Los Angeles luxury penthouse interior with expansive views, designer furniture, aquarium
Story by Colleen Hawkes
Photography by Art Gray
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Luxury penthouse in Ritz-Carlton Residences, by Moore Ruble Yudell Architects, with furniture by Minotti, B&B Italia, Knoll, Saarinen and Kartell
Creating the perfect nest from an empty white shell is a frequent challenge for architects and designers working on a new apartment. And it is even more of a challenge when it's a 6000sq ft luxury two-story penthouse at the top of the Ritz-Carlton Residences, one of the highest buildings in Los Angeles.
Architect Stanley Anderson of Moore Ruble Yudell Architects says the project was helped by a desire for separate public and private areas.
"The client said ‘the first floor needs to be dedicated to entertaining clients and friends, while the second floor will be where I live'," says Anderson. "So the first floor had to be light, bright and very open – we could go a little crazy with the design on this level. In contrast the second floor required a warmer treatment. The tonality of the wood veneers and the furniture forms could change and be a little warmer and softer."
Anderson says the owner also requested a large aquarium to showcase exotic fish, and a fully equipped wine cellar.
"Because the first floor is very open, the fish tank works as a partitioning device. Similarly, the floating stairs in the middle of the apartment help to separate the more formal areas from the casual seating area and study at the other end of the penthouse."
The architect says the color palette was inspired by the views, the exterior of the building, and the fact that the apartment is 52 floors above the city.
"We essentially created a nest in the sky, and some of the art and furnishings reflect this bird analogy. But the decision to use soft blue and gray tones was mainly influenced by the color of the building exterior, which features glass panels in different shades of blue. A greige tone – a shade between gray and beige – was inspired by the city spread out below. These colors also connect to the sky and mountains, blurring the line between inside and out."
A bright red B&B Italia leather ottoman makes a playful contrast to the neutral tones of the Minotti sectional sofas and other furnishings. Anderson says it's also a reference to the owner's Japanese heritage – the ottoman is on the far west side of the building, which looks out to the Pacific. A hanging Eero Aarnio Bubble chair and stepping stones over river rocks beneath the stairwell are other playful elements.
"The owner was adamant the interior needed to be youthful and modern," Anderson says. "This influenced the choice of designer furniture and lighting. But this didn't exclude classic pieces, such as the tables by Arne Jacobsen, Knoll and Saarinen. And we introduced Mid-century Hans Wegner chairs and Fortuny lamps to the master suite."
Continuity was also essential. The Minotti sectional sofas in other areas of the apartment are from the same Hamilton range as the sofas in the living room, but they have slightly different fabrics and forms.
"Having a visual relationship between the furniture pieces simplifies the design and helps tie together the apartment," Anderson says. "Key materials are also repeated. All the built-in furniture, the stairs, and the panels on freestanding dividers are in bleached birch wood. And the custom dining table features the same blue, aniline-dyed wood as the bar top on the kitchen island. Similarly, we used silver travertine on the kitchen backsplash and on the bathrooms countertops and tub surrounds."
The architect says that although there are few walls to display artworks, art has been introduced in other ways. Rugs were chosen for their artful, painterly quality; the furniture itself is very sculptural, as is much of the lighting; and the aquarium creates a dynamic artwork right in the heart of the open-plan living area.
Window treatments are mainly Mecho shades, which are concealed when not in use. However, metallic chainmail curtains help to visually soften the master suite, while keeping the look masculine. To add further drama to this suite, the architect designed a custom cantilevered bed that appears to float above the floor, in front of a sensuous suede leather wall.
First published date: 31 March 2015
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|Architect and interior designer||Stanley Anderson, with interior designer Kinneret Atia Fischer, Moore Ruble Yudell Architects (Santa Monica, CA)|
|Paints and varnishes||Benjamin Moore|
|Lighting||Axo Clavius pendant light in dining area; Niche Modern Stamen pendants above kitchen island; Bocci Seven Pendant chandelier in master bedroom; Rotaliana Large Cloud pendant in master bathroom; also lighting by Y Lighting, Flos, Artemide, Fortuny and Poulsen|
|Area rugs||Modern Weave #45 and #39 Johnny Jackson in living and dining rooms; The Rug Company Star Blue by Paul Smith in guest bedroom; Mansour Modern Plywood in master bedroom and sitting room|
|Home audio||DSI Crestron Entertainment Systems|
|Furniture||Minotti, Knoll, Fritz Hansen, B&B Italia, Kartell, Hans Wegner, Saarinen|
|Custom millwork||Bleached birch wood|
|Bathtub and basin||Kohler|
|Bathroom floor tiles||Limestone from Walker Zanger|
|Bathroom wall tiles||Glass mosaic from Walker Zanger|