Now that the necessary period of intrigue and speculation has past, it's time to take a closer look at Ian Schrager's 40 Bond Street condominium designed by the Pritzker Prize-winning Swiss duo of Herzog & de Meuron. What they have essentially done here is reinterpret New York's downtown loft vernacular through their own avant-guard prism. And to that Ian Schrager has added an expensive sheen of luxury to make this one of the most ambitious projects we've yet seen. After the jump we take a little tour.
With glass curtain walls now everywhere, Herzog and de Meuron have smartly avoided giving us another office-park-like matrix of hard-edged panels. Instead they have looked to the cast iron facade for inspiration and come up with a form that wraps the structure almost like protective cladding. These curved glass pieces (manufactured in Barcelona) not only pay a sly homage to downtown loft buildings, but they soften the overall effect of the modern geometry. It will be interesting to see how light plays off these glass spandrels. The facade of 40 Bond might just sparkle at noon and glow at dusk. The greenish Coke-bottle effect, which has been noted elsewhere, could make this a showstopper at night.
The other notable design element here is the cast aluminum gate at street level with its graffiti-inspired form. The gate, measuring 22 feet high by 140 feet long, twists and turns like the line drawn by a thick magic-marker tagging a subway door circa 1978. The overall effect also instantly brings to mind Antoni Gaudi, and the motif is repeated throughout the building, including etched into large Corian panels that line the lobby walls. This is a bit of inspiration that suggests the random, haphazard, and variegated vernacular of the downtown New York streetscape. We would love to see some of Herzog and de Meuron's early sketches and workups of this concept. We'll leave that to the curators at MoMA.
40 Bond will have 27 loft style apartments. Five townhouses will have their own separate entrances and private rear gardens. A triplex penthouse will top the 11-story condo. Units will have dual gas and wood-burning fireplaces custom designed by Herzog & de Meuron. Floors will be wide-plank oak, and ceiling heights will be over 11 feet. Floor to ceiling windows will be fully-operable. Fixtures will include lighting by Jasper Morrison and kitchen appliances from Miele. A long list of amenities includes concierge services provided by the staff at the Gramercy Park Hotel on 24-hour call.
Obviously, from a real esate point of view, this is unique product for a small group of buyers who seek out this kind of thing. It's the Art Basel set who need wall space for their Damien Hirst medicine cabinets. One day they are bidding on a Twombly canvas, the next day they decide to look at an apartment. This level of concept and cost wouldn't work over 200 units pitched 30 stories. But that's not the point.
Below is an image of the private garden to one of the townhouse units.