Increasingly the value of apartments in New York is determined in part by what is known as “curb appeal” or the design and maintenance of the exterior of the building and the lobby. Developers are spending more effort and money today to make the entrances as modern and edgy as possible to attract high-end buyers.
One of the luxury buildings Matthew Adam Properties manages was a forerunner of this type of thinking back in the 1960s, says Ira Meister, president and CEO of Matthew Adam Properties.
Raymond Loewy the Father of Industrial Design
“Plaza Tower, the luxury apartment building at 118 East 60th Street is noteworthy for several factors,” Meister says. “The 232-unit, 34-story building is a midblock high-rise, just down the block from Bloomingdale’s with an attractive circular driveway and a fountain. But, most noteworthy and unknown to many is designer of the lobby. It was Raymond Loewy, who is known as the ‘father of industrial design.’ In fact, this is the only residential lobby that Loewy designed.”
While Loewy may not be known to many, the average American comes across his designs almost daily. Included are the slenderized Coca-Cola bottle, the logos for Shell Oil and Exxon, the interiors of Saturn I and V space capsules as well as Skylab. He designed packages, cars, appliances, and numerous logos.
Modernize and Keep the Integrity of the Design
“Loewy called his design concept ‘beauty through function and simplification,’” Meister says, “and it is evident in the lobby of Plaza Tower. When it was time to upgrade the lobby our challenge was to modernize it while respecting the integrity of Loewy’s design.”
Loewy’s open-air design included marble and terrazzo floors, a gold-leaf dome, and an ancient Buddha in a niche.
“We replaced the furnishings without taking away from the design element,” Meister said.
One notable change was in the lighting. Consistent with the “Green” initiatives in Matthew Adam properties, energy efficient lighting was added that both improved the look of the space, made the lighting more dramatic and reduced energy costs.
“We are proud to have worked with the designer and contractor on this project and were able to respect the integrity of the design done by a pioneer in industrial and consumer design,” Meister said.