MID-CENTURY MAN

Interior Designer Robert Bentley’s Downtown Studio Reflects His Love For Mid-Century Modern Design

by Michele Chan Santos
Austin Monthly
December 2, 2015

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Padaric Kolander, Name For Chance 2015 (photo by Casey Dunn)

Combining a love for mid-century modern design with practicality and efficiency, interior designer Robert Bentley’s 711-square-foot condominium serves as both his home and office.

The condo is located in the historic Brown Building. This elegant 10-story structure, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, was once an office complex that housed the offices of then-Congressman (later President) Lyndon Baines Johnson as well as the headquarters of the Texas Broadcasting Corporation.

Bentley graduated from Austin High and earned a bachelor’s degree in interior design, with a minor in architecture, from Texas Tech. He lived and worked in New York City for three years, and his company, Robert Bentley Design, is a full-scale design firm that works on both residential and small-scale commercial projects. He assists clients with remodels, finish selections, space planning and budgeting.

A native Texan who has a fascination with history, Bentley believes in “respecting the architecture and complementing it with timeless pieces.” The Brown Building is a good fit for his design sense: its Art Moderne lobby features a pink, green and yellow terrazzo floor and geometric etched-glass panels over the elevator doors.

After entering the front door of the condo, a visitor can immediately see Bentley’s “office,” a wall he has converted into his work space. This clever use of space transforms an entry hallway into a usable area. “You really don’t need a whole room for a home office,” he says. “A wall is just fine.” Adjustable shelves, like the ones Bentley uses, can be altered to fit one’s needs and are attractive too.

The condo is made up of one open area combining kitchen and living room, and the sleeping area sits in an alcove. Like the other lofts in the building, the condo has exposed duct work and concrete pillars.

The showstopper piece in the living room is a fantastic floor lamp straight out of a James Bond movie. The lamp looks like a gold AK-47 assault rifle with a lamp shade placed at the end of the gun barrel. This Flos lamp, by renowned designer Philippe Starck, is in fact plated in 18-karat gold and created from a gun mold.

The 10-foot ceilings, terrazzo floor and deep, dark blue color of the walls form a sophisticated frame for Bentley’s artwork and furniture. “The beautiful terrazzo floor dictates how everything else will go,” he says. “It’s a busy pattern so everything else is toned down.”

His works of art are striking. Bentley’s taste, he says, is “eclectic and modern.” He likes works that surprise the eye. “I find art to be very personal,” he says. “It doesn’t have to match what’s going on in other parts of the room.”

Bentley favors mid-century modern design because “I love the beautiful materials, clean lines and organic shapes. Furniture pieces blend beautifully with any space, be it traditional or modern.”

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Original Link: http://www.austinmonthly.com/AHM/Winter-2015/Mid-Century-Man/

Additional Links: http://robertbentleydesign.com/

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