Hey Baby, wanna go back to my POD and…


Manhattan is a funny real estate market. Usually ahead of the curve on real estate phenomena that later become standard in smaller markets, the New York market is currently spearheading a trend in kitchens that, in many ways, seems to reverse another longstanding trend in kitchen design (that also probably started in New York…)

I’m talking about the “high-end-everything,” “industrial-Thermador-this” and “Viking-Range-that” phenonmenon. Ya know, the one that allows the six and seven figure dual-income households (who seldom cook) to rest assured knowing that — when the caterers come — they can make it look like the Gazpacho and Branzino were whipped up right in the couple’s kitchen.

For years, the industrial aesthetic that these appliances featured — usually coupled with exotic granites and Italian glass tiles — heralded that the kitchen was a place of honor and beauty. But a recent trend in New York seems to be closing the door (quite literally) on the developer’s love affair with the kitchen.

Recent projects in Manhattan, most notably Jade Jagger’s “Jade” project in Chelsea, have taken the attitude that dishwashers, ranges and sinks are not items whose presence should be celebrated in the Manhattan condo. In fact, they should be hidden from view, when guests arrive. To that end, kitchens and (many) bathrooms at Jade are built back to back and feature wraparound doors, which — when closed — box both rooms off in smooth, lacquered panels. These core elements, called “Pods” at Jade, are reminiscent of the jewelry boxes for which Jade is well known. As she notes, “The beauty… (of the pod)… is that, when you close it, it is clean and finished. It is quite a beautiful object in the center of the room, …”

Jade is not the only project in Manhattan that’s boxing up the kitchen, though. Previously, I wrote about The William Beaver House, which — similar to the Pods at Jade — feature “attache kitchens,” which have panelized systems covering the kitchen from view. Just last week, as well, I toured Core Development’s Legacy project on the Upper East Side and — in their model condominium — they too had boxed out the kitchen as a discrete, cubist mass with retractable sliding door elements. Not literally a “pod” but a first cousin,in terms of spatial form. (The model at The Legacy, by the way, was gorgeous…)

So, will New York “pods” be showing up in other urban markets anytime soon? (Or, have they already?) I’m not aware of any making their way to Philadelphia yet, but, it does seem to complement the modernist “luxe loft” concept that champions clean lines in (sometimes) tight living spaces…

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