY

ABOVE A FÉLIX GONZÁLEZ-TORRES INSTALLATION GLOWS IN A MINNESOTA HOUSE RENOVATED BY ARCHITECTURE RESEARCH OFFICE WITH INTERIORS BY MICHELLE ANDREWS. RIGHT IN THE SALON, CINDY SHERMAN PHOTOGRAPHS OVERLOOK A VINCENT CORBIÈRE PEDESTAL TABLE AND VINTAGE DOMINIQUE CHAIRS. 78

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LIVING with art, particularly large-scale contemporary works, is always a delicate balancing act. Focus too much on the art and you might feel like you’re living in a gallery; too little, and prized pieces don’t shine. One Minnesota couple, avid collectors and supporters of Twin Cities

ABOVE WALTER LAMB DESIGNS FURNISH A TERRACE FACING LAKE MINNETONKA. RIGHT AN ALBERT OEHLEN WORK DOMINATES THE MASTER BEDROOM, WHERE SAMUEL MARX CHAIRS CLAD IN A CLAREMONT SILK CONTRAST WITH AN EBONY BED. OPPOSITE THE DEN IS BRIGHTENED BY A SIGMAR POLKE WORK AND A MARC DU PLANTIER CARPET; SAMUEL MARX DESIGNED THE DESK AND THE CABINET.

cultural institutions, struck what seems to be a comfortable equilibrium in their new lakefront home a few miles west of Minneapolis. Their outstanding collection of painting, photography, sculpture, and conceptual art—blue-chip works by names like Gerhard Richter, Cy Twombly, and Félix González-Torres—mixes happily with midcentury French antiques and one-of-a-kind artisanal commissions. The couple, who had lived in downtown Minneapolis for decades, reconsidered their home base after they began spending much of their time in Florida. “We thought, Why are we not living on the water, in a house that could really do justice to our collection?” recalls the wife, a loyal patron of the Walker Art Center. She and her husband of 52 years took their time searching, finally settling on a spacious house on a quiet cove of Lake Minnetonka in Wayzata. At first blush the 1970s structure didn’t look like a natural fit for the modernminded couple. Its spartan exteriors, rendered in stucco with Italianate statuary perched atop heavy cornices, skewed classical. But it had good bones and handsomely proportioned rooms with soaring ceilings that would perfectly suit sizable works by Sigmar Polke, Agnes Martin, and Joan Mitchell, as well as provide space for entertaining. A pair of courtyards flanking a central salon with expanses of tall, slender sliding doors let in bountiful daylight.


“This house is like a gallery in many ways,” says architect Stephen Cassell. “But our focus was on making it feel like a home.”

ABOVE THE SALON INCLUDES PAINTINGS BY JOAN MITCHELL (FAR RIGHT) AND AGNES MARTIN; CHAIRS BY MATHIEU MATÉGOT ARE PULLED UP TO A FONTANAARTE DINING TABLE. RIGHT WHITESPIRE BIRCHES SHADE A BENCH BY JENNY HOLZER. 82

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An expansive rear terrace opens up the rooms to views of the lake, where wood Chris-Craft boats take to the water in warmer weather. “We’ve always gravitated to homes that have a strong inside-outside feeling,” says the wife. “The light here is incredible, and we’re so close to the water. There’s something very peaceful about the house.” To make the place their own, the couple turned to two New York–based design talents with whom they had worked in the past: Architecture Research Office (ARO) and interior designer and curator Michelle Andrews. ARO, which crafted a stunning modern home for the couple in Colorado in the 1990s and remodeled a pair of lofts for their son and daughter in Manhattan, has a particular affinity for interiors that skillfully and sensitively integrate art. The firm is currently renovating the legendary Rothko Chapel in Houston, originally designed by Philip Johnson for

the de Menil family. In 2013 ARO completed the impeccable restoration of minimalist icon Donald Judd’s home and studio in New York, a project that informed the architects’ approach to the Wayzata house. “Judd had such a strong conception of fusing the experiences of art, space, and details in a home,” explains principal Stephen Cassell. “This house is like a gallery in many ways. But our focus was on making it feel like a home.” For ARO, bringing the house up to date meant respecting its classical symmetry while finessing proportions, simplifying details, and introducing delicate textures. Ornate polychrome moldings were replaced with spare, simple designs. Plaster walls painted in pale hues emphasize the luminous glow of sunlight reflecting off the lake, while heavily veined onyx and marble and Macassar ebony add earthy, graphic elements. “We created an elegant frame for a fantastic and subtle art collection,” says Cassell.


