The painting that looks like a Richard Serra? It’s real. Just like the Wolfgang Tillmans print hanging in the bedroom, the Manuel Vivian table lamp in the study and the fluffy 1960s Sergio Mazza lounge chairs in the living room—in fact, every sculpture, painting and stick of high-end furniture in the model units of 530 Park Avenue is real.
They’re from real estate tycoon Aby Rosen’s private collection, explained architect and interior designer William T. Georgis. In fact, an avid Vogue reader might recognize the 1955 Jean Royere sculpture chair in the bedroom (pony skin on an oak frame, similar to the one at the palace of the shah of Iran) from a recent photo spread of Mr. Rosen’s Upper East Side townhouse.
“He’s an odd, unusual human,” said Mr. Georgis, who is known for designing outrageous, lavish spaces for what he terms “merchant princes” like Mr. Rosen. “This is his way of putting his imprimatur on his developments.”
If model units are meant to sell a fantasy life—and they are—why not the life of a developer, art collector and budding nightlife impresario who seems to have mastered not only the art of making money, but of actually enjoying it?
While many developers like to have a hand in their buildings’ model units, it’s rare for one to allow a designer to raid his personal collection for settees and bibelots. “For us, to hire a designer and go out and use off-the-shelf furniture doesn’t do it,” Mr. Rosen told The Observer.
“So many new condos and showrooms look the same—it’s all beige, cream, very cookie-
cutter. It could be uptown, downtown, who knows? It’s fine to look just functional if it’s a public space or a gym, but not a home.”
And it’s not just the furniture: medicine cabinets are stacked with headache pills and condoms.
Elsewhere, Mid-Century Modern pieces mix with Jeff Koons sculptures, Warhols cover entire walls and unusual fabrics abound. “Very, very similar,” in other words, to the model units at Mr. Rosen’s 350 West Broadway, where the $20 million model units featured pieces by Warhol, Basquiat, Richard Dupont, Peter Zimmermann and George Condo.
The problem is that sometimes house hunters are so taken with the accoutrements that they insist on buying the model units, according to Rae Gilson, the broker for 530 Park.
For $9 million, RFR will happily move the model unit. Mr. Rosen is willing to sell the furniture as well; some units include pieces worth several hundred thousand dollars. “Yeah sure, other than my wife and my kids, everything is for sale,” he told The Observer. There are limits, however. “Ideally, he has to buy the apartment first before he starts buying the furniture,” Mr. Rosen added.
Correction: Classic Marketing broker Rae Gilson was incorrectly identified as Rae Gilford in an earlier version of this article. The Observer regrets the error.