Dive Into the World of PINTO: An Interview with the Renowned Design Agency’s Art Director Pietro Scaglione

Interview With Pinto The World Renowned Designed Firm That Created Interiors For The Wales Apartment Paris 1 Giorgio Baroni

Photograph by ©Giorgio Baroni – Paris Apartment

All around the globe, discerning luxury homeowners, hoteliers, and developers come to PINTO for bespoke, standout spaces. The Paris-based design agency founded by late legend Alberto Pinto has a rich history of decorating some of the most important homes, private jets, and yachts in the world. Today, they remain at the top of their game and keep cultivating an impressive breadth of work. One of their most recent projects, a newly-launched luxury condominium on the Upper East Side called The Wales, provides the chance to move right into a Manhattan home with their interiors.

Recently, we chatted with longtime PINTO designer and art director, Pietro Scaglione, to learn about the delicate conversion of The Wales and about the famous design firm as a whole.

Interview With Pinto The World Renowned Designed Firm That Created Interiors For The Wales Apartment In Paris Portrait

Photograph courtesy of Pinto – Art Director Pietro Scaglione

1. How would you describe PINTO’s design philosophy today and how do you continue the legacy of the firm’s founder, Alberto Pinto?

PINTO has been designing interiors for over 50 years. Fahad Hariri took over at the helm starting in August 2020 and shares with me the artistic direction of the agency. As a previous client of our agency himself for numerous years, he is very familiar with the PINTO universe and wants to bring in his fresh look by sharing his own romantic and contemporary inspiration while keeping the fundamentals of the brand: Joyful interiors, comfort, and above all, generosity.

We are also driven by the ambition to make PINTO a French Maison de Décoration, able to offer proposals in almost all the fields of furnishing and decoration to an international clientele.

Interview With Pinto The World Renowned Designed Firm That Created Interiors For The Wales Apartment In Paris 4 Jacques Pepion

Photograph by ©Jacques Pepion – Paris Apartment

2. How long have you been at PINTO and what do you love most about it?

I started at PINTO 25 years ago as Alberto’s assistant before becoming an interior designer in charge of residential and yacht projects.

What is amazing at PINTO is that each time, every project is a completely new adventure as we custom design everything around the personality of our clients and assist them from the layout of the rooms, to fit their needs and way of life, to the tiniest details from tableware and linen to ashtrays or picture frames for the family photos on their side tables.

So, each time there is a new encounter with the client, we learn to know them, their habits, and their way of life. The projects developed for each of our clients are a new opportunity to create a special and unique design, and discover new artisans and suppliers that are able to embody it.

Interview With Pinto The World Renowned Designed Firm That Created Interiors For The Wales The Wales Adellco Hummingbird 01

Photograph by VMI Studio – The Wales penthouse

3. What made you want to get involved with the transformation of The Wales from a landmark hotel into a luxury condominium?

We met Matthew Adell, the developer of The Wales, on another project in New York City located at 27 East 79th Street. On this occasion and for this first collaboration, we designed together a completely new building, incorporating a pronounced French flair and of course the PINTO touch. This was a great experience, and it turned into a beautiful project we are proud of.

So, it was very natural and with great enthusiasm that we accepted to work again with Matthew when he came with this second very important project where the challenge was completely different and very exciting too: Renovating and transforming a landmark building in New York. Something we are used to doing at PINTO as we have refurbished and transformed various important historical and listed buildings such as Le Lycée Français de New York or The Lanesborough in London.

4. Can you tell us about some of the challenges or obstacles you faced during the project? How did you overcome them?

One of the main challenges was to be able to erase the very strong marks that the exploitation of the building as a hotel had deeply left on The Wales and turn it into a condominium where you can feel at home. In addition, we also had to find the right balance for this building and the family-friendly aspect of the neighborhood, which invited us to design warm and easy living interiors and in some way a certain idea of luxury, too.

These two challenges have been solved with the design for sure, but also with important work on choosing the materials, finishes, and details avoiding ostentation and impressive looks and focusing on the high quality of simpler materials and colors with refined details which make the difference.

Interview With Pinto The World Renowned Designed Firm That Created Interiors For The Wales The Wales Adellco Hero 01 Adjusted

Photograph by VMI Studio – The Wales

5. Designed in 1899, the Carnegie Hill building’s neo-Renaissance façade has many ornate details. How did the architecture and history impact the interiors you created and what were your main goals for the spaces?

Contrary to 27 East 79th street which was a PINTO creation from A to Z, The Wales was before anything a renovation of a well-known NYC building. Our desire was to respect as much as possible the building’s past and history and for it to fit into its environment and the neighborhood.

We worked on conserving the neighborhood’s spirit, very New York and family-friendly with a European twist. Nothing too strong or aggressive, which would have eclipsed to building itself.

We created a simple décor with discrete and light colors, an intemporal modern classical style with quality work and special attention to details, a discrete refinement that can be felt immediately upon entering the building.

