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After graduating from Pratt Institute in the early 1980s, interior designer and architect David Mann worked for several small architectural firms doing small-scale retail and residential design. In 1985, he began working for Fox & Fowle Architects, where he stayed for 10 years working on large-scale commercial architectural interiors around the globe. In 1995, after a small freelance project with Takashimaya grew into larger projects, he founded MR Architecture + Décor. “Our design principles are founded in honest, simple solutions to challenges that must also contain an enigmatic side as well,” said Mann. “Our ideal aesthetic for anything is efficient, timeless and in some way, extraordinary.”
Now new for TriBeCa is 111 Murray Street—a luxurious 800-foot residential condominium building. With this, Mann debuts his first full-scale glass residential tower, encompassing 157 residences with open living spaces. With soaring ceilings, full-height windows, custom white oak herringbone floors, and hand-selected stone details, the warm and welcoming property is a sight to see.
In celebration of its opening, Whitewall spoke with Mann about this project, and his very first.
WW: Can you tell us a bit about 111 Murray Street? What details were you most interested in including?
DM: At 111 Murray Street, we were charged with creating the interiors for the residential portion of the tower. We designed everything from the elevator cabs to residential corridors, as well as all of the 157 apartments. Within the apartments, we nuanced the floor plans to suit the customer profile. For example, we developed the palette of materials (including a custom herringbone wood floor pattern), chose the hardware, plumbing fixtures and appliances, and designed the kitchens and bathrooms which feature premium stones and custom-designed millwork.
We were most interested in adding details that reinforced our ideas about this building and its location. We designed blackened steel framing in the kitchens and master bathrooms, utilized custom-finished blackened hardware, and customized unique door casings. All of these were references to the historical, industrial heritage of Tribeca.
I am very excited about what the architects have done with the aforementioned curved glass curtain walls. These homes appear to have had their fourth wall removed. The wall of glass extends the perceived living space out over the city beyond, affording spectacular views while washing the homes with extraordinary light. We created a unique experience within these walls that is both extremely luxurious and comfortable at the same time.
We decided one way to bridge the gap between uptown classic Manhattan apartment and downtown loft living was to use a white rift oak herringbone pattern wood flooring for the great rooms and foyers. We chose a wider plank for this pattern to diffuse the formality and be more playful with the concept. We also chose what we thought was a perfect, soft, middle-tone stain which we believe is the antidote for outdated dark or light stains. We continued this stain palette for the kitchen and bathroom millwork and hand-selected all of the stone for the project to ensure a bespoke level of quality.
WW: This is your first glass residential tower. What does that mean to you? What did you want it to say?
DM: 111 Murray Street is the first full-scale, all-glass building interior MR Architecture + Decor has done. We have worked in a number of all-glass buildings in the past, but for individual projects where we inherited the conditions of the spaces we were designing. This is first time we were able to use all we have learned from those “one-off” experiences, with the intention to create the ultimate home in the sky. We had never before encountered full-height, curved glass walls, which architecturally are spectacular when viewed from afar, and provide amazing views from within the apartment.
WW: What do you enjoy about open space living?
DM: Growing up in a home where the living room was roped off just for show, the dining room, as such, was barely used, and the kitchen was its own closed off room. It’s refreshing to be creating spaces that combine all of these functions into one great room. Open space living is not only much more efficient (little or no wasted space), but it’s also much more conducive to social interaction. The cook is not sequestered in the kitchen, the kids can play among the adults, the adults can work from home while watching the kids, etc. This is architectural evolution. For as much as architects are known for putting up walls, it is even more important for us to be taking them down where they are not needed.
WW: Can you tell us a bit about your very first project?
DM: This was during high school, when I was tasked by my mother to design an addition to our home dog kennel. I recall putting way too much effort into the aesthetic part of this assignment—something I am still frequently guilty of.