Art House: Maria Llad

THE DOSSIER: NAMEMaria Lladó. TRADE: Interior designer. VIBE: Gallery gone wild. ABODE: Apartment in Madrid, Spain.

It's hard to know where to look first in this dazzling Spanish apartment: from the coterie of statement chairs, to the wide-ranging artworks, to the plethora of sculptural curios--themselves upstaged, from time to time, by the occasional neon pink podium. The extraordinary scene is the masterwork of Barcelona-based, London-trained designer Maria Lladó, whose admirers include no less than Giorgio Armani (she designed the brand's Madrid showroom) and Woody Allen, who featured her interiors in his film Vicky Cristina Barcelona. We honed in on the magic behind the mezcla.

ON DISPLAY While some shun the notion of a white box, Lladó not only embraced it, but chased it, layering white walls with painted reclaimed wood floors and ghostly curtains, and installing museum-worthy track lighting throughout, designed to cast a spotlight on works such as English painter Philip Jones' living room-dominating fluoro-pink nude Black April.

SITTING PRETTY While artwork is inevitably a major player in the scheme, it could be outmatched by the sheer multitude of noteworthy seating options that inhabit the apartment: a Gustavian settee, a groovy '70s floral ottoman, a Warren Platner-style tub swivel chair, a gilded Louis XV throne, and a pair of ladder-back doll-size chairs, to name but a sampling. Each design star is positioned with tangible intentionality, as if "the talent" is hitting its prescribed mark.

DRAMATIC LICENSE To complete the look, Lladó incorporated theatrical touches: wall-to-wall polka-dot ceramic tiles in the shower, an oversized floor-to-ceiling rustic framed mirror in the living room, and objets d'art scattered throughout--from a blue skull to a classical bust, to a bobcat statue. The unchallenged highlight: a retro vintage Spanish drugstore sign in the bedroom, juxtaposed with an unexpectedly formal crystal chandelier.


Photographs: Montse Garriga Grau