Being asked to create an apartment in one of the tallest residential skyscrapers to rise in midtown Manhattan in the last few years would be a high-water mark for any designer. The designer , whose swashbuckling 39-year career has taken a new turn due to his recent partnership with former protégé , concedes that even he — no stranger to ultra-luxurious commissions — was gladdened by the epic opportunity to deck out this sprawling pied-à-terre overlooking Central Park.
In the kitchen, the table is by , the chairs are covered in a leather from and the light fixture is by .
The clients are two grown siblings and their children, who live abroad but alight in New York as often as their whirlwind schedules will allow; they envisioned the apartment as a refuge in the clouds. The project was a perfect fit for the designers. Drake certainly has had plenty of experience channeling the antiques-laden desires of the international elite: He made his name designing several homes for former New York City mayor , including a classically adorned Upper East Side limestone mansion, a 6,000-square-foot getaway in Bermuda, and a vast formal townhouse in London’s South Kensington neighborhood. Still, the designer considers himself essentially a modernist.
In the living room, the mirrored chair is by , the side table is by , the floor lamp is from and the custom wall light is by .
As such, he has rejoiced in watching the zeitgeist move in recent years toward a new kind of minimalism, one that eschews coldness while embracing bold gesture. He gravitates toward simple interiors with statement pieces by young artists, set off by a backdrop of hand-hewn finishes. His own much photographed home — a 3,000-square-foot Chelsea apartment in an building — is simultaneously a color riot, a pared-down retreat, and a place to throw massive cocktail parties, complete with late-night dancing.
The foyer’s console and mirror are by , and the cocktail table beyond is a custom design.
The homeowners offered few parameters beyond wanting a neutral palette of black, white, and gray; they understandably requested that nothing should distract from the incomparable skyline views. They also explained that they aren’t the type of clients to micromanage the design of their homes, instead preferring to be surprised by a big reveal. Such freedom enabled Drake and Anderson to push boundaries.
The entry hall bench is by , the light fixture is by , and the rug is by ; the walls are sheathed in a custom shagreen by , the trim is painted in , the flooring is ebonized oak, and the artwork is by .
“We were relieved in the end because it turned out to be exactly what they were looking for,” says Drake. “It’s rela and, at the same time, stimulating.” In fact, the three-bedroom apartment is so high in the sky that it has a spaceship feel, and the designers decided not to fight that. The goal, says Anderson, was to create a “glamorous, transporting, otherworldly place that is extremely urbane.”
In the master bedroom, a bed by is dressed in linens by , the bedside table is from , the custom rug is by , and the walls have a custom textured finish by .
Instead of bringing in a lot of vertical pieces to balance the large scale of the rooms, most of the furniture is actually streamlined and low-slung — the better to gaze out upon the vast city and its rivers below, stretched out like a topographical map. Smaller seating areas were arranged around the periphery to encourage guests and family members to simply sit and drink in the view.
In the living room of a Manhattan apartment designed by , the sectional sofas by are covered in a mohair, the pair of vintage armchairs are from , the glass cocktail table by is filled with feathers, the round side table is by , the lamp on it is by and the custom rug is by .
While the designers largely hewed to the restrained palette requested by the clients, they managed to sneak in a bit of azure to echo the sky itself. In the living room, the blue adds a celestial touch that enlivens the muted atmosphere while balancing the graphic quality of the black floor lamps.
Throughout the apartment, walls are embellished with subtly textured surfaces ranging from plaster to shagreen. The rooms are furnished with spectacular contemporary furniture made by a new generation of artisans. created a console in the foyer that looks like a pile of giant stones, including some bronze ones; in the living room sits a jagged-looking mirrored chair by East London–based that lends a note of Brutalism, says Drake.
To ensure the place doesn’t look too much like a showroom, the designers were careful to mix in some vintage pieces, including chairs by .
The guest room’s bed is upholstered in a fabric, the bench by is covered in a fabric, the bedside table is by , the lamp is from and the curtains are of an fabric.
The art was also chosen to reflect both the 21st-century sensibility of the owners and the incomparable setting. With so little wall space due to the expanses of glass, each piece had to carry enormous aesthetic weight. A large triptych by on the dining room wall resembles an abstract star chart, and a sculpture-cum–light fixture by the Dutch team is made of LEDs covered in ethereal, fluffy dandelion heads — real ones.
The master bath’s sink and tub fittings are by and the flooring is marble.
“We wanted the apartment to respond to where things are headed,” says Drake. “You look out of these windows, and you see everything: the man-made world and nature. And somehow, it’s all in harmony.”
This story was originally published in the June 2017 issue of ELLE DECOR.