June 21, 2015
Insight into the needs of overstressed urbanites makes Clodagh a favorite partner for luxury real estate developers.
She sometimes calls it silent design. “You feel better,” Clodagh explained to a New York Daily News writer a few years back. “You don’t know why.” What we do know is that the Irish-born designer is a go-to choice for real estate developers, illustrating how a clear point of view can build a brand name and expand opportunities for a talented interior designer.
Clodagh recently completed her fourth project with real-estate giant Related Companies, her first in California. Apartments at The Seychelle, near the beach in Santa Monica, sell for up to $4.1 million. Like other buildings she has completed in New York, the building offers an array of amenities, including the rooftop lounge and pool shown above, a yoga studio and a pet spa. Baths, kitchens and shared areas are decorated in her recognizable style, featuring natural materials, quiet colors and lighting and art chosen to enhance a feeling of overall calm and well-being.
The amenities seem to be increasingly important to urban consumers, in part because shared facilities are an easy way to add a feeling of expansiveness and luxury without literally adding square footage. “Even if you live in a very small studio or one bedroom, you also have very generous amenity spaces which become an extension of your living space,” Clodagh explains. “It allows you to be nomadic within your own building.” Her designs extend the philosophy of the spas for which she first became known into the rest of daily life. “It’s very much our vision of life-enhancing minimalism: Everything you need, and nothing more.”
Related makes a formidable partner, having sold more than $7 billion worth of condominiums so far. The company acquired Equinox health clubs in 2006, and Clodagh also designed a new outpost for that group along New York’s High-Line park. Related, known for its bold mixed-use plan for New York’s Time Warner Center, is currently building Hudson Yards, the West Side project said to be the largest private real-estate project in U.S. history. Clodagh’s touch has helped set apart Related offerings in competitive markets. She also has designed spas for resorts such as Miraval in Arizona and more recently entire resorts, such as the W in Fort Lauderdale and the Six Senses group’s first European resort in Portugal.
Wherever’s she’s working, there is “very little difference in terms of what people are looking for,” she tells us. L.A. and New York? Different climates, similar needs. “People from either coast are looking for generous and unique amenity experiences, comfortable luxury, a sense of bliss, and perhaps places of solace from the stresses of everyday urban life.”
As she looks towards future (undisclosed) projects, she sees developers increasingly seeking to create a sense of privacy, even in shared spaces. “We see a real need for people to leave their apartment to be alone in the clouds,” she says. Her portfolio projects already include more and more multi-function rooms, separate workspaces and pet “spas.” Future projects are likely to include screening rooms, game rooms and meditation rooms.
“Especially now that it’s so easy to travel,” she says, “people are addressing their inner journey.”