Travertine. The Other Marble.

Not to sound jaded but I’m starting to get bored with marble. Yes, it’s beautiful but it’s also everywhere these days. A buddy of mine is convinced everyone will be ripping it out in 5 years, and though I can’t say if that will happen, I think it’s a good time to start looking at other alternatives.

Lately I have been drawn to the more understated, but very chic, travertine and limestone.

Travertine is a cross between marble and limestone, formed by mineral waters, the formation process gives the stone incredible texture. It’s both soft, so easily manipulated, and extremely durable, it ages very nicely. Even in its most polished form, travertine is earthy. The porous grain maintains a raw feeling of nature.   

The stone is such an important part of our ancient history, it has almost mythical qualities.  The material has endured for literally thousands of years in the Turkish amphitheater of Hierapolis, constructed around 200 BC, in the ruins of ancient Egypt and the Etruscans, and of course in the Coliseum in Rome, completed in 80 AD.

Travertine is a not only beautiful, it’s quite indestructible.

Richard Meier used travertine to build the Getty Center in L.A. because of its historic importance with public architecture and also to express the qualities the Getty wanted to embrace: permanence, solidity, simplicity, warmth and craftsmanship.

Perhaps the most well known modern moment for travertine is the Barcelona Pavilion by Mies van der Rohe. Perfect in its simplicity and fluid connection to nature.

Travertine is not a trend, it’s totally timeless.

This past year I’ve been coveting the travertine offerings from Studio Twenty Seven. A geometric side table by Plueersmitt and another number with by Francesco Balzano are two of my current favorite pieces. The travertine coffee table in my Orchard St. project is a beauty from the 70’s found on 1stDibs. I think we are drawn to items we have a history with, and for me travertine in the 80’s as a kid was the go to coffee table, so it takes me back to my happy teen years when I had 8% body fat.

Stéphane Parmentier

Fashion + design, architecture + interiors. Intrinsically linked. Their connection is how they shape the way we live.

I’ve been deep in the 80’s lately (please note my previous post) revisiting the sculptural shapes of the Memphis period. A style that in its full expression can be categorized as borderline cartoonish. I wanted to pluck elements from that, but streamline them for a more modern feel.

I love discovering new and unusual designs, and the artisans that make them.

A favorite piece in the home is by the incredible and versatile designer Stéphane Parmentier. The Scala table has an almost surrealistic quality with its perfectly curved silhouette, crafted in luxurious Nappa leather. I also highly covet the Bivio collection made from leather with suede trim on the internal leg structure. It’s a bit of decadence. Explore the collection at Studio Twenty Seven.

Parmentier has an incredible body of work that spans multiple disciplines and subtly dominates each one. Beginning with his work for Lanvin, Karl Lagerfeld and Givenchy as the director of women’s ready-to-wear, Stephane transitioned to interiors via a re-design for Singapore Airlines and moved on to design homes in Paris, Ibiza, London, Geneva and Mauritius Island. His expansion to the world of design in 2005 is a sophisticated extension of his vision and something I can also have a piece of.

Below are some of Stephane’s super chic rooms and the Scala at 196 Orchard St.



The 80's are coming...

When I was designing the Orchard St., 3 bedroom show apartment on the LES, I turned to New York in the 80’s for my inspiration. The culture clash of Uptown meets Downtown. Yuppies, punk rock, Haring and paradise garage.

Nothing says 80’s LIKE A VIDEO MONTAGE. Check out some of my favorite 80’s design moments in this little montage with some major Memphis vibes that I showed at “What’s New What’s Next” this past September in 200 Lexington Design.

Down and Out in Beverly Hills with some Steve Chase realness and Ruthless People for Memphis overload. I’ll be dancing on the ceiling baby…

MODA ARCHITETTURA

When it comes to design, for me it is a blend of architecture and fashion.

Cecil Beaton was an interesting chap and the legendary photographer was also a three time Oscar winner for his set and costume design.

His images were not just about the woman, or the clothes, they were also about the spaces they inhabit.

In addition to his many (many) other talents, Beaton was an incredible illustrator. His fashion illustrations were particularly sublime because the detail did not end with the clothes, it continued to the room that surrounds the models and depicts the décor in lush detail.

One of the initial inspirations for who the “Halsey” woman came from The Row. Their minimalist palette, clean lines and cozy textures were a reference point and are my key notes for design. As the rooms came together, I wanted to create an artistic extension of my overall vision and asked my friend, the talented designer and illustrator Michael Ward, to create images of Halsey.

Michael is a longtime staple in the fashion world, a designer who’s worked for everyone from Diane von Furstenberg to Burberry. But lately it’s his live sketches of runway shows and his chic new brand The Salting that occupy his time. Below are the two renditions of Halsey that he created for me.

The results are stunning and the perfect blend of all my inspirations.