One of A Kind Mega-Mansion | 1 Bel Air

Currently, the most expensive home for sale in the U.S. is a 38,000-square-foot Bel Air spec spread developed by QVC handbag tycoon Bruce Makowsky. The $250 million, 21-bath, three-kitchen compound comes loaded with a helipad, $30 million worth of cars, and a seven-person staff for two years.



Photo: Jim Bartsch

Far from an overpriced developer’s pipe dream, however, these types of over-the-top mega-estates typically sell for asking price, says real-estate agent David Parnes. “There is unprecedented action in this market. There’s a lot of money chasing very few products, and the special properties command these premium prices. They sell quickly,” says the Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles star, whose current projects include a 14,000-square-foot Bel Air spec estate poised to hit the market this summer. Designed by South Africa–based SAOTA Architecture, the home will include multiple master suites, a solarium, a cigar bar, a full spa, and a screening room. It will be listed at nearly $50 million.

924 Bel Air Road.

924 Bel Air Road.

Photo: Courtesy of Berlyn Photography

Few developers have ridden the spec-home wave with more success than Nile Niami. A former movie producer, Niami started developing hyper-contemporary, high-gloss homes 16 years ago and has completed 23 homes since. Buyers have included everyone from Sean Combs to the Winklevoss twins. His latest creation is a 20,000-square-foot compound currently on the market for $100 million. Called Opus, it includes a gold Lamborghini Roadster, a gold Rolls-Royce Dawn, three original Damien Hirst artworks, Roberto Cavalli floors, and a Cristal Champagne room worth $250,000.



Photo: Jim Bartsch

If that sounds extravagant, it turns out it may pale in comparison with Niami’s next project, which is currently under construction. Called the One, the Bel Air home has earned the moniker of “giga-mansion” for its mind-boggling 100,000-square-foot size and features that will include a 5,000-square-foot master suite, a 30-car gallery, a four-lane bowling alley, and a 45-seat IMAX theater that “rivals any commercial theater,” says Niami. And then there’s the jellyfish room. Niami is creating a lounge area where “jellyfish swim around you and surround you.” The home will also feature a moat that “surrounds the entire property so it feels like the mansion is floating on water,” he says.

924 Bel Air Road.

924 Bel Air Road.

Photo: Courtesy of Berlyn Photography

To realize the mega-dream, Niami conscripted architect Paul McClean, with whom he’s worked on almost all of his latest homes. “These projects are designed to bring everything you’d find in a city to the home—restaurant-grade kitchens, salons, theaters. Wellness spas are really big right now—steam rooms, saunas, hammams, salt rooms, which are entire rooms made out of salt—it’s supposed to be beneficial.”



Photo: Jim Bartsch

The One’s most jaw-dropping feature, however, may be its proposed price tag of $500 million. But will anyone actually pay that much for a home, even if it is located down the street from Jennifer Aniston? “The market size requirement is one buyer,” says Paul Habibi, professor of real estate at UCLA. “This is not a logical thing. There’s a lot of offshore money looking for a safe haven. Putting it in U.S. real estate is a way to park those extra funds.”

924 Bel Air Road.

924 Bel Air Road.

Photo: Courtesy of Berlyn Photography

As for the future of the L.A. spec-home market, many wonder if it’s reaching critical mass. “I don’t know if this is going to go on forever,” says McClean. “There is pushback on these large homes in both neighborhoods and cities,” referring to recently passed building ordinances aimed to limit square footage in places like West Hollywood and Beverly Hills.


Ironically, that may end up being one of the One’s biggest selling points, according to Niami. “I’ve set a new bar, and this is the only bar that will ever be set because they will never allow a home of this size to be built. They changed the hillside ordinance rules so a home of this size on this much land will not be allowed to be built in L.A. again.”

Source : Architectural Digest

Iconic Homes in Los Angeles : Hugh Hefners Playboy Mansion.

Playboy Mansion. Photo Courtesy: Michael Tran/FilmMagic
Playboy Mansion. Photo Courtesy: Michael Tran/FilmMagic

Hugh Hefner’s Playboy mansion, like most iconic houses in the world—think Elvis Presley’s Graceland or Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch, comes with its own set of certifiable facts and urban legends.