“The light here is incredible, and we’re so close to the water,” says the wife. “There’s something very peaceful about the house.”

ABOVE THE LAKE TERRACE. RIGHT A DOMINIQUE TABLE AND CHAIRS OUTFIT THE KITCHEN’S BREAKFAST AREA. FAR RIGHT THE MASTER BATH CONTAINS AN ALBION BATH CO. TUB AND CATALANO SINKS. OPPOSITE DONALD JUDD FURNITURE PROTOTYPES ARE FEATURED IN THE LIBRARY; THE CURTAINS ARE MADE OF A HOLLAND & SHERRY LINEN.

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Andrews started working with the homeowners, who are relatives of hers, on their art collection two decades ago. “We began in a disciplined way, but very soon that gave way to a wandering process,” she says, recalling how the couple’s early interest in Bruce Nauman photographs broadened to take in painting and sculpture. Over the years she has helped expand their collection as well as commission furnishings and decorative pieces that complement, yet never compete with, their art-filled surroundings. “I think of myself as a gatherer of artists,” offers Andrews. Here, shimmery rugs handwoven with gold and silver wire and natural fique fibers, the work of Colombian artist Jorge Lizarazo, coexist comfortably with intimate groupings of classic designs by Jacques Adnet and Jean Royère, as well as custom-made furniture devised by Andrews and her favorite Parisian artisans. “I take a mixologist’s approach to high and low, geography and materials,” she says. “It feels joyful. I like to call it ‘refined tumult.’ ” Of course, for both designer and clients, the home will never be truly finished. There is always the thrill of the acquisition, the chance for another collaboration. Addition is part of the plan. “The house has a feeling of completeness,” says Andrews, “but it’s reasonably spare, to give the owners the opportunity to keep building, keep going.”


THE LONG ISLAND HOME OF LYOR COHEN AND XIN LI EMBRACES ITS MAJESTIC SETTING ON NOYACK BAY WITH NUMEROUS OUTDOOR SPACES, INCLUDING THIS SUNKEN FIREPLACE AREA WITH BUILT-IN SEATING. CUSHIONS IN A MANUEL CANOVAS FABRIC FROM COWTAN & TOUT; PILLOWS IN A PERENNIALS FABRIC.


zen spirit For music mogul Lyor Cohen, Leroy Street Studio crafts a reямБned retreat in the Hamptons DEREK BLASBERG PERNILLE LOOF STYLED BY MICHAEL REYNOLDS TEXT BY

PHOTOGRAPHY BY


ABOVE CHARRED CYPRESS PANELS AND A BANQUETTE IN A CERULEAN EDELMAN LEATHER SET OFF THE DINING AREA. 1970S ITALIAN CHANDELIER; MARTIN EISLER DINING CHAIRS; HANS WEGNER CIRCLE CHAIR. RIGHT IN THE LIVING ROOM, A WORK FROM THE BRUCE HIGH QUALITY FOUNDATION HANGS ABOVE A BUILT-IN SOFA WITH CUSHIONS IN A KIRKBY DESIGN FABRIC FROM ROMO AND PILLOWS IN A CHRIS BARRETT STRIPE FROM HOLLAND & SHERRY. CUSTOM-MADE OAK COCKTAIL TABLES WITH EDELMAN LEATHER SURFACES.


PORTRAIT: NOA GRIFFEL

COHEN AND LI WERE MARRIED AT THE HOUSE THIS PAST AUGUST.

