Cover This sitting area is furnished with the Magi daybed, the Thomas armchair, a pair of Guscioalto soft armchairs, the Zefiro coffee table and the Cestone console, all from Flexform

“In a busy city, I wanted to create a sense of tranquillity; I designed the layout and palette around the powerful views of Central Park,” says interior designer Nebihe Cihan

London-based interior designer Nebihe Cihan is no stranger to the Big Apple—she studied at the Parsons School of Design and worked in retail design for fashion brands Catherine Malandrino and Michael Kors in New York. In fact, she lived for many years on 57th Street, in the same area where she recently completed the interior design of this stunning 3,576sqft penthouse. The three-bedroom apartment is the home of a modern art connoisseur who wanted an intimate, museum-like haven in the heart of Manhattan.
 
Enclosed in a newly built high-rise property designed by Rafael Viñoly, the penthouse was fitted with large windows that frame unparalleled views of the city. Its high ceilings provide large expanses of wall space that are ideal for showcasing its owner’s collection of modern art.

“My inspiration for this project was New York itself and the life of an art collector,” says Cihan. “In a busy city, I wanted to create a sense of tranquillity; I designed the layout and palette around the powerful views of Central Park.” She took a minimalist approach to the interiors, carefully integrating artworks throughout the space so they don’t scream for attention, but rather become part of the overall concept.

ARTISTIC CANVAS

With this project, her greatest challenge was marrying the artworks with the furnishings. The client wanted his artworks to take centre stage, so Cihan worked with him to curate a selection of contemporary pieces from his collection that would work well within the layout of the penthouse.

“I worked with my client to curate all the artworks for the apartment before I even began sourcing the furniture,” she shares. “There is a calmness when you first enter a museum, and my client wanted to reflect this in the entrance of his home.”

Upon entering the calm entranceway, guests are welcomed by a neon sign by Cerith Wyn Evans, and a bench authored by Vincenzo De Cotiis. In the living room is a sculpture by Tony Cragg, displayed on a plinth of Calacatta oro marble that was designed by Cihan and custom-made in Bergamo, Italy. “While I love all the artwork pieces we have curated for the project, the Tony Cragg sculpture is my favorite,” shares the designer. “It added so much character to the project, exactly how I wanted it to be.”

Known for her subtle and sophisticated aesthetics, Cihan believes in using clean lines and paying attention to detail to express timelessness without compromising on comfort. She mostly used furniture from Italian manufacturer Flexform to accomplish her goals with this project.
 
“I carefully chose neutral tones and rich finishings so as not to detract from the art or spectacular views,” says Cihan.“My favourite aspect of the architecture are the high ceilings and vast windows that frame the sensational views. I also love the long hallway leading to the living room, which creates the effect of walking into an art gallery or museum.

A large painting by Idris Khan graces the dining area and acts as the perfect backdrop for the chandelier by French designer Damien Langlois-Meurinne for Pouenat. To enhance the gallery-like feel of the hallway, Cihan displayed colourful artworks such as a Nicky Nodjoumi painting as well as a Gimhongsok sculpture from Tina Kim Gallery along the walls.

During the design process, she divided the open-plan living and dining spaces into three parts: the casual sitting area features a daybed and an array of armchairs; the main living area is made more formal with a selection of structured pieces; the dining zone features a glass-top dining table and dining chairs with leather seats.

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“In order to highlight the artworks, I chose a sophisticated, neutral palette,” shares the designer. “The finishes are high-end with soft, tactile and neutral fabrics from luxurious cashmere to butter-soft leather.” These include the silk rugs from Holly Hunt, which were hand tufted in Nepal and customised to coordinate with the palette.

Cihan also selected modern furniture with sculptural details and neutral tones that would not detract from the artworks. “I usually integrate the artworks at the end of a project, so this was a different approach from what I usually do,” reflects the designer. “I really enjoyed the challenge.”

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