Tile shopping with a view! Though the view is more iconic than the building, its history is interesting. Here’s a little bit of it as told on the Porcelanosa website:
The architects Ely Jacques Kahn and Albert Buchman designed this building, spread out over six floors and over 1,500 square metres in 1918. Built during the First World War, it hosted the General Outdoor Advertising Company for a long period.
Previously, the area was occupied by a reddish stone building in 1857 that housed from the headquarters of the New York Club or the Madison Square Bank to an emerging Cosmopolitan magazine or the prestigious Bertlitz language school.
After that Kahn and Buchman’s projected building, A.C. Gilbert Toy Company was established in it and then it was renamed as the Gilbert Hall of Science, an amazing space that attracted hundreds of onlookers who would put their heads out the circular windows of 25th Street to watch the model trains that circulated inside. A.C. Gilbert Company was the manufacturer of the first and extremely well-known Meccans as well as chemistry sets and telescopes. Icons of the industrial revolution, innovation and science, and all turned into games.
The company founder, Albert Gilbert, became a legend, getting the National Council of Defense not to stop the production of educational toys for Christmas during World War II. He argued that children, those who then played with toys that his company designed and manufactured were the engineers and architects of the future.
In subsequent decades, the Commodore Criterion hosted toy and Christmas decoration companies, and until recently, you were able to see in its shop window the sets of musical games on a scale that turned its shop front into something unmistakable.
Those children who learned how to become engineers by playing had grown, and after a thorough restoration led by Foster + Partner studio, this iconic building will be renamed as PORCELANOSA building, a space dedicated to architecture and interior design aimed at the most professional profile in the New York metropolitan area.