Monday, June 23, 2014

Wabi-Sabi modesty in wealthy Manhattan


Since the penthouse on top of Robert De Niro’s (and other partners) Greenwich Hotel in Tribeca, New York City, opened its doors last May, American and European newspapers all had to report about this remarkable Wabi-Sabi inspired 6,800-square-foot hotel amenity. On Pinterest, pictures of this project are actively pinned and re-pinned.

Belgian decorator and antiques dealer Axel Vervoordt, who wrote the book Wabi Inspirations, was enlisted to design  a penthouse hotel suite based on the principles of wabi-sabi, a philosophy that embraces quietude, simplicity and humility.

Axel used natural materials and time-worn objects that evoke the essence of this Japanese philosophy.

A wabi-sabi inspired interior needs furnishings that look rustic, showing signs of age. The wabi-sabi spirit stands for imperfection and elimination of inessentials. As each piece has to be carefully selected, Axel and his team spent years to find the ‘im-perfect’ penthouse furnishings.

All used materials such as the massive fireplace stones, the weathered wood, the rough plastered and painted walls, evoke the impression staying at a farm house somewhere in the countryside, far away from the city.

Anyone who can afford a few days stay at the wabi-sabi inspired hotel penthouse, is invited to experience the luxury of silence and emptiness.


Wabi atmosphere in the living room.  Massive fireplace stone. View towards the kitchen.

15Image source  Chris Pitanguy    Photo credit Andrey Furmanovich


Dining room.

16Image source The Hollywood Reporter    Photo credit Nicholas Koenig


The master bedroom.

21Image source  Chris Pitanguy    Photo credit Andrey Furmanovich


The bathroom consists of an antique timber frame and a tub that is made from a 17th-century farm trough.

20Image source  Chris Pitanguy    Photo credit Andrey Furmanovich


The drawing room with the textured walls and neutral color palette.

19Image source Vanity Fair    Photo credit David Prince


Flowers and branches are brought inside as works of art.

1Image source The Hollywood Reporter    Photo credit Nicholas Koenig


Exterior view of the penthouse on top of the hotel, with its 4,000 square feet of outdoor space.

18Image source The New York Times Style Magazine    Photo credit François Halard


To see and to read more about The Tribeca Penthouse, I would love to share with you a few online articles :



Wishing you all a fresh start of this new week.




  1. Steve and I always pop into the Greenwich Hotel for a drink when we visit Charlie in NY.
    The lobby and bar have such a wonderful old world feel. I wonder if Axel Vervoordt designed those spaces as well…
    Thank you for a peak at the penthouse. It's so serene. What a fabulous retreat in the middle of Manhattan!

  2. Such a nice place to relax form the hustle and bustle. Beautiful.

  3. Prachtig Greet !!! weerom genoten zoals altijd van je post !
    fijne week nog

  4. Hate to be negative, but this seems silly to me. Spending a small fortune to bathe in a farm trough in a penthouse in Manhattan seems so false. Perhaps I need to read more about wabi-sabi.

    Thanks for sharing though, Greet. Your posts are always interesting.

  5. Greet I love the serenity and simplicity of design....thank you for sharing!

    The Arts by Karena

  6. Hello Greet,
    I appreciate the design, but not sure it would be my choice after a long day of shopping and sightseeing in New York!!
    Thanks for sharing, and have a lovely week,
    Liz x

  7. Thanks, Greet. Your posts never fail to inform me about some of my favorite designers. Axel Vervoordt is at the top of my list and you found images I had never seen before. A real treat!!

  8. I love the bedroom! I doubt that I'll ever have a room like that because it's so not my style. So why do I love it so much?
    Oh, and the maps are great. Thanks for posting.

  9. I would love to spend a night in this hotel. I searched it on but I couldn't find the penthouse you are talking about. It looks amazing though.