For a busy business traveler, this modern high-rise apartment serves as a home base when not abroad.
By Rachel Gallaher
Images by Oded Smadar
An apartment in Tel Aviv, Israel, designed by Coral Mesika of Coco Atelier. The client requested a dark palette—specifically black—so the designer used art and materials such as marble to keep the space from feeling too heavy.
According to Coral Mesika, the interior designer behind Coco Atelier—a multidisciplinary design firm that works on projects ranging from residential and commercial spaces to hotels, offices, and more—there aren’t many high-rise structures in central Tel Aviv. “Most buildings range from 3 to 6 stories,” she says. So, when Mesika was hired to design the interiors of an apartment located on the 20th floor in one of these ultra-modern developments, she knew that she wanted to prioritize, “utilizing the views, light, and air that come with being on that floor.”
The client, a busy professional in his 40s, spends up to half of his time traveling for work and loves cooking and entertaining friends in between trips. “It was clear from our initial design discussions that this would be a vacation home,” Mesika says. “When abroad, he stays in hotels, which is about fifty percent of the time, and enjoys his stays, so this is how we viewed the project: his hotel home away from home.”
Mesika connected all of the spaces in the apartment to make an open floor plan, but used various materials to delineate various spaces throughout (bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, etc.)
Armed with this vacation-home-meets-hotel-suite aesthetic, Mesika set to work on the 650-square-foot unit. “Before the renovation, the apartment was very standard,” she says. “Small rooms, basic layout, nothing too unique. There was hardwood flooring and tight living space.” To create a more connected floor plan the design team knocked down most of the existing interior walls, which allows for sweeping views from most areas in the apartment, as well as an influx of natural light throughout. The client had requested a dark palette, so the natural brightness helps keep things warm and inviting.
“Being that the layout is completely open, it was crucial to identify the importance of balancing a clean palette with natural materials that would complement without overpowering each other,” Mesika says. “We chose wood and marble as the key players here. Each [appears] with multiple tones, textures, and styles throughout. The wood acts as a rich base while the marble is a statement.” Since the space no longer has traditional internal walls, the various materials act as visual dividers between different areas of the apartment, each one, “defined by a recessed ceiling and a change in the flooring.”
The marble wall in the shower continues on to back the water closet as well. Natural oak slats divide the bathroom area from the home's main sitting area and help tie the bold marble into the rest of the space.
In the kitchen, custom black oak cabinetry is sleek and minimal, while a large wall mirror opposite the windows reflects the views, making the area feel more expansive. Three items, all requested by the client, line the back wall of the kitchen: a free-standing bookcase, digital clock, and a bright painting that brings a punch of color to the otherwise neutral zone. “We ended up designing the whole façade around those three pieces,” Mesika says. “They ended up adding a bit of humor to the clean surroundings and broke the modern lines.” The large marble-topped island was another element that topped the client’s must-have list. “It is utilized to the maximum, housing all appliances and storage in one space,” the designer notes. “The island is the center of entertainment, and its scale naturally draws guests to it to enjoy a meal or a drink.”
In a unique move, Mesika put the shower on display, its industrial heft is a striking contrast to the elegant floor-to-ceiling colored marble wall that backs it and extends into the water closet. According to the designer, this floor-mounted shower head was one of the first items purchased, and it led the design scheme as the rest of the space unfolded. In a relatively small residence, each decision—materials, furniture, colors—strongly affects the others, but Mesika’s approach and clever use of space render this renovation a huge success with cohesive, interesting details at every turn.