Classic Design Blends With Sleek Overtones In New York’s Olympic Tower

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“I’m fond of saying, ‘Its time has come and gone,'” says residential designer Dinyar Wadia, of encouraging his clients to think outside the box. After more than 40 years in the business, Wadia may be a big proponent of traditional architecture, but he’s not afraid to push the boundaries. One of his recent projects, a high-rise apartment in Manhattan’s Olympic Tower, which he completed with project architect Robert Lominski and designer Hernan Arriaga, showcases his proficiency at blending classic design with sleek overtones to create a modern-day home. Luxe chatted with Wadia about his vision for the space and what’s next for his eponymous firm.

Walk us through the concept for this residence. In the beginning it was a bit cloudy. The previous apartment was the abode of a Saudi prince. It was very traditional with lots of gold and blond wood, heavy carpets and very heavy fixtures. After some convincing, the clients agreed to something more modern and updated.

You combined two apartments to create this home. What challenges did you encounter? The apartments were a maze of narrow rows and corridors, so making the rooms seem naturally connected was difficult. Originally, the owners didn’t want to take space away from the bedrooms or bathrooms to widen the hallways. But I convinced them that turning these narrow corridors into a gallery would change the complexion of the apartment. The new hallways make it feel more comfortable. Now it doesn’t feel like a utilitarian space; it’s beautiful.

Those views! How did you factor them into the design? As you stepped into the main entrance, you could see the Statue of Liberty. That was the main event. Yet, the kitchen was there, right off the front door. So I moved it and created a combined living room and family room. The living area is more formal and focused on the views, while the family room is more comfortable and casual. It was a win-win situation.

The entryway design is stunning. What effect were you going for? There are three panels (shown top, right)–the center panel is the entrance to the kitchen. This was my way of doing a concealed door. The client had seen a picture of a screen she really liked. I used that for inspiration. The other two panels are fixed. It offers a slightly traditional decorative feel in a modern space..

We hear you are opening an office in Palm Beach. Congratulations! Yes, we hope for it to be up and running sometime this fall. Three years ago we designed a beautiful house in Manalapan, Florida, near the island, and business seems to be flowing that way. It’s a very positive community in the sense that people are building homes and they are just so happy to be there. There’s a buzz in the area.

PHOTOS: PORTRAIT, MICHAEL BIONDO; INTERIORS, DURSTON SAYLOR