- New York 2000
- New York Times: Feb 2001
- New York Times: Jan 14, 2001
- New York Times: Jan 28, 2001
- The Radar Design
- Real Estate Weekly
- Villager: Jan 2001
- Villager: Feb 2005
Our team will work to help bring your development to life. Understanding your real estate development needs in our business. We will not only help you secure financing but also provide expertise in master planning, site evalution, zoning and much more.
The HABITABLE SCULPTURE brand also means quality and beauty. Our services are inspired creating a nexus between art and architecture to develop distinctive and environmentally conscientious residential and commerical properties.
Let us work with you meet your real estate goals by leveraging our expertise to ensure your success.
Genesis of "The Habitable Sculpture"
In the spring of 2000, Antonio Vendome requested proposals from a select number of New York
architects to design "something different and Beautiful" for his first development project on a
residential site in West Soho. The most distinctive design, inspired by a John Chamberlain sculpture,
was submitted by Philip Johnson and Alan Ritchie.
Their initial drawings interpreted the twisted steel
Chamberlain abstraction as tubular or cubist
sculptures. Each of these concepts was then
developed into a 12" model, with the tubular option
fabricated from aluminum foil and the cubist one
made from clay. The models were first presented to Mr. Vendome on
May 16 with Philip Johnson's comment "You have to
know I am an artist .... I create sculpture and art. Are
you ready to leave now?" Mr. Vendome knew he had
found his architect. With a clear preference for the
multi-planed or faceted cubist model, he set in
motion a collaborative process of design
development during which he and Mr. Johnson
formed a warm personal relationship.
Given the possibility to develop and expand on the
interrelationship of architecture and sculpture, Antonio
Vendome and Philip Johnson looked at a variety of
sources. Cubist sculpture, expressed originally by
Picasso and Braque, can be seen as the primary
inspiration; Johnson then looked at the way
geometric forms have been used in more recent sculptures by contemporary artists such as
Frank Stella and John Chamberlain whose twisted steel abstraction was the principle point
of departure for the new building. Consequently, Mr. Johnson brought to the Vendome
project the keen intellectual awareness of the work of other artists which he has shown
throughout his career. However, the new building is far from derivative; Johnson created
a new concept in architecture in which a building is first conceived as a work of
sculpture and then divided into units. "
The exterior treatment of the Soho building incorporates a variety of architectural and
decorative details specific to the context of the neighborhood for which it had been
designed. These details, which were agreed upon at a meeting on September 6, 2000,
include a turn of the century brick facade, and double hung windows evocative of those
seen in other buildings throughout the West Soho neighborhood. A color rendering of the
facade details, which Mr. Johnson likens to "a handful of urban wild flowers" was first
presented to the public at a meeting of the Friends of Hudson Square on December 19. The birth of the idea that art can be lived in evolved from Mr. Johnson's
initial discussions with Mr. Vendome who has
copyrighted the design dimensions. He plans to
build the signature structure in a limited number
of no more than ten buildings on different sites
worldwide, five in North America and five
overseas. While the sculptural form of these
buildings will always retain the underlying
Johnson / Ritchie design, each building will be
unique because the exterior details of the 27
storied facade can be varied to reflect the cultural
and architectural heritage and context of each
The concept as articulated in the
Vendome project, is unique and may be viewed in
time as the crowning achievement of Philip
Johnson's long and varied career. Mr. Johnson
has brought to this project the encyclopedic
knowledge and understanding of previous styles
of architecture and art that he had assimilated
throughout his career; Just as Johnson was a
seminal force in the conception and realization of
post modem architecture, he may be viewed, in
time, as the founder of a new way or vision of
realizing architecture - a concept in which
sculpture and habitable space are brought
together to create an original work of art in which
functional aspects are uniquely blended with a true sculptural or "artistic" vision. While most
buildings are defined by the pragmatic needs of a specific site, and the architect's vision is
ultimately adopted to embrace those needs, the "HABITABLE SCULPTURE" are primarily works of
art. The only alterations which will be possible to its design will be to its exterior, its skin.
Color, window design and other exterior details can be changed to suit the needs of a
specific site, but the underlying sculptural form will always remain immutable.
For this reason, both Antonio Vendome and Philip Johnson refused to lower the structure
when asked to do so by members of the Soho community. A lower building would alter
the sculptural concept and design.
Consequently, a site would have to be found to accommodate the building, rather than sanctioning a building altered in form to accommodate the needs of a specific site, which would, in turn, compromise the artistic vision of the architect. Each building in the Vendome project will contain 50 residential units, each with a different floor plan. The units will be marketed as individual works of art and will be designated by number and city on a proprietary plaque with Philip Johnson's engraved signature which will read: "ALL ARCHITECTURE IS SCULPTURE BUT NO SCULPTURE HAS, UNTIL NOW, BEEN HABITABLE. COMMISSIONED BY ANTONIO VENDOME AND DESIGNED BY PHILIP JOHNSON AND ALAN RITCHIE."