This duplex penthouse residence in Manhattan’s West Village, completed in 1987, was one of the first minimalist apartments in the United States. Emblematic of the collaborations between Gabellini Sheppard Associates and the late interior designer Jay Smith, it was commissioned by a creative professional who finds pleasure in viewing and recomposing her modern photography collection. Two white volumes connected by a white marble stair frame an environment of functional simplicity. Responsive to the changing shades of day and night, white French plaster and honed Blanco Sivec marble surfaces allow light to transform and animate the space.
The 2,000-square-foot apartment is entered from the upper level, which is devoted to living and dining activities. Endowed with panoramic views of lower Manhattan, it opens onto an expansive sunlit terrace. The lower level is a private haven for sleeping, bathing, and contemplation. The bath, a rectangular stone grotto seemingly carved from the surrounding walls, underscores the sensual primacy of water, steam, and light, as in ancient Roman tradition. The stair is conceived as a ribbon of cascading marble platforms linking the public and private levels. Floating on a single steel riser, it unfolds in a gentle arc beneath a recessed window aperture.