“This is an interesting part of town, because we’re in a congested, urban, commercial district, full of hustle and bustle,” Sandi Pei said, standing inside the penthouse of the Centurion last Thursday evening. “And yet we wanted to create a sense of calm and ease when you entered the building, make it a refuge.”
Part of the appeal of living of New York is its inherent energy and vibrancy, but all that action can be wearying—especially if you happen to call the middle of Midtown home. It was this tension, between the hustle and bustle outside and the calm within, that inspired Mr. Pei and his father, the Pritzker Prize winner I.M. Pei as they designed the Centurion, right in the middle of Manhattan at 33 West 56th Street. One need only step into the quiet, nearly romantically lit lobby to feel the city melt away. (This is no PR b.s.: this is truly one of the nicest, most embracing lobbies The Observer has ever set foot in, like warm blanket of marble and mood lighting.)
The building has seen respectable sales, since it came on the market in 2009, but 13 of the 39 units remain available, including the three penthouses. To help push sales along, and demonstrate the true potential of the spaces, which currently sit bare, the developer contracted Sandi Pei’s firm, Pei Partnership, to design two sets of interiors for the penthouses, which range in price from $12.3 million to $14.5 million. All three can be had for $39 million, to create a zen-like triplex spanning some 9,098 square feet.