As Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) wraps up work on 520 West 28th Street, the firm’s first permanent project in New York, The Architect’s Newspaper (AN) got an early look at the interiors of the striking new building. Located directly adjacent the High Line, the building occupies a prominent place in the burgeoning area around Hudson Yards. AN interviewed West Chin of New York City–based West Chin Architects, Designers, & Decorators (WCA) about his experience designing one of the 39-unit building’s model apartments, and how his team approached the eccentricities of this ZHA design.
AN: Zaha Hadid’s design for the building conveys a powerful aesthetic; what was your overall approach to design a unit in such a distinct building?
West Chin: We have always been big fans of Zaha Hadid’s work, and are honored to be part of such a monumental project. We started our process by imagining what type of client would be inspired to own a piece of this iconic building resting on the High Line. We pictured a sophisticated design-conscious bachelor or stylish couple, and we created a space that would nurture their love of design.
Were there any unforeseen challenges once you started working on the project?
We signed onto the project after seeing the rendering of Zaha’s vision and enjoyed seeing it come to life. Raw conditions of a site during the installation phase can sometimes be challenging but the team worked together with the construction crew to bring it all together.
Your firm is known best perhaps for its commitment to a minimal, functional style. How does that ethos make its way into this design?
Zaha has captured the edginess of New York with her dynamic design and sculptural architectural elements. WCA has embraced these foundations and added to that a soft sensitivity and ease that allows the home to become a haven from the fast-paced lifestyle that many New Yorkers live. We took inspiration from some of the dark earthy tones found in the architectural materials in New York, and the natural colors you might see on the High Line. The custom Porro closets and storage systems we designed for the space fit seamlessly into the shell provided and offered specific places to store and display just the right amount of accessories for a personal touch.
There is also a good amount of art and sculpture; did your firm select these pieces? What do you think they add to the design?
Yes, we curated the art, accessories, and the furnishings to create not just a beautiful space but also style that reflects the design-consciousness and persona of its potential inhabitant, an admirer of art, design, and architecture. We were fortunate to have just returned from Art Basel when we were working on the styling for the project. This trip came in very handy in the art selection process.
What are your takeaways as a designer after working in this architecture?
The building evokes the sleek details of a sexy Ferrari, and we like to think that we have provided the custom details that make the car your own, comforts and all. The highly customizable closets and modular storage systems are tailored to fit the space as well as the lifestyle of its inhabitants, while the furniture, lighting, accessories, and art are the luxurious accompaniments that complete the package. Our warm, modern style combined with the bold moments captured in Zaha Hadid’s imaginative creation, both inside and out, come together to create an inviting space.