Designer John Beckmann Thinks Out Loud In This NYC Apartment

In a sky-high second home for a family of four at 432 Park Avenue, the tallest residential tower in the western hemisphere, rises above the clouds. Inside is an interior with verve and swagger, and an art collection reaching equal heights. When asked about the project, designer John Beckmann quips, “What was not to like?”

Beckmann oozes creativity both in his vernacular and his work at the helm of Axis Mundi Design, a firm that goes beyond the world of interiors into product design, art installations, conceptual art and even renegade architectural proposals. His artistic dialect is glamorous minimalism: clean architectural details paired with bold statement pieces and elevated materials. The library is no exception, where a custom wall of bookshelves in burnished brass and walnut punctuates an otherwise restrained white shell.

It is as if the library were created specifically for the masterpiece painting it blazingly and graciously presents. This celebrated painter once said, “Art creates art,” a relevant sentiment for this space given the creative hand from which it was born. A look at Beckmann’s work and it is no mystery he likes to take calculated risks. Hanging art on a bookcase is not novel, yet hanging this particular work in that manner feels unexpected – like shouting in the library, but saying something everybody wants to hear. In the same vein is the knotty texture of the ottoman as well as the striking, graphic “Ponti” area rug by The Rug Company.

Rugs are often the first selections Beckmann makes, literally starting a project from the ground up. “[They] set the color palette, and it’s much easier to start there,” he shares. Moving on to the admittedly more interesting layers, he turns his attention to the larger furnishings. Often gravitating toward low-slung pieces, he approaches each design decision to “solve spatial and function problems first.”

The living room features a clean yet sink-into-comfortable sofa in a grey fabric with gorgeous hand; perfect for the entire family to gather. The modular coffee table is by Vincent Van Duysen and gives reference to the unadorned, simple architecture. Art is on parade, from the cascading Bocce 28 fixture overhead the marble and brass dining table, to the assembly of sculpture atop the table. Primitive in notion, the ceramics by John Born are an interesting and playful addition to the space.

Photography by Durston Saylor

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