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When interior designer Alan Tanksley lost the lease on his 32nd Street office space in 2005, he hit the trail looking at 30-odd spaces until he found the perfect spot in the old Western Union Telegraph Building on 23rd Street and Fifth Avenue, right across from Madison Square Park. Built by Henry J. Hardenbergh in 1884 (the same year he completed the Dakota), the building boasts beautiful arched windows on all sides of the second floor. This is the view looking east from Alan’s grand office (alantanksley.com) at what the calls “the crossroads of the city.”

Photo: Wendy Goodman

Alan was not daunted by the amount of work needed to bring the place up to date. The 2,500-square-foot cavernous space had gorgeous bones—always a good beginning.

Photo: Martin Crook

Here’s what the office looks like post-renovation. Alan’s team works in natural light during the day, with the Buster pendant lamp fixtures from Rico Home warming up the space as it grows dark.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

The original front door, left, needed some love. It became Alan’s nod to Dorothy Draper, right, framed with a bevel-edged mirror and inset with three small mirrors, all positioned beneath new crown molding.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

In the wrong hands, the old office could have had a very different outcome. The open space might have been chopped up without any grace at all.

Photo: Alan Tanksley

The office has been divvied up into different work areas with only one closed room, for supplies, in back of this wall. The sconce lights are reproduction nineteenth-century fixtures by Architects & Heroes Interiors.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

Alan’s office is at the end of the room with those large arched windows facing east and north. The wall of windows offers some privacy but doesn’t block light or views from the rest of the office.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

“I have a weakness for collecting paintings and photographs,” Alan says. The painting above his desk is by Annette Davidek. The bronzed glass table used as his desk is by Paul M. Jones and was found at auction.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

This is the northfacing side of Alan’s office, where he holds working lunches and meetings. The round terrazzo table is fifties Italian and the four leather-covered armchairs, from Amy Perlin Antiques, are by Jules Leleu, also from the fifties.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

Alan clearly has a weakness for interesting lamps too. At left, a ceramic hand-painted lamp by Guy Veryzer. At right, a paper-clip chandelier by Gary Ponzo.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

The corner created by the walls of the supply room creates the appearance of an entrance foyer; bikes and books are stored here. The painting is by Sam Glankoff, and the hand-painted ceramic lights are by Veryzer.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

And here’s the view from the interior of Alan’s office. Anchoring the bookcase is a terra-cotta study of a 19th Century sculpture by H. Bargas from 145 Antiques.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

A spread in L’Oeil on the seventeenth-century Strasbourg artist Sébastien Stoskopff. This painting, from 1633, is called Les Cinq Sens ou l’eté (The Five Senses of Summer).

Photo: Wendy Goodman

Rosamond today. “Luck has a lot to do with everything—luck and timing,” she says. “I happened to be in Europe when the great men were still around. Had it been now, it would have been entirely different.” To buy a signed limited-edition copy of Rosamond's memoir, go to yoox.com.

Photo: Michele Mattei

For me, the high point of the show is this, which manages simultaneously to be a painting, a force field, and an electromagnetic visual discharge. This is an artist sloughing off old consciousness, making something he doesn’t even know is art, giving up nearly all known languages of painting, and maybe violating the laws of nature by making something that seemingly puts off more energy than went into making it.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

For me, the high point of the show is this, which manages simultaneously to be a painting, a force field, and an electromagnetic visual discharge. This is an artist sloughing off old consciousness, making something he doesn’t even know is art, giving up nearly all known languages of painting, and maybe violating the laws of nature by making something that seemingly puts off more energy than went into making it.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

For me, the high point of the show is this, which manages simultaneously to be a painting, a force field, and an electromagnetic visual discharge. This is an artist sloughing off old consciousness, making something he doesn’t even know is art, giving up nearly all known languages of painting, and maybe violating the laws of nature by making something that seemingly puts off more energy than went into making it.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

For me, the high point of the show is this, which manages simultaneously to be a painting, a force field, and an electromagnetic visual discharge. This is an artist sloughing off old consciousness, making something he doesn’t even know is art, giving up nearly all known languages of painting, and maybe violating the laws of nature by making something that seemingly puts off more energy than went into making it.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

For me, the high point of the show is this, which manages simultaneously to be a painting, a force field, and an electromagnetic visual discharge. This is an artist sloughing off old consciousness, making something he doesn’t even know is art, giving up nearly all known languages of painting, and maybe violating the laws of nature by making something that seemingly puts off more energy than went into making it.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

For me, the high point of the show is this, which manages simultaneously to be a painting, a force field, and an electromagnetic visual discharge. This is an artist sloughing off old consciousness, making something he doesn’t even know is art, giving up nearly all known languages of painting, and maybe violating the laws of nature by making something that seemingly puts off more energy than went into making it.

Photo: Wendy Goodman
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