In what was touted to be the biggest real estate deal in LA at the time, the Playboy mansion, located on the super posh Holmby Hills in Los Angeles, was sold for a whopping $100 million to Hefner’s neighbour, Daren Metropoulos, who described the house as a “masterpiece in design”.

Hugh Hefner poses for photographs at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles, February 26, 2009. Photo by Ann Johansson/Corbis via Getty Images
Hugh Hefner poses for photographs at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles, February 26, 2009. Photo by Ann Johansson/Corbis via Getty Images

The Architect Behind the Playboy Mansion

The Gothic Tudor mansion was built in 1927 for department store magnate/real estate mogul Arthur Letts Jr. It was designed by Arthur R. Kelly, an American architect who specialized in designing residences in the Spanish Colonial Revival style and Tudor Revival style. You could say this home is rather eclectic. Ultimately, aren’t we all quite eclectic in our own right, which makes it only right that we endeavour to find a home that reflects this. Thankfully, this is what William Pitt realty have been trying to do for people for a long time.

Playboy Enterprises bought the mansion in 1971 for $1.05 million—which makes it sale in 2016 an almost 100 fold increase—from renowned chess player and space engineer Louis D. Statham.

Architect Ron Dirsmith, a fellow in architecture at the American Academy in Rome and New York’s National Academy of Design, is credited with the redesign of the mansion, including the famous grotto, a witness to some of the most “colourful” poolside parties thrown by Playboy.

A lawn at the Playboy Mansion in Holmby Hills, Los Angeles, California. Photo Courtesy: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images
A lawn at the Playboy Mansion in Holmby Hills, Los Angeles, California. Photo Courtesy: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

Size Does Matter

The 21,987-sqaure-foot mansion sits on 5.3 acres and comprises 29 rooms! A house this big sports all the exclusive, customized rooms that only a millionaire playboy businessman like Hugh could appreciate: catering kitchen with walk-in fridge and freezer, a wine cellar that can be accessed through a secret Prohibition Era door, theater with built-in pipe organ, gym, tennis court, six bedrooms (including a two-level master bedroom), six full bathrooms, two half-bathrooms, a great hall with 22-foot ceilings, and four offices.

Hugh Hefner Mixed Business with Play

The game house is toward the right of the main entrance and features a pool table in the centre. This room has vintage and modern arcade games, pinball machines, player piano, Wurlitzer jukebox with jazz recordings, television, stereo, and couch.

The game house has two wings. Left is a room with a soft cushioned floor, mirrors all around, television. There is a restroom with a shower. The right wing of the game house has a smaller restroom, and entrance to a bedroom. This bedroom is connected to another, which has an exit to the rear backyard of the game house. The game house has a backyard with lounge chairs, and gates on either side.

The swimming pool at the Playboy Mansion on in Holmby Hills, Los Angeles, California. Photo Courtesy: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images
The swimming pool at the Playboy Mansion on in Holmby Hills, Los Angeles, California. Photo Courtesy: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

A Fantasy Outdoors

Imagine having a wishing well on the external courtyard of your house! The Playboy mansion has a beautiful fountain placed right outside the main entrance as well as a wishing well. Landscaping includes a large koi pond with artificial stream that requires its own pond maintenance service, a small citrus orchard and two lush forests for tree ferns and redwoods. There’s an outdoor kitchen and bar, and a bathhouse with changing rooms, sauna, gym, and tanning area.

Playboy Mansion with a Private Zoo

What’s missing in a mansion this lavish and colourful? Nothing, not even a licensed zoo! The Playboy mansion is one of a select few private residences in Los Angeles with a zoo license. Birds such as peacocks, macaws, flamingos, toucans, and ducks roam the grounds and we hear the squirrel monkeys complete the ensemble cast.

In the book “The Bungalow: America’s Arts & Crafts Home” (New York, Penguin Studio, 1995), actor Peter O’Toole, in response to being asked about the Playboy mansion, said: “What God would have done if He’d had the money”. Do we see you nodding your head in agreement?

Take a virtual tour of the Playboy Mansion, courtesy Hugh Hefner’s son Cooper Heffner

These 10 Rooftop Decks Are A Good Time Waiting To Happen.

