A Place for Entertaining apartment. Smile armchair by Studio Giancarlo Valle. Puddle coffee table by Anna Karlin. Angle sofa by TRNK. Vintage rug and chair. - Credits: Photo: William Jess Laird
The Wish You Were Here apartment. ABCD couch by Pierre Paulin for Artifort. Coffee table by Carmen Spera. Puzzle rug by Studio Proba. 2-Globe wall lamp by Entler Studio. - Credits: Photo: William Jess Laird
The Green Sanctuary apartment. Custom-made sofa, armchair and hanging lamp by Anna Karlin. Akari 14A floor lamp by Isamu Noguchi for Vitra. Soft Coffee Table by Workaday Handmade. - Credits: Photo: William Jess Laird
The Green Sanctuary Apartment. Vintage daybed. Spade chair by Faye Toogood. - Credits: Photo: William Jess Laird

In New York, 11 apartments designed by Anna Karlin

Walking along the busy streets of New York, you inevitably find yourself gazing upwards. From the bustling ground level, the eye sweeps over a vast forest of concrete and glass buildings. From Harlem to Wall Street, a surge of new towers is changing and updating the Manhattan skyline. In New York City, «concrete jungle where dreams are made of,” as Jay-Z sings in Empire State of Mind, a recent newcomer is One Manhattan Square. Soaring 243 metres above the Lower East Side on the East River waterfront, the luxury glass skyscraper was jointly designed by Adamson Associates and Dattner Architects and built by Extell Development Company. One Manhattan Square hosts 9,000 square metres of indoor and outdoor amenities, including the city’s largest private garden (4,000 square metres), designed by West 8.

The garden features relaxation areas, an observatory, a children’s playground and an urban vegetable garden for residents. Inside, no services are missing. There’s a 24-hour front desk, a bar, a lounge, a theatre, a billiard room, a basketball court, a squash court, a 2-lane bowling alley, a golf simulator, a spa, a pet facility, a gym and a pool – plus other recreational spaces and fitness studios.

Anna Karlin, a London designer whose adoptive home is now New York, designed 11 model units in the skyscraper, all located on the same floor and comprising one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments. Each embodies a different modern lifestyle with its own personality, mood and existential outlook. “When I moved to Manhattan, I realised how lucky I was to have grown up surrounded by classical architecture, because it enables me to keep my eyes trained, having given me an innate sense of proportions,” says Karlin.

Each apartment has different characteristics of view, layout and exposure. “With my office, we imagined walking around that storey and identifying with make-believe residents. One after the other, the individual units came into being. We thought of the floor as being animated by a community of people. For example, we gave the urban gardener an oasis of peace coloured with pale, natural tones. We gave the young family a mix of design elements and graphics to reflect their burgeoning creative careers. We added a welcoming space to foster socialisation and conversation amid soft forms and warm shades. The cosmopolitan citizen with a keen eye for functionality and technology was another inhabitant we imagined.” Pieces of design, vintage items and customised furniture are joined by elegance in Anna Karlin’s interiors. “The use of colour played a decisive role in distinguishing the different units’ atmosphere. It was pretty challenging to work on this project for the limited size of the spaces. Finding the right layouts was not easy, but certainly stimulating,” says Karlin.


Article published on the April/May issue of ICON DESIGN.