I met PieterJan (PJ) Mattan on Instagram. I’m not usually in the habit of meeting strange men from the internet in unfamiliar cities… but somehow I knew I had to meet this guy! I wasn’t wrong. PJ is creative director and co-founder of Bezar, an online marketplace for contemporary design and homewares. He is a super clever, with a hyperactively creative mind, and one finger always firmly on the pulse. He’s also only 26, which is really quite depressing, but New York is full of overachievers.
PJ is originally from Belgium. He has been living in this spectacular TriBeCa loft for 2.5 years. He lives here with his boyfriend, Jett House, a UX designer (Jett actually does have a tenuous link to Australia, having lived for his childhood years in Sydney).
The apartment is a proper old school New York loft in a 200 year old building which was originally an umbrella factory. It’s on Broadway, in TriBeCa, which used to be New York’s wholesale district for dry goods until 100 years ago. ‘This area was pretty rough for a while in the ’50s and ’60s’ says PJ. ‘Next door was the famous Mudd club frequented by Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Basquiat and his girlfriend Madonna, Lou Reed, etc!’. Whilst some of that unique NYC mid century magic may have faded, there’s no doubt this is still a very special spot to live.
‘I rented a place on the 52nd floor of a brand new skyscraper a couple of years ago, and the views were sick, but the building and neighbourhood lacked soul’ says PJ. With its soaring ceilings, floor to ceiling windows and slightly rough edges, this apartment offered a far more appropriate backdrop for all PJ’s buzzing creative ideas!
‘This place needs constant care and attention, something breaks every month, and it gets cold in the winter with our giant single glass windows… but they say that’s old New York charm!’ says PJ. ‘The area is amazing, we are in historical east TriBeCa, 3 blocks from SoHo and 3 blocks from Chinatown. TriBeCa has gotten really preppy but this part is still a bit rough around the edges, which I like. Our back alley is being transformed into a movie set every couple of weeks, this is where Batman’s parent’s were murdered, and where the Ninja Turtles live!’
Aside from being a seriously stunning light-filled space in one of New York’s coolest neighbourhoods, the awesomeness of this apartment can also be largely attributed to PJ’s incredible eye for design. He has an outstanding collection of amazing STUFF, and always seems to know what is cool and new in the world (for this reason he’s also well worth following on Instagram!).
‘My personal taste/aesthetic spectrum is very wide’ PJ explains. ‘I would like to create and live in a couple of very different kind of spaces. I have lots of new space ideas! This one I like to call an eclectic creative playground. Only in certain spaces can you pull off a high end design piece next to a trampoline (yes I have an indoor trampoline now!) or 12 foot teepee!’
What’s distinctive about this home is its sense of joy. There is something ‘Peter Pan’-like about this creative and colourful pad, filled with grown-up toys, like a fully functional drone, and all kinds of aeronautical models (PJ is obsessed with air plane travel, amongst other things!). ‘It’s certainly playful’ PJ concludes.. ‘and a constant reminder to keep an open mind in life, and have fun.’