Take a step inside Gerard Butler's Insane NYC loft

Gerard Butler’s new NYC loft is a true original. Most of us don’t have the luxury of curating our homes to our every little whim, but Butler has created a space that is truly an extension of himself. The actor created the funky feat in interior design with production designer Elvis Restaino, who has a background in building commercial sets for television shows, movies and restaurants. Restaino spent four years working on personalizing the space with Butler, and the duo have created a fantastical living space like no other for the actor.

The loft is filled with muddy beiges and browns inspired by sights seen in salvage yards. Butler and Restaino spent time finding dilapidated objects that they could reclaim, restore and mold into their vision. The results are a rustic, masculine space that personifies the ruggedness of the actor.

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The space was previously a white gallery that had been compartmentalized for a family, but Restaino and architect Alexander Gorlin completely remodeled it for Butler. The goal was to not just to make a space that looked “lived in” but considerably aged, used and worn. The ceiling beams are painted in a faux wood grain while the loft’s columns were constructed out of wood and chicken wire. A big focal point in the loft is a large mural on the ceiling, which was painted on canvas and covered with plexiglass aged to resemble dirty glass tiles. Finishing off the mural are custom-made, tiny glass stars.

Restaino says, “If I blindfolded you and set you in the center of the apartment you would know it’s [Gerard Butler’s] place without ever knowing him, because of the design.”

| by Haute Living

Mrs. Fish Soaks Up Rock N' Roll Style

Mrs. Fish, LA’s new rock n’ roll supper club, flaunts a unique style that emits a permanent cool vibe. The kind of place to keep your sunglasses on well after dark. Looking around at the floor length tapestry drapes, punchy color combinations, unusual shapes, and a 50,000 aquarium / chandelier (seriously, it’s both), one would no doubt struggle to put a name to the design style, an anomaly that architectural designer Elvis Restaino views as a success.

I call myself a “Neo-Dadaist.” I was going for luxury juxtaposed against a post-apocalyptic backdrop.
— Elvis

Understanding the history of the art movement Elvis identifies with annexes a layer of brilliance to the over all design of Mrs. Fish.

The original Dada art movement was in response to the horrors perpetuated by the First World War. The atrocities of this war undermined belief in humanity and society as a whole, including the established ideals regarding fine art. Dadaism’s objective was to devalue what was presently considered art and replace such with ironic displays using found objects. Rejecting aesthetics, Dadaists used art as a conduit for their emotions, thus their pieces became non-sensical and satirical.  Hugo Ball is the face of the beginning of the movement in Zurich, with his Cabaret Voltaire magazine and live performances. Ball also termed the style “Dada”. Artists such as Hans Erp, Marcel Duchamp, Francis Picabia, and Kurt Schwitters styled their work within the veins of Dadaism.

Just over twenty years later, the impetus of Dadaism was superseded with more barbaric forms employed in World War II. The ideals Dadaism were re-invented for the modern times. Irony and found objects once again became the focus over aesthetics; the style could even be called anti-aesthetic. Additionally, Neo-Dadaist aspired to remove the boundary between art and life, the birth of Pop Art. Elvis is a fan of the how the style irreverently threw out aesthetics.

The individual objects do not, from a traditional design perspective, “go together”, yet somehow they look undeniably cool.

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Such as the tomato red leather sofa, reminiscent of a cartoon parlor, paired with traditional elements of bolstering and tassels. When all the elements combine, the effect is glitz with a razor sharp edge…“Glam rock,” Elvis says. The influence of Neo-Dadaism reaches beyond the visible features of the design to what emotional aura the room solicits. Neo-Dadaist believed it foolish to tell how art should make another person feel, what the art was supposed to mean. “The artist designs, but the people interpret,” Elvis explains. The artist holds no domain over what reaction its viewer may have and cannot dictate its interpretation. Herein lies the beauty. The work obviously carries a message, but such is unique to the reader. When creating the mood for a club that is built on the premise of using musical art of rock n’ roll as a means of protest, expression and individual interpretation, Elvis’ unique exhibition of Neo-Dadaism was consummate design.

In contrast to many designers who would approach the theme directly, i.e. displaying Beatles records on walls, or black leather and rivets a la James Dean, Elvis chose the unmapped route of a multi-layered representation of what rock n’ roll really means. Subtle nods to the musical inspiration of the club is found throughout, such as the custom concrete tile design of the restrooms. Look carefully at the shape and record aficionados will recognize that it is cleverly patterned after an adapter that allowed 45s to be played on a full-size turntable.

Overall, the design is irreverent, audacious, riddled with symbolism yet open to interpretation. Is that not the essence of rock n’ roll? Well played, Mr. Restaino. Well played.


Inspiration of a Restaino Design

An Elvis Restaino design is distinctively theatrical, romantic…other-worldly. Imagine your living room as the hull of a pirate’s ship after looting an island of the gods and you have a sense of the drama an Elvis’ design can evoke. It’s no coincidence that Elvis’ work could be a movie set, as he began his career as a Hollywood set designer. Elvis then applied his set production sensibilities to actual living spaces. The prowess to shape a mood — not just to decorate a room but to create an environment — has made Elvis a sought after residential and commercial designer. Such complex environments appear gradually, embellished layer by layer, as if composing a story.

To Elvis, every room is a love story, an adventure.

Mermaid Lithograph  from  Life  Magazine

Mermaid Lithograph from Life Magazine

Where does he find inspiration for such compositions? Elvis spent many hours of his youth pouring over the striking images of Life Magazine, etchings illustrating encyclopedia entries, and art galleries. Photographers featured in Life piqued Elvis’ interest in how light and shadow can be manipulated, and the effects produced by lighting arrangements. “My encyclopedias, the art gallery…those were my internet,” Elvis says. “Those places and times became another world for me. And if I looked at the paintings long enough, they appeared to come alive.”

The Gulf Stream      by Winslow Homer

The Gulf Stream by Winslow Homer

In addition to the drama and romanticism, Elvis’ early influencers also seeded a love of the olde world. More than providing a pattern of style to follow, his inspiration has motivated him to “recycle the past.” “I am a time traveling designer,” Elvis says. “When I renovate, I like to imagine how I would do the space if I was the original designer.” Elvis’ unique mindset allows him the creative freedom to design outside the lines of the existing space.

“Many designers take the safe route. They look at the client, they figure out what the client will relate to, and that’s what they do. You can’t blame them, it’s job security.”

Elvis, however, is moved by unbounded creativity. It’s more than thinking outside of the box. For Elvis, there never was a box. Never traditionally trained in residential interior design has proven to be advantageous.  Few of the best designers grace the cover of Architectural Digest…even fewer have their first residential job featured, as was Elvis experience.

Elvis’ over-the-top style does not equal an uncomfortable show-place. His designs are amazingly functional as interesting. Style and ease of use are not representatives of a design dichotomy, rather they live harmoniously within the grand tale composed and told by Elvis Restaino.