Kips Bay Showhouse: A Study in Sculpture

Martyn Lawrence Bullard

I had heard the Kips Bay Showhouse this year was the best we've seen in years and I wasn't disappointed (not that I ever am).  Every year I am awed by the level of talent and beauty that surrounds me within the walls of the chosen New York mansion.  The show house this year was a study in sculpture, and one of the things that I truly enjoyed was that there was a unified theme, or a similar voice; that of sculpture, surrealism and the power of shape, tying the rooms together .

Upon entering the living room you are WOWed by the enormity of the sculptural fireplace screen cum art statement slash bench by Ron Arad.  Everything else was to work around it.  The sofa looked so soft and inviting that I was dying to cuddle up.  Art in and of itself, with its undulating shape.

 The screen has a good back story and  the mere mention of Aspen sends me into a tizzy.  Tony Ingrao, the designer of the room explained that the screen had been made for a family in Aspen, Colo.: “It’s the only private commission Ron has ever done, and it took a year to convince him.” The room it was made for, however, has “gone in a different direction,” he said, and as for the $1 million-plus screen, “it is possible it could be available.” Do I hear, "Charge it?"

The cumulus cloud coffee table is heavenly under the Cosmic Energy painting by Mark Wilson

Juan Montoya allowed each piece to speak for itself in this artful space.  Another sculptural sofa dividing the room allows for plenty of seating.

It is hard to see the fireplace wall, another opportunity to showcase "art in design"

Byung Hoon Choi created this whaletooth table out of, literally, a ton of stone

Georgis Study in Red took inspiration from St. Patrick's Cathedral that is just across the street.

The custom Santa Sangre console based on the relic of a cross is a surrealist treat.  There are nails and a crucifix on the table.

Perhaps the canvas represents the blood from said cross, and the whole room is wrapped in shades of red.  The only thing to divert your eyes is the turquoise velvet suite of furniture.

Each room held a treasure trove of fascinating things begging to be noticed at each turn.  I fell hard for
Orlando Diaz-Azcuy Design Assoc. "modern museum" like room.  Once you are able to take your eyes off the enhanced blue ceiling, you wonder, "Have I wandered into a museum?"  ODADA cleverly "blocked" the room like a stage set to enhance the art, important furniture, and sculpture that lies within.  Believe it or not, the ceiling was there and the designer worked around it;  I'd say beautifully. Sometimes your best working with what you've got rather then trying to reinvent the wheel.

Each line, curve, color, and shape seemed so deliberate.

Even the most humble piece has a sculptural quality that begged to make you want to hear the history of the piece.

 John Douglas Eason's landing exemplifies an ode to classical beauty married to modern living.  A fiberglass chair and a baroque console, plus a few precious pieces are compelling reasons for sitting pretty.

Even in this fairly traditional bedroom, Cullman and Kravis added a little pizzazz in the form of the decorative mirror above the bed.  Simply captivating.

Robin Sacks' decorative painting created fine lines in the stair well with complimentary, equally sculptural lighting to accentuate and set off the rooms beyond.

No nuance too was small.  Every detail was an opportunity to showcase the power of sculpture. Chrisopher Peacock had 24 karat gold hand hammered handles custom made in his VERY pink dream closet design.

Carrier and Company applied a beautiful gold marbleized wallpaper by Calico and had sculptural furniture that was as beautiful as it was functional,  for example the Calla lamp from Bernd Goeckler.

Darryl Carter, in his 1st Kips Bay Showhouse, took the opposite approach.  He literally used the underside of an Aubusson rug and created a lazy, serene salon with an accent on accessories that look timeworn but still have their own sculptural appeal.

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