Everyone Is Their Own Brand These Days

Janson Goldstein

150,000-square-foot top-end department store on the outskirts of Toronto. A spacious but understated Shaker-style home in the Long Island hamlet of East Hampton. A Bijoux Intermix boutique on Miami Beach’s bustling Lincoln Road. A penthouse pied-à-Terre in Manhattan’s iconic London Terrace.

sld17

At first, such varied projects don’t seem like they have anything in common, let alone like they’re all the work of the same designers. But the architects behind this impressive array — the three partners of the small New York-based firm Janson Goldstein — see a close connection between their elite retail work and their high-end residential commissions.

“what their lifestyle is, and then create something around that.”

From its very start, in 1995, the firm has aimed to foreground modernist principles and aesthetics in its work, while also combining the disciplines of architecture and interior design under one roof.

When Goldstein and Janson first set off on their own, they did so without any clients immediately in tow.“We had some time to design the business.” Work — and recognition for it — quickly followed, however, especially in the retail field, with commissions from Calvin Klein, Giorgio Armani and Donna Karan pouring in one after the other. A few year’s after the firm’s founding, a loft they designed in New York’s Flatiron neighborhood was featured in Interior Design. Shot by noted lensman Paul Warchol, This, followed by attention-grabbing projects for Armani and a redo of Ferragamo’s Fifth Avenue flagship, firmly established Janson Goldstein’s bona fides.

sld16

“So much of this business is the trust that the client puts in you, and my having been in the position of being the client helps to ease that.”

Earning clients’ trust has served the firm well. one of their residential projects landed the Holy Grail of design-publication placements: the cover of Architectural Digest.

“We were constantly looking at the details and the language of Shaker architecture, and how it all relates to modern and open space,” he says.”

Goldstein designed the house to be only one room in depth on the ground floor, while upstairs a spine-like hallway on one long side connects the bedrooms on the other. “All the windows open up, and you get air and light all the way through, all day long,” says Goldstein, who notes the home barely ever requires air-conditioning. “It’s a modern country home,” he says by way of conclusion.

sld15

Such careful attention to detail and process, form and function, as well as an easy, understated way with luxe finishes, fixtures, and fittings.Take, for example, the high-end department store Holt Renfrew, which is Canada’s answer to Barney’s or Saks.

For the last several years, the firm has also been working with the high-end, multi-brand fashion chain Intermix.

Homeowners have long come to the firm looking for the same sort of high-gloss polish, sophistication, and materials they’ve seen in its boutiques, but it seems that now retailers also want the more personal touches found in the residences Janson Goldstein creates. “Increasingly, retail clients are asking us for designs that are unique to their neighborhoods, to their cities,” Janson explains.

And that makes sense. After all, who wouldn’t want to feel as comfortable shopping as when cozily holed up at home — in East Hampton, say, with the windows thrown open to let in the cool evening air?

Florentine Master : Introspective

 “I am the director of a movie,” Bönan explains. “The property, the location, the client: they all become parts of a film.”

Add a hip soundtrack and the jet-set crowd that flocks to his projects, and his spaces transcend their role as backdrops to become characters in the love stories and dramas that unfold within their walls. He attributes his love of beautiful things to the city of his birth — with its romantic Renaissance streetscapes, timeless art, and architecture.

sld10

His prolific career in hospitality architecture took off in earnest beginning in 1995, when he created Florence’s Hotel Lungarno, the first of nine projects that he has done for the Ferragamo family’s Lungarno Collection of hotels, suites, and yachts.Bönan made sure the interiors were just as captivating as the view, designing his own custom furniture and accessories and hanging more than 400 works of modern art throughout, including pieces by Picasso and Cocteau.

“I LIKE TO SAY THAT EVERYONE SHOULD LIVE AT HOME LIKE THEY’RE IN A HOTEL, AND IN A HOTEL LIKE THEY’RE AT HOME.”

The 30 guestrooms are painted a vibrant teal or a glamorous slate gray; many have upholstered beds with a slight wing-back design and graphic, mid-century inspired chairs.The inspiration is the dolce vita of the nineteen-fifties and sixties. The Tom Ford movie A Single Man influenced the concept, too. I wanted to create an iconic place, a real Roman hotel.

sld11

Bönan’s current works-in-progress list captures his breadth: a new resort on St. Barths; a newly built family retreat in Newport, Rhode Island; and the interiors for a 14th-century Florentine castle belonging to a Russian couple. There are more designs on the way for lighting, furniture, and rugs. And maybe another yacht or two.

Bönan loves the mix of projects and the global reach of his work. “For me, the design has the same meaning no matter what it is. It’s not important what you are designing but that you are creating.”

