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Azure January February 2023 issue cover

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The apartment living room, where Coordination favoured furnishings by local Berlin firms.

Designing a home around an art collection is no mean feat. Allowing paintings and sculptures to take centre stage often means creating spartan environments inspired by the austere “white cube” of a modern gallery. On the other hand, prioritizing cozy, expressive living spaces risks an aesthetic clash between art and décor that ultimately diminishes both. In Berlin, however, a newly completed apartment by local studio Coordination stakes out an uncommonly fine balance, with an interior that seamlessly combines the comforts of home with the purity of a gallery.

A view from the living room of the apartment into the bedroom and bathroom, showing the colour-block Coordination design.

Situated in a courtyard apartment building in the city’s west end, the apartment was carved out of a pair of attics, forming a unique space that allowed the designers to create a bespoke layout within an L-shaped shell. The configuration allowed Coordination to divide the suite into two distinct zones, with more public spaces — including the kitchen, dining area and office — facing the communal courtyard, while the bedroom, living room and primary bathroom look out over a pair of balconies facing the street.

Designed for an avid Berlin art collector, the 131-square-metre apartment takes its visual cues from the works that are carefully placed throughout the home. The relatively clear separation of private and communal zones allowed Coordination to create a range of distinct environments, with a procession of rooms in monochrome hues that respond to the artworks within.

A close-up of the bedroom, where nautical paintings are set against blue walls.

In the tranquil bedroom, for example, paintings depicting nautical scenes are paired with soft blue backdrops. The colour-blocked space is framed in a pair of subtly contrasting light blue tones, and accented by darker curtains — as well as a bolder tone above the ensuite vanity. In the walk-in closet meanwhile, a slightly greener tone sets another mood, emphasizing a sense of passage from one space to the next.

In the living room, an elegantly subdued backdrop of pale green hues allows an 18th-century Pietà painting to remain an undisputed focal point while fostering a sense of residential warmth. Rounded out with floor-to-ceiling cabinetry — including a custom nook for the piano — and a bespoke shelving unit, the furnishings, fixtures and and accent colours introduce character while retaining a sense of unity. The space remains a canvas for art, but a comfortable one.

The living room piano nook, set inside a wall-to-wall custom cabinet
The living room sitting area, where an 18th century painting takes centre stage

In the dining room and kitchen, a 17th-century oil painting commands attention, along with a diverse selection of more modern works. The furnishings — including a custom dining table with assorted seating — are as varied as the art, creating a surprisingly coherent space via a motley of motifs. While no individual style or aesthetic predominates, Coordination have created a legible whole, and a museum worthy of being called a home.

A Berlin Penthouse Where Art Meets Design

Local design studio Coordination envisions a home inspired by the owner’s eclectic art collection.

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