Not many clients these days “live above the store,” so to speak. It takes a sharply inquisitive imagination and some fancy skills to know how to deck out a full-floor apartment at the Met Life Tower, complete with a spacious wrap-around porch overlooking Madison Square Park.
For the redesign of the massive floor-through apartment Erica Ventura drew up some winning plans! The fifth-semester Interior Design student received the very first Centennial Design award from the prestigious Decorators Club.
The space was to accommodate the tastes of a senior arts curator of the Madison Park Conservatory, her documentary film producer husband, and two children. It would also have to impress a large posse of art world professionals.
“It was perfect for me!” says Ventura who is also a painter and muralist. “I can relate to building a space for someone passionate about art like I am. As soon as I looked at the art work available for the project, I was excited. Art was an option for each of the dramatic spaces.”
Some of the specifics that the judges noted were her exterior space, window treatments, textures, wall treatments and covering.
The formal living room was designed around the sculpture that was applied to the ceiling. It’s made of paper plates cut and slotted together. The piece by Tara Donovan, mimics the ways of nature, cellular growth, and molecular density.
Winning the Centennial Design award in its inaugural year was a tremendous high. “I was so excited. Everyone had such a different approach and all are really creative and beautiful,” said Ventura of the finalists.
“It is a huge honor for us to award our first Centennial Design Competition prize to a student as talented as Erica. Her design showed an excellent understanding and use of scale, skillfully incorporated the required furnishings and artwork, and most importantly, she carefully considered not just how the spaces would feel and look, but exactly how they would be used.” – Courtney Coleman, Co-chair, Decorators Club Scholarship Committee
Ventura, who says she “loves looking at floor plans,” gives some advise to the novice:
“To best read look first at the point of entry. In my case it’s the elevator bank [above] that leads to the foyer where a circular wall guides you to a living space.
Symmetrical pocket doors lead to a library that functions as a home office for conducting business meetings. Included is a built-in taupe lacquered bookcase where the husband’s 23 vintage atomic models and a vast book collection are showcased. The ceiling has a brass textured wallcovering that merges with the brass from Ron Arad’s Thumbprint sculpture.
“Her love came through for the client and the project. Erica understands the project and the art and interpreted it very, very well. It’s calm and sophisticated. Her strengths were her attention to detail, choice of furnishings and design of the wrap-around, outdoor space. – Carmita Sanchez Fong, Chair, Interior Design
The dining room has a custom glass-top table that seats 10 and can expand to 20 for events. The contemporary “octopus” chandelier by Achille Salvagni and blue wave console are accented with silver metallic window treatments and geometric color study paintings by artist Josef Albers.
“I wanted a series of lighting coves to give a wash of light down the walls,” she says.”The way I use the art is to highlight the space and build the floor plan around the art pieces.”
The bedroom walls are upholstered in a Scalamadre tweed gray fabric with a pair of industrial black sconces to flank the king-sized bed. Above the bed in a recessed space is “Charmed,” Atticus Adams’ aluminum relief sculpture. A pair of black Knoll Platner lounge chairs offer a space to spend a moment gazing upon the cityscape through French doors.”
“Every design is inspired by different things,” says Ventura who transitioned into the Interior Design BFA program after taking courses in 3D construction model making, foundation art that focused on design, and plaster perspective drawing.