Sawyer | Berson235 Park Ave. S., at 19th St., 11th fl.; 212-244-3055; sawyerberson.com
xquisite landscaping plays a starring role in the work of this interdisciplinary firm, which offers architecture, landscape, and interior-design services. Townhouse gardens, rooftop terraces, and sprawling Hamptons estates are designed with an eye toward giving clients a seamless indoor-outdoor lifestyle.
Selldorf Architects860 Broadway, nr. 17th St., second flr.; 212-219-9571; selldorf.com
Annabelle Selldorf deserves her reputation as a minimalist; her interiors favor serene neutrals and natural finishes—wood, metal, patina bronze. Jolts of color come from her impeccable taste in art, which could explain why she’s a favorite of gallery owners like David Zwirner.
Sergio Mercado Design195 Chrystie St., nr. Stanton St., Ste. 303D; 212-920-6750; sergiomercadodesign.com
Mercado’s interior-architectural-design work is clean and modern. He is a wizard at bringing tired spaces up to speed: for instance, the loft in which he used I-beams to erect a mezzanine reachable by a simple ribbon staircase.
Shamir Shah Design27 W. 24th St., nr. Sixth Ave., Ste. 604; 212-274-7476; shamirshahdesign.com
Established in 1999, this architecture and design firm has discreetly made a name for itself with functional planning and a luxurious array of materials like patina bronze, wire-brushed stone, and cerused woods that feel contemporary but broken in.
Shelton, Mindel & Associates, Inc.56 W. 22nd St., nr. Sixth Ave., 12th fl.; 212-206-6406; sheltonmindel.com
This architecture and interior-design firm offers a seamless, soup-to-nuts version of high-modern design, synthesizing architectural elements and strong furniture groupings into cool, carefully edited interiors. For a central hallway in one historic Fifth Avenue residence, the team paired a classic black-and-white large-tile floor with an all-white wood-molded ceiling.
Smith-Miller + Hawkinson Architects305 Canal St., nr. Broadway, Ste. 4; 212-966-3875; smharch.com
This smart husband-and-wife design team has been turning out masterful contemporary spaces for three decades. The duo’s work incorporates industrial design in an elegant, urbane manner.
Solomonoff Architecture Studio530 W. 25th St., nr. Tenth Ave., Ste. 409; 212-337-3700; solomonoff.com
Taking on residential and commercial projects, SAS creates structures and interior spaces using familiar materials—wood, glass, and exposed brick—that feel sturdy, clean, and contemporary.
Specht Harpman1123 Broadway, nr. 26th St., Ste. 312; 212-239-1150; spechtharpman.com
Scott Specht makes innovative, forward-thinking work by combining crisp edges, clever cabinetry, and elegant experiments with inexpensive and industrial materials. (He once used discarded Coca-Cola crates to construct interior walls.) The firm’s houses have a loftlike feel, with a light palette and lots of open space.
Steve E. Blatz Architect1 Union Square W., nr. 14th St., Ste. 506; 212-647-1399; blatzarc.com
Adept at building at any scale—from a modest 250-square-foot guesthouse on a green rooftop to a sprawling penthouse loft—the architect is always thoughtful and meticulous in his work.
Steven Harris Architects50 Warren St., nr. Church St.; 212-587-1108; stevenharrisarchitects.com
Harris is a shape-shifter. While maintaining impeccable credentials as a minimalist—he says he’s inspired by William Wurster, Paul Dupré-Lafon, and the gardens of Roberto Burle Marx—he’s willing to be pushed toward flamboyance or luxury.
Steven Holl Architects450 W. 31st St., nr. Tenth Ave., 11th fl.; 212-629-7262; stevenholl.com
Holl designs homes that are miniature versions of the dynamic, luminous, sculptural spaces he provides for major institutions such as the Hunters Point Community Library and the Pratt Institute. He likes to play with materials and light, indenting walls and cutting windows for specific views or shadows, never sticking with a plain rectilinear box.
Studio Garneau20 Pine St., nr. Nassau St., Ste. 3104; 917-805-3327; studiogarneau.com
Playful minimalism is a recurring theme in architect Robert Garneau’s sustainability-focused work; overt ornamentalism has no place here. His small team designs with an eye to integrating furniture and cabinetry to create spatial efficiency and balance. In one apartment, a sliding white wall conceals an impeccably sleek built-in wooden bookshelf. (ecofriendly)
Studio Sofield380 Lafayette St., nr. 4th St.; 212-473-1300; studiosofield.com
Old-world comforts get a radical update from William Sofield, a rigorous modernist whose interiors combine elements of design history and fine art. Notable past projects include Tom Ford’s New York flagship store and the lavish David Barton Gym in Manhattan.
