Appliances: Making Rooms
The sixth floor of Midtown Manhattan’s Architects & Designers (A&D) Building was still under construction when visited in late February, but by the end of May, the expanses of freshly poured concrete will be covered with model bedrooms, dining rooms, kitchens, closets, and other living spaces from Poliform USA. The importer and distributor of Italian furniture, and longtime tenant of the A&D Building, pounced on the chance to claim the floor and centralize its operation. Instead of continuing to display its offerings in three separate showrooms in the 39-story structure (A&D tenants occupy the first 12 floors), Poliform USA will operate solely from the new 17,500-square-foot space, which is scheduled to open May 22. “We want to make a statement with our presence in the A&D Building,” says Antonella Cremonesi, marketing manager for Poliform USA. “No one else in the building has a whole floor.”
Even before gaining an entire floor, Poliform USA, like the building’s other 30 or so furnishings and appliances businesses, had what was for Manhattan an unusually large forum in which to display its merchandise. Most parcels in the A&D Building, which is owned by Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, exceed 2,000 square feet, allowing a company to present its wares and services in the context of an enticing finished kitchen, bedroom, or bathroom. Although it primarily serves interior designers, architects, and others in the trade, the 37-year-old A&D Building is the only such establishment in Manhattan that also is open to the public. “People like the experience of going into the showroom, talking about what they see with an architect or an interior designer, and then saying, ‘Go buy it for me,’ ” says Katherine Flaherty, vice president for building products and special projects for Merchandise Mart.
The last two years’ moves have kept the A&D Building’s stewards busy. The German kitchen company SieMatic refurbished its eighth-floor showroom and reopened it in November, and since last September, Pedini Cucine, an Italian kitchen company, and Hastings Tile & Bath have set up shop on the 10th floor, which now houses kitchen and bath companies exclusively. Allmilmö, a German kitchen company, also opened a showroom on the 10th floor, marking its return to the A&D Building after a nine-year absence.
One space remained vacant in late February; it had been leased, but the then-unidentified tenant had yet to move in. Whoever it is likely has found its neighbors to be pleasant, says Linda Foa, the A&D Building’s marketing director. “A lot of the businesses are competitors, but if one doesn’t have something, they think nothing of referring someone to a competitor,” she says. “They’re a friendly group.”
The refurbished and reopened eighth-floor SieMatic showroom is one of the many recent developments at Manhattan’s A&D Building.