Top interior designer Jean-Louis Deniot stripped a South Beach penthouse to the bare cement for a striking home with Art Deco nods, and Design Limited Edition brings the tour of this exquisite design project.
When renovating the Miami penthouse, one of Jean-Louis Deniot‘s design inspirations was the Brancusi atelier in Paris. In photographs of the studio, a monochromatic blue canvas is surrounded by sculptures, some on rough-hewn pedestals. Miami’s Art Deco scene was another influence, the designer gravitated toward the style of Gerrit Rietveld, a Dutch designer of the period, whose work was geometric and avant-garde. In the living room, the walls were stripped to the bare concrete, which was never meant to be visible.
But once exposed, it looked like beautiful stone, textured and vibrant, and Jean-Louis Deniot left it untouched. He lined the entry corridor with brass panels to reflect the light; it makes the space look bigger, and the effect is pure sunshine. The flooring is newly installed terrazzo — a nod to classic mid-century Miami.
Everything in the living room needed to be on a huge scale to balance the room’s height. The sofa is giant, the concrete head on a pedestal is massive, and the 1920s Italian terrazzo fragment of a nose and mouth on the white shelf near the ceiling is much bigger than it appears — more than two feet tall. If decorating a room is like creating a story (and to Jean-Louis Deniot, it always is), then this living room is a tale of the sea.
The artist designed the cabinet in straw marquetry to hide the television set. It’s the blue of the deepest ocean, and it rests on lacquered wooden balls shaped like beach balls (the shape also references both Art Deco and Memphis design). On top of the cabinet, a row of onyx cones reminisces shark’s teeth. The cocktail table has the form of a surfboard, and Jean-Louis Deniot designed the rug’s pattern to resemble sand and water.
The ceiling in the master bedroom is just eight feet high. To make it look loftier, Jean-Louis Deniot commissioned an artist in Paris to paint a canvas of a storm or massive wave. They put the painting on a boat to Miami and glued it in place in the bedroom. The swirling pattern almost appears like a dome. In the master bath, which has a bird’s-eye view of the Intracoastal Waterway, the top interior designer wanted the marble to look like a landscape.
Jean-Louis Deniot found a stone in Miami with beautiful veining — it looks very Art Deco—and covered every surface in it, along with the vanity, and even designed a matching marble waste bin.
In this penthouse, 26 stories above the ground, you feel as if you are floating above the beach, the neighbouring buildings, and even the clouds. You can see birds flying by. It’s a very poetic, serene, and some might say surrealistic way to live.
This story was originally published in the April 2018 issue of ELLE DECOR.
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