Getting someone like this deck builder sunshine coast to turn the rooftop of your home or apartment into an outdoor sanctuary is a great way to make use of space that would otherwise be wasted and create a special place that takes advantage of the views or weather in the area in which you live. You may want to hire a garden care specialist to maintain your outdoor area, you might want to look into North Carolina Trugreen locations and see their other service areas.

Whether you’re looking for a new roof for your home or you’re more interested in commercial roofing, to inspire your own rooftop transformation, here are 10 examples of rooftop decks that are always ready for outdoor entertaining.

1. The wood rooftop deck located off the master bedroom in this modern house, has a lounge area surrounding a standalone fireplace, while plants that soften the hard edge where the deck meets the wall.

hu mn lab,+inc designed this modern house in Los Angeles, California. Photography by DNA photography.

2. This rooftop deck has has everything for perfecting outdoor entertaining, an outdoor kitchen and dining area, plenty of plants, a lounge area surrounding a fireplace, a built-in hammock, various levels of seating and hidden lighting.

dSPACE designed this rooftop deck for a building in Chicago. Photography by Tony Soluri.

3. The rooftop of this New York warehouse turned residence has a lush garden filled with flowers and a cozy lounge area that provides an escape from the hustle of city living.

Andrew Franz Architect redesigned this New York warehouse into a contemporary home. Photography by Albert Vecerka/Esto.

4. This rooftop entertaining area has all the essentials for hosting a party including ample lounge seating, an outdoor kitchen and dining table located under a pergola, and soft mood lighting.

dSPACE Studio designed this rooftop space. Photography by Evan Thomas.

5. Glass panels surrounding this large rooftop deck filled with daybeds, to ensure that the views are never interrupted and that the sea breeze never gets in the way of rooftop sunbathing.

Studio Metrocubo designed this house in Croatia. Photography by Jan Stojkovic.

6. The sunken lounge space on the roof of this beachside villa has built-in couches that warp around the sides, and a water feature and green roof surround the area.

MIA Design Studio designed the rooftop of this modern villa in Vietnam. Photography by Hiroyuki Oki.

7. This rooftop combines a built-in fireplace, plant-covered walls, wood flooring, and comfortable outdoor furniture, to create a quiet escape from busy London life.

Inspiration from a home that was for sale in London.

8. The roof of this family home has been turned into a rooftop garden with multiple levels to provide ample space to entertain and relax.

Vo Trong Nghia Architects and ICADA designed this modern house in Vietnam. Photography by Hiroyuki Oki.

9. This modern wood rooftop deck features hidden lighting, built-in bench seating, and a spa that’s surrounded by plants to provide some privacy.

ANA arquitectura designed this rooftop oasis in the Dominican Republic. Photography by Jesus Rodriguez.

10. This partially covered rooftop deck takes advantage of the city views and is large enough to entertain a group of friends or family.

Keen Architecture designed this rooftop entertaining area on a home in Perth, Australia. Photography by Dion Robeson.

Get the contemporist daily email newsletter – sign up here

To inspire your own modern rooftop deck transformation, here are 10 examples of rooftop spaces that are always ready for outdoor entertaining.

Social Media – Newsletter

IKEA kitchen made from recycled plastic bottles created by Form Us With Love

Reclaimed wood and plastic bottles never looked so good!

Twenty-five plastic bottles are used in each of these IKEA kitchen units, designed by Swedish studio Form Us With Love to make “sustainability available for everyone”.The Kungsbacka units are IKEA‘s first kitchen cabinets to be made entirely from recycled plastic bottles and reclaimed industrial wood.

“A plastic bottle is not waste; it is a resource,” said Jonas Pettersson, Form Us With Love CEO. “Most importantly, this kitchen proves that these materials can be used for household goods in large-scale production.”

“We have to challenge the excuses for not using waste as a resource by showing how to best put these materials back into production, making affordable democratic products that will last.”

The kitchen’s main structure is formed from reclaimed wood, while the coating is made from plastic bottles. The studio opted for a simple silhouette in a matt grey to create a “timeless” design.

Shiny black Hackås handles contrast with the cupboards’ matt surface, and as with most IKEA kitchens, the cabinets are modular, so they can be arranged to fit any space.

