We’d all love a friend with a townhouse in the West Village — even sweeter if it’s the former home of Taylor Swift, who adored the three-story pile she rented on Cornelia Street so much that she wrote a song about it. Now those same digs (also the site of our cover shoot) have an unlikely new tenant: Zanotta, the ultraluxe Italian furniture firm founded in 1954 by Aurelio Zanotta.
But this isn’t strictly a showroom or shop, per Marta Zanotta, his niece who’s now in charge of marketing. Rather, it’s a home for the brand in the Big Apple. “You can’t enter and buy anything, and you can’t come in without an appointment,” she says. “This is a house with a soul.”
Instead, think of the $11.5 million house as a chance for VIP clients to step inside the mind of the brand, and relax a little — maybe with a dip in the swimming pool, or a cocktail in its rooftop garden. You can also network with interior designers, catching up over an espresso in the double-height reception room, which is festooned with pieces from the firm and its partners, like lighting specialist Viabizzuno and Kvadrat textiles. Keep an eye out for the futuristic icon from Zanotta’s 1970s era: the Quaderna table, with its white laminate surfaces quilted by a hypnotic black mesh.
If you’re lucky, Marta and Co. might even invite you to sleep overnight in one of the two bedrooms (on Magniflex mattresses, natch). “If we have a meeting with a client from all over the US, we can offer for them to stay at the house — it’s just like when you’re at your house with a friend from out of town, and you ask him to stay with you,” she says. And unlike the pricey new Guesthouse nearby from rival firm RH (better known as Restoration Hardware), it’s impossible to pay to stay here. “That’s not how it works — we use it, absolutely, like our own house.”
The Zanotta team hopes that inviting would-be buyers to immerse themselves in its aesthetic 24/7 will help bolster the brand’s profile stateside and allow clients to better understand its distinctive style. And now that the New York townhouse has been successfully launched, the brand is hoping to add more around the world.
“We’re thinking of doing them elsewhere, but maybe a format like a pop-up, where for a period, it’s open,” says Marta. Are you listening, Taylor Swift?