Make yourself at home
Janine Nichols -- Interior Design, 5/1/2003 12:00:00 AM
When Goldman Sachs develops real estate—as the firm's Whitehall Street Real Estate Fund has been doing for more than a decade—you can be sure to find the top of the line. Consider the New York condominium that BKSK Architects just completed, with a landscaped courtyard, 27 loftlike apartments, and a lobby by Alan Tanksley, a designer most noted for sumptuous residences in New York and London.
Because the new building is in TriBeCa, Tanksley borrowed materials and finishes—limestone, bronze, gunmetal, mahogany—from the 19th-century industrial buildings nearby. "It's a transitional space," he says of the soothing 1,000-square-foot lobby. "It steadily diffuses the clamor of the street and feels like home."
Once the building's mahogany-and-glass double doors seal with a hush, residents find themselves in a small vestibule with recessed cocoa matting underfoot. For the floor of the reception area beyond, Tanksley switched to 5/8-inch limestone mosaic tiles. Their subtle color modulations evoke city sidewalks on a rainy day—a puddled appearance that Tanksley calls a "happy accident."
The urban reference is explicit in the blurred city views of Susan Wides's color photographs, hanging opposite the limestone-topped walnut concierge desk. Walnut also appears as wainscoting—topped by pale pebbled Tek-Wall cloth. Above the desk, the designer suspended a quartet of paper-shaded pendants on oil-rubbed bronze chains.
The pendant quartet repeats in the rear sitting room, where the floor changes from limestone to putty-colored carpet and seating is upholstered in earth-toned velvet and textured cotton. Tanksley introduced watery blues in the form of a vaporous oil landscape and ceramic lamps atop vintage glass tables by Florence Knoll. Along the back of the room, three pairs of glass-paneled double doors open onto the courtyard. On a sidewall, satin-chrome panels surround a gas-burning fireplace. Place a cold drink on the rust-finished iron cocktail table, and there's almost no need to go upstairs at all.