Life is all about the sum of experiences. And that is exactly the inspiration the celebrated designer, Cyril Vergniol, had for 200East59 residences
By: Soumya Jain Agarwal
Posted on: August 29, 2019
Call it a melding of American modernism and French chic. 200East59, a new residential tower in New York, is spelling luxury in minimalist ways, with witty touches of extravagance and art you can delve deep into.
Created by Macklowe Properties, this 35 story residential condominium tower has been bought to life by Cyril Vergniol, the Parisian designer, who recently contributed to the magnificent renovated interiors of Hotel de Crillon – a Rosewood property – in Paris, along with Karl Lagerfeld and two other designers. His style of work ranges from classic and chic to modern and contemporary. From Seoul to Istanbul, from Miami to Shanghai, Mr. Vergniol has given each of his projects a unique identity, befitting the location, the tastes of the owners and his own signature style.
White and pristine, the tower at 200 East 59th Street stands at the intersection of Midtown and the Upper East Side, close to Central Park and surrounded by Bloomingdale’s, the Decoration & Design Building and the boutiques of Madison and Fifth Avenues. With its signature wraparound terraces and exterior columns that create a unified visual rhythm, the building is an elegant follow up to Macklowe’s 432 Park Avenue, the Western Hemisphere’s tallest residential tower.
Matching the stark exteriors, Mr. Vergniol has created a visual display par excellence inside. Think of a diverse mixture of antique columns from Nigeria, handmade pink glass tabletops, sculptural walls made with plaster, metal mesh lamps, and many, many more elements that will delight your artistic senses.
We talk to this design maven, pick his inventive brain on 200East59, and his design philosophies.
LuxuryFacts: Congratulations for creating the gorgeous design for 200East59! What was the directive given to you by Macklowe Properties for the interiors?
Cyril Vergniol: Harry Macklowe wanted to do something unexpected for these show flats and challenged me to design spaces that felt ‘daring.’ After each presentation, I got a clearer idea of who these prospective residents could be. I imagined them as worldly and adventurous and with a deep penchant for traveling. Developing this personality profile inspired my design and also led me to incorporate elements from the surrealist movement of France’s 20th century.
LF: Do you think you have been able to accomplish the interior as per the company’s needs?
CV: Harry Macklowe wanted daring, and I think that I delivered two apartments that are anything but ordinary. We worked with the most talented craftsmen in France to create custom pieces that would speak to this surreal theme, and we sourced unique art and furnishings that would add to the homes’ whimsy and charm. We found amazing pieces from some of New York’s most prestigious galleries, including Carpenters Workshop Gallery, Nathalie Karg Gallery and Par Excellence.
LF: What was your personal vision for these homes? What kind of interiors did you want to achieve for a home in the sky?
CV: Personally, I was drawn to this incredible feeling of transparency that you have inside 200 East 59th Street. The floor-to-ceiling windows, expansive terraces and unobstructed views of Midtown are breathtaking, and I wanted to find a way to highlight the spectacle that is the city itself and not take away from it. I made the decision to incorporate warm neutrals into the design, so that the focus could be on the changing colors of New York from day to night.
LF: What was the inspiration behind the Aladdin-esque Swarovski monkey? And the mechanical clock with the rocket? How did the idea come about?
CV: At the center of my design for 200 East 59th Street was the surrealist movement and its idea that artists should be able to create and express freely. Many of these artists, such as René Magritte, Salvador Dali, Max Ernst and Joan Miro, went on to great fame for rejecting what was expected. The Swarovski-encrusted monkey and rocket clock do a very good job of communicating this same message.
LF: There is a lot of art in 200East59. What kind of art did you want to get in the building and why?
CV: When I imagined the kind of person who would live at 200 East 59th Street, I envisioned someone with eclectic taste who has collected unique works throughout their life. I selected art that this person could appreciate, from a modern sculpture to an 18th century master painting. It was also important for the art to look as though it’s been collected throughout this resident’s travels, so I juxtaposed many of the rooms with pieces like a bronze mask from Benin and a tapestry from a contemporary artist.
LF: We see there is a juxtaposition between the contemporary décor at 200East59 and the Renaissance style artworks. What was your thought process here?
CV: Mixing custom, contemporary and vintage styles was key to the design. As Harry Macklowe requested, we wanted the interiors to be unexpected, and what better way to keep an onlooker guessing than to combine pieces from different eras and methodologies? We opted for cast bronze, handmade glass, plaster and natural woods to complement the existing Oak flooring and Carrara marble and finished the space with pops of Scandinavian, Italian and French influence.
LF: How different is it to design a home versus a hotel?
CV: At the heart of designing a private home is the resident’s personal style. Their personalities allow me to achieve something different and personal each time.
LF: You have designed homes in Turkey, Miami, Seoul, Greece, Moscow, Shanghai! How do you distinguish your design based on the various locations?
CV: My design follows a project’s architecture and its location. While I can appreciate global trends, I always stay true to a place’s local aesthetic so that you clearly know whether the space is in Turkey or Greece or New York.
LF: You have also consulted for Fendi Casa and Christian Dior Home – what is your philosophy when creating furniture/home décor pieces?
CV: I study carefully what has been done for each brand, and I try to imagine what I would personally like to buy from each look. I always personalize my approach to mark the difference between brands, and I stay away from Instagram world trends...
LF: What is your personal preference: Neutrals or lots of color? Velvety or slate texture? Contemporary or regal?
CV: Everything, I like to change, depending on the location, the client, the architecture etc...
LF: Can you give us 5 trends that are going to define interior décor in the next one year?
CV: Sorry, no idea. I do my best not to follow trends or fashion...