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Galerie Magazine

Rafael de Cárdenas and Anna Karlin Design Ravishing Residences at the Belnord

November 11th, 2020

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 owner HFZ Capital Group 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. “Clearly, Robert has magic dust, and we hope some of it rubs off on us,” HFZ’s Ziel Feldman said in 2017.Also aiding in the transformation were 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 Cárdenas—who was named one of Galerie’s Creative Minds—has already unveiled a model unit filled with custom furnishings, the residents lounge and private dining room are only now making their debut. “The material and color palette is on the cool side, which gives the spaces a smarter and crisper vibe,” he says of both interiors, which are divided by a structural column. “The silvery greens and grays are simply elegant.”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 favorites include a pair of graceful Pierre Paulin chairs in a muted sea-foam color. “They have an exuberant form to complement the sumptuous curvature of all the lounge furniture,” de Cárdenas tells Galerie. “We also tend to use textiles from Dedar and Maharam, and the fabric choices here feel special while also being practical and tough on wear.” 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 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 jewelry—wanted to craft a model unit with her signature mix of custom, contemporary, and vintage pieces. “We always start with a character,” she explains of her approach. “Who do we think lives here?” The answer was a well-traveled family who had amassed a curated collection of one-of-a-kind treasures. “I wanted to bring the lived-in feel to what is essentially a fictional space—if we can make it warm and lovely, then we’ve done a good job.”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. “I’m obsessed with that piece, and it was so fun to put in here,” she tells Galerie. Vintage finds abound, including a lamp in the home office and a suite of Carlos Scarpa dining chairs. Karlin also amped up the sleeping quarters, one of which she designed with a teenage girl in mind. “To keep it sophisticated, we did tone on tone and texture on texture,” she notes. “It’s not baby pink but slightly off, and there are really cool vintage sconces and a chandelier. It’s still fun and feels a little chic.”While the pandemic halted work before installation could get underway earlier this year, the overall interior design plan was not effected. “This was such a fun project because we were really aligned with client,” says Karlin. “Everyone wants to do their best creatively, and I know the client needs to be neutral and not too hard in one direction. Together we danced that line.”

Architectural Digest

A New Garden Grows Within an Iconic New York City Building

August 28th, 2020

Manhattan’s Belnord residential building gets a new look—and verdant courtyard—courtesy of RAMSA and master landscaper Edmund HollanderIn elegant European capitals such as Copenhagen and Rome, great residential buildings were often anchored around airy private courtyards. However, in space-starved New York—which saw Frederick Law Olmsted’s Central Park as a sort of public courtyard—prime real estate was rarely so generously parceled out.But there have been notable exceptions: like William Waldorf Astor’s the Apthorp by architects Clinton & Russell on Broadway and West 78th Street, and Vincent Astor’s Astor Court by architect Charles A. Platt a few blocks north—both of which feature lavishly landscaped private courtyards.Now a third notable Upper West Side building, the Belnord, is emerging from a comprehensive overhaul that has seen its central courtyard born anew. Completed in 1908 by architects Hiss and Weeks, the 1908 Italian Renaissance building includes a 22,000-square-foot landmarked courtyard centered around a Vermont marble fountain.

The Real Deal

At the desk of: Rafael de Cárdenas

September 3rd, 2019

In New York, Architecture at Large has done interiors for the Baccarat store on Madison Avenue, Asia de Cuba on Lafayette Street and others. Its current projects include HFZ Capital’s high-profile rent-to-condo conversion of the Belnord on the Upper West Side, where the firm designed the public spaces and one model unit. It also designed the retail space OHWOW at Andre Balazs’ Standard Spa in Miami Beach.

Haute Residence

These Historic Buildings Are Now 5-Star New York Residences

August 9th, 2019

The Belnord is an iconic Upper West Side landmark that occupies an entire city block bounded by West 86th and 87th Streets, Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway. Robert A.M. Stern Architects, the world-renowned architecture firm is overseeing the restoration of the original architecture and re-imagining the interiors for the residences. The Belnord is one of the greatest turn-of-the-century residential buildings, originally constructed in 1908 and designed by famed architecture firm Hiss & Weekes. The property’s new design will feature 95 residences, ranging from two- to five-bedrooms, situated across 14 floors. In addition, 9,000 square feet of state-of-the-art amenities will be incorporated into the building, and many of The Belnord’s hallmarks — including the courtyard and the exterior architecture are being restored to their original grandeur and updated.

New York Post

The Upper West Side’s oldest buildings are posh once more

July 25th, 2019

When the Gilded Age began in the 1870s, New York City was on the cusp of a new era. There were no subways, people still drove horse-drawn carriages, the Upper West Side was farmland — and modern apartments didn’t yet exist.Just a few decades later, everything had changed: mass transit whisked riders around, opening up all of Manhattan to development, and luxury apartment buildings began to spring up across the Upper West Side. It didn’t take long for New Yorkers to embrace their conveniences.While many of these grand Gilded Age residences fell on hard times after World War II, today many are being returned to their original glory via condo conversions that add modern amenities and amp up their existing old-school refinement.

Untapped Cities

11 Luxury Pre-War Hotels and Apartments of the Upper West Side

July 15th, 2019

It’s hard to imagine today that people had to be lured to settle on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, but such was the case at the turn of the 20th century when the first New York City subway line opened. The Interborough Rapid Transit Line (IRT) started at City Hall, with the most epic of subway stations (now closed off to the public except on official Transit Museum tours). The Astors and other enterprising investors owned the land uptown, purchased in a speculative property boom. Now, the question was how to brand the area. No longer just for bachelors, apartment living was made luxurious and drew wealthy New York families out of their single family homes downtown and into apartments uptown. This change in not only location but also in lifestyle was often a hard sell, so the apartments had to be decked out in the latest modern amenities and features that single family homes couldn’t offer. The speculative investments paid off and many luxurious apartments of the Pre-War era are still some of the most coveted New York City addresses. Check out some of the oldest and most luxurious apartments and hotels of the Upper West Side:


Law & Order’s New York was never real

May 8th, 2019

Today, with a half-dozen Starbucks, an Urban Outfitters, and architects like Robert A.M. Stern remaking old apartment buildings like the Belnord, it’s hard to imagine the area in need of gentrification. But when I moved into my West 105th Street apartment, I’d go out every morning and clean up crack vials from the backyard. The quantity suggested more than one user, which meant that some nearby apartment hosted a crack house—just like the ones that were a staple on Law & Order at the time.


Historic New York Ceilings Restored To Old New York Grandeur

March 8th, 2019

“Since 1908, The Belnord has been a prime example of elegant living on the Upper West Side, with numerous architectural elements that we are working to restore and reinforce to last another century,” said Thorsten Kiefer of HFZ Capital Group, the developer behind its renovation.

Elite Traveler

Residence 1012, The Belnord, New York City

January 7th, 2019

Prominent New York firm Robert AM Stern Architects led the restoration of this landmarked building on the Upper West Side, fusing the charm of its 1908 structurewith immaculate modern interiors.