BONDFORGLORYBy Sharon Edelson
Ian Schrager's latest project is at the nexus of high design and high living.
Ian Schrager follows the Field of Dreams philosophy: If he builds it, they will come. "When I first opened the Sanderson north of Oxford Street in London, no one really went to that neighborhood," the hotel and property magnate recalls. "The same with Sunset Boulevard when I first opened the Mondrian." Now he's out to propel New York's NoHo neighborhood to another level by constructing an 11-story, Herzog & de Meuron-designed building at 40 Bond Street that will contain five town houses, 23 apartments and a triplex penthouse of almost 8,000 square feet that Schrager is taking for himself and his two daughters. "It shows how excited I am about this," he says, beaming. Others clearly agree--three of the town houses already have been sold, even though construction won't be completed until spring 2007. And the Swiss architects have gone all out in their first residential project in the U.S., contributing the exterior design as well as interior features. Other touches have been added by designers Jasper Morrison and Konstantin Grcic. The poured-concrete building mirrors the cast-iron structures for which the neighborhood is renowned, but the architects wrapped it in blackened copper and luminescent curved glass from Barcelona that will change mood as the light changes. "It's like a Louis Sullivan building," Schrager says, adding, "He's my favorite architect."
But Schrager is quick to insist this is no homage to the past. The building faces the street with a 140-foot long brushed aluminum gate rising 22 feet, inspired by New York graffiti. The residences offer Herzog & de Meuron-designed fireplaces with cast-iron hearths; solid oak doors with Grcic-designed handles; Austrian smoked oak floors throughout, and Herzog & de Meuron-designed Corian counters, oak islands and glass pendant light fixtures in the kitchens. Even the bathrooms have sinks from Vola that have never been seen in the U.S. before. "Nothing in these is standard," Schrager says. The building will emphasize service. There will be a 24-hour concierge, housekeeping and room service, as well as grocery shopping, dry cleaning and even baby-sitting services. "I want to bring five-star service to people's private lives," Schrager says. "This will be like having your own private staff looking after your needs, but without the headaches."