The Lone Star’s Rising Design Star : Introspective

That early eye for beauty has served him well. Today the 32-year-old Anderson is a rising star in the world of interiors.Risky yet refined, his spaces masterfully mix modern elements with antique and custom pieces.Childhood visits his aunt’s newly built Georgian-style mansion near Dallas were a particular thrill. “I remember being four years old and always wanting to go up the stairs and not being allowed by myself,”

he says “I thought it was the biggest, most unbelievable house in the world.” Years later, as a student of interior design at Texas State, he got the opportunity to put his passion into practice when his aunt recruited him to remodel. After digging out the original blueprints from the attic, he fired up AutoCAD and redrew all the plans. Wall-to-wall carpeting was swapped out for hardwood floors, and marble replaced the ceramic bathroom tiles. A seamlessly integrated new wing expanded the two most lived-in rooms of the house: the kitchen and the master bedroom.

sld7

The internship turned into a full-time job, and over the next three years, he learned from Drake how to run a business. In his next position, with David Mann, of MR Architecture + Decor, he honed his management skills on projects ranging from private residences to a boutique winery in China.

Drawing upon the dual perspectives he gained from working with both a decorator and an architect, Anderson tackled his first solo project — a small Soho apartment for a couple on a tight budget — with hands-on gusto, gutting, remodeling, repainting and even cat sitting for the clients during his downtime. To accommodate their massive collection of books, he fashioned a miniature library out of an alcove, with built-in floor-to-ceiling shelves on every wall. One referral led to another, and the side projects began to pile up. So in 2013, he founded his own firm, Caleb Anderson Design, with his partner, Brett Williams.

“I had no idea it would be that heavy,” he says. “The bed took six guys to move and had to be remade twice.”

sld9

Other sit-up-and-take-notice gestures included pairing aMackintosh chair with an ornate Louis XV desk and placing a furry stool that looks like Cousin It from The Addams Family an otherwise polished space. “I always add a piece that raises questions and makes people think.”

His clients aren’t the only ones stepping out of their comfort zones. Some customers have asked Anderson to stretch too.To add depth and dimension, he turned to texture.Although the monochromatic room was a departure, he couldn’t have been more satisfied.

here was a time when the tony townhouses and sprawling beach cottages that are now part of his daily work were completely unknown to Anderson. “Growing up, I had no idea people lived this way,” he says. “But to be perfectly honest, I will always call Texas home.”

Early Influences:

Helping my mother decorate our home as a child, being an avid reader of shelter magazines by the age of 12 and the dozens of weighty books on architecture and design I borrowed from the library as a teen.

Big Break:

Working for Jamie Drake opened endless doors for me in the world of design. I learned so much about the business in his employ and am grateful for his continued support as a mentor and friend.

Inspired by:

Art, history, travel, fashion, architecture, nature and other designers/artists/craftsmen

Favorite Artists:

Cleve Gray, Friedel Dzubas, Shirley Goldfarb, Nicolas Carone,Edward Dugmore, Larry Poons

Designers You Most Admire:

Jacques Grange, John-Louis Deniot, Pierre Yovanovitch

Favorite Fall Getaway Spot:

Rhinebeck, New York

Drink of Choice:

Coffee with 2 percent milk, no sugar

Watering Hole:

Casa Agave, in New York — amazing margaritas

Go-to Place for Dinner:

Narcissa

On The Surface / Introspective

The topic at hand was, broadly, collecting design, in all its forms. Freedman, who, prior to Barneys, worked as the founding creative director of W for nearly 20 years, spoke about his longtime interest in Italian design, particularly the Radical movement of the 1960s, whose origins lay in the day’s politics and university classrooms as opposed to any commercial outlets.

sld6

Alesch and Standefer, who got their start as Hollywood set designers and whose notable projects include the Ace Hotel and the Boom Boom Room at the Standard, in New York, and the Facebook offices, in Palo Alto, spoke about determining authenticity in objects and their tendency to gravitate towards pieces that show the hand of the maker.

See some highlights of the night’s event below — and keep an eye out for the next Design Dialogues.

The Room Would Reveal Itself

The Devilish Detail

We’re really happy with the trophies that Stephen improvised for the trophy cases in the drawing room. One of our favorites is the second-place award for playing one-on-one basketball with a sumo wrestler, which we thought sounded like great fun — fun to imagine as an actual sport, anyway. This is absolutely one of those times where a touch like this wasn’t required, but in another way, it was totally essential. The room just begged for a bit of mischief that would reveal itself to anyone who cared to look closer.

The Innovation

sld4

The plaster work in the White City Ballroom is one of the most-photographed features in the hotel because of the stylized stalactite lights hanging from the ceiling, the construction of which is almost incomprehensible to the average person.

Vintage pieces are very rare and not many seem to have survived, and that’s exactly why we wanted to track down the technique of creating them. we’ve lined it with unfinished cedar, fashioned beautiful picnic tables for space and lit the bar with lanterns filled with honey.

It turns out to be a bit of a lost art, one that uses layers of horsehair and hand-carved wooden molds. We finally did find a plasterer from Chicago who was able to make the proper molds and help us craft the lights.

We don’t feel compelled to find a new way to do something when an old way is better.

