Ask Stephanie Goto about her work, and the Manhattan designer talks ingredients. “There’s not one way to understand a material,” she says, pointing out a shiny black table in her rooftop studio on Union Square. Created by design star Max Lamb and used for meetings as well as dinners courtesy of star chefs, the chunky piece seems hewn out of volcanic stone. But it turns out to be featherweight, rubber-coated polystyrene, a revelation that surprises, much like Goto’s projects for the art world (Hauser & Wirth, the Calder Foundation), restaurants (Aldea, Corkbuzz, Morimoto), and private clients (chef Daniel Boulud). “My overarching vision is to create spaces that allow multiple interpretations,” she adds. “That’s the beauty of architecture—it depends on who is looking at it.”
Take, for instance, the sparkling jewel-box workspace she devised for herself and her staff. A caretaker’s shed that was once part of creative-polymath Jean-Paul Goude’s apartment, the 1,500-square-foot structure has been dressed with custom mirrored black stainless steel that reflects and refracts the skyline, “so the building isn’t static.” Indoors is a dialogue of hard edges and organic accents. The grain of the Douglas-fir floor floods the space like rippling water. (The same honey-blond planks have been used for shelves that hold Goto’s collection of plumb bobs.) The exposed-metal superstructure appears covered with suede, thanks to Benjamin Moore’s Distant Gray, Goto’s signature paint; Flemming Lassen chairs are clad in fluffy sheepskin; an Alexander Calder mobile gently sways; and a vintage Charlotte Perriand door leads to a tiny chamber where a team member can ruminate as a beam of sunlight traces the space. “I’m not afraid of decoration, but you can manipulate materials to express that,” Goto says, noting, with a laugh, that the floor’s grain is “my equivalent of wallpaper.” stephaniegoto.com
Architectural Digest is an American monthly magazine founded in 1920. Its principal subject is interior design, rather than architecture more generally. The magazine is published by Condé Nast, which also publishes international editions of Architectural Digest in China, France, Germany, Russia, Spain, Mexico, and Latin America.