Inside The Harrison’s Steinway Penthouse with Designer Michael Friedes
The Harrison’s Steinway Suite has garnered a great deal of acclaim since its unveiling, and while the piano and remarkable views are certainly a key factor in its allure, much of this praise can be attributed to designer Michael Friedes’ beautifully curated interiors. We sat down with the award-winning San Francisco designer to gain insight into his designing process, his various inspirations and the unique pieces he decided to integrate into the truly glam sky-high penthouse.
What made you particularly excited about the opportunity to design our Steinway Suite at The Harrison?
I was thrilled to be selected to design the final model at The Harrison. I love the building and how they made a point of giving it such a unique vibe that really sets it apart from all the other new condo buildings. When I first walked into the penthouse I was struck by the dramatic view and seemingly endless wall of windows.
In my head, I immediately thought of a fabulous cocktail party with a stunning sunset sky and a radiance of cool elegance. That is when I knew I had to draw on my relationship with Steinway Piano to be a part of it. Once I knew we had one of their amazing pianos in place, I knew the vision was ready to be set into motion.
What inspired the overall design?
The look and feel I went with is an updated 1940’s glamorous New York penthouse. There is a sophistication that is balanced with whimsy; there are neutrals that are juxtaposed with pops of colors and textures. I wanted to show in the large main living area that you could easily accommodate a baby grand piano and two distinct seating areas.
Are there any pieces that you’re particularly fond of?
The sitting area by the piano is anchored by two custom barrel swivel chairs that are made up in a charming black and white abstract fabric. I chose this fabric because it reminded me of an abstracted version of piano keys, as an interior design who also is an abstract painter, the visual was spot on. I love the idea of swivel chairs in this area so one could take full advantage of the incredible city views, or easily turn and be a part of the conversation within the room.
You’ve included some beautiful art in the penthouse, including pieces of your own. Can you tell us about them?
One cannot miss the beautiful bar cabinet in the foyer area which has a charming tuxedo clad mannequin photo above it that I took in Los Angeles. The original artwork above the sofa in the main seating area are two of my latest pieces that I created specifically for this room. And, as you can probably tell, the bold colors and movement I’ve included throughout are my interpretation of music playing. I sorted through hundreds of album covers, and on another wall are enlarged album covers that continue the musical vibe to the penthouse. The piece of artwork above the banquette in the kitchen is likewise a whimsical nod to a symphony conductor and was done by an artist from Europe.
What was your inspiration for the vibrant guest room?
The guest bedroom was inspired by the 1960’s lucite and turquoise chair that I found in Palm Springs. I wanted this room to feel fun, yet light. I loved the idea of bringing in all sorts of blues, grays and silvers. The 1970’s acrylic lamps are also a Palm Springs find specifically for this project. The room comfortably fits a queen bed and I love the idea of laying in bed and enjoying the views from the corner walls of glass.
How do you imagine the Steinway Suite’s future owner living here?
I can see the future owners spending a great deal of time in the beautiful kitchen; the dining area is a charming spot to multitask in. The banquette creates a space for intimate dinners or enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning with ones laptop while gazing out as the city beneath is on the go. Overall, though, this penthouse condo is the perfect home to enjoy—whether you’re entertaining or relaxing with the incredible sound emanating from your Steinway Piano. And the decor is meant to echo it all!