A Soaring Legacy
Laine Siklos -- Interior Design, 10/1/2004 12:00:00 AM
Posthumously inducted into the Interior Design Hall of Fame in 1996, after he died in the crash of TWA flight 800, Jed Johnson designed this New York apartment overlooking the Frick Collection. Johnson's steadiness of character ensured that all his interiors personified him—elegantly unpretentious and infused with a great sense of calm. "When you walked into an apartment that Jed did, there was a certain hush," recalls Jed Johnson Associates designer Andy Clark, a team member on this 1995 project.
Refined details and immensely luxurious materials registered just above a whisper, revealing themselves slowly. The living room's important examples of Georgian furniture looked natural in their updated setting, rather than calling attention to their provenance. Johnson adhered to a limited palette, with only the slightest of variations, and he custom-colored his fabrics to complement the 19th-century rug. A strié glaze on the walls added a barely perceptible layer of depth that regular paint could not have imparted.
Similarly, it wasn't until you spent time with the designer himself that you began to delight in the deeper complexities of his character. Those who collaborated with him knew that, when he spoke, they had to listen carefully—a tool he may have picked up as a young filmmaker at Andy Warhol's Factory. "In some ways," says his longtime partner, architect Alan Wanzenberg, "Jed was less aware of people and more aware of furniture and objects."