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Manhattan gets its first gold-brick building

The Property Addict / Architecture & Design

Jan 31 2018

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This spring, Manhattan will get the first hand-laid gilded bronze brick building at 196 Orchard Street on the Lower East Side. The 94-room residential unit is the result of a collaboration between Adam Rolston at INC (who developed the interior design and faà§ade) and Ben Shaoul, founder of Magnum Real Estate Group. Both saw the potential for a more textured building in an area known for its edgier, artsier vibe.


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"We felt that a traditional glass structure didn't mesh with the surroundings," says Rolston, who looked for a material humble enough to belong in the neighborhood that had been home to waves of immigrants over decades, but luxurious enough to attract a contemporary resident. He found such a candidate in artisanal Spanish bricks infused with gold dust that will gradually oxidize and become darker over time. Produced by the 130-year-old manufacturer Cerà¡mica La Covadonga, the bricks form the instantly recognizable lower exterior building faà§ade and were flown in from the Spanish village of Cadaquà©s (also known for its anchovies, and a source of inspiration to the painter Salvador Dalà­). They symbolize the eclectic and transformational nature of the neighborhood.

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The building shares a city block with the ever-popular Katz's Deli, referenced in Seinfeld and The Jim Gaffigan Show episodes. "Katz's was the birthplace of the classic corned beef sandwich, knishes, smoked fish, and Manischewitz matzos," says Rolston, reflecting on the distinctly old-school New York nature of the block and surroundings. Over the years, the neighborhood became a mecca for alternative art dealers, indie fashion retailers, and renowned smaller restaurants. The interiors of the apartments, which range from studios ($965,000) to four-bedrooms ($6,500,000), use warm materials with a rich, natural, refined, and rough look all at once, using concrete, bleached walnut, acid-etched Eramosa limestone, and Nero Marquina black marble with its classic white veining. Residents also can enjoy a two-story, 30,000 square-foot flagship Equinox Fitness Club & Spa and a furnished rooftop terrace with sundeck and outdoor kitchen. "We wanted the rooftop to have a community type of feeling that brings the entire residency together," says Shaoul. The glowing exterior of the building, designed by Ismael Leyva Architects, has a rather "muscular character, reminiscent of the workshops and manufacturing structures that once dominated the area," says Rolston. Sixty-thousand bricks were used for the building, each infused with 24K-gold dust. A Midas touch if there ever was one.

By Charu Suri. Originally published in Architectural Digest.

SOURCE: Architectural Digest

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