Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Chic Chinoiserie

I'm sure you've all read over at Style Court that it's Asia Week. All the serious collector's are in town this week for the auctions, gallery shows and other events. Christie's was hopping on Sunday when I stopped by to check out what was up for auction, as was Sotheby's. Another great place for fans of Asian art to visit in the city that is often overlooked, is the Japan Society Gallery.

So that got me thinking about writing an Asia Week related post when I ran across the beautiful apartment of fashion designer Josie Natori in the October 2007 issue of ELLE Decor. I think it a wonderful example of how one can mix contemporary furnishings and modern art with Asian artifacts to create a soothing zen interior.

Josie and her husband Ken worked with architect Calvin Tsao of Tsao & McKown who not only designed the interior but the majority of the furnishings. "This is the Natori sensibility" is how Josie Natori described her recently redesigned apartment.

I think it would be very easy for a serious collector of Asian artifacts to go crazy and overwhelm the space but in this apartment, there is a sense of restraint even though "many design decisions were dictated by objects the Natoris love as well as how the couple lives." I love the Tang dynasty figurines that pose as a centerpiece on the Tsao designed dining table above.

Part of their antique textile collection was hung as wall hangings, while others conceal sliding wall panels. In the living room, a contemporary painting by artist James Nares feels right at home next to the glass cocktail table by Chris Cosma and a custom silk rug by Sam Kasten Handweaver.

The bronze desk above is also a Tsao design and looks so sculptural and modern in the corner of the family room. Just as in Robert Burke's apartment, the Natori apartment is a carefully balanced mix of warm and cool tones that was apparently inspired by Charles James and Yves Saint Laurent. I'm going to remember that the next time I redecorate!

I love the niche for the Buddha in the English sycamore paneling in the music room. Josie is an accomplished piano player and actually celebrated her 50th birthday at Carnegie Hall with a performance for 3,000. Now that's a birthday!

In the bedroom, an antique Chinese embroidery is used as a bedspread while a 19th century Chinese lacquer armoire acts as a pedestal for another Tang dynasty figurine. Mrs. Natori states that she's never moving and I don't blame her. The apartment is utter perfection!

Photos by William Waldron


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