Curated for you via Architectural Digest.
Based out of São Paulo, Brazil, famed shoe designer Alexandre Birman comes through New York once a month for business. The core of his time revolves around Midtown East near his showroom and new storefront, so when it came time to hunt for a pied-à-terre, there wasn’t much hunting to do. Birman found Rafael Viñoly’s celebrated 432 Park Avenue nonpareil. “The infrastructure of the building and facilities it offers are incredible. It’s truly a one-stop shop,” Birman says, noting his frequent use of the building’s various top-notch amenities. What truly sealed the deal, though, was the stellar view of Central Park from his north-facing apartment, some 50 stories high. He tasked fellow Brazilian interior designer Andre Mellone with pulling it all together in one month’s time.
“As a Brazilian creative, he has an appreciation for midcentury design, something we share a love of,” says New York-based Mellone. “Midcentury is still the prevalent style in Brazil due to its explosion in our country during the 1940s through 1960s—Oscar Niemeyer, Lúcio Costa, Vilanova Artigas, Paulo Mendes da Rocha, et al., are truly our design heroes.” Instead of focusing exclusively on Brazilian midcentury furnishings—as does Birman’s primary São Paulo residence—the duo decided to instill a more international vibe. “We wanted to rethink a midcentury environment housed in a contemporary building, mixed with young artists and contemporary artisans of fabrics and accessories,” Mellone says. Additional inspiration came from a famous Julius Shulman photograph of a Pierre Koenig house in Los Angeles, where midcentury design is superimposed onto the expansive views of the city after dark. Their intention was to echo that milieu with the New York skyline.
At once, Birman and Mellone made an agreement to keep things simple and minimal, and concentrate on investing only in original vintage pieces, staying within the midcentury timeframe but exploring other designers from America, France, Italy, and Scandinavia. With a principal helping hand from 1stdibs, this resulted in finds like a rare Eames plywood and leather prototype chair, curved sofas from Edward Wormley (subsequently reupholstered in Prelle fabrics), and a Gio Ponti lamp depicting winged angels. Naturally, Brazilian greats found their way in via a bent rosewood console by Jorge Zalszupin and a tripod side table by Sergio Rodrigues. In the bedroom, floating shelves by Scandinavian designer Børge Mogensen and a brass lamp by Jo Hammerborg complement an etched Venetian midcentury mirror with double frames of ebonized oak (also one of Birman’s favorite pieces in the apartment). They even tracked down a charming Jacques Quinet coffee table made of formica and wrapped in leather, presumably designed for a cruise ship in the 1950s.
Like this? Enjoy more at Architectural Digest.