March 4, 2015

MR Architecture + Decor Redefines Luxury in a Sky-High Glass House

For a new Midtown superscraper with the city's hottest address, David Mann of MR Architecture + Decor creates a glamorous model apartment grounded in artful detail

by Judith Nasatir interior designer MR Architecture + Decor photographer Mark Roskams


When it comes to redefining luxury, the sky-high glass houses of One57 West 57th, Extell Development Company's 1,000-foot-plus-high tower by Atelier Christian de Portzamparc, shatter the ceiling. The most in-your-face extravagance of the building's bivouacs for billionaires, now selling faster than FIOS at rocket-fueled prices? Gobsmacking vistas of Manhattan and beyond. Commissioned to design a three-bedroom model apartment on the 43rd floor, David Mann of New York-based MR Architecture + Decor made the most of the nose-to-the-glass-curtain-wall appeal.

From the living area's upholstery dressed in shades as light as eiderdown to the contiguous dining area's custom Lucite bar and custom dining table with a central reflecting pool-inspired by a visit to Eliel Saarinen's Miller House in Columbus, Indiana, surrounded by an 8-piece suite of 18th-century French lyre-back chairs, and lit by Fragile Future, an ethereal confection of a fixture by the Dutch firm Studio Drift—to the bedroom's handkerchief-shaped glass vanity table, "everything," admitted Mann, "is subordinate to the view." To soften the impact of the hard surfaces, he swathed key walls in fabric. To ground rooms that could easily feel lost in space, he worked the gravitational pull of super-plush comfort for seating groups and sleeping areas. Throughout, he celebrated contemporary artists and designers, a natural choice for his two types of imagined client: the international mogul and the garment industry empty nester.

To heighten the thrill of "the reveal"-that first, stop-you-in-your-tracks glimpse of the great room, a 38-foot-plus-by-20-foot expanse that divided easily into living and dining areas—Mann created a dark, leather-clad cocoon of a foyer bejeweled with Carol Egan's walnut console and watch-fob-like walnut mirror. In the library/third bedroom, he used acid green lacquer walls to provide "an element of surprise in the apartment's black and white world." The master suite surely qualified as a bit of heaven above earth: wrapped in a raw-silk wallcovering, fitted with a king-size bed draped in bleached fox, surmounted by Matthew Solomon's Constellation, an installation of porcelain branches glazed to look like twigs. The crowning glory? Christopher Boots' chandelier, a crystal halo if ever there was one.