Around the World with 181

June 27, 2016

While the San Francisco condos at 181 Fremont are firmly rooted in the culture and aesthetic of San Francisco, they exude worldliness and luxury in every detail of their construction and decor. From the polished Italian Calacatta Carrara marble frames in each apartment’s entryway, to the doors encased in a Paldao wood from New Guinea, to the polished brass Parisian handles that grace the front doors, to the French oak floors inside the condominiums, 181 Fremont contains an incredible selection of carefully selected materials and fine finishes from artists and artisans around the world. This series will introduce residents to both the details they can expect to find within their apartments and the artists who created them.

Part I: Opening the Door to a Livable Sculpture

Designer Orlando Diaz-Azcuy describes the gold leaf, domed seating area that he meticulously created for the lobby of the new luxury tower at 181 Fremont as “a living sculpture.” So too is each private residence—a sculpture that embodies the diversity of the geographic locations from which every inch of color and texture has been recreated and reimagined at 181 Fremont in San Francisco.

It’s no wonder that when Diaz-Azcuy went searching for the objects that would become the entry points to his meticulously designed luxury condominiums at 181 Fremont, he looked to Série Rare on Rue Odéon on the Left Bank. This Parisian gallery features doorknobs and handmade bronze fixtures forged in the mind of Daniel Podva, an artist of Russian and Italian descent whose vision combines a mixture of his native cultures and the poetry—literal and metaphorical—of his adopted home of France. Try to imagine a Brâncuși sculpture crossed with a doorknob on a Renaissance building in Florence, or a Louise Bourgeois sculpture streamlined for function; without actually having one of these doorknobs in your hand, it might be hard to fully anticipate its unique weight and line. Each is a work of art in itself.

“I found inspiration in timeless materials, natural luxury,” Diaz-Azcuy told Forbes Magazine. “The care and quality that went into even the smallest details of this building make the greatest impact—it is the ultimate expression of luxury.”

If Diaz-Azcuy had one guiding principle while sourcing the pieces that would form the walls and floors and sconces of the apartments, it was this—where in the world is this particular material’s most exquisite manifestation? The question yielded answers that can now be seen at 181 Fremont, including floors that use fumed French oak wood to emit warmth and depth, and doors encased in Paldao wood from New Guinea. And, in the case of the Italian Calacatta Carrara marble which Diaz-Azcuy had specially cut against the grain to create an almost topographical, “veining” effect for the frames of each apartment’s entryway, he went to the true source. Diaz-Azcuy and his associates handpicked each slab of marble from the Italian quarry in a seaside cliff. Diaz-Azcuy knows how deeply ingrained in particular slabs are the force of that sea and the wind of that cliff.