Eglomise Shell JS: This is a project we did with for the Elysian Hotel—now the Waldorf Astoria—as a centerpiece for the dining room. The inspiration was a South African Turban Shell, which is a very colorful variety. It was painted and gilded to the point of being almost jewel-like. The glass I picked has a natural waviness, reminiscent of water currents, which we liked [because] it gives the idea of a monumental jewel-shell inside of a tank.
Venetian Plaster Stairwell JS: This [project] combines two of our studio specialties: variations of Venetian plaster and surfaces reminiscent of shells. The homeowner designed the stairwell, which is a handsome and sculptural two-story spiral, and I thought it would be good to have a surface treatment that would suggest a shell, with nuances of pearl appearing with light variations and very, very smooth to the touch.
Map of the Stars ceiling mural JORGE SIMES: From the beginning, I knew there was this very fanciful, unique, and futuristic chandelier that looked like a star or a planet, with outer circles reminiscent of orbits. I had already worked on prototypes of night skies in silver hues, which the client saw at the studio and loved. For her specific ceiling—[it was in the] dining room—I proposed to design a split-second view of the universe: the chandelier [would be] its center, but with many dynamic orbits, concentric rings, and stars in hues of silver, to create a stylish rendition of space that seems to come to life depending on the lighting and time of the day.
Calligraphic Wall JS: The inspiration in this case was double: Dante's Divine Comedy, and gestural calligraphy. The setting is a breakfast room in Old Town; the family travels with a certain frequency to Italy with their children, and has an appreciation for contemporary art. I proposed an uplifting passage of the Divine Comedy in its original Italian, and then did a number of studies and tests until I found the best combination of transparencies and hues for the background, followed by a gestural execution of the calligraphic test. The work was realized on canvas and installed on site by a wallpaper installer in one day, making it very convenient for everyone.
From their hip studio in a renovated Elston Corridor stable, Cindy and Jorge Simes of Simes Studios create innovative art for private residences, hotel lobbies, restaurants, retail shops, and more, on both a local and national scale. This year, the design duo celebrates 25 years. In honor of the milestone, Jorge looks back on four of his favorite projects. 1809 W. Webster St., 773-327-7101