Monica Khemsurov | August 19, 2013
It’s hard to grasp, at first, why Will Meyer and Gray Davis would liken a New York office project to the most iconic suburban residences in modernist history, the Glass House by Philip Johnson in Connecticut and the Farnsworth House by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in Illinois. Yet the Meyer Davis Studio principals have their reasons. Not only did the firm use glass almost exclusively for walls, preserving the wraparound views, but the penthouse is also a residential-size 3,200 square feet. Decor furthermore resembles that of a home—an effect noticeable the minute visitors step off the elevator. “Instead of making a little vestibule, we opened it up, so you feel you’re walking straight into a living room,” Meyer explains. There isn’t even a desk for a receptionist.
The idea was to break away from the typical executive aesthetic in favor of something more comfortable. Reception’s vintage Milo Baughman sofa and Italian mid-century sling chairs gather on leather floor tile. Beyond are the kitchen-lunchroom and—where the bedrooms might be if this were truly a residence—four private offices and a conference room. All are packed with homey details, such as brass lamps, cocktail tables, and windows softened by white sheers. To mitigate the potential cavernousness of the 14-foot ceiling and make the space seem more intimate, Meyer and Davis hung lighting lower than usual: An angular chandelier by Lindsey Adelman adds drama to the conference room, while drum fixtures cast a cozy glow in several locations. In place of the mahogany that normally outfits a CEO’s office, a desk of hand-scraped cerused oak is paired with textural linen wall covering.
A home needs art, of course. From the personal collection of the CEO and his wife, Meyer and Davis pulled work by up-and-coming talents. “Incorporating those pieces was crucial to how we laid out the space,” Davis notes. Again, he and Meyer took a page from their residential playbook, simply propping larger framed silk screens against the wall to maintain the relaxed vibe. Whether executives at this financial services company actually have time to relax—well, that’s another story.