This 49th floor apartment occupies a 1,800 square foot corner site overlooking Fifth Avenue at Rockefeller Center. The client, a German professional couple, envisioned a living environment of formal clarity and spatial harmony as an urban sanctuary for their frequent visits to New York City. This interior renovation project illustrates a new level of refinement in minimalist spatial resolution.
The design concept called for creating a crystalline light volume within the black tower monolith for observing the metropolitan landscape. White plaster, honed Yugoslavian Sivec marble, and matte translucent optical glass compose the elemental material palette that frames the space. An open helical plan anchored by the fulcrum of a central tectonic media pier permits the subtle articulation of study, living, dining, and master bedroom areas against panoramic full-height windows. An illuminated glass wall, both sides of which support a white enameled server, separates the kitchen from the dining area.
The seamless integration of intelligent technological systems into the spatial concept produces a highly functional living environment. Audio-visual systems are concentrated within a central pier fitted with a flush-mounted video screen on a revolving panel. Magnetic sensors activated by a simple hand gesture provide access to blind panels and remove the need for traditional hardware. Remotely programmable mechanical, security, lighting, and data systems discretely monitor and maintain the fluctuating interior environment.
The master bathroom inspires a heightened awareness of the pleasures of the bathing experience. Forming an interlocking volume within the master bedroom and raised on a stone platform, it is distinguished by a monolithic carved marble bathtub from which the Empire State Building and downtown Manhattan can be viewed through an optical clear glass panel. Two custom-carved marble sinks—an elliptical sink adjacent to the tub and a cantilevered gravity sink—balance the proportions and geometry of the composition.
Furnishings reinforce the serene horizontal character of the space. The Knoll sofa and custom-designed pieces such as the living room coffee table, desk, and dining table form planar elements that highlight the relationship between the interior and the expansive Manhattan landscape.
The lighting concept takes advantage of abundant natural light to connect the interior environment to the atmosphere beyond the surface of the windows. Sensors gradually adjust interior light levels in response to variations in natural light levels, negotiating transitions between daylight, twilight, and nightlight. Large-dimension, motorized solar shades offer privacy and additional control over sunlight penetration.
A transcendent, elemental purity throughout the apartment shapes the interplay of light, form, and material within a minimal envelope.