“We wanted it to feel like a black T-shirt, tuned to fit right, practical and still precious,” said John Löfgren, creative director at Form Us With Love.

With sustainable products often expensive to produce because of the extensive research and development required, the two companies had to work together to come up with production methods that would make the kitchen a “viable alternative” to those currently on the market.

The company expects it to last for 25 years.

“Today, applying waste materials in production is unfortunately still costly and the Kungsbacka kitchen fronts could have easily ended up too expensive,” said Anna Granath, product developer at IKEA.

“Overcoming the price was a milestone in the development. Sustainability should be for everyone, not only for those who can afford it,” she continued.

IKEA recently emerged as the most popular design brand on Dezeen Hot List, ahead of both Apple and Nike.

The company is introducing more sustainable furniture into its catalogue, and last year announced that its PS 2017 collection includes “no waste” products made from recycled materials.

Photography is by Jonas Lindström




Form Us With Love creates IKEA kitchen from recycled plastic bottles.

Source: Form Us With Love creates IKEA kitchen from recycled plastic bottles

2016 World Interior of the Year in Marble Powder

 Amazing interior done in marble powder by Weng Shang Wei

Marble powder creates “seamless” finish for World Interior of the Year 2016

In this exclusive movie, designer Weng Shang Wei explains how he achieved the deep, uniform shade of black inside the Hangzhou fashion store that was named World Interior of the Year at Inside 2016 last month.

AN Design's interior for the Heike concept store in Hangzhou

Black Cant System by Weng’s studio AN Design, which he co-founded together with Jiadie Yuan, is a concept store for a fashion brand called Heike.

AN Design's interior for the Heike concept store in Hangzhou

The boutique is located on the second floor of a furniture showroom in the Chinese city. Customers climb a narrow staircase to enter, emerging into the space from a large, black, wedge-shaped volume.

The idea behind the unusual structure was to conceal the stairway while maintaining the open plan of the store, Weng says.

AN Design's interior for the Heike concept store in Hangzhou

“Originally, the staircase divided the second-floor space,” he says in the movie, which Dezeen filmed at Inside 2016 interiors festival in Berlin.

“I don’t like it when a space is divided like this – it’s incomplete, it’s not united. In the end we found a solution that is somehow separate but allows the space to remain as a whole.”

AN Design's interior for the Heike concept store in Hangzhou

Other functions are built into the same black structure to make the most of the available space.

“The design has multiple purposes within it,” Weng says. “It contains a fitting room, a showroom for accessories, as well as integrating the handrails of the staircase.”

AN Design's interior for the Heike concept store in Hangzhou

AN Design used concrete and steel throughout the store. The monochrome aesthetic was informed by Heike’s clothes, which are largely black.

“Heike as a brand wants to create fashion that transcends age, gender, and all of those barriers,” Weng says.

AN Design's interior for the Heike concept store in Hangzhou

Powdered marble coats the entire exterior of the wedge-shaped structure.

“It is applied mostly on the surface of the wedge, as well as on the supporting columns,” Weng explains. “I like it because marble powder can be seamless, without divisions or lines.”

He adds: “The texture is also very warm, comforting and soft when you touch it. It achieves the completeness that I was looking for in this space.”

Weng Shang Wei of AN Design
Weng Shang Wei of AN Design. Copyright: Dezeen

This movie was filmed by Dezeen in Berlin for Inside festival of interior design. Photography is by Yujie Liu, unless otherwise stated.

Dezeen is media partners for Inside 2016, which this year took place in Berlin in conjunction with World Architecture Festival 2016.

Icehotel opens in Swedish Lapland

 I’ll take extra covers and pillows please! How Awesome?!

Icehotel 365 by Alex Haw & Aditya Bhatt Sweden hotel interior

World’s first year-round Icehotel opens in Swedish Lapland

Twenty themed suites, a frozen art gallery and an ice staircase feature in Icehotel‘s first permanent lodgings, which have now been unveiled in Sweden.

The Icehotel 365 is located on the banks of the Torne River in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden – next to the site where a seasonal Icehotel has been erected each winter since 1989.

