“I love luxe. I would sit on fur all the time if I could.” Ryan Korban’s unashamed delight in luxury is his trademark. He made his confession to the Observer from the fur-covered couch of his sumptuous Central Park South pad. The two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment with a view of Midtown Manhattan includes a plethora of custom furniture.
Philadelphia-born Mr. Korban replenishes his home’s floral displays each week shares his home with his boyfriend and three dogs, a Yorkie/Chihuahua, a Chihuahua, and Pomeranian. He has lived in New York City for 10 years, designing homes for stars including James Franco and Debra Messing. A favorite project was the Balenciaga store.
“My life is about retail,” admitted the designer. “It’s figuring out what kind of shelf Prada puts their bags on. I love the energy this city puts into commercial spaces and my favorite spot, Madison Avenue is the center of that. It always needs to be fresh and moving.”
What’s your favorite spot in your home?
The terrace! I love having my espresso outside every morning. The dogs can run around while I water my plants. We do a lot of entertaining and who’s kidding? I love drinking out there!
First item you purchased for this apartment?
It was a custom-made, black-lacquered, three-paneled screen by Daniel Scuderi. There’s something really sexy about screens.
How did you pick the art and decoration?
It happenned organically, I’m always looking. The colors and textures are bronze, marble, shagreen, parchment, ostrich, alabaster, chrome, brass, and crystal. I love material that has soul. I also tried to keep my apartment more of a wash of color. If you notice the sconces above the fireplace, they’re painted the same gray as the walls to blend in. The crystal was quite a purchase for me.
What are a few of your most treasured items?
A pair of Maison Jansen lamps with crystal fruit bases, my bedroom sideboard from Italy, my antique parchment armoire, and a massive crystal from Phoenix Gallery in NYC. My zebra is the epitome of exotic fantasy. It died of natural causes, but I worked through the whole process with the maker. I wanted to be able to pick the skin, build a mannequin and pick the zebra’s pose, and that’s why it’s one of my favorites.
How do you approach designing your own apartment as opposed to designing a client’s home?
It’s been a process over the years. When I first started working, my home became a collection of all my projects, an overwhelming oasis of more is more. Now it’s very edited and I don’t veer off my path. For clients, I constantly experiment with new and different materials.
Which elements did you know you had to incorporate into your home?
My two large custom sofas have been with me from my last apartment. The first was a Knoll sofa that I got at an auction and I had expanded. Later I got the second made to match and they’ve really grown with me. Their scale really dictated the living room layout but it ended up being a good thing. In two apartments before they were face to face, and now they’re back to back.
What is a typical day like for you?
Every day is different. I am all over meeting architects, clients, lighting designers, general contractors, structural engineers, metal workers, mill workers, and doing site visits, showroom visits, and budgets. There are always timelines. I’m currently working on a project on the Upper East Side, but all of my projects are pretty much at different phases; there’s never a dull moment.
You are one of the few interior designers that mix design and fashion. What’s the most overrated current trend?
Street style. Whenever I go downtown it’s like every person is standing on the corner waiting for someone to take their picture. I see people getting dressed more for themselves uptown. Downtowners change their style with the wind, uptowners are not changing that blow-out for anybody!
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