In her Designer Visions apartment, Alessandra Branca is all about contrasting combinations – of old and new, of elegance and comfort and of color and pattern. What was originally planned as the dining room was repurposed as a warm and cozy library/sitting room. Trompe l’oeil abounds with her fabulous faux bois cotton sateen on the walls and one of my favorite Candida Höfer photos of the Trinity College Library in Dublin, seeming to extend the room with its incredible perspective. Creative connections come alive as the view into this historic library containing thousands of valuable volumes overlooks a room where reading may now mean merely an iPad.
Alessandra’s signature red is throughout in her fabrics for Schumacher on the upholstery and curtains,
her new accessories, such as the Tartan throw above and marbleized tray below,
and the Ponti hand-knotted rug from the Rug Company. Mixed with warm woods and metallics, the room is a welcoming environment for work or family time.
The dining area now adjoins the kitchen, surrounded by the incredible views and tented all around to create an intimate atmosphere and cordon off the working area for more formal evenings.
It is a room again where history is brought forward and classic 19th century meets contemporary interpretations of timeless forms. Antique Jansen dining chairs with the patina of their original leather surround a custom white arched lacquer dining table, designed by Alessandra and produced by Two Worlds Art. Keeping lost arts alive is a mission for the designer. Her custom light fixture is a clean modern shape, fabricated from her Marmo hand marbleized leather, produced by a book binder she found and commissioned.
The elegant tabletop mixes Alessandra’s new collections of china, linens and crystal with Christofle silver plate and fabulous candlesticks from one of my favorite contemporary artists (Roman of course), Achille Salvagni, represented at Maison Gerard
In front of the dramatic dining views, a bar cart and barware from Arteriors is handy for serving without intruding on the visual or physical space.
As we exited the public spaces, even the hallways and stairwells were thoughtfully furnished. The signature Branca stripe adorns the walls where contemporary photography brings the red and pattern into play with arresting imagery.
And functional art is found by Alessandra in Brooklyn artist Phillip Estlund whose Genus Chairs feature decoupage collages on vintage mid century classics.
Stop by next time when we take a final look at Alessandra’s Designer Visions apartment.