The Historic NYC Landmark From ‘Only Murders In The Building’ Gets An Artful Update

The home to Hulu’s smash series Only Murders in the Building is now also home to The Belnord Project, a by-appointment-only exhibition of stunning design and art within the historic building, lead by Guillaume Coutheillas of frenchCALIFORNIA. Coutheillas’ studio is famed for cultivating collaborations between forward-thinking design brands, and this exhibition is no different, bringing on R & Company to assist with sourcing the pieces. Here, we speak with Coutheillas about his inspiration for the project and how he paved the way to bring a collaborative vision to life.

aspire design and home: What attracted you to The Belnord project?
Guillaume Coutheillas: I love working with a landmarked space, as it really gives us a platform in which to create a dialogue between the old and the new. The Belnord has such a deep history with NYC, and we wanted to bring in a contemporary feel by working with a gallery like R & Company to show modern and contemporary works in a historical setting, creating an entirely new context and story for the space.

ADH: What was your inspiration for the exhibition? What feelings or sensibility did you want to evoke in the public?
GC: We wanted to design a residence that embodies the spirit of the Upper West Side and appeals to the city’s top art and design aficionados and collectors. Evan Snyderman of R & Company helped us to select pieces to create a space that reflects modern and contemporary design’s continued impact on how we live today. The sophisticated, expressive pieces juxtapose the building’s pre-war interiors, timeless architecture and refined finishes, honoring the masterful vision of Robert Stern A.M. Architects.

ADH: New York City is filled with historic homes and art galleries. How did you choose The Belnord?
GC: The history and story of The Belnord is an intriguing one, and one that is intertwined so closely with the city. It was the perfect canvas for us to work with, and with the completion of the recent renovations by Robert A.M. Stern Architects, the building has a renewed interest and life to it.

ADH: What’s your favorite room, artwork or overall aspect of the exhibition?
GC: There’s an incredible piece by Anna Von Mertens titled “Marilyn Monroe’s aura (II.23), after Warhol”. I love the connection between this piece and the building, as Marylin was known to frequent The Belnord.

ADH: Did you encounter any challenges during development?
GC: We wanted to make sure every room was intentional and had a specific purpose. While this is a design project, we had the task of creating and showcasing the actual purpose of each room, i.e. creating a master bedroom, a kids bedroom, a kitchen, etc. We had to show that this space could be a real home.

ADH: How did the history of The Belnord influence the art + design pieces that were selected by you and your team?
GC: This iconic Upper West Side building has a true European feel to it and we wanted to take advantage of that, and also accentuate those details by juxtaposing the space with modern and contemporary furnishings and art. The historical context and details of the building served as a great backdrop for us to work with, helping to guide us in our direction with paint colors, wall finishes, and window treatment.

ADH: What excites you about The Belnord Project?
GC: This project has some incredible elements to it that make it very exciting including a recently renovated, landmarked building. This was also our first time working with R & Company, and they are one of the leading modern and contemporary design galleries in the world. It was such a treat to work with Evan Snyderman and his team. With them, we are able to showcase the work of some incredible living artists today including Nancy Lorenz, Pierre Yovanovitch, Haas Brothers and Katie Stout, in a residential context. It was important to us to present these museum-quality pieces in a context collectors and residents can understand and envision in their own homes.

Photography by Chris Mottalini.

Kait Clark is a writer and editor for aspire design and home magazine.

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