Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury
Upon entering One Hudson Yards, a new luxury residential rental building reminds me of how I feel when I’m hearing a piece of music I like for the first time: The space is alluring and the interior is chic, akin to wearing charmeuse and cashmere. Architect Andre Kikoski and his team were responsible for the apartment interiors, model apartments, and twenty-six thousand square feet of amenities space. David Brody Bond was responsible for the architecture. It’s unique for a rental to have so much attention and refinement lavished on this thirty-three story building consisting of 178 units. The developer, Related Rentals, sought Kikoski as it was drawn to his previous work - in particular his restaurant design for The Wright at the Guggenheim Museum.
Kikoski’s design approach is fresh and new, and in this space he has created an oasis in the midst of New York. He has redefined luxury by creating and infusing ultra- modern Art interiors to complement the project’s location bordering the Chelsea art gallery district and the Hudson Yards Project. It will overlook Heatherwick Studio’s Vessel and a multi-arts center, The Shed by Diller Scofidio/Rento in collaboration with Rockwell Group.
Andre Kikoski is an American of Syrian and Polish descent. He has an enviable academic resume: Eagle Brook School in Deerfield, Massachusetts; Philips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire; Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut; and Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts. He got an early start with international travel as family trips took him to the Mideast and Europe in a day and age before Instagram, when one could pay homage to museums and architectural monuments without crowds mindlessly clicking away on their phones. In 1993 while a student at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, Andre was awarded the Aga Khan Foundation for Islamic Architecture Grant. It allowed him to visit Aleppo long before anyone could anticipate the horrible fate of this once-beautiful city. All of these experiences gave Kikoski a global sensibility, and it shows in his work.
In the lobby of One Hudson Yards, Kikoski designed a twenty-five foot long wall consisting of cast bronze panels. The panels were made by pouring molten bronze over linen. In the process, the linen vaporizes, leaving only traces of the linen texture in the bronze, so its surfaces resemble a subtle abstract painting in the range of earth tones - cognac, coffee, port, and chocolate - and glistening gold tones. Kikoski conveyed that he used the same foundry that fabricated sculptures for such renowned artists as Anish Kapoor. The furnishings are subtly opulent: In the seating area, a custom designed sofa is flanked by Karl Springer end tables and an Eileen Grey daybed. The artwork includes two stunning pieces by Michel Francois - Instant Gratification and Scribble, as well as a coffee table filled with three thousand sheets of loose gold leaf by Yves Klein. The room is completed by a spectacular chandelier consisting of four hundred sculptural hand-blown segments of clear and amber glass, embellished with silver and bronze mica-flakes.
In the three-bedroom model apartment, Kikoski envisioned a family transplanted from La Jolla to New York. The space has the benefit of ten-foot high ceilings, wide-plank grey floors, and plenty of natural light pouring in from the large windows. The apartment is furnished with an array of custom-made and vintage furniture, and contemporary art throughout the space adds character. The neutral palette in the living room is enhanced by a pop of energetic chartreuse in a mohair upholstery fabric. The living area features art by Ethan Cooke - that marries a hand-loomed fabric with machine-made canvas, ceramic sculptures by John Mosler, and objet d’art including pieces from Swarovski crystal, Lasvit mouth-blown glass, and enameled Danish bronze vessels. In the den, vibrant walls of warm harvest wheat are complemented by deep blue of velvet upholstery. The den is finished with an artistically-arranged grouping of miniature mirrors that lend the idea of a constellation sweeping across the wall. In the master bedroom, we find a palette of neutrals and soft blues. The theme of blue imbues an abstract seascape, Wave 5, by David Demers gracing the wall above a custom curvilinear natural linen and oak headboard. The bed linens are from Frette. The child’s room is in a joyful palette of coral and tangerine, the custom bed is inspired by the geometry of a hug - a far cry from the expected cliché Louis-style bed.
“The Kikoski” model dreamed up masculine, contemporary, and sophisticated digs for the imagined inhabitant - a debonair bachelor. The one bedroom is ample-sized at 718 square feet. The color palette consists of steel greys and deep ocean blues, accented by colors derived from a mix of different metals that work together and keep the eye moving amidst copper, polished bronze, mirror black chrome, and natural gun metal. The blue barstools resemble oversized crumpled pieces of paper that add a sense humor to the décor. The only known Richard Avedon photograph of Marilyn Monroe dressed as Marlene Dietrich is the shining star of this elegant bachelor’s apartment.
All the apartments feature Kikoski-designed kitchens with built-in Miele appliances, wine coolers, marble counters and back splashes, and some come with built-in coffee makers and steam ovens. The amenity space is vast and worthy of its own article, and I’ll just mention: the bowling alley is quite possibly the most attractive one I have ever seen, and the interior design of this space literally upgrades this pastime activity.
Just when many of us present or former residents of Manhattan are dismayed to see much of old New York disappear, it’s reassuring that there are those who are dreaming up a beautiful optimistic art-filled tomorrow. I look forward to see what Andre Kikoski is dreaming up next.