Built in 1908, the Upper West Side landmark has been graciously reimagined by Robert A.M. Stern Architects and a team of top designers, like Rafael de Cárdenas and Anna Karlin.
A Renaissance Revival beauty sheathed in limestone and brick, the Belnord is one of the Upper West Side’s most prominent residential buildings, occupying an entire city block on Broadway between 86th and 87th Streets. With a history that stretches back to 1908, when it was completed by noted architecture firm Hiss & Weekes, the Gilded Age edifice recently got a 21st-century makeover befitting its historic bones.
Given the 12-story landmark’s prewar pedigree, it’s no wonder that owners HFZ Capital Group and Westbrook Partners enlisted powerhouse architect Robert A.M. Stern, who studied the building when designing his acclaimed 15 Central Park West, to oversee the rental-to-condo conversion.
Also aiding in the transformation was Architecture at Large’s Rafael de Cárdenas, who handled the amenity spaces and a model unit; Ed Hollander, who landscaped the 22,000-square-foot courtyard; and Anna Karlin, who decorated another model residence with many of her own creations.
While de Rafael de Cárdenas has already unveiled a model unit filled with custom furnishings, the residents lounge and private dining room are only now making their debut.
For the furnishings, his team crafted a custom undulating sofa to connect both ends of the long lounge, as a way to unite them visually and practically. In addition to Apparatus sconces and pieces from the Future Perfect and Avenue Road, other favourites include a pair of graceful Pierre Paulin chairs in a muted sea-foam colour. Adding a worldly touch are a pair of luminous 19th-century Japanese screens, as well as an array of small handmade works by artist Hon Eui Chen, who Rafael de Cárdenas commissioned to create the dining room’s painterly abstract work.
Meanwhile, New York designer Anna Karlin—who works across interiors, furnishings, decor, and jewellery—wanted to craft a model unit with her signature mix of custom, contemporary, and vintage pieces.
One of the standout works that Karlin created is the living area’s arresting bent-steel floor lamp, sculpted in the contours of a face and featuring a glass bulb for the eye. While the pandemic halted work before installation could get underway earlier this year, the overall interior design plan was not affected.
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