Piet Boon is a world-renowned Dutch designer. Once a builder, his name is one now synonymous with chic architectural, home and furniture designs and is often name-dropped in connection with some of the most luxurious beach villas, luxury condos, restaurants and hotels in the world. Most recently, Boon teamed up with long-term friend, Michelin star chef Sergio Herman, to design his new restaurant and bar concept in Antwerp, La Chapelle, which is due for opening in spring 2014. Before then, Piet will see his project, 404 Park Avenue South, launch in Manhattan, next month, he tells FOUR in a recent interview.
Tell us about how you became one of the most sought after architectural, interior and concept designers of a generation?
Nearly 30 years ago I started out as a builder and master carpenter with a passion for natural materials. My insight in building is no doubt the reason why functionality has always been one of the key values in my work. In those days I executed plans and designs from architects. I often shook my head and thought: ‘I can do a much better job!’ We slowly started by doing renovations and some furniture designs. Eventually our team has grown into a professional, dedicated team of architects, designers, stylists and product designers, tackling a wide array of projects.
How would you describe the Piet Boon signature style?
Casual chic and sophisticated. Over the years Piet Boon® has remained focused on its founding principle of marrying functional, timeless design and natural materials with distinguishing details.
Where do you find inspiration for a project?
You can find inspiration where ever you are, you only have to look. Our international projects allow us to travel all over the world and see and experience different cultures and people. That is a very privileged position.
Apart from that, I visit galleries and museums, read lots of books and magazines, love dining in imaginative restaurants and I have a passion for fashion. Inspiration is all about nurturing, feeding your senses.
Your portfolio includes beach villas, private residences, corporate headquarters, luxury condos, restaurants and hotels. Tell us about some of the different projects in your portfolio…
The great thing about what we do is that no project is the same. Each client, each project has its own challenge, brief, wishes and needs. Some projects represent specific skills, like the 700sqm apartment we did in Manhattan. The rules for the renovation were quite strict. The renovation was restricted to a very short period of time. At a certain point around 100 people were working there at the same time. A truly logistic tour de force.
Our project in Korea was exciting in a different way. Situated in a beautiful and sensitive landscape, we wanted our house to blend with the surrounding nature. Eventually we managed to create a house built from local stone which almost seems to grow out of the rocks.
But whatever we do, Frank Lloyd Wright’s quote says it all:
‘I am not going to give you the house you always dreamed of, I am going to give you the house you never dreamed of.’
Which has been the most memorable project to work on?
Ah, that is one of those questions. What makes a project truly memorable is when we were able to exceed our client’s expectation and create a house, office or other space that adds to their wellbeing.
404 Park Avenue South launches soon. Tell us about this project…
This is a project close to our heart. I absolutely love New York. At a magnificent and unique location on Park Avenue, a former office building is transformed into 58 luxurious condominiums. What hugely adds to the atmosphere of the apartments is the fact that there is a lot of space around the building. Which allows all spaces to bath in natural light.
Landscape and garden designer Piet Oudolf who is responsible for the planting plan of The High Line, designed the roof terrace.
Huys, the official name of 404, is a Dutch affair.
For more info on Huys, please visit the website - huys-nyc.com
How did the collaboration on 404 come about?
The Kroonenberg Groep, who is the developer of Huys, wanted to transform this office into a luxury apartment building with strong a Dutch Design signature. And with a Studio that has worked in NYC before and already has a reputation in the US.
Tell us about your relationship with the chef Sergio Herman?
Sergio and I are soul mates.
I am completely in awe about his talents as a chef, Sergio is an artist, he is one of the most creative and innovative chefs I have ever met. We share a passion for quality, zest for life and an unquenchable interest in the world around us.
At what stage is the project La Chapelle?
We are responsible for the aesthetic look & feel of this restaurant in the former military chapel. Opening is planned in Spring 2014. We will keep you updated on the progress.
What other projects do you have in the pipeline?
In Taipei we are commissioned to design the largest apartment in a high end, bespoke development.
For K Hovnanian we are designing private homes on a prime location in a suburb of Washington DC.
We are talking to one of the leading builders of exclusive yachts. And will design 2 new private residences on Bonaire, Caribbean.
And we are about the finish the interior design and styling for the club house of The International, a sensational new format in golf links Schiphol Golf Amsterdam. Next to designing the extension and renovation of the public spaces in Amsterdam ARENA (home off FC AJAX – Premier League football club)