• From the Commodore Criterion to the PORCELANOSA building: the living history of the new NY flagship
  • From the Commodore Criterion to the PORCELANOSA building: the living history of the new NY flagship
  • From the Commodore Criterion to the PORCELANOSA building: the living history of the new NY flagship
  • From the Commodore Criterion to the PORCELANOSA building: the living history of the new NY flagship

From the Commodore Criterion to the PORCELANOSA building: the living history of the new NY flagship

Monday August 17th, 2015 · PORCELANOSA Grupo

Located in an affluent part of Manhattan, in the intersection of Broadway and Fifth Avenue, next to Madison Square Park and opposite the Flatiron, the new flagship showroom headquarters by PORCELANOSA Grupo in New York is a building with a vivid and unique history.

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.

Being on the verge of setting up in the heart of Manhattan, the company is putting the finishing touches to a memorable opening, which is to be held next September 9, 2015, a world and highly anticipated premiere.a

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  • Fue un placer encontrarme con la obra de la nueva sede de Prcelanosa el día 24/04/2015, un lugar único y extraordinario.
    Yo fui el director ejecutivo de la rehabilitación estructural de vuestro edificio de Barcelona en la plaza de Europa, también habia realizado unos años antes el edificio de oficinas de SAMSUNG.
    Mis mas cordiales felicitaciones.
    Joaquín Sierra, Arquitecto Técnico e Ingeniero Técnico

  • I had no idea that is what became of the building. I worked for my Father in the Toy Building until the late 80’s. Commodore was also a substantial, if not the largest glass Christmas ornament manufacturer selling to 80% of national chain stores. It is great to see the building restored, but kind of sad to see another NYC based industry (Toys & Trim-A-Tree) virtually disappear.

  • Great memories working in the Toy District of NYC purchasing for our business. Many days spent in the Commodore Criterion building as well as Kurt Adler and 225 5th Ave both across the street. I agree with Arthur, sad to see a great industry like trim a tree disappear from NYC.

    • Thank you for sharing with us your memories from that ages. The rehabilitation project for the building tried to keep the essence of its origin, being respectful with its history and past, and besides giving a new life.

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