Icehotel 365 by Alex Haw & Aditya Bhatt Sweden hotel interior

Unlike its temporary counterpart, which is built annually from ice and snow sourced from a nearby river, the year-round Icehotel has an undulating roof that is snow-covered in winter and grassy in summer.

Icehotel 365 by Alex Haw & Aditya Bhatt Sweden hotel interior

Its interiors have been imagined by over 40 artists, designers and architects, including Norwegian-Italian Luca Roncoroni – who has created an apartment inspired by the Victorian era – and Swedish duo Tjåsa Gusfors and Patrick Dallard, whose suite is based on dancing.

Icehotel 365 by Alex Haw & Aditya Bhatt Sweden hotel interior

British architects Alex Haw and Aditya Bhatt from Atmos Studio in London have created a “Dreamscape” room, which features a winding ice staircase that leads up to a frozen bed.

As well as the 20 suites, the hotel includes a champagne Icebar and a frozen art gallery.

Icehotel 365 by Alex Haw & Aditya Bhatt Sweden hotel interior

“The nature and environment surrounding the buildings are not only a huge source of inspiration for the Icehotel but are also necessary to create the hotel year on year,” said founder Yngve Bergqvist.

“Previously we said goodbye to our guests in the spring, but thanks to help from the midnight sun we can now can invite them to stay year-round”.

The 27th seasonal Icehotel opened on 16 October 2016 but come springtime will melt back into the river.

Icehotel 365 by Alex Haw & Aditya Bhatt Sweden hotel interior

The construction of both hotels took approximately 30,000 litres of water from the Torne River, and the chandeliers alone feature more than 1000 hand-polished ice crystals.

Suites at last year’s Icehotel in the Arctic Circle included a life-sized ice elephant and a recreation of a 1920s cult horror film, while previous editions saw furniture sculpted from single blocks of ice, a Frankenstein-themed room and a recreation of Parisian rooftops.

Curated from DeZeen

10 Architecture trends of 2016 according to Dezeen

Whats your favorite trend for 2016?


Dezeen’s 10 biggest architecture trends of 2016

Next up in our review of the year, architecture editor Jessica Mairs selects the 10 architecture trends that defined 2016, from the resurgence of minimalism to the next generation of prefabs and the advent of co-living.


Minimalist interiors

This year we saw an abundance of austere interiors – from apartments and bathrooms to offices – finished with cool-toned marble, uniform woodwork and block coloured walls. You too could design your office in this style, but first you’ll need to find an available office rental so you can craft your dream space the way that you want to.

Among them is a Barcelona apartment with grey-veined marble and raw concrete surfaces by Raúl Sánchez and the bathroom created by Maayan Zusman in a Tel Aviv apartment, where the only accents are a blood-red tap and a black-framed sink stand.

See more minimalist interiors ›

Retreat in Finca Aguy by MAPA

Prefabricated houses

This year prefabs shook off their makeshift reputation, with architects and designers considering how modular building techniques could be used to build speedy and cost-effective yet aesthetically pleasing long-term housing.

One Uruguayan example by MAPA sits over stone walls in an olive grove, while Japanese design brand Muji began testing its Kengo Kuma-designed prefab house.

In England, ShedKM and Urban splash are creating a whole development of modular housing, and in Estonia Kodasema created a tiny cubic living space that allows its owners to up sticks and move on a whim.

See more prefabricated buildings ›

New Ground Cohousing residential architecture


Over the last year, co-living and co-working schemes have attempted to completely reinvent how people live and work, with shared office and housing blocks largely targeting cash-strapped millennials.

But co-living was also presented as the ideal housing solution for an ageing population and the UK’s first dedicated older co-housing scheme completed in London.

One co-living developer even predicted the popularity of the trend would make us all homeless in the future.

See more co-living spaces ›



While Assemble kicked off the shingle revival with its pastel-hued Yardhouse studios in 2014, it was in 2016 that the trend really took hold.

The interpretation has been broad, with a huge variety of materials and scales demonstrating the versatility of the cladding, from the giant wooden tiles used for a visitor centre resembling a pinecone in Sweden to the subtle shimmer given by aluminium panels to the spire of a chapel in a Japanese cemetery and the dull cement covering used to help a French apartment block blend with its surroundings.

