October 28, 2017

A Couple of Collectors Enlisted Juan Montoya Make Their Diverse Artwork a Focal Point

Architect Juan Montoya creates a space that is both a livable gallery and a welcoming home for an art-obsessed couple.

by Danine Alati interior designer Juan Montoya photographer Eric Laignel

A vibrant full-wall painting by Ian Davenport complements the white paintbush sculptural artwork by Arman, and a black custom hide floor runner by Patterson Flynn Martin adds warmth in the hallway.


When a couple of ardent collectors wanted to make their diverse artwork a focal point of their newly expanded Manhattan home, they enlisted the expertise of Juan Montoya, the Colombian-born, Parsons-trained architect, who founded his eponymous New York design studio in 1978.

juan montoya
Other pieces from the couple’s collection are strategically placed: Spot Painting by Damien Hirst is set above the custom TV unit in Macassar ebony and white parchment, which is topped with bronze sculptures by Tom Otterness.

"It is a delicate process to create a space that both integrates and highlights such strong art pieces," Montoya says. "I wanted to allow more space for the art collection to expand. Scale in the project was very important—both in the spaces and how they relate to the art."

juan montoya interior design
Saturated blue wallcovering by Shagreen Art provides a backdrop to the gold mirror in the dining room by Anish Kapoor and 3D piece by artist Jesús Rafael Soto behind the sofa in the living room.

The homeowners, a married couple of film industry execs in their 40s with two children who've lived in New York for many years, owned an apartment in the posh Sherry-Netherland apartment hotel on Manhattan's Upper East Side and then purchased two adjacent units when the opportunity presented itself. Montoya was tasked with fully renovating the three units and linking them in such a way that lends a cohesive feel to this new four-bedroom, three-and-a-half bath home. And the clients' main directive was that the art be a focus, but they left the specifics to Montoya, the architect says. "I wanted to both feature and emphasize the art through the design," Montoya says, adding, "They have so many spectacular pieces. It strongly influenced the design."

juan montoya
Left and right: Saturated blue wallcovering by Shagreen Art provides a backdrop to the gold mirror in the dining room by Anish Kapoor and 3D piece by artist Jesús Rafael Soto behind the sofa in the living room; Montoya custom designed the blackened metal and glass cabinetry in the dining room.

A light, neutral white and gray palette in the living space is punctuated with eye-popping art and punches of color. Painter Ian Davenport's Poured Lines delivers a spectrum of color over one full wall of the hallway, juxtaposed with artist Arman's white paintbrush sculpture on the opposing wall. A black, white, and blue 3D piece by artist Jesús Rafael Soto comes alive in the living room. Shagreen wallcovering in cobalt blue by Shagreen Art extends from the dining space and wraps around the sofa in the living room, and is a favorite feature of Montoya's, as is the gold mirror on the dining wall by Anish Kapoor, which he calls "absolutely stunning."

juan montoya interior design
Montoya employs subtle use of color in the girl’s room with custom bedding by Juan Montoya Design for Casa Del Bianco and turquoise stools from Arteriors; The mirror above the bed is also Arteriors.

Of his process, Montoya says: "I didn't want a white gallery, but a space that complements and interacts with the art. They love to live with art, as I do, myself." He adds, "I'm extremely pleased with the end result."

juan montoya interior design
Montoya left his fingerprint on the design of this home with custom touches in the master suite including the bed, bedding, and leather and Macassar ebony bench; Lillian August designed the desk, and the grand pendant ceiling fixture is from John Rosselli.
juan montoya design
Left and right: Silver lights by Ralph Lauren illuminate the powder room and highlight a bone-and-Macana inlay side table made in Colombia and a custom back-lit honey onyx and metal vanity; The boy’s bathroom includes a walk-in shower discreetly set behind mirrored glass opposite the vanity.

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