A True Expression of ModernismAuthor:Lindsey Shook
“For a luxury home in a world-class city like Los Angeles, a high level of sophistication and refinement is expected. What makes L.A. special is the indoor-outdoor lifestyle; mix in a little Hollywood glamour and the result is a very livable home that can host casual family gatherings or elegant soirees,” says William Mungall, an associate at the Landry Design Group on the firm’s approach to designing a signature project in Southern California.
They applied this philosophy when tasked with conceiving a forever home for a young entrepreneur and his family that is both fabulous and functional and equipped with the most sophisticated technology currently on the market. “We were looking to achieve a clean contemporary style with high-quality materials that allowed the landscape and art to play feature roles in this residence,” says the firm’s founder and principal architect, Richard Landry. “There is a coherence of materials and theme throughout, but also a sense of discovery.”
The project began by stripping the original 9,500-square-foot, three-floor Mediterranean structure, keeping several of the exterior walls and the kitchen and living areas in place. An additional 2,500-square-feet was added across all levels including the installation of new terraces and a stunning pool that like Landry’s work—feels like a sculpture. “The original home had low ceilings and oddly shaped rooms that did not take advantage of the views and it did not flow well for a modern family.” Mungall recalls. “It also had a lot of odd angles resulting in strange spaces that we simplified with clean geometry, arced walls and round spaces.”
Long, curved walls were designed in the front and back of the irregular shaped home, countering the odd angles and creating a more subtle massing and delicate transitions. “The original house had a tight winding stair in a dark shaft; we wanted an open, airy statement stair to connect the three levels,” says Suzanne Shepela, another associate at Landry Design Group involved in the project.”The resulting white sculptural stone stair is set off by a sky-lit, custom wall of Zaha Hadid-designed carved marble panels.”
Iconic interior design firm—Magni Kalman Design—was engaged to enhance the home’s new design direction by applying their distinguished and celebrated modern style. “We approach each space and project from an architectural point of view by asking—what is the architect saying?,” says founder and principal designer James Magni. “Then we support that vision established by the architect, the site, and, most importantly, the clients’ program.”
With every finish in need of being replaced and an entire new collection of furniture to be purchased, the team had the tremendous opportunity to leave their signature Magni mark. “It was important to us, and our client, to design a home that makes a statement at every turn,” says Magni. “Working within a contemporary shell, we bridged the divide between modern lines and traditional elements, using luxury finishes such as polished floors, Italian-sourced marbles, gold leafed ceilings and plaster moldings throughout.”
While Magni and his team reveled in every detail throughout, they are most proud of the impressive entry and stairway that feels like a standalone sculpture. “While in Milan at the Citco headquarters, we discovered these incredible carved marble panels by Zaha Hadid and knew they were right for this project. Together with Richard, William and Suzanne, we decided to integrate them at the curved stair, which had already been designed and was beautiful in its own right, but just felt like a perfect match for the carved panels,” he notes. “The detailing was intense, but our two teams executed it beautifully: it floats!”
Inspired by both the architecture and the couple’s existing collection of art and accessories, each space was designed to feel both contemporary and classic. “The clients started with a great collection of art and accessories,” Magni notes. “The Anish Kapoor in the entry, and the John Millei in the dining room, helped set the tone for the remaining art collection, which was procured by a Los Angeles-based art consultant.”
The house is completed by custom lighting and furniture from notable design houses including Zaha Hadid, Luxury Living, Baccarat, Minotti and Magni Home Collection. While innovative surfacing from Caeserstone masks the advanced automation and lighting systems installed by Roberts Audio and KGM Lighting that is almost inconspicuous.
The final result is a modern marvel with a nod to classicism that is both livable and delightfully dramatic. “The clients were thrilled; they enjoy the process and were very hands-on during the material selections,” says Mungall of the big reveal. “We worked hard to maintain seamless transitions throughout the spaces and were able to achieve a high level of privacy yet provide the coveted indoor-outdoor California lifestyle.