By Tina Cassidy, Boston Globe
Panos Demeter is sitting on a white, molded-plastic chair near a fluffy fur ottoman and a rococo mirror that keeps flashing the word ”sexy" in pink neon. So when he talks about being part of the development team that is turning the South End’s former Area D-4 police station on Berkeley Street into 26 condos, it’s easy to be distracted by all of the decorating surrounding him in the project’s nearby model unit.
In fact, even Demeter seems a bit taken by the freshly done mock space at 544 Tremont St., pausing to choose whether to plunk down on the white low-slung couch, a purple Italianate settee with silver trim, or a wooden African stool, all specially chosen and meticulously arranged by design impresario Philippe Starck.
The question is: Will the eye-popping, brand-name design validate the eye-popping prices, ranging from $700,000 to more than $2 million with square footage of 750 to 2,000? Will the Starck imprimatur attract paying customers the same way the building’s seedy history — and its new mission to provide quiet, stylish housing — appealed to Starck’s own unusual sense of humor?