High-profile interior designer Andres Escobar, principal and creative director at Escobar Design by Lemay, is constantly on the go.
These days, the curly-haired Colombia native, who calls Montreal and New York home, shuttles between sites around the Big Apple, where he has a whopping 15 projects — spanning residential and hospitality — now under way.
They include the interiors at The Nevins condo at 319 Schermerhorn St. in Boerum Hill, Hoboken’s 1400 Hudson condos and those at the 532 Neptune Ave. rental in Brighton Beach.
Brooklyn’s brand-new Holiday Inn is a prominent recent completion.
Of course, Escobar’s work isn’t limited to New York. A 25-year veteran of the industry, he’s outfitted structures around the globe, like the luxury H Resort Beau Vallon Beach in the Seychelles. New Delhi’s Jaypee Greens hotel and Le Quintessence condos in Laval, Quebec, are also in his lengthy portfolio.
We caught up with Escobar in the midst of his hectic schedule to discuss his favorite spots, his origins and his recommendations for making your space look great.
The museum that’s impacted me most is the Guggenheim in New York City.
I love the architecture — it’s like a seashell. Frank Lloyd Wright, The Guggenheim’s architect who I admire, believed in designing structures in harmony with humanity and the environment, a philosophy that he called “organic architecture.” It’s a futuristic building that was done so long ago, yet it has such longevity.
Montreal is a city filled with groundbreaking architecture.
Habitat 67 and Westmount Square are must-visit buildings. Habitat 67 — a striking arrangement of concrete forms — was architect Moshe Safdie’s thesis project at McGill University, which was chosen to be built for Expo 67 [Canada’s centennial celebration]. Architect Mies van der Rohe designed Westmount Square — a property made of black anodized aluminum and smoked glass, which give it a beautiful simplicity.
Every functioning city tries to reinvent itself as part of an ongoing process.
Including my hometown Medellin, Colombia. Once considered one of the most dangerous cities in the world, it was named the 2016 Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize laureate for overcoming its history of violence and heading into a positive future. Today, Medellin is a changed city with sustainable cable-car transit systems and major works of art by Fernando Botero, including his 23 bronze sculptures on display in Plaza Botero.
My first New York project was The Gretsch.
The Gretsch, a condo conversion of an old musical instrument factory in Williamsburg that began in the early 2000s. It was an important and challenging project for me, which required incorporating a modernist aesthetic into a century-old structure. And it was a success; the building broke price records and attracted celebrities, like actor Josh Hartnett.
I get great ideas for my work at the MoMA Design Store.
Especially from their miniature models of classic furniture pieces, for example, from designers Alvar Aalto and Le Corbusier.
B&B Italia — a high-end Italian label — is a fantastic source for buying furniture.
Its pieces span a variety of styles and sit well in any space — whether it’s a loft or traditional home. Designer Antonio Citterio’s Maxalto collection is my favorite for its dark-wood touches and clean lines.
If you’re thinking about a home renovation, there are great resources you can refer to for inspiration.
I recommend browsing the pages of magazines, such as Frame, Interior Design and Architectural Digest. Sometimes people fall in love with specific features — like a fireplace or wall paneling — or furniture. Then, hire a designer who’s able to navigate what piques your interest and give you what you have in mind. Most people know what they want; they just don’t know how to put it together.