May 17, 2017

Robert Passal and Kim Alessi Turn Greenwich, CT Into a New Design Destination

Robert Passal and Kim Alessi open Putnam & Mason in the heart of Greenwich, CT's Design District—bringing Manhattan's D&D-style offerings to local designers and consumers' doorsteps.

by New York Spaces

Putnam and Mason
Putnam & Mason; Photograph by Michael Partenio.
Robert Passal
Robert Passal. Photograph by Alan Barry.

NYS: We are thrilled to hear about the opening of Putnam & Mason in Greenwich, CT. What are your backgrounds? How did you meet?

Robert Passal: I am an Interior Designer that focuses on evoking personal comfort and sophistication to curate timeless aesthetics. I represent each person's individualty. My projects have included commissions as diverse as the restoration of a temple, a luxe fashion boutique in Miami, Hamptons retreats, yachts, and a Tokyo pied-à-terre. I am currently continuing to produce lines of fabric and furnishings with my personal style which will be at the store. I have earned accolades from Architectural Digest, House Beautiful, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and received awarded Traditional Home's "Top 20 Designers Award".

Kim and I met through a mutual friend who is very dear to us. She introduced Kim to me knowing that I would love the aesthetics of her mirror collection Klasp Home. She was correct. Not only did I adore the mirrors but I adored Kim as well.

Kim Alessi: I heard about the space in Greenwich and knew it was the perfect space to start, but needed a solid

Kim Alessi
Kim Alessi.

partner. After our dear friend connected us, we first met at the space and started talking. I knew immediately after that first meeting that he was a good match for this venture; Robert is an amazingly talented Interior Designer and an amazing person.

I graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) with a Bachelor of Science in International Tade and Marketing for Fashion Studies. My focus was on navigating the complex global marketplace of finance, business, law, and market research in the fashion industry. I later started my own high-end jewelry company, Alessi New York and launched it in Europe and Middle East first, and then rapidly gained success in the U.S. market. Later on, I sold my jewelry business and began consutling for startups in fashion and design unitl I created and launched KLASP home in 2015. Now I am looking forward to opening Putnam & Mason as it is a great opportunity for KLASP home and an exciting venture.

NYS: What led you to open a design atelier, and why did you choose Connecticut over New York City?

Robert: I am a true believer in synchronicity. Over the summer, Kim and I were having a conversation regarding vendors and Kim mentioned that she was looking at spaces to showcase her mirrors. When she came across 34 East Putnam she reached out to me to see if I would be interested in possibly partnering with her. I drove out to Greenwich to see the space and the rest is history. Truth be told, I had a bit of an itch to assemble a retail space, or what I consider to be my very own continually evolving show house.

PUtnam and mason
Photograph by Michael Partenio.

I want to shake up Connecticut design by creating a space with an atmosphere that initially inspires a "WOW", and, as it unfolds, brings through an aesthetic that is comforting and familiar yet with unexpected undertones. My work is all about mixing eras and creating rooms that feel as though they have evolved over time. The shop will follow suit. New York City is saturated with great design. We're bringing it to the burbs....

Kim: I live in Bronxville, NY and know first handed that there are not any showrooms like what we are creating at Putnam & Mason in the Westchester/Greenwich area. We are offering the convenience of a NYC showroom without the travel time for designers and their clients, as well as a place for local and out-of-town designers to employ as an office when shopping the local "design district".

NYS: What is the concept of the space?

Kim: Robert and I are creating a layered space filled with contemporary products and classical antiques. We are pairing it with design services in a multifunctional showroom and workspace. The concept is a simple one—create a space where exceptional products, ideas, and design services can be discovered in an exclusive environment. The atelier vibe will resemble a luxurious, sophisticated home in a loft-size space, supplying high-end furniture and fabrics, audio and lighting, and making it an essential one-stop-shop for your home.

NYS: Who is your intended audience? What do you want them to feel or notice when they enter the

Mason & Putnam
Artwork by Hunt Slonem; Photograph by Michael Partenio.

atelier?

Robert: Our doors are open to everyone. We want to be the go-to trade showroom and a one-stop shop for home furnishings and design services for consumers. All our clients should feel as though they have been transported to a high-end luxury home through a sensory experience—mood lighting and personalized and romantic aromas will be in play. It will be a space filled with beautiful suites of home furnishings and accessories to which they can envision themselves living in.

NYS: What is unique about the space, products and services Putnam & Mason will provide?

Kim: We want our vendors to use the space as if it is their own showroom, giving clients the opportunity to experience their work first hand. We will offer a majority of the goods for sale from the floor to fulfill the needs of those looking for instant gratification. In-stock items will be delivered within 24 hours and installation is available. We will also provide services from local vendors for long-term home projects to guide clients through the process of finishing their home.

NYS: Are there services that cater to the different audience? Designer focus vs the consumer?

Kim: For consumers, Robert and I have curated a list of the best full-service contractors, architects, landscapers, and AV companies. Along with our design expertise and home furnishings we can help consumers handle every facet of building and designing a home, from new builds and renovations to interior and exterior designs.

For Trade, not only do we wish to be the go-to trade showroom but we also want to be a workspace for designers to utilize with their clients. A unique concept we have created at Putnam & Mason is what we call, "The Sample bar". It is kitchen not just to serve drinks but to also be used as a workspace by designers to lay out their projects. The island and cabinetry will be filled with various samples of fabric, wallpaper, paint, and more.

Putnam & Mason
Putnam & Mason; Photograph by Michael Partenio.

NYS: Who are the vendors? And, what drew you to these vendors? Are any exclusive?

Robert: Firstly, we are designing and manufacturing some of our own goods (upholstery, benches, casegoods, rugs, and, of course, mirrors) which will only be available through Putnam Mason.

We will be representing a select group of luxe vendors such as:

-Loro Piana

-Chesneys

-Zia Priven

-Arte Collection

-Brett Design

-Fromental

-Lauren Hwang

To name just a few.

NYS: What are you goals in opening Putnam & Mason?

Robert: Our goals are to bring a chic sophisticated array furnishings with my signature look staged in vignettes which will be available for immediate purchase. We've been shopping the globe for the past six months collecting a vast array of furnishings from all corners of the earth. We're filling the instant gratification void that exists with most design shops and furniture vendors.

Another goal is to simplify the overall design process for clients. We have teamed up with a select group of local vendors (Phoenix Audio Video, Wheelock Kitchens, Eastridge Construction, Robert Passal Interior Design) which will alleviate the painstaking task of attempting to locate high quality, reliable vendors. Having an established designer provide and manage these services is an invaluable service.

NYS: How often will you change out the products in the shop?

Kim: Almost daily as the pieces are sold from the floor.

NYS: Can you share with us a few items that you are excited to debut?

Robert: We purchased an incredible pair of 1950s Italian sideboards with a satin-back finish and parchment tops in Parma. They're incredibly beautiful to the point where I've repeatedly thought about keeping them for myself.

Kim: We are also truly excited about the Kitchen/Sample Bar design hand-crafted by Wheelock Kitchens. It's a truly unique approach to kitchens.

NYS: Do you need an appointment or to reserve "The Sample Bar"?

Robert: Not at all... The sample bar will be open to retail clients as well as interior designers and architects at all times.

NYS: We understand foot traffic is important to any atelier but will online shopping be available?

Kim: Absolutely at www.putnamandmason.com

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