When Anna Zaoui decided to renovate her family’s pied-á-Terre in Manhattan, a three-bedroom apartment overlooking Central Park, she wasn’t set on a particular style or color palette, but she was certain about one thing: It had to be designed by Pierre Yovanovitch. “At first he told me he had too many things going on in France,” recalls Zaoui, cofounder of the online design gallery The Invisible Collection. “But I thought, It’s him or nobody, so I went to see him again, and finally he said yes.” Yovanovitch has emerged as one of the most in-demand designers in the world. His interiors, which feature an amalgam of subtlety and drama, of elegance and irreverence, represent a new kind of French savoir vivre.
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When he first visited Zaoui’s apartment, a 30th-floor aerie inside a renovated condominium on the Upper West Side, Yovanovitch immediately noticed the stunning views of Central Park. And then he also observed that the layout did not do justice to these views. His design called for a complete reconfiguration of the space, including opening new doors to form an enfilade that draws the eye to certain windows, joining the study and dining room to create a large multipurpose space, and darkening the foyer to enhance the impact of walking into the sun-drenched living room and its sweeping panoramas.
“You enter through a hall with black metal walls, and as soon as you come into the living room, you have this very clear, very beige atmosphere,” says the designer. “We came up with different sequences in the apartment, different moments; it’s like you have to discover it.” Contrasts are an essential aspect of Yovanovitch’s aesthetic. The thread that runs through the home, he says, is a “combination of serenity and something very strong.” In the aforementioned main bedroom, for example, his “Papa Bear” chairs, with their soft shapes and even softer shearling upholstery, stand next to a bold, almost psychedelic cyan-and-black painting by Marc Quinn.
Zaoui and her husband, who are based in London but began spending more time in New York when their two children enrolled in East Coast universities, were drawn to the designer’s notion of contrasts. “I wanted something that could stand up to the energy of the city,” she says, “and at the same time to have this quiet, calming cocoon.” Pierre Yovanovich has the perfect Caffe Latte Style.