From his childhood in Mexico to his life in Manhattan, artist Alexis Zambrano's status as a global citizen is reflected in his work and his home. The creative director at , a jewelry and accessories line for men and women, Zambrano shares his design influences with a tour of his Gramercy apartment in a Philippe Starck-designed building.
ELLEDECOR.com: Do you have a specific design philosophy?
Alexis Zambrano: Nostalgia seems to take hold of a great part of my design philosophy. The stories behind each and every object inside my home give shape to my overall design aesthetic.
ED: Tell us about the bold wallpaper in your living room.
AZ: My grandmother has a beautiful landscaped garden at her home in Mexico, so it was only natural I would want one of my own here in New York. Thanks to this beautiful wallpaper design by Piero Fornasetti coupled with a few of my plants, I can very well say I’m on my way to grandma’s.
ED: Where do you find things for your home?
AZ: I’m an avid art and design collector. Most of my pieces come from either a trip I’ve taken or an auction; I used to intern at Heritage auction house four years ago, I’ve been hooked ever since.
ED: Where did you get the two cool gold lamps? Are they meant to be easels?
AZ: I love those lamps, they were a gift from my parents. They offer a great way to highlight any work of art.
ED: You have quite an organized work space.
AZ: It may seem that way because I do most of my work at my studio in Long Island City. However, I do have a large green cutting mat that goes on top of my desk whenever I do collage work from home.
ED: Can you tell us about your gallery wall?
AZ: They are all part of a series by artist Andrew Birk, one of the artists I represent through , an online platform I co founded with my friend Ana Cecilia Perez. The platform enables young collectors with limited budgets to start their own art collections, as well as helping emerging artists launch their careers.
ED: What kind of vibe did you want in your bedroom?
AZ: Neutraility and serenity. I usually only either sleep or read in my bedroom. I like to maintain a quaint space for such activity. I turned the second bedroom into a similar space as well by adding a Chinese bed and a large bookcase library.
ED: What about the wall covering and the sea fans?
AZ: The wallcovering is a grass cloth wallpaper, and I actually found the sea fans at a beach in the south of Mexico. Interestingly enough, they are both the first design pieces to make it into my apartment.
ED: What's the story behind the cute fox and raccoon on your bed?
AZ: It’s the weirdest thing -- those two specific animals manage to show up during the happiest moments of my life. In honor of their presence, I got these two fun characters at Lee’s Art Shop about a year ago. They represent key attributes my partner and I share.
ED: Tell us more about the canopy bed.
AZ: This is an antique Chinese wedding bed I got from an antiques dealer in China. It has become one of my favorite spots to either read or take a nap.
ED: What about some of the quirky touches in your place?
AZ: I collect all sort of knickknacks. If it fits in my suitcase, I’m most likely taking it home. I have a taxidermy sculpture comprised of half a Rottweiler, half a rooster by German artist Thomas Grunfeld, I call her Fatima.
ED: Is the man in a tux a portrait of you?
AZ: It is. My good friend, artist Aldo Chaparro, made this portrait of me last year. He was originally going to splatter some paint on top of it but he eventually rethought his idea as soon as he saw it hanging.
ED: Nice KitchenAid mixer and bar tray. Are you big on baking and entertaining?
AZ: I am; I studied culinary arts in Paris before coming to New York for architecture school. I’m even bigger on entertaining and hosting my friends!
ED: Great dining set. Where did it come from?
AZ: Thank you! I bought the dining set at Ankasa by Arte Italica, a small boutique that I love on Madison Avenue and 87th street.
ED: What about the silver pieces?
AZ: I have always loved silverware, there is something about the weight of a fine utensil that gets to me, this set is by Tiffany & Co; the antique mother of pearl and silver fruit set is English.
ED: You don't seem to shy away from mixing patterns and styles. How do you balance it all and make sure it works together?
AZ: That’s exactly how my life works, through balance. Most patterns and design styles work well with each other, it’s just a matter of creative composition.
ED: What is your design inspiration?
AZ: My life. This space reflects me, a creative work in progress.