HOC caught up with Michael Kirchmann, CEO of GDSNY, and was totally blown away by his commitment to quality, innovation and authenticity with every single project that his real estate and design consultancy firm births. GDSNY is comprised of real estate development, real-estate e-commerce, architecture, brand communications, art, sustainability and strategic planning. Check out the dialogue that we had with Michael about his latest project building luxury condominiums in the heart of the artistic and historically rich environment of Soho, NY, 25 Mercer. And learn how a world renowned architect and visionary plans to incorporate celebrating the past while embracing the future simultaneously, keeping authenticity at the helm of it all.
HOC: What is the brand philosophy behind GDSNY?
MICHAEL: “At the core of our practice is design excellence. And this is driven by our pursuit of quality and innovation. To empower that process, we take an integrated approach across a broad range of disciplines on every project we encounter. GDSNY was founded with the philosophy of servicing our clients on many design platforms from architecture, digital, graphic design, art to industrial design. For our team the end goal is always the same – produce a great product. We are motivated by excellence, which is why we work with the best, whether it be our clients, partners or artist. For us design excellence and quality go hand and hand.”
HOC: How did this architectural project, 25 Mercer come about?
MICHAEL: “SoHo has an incredibly rich artistic heritage with iconic cast iron architecture. There are only about 250 cast iron buildings left in the world, so the opportunity to work with this building in particular was exceptional. SoHo is also the home for many of the artists that we have worked with over the past 20 years, on international projects in the United States, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, and of course, in New York, so it was an opportunity to engage the community on a new level.”
HOC: Did you have the rich history of the fashion designers and art influencers that contributed to the culture of the environment where the luxury condominiums will be planted in mind since the inception of the idea or were you compelled to keep the authenticity of the culture involved after learning more about its history?
MICHAEL: “The building is steeped in a century of rich history, particularly with artists and performers over the past 40 years. GDSNY saw it as an opportunity to embrace that history, and provide a platform to move that story to a new chapter.”
HOC: How did you go about selecting the array of artists: graphic artist Shantell Martin, laser light artist Mathew Schreiber, ballerina Kathryn Boren and photographers Roy Rochlin and Nigel Barker to inscribe their art in the foundation of your design concepts?
MICHAEL: “Again excellence and quality were key. These artists are leaders in their fields. Diversity of artistic medium was also a driving factor, as each of these artists brings a completely unique interpretation of their work to the building, from graphic art, to performance, to photography, to fashion, to light art and lasers. This in turn allowed the building to show its diversity and flexibility as a curated space.”
HOC: Which installation has been your favorite and why?
MICHAEL: “I really love them all, as they are so different from each other. The uniqueness of each installation and the creative talent we had the pleasure of collaborating with is what has made this project most exciting.”
HOC: What other artists can we expect to install their art in the fabrics of your design in the future? If artists that are reading this right now want to contribute, who do they reach out to? Are you open to including artists that may not be celebrated just yet because they have not been exposed to the world?
MICHAEL: “Our next collaboration is in production and all I can say at this point is that it certainly be a unique and innovative event. We strive to incorporate artists and other collaborators, both established and emerging, in most of our work and are particularly interested in thought leadership, and innovation. That’s one of the best parts of our job, we are always working alongside brilliant people.”
HOC: Which artists have inspired your design concepts and why?
MICHAEL: “We are inspired every day by a wide range of artists, but particularly those that have the ability to influence architecture either through scale, perception or experience.”
HOC: How would you define whether or not this design project is successful?
MICHAEL: “If this project inspires someone and allows them to rethink the way they see buildings and ideas, then we’ve done our job. Personally, walking the streets of New York is a daily inspiration and to be a part of something that contributes to that creative energy is an honor.”
HOC: What role does authenticity play in your field of work?
MICHAEL: “Authenticity is essential. In everything we do. At 25 Mercer we retained as many of the original details as possible. We re-purposed and restored the original beams, cast iron columns and steal shutters, amongst other features, to ensure we maintained the original beauty and integrity of the building.”
HOC: What is your personal definition of success?
MICHAEL: “For me having the ability to work with the top creative and technical talents across many industries to produce something unexpected and exceptional is the most rewarding part of this.”
HOC: What is the heart of cool to you? What is the major ingredient of creating that “cool factor”?
MICHAEL: “For me, cool ideas push conventional boundaries to produce something exceptional, better, unconventional; to set that idea apart. Cool ideas should also be timeless but at the same time have the ability to adapt to changing times. Most importantly, cool ideas should be simple.”
💜Love & Light🌞,