AD PRO Visits Stephanie Goto's Rooftop Jewel-Box Workspace

Mitchell Owens

Ask Stephanie Goto about her work, and the Manhattan designer talks ingredients. “There’s not one way to understand a material,” she says, pointing out a shiny black table in her rooftop studio on Union Square. Created by design star Max Lamb and used for meetings as well as dinners courtesy of star chefs, the chunky piece seems hewn out of volcanic stone. But it turns out to be featherweight, rubber-coated polystyrene, a revelation that surprises, much like Goto’s projects for the art world (Hauser & Wirth, the Calder Foundation), restaurants (Aldea, Corkbuzz, Morimoto), and private clients (chef Daniel Boulud). “My overarching vision is to create spaces that allow multiple interpretations,” she adds. “That’s the beauty of architecture—it depends on who is looking at it.”

Step Inside Her Manhattan Studio

Alexander Calder mobile and Flemming Lassen chairs.
Photo by Christopher Sturman. © 2019 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Stephanie Goto at her penthouse workspace.
Photo by Christopher Sturman.
The steel pavilion.
Photo by Richard Pare.
A vintage Charlotte Perriand door leads to a tiny chamber, within which an Alexander Calder painting hangs above a wall-hung George Nakashima cabinet.
Photo by Christopher Sturman.
Flemming Lassen lounge chairs and a 1963 Alexander Calder mobile.
Photo by Christopher Sturman.
A Max Lamb dining suite and a painting by Holton Rower; kitchen by Bulthaup with Gaggenau appliances.
Photo by Christopher Sturman.

Take, for instance, the sparkling jewel-box workspace she devised for herself and her staff. A caretaker’s shed that was once part of creative-polymath Jean-Paul Goude’s apartment, the 1,500-square-foot structure has been dressed with custom mirrored black stainless steel that reflects and refracts the skyline, “so the building isn’t static.” Indoors is a dialogue of hard edges and organic accents. The grain of the Douglas-fir floor floods the space like rippling water. (The same honey-blond planks have been used for shelves that hold Goto’s collection of plumb bobs.) The exposed-metal superstructure appears covered with suede, thanks to Benjamin Moore’s Distant Gray, Goto’s signature paint; Flemming Lassen chairs are clad in fluffy sheepskin; an Alexander Calder mobile gently sways; and a vintage Charlotte Perriand door leads to a tiny chamber where a team member can ruminate as a beam of sunlight traces the space. “I’m not afraid of decoration, but you can manipulate materials to express that,” Goto says, noting, with a laugh, that the floor’s grain is “my equivalent of wallpaper.”

Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest