Since the Gilded Age, our neighborhood has been a popular location with interior decorators, architects and their suppliers. To note just a few examples: At the end of the 19th Century, Tiffany had a design office and manufacturing facility at 333-335 Park Avenue South, Architects Bruce Price and Daniel Burnham (designers of the Flatiron Building) maintained offices in 1133 Broadway, and the tile company that provided the finishes for many of the city’s subway stations was headquartered at 1123 Broadway.
In recent years, there has been a great influx of interior design and architectural firms in the area. This may be one of the reasons NoMad has once again become a center for sourcing interior and exterior design materials and furnishings. Location experts are also realizing that one of NoMad’s key strengths is its accessibility from all parts of the city and the suburbs beyond.
Many of the world’s most sought after building products and furnishing companies have opened showrooms in NoMad in the past few years, and more are coming. With the opening of Porcelanosa’s North American flagship on September 9th, NoMad has taken the lead in attracting renowned international companies and established itself as the preeminent interior and architectural design center in New York City. We felt that this defining moment warranted a brief walking tour of some highlights of the resources available and soon to be available in NoMad.
Let’s start between 23rd and 24th, where Broadway joins Fifth Avenue . . .
Fabrics and Homewares
200 Fifth Avenue (at 23rd/24th Streets)
Marimekko, a Finish company based in Helsinki, has one of the most identified lines of print patterns in the world. The brand has made important contributions to fashion, since the 1960s and is particularly noted for brightly colored printed fabrics and simple styles, used both in women’s garments and in home furnishings. Two designers in particular, Vuokko Nurmesniemi with bold stripes and Maija Isola with large simple flowered prints, created hundreds of distinctive patterns and helped to make Marimekko a household name across the world. In America, Jacqueline Kennedy brought Marimekko to the country’s attention and made it an iconic national brand.
Starting as a fabric company, Marimekko began making clothes to show how the fabrics could be used, and over the years, it has extended its brand to household items, wallpaper, clothes, bags and accessories.
When Marimekko opened its NoMad location in 2011, it was pretty surprising. Even as late as 2011, the conventional wisdom dictated that this was a store suited for upper Madison Avenue. Nevertheless, Marimekko management found an affinity with the neighborhood and the creative forces here, and their instincts were correct. The New York flagship has been a great success. We interviewed Lynn Shanahan, President of Marimekko North America and she provides a great perspective on why the company chose NoMad.
Walking up a block and a half and just across the street is . . .
Kitchen, Tile, Hardwood and Bath Products
202 Fifth Avenue (at 26th Street)
Founded over 40 years ago in a small village overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, Porcelanosa’s empire has grown to include over 400 international showrooms and distribution centers. Famous for their innovative kitchen, tile, hardwood and bath products, the company has become the trendsetter in the world of porcelain.
The company purchased the historic Commodore Criterion Building in 2012, choosing the site because of its location on Fifth Avenue and Broadway, across from Madison Square Park, and facing Worth Square. Porcelanosa recognized that the exposure afforded on this corner is equaled by few other spots in New York City. Inside, both individual clients and industry professionals will find full-scale vignettes showcasing Porcelanosa’s vast product portfolio, including floor and wall coverings and kitchen and bath solutions. An entire floor of the building is dedicated to a design library with more than 1,000 references of tiles, mosaics, stones, hardwoods and other fine materials— an ideal working space for architects and designers.
The showroom is unique in that it was designed by one of the preeminent architects of our day, Sir Norman Foster. Not only is it a stunning, exciting use of the space within the landmark building, but also the showroom itself uses Porcelanosa’s materials in its finishes. Here, even the showroom is a sample.
Just another block and a half up Fifth Avenue from Porcelanosa is . . .
Mosaics and Furniture
240 Fifth Avenue (between 27th and 28th Streets)
Sicis recently announced plans to locate its first U.S. flagship store in NoMad by the end of 2015. The showroom and offices will occupy a completely redesigned five-floor townhouse at 240 Fifth Avenue.
One of the world’s leading mosaic designers, Sicis, was founded by Maurizio Leo Placuzzi in 1989. The company produces all of its intricate, gorgeous mosaics in its factory in Ravenna, Italy. So, expect to be dazzled with artistic mosaics for wall, floors and swimming pools. You will also find highly inventive lighting, furniture and high-end accessories for the home.
Until the opening, get a preview of Sicis’s marvelous mosaics and furniture at the company’s website, and check back at experiencenomad.com for updates and additional stories as the store moves closer to opening, and we get more information.
Going up Fifth Avenue another block and a half, turn left on 29th Street and you will find . . .
Luxury Items for Home and Entertaining
25 West 29th Street
One of the pioneers of the neighborhood’s home design renaissance, Jung Lee opened her NoMad boutique in 2013. Her taste and pedigree were well established before she opened her store. As the leader of Fete NY, Lee has become one of the top global event designers known for her attention to detail in stunning design, food and pacing of events.
With Lee’s reputation and recognized design expertise, it was natural for her to open her NoMad boutique. Here, hostess and registry gifts, elegant furnishings, flatware, dishware, serving pieces, stationery, garden accessories, and more are constantly reinvented with Lee’s eye for the unexpected. The magic is not in the products alone, but in Jung Lee’s ability to make familiar items look fresh, and give the fantastical a place for daily use. If you haven’t visited, you should in order to see some of the most beautiful articles from around the world for completing a gracious, comfortable home.
Lee’s loft-like space is arranged as a procession of rooms: a foyer, formal and informal dining areas, a breakfast nook, a bar, a library, and a greenhouse with exquisite flowers and herbs ready to be wrapped and delivered.
Going back toward Fifth Avenue and cross to Madison Avenue at 30th Street, and you will be at . . .
105 Madison Avenue
The Natuzzi Italian furniture brand was created by Chairman and CEO Pasquale Natuzzi, son of a cabinetmaker. He opened his first workshop at just 19 years of age and focused on his first love: sofas and armchairs. Over the intervening years, the company grew in size and led to Pasquale Natuzzi becoming the first international recipient of an American Furniture Hall of Fame induction.
Natuzzi, which is now one of the most recognized furniture brands among consumers of luxury goods, offers three product lines. Natuzzi Italia is a complete home collection, including sofas and armchairs, a selection of home furnishings, lamps, accessories, and living room furniture. Natuzzi Editions offers a wide range of comfortable leather sofas tailored for the best value for money. Natuzzi Revive is the world’s first “performance recliner.”
After more than 50 years of producing quality furniture, Natuzzi now has 11 factories operating in Italy and worldwide, and the company moved its New York showroom to NoMad last year.
All of these wonderful resources are within this short walk of about seven blocks. There is a lot more in the neighborhood too. Here are some other fantastic design leaders in our area.
Sliding Door Company
Doors of All Kinds
230 Fifth Avenue
At the innovative design company called The Sliding Door Co., you can find room dividers and doors for every purpose, including closet, wall slide, swinging and barn doors. Sliding Door products come with clear, frosted, laminated or linen glass in contemporary frames in a broad range of finishes and striking designs.
Franz Mayer of Munich
Architectural Glass and Mosaics
1123 Broadway, Suite 1006
Founded in 1847, Franz Mayer of Munich is renowned worldwide for the highest quality standards and innovation in developing new artistic and architectonic expressions in the field of stained glass and mosaic. After 158 years, this family business is still dedicated to restoring the historic while creating new unique contemporary projects for artists and architects worldwide. Visit the Mayer website and see the strikingly beautiful projects the company has completed around the world and here in New York City.
Franz Mayer produces its work in a 30,000+ square feet of studio and atelier space at its Munich workshop in the Museum Quarter. Projects are professionally executed by highly trained craftspeople using the latest equipment for stone and glass treatments. The studio also provides complete, on-site installation services internationally.
