Coffinier Ku Design Delights Visitors to the 2010 Kips Bay Decorator Show House
There are numerous delights to be found inside the townhouse showcasing the 2010 Kips Bay Decorator Show House on the upper east side of Manhattan. One of the most uplifting, however, is the bubble theme used in two of the rooms designed by Etienne Coffinier and Ed Ku of Coffinier Ku Design.
The acclaimed designers, who are based in New York, started with a single photograph by Melvin Sokolsky. Ku had found the image, which had been used in a fashion shoot for Harper's Bazaar in 1963, and was mesmerized by the beauty of a woman who was seemingly floating on the surface of the Seine in front of the Pont Neuf in Paris. The model was photographed while standing inside a large plexiglass bubble in a scene that would seem to be precarious yet it exudes calm and serenity.
The designers decided to use the overscale 50" by 50" archival print they found at the Staley-Wise Gallery and contrast it with a modern piece of art by Norman Mooney. Entitled "Smoke Panel 02", it was made through a process of blowing smoke onto a metal panel, which evokes another world.
Gallery: Coffinier Ku Design at Kips Bay
The furniture in the "On the Bubble" room was designed by Coffinier Ku, and includes a striking sectional that was made to wrap and define the room "while providing a wonderful place to curl up and read or have drinks with some special friends," says Ku. "We mixed all similar but different fabrics from Nobilis for a tonal, peaceful yet intriguing mix."
Coffinier and Ku opted to use Lucite for the tables. By combining Lucite, leather and wood, they created pieces where the slabs of the table appear to be floating. This ties in nicely with the Sokolsky photo. The cantilevered coffee table is multi-functional with two ottomans designed to tuck into the corners of the table, but which can also be removed to provide additional seating.
All of the woodwork used for the furniture, from the base and arms of the sofa to the table slabs are in the same cerused finish as the wall paneling, crown molding, and baseboards. All woodwork was created by "contractor to the stars" Stephen Fanuka. "This gives it a truly unified look," says Ku.
For the walls that were not covered in cerused oak, Coffinier and Ku selected a Phillip Jeffries wallcovering. The floor was covered by a sophisticated Tibetian wool and silk carpet from Stark Carpet. The table lamps are 1960's Brutalist blackened steel lamps from Craig Van Den Brulle. "The swirling shape echoes the bubble, but in a very primal manner," adds Coffinier.
In the adjacent bathroom, referred to as "The Bubble Bath", hand-blown glass balls by Suzan Etkin Enterprises were used to full up the claw foot tub. Additional balls were suspended from the ceiling over the tub. Paired with a ceiling mural of a cloudy sky complete with bubbles floating off into the distance (by muralist Glenn Palmer-Smith) , the room appears to be floating mid-air. "Once we knew we were embarking upon a bubble idea with the Melvin Sokolsky photograph, we wanted to expand that into the adjoining bathroom," Coffinier explains. "We instinctively thought about glass bubbles in the bathtub that were then floating up to the ceiling."
Visitors can't help but grin at the whimsical site.
The 2010 Kips Bay Decorator Show House runs through November 11th. Hours of operation are 11:00 am to 5:00 pm (Monday through Saturday). Tuesday and Thursday evenings until 8:00 pm. On Sundays, the house is open from noon until 5:00 pm. It is located at 106 East 71st Street, between Lexington and Park Avenue in New York. Admission is $30. No entry 30 minutes before closing. The 2010 Kips Bay Decorator Show House supports the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club.