Most of us will never own a $36,000 gold-plated La Cornue oven, a $3,000 fully plumbed Miele espresso wall system, a $1,999 Smeg refrigerator in Pepto Bismol pink (Martha Stewart’s favorite color) or choose between red leather and solid quartz for our kitchen cabinetry. But thanks to the 14 luxury kitchen showrooms of the Architects and Designers Building on East 58th Street-open 9 to 5 each weekday-we can live as if we do, if only for an afternoon.
The city is home to three interior design centers geared to architects, contractors and other pros, but the A&D Building, as it’s called, is the only one open to the public. (By public, we mean you, me and Beyoncé, who lives in nearby One Beacon Court and has been known to make an appearance.) Beyond a few ordinary offices, the building houses 12 floors of super-fabulous, seasonally changing showrooms-200,000 square feet of fabulousness in all.
Those are shared by top-of-the-line appliance producers like Sub-Zero, Smeg, Wolf, GE Monogram and Miele, but also home design companies with names that mean a lot to those who have the money to know: Clive Christian from the UK; Germany’s SieMatic; or Arclinea, Poliform and Boffi, all from Italy. A few high-end carpet makers, lighting gurus and flooring wizards show their wares, too.
In other words, unless you happen to know Beyoncé well enough to be invited over, this is likely the only place you’ll see electrical outlets that pop up with one touch from a stainless steel breakfast island that comes with its own pot warmers, or a kitchen made entirely-sink, counters, cabinets, floors and all-of German stone.
Celebrity chefs often book these kitchens for private classes or events; don’t miss the 17,500-square-foot party space maintained by Sub-Zero/Wolf. Along with $40,000 refrigerators and a kitchen island the length of a limo, it features green leather banquets, a curving glass bar in the shape of a snake and free lunches every Tuesday. If you’re deemed worthy of a spot on their mailing list, that is.
Photo credit: Michael Harlan Turkell