All sorts of praise has been heaped on French starchitect Jean Nouvel's 100 Eleventh Avenue in West Chelsea. Buyers, however, have been slower to embrace the blinding powers of the Vision Machine (at least 25% of the building is still empty). Why? Well, it could be those $2,400/sqft prices, but the developers have instead decided to blame the ugly lobby. The best NYT Square Feet column ever has Fred Bernstein reporting on the renovation of the spare black space, which was only recently finished. Brokers say buyers have been turned off by the slightly grim space, and Pritzker Prize or not, the customer is always right. So it's out with the granite and in with the carpet, and Nouvel isn't jumping for joy about the changes. Then again, is he ever?
Cape Advisers hired Upper East Side interior designer Jennifer Post (even though Oprah favorite Nate Berkus already lives in the building!) to make 100 Eleventh Avenue's lobby more friendly, which includes the new carpeting and much more. Post is bringing in three new rock sculptures ("as big as grizzlies") designed by her, as well as cashmere furniture from her collection. Nouvel tells the Times that the developers "have gone off course." Then he really slams them: "They want to complete the building as inexpensively as possible and they want to take the money." Nouvel's Vision Machine project architect added that the firm is being kept out of the loop. Quelle horreur!
This is the second recent case of a high-profile architect trashing a developer over design changes, but should hired guns really get a say about what the boss decides to do?
· Developers’ Effort to Warm a Lobby Leaves Some Cold [NYT]
· 100 Eleventh Avenue coverage [Curbed]