Maison 24 Brings Downtown Décor to Park Avenue
by raul barreneche
Louis Marra and Allison Julius at Maison 24
Not since Andy Warhol, Gloria Vanderbilt, and a young Madonna scoured the racks at Fiorucci in the early 1980s has the neighborhood around East 59th Street and Park Avenue seen such a crush of famous faces in search of glittery downtown cool. The once-overlooked micro-hood is quietly becoming an art and design destination, thanks to the presence of Hammer Galleries (475 Park Ave.) and a relatively new flagship of auction house Phillips de Pury (450 Park Ave.), the established luxury retailers Scully & Scully (504 Park Ave.) and D. Porthault (470 Park Ave.), and the new eatery Desmond’s (153 E. 60th St.), from veterans of Indochine, Soho House, and London’s legendary Annabel’s.
Also drawing stylish young Upper East Siders, well-heeled world travelers, and a healthy dose of rock stars is Maison 24, an edgy home accents boutique that opened this summer. Beyoncé and her family recently dropped $3,500 on the Vetro crib for newborn daughter Blue Ivy Carter at the boutique. “We’re totally obsessed with Lucite, having grown up in a house that was the epitome of ’70s chic,” says Allison Julius, who co-owns the shop (as well as its original Bridgehampton outpost) with her brother, Louis Marra.
The siblings mix sexy, disco-era glam with whimsical, candy-coated pop style. Metallic tile floors and walls of stacked black stone provide a dramatic backdrop to lighthearted pieces like two of the shop’s newest arrivals: a Swarovski crystal- encrusted “Poison Apple” (inside is a Fuji apple-scented candle), and heart-shaped pink ottomans emblazoned with the words hug me. “Louis and I have a mild obsession with anything that lights up or sparkles,” laughs Julius.
One of Maison 24’s standouts is a collection by edgy British furniture maker Jimmie Martin, for which Maison 24 is the only current US stockist. The London duo behind the brand, Jimmie Karlsson and Martin Nihlmar, create outrageous pieces by refinishing vintage Louis armchairs, wardrobes, and sideboards in bold colors and adding portraits of dogs and flamingos, Union Jacks, or spray-painted quips. “They become original works of art,” says Marra. (And they can be customized for clients.)
Another current Maison 24 exclusive (in New York, at least) is a collection of acrylic furniture by Alexandra von Furstenberg, including a striking console table with ghostly edges highlighted in glowing neon pink.
Art is an important part of Maison 24’s retail mix. “Part of our buying philosophy is that we love artists and want to include their work alongside our own collections,” says Marra. The shop sells limited-edition works by noted New York photographer Dirk Westphal (including an exclusive limited-edition collage of graffitisplattered public pay phones), and bold, glitter-covered canvases by Manhattan artist Camomile Hixon. As Julius says, with heaping understatement, “We don’t have the traditional stuff you usually find in Midtown.” 470 Park Ave., 212-355-2414
photography by Evan Sung