A 1420 sq foot penthouse in a modern condo building in Brooklyn’s Prospect Heights neighborhood becomes both home to a young family, and a playground paradise for a pair of dynamic Bengal cats, Agnes and Hobbes.
Project Name: Bengaltopia
Studio Name: Studio Nato
Project size: 1420 ft2
Completion date: 2020
Building levels: 2
Location: Brooklyn, United States
Photography: Hanna Grankvist
The newly integrated design extols play and pragmatic use in this turnkey project led by Studio Nato, providing an intimate and elevated setting for the users’ rituals. Presented with a blank canvas, the designers were met with unbound creative possibilities to animate the space. They opted for thoughtfully selected furnishings with vibrant punches of colour, a layering of plush and woven textiles as well as intriguing forms which range from new designers such as Muuto and Matter, and more classic designers such as Louis Poulsen and Ingo Maurer, vintage Adrian Pearsall and custom pieces.
The home seamlessly blends both decorative and functional qualities for both human and animal. A thorough understanding of the behaviour of the Bengal cat, including its need for exercise and its exceptional height-jumping capabilities, informs many of the additions to the space. An alternative to the traditional pet store carpeted cat tree is seen in a made to measure console built from white oak with half of the cabinetry and shelving painted white for contrast. The millwork conceals the television and also performs as a cat walk to encourage their curiosity. A wrap around ledge mid-storey allows the cats to overlook the living space; circular cutouts in the walls guide them to a hidden closet that keeps their litter. A sculptural cat wheel hangs in the stairwell, and appeals to the cats’ energetic nature while deterring them away from the furniture.
The double height ceiling in the living area with ample glazing on two sides invites natural light to flood into the space while casting views onto downtown Brooklyn and the Barclay Center. Flexibility and circulation are accommodated by the flow of passage from unit entrance to exterior terrace while clearly delineating between the living room, dining area and kitchen from one another in their respective programmatic functions.
The dining room offers the ability to shapeshift into home office, reading nook as well as place for entertaining guests. Where the tone in the living area is bright and airy, the dining space sits opposite, conveying a whimsical temperament with patterned wallpaper and vivid color evoking a Barcelonian sensibility, a place dear to the clients, having lived there. The home’s elegant playfulness is where New Yorkers and cats alike dream of retreating to.