Sleeping at the office

Dutch designer Piet Boon brings an understated style to 101 Wall, where workplaces have been turned into luxury condos

The furnished roof deck offers a gas grill and space for entertaining.

In the Financial District, 101 Wall, an 86-year-old former office building that has been given a new life as a luxury residential building, is set to be completed by the end of July and welcome its first residents soon.

Closings began in early April, and in late June, StreetEasy showed that just six units were available at the 52-unit building, with 15 in contract and 17 already sold. Of those available, prices ranged from $1.3 million for a one-bedroom spread up to $3.9 million for a three bedroom. The building is also home to two penthouses, but neither appears to have hit the market yet.

The tower, which has frequently been compared to a wedding cake thanks to its tiered, white glazed-brick façade, was constructed in 1931. In 2003 it was bought by Claremont Group, but the transformation didn’t begin until much more recently.

“We always had the intention to convert the building to residential at some point down the road,” said John Lari, Claremont Group principal. But the recent transformation of the neighborhood from a sleepy commercial district to a residential hot spot and cultural destination spurred the move. And 101 Wall is in good company: 50 West, 30 Park Place and 100 Barclay are just a few of the other high-profile residential projects making their mark on the area, capitalizing on the entrance of buzzworthy restaurants like Nobu Downtown; revitalized hotels like the Beekman, which is home to Tom Colicchio’s Fowler & Wells and Keith McNally’s Augustine; the new Four Seasons Downtown hotel (located at 30 Park Place), featuring Wolfgang Puck’s Cut steakhouse; and nearby retail destinations like Brookfield Place and Westfield World Trade Center.

Boon preserved the building’s Art Deco features,
like the ornate brass elevator doors in the lobby,
and combined them with a contemporary aesthetic.

After interviewing a number of interior designers, the developer tapped famed Dutch designer Piet Boon to create the interiors for 101 Wall. Boon’s designs are recognized for their use of natural light and natural materials, and he is as well known for his commercial work — like his conversion of a Belgian chapel into The Jane, a Michelin-starred restaurant — as he is for his work on private residences including a Parisian penthouse and a Caribbean beach villa.

In New York City, 101 Wall is Boon’s third residential development project, following his work at Huys, another office-to-condo conversion on 404 Park Avenue South in NoMad and Oosten (“East” in Dutch), a 216-unit residential building in South Williamsburg. But neither of those projects prepared him for this one, he said.

“It doesn’t compare. All three projects were completely different, varying from client to location and from design concept to size,” Boon said, speaking to LLNYC from Amsterdam. “No matter what project, we always consider the site environment, history and interest of our client as key factors for our design. Our vision for 101 Wall was to give new purpose to a unique architectural gem and transform it.”

Boon preserved the building’s Art Deco features, like the original ornate brass elevator doors in the lobby, and combined them with a contemporary aesthetic so “the heritage of the building, its geometric lines, subtle decorations on the façade and brass elements are echoed throughout the interior design,” said Boon.

“The style of 101 Wall is a Studio Piet Boon style,” said Boon, which means an understated color palette, quality detailing and subtle finishings — like the white lacquer cabinetry with a brushed oak finish and honed stone countertops in the kitchens and the brushed nickel fixtures in the bathrooms — as well as long sight lines and the utilization of as much natural light as possible.

He even turned his hand to the amenities at the building, designing the private training studio in consultation with Kevin Dineen, the owner of Structure Personal Fitness, along with the lobby, the kids’ playroom and 101 Wall’s lounge, which features bronze accents, herringbone oak floors and Boon-designed furnishings.