High Quality Furniture, Closets, Wall Systems, and Kitchens
112 Madison Avenue
In summer 2016, Poliform will bring luxury Italian furniture to its new NoMad showroom.
Poliform is a family-owned and operated Italian luxury modern furniture brand. Poliform offers: 1) high-end living room furniture, including sofas, armchairs, sideboards; 2) dining room furniture, including tables and chairs; and 3) bedroom furniture, including beds, nightstands, dressers and more. In recent years, Poliform has added closets, wall systems, and kitchens to fit a wide range of designer needs, practically and aesthetically.
The company provides turnkey design and implementation services from concept to completion stage of a design project, including creation of technical drawings, material selection, and renderings, as well as delivery and installation in order to achieve the finest design solutions and experience for clients.
The word unique is painfully overused, but it can be applied to kinder MODERN without embarrassment. kinder MODERN is the only gallery worldwide specializing in vintage children’s design of the 20th century and inventive, contemporary design objects, furniture, and accessories. The kinder MODERN Historical Modern Collection includes rare design pieces dating from the 1920s-1980s, each item curated and sourced based on its historical significance, craftsmanship, and innovation in materiality and design.
Focusing on play and function, kinder MODERN also collaborates with established and emerging product designers to apply their creative thinking to the needs of children and families. The kinder Modern Contemporary Collection includes thought-provoking “few-of-a-kind” luxury children’s furniture, lighting, and accessories that fill a unique niche in design for the family home.
kinder MODERN’s sister enterprise kinder GROUND has created a exceptional geometric modular carpet, which debuted to great acclaim at ICFF 2014 in New York City. kinder GROUND’s Modular is available in three shapes, triangles, hexagons, and diamonds — and features seven signature pop colors and endlessly interacting design lines. It’s modular like you’ve never experienced it before.
Tile and Natural Stone
28 West 25th Street
Hindustan Granites Inc. [HG Stones] is an importer and wholesaler of natural stone and tile that owns and operates its own quarries and processing facilities in India. The company’s strong distribution backbone and project experience in the United States and overseas ensures its growing client base with reliable delivery, competitive prices and exceptional customer service.
Lighting, Bathroom and Kitchen Fixtures
45 West 25th Street
Gracious Home is a premier destination for interior designers and do-it-yourselfers seeking to find the finest in home decorating and “unsexy things that make a home work.”
While stores on the Upper East Side and Upper West Side offer a wide range of items — including fine towels and linens, gadgets for the home chef, beautiful tableware and glassware, and lamps and draperies, the 25th Street store specializes in gorgeous bathroom and kitchen fixtures.
Shop here for everything you need to complete a bathroom or kitchen, from splendid tubs in all shapes and unusual showerheads to graceful faucets and beautifully designed towel racks.
Fine Furniture Collections
11 West 25th Street, Floor 3
CFA Designs prides itself on having unique collections especially selected for the architecture and interior design communities as well as the residential homeowner. Collections offered include those for bathrooms, beds, doors, furniture, kitchens, lighting, wardrobes, and appliances/fixtures.
After many successful years assisting the most sophisticated clientele in the architecture, interior design, and real estate development communities on behalf of well-established Italian manufacturers, Cinzia Fama Agnolucci founded CFA Designs in the spring of 2009. CFA Designs is the natural offshoot of Cinzia’s passion for design, pursuit of the finest brands, and extensive industry knowledge.
CFA Designs offers not only superb collections to choose from, but complete project design and management from start to finish. The company believes that beautiful design requires research, study, time, knowledge, patience, vision, resilience, and much more. From client consultation and project analysis, through field verification, shipping coordination and punch-list follow-up, CFA gives clients the confidence of knowing their projects will meet expectations.
The list could go on and on. We haven’t even touched on the numerous Persian and Oriental rug dealers in the area or the equally large number of wood floor specialty showrooms, such as Architectural Flooring Resource and Janos P. Spitzer Flooring Company. Nor have we attempted to list the many antique shops and retro furniture stores.