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he way music exec Lyor Cohen tells it, his Hamptons beach house was born from a father’s love some 15 years ago. The cofounder of 300 Entertainment and recently appointed global head of music for YouTube is wistful as he describes how he and his then-five-year-old son, Oz, first spied the plot of land where his modernist three-bedroom home now sits. “We were sailing Noyack Bay during the late day,” he remembers. “As we came about, my son and I were both struck by the golden, warm sun hitting the cliffs that faced due west. The engine was off, and the boat gently tilted in the wind. At that moment I made a proclamation that one day we would live there. It took a while, but it’s the greatest purchase I have ever made.” When one of the six houses on that North Haven bluff came up for sale in 2007, Cohen bought it sight unseen. He had a farm in Bridgehampton at the time, so he let the new place sit for five years, eventually deciding to demolish it and rebuild. Two experiences shaped the direction of the new design: First, on one of his “boys’ trips” (which is how he refers to the periodic international excursions he takes with pals like Jay Z, music exec turned hip-hop marketer Steve Stoute, and investor Noam Gottesman), he was introduced to the Japanese practice of

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“We wanted the house to kind of disappear into the landscape,” says Cohen.

CLAD IN BURNT CYPRESS FROM DELTA MILLWORKS, THE MODERNIST DWELLING WAS DESIGNED TO BLEND INTO ITS SURROUNDINGS. FLEETWOOD WINDOWS AND DOORS.


THE KITCHEN ISLAND IS TOPPED WITH HONED MONT BLANC MARBLE. CUSTOMMADE OAK CABINETRY BY MARQUIS MILLWORK AND CARPENTRY; BAR STOOLS BY MARTELL WOODWORKS; RECLAIMED ASH FLOORING FROM THE HUDSON CO.

shou-sugi-ban, in which wood surfaces are burned so that the char serves as a protective finish. This explains the home’s blackened exteriors. “Burning is a natural sealant, and black is the most unobtrusive color in nature,” Cohen explains. “We wanted the house to kind of disappear into the landscape.” And then a second inspiration struck as he found himself hypnotized during a snowy train ride from Zurich to Saint Moritz. “I wanted the warmth and coziness of a ski chalet.” He hired Marc Turkel of New York–based Leroy Street Studio to execute the concept. Cohen was a demanding client. Laughing, he recalls that over the almost three-year design and construction process, which finished in 2015, Turkel tried on more than one occasion to fire the homeowner from the project. “The challenge here was to make a modern house warm,” Cohen says. “I didn’t just want a glass box.” He and Turkel were also aware of size and proportion: “We fought constantly to resist the temptation to be grandiose for all the wrong reasons.” Asked his favorite room in the house, Cohen replies that it’s the outdoor space, which is why he took particular care to create harmony among house, land, and sea. “We honor the sunset every day here,” he says. “The terrace is like a stage on which we wait for its performance.” Nearly every room looks out toward the sea, with sofas and built-in seating all facing the water. It was in the garden that Cohen married Xin Li, a former model and the deputy chairman of Christie’s Asia, in a sunset ceremony last August. The bride wore three dresses: a wedding gown by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, followed by two party dresses designed by Alessandro Michele for Gucci, each in a traditional festive Chinese color—first gold, then red. Li says an ancient Chinese mystical master helped her pick the date and advised that the couple be married before 7 P.M. for “a happy life, success, health, fortune, and, most important, love.” The weather on that chosen day—starting with a crimson sunset and ending in a spectacular storm—seemed to be conjured by the divine. According to Li, “The sun, the wind, and the rain are especially good luck in Chinese tradition,

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“We honor the sunset every day here,” says Cohen. “We wait for its performance.”

WRAPPED IN A PHILLIP JEFFRIES WALL COVERING, THE MASTER BEDROOM FEATURES A BESPOKE HEADBOARD DRESSED IN A CHRISTOPHER FARR CLOTH FABRIC FROM HOLLAND &

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SHERRY. SCONCES AND CHANDELIER FROM LUMFARDO LUMINARIES; VINTAGE CERAMIC LAMPS ON RENZO RUTILI NIGHTSTANDS; DUANE MODERN BENCH; STARK CARPET.

