For a French transplant to New York, luxury is key among Midtown's madding crowd
Twenty-nine-year-old Frenchman Olivier Canovas was looking to add more flair to his bland one-bedroom in the Trump Park Avenue so he called on decorator Amir Khamneipur to transform the 800-square-foot apartment.
Decorator Amir Khamneipur designed the living room’s sofa, bronze and white quartz cocktail table, and rosewood and bronze screen. The fabric on the antique French gilt-wood chairs is from Holly Hunt; the area rug is from Ralph Lauren Home. The wax, gold leaf, and resin artwork is by Sylvia Hommert.
When Olivier Canovas arrived in New York three years ago,
the 29-year-old Frenchman brought only books, clothes, some Goyard and Louis Vuitton trunks, and an heirloom collection of 19th-century Baccarat crystal. Looking to add more flair to his bland one-bedroom in the Trump Park Avenue, he called on decorator Amir Khamneipur to transform the 800-square-foot apartment into a polychromatic showpiece in shades of ebony, gray, cream, and bronze—colors that reminded Canovas of his favorite suite at the Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo.
(Left to Right) A Baccarat chandelier hangs above a custom bronze and gray glass dining table and mahogany and bronze chairs from Mondo Collection; the Murano glass vases are from Lorin Marsh. Homeowner Olivier Canovas and decorator Amir Khamneipur. The wood and brass bookcase is from Ralph Lauren Home.
The men first met when Khamneipur decorated Canovas’s family’s pied-à-terre in Paris. “When I came to New York it felt very natural to work with Amir, because I knew his taste and that it would match what I wanted,” says Canovas, who manages realty holdings in the city. Khamneipur, a native of Iran, fled with his family after the Shah’s overthrow in 1979. After settling in England and then France, he studied industrial design in Paris and eventually moved to the States, graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design. After serving as design director for Lorin Marsh, he started Amir K Design in 2004, a commercial and residential firm. Canovas duly recognized Khamneipur’s additional talent for furniture design and knew that the decorator could tailor key pieces to fit his apartment.
The bronze floor lamp in the master suite is from A. Rudin; the Lucite armchair is vintage Vladimir Kagan.
Originally the Viceroy Hotel, built in 1929, the Trump Park Avenue was converted to condos by project architect Costas Kondylis in 2004. Its proximity to Central Park attracted Canovas, as did the building’s staff, whom he likens to an extended family. But in its initial state, the apartment was far from desirable. For instance, the bare walls were an unsightly orange, and the ceilings were uneven. “A lot needed to be changed,” recalls Canovas. In their initial design meetings, Khamneipur says, he and his client agreed that the design should reflect “an Upper East Side, tailored New York lifestyle.” Canovas was also craving some of the luxurious touches of the hotel suites he favors, such as the two vintage Maison Jansen dressers, originally from the Waldorf-Astoria, that now flank his bed. “I travel a lot, and I’m used to hotels,” Canovas says. “Living in a grand hotel seems like home, and I wanted to re-create that feeling.”
One of Khamneipur’s biggest challenges was accommodating his client’s vast wardrobe, for which he created custom storage (the bed’s tufted platform conceals drawers, and the living room sofa includes ample compartments underneath). Another state-of-the-art upgrade: Everything from the curtains to the stereo can be controlled remotely by iPhone. Canovas can even regulate the apartment’s temperature the moment he lands at the airport.
An array of colognes adorns a tray in the bath (left), which includes accessories from Baccarat and Saint-Louis. A pair of Maison Jansen dressers flanks a custom Macassar ebony and wool headboard and etched-bronze mirror from Mondo Collection (right); the linens are from Ann Gish and the sconces are from Baccarat.
“Olivier’s idea of beauty is shaped by his passion for luxury goods,” says Khamneipur, “and he wanted to translate an appreciation for craftsmanship into every piece of furniture, just like jewelry.” Following Canovas’s directive, most of the custom furnishings feature an abundance of gleaming bronze fittings and hardware. Khamneipur even pays subtle homage to the Cartier Love bracelet with his Karl screen in the living room, made from mirror-polished Australian rosewood and edged with gilt bronze. This was no vanity project, however. “It was important for Olivier to have a relationship with every single piece,” says Khamneipur. “Through our collaboration, I think he learned a new appreciation for quality and provenance. As everyone knows nowadays, a label isn’t enough on its own.”