Studio Mellone Creates Alchemy in This Cobble Hill Apartment
Andre Mellone is known for designing elegantly understated, texturally rich interiors, including apartments in New York and London, and retail stores for Thom Browne and Jason Wu. Mellone, who was born and raised in Brazil and has a degree in architecture from Syracuse University, prefers a “simplicity of form,” but he’s not dogmatic: The Madison Avenue store he recently designed for Carolina Herrera is clean-lined but perfectly frames fellow designer Chiara de Rege’s beguilingly feminine interiors. His attraction to 20th-century modernist furnishings was nurtured by his father, a noted industrial designer, and Mellone sees rooms as “simple geometric forms arranged in ways that make sense to me.”
This approach is evident in a serene Brooklyn apartment that is a part-time residence for a couple with a blended family. They admire what the wife calls Mellone’s “fairly restrained palette” and his sense of proportion—an important skill, given the apartment’s eleven-and-a-half-foot ceilings—and they were intrigued by the shelves of old National Geographic magazines in his own New York apartment, “a great idea for our young grandchildren,” who live nearby, the husband notes.
The apartment is filled with modernist design. At the apartment’s entry, a wood console designed by Mellone stands next to a Pierre Jeanneret chair and a rug by Marion Dorn. In the living room, Mellone established a “center” with a grouping of three cubelike 1960s armchairs (and a solid component) by Bernard Govin. Two sofas, designed by Mellone, mingle with chairs designed by modernist masters like Maxime Old and Poul Kjaerholm, tables by Ico Parisi, a 1930s tea cart by Alvar Aalto, and a bookcase designed by Mellone to hold the couple’s own collection of National Geographic magazines. On the far side of a large structural column that is wrapped in a vintage French pine screen, the dining area has a Pierre Chapo table and Jeanneret chairs. Mellone installed Venetian blinds to disguise the fact that the windows don’t go all the way to the ceiling. Works by contemporary artists including William Kentridge and Françoise Grossen are part of a diverse collection assembled by the wife.
Along a corridor with low, Mellone-designed window seats (that make perfect hideouts for the grandchildren), a study is lined with what he calls “a high wainscot” of solid mahogany, and arrangements of African artifacts on the bookshelves harmonize with furniture by Aalto and Osvaldo Borsani. In the master bedroom, Mellone upholstered the bed—which stands under a large painting by Masatake Kozaki—in velvet, and designed the low, velvet-upholstered wall behind it, as well as the corner banquette and table opposite.
For Mellone—whose current work includes the renovation of public spaces in three buildings at New York’s Rockefeller Plaza, which he envisions as a “contemporary version of Art Deco”—his collaboration with the couple could not have been more harmonious; indeed, he is also designing the interiors of their house in Miami. “Andre really understands the Old World idea that things should be lived with,” the wife says. “He gave us exactly what we wanted.” And the grandchildren love it too.