and that they all occurred at the right time reflects that the master was precisely right.” As a wedding present, the couple’s friend Wendi Murdoch presented them with a three-minute fireworks performance by the Chinese gunpowder artist Cai Guo-Qiang. The newlyweds now spend their evenings enjoying each sunset, says Cohen, while “sitting in our Japanese soaking tub, humbled as we watch the explosion of colors that even Gerhard Richter would envy.” (The couple doesn’t accept invitations for events starting before sundown throughout the summer.) But the lesson that Cohen learned in the decade and a half it took to achieve the house of his dreams was a simple one: “I didn’t understand the definition of refinement until I was 47 years old.” It’s something he says many people in his life have shown him: Like when Delphine Arnault invited him to Bordeaux’s Château d’Yquem, and he was inspired by the simplicity of the decor at one of the most exquisite vineyards in the entire world. Or when Beyoncé organized Jay Z’s 40th birthday in the Dominican Republic and limited the crew to only a few dozen of the first family of pop’s closest friends. “Editing is the most difficult thing we have to do in the creative process—editing movies, music, friends,” says Cohen. “Resisting the urge to add to life’s clutter when you have the power to do so—that’s what refinement is.”


THE MASTER BATH’S JAPANESE SOAKING TUB AND MATCHING BENCH ARE BY BARTOK DESIGN. VINTAGE LIGHT FIXTURE FROM JOHN SALIBELLO; ALL FITTINGS BY LEFROY BROOKS.


DESIGN NOTES Lyor Cohen and Xin Li’s beach house is a masterful mix of Japanese, Scandinavian, and Swiss influences

BOKA PERSIMMON TABLE LAMP BY CRATE AND BARREL; $229. CRATEANDBARREL.COM

XIN LI IN THE LIVING ROOM, NEXT TO A VINTAGE CHAIR FROM A PARIS FLEA MARKET.

KARUSELLI LOUNGE CHAIR BY YRJÖ KUKKAPURO; FROM $7,800. HIVEMODERN.COM

WEST COAST COLLECTION LEATHER IN MADRONE BY EDELMAN LEATHER; TO THE TRADE. EDELMANLEATHER.COM

ORIGINAL CIRCLE CHAIR BY HANS WEGNER FOR PP MØBLER. WYETH.NYC

SLUBBY OUTDOOR FABRIC IN TUTTI FRUTTI BY PERENNIALS; TO THE TRADE. PERENNIALSFABRICS.COM

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The whole effort was to make a modern house with a lot of windows that is also warm,” says Cohen. “We welcomed the warmth.”


REYES COUNTER STOOL BY MARTELL WOODWORKS; $970. MARTELLWOODWORKS.COM

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: PHILIPPE CHENG; COURTESY OF CRATE AND BARREL; COURTESY OF BARTOK DESIGN; COURTESY OF JOHANNA BENNETT/LUMFARDO LUMINAIRES; COURTESY OF MARTELL WOODWORKS; PERNILLE LOOF; JEFF ELROD/COURTESY OF THE ARTIST AND LUHRING AUGUSTINE, NEW YORK; COURTESY OF JORDAN LOCKHART/FROM THE SOURCE; COURTESY OF TRAFORART; COURTESY OF WYETH; COURTESY OF HIVE MODERN; JOHN MANNO (2)

JAPANESE OFURO BATHTUB BY BARTOK DESIGN; PRICE UPON REQUEST. BARTOKDESIGN.COM

LUFIVE ARM CHANDELIER BY LUMFARDO LUMINAIRES; $5,600. LUMFARDO.COM

UNTITLED (BLUE BLUR), 2016, BY JEFF ELROD. LUHRINGAUGUSTINE.COM

KUKKAPURO LOUNGE CHAIRS IN THE CABANA.

I keep a fire going throughout the year— fall, winter, spring, and summer,” notes Cohen.

TEAK-ROOT SCULPTURES BY FROM THE SOURCE; FROM $275 EACH. FTSNY.COM

ARIADNA CENTRAL FIREPLACE BY TRAFORART; FROM $8,000. FIAMMAFIREPLACES.COM


FASHION STYLING BY JESSICA SAILER; HAIR BY WESLEY O’MEARA FOR AG HAIR AT HONEY ARTISTS; MAKEUP BY MISHA SHAHZADA FOR SEE MANAGEMENT

PHOTO FINISH


OPPOSITE IN THEIR SHAWN HENDERSON– DECORATED NEW YORK STUDY, JIMMIE AND CHANDRA JOHNSON ECHO HORST P. HORST’S 1966 PHOTOGRAPH OF CY AND TATIANA TWOMBLY. ON CHANDRA, DRESS BY PHILOSOPHY, SHOES BY AQUAZZURA. RIGHT THE COUPLE’S DAUGHTER LYDIA SHARES A PINK BEDROOM WITH HER SISTER, EVIE (HIDING UNDER THE ELEPHANT).

