New York, NY: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) celebrates the opening of Baccarat Hotel & Residences, a striking glass tower in Midtown Manhattan. The firm served as the architect for the 347,000-gross-square-foot building, located on 53rd Street between 5th and 6th Avenue in New York City.
SOM was tasked with designing a destination that embodied the elegance and artistry of the luxury crystal brand founded by King Louis XV more than 250 years ago. Like a honed piece of exquisite glassware, Baccarat Hotel & Residences distinguishes itself within its surroundings through its formal restraint and focus on detail.
“This project signals our commitment to creating a design that simultaneously reflects Baccarat’s distinctive legacy while feeling at home within its dense, urban context,” stated SOM Design Partner Gary Haney. “Moreover, the tower demonstrates SOM’s tradition of producing elegant and refined buildings that will stand the test of time.”
From the exterior, Baccarat Hotel & Residences is a study in contrast. The tower’s 605-foot-tall east and west elevations—the main structural components of the tower—are sheathed in faceted, jet black aluminum panels, referencing the austerity and minimalism of its neighbor, Edward Durell Stone’s landmark MoMA building. Like a geode, these solid, matte surfaces frame the dazzling, reflective north and south facades. Clad with crystal-clear glass, these surfaces evoke Baccarat’s long history of decorative arts. With varying light and sky conditions, these large glazed expanses appear organic and lively.
The play of light and material continues at ground level. The tower’s podium is composed of prismatic glass fins arranged in rhythmic, vertical configuration. Throughout the day, these fins reflect one another, creating a dynamic interplay of light and color. Three canopied bronze portals are cut into this surface, providing separate entrances to the residences, hotel, and restaurant. At night, illuminated from within, the podium glows like a chandelier.
Within, the 50-story structure contains three distinct programmatic elements that are stacked vertically above one other: a public library, located on the ground floor and one level below, a 9-story luxury hotel within the tower’s podium, and condominiums above on floors 18-49.
Paris-based Gilles & Boissier designed the hotel’s 114 guestrooms and suites, and Ingrao Inc. served as the interior designer for the 60 residences. Rooms throughout Baccarat Hotel & Residences New York command outstanding views of Manhattan landmarks including Central Park and the Empire State Building. Beyond the aesthetic benefits, the floor-to-ceiling glass provides abundant natural light, reducing the need for artificial fixtures. Both guests and residents have access to the Bar, Grand Salon, Chevalier Restuarant, and the first Spa de La Mer, all located within the tower’s podium. Enrique Norten and TEN Arquitectos served as the designers for the reimagined 28,000-square-foot 53rd Street Library, a branch of the New York Public Library housed within Baccarat’s base. The library is accessed by its own entrance on the eastern corner of the building. Working with each of these designers, SOM has shaped a building that accommodates an incredibly diverse program while reflecting the exacting standards and attention to detail of Baccarat.
About Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) is one of the leading architecture, interior design, engineering, and urban planning firms in the world, with a 75-year reputation for design excellence and a portfolio that includes some of the most important architectural accomplishments of the 20th and 21st centuries. Since its inception, SOM has been a leader in the research and development of specialized technologies, new processes and innovative ideas, many of which have had a palpable and lasting impact on the design profession and the physical environment. The firm’s longstanding leadership in design and building technology has been honored with more than 1,700 awards for quality, innovation, and management. The American Institute of Architects has recognized SOM twice with its highest honor, the Architecture Firm Award — in 1962 and again in 1996. The firm maintains offices in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Mumbai, and Abu Dhabi.