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A Study in Balance with Charlotte Sylvain

For Charlotte Sylvain, founder of the Brooklyn based interiors firm Studio Fauve, design has always been in the details. So when she was first presented with the opportunity to bring her curatorial eye to an apartment in the recently completed 180 East 88th Street building, it was her warm but precise touch that would set this exceptional space apart. We spoke to the French born designer about interpreting her clients brief, sourcing sustainably, and how to create a space that will last a lifetime.

Photography by Nick Glimenakis

How would you describe your design philosophy at Studio Fauve?

We strive for our designs to be understated and minimal yet homely with a sense of warmth which can be a tricky balance at times! We also love working with artisans who are passionate about what they do to bring a more handmade aesthetic to our projects.

Tell us a bit about this project. What was your vision for 180 E 88th St?

We often find our inspiration in the existing architecture of the spaces we design. In this case, we wanted the apartment to be a reflection of the building’s architectural elements; a dramatic looking residential tower featuring handmade bricks and vaulted balconies. We focused on textures and shapes to keep things interesting while maintaining a very neutral and subtle palette, as well as sourcing handmade pieces as much as possible.

What were the client’s “must-haves”?

My client’s most important request was that the space would be suitable for entertaining. The dining and living area have a lot of seating options, as well as a custom handmade bar table adjacent to the dining area for additional guests or a more casual seating/standing area.

This is their second residence and they do not live there full time which helped in keeping the design more minimal.

Were you drawn to certain colors and materials?

I am a big lover of neutral colors and natural materials, so whenever the client is on board we follow that aesthetic. I think it’s particularly important to bring in textures and organic shapes when the overall scheme is so sleek, so the home doesn’t end up feeling cold.

Whether it be a particular room or a unique object, what is your favorite feature of the home?

I can’t pick between the giant sectional by Stahl & Band or the striped dining table by Fort Standard!

We strongly believe in buying fewer but better things. What are your reasons for investing in quality pieces with real longevity?

Being in the design industry definitely makes you reflect strongly on sourcing decisions. Focusing on quality over quantity of course supports sustainability, and it often means that the client won’t look to replace pieces often which is our goal.

Is there a common thread between all of Studio Fauve’s projects?

Even though our project’s aesthetics depend on the client’s personal preferences, you can find common elements between all of them: neutral colors, natural materials, and a lot of European influences.

We've spotted our Andes rug in the living room; how did you know it was the right rug for the space?

Actually all the rugs in this project are from Armadillo, five in total! Armadillo’s philosophy really resonates with me and the designs of the rugs totally follow our own aesthetic: subtle tones and interesting textures.

Do you have any tips to ensure that a home will endure and evolve over time?

Investing in quality pieces that are well fabricated are critical to longevity and we only source from trusted vendors so that we know the products will withstand the test of time.

Finally, what’s keeping you creatively stimulated right now?

We are in the final stages of wrapping up a couple of larger projects and are about to take a short summer break in Europe prior to commencing designs for some exciting new projects. We like to come up with schematic design ideas during our travels as it’s a great source of inspiration.