sasha bikoff merges rococo with memphis in her bold new york staircase
the work of new york-based interior designer sasha bikoff lies at the intersection of 18th century french rococo and 1980s italian memphis milano. this year marks sasha’s first participation in the annual ‘kips bay show house’ of exceptional interior design. since 1973 interior designers have been annually invited to transform a manhattan home into an exhibition of design, art, and technology. while the kips bay decorator show house project was initially launched to raise funds for enrichment programs for new york city children, it had grown over four decades into a trend-setting event attended by thousands of designers and enthusiasts. this year sasha had been presented with the opportunity to redesign the stairway of the famed showhouse.
the staircase of the kips bay decorator show house itself presented designer sasha bikoff with a challenge due to its complex winding organization and narrow landings on each floor. in designing the space, bikoff intended to create a spectacular moment which is meaningful to both the show house guests as well as to the children of the kips bay boys & girls club — the young group of people for whom the project is founded. the sasha bikoff group elaborates: ‘before she even started making fabric selections and pulling paint swatches, she knew she wanted her space to speak to the kids and show them that their creativity should always be ignited when it comes to achieving their dreams.’
sasha bikoff holds that design should be as fun as it is both worldly and intellectual. the vivid colors and patterns of the 1980s design movement juxtapose the old world european traditional architecture of the show house. the motifs of the memphis movement — zig-zags, polka dots, squiggles, pyramidal triangles — along with the original milano designers ettore sottsass and alessandro mendini served as bikoff’s influences. the dynamism, or sense of movement, evoked by these shapes plays into the circulatory nature of the staircase.
as guests traverse the stair, sasha wants visitors to see a ‘technicolor dream.’ bikoff worked with the rug company on a custom rug for the stairs which is the first highlight of the space with its fun and modern pastels. on the walls, sasha worked with design studio voutsa. blown up polaroids of supermodels, rappers, and pop stars are incorporated as well as mirrors from such artists as chris schanck and misha kahn. vintage light fixtures adorn the walls and bold farrow & ball gloss paint was used for the ceilings.