by Bettina M. Gordon for bettinagordon.com
The original prewar elevator rides leisurely up to the top floor. The renovation of the penthouse took nearly two years, after Horst also bought the neighboring apartment, snatching it away from Oscar winning actor Denzel Washington. Today it offers a fabulous 360 degree panoramic view of New York and enough space for my host’s passion for collections. As I arrive, he enthusiastically sprays Orange Superselect, his self-created organic room spray, on the countless angel statues and figures of the Hindu god Ganesha. For a moment I expect him to spray me as well, but he smiles and gives me a hug embracing both of us in orange mist.
Horst is the founder of the world famous cosmetic line AVEDA, which calls for all-natural beauty products and has attained cult status among its customers. AVEDA was inspired by Horst’s study of ayurvedic medicine, his passion for botany, and his travels to India and Tibet. The “Ecopreneur”, as Vanity Fair called him, dedicated himself decades ago to conserve the world’s resources and to combine the principles of business with social responsibility, and sustainability. When Horst and I settled in the living room I asked him how he became the man he is today.
“I came into the world in November 1941 in Klagenfurt, a small city in Austria, and was the youngest of three boys,” recounts Horst in his unmistakable Austrian accent. “My father was a shoemaker and my mother was a true herbs woman. She worked in a pharmacy, and on the weekends mixed herbs in the kitchen for her private customers.” …
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