The Manhattan home of NASCAR star Jimmie Johnson and his wife, Chandra, is a mellow mix of top-flight art and family-friendly comfort TEXT BY

MAYER RUS

PHOTOGRAPHY BY

FRANÇOIS DISCHINGER

STYLED BY

MARTIN BOURNE 97


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orget all the hackneyed puns about living in the fast lane and running the good race. When seventime NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson and his wife, Chandra, get time away from the speedway, the fetching young couple like to slow things down and enjoy life with their two angelic daughters, six-year-old Evie and three-year-old Lydia. Although home base for the family is Charlotte, North Carolina, the Johnsons decamp to their New York City pied-àterre—a chic, sun-filled aerie hard by the glittering Hudson River—whenever the opportunity presents itself. “I was living in Manhattan when Jimmie and I met. Fortunately, he loves the city, too, so we’ve always had a place here,” says Chandra, a former model with a keen passion for design and contemporary art. “The West Village is heaven. It’s a really romantic neighborhood, and it feels the closest to living in Europe.” The couple planted their flag in the West Village in 2009, but when Chandra got pregnant with Lydia, in 2013, they moved to a larger apartment in the same building. Enter Shawn Henderson, the square-jawed AD100 interior designer who has worked closely with the Johnsons since 2007 on the family’s homes in New York, Tulsa (Chandra was raised in Oklahoma), and, most recently, Aspen, Colorado. “It’s been amazing to watch Chandra’s taste evolve,” Henderson says. “She’s become so much more knowledgeable about design, so the process is now a true collaboration. She drives me to be more creative, which I love.” For the Johnsons’ latest Manhattan abode, the initial client-designer brainstorming sessions had surprisingly little to do with color, fabrics, or paintings. “We just talked about how Jimmie and I live with our children, the way we

like to entertain—basically, the life we want to lead,” Chandra recalls. In practical terms, those discussions resulted in a flexible floor plan in which the dining room and kitchen can be open or closed to the living room and its dazzling river views, depending on the day’s activities. The capacious living area, which is divided into two seating groups, has a decidedly loftlike feel, airy and inviting. Chandra and Henderson outfitted the room with a range of vintage treasures, including Charlotte Perriand stools, Jacques Quinet cocktail tables, lighting by Serge Mouille and Jacques Adnet, a Hans Wegner lounge chair, and an Edward Wormley sofa upholstered in yellow velvet. “I fell in love with that mustardy color, and we decided that would be the main pop of color,” Henderson explains. The palette for the rest of the furnishings remains fairly neutral, and the envelope, save for the oak-paneled study and strategic accent walls, is crisp and white—all the better to display artworks from the Johnsons’ growing collection. To keep things fresh, Chandra likes to rotate pieces from home to home. Currently, the stars of the show in New York are a squiggly Sol LeWitt painting and sculptures by Donald Judd and John Chamberlain in the living room; a legendary 1960s Horst P. Horst image of artist Cy Twombly and his wife, Tatiana, that adorns the study; and, in the dining room, Adieu, a massive Julian Schnabel canvas from 1996, the year Chandra graduated from high school and left Muskogee. Still, despite the fancy pedigrees of the art and furniture, the vibe at the Johnson home remains distinctly family-friendly and free-spirited. When Evie and Lydia aren’t playing make-believe in their pink bedroom, the girls might easily be driving go-karts through the hallways or racing slot cars on a toy track in the living room. And what about Jimmie’s contributions to this sprightly domestic scene? “Jimmie’s more interested in the bones of the space and how the layout works,” Chandra says. “He’s not picking fabrics.”

“The West Village is heaven,” says Chandra Johnson, a former model. “It’s a really romantic neighborhood.”


TOP LEFT A SOL LEWITT GOUACHE MAKES A SPLASH ABOVE THE LIVING ROOM’S VELVETCLAD EDWARD WORMLEY SOFA. ABOVE EVIE AND LYDIA. BELOW IN THE ENTRANCE HALL, A FONTANAARTE

MIRROR HANGS OVER A WENDELL CASTLE SHELF. GIO PONTI SCONCES; MATHIEU MATÉGOT UMBRELLA STAND. LEFT THE DINING ROOM’S SHOWPIECE IS A JULIAN SCHNABEL CANVAS. POUL KJÆRHOLM CHAIRS.

