There was once an apartment in Tehran; so modern and luxurious, so beautifully decorated, similar to it could almost be a Diaghilev backdrop or a mix between Doris Duke’s Shangri La and a penthouse in New York. Meticulously decorated by a connoisseur, the interior of the apartment was reminiscent of the One Thousand and One Nights; the country’s economy was booming and the city was the place to be. The face of the city was changing; urban design, city planning and architectural novelties and their mystifying interiors were built and like this apartment they became the setting of many memorable times. The floor plan and the finishing of the flat had been customized to the landlord’s fancy; the apartment offered a 360° view over the vast city of Tehran, a city where modernization was its new thing.

Every corner of the flat boasted a bust or object from centuries past, the opulence of the setting was very much in line with the Persian reputation for embellishment. Contrary to the building’s plain and robust exterior, designed by French architects in the 1970’s, the visual vocabulary of this flat was an ode to Persian decoration. Adorned with Qajar tiles and paintings, furnished with ottomans and red velvet upholstered armchairs. Almost like a curiosity cabinet, every corner had something interesting to offer, things like a second century Buddha, a headless

Cambodian stone chiseled soldier or seventeenth century Kubachi tiles from what was once northern Iran. Also interesting, were the raised pattern tiles around the chimney, specific to ‘Tehrani’ nineteenth century tile makers. So pretty was the apartment that it makes one wonder if it could have inspired and set a trend for the generation that followed those Iranian elites that lived and partied their hearts out in the beast of a city that was and is Tehran.

Photo credits: Kamran Adle

pmaryam Maryam Jalali    
Decorative Arts Historian and Specialist
No tags 4