The Speed Bump

sld5

Cindy’s, the gorgeous rooftop bar, was an unusual and unexpected choice for all involved. The challenge for us was in figuring out how to make something sweet, light and sunny work within the more formal dignity of the rest of the building. We wanted it to feel dynamic and a bit impromptu, like a picnic or one of those charmed afternoons at a lake house where everyone lingers out of doors until the last possible moment. It took several presentations and evocative conversations until everyone eventually embraced the down-to-earth, open Midwestern sensibility in the vision that we painted, and now that it’s fully realized, it makes perfect sense. People emerge into the bar as if in an entirely separate world from the rest of the hotel; we’ve lined it with unfinished cedar, fashioned beautiful picnic tables for space and lit the bar with lanterns filled with honey. Cindy’s also opens up on a magnificently serene vista of Lake Michigan that stretches away from Millennium Park. Because we’re lower down, it’s not that “God’s-eye view” that you get from Hancock tower — it’s much more intimate.

The Custom Commission

We designed a number of custom pieces for the hotel, but we’re especially proud of our homage to the great vintage Scandinavian wing back chair. We applied some of what we call our “historical modern” principles, and they came out very elegantly, with a great silhouette that is a streamlined version of the classic wing back. We removed some of the plumpness and gave it a new identity that works better for the more taut, muscular atmosphere we wanted to give the space.

The Pièce de Résistance

Stephen did some “invaded artwork” on top of a few of the old dusty paintings we found in the building’s basement. We cleaned them off, and then he found ways to make them local and modern, like painting a baseball cap onto Abe Lincoln. This really encapsulates our ethos. It’s the essence of what we love to do — finding these pieces was like finding the breadcrumb trail to a completely new destination.

“THE ROOM JUST BEGGED FOR A BIT OF MISCHIEF THAT WOULD REVEAL ITSELF TO ANYONE WHO CARED TO LOOK CLOSER.”

The Room to Book

All of the rooms have their own charms, but No. 727 is a particularly good choice because it features a broad view of the lake. Every room, though, has a great re imagining of the old wooden stretching racks we found in the building’s original gym, which we’ve used as rails for holding water, pencils, and notepads. At the foot of the brass-and-bronze beds, we added a pommel horse as a bench, recalling a sense of athleticism and activity.

The Splendid Surprise

sld3

First, it really is a tribute to the spirit of the place, where men used to come to work off steam, to hit the court and refuel over a game of basketball. The echoes of that time are still here, so we were thrilled to have a space of this scale purely for fun and play.

On the main floor, we added pool tables, room for shuffleboard and hand-painted chess- and checkerboards, for those whose play is a bit more cerebral. We wanted to fully activate the space with all of these possibilities, for every mood and type.

We also created some luscious green leather banquettes for lounging, which are beautifully lit by custom brushed-nickel light fixtures. We think that the little surprise to look out for is the moment when, in the middle of having a drink or a snack, guests get the impulse to jump up and play Foosball or boccie. We know that happens many times a day here now, and we love that.

The Sporting Life / 1stdibs Introspective

Chicago has been on something of a high-design hotel run of late: Radisson Blu opened in architect Jeanne Gang’s wavelike Aqua skyscraper a few years back, and a bit later the Langham landed in a 52-story Mies van der Rohe–designed.icon on the banks of the Chicago River, featuring a lobby by the mid-century modernist’s own grandson and rooms by David Rockwell.

sld

In the last few months, Virgin launched its hotel brand here, commissioning Italian design star Paola Navone for its rooftop lounge, and Soho House resident designer Vicky Charles brought her chic Brit sensibility to the club’s new Chicago home in a turn-of-the-20th-century former warehouse.

The Project

There were all of these lovely, very graceful untouched details to be mindful of, while not being overly precious or fussy.

The biggest risk was in being overawed by the structure and the iconic role of the building for Chicago; that would have been dangerous because sensibilities have evolved so dramatically.We had to find out how to make the building relevant today.

sld1

It all started with the original building, and then all of the ephemera we found strewn about and tucked in little corners, including artworks, athletic equipment and furniture.

It was a bit of archaeology. Our first impulse was to rescue these bits and pieces from obscurity, but we also had to be ruthless.

We wanted to create a space that lives and breathes with many layers but also clearly tells a story and isn’t overwhelmed by detritus.

The Palette

Against that, we contrasted clear-varnished wood — one of our key materials here — which is similar to that employed for wooden sporting equipment and is in keeping with a generation that was accustomed to tennis rackets, field hockey sticks and pool cues coated in shellac and banded with lacquer.

The utilitarian, durable nature of these glazes is why they are still in use today, protecting both athletic equipment and furnishings.Our best juxtaposition of styles greets visitors immediately as they enter the hotel and approach the reception desk. We brought sporty right up to the edge of gothic.

sld2

That’s not a combination one sees often, but it definitely works here. We varied and contrasted our wooden materials, bracketing the sturdy, laminated-plywood reception desk with the ornate gothic screens found throughout the room. Looking up, guests see contemporary artist Chuck Meyers’s beautiful painting of Chicago’s “L” train, the steel girders of which seem to reach out into the room, providing a vector through the space that directs the visitor’s view outward.

The painting is almost like a fresco, which adds a layer of gentleness and mitigates the aggression of the steel girders depicted. Higher up in the room is the tough, unsentimental angles of a metallic chandelier, which lights the space while complementing every other element.