What I wanted most was just to love my environment,” says Madonna of her apartment in an unassuming brick building on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. As conceived and executed by the creative hand of Christopher G. Ciccone, her younger brother and most trusted confidant, the apartment is a low-key yet glamorous sanctuary, a place that allows her, once inside, a temporary escape.
Madonna entrusted her brother with the design of her Los Angeles house (she gave him ten days to do it) and never thought of having anyone else envision and execute the New York space. “Who could I have more in common with than someone I grew up with?” Madonna says of her choice of designer. “We like the same things, from music to what we eat.” Although Ciccone has no formal art training, he designed the stage sets for the Blonde Ambition tour, which was the setting for the documentary Truth or Dare, and he is an artist in his own right. But he is wholly self-taught in the area of interior design.
Ciccone knew early on what he wanted to do. “I wanted to create a New York apartment. In Los Angeles the living spaces are big, wide open. There are loftlike attributes to them, and also the feeling of living in a penthouse. In New York I wanted to make a space for her that was elegant without being weak, peaceful without being boring. She prefers New York to Los Angeles because when she’s here she can relax. There’s a city here—you feel you are with people, living with the rest of the world, not confined to an automobile. But it still had to be a place she would feel safe in. Even though there’s a view of Central Park, you don’t feel exposed to anything.”
Hollywood at Home: Madonna: Homes & Spaces: architecturaldigest.com