Show­ing the merit of in­stinc­tual dec­o­rat­ing, this home is full of playful colours and pro­por­tions

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - Contents -

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.’ gi­an­car­

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