The Boom Boom Apartment

Photographs by Jeremy Liebman

I wanted it to look like Donatella Versace had designed an opium den in Chinatown; I designed it purely for entertaining,” says Richard Christiansen of the Grand Street rental he shares with film producer Jonathan Ferrantelli, a cat, two dogs, 21 exotic fish, and a rotating cast of up to 50 party guests a night. When he moved into the 1,000-square-foot space in 2010, Christiansen, the founder of ad agency Chandelier Creative, was used to a round-the-clock-party lifestyle, having resided at the Bowery Hotel for the three years prior. But the now-35-year-old disco-decade obsessive was ready to take on the role of host in a nocturnal lair all his own, and Chinatown felt right. “The neighborhood embodied what I love about New York: its lawlessness, its chaos, its microcommunities, its contagious enthusiasm, its creativity,” he says. Almost every night of the week colleagues, friends, clients, and neighbors swing by his home for martinis, conversation, and a club-quality sound system, on which Christiansen blasts everything from Vitamin String Quartet to Kylie Minogue. To create the loungelike vibe, Christiansen chose a strict color palette of black, silver, and occasional glints of red and an easy-to-dim lighting scheme. For furnishings, he sleuthed auction catalogues and eBay, reimagining finds as mood-evoking crowd-pleasers: A once-­lima-bean-green banana-leaf bed from the eighties, for instance, now sits in dark-lacquered splendor behind an elaborate 1,000-pound fish tank. “There’s been a lot of Romeo and Juliet action, with people gazing at each other through the glass, around that tank,” he says, “but I never name names.”

The Central Lounge
The living area mixes seventies and eighties pieces, including a 1985 Roche Bobois leather sectional couch and ottoman, but guests also perch along the black-lacquered apartment-long shelf. Photo: Jeremy Liebman

The Dining Area
The table-and-chair set is one of only five ever made; its chairs collapse to fit inside the table. Christiansen painted the massive chandelier, from Talisman in London, red. Recent clients of his company Chandlier Creative include Bergdorf Goodman, Target, Guerlain, Sephora, Chandon, and Orient Express. Photo: Jeremy Liebman

The Sleeping Space
Though partyers are welcome to lounge on the Phyllis Morris bed, the fish tank acts as a transparent divider between it and the main seating area. Photo: Jeremy Liebman

The View
Christiensen built window ledges that hold pots of conifers and Japanese maples. He uses them instead of curtains to obscure the outside world. Photo: Jeremy Liebman

The Gallery
His artwork can be rotated easily because it leans atop the black-lacquer and white-lacquer shelves, instead of hanging on the walls. Photo: Jeremy Liebman

The Boom Boom Apartment