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THREE MULTIMEDIA WORKS BY ENRICO BAJ HANG HIGH ON A LIVING ROOM WALL IN THE LATE ARTIST’S VILLA IN VERGIATE, ITALY. FIREPLACE SCREEN COVERED IN VINTAGE FLAME STITCH FABRIC. OPPOSITE ANOTHER PIECE BY BAJ IS MOUNTED NEAR THE HOME’S LUSHLY OVERGROWN ENTRANCE.


How an out-of-theway villa in northern Italy nurtured the artistic genius of the late Enrico Baj and his wide circle of friends TEXT BY

AARON PEASLEY PHOTOGRAPHY BY

STEPHEN KENT JOHNSON STYLED BY MICHAEL REYNOLDS

creative haven

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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT AN ART NOUVEAU DESK IS TUCKED INTO A CORNER OF THE LIBRARY. ROBERTA CERINI BAJ ON A ROCOCO REVIVAL SETTEE. A ROW OF SCULPTURES, INCLUDING FOUR BY ENRICO AND HIS SON ANDREA, TOPS AN ANTIQUE WARDROBE IN THE MASTER BEDROOM. A “PUNCHING GENERAL” SCULPTURE AND OTHER WORKS IN THE ARTIST’S STUDIO.


ARTWORKS BY BAJ, INCLUDING SEVERAL FROM HIS “FURNITURE” SERIES, COVER THE MASTER BEDROOM WALLS. THE CERAMIC HEADBOARD WAS CREATED BY ARTIST UGO NESPOLO.

on

a dull Sunday morning in 1967, Italian artist Enrico Baj and his wife, Roberta, were shown an abandoned Art Nouveau–style villa in Vergiate, a bucolic town in Lombardy’s Alpine foothills. It was an enchanting house, with a linear, down-to-earth silhouette, a traditional interior layout, and a vast garden, where, according to Enrico, “lush nature got the upper hand.” For the newlyweds, who were seeking an escape from the late-’60s tumult of Milan, the house would transform life from black-and-white into color. “It was truly like falling in love,” recalls Roberta Cerini Baj, the artist’s widow, who remains under the home’s seductive spell to this day. “I suppose that is the better way of making a choice. One takes a risk, but if it is for love, it is worth making it work.” The extraordinary residence and its influence on the artist’s oeuvre are explored in the tantalizing new volume Enrico Baj: The Artist’s Home (Skira Rizzoli). “The house is the perfect way to approach Baj’s work,” says art dealer

Amalia Dayan, whose gallery with Daniella Luxembourg, Luxembourg & Dayan, has been instrumental in the recent reassessment of Baj’s career. “It’s a magical place where you get a very strong sense of him. Just like his art, it’s casual and full of humor, but there’s a lot of substance and intelligence to both.” Born to a wealthy Milanese family in 1924, Baj was one of the most iconoclastic artists to emerge during Italy’s turbulent postwar years. In 1951 he cofounded the Arte Nucleare movement, which lambasted both abstract art and post-Hiroshima geopolitics. In his seminal “Generals” series, Baj used a vocabulary of prosaic objects—buttons, belts, medals, broken glass—to create absurd collages depicting apelike military officers, sometimes on floral backdrops. As in much of his other work, including the increasingly collectible “Ladies” series, the artist deployed clownish humor and arts-and-crafts flourishes to shine a critical light on the era’s political and social milieu. That same frisson between the serious and the comedic permeates Baj’s villa,

where warmth and conviviality obscure a deeper intellectual dimension. In contrast to the streamlined exterior, the home’s inside spaces overflow with art, decorative detail, and exuberant color. “It’s incredibly dense,” notes Dayan, who presented a comprehensive show of the artist’s work in late 2015. “You can spend endless time there discovering additional layers.” The home’s communal areas are familial and pragmatic, with their antique cabinets and classical 19th-century sofas. (Baj, a born provocateur, muckraker, and prolific critic, abhorred modern design.) Among the many beguiling, treasurefilled spaces, the master bedroom stands apart. Its walls are covered with works from the artist’s “Furniture” series, giving the room the ambience of a chic Surrealist echo chamber. These conceptual pieces, which depict traditional furnishings like credenzas and bedside tables flattened to near two-dimensionality, highlight Baj’s incredible wit and inimitable ability to apply intellectual rigor to design, art, and craft. Today, Baj’s studio, an addition he completed in the early ’80s, is preserved

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PABLO PICASSO, MAX ERNST, GIORGIO DE CHIRICO, AND ANTONIO SANT’ELIA HANGING ALONGSIDE PIECES BY BAJ.

