May 24, 2022 / Interiors
Nassau Street Loft No. 2 by Light and Air

Nassau Street Loft No. 2 is a minimal apartment located in New York, New York, designed by Light and Air. Located in Manhattan’s financial district, this project occupies 140 Nassau’s most southern corner on the 12th floor. Two exterior walls with multiple southeast and southwest exposures allow for significant natural light and impressive views of lower Manhattan. But the existing conditions stifled the unit’s access to light and air. The space featured a low-hanging storage loft that hovered over the entry and a sprawling closet that loudly commanded the center of the space, disrupting any potential for meaningful visual connections.

The goal was to maintain the functionality of the storage loft while creating a more generous entry and rethinking the programming and materiality of the loft in its entirety. The strategy took the shape of an open loft design with minimal partitions and reducing the existing material complexity through a more straightforward approach. Additionally, in order to accommodate the need for storage and for visual privacy, the architects replaced the sprawling closet with a dynamic, sculptural composition that would simultaneously serve the client’s functional and spatial needs in a novel way.

This newly-introduced assemblage of individual parts, differentiated by shape and material – is more closely related to art than it is to architecture – referencing the likes of Joel Shapiro and Tony Smith – exuding a feeling of weightlessness and dynamism that expands beyond traditional utility. In plan, the architecture is almost invisible, claiming only a small area of space at the apartment’s entry. But as one moves in and around the different elements (some floating effortlessly off the ground), its functional variety and formal character become more readily apparent. Open shelving facilitates the transmission of light across the apartment, and custom desks accommodate the post pandemic need for working from home. The material warmth serves as a counterpoint to the bright, coolly lit interior, offering a more inviting focal point – a new center of inertia for the life that surrounds it.