Geoffrey Bradfield demonstrates pictorial flair
Photography by H. Durston Saylor
How could one not be somewhat intimidated working for a larger-than-life Oscar-winning director? Anyone who could envision the entire city of ancient Babylon and achieve it on screen, as Oliver Stone did in his epic film “Alexander,” would have high expectations. Luckily, Geoffrey Bradfield is gifted with a cinematic eye and rose to the occasion for the design of this Manhattan apartment. “He hit pretty closely at the beginning,” says Stone. “Geoffrey is a man after my own heart.”
Being a movie director, the client is accustomed to having film sets constructed overnight and struck down after filming. In a sense, he was expecting a similar schedule with this apartment. Because so much of Bradfield's work is custom and designed by his company, they had to explain that there were certain time frames involved. “Actually, I work best under a deadline and we pulled it off,” pronounced Bradfield.
Add to this the pressures of a West Coast-based client who was constantly travelling the world filming on location or promoting, it was no small feat. As Bradfield's associate Roric Tobin explains, “We have a lot of clients who can't visualize what we're trying to do. But Oliver knew immediately. He got it.”
Stone purchased the apartment whilst filming “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” the sequel to the iconic 1987 touchstone about corporate greed. A native New Yorker who grew up on the East River, he fell in love with this Hudson River setting. The idea was to create an environment not unlike that of a state-room on a yacht. The views from the apartment [being a low floor] of the river are spectacular and Bradfield wanted to take full advantage of these vistas. “I created deep window seats in the open-plan living room and introduced subtle nautical elements, namely the area rug I designed and several of the textiles.”
For pure theatricality, four Hollywood style lamps anchor the corners of the living room. Stone required a large table surface in this space, as he likes to spread out his editing materials whilst in production. The dining table obviously serves a double function. The floors are deliberately stained in a red cherry finish not unlike the decks of a yacht.
Stepping over the threshold, the interior registers immediately as the home of a movie mogul. Bradfield requested movie posters of his roster of acclaimed films and used them liberally in the space. The client loves color, in particular blue and red, which were chosen to accent.
It was Billy Haines, who knew more than any other decorator about working for Hollywood’s big personalities, who said, “You can gussy-up and hide behind veils and ruffles and suedes, but when you get down to simplicity, the truth comes out. You had better know what you are doing.” It is obvious that Bradfield can edit and set a studio stage with paramount conviction.