The “opposites attract” dynamic has been a staple of films and television shows since the verbal sparring of Bogart and Hepburn in The African Queen and the pitch-perfect lunacy of Lucy and Ricky on I Love Lucy. The tension and narrative possibility of difference keeps moviegoers and other audiences returning to the classics, and it’s little wonder why: curious couplings are much more compelling than predictable pairs. We adore odd couples in all sorts of places: unexpected ingredient combinations that make great cuisine memorable, certain bold style pairings that are just crazy enough to be fashionable, and architecturally rich landscapes such as New York City, where vintage and modern stand side by side. It’s in this particularly dynamic realm that the marriage of 88 and 90 Lexington Avenue represents a match made in 20th-century design heaven.
88 Lexington Ave was constructed in 1927 and, at 17 stories tall, epitomizes the classic look of the Jazz Age New York City apartment house. In contrast, 90 Lexington Ave was built in 1958, is 10 stories tall, and sports a geometric, light-filled, postwar profile. There has been something special about this particular structural pairing for quite some time. While the two buildings exist on aesthetically different wavelengths, they complement each other in ways that seem entirely unquantifiable. Now, with HFZ Capital’s conversion of the former rental spaces into new, expansive luxury condominiums, the charming pair will be forever united.
The blending of the two buildings into one cohesive Gramercy condominium took some smoothing out by Workshop/APD, the skilled design team responsible for bringing the project to life. The two formerly separate structures are now connected by a large, shared lobby as well as over 8,000 square feet of amenities that include a 60-foot swimming pool, a state-of-the-art fitness center, a private cinema, a children’s game room, and round-the-clock concierge service. In addition, the layout and formation of both condo buildings have been meticulously designed and constructed in order to fully utilize every inch of their respective structures.
The interiors of the residences in each building also have in common generous ceiling heights ranging from ten to sixteen feet as well as subtle colors and understated surfaces that will allow both classic and modern furniture and design to work within them. In number 88, new casement windows have been installed, while at number 90, floor-to-ceiling windows flood each residence with natural light. The result: condos that are as uniquely inspired as the buildings that frame them.
Rather than try to force the two structures to resemble each other in any way, HFZ felt strongly that the style and time period of each should be honored. While number 88 retains its period ornamental details, number 90 retains its more modern look. And while statuesque 88 is ringed with huge Palladian windows at street level and decorative cornices on its upper exterior, number 90 is made up of rectangles of varied sizes that bring visual complexity to its sleek design. Such contrasts serve to elegantly highlight the qualities that are unique to each while also making their pairing so successful.