Meeting of Minds
Mark McMenamin -- Interior Design, 9/1/2009 12:00:00 AM
Every so often, patience pays. Three years ago, waiting for a table at a New York restaurant, furniture designer Kenneth Nilson started chatting with a fellow man-in-waiting who turned out to be Interior Design Hall of Fame member Jamie Drake. "Pretty soon, we were laughing about something," Nilson recalls. Business cards were exchanged, and months later he was summoned to Drake Design Associates. A rapid succession of residential and commercial commissions followed. "I had a feeling of vertigo when they started coming in," he says. When the pair teamed up to furnish a 4,000-square-foot loft in a century-old factory building, Drake says, he imagined "a home where the client wouldn't feel lost in the cavernous space, and Ken was able to realize the supersize pieces we needed."
Nilson's furnishings for the project were all custom, but some were adapted from previous designs, and all can be ordered from him again. A credenza in solid walnut, measuring an impressive 10 feet 6 inches wide by 38 inches high by 20 deep, features bronze-finished steel doors cut into geometrics that evoke "art nouveau with an industrial edge," he says. Even more imposing, a media cabinet 8 feet wide and 10 feet 6 inches tall has a walnut frame, supported by steel bracing. On the lighting side, the Cross pendant fixture, 30 inches square, combines bronze-finished steel with cherrywood, and the 60-inch-tall Ballast lamp, named for its blackened-steel base filled with concrete, sports a cherry drum shade. The reclaimed walnut in the Double Cross bookends was sourced from Ru Amagasu, another designer with wood in his blood: He's a grandchild of George Nakashima. 718-499-3884; kennethnilson.com. circle 419