Amy Lau

Photography by Thomas Loof


Created by Amy Lau for discerning connoisseurs of midcentury design, this vibrant contemporary retreat displays a superb collection of modernist furnishings by such luminaries as Borsani, Kagan, Nakashima, Paulin, and Prouvé. An exhilarating art collection, along with bold mid-century lighting and decorative accessories contribute atomic-age élan. The pared-down color palette of white, sandy cream and a watery pale blue emphasizes the casual summery vibe and allows the iconic design pieces to pop.

A neutral background palette heightens the effect of light and shadow while emphasizing the interplay of forms, textures and colors provided by Amy Lau’s exquisitely-curated examples of modernist design. David Weeks Studio’s Hanging Mobile chandelier is suspended above the living room/dining area. In the foreground, a walnut dining table by Mira Nakashima  with contemporary dining chairs, their black lacquer frames and sky-blue cushions underscoring the graphic elements of the artwork above the fireplace. A poppy red P-40 lounge chair designed in 1955 by Osvaldo Borsani and a contemporary sofa are positioned as two points of a conversation triangle.

Another view of the living room shows a George Nakashima  live edge floating wall cabinet in walnut. The citron lounge chair is Vladimir Kagan’s 524 Swivel Armchair and ottoman from 1960, and next to it, a rare circa-1967 Alexander Girard hexagonal side table, a design originally created for Braniff Airlines, and later produced for a very short time by Herman Miller.  The coffee table is a design by Greta Magnusson Grossman for Glenn of California, circa 1954. Above the fireplace is Swiss graphic designer Erik Nitsche’s 1954 poster design for General Dynamics; the grid design meant to represent building construction. One of the rarest in the series, this poster was part of General Dynamics push for corporate branding. This design represents the merger with Material Service Corporation, which was a prominent builder of commercial property. The custom throw pillows are a curated commission by Amy Lau Design in collaboration with Judy Ross Textiles, the design an homage to the artist Sonia Delaunay, who was both a painter and a textile artist.  

In the foyer, a 1953 design by Charlotte Perriand  for Les Ateliers Jean Prouvé, the bibliothèque (bookcase) of oak with yellow and velvety blue painted steel and aluminum displays a collection of Scandinavian ceramics and glass. On the opposite wall is George Nelson’s 1964 Platform Bench. 

The master bedroom is an ode to George Nakashima , as it contains a double dresser, nightstands and small table in walnut by the master craftsman. The bench at the foot of the bed is by Jens Risom, circa 1950s. 

Flanking the fireplace in the master bedroom is a pair of 1950s Edmond Spence  wavy-front chests, which Amy Lau had painted a seafoam green to complement the blue-green tones of the room. A pair of rare Pierre Paulin “Big Tulip” lounge chairs with ottomans, circa 1965, face the hearth, with a small George Nakashima table between. A “scribble” work by Cy Twombly is echoed by the looping pattern on the fabric shades. 

In the guest bedroom, a seating area is composed of two circa-1965 Osvaldo Borsani  P32 lounge chairs, a Jens Risom magazine table, and a 1941 design by Gilbert Rohde,  the “Ectoplastic” coffee table of highly-figured Paldao wood. This early example of biomorphic form heralds many midcentury design pieces to come. The table lamp on the desk designed by Otto Kolb is circa 1950s.

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