One57 was the project that created Billionaire's Row. Over several years, Gary Barnett assembled key properties that spanned between 57th and 58th Streets near 7th Avenue. The project team began planning this project before the financial crisis of 2008, and it kept us busy for several years. The chosen architect was Christian de Portzamparc, and the exterior was going to be all glass and quite modern. I wanted the interiors to respect the modernity of the facades, yet infuse the project with warmth and luxury. My reference for the interiors was the work of Jean Michel Franck, who used fine materials in large proportions. I thought this approach to the interiors would knit the inside well with the outside, which was going to be fairly monolithic and massed in only 3 setbacks, creating an overall large form, with a subtle, sculptural form.
My search for the ideal designer terminated in the discovery of Thomas Juul-Hansen's work. I liked his straightforward approach to design and his ability to create a 'quiet' luxury.
The massing of the building went hand in hand with the creation of the floor plans. We determined the ideal unit mix (in this case, creating more full floor residences than usual, because in a trophy building, people want trophy apartments). We spent months on the floor plans, including a special full floor layout where I created a spa-like Master Bathroom.
In my experience in dealing with UHNWI's, I often found that it was difficult to predict whether a couple would want 2 separate bathrooms or one large one. So, I decided to create a bathroom where the purchaser wouldn't have to choose. The final layout was approximately 32' x 12'. Each end had a personal shower, toilet/bidet room and vanity (facing South to a glorious city view). In the middle was a shared 'spa' zone, with a tub carved from a single block of marble, a large rain shower with body sprays, and a steam shower. If the couple preferred privacy, they could frost the glass of the spa 'room'. I also had a 'aha' moment where I chose the ribbed glass for the shower and water closet rooms. We were struggling with clear glass doors, which were originally proposed. I realized that if we used ribbed glass, it would allow the light to pass through, yet provide privacy through refracted light.
The building is equipped with a beautiful gym that overlooks a marble clad lap pool with lantern-like lighting. There is a gracious function room and a library with a 14' long fresh water aquarium. But my favorite 'amenity' is the Atelier. We had a small pocket of space behind the central elevator core, that we initially labeled 'storage'. The lightbulb went off for me when I thought about what the apartments were missing. Since they were mostly large and would be filled with fine art and furniture, I realized there was no space for residents to be messy. So the Atelier was created as a space where residents could cut, spray paint (or glue) or construct things. It's intended for both adults and children, where the latter could, for example, do finger painting for a birthday party (the catering kitchen is immediately adjacent).