Nature In The SkyBy: Eva Lilian Matásková Photo: Yukio Gion
With a plethora of astonishing projects throughout the world, Ingrao Inc. is considered one of the best interior and architecture firms worldwide. How did they manage to “bring the outside in” on the top floor of a NYC skyscraper.
Glamorous, unique, ambitious. These would be just a few of the keywords that best describe creations by Tony Ingrao and his team throughout their four-decade career. Whether it’s a chic country house or a minimalist Miami penthouse, they all have one thing in common: a fearless mix of various styles of furniture, periods and materials at the highest level. For this private New York residence, located in the highest penthouse in Hudson Yards, they teamed up with Lasvit to create a one-of-a-kind ceiling light, embellished with hand-blown glass flowers.
Inspired by nature, the idea was to bring nature into the skyscraper but also incorporate crystals. “The idea was to add a twist at the top of this building, bring the energy through and reflect the interior architecture to the exterior architecture,” Tony Ingrao says. “When you’re working up in the sky like that, you need to use some elements of nature, that make you feel like you’re connected to the world. Otherwise it’d be just a glass and concrete box – and you wouldn’t feel comfortable up there.”
In today’s interior architecture, lighting is probably the most dominant feature to develop in the last twenty years. It can bring emotional value to architecture and helps transform it into an exciting experience. Light is also capable of playing with volumes, distorting the perception of space and even dramatizing the shapes and textures of the materials.“I like to use light as sculptures but I don’t like to describe lighting as merely a source of light. For me it‘s an object, not just a chandelier. You get a far more interesting approach when you don’t depend on it to just provide light. Then you can appreciate it more as a beautiful object and play with the quality of the light and the nuance of shadows or highlights,” Ingrao says.
It’s quite simple: people want to be connected to light and also to nature. When you manage to bring in views, light and nature, it creates a happy, positive experience. That was also the idea behind this stunning tree-shaped chandelier growing from the ceiling just above the dining table. Not quite what you would expect at the top floor of a skyscraper. “That’s a thread that ties through all our projects. There’s is always a space for connection to nature. Whether it’s at architectural or decorative level – in this home the fixture starts resembling nature in a way, but then it also ties back to bringing you out and expanding out to the views of nature,” Ingrao says.
The collaboration on this Lasvit chandelier began with a hand-drawn sketch by Tony – and took about a year and a half until the final masterpiece was finished. “We gave the complete direction and trust to Lasvit with this one. We knew their capabilities, so we totally trusted them with our vision. They’re able to push the envelope, and always recreate something that’s never been seen before, such as this beautiful combination of metal and glasswork,” he commented.
His company has an incredible eye for objects and spaces, creating smart interiors for demanding clients who care a great deal about their homes. He is also sensitive to their personal choices, helping them express their personal taste through design. Sometimes, that may mean discovering a passion for modern design among formerly traditional clients.
“Every client has a different vision of what they want and we can work with any vision they have. We’re responding to their ideas and to who they are as people,” he explains. “You must understand their mentality and what their expectations are to be able to design for them. It’s our job to translate what they have in mind to reality,” concludes our talk with Tony Ingrao.
Ingrao Inc. is an internationally recognized design and architecture firm, focused on both residential and commercial projects in the USA, Israel, Monaco, France, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong. The company, established by Tony Ingrao and Randy Kemper in 1982, is comprised of 36 interior designers and architects, and is based in New York City. Their work fundamentally creates close connections d their natural surroundings.