Peek Inside the Art-Filled Penthouse of the Tallest Residential Building on New York’s Billionaire’s Row

Few skylines are more storied than New York City’s, with its spiky, sloping curvature renowned the world over. 

So it was no small thing last year when a new addition shot up just north of the Empire State Building on West 57th Street. Overlooking a scenic stretch of Central Park, the building was the latest to assume its place on what’s become known in real estate-circles as Billionaire’s Row. 

At 91 stories high, the luxury residential property is said to be the thinnest building in the world. With a mirrored façade and feathered silhouette, the structure makes a straight shot for the sky, its uppermost floors eventually disappearing into the clouds. 

The building was conceived by SHoP Architects—known for their designs of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the Google headquarters in Silicon Valley, the American Copper Buildings, and the Museum of Sex—with interiors handled by Studio Sofield, a New York-based design firm. To the delight of New York purists who grumble about the city’s rapid transformation in recent years, the tower isn’t just another run-of-the-mill high rise taking up space—rather, it flanks the landmarked, low-rise Steinway building designed in 1925 by Warren & Wetmore, the same architects who masterminded Grand Central Station. 

Naturally, the crown jewel of the property is the penthouse, a 5,270-square-foot duplex apartment that’s home to expansive terraces, sprawling views, three bedrooms, four-and-a-half bathrooms, and a bevy of luxe finishes including white macauba stone floors, a copper soaking tub, and an jeweled onyx powder room.

To enliven the space even more, developers JDS and Property Markets Group joined forces with Gabriel & Guillaume, an art and design gallery based between Paris and Beirut. (The gallery showed in New York for the first time at last year’s Salon Art+Design show.)

For the penthouse project, they decided to outfit the apartment with bold artworks and vintage design pieces, envisioning a “livable gallery” that would make the vast space come alive and feel more lived-in. Presented in conjunction with design agency frenchCALIFORNIA, the works are rare pieces from 1900 to 2019.

Among them are a sofa by Zaha Hadid from the late 1980s, a Gio Ponti 1930s bookcase, a rare collection of furniture pieces from Brazilian designer José Zanine Caldas, and works by Gino Sarfatti, Ico Parisi, and Ettore Sottsass. Chelsea’s Valérie Cueto Art Advisory also curated a collection of paintings, photographs, and sculptures from major artists such as Diane Arbus, Robert Mapplethorpe, Hans Hartung, Jean-Michel Othoniel, Rudolf Stingel, Max Ernst, and Henri Laurens.

The landmark penthouse is a one-of-a-kind residence that perfectly highlights the thoughtful restoration of the pre-war Steinway Hall at 111 West 57th Street. Every aspect of the home has been meticulously composed to showcase the luxurious finishes, gracious layouts, and extraordinary history and provenance of this cherished New York City landmark.

Amy Williamson, Sales Director at 111 West 57th Street

“The reality is that no one wants to live in a cold, stark building—so we designed a space where people could hang art, play, and really live,” added Sofield Studio’s vice president, Emma O’Neil, in an interview with ADPro last fall.

While in-person visits are on hold for the time being, visitors can view the space virtually via a tour that illustrates how art can help to inspire a feeling of home. “We wanted to give viewers the experience of visiting the home of a sophisticated and international art collector,” Gabriel & Guillhaume said in a statement. “Seeing collectible design pieces mixed in unexpected ways enables our clients to envision better how they can live with such daring pieces.”

By Noor Brara
May 28, 2020
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