spring design

Walls That Speak

Artist Doug Meyer’s last apartment was clad in paper — not wallpaper by the roll but rather individual pieces of colored paper that he printed and applied by hand, all 2,398 sheets. For his latest project, a co-op in the Chelsea Mutual Redevelopment Houses, a.k.a. Penn South, that he shares with his husband, Meade Ali, Meyer was no less ambitious. First he opened up the kitchen and redid the floors. But the living room is where he let loose, dividing the space with a curved, freestanding wall sculpture. “It looks like a beautiful glazed-pottery surface,” he says. He then added “portals in the wall that allow you to see into the other room through colored Plexi, creating this kind of view into another world.” Strewn throughout the apartment are rugs that Meyer created out of “some strange complication of my love for geometrics, botany, and microorganisms.”

His life and friendships spanning decades in New York also feed into his art. (In fact, he has a coffee-table book out in May, Heroes: A Tribute, celebrating artists lost to the aids crisis.) Working for art dealer Holly Solomon in the ’80s left a mark on Meyer’s aesthetic. “Holly’s Sutton Place apartment taught me that rooms can become livable works of art,” he says. The idea for using red-oak veneer on the walls goes back to his memory of a cocktail party at a U.N. Plaza apartment designed by Angelo Donghia. While the layperson might consider the apartment one big sensory overload, Meyer finds it calming: “Walking into the library feels like entering this fish tank designed by Salvador Dalí — it’s the most quiet and relaxing space to be in, especially to read a book.”

Living-room detail: Doug Meyer’s recently renovated Chelsea one-bedroom is now a candy-colored fantasia of biomorphic walls-slash-sculptures. Photo: Annie Schlechter/New York Magazine/Annie Schlechter
Living-room wall: The 17th-century Portrait of a Lady hangs on the Plexiglas wall. Meyer designed the Invasion Table console and encrusted it with stones. The plywood sculpture on the left is from his 2016 “Heroes” series. Photo: Annie Schlechter/New York Magazine
Living-room detail: His rug “The Good Earth” with his tripod-leg table “Excursion Module.” Atop the table sits a 19th-century Charles X cut-crystal box with playing cards designed by Alexander Girard for Braniff International. Photo: Annie Schlechter/New York Magazine
Entrance hall with view to dining area: The décor here looks pretty tame, all things considered. The walls are covered in red-oak rift-cut veneer. Photo: Annie Schlechter/New York Magazine
The library: Meyer not only designed but built the bookshelves and cabinet covered in mirror-blue Plexiglas. The carpet is also his design. Photo: Annie Schlechter/New York Magazine
Another view of the library. Photo: Annie Schlechter/New York Magazine
The bedroom: The gray flannel panels in the bedroom serve as an upholstered headboard. The Le Mur wall panels above were designed by Meyer. His sculpture of Robert Mapplethorpe to the left was done for his “Heroes” series. Photo: Annie Schlechter/New York Magazine
The gallery wall in the bedroom: Meyer left the wall by his desk plain gray to highlight his art collection, which includes Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe, along with work by Cecil Beaton, Richard Haines, Larry Stanton, Nicholas Takis, Mark Mulroney, and Meyer himself. Photo: Annie Schlechter/New York Magazine

*A version of this article appears in the April 16, 2018, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!

An Artist’s Apartment Where Everything Is on Exhibit