As Glenn Pushelberg likes to say, “luxury is a bogus term.” The interior designer – principal of Yabu Pushelberg with partner George Yabu – explains that the word no longer carries meaning amid the slew of glitzy properties expanding on the New York City skyline. What should buyers care about? An attention to quality.
In the case of Waterline Square – a community comprised of three glassy residential towers, a public park, and an extensive amenity program slated to be completed in early 2019 – a considered attention to detail is central to the vision of the project. Located on the Hudson riverfront where midtown Manhattan meets the Upper West Side, Waterline Square boasts an impressive lineup of architects and designers assembled by developer GID.
Most immediately, this precision is seen in the process of designing each building – all three towers have personalities of their own thanks to a unique pairing of architect and interior designer. Pushelberg is one of the three interior designers who worked on one of Waterline’s residential towers – Two Waterline Square, with architecture by Kohn Pedersen Fox. One Waterline Square (with architecture by Richard Meier and Partners Architects) features interiors by Champalimaud Design, and Three Waterline (with architecture by Rafael Viñoly) has interiors by AD100 firm Groves & Co.
A kitchen in Two Waterline Square.
It’s uncommon to have different designers and architects take on pieces of a larger development pie, owning and designing each space as if it’s their own. No doubt, the three towers are cohesive parts of a whole – reflective, geometric, and sky-high. But a closer look reveals the distinct personalities at play: KPF’s structure is more elemental, with curving lines, while Viñoly’s features bands of faceted glass and is shaped like a rock crystal growing skyward.
A south-facing living room in Three Waterline Square boasts river views.
This same strategy applied to the interior design. “You always have to take the lead from your building, you just have to be intuitive about what you can bring to the table,” says Alexandra Champalimaud, principal of Champalimaud Design. For her waterfront building One Waterline, Champalimaud chose finishes that play with the reflections coming off the Hudson. “That had to do a lot with light, the size of the windows, and the fluidity of the layout,” she adds. Reflective finishes, stone elements, and occasional lacquered cabinets brought this vision to life.
Russell Groves, principal of Groves & Co., explained that one of his primary goals for his building – Three Waterline – was to bring warmth to the living spaces to counteract the glass tower façade. “The buildings are all glass and steel and shimmering,” Groves says, “and our challenge was to make them home.” Groves used rich marble and ample wood to add texture to his interiors.
The lobby of One Waterline Square features a medley of luxurious stone.
Pushelberg says, “I think that really great design is all about parts making a whole.” Pushelberg – whose firm does most of its interiors work on hotels and luxury condominiums – explains that this can be a real challenge when designing a “home” for a mythical client in mind. “Hotels are aspirational, so when you design a residence, it’s actually harder,” he says. “You have to design something that’s more lasting and more meticulous.” Two Waterline boasts open living areas, generously sized terraces, and kitchens worth living in.
A testament to their independent processes: At our interview together, principals from all three firms passed around sheets of their final interior concepts – none had yet seen what the others had done.
All designers also credit the addition of a public park for Waterline Square’s decidedly community feel. “Three buildings surrounded by a park is more of a European idea,” says Groves. “Italy has piazzas, France has plazas, and we don’t really have that here in New York.” Up until the past two decades, the area along New York’s West Side Highway has been neglected from an architectural development standpoint. In turn, creating a large community from the ground up was possible. Champalimaud jumps in, “It might sound corny, but it’s seriously not – a building can have a soul.”