This philosophy is very well epitomized by the Penthouse which is an architectural addition to the original building. The idea here again was that of discretion. Somewhat set back from the edge, surrounded by a terrace, a work around the space, the light, and the transparencies.

6. How did your design for public spaces such as the lobby differ from your vision for private spaces like the penthouse?

In fact, it is the opposite. At PINTO, when we can, we love designing public spaces as private residences by creating a personal and welcoming atmosphere with the same quality level of furniture, pieces of art, and the same special attention to small details we used to provide for a house or an apartment.

Interview With Pinto The World Renowned Designed Firm That Created Interiors For The Wales The Wales Adellco Lobby New 1

Photograph by VMI Studio – The Wales lobby

7. If you could describe the new interiors of The Wales in three words, what would they be?

Comfort, discreet luxury, fresh look.

Interview With Pinto The World Renowned Designed Firm That Created Interiors For The Wales Apartment Paris 4 Giorgio Baroni

Photograph by ©Giorgio Baroni – Paris Apartment

8. PINTO works on private jets, yachts, hotels, royal palaces, and personal residences around the world. Tell us about some of the most unique designs you’ve made for clients.

Every design is unique at PINTO. Every project has been especially custom-designed for one client. In fact, it is a very haute couture fashion approach to interior design. The décors are built around the personalities of each of our clients and thus are unique. We have created interior designs for beach houses, contemporary apartments as well as renovated historical mansions in classical style or even villas and oriental palaces along with jets and yachts at the cutting edge of innovation and comfort.

If we had to talk about the most unique design we could start with, for example, Dudley House in London and Hôtel Lambert in Paris where we designed extraordinary interiors as jewelry boxes for the unique collections of furniture, art, and objects of our Client in a very classical style with all the modern comfort. Something only possible thanks to the incredible know-how of thousands of European artisans, craftsmen, and contractors.

In a much more contemporary style, we could talk about a very masculine and modern look private aircraft we designed some years ago with carbon fiber seat and a kitchen where the client’s chef could cook with a wok despite the smoke release. Of course, the Boeing 747-8 as well, one of the biggest private jets in the world. The list could be long as we delivered more than 500 projects.

Interview With Pinto The World Renowned Designed Firm That Created Interiors For The Wales House In Marrakech0052

Photograph courtesy of Pinto – House in Marrakech

9. With such a diverse range of work, what have been some of your favorite projects to work on while at PINTO and why?

I have to start first with Fahad Hariri’s Parisian apartment and his residence in Marrakech I designed when Fahad was still just a client at PINTO. Both are clearly the homes of an art collector with a strong identity exemplifying the freshness he breaths in PINTO artistic creation today. These two projects were also the beginning of what should become some years later a friendship and professional collaboration as he is now chairman and artistic co-director with me at PINTO.

It is difficult to choose among the hundreds of extraordinary projects we have done. I would mention a Palm Beach residence we made many years ago which clearly shows the taste of eclecticism and mixing so dear to PINTO, a real exercise of style. And the Alfa Nero yacht for its very recognizable shape, with its never-before-seen decks organized in amphitheaters and its pool in the back shaped like a boat. It was something new at that time and I was very excited to work on such a project.

Interview With Pinto The World Renowned Designed Firm That Created Interiors For The Wales Hotel Lanesborough London

Photograph courtesy of Pinto – Hotel Lanesborough in London

10. Can we expect to see more PINTO designs in New York City, or the US in general, soon? Where is the firm’s energy focused most lately?

Our energy since Fahad took over the business was first focused on redefining and developing the furniture and decorative object editions branch of the Brand. We would now like to focus on bringing PINTO a new clientele: Fahad came with the idea to create a community of clients who share the same spirit that led him to PINTO at first. The ideal client PINTO has in mind is romantic, daring, modern, and generous.

PINTO has always been very present in the US. We created interior designs all over the US (Santa Fe, Palm Beach, etc) and of course in New York where we developed several corporate buildings for the late real estate developer Howard Ronson, numerous apartments, townhouses, and penthouses on Fifth Avenue, Madison, etc. For sure, NY will be part of the new story we are building for PINTO.

So, after our latest projects delivered in the US: A summer house in the Hamptons, the 27 East 79th street condominium, and The Wales, we may start soon another exciting project for a private apartment on Central Park.

Interview With Pinto The World Renowned Designed Firm That Created Interiors For The Wales Apartment Paris Giorgio Baroni

Photograph by ©Giorgio Baroni – Paris Apartment

11. Lastly, is there any kind of project you haven’t worked on before that you hope to encounter in the future? Or if not, what kind of projects do you want to do more of and why?

We have very recently designed and delivered a private club in London dedicated to electronic music called The Beat and a restaurant in Ibiza, Zytia. These kinds of projects are more fun than the usual ones as they allow you to unleash your imagination and creativity and you can be more daring in order to create a strong identity and atmosphere. It is a kind of a hospitality project. I hope we will have more to develop in the future alongside these hospitality projects.