Axis Mundi is a prominent modern architecture and interior design company that specializes in the design of residential, cultural, and retail projects. It was founded by John Beckmann in 2004. With offices in New York and Chicago, the firm prides itself on not just its extraordinary execution of ideas, but its ability to provide clients with exactly what they need.
The studio is built around a culture of transformation as it explores new ways of thinking and creates new ways of doing things. Axis Mundi’s projects combine sophistication with wit. While there’s an emphasis on innovation, traditional design concepts aren’t thrown by the wayside. Rather, they are made more relevant to today’s contexts.
In the same way that the sky and earth meet in many cultural traditions, history and modernity coexist in Axis Mundi’s work. Original architecture is held in high esteem and new materials are selected with the environment in mind. Axis Mundi is known for its interdisciplinary design projects that span interiors, products, and architecture. The firm has completed outstanding and often award-winning jobs across the country.
From its earliest days, the company embraced a spirit of collaboration, working with craftsmen and artists from coast to coast. Clients are also seen as partners and this results in projects that are highly customized.
Stunning Residential Interiors Designed by Axis Mundi
432 Park Avenue
One of the firm’s most celebrated interiors can be found in an apartment at the iconic 432 Park Avenue in New York City’s sophisticated Midtown Manhattan. 432 Park Avenue is the tallest residential skyscraper in this hemisphere and Beckmann, working with Hannah LaSota was able to cop the ARCHMARATHON 2020 award for Best Residential Interior. The apartment was designed for a China-based American client with a four-member family and an extensive art collection. It features a custom-made Joseph Carini silk carpet, ceramics by John Born, a Poltrona Frau ‘Let it Be’ sectional, and other distinctive pieces.
Bond Street Loft
Another NYC gem, this Noho apartment has a storied history. It is located in a building designed by Stephen Decatur Hatch that was constructed around 1870 and converted into lofts in 1987. At one point, it was renovated by rock artiste. However, it is currently owned by a hedge fund manager and his girlfriend who is a gallery director. The young couple brought a collection of photographs, paintings, and sculptures by a variety of artists including Adam Pendelton, Jung Lee, Sam Curry, Aaron Curry, and Eddie Martinez.
Axis Mundi created a largely neutral palette so the spotlight would be on the artwork. However, there are some touches of bright colors that serve as a nexus between the vibrancy of the art and the otherwise understated interior. The loft is large, and the design team brought in some bold, distinctive pieces of furniture to make use of the expansive space. A 12-foot-long dining table finds a welcoming space as does the sectional sofa in the library. Linen, fur, wood, and leather add warmth to the loft and make it extremely inviting.
Vista Tower - Sky 360 Penthouse
Vista Tower is a 1,191-foot skyscraper in Chicago. With 101 stories, it’s the third tallest building in the city’s skyline. From the 76th floor up, the Sky360 Penthouses offer luxurious accommodations with 360-degree vistas that stretch beyond the downtown area. Axis Mundi designed the interior of a 5500-square foot penthouse with contemporary art and designer furnishings, striking a balance between sensible, glamorous, and raw.
The entry lounge alone is a sight to behold with a Wing sofa by Antonio Citterio, a sculpture by British artist Tony Cragg, armchairs from Wendell Castle and a coffee table by G2P3. The living area also features a Wing seating system and it’s positioned for easy viewing of an outstanding Christopher Wool painting.
Greenwich Village Townhouse
Heading back to New York, Axis Mundi handled the renovation of an 1840 Greek Revival brownstone. The company left the exterior of the building unchanged. However, the interior is another story. The bronze staircase is described as “industrial chic” while the kitchen features shutters reminiscent of Jean Prouvé’s work. On the ground floor, a screen utilizes cast glass recovered from Gio Ponti’s design for Alitalia’s 1950s showroom on Fifth Avenue. It’s combined with a mercury mirror and arranged in a bronze grid.
Works by Haring, Basquiat, and Warhol find a home against pristine white walls. The furniture is equally outstanding with pieces by Armani, Versace, Patrick Naggar, Poltrona Frau, Dalí. and Gaudí. In testament to the wit for which Axis Mundi is known, the dining room fireplace features Greek illusions in a modern interpretation of classicism. The space is also home to lampshades that bring to mind the traditional drapery of Greek sculpture.
The Accomplishments of Axis Mundi and the Man Behind the Designs
In March 2020, Axis Mundi was named one of the 15 Best Residential Architects and Designers in New York by New York Architects. Chief editor Sasha David said the decision was made after researching and evaluating every architect in the area. David said the team was particularly impressed with the studio’s work on the Park Avenue apartment.
To understand Axis Mundi is to understand its founder. Beckmann is a student of philosophy, visual culture, architecture, and interior and industrial design. He studied at The New School and Parsons School of Design where he got a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Design.
As a student, Beckmann worked as an apprentice with American ultra-minimalist Joseph P. D’Urso and while he embraces some of his mentor’s ideas, he uses more color and luxurious touches. Beckmann displays a comprehensive understanding of the interplay between interior design, architecture, and contemporary art. His anti-monograph — AXIS MUNDI Inconsistent Consistencies: I Wish I Could Talk in Technicolor – is expected to be published in 2021. It will be another way to get some insight into an iconic designer and the brand he built.