Standing in the three-bedroom model apartment on the 36th floor of the Baccarat Residences, just off Fifth Avenue on 53rd Street, one has the sense of being inside a large and elaborate music box.
Like the Skidmore Owings & Merrill-conceived building’s other 59 units, the apartment owes its interior design to Tony Ingrao. The model’s furnishing—a tribute to the spirit of the 250-year-old French crystal brand—comes courtesy of decorator Stephen Sills.
Signature chandeliers small and large in deep blue and clear glass hang overhead, made, naturally, from Baccarat’s very own wares. Illuminated below are walls papered in dark bronze, and a matching modernist bench wearing textured white linen. The living room holds Louis the XV chairs and walls that shimmer gold. Those unmoved by frippery will be drawn first to floor-to-ceiling windows to look northwest, out over the Park and the Upper West Side, all the way to the George Washington Bridge.
The kitchen continues a funhouse parade of reflective surfaces that appear in every apartment: glass, brushed and polished nickel, iceberg granite slab. White Lido marble on a grand scale in the master bath creates, in combination with the room’s natural light, a blinding, frosted brilliance suggesting the lair of a very fortunate Eskimo queen.
But aside from flashes of Baccarat crystal in chandeliers, wall sconces and doorknobs, the condos, with their marble and six-inch white oak flooring, rain jet showers and stainless steel finishes hue fairly close to the script for modern luxe ground-up development. The Residences are New York’s first condo and hotel project from the French crystal company, which was acquired by Starwood in 2005. Due for completion in August, the condos are already more than 60 percent sold, to a group one sales rep said included “a surprising number of domestic buyers.” (A recent story in New York on wealthy foreigners’ increasing use of New York real estate as an investment vehicle noted the Baccarat’s aggressive overseas marketing campaign.) But New Yorkers who take their Sunday brunch with sparklers, techno and champagne can still get a place like the model unit for between $9.5 and $10.5 million—or a penthouse duplex, for $60 million.