Inside No Lita
In the neighbourhood on the edge of Little Italy, Michael Maharam’s loft looks even further north. With a rare design collection and a Scandinavian atmosphere
An early 20th century building, small in scale and with few residents, in NoLita ( North of Little Italy), a charming little neighbourhood where Michael Maharam, an entrepreneur, and his wife Sabine Steinmair, a painter, moved a dozen years ago. Our attention is focused on the loft on the lower floor, where white walls and wooden floors form the backdrop to an extraordinary design collection, predominantly Nordic in style. Poul Kjærholm, Kare Klint, Mogens Koch, Gerrit Rietveld, Alex Salto, Hans Wegner, but also Charlotte Perriand, Pierre Jeanneret and Donald Judd play starring roles in an exclusive furnishing screenplay. “I have been collecting design for two decades, fascinated by the narrative of the Scandinavian applied arts, always interesting thanks to their virtuous intertwining of form, nobility of materials and useful nature.” These works and their creators are spoken about in many books in the wooden bookcase taking up an entire wall of the living room. Opposite, the green tones of the sofa and the ceramics are the contrasting notes in a chromatically neutral whole. “In keeping with Scandinavian aesthetic values, it seemed natural to focus on materials that are able to age with dignity, such as larch, Douglas fir, teak, Oregon pine.” The passage of time has also transformed the hunting ground of the insatiable collector, who started out at a very young age in the world of antique collecting with fruitful raids on the flea markets of half of Europe; a habit that, as his economic resources grew, then evolved, aiming at higher quality sources.