By Greg Garry
Photography by Björn Wallender
ike many workaholics, Richard Christiansen is almost never home. As creative director of his own boutique ad agency, Chandelier Creative, most days he can be found at the office, on photo shoots, or abroad in endless hotel rooms. Since he’s only ever home in the wee hours, it made sense to decorate his chic Chinatown loft as a swanky nightclub.
With an army of Chinese figurines in the kitchen, Italian gray leather sectional sofas, and a grandiose dip-dyed crystal chandelier from a casino in Miami, his apartment has an opium den–meets–Studio 54 vibe. Both Chairman Mao and Steve Rubell would feel right at home in the rococo space, which is often filled with friends and clients popping by for cocktails. As a sort of hearth, Christiansen had an antique Chinese medicine cabinet gutted and converted into a beautiful glowing aquarium, which divides the large main room, keeping his baroque Phyllis Morris canopy bed separate from partygoers such as Amanda Lepore, whose Louboutin-clad feet hold court in a photograph that hangs over the kitchen table.
Christiansen knows that any club lives or dies by its lighting, and so the space is illuminated by floorboard lights on a dimmer, giving the room a seductive glow. One of Christiansen’s pet peeves is icky fluorescent tubes or unflattering high wattage. “Harsh fluorescent lighting makes a beauty look like a beast,” he says. To that end, on his nonstop business trips he carries a customized Louis Vuitton suitcase filled with light bulbs to create that soft-focus, Vaseline lighting on the go, much to the dismay of hotel housekeeping. Control freak? Maybe. But it’s exactly that eye to detail that makes Christiansen’s campaigns for everyone from Macy’s to Salvatore Ferragamo so successful.