12 Scene-Stealing Sofas

Gray? Cream? Beige? Black leather? No way! Check out these 12 statement-making sofas, which add visual interest to their surroundings with their cool shapes, vibrant colors, and come-hither textures.

1. Patrick Thompson Designs The Monarch Club Atop Detroit’s Element Hotel

Downtown Detroit’s circa-1925 Metropolitan Building sat abandoned to the elements for almost 40 years before finding new life last winter as the Element Hotel. This fall, a crowning touch has been added to the structure: The Monarch Club, a rooftop venue featuring 2,500 and 4,000 square feet of interior and exterior space, respectively, comprised of a restaurant/lounge and three patios with stunning views of the refueled Motor City. Patrick Thompson Design, which created a bold mix of art deco and mid-century interiors for the Element, returned as the creative vision behind The Monarch Club—check out before and after images here—installing a red velvet banquette that twists and turns dramatically along glossy, dark Kolay vinyl plank floors and intimate arrangements of club chairs and wingbacks. Read more here

2. Shamir Shah Adorns Ten Thousand Los Angeles With Rich Materials and Plenty of Art

Shamir Shah cites the “richness of materiality” found throughout the lobby and the amenity spaces. But that hardly begins to describe the opulence and elegance filling the three levels, totaling 75,000 square feet, of what is New York–based Shamir Shah Design’s first multi-unit residential project on the West Coast. The 40-story tower by Handel Architects, developed by Crescent Heights and named Ten Thousand after its address on Santa Monica Boulevard, lies on the border of L.A. proper and Beverly Hills. Common areas include an elevator vestibule with sofas by Patrick E. Naggar. Read more here

3. Sabine Marcelis and Paul Cournet’s Artful Loft Brings Glamour to Rotterdam's Coolhaven

If Coolhaven—the name of a waterfront district in Rotterdam, the Netherlands—suggests an oasis of cutting-edge chic, a tour of designer Sabine Marcelis’s elegantly restrained neighborhood loft only reinforces the impression. But the Dutch moniker translates to Coal Harbor, which gives a truer sense of the area’s character: “It used to be quite rough but has changed massively in the three years since we moved here,” Marcelis says. Even so, her 2,800-square-foot apartment, housed on the second floor of a four-story building, overlooks the heavily trafficked Schie river. The cool quotient is mostly inside. Much of the loft’s furniture and art was acquired through trades with the couples’ artist and designer friends. Most spectacular is a pink-upholstered Pierre Paulin sofa—the Osaka, a serpentine marvel named after the site of Expo 70, where it was first exhibited—an exchange with the designer’s son Benjamin. Read more here

4. Kengo Kuma Refreshes Exquisite Paris Residence Designed by Kenzo Takada

Tucked away in a hidden spot in the Bastille district of Paris is a remarkable house built by Japanese fashion designer Kenzo Takadamore than thirty years ago. Set in the courtyard of an 18th-century apartment building, the four-level, 14,000-square foot, cedar-clad residence—replete with its own inner courtyard and planted terraces—took about seven years to complete. (All the materials were imported from Japan.) When a French family recently acquired the house, they called on the Japanese architect and Interior Design Hall of Fame member Kengo Kuma to infuse new life into the unique property. The brief was to remodel parts of the six-bedroom, six-bathroom house but leave other areas much as they were. Pierre Paulin’s Dune modular seating sits under a skylight in the media lounge. Read more here

5. Designer-Chef Collaboration Yields Art-Filled Casa Maria Luigia Hotel in Northern Italy

The country estate that renowned chef Massimo Bottura and his wife and collaborator, Lara Gilmore, transformed into a boutique hotel poises new-world sensibilities wrapped in old-world charm. Dating to the 18th century and nestled in the Emilian countryside in the province of Modena, Casa Maria Luigia, named after Bottura’s mother, ticks off all the Tuscan villa boxes: classic allée, original shutters, centuries-old oak trees intertwined with manicured lawns. But inside, the eclectic environs prove it’s not exactly a conventional Italian casa. In reception, Tracey Emin’s neon piece is paired with sofas from the ’40s. Read more here

6. Gensler Designs Western Union's Denver Headquarters For the Digital Future

Yes, they of the singing telegram and the currency transfer. Western Union has an illustrious heritage of innovation starting in 1851 with the intention to build a telegraph line connecting Buffalo to St. Louis and continuing a decade later with the debut of a transcontinental telegraph. Fast forward to the present and a move from suburban Englewood to a high-profile Gensler-designed spec building at the Denver Technological Center, part of a 42-acre campus anchored by light rail in the heart of the city’s burgeoning tech corridor. Western Union leased 250,000 square feet on eight floors and brought Gensler back for the interiors. A key design detail: themed lounges on each floor, here representing a Paris flea market with Barbara Barry sofas and custom walnut shelving filled with company memorabilia. Read more here

