We didn’t touch the main configuration of the rooms. The apartment, which takes up the third of five floors in a Beaux Arts building, has beautiful circulation around a courtyard in the middle. It’s about 4,000 square feet, with five bedrooms and a string of very grand public rooms. You walk into an entry hall that’s the size of a ballroom.
Common area and entrance of Guatemala 5760 Liked the story? Share it with friends.
In the breakfast room, a 17th-century Danish portrait of Crown Princess Louise of Britain overlooks a 1930s mahogany table by Frits Henningsen. The 17th-century chandelier is Swedish, the rug is an early-20th-century Oushak, the 19th-century sculpture is Gustavsberg porcelain, and the walls are painted in Benjamin Moore’s Linen White.
Décor inside each of the apartments is simple and minimal with multiple seating options in the living area creating a playful and elegant ambiance. The kitchen and laundry in the corner in white has black countertops that create visual contrast. A space-savvy dining area sits between the kitchen and the living area while the lovely little balconies bring ventilation indoors. Wooden flooring and warm wooden accents throughout each home put the final touches on these smart Argentinian homes. [Photography: Albano Garcia]
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Solid wood panels are a feature throughout the apartment building
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Triplex with its own spacious terrace, common pool and lounge area
I have homes in Miami and Manhattan, too, and I’m currently working on what’s going to be my main residence, in Bellport, New York, on the south shore of Long Island — which, funnily enough, was also built in 1926. I’m so busy with my work that I am unable to travel to Buenos Aires for more than a few days at a time. When we photographed the apartment, I hadn’t been there in more than a year. But whenever I arrive, I’m blown away by the scale of the place. It’s magnificent. Sometimes, when I’m there alone, I just walk from room to room like a madman. I have a lot of friends in the city, and when I’m in town, we have dinner parties. The dining room has a beautiful window onto the street, and on a summer night, you hear music, people talking and laughing. I light a lot of candles, and there’s a French chandelier that’s lit just so, and we have these incredible meals, and the rooms are flooded with the smell of the night air.
The original marble mantel in the living room was specified by Maison Jansen, which decorated the apartment in the 1930s. The circa-1940 chairs in the foreground, the console (left), and the side table (right) were designed by Jean-Michel Frank for the Argentine firm Comte. The 1930s Frits Henningsen settee is covered in a Holland & Sherry mohair, the chairs next to the fireplace are 18th-century Gustavian, the circa-1950 Sphere cocktail table and lamp are by Jean Royère, and the 1930s table (front left) and sconces are by Maison Jansen.
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I first came to Buenos Aires 15 years ago to research Jean-Michel Frank. He was born in France but had a licensing agreement to produce his furniture in Argentina. He eventually moved there and did commissions for the Llao Llao hotel in Patagonia and the Born house in Buenos Aires. My research fueled my love affair with the country, and it has helped me understand what Buenos Aires used to be. I love the idea of bringing back to life an apartment that mixes all of Argentina’s broken histories. I tried to re-create, in a lyrical way, what it would be like to step into a space where all of these histories are put together: 18th-century Swedish chairs, say, mixed with a Jean Royère table.
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Living room with multiple seating options and a view of the canopy outdoors
Wood, working as a material theme throughout KG Arquitectura’s projects, is present both in depth and height. The single parking space in the front of the building is paneled in solid Guayubira wood, accentuating the access. Throughout the building all signs are the same kind of wooden boards with routed lettering.
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My building is from 1926, and for most of its lifetime, this apartment belonged to the family of Victor Bigand, who owned an enormous working farm in Santa Fe, in the country’s northeast. Back then, wealthy Argentine families had country houses, or estancias, that functioned as their main residences, and they also had apartments in the city for when they came in to shop or visit the doctor. This apartment ended up being the residence of Victor’s two elderly, unmarried daughters.
Life in Palermo, Buenos Aires, is all about maximizing resources without sacrificing privacy and aesthetics. Turning an old building into a modern residential unit with multiples duplexes and a top level triples that has its own private terrace and lovely pool space, KG Arquitectura focused on natural light, creation of cheerful living spaces and plenty of architectural flexibility. It is the lower levels of the building that contain individual apartments along with a two duplex units. Each unit has its own uniqueness with small balconies offering a window into the world outside. Guatemala 5760 feels modern even while cleverly embracing its rugged past.
Recoleta is the epicenter of Buenos Aires high society, like New York’s Upper East Side. Recoleta comes alive at night. It’s the sort of place where you might see a woman dressed in Chanel having tea at one in the morning on a Tuesday. The French settled in Argentina in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and they were obsessed with re-creating Paris in South America, so Recoleta is filled with European-style apartment buildings.
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Large trees bring a small sense of privacy and greenery to the urban dwelling
Street facade of the revamped residential building in Buenos Aires
Entrance to the renovated apartment building in Buenos Aires
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Modern bedroom in white with wooden flooring and a space-savvy bedside table
When I bought the place in 2008, it was completely frozen in time — there were shadows on the walls from paintings that had hung there for decades. The apartment had originally been decorated in the 1930s by Maison Jansen. It was a massive undertaking to restore it. My business partner, Bruno Perez-Pintos, basically did the whole project, under my direction. For one thing, the rooms had to be made more modern: The last living Bigand daughter had refused to put in hot water. When she was in her 90s, she still had maids bringing her buckets of bathwater, just as they had when she was a little girl.
This story was originally published in the November 2017 issue of ELLE DECOR.
In the master bedroom, the bed is custom, the 19th- century settee is Gustavian, and the gilded bronze–and-leather side tables are by Maison Jansen. The circa-1940 lamps by Jean-Michel Frank for Comte have custom parchment shades by Trans-Luxe, the 1920s glass pendant is Italian, the carpet is by Tai Ping, the artwork is 19th-century Swedish, and the room is in Benjamin Moore’s Perspective.
This neighborhood is a great choice for travelers interested in gourmet food, food and museums – Check location A. Beruti A. Beruti, Recoleta, 1425 Buenos Aires, Argentina – This neighborhood is a great choice for travelers interested in gourmet food, food and museums – Check location Show map
The study’s sofa, curtains, and wallcovering are all in Schumacher silk velvets. The Swedish cabinet is from the 1920s, the 1940s side tables are by Maison Jansen, and the 1940s desk, chair, and cocktail table are by Jean-Michel Frank for Comte. The vintage lamps are by Maison Malabert, and the rug is an Oushak.