PORTRAIT: ATTILIO BACCI/COURTESY OF SKIRA RIZZOLI

ABOVE BAJ IN HIS MILAN STUDIO, PHOTOGRAPHED IN 1960 BY ATTILIO BACCI. BELOW THE VILLA’S STAIRCASE BOASTS WORKS BY

as the artist left it when he passed away, in 2003. The space, with its large windows overlooking the swimming pool, remains a repository of the ingredients with which Baj cooked up his wild and imaginative works. Carefully stored in boxes are textiles and cords of rope, tassels and cockades, mirror shards and bronze medallions. “Enrico was fascinated by the symbols of the bourgeois—buttons, fabrics, working materials,” says Dayan. “The result was artwork that really doesn’t look like anything else we’ve seen before; it looks extremely fresh and original.” Baj’s own creations are joined by those of other artists, including André Breton, Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, Gerhard Richter, Joe Colombo, and Lucio Del Pezzo. According to Roberta, the home also functioned as a kind of sylvan salon, where, on long weekends and summer holidays, both wine and conversation flowed among a wide circle that featured artists, intellectuals, writers, and historians. “Discussing a project, preparing an exhibition, and exchanging ideas are much easier and more pleasant if done in the countryside—near a swimming pool in the summertime, close to the fireplace in winter, during a nice meal with bottles of good wine,” she says. When Roberta wasn’t taming the overgrown gardens festooned with honeysuckle plants and acacia trees, or caring for the couple’s four children and a menagerie that grew to include chickens, goats, ducks, and porcupines, she administered her husband’s archive and business affairs. During his life at the villa, Baj’s art became freer and more expansive, evidenced by large-scale works like Guernica (1969) and Apocalypse (1978– 83), which he painted en plein air. To this day while gardening Roberta encounters small stones splattered with paint. “Enrico Baj’s house is a spiritually intact testament to the man, his life, and his love—it’s all so interwoven,” says Michael Reynolds, who edited Enrico Baj: The Artist’s Home. “Everything you see, from floor to ceiling, is an extension of his art.” For the couple, art provided the looking glass that converted the everyday into the magical. And this private utopia in Vergiate endures as a testament to Baj’s infinite imagination, where wonder, according to him, was found “in things, trees, pebbles, the rivers, the stars.”


Art provided the looking glass that converted the everyday into the magical.

ABOVE IN A CORNER OF THE MASTER BEDROOM, ARTWORKS, ANTIQUE FURNITURE, AND COLORFUL RUGS AND TILE ARE LAYERED IN A COLLAGELIKE EFFECT NOT UNLIKE MANY OF BAJ’S COMPOSITIONS, INCLUDING THE REST OF THE DECORATED MAN, WHICH HANGS AT TOP RIGHT.


last word

downs. Still, there is nothing predictable about this undulating new bridge in Changsha, China, the capital of Hunan Province. Designed by NEXT architects, the 600-foot-long pedestrian walkway features ribbonlike paths that rise and fall, weaving in and out of one another while crossing the Dragon King Harbour River. The structure’s braided form nods not only to the twisting loops of a Möbius strip but also to the Chinese decorative art of knotting—the latter reference earning the bridge its name, Lucky Knot. As an additional auspicious gesture, the bridge was finished in bright red, a Chinese symbol of good fortune. Certainly we’re all hoping for some luck on the eve of America’s historic presidential inauguration. Uncertain times, of course, call for daring gestures. —SAM COCHRAN

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JULIEN LANOO/COURTESY OF NEXT ARCHITECTS

CURVES AHEAD In life, without fail, there are ups and



Architectural Digest USA - February 2017