Gemma Price talks to Lenny Kravitz about his interiors for the US$38 million New York development 75 Kenmare, which combine his artistic past and effortless cool.
“Music and design are very similar in that you’re making something out of nothing – they’re built on layers. In the end, you have a mood, a vibe – something that makes you feel differently than you did before you heard it or experienced the space,” says Kravitz, adding that the firm took multiple passes to develop well-appropriated floor plans that maximise every square metre.
When considering designers who could marry Nolita’s grungy arts‑driven past with the polished elegance of a modern New York development, Daniel Hollander, Managing Director of developer dha Capital, did not have to look far.
Kravitz Design is headquartered a five-minute stroll from the site. Established in 2003, it has developed a reputation for edgy, cosmopolitan aesthetics, earned through collaborations with Miami’s Paramount Bay Condos and Paris’ L’Arc nightclub, as well as industrial design partnerships with CB2, Swarovski and Philippe Starck for Kartell.
Kravitz’s personal connection with the downtown area, though, runs much deeper. After returning to New York to work on his music after high school in the 1980s (a time when the city’s nightclubs, bars and streets were world-leading arenas for artistic expression), his first Manhattan apartment was on Broome Street in adjacent SoHo and he hung out in Nolita. “Those were the places I felt most comfortable,” he recalls. “There were still a lot of mom-and-pop shops at that time. You knew everybody. You knew the lady running the shop here, the shop there, the guy at this store… it felt very cosy.”
Today, Nolita is home to multiple outlets of upscale international fashion labels such as Rag & Bone, which rub shoulders with luxury boutiques like Duncan Quinn, where you’ll find bespoke Italian shirts, handmade shoes and suits cut by hand in New York. Along its blocks, you’ll also find contemporary art boutiques, extravagant venues – think the gold‑themed glam-gothic GoldBar – and long-running restaurants such as Emilio’s Ballato, where local artisans and celebrities sit side by side to devour Spaghetti alla Puttanesca.
“It’s a good balance between old school and new school,” Kravitz says. “Besides having the new people who have moved there, you have a lot of folks whose families have been there for generations, so it’s a really great mix of people and energy.”
He’s already looking forward to other interiors and product design projects in partnership with hotel properties and legendary brands. “We’ll be creating limited-edition packaging and bespoke furniture pieces that integrate with the ritual that revolves around champagne. I’m really looking forward to continuing the collaboration with Dom Pérignon and being inspired.”