We all know the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” But sometimes, the picture is more interesting when you know those thousand words that describe it. This brings us to our topic today. Interior Canvas is a huge fan of New York based designer and architect, William T. Georgis. And when Interior Canvas gal, Cameron, had the pleasure of meeting William in LA a few weeks ago, we knew immediately we wanted to write a feature about him for our readers. Rather than just showcasing images of his amazing work, we decided to shake things up a bit and get the behind-the-scenes story (in his own words) about some of these beautifully designed spaces. Enjoy the best of both worlds as we get the “inside skinny” and feature the brilliant work of William T. Georgis Architect.
Upper Eastside townhouse
The penthouse of this Upper East Side townhouse, originally a rooftop shack, was rebuilt as a modernist pavilion overlooking a garden terrace. Used as a media and billiard room by the family, it is also a favored site for cocktail parties and barbecues. The owner had been collecting Warhol portraits en masse—so why not treat them as wallpaper? The interior is appointed with a teddy-bear-mohair banquette, French stainless steel and leather slipper chairs and a lava stone topped custom-designed coffee table.
Upper Eastside townhouse
Living rooms, the most public rooms of a house, are expected to reflect the character of the owner. This room in a dignified Upper East Side mansion, had beautiful original architectural detail and a magnificent mantle, which was restored. But for these clients, we wanted the decoration to challenge the status quo and defy expectation. The clients rejected conventional furniture plans, instead pushing for “something different.” We dismissed the usual rule of thumb for a living room—to create at least two seating groups. Rather, a single round sofa resting on steel fin legs and upholstered in elephant-hide-covered velvet accompanies a limestone-topped coffee table on a base resembling an engagement ring—all custom designed . In addition I designed the silk-and-wool rug by standing on a ladder and dripping ink onto Japanese paper. More historic furnishings mediate the modernity of the sofa, coffee table, ands rug, while the extraordinary Cy Twombly and Franz Kline paintings and Jeff Koons hanging Dog Pool with Panty take the room in a different direction altogether.
Townhouse addition (New York)
This is an addition to the rear of a seemingly respectable neo-Georgian townhouse on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Visitors to this staid residence are thrown off-balance when they reach the back and step into a wall-less, floor-less space. The addition’s glass floors and four-story slanted rear glass wall offer nothing plumb or solid—except the owner’s collection of Victorian family heirlooms. Paul Rudolph the ultimate transgressor who twisted the norm, evoked similar sensations in his Beekman Place residence where Plexiglas floor panels were installed to vertiginous effect.
My client had a specific vision for this Southampton, New York residence: a house grounded in the past but informed by the present—a hybrid of sorts. My answer to the clients’ request is an austere interpretation of the Shingle Style. Traditional materials like shingles and a standing-seam metal roof are combined with more modern poured and exposed concrete and curtain walls of glass to achieve a contemporary effect.
Wall Street Lobby
I often enrich projects with site-specific works by artists, welcoming their solutions to complex design challenges. I turned to R. M. Fischer to design something to hang from the ceiling of this Manhattan office tower lobby, to provide light, and to scale down the cavernous space. His solution was a molecule-like sculpture of illuminated orbs with bronze connections that hovers in a large void, mitigating its size and creating a spectral glow at night.
Thank you, William! You set the bar so high with your ingenuity and creativity. We appreciate your taking the time to share these stories with our readers.
(William T. Georgis and Cameron Weaver)
William T. Georgis Architect
233 East 72nd Street
New York NY 10021
(All images courtesy of William T. Georgis Architect)