Photography by Weston Wells

Stefan Beckman

Set Designer

| NoHo

No decade has the aphorism “All the world’s a stage” rung truer and yet, before social media made even the most unobservant attune to their surroundings, there was Stefan Beckman, building dream lands to quietly (or not so quietly) tell stories through space. Specializing in production design and art direction for the fashion industry, Beckman recognized the importance of visuals long before the rest of us caught on— he’s been designing sets for editorials, runway shows, ad campaigns, exhibitions and retail interiors since the mid-‘90s. Talk about prescience… and talent. Unsurprisingly, Beckman’s worked with the best of the best since the very beginning— think first clients like Fabien Baron (then Creative Director of Harper’s Bazaar), Peter Lindbergh and Craig McDean; today, it’s Marc Jacobs, Alexander Wang, Louis Vuitton and nearly every bold face name in between. Thanks to Beckman, fashion isn’t just a dress on a model— it jumps off the page, transcends the runway and comes to life. Here, he sits down with CITIPHILE to reveal his little black book on NYC.

NEIGHBORHOOD STANDBY: I love Soba-Ya (MAP IT, x), especially during the winter for their hot Japanese soups and the vegetable sides (burdock root and the Japanese yams). Also, I love Via Carota (MAP IT, x) in the West Village— incredible Italian food. The burger served medium rare with garlic and olive oil is amazing. Order the green salad with it and you have the perfect meal. For dessert, the olive oil panna cotta is a life-changer.

COFFEE OR TEA: Coffee from La Colombe on Lafayette Street (MAP IT, x)— they have lattes on tap.

ALL-TIME FAVORITE RESTAURANT: The Grill (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) for the room— beautiful and classic.

COCKTAIL DE LA NUIT: Tito’s, up, with a twist. I Sodi (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) makes a great martini and has great food. I love an old-school hotel bar like Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle (MAP IT, x) too.

BUSINESS LUNCH: Sant Ambroeus in SoHo (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x).

MUSIC PICK: The Beacon (MAP IT, x) for live shows; it’s a great venue.

BEST BRUNCH: Russ & Daughters (MAP IT, x) for great lox and the best blintzes.

BEST PEOPLE WATCHING: Any street in the city— there are amazing people everywhere. The neighborhoods may change, but there is always a diverse and interesting mix of people around.

HEALTHY STAPLE: Fresh & Co. (MAP IT) for an arugula salad with chicken.

GUILTY PLEASURE: Shake Shack (MAP IT, x) for a double cheeseburger, fries and a shake.

NY’S BEST-KEPT SECRET: The bird sanctuary (Hallett Sanctuary) in Central Park (x); it’s tucked away and you can sit on a bench and watch all of the birds. 

FIRST THING I MISS WHEN I’M AWAY: The manic energy and feeling like I am missing out on something!

REGULAR AT: I always go back to The Strand (MAP IT, x)— it’s the best bookstore. They have lots of treasures and at great prices. I go all the time (especially to the rare book room).

DATE NIGHT STANDBY: Morandi (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x). The food is always great; it’s a classic. Then walking home with ice cream through Washington Square Park— the arch [in the park] looks so beautiful at night.

DELIVERY GO-TO: Veselka (MAP IT, ORDER ITx).

TO SEE AND BE SEEN: Indochine (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x).

TO ESCAPE AND UNWIND: You can lose yourself in The Met (MAP IT, x)— you’ll find yourself in rooms you never knew existed.

CLOSET CHECK: My style is simple, classic and casual; it’s more of a uniform. I like to shop at R by 45rpm (MAP IT, x), A.P.C. (MAP IT, x) and Bergdorf Goodman Men’s (MAP IT, x) is really well edited.

BEST HOME DÉCOR: My interior style is modern eclectic. I have tons of art books, strange vintage finds and framed vintage posters and art. Chisholm Larsson (MAP IT, x) has great vintage posters in all periods. I collect objects that tell a story from all over— mostly from my travels; a mix of new and old. The End of History (MAP IT, x) has nice glass and ceramic objects. If I had all the money in the world, de Vera (MAP IT, x) would be the place.

BEST HOST/HOSTESS GIFTS: McNally Jackson (MAP IT, x) for the study– great papers, notebooks and amazing art posters. Aero (MAP IT, x) has a great assortment of small gifts.

GROOMING BLACK BOOK: Great Jones Spa (MAP IT, x).

FIT PICK: Ryan Hopkins (x) at SoHo Strength Lab (MAP IT, x)— he kicks your ass, but it’s always worth it.

ULTIMATE NY MOMENT: I am always amazed at the crossroads of so much here. It really is the center of the universe. You run into everyone from all over the world. CP

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