By Nicole Haddad
Photography by Matthew Scrivens
WHEN IT COMES TO INTERIORS, designer Noha Hassan has a gift for zeroing in on the unexpected, perhaps influenced by her globe-trotting past. Hassan’s life has taken her around the world: born in Egypt, she lived in both Cairo and Brussels during her studies, and then Jeddah, Luxembourg, and finally London, before she settled in New York City. Despite her now decade-long calling in the interiors world, Hassan also spent more than eight years working in finance at firms including Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan in London among other business ventures. She regularly calls on her life experience to bring a personal element to her design, making her work unique, and uniquely hers.
Her worldly past is fascinating and unusual to say the least, and helps give context to her intuitive approach to interiors. Hassan’s seeming effortless touch yields a global aesthetic, and feels natural and layered. Case in point: When Hassan was tapped to renovate a 1,450 square-foot pied-a-terre in SoHo, she brought a new perspective to the project.
In a stroke of luck, the one bedroom, plus den and open-plan living and dining area already contained distinctive cast-iron support posts original to the space. “Fortunately, the developer did not cover them in sheetrock as he did the other units in the building,” says Hassan. “They add the industrial drama typical of original SoHo lofts.” Working around them to create a cohesive unit that enhanced their presence, Hassan and the client’s husband took charge of the space. Since the wife was working on the renovation of their primary residence, Hassan was given full permission to bring a masculine, bachelor pad-flair to the project.
In the open-plan living and dining area, a minimalist yet warm aesthetic pervades the space. Every item is perfectly placed to add both interest and function. In the dining area, the sculptural base of the Foster & Partner’s Arc table for Molteni enhances the simple beauty of the matte Marquina marble top, while the Triad 9 pendant from Apparatus adds an element of surprise. “The New York-based lighting studio is inspired by vintage pieces but gives them a new twist—I love the industrial look it lends to the space as the theme of the apartment is masculine, industrial,” says Hassan. “Lighting should serve as functional art: architectural and industrial.”
Light leather Charlotte chairs by Antonio Citterio for B&B Italia bring comfort and counteract the dense nature of the table. To the left, a painting from the clients’ art collection adds a pop of color and sits across from a monochromatic work by Ralph Ueltzhoefer that depicts the Brooklyn Bridge. The piece not only reflects the clients’ love of iconic New York, but showcases the artist’s process—Ueltzhoefer layered the work in words describing his concept.
To the right of the Brooklyn Bridge artwork, Hassan satisfied the husband’s request to have additional desk space. The designer added a Segreto floating desk by Ron Gilad, calling it “the most concealed way to add a working area to the living room.” The contemporary Italian desk adds an architectural element that is enhanced by well-placed accessories. The Gemma chair adds the perfect touch, with a black-and-white upholstered back juxtaposed with a black fabric seat and brass body. Overhead, a round mirror reflects the various elements in the space and adds a feeling of expansiveness.
In the living room, Hassan elaborated on the notion of creating an artful and livable home. Gone is the cookie-cutter TV wall, or the expected built-in bookcase meant to hide the television. Instead, Hassan created an intriguing custom wood wall made of various walnut slats that also serves to create a clear separation between the living and dining areas. “I am always inspired by the restaurants and boutique hotels that use 3D wall effects that add depth and dimension,” says Hassan. “I didn’t want all the wall character to come from wallpaper,” she explains, referencing the den’s gorgeous vinyl Phillip Jeffries wallpaper.
Forming the focal point between the sofa and the striking wall, a one-of-a-kind, handcrafted Spotted Sugar Pine coffee table made by artist Dan Pollack sits over a striated textural rug from Stark Carpet. A modular sofa by Patricia Urquiola for B&B Italia is upholstered in an eye-catching fabric that exhibits a beautiful sheen. A complementary cashmere throw and a green fur pillow from Barneys add comfort and draw attention to the hardware and resin sculpture sitting in the window. Behind the sofa, a narrow bronze table holds a Dice sculpture from Mantiques Modern and a geometric table lamp from Arteriors. For added seating, Hassan included an attractive white swivel lounge chair.
“I wanted to design a contemporary-meets-industrial space: clean-lined, monochromatic, but with a strong use of metals and woods,” says Hassan. The space, and everything in it emphasizes versatility, and singularity, and reflects the lifestyle of her clients. DT