Judging from the super-cool, ultra-designed space by designers Neiman Wood, their client could well be a sophisticated secret agent like James Bond. “Our client has residences all over the world,” says designer Jim Wood, who, with his partner Tim Neiman, recently completed the 5,300-square-foot loft renovation in New York’s Greenwich Village. Though 007 he’s not, his background is virtually as impressive. “He’s a doctor and a lawyer, interested in photography, art, and jazz music. I think he’s moving in the direction of doing something different again and this apartment is the beginning of that.”
The fact that this high-tech palace has all the elements that would appeal to an epicurian smoothy like Bond is no accident. “The intention really was James Bondian,” says Wood with a grin. “Our client has a great sense of humor.” Located in a former glass factory, the space houses a number of luxuries: a professional kitchen, billiards area, dressing room, sauna, exercise and laundry rooms, three bathrooms, office, two mezzanine guest rooms, a library, and state-of-the-art audio, visual and security systems.
Neiman Wood’s client originally wanted a simple design utilizing industrial materials, but his laundry list of amenities was in conflict with a spare aesthetic. “He wanted loft-living,” says Wood. “He’s already tried every other lifestyle.” To accommodate him, the designers created three simple but grand areas: a sleeping/billiards area at the southernmost part of the loft, which enjoys the only direct light; the kitchen/living space, which dominates the northeastern section of the loft; and a freestanding, lozenge-shaped construction, which contains the office, masterbath and dressing room. Though most of the space remains open to view from end to end, each of the three primary areas have elements that set them apart.
The kitchen, for instance, complete with pizza oven, wine coolers, and double refrigerators, is separated from the dining/living area by a 22-foot-long stainless-steel island. Both the kitchen and dining/living spaces are set on a raised poured concrete floor, which allows access to a central stack of plumbing and distinguishes these areas from the rest of the loft. The living area is further defined by brushed steel panels on the floor and a flexible system of light bays. The 2 foot step down to a white Thasos marble floor beneath the billiards area visually separates it from the vast living/dining area (which is the size of a standard 3-bedroom house), while the sleeping area is set apart on a slightly raised platform of poured concrete and the bed itself is defined by curtained metal truss system. All of these areas are connected and unified by a 75-foot-long hallway (which is a space in itself terminating in a cracked glass, backlit wall) from the passenger elevator, stair, guest bath, gym, and mezzanine bedrooms.
And industrial materials did find their way into the plan though they are utilized with a sophistication that disguises the materials’ humble origins. The stainless-steel floor, for instance, refracts the light of the MR-16s and creates the effect of a sparkling rug. And copper-clad sliding doors and perforated stainless steel make distinctive enclosures for rooms.
Stocking the apartment are gleaming collections and up-to-the-minute appliances. Everything was bought new for this residence: from the pots and pans to the art collection (which reflects a wide spectrum of interests, from 16th century armor to Helmut Newton photos to Kenny Scharf paintings). All the furniture was purchased from Knoll in a two-day spending spree. The space is, in fact, a magnificently propped stage set.
With this backdrop, the owner, chameleonlike, will try on a new lifestyle. Neiman Wood, like a real-life Q, have created an environment for just such a connoisseur.