See more projects with shingles ›


Charred timber

The Japanese wood-preservation technique known as shou sugi ban has been used to blacken the cladding of hotels, houses, pavilions and studios the world over.

We featured 35 projects incorporating the technique in 2016. Snøhetta selected the treatment for a cabin set in the crown of huge pines in Sweden, while Studio Padron covered a tiny library and guesthouse in upstate New York in blackened planks and Stal Collectief burnt the moving timber walls of its studio in the Belgian countryside.

See more projects with charred timber ›

50AR by Scenario Architecture

London house extension boom

A thirst for contemporary design transformed the London extensions market in 2016, with architects exploring ever more ambitious ways to expand tight living spaces in the capital. These extensions are gaining in popularity because of their sleek designs and their ability to give the homeowners more space. The cost of home extensions is outweighed massively by all of the benefits.

The couple behind Scenario Architecture added a glass-roofed extension to their own London home, while Studio 304’s sunken washroom allows residents to bathe in a garden setting and Selencky Parsons’ stepped extension to a 1960s terrace diminishes in size like Russian dolls.

See more London house extensions ›

Zaha Hadid Forest Green Rovers stadium


Zaha Hadid Architect’s proposal for an entirely wooden football stadium in England and a net zero-energy university campus in Singapore are taking sustainable architecture to new lengths.

Other concepts from 2016 include a Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners proposal to tackle intensive farming and EFFEKT’s self-sustaining, off-grid village of greenhouse properties.

See more sustainable architecture ›

Brooklyn Garden Studio by Hunt Architecture

Backyard studios

Artists, architects, writers and designers seeking to maximise limited inner city space have been setting up garden studios.

Panovscott used recycled telegraph poles to clad a studio for two artists at their Sydney home, while Nicholas Hunt built a micro studio at the back of his Brooklyn home and Surman Weston created a cork-clad workspace for a musician and a seamstress in London.

See more garden studios ›


Skinny skyscrapers

Architects embarked on a mission to create the world’s skinniest skyscraper in 2016, with the trend becoming so popular in New York that the Skyscraper Museum released an online tool to track the city’s growing number of slender towers.

Many measure over 300 metres tall and have base-width-to-height ratios as extreme as 1:23. In 2016, Rafael Viñoly Architects completed its 425-metre-tall skyscraper in Manhattan and Powerhouse Company proposed Europe’s slimmest residential tower in Europe for Rotterdam.

See more skyscrapers ›


Carbon fibre

This year experts tipped carbon fibre as the building tool of the future, claiming the material combined with robotic construction techniques is paving the way for a fourth industrial revolution.

Amanda Levete proposed using the strong yet lightweight material to create multistorey football pitches in inner-city London, and a University of Stuttgart graduate devised a mini wall-climbing robot to build web-like structures with lengths of fibre.

See more carbon fibre architecture and design ›

Looking at different designs from other architects is always a good starting point, as you can see lots of different ways to layout your rooms or offices, dependant on the purpose of your build. If you are looking for ideas on how you would like to design a new house or building, I would recommend you go to as a starting point. This architecture firm have designed buildings for Microsoft and GM World, so you are bound to get some cool ideas to pass on to your architect.

Black Glass Tower for New York by Richard Meier & Partners


Back to Black: Richard Meier & Partners Departs From Its Signature White Palette With a Black Glass Tower for New York

Richard Meier and Partners has released renderings for its 42-story residential tower in New York City. Situated on the East River just below the United Nations, 685 First Avenue will be the firm’s tallest New York structure to date. Proposed as a residential building, the tower will include 556 rental apartments along with a range of amenities such as a pool, a fitness center and a children’s playroom. The building will also accommodate retail space at its base, hoping to spur urban engagement.

Composed of a series of black metal panels and a black glass curtain wall, the building also heralds a new aesthetic direction for the firm, departing from its signature white palette. The residential apartments have been configured to maximize window space for each tenant, providing floor-to-ceiling panoramic views of the East River and Brooklyn beyond. Read more from the architects about the plans for 685 First Avenue:

“Richard Meier & Partners in collaboration with Developer Sheldon Solow’s East River Realty Development is pleased to celebrate the design and construction of the new 685 First Avenue tower in New York City.

