Creative Process

Think Of It As A Movie of Your Life

Forget bricks and mortar. Forget steel columns. Nothing beautiful and iconic begins that way. Rather, a building begins as a dream. “I think of a building as a character,” says Narinder Singh Sagoo, architect and art director at Foster + Partners. “You have a relationship with that character. It isn’t really a building at all.” A partner at Foster + Partners, Mr. Sagoo was the youngest associate hired by the architectural firm at the age of 24. As a member of the Design Board, he oversees all the design and architectural projects in the practice. For The One, he was deeply involved in its conception through discussions with Sam Mizrahi, founder and principal of Mizrahi Developments.

In thinking about the character of The One, he imagined a movie. And in that movie were scenes of your life, living in that tower, a skin of glass between you and the energy of the city. On an idea wall in the open studio of Foster + Partners in London, England, Mr. Sagoo and his team of designers and architects created an idea wall. On it, they pinned images of Daniel Craig as James Bond. There were fashion spreads from Tom Ford. Also: intricate details from the dashboard of an Alfa Romeo. The team used a sequence of fashion and cinematic images to articulate the character of The One tower: how it would make you feel, in what mood it would envelop you.

Together with Mr. Mizrahi, Giles Robinson and William Gordon, two of the lead architects on the project, The One came to life in their imaginations. Drawing, executed by hand and later translated with technological tools, expressed the feeling of living there. One scene features a bench situated at the edge of the vast glass expanse in a residence. The ceiling height is 9-11 ft, and the glass creates the feeling of exposure to the beauty of the city. There is a book on the bench. You can imagine yourself sitting there, the side of your body next to the glass, on the edge, as if on a cliff, reading your book, engrossed in its world, secure in your cocoon, but thrilled by the energy of the city on the other side of the transparent divide. It is this magical juxtaposition of private and public, security and exposure, aloneness and community, that informed the thinking of The One.

The opportunity to live here is unlike any other in the city. This is a tower imagined with courage and verve. It is not ordinary. Not in the way it came to be; and not in the way it will feel.  The One only comes along once.