Versace is increasingly flexing its interior design muscle. After the first Versace Casa store, luxe hotels with Sunland Group and a Versace-designed tower in Panama, the fashion house has signed an agreement with Africa Israel (AFI USA) to redesign 55 residential apartments in New York’s The Clock Tower at 5 Madison Avenue.
“The Clock Tower project is a further confirmation of Versace’s commitment to high-end projects in interior design. I think this sets us apart from competitors that are active in the home area because you need an important structure and 360-degree vision to handle these projects,” said Giancarlo Di Risio, Versace’s chief executive officer. He cited Cappellini and Poltrona Frau as Versace competitors in the home arena over other fashion brands.
This story first appeared in the July 23, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
AFI USA is an Israeli international holding and investment company that wants to develop The Clock Tower into a luxurious residential condominium featuring a spa and a club. Owned by Uzbekan tycoon and high-end jeweler Lev Leviev, AFI USA acquired the 41-story property for $200 million in May 2007. The revamp, which, according to U.S sources, is a $1 billion undertaking, will feature Versace interior design concepts throughout. Donatella Versace will personally lend her touch to the club on the first two floors, which will bear the writing “Designed by Donatella Versace.”
The Clock Tower project follows last year’s Versace interiors for The Plaza in New York.
Though the architectural design is still in its early stages, a spokeswoman said the 2,700-square-foot apartments likely will boast fine marble and mosaic floors and signature Versace friezes. The tower includes a 10,800-square-foot penthouse.
Future owners can opt for the full Versace Home package that includes furnishings, linens and tabletops. Di Risio didn’t rule out that some of the furniture would be custom-made for the apartments.
The Clock Tower was built by MetLife in 1909 and was the world’s tallest building until 1913, when the Woolrich building in lower Manhattan overtook it.