ART VIEW

Marie Claire Maison (Italy) - - ENGLISH TEXT -

A New York apart­ment de­si­gned to hou­se a bril­liant col­lec­tion of art­works, to be ad­mi­red in pri­vi­le­ged in­ti­ma­cy

By Beba Marsano - Pho­tos Gian­ni Franchellucci

The set­ting is New York as it is por­trayed in a so­phi­sti­ca­ted co­me­dy, in a nei­gh­bou­rhood near one of Ma­n­hat­tan’s fa­mous pri­va­te gar­dens: Gra­mer­cy Park, at the sou­thern­mo­st end of Le­xing­ton Ave­nue. “A Vic­to­rian gen­tle­man who re­fu­sed to die”, is how it was de­scri­bed by the wri­ter and jour­na­li­st Char­lot­te De­vree in The New York Ti­mes. A green spa­ce mea­su­ring ju­st over a hec­ta­re in si­ze, for the ex­clu­si­ve use of the re­si­den­ts who, as if they we­re in a club, ha­ve to pay an ad­mis­sion fee to en­joy all its beau­ty. Na­mes su­ch as John Stein­beck, Karl La­ger­feld and Ju­lia Ro­berts ha­ve strol­led in the sha­de of tho­se trees; a pri­vi­le­ge now al­so gran­ted to Ken­ne­th Al­pert, ow­ner of KA De­si­gn, an in­te­rior de­si­gn stu­dio foun­ded to­ge­ther wi­th An­drew Pe­tro­nio. In­deed, it is in this ve­ry zo­ne that the pro­fes­sio­nal de­si­gned his ho­me, tran­sfor­ming an old buil­ding that ori­gi­nal­ly hou­sed the hea­d­quar­ters of the Uni­ted Fe­de­ra­tion of Tea­chers. The apart­ment, wi­th its strong per­so­na­li­ty and spa­cious in­te­rior (over 570 squa­re me­ters of floor spa­ce and cei­lings al­mo­st four me­tres hi­gh), vaun­ts a palette do­mi­na­ted by sha­des of grey, the quin­tes­sen­tial me­tro­po­li­tan co­lour. Ma­scu­li­ne and re­flec­ti­ve, it ca­res­ses the walls, the open kit­chen cor­ner and al­mo­st all the ac­ces­so­ries, from the chairs to the rugs, and even cer­tain art­works ( Man wi­th Brief

ca­se by Jo­na­than Bo­rof­sky). “Col­lec­ting con­tem­po­ra­ry art is my in­ner­mo­st pas­sion. I’ve cho­sen a neu­tral sho­w­ca­se so that ea­ch in­di­vi­dual pie­ce can shine out”, sta­tes Al­pert. Again­st a de­li­be­ra­te­ly uni­form back­ground, pain­tings and sculp­tu­res the­re­fo­re sta­ge au­then­tic coup de théâ­tre, in ex­plo­sions of light, co­lour and mo­ve­ment wi­th a cap­ti­va­ting de­co­ra­ti­ve ef­fect. A per­fect exam­ple is the ap­pli­ca­tion of a Girl

wi­th a Pearl Ear­ring to a win­dow in the sit­ting room, a tri­bu­te to Jan Ver­meer by Va­le­ry Ko­shlya­kov. The ar­ti­st, who is one of the mo­st in­te­re­sting fi­gu­res on the Rus­sian sce­ne right now, pur­sues the uto­pia of beau­ty th­rou­gh uni­ver­sal fi­gu­res and the use of poor or wa­ste ma­te­rials. In this ca­se, pac­king ta­pe ac­qui­res an unex­pec­ted fi­ne­ness when kis­sed by the sun. The trip­ty­ch of mir­rors ran­ging from red to oran­ge by the star­chi­tect Jean Nou­vel and en­ti­tled Mi­roir A has an equal­ly po­wer­ful vi­sual im­pact. Si­tua­ted in the di­ning area, abo­ve the con­so­le ta­ble, it cap­tu­res por­tions of the ou­tsi­de world th­rou­gh the tall win­do­ws, al­lo­wing glimp­ses of the ur­ban land­sca­pe to per­mea­te the hou­se and, de­pen­ding on the ti­me, al­so re­flec­ts ima­ges of dai­ly in­ti­ma­cy, tran­sfi­gu­ring them. Next to it is The Bri­de (in­jec­tion), a pho­to­rea­li­stic work by Brad­ley Hart in the tech­ni­que that ma­de him fa­mous: in­jec­tions of pig­ment in­to bub­ble wrap. Wi­th the tou­ch of a true con­nois­seur, Al­pert has ar­ran­ged his per­so­nal col­lec­tion all over his ho­me, de­si­gned as a sce­nic open spa­ce in the li­ving area, to whi­ch the ma­ster­pie­ces add rhy­thm and cha­ri­sma. On the kit­chen wall is a brass by Roy Li­ch­ten­stein, whi­le the ba­th­room fea­tu­res a whi­te mar­ble pie­ce by He­lai­ne Blu­men­feld, the fa­vou­ri­te pu­pil of the Fren­ch-na­tu­ra­li­sed Rus­sian ar­ti­st Os­sip Za­d­ki­ne. One of Jeff Koons’ ico­nic dogs de­co­ra­tes the ta­ble in the en­tran­ce hall­way, esta­bli­shing a dia­lo­gue wi­th the mi­nia­tu­re sculp­tu­re by Ar­man, one of the gian­ts of Nou­veau Réa­li­sme and

a ma­ster of “crea­ti­ve de­struc­tion”. A pie­ce by Rob Wyn­ne over­looks the ba­th­tub, whi­le the gue­st ba­th­room is ho­me to the Hands se­ries by Da­niel Ar­sham. Other fa­mous hands ap­pear in the ma­ster be­droom: one − on the Ral­ph Lau­ren Ho­me ta­ble used in pla­ce of a bed­si­de ca­bi­net − bears the si­gna­tu­re of Au­gu­ste Ro­din (a ge­nius who free­ly and au­da­ciou­sly sought the tru­th con­cea­led wi­thin the hu­man bo­dy); others still play a lea­ding ro­le in the Sto­nes Again­st Dia­monds pain­ting by Isaac Ju­lien. De­si­gn ma­kes a steal­thy en­try on­to the sce­ne, in a col­lec­tion of so­phi­sti­ca­ted ele­men­ts wi­th soft sha­pes, in­clu­ding a drinks ta­ble wi­th Swaro­v­ski cry­stal top by Ga­ry Hut­ton, a Mi­chael Ber­man so­fa and Ch­ri­stian Liai­gre arm­chairs. He­re and the­re, we see ex­qui­si­te lit­tle cu­rios – par­ti­cu­lar­ly lamps and si­de ta­bles – di­sco­ve­red at Pa­ri­sian flea mar­ke­ts. The­se are pla­ces that Ken­ne­th ado­res (“They’re my amu­se­ment park”, he says iro­ni­cal­ly), fa­sci­na­ting trea­su­re chests of pre­cious finds.

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