Swis.Loc80 Clinton St., nr. Rivington St., Ste. 2B 646-896-4820; swisloc.com
George Switzer and Timothy Lock work with their clients to bring new ideas and elegant solutions to design challenges. For a challenging installation of Zesty Meyers’s R & Gallery studio at the Guild Design Fair in South Africa, Swis.Loc created a “cyclorama-like” booth to lend a fluid nature to the display.
Tang Kawasaki Studio241 E. 7th St., nr. Ave C, Ste. 1C; 212-614-9594; tangkawasaki.com
Husband-and-wife team Jason Tang and Maki Kawasaki take a “reductivist” approach to design, working around a space’s existing architectural fabric to preserve and enhance what’s already there.
Thomas Juul-Hansen LLC15 Maiden Ln., nr. Liberty Plz., 19th fl.; 212-929-7109; thomasjuulhansen.com
The Danish designer has done interiors at some of the priciest addresses in Manhattan, like One57, where he outfitted the swank pads with details like a tub carved from a single block of stone.
Thomas Phifer and Partners180 Varick St., nr. Charlton St.; 212-337-0334; thomasphifer.com
These architects pursue design excellence not only in form, style, and proportion but also with a sense of “neighborliness and a democracy of spirit,” according to Phifer. Making innovative use of technology, the firm strives to create architecture that “connects with nature, rather than separates from it,” he says.
Thread Collective225 Troutman St., nr. Knickerbocker Ave., Bushwick; 718-484-0065; threadcollective.com
This architecture and design firm specializes in maximizing modest spaces in ways that are creative and affordable. Its architects make innovative use of regional and recycled materials: for instance, turning salvaged wood from the Coney Island boardwalk into the façade of a Bushwick studio. (ecofriendly)
Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects222 Central Park S., nr. Seventh Ave.; 212-582-2385; twbta.com
Williams and Tsien’s projects (which will include the Obama library) use unconventional walls of exquisite materials: bronze, fiberglass, glazed brick, the smoothest concrete. They can cleverly fit luxuries into tight spaces—a lap pool below a townhouse, say—without sacrificing serenity.
Tsao & McKown Architects242 Third St., nr. Third Ave., Gowanus; 212-337-3800; tsao-mckown.com
The partners here practice a sophisticated, masculine modernism, integrating marble showers, open gas fireplaces, and stainless-steel kitchens. They prefer a neutral color palette, and their custom furniture helps to complete a client’s vision. The wall of one Soho loft boasts four large windows, each with its own light-bathed banquette—perfect for afternoon lounging.
West Chin Architect137 Fifth Ave., nr. 20th St., 12th fl.; 212-242-4945; wcarchitect.com
Favorites of the fashion crowd, West Chin conjures sexy sculptural spaces that will bring out your inner catwalker. Though the effect is uncluttered and gallerylike, they keep coldness at bay by incorporating pops of bright color. Interior-design services are available as well.
William T. Georgis Architect233 E. 72nd St., nr. Third Ave.; 212-288-6280; williamtgeorgis.com
Georgis leaves no detail unexamined in his architectural and design work, which is overtly indulgent and highly stylized. Well known for his lobby renovation at the Lever House, he has also gone the futuristic-cum-voyeuristic route, encapsulating guest sleeping quarters in a semicircular glass room in a Tribeca loft.
Work Architecture Company156 Ludlow St., nr. Stanton St., third fl.; 212-228-1333; work.ac
Dan Wood and Amale Andraos’s firm, usually known as WORKac, specializes in projects that focus on the relationship between ecology and urbanism, but it tackles ambitious residential projects as well. Its designs incorporate bold shapes, futuristic installations, and innovative layouts: For a downtown loft, the architects built a sleek bamboo alcove-stage that doubles as a dance floor between the kitchen and the living room. (ecofriendly)
Workshop/APD39 W. 38th St., nr. Sixth Ave., seventh fl.; 212-273-9712; workshopapd.com
Matt Berman and Andrew Kotchen are the brains behind this studio, which constructs residences with an aim toward balance and functionality. For one Upper West Side townhouse, they opted for a sleek, minimalist aesthetic. An all-glass façade was tempered with thin slats that offer privacy while still allowing an abundance of natural light to reach the clean, angular, open spaces within.(ecofriendly)
Workstead232 3rd St., nr. Third Ave., Ste. E102, Gowanus; 347-689-2766; workstead.com
Locals laud the Workstead team for their use of time-tested building materials and an eponymous line of industrial floor lamps and chandeliers. The firm designed the cast-iron-laden public spaces of Williamsburg’s Wythe Hotel, and their lighting installations hang in Barneys stores.
Young Projects68 Jay St., nr. Front St., Ste. 302, Dumbo 718-330-9101; young-projects.com
Principal Bryan Young embraces modernism with a cutting edge. For a Williamsburg townhouse, the old façade disappeared behind a black metal scrim, and a zinc box set on pilings out back added space with minimal excavation work; for a Tribeca two-story-loft renovation, a slice through the roof created a central atrium, open to the sky.