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A brunette model with a sweeping black evening gown strides across a vast living room with floor-to-ceiling windows and views of Central Park's entire expanse. She unnecessarily powders her nose and then heads downstairs in an elevator - from the 90th floor - to an awaiting Town Car. The soundtrack is pulse-quickening classical. 

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This promotional film was shown Wednesday morning at the sales gallery for ONE57 – 
Pritzker Prize-winning architect Christian de Portzamparc's 90-story luxury residence tower currently under construction at 57th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues, set to open in the second half of 2013. (The first 30-odd floors will be a Park Hyatt New York hotel, with interiors designed by Yabu Pushelberg). When complete, the building is slated to steal the "tallest residential tower in New York City" title from New York by Gehry.

At the sales gallery (a few blocks away from ONE57 at the Fuller Building on East 57th Street), de Portzamparc, residential interior designer Thomas Juul-Hansen, and Extell Development Company President Gary Barnett discussed the design and gave visitors a chance to see somewhat of a model apartment, replete with built-in tropical fish tanks in the library, two kitchens, and marble bathrooms.

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A model of ONE57 (lit up) showing its placement at the southern end of Central Park. The building's promotional materials boast that it will provide "the longest south to north views of Central Park ever offered in private residences."

"A lot of developers choose to use 'starchitects' because they're going for a special permit," said Barnett, and the city has made it clear that signature architecture is important. While Extell wasn't seeking such a permit, the company did want to "contribute to the fabric of the city," he said.

Portzamparc's glass-walled, stepped-back tower has few exterior details, except for some rippled panes near the base that are meant to a waterfall. Portzamparc described his "landmark" building as "talking to" Central Park, with a clear stance in the city's grid. He likened its pixelated facade to Gustav Klimt's paintings and the entire completed design to Alberto Giacometti's sculptures. "They are always walking towards a destination."

Interiors were designed with international clients in mind, said Juul-Hansen, with a "high level of craft." (One of two penthouses is reportedly going for $98 million.) "It was very important that the sizes of the rooms were proportioned correctly," said Juul-Hansen. In a 3,200-square-foot apartment, for example, instead of five "Mickey Mouse bedrooms," these apartments will have three spacious ones.

According to Barnett, over 30 percent of the unbuilt units have sold in two months since sales opened and "a fair amount are signed."

Other facts:
  • 95 condo residences, ranging in size from 1,021 square feet to 13,554 square feet
  • 210-room Park Hyatt hotel at the base
  • Condos begin on the 39th floor
  • Library with a 24-foot-long aquarium
  • Fitness center and yoga studio
  • Residences will have access to the hotel health club and spa, including triple height indoor swimming pool

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There's that evening gown!

All renderings courtesy Extell Development Company
Photo by Laura Raskin