By Bonnie Downing
Inspired by the glittering new Baccarat Hotel & Residences, and a city set aglow by the annual phenomenon of light known as “Manhattanhenge,” we take a look at all that glimmers.
Fifty stories of prismatic glass now shimmer across the street from MOMA. The facade of the Baccarat Hotel & Residences, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, is an instant landmark. Inside, crystal elements and ruby chandeliers glimmer against lavish mica ceilings, pleated silk walls, and silver-leafed wood paneling. Gilles & Boissier of Paris imbued furniture and interiors with an almost otherworldly luxury.
Architecture’s essential alchemy of light is presented at exhibits opening both uptown on museum mile and at a downtown gallery. Fashion seems to be savoring these last moments before baring all for the beach. Weighty accessories gleam with extravagant sparkle and an evocative new fragrance, counter-intuitive for this season, lightens up our sense of oud.
“Make a painting in which the color comes out only under a certain light at a certain time of day. Make it a very short time,” wrote Yoko Ono in Grapefruit (1959), her recently rereleased art book. As golden hour lengthens, the early-summer sun moves slowly over Manhattan, illuminating bright ideas in art and culture. Capture the light while it lasts.
When the sunset aligns with Manhattan’s grid, molten light melts into every cross street. Witness Manhattanhenge Friday May 29 8:12 pm & Saturday May 30, 8:12 pm.
Sip signature cocktails served in charmingly mismatched, vintage crystal stemware, on a terrace overlooking the Museum of Modern Art. The La Vie en Rose combines Lillet Rose, Citadelle Gin, fresh grapefruit juice, Campari, Ruinart Rose Champagne. La Boissons at the Baccarat Hotel & Residences, 20 West 53rd Street.
“Build a house with walls that come into existence only with the particular prism effect created by sunset,” Yoko Ono wrote in her book of art experiments, eleven years in the making. Suggestions such as, “Go to the middle of Central Park Pond and drop all your jeweleries,” evoke a life lit by lark and whimsy. Grapefruit (1959), signed limited edition ($750) MOMA Store.
Architect and artist Frederick Kiesler (1890-1965) began plans for Endless House in the 1920s. Designed to allow light into every corner as the sun moved through the sky, the dwelling would have been a perfect expression of correalism, his philosophy of the space between artistic creativity, technology, and nature. End-less House occupied Kiesler’s mind for decades but was never built. Sketches, plans and photographs of models—the ephemera of an architectural obsession—go on display in Intersections of Art and Architecture. Opens June 27 at MOMA.
Houses and light also haunt the dreams of Dusseldorf artist Ste-fan Kurten. Large-scale paintings like “Top of the World,” juxtapose lush nature and modern architecture. Running to Stand Still opens May 30 at Alexander and Bonin, 132 Tenth Avenue, New York.
Some dream houses do get built. Visit Philip Johnson’s master work of light and landscape, The Glass House, in New Canaan, CT. Spend a sunny afternoon at a lawn party to benefit preservation of this National Historic Landmark. The Glass House Annual Summer Party at Bedford Post Inn, Saturday June 13th 12 – 4pm
Convictions in love and political ideology shift in and out of shadow in David Hare’s TONY winner, Skylight. Carey Mulligan and Bill Nighy shine under a desolate lighting design by Nathasha Katz. At the Jonathan Golden Theater.
Ethereal Cosmo Star Lamp ($4,000), by ABC co-create x Catellani and Smith, projects ethereal rings iridescent, ringed glow. (abchome.com)
A party’s afterglow is made permanent with inlaid-brass rings in walnut plywood pressed concrete. Shard Cocktail Table (price upon request), by Noble Goods, a husband and wife, Brooklyn design team (noblegoods.com).
Want to avoid rings? Handmade resin coasters by Fish Design ($12), at Barneys.
Light-reactive gloss gives glass a shifting, iridescence. Shimmer Table ($2,200), by Patrica Urquiola ($2,200), at the MOMA Store.
Rose-tinged and smoky, the new fragrance created by Alberto Morilles in collaboration with Aedes de Venustas, was inspired by light glowing through polished rosewood. Crystal-clear ambrette and misty cinnamon notes make this a singular oud and a savvy early-summer choice. Palissandre d’Or: ($245), at Aades de Venustas.
Keep the sunset going with gold and ruby-toned shades. Crystalembellished metal mirrored sunglasses ($465), at Fendi.
Oversized statement necklace embodies light with weight. Gold and silver-toned Swarovski crystal necklace by Lanvin ($1785).
An unexpected pearl brings subtle glow to burgundy suede, embellished platform sandals by Nicholas Kirkwood ($795) at Bergdorf Goodman.
An architectural heel and blue-crystal grommets make these sandals stand out. Embellished metallic leather sandals by MiuMiu ($995).