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First Interior Designs Announced for 550 Madison

The Olayan Group has released the first details of the interior revitalization of 550 Madison, Philip Johnson and John Burgee’s famous Postmodern icon that is being brought back to life as a boutique luxury office tower.

Recognized around the world for its distinctive architecture, 550 Madison is on track to open in late 2020 as a multi-tenant building for the first time. The interior renovation, which is now more than 50 percent complete, will create state-of-the-art trophy office tower providing a model for historical and sustainable adaptive reuse as the only LEED Platinum and WELL Gold certified building in the city’s Plaza District.

“There is nothing like 550 Madison in New York, a truly unique opportunity to work in a global architectural icon with all of the benefits of modern new construction and stunning river-to-river views,” said Erik Horvat, managing director of real estate at Olayan America. “From the ground-floor lobby and proposed public garden to the iconic Chippendale top, we are honoring 550 Madison’s legacy and ensuring its future. We cannot wait to introduce Olayan’s brand of boutique luxury hospitality for commercial tenants to New York next year.”

Just-released renderings reveal the new ground-floor lobby design by Philippe Paré, design principal of Gensler.  “The overall approach for the lobby design is grounded in a respect for and deference to the original Philip Johnson John Burgee design,” said Paré. “In reimagining the space, we sought out the essence of the original lobby. The lobby’s volume and spatial proportions are maintained in their simplest, most basic form and we see the results as a powerful expression of the building’s character.” 

The lobby connects to the proposed new garden designed by Snohetta and is key to modernizing 550 Madison. Notably, the lobby includes a window through to the garden at the rear of the building, signaling to passersby on Madison Avenue that there is a beautiful green oasis open to the public.

Olayan also announced that the 30-by-29-foot murals by renowned artist Dorothea Rockburne will be preserved and on display.  Commissioned and installed in 1994 by former building owner Sony, the murals will remain in their original location in the sky lobby located seven stories above the ground level. 

“These murals -- Southern Sky and Northern Sky -- were conceived and designed specifically for this space at 550 Madison, and I am thrilled that they will be preserved and integrated into its future,” said Rockburne.  “Olayan’s plans will ensure my works are exposed to even more people for generations to come.”

Plans for 550 Madison build on Olayan’s experience preserving and reviving historic properties for the 21st century.  These include the Knightsbridge Estate in central London, 50 Avenue Montaigne in the 8th arrondissement of Paris and the historic Ritz Hotel in Madrid.