The apartments that light up New York City’s skyline each night feature an amazing array of decors. In some you’ll find the sleek minimalist effects of white walls and monochromatic furniture. In others you’ll see evidence that an eclectic pattern-lover dwells there, or perhaps a world traveler who loves to display colorful pieces of folk art. With so many diverse aesthetic points of view to please, the City’s talented interior designers tend to develop signature specialties and loyal followings. In a sense, each one has his or her own visual brand. Here are just a few of the shining stars who make New York’s most fashionable apartments so visually alluring.
Designer Muriel Brandolini takes a decidedly singular approach to each of her designs by infusing in them elements from the unconventional upbringing that brought her from Vietnam to Martinique and on to France. What truly separates Brandolini from the crowd, however, is her fearless use of fabric and color. Her ability to combine colors and shades that are not typically paired creates an aesthetic that is vibrant and idiosyncratic as well as inviting, as though each interior were a new place in the world to explore. In 2012, Brandolini was the recipient of the HUE Lifetime Achievement Award for her unorthodox style and vision. An impressive testament to her approach is Brandolini’s expansive Hampton Bays, Long Island beach house, the interior of which features more than 20 different custom-blended paint colors.
William Sofield is a classic Modernist who values functionality over frills. Never one to trade aesthetics for utility, Sofield’s designs effectively marry luxurious and striking textures and colors with the details that make a home really work for the people who live there. His style could be described as traditional, and it’s certainly not whimsical. Not one for pattern or shocking colors, Sofield sticks with a time-tested palette of black and white, subtle metallics, taupe, and gray, and favors architectural details that reference Classical Antiquity and the Renaissance. In other words, his designs mean business. He takes a great deal of pride in tailoring each project to the individual so that their space becomes a natural and logical extension of who they are. Sofield has designed spaces for the likes of Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci, Harry Winston, and Tom Ford, to name just a few of his most prestigious clients. Unlike many designers who focus on domestic interiors, Sofield also tackles everything from retail and hospitality spaces to landscape and product design. In 2010 he received the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award for Interior Design, further cementing his status as a leader in his field.
In 1992 acclaimed designer Thomas O’Brien founded his now-celebrated firm Aero Studios. Known for his uncanny ability to make each home he designs look both professional and highly personal, O’Brien remains a sought-after talent in New York City and beyond. Since the late 1990s he has expanded his brand via his eponymous line of home accessories, collaborating with companies such as Target, Safavieh Carpets, and Circa Lighting. O’Brien’s goal has always been to cultivate a modern and elegant aesthetic without sacrificing the warmth of more traditional designs, and he gives consumers the freedom to complete their own accessible look with statement pieces from his various product lines. Not one to dismiss the past or shy away from the future, O’Brien effectively blends the two in harmony. While such a mixing of styles could certainly go awry in less capable hands, O’Brien’s signature talent allows him to combine unrelated elements from different eras and cultures and somehow make them complement each other.
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