To celebrate the 2010 fall season, SHOWTIME hosted its third annual SHOhouse, featuring cutting-edge interiors for the public to tour. Held at Midtown’s Cassa Hotel & Residencies, the event provided an opportunity for fourteen top design studios to experiment with innovative design concepts for a cause — all proceeds benefitted the Harlem Children’s Zone. In collaboration with renowned interior designer Keith Baltimore, Mpire accepted the challenge to convert four bare walls into a themed “great room” inspired by the network’s new original series, The Borgias. The drama recounts the fictionalized history of Italy’s most infamous crime family, dubbed the “The Sopranos” of the Renaissance.

Along with a team of artists, Mpire guided the conception and installation of custom art and sculptural elements throughout the space. A structural column located at the entrance was transformed from an eye sore into a floating cocktail bar and graffiti mural — a contemporary spin on Renaissance cathedral paintings. Additional details included a poison den in the bedroom obscured by a two-way mirror, complete with deadly potions and objects of desire. Each element was designed to visually summarize the theme and draw viewers into the room.

By weaving architectural details, art installations, sumptuous fabrics, and rich texture throughout the space, the team communicated an elaborate story of hedonism, power, and corruption that provoked a strong emotional response. “It was a collaborative effort,” says Mpire Principal Moon Mehta. “We worked with Keith Baltimore to create a meaningful showpiece that introduced the new series in a profoundly interesting way. My team came to the project with a fervor — we brought the DJ equipment and started spinning, grooving, and working. The energy created a fun atmosphere and inspired everyone to bring their creative A-game.” After the final reveal, visitors were transported from a Manhattan high-rise to a luxe, modern-day basilica worthy of any scheming politico.