The 42-story, 460-foot-high residential tower, Meier’s tallest in New York City, will rise just south of the United Nations Headquarters in Manhattan overlooking the East River. The 685 First Avenue site occupies a 32,365 SF parcel between East 39th and East 40th Streets along the West side of First Avenue. It will be home to 556 rental and condominium apartments and feature panoramic views of the river and the city.

Minimalistic in form, the design of this predominantly glass building evidences great consideration for materiality, lightness, transparency and order. Its taut curtain wall is incised with modular subdivisions and articulated with selective metal panel elements in the form of balconies, canopies and corners. A distinguishing feature — an architectural cut-out at the 27th and 28th floors — will exist in dialogue with the building’s context and be visible from across the East River.

‘This is a milestone project for us, as our first all-black glass and metal panel building, the tallest tower in New York City by our firm, and a complete Richard Meier & Partners project including both architecture and interiors,’ comments Dukho Yeon, design partner-in-charge at Richard Meier & Partners.

‘The black glass curtain wall is a departure from our trademark white palette,’ Yeon continues, ‘When this intriguing challenge was proposed by developer Sheldon Solow, we accepted it with great enthusiasm and curiosity. We approach all our designs thoughtfully and with an open mind, and with this project we have remained true to our fundamental principles—distinctiveness in scale, proportion, light and power. That is the legacy of our white and clear glass buildings, and the design of 685 First Avenue foregrounds and celebrates these same elements.’

At street level, the project is designed to promote urban activity by providing retail space along First Avenue. The expansive glazing of the grand, double-height residential lobby has a direct visual and physical connection with the surrounding context, the future public park across First Avenue and the East River. The light colored materials rely on principles of light, order and geometry to create a modern and open space.

Residents of the tower’s 408 rental units and 148 condominiums will have access to distinctive amenities located on the second floor, including an indoor swimming pool, fitness center, children’s playroom, tablet/work room, game room, private dining room, and lounge. These amenities and public spaces come alive through a rich palette of colors and textures, and tactile materials. All living room and bedrooms in the building are configured to take advantage of the outstanding views. The light palette of the interiors—whites, grays and earth tones—complement the smooth and textured surfaces of wood, plaster and glass.

Richard Meier comments: ‘We asked ourselves, can formal ideas and the philosophy of lightness and transparency, the interplay of natural light and shadow with forms and spaces, be reinterpreted in the precise opposite – white being all colors and black the absence of color? Our perspective continues to evolve, but our intuition and intention remain the same – to make architecture that evokes passion and emotion, lifts the spirit, and is executed perfectly.

‘Having the opportunity to work with Sheldon Solow and his team on this project has enabled us to continue our contribution to the urban fabric of New York City. The singular form of 685 First Avenue is borne of a desire to create an iconic building unique to Midtown Manhattan. With advanced technologies and building materials, we seek an innovative and timeless design that adds to the history and roster of Manhattan’s landmark buildings. The architecture will be finely crafted, precise, elegant and striking. It is very meaningful to me personally to work in New York City, and to give something enduring to the city I call home,’ Meier continues.

Window bays and modules are maximized in size to full floor-to-floor heights, altogether eliminating any horizontal or vertical shadow panels. Each module is subdivided further proportionally and geometrically into a system of operable window panels, joints and reveals, and mullion profiles that keep the façade open and elegant. The black glass unifies the façade, provides privacy for residents, and modulates the reflections of the context.

Sheldon Solow, developer of 685 First Avenue, comments: ‘I have known Richard for a long time and have always admired his work. I was thrilled when he agreed to lend his inimitable sensibility to this project. Richard and his team have truly created an inspired design that marries the streamlined look of the black glass with the interior brightness and transparency of a trademark Meier masterpiece. The result will be both a dramatic addition to the East River skyline and a fantastic place to live.’

