Inside Alberto Villalobos’ Luxurious Pied-à-Terre Remodel

Somewhere along New York City’s storied and picturesque Central Park West, he walks into a space and lets the architecture speak to him–this is one of his favorite moments of being a designer. In this moment his creativity is sparked, his vision starts to crystallize and from here on out he is, artistically speaking, off to the races. In a blue-ribbon project, Alberto Villalobos created a layered, contemporary design peppered with curious art and objet; a design that draws from the two-turned-three bedroom apartment’s surroundings and highlights the sweeping views of Central Park.

Careful consideration was given to function to ensure this 2,000 square foot pied-à-terre could accommodate the couple, their three children and relatives for extended stays. “The practicality and layout of the space is always my main concern and the aesthetic follows this process,” remarks Villalobos. Additionally, as both the client and designer knew art would be at the forefront, museum-worthy art at that, the lighting design was crucial.

Equally important was the furniture selection. “We concentrated on the horizontal lines making sure we could have unobstructed park views, which was the main reason the client fell in love with the property,” says Villalobos. In the living room squarish, low-back sofas in a smoky gray create sharp lines that contrast artfully with the well-turned, softer shape of the Mathieu Nab sculpture–a sculpture with wieldy effect and that feels both impending and effortless. Streamlined vintage and contemporary pieces meet like old friends, and overall this curated, elevated space provides seating for ten.

Design direction for the color scheme came together from the first site visit, looking to the horizon for cues: copper roofs, rusted metals, the concrete jungle and the park’s greenery. Slight but impactful deviations from the overall palette occur through decorative accessories and accents: from saturated reds and deep violets in the living room to cerulean in the foyer. In the dining room, a gallery wall and custom millwork disguise a door to the third bedroom. Warm wood outlines a sandy silk wall covering with the same tone applied to the upholstered dining chairs. Gilt frames add richness while the glass in the dining table and ceiling fixture keeps things airy.

The hallway is better referred to as the gallery and has a sensuousness and restraint that feels uber-chic: the lithe curves of the Christian Liaigre bronze bench, the swirling bends of the sculpture by Merete Rasmussen, and the expressive lines of the figurative and abstract triptych by Roberto Cortazar. The rug softens the space and is a continuation of the hushed tones carried throughout.

Perhaps one of the most profound design decisions was the provocative and thoughtful pairing of art in the children’s bedroom. Peter Tunney‘s “Gratitude” plays opposite two works that explore consumption and destruction, part of Natxo Frisuelos’ “Bomb” series (specifically, the “Gucci Bomb” and “Ferrari Bomb”). Villalobos expounds, “Pairing both of their works established the proper conversation between our need for more and our appreciation for what we have.” It’s a big moment, a design element that reverberates, goes a step beyond aesthetic and adds another way to experience design–not just through our eyes, but through our hearts and minds.

Photography by Marco Ricca.

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