565 Broome gets the local treatment

It’s safe to say that downtown has done well by Renzo Piano. The Whitney is the best cultural addition a neighborhood could ask for (sure, it’s in the Village, but it’s an 8-minute Citibike ride away so I am claiming it as ours). And while the New York Times building is not local, I make regular pilgrimages to the Moveable Type installation (data journalists make art!!) in the lobby whenever I’m in midtown – it’s always a stop when taking out-of-towners to the theater.

So I was pretty excited to get a tour of 565 Broome SoHo, which happens to have a couple local connections: it is being built by Tribeca resident Jon Halpern’s family firm, and, as it turns out, the model apartment has been decorated by Tribecan Damon Liss, who tricked out a west-facing three-bedroom on the 22nd floor.

This is Piano’s only residential building in the city. The palate is white oak, limestone and concrete. There’s nothing shiny or sparkly – it’s all very simple and raw – deconstructed and transparent, 30 stories up above all of Soho, which as we all well know, means there’s nothing to block the view east.

There is a wacky addition of a lazy susan for cars: as they come in the porte-cochere, the cars are put on a turntable and whisked away to the sixth floor, where the automatic operations are on view from the Watts Street side. There are also six private saltwater pools in the building; all the corners are curved; the glass is low-iron, which makes the view crystal clear.

Liss said his goal was to keep the decor clean and spare but make it feel warm. “Philosophically this building is spectacularly beautiful, with gorgeous materials and finishes, but it can be cold,” he said. “You don’t want to layer it too much. People who are attracted to modern spaces want to maintain that look.”

He used a mixture of custom and vintage to do it. Some highlights, many of which are from local designers or merchants:

  • Hand-knotted carpets from Fort Street Studio
  • David Haskell sculpture on the coffee table (from Donzella)
  • Custom dining table by BDDW (with a chamfered edge to give it an architectural feel)
  • Jeff Zimmerman chandelier from R&Co.
  • A vase by local sculptor Dena Zemsky on the bar
  • The coverlets in the kids’ room were bought in a small shop in Venice
  • Custom beds of oxidized maple in the kids room also by BDDW
  • Gio Ponti desk in the kids’ room

Oh, and Liss’ model apartment sold in two weeks.