Step Inside a Sky-High Jennifer Post-Designed Pied-à-Terre
"I don’t care how ugly the building is—the views cannot be beat,” declares designer Jennifer Post about One57, a.k.a. the Billionaire Building, which, when it debuted in 2014, was the tallest residential structure in New York City. Its design, by Pritzker Prize–winning French architect Christian de Portzamparc, was universally panned, with Curbed.com even decreeing the 75-story glass behemoth the “worst building of the year.” But Post, who has designed numerous interiors in several new modern towers, including the forthcoming 432 Park Avenue, the Time Warner Center, and 15 Central Park West, avers that “nothing can compare” with One57’s 360-degree panorama of Manhattan and points beyond, adding that “all the rooms are gracious and large.”
She’s got a point about the views. The living room of the 3,500-square-foot, 50th-floor apartment she designed for a Taiwanese couple (who defected from their previous pied-à-terre in the Time Warner Center) features floor-to-ceiling windows with north, east, and west exposures and epic views of the city, both rivers, and Central Park—all largely unobstructed, save for the iconic sign on the top of the Essex House hotel, floating more or less at eye level. The expansive vista fully embodies the often elusive notion of a “sense of place” and looms so large that, had the interiors been consigned to a more maximalist decorator, the results might have been both distracting and inappropriate.
But Jennifer Post is a master of “high-end, comfortable minimalism,” to borrow her words, which goes part and parcel with a very specific list of decorator “don’ts”: no curves, interior doors, heavy wallpapers, and unnecessary tchotchkes. The Ohio native, who studied set design at the University of Cincinnati, spent a lot of time on her grandparents’ 500-acre farm as a child, developing a deep appreciation for pure, open spaces—a phrase she often uses to describe her work today. She regularly hews to a minimal palette of white, a color that “represents purity, peacefulness, and serenity,” and will often employ multiple shades of it, in different materials and textures, in a single room.
Post had worked on other projects in One57 previously, and was intent on giving this space its own identity. “If someone buys Apartment C,” she says, “I don’t want it to look like every other C in the line. So I always change and adjust.” For this project, she dropped the living room ceiling, removed a few columns that obscured the view, added mirrored square columns, and installed a lot of strategically placed lighting. She leans toward sleek furnishings—in this case, from Poltrona Frau, Giorgetti, and McGuire, among other manufacturers—that “look like architecture, but are still comfortable,” floating on neutral rugs. Not surprisingly, there is a preponderance of white, although the clients did request red accents in the master bedroom, as red is the color of good luck and prosperity in their culture. They “wanted to feel like they were coming home to a hotel lounge, so that’s kind of how it is designed,” Post says. “It’s sophisticated, but very warm. Everything is carefully considered. This apartment will never go out of style.”
A version of this article appeared in the September 2016 issue of NYC&G (New York Cottages & Gardens) with the headline: Top Notch.