One of my favourite views in New York was looking down Park Avenue from the MetLife Building – oh lucky man. My NY correspondent, PJ Leher took a photograph looking up Park, with The Lever House building prominent. Out came my paint brush.
Lever House built for the Lever Soap built in the International style. It made its presence felt in 1948, completed in 1952. All glass and steel, its appearance caused a rumpus amongst its neighbours in their fine residential masonry!
Sadly 30 year later its brilliant blue glass had deteriorated due to the harsh New York weather and some of the steel began to rust. The building expanded and contracted and popped; by the mid-1990's only one per cent of its original glass remained.
Towards the end of the 1990's enter a team of real estate magnates, lawyers and $25 million dollars to do the place up. New technology and energy codes made the building tip top and shiny-new again.
Oh and they shelled out on marble benches, adding Isamu Noguchi sculpture garden to the building's plaza.
Result, blue loveliness again and its plaza and lobby have been used as a gallery for the Lever House art collection which includes a Damien Hirst. Tom Sach’s Hello Kitty and Miffy sculptures are also displayed in the plaza, which presumably attached PJ to visit in the first place.