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Riot of Color
Richard Pérez-Feria | Photo: Portrait by Brett Hufziger | Interiors by Christopher Coleman and Angel Sanchez | July 14, 2014
Two disparate sensibilities join forces to create a singular palette.
Celebrated fashion designer Angel Sanchez and New York City-based interior designer Christopher Coleman didn’t know how their competing creative visions for a Miami luxury waterfront condo would play out. Prior to being a world-class fashion designer, Sanchez—who created wedding dresses for Eva Longoria and Sandra Bullock and is currently on his fourth year as a judge on Project Runway Latin America—was a trained architect, and he still maintains a clean, simple aesthetic. Not so much Christopher Coleman: In his world, color means life. Would there be Project Runway-style drama? Something had to give.
The Venezuelan owners of the four-bedroom, 3,500-square-foot Santa Maria residence on Brickell Avenue have close ties to Sanchez, and they gave him very few restrictions in terms of how he should re-create their home in the sky. “To be perfectly honest, at the very beginning of the collaboration with Christopher, it was a little difficult for me, only because we come at design from different places,” Sanchez says. “The architect in me kept defaulting to very simple, black-and-white, hassle-free environments, whereas Christopher was great at bringing in elements to make people smile. He took a lot more risks than I ever would have. He was cohesive, and, truth be told, he taught me a lot about the use of color.”
On the other hand, Coleman credits Sanchez for helping rein in any potential excess. “Angel Sanchez is a wonderful person to collaborate with because he was an architect before he was in fashion, so he completely understands how important the backgrounds are,” Coleman says. “Angel is exceedingly clever with decoration, but remains subtle.”
The space itself was a daunting challenge, according to Sanchez. “The original apartment was very dark, with almost-black marble all over the residence,” he says. “There was dark wood paneling everywhere—it was depressing. So the owners gave us a lot of freedom to create a ‘happy place’ for them in the sun. No more dark colors. They were excited for us to do something ‘very Miami,’ so we did exactly that.”
Did they ever.
Coleman and Sánchez dramatically chose green, yellow, black and white for the space; one would be hard-pressed to find another luxury home in this particular palette. The challenge the designers met head-on was how to keep those key colors from clashing and overwhelming the space. Not only did they avoid those pitfalls, but also the residence succeeds in being elegant, sumptuous and, yes, even restrained. Two divergent design aesthetics ended up harmonizing.
Custom lacquered doors welcome you to the residence while a massive, curved bright yellow sofa announces that you’ve entered into the antithesis of the inescapable Miami cliché of white and glass. The custom sofa, covered in a viscose blend in Mistolino yellow by Clarence House, isn’t the only luxe piece screaming for attention, however. Sitting opposite the sofa, to genuinely striking effect, are black-and-white side chairs—one found at a flea market, the other crafted by Coleman to match it, with help from Messenger/Snow and Messenger/Onyx fabrics by Maharam.
“I firmly believe that color should enliven a space and energize the person in the space,” Coleman says. “I’ve been working with yellow for years, as it’s one of my favorite colors. It’s so fresh and so happy. I’ve actually been wanting to try green, and this project was the perfect opportunity to do that.”
To Coleman’s point, green highlights in the home include doors, bar stools, as well as cocktail tables, occasional tables, side chairs and countless accessories. Sanchez’s influence is felt mostly in the hushed tones: the white, gray and black that serve to counter the color riot. This is what Coleman refers to as Sanchez’s skill with “background.” The net result is a happy one. The designers say the clients were thrilled with the outcome, even though Sanchez and Coleman sometimes doubted that they’d get to this joyous result.
In the end, each designer feels his vision is represented. “I designed this house as if it were mine,” Sanchez says. “We wanted to create a social, happy environment, and we accomplished that. I love how graphic the home is, and, yes, while there’s a lot of color for sure, there’s also a lot of white.”
Seven dining room table by Jean-Marie Massaud
Metal outdoor furniture
Bar stools by Jasper Morrison
Living room sofa fabric
Cole & Son
Dining room wallcovering
Mummy chairs by Peter Traag
Living room Zazu pendant chandelier
Vintage office desk chair by Peter J. Protzmann
Living room armchair fabric
Living room re-edition floor lamps
Mirrored console in entryway, cabinets outside dining room