Worldly Wise Men: Christopher Gao’s Manhattan Apartment


Christopher Gow and Henrique Faria have come up with a simple formula for decorating their midtown Manhattan apartment. Gow is in charge of the objects, while Faria handles the artwork.

This division of responsibility perfectly coincides with their respective professions. Gow is the co-owner of Creel and Gow, an Upper East Side boutique that sells what he describes as “simple objects from Mother Nature”: bowls made from onyx, amethyst, and other precious stones; sculptures–of sea horses, a cockatoo, a skull–carved from moose antlers; taxidermy birds (including a penguin and a flamingo); a replica of Brighton’s Royal Pavilion made from matchsticks; and other astonishing exotica. “They’re for people who have everything,” he says, drolly. “Fancy, grand people, their lives are so complicated, so we give them something so unpretentious, so elegant, with great color or texture or shape.”

Meanwhile, Faria, who was born in Venezuela, is the owner of Henrique Faria Fine Art, a gallery devoted to works by Latin American artists—specifically, geometric abstract art from the 1950s and ’60s, as well as conceptual art from more recent decades. (The gallery is located a few short blocks from the Creel and Gow storefront.)

In the living room, throws from Bhutan and Uzbekistan are draped over a pair of midcentury love seats, and the flat-weave rug is from Turkey; the artworks are by, from left, Alessandro Balteo Yazbeck, Guy de Cointet, and Marta Minujín.

With the United Nations a short distance away, there are diplomatic embassies nearby; around the corner on Lexington Avenue is a strip of Indian and Asian restaurants and groceries. “This area is a fabulous melting pot,” notes Gow. “It’s a slice of the world in one tiny area.” Not unlike their apartment.

In the master bedroom, drawings by Anna Maria Maiolino hang above a custom-made Hästens bed covered with an Indonesian ikat; the lamps are midcentury, and the shag rug is from Turkey.

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