Gotham Glamour: The Sultry Penthouse With An Unmatched Style Factor


purple lounge chair

Designer Martin Kobus channeled a salon-like feel in curating this Manhattan apartment. The groovy curves of Jan Ekselius’s iconic Etcetera lounge chair find their match in a side table by CB2 in the living room.

cheryl humphreys artwork gold

In a central hallway, mesmeric gold-leaf artwork by Cheryl Humphreys purchased through Tappan Collective holds court. An intricately beaded Élitis wallcovering provides a dramatic backdrop.

gold media room with de...

The media room’s jewel-box effect comes courtesy of a custom gilded wallcovering by de Gournay. A mirrored-glass cocktail table by Gaspare Asaro complements it, as do swivel chairs from Anthropologie and a sofa by designer Martin Kobus swathed in a Donghia fabric.

tete a tete mirrored walls...

In the great room, eglomise panels by Villafranca Studio creating the illusion of columns stand before a serpentine tete-a-tete in a Sandra Jordan alpaca-wool bouclé. The chairs are Pierre Paulin, the rug is custom-made by Scott Group Studio and the Golden Bambi sculpture is by Jasmin Anoschkin.

dining room resin chairs

Circular shapes continue in the dining room, where Kobus installed custom creations of his design, including an abstract plexiglass chandelier. It hangs above a table with a hand-painted eglomise top and 3D–printed smoky-resin chairs by Protek Models.

white modern kitchen

Kobus kept the apartment’s as-delivered kitchen intact but gave it a dash of style with brass Bjorn Collection cabinet pulls and a bespoke crystal chandelier. The designer also recovered and blackened the legs of minimalistic counter stools he had found at West Elm.

pink mural bedroom

“It was my intention to create a very sexy boudoir feel,” says Kobus of the primary bedroom with its custom Murano-glass chandelier and pendant by Cosulich Interiors & Antiques. An airy mural by Drop It Modern oversees the scene.

elitisi beaded wall

Many of the designer’s aesthetic decisions were inspired by the homeowner’s work in the fashion industry. Case in point: A beaded Élitis wallcovering in the hallway resembles the complicated ornamentation of a haute-couture gown.

pink bathroom vik muniz art

: A portrait of Sophia Loren from Vik Muniz’s “Diamond Divas” series gives an edge to the primary bath’s traditional finishes. Roman shades of cotton-cashmere Brochier fabric tie back to the blush tones of the bedroom.

poter teleo wallpaper bedroom

: The large scale of the abstract Porter Teleo wallpaper finds its match in the guest bedroom’s soaring ceilings. Textural touches such as the brass sconces and shagreen nightstands, all from RH, echo the home’s soft glamour mood.

New York City has plenty of posh addresses, but few rival the penthouse apartments of the Woolworth Building. Nestled on the upper 30 floors of the 1913 Neo-Gothic-style tower, these luxury residences were carved out by legendary French architect Thierry Despont—he of the Statue of Liberty’s restoration—melding Old World style with modern sophistication.

Given this cosmopolitan pedigree, it makes sense that the address would appeal to a bicoastal fashion-tech CEO who frequently touches down in the city for everything from investor meetings to designer runway shows. Inspired by the building’s history and architecture, she tasked her longtime designer Martin Kobus with infusing the sunlit corner unit with as many dazzling details as possible.

“The apartment was a clean slate with a great floor plan and amazing amenities,” shares the Bay Area-based designer, who saw in his clients’ new Manhattan chapter the opportunity for a bold, urbane and art-filled pied a terre. “The owner’s been passionate about collecting art for a long time” he notes. “She wanted ambiance and a real New York City vibe—almost as though we were designing a gallery of her own.”

In turn, Kobus imagined spaces in close conversation with an array of newly acquired artworks, which the homeowner sought out almost as soon as she had signed the contract. And, to combat the unit’s traditional rectangular configuration and give each piece its own spotlight, Kobus set about crafting, in his words, “rooms within rooms.” He achieved this effect by using sultry textures and moody hues, thus establishing an intimate envelope that draws visitors into conversation with the pieces. “The apartment has that salon kind of feel with lots of tactile elements, which gives real depth and dimension to the experience,” the designer adds.

Take the living room’s hand-decorated eglomise-mirror panels (which are gilded and painted behind the surface rather than atop it), which play off a 24-karat Golden Bambi sculpture by Jasmin Anoschkin tucked in a corner. Kobus’ selection of a large-scale serpentine sofa clad in alpaca-wool bouclé offers a perfect perch for observing it all.

Throughout the residence, Kobus’ selections of furnishings and decor similarly act as artworks in their own right. A beaded wallcovering in the hallway leading to the bedrooms evokes the sequins of a haute couture gown, while a set of resin 3D-printed chairs mimicking smoky glass in the dining room feature an exaggerated shape that Salvador Dalí would approve of. In the media room, the overlapping circular tops of a mirrored cocktail table find their match in the gold-leaf spheres of a custom de Gournay wallcovering that looks like it could be a holdover from the building’s heyday. And, in the primary bedroom—a decidedly breezy and feminine space that serves as a visual reprieve from the otherwise moody Manhattan aesthetic—pendants of pastel Murano glass and crystal dangle like jewels against a painterly mural backdrop. Even the throw pillows peppered about the home carry through an artistic thread with their geometric, Escher-like patterns that nod to elements of cubism.

With its sky’s-the-limit attitude and parade of eye-catching flourishes, the finished result—which sits in the clouds in what was once the tallest building in the world—feels a fitting retreat for a high-style, high-powered entrepreneur. And like all great art, the seeming effortlessness of its beauty belies the careful calculations behind each stroke. “The apartment is chic and elevated, but still very comfortable and livable, too” adds Kobus, noting his client’s ultimate stamp of approval: “When she’s watching TV in the media room, or having a Campari at the bar, she’ll text me about how much she loves living here.”