Saturday, December 28, 2013

56 Leonard Street by Herzog & De Meuron

In today's fusion of high style, high technology, and big money, I give you 56 Leonard Street, New York, a condominium tower designed by Herzog & De Meuron.

This is one of those buildings that I have to admit is clever and striking even though I despise it.

The entrance is supposed to be enlivened by that steel blob, a "sculpture" by Anish Kapoor. Spare me.

At the top, high above the realm of the mere mortals paying $2 to $6 million for condos, are ten Unique Sky Villas, going for around $30 million each, the most expensive for $47 million.

And they do mean villas. This is the Great Room of one, with 200 feet (60m) of continuous window walls. Click on this picture to see it larger and you will notice that the Greet Room is populated by Stuffed Sheep. I am puzzled. Do billionaires have a thing for sheep? Are stuffed farm animals in vogue this year? I feel so cut off from the culture of the rich and famous.

Behold the kitchen, with its "Herzog & de Meuron custom-designed grand piano-shaped island and a custom-sculpted range hood." Sure. Great. I am going to betray my petit bourgeois roots here, but shouldn't a kitchen feel at least a little bit cozy and comfortable? Is this space age monstrosity with its painful-looking stools anybody's idea of the ideal kitchen? Oh, wait -- if the owner of this place wants cozy, he simply calls for the helicopter and dashes out to the 18th-century farmhouse in Connecticut. How silly of me.

Recently an owner of one of these paid $300,000 for a 200-square foot storage unit in the basement. And after that, what else is there to say?

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