The sky lobby, which is located on the 32nd floor of Toronto’s Trump Tower, is bracingly white: The walls, chairs, concierge desk, even the python-strapped grand piano exist in monochromatic milkiness.
This opulent lobby is for residents who live in the condominiums above the 261 hotel suites. From here, an elevator zips you up to your suite. Should you disembark on any of the floors, say the 35th, the scene in the hallways will look the same — more white.
But enter Suite 3505 — the Rock Star suite — and you’ll be pulled into a radically different space. A stylish, vampish black hole, where nearly every surface is lashed in the inky hue, including ceilings and doors. The effect is mysterious, risqué and a bit cheeky.
A resin Her Chair (that’s the one moulded into a woman’s naked buttocks) sets the seductive tone. It’s the first sight you see at the head of the dining room table, which is ripe for a bacchanalian feast: Glops of black caviar will be heaped onto gold plates, wine will be poured, the bar cart pillaged. And from the sidelines, Fornasetti’s famous plate women wantonly gaze over it all.
The suite has other intriguing moments: psychedelic purple in the kitchen, a black bedroom with raised rubber wallpaper, and in the living room, low-slung sexy sofas where you can behave badly in view of a massive mural of a concert stretched across an entire wall. It matches the photos of irreverent ’70s musicians plastered throughout the space:
Don’t mind Bowie as he watches you do your business in the bathroom. And there’s the Stones, but also Debbie Harry, the Ramones, Patti Smith and Jimi Hendrix (he’s ’60s, but you get the drift).
The whole thing is very cool and captivating. You’ll love it if you dig the boldness of black. You’ll hate it if you prefer the pale mellowness of Nordic decor.
“When I suggested it, everyone thought I had lost my marbles,” says Emy Hamamy of Hamamy Design (pictured above, in the kitchen/lounge), who created the polarizing palette. “The amount of opposition and negativity I received was incredible. ‘It will be like a coffin!’ they said.”
Not true, she argued. “There is an ambience you create when the whole unit is black … by going black on the ceiling, I created an infinite space. It no longer becomes a colour. It becomes background, a feeling, a void.”
So Ms. Hamamy soldiered on with her quest. The designer, who was born in Italy, has a gutsy sensibility when it comes to art. She grew up surrounded by it. “I was raised with a passion for culture. Art has a place in every environment — traditional, modern, transitional. Always put real art in your home. It brings you to a different level of sophistication.”
And always borrow from the best. For the Rock Star suite, she convinced her bosses black was the right choice by linking it to the masters of the fashion world. “I made references to Alexander McQueen, whose style pushed the envelope between rough and elegant,” she says, “and Giorgio Armani, Chanel and Gucci who associated black with sophistication, power and sensuality.”
She was also inspired by her friend, Cristina Tofan, who is writing a book about the psychology of colour: “Black has earned its bad name a long time ago, perhaps it reminds us of [our] ancestral fear of darkness … and death,” Ms. Tofan writes. “But once we are surrounded by it, we start seeing shadows, nuances.”
After grudgingly getting the green light (or should that be black light) from her bosses, she got started on the unit, which took eight months to pull together with Helen Gertchikova of Urban Tailor. It was a lengthy project but the two were working simultaneously on four other units at the Trump.
(These, too, have chutzpah: A standout, an old-world Russian-Chinese number, is decorated with reds and golds and a mirrored wall, which sounds gauche but is actually quite livable.)
But should you wish to live like a rebel in the 2,228-square-foot Rock Star suite, it’ll cost you $2,972,750, or buy it unfurnished (chicken) for $200,000 less.
Who would want to live in all black? “You would have to have balls,” Ms. Hamamy admits. “Because this space is a little larger, a little more expensive, I think it’s either someone in their 50s or a basketball player.” (Baby Boomers and Kyle Lowry. Now there’s a first.)
Ms. Hamamy hopes more of us will go to the dark side. “I think black is underused,” she says. “We are so prejudiced. I think people in general are afraid of colour. But everyone says ‘You look so great in your tuxedo or little black dress’ — black spaces give you exactly that same feeling.”
And they are practical. If you’re klutzy with your Shiraz, you can rub the spill into the carpet with your heel and get on with the party. Lose your cocktail in someone’s chantilly cream pad and you’re a killjoy.
“What I like about the colour black is that in semi-darkness, we lose perfection,” Ms. Hamamy says enigmatically. “We let go and become naughtier,” she says. “I can’t tell you how much fun I had doing this unit, especially because I was being rebellious myself.”
Source: National Post, 03/09/2015