Culture Clash 

The 121 E 22nd Street condominium project is located on the border of two distinct neighborhoods. The structure is situated between the natural domestic beauty of Gramercy Park and the distinctly urban character of the Madison Square Neighborhood. The building façade, conceptualized by Shohei Shigematsu of OMA New York, is a study in contrasts. A rigorously orthogonal grid of “New York Deco” inspired windows clashes with a tessellated organic geometry to create a dynamic expressive hybrid. This context of contrasts became INC’s primary inspiration in the development of the project interiors. Highly polished, abstract materials like mirror, black glass and satin lacquer are juxtaposed with very rough or active materials like figured marbles and concrete plaster. The slick and minimal cohabitate with the tactile and textured. Dark surfaces give way to light. The decorative elements throughout follow a similar logic with contrasts of softness, hardness, faceted forms, and curvaceous ones. OMA’s design idiom is rooted in 1970s & 80s Neo-modernism. This era was characterized by a hopeful, heroic, and even cheerful modernism that feels relevant and necessary today. Many of the objects, decorative elements, and colors owe a nostalgic debit to this era with soft colors, playful graphic forms, and a dynamic collection of highly idiosyncratic elements.