Environmental psychologists have long accepted that the aesthetics and dimensions of our living spaces can affect the way we think. High ceilings, environmental psychologists have found, tend to encourage abstract thinking, whereas lower ceilings are better for detail-oriented tasks. For Kevin Roberts, a well-known ad agency executive and consummate ideas man, low ceilings were out—his home needed to be a place where he could think big, unhindered by any sense of limitation.“I needed a space where I could be free to think, and plan, and most importantly, create,” says Roberts, an Englishman who started his career at London fashion house Mary Quant, and served as Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide’s CEO from 1997 to 2014.
In 53 North Moore, a remarkable Tribeca duplex penthouse in a former paper mill dating to the 19th century, he created that space. Part gallery, part spa, part living light sculpture, the property exudes grounded, uninterrupted serenity—perfect for fostering the state of mind necessary for great creative leaps, while doubling as a comfortable home-sweet-home. “North Moore is a place where I have written books, devised ad campaigns,” Roberts says. “Yes, this is a place where I’ve had some terrific ideas.”
Designed in collaboration with the architect Sam Trimble, the 2,350-square-foot apartment is an exercise in elevated minimalism. Walls, floors and ceilings are made of enormous slabs of Portuguese limestone in giant blocks and columns, with skylights and fixtures designed to maximize natural and artificial light. With no visible outlets or switches, and no doors within the apartment, there’s a sense of unimpeded flow of movement. Water features—including a 375-gallon pool fitted with a blue granite floor in the corner of the bath—seem to lend themselves to deep thought. The custom engineered and designed shower boasts a four-sided water curtain activating a sensor-controlled waterfall. All the while, 300 water holes in the shower center provide the ultimate rain shower. “We really built a space that is full of mystery, sensuality and intimacy,” Roberts says.
This airy environment proved perfect for housing Roberts’ collection of contemporary art and mid-century furniture. Works include “Bottom Out” (1999), a glass hologram by James Turrell that graces the entry, and a white marble foot stool from Jenny Holzer’s Survival Series, inscribed with the words, “In a dream you saw a way to survive and you were full of joy”. The study—a former elevator machine room—features a 1961 Yves Klein table and a Klein globe, La Terre Bleue. A seamless glass door leads to a private roof terrace, with panoramic views of the vibrant city below.
“We built a space where I could bring together my passion for ideas, and harmony of mind, body, spirit, and soul,” he says. “53 North Moore worked for me—I hope it works in the same way for you.”
53 N Moore, PH 8D in Tribeca is represented by Barrie Mandel and David Bonavita.