Ryan Korban had just settled into a new apartment when the designer noticed a for rent sign outside a turn-of-the-century townhouse on New York’s Upper East Side. He didn’t hesitate to inquire. “I’m a serial mover,” admits the AD100 talent, who’s lived in nine different places in the last 14 years. “And it was beautiful—it felt like Europe.
I fell in love,” he adds of the 1,800-square-foot duplex that he now calls home. Impulsive as the move might have seemed, it was meant to be. “This is most true to my taste,” says Korban, who, for the past decade, has led the pack of young decorators bringing new energy to the design industry. His second book, Ryan Korban: Interiors (Rizzoli), out this month, presents his take on modern rooms with a range of innovative projects, including Alexander Wang’s polished bachelor pad, Balenciaga’s monolithic SoHo flagship, and the highly anticipated luxury building 40 Bleecker.
Sought-after for the fresh and striking manner in which he mixes disparate styles—classic with contemporary, romantic with brutalist—Korban set to work modernizing the apartment, with its ornate moldings and original black-and-white harlequin floors. He began by painting the walls in varying shades of gray, his go-to neutral. For the airy living room, he went pale, then designed a matching suite of club chairs and a sofa (now part of his furniture collection for EJ Victor, launching next spring). A Christian Liaigre bench and cabinet, as well as a bronze cocktail table by Eric Schmitt, add to the elegance. And despite the stain-friendly palette, his new home has proven a perfect party spot. “I’ve entertained more in this apartment than any other,” he says. Guests tend to spill into, rather than sit in, the formal dining room, which he’s appointed with a Maison Jansen table and custom Regency-style chairs. “I kept trying to neutralize the European look of the room,” he says. “But sometimes you can’t ignore the architecture of a space.”
Similarly, he decided not to fight the dark wood floors in his upstairs bedroom, and went with a richer palette than he was used to. “It’s the first room I’ve done in brown,” he says, referring to the sofa, upholstered in a plush chocolate velvet by J. Robert Scott, and complementary silk rug. “Actually I’d call it ‘bronze.’ ” It is a lavish space, complete with a wood-burning fireplace. (“I’ve only lit it once, and the neighbors called freaking out, something about a flue,” he jokes.) So lavish, in fact, that even he has no interest in leaving. “Well,” Korban clarifies, “not for at least six months.” ryankorban.com