Sheldon Solow has been a leader in New York City real estate since the 1970’s. His firm’s portfolio includes the Solow Building, a signature 50-story, 1.5 million square foot, black glass office tower at 9 West 57th Street, designed by SOM partner Gordon Bunshaft; as well as residential developments: One and Two Sutton Place North; One East River Place at 525 East 72nd Street; 265 East 66th Street, and the 10 Solow Townhouses designed by Eli Attia, also along East 66th Street. 685 First Avenue is the first building of a larger East River Development Plan approved by the City of New York in 2008 that allowed for creation of a new 9.7-acre mixed- use development with residences, commercial and public open space on a long-abandoned site in Manhattan long the East River.

685 First Avenue will join 18 Richard Meier & Partners Architects designs for sites in New York City, including the iconic Perry Street & Charles Street Condominiums, the Westbeth Artists’ Housing in the West Village, the Aye Simon Reading Room at the Guggenheim Museum, and proposed but unbuilt plans for the World Trade Center and Madison Square Garden Site Redevelopment.”

Curated From Architizer

Minimalist Bachelor Pad In Montenegro

The perfect blend of color and space, I love it!


When asked to design an apartment for a young IT engineer, the M3 Architectural&Construction group took a minimalist approach. Located in Budva, Montenegro, a coastal area on the Adriatic Sea, this bachelor’s apartment has great views so a scaled back interior was decided upon. Montenegro offers enough inspiration alone as it’s so visually attractive. Take a look at these Montenegro Guides if you’re thinking of visiting.


Throughout the interior, a neutral palette of white surfaces, grey accents, and natural materials was used as not to detract from the views.


The main living area was kept open with floor-to-ceiling curtains acting as dividers to separate the space when needed.



To pair with their minimalist design, they incorporated furnishings from Coliform, Artemide, Deltalight, Zanotta, Duravit, and Grohe.








Curated From Design-Milk

The House of the Infinite by Alberto Campo Baeza – #ModernMonday

“From the architect. On a marvelous place like a piece of earthly paradise, at Cádiz, we have built an infinite plane facing the infinite sea, the most radical house we have ever made. At the very edge of the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, where the sea unites the new and the old continent, emerges a stone platform. At the place where all the ships from the Mediterranean used to pass and still pass by as they head off into the Atlantic.
There we have erected a house as if it were a jetty facing out to sea. A house that is a podium crowned by an upper horizontal plane. On this resoundingly horizontal plane, bare and denuded, we face out to the distant horizon traced by the sea where the sun goes down. A horizontal plane on high built in stone, Roman travertine, as if it were sand, an infinite plane facing the infinite sea. Nothing more and nothing less.
To materialize this elevated horizontal plane, which is the main living room of the house, we built a large box with 20 meters of frontage and 36 meters deep. And under those first 12 meters we excavated two floors in the solid rock to develop the whole living space.
The Romans were there a handful of centuries ago. Bolonia, the ruins of the Roman fishing factories where they produced garum and built temples to their gods, is just a stone’s throw away. In their honor we have built our house, like an acropolis in stone, in roman travertine.
To give even greater force to the platform we incorporated all the terrain as far back as the entrance wall separating us from the street, also done in Roman travertine. Once inside the wall, the entrance to the house will be via a “trench” in the form of stairs dug into the upper surface of the platform.
A Greek poet said that this is a true temenos, a meeting-place, where according to mythology, humans and gods come together.
On the denuded stone platform, three walls surround us and protect us from the prevailing strong winds. Sometimes it is as if someone had opened the bag containing the winds of Aeolus. The same winds that drove on the vessel in which Ulysses made his journey home.
There is a lovely etching by Rembrandt from 1655, “Christ Presented before the People”, that has always fascinated me. In it, Rembrandt sketches a straight horizontal line. Perfectly straight and perfectly horizontal. It is the border of the powerful dais, the podium upon which the scene takes place. There, as Mies did so often, he has made the plane into a line. I am certain that Rembrandt and Mies would like our podium house, all podium, only podium. As would Adalberto Libera, who did the same thing when he built his Malaparte House in Capri. And we like it too. And when we look at our house from the beach, we will be reminded of all of them.
We wanted this house to be capable not only of making time stand still, but to remain in the minds and hearts of humankind.The house of the infinite.”

Designed By : Alberto Campo Baeza
Year Built : 2014
Size : 9687SqFt
Photos By : Javier Callejas Sevilla