FOR ART’S SAKE
Designer Deborah Wecselman sets the stage for her client’s extensive collection
Text Susan Friedman | Portrait Nick Garcia | Interiors by Deborah Wecselman
Interior designer Deborah Wecselman, of Deborah Wecselman Design, a boutique Miami firm established in 2000, designed the interior’s 3,000-square-foot contemporary aesthetic. The design became the basis for the couple’s art to play off, which translated to the colors, mood and symmetry of the overall space. “There are two parts: One is the furniture, the other is the art,” Seinjet says. “We didn’t want to put anything in that would have no connection to the furniture.” Wecselman concurs, “It’s so much easier to design a cohesive space when you have interesting art to incorporate.”
Case in point: When the elevator doors open onto the condo’s private foyer, “Migrations” by Colombian artist Fabio Mesa—an installation of acrylics on Plexiglas—illuminates a corner with LED bulbs in purple-ish hues. Seinjet, a native of Colombia, says she searched to find “the perfect defining piece of art” for that space. Mesa’s expressionism-influenced work finds company with Wecselman’s attraction to laying pattern on pattern. For example, she pairs a vintage Lucite console with a Chinese motif against a hand-painted tone-on-tone wall with an antique brass mirror above it. Custom ottomans wrapped in Groundworks’ Serpent natural linen from Kelly Wearstler’s collection are tucked beneath.
Inside, the door-facing wall repeats the foyer’s matte background and glossy pattern. It’s the foil for one of Seinjet and Zfaz’s favorites: a multitiered, undulating sculpture by Three, a Japanese collective of anonymous artists who turn everyday materials into space-altering 3-D installations. “It’s called ‘Tokyo Surge,’” says Zfaz enthusiastically. Zfaz and Seinjet chime in union, “We bought it based on the gallerist’s description.” The whimsical “waves” are comprised of soy sauce containers that are shaped like fish and are filled with vividly colored water. Wecselman sees “Tokyo Surge” as a special enhancement to the wall. “It’s complementary to hang a special piece of art in front of a subtle finish,” she notes.
The palette of gold, black and neutrals were persuasive factors for the art. “It all started with the colors in the living and dining rooms,” says Wecselman. Above the living room sofa, which is upholstered in Jim Thompson’s Hanoi Camino, an optical illusion just above grabs attention. Napoleon Graziani Bressanutti’s horizontal kinetic art from the Incesante Energia series is practically made to order, echoing the Dedar Milano-enrobed sofa pillows with Baskiat yellow, black and white tones, as well as the Nomadic Trading Company overdyed black patchwork rug.
Texturally fitting, a playful fox in view from the sofa is situated as if scaling a wall to the family room. Composed of balsa wood, ink and acrylic paint, the “Skulk” sculpture was created by artist Shawn Smith, who paints wood cubes to achieve a pixelated “8-bit” effect. “From the living room, it looks like the fox is staring right at you,” says Wecselman. “I thought, oh, my God, this is where it should go.”
Wecselman’s preference for modern art is shared with her clients. “These days photography is quite exceptional,” she says. “The urban-themed piece in the dining room is my favorite.” The Pieter Hugo work called “God’s Time Is the Best” is a portrait of a Nigerian man and his pet baboon. “I had never heard of Hugo, but when I saw his work at Art Basel, I loved it,” says Seinjet, who knew exactly where to hang it. The placement and rich surround underscores the veracity of the image. A pair of chairs flank the Scala Luxury credenza, which is fashioned from bleached matte parchment and brass. Custom textiles cover the chairs: Plushy Noir from Perennials, Dedar Milano’s Basiluzzo and Kelly Wearstler trim. “When we move the chairs from the wall to the table, the space feels empty,” says Seinjet, who plans to add a sculpture to fill the void.
Opposite the dining room, rift-cut oak built-ins—custom-made at nearly 20 feet long—provide storage. Indents for objets d’art hold aqua-hued agate slabs on pedestals and gold orbit spheres. Oak conceals the doors leading to the bedrooms and powder room, where a galuchat wallcovering adds shimmer. The hallway’s rug runner adds artistry too; the Diane von Furstenberg hand-knotted wool silk Climbing Leopard motif bursts in lush emerald.
The family room’s aesthetic shares the art’s relaxed sensibility; near the sliders, a cozy banquette wears a shade of Vibe Cityscape blue, and the three-piece custom sectional with nailhead trim has Donghia Sunbrella Swell in ginger covering the cushions. An inspired piece from the Buttons Up series is lit by sunshine that streams through glass panes and bounces off hundreds of small, simple sewing buttons painted in yellow, red and black, and hanging on wires. A white dove sits on top. Meanwhile, the “wood” ceiling is actually Nobilis Paris wallpaper.
As for the colorful sculpture jutting from the wall, Zfaz commissioned it. “It’s by Miami artist Augusto Esquivel. He made it to order to fit this corner,” says Zfaz, who met Esquivel through the Miami gallery Now Contemporary Art. “He looked at the corner and knew exactly what to do.”
Happily, between the owners, Wecselman and the roster of talented artists who contributed their work to this home, someone always knew what to do and where to place it.