Foster + Partners unveils New York showroom for interior supplier

UK giant Foster + Partners revealed designs for a flagship showroom for interior supplier Porcelanosa in the historic Commodore Criterion building in Midtown Manhattan.

The project involves the refurbishment of a 1,700m2, six-storey building and is due to be completed in spring 2014.

The Commodore Criterion is included on New York’s protected properties list and the design team has preserved its historic exterior, while refurbishing the interior to create a sequence of spaces.

The new showroom will feature full-scale vignettes showcasing Porcelanosa’s product portfolio, including floor and wall coverings, and kitchen and bathroom products.

An entire floor of the building will be used as a design library with more than 1,000 references of tiles, mosaics, stones, hardwoods and other materials.

Lord Foster: “Porcelanosa’s new Manhattan flagship is in a great location, close to the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Broadway and opposite the Flatiron Building. But like many Neoclassical New York City structures, the former Commodore Criterion which dates back to 1918 has a repetitive stack of six identical floors – not an ideal arrangement for spaces to showcase contemporary products.

“The main design challenge has been to work within the protected shell to transform the interior. The design will create new visual connections vertically through the building and will introduce a greater variety of spaces, with a series of dramatic interlocking levels.”

He continued: “This transformation is also an opportunity to radically improve the building’s energy performance and we are targeting a LEED Gold rating. A highly insulated envelope will halve carbon emissions, new systems will provide free cooling and a 40 per cent reduction in water use, whilst half of all construction waste will be recycled.

“In summary, the design will restore historic aspects of the exterior and create a new interior experience of large–volume show room spaces ­– all within the context of a sustainable agenda.”