7. Kingston Lafferty Design Transforms a 200-Year-Old Dublin Coach House Into a Modern Residence

Bolton Hall is a landmarked Georgian country house in Rathfarnham, a suburb of Dublin. In 2015 the building and its 4 ¾-acre grounds were bought by Homeland, a real estate developer that received permission to create 20 new luxury residences on the site. After building 17 townhouses, Homeland’s principals, Aoife and Neil Collins, turned their attention to the overgrown, partial ruins of the estate’s original vaulted stables and adjacent paper mill. To create the interiors for the largest of these conversions—the two-story, 3,000-square-foot Coach House—Homeland hired Kingston Lafferty Design, a Dublin firm founded by Róisín Lafferty, who had previously worked on one of the development’s townhouses. Another of Lafferty’s personal obsessions is lighting, particularly over-size ceiling fixtures—is a fantastical Maison Dada pendant—among them a 5 ½-foot-tall, bright-scarlet gobsmacker suspended above a rosy-pink custom banquette in the barrel-vault reading nook. Read more here

8. New York Residence by Shamir Shah Design: 2018 Best of Year Winner for Midsize Apartment

“I’m not a huge color guy,” Shamir Shah confesses. “I’m one for dark and moody. It’s very sheltering.” That inclination is on beautiful display in this two-bedroom by Shamir Shah Design, a 3,500-square-foot apartment located on a high floor of a 1914 former manufacturing building in New York City. Walls throughout are painted complementary shades of gray and cream. Wide floorboards are grayed oak. And aDana Barnes sculpture rises from floor to ceiling between the living room’s twin Vladimir Kagan sofas is a treelike twist of wool in soothing oatmeal shades. Read more here

9. Houssein Jarouche’s Art-Filled São Paulo Apartment Is a Medley of Modernism

Pop art is alive and well. Just step into the São Paulo apartment of furniture dealer Houssein Jarouche for proof. It’s a reminder that while the movement was born in the 1950’s U.K. and U.S., it not only flourished contemporaneously in Brazil but also continues to do so a half-century later. The residence’s furnishings tell the parallel story of the countries' ongoing affair with modernism. Here, Ada With Sunglasses by Alex Katz occupies the kitchen/dining area, with existing resin flooring. An Isamu Noguchi sofa and ottoman and Adam Goodrum’s multicolor chair furnish a corner of the adjoining sitting area. Read more here

10. U-Labprojekte Elevates Multigenerational Living With a Pied-à-Terre in Madrid

Those familiar with Madrid know Calle de Serrano well. A walk amid the street’s old-school grandeur, however, turns up the occasional minimalist facade or contemporary art installation, turning the palazzo-style blocks into a backdrop for design experimentation. This kind of contrast between old and new happens inside the neighborhood’s residential buildings, too. One such example is an apartment by U-Labprojekte, a small, forward-thinking studio fond of manipulating simple materials to profound effect. Here, directly behind the master, is the daughter’s bedroom, a bit playful with a treelike floor lamp by the architects and colorful modular seating by Patricia Urquiola. Read more here

11. Artist Sergio Fiorentino's Majestic Home and Studio by +CStudio Architetti in Noto, Italy

Exerting a siren call, the Italian city of Noto is a UNESCO World Heritage site on the southeastern edge of Sicily. “It’s a magical place, outside of reality. So many artists, architects, designers, and stylists all choose to live here,” painter-sculptor Sergio Fiorentinosays. He should know, being one of them. Ditto for +CStudio Architetti principal Massimo Carnemolla, a self-proclaimed artisan who has designed decorative accessories and interiors, now including a home and studio for Fiorentino. It’s a stunning study in simplicity. The living area’s cement floor tile, colored in around 1930 to resemble ceramic, anchors Gianfranco Frattini rocking chairs, a Federico Munari sofa and lounge chair, and a Gastone Rinaldi armchair. Read more here

12. SPG Architects Transforms Lilian Swann Saarinen’s Former Cape Cod Residence

Modernist royalty, by marriage, Lilian Swann Saarinen had met her husband, Eero, when she was studying sculpture at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, headed by his father, Eliel. After the younger Saarinens’ divorce in 1953, she moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, with their two children and asked former Eero Saarinen and Associates architect Olav Hammarstrom to expand a fisherman’s cottage in the Cape Cod town of Wellfleet for use as a low-budget family getaway. “On the Cape, a lot of architects built on a dime and a prayer,” SPG Architects principal Eric Gartner explains. Considerably more painstaking was his own task: updating the Hammarstrom design for repeat clients, one in financial services and the other a sculptor. Needless to say, the living area includes a chair and ottoman by Charles and Ray Eames. Read more here 

Read more: Get a Room! 20 Seductive Master Suites and Hotel Guestrooms

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