Showing the merit of instinctual decorating, this home is full of playful colours and proportions
Situated in a former New York cardboard factory, this industrial loft space has not only provided architect Giancarlo Valle with a spectacular home to share with his wife and two children, but has also given him the chance to make his first foray into interior and furniture design. ‘ While the first decade of my career gave me the opportunity to work on retail projects, residential ones were the missing link,’ says Giancarlo, who set up his own studio in 2016. The six-month-long renovation of this apartment in Brooklyn’s Dumbo neighbourhood has resulted in a home full of texture, light and playful proportions. While the architect embraced the apartment’s tall, gallery-like ceilings, generous windows and open-plan layout, the raw concrete walls, numerous columns and awkward nooks – which didn’t immediately lend themselves to a homely environment – have been softened with coats of Farrow & Ball’s ‘Dove Tale’ paint and a traditional herringbone parquet floor.
‘The former factory was built in the 1920s, when it was the tallest cast-inplace building (where concrete walls and foundations are poured on site) in America,’ Giancarlo recalls, before adding that he immediately saw the oncesoulless space’s potential. ‘ While we wanted to keep some of these elements, we also knew we couldn’t live in a concrete space with no sense of scale.’ Over the course of the past three years, the couple have been perfecting this curated home, adding to their collection of 20th-century furniture and art, as well as the many sculptural pieces of furniture designed by Giancarlo himself, which are used to create degrees of privacy between the interconnected rooms.
Sofas and armchairs upholstered in tactile velvets and woollen rugs further soften the space’s hard edges, while bright flashes of colour add warmth and interest. ‘My home is a personal laboratory for me to experiment by collecting and creating items that fit our family needs,’ says Giancarlo. ‘I’ve really enjoyed playing with textures and using richer materials.’
‘I’m not a trained expert, but, when it comes to collecting, I think you have to be intuitive,’ he continues. ‘If you have a sense of what you like, then patterns and links between the things you’re collecting will just appear.’ Although Giancarlo’s most personal project is complete for the time being, he believes that every home is a work in constant progress. ‘ We’ll always be refining,’ he says. ‘It will have to evolve, but that’s a good thing.’ giancarlovalle.com